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Current Affairs - 16 June 2018

General Affairs 

PM Modi Convenes High-Level Meeting On Security Situation In Kashmir
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is chairing a high-level meeting on the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir in which a decision on extending the ceasefire could be taken, officials said.

    The meeting is being attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, and senior officials of intelligence and security agencies, they said.

    The meeting is crucial as a call on extending the unilateral ceasefire post Ramzan, which ends today, can be taken during it, they said.

    It is expected that the issue of security for Amarnath Yatra, starting June 28, and killings of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari and Army jawan Aurangzeb is also on the agenda, they said.

    The fate of the Centre's one-month-old policy of suspension of operations against militants in Jammu and Kashmir hangs in the balance, with a few security agencies flagging its disadvantages, including regrouping of militants, and some in the Home Ministry being in favour of extending it with a rider that intelligence-based operations should be increased, officials had said.

    The valley has witnessed the killings of over 55 militants and the deaths of 27 locals this year.

    The situation in Kashmir is considered to be turbulent as nearly 80 incidents of violence occurred there in the last four months. Civilians were often seen thronging to encounter sites to stage protests with the intention of giving the militants an opportunity to escape.

Leaked UN Report Warns Of Rising Global Temperature, Catastrophic Impacts
  • Earth's temperature will cross the threshold of 1.5 degree Celsius, if urgent actions are not taken to curb global warming. The leaked final draft report of UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned, "if emissions continue at their present rate, human induced warming will exceed 1.5 degree by around 2040." 

    The report says that countries can keep the temperature below 1.5 degree rise only with "rapid and far reaching" transitions to clean energy. The limit of 1.5 degree celsius is considered as a "safe limit" by scientists to deal with the effects, however many low-lying countries are battling for their survival even at less than 1 degree of average global warming. The report - which is main scientific guide for combating climate change - was submitted to United Nations on 4th June to invite comments from governments and it was scheduled to be published this October. 

    The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degree celsius is significant as it elaborates on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degree celsius above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The report does that "in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty, to governments."

    The rising temperature of the planet manifests not only in extreme and erratic weather conditions like incessant rain, drought and frequent floods but also causes sea level to rise. Experts say this warning is especially important for a fast-growing economy such as India, which has a large population dependent on climate sensitive sectors and coastal economy. 

    "Climate impacts continue to throw the economies out of gear and destroy people's home and occupations. Developing countries are now facing the new challenge of global warming on top of their efforts of poverty eradication. In the wake of climate change, India has a triple challenge of greening its economy, taking a large section out of poverty and keeping them safe from climate impacts" says Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia.

    The transition to clean energy remains fundamental to reduce heat-trapping gases alongside increasing the green cover to slow global warming. Besides, the government needs to invest money and effort to climate-proof its infrastructure, economy as well as protect its people from the increasing disasters. 

    Rich countries on the other hand have been dragging their feet in increasing their emission reduction targets in line with their contribution to the problem of global warming. Instead of drastically cutting down their emissions, as also the new IPCC report demands, they are busy promoting high-end "negative emission" technologies such as removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it on land, underground or in the oceans.

    Teresa Anderson, Climate Policy Officer for ActionAid International says, "The IPCC report must serve as a global fire alarm, to wake up sleepwalking governments. The report is clear that we can't rely on dubious fantasy technologies to fix the problem at some point in the future. 

    "In particular, we need to see wealthy, polluting, industrialised countries that have contributed the most to the climate problem using their wealth to rapidly accelerate the global transition to greener economies. We can do it, if we really want to," says Ms Anderson.

    In 2015, almost 200 nations signed a climate pact known as 'Paris Agreement' to take steps to reduce carbon emissions and protect people from the impacts. India has also committed to build capacity of generating 175 GW clean energy by 2022 and increase its forest cover. 

    However, the US under the Trump administration announced withdrawal from Paris deal and since then has declined to meet its obligation of providing any finance to developing countries. Although, other nations continue to frame implementation guidelines or "Paris Rulebook" to be finalised at the end of year in Poland.

    "The good news is that the 1.5 degree celsius goal is still within reach, if governments take the challenge much more seriously, and scale up action in line with what is required," Ms Anderson hopes.

PM Modi To Interact With Farmers Across India Over Video Call On June 20
  • Continuing his drive to directly connect with the beneficiaries of his government's pet schemes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said he will on June 20 speak to farmers on issues concerning them and the agriculture sector.

    Beginning with an interaction over video call with some of the 4 crore women who got free cooking gas (LPG) connections under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, PM Modi has interacted with beneficiaries of health scheme and start-up programme.

    Today, he interacted with beneficiaries of the various Digital India efforts.

    During this interaction, PM Modi said he would be speaking to farmers on June 20 on developments and advancements in the agriculture sector.

    He asked the three lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs), which act as access points for digital delivery of services, to become a platform for the upcoming interaction.

    "On 20th (June 20) at 9:30 am, I will be talking to farmers. On that day in your CSC centres...can you host them? I will talk to those farmers. Your CSCs will become so powerful (agents of delivery)...that PM of the country will talk directly to villages, via the three lakh CSCs," he said.

    Typically, during these interactions, the prime minister makes an opening statement about the subject or the scheme, after which beneficiaries gathered at different centres across the country narrate their experiences.

    To liven up the interaction, he tries to address the participants in their local language, like he did with those from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu at today's session.

"Aspire To Achieve Trillion Dollar Economy By 2025": Devendra Fadnavis
  • The Maharashtra government aspires to make the state the first trillion-dollar economy by 2025, five years early, by investing in infrastructure, agriculture and services and by leveraging foreign investments in various sectors, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said.

    Maharashtra's economy at present is USD 400 billion and at the current growth rate it is destined to become trillion-dollar economy by 2030.

    "We want (Maharashtra) to become a trillion-dollar economy by 2025," Mr Fadnavis told a Washington audience at an event organised jointly by India Initiative of the Georgetown University and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

    Mr Fadnavis gave a detailed presentation of the achievements of the state government over the last nearly four years, including efforts to achieve the goal of a drought-free state, massive investment in the infrastructure sector, including transportation and marching ahead in the new technology sector like artificial intelligence.

    "We are trying to grab those opportunities," he said.

    Ahead of the assembly elections in 2019, Mr Fadnavis said he would come out with a new vision document for the state. The promises made in the last vision document are in implementation phase and most of them are likely to be completed in the next few years, he added.

    In recognition of his remarkable accomplishments, the India Initiative of the Georgetown University presented Mr Fadnavis with its inaugural Outstanding Leadership In Development at the Sub-National Level, which he dedicated to the people of Maharashtra.

    "I dedicate this award to the people of Maharashtra who put all their faith in me and my party and gave me this opportunity to govern the second largest state of India, which is also powerhouse of India," he stated.

    In his remarks, Mr Fadnavis said that in just three years, 11,000 villages of the state have been made drought-proof. The goal is to increase the number of such villages to 16,000 by end of this year.

    "The result is, those villages which required water supply by tankers for six months in a year are now tanker free," he said adding that as a result, the entire economy is changing.

    The chief minister also spoke on Mumbai infrastructure projects, Nagpur-Mumbai Maharashtra Samruddhi corridor, which will create logistics and Agro processing hubs in 24 districts and many other initiatives like war room for coordinating all the projects.

    "Our key to growth is infrastructure-led development," he said. He also visited the World Bank headquarters yesterday to meet its CEO, Kristalina Georgieva. In their meeting, the World bank assured the chief Minister of more support for the rural solar grid and drought mitigation.

    During the meeting, he sought assistance for MMR Multimodal Transport Corridor and Rural Livelihood Project to provide sustainable livelihood enhancements in 10,000 villages of Maharashtra.

    Mr Fadnavis also met the Co-Chairs of the India Caucus - George Holding and Tulsi Gabbard -- in the US Congress.

    Earlier, the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) kicked off the Chief Minister's roadshow with US investors at a roundtable in New York City, and hosted him the next day at an event with member companies in Washington.

    During the road shows, the chief minister reiterated his goals to make Maharashtra the first trillion-dollar economy across India. "We have focused on building infrastructure, which has subsequently opened up lot of opportunities for international investors in the state," he said.

    With an emphasis on further development of Mumbai and other townships, Mr Fadnavis said his government has supported private-public partnerships to promote this growth. He insisted that his state's objective of job growth, along with economic development, will be fulfilled through investments across sectors.

    USISPF President Mukesh Aghi said Maharashtra is growing at a rapid pace and the state is the first choice for many of the US companies that manufacture in India.

Stephen Hawking's Voice To Be Beamed Into Space During Memorial
  • A message from late British astrophysics giant Stephen Hawking will be beamed towards the nearest black hole as his remains are laid to rest in London's Westminster Abbey on Friday.
    As the ashes of the British theoretical physicist are interred, a specially-written composition featuring his famous synthesised voice will be beamed into space by the European Space Agency.

    "This is a beautiful and symbolic gesture that creates a link between our father's presence on this planet, his wish to go into space and his explorations of the universe in his mind," said his daughter Lucy Hawking.
    The wheelchair-bound professor, who dedicated his life's work to unravelling the mysteries of the universe and fought to overcome his disability, will be buried by the graves of fellow science greats Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

    "The broadcast will be beamed towards the nearest black hole, 1A 0620-00, which lives in a binary system with a fairly ordinary orange dwarf star," Hawking's daughter said.

    "It is a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet."

    Time-travellers welcome

    Hawking, who captured the imagination of millions around the world, died on March 14 at the age of 76.

    Propelled to stardom by his 1988 book "A Brief History of Time", an unlikely worldwide bestseller, Hawking's genius and wit won over fans from far beyond the rarefied world of astrophysics.

    His death triggered a flood of tributes from Queen Elizabeth II to NASA, reflecting his impact as a scientist but also a beacon of hope for people affected by motor neurone disease.

    The British government announced on Monday that exceptional students in mathematics and physics can compete for research fellowships in Hawking's honour.

    Friday's service attended by family, friends and colleagues will celebrate not only his achievements as a scientist, but also his character and endurance living with a devastating illness.

    "We are so grateful to Westminster Abbey for offering us the privilege of a service of thanksgiving for the extraordinary life of our father and for giving him such a distinguished final resting place," said his children Lucy, Robert and Tim.

    Around 1,000 members of the public drawn from more than 100 countries were due to attend the service, following an online ballot in which 25,000 applied for tickets.

    Applicants needed to give their birth date -- but eagle-eyed fans spotted that it could be any day up to December 31, 2038, opening the door to time-travelling guests from the future.

     'He inspired me' 

    Three young people who use electronic communication devices to speak, just as Hawking did, will also be among the guests.

    "He has inspired me to be the best that I can be and not let anything, including my disability, hold me back," said Jason Felce, 20, who controls his equipment with eye movement.

    Drama student Rose Brown, 20, was hit by a drink-driver in 2009.

    "I am going to be an actress. Everybody who puts their mind to something gets to be it. Stephen Hawking proves this more than anyone," she said.

    Guests will be welcomed by volunteers from the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony, in which Hawking starred.

    The track being beamed into space will feature Hawking's voice set to music and has been written by Greek composer Vangelis.

    British astronaut Tim Peake, astronomer royal Martin Rees, and actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Hawking in a television film and narrated his documentaries, will deliver addresses.

    Westminster Abbey will also be open to the public free of charge after the service so people can pay their respects at his grave.

Business Affairs

TCS board approves buyback of 7.61 crore equity shares for Rs 16,000 crore at Rs 2,100 per share
  • The Board of Directors of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) approved the proposal for buyback of equity shares of the company on Friday. This share buyback scheme will see 7,61,90,476 equity shares of TCS being bought back by the company for Rs 16,000 crores at Rs 2,100 per equity share. TCS has proposed to buy back its equity shares under the tender offer route.

    "The buyback is proposed to be made from the shareholders of the Company on a proportionate basis under the tender offer route using the stock exchange mechanism in accordance with the provisions contained in the SEBI (Buy Back of Securities) Regulations, 1998 (hereinafter referred to as the "Buyback Regulations") and the Companies Act, 2013 and rules made thereunder," TCS said in a regulatory filing following the Board meeting.

    The sanctioned amount of Rs 16,000 crore does not include any expenses incurred or to be incurred for the buyback like filing fees, advisory fees, public announcement publication expenses, printing and dispatch expenses, and other incidental and related expenses, the company further added.

    Tata Sons and promoters of TCS, who hold 71.92 per cent stake in the company, stand to make big gains from the share buyback. Last year in May, TCS had undertaken a Rs 16,000-crore buyback offer entailing around 5.6 crore equity shares at a price of 2,850 per scrip.

    Share buybacks have been around for quite some time now. It means re-purchase of shares by a company to reduce the number of shares trading in the market. Market experts believe that it usually shows the confidence of promoters in the future of the company.

    Companies go for share buybacks due to a number of reasons. Usually, companies opt for share buybacks when they have excess cash on their hands which they wish to give out to shareholders. A share buyback could also be undertaken in cases where companies want to reward investors, increase promoter holding, reduce public float and check the falling stock price, reduce volatility and build investor confidence.

    Companies usually opt for either the tender offer or open market purchase for share buybacks. In tender offer, the company makes an offer to buy a certain number of shares at a specific price directly from shareholders. Share buyback ensures all shareholders are treated equally, however small they are.

    In open market purchase, the company decides to acquire a certain number of shares. It fixes a price cap and can buy for any price up to that. Most companies prefer the open market route. The biggest difference between the two -tender offer and open market purchase- is that the price in the tender route is fixed.

    Following the announcement, the TCS share was trading at Rs 1,841.45 on BSE by the end of the day, up by 49.20 points or 2.75 per cent.

Public sector banks write-off bad loans worth Rs 1.2 lakh crore in 2017-18
  • Leaving no doubt that India's public sector banks are in a big mess, an official data claims these struggling PSBs collectively wrote-off bad loans worth Rs 1.2-lakh crore in 2017-18 alone. In a double whammy to the PSBs, this was the same year when they posted losses of over Rs 85,370 crore. As per the data, this has happened for the first time in a decade that PSBs wrote-off loans worth over Rs 1 lakh crore. The overall write-offs have jumped four-times in the past five years. The NPA write-offs for 2017-18 alone stand at around 13 per cent of total non-performing assets in the banking sector.

    As many as 21 state-owned banks made a combined profit of Rs 473.72 crore in 2016-17 and wrote-off NPAs worth Rs 81, 683 crore the same year. In 2015-16, the PSBs wrote-off NPAs worth Rs 57,585 crore; Rs 49,018 crore in 2014-15; and Rs 34,409 crore in 2013-14.

    Of the total NPA write-offs in 2017-18, India's biggest public sector bank SBI alone wrote-off around 25 per cent of the total bad loans at Rs 40,196 crore. Other public sector lenders following the State Bank of India included Canara Bank (Rs 8,310 crore), Punjab National Bank (Rs 7,407 crore) and Bank of Baroda (Rs 4,948 crore), a PTI report said.

    Among 11 banks of the total 21 PSBs that have been put under the Prompt Corrective Action framework of the Reserve Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank wrote-off NPAs worth Rs 10,307 crore, followed by Bank of India (Rs 9,093 crore), IDBI Bank (Rs 6,632 crore) and Allahabad Bank (Rs 3,648 crore).

    Write-off in banking parlance means the bank provided full provision from its earnings against the non-performing asset. NPAs not only cause huge losses to banks but also affect their balance sheets and overall capacity to invest in companies.

    Interestingly, 2017-18 was the year when many PSBs reported banking frauds worth thousands of crores of rupees. Prominent among those is Rs 14,000-crore fraud at Punjab National Bank's Brady House branch in Mumbai, which involved diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

    To address the biggest issue ailing the banking sector, the government is planning to bring in stringent norms, including the idea of a 'bad bank' which can provide a parallel and robust mechanism along with Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. On May 8, Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said the centre has set up a committee of bankers to look into the possibility of forming a similar entity. Goyal said the panel, to be headed by the Punjab National Bank (PNB) Chief Sunil Mehta, would first find out if it's a viable option for the Indian banking system and then suggest ways to set up an Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) or Asset Management Company (AMC).

    Once a bad bank is formed, banks divide its assets into two categories -- one with non-performing assets and other risky liabilities and the other with healthy assets, which can help banks grow financially.

Days after repo rate hike, bad news is pouring in
  • Days after the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI) hiked the repo rate for the first time in four years by 25 basis points to contain inflation, bad news is pouring in from all sides.  Here are the four key developments.

    i)  Higher inflation numbers - Retail inflation or consumer price index (CPI ) has seen a jump, from 4.58 per cent in April to 4.87 per cent in May. Similarly, the wholesale price index (WPI) has shot up, from 3.18 per cent in April to 4.43 per cent in May. The CPI figure is way above the 4 per cent target (+-2 per cent ) of the RBI.

    ii)  Fed Rate - The US Federal Reserve has also increased the fed rate by 25 basis points. After almost keeping the rates at near zero level post 2008, the  world's largest economy has been raising interest rates. There is more to come as the Fed will also start unwinding or trimming its balance sheet as they have accumulated huge stock of bonds through buyback programmes. This will also push up interest rates.

    iii)  European Union to halt easy money regime - The European  Central  Bank has also decided to halt the easy money regime by the end of this year. They will soon be back to normalisation of monetary policy. Interest rates eventually will go up.

    iv)  Higher current account deficit in India - The latest figures for current account deficit (CAD) are not very encouraging,. The CAD has reached 1.9 per cent of GDP in 2017/18.  This is way above the 0.6 per cent of 2015/16. The projection for the next year is 2.5 per cent of GDP. A higher CAD will impact the rupee value against the US dollar as the equity market inflows are also slowing down in the last few months.

Forget 4G, brace for superfast 5G data network this year; find out when it'll be launched in India
  • The year 2016 brought a revolution in the way Indians use mobile data with the launch of Reliance Jio 4G data network but the haydays of the superfast 4G would be over soon as the world moves towards the first commercial deployment of lightening fast 5G as early as this year. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report by the Swedish telecommunications company, 5G network service will likely go into the history books as the start of an even bigger societal change, which will enable enhanced mobile broadband services like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 4k videos.

    "5G will kick off with enhanced mobile broadband as its first use case. By the end of 2023, there will be 1 billion 5G subscriptions, accounting for around 20 percent of mobile data traffic," says the report.

    The company believes by 2023, 20 per cent of all data traffic will be on 5G, which is more than the combined data traffic of today. "We believe that 20 per cent of all data traffic in 2023 will be on 5G, and 20 per cent in 2023 is potentially more than all kinds of traffic we have today - about 1.5 times more than the total of 4G/3G/2G traffic today," Patrik Cerwall, Head of Strategic Marketing, Business Area Networks, Ericsson, told IANS.

    The 5G network spectrum would not only give users a luxury to use internet like never before but it would generate huge revenue streams for network operators. "2018 may seem to be just another year for an industry that has become used to high growth in numbers for smartphone subscriptions and mobile traffic. However, with the developments in 5G and IoT, I believe it will be a pivotal year for our industry," says Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson.

    Operators in the United States will be among the first to launch 5G commercial services. The country's four major operators have publicly announced that they will begin providing 5G services between late 2018 and mid-2019. Other markets where significant 5G subscription volumes are expected early include South Korea, Japan and China. The company predicts India would fully adopt the 5G services by 2022. In India, the total monthly mobile data traffic was 1.9EB at the end of 2017, driven by the strong growth in the number of LTE subscriptions.

    In 2023, the total traffic is expected to have increased by 5 times to reach 10EB, says the report. The superfast 5G spectrum would also pave the way for smartphone innovation. The first commercial smartphone supporting 5G in the mid-bands are expected in early 2019, while support for very high spectrum bands is expected in early to mid-2019, says the report.

As deadline to submit Rs 1,000 crore ends, JAL says it'll submit appropriate plan in SC
  • The deadline to submit Rs 1,000 crore crossed on Friday but crisis-hit Jaiprakash Associates Ltd has said it will submit an appropriate plan before the Supreme Court to protect the interest of the homebuyers in a case of liquidation proceedings against its beleaguered subsidiary Jaypee Infratech Ltd. The company has already submitted Rs 750 crore of total Rs 2,500 crore it needs to complete its housing projects in its much-hyped Noida township, Wish Town. On May 16, the Supreme Court had said that if JAL is able to submit the said amount by June 15, the liquidation proceedings against Jaypee Infra shall remain stayed but if it fails, the statutory proceedings shall be carried out.

    "Company will be submitting an appropriate arrangement before the Supreme Court in the interest of home buyers for direction," a source in the Jaypee group told PTI. JAL has pleaded in the apex court that it wants to revive the debt-ridden subsidiary Jaypee Infra, which will also be in the interest of homebuyers. Home buyers of JIL had moved the apex court seeking relief in view of significant delays in completion of housing projects. Jaypee Group promoter Gaur had last month offered a Rs 10,000-crore revival plan for Jaypee Infra, which comprises a combination of cash, land parcels and equity to lenders through instruments, totalling more than JIL's outstanding debt of Rs 9,800 crore. It was 25 per cent higher than the best bid Jaypee Infratech had received under the insolvency proceedings.

    The homebuyers had pleaded that they were left in the lurch after the NCLT, on August 10 last year, admitted IDBI Bank's plea to initiate insolvency proceedings against the JIL for defaulting on a Rs 526-crore loan. While admitting the plea of IDBI Bank, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had appointed Anuj Jain as Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) to manage the company's business. Later, the IRP invited bids from investors interested in acquiring JIL and completing the stuck real estate projects in Noida and Greater Noida.

    Consequently, Lakshadweep -- a joint venture between the Sudhir Valia-led Suraksha Asset Reconstruction Company and Mumbai-based Dosti Realty -- emerged as a front-runner to acquire JIL with Rs 7,350 crore bid. However, JIL's lenders rejected the Lakshadweep's bid as they found it inadequate. The lenders did not consider the bid of Jaypee Group promoter Manoj Gaur who made an offer of over Rs 10,000 crore to revive JIL. It also offered 2,000 shares to every home buyers.

    JIL has an outstanding debt of nearly Rs 9,800 crore, of which Rs 4,334 crore pertains to IDBI. Other lenders are -- IIFCL, LIC, SBI, Corporation Bank, Syndicate Bank, Bank Of Maharashtra, ICICI Bank, Union Bank, IFCI, J&K Bank, Axis Bank and Srei Equipment Finance Ltd.

    Jaypee Infratech, which is into road construction and real estate business, has constructed the Yamuna Expressway, connecting Delhi and Agra. In 2007, JIL had started the development of 32,000 flats and plots in its township, Wish Town, in Noida. It has so far delivered 9,500 apartments and applied for occupancy certificates for giving possession of another 4,500 flats. The company plans to deliver the remaining 18,000 flats by 2021.

    General Awareness

    India among over 90 nations without paid paternity leave
    • Context: According to a new UNICEF analysis, India is among almost 90 countries in the world without national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies.

      Highlights of the report:

      Almost two-thirds of the world’s children under one-year-old, nearly 90 million, live in countries where their fathers are not entitled by law to a single day of paid paternity leave.
      India and Nigeria, which have high infant populations, are among the 92 countries do not have national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies.
      In eight countries across the world, including the United States which is home to nearly four million infants, there was no paid maternity or paternity leave policy.
      Other countries with high infant populations, including Brazil and Congo, all have national paid paternity leave policies, albeit offering relatively short-term entitlements.

      Need for paternity leave:

      Evidence suggests that when fathers bond with their babies from the beginning of life, they are more likely to play a more active role in the child’s development. Research also suggests that when children positively interact with their fathers, they have better psychological health, self-esteem and life-satisfaction in the long-term.
      Also, positive and meaningful interaction with mothers and fathers from the very beginning helps shape children’s brain growth and development for life, making them healthier and happier, and increasing their ability to learn.

      Way ahead:

      Around the world, momentum for family-friendly policies is growing. For example, India has proposed a Paternity Benefit Bill for consideration in the next session of Parliament which would allow fathers up to three months of paid paternity leave.

      UNICEF has urged governments to implement national family-friendly policies that support early childhood development, including paid paternity leave, to help provide parents with the time, resources and information they need to care for their children.

      Facts for Prelims:

      UNICEF has launched ‘Super Dads’ campaign which aims to break down barriers preventing fathers from playing an active role in their young children’s development.
      The campaign celebrates Father’s Day – recognised in more than 80 countries in June – and focuses on the importance of love, play, protection and good nutrition for the healthy development of young children’s brains.

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