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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th June 2019

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  • June 17, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th June 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Modi, Imran exchange pleasantries at Bishkek

Part of: Prelims and mains GS II: International relations

In news

Fight against Terrorism:

  • Addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit, PM Modi highlighted the spirit and ideals of the SCO to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
  • To combat the menace of terrorism, countries will have to come out of their narrow purview to unite against it, he said.
  • Prime Minister called on the SCO member states to cooperate under the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) against terrorism.
  • The Bishkek Declaration urged the international community to encourage global cooperation to fight terrorism, without politicisation and double standards; with respect for the sovereignty and independence of all countries.
  • It sought the support of the member countries to work towards a consensus on adopting the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
  • The summit signed a document titled ‘Roadmap for Further Action of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group.
  • The other agreements on sports, mass media, coordination of humanitarian affairs, tourism, healthcare were signed.

Do you know?

Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS):

The Regional Antiterrorism Structure (RATS) was established in the year 2004 at the Tashkent Summit. SCO-RATS is a permanent body established to bring about coordination and interaction between member states in ensuring security in the region. The Regional Antiterrorism Structure works on information sharing and joint counter terrorism measures between the member states. Post the Astana summit declaration of 2005, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has emerged as a regional security organization.


India to impose retaliatory tariffs on 29 American goods

Part of Prelims and mains GS II international relations and GS III Economics

In news

  • The US has withdrawn the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits to India, effective 5th June.
  • India has accepted the decision of the US to withdraw GSP benefits gracefully, and would work towards making the exports competitive.
  • It was also clarified that the duty hikes were against the tariff hikes on steel and aluminium products by the U.S. and not because it withdrew duty-free benefits to Indian exporters.
  • America had in March last year imposed 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent import duty on aluminium products. As India is one of the major exporters of these items to the US, the US decision has revenue implication of about $240 million on Indian steel and aluminium products.
  • India had repeatedly postponed the imposition of retaliatory tariffs since they were first announced in June 2018.
  • India has also dragged the US to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism over the imposition of import duties on steel and aluminium.
  • India’s exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at $47.9 billion, while imports were at $26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.

PM hits out at trade protectionism; Shanghai Cooperation Organisation  

Part of Prelims: International relations Mains: GS Paper II – International relations

In news

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hit out at unilateralism and trade protectionism, and said there is a need for a rules-based, anti-discriminatory and all inclusive WTO-centred multilateral trading system.

Economic cooperation is the basis of our people’s future… We need a rule-based, transparent, anti-discriminatory, open and all-inclusive WTO-centred multilateral trading system focused so that the interests of every country, specially the developing ones, can be taken care of.

India’s stand

India is committed to ensuring a favourable environment for the economic cooperation between the SCO member-countries.

SCO members stand

The SCO member-states said the situation in global politics and economy remains turbulent and tense, and the process of economic globalisation is being hindered by the growing unilateral protectionist policies and other challenges in international trade`

The Bishkek Declaration of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation stressed the importance of deepening cooperation to build a transparent and stable environment for trade.


(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC:

General studies 2

  • Government policies and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General studies 3

  • Conservation, environmental degradation, environmental impact assessment

Reversing the scale of priorities: Balancing Sustainable development

Introduction

The Madras High Court in P.V. Krishnamoorthy v. The Government of India Case quashed the notifications that were issued by NHAI for acquiring land for a proposed eight-lane expressway connecting Chennai to Salem. The Case now has gone to the Supreme Court whereby NHAI had challenged that verdict of the Madras High Court. However, for now the SC has refused the request of NHAI for a stay on the Madras High Court judgment.

Sustainable development

In 1987, a United Nations-backed committee led by the former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland proposed a long-term strategy which called for sustainable development, among other things. This programme titled “Our Common Future”, defined the principle of sustainable development as an endeavour to ensure that any development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.”

Amartya Sen wrote: While the prominence accorded to sustainable development may be laudable, we must equally ask whether “the conception of human beings implicit in it is sufficiently capacious”.

Madras High Court’s judgment and the concerns raised

The Madras High Court’s judgment in P. Krishnamoorthy case is well reasoned, whereby the HC has raised several questions about procedure with regards to environmental impact assessment (EIA) being carried out for developmental projects.

1st Concern:

There was a failure to obtain an environmental clearance for the project before acquiring land. Whereby, according to the government, power to acquire land under the National Highways Act, 1956, was unconditional. There was no law mandating an EIA before efforts are made to acquire private land. The Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, which required an EIA for the construction of a new highway (green field), did not decree such an assessment for the purposes of securing the land.

2nd Concern:

Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Moreover, the SC in Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum Case (1996) has asserted that Sustainable Development is intrinsic to India’s constitutional structure.

However, it has been difficult to implement in practice the concept of sustainable development. Whereby what has happened is that a balance has been tried to be maintained between environment and the development project and in most cases the balance has been tilted towards development projects. So what happens is that if a development project that depletes groundwater or increases pollution but creates jobs, the project is undertaken whereby it is considered that current and even future generations would prefer a better economy rather than cleaner air or easier access to drinking water.

Conclusion:

The Judgment tilts the balance in Sustainable development towards the environment. It has raised concerns over environmental impact of the project with cutting down of trees, poaching of animals, fragmenting forest land, apart from other environmental concerns.

As Amartya Sen rightly wrote, “there is need for anti-emission policies that could help future generations to have the freedom to enjoy the fresh air that earlier generations enjoyed.”

Connecting the dots:

The protection of environment stands in a higher pedestal when placed on scale with that of the economic interest. Comment.


NATIONAL

TOPIC: General studies 3

  • Indian Economy and issues relating mobilization of resources

Full disclosure: On SEBI norm for financial disclosure

Introduction

In the backdrop of IL&FS crisis, SEBI issued reguating norms for credit rating agencies in November 2018. Again now in June 2019 further disclosure norms issued by SEBI.

Do you know?

A credit rating agency is an entity which assesses the ability and willingness of the issuer company for timely payment of interest and principal on a debt instrument.

The rating is assigned to a security or an instrument. The Credit rating agencies are regulated by SEBI.

Based on the norms issued by the SEBI in June, 2019, the credit rating agencies will have to:

  • The CRAs would now be required to provide their rationale for the rating.
  • The Disclosure of probability of default by the companies has been made mandatory for all the CRAs.
  • The CRAs have also been asked to disclose all the sensitive factors which could possibly trigger changes in credit ratings.
  • In order to improve the transparency in the ratings, the CRAs have been asked to disclose all the liquidity related parameters such as access to credit, liquidity coverage ratio, adequacy of cash flows for servicing maturing debt obligation, etc.
  • The adequacy of the liquidity is to be denoted in terms of standard terminologies such as Superior, Adequate, Stretched & Poor. It would address the problem of ambiguity.
  • The CRAs must publish information on their performance in the rating of debt instruments compares with a benchmark created by SEBI.

Remaining concerns to be addressed:

  • The “issuer-pays” model where the entity that issues the instrument also pays the ratings agency for its services often leads to a situation of conflict of interest.
  • The credit rating market in India has high barriers to entry leading to lack of competition and hence adversely affects the interests of the investors.
  • The Credit rating agencies have to come up with lucrative business models which put the interests of the investors above the interests of borrowers.

Connecting the dots:

What are credit rating agencies? Regulating credit rating agencies will have positive effect on debt and securities market. comment.


(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note:

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

Q.1) Bishkek Declaration recently seen in news is related to

  1. BRICS
  2. SAARC
  3. SCO
  4. None of the above

Q.2) Consider the following statements regarding RATS

  1. The Regional Antiterrorism Structure (RATS) was established in the year 2004 at the Astana Summit.
  2. SCO-RATS is a permanent body established to bring about coordination and interaction between member states in ensuring security in the region.

Select the incorrect statements

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) Consider the following statements

  1. Only US provides duty free imports under Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
  2. In Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), both the signing countries allow duty free imports to each other.

Select the correct statements

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

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