Daily Current Affairs : 10th October 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Periodic Labour Force Survey
  2. Indian Ocean Rim Association
  3. Scheduled areas
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . Periodic Labour Force Survey


Context: The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), carried out by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), has reported that unemployment rate in urban areas of the country has shown a decrease during the period April-June 2023. 

What is PLFS? 

  • Considering the importance of availability of labour force data at more frequent time intervals, National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) launches Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS).  
  • The objective of PLFS is primarily twofold: 
    • To estimate the key employment and unemployment indicators (viz. Worker Population Ratio, Labour Force Participation Rate, Unemployment Rate) in the short time interval of three months for the urban areas only in the ‘Current Weekly Status’ (CWS). 
    • To estimate employment and unemployment indicators in both ‘Usual Status’ (ps+ss) and CWS in both rural and urban areas annually 

Key Indicators

  • Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR): LFPR is defined as the percentage of persons in labour force (i.e. working or seeking or available for work)in the population. 
  • Worker Population Ratio (WPR): WPR is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population. 
  • Unemployment Rate (UR): UR is defined as the percentage of persons unemployed among the persons in the labour force. 
  • Activity Status- Usual Status: The activity status of a person is determined on the basis of the activities pursued by the person during the specified reference period. When the activity status is determined on the basis of the reference period of last 365 days preceding the date of survey, it is known as the usual activity status of the person.  
  • Activity Status- Current Weekly Status (CWS): The activity status determined on the basis of a reference period of last 7 days preceding the date of survey is known as the current weekly status (CWS) of the person. 

 
Findings of the survey:  

  • Unemployment rate in urban areas of the country has shown a decreasIng trend for persons aged 15 and above during the period April-June 2023. For men, it decreased from 7.1% to 5.9% during this period and for women, it decreased from 9.5% to 9.1%. 
  • It processed details from 5,639 first-stage sampling units (FSUs) and 1,67,916 people from 44,190 urban houses. 
  • The LFPR in urban areas increased from 47.5% in April-June 2022 to 48.8% in April-June 2023. While it hovered around 73.5% for men during this period, for women, the LFPR increased from 20.9% to 23.2% during this period. 
  • The WPR in urban areas increased from 43.9% in April-June 2022 to 45.5% for persons aged 15 and above. For men, it increased from 68.3% to 69.2% and for women, it increased from 18.9% to 21.1% during this period. 
  • The Centre also claimed improvement in key labour market indicators in urban areas compared with those in pre-pandemic period (April-June 2018 to October–December 2019). 
  • The LFPR ranged from 46.2% to 47.8% during the pre-pandemic period and in the latest report it was 48.8%. 
  • The WPR was between 41.8% and 44.1% before the pandemic and now it is 45.5%. 
  • The unemployment rate ranged between 7.8% and 9.7% during the pre-pandemic period and at the latest survey it was 6.6%. 

2 . Indian Ocean Rim Association


Context: Several Foreign Ministers, including those of India, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Iran, Malaysia and South Africa, will participate in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers meeting in Colombo on October 11, 2023, according to the Sri Lankan government, which is preparing to take over as Chair of the regional grouping this week. 

What is IORA? 

  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association is an inter-governmental organisation which was established on 7 March 1997.
  • It is a dynamic organisation of 23 Member States and 11 Dialogue Partners, with an ever-growing momentum for mutually beneficial regional cooperation through a consensus-based, evolutionary and non-intrusive approach. 
  • IORA’s apex body is the Council of Foreign Ministers (COM) which meets annually. 
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) assumed the role of Chair since November 2019 – November 2021, followed by the People’s Republic of Bangladesh November 2021 – November 2023.  
  • A committee of Senior Officials (CSO) meets twice a year to progress IORA’s agenda and consider recommendations by Working Groups and forums of officials, business and academics to implement policies and projects to improve the lives of people within the Indian Ocean Member States. 

Members:  

  • Promoting sustained growth and balanced development within the Indian Ocean region, IORA strengthens cooperation and dialogue with Member States namely: 
  • Commonwealth of Australia, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Union of Comoros, French Republic, Republic of India, Republic of Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kenya, Republic of Madagascar, Malaysia, Republic of Maldives, Republic of Mauritius, Republic of Mozambique, Sultanate of Oman, Republic of Seychelles, Republic of Singapore, Federal Republic of Somalia , Republic of South Africa, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, United Republic of Tanzania, Kingdom of Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Republic of Yemen. 
  • All sovereign States of the Indian Ocean Rim are eligible for membership of the Association. To become members, States must adhere to the principles and objectives enshrined in the Charter of the Association. 
  • In addition to this, there are dialogue partners who provide valuable assistance in the field of technology transfer, environmental issues, the promotion of trade and investment, technical cooperation and assistance to the Special Fund. 
  • The following listed Dialogue Partners form part of the Association: 
    People’s Republic of China, Arab Republic of Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Germany, Republic of Italy , Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Republic of Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States of America. 

Focus areas:  

  • Maritime Safety and Security: IORA has been addressing MSS in the Indian Ocean through a broad range of activities to enhance international cooperation in security and governance to successfully tackle the challenges faced by the region. The IORA leaders’ summit held in March 2017, in Jakarta, Indonesia, highlighted the prioritization of these concerns through its theme, “Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable, and Prosperous Indian Ocean”. 
  •  Trade and Investment Facilitation:Promoting trade and investment is at the heart of IORA. The Indian Ocean Rim region has been linked by commerce for centuries and is still at the centre of global trade and investment flows. 
  • Fisheries Management : IORA is attributing high importance in strengthening cooperation in both the Fisheries Management Sector, as well as the Blue Economy, as reflected in the IORA Action Plan 2017-2021, which was adopted at the IORA Leaders’ Summit in March 2017 in Indonesia. 
  • Disaster Risk Management : IORA recognizes DRM to be a multidisciplinary concept as it involves the participation of a multitude of stakeholders, including national governments, non-governmental organizations, regional and international partners, donors, civil society and the private sector. 
  • Tourism and Cultural Exchanges:IORA promotes tourism and cultural exchanges by setting proposed policy directions for government cooperation and providing platforms for dialogue in promoting tourism amongst Member States, Dialogue Partners, and other international bodies. 
  • Blue Economy: This special focus area was recognised at the 14th IORA Ministerial Meeting in Perth, Australia, on 9 October 2014. It is envisaged that Blue Economy development in IORA will further be strengthened and will be on the top of IORA’s agenda in the coming years with the establishment of the Blue Economy Working Group (WGBE) 

Flagship Projects by IORA:  

  • The Indian Ocean Dialogue . 
  •  Somalia and Yemen Development Program. 
  • The IORA Sustainable Development Program. 

3 . Scheduled areas


Context: India’s 705 Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities — making up 8.6% of the country’s population — live in 26 States and six Union Territories.  

What are Scheduled Areas? 

  • Article 244 of the Indian Constitution addresses the management of scheduled tribal and scheduled areas. 
  • Scheduled Areas cover 11.3% of India’s land area, and have been notified in 10 States: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Himachal Pradesh.  
  • However, despite persistent demands by Adivasi organisations, villages have been left out in the 10 States with Scheduled Areas and in other States with ST populations. As a result, 59% of India’s STs remain outside the purview of Article 244. They are denied rights under the laws applicable to Scheduled Areas, including the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 and the Biological Diversity Act 2002. 
  • In 1995, the Bhuria Committee, constituted to recommend provisions for the extension of panchayat raj to Scheduled Areas, recommended including these villages, but this is yet to be done.  
  • The absence of viable ST-majority administrative units has been the standard bureaucratic response — an argument that has also been used to demand the denotification of parts of Scheduled Areas where STs are now a minority due to the influx of non-tribal individuals. 

How are Scheduled Areas governed? 

  • The President of India notifies India’s Scheduled Areas. States with Scheduled Areas need to constitute a Tribal Advisory Council with up to 20 ST members. They will advise the Governor on matters referred to them regarding ST welfare. The Governor will then submit a report every year to the President regarding the administration of Scheduled Areas. 
  • The national government can give directions to the State regarding the administration of Scheduled Areas. The Governor can repeal or amend any law enacted by Parliament and the State Legislative Assembly in its application to the Scheduled Area of that State. The Governor can also make regulations for a Scheduled Area, especially to prohibit or restrict the transfer of tribal land by or among members of the STs, and regulate the allotment of land to STs and money-lending to STs.  
  • the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, or PESA, in 1996 empowered the gram sabhas to exercise substantial authority through direct democracy, and stated that structures “at the higher level do not assume the powers and authority” of the gram sabha. 

Who decides a Scheduled Area? 

  • The Fifth Schedule confers powers exclusively on the President to declare any area to be a Scheduled Area. In 2006, the Supreme Court held that “the identification of Scheduled Areas is an executive function” and that it doesn’t possess the expertise to scrutinise the empirical basis of the same. 
  • In 2016, the Jharkhand High Court dismissed a challenge to the notification of a Scheduled Area because the ST population there was less than 50% in some blocks. The court observed that the declaration of a Scheduled Area is “within the exclusive discretion of the President”. 

How are Scheduled Areas identified? 

  • Neither the Constitution nor any law provides any criteria to identify Scheduled Areas. However, based on the 1961 Dhebar Commission Report, the guiding norms for declaring an area as a Scheduled area are — preponderance of tribal population; compactness and reasonable size of the area; a viable administrative entity such as a district, block or taluk; and economic backwardness of the area relative to neighbouring areas. 
  • No law prescribes the minimum percentage of STs in such an area nor a cut-off date for its identification. The 2002 Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission had recommended that “all revenue villages with 40% and more tribal population according to the 1951 Census may be considered as Scheduled Area on merit”. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs communicated this to the States in 2018 for their consideration, but elicited no response. Compactness of an area means that all the proposed villages need to be contiguous with each other or with an existing Scheduled Area. If not, they will be left out. But contiguity is not a mandatory demarcating criterion.  
  • The Bhuria Committee recognised a face-to-face community, a hamlet or a group of hamlets managing its own affairs to be the basic unit of self-governance in Scheduled Areas. But it also noted that the most resource rich tribal-inhabited areas have been divided up by administrative boundaries, pushing them to the margins. 
  • However, PESA’s enactment finally settled this ambiguity in law. The Act defined a ‘village’ as ordinarily consisting of “a habitation or a group of habitations, or a hamlet or a group of hamlets comprising a community and managing its affairs in accordance with traditions and customs”. All those “whose names are included in the electoral rolls” in such a village constituted the gram sabha 
  • . The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, also known as the FRA Act, adopted this definition. Here, too, the gram sabhas are the statutory authority to govern the forests under their jurisdiction. As a result, the definition of a village expanded beyond the Scheduled Areas to include forest fringes and forest villages as well. 
  • Gram sabhas are yet to demarcate their traditional or customary boundaries on revenue lands in the absence of a suitable law. FRA 2006 requires them to demarcate ‘community forest resource’, which is the “customary common forest land within the traditional or customary boundaries of the village or seasonal use of landscape in the case of pastoral communities, including reserved forests, protected forests and protected areas such as Sanctuaries and National Parks to which the community had traditional access”. The traditional or customary boundary within revenue and forest lands (where applicable) would constitute the territorial jurisdiction of the village in the Scheduled Area. 

4 . Facts for Prelims


Economics Nobel Prize: 

  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2023 to Claudia Goldin from  
    Harvard University, Cambridge,USA 
  • She is awarded for having advanced the understanding of women’s labour market outcomes. 
  • She provided the first comprehensive account of women’s earnings and labour market participation through the centuries. Her research reveals the causes of change, as well as the main sources of the remaining gender gap. 

Take Home Ration (THR) programme: 

  • The Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) under ICDS aims to fill the gap in nutrition amongst children under six years of age as well as pregnant and lactating women. SNP is delivered through two modalities – Hot-Cooked Meal at Anganwadi Centers and Take-Home Ration (THR). THR may be delivered in the form of raw ingredients or pre-cooked packets.
  • Through the ICDS programme, Take-Home Ration (THR) is distributed to children aged 6–36 months and to pregnant/lactating women for consumption at home. 
  • THR aims to fill in the nutrition gap among infants and young children by way of complementary feeding. 

Smart fencing 

  • Smart fencing refers to the use of advanced technologies and electronic systems to enhance the security and surveillance of physical barriers, such as fences or walls, often used to demarcate borders or protect sensitive areas. 
  • Smart fencing uses a number of devices for surveillance, communication and data storage
  • Sensors like thermal imager, underground sensors, fiber optical sensors, radar and sonar will be mounted on different platforms like aerostat, tower and poles as part of the smart fence
  • The ‘laser fence’ and other gadgets have been integrated and a CCTV-like feed will be given to a BSF post so that immediate action can be taken against any intrusion or infiltration attempt
  • An advanced smart fencing system of 100 km along the Myanmar border is in the pipeline to strengthen the existing surveillance system. 
  • the construction of fencing for a border length of 10.023 km at Moreh, Manipur has been awarded to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). 

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