GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

India To Top Global Remittances Chart With $65 Billion In 2017: World Bank.

Background-

  • India is expected to retain its position as the top remittances receiving country, with its diaspora set to pump in a whopping USD 65 billion in the year 2017, the World Bank said on 4th October, 2017.
  • Ahead of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, a report issued by the global lender said that remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 3.9 per cent to USD 596 billion.
  • After India the other top five remittances receiving countries are China (USD 61 billion), the Philippines (USD 33 billion), Mexico (USD 31 billion), and Nigeria (USD 22 billion).

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • However, as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017, the top five recipients are smaller countries- the Kyrgyz Republic, Haiti, Tajikistan, Nepal, and Liberia.
  • Remittances growth to the South Asia region, the bank said will be moderate at 1.1 per cent to USD 112 billion this year (2017), due to continuing impact of lower oil prices and ‘nationalisation’ polices leading to constrained labor market conditions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
  • Remittances to India, the worlds largest remittance recipient, will grow by 4.2 per cent in 2017 to USD 65 billion, following a decline of nine per cent in 2016.
  • India, in 2016, received remittances amounting to USD 62.7 billion.
  • Flows to Pakistan are expected to remain flat this year, while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal will see a decline.
  • Remittances to the region will grow by a weak 2.6 per cent to USD 114 billion in 2018, the bank said. India’s remittances in 2018 is expected to grow at 2.5 per cent.
  • According to the bank, the economic  slowdown in the GCC has adversely impacted migrant worker flows from the South Asia Region.
  • For Pakistan, registered migrant workers in Saudi Arabia dropped from 522,750 in 2015 to 462,598 in 2016; those in the United Arab Emirates fell from 326,986 in 2015 to 295,647 in 2016.
  • With only 89,624 registered for Saudi Arabia up to July 2017, a steep fall in Pakistani migration to that country is anticipated.
  • The number of Indian workers emigrating to Saudi Arabia dropped from 306,000 in 2015 to 162,000 in 2016; those going to the United Arab Emirates decreased from 225,000 in 2015 to 159,000 in 2016.
  • Total Indian worker outflows fell from 781,000 in 2015 to 506,000 in 2016, the bank said.
  • Bangladesh on the other hand bucked the trend somewhat given earlier Saudi plans for recruitment of 400,000 workers (half of them female) from Bangladesh.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper II- Governance, Social Justice.

Karnataka Launches ‘MathruPurna’ Scheme To Feed 12 Lakh Pregnant Women.

Background

  • Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on 2nd October, 2017 launched the ‘Mathru Purna’ scheme, which aims to provide nutritious meals to about 12 lakh pregnant women and lactating mothers in the state.
  • The scheme aims at reducing under-nutrition among women and children, the chief minister said while announcing the launch.
  • Besides nutritional supplements, counselling and other maternity benefits will also be provided at the Anganwadi centres under the scheme.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • A provision of Rs 302 crore has been made by the state government during the 2017–18 financial year for the implementation of the scheme in all the 30 districts of Karnataka.
  • One hot cooked meal consisting of rice, dal with leafy vegetables/sambar, a boiled egg/sprouted legumes along with 200 ml of milk would be provided to women for 25 days a month, according to an official release.
  • Despite the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (of the Ministry of Women and Child Development), the improvement in the maternal and child health indicators of Karnataka has been slow compared to the rest of the South Indian states, the statement said, giving the reason to launch the ‘Mathru Purna’ scheme.
  • The scheme aims to bridge the gap between the recommended dietary allowance and the average daily intake of pregnant women and lactating mothers in the state while trying to reduce the prevalence of anaemia among the pregnant women.
  • Anganwadi workers would also benefit from the scheme, according to the statement. But the implementation of the scheme had many challenges, said S Varalakshmi, President of the Karnataka State Anganwadi Workers’ Association.
  • In a lot of Anganwadi centres, they are very short-staffed, with just one worker and a helper. It makes it very hard for such centres to cook these meals and provide, Varalakshmi told.
  • Walking all the way to the Anganwadi centre was not very convenient for many pregnant women in many regions of the state, she added.

Sources- Yourstory.

 

GS Paper III- Technology.

Blockchain Tech-Based Smartphone BitVault Unveiled By Gurugram Based VVDN In Partnership With Ireland’s Embedded Downloads.

Background

  • Gurugram-based VVDN, in partnership with Ireland’s Embedded Downloads, unveiled blockchain technology-based smartphone BitVault for ₹ 75,000 a unit.
  • This is the world’s first blockchain technology-based smartphone.
  • The phone uses the Android user interface in it but the core operating system has been developed by VVDN Technologies in India in the last 1.5 years. It will be priced around $1,200 or ₹75,000 at the time of launch.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The phone does not support Google Play Store and has developed its own mobile application. VVDN Technologies co-founder and VP for engineering, Vivek Bansal said that their main focus is secured communication.
  • They will initially focus on enterprise customers, defence and police for sale of this product. They are also in talks with ITI Limited to incorporate it in their army communication project, Mr. Bansal said.
  • The phone supports 4G VoLTE and comes with 2 GHz octacore processor of Qualcomm, 13 megapixel main camera, 8 mp front camera, 4GB RAM and 64 GB external storage.
  • The phone does not support external memory storage and data from the phone can be transferred to a computer only through its app for personal computers.

Sources- The Hindu.