Comprehensive News Analysis – 31 July 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Sushma springs to the aid of workers in Jeddah

2. New body for hill country Tamils

3. Centre to amend compensation law

C. GS3 Related:

1. New rare whale species

2. What is a vortex laser?

3. Pay now or pay forever

4. India looks to counter U.S. move on trade sanctions

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance

The Hindu

1. The gulf in tuberculosis care

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
H. Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here today folks!


B. GS2 Related
  1. Sushma springs to the aid of workers in Jeddah

Category: International Relations

Topic: Indian Diaspora

Key points:

  • A Saudi infrastructure company, Saudi Oger Ltd in Jeddah, laid off many Indian workers.
  • The Government of India has moved to help these hundreds of Indian workers who have been laid off by organising food and monitoring their welfare.
  • Swaraj has deputed Ministers of State, Gen. (Retd.) V.K. Singh and M.J. Akbar, to talk to officials in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Kuwait to resolve the situation.
  • The 800 Indians at Saudi Oger were laid off as part of major cutbacks by the Lebanese-owned company that used to be among West Asia’s most successful construction companies.
  • In the past two years, the fall in oil prices and declining Saudi economy have hurt the company’s fortunes. Many employees say they haven’t been paid wages since last December.
  • Indian Consulate officials are providing immediate humanitarian assistance in terms of food and medicine to stranded Indian workers, and at the same time meeting with the Ministry of Labour in the Saudi government to take up their concerns.
  • Although, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has seen a steady GDP of 5 per cent from 2005-2015, the GDP could drop to less than 2 per cent in 2016.

 

2. New body for hill country Tamils 

Category: International Relations

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developing countries on India’s interests

Key points:

  • Nearly one million people are residing in the estates and the plantation sector, as a whole, provides direct and indirect employment to 1.5 million people.
  • Around 40 per cent of the residents of the estates belong to the category of non workers.  The plantation sector — tea and rubber — contributes around 20 per cent of export earnings of Sri Lanka with $ 1,366 million in 2015.
  • At present, the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), is in place.
  • This was setup up in 1992, with the mandate of implementing social development programmes for the community.
  • But, this Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) suffers from many handicaps. For example, its scope and coverage is limited. Its social security net is not applicable to workers’ family members, who do not form part of the workforce in the estates, etc.
  • The “Hill Country New Villages Development Authority” , borrowing from the concept of the Southern Development Authority, which had a visible presence during the previous regime led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa,will carry out the functions of planning and coordination and will have a strong institutional mechanism.

 

  1. Centre to amend compensation law

Category: Governance

Topic: Government policies and interventions

Centre to amend compensation law

Key points:

  • The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the Employee’s Compensation Act of 1923.
  • This means that the millions of people working in the unorganised sector, who sustain injuries at their workplace, will soon be eligible for higher compensation from employers.
  • According to the amendments approved by the Cabinet, employers will be liable for penalty amount in the range of Rs.50,000-Rs.1 lakh, up substantially from Rs.500 at present, in case they fail to report the authorities about an accident occurring in work premises leading to injuries, serious body injuries or death of a worker.
  • Employees or their families will be eligible for higher compensation from employers as the latter will no longer be able to move the court for paying them a sum of up to Rs.10,000. At present, employers can move the High Court for an appeal against the Labour Commissioner’s order of paying more than Rs.300 as compensation.
  • The Employees’ Compensation Act, enacted in 1923, is one of the first legislations providing a social security net to workers in the country which covers all work-related injuries. It provides payment of compensation to workers and their families in case of injury or death by industrial accidents.
  • The law is applicable to unorganised workers employed in factories, mines, plantation, construction site and also, to certain railway servants. Earlier known as the Workmen’s Compensation Act, it was amended by the UPA government in 2009 to substantially increase compensation for workers.

 

C. GS3 Related

 

  1. New rare whale species

Topic: Biodiversity

Category: Environment and Ecology

Key points:

  • Researchers have identified a new rare species of beaked whale with a range in the remote North Pacific Ocean.
  • As described in aMarine Mammal Science article, the new species is an elusive, deep-diving whale about 25 feet long that is rarely seen.
  • This whale is smaller and darker in colour than the more common Baird’s beaked whale.

 

  1. What is a vortex laser?

Topic: Science and Technology- developments

Category: Science and Technology

Key points:

  • Laser beams when twisted in a way that makes them travel in a corkscrew pattern, encode information into different vortex twists. This way they are able to carry 10 times or more the amount of information than that of conventional lasers, which move linearly.
  • Vortex lasers are the likely future of communication.
  • Usually, the vortex laser has been too large to work on today’s computers. But researchers report being able to shrink the vortex laser to the point where it is compatible with computer chips.
  • Technology companies have been worrying that they will not be able to shrink transistors much further and encode more information in chips without running into the limits of physics laws. This has been their worry for a while now. However, if vortex lasers live up to their promise, they might allay these fears.

 

  1. Pay now or pay forever

Topic: Science and Technology- Health

Category: Science and Technology

Key points:

  • 20 million of the 37 million people with HIV do not have access to treatment; tuberculosis continues to be the main killer of people living with HIV; over one million people die every year of AIDS and neglected co-infections, and HIV funding from countries has fallen substantially in 2015.
  • In India, the aim to have over two million people living with HIV know their status and offer quality HIV treatment for life will only be possible with increased investment in the public health system.
  • Without sustainable funding, civil society organizations cannot continue its valuable work.

 

  1. India looks to counter U.S. move on trade sanctions

Topic: International Trade

Category: Economy

 India looks to counter U.S. move on trade sanctions

Key points:

  • The U.S. is seeking to impose more than $450 million in trade sanctions against India on the grounds of failure  to comply with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) order in the poultry import ban case.
  • The WTO Appellate Body had found that India’s import prohibition on poultry and poultry products was ‘discriminatory’ and ‘more trade-restrictive than required’, and therefore violated WTO norms.
  • According to the WTO, the U.S. had filed the case against India’s prohibition on importation of various agricultural products (including poultry) from the U.S. because of concerns related to Avian Influenza (bird flu). The U.S. had claimed that the ban was against WTO norms and had hurt its poultry exports to India.
  • Options that are now being considered by India to counter this include: (i) raising its concerns — over the U.S. push for such trade sanctions — at high-level bilateral meetings in August (the Strategic & Commercial Dialogue) and October (Trade Policy Forum) and (ii) ensuring through discussions that the U.S. agrees to withdraw its efforts to seek an arbitration panel for assessing the quantum of trade sanctions, and instead give consent to India’s demand for a “sequencing agreement.”
  • A ‘sequencing agreement’ is to ensure that the matter is instead referred to a WTO ‘compliance panel,’ which will look into India’s claim that it has complied with the WTO appellate panel’s recommendations.

 

D. GS4 Related


E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance

 

The Hindu


1. The gulf in tuberculosis care

Category: Science and Technology

Topic: Health

The gulf in tuberculosis care

Key points:

  • A November 2015 study published inThe Lancet has exposed the dismal state of tuberculosis (TB) care in the private sector in India.
  • This study employed a novel strategy of using standardised TB patients.
  • Healthy individuals, trained to pose as patients, interacted with health-care providers — for assessing the actual clinical practice and quality of TB care in India.
  • This study, like earlier studies, revealed private practitioners’ tendency to initially treat TB patients with antibiotics.
  • The study revealed that MBBS doctors were more likely to correctly manage “patients” and more likely to ask for sputum tests and chest X-rays than others. Yet, they were “equally likely” to prescribe antibiotics and “more likely” to prescribe fluoroquinolones than others.
  • The study found a major gap in provider knowledge and practice- though doctors had high levels of knowledge, they showed  low adherence to established standards of TB care in clinical practice.
  • The private sector is the first point of contact for nearly 80 per cent of TB patients in India, and it offers TB care to nearly 50 per cent.
  • The deviation from the established standards of TB care in clinical practice as seen in this study is the reason why TB patients most often encounter a delay of nearly two months before a correct diagnosis is made.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • WTO Appellate Body
  • Vortex Laser
  • Hill Country New Villages Development Authority
  • Sequencing agreement


G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. Tropic of Cancer passes through Saudi Arabia.
  2. The port of Jeddah lies on the Red Sea coast.



Which of the above are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 2: Consider the following statements,
  1. Technology Development Board (TDB), is a statutory body of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.
  2. Government of India and Bpifrance financement (a public investment bank in France) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to carry out activities related to the exchanging of best practices and the setting up of coordinated measures to foster technological exchanges and innovation, collaborations between companies, organizations and institutions of France and India.



Which of the above are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 3: Consider the following statements,
  1. The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the Employee’s Compensation Act of 1923.
  2. This means that the millions of people working in the unorganised sector, who sustain injuries at their workplace, will soon be eligible for higher compensation from employers.
  3. According to the amendments approved by the Cabinet, employers will be liable for penalty amount in the range of Rs.50,000-Rs.1 lakh, up substantially from Rs.500 at present, in case they fail to report the authorities about an accident occurring in work premises leading to injuries, serious body injuries or death of a worker.



Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 Only

(c) All, 1, 2 and 3

(d) Neither 1 nor 2 nor 3


Question 4: Consider the following statements regarding,
  1. Laser beams when twisted in a way that makes them travel in a corkscrew pattern, encode information into different vortex twists.
  2. This way they are able to carry 10 times or more the amount of information than that of conventional lasers, which move linearly. Vortex lasers are the likely future of communication



Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 5: Consider the following statements,
  1. Researchers have identified a new rare species of beaked whale with a range in the remote North Pacific Ocean.
  2. The new species is an elusive, deep-diving whale about 25 feet long that is rarely seen.
  3. This whale is smaller and darker in colour than the more common Baird’s beaked whale.



Which of the statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) All 1, 2 and 3

(d) None of these


Check Your Answers

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