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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th December 2022

  • IASbaba
  • December 28, 2022
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Ratnagiri’s pre-historic rock art

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Art and Culture

Context: Experts and conservationists have raised concerns that the proposed mega oil refinery in Barsu village, Maharashtra, may damage nearby prehistoric geoglyphs.

About the art:

  • It is also known as Katal Shilpa locally in Ratnagiri.
  • These sites are protected by state archaeology department and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • Ratnagiri-based non-profit organisation Nisarga Yatri Sanstha has been working for the last few years to find and preserve geoglyphs in the Konkan region.
  • It has more than 1500 petroglyphs.
  • Petroglyphs: It is an image drawn on rock surface using incising, picking, carving and abrading as rock art.
  • UNESCO dates these sites over 12,000 years old using carbon and geological dating.
  • UNESCO listing mentions “Konkan geoglyphs.”

About geoglyphs:

  • It is a form of prehistoric rock art.
  • It is carved on Laterite stone (Sada in Marathi).
  • It can be in the form of rock paintings, etchings, cup marks and ring marks.
  • India’s largest rock engraving or geoglyph is in Kasheli in the Ratnagiri district.
  • It has 18X13 metres large figure of an elephant.
  • Some of these clusters have one or two standalone figures of larger-than-life scale and others show multiple figures gathered together.

Significance of the rock art:

  • It is evidence of the continued existence of human settlements from the Mesolithic (middle stone age) to the early historic era.
  • It is amongst three potential sites to become world heritage sites.
  • The other two include Jingkieng Jri, the living root bridge in Meghalaya, and Sri Veerabhadra Temple in Andhra Pradesh’s Lepakshi.
  • It depicts how people adapted to wetlands in a dry-arid plateau having shallow rock pools, streams and watercourses.
  • Its clusters are examples of advanced artistic skills showing evolution of techniques of etching and scooping in rock art.
  • It has carvings of humans and animals such as deer, elephant, tiger, monkey, wild boar, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, cattle, pig, rabbit, and monkey.
  • It also includes a high number of reptilian and amphibian creatures such as tortoises and alligators, aquatic animals such as sharks and sting rays, and birds like peacocks.

Source:  Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following pairs:

Site of Ashoka’s major rock edicts          Location in the State of

  1. Dhauli Odisha
  2. Erragudi                                 Andhra Pradesh
  3. Jaugada Madhya Pradesh
  4. Kalsi Karnataka

How many pairs given above are correctly matched? (2022)

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

Q.2) Consider the following pairs:

Historical place                Well-known for

  1. Burzahom                   Rock-cut shrines
  2. Chandraketugarh      Terracotta art
  3. Ganeshwar                   Copper  Artefacts

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched? (2021)

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 3 only
  4. 2 and 3

Polar bear

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Context: According to recent survey by the government, Polar bears in Canada’s Western Hudson Bay on the southern edge of the Arctic are continuing to die in high numbers. This has consequences for all other life forms in the region.

About Polar Bear:

  • IUCN status: Vulnerable
  • Scientific name: Ursus maritimus
  • Weight: 800–1,300 pounds (males), 300-700 (females)
  • Length: 6–9 feet
  • Habitat: Arctic Ocean, sea ice, and adjacent coastal areas
  • The largest bear in the world and the Arctic’s top predator, polar bears are a powerful symbol of the strength and endurance of the Arctic.
  • Considered talented swimmers, polar bears can sustain a pace of six miles per hour by paddling with their front paws and holding their hind legs flat like a rudder.
  • They have a thick layer of body fat and a water-repellent coat that insulates them from the cold air and wate
  • Polar bears spend over 50% of their time hunting for food.
  • A polar bear might catch only one or two out of 10 seals it hunts, depending on the time of year and other variables.
  • Their diet mainly consists of ringed and bearded seals because they need large amounts of fat to survive.
  • Polar bears rely heavily on sea ice for traveling, hunting, resting, mating and, in some areas, maternal dens.

Source:    Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements:

  1. Some species of turtles are herbivores
  2. Some species of fish are herbivores.
  3. Some species of marine mammals are herbivores
  4. Some species of snakes are viviparous

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2019)

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 2 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Organic solar cells

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: Recently researchers of IIT Kanpur have developed organic solar cell which can convert a steel roof into an energy-producing device. It was supported by fundings from Department of science and technology (DST) under DST-RCUK APEX project.

About Organic solar cells:

  • Organic solar cell consisting of combination of organic polymer PTB7 a donor and PCBM (an organic semiconductor) as an acceptor.
  • It is a third-generation solar technology.
  • Benefits:
    • Higher optical transmission as compared to only metallic electrodes
    • Device with multilayer electrodes showed improved photovoltaic performance by 1.5 times compared to single-layer top metal electrodes of gold.
  • Organic solar cells can be integrated onto flexible and conformal surfaces like steel.
  • However, this requires new, transparent conducting electrodes that are more durable and have better optoelectronic efficiency than the indium tin oxide currently used.

Source:  PIB

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to solar water pumps, consider the following statements:

  1. Solar power can be used for running surface pumps and not for submersible pumps,
  2. Solar power can be used for running centrifugal pumps and not the ones with piston.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (2020)

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

Q.2) The term ‘Domestic Content Requirement’ is sometimes seen in the news with reference to                                                                                                                                (2017)

  1. Developing solar power production in our country
  2. Granting licences to foreign T.V. channels in our country
  3. Exporting our food products to other countries
  4. Permitting foreign educational institutions to set up their campuses in our country

Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) Project

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: Recently, the President of India inaugurated PRASAD project at the tourism facilitation centre in the pilgrim town of Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh.

About PRASAD Project:

  • The scheme was launched in the year 2014-2015.
  • It comes under the Ministry of Tourism.
  • This scheme focuses on developing and identifying pilgrimage sites across India for enriching the religious tourism experience.
  • It aims to integrate pilgrimage destinations in a prioritised, planned and sustainable manner to provide a complete religious tourism experience.
  • The Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to state governments under the Prasad scheme to promote tourism at pilgrim sites.
  • The Central Government will cover 100% of the costs under this program.
  • For improved sustainability, it also includes a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • Cities Identified Under PRASAD Scheme:
    • Amritsar (Punjab).
    • Kedarnath (Uttarakhand).
    • Mathura (Uttar Pradesh).
    • Ajmer (Rajasthan).
    • Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).
    • Gaya (Bihar).
    • Kamakhya (Assam).
    • Dwaraka (Gujarat).
    • Puri (Odisha).
    • Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh).
    • Kanchipuram(Tamil Nadu).
    • Velankanni (Tamil Nadu).

Source:  The Hindu


Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED) scheme

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

In News: The Parliamentary panel on Social Justice and Empowerment has pulled up the Union government over the “very slow” process to categorise over 260 denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes under either the SC/ST/OBC lists, which government officials have pointed to for the delay in the approval of benefits under the SEED (Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs) scheme.

  • Department of Social Justice and Empowerment had submitted that the Anthropological Survey of India had submitted reports on categorisation of 48 DNT communities so far.

Aim – SEED scheme:

  • providing free competitive exam coaching, health insurance, housing assistance, and livelihood initiatives.

About the scheme:

  • The scheme was launched in 2022 by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • An amount of ₹200 crore has been allocated for this scheme — to be spent over five years from FY2021-22 to FY2025-26.
  • The scheme was launched along with a system for online applications and live status-tracking.
  • More than 10 crore Indians from over 1,400 communities are either denotified, nomadic or semi-nomadic.

Anthropological Survey of India:

  • Anthropological Survey of India is the only research organisation to pursue anthropological research in a Governmental setup.
  • In 1945, Anthropology section of the Zoological Survey was carved out to become the Anthropological Survey of India (An.S.I)
  • The head office is in Calcutta
  • It comes under the Ministry of Culture.

Objectives of An.S.I:

  • To study the tribes and other communities that form the population of India both from the biological and cultural point of view.
  •  To study and preserve the human skeletal remains, both from ancient and contemporary period.
  • To collect, preserve, maintain and document the bio-cultural heritage and the traditional art and craft of the people of India through Anthropological Museums.

Source: The Hindu


Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Modern History

In News: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has paid tributes to Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya on his Jayanti. Shri Modi recalled Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya’s memorable contribution to enrich the education sphere.

Pt. MM Malviya:

                                                    

  • Born in Allahabad on December 25, 1861, Malviya took early education under the ‘pathshala’ system, and was proficient in Sanskrit.
  • In 1879, he graduated from the Muir Central College (today’s Allahabad University) and started working as a teacher at a local high school.

Contributions:

  • Founded Hindu Mahasabha in 1906
  • Founded Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1915
  • served as Vice-Chancellor from 1919 to 1938.
  • Malviya joined the Indian National Congress at its Calcutta session in 1886 — it had been founded a year previously at the Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Mumbai.
  • He was president of INC four times – in 1909, 1918, 1932 and 1933.
  • He was a social reformer and a successful legislator, serving as a member of the Imperial Legislative Council for 11 years (1909–20).
  • Malviya espoused free and compulsory primary education, opposed the system of indentured labour in the British Empire, and supported the nationalisation of railways.
  • In the freedom struggle, Malviya was midway between the Liberals and the Nationalists, the Moderates and the Extremists, as the followers of Gokhale and Tilak were respectively called.
  • In 1930, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Salt Satyagraha and the Civil Disobedience Movement, he participated in it and courted arrest.
  • He gave two famous speeches on communal harmony- one in Lahore in 1922 and in Kanpur 1931.
  • He created a non-governmental organization named Shri Mathura Vrindavan Hasanand Gochar Bhoomi in Vrindavan for Welfare of Cow

Achievements:

  • He is referred to as ‘Mahamana’
  • In 2015, the government bestowed Malviya with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, 68 years after his death.
  • In 2016, the Indian Railways started the Varanasi-New Delhi Mahamana Express in the leader’s honour.
  • Books – A Criticism of Montagu-Chelmsford Proposals of Indian Constitutional Reform, Speeches and Writings.

Source: India today

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) During Indian freedom struggle, the National Social Conference was formed. What was the reason for its formation? (2012)

  1. Different social reform groups or organizations of Bengal region united to form a single body to discuss the issues of larger interest and to prepare appropriate petitions/ representations to the government.
  2. Indian National Congress did not want to include social reforms in its deliberations and
  3. decided to form a separate body for such a purpose.
  4. Behramji Malabari and M. G. Ranade decided to bring together all the social reform group of the country under one organization.
  5. None of the statements (a), (b) and (c) given above is correct in this context

Assistance to Botanic Garden (ABG) scheme

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: A scheme by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) was ineffective in conserving threatened and endemic plants in the country, said a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for the financial year 2020-2021.

Assistance to Botanic Garden (ABG) scheme

  • It is a scheme of MoEF&CC
  • It was implemented through Botanical Survey of India (BSI)
  • It had a budget of Rs 48 crore
  • Objective: ex-situ conservation and multiplication of threatened and endemic plants species

Botanical survey of India (BSI):

  • Established in 1890
  • Headquartered at Kolkata
  • There are 11 circle offices of BSI in Itanagar, Shillong, Gangtok, Allahabad, Solan, Dehradun, Jodhpur, Pune, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Port Blair.
  • The Headquarters Organisation is the central coordinating office of the Survey in addition to the administrative wing and the other Divisions.

Objectives:

  • undertaking intensive floristic surveys and collecting accurate and detailed information on the occurrence, distribution, ecology and economic utility of plants in the country
  • collecting, identifying and distributing materials that may be of use to educational and research institutions
  • acting as the custodian of authentic collections in well planned herbaria and documenting plant resources in the form of local, district, state and national flora.

Miscellaneous:

  • MoEF&CC approved a lab-cum-demonstration project titled Sequential production of Bio-Diesel, Bio-Ethanol, Bio-Hydrogen and Methane from leather solid wastes and effluent treatment sludges.
  • The project was approved for Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai at a total project cost of Rs 77.11 lakh December 2015.
  • The project envisaged delivery of environmental benefits like effective solid waste management techniques for tanneries, better pollution abatement techniques, avoidance of groundwater contamination and efficient greenhouse emission control techniques.
  • Only one unit of a bio-diesel recovery had been established in March 2018 against the expected physical outputs of four distinct fuel recovery units, an audit in January 2022 observed

Source: DTE

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2014)

  1. Animal Welfare Board of India is established under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  2. National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body.
  3. National Ganga River Basin Authority is chaired by the Prime Minister.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Amazon Future Engineer (AFE) Program

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

In News: National Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS) will organize two-days’ face-to-face capacity building programme for EMRS teachers to implement Amazon Future Engineer Program(CSR Programme)  in collaboration with the Learning Links Foundation (LLF).

  • Modern Information Technology shall enable early exposure to and bolster the preparedness of students for future careers in STEM education.

Amazon Future Engineer (AFE) Program:

  • It is launched by NESTS and LLF.
  • It shall be launched in around 54 EMRSs across 6 States namely, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Telangana in schools having access to digital infrastructure including a computer lab and stable active internet connectivity.
  • Course modules shall include Computer Science Fundamentals, Introduction to Coding, Logical Sequencing, Learning Loops, Block Programming using open secure source platforms like code.org, Class Chat Sessions to discuss tech space, different tech initiatives, etc.
  • The proposed training workshop for EMRS teachers shall serve as a stepping stone  in creating awareness about the potential of Computer Science in students of EMRS as well as access to quality IT education in our schools.

National Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS):

  • It is an autonomous organization established under Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) and 1M1B Foundation, USA.
  • It is a body that manages Eklavya Model Residential Schools(EMRSs).
  • NESTS commenced its journey in 2018 aimed at providing high quality education to the tribal students in their own environment.
  • Headquartered at New Delhi

Aim of NESTS:

  • It aims to engage students of EMRSs in nation-building by enabling teachers and students to understand the world of possibilities offered by emerging technologies and become creators using Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to build India’s Metaverse.
  • To oversee management of the schools in different states, where separate State Education Societies for Tribal Students (SESTS) have been set up.
  • To issue guidelines on syllabus, school criteria, etc

Miscellaneous:

  • Learning Links Foundation (LLF) is a philanthropic organization working for ‘Amazon Future Engineer Program’ that is unique in the area of computational skills training for students and teachers of EMRSs.

Source PIB


Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) extends trading ban on Agri commodities

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance) and GS 3 (Economy)

Context: Recently, SEBI has extended the ban on futures trading in seven Agri commodities, including the derivatives of two produce which has been in force since December 20, 2021.

  • SEBI extended the ban on trading in non-basmati paddy, wheat, chana, mustard seeds and its derivatives, soyabean and its derivatives, crude palm oil and moong on concerns that lifting the curbs will lead to inflation.

About Commodity Trading:

  • A commodity market is a market that trades in primary rather than manufactured products.
  • Soft commodities are agricultural products such as wheat, coffee, cocoa and sugar.
  • Hard commodities are mined, such as gold and oil.
  • Commodity markets can include physical trading and derivatives trading using spot prices, forwards, futures, and options on futures.
    • Farmers have used a simple form of derivative trading in the commodity market for centuries for price risk management.
  • There is a huge difference in the trading volume of commodities and the actual value of the commodities in physical form — this is because of hedging undertaken by several participants.

Commodity Market in India:

  • Commodity Market: Commodities market is either a physical or a virtual space, where interested parties can trade commodities (raw or primary products) at present or future date. The price is dictated by the economic principles of supply and demand.
  • Regulator: Till 2015, the market was regulated by the Forward Markets Commission which was finally merged with SEBI to create a unified regulatory environment for commercial investing.
  • Types of Commodity Market: Typically, commodity trading occurs either in derivatives markets or spot markets-
    • Spot markets are also known as “cash markets” or “physical markets” where traders exchange physical commodities, and that too for immediate delivery.
    • Derivatives markets in India involve two types of commodity derivatives: Futures and Forwards; these derivatives contracts use the spot market as the underlying asset and give the owner control of the same at a point in the future for a price that is agreed upon in the present.
      • When the contracts expire, the commodity or asset is delivered physically.

Reasons for the ban on these commodities:

  • The Centre, in particular, and SEBI have extended the ban on concerns over inflation.
  • While surging edible oil prices resulted in imposing the ban last year, this year high rice and wheat prices have forced the Centre to extend the same.
  • Rice prices have increased by 7.5 per cent and those of wheat by 15.5 per cent in the past year.
  • Though consumer inflation dropped to 5.9 per cent in November from the highs of over six per cent in the previous months, the RBI feels it is “down but not out”.

Impact of the ban in the market:

  • Prices of mustard seed and its derivatives, soyabean and its derivatives, and crude palm oil have dropped.
  • On the other hand, prices of moong and chana are ruling higher currently compared with the year-ago period as also those of rice and wheat.
  • Oilseed prices have declined mainly since edible oil supplies are no more a concern.

Benefits and need for Commodity Trading:

  • Protection against inflation, stock market crash etc.
  • Transparency and Fair Price Discovery
  • High leverage facility
  • No Insider Trading
  • Seasonality Patterns and diversification
  • No Counter party Risk (since there are Clearing Houses)
  • Decrease the risk of cartelization

Disadvantages of commodity trading:

  • Not necessarily immune to inflation: Price inelasticity means that while the price increases or decreases, the supply of the commodity remains unchanged.
  • High Volatility: The prices of commodities are highly volatile and depend on demand and supply factors. The supply and demand of commodities are price inelastic.
  • Not ideal for diversification: The common consensus is that there is a negative or low correlation between the prices of commodities and the prices of stocks.

Way Forward:

Therefore, sometimes these bans can be detrimental to the Indian commodity markets, severely denting the perception of ease of doing business in the country. There is need for  detailed discussion and research should be carried out for such extension.

Commodity derivatives give important cues on price discovery and price risk management to the entire value chain participants across farmers, processors, millers, traders in physical markets and farmer producers’ organizations.

MUST READ: SEBI

Source:  The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to foreign-owned e-commerce firms operating in India, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. They can sell their own goods in addition to offering their platforms as market-places.
  2. The degree to which they can own big sellers on their platforms is limited.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Free Trade Agreements regime

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 Governance and International Relations

Context: In recent times, the Indian government has been actively pursuing free trade agreements (FTAs) with a wide range of countries.

About Free Trade Agreement (FTA):

  • A free trade agreement is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to imports and exports among them.
  • Goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with little or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions to inhibit their exchange.
  • The concept of free trade is the opposite of trade protectionism or economic isolationism.

Relationship Between Multilateralism and FTA:

  • Article 1 of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) (about Most Favoured Nation) states that “any advantage, favour, privilege, or immunity granted by any contracting party to any product originating in or destined for any other country shall be accorded immediately and unconditionally to the like product originating in or destined for the territories of all other contracting parties.”
  • However, derogations from this MFN principle are permitted for forming FTAs under specific conditions as per the following provisions of the WTO Agreements:
  • FTA members shall not erect higher or more restrictive tariff or non-tariff barriers on trade with non-members than existed prior to the formation of the FTA.
  • Elimination of tariffs and other trade restrictions be applied to “substantially all the trade between the constituent territories in products originating in such territories.”
  • Elimination of duties and other trade restrictions on trade within the FTA to be accomplished “within a reasonable length of time,” meaning a period of no longer than 10 years.

Different Types of Economic Engagements:

  • Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA): In a PTA, two or more partners agree to reduce tariffs on an agreed number of tariff lines. The list of products on which the partners agree to reduce duty is called a positive list. India MERCOSUR PTA is such an example. However, in general PTAs do not cover substantially all trade.
  • Free Trade Agreement (FTA): In FTAs, tariffs on items covering substantial bilateral trade are eliminated between the partner countries; however, each maintains an individual tariff structure for non-members.
    • For example India – Sri Lanka FTA.
  • Common Market: Integration provided by a Common market is one step deeper than that by a Customs Union.
    • A common market is a Customs Union with provisions to facilitate free movements of labour and capital, harmonize technical standards across members etc.
    • For example The European Common Market is an example.
  • Economic Union: Economic Union is a Common Market extended through further harmonization of fiscal/monetary policies and shared executive, judicial & legislative institutions.
    • European Union (EU) is an example.
  • Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA): These terms describe agreements which consist of an integrated package on goods, services and investment along with other areas including IPR, competition etc.
    • The India Korea CEPA is one such example and it covers a broad range of other areas like trade facilitation and customs cooperation, investment, competition, IPR etc.
  • Custom Union: In a Customs union, partner countries may decide to trade at zero duty among themselves, however they maintain common tariffs against the rest of the world.
    • Example Southern African Customs Union (SACU) amongst South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland.
    • The European Union is also an outstanding example

Significance of FTAs:

  • FTAs give businesses and consumers improved access to a wider range of competitively priced goods and services, new technologies, and innovative practices.
  • FTAs help to obtain more benefits from foreign investment.
  • FTAs promote regional economic integration and build shared approaches to trade and investment between the trading partners.
  • FTAs can deliver enhanced trade and investment opportunities that contribute to the economic growth of less-developed economies.
  • FTAs support stronger people-to-people and business-to-business links that enhance overall bilateral relationships with FTA partners.
  • FTAs can continue to provide additional benefits to the trading partners over time, including via in-built agendas that encourage ongoing domestic reform and trade liberalisation.

Major Challenges in adopting FTAs:

  • Protectionist Tendencies: Moves such as plans to raise import duties on “non-essential items”, will only expose the government to the charge of being protectionist.
    • The first two decades after 1991-92 saw a steep decline in tariff rates.
    • The trend, however, has been reversed under the ruling government with the average applied import tariff actually rising. But still challenges remain.
  • Demographic dividend: These Non-tariff issues could pose hurdles for India in reaping the gains of its comparative labour advantage.
  • Shift of focus: Wrapping up these FTA talks could narrow soon given that India’s focus would shift to the series of events linked to India’s G20 Presidency.
  • Influential lobbies can delay it more: Political lobbying from influential lobby groups such as farmer unions and the auto sector could intensify.
  • Priority to non-tariff issues: In much of the negotiations currently under discussion, climate action, carbon emissions and labour issues are taking precedence over trade issues.
  • GSP (Generalised System of Preferences): Currently, we may benefit from the GSP but if they come in a non-tariff barrier by citing labour or environment, then it becomes an issue citing standards, adjustments, child labour as reasons.
    • India had been a beneficiary of the US’ GSP programme since November 1975, under which beneficiary countries are allowed to export thousands of products to the US without the added burden of duties.
  • Recessionary conditions: These could potentially offer partner countries a handle to trigger non-tariff protectionist measures as developed nations stare at recessionary conditions.
  • Environmental issues: Developed countries such as the US have brought up the issue of carbon emissions in the process of manufacturing melted steel as a non-tariff-related issue.
    • India mostly produces steel generated from iron ore which comes from mining.
    • Most developed countries have resorted to methods to generate it from scrap which results in lower carbon emissions. Thus, there may be a levy of carbon adjustment tax.
  • Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism: The European Union has proposed CBAM to tax carbon-intensive products, such as iron and steel, cement, fertiliser, aluminium and electricity generation from 2026.
    • EU importers will buy carbon certificates corresponding to the carbon price that would have been paid, had the goods been produced under the EU’s carbon pricing rules.

Way Forward:

  • Towards Open and Competitive Economy: The trade policy framework must be accompanied by economic reforms that result in an open, competitive, and technologically advanced economy.
    • Therefore, country looking for FTAs must focus on inclusion of entrepreneurs in global economic networks that will also allow them to pursue greater financial security.
  • Strengthening MSME Sector: With a contribution of about 29% to the GDP and 40% to international trade, MSMEs are the key players in achieving the ambitious export targets.
    • It is important for India to link Special Economic Zones with the MSME sector and incentivize small businesses.
  • Enhancing Domestic Base: India needs to strengthen its domestic manufacturing base in value-added products like engineering goods, electronic products, drugs and pharmaceuticals, textiles, and agriculture machinery, that could be used to boost exports.
  • Infrastructural Evolution: A robust infrastructure network – warehouses, ports, testing labs, certification centers, etc. will help Indian exporters compete in the global market.
    • It also needs to adopt modern trade practices that can be implemented through the digitisation of export processes. This will save both time and cost.
  • Scrutiny of FTAs: The Committee on Commerce should be tasked with scrutinizing FTAs, discussing different aspects of agreements and negotiations, thus ensuring executive accountability to the legislature.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) European Stability Mechanism’, sometimes seen in the news, is an (2016)

  1. agency created by EU to deal with the impact of millions of refugees arriving from Middle East
  2. agency of EU that provides financial assistance to eurozone countries
  3. agency of EU to deal with all the bilateral and multilateral agreements on trade
  4. agency of EU to deal with the conflicts arising among the member countries

Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) With reference to “Varanasi-New Delhi Mahamana Express”, it refers to which of the following social reformers of India:

  1. Bal Gangadhar Tilak
  2. C Rajagopalachari
  3. M M Malviya
  4. M C Roy

Q.2) With reference to National Education Society for Tribal Students, consider the following statements:

  1. It comes under the Ministry of Education.
  2. It manages the recently inaugurated PM SHRI schools.

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.3) Consider the following pairs:

        Monument                                 State

  1. Konkan geoglyphs                        Goa
  2. Jingkieng Jri                              Meghalaya
  3. Sri Veerabhadra Temple          Karnataka

How many of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

  1. None
  2. One pair only
  3. Two pairs only
  4. All three pairs

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’ 28th December 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 27th December – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – a

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – b

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