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News Analysis

  • 03 Apr 2019
  • 19 min read
Indian Economy

Automation and Job Market

Recently the International Labour Organization (ILO) released a report titled “Changing Business and Opportunities for Employer and Business Organizations" which dwells on automation and employability.

Findings

  • The report lists the percentage of work activities that can be automated using current technology.
    • Over 40% of activities can be automated across the world.
    • In the case of India, 51.8% of activities can be automated. Robotic automation is having the greatest impact, replacing low-skilled jobs and simple assembly tasks.
  • Automation will likely impact most jobs involving highly structured physical activity in predictable environments, such as manufacturing and retail, alongside data collection and processing.
  • Automation threatens to impact women more than men. This is primarily because automation threatens sectors like retail, business processing outsourcing and textiles/clothing/footwear. where women form a major part of the workforce.
  • The report suggests that 66% of Indian businesses are looking for quite a different set of skills among new recruits than they did three years ago. Even in the United States of America (61%), Brazil (70%) and Germany (65%) businesses are looking for quite different skills in new recruits
  • India has an unemployment crisis. Over and above that, India also has an employability crisis.
    • Even when firms have jobs on offer, they are unable to find candidates with the right skills who can take on these jobs.

Five global trends are shaping the way businesses across the world operate

  • Technological Innovation
    • Automation and digitisation is transforming how and where businesses operate, their workforces and skills requirements.
    • Technological innovations have the greatest overall impact on business. Technology is facilitating access to new markets, fostering opportunities for new digital business models, accelerating the development of new products and services, enabling new ways of working (such as virtual international teams and remote working), and expanding digital networks of suppliers and business partners.
  • Global Economic Integration
    • Global economic integration is increasing the harmonisation of corporate global governance, tax/regulatory and business environments. At the same time, businesses are increasingly exposed to the global economy, and political uncertainty.
    • Emerging economies, which were once mainly the suppliers of low-cost goods, unprocessed natural resources or simple services are becoming hubs for capital, innovation and talent.
  • Demographic and Generational Shifts
    • The shifting demographic dynamics and declining working-age population are expected to reshape the long-standing fundamentals of work, retirement and savings. Along with this, focus is also on how to take advantage of the youth dividend and its potential economic gains while managing pressures on labour markets and society.
    • The most significant change is the inclusion of women, who are entering employment at historic, record levels.
  • Climate change and sustainability
    • Companies are increasingly pressured to become sustainable by considering the triple bottom line: financial sustainability, social impact and environmental impact.
  • Global shortage of skilled labour
    • Shifts in knowledge, education and training often mean that the most suitably skilled employees are not found where jobs are located.
    • A lack of relevant skills for the world of work is already creating problems even at entry-level positions.
    • The majority of executives believe that matching the curriculum to the economy’s needs and business playing an active role in shaping educational systems to boost skills would provide the skilled employees need.

Way Forward

  • Firms across all regions are feeling an impact on all aspects of their business, from the strategic and operational to the organizational level, with the fastest-growing companies reporting heightened awareness.
  • As the pace of this change accelerates, policymakers, and businesses need to innovate, adjust and become more flexible in order to drive change and remain relevant in the rapidly changing business environment.
  • These improvements can only be achieved by adequately managing and investing in capable human capital, generating the skills and capacity to understand and respond to the business needs of today and the future.

Biodiversity & Environment

State Of Global Air Report 2019

  • The State Of Global Air Report 2019, produced by the Boston-based Health Effects Institute (HEI) has revealed that 1.2 million Indians died due to ailments triggered by air pollution in 2017.

Key Findings

  • Air pollution ranks fifth among global risk factors for mortality globally, exceeded only by behavioral and metabolic factors: poor diet, high blood pressure, tobacco exposure, and high blood sugar.
    • Globally, air pollution (PM 2.5, household and ozone emissions) is estimated to have contributed to about 4.9 million deaths — 8.7% of all deaths globally and 5.9% of all life years lost to disability, in 2017.
  • India and China have the highest health burden from air pollution, followed by Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nigeria.
  • In 2017, exposure to PM 2.5 pollution was found to be the third leading risk factor globally for Type 2 diabetes-related deaths and disability after high blood sugar and excessive body weight.
    • Globally, such exposure contributed to about 2.76 lakh deaths and 15.2 million life years lost to disability in 2017.
    • This burden was highest in India followed by China, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil.

India-Specific findings

  • Air pollution is now the third-highest cause of death among all health risks, ranking just above smoking, in India.
    • Over 1.2 million Indians died early due to exposure to unsafe air in 2017.
    • Out of the 1.2 annual premature deaths, 673,100 deaths were due to exposure to outdoor PM2.5, and more than 481,700 deaths were due to exposure to household air pollution in India.
  • About 60% of India’s population was exposed to household pollution in 2017. However, the report also recognises that the proportion of households cooking with solid fuels in India has dipped from 76% in 2005 to 60% (846 million) in 2017, due to a major government program of shifting households from solid fuels to liquefied petroleum gas.
  • Entire Indian population lives in areas with PM2.5 concentrations above the WHO Air Quality Guideline of 10 µg/m3, and only about 15 % of the population lives in areas with PM2.5 concentrations below the WHO’s least-stringent target of 35 µg/m3.
  • Exposure to PM2.5 pollution contributed to 55,000 deaths and 2.7 million life years lost from type 2 diabetes in 2017.
  • It can be noted that India has initiated major steps to address pollution sources: the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana Household LPG program, accelerated Bharat Stage VI vehicle standards, and the new National Clean Air Programme.
    • These and future initiatives have the potential, if fully implemented as part of a sustained commitment to air quality, to result in significant health benefits in coming years.

Type 2 Diabetes

  • It is a chronic condition that affects the way one’s body metabolizes sugar (glucose) — an important source of fuel for body.
  • With type 2 diabetes, one’s body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into cells — or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.
  • It causes symptoms including Increased thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger and Unintended weight loss etc.

PM 2.5

  • PM 2.5 is an atmospheric particulate matter of diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometres, which is around 3 per cent the diameter of a human hair.
  • It causes respiratory problems and also reduces visibility. It is an endocrine disruptor that can affect insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity, thus contributing to diabetes.
  • It can only be detected with the help of an electron microscope because of them being very small.

Health Effects Institute (HEI) 

  • It is a nonprofit corporation chartered in 1980 as an independent research organization to provide high-quality, impartial, and relevant science on the health effects of air pollution.
  • It is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

International Relations

President's Visit to Chile

  • Recently, the President of India completed his visit to the Republic of Chile.

India- Chile Relations

  • Chile is India’s window to Latin America and to the Pacific Alliance.
  • Chile is the fifth largest trading partner of India in the Latin American region.
  • India- Chile signed the Preferential Trade Agreement in 2017 to enhance the trade.
  • The bilateral trade is growing and stood at US$ 2.8 billion in 2017-18.
  • India and Chile are partners in the International Solar Alliance.
  • India- Chile signed three Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in the fields of -mining, culture, disability.
  • India- Chile commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Chile and India.

Chile

  • Chile is officially known as the Republic of Chile. Its capital is Santiago.
  • It is a South American country occupying a narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
  • It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the south.
  • The Atacama desert is one of the driest places in the world touches Chile in its northern side and is a source of sodium nitrate fertilizer.
    • It owes it aridity due to a constant temperature inversion of cool north-flowing Humboldt ocean current.
  • Chuquicamata is the World’s largest copper town of Chile.

Important Facts For Prelims

Important Facts For Prelims (3rd April 2019)

Danda Nata festival

  • It is a 21-day long seasonal folk dance festival that is celebrated in South Odisha.
  • It is celebrated in the month of 'Chaitra'.
  • Danda as the name implies, is self-inflicted pain, which the danduas (people who participate in the festival) undergo to pay their obeisance to the lord Kali. It is also a form of worshipping the lord Shiva and his consort Parvati.
  • The festival features midday summer dances in the dust and that in the ponds in the evening, besides midnight walk on fire by the ‘danduas’.
  • Households and localities also invite Danduas for performance in their areas.
  • The origin of the festival is generally traced to 8th and 9th AD after the decadence of Buddhism in Orissa.

Ramappa Temple

  • Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is situated in Palampet Village, around 67 km from the city of Warangal (Telangana).
  • Also famous as Ramalingeshwara Temple, it was built under the supervision of Chief Commander Recherla Rudra, during the reign of Ganapati Deva from Kakatiya dynasty in 1213 century AD.
    • Kakatiya Dynasty was the South Indian dynasty that ruled Andhra Pradesh in India from 1083 CE to 1323 CE.
  • The temple has its name after its sculptor, Ramappa.
  • It falls under the protection of the Kakatiya Heritage Trust (KHT), that has been pushing it for the World Heritage tag since 2012.
  • For the year 2019, it is the only nomination for the World Heritage Site selection process, from India.

UNESCO's World Heritage Sites

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
  • This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
  • The World Heritage Fund provides about US$4 million annually to support activities to preserve monuments that require international assistance.
    • The World Heritage Committee allocates funds according to the urgency of requests, priority being given to the most threatened sites.

WhatsApp’s Tipline

  • Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp, has launched a fact-checking Tipline for users in India ahead of elections in the country.
  • People in India, now can submit uncertain information or rumours they have received to the Checkpoint Tipline on WhatsApp +91-9643-000-888.
  • WhatsApp is working with India-based media skilling startup PROTO for the helpline.
  • When a WhatsApp user will share a suspicious message with the tipline, PROTO’s verification center will seek to respond and inform the user if the claim made in message shared is verified or not.
  • The center can review rumours in the form of pictures, video links or text and will cover four regional languages including Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam, other than English.

Ways and Means Advances

  • Recently the Reserve Bank of India has increased the limits for Ways and Means Advances (WMA) for the first half of financial year 2019-20.
  • It is a temporary loan facility provided by RBI to meet temporary mismatches in the receipts and payments of the central and state government.
  • It was introduced on April 1, 1997.This facility can be availed by the government if it needs immediate cash from the RBI.
  • The WMA is to be vacated after 90 days.
  • Interest rate for WMA is charged at the repo rate.
  • The limit for WMA are mutually decided by the RBI and the Government of India.

Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology

  • Recently, the scientists at the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) have come up with a way to inhibit the multiplication of bacteria even before the cell wall begins to grow.
  • They have discovered a new enzyme which helps in breaking cell walls of bacteria. The finding is significant for it offers a potential for a new drug delivery route to arrest the anti-bacterial resistance through existing antibiotic drugs.
  • Regular antibiotics target the machinery that creates the bacterial cell wall — a mesh-like structure that is made up of cross-linked sugars and peptides.
    • However, this experiment shows how to target cell-wall formation at the beginning itself, earlier than when the present set of antibiotics act.
  • With rapid rise of antibiotic resistance, researchers across the world are exploring new ways to target bacteria. In this context, the new findings can play a crucial role in fighting the battle against antibiotic resistance.

Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology

  • The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) is a premier research organization which conducts high quality basic research and training in frontier areas of modern biology, and promote centralized national facilities for new and modern techniques in the interdisciplinary areas of biology.
  • It was set up initially as a semi-autonomous Centre on April 1, 1977 with the Biochemistry Division of the then Regional Research Laboratory (presently, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, IICT) Hyderabad.
  • During 1981-82, the CCMB was accorded the status of a full-fledged national laboratory with its own Executive Committee and Scientific Advisory Council.
  • It is located in Hyderabad and operates under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
  • It is designated as "Center of Excellence" by the Global Molecular and Cell Biology Network, UNESCO.

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