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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th JULY 2020

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  • July 16, 2020
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IASBABA’S INTEGRATED LEARNING PROGRAMME (ILP)

IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th July 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Role of China Study Group (CSG)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II

Context:

  • While reading articles dealing with India-China standoff, we frequently find references of government’s high-powered body, “China Study Group (CSG)”, meeting often to review and discuss the prevailing situation along the LAC.

What is China Study Group (CSG)?

  • It is a government body, headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, which has the cabinet secretary, secretaries of home, external affairs, defence, and representatives of the Army as the members.
  • The CSG was set up in 1976 by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to advise on policy issues relating to China.
  • It was initially headed by the Foreign Secretary and now by the National Security Adviser.

Functions or aim of CSG

CSG was set up in 1975-1976 under K.R. Narayanan with a twin purpose.

  1. It was to keep under review the situation on the Sino-Indian border, and
  2. It was to assist in preparations for negotiations with China on the border question. 

In the wake of heightened road and track construction work undertaken by China along India’s Northern and Eastern frontiers in 1997, CSG was constituted to study the requirement of road communication along the China border for fast and smooth movement of troops in case of any aggression.

At the end of the study, the CSG identified 73 strategically important roads along the China border for Indo-China Border Roads (ICBRs) to be built.

Do you know?

  • Border Roads Organisation (BRO) handles the bulk of the ICBR road construction work.
  • Several other entities are also responsible for constructing ICBR – such as NHAI, MoDNER, Central Public Works Department (CPWD), National Projects Construction Corporation (NPCC) etc.

India-EU: Trade talks

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and EU ties; International Relations

In News:

  • India-European Union (EU) held virtual summit recently.

Major outcomes:

  1. India and EU committed to a framework for strategic cooperation until 2025. (Five-­year roadmap for the India-­EU strategic partnership.)
  2. Both vowed to cooperate on their response to the coronavirus pandemic and the United Nations Security Council.
  3. To revive talks on a free trade agreement (Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement) that have been suspended since 2013. 
  4. Civil nuclear research and development cooperation agreement between EURATOM and the Department of Atomic Energy.
  5. Exchange best practices in range of areas and the renewal of their science and technology agreement for another five years.

India-EU areas of convergence:

  • India and the EU are natural partners.
  • India-EU partnership is important for global peace and stability.
  • Both share similar ‘universal values’ of democracy, pluralism, respect for international institutions and multilateralism.
  • Share common interest in tackling climate change, and building trade.
  • EU is India’s largest trading partner, while India is the EU’s ninth biggest trading partner.

India-EU areas of divergence:

  • EU leadership had raised concerns over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Citizenship Amendment Act.
  • EU expressed concerns about India’s “protectionist” tone to “Atmanirbhar Bharat” slogan. 

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs calls for database on migrants

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Social and Welfare schemes; Parliamentary Committees

In news:

  • Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs advised the government to set up a national database of migrant workers so that they don’t fall out of the social security cover. 
  • The Committee observed that better coordination between States and districts could have prevented the massive exodus of migrant workers.
  • According to the Committee, lessons should be learnt from the COVID­19 pandemic which saw unprecedented reverse migration.

Asian Development Bank

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Regional group/organizations; Economy

About:

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.
  • ADB aims to promote social and economic development in Asia. 
  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and non-regional developed countries.

Do you know?

  • The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system.
  • From 31 members at its establishment, ADB now has 68 members.
  • ADB is an official United Nations Observer.
  • India was a founding member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 1966 and is now the bank’s fourth largest shareholder and top borrower.

As of 31 December 2019, ADB’s five largest shareholders are Japan and the United States (each with 15.6% of total shares), the People’s Republic of China (6.4%), India (6.3%), and Australia (5.8%).

In news:

  • ADB announced that it had appointed Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa  as its vicepresident (V­P) for private sector operations and public­private partnerships.

Lancet study on Population

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I and II – Population issues; Social/Welfare issues

In news:

According to Lancet study –

  • At the current rate of growth, India’s population is likely to peak by 2047 at about 1.61 billion and then decline to 1.03 billion by 2100.
  • Population decline in India is expected only around 2046. 
  • India will remain the most populous country.
  • The five largest countries in 2100 (are projected) to be India, Nigeria, China, the U.S. and Pakistan.

Do you know?

  • World population is expected to peak by 2061 at 9.73 billion and by 2100 dip to 8.79 billion.
  • Fall in population can be attributed to the assumption that all women globally will have much higher access to contraception and education.
  • A Total Fertility Rate (TFR) lower than 2.1 leads to a decline in a country’s population.

SOFI 2020 Report on Food Security

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I and II – Poverty; Social/Welfare issues; Food Security

In news:

According to State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2020 report –

  • The world is not on track to meet the goal of zero hunger by 2030.
  • Around 8-13 crore people globally are likely to go hungry this year due to the economic recession triggered by COVID­19.
  • Almost 690 million people around the world went hungry in 2019. (up by 1 crore in 2018)
  • Hunger continues to be on the rise since 2014 and the global prevalence of undernourishment, or overall percentage of hungry people, is 8.9%.
  • Asia remains home to the greatest number of under nourished (38 crore). Africa is second (25 crore), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (4.8 crore).

Other facts:

According to current estimates, in 2019, 

  • 21.3% (14.4.crore) of children under 5 years were stunted,
  • 6.9% (4.7 crore) wasted and
  • 5.6% (3.8 million) overweight
  • A healthy diet costs more than ₹143 (or $1.90/ day) which is the international poverty threshold.

Do you know?

  • SOFI report is a join report issued annually by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.
  • It presents the latest estimates on food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition at the global and regional levels. 
  • The 2020 edition continues to signal that significant challenges remain in the fight against food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms.

India-Russia relations:

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and Russia ties; International Relations

In news:

Indian envoy to Russia said – 

  • India wants Russia to be more involved in the Indo-Pacific. (as India views Russia as a very important Pacific power)
  • Russia should look to its own interests in the region and that will create a mutual basis for cooperation and dialogue. 

Recent developments:

  • Indian and Russian investments in Vietnam’s oil and gas sector can be considered as one of the areas of cooperation. 
  • India wants Indo-Pacific region to be free and fair for everyone.
  • A stable Indo-­Pacific assumes particular importance for Russia too with the proposed energy bridge from Arctic to Vladivostok to Chennai.

Do you know?

  • There have been standoffs between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea due to overlapping claims close to the Indian oil blocks in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit India later this year which coincides with the 20th year of India-­Russia strategic partnership.

Miscellaneous:

US Sanctions on China

In news:

  • U.S.  stripped Hong Kong of preferential trade treatment and authorised sanctions on banks over China’s clampdown in the financial hub
  • According to Trump administration, Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China — no special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies.
  • China vowed to retaliate and impose sanctions on relevant U.S. personnel and entities.

Google acquires 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms

In news:

  • Reliance Jio to deploy 5G technology in India next year.
  • Jio and Google to partner to develop cheap entry-level 4G or even 5G smartphone with Android operating system.
  • Google has announced to invest ₹33,737 crore to acquire a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms.
  • Reliance Industries Ltd. is looking to raise capital in a similar manner for its retail and petrochemical businesses.

Key points:

  • Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch. (Made-­in­-India 5G solution)
  • Google had announced recently that it would invest $10 billion fund in India.
  • Therefore, investment in Jio would be the first and the biggest investment that Google would make in India.

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL/ ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. 

India should believe in the EU

Context: In the post-COVID world, there will challenges for India to decide on which partner to invest its geopolitical capital

The EU and India have much in common like:

  • Both aim to enhance strategic autonomy and their global standing. 
  • Need for diversifying strategic value chains (moving away from China-centrism)
  • Address climate change.

Significance of India-EU relationship

  • EU champions the rules-based international order (that India also supports), which is being increasingly challenged by the proliferation of exceptionalism. 
  • In geopolitical terms, India is facing increasingly powerful rival in China. 
  • A stronger cooperation with like-minded, democratic powers like EU can help India face its rival effectively in geopolitics

India and EU – An opening for enhanced economic partnership

  • EU is India’s first trading partner and the biggest foreign investor, with €67.7 billion worth of investments made in 2018 (22% of total FDI inflows)
  • However, EU investments in China in 2018 amounted to €175.3 billion
  • In post COVID world, there is scope for India in attracting EU investment that might be moving out of China

What steps need to be taken for enhancing the relationship in future?

  1. Both sides must address the mutual trust deficit.
  • There is a need for facilitating people’s mobility and connectivity for improving mutual understanding 
  1. Need to fast track the stagnating Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. 
  •  A new study from the European Parliament assesses the potential impact of an EU-India trade agreement at between €8 billion and €8.5 billion gains from increased trade for both sides
  1. Collaboration on Climate Change
  • Through its new industrial strategy, the Green Deal, EU is building on its ambitious target to render the continent carbon-emission neutral by 2050.
  • India has also announced ambitious targets in Paris Climate deal
  • Thus, both can collaborate on technology front to achieve their targets
  1. Reforming Multilateral Institutions
  • The EU and India must join forces to promote sustainable reform of multilateral institutions, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) first in line.

Conclusion

India should make calculated moves in foreign policy in post-COVID world so that its interests are not compromised due to realignment of global power equations

Connecting the dots:

  • EU and ASEAN – Difference in their structures
  • Impact of COVID-19 on multilateral organisations

ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE/ INTERNATIONAL

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests 

Google’s Investment in India

Context: US tech giant Google announced plans to invest $10 billion in India over the coming five to seven years through the “Google for India Digitisation Fund”

The focus of investment will be on

  • Bringing more high-quality low-cost smartphones to enable greater Internet access
  • Building new products and services in consumer technology, education, health and agriculture
  • Empowering small and medium businesses to transform digitally.

Significance of the investment

  • The move signals a stepping up of engagement between Indian and US tech firm
  • It shows the attractiveness of the India’s digital economy, even in the midst of a severe global economic slowdown.
  • The investment is much needed at a time when Indian economy is in the midst of a deep slowdown

What is the broader shift that is happening in world?

  • Google’s decision is also indicative of a wider shift signalling a split in the tech world between the US and China
  • India had decided to ban the widely used Chinese app TikTok and US is also considering similar action
  • US is also putting pressure on countries to keep Chinese company Huawei’s equipment out of their 5G networks
  • UK has also banned the purchase of new Huawei equipment by its telecom operators after the end of 2020
  • All these can be seen in countries trying to reconfiguring global supply chains, which is presently centred around China

Conclusion

  • Indian government should do everything it can to deepen and widen this burgeoning market.

Connecting the dots:

  • Pros and Cons of FDI
  • Justice B. N. Srikrishna Committee report on Data Protection

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Consider the following statements about China Study Group (CSG)

  1. It is an independent or autonomous think-tank on strategic studies and land warfare associated with India-China relations.
  2. It was set up right after Sino-Indian War to deal with national security issues, conventional military operations and sub-conventional warfare.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.2) Match List I with List II and select the correct answer using the code given below the Lists:

(List I – Parliamentary Committees) : : (List II – Consists of) 

  1. Public Accounts Committee    A) 22 members (15 from LS and 7 from RS)
  2. Estimates Committee               B) 30 members (All from LS only)
  3. Standing committee                 C) 31 members (21 from LS and 10 from RS)
  4. Committee on Empowerment of Women D) 30 members (20 from LS and 10 from RS)

Code:

1-2-3-4

  1. A-B-C-D
  2. A-B-D-C
  3. B-A-D-C
  4. B-A-C-D

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  1. ADB is a regional development organization dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through loans, grants with headquarters in Beijing.
  2. India is a founding member of ADB.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

ANSWERS FOR 15th July 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 B
3 C
4 C
5 C

Must Read

About inflation:

The Hindu

About China’s Post COVID aggression:

The Hindu

About Chabahar Port rail project:

The Indian Express

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