IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 11 May 2019

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‘India faces acute shortage of healthcare providers’

Topic: GS–II: Health

Despite the health sector employing five million workers in India, it continues to have low density of health professionals with figures for the country being lower than those of Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, United Kingdom and Brazil, according to a World Health Organisation database.

More in news:

 The paper was titled ‘Forecasting the future need and gaps in requirements for public health professionals in India upto 2026’ published last month in the WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health.

Findings:

  • This workforce statistic has put the country into the “critical shortage of healthcare providers” category.
  • Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are the worst hit while Delhi, Kerala, Punjab and Gujarat compare favourably.
  • Southeast Asia needs a 50% increase in healthcare manpower to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.
  • India faces the problem of acute shortages and inequitable distributions of skilled health workers as have many other low- and middle-income countries
  • Government statistics for 2008, based on vacancies in sanctioned posts showed 18% of primary health centres were without a doctor, about 38% were without a laboratory technician and 16% were without a pharmacist.
  • The health workforce in India comprises broadly eight categories, namely: doctors (allopathic, alternative medicine); nursing and midwifery professionals; public health professionals; pharmacists; dentists; paramedical workers (allied health professionals); grass-root workers; support staff.

Fani’s fury creates four new mouths in Odisha’s Chilika Lake

Topic: GS-I:  Geography

The extremely severe cyclone Fani has created four new mouths in Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lake, connecting to the Bay of Bengal.

More in news:

  • Chilika Development Authority (CDA) officials have started studying the impact of saline ingression into the lake.
  • “Chilika lagoon had only two active mouths — the point where it meets the sea before Fani hit the Odisha coast on May 3. Four new mouths have opened due to wave energy with high tidal prism.

Salinity surge

  • While three new mouths have come up between the two functional mouths near Sanpatna and Arakhakuda, a smaller mouth has been noticed on the northern side.
  • If sea water ingression goes up, fish migration will increase and the biodiversity will get richer. But its long term impact is something to keep a watch on.
  • The rise in salinity will lead to increase in productivity.

 Chandrayaan-2 will carry 14 payloads from India

Topic: GS -III: Science and Technology

Chandrayaan-2, the lunar lander mission planned to be launched during July 9-16, will have 14 Indian payloads or study devices, a mission update of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said.

More in news:

  • The 3,800-kg spacecraft includes an orbiter which will circle the moon at 100 km
  • A five-legged lander called Vikram that will descend on the moon on or around September 6.
  • A robotic rover, Pragyan that will probe the lunar terrain around it.
  • ISRO said all three modules will carry payloads but did not specify them or their objective.
  • The orbiter alone will have eight payloads or instruments. The lander will carry four while the rover will be equipped with two instruments.
  • ISRO has chosen a landing area at the hitherto unexplored lunar South Pole, making it the first agency to touch down at the South Pole if it succeeds in its first landing attempt.
  • Chandrayaan-2 will be India’s second outing to the moon. ISRO will send the mission on its heavy lift booster, the Mark-III, from Sriharikota.

Chandrayaan-1

  • In October 2008, the space organisation had launched its orbiter mission Chandrayaan-1 on its PSLV booster. The spacecraft had 11 payloads.
  • One of the U.S. payloads shares credit with Chandrayaan-1 for confirming the presence of water ice on the moon. Before that, the Moon Impacter Probe carrying the Indian tricolour image was made to hard-land on the lunar South Pole.

Trump raises tariffs on Chinese goods

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

The trade war between the U.S. and China took a turn for the worse as the Trump administration increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Tariffs on 5,700 categories of goods increased from 10% to 25%.

More in news:

  • The tariff rate on machinery and technology imports from China, whose value is about $50 billion, was already hiked to 25% last year in tit-for-tat tariff rounds between the two countries.
  • Friday’s tariffs for the $200 worth of Chinese imports, “as part of the U.S.’s continuing response to China’s theft of American intellectual property and forced transfer of American technology,” was set to kick in January 1 as per a September 2018 announcement from the USTR, but it was held in abeyance as negotiations continued.
  • In the past, Mr. Trump had threatened to increase tariffs on the remainder of Chinese imports as well, a threat he reiterated on Friday.
  • The U.S. imported $558 billion of goods from China as per the USTR, with $250 billion attracting 25% tariffs as of Friday.
  • China has said, via a Ministry of Commerce statement, that it “deeply regretted” the latest tariff development and has said it will take countermeasures.
  • American agriculture has felt much of the heat of the tit-for-tat trade war with China. Mr. Trump sought to assuage concerns on Friday.
  • With an election looming in 2020, the President cannot afford to alienate farmers most of the top 10 agricultural States were won by Mr. Trump in 2016.
  • Tariff increases will also mean U.S. firms paying more for Chinese inputs and those costs will be, at least in partially, passed on to American consumers.
What is a trade war?

·         It’s what it sounds like – a trade war is when countries try to attack each other’s trade with taxes and quotas. One country will raise tariffs, a type of tax, causing the other to respond, in a tit-for-tat escalation.

·         This can hurt other nations’ economies and lead to rising political tensions between them.

What is a tariff?

·         It’s a tax on a product made abroad.In theory, taxing items coming into the country means people are less likely to buy them as they become more expensive.

·         The intention is that they buy cheaper local products instead – boosting your country’s economy.

Why is Trump doing this?

·         The president has placed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods from around the world, in particular China.

·         He’s imposed a 10% levy on $200bn (£150bn) worth of Chinese products so far. In May, he announced plans to impose a 25% tariff on $325bn of other Chinese goods.

·         Mr. Trump said the $100bn gained from the tariffs will be used to buy US agricultural products, which will then be sent to “poor and starving countries” for “humanitarian assistance”.

·         He also wants to cut the trade deficit with China – a country he has accused of unfair trade practices since before he became president.

·         Mr. Trump made a big point on the campaign trail about cutting the country’s trade deficits.

What’s a trade deficit?

·         It’s a term meaning the difference between how much your country buys from another country, compared with how much you sell to that country.

·         And the US has a massive trade deficit with China. Last year, it widened by $43.6bn to $419.2bn.

·         He wants to cut back this trade deficit, and he intends to use tariffs to do it.

IIP at a 21-month low as manufacturing slows down

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

Growth in industrial activity dipped to a 21-month low in March, contracting 0.1% due in large part to a continuing slowdown in the manufacturing sector, according to official data released on Friday.

More in news:

  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) contracted in March for the first time since June 2013. To further put this contraction in perspective, the IIP grew a robust 5.33% in the same month of last year, and 4.39% in March 2017.
  • Within this, the manufacturing sector contracted by 0.43% in March, the second consecutive month of contraction (it contracted 0.39% in February) and the third consecutive month of slowing growth.

Rate cut

  • One of the primary reasons for the slowdown in the overall economy is that the government has very little room to manoeuvre on the fiscal side, even though the Reserve Bank of India has done what it can on the monetary policy side with two successive interest rate cuts.
  • The capital goods sector contracted for a third consecutive months, by 8.66% in March compared with a contraction of 8.92% in February. Intermediary goods sector contracted for the fifth consecutive month, by 2.55% in March, compared with a contraction of 5.05% in the previous month.
  • On the demand side, the consumer durables sector also contracted in March by 5.07% after being positive for three consecutive months, which is symptomatic of weak demand conditions in the country, Care Ratings added.
  • Infrastructure sector, however, saw a strong turnaround in growth in March, coming in at 6.4%, up from 2.1% in February. The mining and quarrying sector saw growth slowing to 0.78% from 2.18%.
  • The electricity sector witnessed a slight acceleration in growth to 2.17% in March from 1.32% in February.
  • The general outlook for the upcoming months is subdued, according to economists and ratings agencies alike, who say that there is still no certainty about the RBI cutting rates in its monetary policy review in June.
What is Index of Industrial Production (IIP)?

·         Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index that shows the performance of different industrial sectors of the Indian economy.

·         The IIP is estimated and published on a monthly basis by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO). It gives general level of industrial activity in the economy.

·         Base year is 2011-12.

Importance of Index of Industrial Production

·         The all-India IIP data is used for estimation of Gross Value Added of Manufacturing sector on quarterly basis.

·         Similarly, the data is also used extensively by analysts, financial intermediaries and private companies for various purposes.

Components of IIP

·         The IIP is basically divided into three sectors though a use-based classification is also provided by the CSO.

·         Following are the three sectors of the IIP as per the revision based on 2011-12 series.

1)      Mining (14.373%)

2)      Manufacturing (77.633%)

3)      Electricity (7.994%)

Core industries in the IIP

The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 % of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). These industries are:

Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Products, Fertilizers, Steel, Cement and Electricity.Refinery products has the largest weights among the core industries.

Amazon unveils space vision, moon lander

Topic: GS -III: Science and Technology

Jeff Bezos, who heads both Amazon and space company Blue Origin, unveiled a lunar lander that he said would be used to transport equipment, and possibly human beings, to the south pole of the moon by 2024.

More in news:

  • Bezos didn’t announce a specific date for the project’s first launch, but said the lander would be ready in time to make President Donald Trump’s announced timeline to return people to the moon by 2024.

Generating water

  • The vehicle has been under development for the past three years. It will be capable of carrying scientific instruments, the four small rovers, and also a future pressurized vehicle for humans.
  • The goal is to land on the moon’s South Pole, where ice deposits were confirmed in 2018. Water can be exploited to produce hydrogen, which in turn could fuel future exploration of the solar system.
  • Fully loaded with fuel, Blue Origin will weigh about 33,000 pounds (15,000 kilograms), which will decrease to around 7,000 pounds when it is about to land, he said.
  • The White House’s intention to return to the moon in 2024 has sent NASA into a frenzy of activity since the end of March, because that particular mission was originally anticipated for 2028.

Lunar colonies

  • The lander’s unveiling came as Mr. Bezos outlined his broader vision to build an infrastructure that would sustain the colonisation of space by future generations of humans and shift polluting industries off the Earth.
  • As space agencies prepare to return humans to the moon, top engineers are racing to design a tunnel boring machine capable of digging underground colonies for the first lunar inhabitants.
  • But the harsh conditions on the surface of the moon mean that, once up there, humans need to be shielded from radiation and freezing temperatures in structures which maintain atmospheric pressure in a vacuum.
  • They also need protection from meteorite strikes.

Editorial Section : 

Resolving India’s banking crisis – The Hindu

New clouds over the Persian Gulf  – The Hindu

A fraught moment  – The Hindu

For a full bench  – The Hindu

 

 

 

 

 

 

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