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World Bank’s “Migration and Development Brief”: India is the top receiver of remittances

What is the News?

The World Bank has released a report titled “Migration and Development Brief, 2020”.

Key Findings of the Migration and Development Brief:

 Findings Related to India:

  • India has received the highest amount of remittances in 2020. This was followed by China, Mexico, the Philippines, Egypt, Pakistan, France and Bangladesh.
  • India’s Remittances: India has received over USD83 billion in remittances in 2020. This was despite the pandemic that devastated the world economy.
    • In 2019, India had received USD83.3 billion in remittances.
  • India’s remittances fell by just 0.2% in 2020. This was due to a 17% fall in remittances from the United Arab Emirates. However, this was offset by the resilient flows from the United States and other host countries.
  • Remittances outflow from India in 2020 was USD7 billion. In 2019, it was around USD7.5 billion.

Other Key Findings:

  • China received $59.5 billion in remittances in 2020 against $68.3 billion in 2019.
  • The remittance outflow was maximum from the United States. This is followed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Germany and China.
  • Remittance inflows have increased in Latin America, South Asia, Middle East and North Africa.
  • However, remittances have fallen for East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

About Migration and Development Brief Report:

  • Prepared by: The report is prepared by the Migration and Remittances Unit, Development Economics (DEC)- the premier research and data arm of the World Bank.
  • Aim: The report aims to provide an update on key developments. Especially in the area of migration and remittance flows and related policies over the past six months.
    • The report also provides medium-term projections of remittance flows to developing countries.
  • The report is produced twice a year.

About Remittances:

  • Remittance is money usually sent to a person in another country. The sender is typically an immigrant and the recipient a relative back home.
  • Remittances represent one of the largest sources of income for people in low-income and developing nations.

 Source: Indian Express

“Community Transmission”(CT) and “Categorisation of diseases”

What is the News?

India is registering the highest number of cases globally every day. But the World Health Organization(WHO) Report mentions, India is yet to label itself in the category of community transmission(CT).

Note: Currently, India has labelled itself in the category of ‘cluster of cases’ category.

About Categorisation of diseases: 

In general, the World Health Organization (WHO) uses the following categories to describe transmission patterns:

  • Sporadic cases,
  • Clusters of cases
  • Community transmission.

What is the category of the Sporadic case?

  • These are a small number of cases (one or more) either imported or detected locally  

What is the Cluster of Cases category?

  • Cluster transmission has been used by Indian authorities to identify infections that are largely concentrated in a limited locality. The disease concentration is often within a family and its extended circle.
  • Under this, cases detected in the past 14 days are predominantly limited to well-defined clusters. Further, the disease detected will not directly be linked to imported cases.

What is Community Transmission(CT)?

  • It means that the epidemic has become so widespread in a community. Further, it gets difficult (if not impossible) to determine who is passing on the infection to whom.
  • In simple terms, Community Transmission is classified when the source of the infection is not known.
  • CT will happen when new cases in the last 14 days cannot be traced to those who have an international travel history or to any specific cluster.

Stages of Community Transmission: WHO guidelines suggest four subcategories within the broader definition of CT:

  • CT1: Low incidence of locally acquired cases detected in the past 14 days
  • CT2: Moderate incidence of locally acquired cases detected in the past 14 days
  • CT3: High incidence of locally acquired cases in the past 14 days
  • CT4: Very high incidence of locally acquired cases in the past 14 days.

Countries classified under Community Transmission:

  • Countries such as the United States, Brazil, United Kingdom, France have labelled themselves as being in ‘community transmission’.
  • However, among the countries with the most number of confirmed cases, Italy and Russia do not label themselves as being in community transmission.

Government policy based on Categorisation:

  • India’s refusal to describe itself as being in community transmission had an effect on how authorities addressed a pandemic.
  • Under Cluster Transmission, the government gives priority to testing, contact tracing and isolating to prevent further infection.
  • On the other hand, under community transmission, the government prioritises treatment and observing advisories to stay protected.

Source: The Hindu

“Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture”(MIDH) Scheme

What is the News?

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has provided an enhanced allocation of Rs. 2250 Crore for the year 2021-22 for ‘Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture’(MIDH).

Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture(MIDH):

  • The mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture(MIDH) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the holistic growth of the horticulture sector.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is implementing the MIDH scheme since 2014-15.
  • Part of: The scheme is being implemented as a part of the Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana.
  • Coverage: The scheme covers fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops. The scheme also covers mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew and cocoa.

Sub Schemes under MIDH: The mission has the following sub-schemes as its component:

  • National Horticulture Mission (NHM)
  • Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States (HMNEH)
  • National Horticulture Board (NHB)
  • Coconut Development Board (CDB)
  • Central Institute for Horticulture (CIH), Nagaland.

Funding: Under the scheme,

  • The government of India(GOI) contributes 60% of the total outlay for developmental programmes in all the states except states in the North East and the Himalayas.
  • In the case of the North-Eastern States and the Himalayan States, GOI contributes 90%.
  • In the case of the following the GOI contributes 100%.
    • National Horticulture Board(NHB),
    • Coconut Development Board(CDB),
    • Central Institute for Horticulture(CIH)
    • The National Level Agencies(NLA)
  • Further, the scheme also provides for technical and administrative support to State Governments/ State Horticulture Missions(SHMs). It also provides technical and administrative support for the Saffron Mission and other horticulture-related activities.

Performance of the scheme: MIDH scheme has played a significant role in increasing the area under horticulture crops such as:

  • Area and production under horticulture crops during the years 2014 – 15 to 2019 – 20 has increased by 9% and 14% respectively.
  • During the year 2019-20, the country recorded its highest ever horticulture production of 320.77 million tonnes from an area of 25.66 million hectares.
  • However, the sector is still facing a lot of challenges. Such as,
    • High post-harvest loss
    • Gaps in post-harvest management
    • Supply chain infrastructure.

Source: PIB

Biodegradable “Moorhen Yoga Mat” developed from “Water Hyacinth”

What is the News?

Six young girls from Assam have developed a biodegradable and compostable yoga mat called ‘Moorhen Yoga Mat’.

Note: The Mat was developed with the support of the North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach(NECTAR). NECTAR is an autonomous body under the Department of Science & Technology(DST).

About Moorhen Yoga Mat:

  • The ‘Moorhen Yoga mat’ is named after Kam Sorai or Purple moorhen (a resident bird of Deepor Beel Wildlife sanctuary).
  • The mat has been developed from Water Hyacinth. The mat is 100% biodegradable and 100% compostable mat.
  • The mat comes in a cotton canvas cloth bag. So that no zip or metal closures are used.
  • Benefits of the Mat: The Moorhen Yoga mat has the following benefits:
    • The Mat can improve the aquatic ecosystem of the wetland through the removal of water hyacinth
    • It can provide sustainable production of utility products with community engagement
    • The mat can generate livelihood for indigenous communities to become completely ‘Atma Nirbhar’.

About Water Hyacinth:

  • Water hyacinth is a free-floating and flowering invasive aquatic plant that originated from Amazon Basin, South America.

Why is Water Hyacinth considered invasive?

  • It grows rapidly and can form thick layers over the water. So Water hyacinth is considered invasive throughout the world.
  • These mats shade out the other aquatic plants. Eventually, these shaded plants die and decay.
  • The decaying process depletes the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. As oxygen levels decline, many fish are unable to survive.
  • Hence, often the waters below water hyacinth masses witness the absence of life.

Other Effects of Water Hyacinth:

  • Water Hyacinth interferes with boat navigation and prevents fishing, swimming and other recreational activities.
  • The water hyacinth may also clog intake pipes used for drinking water, hydropower or irrigation.
  • Moreover, it creates a prime habitat for mosquitoes that carry a variety of infectious diseases. So, water hyacinth is also considered a serious threat to biodiversity and human health.

Water Hyacinth in India:

  • States like Assam and Kerala are highly affected by the Water Hyacinth.
  • Water Hyacinth is also referred to as the Bengal terror. This is because of its effect on the local ecology and lives of the people.

Source: PIB


Cabinet approves PLI scheme ‘National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage’

What is the News?

Cabinet approves the Production Linked Incentive(PLI) Scheme ‘National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage’.

PLI Scheme For Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage’:

  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises
  • Aim: The programme aims to set up facilities capable of manufacturing a cumulative 50GWh of Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) batteries.

Key Features of the Scheme:

  • Firstly, the government will select the ACC battery storage manufacturers through a transparent competitive bidding process.
  • Secondly, the selected ACC manufacturer will have to set up the ACC facility within a period of two years.
  • Thirdly, the incentive will then be disbursed to the manufacturer over a period of five years. The incentive amount will rise with the following,
    • Increased specific energy density and cycles,
    • Increased local value addition.
  • Fourthly, the ACC firms will also have to achieve a domestic value addition of at least 25%. They should also incur the mandatory investment of Rs 225 crore /GWh within 2 years.
  • Lastly, each selected ACC battery Storage manufacturer would have to commit to set up an ACC manufacturing facility of minimum 5GWh capacity. Further, they should also ensure a minimum 60% domestic value addition at the project level within five years.

Benefits of the Scheme:

  • Currently, all the demand for the ACCs is satisfied through imports in India. Hence, the programme on ACC will decrease import dependence.
  • The manufacturing of ACCs will also increase the demand for Electric Vehicles (EV).
  • India can increase net savings of around Rs 2 lakh crore on account of oil import bill due to Electric Vehicles (EV) adoption.
  • Facilitate demand creation for battery storage in India.
  • The impetus in R&D can achieve higher specific energy density and cycles in ACC.
  • Promote newer and niche cell technologies.

What are Advanced Chemistry Cell(ACC) batteries?

  • ACCs are the new generation of advanced storage technologies. They can store electric energy either as electrochemical or as chemical energy. The cells then can convert it back to electric energy as and when required.
  • Sectors: Consumer electronics, electric vehicles, advanced electricity grids and solar rooftops are major battery consuming sectors.

Source: PIB

Taliban captures “Dahla dam” in Afghanistan

What is the News?

Taliban has captured Afghanistan’s second-biggest dam named Dahla Dam.

About Dahla Dam:

  • Dahla dam is also known as Arghandab Dam. It is located in the Kandahar Province in Afghanistan.
  • The dam was built by the United States nearly 70 years ago (1952).
  • The dam is built on the Arghandab River. It provides irrigation to farmers via a network of canals as well as drinking water for the provincial capital.

Dams built by India in Afghanistan:

  • Shahtoot Dam: It is a proposed dam to be built by India in the Kabul river basin in Afghanistan.
  • Salma Dam: It is a dam located on the Hari River in Herat Province in Afghanistan. Since this dam is constructed by the Government of India, the Afghan cabinet has renamed the Salma Dam as the Afghan-India Friendship Dam.

Source: The Hindu


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