10 January, 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu
- Vaccination drive to start on January 16 + The logistics of massive Vaccination drive (Polity and Governance)
- Toy making cluster to be set up in Koppal- Aatma Nirbhar Bharat in Toy Manufacturing (Indian Economy)
- Kalaripayattu academy braces for action (Art and Culture)
- Bacterial haute couture ( Science & technology)
- Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary- (Environment & Biodiversity)
- Harnessing what Einstein called spooky action at distance- Reference ( Science & technology)
- Question for the Day
UPSC Current Affairs: Vaccination drive to start on January 16 + The logistics of massive Vaccination drive | Page 01 +12
UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance + Social Issues
Sub Theme: Structure of Vaccine Governance Mechanism | Vaccine Intelligence Network | UPSC
Centre's plans for the Vaccination
Coverage of Beneficiaries: It is not possible for us to vaccinate entire population of India at a single go. We first need to vaccinate the priority group who are most vulnerable as well as susceptible to COVID-19. We would also have to take into the account the risk factor.
Accordingly, COVID-19 vaccine will be offered first to healthcare workers, frontline workers and population above 50 years of age, followed by population below 50 years of age with associated comorbidities and finally to the remaining population based on the vaccine availability. The latest electoral roll for the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly election will be used to identify the population aged 50 years or more.
The government aims to inoculate 300 million most vulnerable people by August 2021. This translates to 600 million doses till August 2021.
Structure of Governance Mechanism:
NEGVAC has been constituted under chairpersonship of Member (Health) NITI Aayog and Co-chairpersonship of the Secretary (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) with the representation from Secretaries of all relevant ministries and departments. NEGVAC aims to guide on all aspects of the COVID-19 vaccine introduction in India including regulatory guidance on vaccine trials, vaccine selection, equitable distribution of vaccine, procurements, financing, delivery mechanisms, prioritization of population groups, vaccine safety surveillance, regional cooperation and assisting neighbouring countries.
Co-WIN (COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network): Comprehensive cloud-based IT solution for planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of COVID-19 vaccination in India.
Creation of State and District level admins; b. Creation of facility/planning unit databases; c. Creation of vaccinator, and supervisor databases; d. Manage material relevant to COVID-19 Vaccination and its allocation; e. Creation of session sites; f. Bulk upload of beneficiary data for registration; g. Self-registration by general population; h. Session management for linking session sites, vaccinators, supervisors, and beneficiaries; i. Rights for viewing sessions and beneficiary allocated to these sessions for Block Admin and Facility Medical Officer In charge; and j. Monitoring and Reporting.
Challenges in India's Vaccination Drive
Crucial questions about the vaccine rollout remain unanswered, including funding options, geographical distribution of vaccines, and the extent of regulatory discretion.
Difficult to realize Government's target:
India’s vaccination plans have identified about 30 crore people as ‘priority groups’, who will likely be the first recipients of the vaccine. That alone would require 60 crore doses, since all these vaccine candidates require two doses.
India would need at least 70-80 crore doses to complete vaccinating just these priority groups — a demand that no one company would be able to meet. So, the question of choice of vaccine also arises — does a recipient or even a state get to choose which vaccine s/he wants, or would the choice of which state gets what vaccine be made by the central government?
This question has been debated in the NEGVAC, but there are no clear answers yet. The most important thing is that since most of these are two-dose vaccines, it has to be ensured that every person gets two doses of the same vaccine.
Procurement of Vaccines: Government procurement rules usually go by the lowest bidder principle. However, the three vaccines that have sought emergency-use authorisation are likely to be priced differently. SII has already said that it would sell to the government at a price of $3 or Rs 225 per dose. For individual buyers, though, it may cost double that amount. Pfizer has not said how much its vaccine will cost in India; it is selling for about $20 per dose abroad (approximately Rs 1,460)
Funding Pattern of Centre and States: Under the Universal Immunisation Programme, the cost of vaccines is borne by the Centre and states in a 60:40 ratio respectively. Howver, no such funding pattern has been decided yet for the long term COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccine Hesitancy: According to FAQ published by the health Ministry, Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. Now, some of the people have certain apprehensions about the COVID-19 vaccines related to their safety and adverse effects. Hence, these people may not come forward to get themselves vaccinated.
Hence, the Government must come out with clear communication strategy to disseminate timely, accurate and transparent information about the vaccine(s) to alleviate apprehensions about the vaccine, ensure its acceptance and encourage uptake.
Poor Status of Vaccine Management: India ranked within the 51-75 percentile range among 89 countries on effective vaccine management as per a global analysis by WHO-UNICEF in 2018. Its performance was relatively poor when it came to following the required vaccine arrival procedures and using the MIS system for estimating demand of vaccine, syringe, etc.
UPSC Current Affairs: Toy making cluster to be set up in Koppal- Aatma Nirbhar Bharat in Toy Manufacturing | Page 06
UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III – Indian Economy
Sub Theme: Toy Industry in India | Self-Reliance in Toy Manufacturing | UPSC
The tradition of Toy making in India is as old as Indus valley Civilization. However, today India is not self-reliant in manufacturing of toys. In this regard, in his monthly "Mann ki Baat" address, PM Modi has called upon startups and entrepreneurs to "team up for toys". Further, the prime minister had also recently chaired a meeting aimed at boosting India’s share in the global toy trade in which China is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters.
Present Status of Toy Industry in India
The global toy market is worth Rs 7 lakh crores, however, India's share is quite miniscule. Over 85% of toys in India are imported, mainly from China, followed by Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The country’s imports of toys and related items grew almost 8% to $650million in 2018-19. Further, the QCI’s quality test found that 80% of the plastic toy samples failed on mechanical and physical safety properties.
Need to push for Manufacturing of Toys in India
- Employment Opportunities: India is home to several toy clusters and thousands of artisans who produce indigenous toys which not only have cultural connect but also helps in building life-skills.
- Improved Learning Outcomes: Playing with toys can improve the psychomotor / cognitive skills of children. Hence, they can be used as pedagogical tools across all Anganwadi Centres and Schools for all-round development of children.
- Promote Cultural Values: Toys reflect India's heritage and culture and hence can be an excellent medium to further the spirit of "Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat".
- Opportunity to be Self-Reliant: According to a recent report by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), increasing wages in China is making Toy Manufacturing unprofitable and hence India needs to leverage this opportunity.
Recent Initiatives to promote Self-Reliance in Toy Manufacturing
- Increase in Customs Duty: The Budget 2020-21 had proposed 200% increase in the customs duty on Toys from 20% to 60% to prevent dumping of Toys and to boost domestic Manufacturing.
- Quality Control Order: Toys manufactured in India or imported for use by Children below the age of 14 should comply with the BIS Standards from September 1, 2020.
- Toy Manufacturing Cluster: The Karnataka Government has recently announced setting up of India's first toy manufacturing cluster at Koppal.
Problems and Challenges
Size of Industry and Scale of Operation: For micro & small toys manufacturing enterprises in India, their scale of operation is very low that leads to higher cost of production and wafer thin margins. The number of toys manufacturing enterprises in China is almost 10 times that of India.The export of toys from China are almost 180 times that of India at present.
Procurement of critical Raw Materials: Prominent plastic raw materials including HDPE, LDPE , PP etc are easily available in India in the open market in small quantities from traders as per desired quality but the prices are higher than China by approximately 25%.
Skilled manpower: There are a very few Institutes, that are offering specialized manpower training courses related to toys manufacturing in the areas of toy design ; mould making etc and NID is the only known design institute offering PG Diploma in toys designing.
Product Range & Variety: Electronic toys & games and battery-operated toys are missing from the product range of Indian toys manufacturers that are being imported primarily from China & constitute almost 50% of the total market of toys in India.
Product Conceptualization & Design: About 15% of the balance MSMEs Toys Manufacturers just copy the designs of other domestic manufacturers & Chinese toys available in the Indian market; lack of investment in R&D; Need to foster collaboration between the MSMEs and design services provides by IITs, NID, NIFT etc.
Testing, QC, certification of Toys: Although BIS has laid down National product quality standard for toys ie IS 9873 (Part I-III) that is equivalent to International quality standard for toys e.g. EN71 (Part I-III), this standard has not been adopted by Indian toys manufacturers for testing & certification of their products for Domestic market as it is presently not mandatory. This may lead to manufacture & sale of inferior/unsafe toys in the Indian market and adversely affect the children.
Product marketing strategies: MSME toys manufacturers are interested in exporting their products but lack knowledge wrt export procedures & documentation needed for various countries and need guidance for the same. Latest trends in marketing i.e. E-Commerce i.e. online marketing through own website or other web portals are still to be adopted by toys manufacturers in a big way
UPSC Current Affairs: Kalaripayattu academy braces for action | Page 06
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims – Art & Culture
Sub Theme: Martial arts | Kalaripayattu | UPSC
Context: State government of Kerala intends to revive Kalaripayattu by setting up a Kalaripayattu Academy at Vellar Craft Village under Department of Tourism of Kerala. Kalaripayattu considered the oldest surviving martial art of the country, with a legacy of more than 3,000 years, is set to see a surge in popularity with the establishment of an academy in Thiruvananthapuram.
- The academy initially plans to initially train 100 students in two batches.
- Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will release the syllabus of the Kalaripayattu Academy on January 16 during the inauguration of the renovated Crafts Village.
- There are also plans to link the academy with the Dance Training College that is also part of the Crafts Village.
- Kalaripayattu is an Indian martial art and fighting system that originated in modern-day Kerala. Kalaripayattu, also known as 'Kalari', is known for its long-standing history within Indian martial arts culture and is believed to be the oldest surviving martial art in the world.
- Kalaripayattu is a martial art designed for the ancient battlefield (the word "Kalari" meaning "battlefield"), with weapons and combative techniques that are unique to India.
- Legend traces the 3000-year-old art form to Sage Parasurama- the master of all martial art forms.
- Kalaripayattu is held in high regard due by martial artists due to its long-standing history within Indian martial arts.
- It is believed to be the oldest surviving martial art in India. It also is considered to be among the oldest martial arts still in existence, with its origin in the martial arts timeline dating back to at least the 3rd century BCE.
What it includes?
- Kalaripayattu includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods.
- Practioners of Kalaripayattu possess intricate knowledge of pressure points on the human body and healing techniques that incorporate the knowledge of Ayurveda and Yoga.
- Kalaripayattu originated in ancient South India.
- Kung- fu, popularized by the monks of the Shoaling Temple traces its ancestry to Bodhi Dharma - an Indian Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu master.
- The primary source of Indian martial arts is in Sangam literature. The Akananuru and Purananuru describe the use of spears, swords, shields, bows and silambam in the Sangam era. Akananuru and Purananuru are two of the Eight Anthologies in the Sangam literature.
- There is also mention a form of Kalaripayattu called TulunadanKalari in the Northern ballads of the Chekavar in the Malabar region.
Why did it lose significance?
- Following the collapse of the princely states and the advent of free India - Kalaripayattu has lost its significance as a mortal combat code.
- Thus, establishment of the academy in Kerala and prescribing proper syllabus will help to revive one of the oldest martial arts form in India.
Other States – Tamil Nadu
UPSC Current Affairs:Bacterial haute couture | Page 11
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims – Environment & Ecology
Sub Theme: Bio-remediation | Geobacter |UPSC
- Bacteria which is found in the Soil.
- Cobalt--> Valuable and Scare metal--> Used in Batteries --> Toxic to both human beings and microorganisms--> Penetrates the Cell and kills the microorganisms.
- Geobacter--> Encounters Cobalt--> Extract the metal from its rust--> Prepare a protective coating of Cobalt around its body.
- Bioremediation: Use of Micro-organisms to break down pollutants and improve the natural environment.
- Recycle Cobalt to be reused in the batteries.
UPSC Current Affairs:Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary | Page 11
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims – Environment & Ecology
Sub Theme: Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary | Protected areas | UPSC