9 PM Current Affairs Brief – September 5th, 2018

Download the compilation of all summaries of all the news articles here

GS 2

Breakthrough achieved in RCEP talks, claims India

Breakthrough achieved in RCEP talks, claims India


  1. Recently in 6th RCEP Ministerial meeting India achieved a greater success under Package of Substantial Deliverables.

Important Facts:

2. 6thRCEP Ministerial meeting was held in Singapore on 30 and 31st August, 2018.

3. Major concerns of India for proceeding RCEP talks:

  • India has certain reservations, as RCEP includes China, with which it has a huge trade deficit.
  • India had argued that, ‘RCEP is not goods partnership alone, it’s an economic partnership and services should be included.
  • Many RCEP members want India to commit to abolish duties on 92% of goods.
  • India may have to scrap duties on 74% of goods from China in the long run.
  • India needs a grace time period to address concerns by domestic industry and resolve their fears of dumping of cheaper products by China.
  • For China, India would seek a longer period for removal of duties on goods as the domestic industry is apprehensive about the presence of the neighboring country in the grouping.
  • No concrete progress is made on Preferential Trade Agreement pending for last six years.

4. Important Outcomes of the RCEP meetings are:

  • Agreement on free trade and addressing the growing protectionism around the world.
  • Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, but only for limited sectors.
  • Of 16 RCEP countries, India does not have FTA with 3 countries namely China, Newzeland and Australia. Provision for separate negotiation to address this issue.
  • Linkage between services and goods negotiation accepted.

5. Key demands of India accepted by members:

  • 20 years grace period to eliminate tariff on key items from China, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Differential tariff regimes for different country groups.
  • Link services ‘inevitably’ with the goods.
  • No additional commitment on intellectual property rights beyond the TRIPS Agreement which are already accepted at WTO.
  • 6% margin for eliminating the tariff of 80% products depending on level of development of the other country as a part of the RCEP negotiations.
  • Binding commitments for easier movement of professionals (called Mode 4 in trade parlance) in the region.

6. Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP):

  • It is a 16 nation proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
  • It includes ten member states of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six Asia-Pacific states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
  • An RCEP talk was launched in Phnom Penh in November 2012 for an agreement over the removal of customs duties on the maximum number of products traded between the member countries.
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2+2 to address U.S. issues on Iran, Russia

2+2 to address U.S. issues on Iran, Russia


  1. India and U.S. to hold inaugural 2+2 dialogue on September 6.

Important facts:

2. Background:

  • The twice delayed dialogue was earlier scheduled on July 6, but was postponed by U.S. citing unavoidable reasons.

3. Importance of 2+2 dialogue:

The highest diplomatic and political dialogue between the two countries this year, presents an opportunity to-

  • Enhance engagement on range of diplomatic and security issues.
  • Chalk out counter-terrorism strategy, designation of Pakistan based outfits as terrorist organisation.
  • Laying the road map into sharing of information and cooperation FATF.

4. Issues related:

  • The US has imposed military sanctions under CAASTA against countries that engage with Russia on defence.
  • India buying S-400 air defence missile system from Russia will attract CAASTA.
  • In the back drop of US pulling out of JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), it has insisted all the countries upon halting import of Iranian crude.
  • Cutting Iran oil imports will have significant economic impact on India (inflation and fuel price hikes).
  • India’s development of Chabahar Port is a ‘sub-set’ of the Iran sanctions issue.
  • India sees Chabahar port as gateway to develop economic and humanitarian channels to Afghanistan.
  • US recently imposed tariffs on Indian steel and aluminium, to balance out the trade deficit with India.
  • The decision of US administration to make changes in H1-B visa program.

5. India’s argument:

  • Defence procurement is the key pillar of India-Russia relationship.
  • S-400 is one of the world’s most advanced system, and is important for India’s security.
  • Strong India is essential for the success of US’s Indo-Pacific policy.
  • India’s stand on Iran is in consistence with UNSC resolution 2231, and issues related to JCPOA should be worked by the parties therein.
  • India is heavily energy reliant with limited alternative energy sources.
  • Recent oil and gas import from US has reduced trade deficit between India and US.

6. Challenges before India:

  • Supporting US’s new South-Asia policy without compromising on its national interest.
  • Strengthening its relation with US while keeping intact its traditional ties with Russia.
  • Deepening its bilateral relation with US while maintaining its strategic autonomy.

7. Expected outcome from the dialogue:

  • India is expecting a waiver from the sanctions under CAASTA.
  • India may consider US demands to “zero out” its oil imports from Iran, if other sources of crude are made available at comparable price.
  • Progress on Foundational Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).
  • Announcement on a new tri-service amphibious Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise.
  • Approval for special hotline between the defence ministers.
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Routes to Afghanistan

Routes to Afghanistan


  1. Suhasini Haider, focuses on south Asia policy, in context of upcoming 2+2 Dialogue.

Important Analysis


  • India should clear its approach regarding talks with Taliban
  • India should focus on making upcoming election peaceful and participative
  • India development assistance to Afghanistan should continue in small development project in sectors like health, education and drinking water
  • The assistance for 2017-18 at Rs.365.96 crore was far lower than its commitment in 2015-2016 at Rs.880.44 crore
  • India should urgently provide helicopter and technical support for Afghanistan military
  • Government should not undermine SAARC, because it is leading to disengagement of Afghanistan with the subcontinent.
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CJI Misra names Gogoi as successor

CJI Misra names Gogoi as successor


  1. CJI Dipak Misra recommended Justice Ranjan Gogoi as his successor to the office.

Important Facts:

2. Ranjan Gogoi will be the 46th Chief Justice of India.

3. He will be the first from Assam and north-east to hold this office.

4. Justice Gogoi was one of the four SC judges who highlighted the selective allotment of sensitive cases to different benches in apex court.

5. He came under criticism widely for his conduct in media along with other judges who held press conference

6. But CJI’s recommendation ended all speculations that he may be superseded.

7. However, Justice Gogoi had earlier suggested to set up a committee to resolve the differences.

8. This should be operationalized soon during his tenure, to maintain the highest judicial standards.

9. Selection of CJI:

  • The sitting Chief Justice names the senior most judge as his successor.
  • After the receipt of recommendation, the law ministry puts the proposal before government for approval. This is a well-established convention that has little distortion in history which is evident from following instances:

10. Justice AN Ray name was cleared for the CJI post superseding 3 other judges in 1973.

11. In 1997, Justice M H Beg was chosen ahead of Justice H R Khanna.

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Google to help EC track political ads

Google to help EC track political ads


  1. Election Commission to take strong step to address online Political Advertising with help of Google.

Important Facts:

2. Google will soon be helping the Election Commission (EC) keep tabs on online political advertising.

3. The Election Commission is the nodal body for pre-certification of advertisements of a political nature, released by either an individual or an organization.

4. A committee has been set up in view of the expansion and diversity of media platforms to explore possible modifications in

  • Section 126 (election silence) and
  • Provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

5. In the meeting with the committee, Google has proposed to develop a mechanism for:

  • Ensuring pre-certification of political advertisements
  • Sharing details about the expenditure incurred on its platforms with the authority.
  • Helping Election Commission to keep track of political advertisements and
  • Ensure that the advertisements are pre-certified by the EC’s Media Certification and Monitoring Committees.

6. As soon as a person is declared a candidate for any election, all the money spent by him/her for campaigning gets added as election expenditure.

7. The Commission also asks the candidates to declare their official social media accounts.

8. Google will be authorized, asking the prospective clients, whenever an order is placed, whether they have been pre-certified.

9. This would help the Returning Officers to calculate the election expenditure of individual candidates.

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GS 3

Addressing soil loss

Addressing soil loss


  1. Writer talks about negligence by the government in addressing the issue of soil degradation while doing rehabilitation program

Important analysis

  • The Recent floods in Kerala and Kodagu caused heavy life death toll, devastated the infrastructure and crops.
  • In rebuilding the program, the government will build houses, roads and key infrastructure and crop losses will be compensated by the insurance program.
  • But the issue of loss in soil degradation are getting neglected.

2. Data based Earlier Studies

  • A 2014 review of soil degradation in India by many institutes shows that annual flooding causes estimated 14 million hectares suffer soil degradation.
  • The National Bureau of soil survey and land use planning (NBSS&LUP)made a review on 2009 floods in North Karnataka covering 13 district- loss of 287 million tons of top soil and soil nutrients.
  • Author has raised the concern that there is no comprehensive scheme for recover even after Nine years.

3. Few district have State’s integrated watershed scheme, which shows these area have shallow soil depth, organic carbon deficiency, and low productivity of land.

4. The author has also made contrasting observation between the HimalayanRivers and rivers in central and south India.

5. Himalayan rivers wash the farmlands and replenish them with alluvial fertile soil, but rivers in the south and central India wash the nutrients lead to soil degradation.

6.Finally, the author hopes that the rehabilitation program should also consider the soil degradation.

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‘Drugs are not sweets’

‘Drugs are not sweets’


  1. Shamnad Basheer, has talked about the complication arising of devices used in Hip Replacement Surgery.

Important Facts

2.About HipReplacement Surgery

  • In total hip replacement, body parts are replaced with prosthetic components
  • Prosthetic components are metal on metal, with cobalt, chromium and molybdenum as major constituents.
  • It is commonly called the “Articular Surface Replacement or ASR hip implant”

3. High failure rate was observed in devices which causes releases of metallic debris into the bloodstream leading to complications, sometimes requiring revision surgery

4. Brief Timeline of the issue


  • In 2003 Johnson &Johnson’s subsidiary DePuy started marketing only outside the USA.
  • Due to defects in the device doctors has started giving warning around 2005 but it was ignored.
  • In India, Company got the license to import the device in 2006.
  • Australia took the regulatory action in 2007 due high rate of re-surgery and in 2009 the device was removed from market.
  • In 2010, company took initiative to recall the devices globally due increasing number of re-surgery.
  • Just a few months prior, India’s central drug regulator (CDSCO) gives Depuy’s fresh imports license for implants.
  • In 2014 company informed CDSO about the death of four person who had gone through revision surgery.
  • CDSCO and health ministry receive grievances on ASR implants and took it up with DePuy in 2014.
  • In 2017, Health Ministry set up an Expert Committee in to examine issues arising out of faulty ASR implants in India.

5. Due to high failure rate ofthe device, company has accepted to reimburse revision surgeries but declined to compensate patient for the pain, suffering, disability and loss of work.

6. In first trail against the company, U.S court has ordered to pay compensation to patient, however the major chunks of the amount paid was associated with surgery itself.

7. In India objection was initially raised by Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the faulty device.

8. In 2012 FDA has passed an order to CDSCO to cancel the firm’s import license.

9. However due to lack of immediate response, India took longer to address the challenge.

10. Issues with Indian approach.

  • Delay in recognition of threat from the failed devices.
  • CDSO took three years to issue product alert.
  • Company has recalled all the device in 2010, but India has failed to comply with its order and later found the number of devices returned to company was lesser in number as expected.
  • Unfortunately Drugs and Cosmetic Acts does not provide for adequate compensation to Victims.

11. Some important data

  • 93,000 patients received these implants globally, of which 4,700 were in India
  • J&J was able to recall only 1,295 of 15,829 implants from India in 2010.
  • Only 1,032 patients with these implants in India have been traced.
  • Over 250 Indian patients had to undergo repeat surgeries due to reasons like pain.
  • At least four patients with these implants in India have died.

12. In Feb 2017,Committee reviewed the action taken by the company to replace faulty ASR implants and compensation provided to those who had suffered.

13. Major Findings of the committee

  • 3,600 of the 4,700 patients could not be traced.
  • In some cases more than one surgery was performed.
  • Some patient reported, they are unable to carry out their routine activities and are confined to bed after surgery.
  • After surgery few patients facing local issues such pseudo Tumor, Pain walking, Metallosis (increase in Cobalt and Chromium levels, Asthenozoospermia (reduced sperm motility), cyst in kidney.

14. To address these challenges the committee has suggested few recommendations such as:

  • Company should be made liable to pay at least Rs.20 lakh to each patient.
  • A central expert committee and a Regional Expert committee should be constituted for evaluation of patients.
  • The Regional Committee will determine the impact of person disability on patient’s earning capacity.
  • The Central Expert Committee will determine the quantum of compensation. Apart from 20 lakh as a base amount,it will consider wages loss and percentage of disability.
  • Effort to be taken to track remaining patients who have received ASR but have not registered with the helpline.
  • Health assessment report to be submitted yearly till 2025 and compliance report to be in every six month.
  • An independent registry should be established for tracking usage of high-risk medical devices.
  • Provisions for compensation should be included in Medical Device Rules if any serious adverse event or death is caused.

15. Who can apply for compensation:

  • Patient with no revision surgery perform or recommended to perform.
  • Patient one revision surgery performed but no disability.
  • Patient with one or more than one revision surgery and suffering from disability.
  • Patient with implanted with ASR suffering from any other systematic disorder.

16. However there are some clauses to apply for compensation such as

  • Only those can claim compensation where surgery was performed in India on or after 2006
  • Patient can claim within 10 years from the date of first surgery.
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Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’

Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’


  1. Japan to test mini space elevator, the world’s first experiment to test travel between two mini-satellites in space.

Important facts

2. The idea was first proposed in 1895 by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky after he saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and revisited nearly a century later in a novel by Arthur C. Clarke.

3. The test equipment is produced by a researcher at Shizuoka University in collaboration with Japanese construction firm Obayashi

4. It will ride on an H-2B rocket being launched by Japan space agency from the southern Island of Taneagashima next week.

5. The test involves a miniature elevator stand in — a box just 6 cm long, 3 cm wide, and 3 cm high.

6. The mini-elevator will travel along the cable from a container in one of the satellites. “It’s going to be the world’s first experiment to test elevator movement in space,”

7. The movement of the motorized “elevator” box will be monitored with cameras in the satellites.

8. Shizuoka University and Obayashi are also collaborating for exploring other ways to build its own space elevator to put tourist in space in 2050.

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