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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 3rd December 2018

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  • December 3, 2018
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains

Focus)- 3rd December 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


China and the United States to halt additional tariffs 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Indian Economy; International Affairs

In news:

  • China and the United States decide to hold off fresh tariffs for 90 days.
  • Washington keeps the rate at 10%; Beijing agrees to buy American farm products.
  • Both sides are trying again to bridge their differences with fresh talks aimed at reaching an agreement within 90 days.
  • The two sides will also launch new trade talks to address issues, including technology transfer, intellectual property, non-tariff barriers, and agriculture.
  • If no deal is reached within 90 days, both parties agreed that the 10% tariffs will be raised to 25%.

How US-China trade war will affect India?

  • In trade conflicts, there are no winners. Too much protectionism ultimately constricts global growth.
  • The effects of a trade war are unlikely to be restricted to merely these two countries. Due to this, India too could find some changing dynamics in its economy.
  • The basic principles of economics, i.e., demand and supply, will once again come into play. The shortage of supply of a good, either finished material or raw material, will increase the final consumption price for the consumer.
  • Moreover, the burden of increased tax from the duties will also be borne by the final user.

The following are some ways the Indian economy may be affected:

  • The value of the Rupee has dropped to an all-time low. Weakening of the US dollar will automatically create negative impact on the trade deficit of India, causing a chain reaction of sorts. Moreover, a trade war would slowdown global growth overall, worsening India’s already dismal export numbers.
  • Poor investors’ confidence – key indices in the Indian share market dropped due to the cautious approach of the investors. BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty performance fell. Reduces investment flows into India.
  • India-US duties – As the United States of America imposed duties on steel and aluminium, India now has to pay approximately $241 million worth of tax to the US. India, on the other hand, as a counter-measure has proposed imposing duties on 30 different types of goods. This will ensure that the US has to pay about $238 million as duties to India. However, this will make life more difficult for the end consumers as everything that falls under the tariff scanner is expected to become more expensive.

On tackling chaotic traffic

Part of: GS Mains III – Infrastructure; Transport

In news:

  • New York’s ex-transport commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, spoke about how India can reclaim their streets for people.
  • She suggested for providing all sorts of mobility, like the Bus Rapid Transit system (BRTS).
  • To build high-capacity systems that can make it easier and more affordable and faster for people to move around.
  • Be more efficient and effective with the streets we have.

Do you know?

  • Janette Sadik-Khan cemented her reputation as one of the world’s foremost sustainable transport leaders by radically transforming the mean streets of the Big Apple into a haven for bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Under her tenure, more than 60 pedestrian plazas (like the one in Times Square) were created.

Train 18 – India’s first engine-less train

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/12/03/CNI/Chennai/TH/5_07/82176249_9ac25d44_101_mr.jpg


Miscellaneous

1. India to host G20 summit in 2022

  • For the first time, India will host the annual G20 summit in 2022, when the country celebrates its 75th anniversary of Independence.
  • Italy was to host the summit in 2022.

2. DRDO invites applications from military officers

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has invited applications from serving officers of the three services already working with it for permanent absorption as civilian officials into its Defence Research and Development Cadre (DRDS).

3. Person in news: Sunil Arora

  • Sunil Arora, a retired 1980-batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, took over as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).

4. UNAIDS: ‘90-90-90’

Do you know?

  • UNAIDS has envisioned to achieve ‘90-90-90’ target by 2020, which will result in controlling HIV infection to sustainable state by 2030.
  • As per the ‘90-90-90’ target, 90% of all HIV infected persons should get diagnosed and know their HIV positive status. Ninety % of these diagnosed HIV positive persons are to be provided regular Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). Ninety % of persons taking ART should show signs of viral suppression which reduces their scope of infection.

5. Hornbill Festival is held in Nagaland

6. ‘Ex Cope India-18’

  • Bilateral drills between the Indian Air Force and the U.S. Air Force.
  • This is for the first time, the exercise is being held at two Air Force bases (Kalaikunda and Panagarh air bases in West Bengal).
  • The U.S. has sent a fleet of F15 C/D and C-130 military aircraft. The IAF is participating with the Su-30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000, C-130J and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft.

7. China rejects India’s proposal to carry out bilateral trade in local currencies

  • China has not accepted India’s proposal to carry out bilateral trade in local currencies, which was aimed at bridging the ballooning trade deficit with the neighbour.
  • India had mooted renminbi-rupee trade with China to boost exports and tackle the widening trade deficit concern.
  • India has also proposed trade in national currencies with other countries, including Russia, Iran and Venezuela with which New Delhi has a trade deficit.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL/ETHICS

TOPIC:General studies 2, 4 and Essay

  • Constitution and Justice delivery system in India
  • Ethical aspects of capital punishment
  • Essay

The debate on Ethical aspect of Capital Punishment

Introduction

  • In questioning the merits of retaining the death penalty, Justice Kurian Joseph has re-ignited a debate that is important and requires serious thought.
  • Justice Joseph holds a view that the time has come to review the death penalty, its purpose and practice.
  • It is impossible to ignore the ethical and practical dimensions of the debate in a world that is increasingly questioning the wisdom of capital punishment.

Constitutionality of death penalty

  • The unconstitutionality of death penalty was raised in the case of Bachhan Singh v State of Punjab. The Supreme Court in that case said that death penalty is constitutional but should be given only in the rarest of rare cases.

Questions raised on decision making in capital punishment

  • The moot question raised here is the decision-making process of a Judge in a case of capital punishment as the life of the person depends on the reasons articulated by such honorable Justices.
  • In this aspect, concerns over judge-centric variations of arguments have been raised in the past.
  • The Supreme Court itself spoke of the “extremely uneven application” of the norms laid down in Bachhan Singh.
  • Even the Law Commission, in its Report in 2015, said that the constitutional regulation of capital punishment attempted in that case has failed to prevent death sentences from being “arbitrarily and freakishly imposed”.
  • Justice Joseph has highlighted Law Commission’s concern that there exists no principled method to remove such arbitrariness from capital sentencing.

Public outrage and capital punishment

  • In recent times, public outrage, the need for deterrence, and the clamor for a befitting punishment to render substantial justice have dominated the general discourse.
  • In cases of heinous crimes (eg: Nirbhaya case), it becomes less important for the public to understand the reason of punishment than the imposition of punishment
  • Thus, whether the punishment has been given to reform the person or to punish the person or for retribution becomes less significant.
  • The quantum of punishment becomes more important (whether the punishment is capital punishment or life imprisonment) as only the quantum of it seems to serve ends of justice in the eyes of the public at large.

Checks and balances to avoid arbitrariness

  • The Supreme Court has narrowed the scope of giving capital punishment by laying down the norms of rarest of rare cases in Bachhan Singh v State of Punjab.
  • Reviews and petitions are routinely admitted by the Supreme Court and Review Petitions are heard in open Courts on capital punishments.
  • The treatment of prisoners serving death sentence has been humanized, and there is scope for judicial review even against a sovereign decision denying clemency.

Conclusion

  • Thus, the question of capital punishment needs to be debated away from the general public discourse and on a higher moral plane where there shall be no death penalty in law, regardless of the nature, circumstances and consequences of an offence.
  • The views of the Law Commission and Justice Joseph on abolishing capital punishment should not be ignored and must be debated.

Connecting the dots:

  • It is not the just the execution but the method that questions capital punishment. Comment.

ECONOMY

TOPIC:General studies 3

  • Indian and global economy
  • Inclusive growth
  • Labour wages

Wage drag: on ILO’s Global Wage Report

Introduction

  • The International Labour Organisation’s Global Wage Report has put into sharp relief one of the biggest drags on global economic momentum: slowing wage growth.
  • The ILO’s report underlines the need for wage expansion that is robust and also equitable.

Key observations

  • Global wage growth, adjusted for inflation, slowed to 1.8% in 2017, from 2.4% in 2016, this is the lowest rate since 2008.
  • Excluding China (given its high population and rapid wage growth it tends to skew the mean), the average was even lower (1.1% in 2017 against 1.8% in 2016).
  • Across a majority of geographies and economic groupings, wage expansions were noticeably tepid last year.
  • In the advanced G20 countries the pace eased to 0.4%, with the U.S. posting an unchanged 0.7% growth and Europe (excluding Eastern Europe) stalling at about zero.
  • The emerging and developing economies in the G20 were not spared a deceleration, with the growth in wages slowing to 4.3%, from 4.9% in 2016.
  • In the Asia and Pacific nations, where workers had enjoyed the biggest real wage growth worldwide between 2006 and 2017, it slid to 3.5% from the previous year’s 4.8%.

Causes and effects of low wage growth

  • The obvious impact of this low pace has been on global economic growth with consumption demand hurt by restrained spending by wage-earners.
  • The ILO report observes that the acceleration of economic growth in high-income countries in 2017 was led mainly by higher investment spending rather than by private consumption.
  • Real wages almost tripled in the developing and emerging countries of the G20 between 1999 and 2017, while in the advanced economies the increase over the same period aggregated to a far lower 9%.
  • In many low- and middle-income economies the average wage, in absolute terms, was so low it was still inadequate to cover the bare needs of workers.
  • The intensification of competition in the wake of globalisation, accompanied by a worldwide decline in the bargaining power of workers has resulted in a decoupling between wages and labour productivity.
  • Share of labour compensation in GDP across many countries that remains substantially below those of the early 1990s.

Do you know?

  • For the first time, the ILO report also focuses on the global gender pay gap, using data from 70 countries and some 80 per cent of employees worldwide.
  • Its findings indicate that despite some significant regional differences, men continue to be paid around 20 per cent more than women.
  • In high-income countries the gender pay gap is at its biggest in top-salaried positions.
  • In low and middle-income countries the gap is widest among lower-paid workers.
  • Its data also suggests that traditional explanations for this – such as differences in the levels of education between men and women who work – play only a “limited” role in explaining gender pay gaps.
  • In many countries women are more highly educated than men but earn lower wages, even when they work in the same occupational categories.
  • The wages of both men and women also tend to be lower in enterprises and occupations with a predominantly female workforce.

Conclusion

  • The widening inequality is slowing demand and growth by shifting larger shares of income to rich households that save rather than spend.
  • For India; to reap the demographic dividend we need not only jobs, but wage expansion that is robust and equitable.
  • To reduce gender pay gaps more emphasis should be placed on ensuring equal pay for women and men, and on addressing the lower value placed on women’s work.

Connecting the dots:

  • Critically analyse the wage growth in India and the world. Briefly explain the impacts of low wage growth on economy.

(Note: For more on ILO’s wage report, refer IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 1st December 2018)


(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) The theme of 2018’s summit was ‘Building consensus for fair and sustainable development’. Which of the following organization’s theme is this?

  1. World Economic Forum
  2. G-20
  3. World Entrepreneurship Summit
  4. ASEAN

Q.2) The Financial Stability Board (FSB) is an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system. FSB has been established by

  1. World Bank
  2. IMF
  3. World Economic Forum
  4. G 20

Q.3) Government has recently announced National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS and Sexually transmitted infections.  Which of the following are the aims of this program?

  1. To eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV and Syphilis by 2020
  2. To eliminate HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination by 2020
  3. To eradicate HIV/AIDS by 2030

Select the code from following:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

Q.4) Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is concerned with

  1. AIDS/HIV Virus
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Blood Cancer
  4. Leprosy

 Q.5) Ex Cope India-18 is bilateral Air Force exercise between –

  1. India and the US
  2. India and Russia
  3. India and France
  4. India and UK

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