(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure
- The Department of Telecom eased rules for other service providers (OSP) in the business process outsourcing (BPO) and information technology-enabled services (ITes).
- OSPs are companies or firms which provide secondary or tertiary services such as telemarketing, telebanking or telemedicine for various companies, banks or hospital chains.
- The new rules remove the registration requirement for OSPs.
- Such BPOs that are engaged only in data work have been taken out of the category of OSPs altogether.
- With the government recognising OSP employees as extended or remote agents, companies providing such services will no longer have to carry the additional compliance burden of providing the details of all such employees to the DoT.
- There will be no need for renewal of licenses and therefore foreign companies can be invited to set up or expand their other service providing units in India.
- This important change, which takes data-based OSPs completely out of the ambit of BPOs would mean that such firms can function like any other service firm without the strict and cumbersome guidelines such as presence of agent on location.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – International Relations; Important organisations
- Recently, Indian diplomat Vidisha Maitra was elected to the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).
- ACABQ is a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly.
- The UN General Assembly appoints members of the Advisory Committee.
- Members are selected on the basis of broad geographical representation, personal qualifications and experience.
- The Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, which deals with administrative and budgetary issues, made the recommendation
- She has been elected for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2021.
- India was also elected recently to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for a two-year term beginning January 2021.
Important value additions
Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ)
- ACABQ consists of 16 members appointed by the Assembly in their individual capacity.
- ACABQ ensures that fund contributions to the UN system are put to good effect and that mandates are properly funded.
- Functions: (1) To examine and report on the budget submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly; (2) To advise the General Assembly concerning any administrative and budgetary matters referred to it.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Disaster Management
- The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a technology called ”Fire Detection and Suppression System (FDSS)” for passenger buses.
- FDSS technology can detect fire in buses in less than 30 seconds and extinguish it in 60 seconds thereby reducing the risk to life and property to a significant extent.
- Demonstrations were given on water mist-based FDSS for passenger compartment and aerosol-based FDSS for engine fire.
- The FDSS for passenger compartment comprises a water tank of 80 litre capacity, a 6.8 kg nitrogen cylinder pressurised to 200 bar installed at appropriate location in the bus.
- The FDSS for engine comprises an aerosol generator with which the fire suppression could be achieved within 5 seconds of the system activation.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Defence & Security
- Recently, Defence Minister inaugurated a model of an anti-satellite missile at the DRDO Bhawan.
- The anti-satellite missile system is seen as a symbol of national technological advancement
Important value additions
- ‘Mission Shakti’ was India’s first ever Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile Test successfully conducted on 27th March 2019 from Dr AP J Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha.
- A fast-moving Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) was neutralised with pinpoint accuracy.
- This was a highly complex mission, conducted at extremely high speed with remarkable precision.
- The successful conduct of Mission Shakti made India the fourth nation in the world with the capability to defend its assets in outer space.
U.S Presidential Elections
Democrat Joe Biden has been declared the winner of the 2020 US presidential election, defeating Donald Trump, to become the 46th President of the United States.
- Democratic Party candidate Kamala Harris has also secured her position as the first woman to be the Vice President of the USA.
- Harris, is also credited to be the first woman of Indian-American and African-American origin to be a member of the United States Senate.
- The electoral college representatives elected by the popular votes will cast their votes to officially elect the new president on the 14th of next month.
- The new president will thereafter assume office on the 20th of January next year after the inauguration ceremony.
Ministry Of Ports, Shipping And Waterways
- Indian Prime Minister has said that the Government of India is changing the name of the Ministry of Shipping.
- It will be known as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
Topic: General Studies 2, 3:
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
Context: Bangladesh has become the second largest apparel exporter after China, while Vietnam’s exports have grown by about 240% in the past eight years.
Reason for Vietnam’s success story
- A less inexpensive workforce
- Open trade policy mainly through Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which ensure that its important trading partners like the U.S., the EU, China, Japan, South Korea and India do not charge import duties on products made in Vietnam
- Domestic laws modified to attract foreign firms: Foreign firms can compete for local businesses. For example, EU firms can open shops, enter the retail trade, and bid for both government and private sector tenders. They can take part in electricity, real estate, hospital, defence, and railways projects.
- FDI linked export strategy: In 2019-20, Vietnam received investments exceeding $16 billion. As a result, Vietnam’s exports rose from $83.5 billion in 2010 to $279 billion in 2019.
Success Story of Bangladesh
- In Bangladesh, large export of apparels to the EU and the U.S. make the most of the country’s export story.
- The EU allows the import of apparel and other products from least developed countries (LDCs) like Bangladesh duty-free.
- India, as a good neighbour, accepts all Bangladesh products duty-free (except alcohol and tobacco).
- Sadly, Bangladesh may not have such advantages in four to seven years as its per capita income rises and it loses the LDC status. Bangladesh is working smartly to diversify its export basket.
Which elements of Vietnam and Bangladesh models can India emulate?
- Supporting Large firms: The key learning from Bangladesh is the need to support large firms for a quick turnover. Large firms are better positioned to invest in brand building, meeting quality requirements, and marketing. Small firms begin as suppliers to large firms and eventually grow.
- Focus on Specific Sectors to kick start trade: Vietnam has changed domestic rules to meet the needs of investors. Most of Vietnam’s exports happen in five sectors which has helped increase its growth in trade. In contrast, India’s exports are more diversified which are slow to grow but nevertheless provides resilience to global shocks in long term.
Vulnerabilities in Vietnam’s growth model
- High export to GDP ratio (EGR). Vietnam’s EGR is 107%. Such high dependence on exports brings dollars but also makes a country vulnerable to global economic uncertainty.
- The EGR of large economies/exporting countries is a much smaller number. The U.S.’s EGR is 11.7%, Japan’s is 18.5%, India’s is 18.7%. Even for China, with all its trade problems, the EGR is 18.4%
- Lack of Organic economic growth: The quick build-up of exports in Vietnam resulted from large MNC investments. But most of its electronics exports are just the final assembly of goods produced elsewhere. In such cases, national exports look large, but the net dollar gain is small
- India, unlike Vietnam, has a developed domestic and capital market. To further promote manufacturing and investment, India could set up sectoral industrial zones with pre-approved factory spaces.
- Even if India follows an Open Trade Policy, it should have a healthy mix of domestic champions and MNCs.
- While export remains a priority, it should not be pursued at the expense of other sectors of the economy.
INTERNATIONAL/ ECONOMY/ SECURITY
Topic: General Studies 2,3:
- India and its neighborhood- relations.
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Context: The visit of Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to the Maldives is significant for taking forward bilateral relations
Under Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih, bilateral cooperation, especially on the economic front, has become a ‘model’ that New Delhi can adopt to make the government’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy a sustained success.
India’s strategic interests in Maldives are:
- Geographical Proximity: Maldives is very close to the west coast of India -it is barely 70 nautical miles away from Minicoy and 300 nautical miles away from India’s West coast. Hence a friendly relationship is needed to avoid any maritime territorial disputes.
Value Addition: The one-time claim of Maldives to Minicoy Island was resolved by the Maritime Boundary Treaty of 1976 between the two countries, whereby Maldives has recognized Minicoy as an integral part of India.
- Close to Commercial Sea lines of Communication: Its situation at the hub of commercial sea-lanes running through Indian Ocean (particularly the 8° N and 1 ½° N channels). Therefore, close cooperation of Maldives government is needed for prevent piracy in the region and ensure safety of trade routes
- Third Country’s interference: Maldives potential to allow a third nation’s naval presence in the area imbues it with significant strategic importance to India, where India considers itself as an unofficial security guaranteer in the region.
- Radicalization and Threat of Terrorism: Radicalisation grew rapidly during last decade and it was often said that archipelago accounted for one of the highest numbers of foreign fighters in Syria in terms of per capita. India can ill-afford a neighbour which fails to check Islamic radicalisation.
- Indian Diaspora: Indians are the second largest expatriate community in Maldives with an approximate strength of around 25,000 (accounting for ~5.6% of Maldivian population). Close cooperation with Maldives is also important for safety & security of Indians staying in Maldives
- Multi-lateral Forum: Maldives is also a member of SAARC. It is important for India to have Maldives on board to maintain its leadership in the region.
Through the decades, India has rushed emergency assistance to the Maldives
- Operation Cactus: In 1988, when armed mercenaries attempted a coup against President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, India sent paratroopers and Navy vessels and restored the legitimate leadership under Operation Cactus.
- The 2004 tsunami was another occasion where India sent its assistance in terms of food and supplies to rebuild the region
- The 2014 Drinking Water Scarcity in Male was prevented from becoming an humanitarian disaster when attended by India sent packaged drinking water to Maldives through five C17 and IL17 transport aircrafts of the Indian Air Force
- COVID-19 Assistance: At the peak of the continuing COVID-19 disruption, India rushed $250 million aid in quick time. New Delhi also rushed medical supplies to the Maldives, started a new cargo ferry and also opened an air travel bubble
Political Challenges in Bilateral Relationship
- Abdulla Yameen (presently leader of opposition Party and jailed for corrption) was in power when the water crisis occurred. Despite early strains in relations, India rushed help on a humanitarian basis.
- Anti-India Protests by Opposition camp: Now, the Yameen camp has launched an ‘India Out’ campaign against New Delhi’s massive developmental funding for creating physical, social and community infrastructure
- Internal Rumblings in Ruling Party: India should be concerned about the protests as well as the occasional rumblings within the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of Mr. Solih. The political instability in the ruling party can impact the country’s ties with India.
- Despite challenges, India can take respite in the ‘strategic comfort’ of the ‘India First’ policy of the Solih government.
- Given India’s increasing geostrategic concerns in the shared seas, India should be proactive in taking forward the multifaceted cooperation with its maritime neighbour.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- 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 Recently, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a technology called ”Fire Detection and Suppression System (FDSS)”. For which purpose is it developed?
- For passenger trains
- For passenger buses
- For high rise buildings
- For navy ships
Q.2 Consider the following statements:
- ‘Mission Shakti’ was India’s first ever Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile.
- India is the only nation in the world with the capability to defend its assets in outer space.
Which of the above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
ANSWERS FOR 9th November 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
About NGT ban on sale and use of firecrackers:
About Ethiopia’s political situation:
About significance on Voltaire in the wake of rising fanaticism: