GS 2

Category: GOVERNANCE

  1. care for children : Kerala ranks NO 1

The issue in news

The ‘State of the Young Child’ in India report was launched by the Vice President of India.  Two indices have been released as a part of the ‘State of the Young Child’ in India report.  It has been brought out by non-governmental organisation Mobile Creches.

 

Young child outcomes index:

  • The young child outcomes index measures health, nutrition and cognitive growth with the help of indicators such as infant mortality rate, stunting and net attendance at the primary school level.
  • The index has been constructed for two time periods (2005–2006 and 2015–2016) to enable inter- State comparisons as well as provide an idea of change over time.

 

Main points

  • Kerala, Goa, Tripura, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram are among the top five states for the well-being of children.
  • It identifies eight states that have scores below the country’s average: they are Assam, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

 

Young child environment index:

  • The index has been launched to understand the policy and environment enablers that influence a child’s well-being.
  • It uses five policy enablers that influence child well-being outcomes, including poverty alleviation, strengthening primary healthcare, improving education levels, safe water supply and promotion of gender equity.
  • The environment index was constructed for 2015–2016 only due to limitations of data availability.
  • According to the environment index, Kerala, Goa, Sikkim, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh secured the top five positions.
  • The eight states that have a below-average score on the outcomes index also fared poorly on this one.

 

Suggestions and way forward:

  • The report points out that while the budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Women and Child Development has seen a year-on-year increase, all the additional funds have been allocated towards nutrition delivery under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
  • While the population of children under six years of age is 158.8 million, the ICDS covers only 71.9 million children as calculated from the total number of beneficiaries across states.
  • According to its analysis on expenses towards child nutrition, healthcare, education and other necessary protection services, India spent 1,723 per child in 2018–2019, an amount that is insufficient and fails to reach the entire eligible population.
  • The report calls for an increase in public spending on children.

 

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

 

  1. UN experts voice concerns over Hong Kong security law

The issue in news

UN human rights experts have told China, a new security law for Hong Kong infringes on certain fundamental rights and voiced concerns that it could be used to prosecute political activists in the former British colony.

Main points

  • The law allows for anything China views as subversive or secessionist or as terrorism or collusion with foreign forces to be punished with up to life in prison.
  • The law had already drawn UN criticism before its adoption.
  • The experts opine that the provisions of the new law appear to undermine the independence of Hong Kong’s judges and lawyers, and the right to freedom of expression.
  • Critics say the legislation further erodes the wide-ranging freedoms promised to Hong Kong on its return to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” agreement.
  • At that time, China had agreed to uphold the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Hong Kong.
  • It is a landmark treaty that it has signed but has not ratified for the mainland.
  • The experts suggest that the law should not be used to restrict or limit protected fundamental freedoms, including the rights to opinion, expression, and of peaceful assembly.

 

  • The group also expressed concern that “many legitimate activities” of human rights defenders in Hong Kong would be redefined as illegal under the broad definitions.

 

GS 3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

 

  1. RBI alters priority sector norms to help start-ups, farmers avail loans

The issue in news

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released revised priority sector lending guidelines.

Main points

  • The altered guidelines include funding to segments including start-ups and agriculture.
  • Bank finance of up to 50 crore to start-ups, loans to farmers both for installation of solar power plants for solarisation of grid-connected agriculture pumps, and for setting up compressed biogas (CBG) plants have been included as fresh categories eligible for finance under the priority sector.
  • Higher weightage has been assigned to incremental priority sector credit in ‘identified districts’ where priority sector credit flow is comparatively low.
  • Loan limits for renewable energy have been doubled.
  • A higher credit limit has been specified for Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs) and Farmers Producers Companies (FPCs) undertaking farming with assured marketing of their produce at a pre-determined price.

Significance:

  • The RBI’s revision in priority sector lending guidelines will incentivise credit flow to specific segments like clean energy, weaker sections, health infrastructure and credit  deficient geographies.

Priority Sector Lending

  • It includes those sectors which the Government of India and Reserve Bank of India consider as important for the development of the basic needs of the country and are to be given priority over other sectors.
  • The banks are mandated to encourage the growth of such sectors with  adequate and timely credit. This is essentially meant for all-round  development of the economy.

 

  1. ‘Piped gas suppliers may gain from norms on force majeure’

The issue in news

With the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board ( PNGRB) issuing guidelines on force majeure

considerations, City Gas Distribution (CGD) entities are likely to save on penalties for work delays triggered  by the pandemic.

What is a force majeure clause?

  • The fundamental norm of the law of contracts is that the parties must perform the contract. When aparty fails to perform its part of the  contract, the loss to the other party is made good.

However, there are exceptions in the law  when the performance of the contract becomes  impossible to the parties.

  • A force majeure clause is one such exception that releases the party of its obligations to an extent when events beyond their control take  place and leave them unable to perform their part of the contract.
  • When the clause is triggered, parties can decide to break from their obligations temporarily or permanently without necessarily breaching the contract.

“Act of God” v/s Force Majeure Clause:

  • Generally, an “Act of God” is understood to include only natural unforeseen circumstances.   Force majeure is wider in its ambit and includes both naturally occurring events and  events that occur due to human intervention.

However, both concepts elicit the same consequences in law.

 

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