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Current Affairs – 17 February 2021

Current Affairs (17th February 2021)

LEGEND OF RAJA SUHELDEV

CONTEXT:

  • Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the statue of Raja Suheldev in Bahraich district of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, maintaining that history of India, written by those who enslaved us, has not been just to martyrs like him.
  • He also laid the foundation stone for tourism-oriented development works at Chitaura Jheel.

ABOUT:

  • It is not for the first time that the ruling party has made attempts to reach out to the Rajbhar or “Bhar Rajput” community of Eastern Uttar Pradesh through the legacy of Raja Suheldev and his success in the Battle of Bahraich.
  • The ruling party has many reasons behind presenting Suheldev as a “saviour of Hindu religion”. The OBC Rajbhar community makes up about 18 per cent of the state’s vote share with prominent influence in over 60 Assembly constituencies of Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Suheldev

  • The legend goes that that over a millennia back when invaders were conquering one region after another in India, it was Raja Suheldev of Shravasti who gathered heads of different communities likes Tharu and Banjara as well as small kings to block the invasion.
  • It is said that it was his army which defeated and killed Ghazi SalarMasud, the nephew of Mahmud of Gazni at Bahraich. In local folklore, Suheldev is said to be a Rajbhar.
  • His details have been taken from Mirat-i-Masudior Mirror of Masud, a Persian hagiography written by Abdur Rahman Chishti in the 1620s.

 

ROAD ACCIDENTS

CONTEXT:

  • The World Bank Report titled “Traffic Crash Injuries And Disabilities: The Burden on India Society” has been released by the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

ABOUT:

  • The Report has been prepared in collaboration with the NGO-Save Life Foundation.
  • Survey data was collected from four Indian states i.e. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

FINDINGS:

  • Road Crash Fatality Rate is three times higher in low-income countries compared to high-income countries.
  • Road accidents and related deaths in India accounts for 11% of the global death in road accidents, the highest in the world, with only 1 per cent of the world’s vehicles.
  • India’s road accident is more “dangerous than Covid-19 pandemic”.
  • India accounts for about 5 lakh road crashes per annum, in which 1.5 lakh people die.
  • Estimated economic loss is 3.14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), indicating underreporting phenomenon in the country.
  • The 2019 World Bank report, titled ‘Guide for Road Safety Opportunities and Challenges: Low- and Middle-Income Countries Country Profiles’, puts the road crash and serious injury cost estimate at 7.5 per cent of India’s GDP or Rs 12.9 lakh crore for 2016.
  • It is more than twice the figure cited by the government at 3 per cent of GDP or Rs 4.3 lakh crore.

MoRTH Estimates

  • Socio-economic cost of Road Crashes is equivalent to 0.77% of the GDP.
  • 2% of people who are killed in road crashes are in their prime working-age, 18-45 years.

Impact:

  • The income decrease for low-income rural households (56%) was the most severe compared to low-income urban (29.5%) and high-income rural households (39.5%)
  • About 50% of women were severely affected by the decline in their household income after a road accident.
  • About 40% of women reported a change in their working patterns post-accident, while around 11% reported taking up extra work to deal with the financial crisis.
  • Impose a severe financial burden and push entire (non-poor) households into poverty and the already poor into debt.
  • Depletion of nearly seven months’ household income in poor families,and pushes the kin of victims in a cycle of poverty and debt.

Steps taken:

  • UN Global Road Safety Week is celebrated every two years.
  • Decade for Road Safety (2011-2020) designated by United Nations
  • International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) is a registered charity dedicated to saving lives through safer roads.
  • Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety (2015):India is a signatory.
  • Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019: hikes the penalties for traffic violations, defective vehicles, juvenile driving, etc

 

Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)

CONTEXT:

  • Recently, Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has been released by Transparency International in which India rank has slipped six places to 86th among 180 countries.
  • CPI 2020 paints a grim picture of the state of corruption worldwide. While most countries have made little to no progress in tackling corruption in nearly a decade, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of just 43.
  • Moreover, corruption not only undermines the global health response to Cover-19 but contributes to a continuing crisis of democracy.

ABOUT:

  • India was ranked 80th out of 180 countries in 2019.
  • In 2020, India’s score is 40 (41 in 2019).
  • India experienced slow progress in anti-corruption efforts, with several government commitments to reform not yet materialising effectively.

GLOBAL PERFORMERS:

  • Top countriesDenmark and New Zealand, with scores of 88, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland, with scores of 85 each.
  • Poor Performers: South Sudan and Somalia are the bottom Countries with scores of 12 each, followed by Syria (14), Yemen (15) and Venezuela (15).

  • Regional Specific: Highest scoring region is Western Europe and the European Union with an average score of 66. Lowest scoring regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (36).

INDEX:

  • Ranks 180 countries and territories by the perceived level of public sector corruption according to experts and business people
  • Uses a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean)

 

NgoziOkonjo-Iweala

CONTEXT:

  • She has been appointed the new chief of the World Trade Organization (WTO), becoming the first woman to ever lead the institution and the first African citizen to take on the role.

Roles and functions of Director General (DG) of WTO:

  • Officer of the WTO responsible for supervising and directing the organization’s administrative operations.
  • Has little power over matters of policy – the role is primarily advisory and managerial.
  • Supervises the WTO secretariat of about 700 staff and is appointed by WTO members for a term of four years.

 

Sandes

CONTEXT:

  • The National Informatics Centre has launched an instant messaging platform called Sandeson the lines of WhatsApp.
  • The new NIC platform can be used for all kinds of communications by anyone with a mobile number or email id.

Why has NIC launched this instant messaging platform?

  • Following the nationwide lockdown imposed in March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19, the government felt the need to build a platform to ensure secure communication between its employees as they worked from home.
  • After security scares, the Ministry of Home Affairs had in April 2020 issued an advisory to all government employees to avoid using platforms like Zoom for official communication.
  • This was after the Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) had also posted an advisory against Zoom over safety and privacy concerns.
  • In August 2020, the NIC released the first version of the app, which said that the app could be used by both central and state government officials “for intra and inter-organisation communication.”
  • The app was initially launched for Android users and then the service was extended to iOS users.
  • The launch of the app is also a part of the government strategy to push for use of India-made software so as to build an ecosystem of indigenously developed products.
  • It has now been released for the common public as well.

What is different in the new app?

  • Sandes has an interface similar to many other apps currently available in the market.
  • Although there is no option to transfer the chat history between two platforms, the chats on government instant messaging systems or GIMS can be backed up to a users’ email.
  • GIMS, like other instant messaging apps in the market, uses a valid mobile number or email id to register the user for the first time.
  • Offers features such as group making, broadcast message, message forwarding and emojis.
  • As an additional safety feature, it allows a user to mark a message as confidential, which, the app’s description says, will allow the recipient to be made aware the message should not be shared with others.
  • The confidential tag, however, does not change the way the message is sent from one user to another.

Limitation

  • App does not allow the user to change their email id or registered phone number.
  • The user will have to re-register as a new user in case they wish to change their registered email id or phone number on the app.

 

Leatherback

ABOUT:

  • Proposals for tourism and port development in the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands have conservationists worried over the fate of some of the most important nesting populations of the Giant Leatherback turtle in this part of the Indian Ocean.

GIANT LEATHERBACK TURTLE:

  1. The largest of the seven species of sea turtles on the planet and also the most long-ranging, Leatherbacks are found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic.
  2. Within the Indian Ocean, they nest only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  3. Listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  4. Surveys conducted in the A&N Islands over the past three decades have shown that the populations here could be among the most important colonies of the Leatherback globally.
  5. There is concern now, however, that at least three key nesting beaches — two on Little Andaman Island and one on Great Nicobar Island — are under threat due to mega “development” plans announced in recent months.
  6. These include NITI Aayog’s ambitious tourism vision for Little Andaman and the proposal for a mega-shipment port at Galathea Bay on Great Nicobar Island.

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