Context: A $500million loan agreement was signed between the Union government, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited and the New Development Bank (NDB) on Thursday for the ‘Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System Project’ to provide fast, reliable, safe and comfortable public transport system in the NCR.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Economy, International organisations
About New Development Bank:
At the fourth BRICS Summit in New Delhi (2012), the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa considered the possibility of setting up a new Development Bank to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies, as well as in developing countries.
During the sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (2014), the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB).
It is jointly founded by the BRICS Countries
According to the Agreement on the NDB, “the Bank shall support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments.” Moreover, the NDB “shall cooperate with international organizations and other financial entities, and provide technical assistance for projects to be supported by the Bank.”
The bank is headquartered in Shanghai, China.
The main objectives of the NDB can be summarized as follows
Promote infrastructure and sustainable development projects with a significant development impact in member countries.
Establish an extensive network of global partnerships with other multilateral development institutions and national development banks.
Build a balanced project portfolio giving a proper respect to their geographic location, financing requirements and other factors.
Bank’s Articles of Agreement specify that all members of the United Nations could be members of the bank, however the share of the BRICS nations can never be less than 55% of voting power.
Shareholding structure of NDB:
Context: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday launched a maternity benefit scheme for four districts under which mothers will get ₹6,000 for the second child. This will supplement the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) under which mothers get ₹5,000 for their first child.
The scheme is being implemented in Udaipur, Pratapgath, Banswara and Dungarpur on pilot basis for five years. These districts were selected because nutrition indicators among children and anaemia levels among mothers are worse than the average for the State.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Schemes
About Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana:
Pradhan Mantri Matri Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit program run by the government of India.
It is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women of 19 years of age or above for the first live birth.
It provides a partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.
In 2013, the scheme was brought under the National Food Security Act, 2013 to implement the provision of cash maternity benefit of ₹6,000 stated in the Act.
Providing partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentive s so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first living child.
The cash incentive provided would lead to improved health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW& LM)
All Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers, excluding PW&LM who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.
What is Aneamia?
A condition in which the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells.
Anaemia results from a lack of red blood cells or dysfunctional red blood cells in the body. This leads to reduced oxygen flow to the body’s organs.
Symptoms may include fatigue, skin pallor, shortness of breath, light-headedness, dizziness or a fast heartbeat.
Treatment depends on the underlying diagnosis. Iron supplements can be used for iron deficiency.
Vitamin B supplements may be used for low vitamin levels. Blood transfusions can be used for blood loss.
Context: The willow warbler, has been sighted for the first time in the country in Thiruvanathapuram.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Species in news
About Willow warbler:
The willow warbler is a very common and widespread leaf warbler which breeds throughout northern and temperate Europe and the Palearctic, from Ireland east to the Anadyr River basin in eastern Siberia.
It is strongly migratory, with almost all of the population wintering in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It is a bird of open woodlands with trees and ground cover for nesting, including most importantly birch, alder, and willow habitats.
The nest is usually built in close contact with the ground, often in low vegetation.
It is insectivorous.
Context: In APEC speech, Xi touts China’s economy as base of free trade – He vows to keep the economy open, slams protectionism.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – International Organisations
APEC is recognized as one of the highest-level multilateral blocs and oldest forums in the Asia-Pacific region, and exerts a significant global influence.
Member countries – Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Vietnam.
India is not a member of APEC.
Context: Asserting that there was a huge potential to further ramp up economic engagement between India and Luxembourg, the third largest source of Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPI), Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for strengthening ties in areas such as financial and digital technologies.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims- Places in news
Location of Luxemburg:
Example for Ethics (GS-4)
Construction labourers in Delhi can use the government’s doorstep delivery services to register themselves with the construction board to avail various welfare schemes, said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. – The labourers can call at 1076 and say that they want to register for welfare schemes of the government and our executive will go to his house at the time he chooses. They do not have to visit government offices now. (An example of Probity in Governance – Quality of service delivery)
A gang rape victim in Uttar Pradesh accused two woman constables of the Ayodhya police of assaulting her inside a police station when she went to record her statement. Not only did the constables refuse to believe her, they also beat her with boots, hit her with belts and pressured to change her version, she said. (Lack of empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections | Lack of integrity in service)
The Vigilance and AntiCorruption Bureau (VACB) indicted Kerala’s Industries Secretary A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish for corruption in the “shoddy” construction of the recently decommissioned flyover bridge at Palarivattom in Kochi. (Lack of honesty & integrity in the service)
Important one liners:
Mumbai terror attack mastermind and JamatudDawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was sentenced to 10 years in jail by an antiterrorism court in Pakistan in two more terror financing cases. The sentencing comes weeks after the Paris based global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog — the Financial Action Task Force — retained Pakistan on its grey list till February 2021 as Islamabad failed to fulfil the agency’s six key obligations, including failure to take action against two of India’s most wanted terrorists — Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar.
Members of an Assam art group were detained for painting a mural detailing the arrest of rights activist Akhil Gogoi but were let go after they erased the “protest artwork”. (Against the fundamental right – Article 19 – freedom of speech and expression)
Digital India mission, launched five years ago, is not being seen as any regular government initiative and has now become a way of life, especially for the poor and marginalised and those in the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. He asserted that ‘technology first’ was their governance model.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Office of Profit headed by BJP MP Satya Pal Singh deliberated on whether an MP can continue to teach at a university and if this draws the provisions of “Office of Profit” rules. Under Article 102 (1) and Article 191 (1) of the Constitution, an MP or an MLA (or an MLC) is barred from holding any office of profit under the Central or State government.
The Delhi High Court (HC) issued notice to the Union government on a petition seeking a direction to recognise same sex unions under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) and the Special Marriage Act (SMA).
The Union Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Ministry launched a challenge for 243 cities to switch over to mechanised cleaning of sewers and septic tanks by April 30, 2021. Launching the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge, HUA Minister Hardeep Puri said there should not be any casualty due to manual cleaning of sewers. (use this example to show government’s efforts against manual scavenging)
Saudi Arabia announced it will invest $20 billion in artificial intelligence projects by 2030, as the oil rich country seeks to diversify its economy amid slumping crude prices.
The government plans to cultivate India as a large data economy and as a precursor, the country will soon have its Data Protection Law in place, said Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.