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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st March 2022

  • IASbaba
  • March 21, 2022
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


GI tag for Narasinghapettai nagaswaram

Part of: Prelims and GS I – Culture and GS-III GI Tags

Context: Nagaswaram made in Narasinghapettai in Thanjavur district has been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

Key takeaways 

  • Nagaswaram is made of ‘acha maram’, a tree known for its sturdy features. 
  • The front portion — ‘anusu’ or enhancer — is made of ‘vaagai’ wood. 
    • ‘Seevali’, the reed, is made from a type of grass that grows on the banks of the Cauvery and the Kollidam.
  • It is a double reed wind instrument from South India . 
  • It is used as a traditional classical instrument in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala.
  • This instrument is “among the world’s loudest non-brass acoustic instruments”.
  • It is a wind instrument partially similar to the North Indian shehnai but much longer, with a hardwood body and a large flaring bell made of wood or metal.
  • In South Indian culture, it is considered to be very auspicious, and it is a key musical instrument played in almost all Hindu weddings and temples of the South Indian tradition.

What is GI tag? 

  • It is an indication which is definite to a geographical territory.
  • It is used for agricultural, natural and manufactured goods.
  • The goods need to be produced or processed or prepared in that region. 
  • The product must have a special quality or reputation.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 provides registration and also protection of GI goods in India.
  • The Geographical Indications Registry for India is located in Chennai.
  • A registered GI tag prohibits a third party to use such products. 
  • GI is a collective intellectual property right and is thus owned by all the producers within the defined GI territory. 
  • Patents and trademarks are owned by an individual or a business entity.

News Source: TH


Exploring the Arctic circle

Part of: Prelims and GS-III Science and technology 

Context: According to Arctic Policy document, India aspires to have a permanent presence with more research and satellite ground stations in the Arctic region.

Key takeaways 

  • India now has a single station, Himadri, in Ny-Alesund, Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago, where research personnel are usually present for 180 days. 
  • India is in the process of procuring an ice-breaker research vessel that can navigate the region.
  • Through its existing satellites, India aspires to capture more detailed images to “assist in the development of the Arctic region”.
  • Eight nations — Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Russia, Sweden and the United States — make up the Arctic Council.
    • India has the status of ‘Observer’ member — 12 other countries have such a status — in the Arctic Council and participates in several meetings.
  • Arctic weather influences the Indian monsoon and hence has been of interest to Indian researchers for decades. Climate change and the melting of ice caps imply changes to the Arctic weather

News Source: TH


Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Part of: Prelims and GS-II International Relations

Context: Japan has still not given up hope that India might reconsider joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) from which it opted out in 2019.

Key takeaways 

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free trade agreement (FTA) among the China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand and 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)
    • ASEAN members are: tBrunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • The 15 member countries account for about 30% of the world’s population (2.2 billion people) and 30% of global GDP ($29.7 trillion)
  • It is the largest trade bloc in history. 
  • Signed in November 2020, RCEP is the first FTA among the largest economies in Asia.
  • It came into force in January 2022.

News Source: TH


(Mains Focus)


ENVIRONMENT/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors.
  • GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation 

Global Treaty on Pollution

Context: On March 2, 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) voted to formulate an international legally-binding instrument by 2024 to end plastic pollution. 

  • The decision was taken at the fifth session of the UNEA in Nairobi, Kenya, and was agreed upon by representatives from 175 nations. 

Impacts of Plastic Pollution

  • Plastic production soared from 2 million tonnes in 1950 to 348 million tonnes in 2017, becoming a global industry valued at US$522.6 billion, and it is expected to double in capacity by 2040.
  • Exposure to plastics can harm human health, potentially affecting fertility, hormonal, metabolic and neurological activity, and open burning of plastics contributes to air pollution.
  • By 2050 greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic production, use and disposal would account for 15 per cent of allowed emissions, under the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C (34.7°F).
  • More than 800 marine and coastal species are affected by this pollution through ingestion, entanglement, and other dangers.
  • Some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow annually into oceans. This may triple by 2040.

What is the resolution? 

  • The UNEA resolution to end plastic pollution establishes an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) which is expected to submit its draft agreement by 2024. 
  • The instrument is expected to be legally binding in nature and would contain alternatives to the full life cycle of plastics, as well as the design of reusable and recyclable products and materials.
  • The resolution also recognises the role of the private sector and stakeholders in the implementation of the treaty and promotes actions at local, regional and global levels while keeping in mind the importance of plastics for society. 

What are the considerations behind the new treaty? 

  • The treaty to end global plastics pollution will focus on elements like worldwide obligations and measures throughout the lifecycle of plastics, right from product design to waste management. 
  • The plastics pollution treaty will also include mechanisms for providing scientific information relevant to the policies of the resolution, and for helping with financial support for its implementation. 
    • It also identifies the importance of indigenous communities and their age-old practices to keep the environments pollution-free and calls for the knowledge of these communities to be taken into account by the INC. 
    • The treaty will keep in mind national action plans and national and international cooperative measures towards achieving the goal of eliminating plastic pollution. 
  • Apart from these considerations, most of which are in the pre-implementation stages, the resolution will also consider including progress assessment for member states. 

Conclusion

  • A shift to a circular economy can 
    • reduce the volume of plastics entering oceans by over 80 per cent by 2040; 
    • reduce virgin plastic production by 55 per cent; 
    • save governments US$70 billion by 2040; 
    • reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent; 
    • create 700,000 additional jobs – mainly in the global south.

Connecting the dots:


ENVIRONMENT/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors.
  • GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation 

Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP)

Context: Maharashtra Chief Minister launched the Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP) at an event in the state capital on Sunday. 

  • The plan is essentially designed to reduce emissions and meet the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. 
  • The plan has been drafted by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) with support from World Resources Institute (WRI) India. 
  • Other organisations that partnered with the Government of Maharashtra in the initiative are the C40 Cities Network, Climate Voices Maharashtra, and Waatavaran. Mumbai had joined the C40 Cities Network in 2020. 

What is the C40 Cities network? 

  • The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is an association of 97 cities from around the world, aimed at fighting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thus mitigating climate risks. 
  • The group represents one-twelfth of the world population and a quarter of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 
  • The goal of the C40’s initiative is to reduce the emissions of its member cities to half within a decade. 
  • Membership to the group comes from performance-based requirements. 
  • Five Indian cities are currently a part of the C40 network. These are Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. 

What are the key action areas of the MCAP? 

  • Sustainable waste management: The MCAP aims to decentralise municipal waste management by implementing actions such as segregation at source, organic waste composting, and so on. It lays emphasis on the 4R approach: reduce, reuse, recover, recycle, and also calls for treatment of wastewater. 
  • Urban greening and biodiversity: Mumbai has some of the lowest per capita green space ratios in the country. 
    • The restoration and enhancement of biodiversity are some of the primary concerns of the MCAP. 
    • This includes increasing vegetation cover to minimise the rise in temperature, reduce the effect of heatwaves and arrest urban flooding. The policy also calls for green space access for all citizens. 
  • Urban flooding and water resource management: The MCAP focuses on reducing problems caused due to waterlogging and floods while also dealing with the lack of safe and affordable drinking water. 
    • The climate action plan aims at building flood-resilient infrastructure in the city by improving drainage networks and by improving early warning systems and sensitising vulnerable and coastal communities. 
    • It also promotes framing policies that promote the reuse of water through measures like increased percolation and rainwater harvesting. 
  • Energy and buildings: Strategies to make Mumbai emission-free include minimising the role of carbon in electricity grids and promoting a transition to clean fuel resources. 
    • The MCAP aims to achieve this target by improving energy efficiency in both new and existing infrastructure and promoting green buildings. 
  • Air quality: According to the action plan, the primary step in ensuring the improvement of air quality is curbing pollution concentration levels. Mumbai is ranked among the most polluted cities of India. 
  • Sustainable mobility: According to the action plan, Mumbai will transition to using electric vehicles as opposed to fuel-powered ones. The policy also encourages the use of public transport systems that will, in turn, lead to cleaner air, reduced travel time and less congestion on the roads. 

Why does Mumbai need a climate plan? 

  • Since 1973, Mumbai has witnessed a constant warming trend with an average temperature increase of 0.25°C per decade. 
  • Between 1973 and 2020, the city faced 10 heatwaves and two extreme heatwaves. 
  • Mumbai has also seen an increase in flooding in recent years. The floods of 2005, 2014, and 2017 caused significant damage to life and property in the city. 
  • The population of Mumbai is also vulnerable to air pollution, especially in high-risk areas where the concentration of air pollutants increases due to poor ventilation, use of non-LPG cooking fuel, or occupational hazards. 
  • All these factors have contributed to the development of MCAP to mitigate climate risks to the residents of Mumbai. 

Connecting the dots:


(Sansad TV: Perspective)


March 18: India-Japan Ties – https://youtu.be/uS7IRdNduQg 

TOPIC:

  • GS-2: India and its neighbourhood

India-Japan Ties

Context: Japanese PM Fumio Kishida and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks to further strengthen the bilateral ties. Linked by universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, which have been shared through a long history of exchange, Japan and India are special strategic and global partners, sharing strategic interests. In this milestone year i.e., 2022 (28 April 1952), it marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and India

Background

Formal relations between Japan and India began in 1952. After the Second World War, instead of signing the multilateral San Francisco Peace Treaty, India opted for concluding a bilateral peace treaty with Japan, considering that honour and equality should be ensured for Japan to rejoin the international community. This is the cornerstone of our long-standing friendship. But even before the establishment of diplomatic relations, the goodwill between the people of the two countries was deeply rooted through business, academic and cultural exchanges. In 1951, when India hosted the first Asian Games in New Delhi, it invited Japanese athletes. This was one of the first occasions where the Japanese flag was hoisted after WWII. This experience soothed the minds of Japanese people who were struggling to rebuild their country. After 70 years of multi-layered exchanges, the relationship between our two countries grew into a “Special Strategic and Global Partnership”.

Relations between the two countries

Strategic Components

  • Convergence on free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,
  • Progress in defence and security and in regional context.
  • India and Japan signed a Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services Agreement (RPSS).
  • The inaugural 2+2 ministerial meeting was held in November 2019.
  • Act East Forum: A decision was taken in the 2017 Summit to establish the India-Japan Act East Forum. The objective is to coordinate developmental projects in North-East India in areas of connectivity, forest management, disaster risk reduction and capacity building.
  • Several projects including upgradation of highways in Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram are underway. The PM had last year laid the foundation stone of a 20 km-long bridge over the Brahmaputra River between Assam and Meghalaya.
  • Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) – The Trade and Economy Ministers of India, Japan and Australia launched the (SCRI) on 27 April 2021. The initiative seeks to enhance the resilience of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific Region and to develop dependable sources of supply and to attract investment. As initial projects (i) sharing of best practices on supply chain resilience; and (ii) holding of a matching event have been completed.

Economic Components

The two countries have achieved the target of 3.5 trillion Japanese Yen in public and private investments in India.

  • Today, there are 1,455 Japanese companies in India. Eleven Japan Industrial Townships (JIT) have been established, with Neemrana in Rajasthan and Sri City in Andhra Pradesh having the maximum number of companies.
  • Japan is the 5th largest source of FDI; largest supplier of ODA (development partner of India)
  • Several infrastructure projects are underway through Japanese assistance including Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, Dedicated Freight Corridor, metro projects, DMIC etc
  • Last year, PM Modi inaugurated the Varanasi Convention Centre (Rudraksh), while the then PM Yoshihide Suga sent a video message.
  • The two sides had signed a Digital Partnership in October 2018. Collaboration in startups has emerged as a vibrant aspect under this Partnership. Till date Indian startups have raised more than USD 10 billion from Japanese VCs. India and Japan have also launched a private sector driven fund-of-funds to invest in technology startups in India which has raised USD 100 million so far.
  • Both countries also have cooperation in the field of ICT, in areas such as 5G, under-sea cables, telecom and network security. A workshop on 5G was also held.
  • Progress has also been made in the area of skill development. The total number of Japan-India Institutes of Manufacturing (JIM) now stands at 19 (it was 8 in 2018). These institutes are established by Japanese companies based in India for training skilled workers. Japanese companies have also set up 7 Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) at various colleges.
  • 220 Indian youth are placed in Japan as interns under Technical Intern Training Programme (TITP). Last year India had also signed a Specified Skilled Workers Agreement. The Japanese side has since January this year started examinations for nursing care under this programme.

During the summit

  • Strong language against Pakistan for terror attacks: On terrorism, the two leaders reiterated “condemnation of terrorist attacks in India, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks, and called upon Pakistan to take resolute and irreversible action against terrorist networks operating out of its territory and comply fully with international commitments, including to FATF”
  • Humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan: Expressed “their intention to collaborate closely to realise peace and stability in Afghanistan, and stressed the importance of addressing the humanitarian crisis, promoting human rights and ensuring establishment of a truly representative and inclusive political system”. They also referred to the UNSC Resolution that unequivocally demands that “Afghan territory not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts”.
  • Nuclear non-proliferation: Since Kishida is from Hiroshima, he “stressed the importance of early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)”. This is significant since Kishida represents the constituency in the Japanese parliament.
  • Pact on cooperation in 5G, cyber security: Discussed “India-Japan Digital Partnership” with a view to enhancing the digital economy through promotion of joint projects for digital transformation and collaboration in the area of IoT, AI and other emerging technologies.
  • Development in North East: Have decided to launch a “Sustainable Development Initiative for the North Eastern Region of India”, which includes both ongoing projects and possible future cooperation in connectivity, healthcare, new and renewable energy, as well as initiative for strengthening bamboo value chain.
  • Import of Japanese apples and export of Indian mangoes: Flagged India’s approval to imports of Japanese apples and relaxation in procedures for Indian mango exports to Japan.

Announcement: A clean energy partnership was launched with an objective to encourage manufacturing in India, creation of resilient and trustworthy supply chains in these areas as well as fostering collaboration in R&D. It will be implemented through the existing mechanism of Energy Dialogue.

The enormous possibilities that exists

  • Plethora of fields to cooperate in, security issues including cyber security, outer space and economic security.
  • Our economic relations can be further augmented: For long, Japan has been the largest ODA (Official Development Assistance) donor to India. One of the most recent and ongoing examples of our collaboration is the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project. Japan is also one of the largest investors in India. Both countries have also promoted economic cooperation in other countries to enhance social infrastructure and connectivity. Our economic partnership can further strengthen the economy of the Indo-Pacific, as well as the world economy.
  • Cultural exchanges including literature, movies, music, sports and academics are essential for our relations, enabling a better understanding.

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. Indo-Japan relations have achieved greater strategic heights in recent years. Do you agree? Discuss.
  2. Japan has not only been a trusted partner in India’s journey towards economic strength but has also emerged as a critical strategic ally. Do you agree? Critically examine.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 Consider the following statements regarding Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) :

  1. It is the largest trade bloc in history.
  2. It includes China, Japan, South Korea, USA and New Zealand and 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as its members.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

Q.2 Which of the following is not true?

  1. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 provides registration and also protection of GI goods in India.
  2. The Geographical Indications Registry for India is located in Delhi.
  3. A registered GI tag prohibits a third party to use such products. 
  4. GI is a collective intellectual property right and is thus owned by all the producers within the defined GI territory. 

Q.3 Which of the following is not a member of Arctic Council?

  1. Canada
  2. Denmark
  3. Finland
  4. Austria

ANSWERS FOR 21st March 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 B
3 D

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