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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 19th July 2022

Today Current Affairs: 19th July 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc


Decline In Immunisation Coverage:

A report by World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) highlighted the impact of covid-19 pandemic on immunisation programs globally and in India as well.

  • DPT vaccine is considered a marker for immunization coverage across countries.

Key Highlights of the Report:

  • Three million children have not received the first dose of the Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DPT) vaccine in 2020.
  • The percentage of children worldwide who have received three doses of the DTP vaccine declined by five percentage points between 2019 and 2021.
  • With just 8% coverage worldwide it’s the largest sustained decline in childhood vaccination.
  • Around 25 million children globally missed out on or more doses of the DTP vaccine in 2021 alone, which is two million more than those who left out in 2020 and six million more than in 2019.
  • Over 24 million children missed out on their first measles vaccine dose in 2021, over five million more than in 2019.
  • Compared with 2019, 6.7 million more children missed out on the third dose of the polio vaccine and 3.5 million missed the first dose of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects girls against cervical cancer later in life.
  • The coverage of vaccines dropped in every region whereas East Asia and the Pacific region recorded the steepest reversal:
    • Around 18 million of the 25 million children who did not receive a single DTP dose in 2021 belong to low- and middle-income countries, with India, Nigeria, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and the Philippines recording the highest numbers,
      Myanmar and Mozambique record the largest increase in the number of children who didn’t receive a single vaccine between 209 and 2021.
  • Annually, India vaccinates more than 30 million pregnant women and 27 million children through its universal immunisation programme.
  • India prevented further backslide by introducing catchup programs like Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0, which helped in reducing the number of children who had left the first dose from 3 million to 2.7 million in 2021, as compared to 2019 when 1.4 million children didn’t receive the first dose.
  • India effectively avoided a drop in coverage by the early restoration of routine immunisation services, along with evidence-based catch-up programmes, which enabled it to avoid a drop in routine immunisation coverage.
  • India also launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush 4.0 in February 2022 with the aim to immunize every pregnant woman and child who had missed their vaccination.

Forex Reserve:

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has undertaken measures to enhance forex inflows, amid Depreciation of Indian rupee.

  • The rupee has depreciated by 4.1 % against the US dollar during the current financial year (2022-23) so far amid the ongoing geopolitical tensions.
  • Indian Rupee has depreciated 4.1 % to 79.30 against the US dollar in the current financial year (FY 2022-23).
  • Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) have pulled out Rs 2.32 lakh crore in six months.
  • India’s forex reserves, over the last 9 months, have decreased by USD 50 billion to USD 593.3 billion.

Forex Reserve:

  • Foreign exchange reserves are assets held on reserve by a central bank in foreign currencies, which can include bonds, treasury bills and other government securities.
  • Most foreign exchange reserves are held in US dollars.
  • Components:
    • Foreign Currency Assets
    • Gold reserves
    • Special Drawing Rights
    • Reserve Tranche Position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

What Is Kill Switch?

The recent ‘Uber Files’ reveal that the company had deployed kill switches, purportedly to destroy sensitive data that could have been legitimately accessed by police and officials.

  • A kill switch is a mechanism used to shut down or disable a device or program.
  • In the manufacturing sector, they are deployed to terminate operations to arrest damage in assembly lines or save a worker’s life.
  • They serve a similar purpose in the digital world but instead of hardware, they are mostly software-based.
  • The purpose of a kill switch is usually to prevent theft of a machine or data or shut down machinery in an emergency.
  • Indian context:
    • There was rape in a moving vehicle by the Uber driver, after that case, there was a suspension on uber for two months.
    • Further regulatory authorities found many discrepancies around the company like,
      • VAT (value added tax) return violations.
      • Blocking access to data for Indian authorities.
      • No physical presence of operations and Indian operations are being ran from Netherlands headquarters.

Data Localization:

Many Indian start-ups have complained that the provision of the personal data protection Bill is too “compliance intensive” and could hamper the ease of doing business.

  • Data localisation is the practice of storing data on any device that is physically present within the borders of the country where the data is generated.
  • As of now, most of these data are stored, in a cloud, outside India.
  • The framework recommended data localisation and also gave a two-year sunset period for the industry to adjust before localization rules become mandatory.
  • The Srikrishna Committeewants to localise data for law enforcement to have easy access to data, prevent foreign surveillance, and build an artificial intelligence ecosystem in India.
  • As per the committee– At least one copy of personal data will need to be stored within India, any transfer outside the country will need to comply with the rules, and critical personal data will only be stored and processed in India.
  • China, United States, Brazil, Indonesia, EU (data protection regime) and Russia has such law

Forest Fires:

In France, Greece, Portugal and Spain, wildfire destroys thousands of hectares of land, forces thousands from their homes and kills several emergency personnel.

  • A wildfire is a major fire that breaks out unpredictably in combustible environments such as dry forests or bush and often burns uncontrollably over a large area and length of time.
  • A forest fire can be triggered by natural factors such as prolonged hot, dry weather or lightning strikes, or human carelessness.
  • Heatwaves have become more frequent, more intense, and last longer because of human-induced climate change.
  • The world has already warmed by about 1.1C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to carbon emissions.
  • As per the Global Forest Watch, forest fires in India have increased by 125% (between 2015 and 2017).
  • At a global level as well, the world is undergoing through wildfire crisis, with reports of wildfires in Siberia, the Amazon basin, Pantanal wetland (South America), Australia, and the rainforest of Indonesia.

Goods And Services Tax:

Customers will have to pay a 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on pre-packed, labelled food items such as atta, paneer and curd, besides hospital rooms with rents above ₹5,000, starting from 18 July 2022.

  • Hotel rooms with tariffs of up to ₹1,000 a day, maps and charts, including atlases, will attract a 12% GST, while cartons and fees charged by banks for the issue of cheques (loose or in book form) will attract 18%.
  • Tax rates on products such as printing, writing or drawing ink; knives with cutting blades, pencil sharpeners; LED lamps; and drawing instruments will be hiked to 18% on July 18, 2022, from 12% currently, to correct the inverted duty anomaly.
  • Solar water heaters will now attract a 12% GST from the 5% earlier.
  • The tax on services such as work contracts for roads, bridges, railways, metro facilities, effluent treatment plants and crematoriums will go up to 18% from the current 12%.
  • Renting of trucks and goods carriages where the cost of fuel is included will now attract a lower 12% rate as against 18%.

Farm Loan Waivers Scheme:

Only about half of the intended beneficiaries of farm loan waivers announced by nine States since 2014 have actually received debt write-offs, shows a study by State Bank of India researchers.

  • As of March 2022, the poorest implementation of farm loan waiver schemes in terms of proportion of eligible farmers who had received the announced benefits was in Telangana (5%), Madhya Pradesh (12%), Jharkhand (13%), Punjab (24%), Karnataka (38%) and Uttar Pradesh (52%).
  • By contrast, farm loan waivers implemented by Chhattisgarh in 2018 and Maharashtra in 2020 were received by 100% and 91% of the eligible farmers, respectively.
  • A similar waiver announced by Maharashtra in 2017 worth ₹34,000 crore for 67 lakh farmers has been implemented for 68% of beneficiaries, SBI researchers reckoned.
  • The SBI study was based on the outcomes of 10 farm loan write-offs worth about ₹2.53 lakh crore announced by nine States, starting with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in 2014.
  • The report identified rejection of farmers’ claims by State governments, limited or low fiscal space to meet promises, and change in governments in subsequent years, as the possible reasons for the low implementation rate of these loan waivers.

INS Sindhudhvaj:

The Navy’s Kilo class submarine INS Sindhudhvaj was decommissioned from service at Visakhapatnam after 35 years in service. With this, the Navy now has 15 conventional submarines in service.

  • She had many a firsts to her credit, including operationalisation of the indigenised sonar USHUS, indigenised satellite communication system Rukmani and MSS, inertial navigation system and indigenised torpedo fire control system, the Navy said.
  • Commissioned into the Navy in June 1987, Sindhudhvaj, was one of the 10 Kilo class submarines India acquired from Russia between 1986 and 2000. Of these, Sindhurakshak was lost in an accident in Mumbai harbour in August 2013, while Sindhuvir was transferred to Myanmar in 2020, making it the Southeast Asian nation’s first underwater platform.
  • The Navy’s sub-surface fleet now includes seven Russian Kilo class submarines, four German HDW submarines, four French Scorpene submarines and the indigenous nuclear ballistic missile submarine Arihant.
  • The last two of the Scorpene class submarines are in various stages of trials and outfitting.

First Indian To Enter Men’s Long Jump:

Murali Sreeshankar becomes first Indian to enter men’s long jump final at World Athletics Championships

  • In the World Athletics Championships, Murali Sreeshankar has become the first Indian to enter the men’s long jump final at Oregon, USA. He leapt 8 meter in the qualification round.
  • The 23-year-old from Kerala finished second in qualification round Group B and seventh overall.
  • The World Athletics Championships is a congregation of over 2000 athletes from 200 countries around the world.
  • The 10-day biennial event will come to conclusion on 24th of this month.
  • The championships are being held in the United States of America for the very first time at the Hayward Field Stadium at the University of Oregon.