Daily Prelims Newsletter for upsc 19 Apr 2022

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

19 Apr 2022-Tuesday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

The India-Finland Relationship

Why in the news?

Finland’s Minister of Economic Affairs recently met with India’s Union Minister of State for Science and Technology.

They announced the establishment of an Indo-Finnish Virtual Network Centre for Quantum Computing.

The Indian side has identified three premier institutes for the Virtual Network Centre on Quantum Computing: IIT Madras, IISER Pune, and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) Pune.

What are the Meeting’s Highlights?

India is eager to establish research collaborations with Finnish R&D institutions as well as technology collaborations with Finnish industry, with a particular emphasis on the following technology domains and applications of Quantum Computing: Sustainable Energy Technologies (generation, conversion, storage, and conservation), Environment and Clean Technologies, Biobased Economy, BioBanks and Biobased materials for various applications, Water and Marine Technologies, Fossil Energy Technologies, Fossil Energy Technologies, Fossil Energy Technologies, Fossil Energy Technologies, Fossil Energy

The Department of Science and Technology has launched several new mission mode programmes, such as Electric Vehicles, Cyber-Physical Systems, Quantum Technologies, Future Manufacturing, Green Hydrogen Fuel, and others, and has sought joint collaboration with Finland in addressing societal challenges.

The visiting Finnish Minister assured India that Finnish companies will collaborate with India on carbon-neutral technologies and will strengthen cooperation on climate change sustainability.

The Finnish Minister also invited India to investigate the possibility of deeper collaboration in Finland’s Biobank project, which aims to mediate high-quality human samples for medical research in order to promote the development of new products and services that benefit public health.

What is the Background to India-Finland Relations?

Background: Finland and India have traditionally had cordial relations.

Bilateral relations have become more diverse in recent years, thanks to both sides’ collaboration in research, innovation, and investment.

2019 marked the 70th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations.

The Importance of Each Other: Finland sees India as a market for its products as well as a favourable investment destination for its high-tech industries.

Finland is regarded as an important member of the European Union and a repository of modern technology in India.

Collaboration in Science and Technology: India and Finland have strong ties in Science, Technology, and Innovation.

India and Finland are both consultative members of the Antarctic Treaty and have active Antarctic stations.

The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) would be held in Finland in 2023, and India in 2024.

Since 2014, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) have collaborated in the field of Atmospheric Environment.

Under this collaboration, FMI’s Air Quality Forecasting models are customised for the Indian region, resulting in an improved ability to forecast pollution events from the microscale to the regional scale, allowing pollution control authorities to take appropriate action.

Finland is a leader in 5G/6G technology, and top Indian IT firms are interested in collaborating in this area.

Economic and Commercial Relations:

 India’s total trade (goods and services) with Finland was USD 2.3 billion in 2020, favouring India.

  • In 2020, trade-in goods totaled approximately USD 950 million, with Finland benefiting by approximately USD 134 million.
  • Finland’s top Indian imports (January-December 2020):
  • Pharmaceutical and medical products
  • Items of clothing and clothing accessories
  • Textile yarn, fabrics, and finished goods
  • Metal manufacturing
  • Electric machinery and components
Top Finnish imports into India (Jan-Dec 2020):
  • Equipment for specialised industries
  • Electric machinery and components
  • Paper, paperboard, and paperboard articles Metalliferous ores and scrap metal General industrial machinery

Cultural Relations: Finland is open to Indian culture.

There are numerous Indian dance and yoga schools.

Indian Associations and other cultural organisations hold cultural events on a regular basis to promote Indian dance and music (both classical as well as contemporary).

The Finnish India Society has been in existence since 1956.

Gujarat Global Centre for Traditional Medicine

Why in the news?

The groundbreaking ceremony for the first-of-its-kind World Health Organization (WHO) Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in Jamnagar, Gujarat, was recently held.

In addition, the Global Ayush Investment and Innovation Summit will be held later this month in Gandhinagar, with the goal of increasing investments and showcasing innovations in traditional medicine.

It is a one-of-a-kind effort to foster long-term partnerships, increase exports, and cultivate a sustainable ecosystem.

What is the Goal of Creating GCTM?

Integrating Traditional Medicine with Technological Advancements: The Centre aims to channel the potential of traditional medicine by integrating it with technological advancements and evidence-based research.

Set Policies and Standards: It will work to establish policies and standards for traditional medicine products, as well as to assist countries in developing a comprehensive, safe, and high-quality health-care system.

Support Efforts to Implement WHO Strategy:
  • It will aid in the implementation of the WHO’s Traditional Medicine Strategy (2014-23).
  • Its goal is to assist nations in developing policies and action plans to strengthen the role of traditional medicine in achieving universal health coverage.
  • According to WHO estimates, traditional medicine is used by 80% of the world’s population.
  • India has pledged an estimated USD 250 million to support the establishment, infrastructure, and operations of the GCTM.
Concentrate on four major strategic areas:
  • Evidence and education
  • Analytics and data
  • Sustainability, equity, and justice
  • Innovation and technology to maximise traditional medicine’s contribution to global health.

What exactly is Traditional Medicine?

Traditional medicine, according to the WHO, is the “knowledge, skills, and practises indigenous and different cultures have used over time to maintain health and prevent, diagnose, and treat physical and mental illness.”

Its scope includes both ancient and modern practises such as acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine, and herbal mixtures.

Traditional medicine in India is frequently defined as practises and therapies such as yoga, Ayurveda, and Siddha.

These therapies and practises have historically been part of Indian tradition, as have others, such as homoeopathy, that have become part of Indian tradition over time.

Ayurveda and yoga are widely practised throughout the country.

The Siddha system is primarily practised in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The Sowa-Rigpa system is primarily practised in Leh-Ladakh and other Himalayan regions such as Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, Lahaul, and Spiti.

What is the Importance of Advancing Traditional Medicine Knowledge?

Medicine of the Past Workers who are not integrated:

Traditional medicine workers, accredited courses, and health facilities are not yet fully integrated into national health systems and strategies.

Conserving Biodiversity:

Because approximately 40% of approved pharmaceutical products today are derived from natural substances, there is a need to conserve biodiversity and sustainability.

As an example: The discovery of aspirin was based on traditional medicine formulations based on willow bark, the contraceptive pill was based on the roots of wild yam plants, and child cancer treatments were based on rosy periwinkle.

Modernization of Traditional Medicine Research: The WHO has mentioned modernization of traditional medicine research.

In traditional medicine, artificial intelligence is now being used to map evidence and trends.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is used to study brain activity and the relaxation response, which is part of some traditional medicine therapies such as meditation and yoga, which are increasingly used for mental health and well-being in stressful times.

Serve as a Crossroads for Other Countries:

Mobile phone apps, online classes, and other technologies are also transforming traditional medicine.

The GCTM will act as a clearinghouse for other countries, developing standards for traditional medicine practises and products.

What Previous Collaborative Efforts Has India Undertaken?

PCA (Project Collaboration Agreement):

In the field of traditional medicine, the Ministry of AYUSH signed a Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) with the WHO in 2016.

The goal was to establish standards for traditional medicine practitioners’ training in yoga, Ayurveda, Unani, and Panchakarma.

The collaboration also aimed to promote traditional medicine’s quality and safety, as well as consumer protection, by assisting WHO in the development and implementation of the WHO Traditional and Complementary Medicine Strategy.

Related Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs):

At least 32 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for collaborative traditional medicine research and development have been signed with institutes, universities, and organisations from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Malaysia, Brazil, Australia, Austria, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Japan, Indonesia, Reunion Island, Korea, and Hungary.

In addition, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to identify opportunities for scientific and technological research between researchers within and outside India, including collaborations with foundation-funded entities in areas such as traditional medicine and beyond.

Parliamentary Finance Committee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Why in the news?

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance recently proposed several measures to increase credit flow to the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector.

Why is it necessary to increase credit flow to the MSME sector?

Lack of Formalization: According to government data, less than 40% of 6.34 crore MSMEs borrow from the formal financial system, highlighting the importance of formalising the credit ecosystem for MSMEs.

The overall credit gap in the MSME sector is estimated to be in the range of Rs. 20-25 lakh crore.

Lack of Integrated Data: The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, conducted the last MSME survey six years ago, while the government revised the MSME definition in 2020.

The committee noted that whatever data exists for the MSME sector is fragmented, and there is no real integration across multiple datasets.

This is why banks have been hesitant to lend to the MSME sector.

What does the Panel recommend?

One-Stop Central Data Repository: Making the Udyam portal a one-stop central data repository for the MSME sector by connecting it to other databases such as CIBIL data, utility bill data, and so on.

The portal is already linked to the portals for the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), Income Tax, GST, and Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS).

In addition, Budget 2022 announced a link between the Udyam portal and e-Shram, National Career Service (NCS), and Atmanirbhar Skilled Employee-Employer Mapping (ASEEM) to improve skilling and recruitment for MSMEs.

Innovative Lending System:

Developing a ‘Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for MSME Lending’ to enable all formal-sector MSMEs to access small-ticket working capital loans in a mobile-based, contactless, paperless, and low-cost manner.

Vyapar’ Credit Card: 

The panel also recommended a ‘Vyapar’ credit card scheme for MSMEs under SIDBI, similar to the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), to bring crores of MSMEs, including street vendors and kirana stores, into the formal financial system.

The credit card can be used to obtain short-term working capital loans at low interest rates, and it can also be used to obtain collateral-free loans, such as the Rs 1 lakh collateral-free facility available to KCC holders.

MSME Census: 

A survey/census of MSMEs based on the revised definition should be conducted as soon as possible to estimate the actual number of MSMEs in the country, as well as realistic assessments of their credit requirements.

What are MSME Sector Promotion Initiatives?

The Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (M/o MSME) envisions a vibrant MSME sector by promoting MSME sector growth and development, including Khadi, Village, and Coir Industries.

The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act was notified in 2006 in order to address policy issues affecting MSMEs as well as the sector’s coverage and investment ceiling.

PMEGP (Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme): It is a credit-linked subsidy scheme for the establishment of new micro-enterprises and the creation of employment opportunities in both rural and urban areas of the country.

The Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries Scheme (SFURTI) aims to properly organise artisans and traditional industries into clusters and thus provide financial assistance to make them competitive in today’s market scenario.

A Scheme for Promoting Innovation, Rural Industry, and Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE): The scheme promotes innovation and rural entrepreneurship through the rural Livelihood Business Incubator (LBI), Technology Business Incubator (TBI), and Fund of Funds for agro-based start-up creation.

The Reserve Bank of India introduced the Interest Subvention Scheme for Incremental Credit to MSMEs, which provides relief of up to 2% of interest to all legal MSMEs on their outstanding fresh/incremental term loan/working capital during the validity period.

Credit Guarantee Scheme for Micro and Small Enterprises: Developed to facilitate the easy flow of credit, this scheme provides guarantee cover for collateral-free credit extended to MSMEs.

Micro and Small Enterprises Cluster Development Programme (MSE-CDP): This programme aims to increase MSE productivity and competitiveness while also building MSE capacity.

Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Upgradation Scheme (CLCS-TUS): The CLCSS aims to help Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) upgrade their technology by providing a 15% capital subsidy for the purchase of plant and machinery.

CHAMPIONS  portal:

It aims to help Indian MSMEs march into the big league as National and Global CHAMPIONS by resolving their grievances and encouraging, supporting, assisting, and holding their hands.

MSME Samadhan:

It allows them to directly register cases of delayed payments by Central Ministries/Departments/CPSEs/State Governments.

Udyam Registrations Portal:

This new portal helps the government collect data on the number of MSMEs in the country.


It is a portal for public procurement. It was established to monitor Central Public Sector Enterprises’ implementation of Public Procurement from MSEs.

Other’s News

Al-Aqsa Mosque

Following a weekend of violence in and around Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a rocket from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza was fired into Israel. It was intercepted by Israel’s anti-rocket defences.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque has been the most contentious site in the Israel-Palestine conflict, with both sides claiming ownership.

The 35-acre Al-Aqsa Compound includes the Dome of the Rock (an Islamic shrine), four minarets, the compound’s historic gates, and the mosque itself.

The Al-Aqsa compound is located on a hilltop in Jerusalem’s Old City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Al-Aqsa is sacred to two of the three monotheistic world religions: Islam and Judaism.

Islam – 

After Makkah and Medina, the third holiest site in Islam is the lead-domed Al-Aqsa mosque.

It is located within the Al-Aqsa compound and is known by Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary.

According to Islamic scripture, Masjid al-Aqsa, which translates as “the farthest mosque,” is where Prophet Muhammad arrived at the end of his night journey, or Isra, from Makkah’s sacred mosque.

The Prophet is said to have ascended to heaven from a rock inside the Dome of the Rock.

Judaism –

Al-Aqsa is also known as Temple Mount by Jews, and it is the holiest place in Judaism.

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism because it is thought to be the location of the first and second biblical temples.

Jews are permitted to visit the Temple Mount but are not permitted to pray there.

The Western or Wailing Wall, atop which the Al-Aqsa compound stands, is the only remaining portion of the biblical temple, and it is here that Jews from all over the world come to pray.

e-DAR Portal

The Supreme Court recently received a demonstration of e-DAR, a web-based portal designed to streamline data from Motor Vehicle Accidents and Claims filed under the Act.

The Ministry of Roads, Transport, and Highways (MoRTH) developed e-DAR (e-Detailed Accident Report) in collaboration with insurance companies.

With a few clicks, it will provide instant information on road accidents and help speed up accident compensation claims, bringing relief to victims’ families.

DAR will be digitalized and uploaded to the portal for easy access.

The Integrated Road Accident Database will be linked to eDAR (iRAD).

Applications to more than 90% of the datasets would be pushed directly to the e-DAR from iRAD.

Stakeholders such as the police, road authorities, and hospitals, among others, are required to enter very little information on the e-DAR forms.

As a result, e-DAR is an extension and e-version of iRAD.

Benefits – The e-DAR portal would perform multiple checks against fraudulent claims by conducting a broad search of the vehicles involved in the accident, the date of the accident, and the FIR number.

It would be linked to other government portals, such as Vaahan, and would have access to information on driving licences and vehicles.

The portal would provide geotagging of the exact accident location, as well as a site map, for the benefit of investigating officers.

In the event that the portal is accessed from a different location, this will notify the investigating officer of his distance from the scene of the incident.

Details such as photos, video of the accident scene, damaged vehicles, injured victims, eyewitnesses, and so on would be immediately uploaded to the portal.

Aside from the state police, an engineer from the Public Works Department or a local body will receive an alert on his mobile device and will inspect the accident scene and provide the necessary information.

Accident hotspots would also be identified in order to find solutions to avoid accidents at these hotspots.

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