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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Nov 23, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Migration and Development Brief

 

The World Bank Group recently released the ‘Migration and Development Brief’, which provides details of the trends in ‘Migration and Remittances’ around the world.

Few definitions of Remittances:

Remittances are transfers of money by a person working in a foreign location to a person or family back home as household income.  As per IMF, ‘Remittances are typically transfers from a well-meaning individual or family member to another individual or household.

IMF’s Balance of Payments International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) provides a more comprehensive economic definition of what constitutes a remittance.

Today, we look at the trends in remittances during 2020, which was majorly impacted by COVID-19 and the projections for 2021, the year in which many countries are on a recovery path.

Remittances to Low & Middle-Income regions estimated to increase by 7% in 2021

Out of the total global remittances, the major share is to the Low & Middle-income Regions. As per the estimates for pandemic hit 2020, the total remittances around the world were USD 706 billion. Out of this, the remittances to Low & Middle-Income regions were USD 549 billion.

India is estimated to receive the highest remittances among Low & Middle-Income countries (LMICs)  in 2021.

As per the forecast for 2021 provided in the report, India is estimated to receive USD 87 billion in remittances in 2021. This is the highest among the LMICs.  This is a 4.6% increase compared to 2020.

This is a 4.6% increase compared to 2020. As per the report, the increase is due to the increase in remittances from expatriate workers in GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries. The GCC countries have benefitted from higher oil prices which translated to the Indian expatriates being able to send higher remittances.

An increase in Economic Activity has contributed towards an increase in remittances

Current Affair 2:
Project Signing: New World Bank Project to Improve Quality of Learning

 

The Government of India, the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the World Bank have signed a $250 million project to improve the quality of education, teaching practices, and governance in government-managed schools across the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Students from all grades and stages of school education will benefit from the project. The beneficiaries are about four million students (between the age of six and 14) in over 45,000 government schools, and over one million children (between the age of three and six) enrolled in Anganwadis (Integrated Child Development Centers), and about 190,000 teachers, and more than 50,000 Anganwadi workers. 

The Supporting Andhra's Learning Transformation Project will encourage professional development of teachers; provide remedial learning courses for children impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and  pay special attention to students from marginalized groups, including children with special needs, scheduled tribes, and girls.

The Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance stated that “Providing universal access to quality education is central to India's economic and social development. The Project will support the state of Andhra Pradesh in fulfilling its vision of transforming government schools into vibrant institutions focused on foundational learning for young children, including addressing learning losses for children impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Current Affair 3:
Reforming Fertilizer sector

Source Link

The above article is  from The Hindu

The following are some relevant points from the above article.

  1. Post 1991, several majors were taken to reform the fertilizer sector (and link the prices with the markets) but did not succeed.
  2. Urea (N) price is still regulated (fixed by the Govt.) at Rs. 5.36/kg and whenever the prices of inputs/cost of production increases (which is directly proportional to Energy Prices), the Central Govt.'s subsidy bill increases.
  3. Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) was introduced for Diammonium Phosphate and Muriate of Potash (DAP & MoP) in 2010 under which the prices of DAP and MoP was deregulated (market decides the price). So, if cost of production increases.... prices increase and (generally) Govt.'s subsidy remains same.
  4. As Indian farmers use much more Urea as compared to DAP & MoP, so the deregulation in UREA prices was not possible (politically/socially) and hence its prices has remained quite less than other fertilizer prices. And hence there is a major imbalance in the use of fertilizers in India. This has resulted in stagnating yield and loss of productivity and environmental impacts.
  5. The price of Urea in India is Rs. 5.36/kg (international price is around Rs. 20/kg), DAP/MoP is approx Rs. 14/kg (international price is around Rs. 24/kg) . This has resulted in shifting farmers to more consumption of Urea resulting in imbalanced Nutrient mix in the soil. NPK mix in Punjab is 33.7:8.0:1 and in Kerala is 1.3:0.7:1
  6. One side Govt. is not increasing the price of fertilizers (subsidizing it) and on the other side MSP is increasing, this is resulting in huge subsidy burden on Central Govt. (The Central Govt. fertilizer subsidy bill for 2021-22 is Rs. 80,000 crore and food subsidy is Rs. 2.5 lakh crore) Farmers should be supported but there are other better ways. The four policy reforms suggested by the NITI Aayog Chairman are:
    1. First, Self-reliant in Fertilizer Production
    2. Second, Implement NBS model for Urea also
    3. Third, Develop alternative sources of nutrient for plants i.e., non-chemical fertilizers
    4. Fourth, improve fertilizer efficiency through need-based use. For example, Nano Urea developed by IFFCO

Current Affair 4:
Madhubani Paintings

 

The Madhubani style of painting can be traced to the Madhubani district in Bihar, literally meaning 'a forest of honey', where women spent a lot of time making these paintings on the walls of their homes. Mainly attributed to the upper caste in the beginning, this was later taken up by women across all castes. The women used their keen sense of beauty to create evocative paintings of gods and goddesses, animals and characters from mythology, using natural dyes and pigments and painted with the help of twigs, fingers and matchsticks.

Madhubani painting has received GI (Geographical Indication) status.

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