PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE
- BRICS Summit
- Golden Leaf Award
- UNESCO General Conference
- Development Council for Bicycle
- Household Consumer Expenditure Survey
- Water Quality Report for State Capitals & Delhi
- National Agrochemicals Congress
- Maitree Diwas, Global Initiative for Academic Network (GIAN)
1 . BRICS
- BRICS is an informal group of states comprising the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa.
- On November 30, 2001, Jim O’Neill, a British economist who was then chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, coined the term ‘BRIC’ to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
- It was the Russian side that initiated the creation of BRICS.
- On 20 September 2006, the first BRICS Ministerial Meeting was held at the proposal of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the margins of a UN General Assembly Session in New York. Foreign ministers of Russia, Brazil and China and the Indian Defence Minister took part in the meeting. They expressed their interest in expanding multilateral cooperation.
- It was agreed to expand BRIC to BRICS with the inclusion of South Africa at the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting in New York in September 2010.
- The 6th BRICS Summit (Fortaleza and Brasilia, 15-16 July 2014) produced a highly important result. The sides signed the Agreement on the New Development Bank and the Treaty for the Establishment of a BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement. These institutions will possess a total of $200 billion.
- Considering the increasing instances of global financial crisis, BRICS nations signed BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) in 2014 as part of Fortaleza Declaration at Sixth BRICS summit. The BRICS CRA aims to provide short-term liquidity support to the members through currency swaps to help mitigating BOP crisis situation and further strengthen financial stability.
- BRICS does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
- The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
- BRICS cooperation in the past decade has expanded to include an annual programme of over 100 sectoral meetings.
- The theme of the BRICS summit this year was ‘Economic Growth for an Innovative Future’ and therefore, keeping in tandem with it, the countries highlighted the importance of science, technology and innovation (STI) as one of the main drivers of economic growth as well as a key element to shape the future of societies.
- Declaration emphasised the need for a constructive dialogue and cooperation on conserving biodiversity, prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, anti-money laundering and terror financing, infrastructure, including the G20 infrastructure agenda, the New Development Bank’s Project Preparation Facility, counterterrorism, security in the use of ICTs, major international and regional hot spots, peacekeeping and transnational organised crime.
- Terrorism was another important point of focus at the summit. The leaders once again vowed their commitment to fighting terror and agreed to maintain efforts on anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation and returning of assets, including on civil and administrative proceedings
- The member countries also led to the foundation of the BRICS Network of Human Milk Banks and emphasised the importance of our collective action in promoting research and development of medicines and diagnostic tools to end epidemics, to combat communicable diseases and to facilitate access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines, as well as activities to strengthen non-communicable diseases prevention.
- Peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that is Afghan-owned and Afghan-led
India’s Stand at the Summit
- Intra-BRICS trade accounts for just 15% of world trade, it needs to be increased. India invited business leaders of the member nations for investment, particularly in infrastructure development.
- India proposed to hold the first meeting of BRICS Water Ministers in India.
- India highlighted the menace of terrorism which has resulted in the loss of $1 trillion to the world economy.
- The fact that BRICS has put counter-terrorism on top of the agenda has been a success for India.
Importance of BRICS for India
- From the Indian perspective, BRICS has emerged the voice of developing countries, or the global south. As these countries face an aggressive club of developed countries, raising challenges on issues from WTO to climate change, New Delhi believes BRICS has to protect the rights of the developing countries. The five BRICS countries are also members of G-20.
- While the economic heft of three of the five countries has been dented in the last few years, the BRICS cooperation has two pillars — consultations on issues of mutual interest through meetings of leaders and ministers, and cooperation through meetings of senior officials in areas including trade, finance, health, education, technology, agriculture, and IT.
- Also, India has to maintain the balancing act between Russia-China on the one side and the US on the other. While India has had a growing role in global affairs in the last decade or so, and is seen to be helping drive the global agenda, the current crop of BRICS leaders too are seen as strong personalities — from Chinese President Xi Jinping to Russian President Vladimir Putin to Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro — with a pronounced nationalistic agenda. South Block views this as a potential for cooperation, as the leaders have more in common than their predecessors. New Delhi believes that over the last few years, India has taken the lead in galvanising BRICS has also worked within the grouping to take a strong stand against terrorism and bring about focused consultations on specific aspects relating to terrorism.
2 . Golden Leaf Award
Context : Tobacco Board of India has been awarded the Golden Leaf Award in the Most Impressive Public Service Initiative category for the year 2019, for its efforts to initiate various sustainability (green) initiatives in Flue-Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco cultivation in India.
About Golden Leaf Award
- The Golden Leaf Awards were created to recognize professional excellence and dedication in the tobacco industry by Tobacco Reporter, an international magazine in the year 2006.
- The awards under this category are given to a company or institution that introduced a public service programme or educational campaign of creativity, effectiveness to date and best use of resources.
- Awards are granted on an annual basis to companies that have achieved outstanding performance in five categories – most impressive public service initiative, most promising new product introduction, most exciting newcomer to the industry, most outstanding service to the industry and the BMJ most committed to quality award.
Why Tobacco Board
- Tobacco Board got this award for its best outstanding public service in sustainability to the industry for its, initiatives on natural farming in tobacco cultivation for production of organic tobaccos, improving the soil health through green manuring, introduction of 365 days green cover in tobacco cultivation, promotion of advanced nursery technologies- Green Tech nurseries, elimination of Non-Tobacco Related Material (NTRM), elimination of pesticide residues in tobacco by encouraging residue free tobacco cultivation, energy conservation initiatives resulting in energy savings of 25%, development of greenery through mandatory planting of trees by tobacco farmers and tobacco trade and educating and guiding farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
About Tobacco Board
- Tobacco Board is a statutory body established under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- The main functions of the Board include regulating the production and curing of Virginia tobacco in India, implementation of extension and developmental activities for improving the yields and quality of tobacco, facilitating sale of tobacco through e-auctions on the auction floors of the Board, undertaking various grower welfare measures and export promotion of tobacco and tobacco products.
Initiatives undertaken by Tobacco Board
- Tobacco Board has promoted green manuring to improve soil health.
- The Board introduced natural farming techniques for production of organic and residue free tobaccos. Trials were undertaken in each of the auction platform jurisdiction in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in about 30 plots covering an area of 120 acres.
- Tobacco Board took up a campaign in the hot spot areas found to have higher Chemical Plant Protection Agent (CPA) residues and has put in place a very effective track and trace mechanism which has ultimately yielded positive test results which showed CPA residues well below the Guidance Residue Levels(GRL’s).
- The Board implemented Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in tobacco farming for improving yield and quality
- Energy conservation measures were taken up in a big way to sustain environment. 30000 barns in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are insulated resulting in energy savings of 25%.
- Tobacco Board has supplied 6,50,000 saplings through the forest department to the tobacco farmers for greenery development in tobacco producing areas.
3 . UNESCO General Conference
Context : Union HRD Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ held bilateral talks with Education Ministers of Norway, Bangladesh, Mexico, Thailand, UAE and Malaysia in Paris on 13th November, 2019. The meetings took place on the sidelines of 40th UNESCO General Conference being held in Paris.
- UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture.
- UNESCO’s programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.
- UNESCO develops educational tools to help people live as global citizens free of hate and intolerance.
- UNESCO works so that each child and citizen has access to quality education.
- By promoting cultural heritage and the equal dignity of all cultures, UNESCO strengthens bonds among nations.
- UNESCO fosters scientific programmes and policies as platforms for development and cooperation.
- UNESCO stands up for freedom of expression, as a fundamental right and a key condition for democracy and development.
- Serving as a laboratory of ideas, UNESCO helps countries adopt international standards and manages programmes that foster the free flow of ideas and knowledge sharing.
About UNESCO General Conference
- The General Conference consists of the representatives of UNESCO’s Member States.
- It meets every two years, and is attended by Member States and Associate Members, together with observers for non-Member States, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
- Each country has one vote, irrespective of its size or the extent of its contribution to the budget.
- The General Conference determines the policies and the main lines of work of the Organization. Its duty is to set the programmes and the budget of UNESCO.
- It also elects the Members of the Executive Board and appoints, every four years, the Director-General. The working languages of the General Conference are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
- UNESCO preserves 1073 World Heritage sites in 167 countries
- UNESCO coordinates Tsunami early warning systems all over the globe
- UNESCO leads global efforts to reach quality education for all
- UNESCO led the reconstruction of the Mausoleums in Timbuktu
- UNESCO launched the SESAME world-class research laboratory in the Middle East
- UNESCO stands up for freedom of expression and condemns the killing of journalists
- The UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) is UNESCO’s category 1 Research Institute that focuses on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.7 towards education for building peaceful and sustainable societies across the world.
- In line with its vision of ‘Transforming Education for Humanity’, the institute’s programmes and products are designed to mainstream Social and Emotional Learning in education systems, innovate digital pedagogies and to put youth as global citizens at the centre of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.
4 . Development Council for Bicycle
Context : Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, has set up a Development Council for Bicycle for vision planning in design, engineering and manufacturing of lighter, smarter, value added, safe and faster premium bicycles which are comparable with global standards for exports and domestic market.
About the Council
- A Twenty-three-member Council will be headed by Secretary DPIIT.
- The constitution of the Council is for a period of two years.
- Joint Secretary, Light Engineering Industry Division in DPIIT will be Member-Secretary.
- The Council will have 9 ex-officio members from DPIIT and Department of Commerce, Ministries of Housing and Urban Affairs, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Health and Family Welfare, Road Transport and Highways, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Bureau of Indian Standards.
- The Council will also have 7 expert domain members and 4 nominated.
- The terms of ex-officio members shall be co-terminus with their official posting. Others members may be co-opted, as required, by the Chairperson of the Council.
The Council will stimulate value chain and fuel accelerated demand growth of Make-in-India through the following activities:
- To improve competitiveness and level of services.
- To transform Indian bicycle technology and its value chain.
- To ensure development of holistic eco-system through close, coordinated and continuous stakeholder persuasion.
- To undertake all possible measures for leveraging bicycle demand, it may inter-alia include ensuring enabling (safe and segregated) cycling infrastructure and operations.
- To enhance export competitiveness of bicycle through support of schemes and favourable trade policies.
- To popularize the incredible benefits of cycling through the campaigns piloted by the concerned Ministries/ Departments of Government of India such as Ministry of Health (health benefits), Ministry of Environment and Forest (air/ noise pollution free benefits), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (energy saving benefits), Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (decongestion benefits).
- Development of medium and small industries to usher in a new mind-set through innovative schemes in a structured and synergetic way.
- Development of skilled human resources development for bicycle manufacturing and repair shops.
- To identify and study best international practices and successful story to adopt for bicycle manufacturing, recycling and infrastructure development in India.
5 . Household Consumer Expenditure Survey
About Household Consumption Expenditure Survey
- The National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation carried out an all-India survey on household consumption expenditure in the 75th round during the period July 2017 to June 2018.
- The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) is usually conducted at quinquennial intervals and the last survey on consumer expenditure was conducted in the 68th round (July 2011 to June 2012).
- The NSS Consumer Expenditure Survey generates estimates of household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) and the distribution of households and persons over the MPCE classes.
- It is designed to collect information regarding expenditure on consumption of goods and services (food and non-food) consumed by households.
- The results, after release, are also used for rebasing of the GDP and other macro-economic indicators.
6 . Water Quality Report
Context : Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Shri Ram Vilas Paswan releases Water Quality Report for State Capitals & Delhi as analysed by BIS
- In order to ensure that clean and safe drinking water is provided to all, Department of Consumer Affairs decided to undertake a study through the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) on the quality of piped drinking water being supplied in the country and also rank the States, Smart Cities and even Districts based on the quality of tap water.
- In the first phase, the samples of drinking water were drawn from various locations across Delhi and in the second phase samples were drawn from 20 State capitals and sent for testing as per Indian Standard 10500:2012 (Specification for DrinkingWater) as set by the BIS.
- Tests were conducted on various parameters such asOrganoleptic and Physical Tests,Chemical test, Toxic substances and Bacteriological tests in the first stage.
- A vast majority of the samples have failed to comply with the requirements of IS 10500:2012 in one or more parameters.
- In Delhi, all the 11 samples drawn from various places did not comply with the requirements of the Indian Standard& failed on several parameters.
- All the 10 samples drawn from Mumbai were found to comply with the requirements.
- In the cities of Hyderabad, Bhubaneshwar, Ranchi, Raipur, Amravati and Shimla, one or more samples did not comply with the requirements of the Standard
- None of the samples drawn from 13 of the State Capitals i.e. Chandigarh,Thiruvananthapuram, Patna, Bhopal, Guwahati, Bengaluru, Gandhinagar, Lucknow, Jammu, Jaipur, Dehradun, Chennai, Kolkata complied with the requirements of the Indian Standard
7 . National Agrochemicals Congress
About the Congress
- It was the first ever National Agrochemicals Congress and was held at IARI, Pusa.
- The Congress is being conducted by Society of Pesticide Science India, Division of Agricultural Chemicals, ICAR-IARI and it was announced that hereafter it will be conducted in three years.
- The Congress is conducted in view of the role chemical pesticides still continue to play in pest management as more and more target specific and environment friendly products are being introduced.
- The benefits of pesticide use are high relative to their risks. New concepts in crops, human health, resource management, nanotechnology, smart formulations and related sciences are likely to boost agricultural productivity.
- With this background, current status of agrochemicals on various fronts have been collated for researchers and policy makers in order to ensure agriculture grow in a sustainable manner.
8 . Facts for Prelims
- Maitree Diwas is a two-day socio-military cultural extravaganza jointly organised by the Indian Army, Tawang Civil Administration and volunteers at the High-Altitude Stadium, which stands as a testimony to the spirit of solidarity and patriotic fervour that runs deep amongst the locals of Tawang district.
- Maitree Diwas, which is showcasing the local culture as well as modern military demonstrations, including Helicopter flypast and weapon display,
- Festival symbolises the patriotism of the people of the region and their close relationship with the Armed Forces.
Global Initiative for Academic Network (GIAN)
- Under the scheme of ‘Global Initiative for Academic Network (GIAN), faculties from the world’s prestigious higher education institutions visit Indian Higher Educational Institutions for taking courses in emerging areas.