Indian Express EXPLAINED Current Affairs for UPSC July 2021, Week-4
- The curious case of Indiaâs falling unemployment rate in 2019-20 (Economy)
- Essential Defence Services Billâ (Polity & Governance)
- What is Monkey B Virus? â (Science & Technology)
- Great Indian Bustardâ (Environment & Biodiversity)
Current Affairs: The curious case of India’s falling unemployment rate in 2019-20
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Indian Economy
Sub Theme: Employment Situation in India | UPSC
Key terms related to Employment
- Labour Force: It includes all the people who are presently employed or are searching for jobs.
- Workforce: It includes all the people who are presently employed.
- Unemployment Rate= (Labour Force - Work Force)/Labour Force * 100
- Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) = Percentage of labour force in a country.
- Worker Population Ratio (WPR): Number of persons employed per thousand persons.
Approaches to measure Employment/ Unemployment
In the labour force surveys, the activity status of a person is determined based on the activities pursued by the person during certain specified reference period.
Usual Status Approach: Reference period is last 365 days (1 year). Person is categorized as "Employed" if he/she is employed for the major part of the year.
Current Weekly Status: Reference period is last 7 days (1 week). Person is categorized as "Employed" if he/she is employed for at least 1 hour on any day during the last week.
Official Employment Statistics Reports
- Published by National Statistical Office (NSO)
- Measures employment related statistics in the formal sector using information on the number of subscribers who have joined social security schemes - Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme, the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme and the National Pension Scheme (NPS).
Quarterly Employment Survey Report
- Published by Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment
- Measures employment situation in selected non-farm Industrial sectors
- Covers 8 major sectors- Manufacturing, Construction, Trade, Transport, Education etc.
Periodic Labour Force Survey(PLFS) Report
- It is published by the National Statistical Office (NSO)
- Replaced the earlier quinquennial (5-year) Employment-Unemployment Surveys (EUS) surveys in India
- It involves quarterly employment survey in Urban areas and Annual Survey in the Rural Areas.
Current Affairs: Essential Defence Services Bill | July Explained
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Polity & Governance
Sub Theme: Corporatisation of Ordnance Factories | UPSC
Need for the Bill:
Indian Ordnance Factories is the oldest and largest industrial setup which functions under the Department of Defence Production of the Ministry of Defence. The ordnance factories form an integrated base for indigenous production of defence hardware and equipment, with the primary objective of self-reliance in equipping the armed forces with state-of-the-art battlefield equipment.
To improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency in ordnance supplies, the Government decided to convert the Ordnance Factory Board into one or more one hundred per cent. Government owned corporate entity or entities to be registered under the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013.
Against the said decision, the recognised federations of the employees gave a notice for an indefinite strike. The conciliation proceedings initiated by the Government at the level of Chief Labour Commissioner failed in the meeting held on the 15th June, 2021. On the 16th of June 2021, the Government decided to convert the Ordnance Factory Board into seven Defence Public Sector Undertakings.
In spite of the Government's assurance to take care of the conditions of service of the employees of the Ordnance Factory Board, the recognised federations of the employees have reiterated their intention to go on indefinite strike from 26th July, 2021.
Since, it is essential that an uninterrupted supply of ordnance items to the armed forces be maintained for the defence preparedness of the country and the ordnance factories continue to function without any disruptions, especially in view of the prevailing situation on the northern front of the country, it was felt necessary that the Government should have power to meet the emergency created by such attempts and ensure the maintenance of essential defence services in all establishments connected with defence, in public interest or interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India or security of any State or decency or morality.
Provisions of the Bill
The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha to replace the Ordinance promulgated in June 2021. The Bill allows the central government to prohibit strikes, lock-outs, and lay-offs in units engaged in essential defence services. Key features of the Bill include:
Essential defence services: Essential defence services include any service in: (i) any establishment or undertaking dealing with production of goods or equipment required for defence related purposes, or (ii) any establishment of the armed forces or connected with them or defence. These also include services that, if ceased, would affect the safety of the establishment engaged in such services or its employees. In addition, the government may declare any service as an essential defence service if its cessation would affect the: (i) production of defence equipment or goods, (ii) operation or maintenance of industrial establishments or units engaged in such production, or (iii) repair or maintenance of products connected with defence.
Public utility service: The Bill amends the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to include essential defence services under public utility services. Under the Act, in case of public utility services, a six-week notice must be given before: (i) persons employed in such services go on strike in breach of contract or (ii) employers carrying on such services do lock-outs.
Strikes: Under the Bill, strike is defined as cessation of work by a body of persons acting together. It includes: (i) mass casual leave, (ii) coordinated refusal of any number of persons to continue to work or accept employment, (iii) refusal to work overtime, where such work is necessary for maintenance of essential defence services, and (iv) any other conduct which results in, or is likely to result in, disruption of work in essential defence services.
Prohibition on strikes, lock-outs, and lay-offs: Under the Bill, the central government may prohibit strikes, lock-outs, and lay-offs in units engaged in essential defence services. The government may issue such order if necessary in the interest of: (i) sovereignty and integrity of India, (ii) security of any state, (iii) public order, (iv) public, (v) decency, or (vi) morality. The prohibition order will remain in force for six months, and may be extended by another six months.
Strikes and lock-outs that are declared after the issue of the prohibition order, or had commenced before the prohibition order was issued will be illegal. The prohibition will not apply to lay-offs made due to power shortage or natural calamity, or lay-offs of temporary or casual workmen.
Punishment for illegal lock-outs and lay-offs: Employers violating the prohibition order through illegal lock-outs or lay-offs will be punished with up to one year imprisonment or Rs 10,000 fine, or both.
Punishment for illegal strikes: Persons commencing or participating in illegal strikes will be punished with up to one year imprisonment or Rs 10,000 fine, or both. Persons instigating, inciting, or taking actions to continue illegal strikes, or knowingly supplying money for such purposes, will be punished with up to two years imprisonment or Rs 15,000 fine, or both. Further, such an employee will be liable to disciplinary action including dismissal as per the terms and conditions of his service. In such cases, the concerned authority is allowed to dismiss or remove the employee without any inquiry, if it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry.
All offences punishable under the Bill will be cognisable and non-bailable.
Current Affairs: What is Monkey B Virus? | July Explained
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Science & Technology
Sub Theme: Details about Monkey B Virus | UPSC
Context: China has reported the first human infection case with Monkey B virus (BV) after a Beijing-based veterinarian was confirmed with the same a month after he dissected two dead monkeys in early March.
What is this Virus?
Monkey B virus is an alpha herpesvirus (A family of virus that invade the nervous systems of their mammalian hosts) which is endemic in macaque Monkeys
How is it transmitted?
- Macaque monkeys commonly have this virus, and it can be found in their saliva, urine or brain or spinal cord tissue. The virus can survive for hours on surfaces, particularly when moist.
- The infection can be transmitted via direct contact and exchange of bodily secretions of monkeys and has a fatality rate of 70 per cent to 80 per cent
- Human to Human transmission is also possible but till date, only one case has been documented of an infected person spreading B virus to another person
- The first indications of B virus infection are typically flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, muscle ache, fatigue and headache
- As the disease progresses, the virus spreads to and causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
Currently, there are no vaccines that can protect against B virus infection.
Current Affairs: The Great Indian Bustards of Kutch: their habitats, existential threat | July Explained
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Environment & Biodiversity
Sub Theme: About Great Indian Bustard | UPSC
In the early 1960s, when India was choosing its national bird, the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) was a top contender. However, it lost the race to the peacock. Unfortunately, now it is on the verge of extinction. In recent years, a number of Great Indian Bustards have died due to collision with high tension power lines running through their dwindling habitats. In this regard, the SC is examining if the overhead power lines can be replaced by underground power cables.
Details about Great Indian Bustard (GIB)
The Great Indian bustard is considered among the largest flying birds in the world. Its population has been on a continuous decline from an estimated 1,260 in 1969 to 300 in 2008 recording a decline of about 75 percent.
Major Reasons for decline in Population:
- Loss of Habitat due to increase in population, agriculture and infrastructure development etc.
- GIBs are large in size and usually take low flights which often result indeaths due to collision with electricity transmission lines.
- Stray dogs which are known to attack the bustard’s eggs and young ones
The Species were formerly widespread across India and Pakistan. However, at present, its population is estimated to be of less than 200 across Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Typically, it is found in Kutch (Gujarat), Solapur and Chandrapur (Maharashtra), Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh), Bellary (Karnataka), and in pockets of Rajasthan, primarily concentrated near the Desert National Park (DNP).
Protected areas dedicated to GIB
- Rajasthan: Desert National Park - Jaisalmer and Balmer
- Gujarat: Naliya Sanctuary in Kutch
- Madhya Pradesh: Karera Wildlife Sanctuary (The species disappeared from Madhya Pradesh in early 90s’)
- Maharashtra: Nannaj Grasslands, Solapur
- Andhra Pradesh: Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary
Listed under Critically Endangered Category of IUCN Red List.
Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is also listed in Appendix I of CITES.
Identified for the species recovery program under Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats Scheme.
Declared as the state bird of Rajasthan.