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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – March 12, 2021

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Daily Current affairs for UPSC brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

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India’s Rise as the new global manufacturing hub

Source: Indian Express

Gs3: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Synopsis: India’s recent achievements have positioned it as an alternative global manufacturing hub to China at the global level.

Background

  • Democratic countries consider a rising China, with its authoritarian one-party system, as a challenge to the democratic order.
  • This provided the strategic case for the formation of Quadrilateral Security dialogue. It envisioned to develop a more sustainable model of governance.
  • But the QUAD formed in 2007 was not able to progress further. The dependence on China’s factories kept the grouping of democracies from emerging.
  • But two recent developments have completely changed the dynamic.
      • One, Australia returning to the Malabar Naval exercises in 2020, after 13 years.
      • Two, the first summit-level meet of the Quad is scheduled to take place in March.
  • The rise in India’s manufacturing ability as an alternative manufacturing destination to China has been one of the reasons for the above-mentioned developments.

What are the recent promising developments in India’s manufacturing sector?

  1. First, the success in manufacturing PPE kits at a large scale. Initially, after the pandemic, the world was dependent on china to secure supplies of PPE kits. But, India’s ability to produce on a mass scale at a much cheaper price provided an alternative to the other countries. A similar case was with ventilators and other essential supplies, such as the drug HCQ.
  2. Second, the success of ‘Vaccine Maitri’ diplomacy. India exported millions of vaccines to other countries in need and all through domestically-manufactured vaccines. For example, Canada Pakistan, Caribbean Islands, Brazil and many more.
  3. Third, the growing success of India’s private industry. For example, the manufacturing capacity of Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices was almost 6,000 syringes a minute.
  4. Fourth, India’s success in precision high-end manufacturing. India’s PLI scheme was able to attract 22 top companies, including Apple and Samsung mobile phones in the electronics’ manufacturing segment. It is expected that, over the next five years, a manufacturing capacity of over $150 billion and exports of $100 billion will be tied up through the PLI scheme.
  5. Fifth, the success of India’s fourth-generation fighter jet Programme. The government has decided to procure 83 indigenously-developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas for the Indian Air Force. Very few countries have such ability to indigenously manufacture high-tech fighter planes.
  6. Sixth, simultaneously India’s Economic policy reforms have made India an attractive manufacturing destination. For example,
      • India has the lowest tax rate anywhere in the world. (15 per cent for new manufacturing units).
      • FDI norms have been further relaxed to allow for automatic approval processes in some sectors even up to 100 per cent.
      • Privatisation of PSUs to bring more efficiency and managerial capacity.
      • Labour laws have been reformed to ease compliance burdens.
      • Abolition of Rent-seeking behaviour by making the taxation procedure faceless.
  7. Apart from this, effective bankruptcy laws, low-interest rates, strong digital infrastructure makes India a more attractive destination for manufacturing.

All the benefits that China provided – quality, scale, speed, skilled manpower and a huge domestic market are now operative in India without the drawbacks of the Chinese model.


India’s new policy of proactive diplomacy

Source: click here

Syllabus: GS 2

Synopsis:  India’s new policy of proactive diplomacy and strong ground posturing is working well.

Introduction 

Things are getting better for India in the neighborhood. China has withdrawn its troops in eastern Ladakh across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Also, Pakistan has initiated a ceasefire across the Line of Control (LoC). The new U.S. administration has also been issuing positive statements.

How proactive diplomacy helped India?

  1. Under the new strategy of proactive diplomacy, the Indian forces actively engage their enemy on the ground. Whereas military leadership actively engages in negotiations with their counterparts at the same time. 
  2. Due to it, China was forced to review its ground strategy for the second time. Mobilization of Indian forces led to the withdrawal of Chinese equipment and troops from Doklam also, in 2017.
  3. The DGMOs of India and Pakistan recently agreed to strictly implement the 2003 ceasefire agreement. This decision must be a step towards peace after multiple ceasefire violations. 
  4. This decision of Pakistan came even after the announcement by Imran Khan of no engagement with India until the status quo was restored in Jammu and Kashmir.
  5. It is also because Pakistan is under pressure due to its dangerous economic condition and a repayment crisis. China looks unhappy about the uncertainty over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Pakistan must be under pressure from India, the new U.S. administration as well as China.

However, India is well aware of Pakistan’s tendency to spread terror and violence in India. That is why India has repeated that counter-terror operations will not be reduced.

Favourable approach of the US towards India

There are signals that the Biden administration will adopt a complex approach with China. 

  • China also wants to take a chance by cooperating with US, for its own economic and strategic interest. China would also want Pakistan to adopt the same approach.
  • Contrary to earlier beliefs, the Biden administration seems to be largely siding with India in its South Asia policy.
  • A US state department official recently said that they are concerned by China’s pattern of ongoing attempts to threaten its neighbours. And also, they are going to stand by their friends and allies. 
  • In another statement, the U.S. State Department said it welcomes the steps taken to return Jammu and Kashmir to full economic and political normalcy consistent with India’s democratic values. India should seize this opportune moment. 

Addressing Systemic Issues in Higher Education

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education

Synopsis: There are systemic issues in higher education. They need to be addressed to strengthen our education system.

Background

  • According to the recently released QS World University Rankings, India has 12 universities and institutions in the top-100 in particular subjects.
  • Though it is a better achievement compared to the previous years. Still, there is room for improvement.
  • We need to address the systemic issues to further strengthen our education system.

Why are the systemic issues impacting quality in higher education?

There are many systemic issues which needs to be addressed. For example,

  • First, lack of relevant career opportunities diminishes the appeal of academic education among students. For example, if studying hard and critical thinking doesn’t lead to career improvement, students tend to lose academic ambition.
  • Second, the lack of relevance of the core syllabus decreases students’ interest in education. For example, students joining IIT’s initially, work hard to secure admission, but then lose motivation owing to a lack of relevance in the actual syllabus.
  • Third, lack of High-quality jobs. In India, only a few jobs exist after high-quality education. The Majority of jobs require lower skills and pay poorly. In such a system the Lower-ranked colleges don’t find any motivation to improve themselves.
  • Fourth, prioritising top colleges and neglect of Low ranked colleges. For example, top colleges in India enjoy much state-sponsored support. They attract the best faculty and students. This makes it further difficult for low ranked colleges to make any improvement.

What needs to be done?

For the mediocre college to improve, its students must first see value in a better education. It requires system-wide growth in opportunity. To achieve this the relevant stakeholders must do the following;

  1. First, policymakers, they need to promote employment led -growth oriented policies to create enough jobs for 650 million Indian youths under age 25.
  2. Second, industry, they should focus on developing indigenous technologies. It will help in improving our Higher Education standards.
  3. Third, teachers, standard of teaching will improve standards of the institutions and create more competitive students.
  4. Fourth, Students, they need to demand for better education. Only then institutions will respond to their needs.
  5. Finally, students will demand better education only when the quality education is valued by society. And vice versa, it will be valued by society only when the imparted quality education is applied towards the benefits of the society.

We must teach students not only our subjects, but also how to think about both existing applications and future ones. Students must aim to relate their learning to society.


Working towards Climate Justice

Source: click here

Syllabus: GS

Synopsis: New Delhi has to control its green commitment to guarantee carbon and policy space for its developmental goals. It will ensure Climate Justice.

Introduction

Joe Biden in the U.S. Presidential elections promised to lead a major diplomatic push to increase global climate ambition.

  • The U.S. is moving back to Obama’s achievement of the Paris Accord and to the Bush days. It is evident by the presidential call to resume the Major Economies Forum (MEF).
  • The MEF was started in March 2009. It aimed to push for a way forward on climate change without attention to the differentiated responsibilities and historical responsibilities.

What actions have been taken to control greenhouse gas emissions?

All the countries are being told to commit to net-zero (Green House Gas emissions) by 2050. China committed to reaching the target by 2060, but they have been strictly told to be there a decade earlier.

  • Firstly, the UN Secretary-General asked the countries to build a coalition for a carbon-neutral world by 2050. Countries representing around 65% of global CO2 emissions have already agreed to this. The UN Secretary-General wants this figure to reach 90% within 2021.
  • Secondly, the implementation of these plans will be subject to international reviews and verification. India can easily be the focus of this dialogue because of its huge population and one of the world’s largest economies.
  • Thirdly, the EU might impose carbon border taxes on those who do not take on high carbon cut-down targets. This could add to the challenges of this proposed global goal.
  • Fourthly, the U.S. Administration appears uncertain on these border taxes, but this possibility cannot be ruled out. In such a situation, World Trade Organization rules that currently exclude the use of charges on environmental grounds will surely get modified.

What is the idea suggested by Raghuram Rajan?

The lack of money is a constant issue in the climate discourse. Raghuram Rajan has recently put forward a proposal for India to consider. It asks countries to pay into a global fund amounts based on their carbon emissions over and above the global per-capita average of five tons.

  • This step disincentive coal and incentivises renewables. Countries above the global average would pay, while those below would receive the taxes. This method may be unacceptable to the developed countries.
  • This proposal may appear attractive to India as today it has a per capita CO2 emission of only 2 tons. India is a global record-setter in pushing renewables. However, it is unlikely that real politics would allow a major economy to benefit from such fund flows.
  • The long-term consequences of this proposal require examination in detail. Alternatives such as emission trading should also be considered.

However, The proposal focuses on current and future emissions. Thus, it penalizes developing countries while giving developed countries a certain free pass. Because more than 75% of the carbon space available to keep global temperature rise to 1.5° C already been utilized by the developed world and China.

The way forward

  • Climate negotiations are also about global governance and will hereafter be pursued with a drive. It requires India to carefully regulate its approach including on the economic and political fronts.
  • Climate justice is very important for India. It needs to influence its green and pro-nature commitment to ensure carbon and policy space for its developmental and global aspirations. India’s diplomatic and negotiating efforts must be quickly geared to that end.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Mar 12, 2021

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