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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 24 February 2021

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically. 

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Indradhanush 3.0.

2. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

3. UN Human Rights Council.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Govt. to review anti-dumping duty on Chinese steel products.

2. Pharma exports to Arab nations cumbersome.

3. Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA).

 

GS Paper 4:

1. Mizoram group seeks asylum for coup-hit Myanmar villagers.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC).

2. What is LoC?

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Indradhanush 3.0 launched:


Context:

Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0 launched to expand immunization coverage across the country.

  • The focus of IMI 3.0 will be on children and pregnant women who missed their vaccine doses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is Mission Indradhanush?

To strengthen and re-energize the programme and achieve full immunization coverage for all children and pregnant women at a rapid pace, the Government of India launched “Mission indradhanush” in December 2014.

Mission Indradhanush’s Goal:

The ultimate goal is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years of age and pregnant women.

Diseases covered:

It provides vaccination against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD) i.e. diphtheria, Whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, meningitis and pneumonia, Hemophilus influenza type B infections, Japanese encephalitis (JE), rotavirus vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and measles-rubella (MR).

  • However, Vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis and Haemophilus influenzae type B is being provided in selected districts of the country.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI):

To further intensify the immunization programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Intensified Mission (IMI) on October 8, 2017.

With this, the Government of India aims to reach each and every child up to two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunization programme/UIP.

  • The special drive was to focus on improving immunization coverage in select districts and cities to ensure full immunization to more than 90% by December 2018.

mission_indradhanush

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Indradhanush Mission.
  2. What is Intensified Indradhanush Mission?
  3. What is IMI 3.0?
  4. Targets under these missions.
  5. Coverage.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the mission.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and neighbours.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC):


Context:

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he was looking forward to enhancing trade ties with Sri Lanka through the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

About CPEC:

The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.

  • The 3,000 km-long China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consists of highways, railways, and pipelines.
  • CPEC eventually aims at linking the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through a vast network of highways and railways.
  • The proposed project will be financed by heavily-subsidised loans, that will be disbursed to the Government of Pakistan by Chinese banks.

But, why is India concerned?

It passes through PoK.

  • CPEC rests on a Chinese plan to secure and shorten its supply lines through Gwadar with an enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean. Hence, it is widely believed that upon CPEC’s fruition, an extensive Chinese presence will undermine India’s influence in the Indian Ocean.
  • It is also being contended that if CPEC were to successfully transform the Pakistan economy that could be a “red rag” for India which will remain at the receiving end of a wealthier and stronger Pakistan.
  • Besides, India shares a great deal of trust deficit with China and Pakistan and has a history of conflict with both. As a result, even though suggestions to re-approach the project pragmatically have been made, no advocate has overruled the principle strands of contention that continue to mar India’s equations with China and Pakistan.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is CPEC?
  2. What is BRI initiative?
  3. What is string of pearls initiative?
  4. Where Gilgit- Baltistan?
  5. Important ports in Pakistan and Iran.

Mains Link:

Discuss India’s concerns on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework. Suggest how India should tackle the challenges posed by this alliance?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

UN Human Rights Council:


Context:

In his address to the United Nations Human Rights Council, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said:

  1. Terrorism continues to be one of the gravest threats to humankind and a crime against humanity, which violates the most fundamental human rights namely the right to life.
  2. Human rights violations and gaps in the implementation of human rights should be addressed in a “fair and just manner” with objectivity, non-selectivity and transparency and with due respect with the principle of non-interference in internal affairs and national sovereignty.

Background:

India had last month presented an eight-point action plan to deal with the scourge of terrorism in which India asked the world to crack down on countries sheltering and harbouring proscribed terrorists. The action plan also includes cracking the whip on terror financing.

About UNHRC:

UNHRC was reconstituted from its predecessor organisation, the UN Commission on Human Rights to help overcome the “credibility deficit” of the previous organisation.

  • Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Composition:

  • The UNHRC has 47 members serving at any time with elections held to fill up seats every year, based on allocations to regions across the world to ensure geographical representation.
  • Each elected member serves for a term of three years.
  • Countries are disallowed from occupying a seat for more than two consecutive terms.

Functions:

  • The UNHRC passes non-binding resolutions on human rights issues through a periodic review of all 193 UN member states called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
  • It oversees expert investigation of violations in specific countries (Special Procedures).

Challenges and Need for reforms:

  • The human rights record of the member-states such as Saudi Arabia, China and Russia in the council has also not been in line with the aims and mission of the UNHRC, which has led to critics questioning its relevance.
  • Despite the continued participation of several western countries in the UNHRC, they continue to harbour misgivings on the understanding of Human rights.
  • Non-compliance has been a serious issue with respect to the UNHRC’s functioning.
  • Non-participation of powerful nations such as the US.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About UNHRC.
  2. Composition.
  3. Functions.
  4. What is Universal Periodic Review?
  5. Headquarters of UNHRC.
  6. Countries which have recently left UNHRC.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Govt. to review anti-dumping duty on Chinese steel products:


Context:

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), under Commerce Ministry, has initiated a probe to review the need for continuing imposition of anti-dumping duty on certain types of steel products imported from China following complaints from domestic industry.

What’s the issue?

Few companies have filed an application before the DGTR for a sunset review of anti-dumping duty imposed on imports of seamless tubes, pipes and hollow profiles of iron, alloy or non-alloy steel from China.

  • The applicants have alleged that dumping of these products from China has continued even after imposition of anti-dumping duty, and there has been a significant increase in the volume of imports.

What Next?

The duty on the product was first imposed in February 2017 and is set to expire on May 16 this year.

DGTR would review the need for continued imposition of the duties in force and examine whether the expiry of existing duties is likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping and impact the domestic industry.

What is Dumping? What is anti dumping duty?

In international trade practise, dumping happens when a country or a firm exports an item at a price lower than the price of that product in its domestic market.

  • Dumping impacts the price of that product in the importing country, hitting margins and profits of local manufacturing firms.
  • Anti-dumping duty is imposed to rectify the situation arising out of the dumping of goods and its trade distortive effect.

According to global trade norms, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) regime, a country is allowed to impose tariffs on such dumped products to provide a level-playing field to domestic manufacturers.

  • The duty is imposed only after a thorough investigation by a quasi-judicial body, such as DGTR, in India.

Steel- imports and exports:

  • India was a net exporter of steel in 2019-20.
  • Capacity for domestic crude steel production increased in the last five years.
  • Crude steel production has increased in the last five years.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About DGTR.
  2. What is anti dumping duty?
  3. India’s steel imports and exports.
  4. Steel protesting
  5. Production in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Pharma exports to Arab nations cumbersome:


Context:

India has urged Arab countries to make it easier to export pharmaceutical products to the region and asked them to tap Indian farms to secure food supplies, as it seeks to diversify the $160 billion trade basket with the Arab bloc beyond hydrocarbons.

What’s the issue now?

Indian pharma products enjoy great credibility around the world, but they do not have the same kind of recognition in most of the Arab world, because the process through which medicines are brought into Arab countries are very elaborate and cumbersome at times.

Why trade with Arab World is important for India?

India-Arab trade accounts for 20% of India’s overall trade, but is still concentrated in hydrocarbons. Agriculture, technology and tourism are the potential areas for diversification.

Indian Pharma Industry:

  • India enjoys an important position in the global pharmaceuticals sector, as India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally.
  • The Indian pharmaceutical industry meets over 50% of global demand for various vaccines, 40% of generic demand in the U.S. and 25% of all medicine in the U.K.
  • Presently, over 80% of the antiretroviral drugs used globally to combat AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms.
  • The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the world’s third-largest in terms of volume and thirteenth-largest in terms of value. It has established itself as a global manufacturing and research hub.
  • India has one of the lowest manufacturing costs in the world – lower than that of the U.S. and almost half of the cost in Europe.

Challenges that need to be addressed:

Dependence: Indian pharmaceutical industry is highly dependent on China for pharmaceutical raw materials. These raw materials are called the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), also known as bulk drugs. Indian drug-makers import around 70% of their total bulk drug requirements from China.

Fake versions of high value and/or high volume brands of the pharmaceutical companies in India are adversely affecting their business performance posing another major challenge. It also creates a negative impact to the end consumer and a huge health hazard.

So, what India is doing?

Call for greater self-reliance: In June, the department of pharmaceuticals announced a scheme for the promotion of three bulk drug parks in the country.

  • A bulk drug park will have a designated contiguous area of land with common infrastructure facilities for the exclusive manufacture of APIs, DIs or KSMs, and also a common waste management system.
  • These parks are expected to bring down manufacturing costs of bulk drugs in the country and increase competitiveness in the domestic bulk drug industry.

Key features of the scheme for promotion of Bulk Drug parks:

  1. The scheme will support three selected parks in the country by providing a one-time grant-in-aid for the creation of common infrastructure facilities.
  2. The grant-in-aid will be 70 per cent of the cost of the common facilities but in the case of Himachal Pradesh and other hill states, it will be 90 per cent.
  3. The Centre will provide a maximum of Rs 1,000 crore per park.
  4. A state can only propose one site, which is not less than a thousand acres in area, or not less than 700 acres in the case of hill states.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of the scheme mentioned above.
  2. Funding.
  3. Targets.
  4. What are active pharmaceutical ingredients?
  5. APIs in fixed- dose vs single- dose drug combinations.
  6. What are excipients in Medicine?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA):


Context:

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA) had recently cancelled its “indigenous cow science” examination after widespread criticism about its promotion of fake claims and pseudoscience.

  • Now, the Animal Husbandry Department has said that RKA had “no mandate” to conduct such an examination.

What’s the issue?

The RKA had announced a national “Kamdhenu Gau Vigyan Prachar Prasar Exam” to be held on February 25.

  • Reference materials for the exam made a number of unscientific claims, including that the dung of indigenous cows protected against radioactivity, their milk had traces of gold, and that cow slaughter caused earthquakes.
  • The RKA had the backing of the University Grants Commission (UGC), which publicised the examination, causing widespread outrage.

About the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog:

Constituted in 2019, the Aayog is a high powered permanent apex advisory body with the mandate to help the Central Government to develop appropriate programmes for conservation, sustainable development and genetic upgradation of indigenous breeds of cows.

It comes under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

  • Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will function as an integral part of Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

Functions:

  • Review existing laws, policies as well as suggest measures for optimum economic utilization of cow wealth for enhanced production and productivity, leading to higher farm income and better quality of life for the dairy farmers.
  • Advise and guide the Central Government and State Governments on policy matters concerning conservation, protection, development and welfare of cows and their progeny.
  • Promote schemes to encourage the use of organic manure and recommend suitable measures including incentive schemes for use of dung or urine of cow in organic manure by farmers to minimize the use of chemical fertilizers.
  • Make provisions for solutions to the problems related to abandoned cows in the country by providing technical inputs to Gaushalas, Gosadans and pinjarapoles.
  • Develop pastures or grazing lands and to associate with institutions or other bodies whether private or public, for the purpose of developing pastures and Gauchars.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are Gokul Grams?
  2. Can they be established in Metropolitan cities?
  3. Milch and unproductive animals ratio to be maintained by Gokul Grams.
  4. About the National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development (NPBBD).
  5. When was the Rashtriya Gokul Mission launched?

Mains Link:

Write a note on Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  4


 

Topics Covered: International Ethics.

Mizoram group seeks asylum for coup-hit Myanmar villagers:


Context:

Mizoram’s apex students’ body has asked the State government to provide asylum to some villagers in Myanmar affected by the military coup there.

  • The State government has said that asylum would be considered if there was a formal request cleared by the Centre.

Who are seeking asylum?

People belonging to Myanmar’s Chin community were seeking to migrate to Mizoram to escape a military crackdown, primarily because of the Chin National Army (CNA), an extremist group seeking self-determination in Chin State across the border.

  • The Chin community and the Mizos in India belong to the Zo ethnic group, which share the same ancestry.

Asylum, in international law, the protection granted by a state to a foreign citizen against his own state.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC):

What is it? To counter corruption and speed up decision- making in military procurement, the government of India in 2001 decided to set up an integrated DAC. It is headed by the Defence Minister.

Objective: The objective of the DAC is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces, in terms of capabilities sought, and time frame prescribed, by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.

Functions: The DAC is responsible to give policy guidelines to acquisitions, based on long-term procurement plans. It also clears all acquisitions, which includes both imported and those produced indigenously or under a foreign license.

What is LoC?

  • Originally known as the Cease-fire Line, it was redesignated as the “Line of Control” following the Simla Agreement, which was signed on 3 July 1972.
  • The part of Jammu that is under Indian control is known as the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistani-controlled part is divided into Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan. The northernmost point of the Line of Control is known as NJ9842.
  • Another ceasefire line separates the Indian-controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir from the Chinese-controlled area known as Aksai Chin.
  • The Line of Control divided Kashmir into two parts and closed the Jehlum valley route.

Context:

Days after the Jammu and Kashmir administration disallowed women from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to meet visiting foreign envoys, they held a protest march in Srinagar demanding travel documents to meet their relatives across the Line of Control (LoC).

 

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