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Insights Daily Current Events, January 09, 2014



January 09, 2014


Status Quo in the Definition Of Handloom Under Handloom Reservation Act

  • The apprehension of a change in definition of ‘handloom’ has triggered speculation and insecurity amongst a section of weavers and handloom activities.
  • It has given a mistaken impression on handloom activists that Government has taken a decision to allow the introduction of automatic machines to replace handlooms and that the Government intends to change the definition of ‘handlooms to include such mechanized looms’.
  • In this regard, it is clarified that no change is contemplated by Ministry of Textiles, in definition of ‘handloom’, which has been defined as “any loom other than powerloom”under the Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985.
  • To improve the productivity and reduce the manual labour on loom, the Advisory Committee on Handloom Reservation Act, had recommended the modifications in definition of handloom as“handloom means any loom, other than powerloom; and includes any hybrid loom on which at least one process for weaving requires manual intervention or human energy for production”.


A comprehensive coverage of India-Japan relationship


Visit of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori to India- A new beginning

After 1998 nuclear tests, India and Japan relations remained nearly frozen for three years. However, a turnaround in the ties was achieved shortly afterwards, when Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori visited India in August 2000. He urged both countries to build a new global partnership that would address a wide spectrum of international issues like nuclear disarmament, anti-terrorism, the restructuring of the UN, maritime safety, technology transfer, environment, etc. In particular, he wanted both India and Japan to take advantage of the IT revolution in building a new partnership.

The same point was reiterated by the Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he visited Japan in December 2001. The Joint Communique he issued with his Japanese counterpart Koizumi Junichiro on 10 December provides a comprehensive framework for the future directions of Indo-Japanese relations. Both leaders recognized that “unbounded opportunities exist especially in the area of Information and Communication Technology in which there are extraordinarily strong complementarities between Japan and India.” They wanted their two countries to help bridge the digital divide so that the benefits of IT revolution could be shared by all.

Reasons that compelled Japan to conclude global partnership with India

  1. During the 1990s, there was considerable misunderstanding in Japan on President Bill Clinton’s overtures to China and many Japanese leaders wondered whether it would be wise for Japan to continue to depend solely on its alliance with the US.
  2. This skepticism was further deepened at the time of the currency crisis in 1997-98 in Southeast Asia. During the crisis, Japan’s proposal to create an Asian Monetary Fund (AMF) with a capital of US $10 billion for assisting the countries affected by the crisis was turned down by the US, as it did not entertain a prominent role for Japan in the region.
  3. It  is relevant in this context to note that Japan at the same time was promoting ASEAN+3, a new  institutional mechanism that would bring greater coordination with China and South Korea and link  it  up with ASEAN  countries.

All these developments indicated Japan’s anxiety to increase its diplomatic options outside the ambit of US Japan alliance. It is in this backdrop of Japan’s quest for seeking a broader Asian arena to safeguard its own interests that Mori’s call for a global partnership between India and Japan was made.

Towards Annual summits- Building greater cooperation

The  idea  of  global partnership  received  a  fresh  impetus  from  the  top  leaders of  the  two countries. The visit made by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2005 was a landmark that set in motion a process by which the Prime Ministers of the two countries would meet annually in either of the countries. Since then eight annual summit meetings have been held. The joint statement contained an eight-point agenda which provided a new direction to the bilateral relations. One of its objectives was to develop a well-structured framework for security dialogue and cooperation between the two countries.  It was agreed that both countries would pursue their partnership at three levels.

  1. Bilaterally, they would strive to strengthen the prevailing political and     economic links.
  2. At the regional level, they would promote peace and security in Asia by contributing to regional  cooperation  in  such  areas  as  maritime  security  and  energy  self-sufficiency.
  3. At the global level, both would cooperate in areas such as UN reforms, nuclear disarmament, counter terrorism and environment.

Beginning of India-Japan strategic and Global Partnership

The second summit was held in Tokyo in December 2006 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met his new Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. He was keen to establish a close rapport with Abe who, on his side, was strongly desirous of cultivating closer relations with India. Their joint statement entitled ‘Towards India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership’ constitutes a long and detailed roadmap for building a multilayered network of bilateral relations.  Broadly, it proposed that following actions be taken:

a) Holding annual summit meetings between the top leaders of the two countries;

b) Institutionalizing strategic dialogue at the level of foreign ministers;

c) Pursuing negotiations for the conclusion of a bilateral economic partnership agreement/comprehensive economic cooperation agreement;

d) Establishing of a business leaders forum;

e) Cooperating in the field of science and technology;

f) Encouraging of people-to-people exchanges;

g) Cooperating in multilateral fora like the UN, SAARC, EAS and ARF and;

h) Cooperating in areas like energy, environment and global trade.

Eighth bilateral summit in Tokyo in 2013 – reflecting a new trend

The Bilateral annual summits started since 2005 have been conducted regularly till now and we have been successfully completed sixty years of diplomatic ties.

The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Japan in May 2013 to conclude eighth Annual summit in Tokyo. The Tokyo summit took place at a time when both countries face serious territorial frictions with China. The Ladakh crisis arising out of China’s controversial intrusion into the Indian territories inside the Line of Actual Control demonstrated the unpredictable nature of their bilateral relations. Though China agreed to withdraw to its earlier position after India’s rather tough stance, the incident left a long trail of bitterness. Many believe that Beijing’s withdrawal was due to its concern to see that Prime Minister Li’s scheduled official visit to India was not affected in any way.

Japan continues to face tremendous pressure from China in the maritime sphere, particularly since 2010 when a Chinese ship rammed a Japanese coast guard vessel. China’s relentless pursuit of its claims to the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands became far more intense after September 2012 following the Japanese government’s purchase of three of the islands. On almost a daily basis China’s surveillance ships intrude into Japan’s territorial waters around the islands and Chinese air forces have also violated Japanese air space in the area.

For a long time, the partnership was centered on economic matters such as development loans, trade and investment. But it has diversified to cover a wide spectrum of interests including security, counter terrorism, sea-lanes, UN reforms, energy security and climate change. This year’s  bilateral summit in Tokyo reflects this trend.

India’s look east policy and mutual interests with Japan

New Delhi has optimally utilized its Look east policy to foster its deeper relations with Japan particularly with regard to forging the foundations of a potentially far-reaching economic and strategic partnership with Japan. As pointed out by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, “Our relationship with Japan has been at the heart of our Look East Policy.”

In addition to their shared concerns about growing financial and military strength of China, New Delhi and Tokyo have found mutual interests in their engagement of Southeast Asia. Both are working actively to support Burma’s political and economic opening; investing in regional trade frameworks for open economic exchange with member states of ASEAN; and engaging strategically important Indonesia and Vietnam. Both are playing a greater role in ASEAN-led institutions not only to boost regional webs of economic connectivity, but, importantly, to prevent regional clubs from tilting in a sinocentric direction.

To be continued tomorrow 🙂

All articles covering indo-japan relations from The Hindu, IDSA website, Indian express. Articles of K.V.Keshavan from
website of ministry of external affairs
articles from international policy digest


General Studies-III [Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights ]

DBT’s(Department Of BioTechnology) Biotechnology Programs in North East India :

What is  Biotechnology: Use of living systems and organisms to develop useful products. Ex. Brewing i.e. production of beer (one of the early application of biotechnology).

Some major area of application:

a)      Healthcare (eg. Pharmaceutical drug discovery)

b)      Crop production and agriculture(eg. Genetically modified crop )

c)       Industrial use of crop (eg. Vegetable oil, biofuel )

Various terms related to Biotechnology:

  • Bioinformatics:- address biological problems using computational techniques and make the    process of biological analysis fast.
  • Blue biotechnology:-  use to describe the marine and aquatics applications of biotechnology.
  • Green biotechnology:- Describe the agricultural use of  biotechnology .
  • Red biotechnology:- describe the medical use of biotechnology.
  • White biotechnology:- describe the industrial use of biotechnology.

Issues related to biotechnology: There are various issues related to biotechnology.

  • Cost:  Biotechnology products cost are relatively high because they require high investment for initial research. There may be high risk of failure, which further increase its cost.
  • Ethics: debates over the ethics of biotechnology are raising. Ethics related concern include cloning and genetic modification of organisms.
  • Laws: there are very few laws there address biotechnology  practices.
  • Uncertainty: the biggest issue with biotechnology is the uncertainty in its long term effects. Their immediate advantages are clear ,but their long term effect is still hide because most of the research have been done since mid 1990s. for example biotechnology developed genetically modified crops which solved the problem of hunger, increase the plants resistance to disease but still it is not clear that the same GM crops is safe to human health.

So what we need is REGULATION , currently bioengineered plants food fall under the jurisdiction of three agencies, the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture and the Environmental  Protection agency.

  • The US Food and Drug Administration determine whether  the new plant variety will adversely affect the environment.
  • The Environmental  Protection agency regulates pesticides and  determine tolerance level in human and animal.
  • The US Department of Agriculture determine the safety of genetically modified plants.

But still there is a problem , the problem is that the companies are asked to voluntarily submit their test results, it is not compulsory. There is no way to check whether the companies that have developed  genetically modified products, is providing correct information or not.

So it must be compulsory to submit test results and there must be a separate agency whose task is to check whether the company are providing correct result or not. In case of any violation, appropriate action should be taken.

 North East Region (NER) of India: [Consist of Seven sister state -Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland  and Himalayan state of Sikkim]

  •  8% of the total geographical area of the Indian subcontinent but  50% of the floristic wealth of the country.
  •  house of exceptional natural beauty, floral and faunal biodiversity and abundant mineral, water and forests resources.
  •  ideal climatic conditions for agriculture, plantations and sericulture(i.e. silk farming).

Reason for rich biodiversity:  High rainfall and plenty of sunlight coupled with unique bio-geographical positioning.

Because Of This(Rich Biodiversity) NER(North East Region) Provide Unique Opportunity For Biotechnology Based Interventions For Overall Development Of The Region.

Started In the year 2009-10:- DBT had set up a North Eastern Region-Biotechnology Programme Management Cell (NER-BPMC) through Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL) for coordination and monitoring of biotechnology programme in the North Eastern States of India.

Then NER-BPMC has initiated FIVE biotechnology programme in the North Eastern States of India(since DBT has setup NER-BPMC, so ultimately this programmes are running by DBT) as follows:-

 1. INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY/PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT:- Mainly focused on programme that lead to product development In order to ensure economic development of NER. Example includes:-

  • Biotechnology Led Organic Farming in the NER
  • Twinning Programme(joint venture, between two or more institutes, where one of the institute is from North East India. )
  • A value chain on Jackfruit and its value added products .
  • Value chain development in Citrus.

2. CAPACITY BUILDING:- Some initiatives were taken towards building capacities of the institutions in NER by supporting infrastructure facilities, high speed internet bandwidth, high end IT equipment, access to high impact e-journals, etc. some of the projects implemented are:-

  • North Eastern Bioinformatics Network
  • Online human resource repository of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics resources of North East India (BABRONE)
  • Development of Digital Database of Bioresources of NE(North East) India
  • The Establishment of Biotech
  • DBT’s e-Library Consortia (NER-DeLCON)

3.INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT:-Since the infrastructure is the key of growth, Following programme has been initiated to support & create infrastructure facilities.

  • DBT Nodal Centre, Tezpur
  • Development of Infrastructural Facilities of National Research Centre on Yak
  • Creation of infrastructure facility of labs at NEIGRIHMS, Shillong

     4.HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT:- In order to develop human resource, following activities has been initiated.

  • Overseas Fellowship/Associateship for NER scientists
  • Award of Biotechnology National Associateship to Scientists working in North Eastern States .
  • Entrepreneurship Development in NER
  • MD/MD Thesis Grants
  • Star College Scheme
  • Training program on utilization of biopesticides and biofertilizers in NE states .

5. SETTING UP OF CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE: For strengthening agro-biotechnology research in NER, DBT has been set up Center of Excellence at Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat

  • The major focus of the centre will be

a). Basic research-Gene technology, molecular breeding and microbial gene prospecting

b). HRD component with strong Ph.D. programme and

c). Extending technology benefits through enhanced production of bio inputs etc

Recently The DBT has decided to spend 10% of its total budget (148.50 crores) for the year 2013-14 to promote biotechnology activities in the North Eastern Region of India.

Practice questions-

Expected question for prelims :

1)Term                                                               Related to

A) Blue biotechnology                                   1) medical  use

B) Green biotechnology                                 2) agricultural use

C) Red biotechnology                                     3) industrial use

D) White biotechnology                                  4) marine use


Which of the following is correct:

a)      A- 4   B-2  C- 1  D-3

b)      A- 4   B-1  C-3   D-2

c)       A- 3   B- 2 C-1  D-4

d)      A-2    B- 4 C-3  D-1



Expected Question for mains:

1)      What is biotechnology? Write down its major area of application.(50 words)

2)      What are various issues related to biotechnology. What steps has been taken to tackle these issues. (200 words)

3)      Explain the rich biodiversity of North East India. What are the factor behind it.(100 words)

4)      “Department of Biotechnology(DBT) has recently focused on rich biodiversity of NE Regions of India.” What was the reason behind this? Also write down some steps taken by DBT in this regard. (200 words)

 Reference:1) Department Of BioTechnology(DBT) website