Important news topics from August 7, 2020, which are critical for UPSC CSE Examination

1. National Handloom Day

The Ministry of Textiles organised  national handlooms Day On the occasion of the 6th National Handloom Day on 7th August 2020.

  • The first National Handloom Day was celebrated in Chennai in 2015.
  • The date, 7th August, was chosen as the Swadeshi Movement was launched on the same date in the year 1905, which was based on the Gandhian ideology of Swadeshi.
  • On this day, the handloom weaving community is honoured and the contribution of this sector is highlighted.
  • Objectives
    • To generate awareness about the handloom industry amongst the public at large and its contribution to socio-economic development.
    • To protect India’s handloom heritage and to enable the handloom weavers and workers with greater opportunities.
    • To ensure sustainable development of the handloom sector thereby empowering handloom workers financially and instilling pride in their exquisite craftsmanship.
  • Significance
    • Handloom sector is a symbol of India’s glorious cultural heritage.
    • India’s soft power has long been endorsed by the handloom and handicraft space.
      • ‘Saree diplomacy’ and ‘Khadi diplomacy’ are some such examples.
    • The textiles and handloom sector in India is the second-largest source of employment to people, after agriculture.According to the Fourth All India Handloom Census 2019-20, 31.45 lakh households are engaged in handloom, weaving and allied activities.
    • It is an important source of livelihood in the country and a key to women empowerment as over 70% of handloom weavers and allied workers are women
  • Under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC) is organising a Virtual Fair, connecting more than 150 participants from different regions of the country showcasing their products with unique designs and skills.
  • Other events include the launching of a mobile app and backend website for Handloom Mark Scheme (HLM), the launching of My Handloom Portal, etc.

1.1 Handloom Export Promotion Council

  • It is a nodal agency constituted under the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
  • It was incorporated as a not-for-profit company under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956.
  • Aim: To promote the exports of all handloom products like fabrics, home furnishings, carpets, floor coverings, etc.

2. SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support)

  • It is a joint initiative of Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of External Affairs.
  • This is an initiative to conduct a skill mapping exercise of returning citizens under Vande Bharat Mission.
  • It aims to create a database of qualified citizens based on their skill sets and experience to tap into and fulfil demand of Indian and foreign companies.

 3. Skills Build Reignite (SBR) and Skills Build Innovation Camp (SBIC)

  • It is a partnership between Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and IBM
  • SBR seeks to provide job seekers and entrepreneurs, with access to free online coursework and mentoring support designed to help them reinvent their careers and businesses.
  • SBIC is 10-week program which supports 100 hours of structured learning to for gaining hands on project experience to enhance learning and building network and enhance employability.

4. RBI

4.1. Monetary Policy Report: RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the Monetary Policy Report for the month of August 2020.

  • Repo rate remains at 4% and the reverse repo rate at 3.35%.
  • RBI has kept the policy rates unchanged because of rising retail inflation levels.
  • RBI has allowed banks to restructure loans to reduce the rising stress on incomes and balance sheets of large corporates, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as individuals.
    • However, only those borrowers will be eligible for restructuring whose accounts were classified as standard and not in default for more than 30 days with any lending institution as on 1st March, 2020.
  • An additional special liquidity facility of Rs. 10,000 crore, equally to be split between National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and the National Housing Bank (NHB) to help small financiers and home loan companies amid Covid-19 difficulties.

4.2. Economic Measures Taken by RBI

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken various economic measures, which include revising Priority Sector Lending (PSL) norms, increasing Loan to Value ratio (LTV) on gold loans and introducing online dispute resolution mechanism for digital payments.

5. USA Opposes Cuba in UNHRC

The United States of America has urged United Nations members not to support Cuba’s bid to join the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for one of the regional vacancies for 2021-2023.

  • The USA has accused Cuba of “trafficking” its doctors under the guise of humanitarian missions.
    • Cuba’s sale of medical services is its main source of foreign exchange.
    • Cuba has a generally respected healthcare system with 90,000 medical workers for a population of 1.1 crore.
    • It has a high life expectancy (79.74 years in 2016) and a low infant mortality rate (around 4.76 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013).
    • It also sends its doctors abroad to tackle outbreaks, as it did during the Ebola epidemic of 2014-16 and Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The USA and Cuba relations have strained since the Cuban Revolution in 1959

5.1. India and Cuba

  • India shares close, warm and historical relations with Cuba and both countries are founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • India and Cuba agreed to collaborate in the areas of Biotechnology, Homeopathy and the traditional system of medicine during the visit of the President of India to Cuba in 2019.

6. SFTS Infection in China

Recently, deaths and infections have been reported due to the Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS) in East China’s Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.

  • SFTS is caused by the Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Virus (SFTSV) which belongs to the Bunyavirus family and is transmitted to humans through tick bites.
    • A tick called Asian Longhorned Tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) is believed to be the primary vector (carrier) of the virus.
    • The virus is often transmitted to humans from animals like goats, cattle, deer and sheep and regular contact with these animals makes farmers, hunters and pet owners vulnerable to the disease.
    • Despite being infected by the virus, animals generally do not show any symptoms associated with SFTSV.
  • The virus was first identified in China over a decade ago and the first few cases were reported in rural areas of Hubei and Henan provinces in 2009.
  • It is the interval between being infected and showing symptoms. For SFTS, the incubation period is anywhere between 7 and 13 days.
  • The disease usually spreads between March and November and the total number of infections generally peaks between April and July.
  • There is no vaccine to treat the disease yet. However, the antiviral drug Ribavirin is known to be effective in treating the illness.
    • Ribavirin is also used to treat Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) which is also transmitted by ticks.
  • Current Case Fatality Rate rests between approximately 16%-30%.
  • SFTS has been listed among the top 10 priority diseases blueprint by the World Health Organisation (WHO) due to its fast spreading rate and high fatality rate.

7. Abanindranath Tagore

The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi has organised a virtual tour titled “The Great Maestro – Abanindranath Tagore” to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Abanindranath Tagore.

  • Abanindranath Tagore took birth in Kolkata in 1871.