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Current Affairs for today- 25th October 2019

October 25 2019 GS Paper II SC tells telcos to pay govt. Rs 92,000 Cr Context With the backdrop of Department of...

Manasa Sastry Written by Manasa Sastry · 7 min read >

October 25 2019

GS Paper II

SC tells telcos to pay govt. Rs 92,000 Cr

Context

With the backdrop of Department of Telecom (DoT) that moved the Supreme Court to support its demand of recovery of Rs 92,000 Cr from the telecom operators and the apex court upholding the demand, the already bludgeoned industry is in utter distress.

What’s in the news?

  • According to the government, the operators have raised frivolous objections and have failed to fulfill their obligations to the government.  The recovery of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) of Rs 92,000 Cr is legitimate and that the telecom sector has long reaped the fruits of the revenue sharing regime and has drained the public exchequer.
  • The government admitted to use its share of the gross revenue from the telecom sector and pump it in for the development of the rural, remote and uncovered places. But, however only spend a colossal amount on laying the foundation and optical fibre lines under “Digital India Mission” and incurred huge under the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

Hence, the operators raised eyebrows on the constitution of AGR and its demand in such a lean period.

AGR: Adjusted Gross Revenue/Income is the charges built on spectrum usage and licensing fee that the telecom operators are charged by the DoT.

These gross charges include are inclusive of installation charges, late fees, sale proceeds of handsets or other terminal equipment, revenue on account of interest, dividend, value-added service, interconnection charges (IUC), revenue from permissible sharing of infrastructure and other miscellaneous revenue.

Detrimental effects on the indebted telecom sector

  1. Addition to the already financially distressed situation that has its debts running into 4 lac crores.
  2. Many of the private and public sector network operators have been hit roughly with the aggressive policies and the SC’s verdict.
  3. The operations shall failure indefinitely that will make the final straw to the reeling telecom industry and will directly affect the fundraising capacity of telcos.
  4. The above shall hamper the broadband, network expansion, operability, inter-communication and subscriber bank along with the failure of the government’s flagship program “Digital India” initiative.
  5. The blow will not only impair the operators but also will cause a domino effect on the larger digital value chain.
  6. The major distress is that taxes and levies for telecom industry are ranging from 29% to 32%, the highest globally.

GS Paper II, Paper III

India jumps 14 notches in ease of doing business index for 2020 study

Context

India, in the recent survey of Ease of Doing Business Index 2020 report, has plunged 14 ranks higher in the rungs that appears to be a positive report card. However, the centre must make a conscious effort to bring in the states to a consensus of reforming their systems.

Ease of Doing Business: — A score indicating an economy’s position to the best regulatory practice. A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm. The rankings are determined by sorting the aggregate scores on 10 topics, each consisting of several indicators, giving equal weight to each topic. It is released by World Bank.

Source: https://www.doingbusiness.org/content/dam/doingBusiness/media/Annual-Reports/English/DB2019-report_web-version.pdf

Takeaways from the survey

  • India stands at 63 out of 190 countries- an improvement of 14 places from its 77th rank last year; with the score of The Doing Business Study 2020 from 67.3 last year to71.0 this year. 
  • In the implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), India’s rank improved from 108 to 52 in the category of “resolving insolvency” with overall recovery rate for lenders moving up from 26.5 cents to 71.6 cents to the dollar according to the World Bank. The reorganisation proceeds had been promoted to practice but resolving insolvency came at a cost to the creditors as they would receive less under reorganisation than liquidation.
  • “Trading across borders” category jumped places from 80 to 68 signifying the replacement of digital/ electronic filing of documents and single window customs procedures vis-à-vis the long drawn paperwork.

(This shows as the result of India signing the Trade Facilitation Agreement at the WTO.)

  • “Dealing with construction permits”, a parameter that the industrialists still pay heed to, has pushed the country’s ranking from 52 to 27.
  • Imports and Exports became simpler with the single electronic platform for trade stakeholders.
  • The country lags in areas such as “Starting business”, “Enforcing contracts” and “Registering Property” which keeps in behind its competitors for global capital particularly China.

A total of 190 countries were verified with 10 deviced dimensions for a 12 month period till May 2019.

The 10 areas of study are- Starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

The 11th area- employing workers is measured, but not factored into the score. This time, Delhi and Mumbai were chosen to construct the indicator, but however, the World Bank said it shall cover even Bengaluru and Kolkata the following year.

India also has been featured as one of the top 10 economies where the business climates have improved in leaps and bounds.

Way forward

  • Streamlining the systems and acquisition process at the centre- state level with the given India’s federal set-up even in interests of electricity connections, land approvals, construction permits, registering assets, securing the building permits where the State also enjoys a big chunk of edge.
  • Convincing States to essentially build a uniform reform base and incorporate to see the changes adding up during the ranking.
  • Invest more in the “Make in India” concept and “Digital India Mission” that can catch the eye of the apple to make the progress notable and tangible.

GS Paper II

Hung House in Haryana

Every adult citizen of India can vote only in their constituency. Candidates who win the State Legislative Assemblies elections are called ‘Member of Legislative Assembly’ (MLA) and hold their seats for five years or until the body is dissolved by the Governor.

  1. The total number of seats in the State Legislative Assembly allocated stands at a maximum of 500 and a minimum of 60 with the exception of Sikkim, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh.   
  2. The State Assembly will be allotted the number of seats based on the corresponding number of constituencies.
  3. In order form the government, the largest party must prove its majority in the assembly with an absolute majority of 50% of the total number of seats in the assembly plus one, i.e in case of Haryana, BJP, that has secured 40 out of the total 90 seats, it needs 6 more seats to win the confidence of the house.
  4. When no party or pre-poll alliance is able to secure a majority in the election, this leads to a hung assembly.
  5. If it is unable to do so, the President may invite the leader of the single largest party/alliance in the House to try to secure the confidence of the House.
  6. Governor of the concerned to that particular state must call upon the single largest party to prove their majority on the floor of the house.
  7. In the alternative, the President may invite a combination of parties who, in his opinion, might be in a position to command a majority in the House.
  8. However, if, in all probabilities, the other parties may form a post-poll-alliance to oust the single largest party from forming the government, can approach the Governor and seek his consent to prove the majority in the house, and he may consider the option if in his wisdom, seems the appropriate decision.

GS Paper I, Paper III

2 out of 3 wild poliovirus strains have been globally eradicated as per WHO report

October 24 has been declared as World Polio Day by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

  • According to the commission of experts of WHO, the Type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide, which follows the eradication of smallpox and Type 2 (WPV2).
  • There are 3 individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains- ie. Wild Polio Virus 1 (WPV1), Wild Polio Virus (WPV2) and Wild Polio Virus 3 (WPV2) respectively.
  • Symptomatically all the three strains are identical in the sense that they cause irreversible paralysis or even death. But, there are genetic and virological differences, which make these three strains as three separate viruses that must each be individually eradicated.
  • WHO contends that WPV2 and WPV3 have been globally eradicated.
  • Except in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the WPV1 has been eliminated worldwide and that further efforts to make WPV1 a history is the next goal.

Poliovirus:

•  Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. Polio (poliomyelitis) mainly affects children under 5 years of age.

  • Poliovirus, the causative agent of polio (also known as poliomyelitis), is a member virus of Enterovirus C, in the family of Picornaviridae.
  • It can be serological types- type 1, 2 or 3 and immunity against one cannot safeguard the person from the effect of the other as there is a slight variation of the capsid protein.
  • 1 in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.
  • Mode of transfer of virus:
  • In areas with poor sanitation, the virus easily spreads from feces into the water supply, or, by touch, into food.
  • In addition, because polio is so contagious, direct contact with a person infected with the virus can cause polio.
  • The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (for example, contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine.
  • Patients infected with the polio virus can pass the virus on for 7–10 days before the onset of disease. In addition, they can continue to shed the virus in their stool for 3–6 weeks. There is no “cure” for polio.
  • Effects of the virus:
  • It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours.
  • Symptoms:
  • Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck and pain in the limbs.
  • 1 in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.
  • Vaccination:
  • 2 safe and effective vaccines exist – the oral polio vaccine (OPV) that is attenuated and the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) that contains killed viruses.
  • Both are globally used, but OPV is the choice of Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) from the World Health Organization (WHO) to assure protection to children in areas where the virus is endemic or re-emergent.

  • The WHO expanded programme of immunization (EPI) recommends a 4 dose schedule at birth, 6, 10 and 14 weeks with two drops per dose. It contains Vitamin A that is administered during the immunisation activities. A booster dose should be administered after an interval of at least 6 months (four-dose IPV schedule).

Cases due to wild poliovirus have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350 000 cases then, to 33 reported cases in 2018.

Of the 3 strains of wild poliovirus (type 1, type 2, and type 3), wild poliovirus type 2 was eradicated in 1999 and no case of wild poliovirus type 3 has been found since the last reported case in Nigeria in November 2012.

  • Pulse Polio is an immunisation campaign established by the government of India to eliminate poliomyelitis (polio) in India by vaccinating all children under the age of five years against the polio virus. The project fights polio through a large-scale, pulse vaccination programme and monitoring for poliomyelitis cases.
  • Vellore (Tamil Nadu) was the first Indian town to become 100% polio-free through the pulse strategy, and rest of India adopted the strategy in 1995.

Steps involved in administering Polio Vaccine:

  • Setting up of booths in all parts of the country.
  • Initialising walk-in cold rooms, freezer rooms, deep freezers, ice-lined refrigerators and cold boxes for a steady supply of vaccine to booths.
  • Arranging employees, volunteers, and vaccines.
  • Ensuring vaccine vial monitor on each vaccine vial.
  • Immunising children with OPV on national immunisation days.
  • Identifying missing children from the immunisation process.
  • Surveillance of efficacy.

In India, vaccination against polio started in 1978 with Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).
By 1999, it covered around 60% of infants, giving three doses of OPV to each.

Written by Manasa Sastry
Masters degree holder in Forensic Science. Currently, a UPSC Aspirant helping fellow learners to sort their daily current affairs preparation. Loves to learn and help others. Music, dance and art are just a few of my many hobbies. Profile

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