Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 09 September 2019
Table of contents:
GS Paper 2:
- Krishna water dispute.
- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
- Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
GS Paper 3:
- National Genomic Grid (NGG).
- National Infrastructure Pipeline.
Facts for prelims:
- India’s first ever helicopter summit.
- 3 Animal Species In India Extinct Due To Desertification.
- Project Bal Basera.
- Time Bank.
- Imported Inflation.
GS Paper 2
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.
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview of Krishna river and award by the tribunal.
For Mains: The dispute, it’s genesis and ways to address it.
Context: The Krishna river dispute has taken a new turn with Maharashtra and Karnataka CMs agreeing to jointly oppose Andhra Pradesh’s application seeking a relook at the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal’s 2010 order on water distribution between the riparian states.
What is the Krishna river dispute, and what has been done to resolve it?
- It is an east-flowing river.
- Originates at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and merges with the Bay of Bengal, flowing through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
- Basin: Together with its tributaries, it forms a vast basin that covers 33% of the total area of the four states.
What is the dispute all about?
The dispute began with the erstwhile Hyderabad and Mysore states, and later continuing between successors Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
In 1969, the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) was set up under the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956, and presented its report in 1973.
The report, which was published in 1976, divided the 2060 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Krishna water at 75 per cent dependability into three parts:
- 560 TMC for Maharashtra.
- 700 TMC for Karnataka.
- 800 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.
- At the same time, it was stipulated that the KWDT order may be reviewed or revised by a competent authority or tribunal any time after May 31, 2000.
- Afterward, as new grievances arose between the states, the second KWDT was instituted in 2004.
- It delivered its report in 2010, which made allocations of the Krishna water at 65 per cent dependability and for surplus flows as follows: 81 TMC for Maharashtra, 177 TMC for Karnataka, and 190 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.
What is Andhra Pradesh demanding now?
- In 2013, the KWDT issued a ‘further report’, which was again challenged by Andhra Pradesh in the Supreme Court in 2014. After the creation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh in 2014, the Water Resources Ministry has been extending the duration of the KWDT.
- Andhra Pradesh has since asked that Telangana be included as a separate party at the KWDT and that the allocation of Krishna waters be reworked among four states, instead of three. It is relying on Section 89 of The Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act, 2014.
Opposition by Karnataka and Maharashtra:
Maharashtra and Karnataka said: “Telangana was created following bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Therefore, allocation of water should be from Andhra Pradesh’s share which was approved by the tribunal.”
Sources: the Hindu.
- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
What to study?
For prelims: RCEP- Key facts and Geographical location of member countries.
For mains: Why is India concerned, gains and losses from this, what India needs to do?
Context: The 7th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) ministerial meeting of 10 members of ASEAN countries and their six FTA (free trade agreement) partners is being held in Bangkok, Thailand.
What you need to know about RCEP?
- RCEP is proposed between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
- RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
- Aim: RCEP aims to boost goods trade by eliminating most tariff and non-tariff barriers — a move that is expected to provide the region’s consumers greater choice of quality products at affordable rates. It also seeks to liberalise investment norms and do away with services trade restrictions.
Why has it assumed so much significance in recent times?
When inked, it would become the world’s biggest free trade pact. This is because the 16 nations account for a total GDP of about $50 trillion and house close to 3.5 billion people. India (GDP-PPP worth $9.5 trillion and population of 1.3 billion) and China (GDP-PPP of $23.2 trillion and population of 1.4 billion) together comprise the RCEP’s biggest component in terms of market size.
Why is India concerned?
Greater access to Chinese goods may have impact on the Indian manufacturing sector. India has got massive trade deficit with China. Under these circumstances, India proposed differential market access strategy for China.
There are demands by other RCEP countries for lowering customs duties on a number of products and greater access to the market than India has been willing to provide.
- If India is out of the RCEP, it would make its exports price uncompetitive with other RCEP members’ exportsin each RCEP market, and the ensuing export-losses contributing to foreign exchange shortages and the subsequent extent of depreciation of the rupee can only be left to imagination. Some of the sectors that have been identified as potential sources of India’s export growth impulses under RCEP to the tune of approximately $200 billion.
- There are more compelling trade and economic reasons for RCEP to become India-led in future, than otherwise. India would get greater market access in other countries not only in terms of goods, but in services and investments also.
However, there are views that in present form the RCEP agreement is not good for India. Why?
- The current account deficit (CAD) touched 8 per cent of GDP, and the agreement in the present state of negotiations would mean forgoing a substantial part of the revenues.
- Greater access to Chinese goods may have impact on the Indian manufacturing sector. India has got massive trade deficit with China. In fiscal year 2017-18, the trade deficit with China was $63 billion.
- Exports from ASEAN into India have grown far quicker than Indian exports to the bloc, which they attribute to the fact that India is a “services economy.”
- There are demands by other RCEP countries for lowering customs duties on a number of products and greater access to the market than India has been willing to provide.
- Apart from China, India is also losing out to financial and technological hub of Singapore, agriculture and dairy majors Australia and New Zealand, plantations of South East Asian countries, and pharmaceutical trade with China and the US.
- With e-commerce as part of the discussion, the Indian resistance at WTO of not letting the discussion on digital trade will weaken.
- The free movement of investments will benefit investors in the US, Singapore, Japan and China, but very few Indians will be taking advantage of this.
- New Delhi is also worried that the RCEP will open backdoor negotiations and may lead to the country losing out on TRIPS agreements. This may result in giving way to global majors in agriculture seed and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Bilateral talks between India and China are crucial for an early conclusion of RCEP negotiations as agreed by other members. Indian policymakers need to be mindful of domestic sectors’ concerns before agreeing on terms of deal. Simultaneously, there is a necessity to improve our competitiveness in the economy. India must play its due role to get its due place in the regional economic configurations.
Sources: the Hindu.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: SCO- objectives, members, functions, significance, various organs and issues associated.
Context: The first Conference on Military Medicine for Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) Member States will be held in New Delhi from 12-13 September 2019.
The conference will also be 1st military co-operation event hosted by India under SCO Defence Co-operation Plan 2019-2020, after India became an SCO member country in 2017.
Objective of Conference: To share best practices in field of military medicine, build capacities and overcome common challenges.
What is it? The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, also known as the Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai.
Founding members: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The cooperation was renamed to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation after Uzbekistan joined the organisation in 2001.
The SCO’s main goals are: strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.
Presently, the SCO comprises eight member states, namely the Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan;.
The SCO counts four observer states, namely the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Mongolia.
The SCO has six dialogue partners, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Republic of Turkey, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
GS Paper 3:
Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
What to study?
For Prelims and mains: Key features, need for and significance of the grid.
Context: Recently, the government has announced to set up a National Genomic Grid (NGG).
- It will study genomic data of cancer patients from India.
- It will collect samples from cancer patients, through a network of pan-India collection centres by bringing all cancer treatment institutions on board.
- The grid to be formed will be in line with the National Cancer Tissue Biobank (NCTB) set up at the Indian Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
National Cancer Tissue Biobank (NCTB), is a joint initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
- It collects cancer tissue samples with consent from patients diagnosed with cancer.
- The aim is to provide researchers with high quality of cancer tissues and the patient data in order to facilitate cancer research that will lead to improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
- This research is carried out through the technique of Genome Sequencing.
- Through the National Genomic Grid, the government seeks to boost cancer research and make treatment viable for people of different economic classes.
- NGG will help to study genomic factors influencing cancer and identifying the right treatment modalities for the Indian population.
Sources: the Hindu.
- Infrastructure related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Features of NIP.
For Mains: Funding, need for and significance.
Context: A task force to draw up a National Infrastructure Pipeline for each of the financial years from 2019-20 to 2024-25 has been constituted.
The Task Force is chaired by the Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.
About the National Infrastructure Pipeline and it’s significance:
- National Infrastructure Pipeline will ensure that infrastructure projects are adequately prepared and launched.
- It would include greenfield and brownfield projectscosting above Rs 100 crore each.
- Each Ministry/ Department would be responsible for the monitoring of projects so as to ensure their timely and within-cost implementation.
- It will help in stepping-up annual infrastructure investmentto achieve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $5 trillion by 2024-25.
Need for infrastructure funding:
- In the past decade (2008-17), India invested about $1.1 trillion on infrastructure.
- Availability of quality infrastructure is a pre-requisite to achieve broad-based and inclusive growth on a sustainable basis.
- Investment in infrastructure is also necessary for sustaining the high growth rate of India.
- To achieve the GDP of $5 trillion by 2024-25, India needs to spend about $1.4 trillion (Rs. 100 lakh crore) over these years on infrastructure.
Facts for prelims:
India’s first ever helicopter summit:
What? India’s first ever helicopter summit was held recently in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
Organised by? Civil Aviation Ministry, Uttarakhand government and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI).
Theme: expanding connectivity through helicopters.
The broad objectives of the summits are as follows:
- To discuss the scope to enhance air connectivity in remote areas and hilly terrain by helicopter.
- To encourage Helicopter-based emergency medical services (HEMS) in India.
- To give a boost to tourism in the Himalayan states by providing uninterrupted helicopter services to the tourist hotspots.
- To provide an interactive platform to the Private Players to identify business potential in crucial areas.
3 Animal Species In India Extinct Due To Desertification:
Context: Three species of animals — the Indian Cheetah, pink-headed duck, and the Great Indian Bustard — have become extinct.
Why? Due to desertification in India. Desertification is caused due to insecticides, pesticides, conversion to agricultural land, industries and chemicals, indiscriminate development.
Project Bal Basera:
Bal Basera or a Crèche is a project for the welfare of Children of Construction Workers was deployed at AIIMS Rishikesh site. The project is supported by Central Public Works Department (CPWD).
Bal Basera shall accommodate about 35 Children and shall be run by CPWD Officers’ Wives Association (OWA).
Context: Madhya Pradesh government’s Happiness Department plans to set up a Time Bank.
Objective: It would lend currency to an hour, which could be exchanged to learn a new skill without the need for any paper money.
What is a time bank? It is a reciprocity-based work trading system in which hours are the currency. With time banking, a person with one skill set can bank and trade hours of work for equal hours of work in another skill set instead of paying or being paid for services.
How it operates? Whenever a bank member needs a service or wants to acquire a skill, say gardening or playing a guitar, she could exchange a credit, worth an hour, with another member knowing the skill.
History: First Time Bank was set up in Japan in 1973. Today, there are more than 500 such communities across 32 countries.
What is it? When the general price level rises in a country because of the rise in prices of imported commodities, inflation is termed as imported.
Why in news? The weakening of the domestic currency in the past two months i.e. July and August 2019 may lead to imported inflation in the country.
Two key contributors to India’s imports are: Crude Oil and Gold. Rise in prices of these two products lead to rise in the import bill of the country.
Note: Some of today’s articles will be covered tomorrow.