IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


20th June, 2020

DNA 20th June


Contours of post-Covid economy suggest a new framework of employment

This editorial underlines the changes in the gig economy after the pandemic.

What is gig economy?

-The word “gig” includes in its current parlance all freelancers, disconnected from the workplace. Example: drivers of Uber, delivery boys of Zomato, plumbers and electricians of Urban Clap.

-The gig economy is not confined to low-skilled jobs. Skilled professionals are also part of it.

Impact of pandemic on gig economy:

-Aviation, hospitality, automobile entertainment and retail are some of the hardest hit sectors.

-The classic gig anchors- Uber and AirBnB, have laid off thousands of people.

-In contrast to this, highly skilled professionals —laid off by employers — are joining the gig bandwagon.

-Surely, job demand will far outstrip supply, at least in the short-term.

Future projections:

-A Deloitte report from April notes that Indian organisations are considering to expand the share of gig workers.

-Declining full-time jobs will lead to increased assignment-based hiring.

-For instance, a graphic designer working from home could be in demand with a media house or Netflix may hire AI designer paid by an hour to personalize streaming.

-But, what is missing in picture? The national database is missing.

Four focus areas of gig economy

1. National database: A missing link

-National database of job seekers and job creators can connect firms with qualified candidates.

-A prospective employee would need access to a job database, sorted by skill, geography, duration and emoluments.

-Companies should be able to dip into the data pool of talent, experience, location, qualification and expectation.

-Currently, both data sets are fragmented and stored in silos.

-The government could play the role of a facilitator, in partnership with the private sector.

2. Regulatory protection to gig workforce

-The gig economy increases employee vulnerability.

-This segment of the economy so far has been outside the ambit of regulatory labour policies.

-Social protection like wage protection, health benefits and safety assurance should be made available to gig workers.

-The Karnataka government has considered introducing a new labour legislation focused on the gig economy.

3. Prepare college students for freelancing

-Apart from regular campus placements, the placement cells need to reorient and focus on preparing students for freelancing opportunities.

-For the educated youth, this could be the first step towards entrepreneurship.

4. Gender equality

-Gender is another crucial dimension of the digital labour markets.

-The low enrolment of girls for higher education in science, technology, engineering and math would constrict their opportunity in the gig world.

-Going ahead, this would need greater policy attention to ensure gender parity.

-The government and the private sector would need to collaborate along with academia to build adequate safeguards in the unfolding eco-system.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/post-coronavirus-job-employment-6467120/



PM Svanidhi

Context: The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has signed MoU with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) in order to engage SIDBI as the Implementation Agency for PM Street Vendor’s Atma Nirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) – a Special Micro-Credit Facility for Street Vendors.

What is role of SIDBI?

-SIDBI will manage the credit guarantee to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).

-It will develop and maintain a customized and integrated IT Platform providing end-to-end solutions to ensure engagement and information flow between Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), Lending Institutions, Digital Payment Aggregators and other stakeholders.

About the scheme:

-It is a special micro-credit facility plan to provide affordable loan of up to ₹10,000 to more than 50 lakh street vendors, who had their businesses operational on or before 24 March.

-The scheme is valid until March 2022.

-Small Industries Development Bank of India is the technical partner for implementation of this scheme.

-It will manage the credit guarantee to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises.

Loans under the scheme:

-Under the scheme, vendors can avail working capital loan of up to ₹10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments within one year.

-On timely/early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy of 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) on six-month basis.

-There will be no penalty on early repayment of loan.


The scheme is applicable to vendors, hawkers, thelewalas, rehriwalas, theliphadwalas in different areas/contexts who supply goods and services. Street vendors belonging to the surrounding peri-urban/rural areas are also included.

Need of the scheme:

-The lockdown has affected the lives and livelihoods of many including street vendors who businesses were affected due to the restrictions.

-Street vendors usually work with a small capital base taken on very high interest rates from informal sources. Further, they might have consumed their savings and high cost capital during the lockdown.

-Therefore, there is an urgent need to provide affordable credit for working capital through formal banking channel to street vendors to help them resume the business.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1632543

Individual contributions to NDRF get green light from Finance Ministry

Context: The Finance Ministry has given approval to a proposal to allow individuals and institutions to contribute directly to the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).

Implications of this move:

This is a significant development at a time when many have expressed concerns about donations sent to the PM CARES Fund or the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, as both claim they are not public authorities subject to questions under the Right to Information Act.

About NDRF:

-The NDRF was set up in accordance with Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

-It is meant to “meet the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation” for any threatening disaster situation.

-It is a fund managed by the Central Government for meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation due to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.

-Constituted to supplement the funds of the State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF) of the states to facilitate immediate relief in case of calamities of a severe nature.

-Although Section 46 includes a clause regarding grants made by any person or institution, provisions for such donations had not been made.

-It is located in the “Public Accounts” of Government of India under “Reserve Funds not bearing interest“.


-In pursuance of an appeal by the then Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in January 1948, the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was established with public contributions to assist displaced persons from Pakistan.

-The resources of the PMNRF are now utilized primarily to render immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquakes, etc. and to the victims of the major accidents and riots.

-Assistance from PMNRF is also rendered, to partially defray the expenses for medical treatment like heart surgeries, kidney transplantation, cancer treatment, etc.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/individual-contributions-to-ndrf-get-green-light-from-finance-ministry/article31872874.ece




Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID)

Context: China has released genome-sequencing data for the coronavirus responsible for a recent outbreak in Beijing. It has shared this data with WHO and GISAID.

What does the data suggest?

-At least one of the strains tied to the Chinese capital’s largest wholesale food market had reportedly shown similarities to a strain found in Europe.

-Local confirmed infections had been recorded for five consecutive days in two areas, apparently referencing Beijing and the neighbouring province of Hebei.

Genomic sequencing

-Genomic sequencing is a technique that allows us to read and interpret genetic information found within DNA or RNA.

Importance of understanding the genomic sequence of COVID-19

-The SARS-CoV2 genome, as it is formally known, has about 30,000 base pairs, somewhat like a long string with 30,000 places where each one of these occupy one of four chemicals called nucleotides.

-This long string, with its unique combination of nucleotides, is what uniquely identifies the virus and is called its genomic sequence.

-A look at virus genome sequences from patient samples that test positive for COVID-19 helps researchers to understand how the virus is evolving as it spreads. So far, there are over 1,000 COVID-19 genomes that have been published worldwide.

Sequencing is necessary because:

-It helps track the transmission route of the virus globally.

-It can determine how quickly the virus is adapting as it spreads.

-It identifies targets to therapies.

-It is required to understand the role of co-infection.


-The GISAID platform was launched on the occasion of the Sixty-first World Health Assembly in May 2008.

-GISAID is a global science initiative and primary source for genomic data of influenza viruses and the novel corona virus responsible for COVID-19.

-In 2010 the Federal Republic of Germany became the official host of the GISAID platform and EpiFlu database providing sustainability of the platform and stability through its public-private-partnership with the GISAID Initiative to this day.

-In 2013 the European Commission recognized GISAID as a research organization and partner in the PREDEMICS consortium, a project on the Preparedness, Prediction and the Prevention of Emerging Zoonotic Viruses with Pandemic Potential using multidisciplinary approaches.

-The Initiative ensures that open access to data in GISAID is provided free-of-charge to all individuals that agreed to identify themselves and agreed to uphold the GISAID sharing mechanism governed through its Database Access Agreement.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/coronavirus-china-publishes-gene-sequences-from-latest-spike/article31869387.ece


Covid-19 active response and expenditure support programme

Context: The Government of India and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) signed a $750 million “COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Programme” to assist India to strengthen its response to the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable households.

About the program:

-The Programme will provide the Government of India with budget support to mitigate the severe adverse social and economic impact of COVID-19.

-The Primary Programme beneficiaries would be families below the poverty line, farmers, healthcare workers, women, women’s self-help groups, widows, people with disabilities, senior citizens, low wage earners, construction workers and other vulnerable groups.

-The project is being financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the amount of $2.250 billion, of which $750 million will be provided by AIIB and $1.5 billion will be provided by ADB.

-It will be executed by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

-It is a multilateral development bank based in Beijing, China. It began operations in 2016 and has now grown to 102 approved members worldwide.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1632652



-Launched by Ministry of Coal.

-SATYABHAMA stands for Science and Technology Yojana for Aatmanirbhar Bharat in Mining Advancement.

-Designed, developed and implemented by National Informatics Centre (NIC), Mines Informatics Division.

-It allows online submission of project proposals along with monitoring of the projects and utilization of funds / grants.

-The researchers can also submit progress reports and Final Technical Reports of the projects in the electronic format in the portal.