The Hindu Newspaper Analysis for UPSC
- At least two persons have died of the H3N2 subtype of seasonal influenza, which has infected rising numbers of people since mid-December last year, the Health Ministry has confirmed. After a nationwide surveillance exercise, the Ministry said it had found at least 451 confirmed cases of H3N2 virus since the beginning of this year.
- H3N2 patients display symptoms similar to COVID-19: fever, cough, breathlessness, wheezing and pneumonia. The Health Ministry has advised social distancing and mask wearing to prevent the spread of the virus.
- “Young children and old age persons with co-morbidities are the most vulnerable,” the Ministry’s statement said.
WHAT IS H3N2 VIRUS?
- H3N2 virus is a type of influenza virus called the influenza A virus. It is a respiratory viral infection that causes illnesses every year. This subtype of influenza A virus was discovered in 1968 in humans.
- The virus derives from types of protein strains of the influenza A virus – hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA).
- HA has over 18 different subtypes, each numbered H1 to H18 while NA has 11 different subtypes, each numbered N1 to N11. The H3N2 is a combination of the two protein strains of the influenza A virus.
- An announcement about an “optimal pathway” for AUKUS — the security partnership between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom — is on the horizon, with implications for Australia’s plans to operate a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines within the next decade.
- Officials have even attempted to distinguish AUKUS from other groups such as the Quad (India, the U.S, Japan, Australia).
- Transferring Nuclear Submarines to Australia: As part of this initiative, Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines with help from the UK and the US.
- This step is significant because the US has only shared nuclear submarine technology once before, and it started in 1958 with Great Britain.
Five Eyes Alliance
- The Five Eyes alliance is an intelligence-sharing arrangement between five English-speaking democracies: the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
- The alliance was created during the Cold War (1946-1991) that was fought between the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as their respective allies.
- The alliance was needed to share sensitive information regarding their adversaries on all possible fronts available.
- Ministry of Finance has brought crypto trading, safekeeping and related financial services under the ambit of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
- Objective: It will give authorities greater power to monitor the transfer of virtual digital assets beyond the country’s borders
- Reporting Entity: Entities dealing in VDAs will now be considered ‘reporting entities’ under PMLA and subsequently have to maintain KYC details of their clients and beneficial owners
What are Virtual Digital Assets (VDA)?
- The term ‘virtual asset’ refers to any digital representation of value that can be digitally traded, transferred or used for payment.
- The notification says that the definition of ‘virtual assets’ would be the same as that in the Income-Tax Act, (it includes cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens as virtual assets)
What is Money Laundering?
- Money laundering is defined as the illegal process of converting money generated through criminal activities, such as drug trafficking or terrorist funding, to appear to have come from a legitimate source. The money from the criminal activity is considered ‘dirty’, and the laundering process makes it look clean.
About the Prevention of Money Laundering Act:
- It was enacted as a response to India’s global commitment (including the Vienna Convention) to curb the menace of money laundering.
- Objectives of the Act: PMLA was enacted in 2002 and it came into force in 2005, to curb money laundering (process of converting black money into white) and to provide for seizure of property derived from money-laundering.
- The downward slide in relations between the world’s two biggest powers fast appears to be reaching a point of no return.
- That was certainly the message from Beijing, where, during the on-going annual session of the National People’s Congress or Parliament, Chinese leaders took aim at Washington’s recent approach to ties.
- If the hope was to “responsibly manage” competition, as the two leaders put it at their G-20 Indonesia meet in November 2022, recent events do not inspire confidence. A scheduled visit early last month by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was cancelled after the sighting of a Chinese balloon over the U.S. Washington saw the “spy balloon” as a grave provocation on the eve of a visit aimed to restart engagement.
- India and the United States on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will pave the way for creating a semiconductor sub-committee under the Commercial Dialogue between the U.S. Department of Commerce and India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Ministry of Commerce.
- Goyal said the key features of the Commercial Dialogue included creating “reliable supply chains, diversifying and friend-shoring [sourcing of material from countries with similar social and political values], facilitating climate and clean technology cooperation, inclusive digital growth, talent development, post-pandemic economic recovery, and a focus on cooperation”.
Indian Government steps:
- 2021: 10 billion dollar production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to encourage semiconductor and display manufacturing in the country.
- Fiscal support for a design-linked initiative (DLI) scheme to drive global and domestic investment related to design software, IP rights etc.
- Modifications in “Programme for Development of Semiconductors and Display Manufacturing Ecosystem in India:The Union Cabinet has approved a uniform incentive of 50% of the project cost for setting up semiconductor, display and compound semiconductor fabrication units.
- India Semiconductor Mission (ISM)”will be set up
- Scheme for setting up of Compound Semiconductors facilities
- Vedanta and Taiwanese chipmaker Foxconn will set up a ₹1,54,000 crore semiconductor plant in Gujarat.
- Industrial output grew 5.2% in January, accelerating from the 4.7% increase in December on the back of a double-digit surge in electricity generation for the third successive month. However, manufacturing output growth remained tepid at 3.7%.
- High inflation, rising interest rates, weak external demand and waning domestic pent-up demand pose downside risks for the momentum in industrial activity going forward, noted CARE Ratings chief economist Rajani Sinha.
- Pent-up demand refers to a situation where demand for a service or product is unusually strong. Economists generally use the term to describe the general public’s return to consumerism following a period of decreased spending.
Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
- It is a composite indicator that measures the growth rate of industry groups classified under:
- Broad sectors, namely, Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity.
- Use-based sectors, namely Basic Goods, Capital Goods, and Intermediate Goods.
- In India, the first official attempt to compute the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) was made much earlier than the first recommendation on the subject came at the international level.
- With the inception of the Central Statistical Organization (now known as the National Statistics Office (NSO)) in 1951, the responsibility for compilation and publication of IIP was vested with it.
- Ministry: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
- Base year: 2011-2012