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GS 2

Trade talks stuck as U.S. presses gas, aircraft sales to India

NEWS

  1. 2+2 dialogue and india’s concern

Defense issues

2. USA will impose CAATSA (countering American adversaries through sanctions act) if India buys S400 triumph missile system from Russia. India wants waiver for this deal.

3. COMCASA: (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) is a foundational defence pact which is expected to be signed, it would be a key highlight of the meeting; however there are concerns about this deal in defence sector.

4. Talks on sharing intelligence on movement of maritime activities and vessels in the Indo-Pacific region are on desk.

5. The two sides are also likely to announce an Indian liaison officer at the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) in Bahrain. NAVCENT’s area of responsibility includes the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, and Arabian Sea. Comprising fleet of USA.

6. Formal recognition of STA-1(STRATEGIC TRADE  AUTHORISATION) to India by USA,  paving the way for high-technology product sales to New Delhi, particularly in civil space and defence sectors.

7. Hotline between defence minister of India and US defence secretary could also be established.

Important issues concerning india

8. H1B visa reduction to Indian workers in USA.

9. US proposal to review generalized system of preferences.

10. Imposition of tariffs specially on steel and aluminum by American government.

11. A draft agreement by USA to wipe out trade deficit with India that is around $23 billion, by compulsory import of civilian aircraft and natural gas.

12. Impositions of sanctions on India by US under CAATSA act due to import of crude oil from Iran. India imports 24% of its total crude oil demand from Iran.

 

All for one, one for all?

Article:

1. D.S Hooda, a retired Lieutenant General discussed out the need of Integrated Command.

Important Analysis:

2.  Military reforms and need of Theater Command (Joining Army, Navy and Air force) has been in debate for long.

3.   In Author views, without restructuring in higher defence organization, moving ahead with Integrated command will not server the purpose.

4.   Under restructuring Higher Defence Organization, Appointment of Chief of Defence is very vital to bring overall efficiency and encourage jointness among three services.

5. The Indian Air force has also expressed operational problems in being delegated under theatre commands, due to shortage of resources

6. What is Integrated Theater Command

  • Integrated theater command combined and places the resources of all forces i.e. from the IAF, the Army and the Navy at the command of single senior military commander.
  • The logistic resources required to support his operations will also be placed at the disposal of the theatre commander.
  • These ‘unified combat commands’ are organized either on geographical basis with a defined mission in a specific ‘area of responsibility’ somewhere on the globe or on a ‘functional’ basis.
  • DB Shekatkar committee has recommended the creation of 3 integrated theatre commands — northern for the China border, western for the Pakistan border and southern for the maritime role

.7. However, the Author has made an argument against the need of theater command such as:

  • Capturing grounds beyond few KMs and taking control of maritime space is not a sustainable idea and it will lead to depletion of resources.
  • Theatre Commands would demand large increase in expenditure with doubtful returns
  • Due to advancement in special weapons that can degrade and destroy the enemy’s potential, reduces the need for direct confrontation.
  • Would a new organization improve jointness.
  • Each command has specific weaponry strength according to their geographical need and vision regarding the nature and character of conflict in future.
  • Defence services has made plans based on assumption that the war will be short and swift.
  • Political influence decides the start and termination of war and the manner in which they will be fought.
  • Such as, war in Kargil, Operation Parakram against Pakistan have political influence which hindered the Army to take effective action.
  • Another example is, there was an outrage in country and calls for retaliation operation after Mumbai attack. However, Political decision makers ruled out the involvement of Army to attack on Pakistan.
  • Even, the dominance of American Military has not achieved any political objectives in Afghanistan.

7.  Before Indian take a concrete steps towards the Integrated Command, India need to debate on characters of future war such as:

  • Strategy in case of conflict with Nuclear states.
  • Dealing with Hybrid Conflict involving criminal elements such as Lashkar-e-Taiba in Punjab Province of Pakistan.
  • What sort of weapons China may use in the war, will it use military force or technology based ballistic missile.
  • Psychological impact of long range missile on masses when they assume war is real between people instead of war on border.
  • The evolving nature of the warfare has changed the way combat is carried out and the focus on integrated commands might actually be redundant

8.  Keeping all these reason, Author has suggested

  • All three services need to sit together to find the realistic solution.
  • Need of Synergy between Political Leaders and Military objectives.
  • India should have a plan for war, range from non-contact to full scale war.

What’s in a name?

Article

1. Advisory by ministry of information and communication to media, from refraining to use the term Dalit , have created the controversy .

Historical evolution

2.  In earlier time Dalit used to be called as untouchables.

3.  Official term used for Dalit, in British time was depressed class

4.  Mahatma Gandhi gave the name harijan to the Dalit, so as to remove the stigma of pollution from them.

5. Under Indian constitution Dalit are known as schedule caste, under article 341.

6.  In recent decades the community asserts to call itself as Dalit.

Debate against the word using Dalit

7.  National commission did not favor the use of word Dalit.|

8.  Dalit should be called as schedule caste, according to the constitutional mandate under article 341.

9.  Nagpur bench of Bombay high court , directed government , to take decision on not using the word Dalit by media.

Importance of the word Dalit

10.  Dalit literally means downtrodden or broken, it reflects the struggle of the community to have rights which they have been denied for centuries.

11.  Dalit is an expression of self-empowerment.

The core of humanism, freedom, liberty is strongly reinforced in the word Dalit.

 

SC refuses to give NRC report copy to Centre

News:

1. Supreme Court direction on national register of citizen of Assam

Supreme Court direction on NRC

2. Court refused the full copy report  of NRC to the central government.

3. Court allowed 10 out of 15 documents for Assam citizen to proof their ancestry under standard operating procedure.

4. Other five document were not allowed , because it was easy to forge them. For example  Refugee Registration Certificate , electoral roll , ration card , GP Secretary Certificate in case of married women , Employment Certificate

5. Example of allowed documents are land deed, permanent residential certificate, LIC policy, bank or post office account.

6. Court in its opinion was against the redoing of NRC exercise again.

 

GS 3

‘Funding crunch is disrupting research’

News-

  1. An editorial published is the ‘Proceedings of the Indian National Academy of Sciences’ highlights the issue of poor funding in R&D.

Important Facts-

2. Issues:

  • Funding for science has remained static at about 0.7% of the GDP for last 20 years.
  • Untimely release of funds disrupts research work.
  • There has been overemphasis on translational research and basic research has been neglected.
  • Fund crunch has also been responsible for low morale among researchers.

3. Contrasting News:

According to Secretary of Department of science & Technology (DST):

  • Funding for science has doubled in 2017-18 when compared to 2014-15.
  • Funding has increased by 65% for Department of Biotechnology, 45% for Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and 90% for DST.

 

City may soon have green fuel even cleaner than CNG

News:

  1. Delhi will replace the CNG with H-CNG (hydrogen CNG) as a clean alternative fuel with testing to begin in September end.

Important Facts:

2. The steps has been taken following the recommendations by the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) to the Supreme Court.

3. SC had recently directed the Delhi government to explore the feasibility of introducing H-fuel cell buses.

4. The EPCA has, however, observed that instead of going for Hydrogen-fuel cell buses, H-CNG can be an intermediate solution.

5. In the report submitted to the Supreme Court, EPCA has stated that,

  • H-CNG, a mixture of Hydrogen and compressed natural gas (CNG), will lead to reduction of up to 70 % CO emissions and 15 % hydrocarbon emissions.
  • Worldwide hydrogen is being blended with natural gas and then compressed to dispense into vehicles.
  • US, Brazil, Canada, South Korea have all conducted trials and already using this hybrid fuel and found that, there are reduction in emissions from buses.
  • Transition to H-CNG can be seamless as the existing infrastructure comprising buses, piping network and dispensing stations runs on CNG.
  • The entire bus fleet of Delhi will run on Hydrogen CNG fuel by 2020-21.
  • Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) R&D Centre with IGL and Delhi transport department, be directed to give a plan for use of H-CNG in the entire bus fleet of the city, with a phased in schedule (including demonstration and tests to reduce NOx emissions).
  • This schedule should provide for all steps to be taken within a period of 2-3 years.
  • The H-CNG plan, after review by the SC, can be supported through the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) funds.

6. Experts has stated that, with minimal changes, even a reduction in NOx levels is possible.

7. The MoPNG and IOCL have now been asked to respond to the recommendations by the SC.

8. After testing H-CNG in 50 buses in a depot, the fleet is likely to hit the road by August 2019.

9. Test results will then be presented in front of Supreme Court.

 

SC relief for Maharashtra, Uttarakhand

News

  1. Supreme Court has lifted the ban on construction activities in Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, after they submitted their Solid Waste Management (SWM) policy.

Important facts:

2. Background:

  • More than two-third of the States/UTs had neither complied with the orders of the Court nor with the directions of Environment Ministry.
  • Taking the suo-moto cognizance of the waste management system across, the SC had ordered a ban on the construction activities of some states/UTs.
  • It also imposed fines on defaulting states including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh etc.

3. Issues associated with poor solid waste management (SWM):

  • Poor solid waste management is responsible for the spread of diseases and pollution.
  • The number of annual deaths on the account of air pollution and air-borne diseases is on the rise.

4. Impact of the judgement:

  • The ban on construction will curtail the increasing concretisation of cities and the pollution it causes.
  • The ban will compel the states to quickly frame SWM policy.
  • It will negatively affect the construction industry.
  • It is estimated that the housing projects amounting to about 11 lakh Cr will be affected.
  • It will result into job losses, expectedly it will impact 7.65 labourers across the states on the daily basis.
  • Delayed possessions to homes put buyers in trouble.

5. Present situation:

  • SC has lifted the ban on Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, as they have submitted the SWM policy before the court.
  • The Chandigarh administration has notified the SWM policy and will soon furnish it before the court.
  • Other states are also rushing into frame solid waste management rules.
  • All the states have framed their action plan and have submitted to the Environment Ministry.

6. Problems with solid waste management:

  • Only 75-80 % of the municipal waste gets collected and out of this only 22-28 % is processed.
  • Lack of social awareness resulting into very low rate of segregation at source.
  • Lack of political will, most states don’t have any SWM policy and even if they have there are no bye-laws and no implementation.
  • Informal workforce for waste collection reduce accountability.
  • Inefficiencies in municipal bodies mainly due to paucity of funds and expertise.

7. Way forward:

  • Central government must check the implementation of SWM rules 2016, by the state-level advisory bodies.
  • RERA must direct the builders to create facility for residents to segregate waste at source.
  • Civil societies must be included in task to create awareness regarding waste management in the society.
  • Municipal authorities must be enabled financially and technically to implement SWM Rules.
  • The cess collected under the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996 can be utilised to bring in efficiency in the SWM system.

 

34% Indians not active enough: WHO

News:

  1. World Health Organisation (WHO) latest report on physical inactivity’ has highlighted the increasing disease risk worldwide owing to lack of exercise.

Important facts

2. WHO defines the physical activity as the exercise of at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderately intense activity per week or any combination of two.

  • It is the first study of WHO to analyse the trend of physical activity levels worldwide .     This study is based on self-reported activity levels including activity at work, at home, for transport and during leisure time.
  • It covers population of adults aged 18 years and above in 168 nations.

3. WHO has a target of relative reduction of physical inactivity by 10% globally till 2025.

4. Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not declining worldwide.

5. Global Context:

  • Globally, Kuwait has been ranked as the world’s most inactive in physical activity while Uganda came out as the most energetic in physical activity .
  • WHO noted that more than 1.4 billion adults are at risk of diseases for not doing enough physical activity.
  •   Over a quarter of all adults were inadequately active in 2016, compared to 23.3% in 2013.

6. In high income countries, the proportion of inactive people has risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016 ( 5% increase), while in low income countries it has remained stable at 16%.

7. VARIATION ACROSS GENDER

  • In 2016, 32% women and 23% men worldwide do not do enough physical activity as recommended by WHO toH stay healthy.
  • Large differences between women and men existed in USA, UK, India, Philippines and Turkey.
  • 34% of Indian population, (24.7% males and 43.9% females) are not attentive to stay healthy according to the report.

8. CAUSES OF DECLINING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

  •   The sedentary occupations, less leisure time, high density traffic and a higher dependence on automobiles were responsible for slide in physical activity worldwide.
  • The women are less physically active compared to men owing to a number of factors like extra child care duties and cultural activities etc.

9. EFFECTS OF DECLINING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

  • Declining physical activity is also a major concern for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) .
  • According to WHO, the insufficient activity puts people at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers.
  • WHO warns that 2025 target of reducing global inactivity by 10% may be missed if current declining trends don’t change.

10. STEPS RECOMMENDED BY WHO

  • WHO called on governments worldwide to provide and maintain infrastructure that promotes sports and increased walking and cycling along with more usage of public transport.
  • More interventions are also required to promote and improve women access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable to encourage women to do physical work.
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