Insights Daily Current Affairs, 18 Aug 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 18 Aug 2017


 

Paper 1:

 

Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

 

Navika Sagar Parikrama

 

Navika Sagar Parikrama is a project wherein a team of women officers of the Indian Navy would circumnavigate the globe on an Indian-built sail boat INSV Tarini.

Navika-Sagar-Parikrama2

Key facts:

  • This is the first ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew. The project is scheduled to commence in early Sep 17.
  • INSV Tarini is the sister vessel of INSV Mhadei.
  • The project is considered essential towards promoting Ocean Sailing activities in the Navy while depicting Government of India’s thrust for ‘Nari Shakti’.
  • The expedition has been aptly titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, aimed at promoting women empowerment in the country and ocean sailing by the Indian Navy.

 

Additional aims of the Expedition are as follows:

Nari Shakti: In consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential, the expedition aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform. This would also help to discard the societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of participation by women in challenging environment.

Environment and Climate Change: Sailing encourages the use of environment friendly non-conventional renewable energy resources which affects the life of women. The expedition thereby aims at harnessing the energy to optimise the livelihood of the women onboard.

Make in India: The voyage also aims to show case the ‘Make in India’ initiative by sailing onboard the indigenously built INSV Tarini.

Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave Data Observation: The crew would also collate and update Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave data on a daily basis for subsequent analysis by research and development organisations.

Marine Pollution: The crew would monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2:

 

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Can’t Mekedatu be used to address T.N.’s needs, asks SC

 

The Supreme Court has asked the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments to envision the Mekedatu dam project as a facility to store excess water from Karnataka, which can be released to Tamil Nadu. The suggestion was mooted during the hearing of appeals in the Cauvery case. Tamil Nadu has indicated that it was agreeable to the proposition, provided that such an arrangement was under the control and supervision of an independent third party.

 

About the project:

Karnataka intends to build a reservoir across river Cauvery near Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk. It was first proposed along with Shivanasamudra hydro power project at Shimsa in 2003 with an intention to use the water for a hydro power station and supply drinking water to Bengaluru city.

  • The drinking water and hydroelectric project will have a balancing reservoir to store 66.50 tmcft of Cauvery water.
  • The project is estimated to cost 5,912 crore and about 4,900 hectares of forest land will submerge if the project is implemented.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Why India must take China’s warning of a trade war seriously

 

A trade war between China and India seems to be looming after the imposition of anti-dumping duties on Chinese products. Recently, India imposed anti-dumping duties on 93 Chinese products. China is not going to tolerate this measure and is likely to respond. State-owned Chinese media has urged Chinese firms to reconsider the risks of investing in India and warned New Delhi to be prepared for the “possible consequences for its ill-considered action”.

 

Why India cannot afford to fight a trade war with China at this juncture?

Trade deficit: India’s trade deficit with China rose to $46.56 billion last year. China’s exports to India totaled $58.33 billion, registering a meager increase of 0.2% compared to $58.25 billion in 2015. India’s exports to China dropped 12% from 2015 to $11.76 billion. India exports less to China (mainly raw materials) and imports more (mainly electronics and other manufactured goods which are in high demand).

India’s share: China’s exports to India account for only 2% of its total exports. So even if Indians boycott all the goods imported form China, it will not make as big an impact on China as to bring it to its knees before India.

Emerging markets: Of course, China needs new markets for its manufactured goods, and India is one of those new markets where its electronic goods, especially smartphones, have found a large market. But China can find markets in other Asian countries and even in Africa. It is also trying to create a market for its goods in Europe. It is in no way dependent on India.

Telecom and pharma sectors: India today imports telecom gear worth over Rs 70,000 crore annually, much of it from Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE. Chinese companies dominate the telecom sector in India. India’s pharma sector has critical dependence on Chinese imports used in drugs manufacturing.

Power: Power is another sector where India has come to be dependent on Chinese imports. In the 12th Plan alone, almost 30% of the generating capacity was imported from China. In the rapidly growing solar energy sector, between April 2016 and January 2017, solar equipment from China had a share of 87% in a market pegged at $1.9 billion.

 

Way ahead:

The popular impression is that China is dumping consumer goods into India. But the fact is that India depends on China for capital goods too. Reduction in import of cheaper capital goods will push up production costs.

China is India’s largest trading partner, but the trade is heavily skewed in favour of China. India can fight trade wars with China only when it has removed the big skew in its trade with China, which can take a decade of manufacturing growth. A trade war when Indian manufacturing ability is limited is not going to favour India. India’s imports from China are crucial at this stage.

 

Sources: et.


 

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

India, China ‘clash’ near high-altitude Pangong Lake

 

The Indian and Chinese armies clashed recently along the Pangong lake in Ladakh when the People’s Liberation Army tried to penetrate into the Indian side.

 

Background:

The latest incident comes amid an ongoing dispute between the two sides over a strategic Himalayan plateau thousands of kilometres away where hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers have been facing off against each other for more than two months.

Pangong_Tso_2

About the disputed region:

Pangon lake or Pangong Tso, a 135-km long lake, located in the Himalayas at the height of approximately 4,350 m, stretches out from India to China. One-third of water body, its 45 km stretch, is in Indian control while the rest of the 90 km is under Chinese control.

  • There has been constant strife between the two countries over the region as both assert territorial possession.
  • The region has been a bone of contention between India and China for long. In the 1990s, when the Indian side laid claims over the area, the Chinese army built a metal-top road contending that it was part of the Aksai Chin, which is another disputed border area between the two.
  • The Aksai Chin area falls under Chinese control and is governed as part of Hotan County. However, India also claims it to be a part of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

US and India to co-host global entrepreneurship summit

 

The US and India will co-host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in November in Hyderabad, India. GES 2017 will create an environment that empowers innovators, particularly women, to take their ideas to the next level.

  • Around 1,500 delegates from over 160 countries will participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).

 

The theme of the GES this year is: “Women First, Prosperity for All,” which highlights that when women do better, countries do better.

 

About the summit:

The summit organised annually since 2010, is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes over one thousand emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and supporters from around the world.

  • This year marks the first GES held in South Asia, and the event underscores the broad and enduring partnership with India.
  • The summit will focus on four key industry sectors: Energy and Infrastructure, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Financial Technology and Digital Economy, and Media and Entertainment.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

New BRICS bank plans $1.5 billion lending for South African projects

 

A New Development Bank (NDB) set up by the “BRICS” group of emerging economies plans to lend $1.5 billion to South Africa for infrastructure projects over the next eighteen months. The bank also officially opened its African regional centre in Johannesburg.

 

NDB:

It is a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). It is seens as an alternative to the existing US-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

  • The New Development Bank was agreed to by BRICS leaders at the 5th BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa in 2013.
  • The bank is set up to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets.
  • The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, China.
  • Unlike the World Bank, which assigns votes based on capital share, in the New Development Bank each participant country will be assigned one vote, and none of the countries will have veto power.

 

What it does?

The New Development Bank will mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


Paper 3:

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali

 

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has launched the “Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali” campaign.

  • As a part of the campaign, the Environment Ministry will undertake various activities to create awareness among various stakeholders and encourage people to participate in combating air pollution.

 

What necessitates this move?

Diwali is an integral part of our rich tradition and a festival that embodies joy and happiness.  In recent times, the pattern of celebration has changed somewhat and has got associated with excessive bursting of crackers, which contributes significantly to air and noise pollution.  As a result, there has been a significant impact on the environment and health of the people.

As has been the experience in the past few years, airborne pollution has been rising above safe limits during winter in many cities.  The excessive burning of crackers during Diwali aggravates the problem.  The pollution levels in Delhi last year, especially post Diwali, reached such levels that the government had to declare an emergency situation, which had socio-economic consequences like closing down of schools, construction sites and power stations.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Climate change costs India $10 billion every year

disasters cost india 10bn per year

In its recent report, a parliamentary committee has observed that extreme weather events are costing India $9-10 billion annually and climate change is projected to impact agricultural productivity with increasing severity from 2020 to the end of the century.

 

Climate change impact on agriculture:

  • Productivity decrease of major crops would be marginal in the next few years but could rise to as much as 10-40% by 2100 unless farming adapts to climate change-induced changes in weather.
  • Wheat, rice, oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables will see reduced yields over the years, forcing farmers to either adapt to challenges of climate change or face the risk of getting poorer. Adaptation will need different cropping patterns and suitable inputs to compensate yield fluctuations.

 

Food security concerns:

  • By 2030, it may need 70 million tonnes more of foodgrains than the expected production in 2016-17. There may be possible decrease in yields of certain crops in traditional sown areas but an increase elsewhere due to change in weather pattern.
  • Increasing food demand due to an increasing population, expanding urbanisation and rising income may require India to depend on import if it does not act on time to increase production and productivity of major food crops, pulses, oilseeds and milk by adapting to climate change.
  • The ICAR-National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research has projected food demand of 345 million tonnes (MT) by 2030 – almost 30% higher than in 2011. The demand by 2030 is estimated to be 2-3 times more than that in 2011.
  • Vulnerability of Indian agriculture due to vagaries associated with climate change and low adaptation capacity of majority of Indian farmers poses risk to food security of the country.

 

Economic losses:

  • The economic survey, in its latest mid-year report, says “estimates indicate that currently India incurs losses of about $ 9-10 billion annually due to extreme weather events. Of these, nearly 80% losses remain uninsured”.
  • The quantum of loss will increase substantially in future if one takes into account the impact of climate change on farm productivity.

 

Way ahead:

Extreme weather events are not always linked to climate change but research shows that their frequency and severity is increasing and this is being increasingly read as a fallout of climate change. Though foodgrain production has increased from 259.29 MT in 2011-12 to 275.68 MT (estimated) in 2016-17, the country still needs to take multiple measures to match the projected demand of foodgrain by 2030.

Changes in approach are urgently needed. The challenge is particularly urgent for Indian agriculture where productivity for crops like rice does not compare even with neighbours like China. The possibility of a further dip due to climate change will be particularly worrying as it could turn India into a major importer of oilseeds, pulses and even milk.

 

Sources: toi.