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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd SEPTEMBER 2020

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  • September 22, 2020
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd SEPTEMBER 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


The Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules, 2020 (CAROTAR, 2020) to come into force 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and interventions; International Relations

In news

  • The Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules, 2020 (CAROTAR, 2020), will come into force from 21st September 2020. 
  • It was notified on 21st August 2020.
  • The new rules will make the importer to correctly ascertain the country of origin, properly claim the concessional duty and assist customs authorities in smooth clearance of legitimate imports under FTAs.

Key takeaways

  • Importers will have to ensure that imported goods meet the prescribed ‘rules of origin’ provisions to avail concessional rate of customs duty under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
  • Importers have to prove that imported products have undergone value addition of at least 35% in the countries of origin.
  • Earlier, merely a country of origin certificate, issued by a notified agency in the country of export was sufficient to avail the benefits of FTAs.
  • Customs officials suspect that China diverts its supplies to India through ASEAN nations by abusing rules of origin so that it illegally takes advantage of duty-free market.

Do you know?

  • Major imports to India come from five ASEAN countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
  • The domestic industry will be protected from misuse of FTAs.

Important value additions

  • Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with ASEAN means goods coming from these countries will face zero or less customs/import duties at our borders. 
  • The name of the document which shows that goods are coming from a particular country is called “Certificate of Origin”. 
  • Country will be treated as Origin/Originating country through “Rules of Origin”. They vary between country to country and FTA to FTA.

Three cases regarding Rules of origin:

  • Goods totally produced/manufactured in ASEAN: “Certificate of Origin” will mention that goods originated from ASEAN and they will get preferential/zero duty.
  • Inputs purchased from China, value addition happened in ASEAN and then goods are reaching into India: Goods will be considered originating from ASEAN, if the value addition in China is less than 60%. 
  • Some value addition happened in ASEAN, then goods/inputs purchased by China and then entering into India: It will always be treated as goods originating from China and they will not get benefits under ASEAN FTA.

Bamboo shoots can be among cheapest immunity boosters

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Agricultural Marketing

In news

  • Recently, focus of more than 25 experts from 11 countries who converged digitally to mark ‘World Bamboo Day’ was on the nutraceutical bamboo shoot.

Key takeaways

  • Bamboo shoots are emerging as high-value and safe edibles.
  • They are being grown globally along with all other value-added bamboo products.
  • The protein content in fresh bamboo shoots, considered as nutraceutical, can range between 1.49-4.04%. 
  • They also contain 17 amino acids, eight of which are essential for the human body.

Important value additions

  • According to the National Bamboo Mission, India has the highest area (13.96 million hectares) under bamboo and is the second richest country after China in terms of bamboo diversity with 136 species. 
  • The annual production of bamboo in India is 14.6 million tonnes and the bamboo-rattan industry in the country was worth ₹28,005 crore in 2017.
  • Bamboo could be among the cheapest immunity boosters for increasing the human body’s resistance to viral attacks.

Do you know?

  • The bamboo is considered the grass of life in the northeast India.
  • Bamboo has been a key ingredient in new antimicrobial soaps and hand mists developed by Filipino scientists to fight the novel coronavirus.
  • The term ‘nutraceutical’ is used to describe medicinally or nutritionally functional foods.
  • Bamboo shoots are the edible sprouts of the perennial grass.

Vaibhav Summit

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science and Technology

In news

  • Vaishwik Bharatiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit will be inaugurated on 2nd October 2020 – the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Key takeaways

  • It will be followed by online month-long deliberation sessions among researchers.
  • It is a global summit of Overseas and Resident Indian scientists and academicians.
  • Key areas of discussion: Quantum technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning, communications technologies, computational and data sciences and aerospace technologies, etc.
  • Objectives: (1) To bring out the comprehensive roadmap to leverage the expertise and knowledge of global Indian researchers for solving emerging challenges; (2) To reflect in-depth on the collaboration and cooperation instruments with academia and scientists in India; (3) To create an ecosystem of Knowledge and Innovation in the country through global outreach.
  • Organisers: Various Science & Technology (S&T) and Academic organisations.

Nandankanan Zoological Park: Odisha

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Zoological Parks

In news

  • Recently, Nandankanan Zoological Park was in news due to death of two sloth bears.

Important value additions

Nandankanan Zoological Park

  • It is situated near Bhubaneswar, Odisha. 
  • It was inaugurated in 1960.
  • It is the first zoo in India to become a member of the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums (WAZA).
  • It is recognized as a leading zoo for the breeding of the Indian pangolin and white tiger.
  • Leopards, mouse deer, lions, ratel and vultures are also bred here.
  • It was the world’s first captive crocodile breeding centre, where gharials were bred in captivity in 1980.
  • The State Botanical Garden of Nandankanan is one of the pioneering plant conservation and nature education centres of Odisha.

Sloth Bear

  • Scientific Name: Melursus ursinus
  • Also called honey bear, Hindi bhalu.
  • Habitat: Tropical or subtropical regions of India and Sri Lanka.
  • Protection Status: (1) Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List; (2) Appendix I in CITES; (3) Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • Threats: Habitat loss, poaching for body parts, captured for use in performances and hunted because of their aggressive behavior and destruction of crops.

Do you know?

  • WAZA is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

Biotech-KISAN Programme highlighted in Lok Sabha 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Welfare schemes & GS-III – Biotechnology

In news

  • Recently, the importance of Biotech-Krishi Innovation Science Application Network (Biotech-KISAN) programme was highlighted in Lok Sabha during ongoing Monsoon session.
  • The programme helps in taking innovative biotechnologies to the farmers.

Important value additions

Biotech-KISAN programme 

  • It is a farmer-centric pan-India scheme.
  • Developed by: Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • It follows a hub-and-spoke model.
  • It stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation in farmers and also empowers women farmers.
  • Aim: To understand the problems of water, soil, seed and market faced by the farmers and provide simple solutions to them.
  • The programme links available science and technology to the farm by first understanding the problem of the local farmer and then providing scientific solutions to those problems.
  • Currently, there are a total of eight Biotech-KISAN Hubs in different Agro-climatic Zones.

Samarth Scheme for Textile Sector being implemented

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Welfare schemes & GS-III – Biotechnology

In news

  • The Samarth-Scheme for Capacity Building in the Textiles Sector was recently in news.
  • Ministry: The Ministry of Textiles 

Important value additions

Samarth Scheme

  • It was approved by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in 2017.
  • Objective: (1) To ensure steady supply of skilled manpower in the labour-intensive textile sector; (2) Provide demand driven, placement oriented skills which shall be compliant to National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF); (3) To cover the entire value chain of textile, excluding Spinning and Weaving; (4) Promote skilling and skill upgradation in the traditional sectors of handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture and jute; (5) Enable provision of sustainable livelihood either by wage or self-employment.

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL / SECURITY

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

India and the Abraham Accords

Context: The White House ceremony on 15th September 2020 marking the formal normalisation of Israel’s ties with UAE and Bahrain has created a significant inflection point in regional history and geopolitics.

Under the agreement, the UAE and Bahrain would normalise ties with Israel, leading to better economic, political and security engagement.

To understand the Politics behind this deal: Click here and here.

Do You Know?

  • Except with Jordan and Egypt, Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab states owing to its long-standing conflict with Palestinians
  • Israel had signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994.

How is the September 15 reconciliation different from previous peace agreements (1979 & 1994)?

  • Firstly, UAE and Bahrain do not have any territorial dispute with Israel, nor have they ever been at war with it. 
  • Although formally committed to an Arab consensus (two-state resolution of the Palestine cause) UAE & Bahrain have steadily moved towards having substantive links with Israel in recent years. 
  • Hence, the ‘Abraham Accords’ entered with the UAE and Bahrain are ‘peace-for-peace’ deals without any physical quid pro quo by Israel.

Implications of Abraham Accord for India

  • India’s Stance: Geopolitically, India has welcomed the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel, calling both its strategic partners 
  • Foreign Policy Significance: India has stronger, multifaceted and growing socioeconomic engagements with Israel and the Gulf countries. Therefore, any changes in regional dynamics will impact the India’s Strategic interests in the region. 
  • Eases India’s Balancing Act: The new accord widens the moderate constituency for peaceful resolution of the Palestine dispute, easing India’s diplomatic balancing act.
  • New Arena of Proxy War: The possibility of the southern Gulf becoming the new arena of the proxy war between Iran and Israel cannot be ruled out, particularly in Shia pockets. India would have to be on its guard to monitor such conflicts.
  • Backlash on Jihadi Fringe movement: The Israel-GCC ties may provoke new polarisations between the Jihadi fringe and the mainstream.
  • Economic Challenges: India has acquired a large and rewarding regional footprint, particularly as the preferred source of manpower, food products, pharmaceuticals, gem and jewellery, light engineering items, etc. This position could be challenged by Israel which has niche strength in defence, security, solar power, horticulture etc.
  • IndiaIran Relations impacted: For decades, one of the main sources of instability in West Asia has been the cold war between Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shia). This accord may make the rift wider and more violent, thus testing India-Iran relations.

Conclusion

  • India should use this opportunity to give itself a bigger role in a region which is its strategic backyard. 
  • The deal opens up new opportunities for India to play a much larger role in the regional security and stability in the Gulf, where New Delhi enjoys special relations with both Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem.
  •  In the evolving scenario, there may be scope for a profitable trilateral synergy, but India cannot take its preponderance as a given.

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL / SECURITY

Topic: General Studies 1 & 2:

  • Contemporary World History (UN & its challenges)
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

UN and the new Multilateralism

Context: September month ought to have been a moment of celebration for the United Nations — the 75th anniversary of its founding. The coronavirus has exposed the structural weakness of UN system that was set up amidst the ruins of the Second World War

Criticism of UN in the wake of Pandemic

  • The UN has been unable to respond effectively to the once-in-a-century global crisis triggered by the coronavirus.
  • At the UN Security Council, China blocked a serious discussion on the origin and sources of the crisis.
  • While the World Health Organisation did move a bit in that direction, the US was not satisfied with the outcome and walked out of the forum.

How has International Politics affected UN functioning over the years?

  • Realism at the core of UN System: UN, was meant, by design, to be a concert of great powers who had a permanent seat in the Security Council. Cooperation among the great powers was the precondition for its success in the security arena.
  • During the Cold War, Washington and Moscow were at each other’s throats and the UNSC was deadlocked. 
  • During the brief unipolar moment of the 1990s, post-Soviet Russia was willing to acquiesce to the sweeping US agenda for global security. China was feeling its way around multilateral institutions and avoided any challenge to the US and West.
  • In 2000s, Russia and China began to offer resistance to US dominance. 
  • Present Situation is that of Political Fragmentation: The conflict between the US on the one hand and China and Russia on the other has become full-blown. To make matters more complicated, the West itself is divided

What are India’s prospects vis-a-vis UN in coming days?

  • Pessimist thinking: The current political fragmentation augurs poorly for India’s two-year tenure at the UNSC starting next January 2021. 
  • Optimist thinking: This is an opportunity to restructure India’s traditional approach to the UN. 
  • Activist thinking: There are huge possibilities for enhancing India’s multilateral standing.

What steps should India take in future with regard to UN?

  • Understand the Reality: India should shed the illusion of expansion of UNSC in near future. It should accept the reality that UNSC reform is unlikely to happen soon
  • Develop Multilateral Agenda: India should develop a multilateral agenda of its own despite UNSC being dysfunctional like it did in the past (decolonisation, disarmament and new international economic order during Cold War era)
  • Understand the Objective of Multilateralism: The primary objective of India’s present multilateralism must be to ensure its territorial integrity in the wake of aggressive China & Pakistan
  • Play Active role in rule making: The rules governing economic, technological and environmental areas are now up for a significant overhaul and India should help set the agenda.
  • Increase India’s share in UN Budget: Delhi can’t hope to expand its international influence on the cheap. India’s share in the UN budget stands at 0.7 per cent. The shares of China, Japan and the US are at 8, 10 and 22 per cent respectively. Raising Delhi’s contribution to at least one per cent might convince its partners that India is serious about pursuing a more vigorous multilateralism.

Conclusion

In writing the new rules and reshaping the global order, India needs to strengthen its recent turn to a more dynamic coalition building.

Connecting the dots:


(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:

  1. Goods will be considered originating from ASEAN, if the value addition in China is less than 50%.
  2.  It will always be treated as goods originating from China if China purchases the goods from ASEAN nations and exports to India.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.2 The term ‘nutraceutical’ is used to describe which of the following?

  1. Medicines prepared from shoots of bamboo
  2. Vaccines which boosts immunity in children
  3. COVID-19 specific masks
  4. Medicinally functional foods.

Q.3 VAIBHAV Summit, to be inaugurated on 2nd October 2020, is associated with which of the following?

  1. Summit of next phase of Swachh Bharat Mission
  2. Summit of Start-ups Mission in Indian Central Universities
  3. Summit of Overseas and Resident Indian scientists and academicians
  4. Summit of Developing countries to combat terrorism

Q.4 Nandankanan Zoological Park is situated in which of the following state of India?

  1. Odisha
  2. West Bengal
  3. Kerala
  4. Maharashtra

ANSWERS FOR 21st September 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 A
3 D
4 A

Must Read

About India-Russia relationship:

The Hindu

About dilution of labour laws:

The Hindu

About criticism of Parliamentary functioning:

The Indian Express

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