Current Affairs (16th July 2021)
India’s neurological disease burden rising
- First comprehensive estimates of disease burden due to neurological disorders and their trends published in The Lancet Global Health.
- The findings have been published under the title of ‘The burden of neurological disorders across states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2019’.
- It is based on collaboration with leading neurology experts in India.
- The study aimed at increasing awareness about these disorders, early identification, cost-effective treatment, and rehabilitation.
- It provides policy-relevant insights into the trends of neurological disorders across the States.
- It presented a comprehensive perspective of the burden of neurological disorders over the last 30 years and systematically highlights the variations between the States.
- It has been released and published by the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative.
- Neurological disorders contributed 10 per cent of the total disease burden in India.
- High blood pressure, air pollution, dietary risks, high fasting plasma glucose and high body-mass index (BMI) were found to be the leading contributors among the known risk factors for neurological disorders burden.
- The burden of many neurological disorders varies substantially across the States.
- The contribution of non-communicable neurological disorders and injury-related neurological disorders to the total disease burden has more than doubled between 1990 and 2019, with Stroke alone causing 6,99,000 deaths in India in 2019 accounting for 7.4% of the total deaths in the country.
- The increasing neurological disorders’ burden could be mainly attributed to the ageing of the population apart from air pollution, dietary risks, and high body-mass index.
- While communicable diseases contributed to most of the total neurological disorders burden in children younger than five years, non-communicable neurological disorders were the highest contributor in all other age groups.
- Several government policies and initiatives are in place to address the burden of neurological disorders across India, however, more focused efforts are required for the planning of specific neurology services in each State.
- Prevention and early management which are key in reduction in neurological burden.
- There is a need to address the shortage of trained neurology workforce and strengthen early detection and cost-effective management of neurological disorders in the country to deal with their growing burden.
Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL)
- Garment exporters will continue to get a rebate on central and state taxes on their outward shipments as the government approved extension of RoSCTL scheme till March 2024.
- The move is aimed at enhancing competitiveness of the labour-intensive textiles sector.
- The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister has given its approval for continuation of Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) with the same rates as notified by the Ministry of Textiles for exports of apparel/garments and made ups.
- The scheme will continue till March 31, 2024. It will help boost exports and job creation.
- The sectors covered under this scheme (apparel/garments and made ups) would not get benefits under the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme.
- However, textiles products which are not covered under the RoSCTL would be eligible to avail the benefits, if any, under RoDTEP along with other products as finalised by the Department of Commerce.
- The scheme will be implemented by the Department of Revenue with end-to-end digitisation for issuance of transferrable Duty Credit Scrip, which will be maintained in an electronic ledger in the customs system.
New European Climate Law
- Recently, the European Commission has announced a plan called ‘Fit for 55 Package’for all its members against climate change.
- The deal aims to cut carbon emissions, achieve economic growth not tied to resource use and ensure no one is left behind.
- EU countries have set binding emission targets for key sectors of the economy to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- By 2017, the EU had reduced its emissions by almost 22% compared to 1990, reaching its 2020 emission reduction target three years ahead of schedule.
Fit for 55 Package:
- It will make the EU’s climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
- These measures are the EU’s roadmap to achieve its target to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.
- Its target is more aggressive than that of the United States, which committed to reducing emissions by 40% to 43% over the same period, but behind Britain, which pledged a 68% reduction.
- It includes a contentious plan called “Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism” which would impose tariffs on imported products based on the greenhouse gas emissions associated with them.
- The aim is to ease pressure on European producers that cut emissions but struggle to compete with importers that don’t have the same environmental restrictions.
The roadmap includes:
- It takes aim at transport, both personal and commercial, across the block.
- Cars with combustion engines, for example, would not be produced within the bloc from 2035.
- Financial incentives would be offered to countries that replace traditional fuel with a sustainable alternative in aviation and maritime transportation.
- Minimum tax rate for petrol and gasoline fuels would be increased by significant margins, as would tax on kerosene.
Challenges in implementation:
- Some member states are poorer than others, meaning the transition to Brussels’ goals are harder, while other member states have economies built on industries that by their nature produce more emissions.
- It will also be politically difficult, as member states are currently divided on many other pan-European issues — from rule of law to human rights — and will likely use this debate on climate change as a proxy for other ongoing rows.
- Experts say, although it is technologically and economically possible to implement these policies earlier, in this form, the Green Deal will not be enough to limit global warming to 1.5C.
- Even if the EU becomes carbon neutral, other developing countries will rapidly increase their emissions.
Sub-Categorization within OBCs
- The Union Cabinet has approved the Eleventh Extension of the term of the Commission constituted under Article 340 of the Constitution to examine the issue of Sub-categorization within Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the Central List by 6 months beyond 31st July 2021 and upto 31st January 2022.
- The proposed extension of tenure and addition in its terms of reference shall enable the “Commission” to submit a comprehensive report on the issue of sub-categorization of OBCs, after consultation with various stake holders.
- Setup: The Rohini Commission, set up in October 2017
- to examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and
- the equitable distribution of the benefits reserved for OBCs
Reason for extension:
- This extension came after the Supreme Court dismissed the central government’s review plea against the Court’s May 5th verdict that stated that the 102nd amendment to the Constitution takes away the states’ power to identify Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC) in the region.
102nd Constitutional Amendment:
- It gives constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.
- It also inserted Article 338B in the Constitution, which deals with the structure, duties, and powers of the commission, and
- Article 342A, which gives the President the power to notify a class as SEBC and the power of Parliament to alter the central SEBC list.
Subcategorization of OBC:
- OBCs are granted 27% reservation in jobs and education under the central government.
- In September last year, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reopened the legal debate on sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for reservations.
- The debate arises out of the perception that only a few affluent communities among the over 2,600 included in the Central List of OBCs have secured a major part of this 27% reservation.
Rohini Commission was constituted:
- At the time of its constitution, it was given 12 weeks to submit its report, but has been given several extensions since, the latest one being the 11th.
- The other member in the Commission is former journalist Jitendra Bajaj, director of the Centre for Policy Studies.
- Before the Rohini Commission was set up, the Centre had granted constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
MoU on Coking Coal
- The Union Cabinet has approved the MoU between the Ministry of Steel of India and the Ministry of Energy of the Russia on cooperation regarding coking Coal, which is used for Steel making.
- The MoU shall benefit the entire steel sector by reducing their input cost. This may lead to reduction in cost of steel in the country and promote equity and inclusiveness.
- The MoU will provide an institutional mechanism for co-operation in the coking coal sector between India and Russia.
- The objective of the MoU is to strengthen cooperation between Govt. of India and Govt of Russia in the steel sector.
- The activities involved in the cooperation are aimed at diversifying source of coking coal.