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“Supply Chain Resilience Initiative or SCRI” launched by India, Japan and Australia

What is the News? 

India, Japan, and Australia have launched the SCRI or Supply Chain Resilience Initiative in a virtual Trilateral Ministerial Meeting.

What do you mean by Supply Chain Resilience?

  • It is the capability of the supply chain of a country to handle any kind of disruption and function normally in difficult times. One approach is diversifying the source of supply across a group of supplying nations instead of being dependent on just one or a few.
  • Need: Disruption of supplies from a particular country can happen due to natural calamities such as pandemics or man-made events such as armed conflicts. It can adversely impact the destination country’s economic activities.
  • Example: Japan imported $169 billion worth from China in 2019 accounting for 24% of its total imports. However, Japan’s imports from China fell by half in February 2020 that impacted Japan’s economic activity.

About Supply Chain Resilience Initiative:

  1. Aim: The initiative aims to create a virtuous cycle of enhancing supply chain resilience to attain strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth in the region.
  2. Projects: The initial projects under the SCRI will be:
    • Sharing of best practices on supply chain resilience and
    • Organizing Investment promotion events and buyer-seller matching events. It will provide stakeholders an opportunity to explore the possibility of diversification of their supply chains.
  3. Policy Areas: The possible policy measures may include:
    1. supporting the enhanced utilization of digital technology and
    2. supporting trade and investment diversification.
  4. Meeting: The meeting by the trade ministers of three countries will be convened at least once a year. It will be helpful in the implementation of the SCRI as well as to consult on how to develop the Initiative.

What was the need for this initiative?

  • Firstly, Covid-19 Impact: With the disruption by Covid-19, countries have realized the shortcomings of that dependence over a single nation. Thus, the initiative aims to reduce the dependency on a single nation (at present China).
  • Secondly, Impact of US-China Trade Tensions: The tariff sanctions imposed on each other during the US-China trade threatened all significant economies heavily reliant on international trade.
  • Thirdly, to counter China’s Influence in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Source: Hindu Businessline

“Zhurong” – China’s first Mars rover

What is the News?

The China National Space Administration has announced that it will name its first Mars rover ‘Zhurong’.

About Zhurong:

  • Zhurong is China’s first Mars rover mission. The rover is aboard the Tianwen-1 space probe.
  • Launched in: The rover was launched in the Mars orbit in February 2021 and is due to land in May.
  • Named after: The rover is named after a traditional fire god. The rover’s title also fits with the Chinese name for Mars i.e. “Huo Xing” or fire star.
  • Purpose: Zhurong carries multispectral cameras and instruments to analyze the composition of the rocks. It will also investigate subsurface characteristics with ground-penetrating radar.
  • Landing Site: The expected landing site located in Utopia Planitia. It is the largest recognized impact basin on Mars.
  • Significance: China would become the third country after the former Soviet Union and the United States to put a robot rover on Mars.

About Tianwen-1 mission:

  • Tianwen-1 is China’s first Mars exploration mission. The name comes from the long poem “Tianwen,” meaning Questions to Heaven.
  • Objectives: The mission was launched to fulfil three objectives:
    • To orbit the red planet for comprehensive observation.
    • Land on Martian soil and send a rover to roam around the landing site.
    • To conduct investigations into geological structure, atmosphere, environment, soil and water of Mars.

Source: The Hindu

What is EU-AstraZeneca Dispute?

What is the News?

EU-Astra-Zeneca Dispute is taking a new turn. European Union(EU) is taking legal action against AstraZeneca over shortfalls in vaccine deliveries to EU countries.

What is the EU-AstraZeneca dispute about?

  • AstraZeneca’s entered into a contract with the European Union. It committed to supplying an initial 300 million doses of vaccine for distribution among the 27 member countries. Further, it provided an option to order another 100 million doses.
  • But it delivered only 30 million doses in the first quarter of 2021. Further, the company also says it can only provide 70 million in the second quarter, rather than the 180 million it had promised.
  • Hence, the EU initiated legal action against Astra-Zeneca for not fulfilling the terms of the contract. Further, the EU also said that the company has not been in a position to come up with a reliable strategy to ensure timely delivery of doses.

What has AstraZeneca said?

  • AstraZeneca has said that it has fully complied with its agreement with the EU and hoped to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Vaccination Progress all over the World:

  • European Union(EU) has so far vaccinated over 24% of its population.
  • Over 40% of Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
  • In comparison, India has vaccinated around 10% of its population and many African nations have only vaccinated around 1% of its people.

Source: The Hindu

Indian Army initiates “Ladakh Ignited Minds project”

What is the News?

Indian Army has launched the Ladakh Ignited Minds Project – A Centre of Excellence and Wellness.

About Ladakh Ignited Minds Project:

  • Purpose: The project aims to provide better training and educational facilities to disadvantaged Ladakhi students. Also, the projects aim to give them the opportunity to study in the best educational institutes.
  • Implementation: The fire and Fury Corps of the Indian Army will implement the project. They will also have a partnership with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and National Integrity and Educational Development Organization(NIEDO), an NGO.
  • Training: In the first batch, 45 students from Leh and Kargil districts will get training for JEE and NEET entrance examinations.

Source: AIR

“Deep Time Project”: Volunteers Leave Cave After 40 Days in Isolation

What is the News?

The Deep Time project in France’s Lombrives Cave has come to an end.

About Deep Time Project:

  • The Deep Time Project was led by the scientists of the Human Adaptation Institute in partnership with labs in France and Switzerland.
  • Aim: The project aimed to test how people adapt to changes in living conditions and environments.
  • As part of the Project, 15 participants lived in the Lombrives cave in France for 40 days with no phones, clocks or sunlight. They slept in tents, made their own electricity, and had no contact with the outside world.
  • The group also had to organise tasks without having deadlines measured with time. Instead, they had to rely on their body clocks and sleep cycles to structure their days.

Significance of the study:

  • The project will help scientists understand how people can adapt to extreme living conditions.
  • The brain activity and cognitive function of volunteers were analysed before they entered the cave. This data is used for comparative studies after they leave the cave.
  • Further, the purpose of the study has particular relevance during the coronavirus pandemic, as millions of people live in lockdown induced isolation.

Source: The Hindu

“Chandlers Good Governance Index” 2021 Released

What is the News?

The Chandler Good Government Index(CGGI) 2021 has been released.

About Chandler Good Government Index(CGGI):

  • The Chandler Good Government Index(CGGI) is published by the Chandler Institute of Governance(CIG). It is an international non-profit organization, with headquarter in Singapore.
  • Objective: The index measures the effectiveness and capabilities of 104 governments around the world in terms of government capabilities and outcomes.
  • Parameters: The Index is made up of 34 indicators which are organized into seven pillars:
    1. Leadership and Foresight
    2. Robust Laws and Policies
    3. Strong Institutions
    4. Financial Stewardship
    5. Attractive Marketplace
    6. Global Influence and Reputation
    7. Helping people rise.

Key Findings:

  • India’s ranking: India has been ranked 49th in the Chandler Good Government Index(CGGI).
  • Topped by: Finland has topped the index.
  • South Asian Countries: Sri Lanka has been ranked at 74th. Further, Pakistan is at 90th and Nepal at 92nd.
  • Seven of the top ten countries are from Europe. But there are four continents represented in the top ten with Singapore first in Asia, New Zealand leading Oceania, and Canada leading in the Americas.
  • All the top ten countries are high-income as defined by the World Bank.

Source: The Hindu

Migrants Workers, Who Returned to Cities Earned five-fold : Study

What is the News? Yale University tracked 5,000 migrants workers across north and central India from April 2020 to February 2021. Recently, it released the findings of the survey.

The survey was conducted over the phone by researchers from Yale and the Inclusion Economics India Centre. Bihar and Chhattisgarh are “source states”.

What are the key findings of the survey?

  • Migrant workers who returned to cities for work after the first Covid-19 lockdown earned roughly five times as much as those who stayed back.
  • The first Covid-19 induced lockdown affected women migrants, more than men.
  • After the first lockdown, only 45% of female migrants returned to their urban workplaces. However, 40% of them earned no income across a week in which they were tracked in February 2021.
    • In comparison, 55% of men returned to their workplaces and only a quarter of them had no income across the same week in February 2021.
  • Male migrant workers who returned to urban areas after the first lockdown for work earned up to 90% of their pre-pandemic earnings. But the women earned up to 72% of their pre-pandemic income.
    • While, female migrant workers who did not return to urban areas earned only 23% of their pre-pandemic income. Whereas female migrant workers earned just 13%.
  • Further, more than 40% of those who stayed home were still concerned about running out of food after the harvest season. More than 20% of them said they were eating less than normal.

Conclusion of the survey:

  • The survey has found that those migrant workers who remained at home in rural areas after the first lockdown were more likely to report being unemployed. It reduced their food consumption, mortgaging or selling assets, spending down savings, and taking loans to make ends meet.
  • Hence, it has urged policymakers to make efforts to retain workers in urban areas. Also, to focus more on women by providing economic support through employers and rations.

Source: Indian Express



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