UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 21st January 2022
Sarat Chandra IAS Academy Hyderabad and Vijayawada
- The High Tariffs on Electronic Components
- The Hunger in India
- India-Denmark Relations
- Devas-Antrix Deal
- Eastern Swamp Deer
1.The High Tariffs on Electronic Components
- According to a recent assessment by the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), India’s policy of imposing hefty tariffs on electronic component imports may prove counterproductive.
- Manufacturers make up the ICEA, which is the apex industry body for the mobile and electronics industry.
In depth information
Tariffs are high:
- To protect indigenous industries from global competition, India has imposed substantial tariffs on the import of electronic components.
- It may, however, prove counterproductive to the government’s plans to increase domestic electronic goods manufacture.
India vs. Other Countries:
- All countries have attempted to encourage domestic production of electronic goods in their respective geographies by employing nearly identical strategies such as attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), improving domestic capabilities and competitiveness, increasing exports, and finally linking their markets to global value chains.
- China has risen from 35th to first place in office and telecom equipment exports since 1980, while Vietnam, which did not export any such electronic products until the 1990s, has climbed the ladder to become the eighth largest export in just 20 years.
- Mexico, which was ranked 37th in terms of electronics product export in the 1980s, has steadily risen through the ranks to 11th, a position it has held for the past two decades.
- Thailand, which was rated 45 in 1980, is now among the top 15 exporters of electronic products, according to the survey.
- India, on the other hand, which began in the 40th position in the 1980s and has since gained and lost spots, is now ranked 28th in 2019.
India’s Loss Due to High Tariffs:
- Though all of the countries pursued almost the same programme to encourage local electronics manufacturing, India’s substantial reliance on tariffs was one of the most notable differences.
- Because of the high tariffs, investors and electronic component manufacturers from around the world avoid India as a market, as the country’s participation in global value chains has remained low.
- Moreover, despite the size of its economy, India’s exports and foreign trade involvement has remained low.
- Even for domestic markets, the idea that they will benefit most businesses because they are huge and growing is incorrect.
- For example, in the case of mobile phones, where one of the largest PLI schemes is now running, the domestic market is predicted to grow to USD 55 billion by 2025-26, while the worldwide industry is expected to grow to USD 625 billion.
- As a result, the Indian domestic market currently accounts for around 6.5 percent of the world market, with the potential to rise to 8.8 percent assuming growth estimates are reasonable.
- India’s market share is currently insufficient to entice FDI to choose India as a destination based solely on its domestic market, especially if India’s laws result in cost inefficiencies that obstruct access to a much bigger global market.
PLI Scheme’s Counterproductiveness:
- One of the main reasons for the report’s conclusion that a high tariff on electronic component imports could undermine the benefits of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes is that companies with large global value chains are hesitant to enter India when component tariffs are high.
- While India’s enormous electronics markets appear to be appealing, they are actually quite modest in global standards. Furthermore, India does not produce around half of the components for which tariffs have been raised. As a result, tariffs are anticipated to have a negative impact on India’s competitiveness.
- While some countries, such as the United States, are raising duties on electronic component imports, India needs keep its tariffs to a bare minimum to remain competitive with its Asian neighbours.
2.The Hunger in India
#GS2- Food Security
- The Union government recently notified the Supreme Court (SC) that no state or Union territory (UT) has recorded a hunger fatality in recent years.
In depth information
- The court has ordered the Centre to draught a model scheme and distribute it to all states and UTs for review.
- The primary responsibility of every welfare state is to provide nourishment to individuals who are dying of hunger.
- The Attorney General agreed to inform the Union government of the court’s recommendation that the States get an additional 2% increase in food grains.
Deaths from starvation in India
- Starvation deaths continue to erode the right to life and the dignity of the social fabric, necessitating the establishment of radical new measures such as community kitchens across India to feed the destitute and hungry.
- While information on malnutrition fatalities in children and adults are available in the country, no official data on deaths due to starving is accessible.
- According to the 2018 Food and Agriculture Report, India is home to 195.9 million of the world’s 821 million undernourished people, accounting for almost 24% of the world’s hungry.
- India has a prevalence of undernourishment of 14.8%, which is greater than the global and Asian averages.
Hunger in India
- Malnutrition in India is two to seven times greater than in other BRICS countries, according to a 2015 World Bank assessment.
- The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported the same result in its 2021 report.
- India will not be able to meet the United Nations’ goal of “zero hunger by 2030” at its current rate of decrease, he continued.
- India has a serious level of hunger, with a score of 27.5 in the Global Hunger Report.
- India lags behind its neighbours:
- India lags behind the majority of its neighbours. Pakistan was ranked 92nd, Nepal and Bangladesh were ranked 76th, while Sri Lanka was ranked 65th.
- In reality, India’s GHI score has dropped by ten points in the last two decades. It dropped from 38.8 in 2000 to 28.8 in 2021.
Indicators that are not good:
- In terms of ‘child wasting,’ or ‘weight for height,’ India ranks among the worst in the world. It fared worse than Djibouti and Somalia in terms of performance.
- During the year 2016-2020, 17.3 percent of children under the age of five in India were stunted. Between 2010 and 2014, there was a 15.1 percent increase.
- Other indicators, such as undernutrition, child stunting, and child mortality, had improved in India.
- Over the last decade, India has shown promise in reducing maternal and child mortality. But there was still a lot more to be done.
- The percentage of the population that is malnourished (i.e., their caloric intake is insufficient).
- Child Wasting: The proportion of children under the age of five who are wasted (i.e., have a low weight for their height, indicating severe malnutrition).
- Child Stunting:
- The percentage of children under the age of five who are stunted (i.e., have a short stature for their age, indicating chronic malnutrition); and Child Mortality: The percentage of children under the age of five that die (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).
Nutrition and COVID-19:
- Malnutrition is worsening as a result of the pandemic, not just because of food instability, but also because of decreased health-care utilisation, immunisation, malnutrition treatment, and prenatal care.
- Because of the difficulties in gathering anthropometric data, the pandemic’s effects on child malnutrition have yet to be fully assessed, but estimates show significant effects.
- As a result of the pandemic, child mortality is expected to rise, owing mostly to COVID-19’s indirect impacts.
- The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening food security, and the full extent of the consequences is still unknown.
- Agriculture Output:
- Due to factors such as decreasing soil fertility, fragmented lands, and fluctuating farm produce market prices, agriculture output from small and marginal holdings is either static or dropping.
- Low Income:
- One group of people’s relative income has been declining.
- This has a negative impact on their ability to buy enough food, especially when food prices are rising.
- Labor that some people have been doing has been less remunerative, or there has been less possibility to find remunerative work.
- Public Distribution System:
- The state’s populace distribution system is inefficient and inaccessible to the general public.
- Rural Unemployment:
- The impoverished rural livelihoods sector, as well as a lack of alternative sources of income, have contributed significantly to the expanding joblessness in rural areas.
Ahead of Schedule
- Governments must prioritise the following priorities: a flexible and agile approach that reflects local perceptions, aspirations, and concerns; an emphasis on working in partnerships that bring together local, national, and international actors with their diverse knowledge; and a commitment by major donors to divert funds from siloed approaches and focus them on integrative work to advance food security.
- India and Denmark recently committed to collaborate on renewable fuels, including green hydrogen.
In depth information
The Meeting’s Discussion
- At the virtual discussion, it was discussed both nations’ national strategic priorities and advances in Science, Technology, and Innovation, with a specific focus on future green solutions – strategy for investments in green research, technology, and innovation.
- The 14th Joint S&T Committee emphasised the following: the development of bilateral collaboration on mission-driven research, innovation, and technology development, including climate and green transition, energy, water, waste, food, and other topics agreed upon by both parties when they adopted the Green Strategic Partnership – Action Plan 2020-2025.
- They agreed to do three to four webinars to help create partnerships, and they emphasised the importance of promoting calls for proposals in green fuels, particularly green hydrogen.
- They also discussed the status of the ongoing projects from the last two joint calls, which are focused on energy research, water, cyber-physical systems, and bio-resources and secondary agriculture.
Relationships between India and Denmark
- In 1957, the then-Prime Minister of India paid a visit to Denmark, laying the groundwork for a close relationship between India and Denmark.
- India and Denmark have cordial and amicable bilateral ties.
- Synergies in the political, economic, academic, and research spheres underpin the relationships.
- Interactions at the Prime Ministerial level: India-Nordic Summit (April 2018): This meeting of Prime Ministers took place after a nine-year hiatus. During the conference, four Memorandums of Understanding were signed: one on cooperation in animal husbandry and dairying, one on sustainable and smart urban development, one on cooperation in agricultural research and education, and one on food safety cooperation.
- The visit of the Danish Prime Minister to India in January 2019: During the meeting, two Memorandums of Understanding were signed –
- The Indian Ministry of Shipping and the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Issues, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding between Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited and the Danish Embassy in New Delhi to establish an Urban Living Lab in Panaji, Goa.
- September 2020 (Virtual Summit): The creation of a Green Strategic Partnership between the two countries during the Summit gave the bilateral relationship a considerable boost.
- Visit of Denmark’s Prime Minister (October 2021): The two Prime Ministers also spoke about regional and global developments, such as the global economic recovery following the pandemic, the Indo-Pacific, and the situation in Afghanistan.
Economic and Commercial Relations:
- According to Denmark Statistics, the total value of bilateral goods and services trade between India and Denmark in 2020 was US$ 3.58 billion.
- India and Denmark’s bilateral commodity trade has climbed from US$ 1077.8 million in 2009-10 to US$ 1344 million in 2020-21.
- Textiles, clothing, and yarns are major export goods from India to Denmark. Road vehicles and components, metal goods, iron and steel, footwear, travel goods, including leather goods, industrial machinery and accessories, chemical material and products, and so on are among the other items.
- Medicinal/pharmaceutical goods, power generation machinery, industrial machinery, metal scrap and ore, organic chemicals, and other goods are among the most important Danish exports to India.
- In 2020, bilateral services trade between India and Denmark was valued at US$ 2.32 billion [services imports to India totaled US$ 1.29 billion, while service exports totaled US$ 1.03 billion].
- Important roads and public spaces in India have been named after Indian leaders:
- Gandhi Plaene (Gandhi Park) in Copenhagen has a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a sitting posture at the intersection of BorupsAlle and Hvidkildevej.
- Near Aarhus University, the city of Aarhus has a Nehru Road.
- The Indian community in Denmark is 16,123 people, including both NRIs (13,368) and PIOs (2,755). (as of November 2021).
India’s air links:
- There are no direct flights between India and Denmark at the moment.
- Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, and other cities provide indirect links.
- Officials without diplomatic or official passports do not require a visa to enter Denmark.
- Others will need a visa. While travelling to Denmark, you may need a visa to transit via other EU countries.
- The Danish Embassy’s website contains information on the sorts of visas granted to visitors, businesspeople, and students.
Ahead of Schedule
- Our cooperation would be strengthened by the recently announced Green Strategic Partnership between India and Denmark.
4. Devas-Antrix Deal
#GS3-Changes In Industrial Policy
- For more than a decade, the controversial transaction between the Indian Department of Space’s commercial subsidiary Antrix and Bengaluru-based firm Devas Multimedia has been scrutinised.
In depth information
- Devas Multimedia and Antrix, a commercial branch of the IISRO, signed an agreement in 2005 to provide multimedia services to mobile consumers utilising Antrix’s leased S-band satellite spectrum.
- The UPA-2 administration cancelled the arrangement in 2011, claiming that the S-band satellite spectrum was needed for national security and for societal reasons.
- Antrix and Devas went to the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) for arbitration, as well as two bilateral investment treaty (BIT) arbitrations. India was defeated in all three cases.
India’s failure to comply
- Because AAI and Air India are Indian public sector businesses with international holdings that act as a proxy for the Indian government, they are being targeted.
- The idea of restricted immunity allows the Canadian court to do so.
- Meanwhile, the National Company Law Tribunal (India) ordered Devas Multimedia’s liquidation on the grounds that the company’s activities were being conducted fraudulently.
Why did India back out of the agreement?
- The controversy first surfaced in 2011, when it was revealed that there were several inconsistencies in Antrix and Devas’ agreement.
- They presented the findings of a draught audit report, highlighting irregularities such as financial mismanagement, conflicts of interest, rule violations, and favouritism.
- This news followed the 2G spectrum scandal, which was widely panned due to its high level of corruption.
What authority does a Canadian judge have to order the seizure of Indian assets?
- State immunity, a well-established principle of international law, protects a state and its assets from legal action in other countries’ courts.
- This applies to both jurisdiction and execution immunity.
- However, no international legal instrument dealing with state immunity in municipal legal systems of different countries is now in place, leaving an international void.
- As a result, countries have filled the hole in state immunity through national legislation and domestic court processes.
- Restrictive immunity (a foreign State is immune solely for sovereign tasks) rather than total immunity is the norm in major jurisdictions such as Canada.
When the suit is against India, how may AAI assets be seized?
- Assets of an entity can be confiscated in execution procedures if that entity is an alter ego of the State that fails to comply with the arbitral ruling.
- In other words, if the foreign sovereign has such substantial influence over the entity, the presumption that it is an independent legal entity is thrown out.
- As a result, the Canadian court must have come to the conclusion that the Indian government has substantial control over AAI.
What are India’s option
- The first alternative is to comply with the two BIT awards that are unfavourable. India, on the other hand, is exceedingly unlikely to do so.
- The second alternative is to appeal the verdict to a Canadian appellate court, where India might try to show that the ‘extensive control criterion’ is not met in the case of AAI, as per Canadian law.
- State immunity from execution, on the other hand, is just a procedural impediment to the BIT award’s enforcement.
- It is impossible to defend India’s continuous inability to comply with arbitral rulings and its infringement of international law responsibilities established in the two BITs.
5.Eastern Swamp Deer
#GS3-Environmental Pollution & Degradation
- In the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, the population of the endangered eastern swamp deer has recently decreased (Assam). In the rest of South Asia, the eastern swamp deer is extinct.
- Two major floods in 2019 and 2020 are to blame for the decline.
- On the plus side, the eastern swamp deer has now been dispersed outside of Kaziranga National Park, including Orang National Park and the Laokhowa-Burachapori wildlife sanctuaries (Assam).
In depth information
- About Swamp Deer: The Indian Subcontinent is home to three subspecies of swamp deer.
- The Nepalese western swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii).
- In central and northern India, the Southern Swamp Deer/Hard Ground Barasingha (Rucervus duvaucelii branderi) is present.
Eastern swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii ranjitsinhi) found in the Kaziranga (Assam) and Dudhwa National Parks (Uttar Pradesh).
- Protection Status of Swamp Deer:
- IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
- CITES: Appendix I
- Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 21st January 2022
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