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Daily Current Affairs 24th September -2021

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 24th September -2021

 

Daily Current Affairs 24th September -2021

                                                                                                  

Topics

  • India – UAE Trade Agreement
  • Parliamentary privileges and Contempt of the house
  • Global Air Quality Guidelines
  • Growth in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows
  • High yielding variety of Turmeric

 

1) India – UAE Trade Agreement

#GS2 #Bilateral, Regional & Global Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests #Effect of Policies & Politics of Developed & Developing Countries on India’s Interests

 

Context: Recently, India and the UAE formally launched negotiations for aComprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement(CEPA) with an early harvest to be concluded by year end.

  • Under a free trade agreement, two trading partners reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them.
    • Besides, they liberalise norms to enhance trade in services and boost investments.
  • Both countries have signed Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed in 2017.

 

India-UAE Economic Relations:

  • The UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner at present with bilateral trade in 2019-20 valued at USD 59 billion.
  • The UAE is also India’s second-largest export destination after the US, with exports valued at about USD 29 billion in 2019-20.
  • India was the UAE’s second-largest trading partner in 2019, with bilateral non-oil trade valued at USD 41 billion.
  • The UAE is the eighth-largest investor in India, having invested USD 11 billion between April 2000 and March 2021, while investment by Indian companies in the UAE is estimated to be over USD 85 billion.

 

Major Exports and Imports:

  • India’s major exports to the UAE:
    • Petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, minerals, food items such as cereals, sugar, fruits and vegetables, tea, meat, and seafood, textiles, engineering and machinery products, and chemicals.
  • Imports from the UAE:
    • Petroleum and petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, minerals, chemicals and wood and wood products.
    • India imported USD 10.9 billion of crude oil from the UAE in 2019-2020.

 

Main Objectives of a About Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement are to:

  1. Liberalise and facilitate trade in goods andservices between the Parties;
  2. Increase investment opportunities and strengthenprotection for investments and investmentactivities in the Parties;
  3. Ensure protection of intellectual property and promote cooperation in the field thereof;
  4. Promote cooperation for the effective enforcementof competition laws in each Party;
  5. Improve business environment in each Party;
  6. Establish a framework to enhance closercooperation in the fields agreed in thisAgreement; and
  7. Create effective procedures for theimplementation and application of this Agreementand for the resolution of disputes.
  • Partnership agreements or cooperation agreements are more comprehensive than Free Trade Agreements.
  • India has signed CEPAs with South Korea and Japan.

  

Significance of India- UAE CEPA:

  • This deal is expected to create new jobs, raise the living standards, and provide wider social and economic opportunities in both nations.
  • A new strategic economic agreement is expected to increase the bilateral trade in goods to $100 billion within five years of the signed agreement and increase trade in services to $15 billion.
  • This will help strengthen the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open, and inclusive multilateral trading system embodied by the World Trade Organisation.
  • As envisaged in that agreement, both countries will identify clear areas of focus and establish ways of working together to resolve trade remedy cases.

 

FTA v/s CEPA v/s CECA:

  1. Free Trade Agreement (FTA):
  • It is an agreement in which two or more countries agree to provide preferential trade terms, tariff concession etc. to the partner country.
  • India has negotiated FTA with many countries e.g. Sri Lanka and various trading blocs as well e.g. ASEAN.

 

  1. Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA):
  • CECA is a stepping stone for CEPA.CEPA also has a broad scope in terms of its aspects and items.
  • CECA deal mostly with the elimination or reduction of tariffs while CEPA’s concerns are the same with the addition of investments and services.
  • subtle difference is the use of the word “cooperation” in CECA and “partnership” in CEPA.
    • The word choice denotes the degree of relationship between two parties. “Cooperation” implies a cohesive but distant effort, but a partnership can entail a more personal and deeper relationship between two parties.
  • India has signed CECA with Malaysia.

 

 

 

 

2) Parliamentary privileges and Contempt of the house

 #GS2 #Parliamentary Form of Government #Provisions for Checks & Balances in Indian Constitution

 

Context: Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman recently said that disrupting parliamentary proceedings amounts to contempt of the House and it cannot be claimed as a parliamentary privilege.

  • This is the first time that a presiding officer of any legislature in the country has taken a public position on the issue of disruptions in the Parliament.

 

Rajya Sabha Productivity:

  • The productivity of Rajya Sabha has been quantified since 1978.
    • During the first 19 years till 1996, the productivity of the House has been over 100 per cent, but it has begun to decline since then.
  • While the Rajya Sabha had an annual productivity of over 100 per cent during 16 out of these 19 years, it was so only in two years — in 1998 and 2009 — that it recorded 100 percent productivity in the preceding 24 years.
  • Rajya Sabha has not witnessed 100 percent productivity even once in the past 12 years.
  • The productivity of Rajya Sabha during 2004-14 has been about 78 per cent, and has declined to about 65% since then.
  • In 2018, the Rajya Sabha recorded the lowest ever productivity of 35.75% due to disruptions.
  • The overall productivity of the two sessions held during 2021 has further dipped to 63.85%.

 

Question Hour:

  • Question Hour is an important instrument of seeking accountability of the executive for implementation of the government’s policies and programmes and pinning down the executive on the lapses thereof.
  • During the last Monsoon Session (the 254th), the Rajya Sabha has lost more than 70% of the scheduled time, including 77% of the valuable Question Hour time.
  • During the last six years, over 60% of the valuable Question Hour time has been lost due to disruptions.

 

What are Parliamentary Privileges?

  • Parliamentary privilege is the sum of certain rights enjoyed by each House collectively and by members of each House individually, without which they could not discharge their functions, and which exceed those possessed by other bodies or individuals.
  • Some privileges rest solely on the law and custom Parliament, while others have been defined by statute.
  • Article 105 of the Constitution mentions two privileges, that is, freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings.
  • Apart from the privileges mentioned in the Constitution, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, provides for freedom from arrest and detention of members under civil process.
  • When any of these rights and immunities is disregarded or attacked,the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under the lawof Parliament.
  • A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege.
  • The Constitution also extends the parliamentary privileges to those persons who are entitled to speak and take part in the proceedings of a House of Parliament or any of its committees. These include the Attorney General of India.
  • The parliamentary privileges do not extend to the President who is also an integral part of the Parliament. Article 361 of the Constitution provides for privileges for the President.

 

What is contempt:

  • Any act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any member or officer of such House in the discharge of his duty, or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce suchresults may be treated as a contempt.

 

Role of the Chairperson:

  • The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion.
  • The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.
  • If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under relevant rules, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.
  • The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Rajya Sabhaconfer powers on the Chairman to preserve order and enforce his decisionsin the House and provide for withdrawal and suspension of members toenable the Chairman to enforce discipline on the members if they resortto disorderly behaviour, disregard the authority of the Chair and abuse therules by wilfully obstructing the business of the House.
  • If an unruly member does not withdraw from the House even afterthe direction of the Chair to this effect, the latter may name him and put forth with a motion to suspend him. If the motion is adopted, the member
  • concerned stands suspended.
  • A member may be punished not only for his disorderly behaviourinside the House, but also for any conduct outside the House which tendsto impair its dignity and authority.

 

Way Forward:

  • Disruptionsderail the scheduled business of the House, deprive other members willing and identified to participate in various proceedings of the day, and delay the course of law-making.
  • The socio-economic consequences of defectiveand delayed laws resulting from such disruptions are quite substantial.
  • MPs have the right to protest against the perceived omissions and commissions of the government of the day. But it should be done in a civil manner without rendering the legislature dysfunctional.
  • The executive can be taken to task during the debates through effective interventions;
    • Protesting members can either talk it out or walk out;
    • Reach out to the media and people highlighting their grievances, etc.’’
  • Member should strictly adhere to the 14-point Framework of Code of Conduct recommended by the Ethics Committee of Rajya Sabha and adopted by the House on December 15, 1999.

 

 

 

 

3) Global Air Quality Guidelines

 #GS3 #Prevention & Control of Pollution & Degradation

#National Environment Agencies, Legislations and Policies

#International Environment Agencies & Agreements

 

Context: Recently, the World Health Organization(WHO), released its new air quality guidelines for the first time since its last global update in 2005.

 

About New Guidelines:

  • New WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) provide clear evidence of the damage air pollution inflicts on human health, at even lower concentrations than previously understood.
  • The guidelines recommend new air quality levels to protect the health of populations, by reducing levels of key air pollutants, some of which also contribute to climate change.
  • By working to achieve these guideline levels, countries will be both protecting health as well as mitigating global climate change.
  • WHO’s new guidelines recommend air quality levels for 6 pollutants, where evidence has advanced the most on health effects from exposure.
    • 6 classical pollutants include particulate matter (PM 2.5 and 10), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO).
    • The WHO’s revised guidelines prescribe annual
      • 5 average at 5 ug/m3, bringing it down from 2005 limits set at 10 ug/m3.
      • PM10 annual average is now 15 ug/m3 in comparison to the earlier norm of 20 ug/m3.
      • NO2 levels, which are primarily attributable to vehicular emissions, have been revised to 10 ug/m3, in comparison to 40 ug/m3 in 2005.
    • The present guidelines are applicable to both outdoor and indoor environments globally. Thus, they cover all settings where people spend time.
    • While these guidelines not legally-binding, the guidelines are a critical tool for the following three main groups of users:
      • Policy-makers, lawmakers and technical experts who are responsible for developing and implementing regulations and standards for air quality, air pollution control, urban planning and other policy areas;
      • National and local authorities and nongovernmental organizations, civil society organizations and advocacy groups, such as patients, citizen groups, industrial stakeholders and environmental organizations; and
      • Academics, health and environmental impact assessment practitioners, and researchers in the broad field of air pollution.

 

Effect of Air Pollution on Human Health:

  • According to WHO, Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats to human health, alongside climate change.
  • Every year, exposure to air pollution is estimated to cause 7 million premature deaths and result in the loss of millions more healthy years of life.
  • In 2013, outdoor air pollution and particulate matter were classified as carcinogenic by WHO.
  • The health risks associated with particulate matter equal or smaller than 10 and 2.5 microns in diameter (PM 10 and PM 2.5, respectively) are of particular public health relevance.
  • Both PM 2.5 and PM 10 are capable of penetrating deep into the lungs, but PM 2.5 can even enter the bloodstream, primarily resulting in cardiovascular and respiratory impacts, and also affecting other organs.
  • In children, this could include reduced lung growth and function, respiratory infections and aggravated asthma.
  • In adults, heart disease and stroke are the most common causes of premature death attributable to outdoor air pollution, and evidence is also emerging of other effects such as diabetes and neuro degenerative conditions.
  • According to WHO, this puts the burden of disease attributable to air pollution on par with other major global health risks such as unhealthy diet and tobacco smoking.
  • People living in low- and middle-income countries disproportionately experience the burden of outdoor air pollution with 91% (of the 4.2 million premature deaths) occurring in low- and middle-income countries, and the greatest burden in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions

 

Implication of revised guidelines to India:

  • India continues to remain one of the most polluted areas in the world, with pollutant levels several times higher than recommended levels.
    • In India, 116,000 infant deaths in 2019 are attributable to air pollution, while burning coal combustion resulted in 100,000 deaths and ambient air pollution killed 16.7 lakh Indians.
  • India’s own national air quality standards are much more lenient, even compared to WHO’s 2005 norms.
  • The new air quality guidelines mean that nearly entire India would be considered a polluted zone for most of the year.
  • The new WHO norms should push India to work harder to make its air cleaner and safer.
  • Further, the feasibility of implementing the new guidelines is questionable, especially in challenging geo-climatic zones like south Asia, including India.
    • Experts point out that this region has challenging meteorological and climatic conditions, with the added challenge of haze columns, heat island effects and very high base pollution.
    • Therefore, the Indian government has a dedicated National Clean Air Programme that aims for a 20% to 30% reduction in particulate matter concentrations by 2024 in 122 cities, keeping 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.

 

New AQGs vs India’s NAAQS:

  

 

Way Forward:

  • Achieving Standard AQG levels might be a difficult task for many countries and regions struggling with high air pollution levels.
  • Therefore, gradual progress in improving air quality, marked by the achievement of interim targets, should be considered a critical indicator of improving health conditions for populations.
  • Key institutional and technical tools supported by human capacity-building are necessary to achieve this goal.
  • Implementation of the guidelines requires the
    • Existence and operation of air pollution monitoring systems;
    • Public access to airquality data;
    • Legally binding, globally harmonized air quality standards; and
    • Airquality management systems.
  • Policy decisions to set priorities for action will profitfrom the health risk assessment of air pollution.
  • While actions to reduce air pollution require cooperation among various sectorsand stakeholders, health sector involvement is crucial for raising awareness ofthe impacts of air pollution on health and, thus, the economy, and for ensuringthat protecting health strongly figures in policy discussions.
  • Monitoring and evaluation are equally crucial to ensure that guidelines areimplemented.

 

 

4) Growth in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows

 #GS3 #Mobilisation of Resources #External Sources – FDI #Growth & Development #Changes In Industrial Policy & their Effects on Industrial Growth

Context:As per the ministry of Commerce and Industry, foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows grew 62% during the first four months (April-July period) of current Financial Year 2021-22 over corresponding period last year (2020).

 

Key Details:

  • According to the ministry data, India has attracted atotal FDI inflow of $27.37B during the first 04 months of FY2021-22 which is 62% higher as compared to the corresponding period of FY 2020-21 where it stood at $16.92B.
    • In the FY 2020-21, India saw growth of 10% (to $82 bn) in FDI.
  • FDI equity inflow grew by 112% in the April-July period of FY 2021-22 (USD 20.42 billion) compared to the year ago period($9.61B).
  • The ‘Automobile Industry’ has emerged as the top sector with 23% share of the total FDI Equity inflow followed by Computer Software & Hardware (18%) and Services Sector (10%) respectively.
  • Under the sector `Automobile Industry’, the majority of FDI Equity inflow (87%) was reported in the state of Karnataka.
  • Karnataka is the top recipient state for the period with 45% share of the total FDI Equity inflows followed by Maharashtra (23%) and Delhi (12%).

 

Foreign Direct Investment

  • FDI is the process whereby residents of one country (the home country) acquire ownership of assets for the purpose of controlling the production, distribution and other activities of a firm in another country (the host country).
  • It is different from Foreign Portfolio Investment where the foreign entity merely buys stocks and bonds of a company.
    • FPI does not provide the investor with control over the business.

Significance of the FDI:

  • It facilitates financial resources for economic development.
  • Brings in new technologies, skills, knowledge, etc.
  • Creates more employment opportunities for the people.
  • Brings in a more competitive business environment in the country.
  • Improves the quality of products and services in sectors.

 

Routes through which India gets FDI:

  • Category 01: 100% FDI permitted through automatic route.
    • Here, the foreign entity does not require the prior approval of the government or the RBI.
  • Category 02:100% FDI permitted throughgovernment Route.
    • Here, the foreign entity has to take the approval of the government.
  • Category 03:Up to 100% FDI permitted through Automatic + Government Route
    • The Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal (FIFP) facilitates the single window clearance of applications which are through approval route.
    • It is administered by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

 

Sectors where FDI is prohibited:

  • Agricultural or Plantation Activities (although there are many exceptions like horticulture, fisheries, tea plantations, Pisciculture, animal husbandry, etc.)
  • Atomic Energy Generation
  • Nidhi Company
  • Lotteries (online, private, government, etc.)
  • Investment in Chit Funds
  • Trading in TDR’s
  • Any Gambling or Betting businesses
  • Cigars, Cigarettes, or any related tobacco industry
  • Housing and Real Estate (except townships, commercial projects, etc.)

 

Government Measures to increase FDI in India:

  • Government schemes like production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme in 2020 for electronics manufacturing, have been notified to attract foreign investments.
  • In 2019, the amendment of FDI Policy 2017 by the government, to permit 100% FDI under automatic route in coal mining activities enhanced FDI inflow.
  • The government has elaborated upon the initiatives under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat to encourage investments in different sectors.
  • As a part of its Make in India initiative to promote domestic manufacturing, India deregulated FDI rules for several sectors over the last few years.

 

 

 

5) High yielding variety of Turmeric

#GS3 #Major Crops Cropping Patterns in Various Parts of the Country #Technology in the Aid of Farmers #Agricultural resources

 

Context:Recently, a high-yielding curcuminoid-rich variety of turmeric named CIM-Pitamber and the NBRI’s (National Botanical Research Institute) Keshari variety have been introduced in Nabarangpur.

 

About CIM-Pitamber:

  • It is a high-yielding curcuminoid-rich variety of turmeric developed by Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP).
    • In this the curcuminoid content is 12.5% more than the existing variety.
  • The pharmaceutical importance of turmeric is due to its curcuminoids which are credited with anti-inflammatory, hypo-cholesterolemic, anti-oxidant, anti-parasitic, anti-spasmodic, anti-microbial, anti-rheumatic, anti-aging and anti-cancer properties.
  • Regular supply of water, maximum use of fertilisers and use of pesticides in an accurate proportion is needed to use these seeds.
  • This will enable farmers to double their yield and profits per unit area, and will contribute in significant improvement of the livelihood of poor farmers.
  • It is also tolerant to the leaf blotch disease of turmeric.
  • Turmeric with high content of curcuminoid is preferred by European nations and North America.
    • Export and sale value will be more if curcumin content is more.

 

Keshari variety:

  • It is tolerant to low temperature and frost during winter.
  • In comparison to other existing varieties, there is less problem of yellowing and falling of leaves in this variety during winter, which leads to extending the life period of this variety.
  • The fresh rhizome yield potential of Keshari is around 30-35 ton per hectare, as compare to 20-25 ton per hectare of other existing varieties.
  • The total curcuminoid content is around 1.16 %, which is also more than other existing cultivated varieties of north India.

 

About Turmeric:

  • Turmeric, a plant in the ginger family, is native to Southeast Asia and is grown commercially in that region, primarily in India. Its rhizome (underground stem) is used as a culinary spice and traditional medicine.
  • Its colour comes mainly from curcumin, a bright yellow phenolic compound.
  • The greatest diversity of Curcuma species by number alone is in India, at around 40 to 45 species.
    • Thailand has a comparable 30 to 40 species.
  • India is a leading producer and exporter of turmeric in the world (80% of total production).
  • Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Karnataka, West Bengal, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Assam are some of the important states cultivates turmeric.
    • Telangana was the leading producer of turmeric in India during 2018.
    • Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were second and third in the ranking that year.

 

Climate and Soil:

  • Turmeric can be grown in diverse tropical conditions from sea level to1500 m above sea level, at a temperature range of 20-35oC with an annualrainfall of 1500 mm or more, under rainfed or irrigated conditions.
  • Though it can be grown on different types of soils, it thrives best inwell-drained sandy or clay loam soils with a pH range of 4.5-7.5 with good organic status.

 

 CIMAP:

  • Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) in Lucknow is one of the five Council of Scientific and Industrial Research laboratories involved in the effort.

Daily Current Affairs 24th September -2021

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