Friday, 7th April 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day

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India’ Foreign Trade Policy 2023

2   Daily Current Affairs

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Trading Forest for trees - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

UN Water Conference - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

Indian Justice Report - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

WTO concerned with domestic quality control

●  

Open Source Seed Movements - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

Deep Learning Geomagnetic Perturbation (DAGGER) model

●  

First Anti-Spyware Declaration

●  

Japan's Deep-sea Snailfish Discovery

●  

Basholi Painting - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

Prosopis chilensis - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

Padma Vibhushan - Edukemy Current Affairs

.... Show less Show more
Editorial of the day

India’ Foreign Trade Policy 2023


Exam View: Pillars of FTP; Comparison between FTP and previous trade policies; Focus of the FTP 2023; Key policy measures in the FTP 2023.

In News: India’s new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) exhibits a transformational departure from earlier trade policies in multiple ways, making it futuristic, flexible and dynamic in addressing the ever-changing needs of international business and our trading community.

FTP 2023

Earlier Trade Policies

It provides, with precision, the vision of the government.

Earlier trade policies were largely confined to short-term measures primarily focused on a few incentives that were hardly sustainable and showed little strategic intent.

The FTP has no end date. An FTP with no end date addresses the needs of international trade dynamics, providing enormous flexibility for policy measures as and when required.

They tended to have a duration of 3 to 5 years, but required so many amendments from time to time that the essence of the initial document got altered.

Focus of the FTP 2023: Lending export competitiveness to Indian products

  • A substantial part of financial subsidies have considerable seepage before they reach the intended beneficiaries.
  • Hence, the FTP puts behind the era of incentives, with remission of duties emphasised instead to go with moves aimed at easing taxation and operations along the entire trade cycle.

Key policy measures in the FTP 2023

  • The digitisation of applications for export-import licences and several export promotion schemes:
    • Advanced authorisation, the exports promotion capital goods (EPCG) scheme, duty-free import authorisation (DFIA) scheme etc. will be paperless and online.
    • Rules-based automatic approval systems that use business-analytic tools are being implemented by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), with a promise of single-day processing.
  • India’s self-ratification scheme:
    • FTP fixes input-output norms by extending to two-star and above status holders. This would greatly reduce operational hassles for exporters.
    • Moreover, the export-performance threshold for recognition of status holders has been considerably lowered, especially at the higher end. This would help more beneficiaries and reduce transaction costs.
  • Promoting e-commerce exports:
    • These are expected to reach $200-300 billion by 2030, with the setting up of e-com export hubs backed by a separate policy framework.
    • Extending FTP benefits to e-commerce exports, doubling the value limit for exports through courier services to ₹10 lakh and special outreach and training activities for small e-commerce exporters would help the country achieve that target.
  • It encourages active participation by Indian states in export promotion:
    • It encourages this at the district level through the One-District-One-Product scheme and its promotion of district export hubs.
    • The FTP also calls for the proactive involvement of Indian missions abroad not only in market identification but also facilitating the entry of Indian products to overseas markets, marking a strategic transformation in India’s export strategy.

  • Inclusion of the Prime Minister Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel Parks (PM Mitra) scheme for benefits under the Common Service Provider (CSP) label as part of the EPCH scheme will boost exports of manufactured goods.

  • Special measures have been taken to support the dairy industry to upgrade technology by way of an exemption from export obligations otherwise applicable.
  • It promotes sustainability by providing for reduced export obligations for battery electric vehicles, vertical farming equipment, wastewater treatment and recycling, rainwater harvesting systems and green-technology products.
  • The internationalisation of trade in the Indian rupee, with enabling provisions for the grant of export incentives and fulfilment of export obligations in rupees, is also commendable.

 

Source:

https://www.livemint.com/opinion/columns/our-new-foreign-trade-policy-is-transformational-and-futuristic-11680722046081.html

Keywords: GS Paper-3: Indian Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Trading Forest for trees - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The government introduced The Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 in Lok Sabha to make changes to The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

Background:

  • Forest Conservation Act 1980 seeks to balance the competing interests of development and environmental conservation along with regulating the diversion of forestland for non-forestry purposes. It includes provisions of compensatory afforestation and approval for diversion of forest land.
  • After Independence, forest lands were designated as reserved and protected forests
  • However, many forested areas were left out and areas without any standing forests were included in ‘forest’ lands, creating an anomaly.
  • In 1996, the Supreme Court suspended the felling of trees across the country, and ruled that the FC Act would apply to all land parcels that were either recorded as ‘forest’ or resembled the dictionary meaning of forest.
  • This order checked deforestation on land not recorded as ‘forest’, but hindered exclusion of those lands that were already in use for agriculture or as homesteads from recorded forests.

Objectives of the proposed amendment

The provisions have been proposed in the Bill to achieve the desired objectives of diversion of forest of land.

  • Simplification of the process of diversion of the forest land, which has now become imperative to address the change in the ecological, social and environmental regimes and policies relating to conservation and development of forests.
  • Make the provisions of the FCA 1980 more effective and relevant to the present scenario and this is the need of the hour.
  • Achieving the national targets of Net Zero Emission by 2070 and maintaining or enhancing the forest carbon stock.
  • Enhancing forest based economic, social and environmental benefits, including improvement of livelihoods for forest dependent communities
  • Making the forest land conveniently available for the utmost important cause of internal and external security of the nation.

Major Provisions of the Amendment:

  • Limiting the applicability of the FC Act only to land recorded as ‘forest’.
  • The bill seeks to exempt certain categories of land the provisions of this Act:
    • All strategic linear projects of “national importance and concerning national security” within 100 km of international borders, the LAC, and the Line of Control (LoC).
    • Construction of defence related projects or a camp for paramilitary forces or public utility projects in Left Wing Extremism affected areas.
    • Security-related infrastructure requiring up to 10 hectares, without defining its scope.
    • Forest land along a rail line or a public road maintained by the government
  • The Bill adds silvicultural operations, construction of zoos and wildlife safaris, eco-tourism facilities, and any other activities “the Central Government may, by order, specify” to the list of conservation activities which are exempt from FC Act

Concerns with the bill:

  • Limiting applicability of FC act only to land recorded as forests effectively removes protection from millions of hectares of land that have the characteristics of forests, but are not notified as such.
  • If the scope of the FC Act is restricted, fewer projects will be required to obtain forest clearance thus affecting compensatory afforestation
  • Allowing development of plantation over lands outside FC act for compensatory afforestation will lead to loss of unrecorded forests to plantations, which will subsequently help to divert recorded forests for projects.
  • Despite plantations being a faster means of developing carbon sink, unlike plantation, natural forests perform a range of ecosystem services that are key to the survival and well-being of the millions of species.

Source: 

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-climate/trading-forests-for-trees-8540990/

Keywords: GS-3 Environment and conservation
Daily Current Affairs

UN Water Conference - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, the United Nations organized its first water conference in 46 years in New York, which took place concurrently with the mid-term review of the International Decade for Action.

About Water Conference

  • The water conference is a collaborative effort that assembles individuals and organizations from various countries to address worldwide water issues. While water problems are generally specific to particular regions, countries can collaborate to exchange knowledge, technological advancements, and resources toward finding solutions.
  • The 2023 Water Conference organized by the United Nations had a central theme of "Our watershed moment: uniting the world for water." The goal of this theme was to facilitate the attainment of global targets and objectives concerning water, including those outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The last water conference was held in 1977 (in Mar Del Plata, Argentina) and resulted in a global action plan to provide safe drinking water for everyone. This plan helped reduce the number of people without access to safe drinking water in many developing countries.

Outcomes of the UN Water Conference:

  • Outcome on Technology: Various advancements were made in the treatment of wastewater and the use of solar energy for water treatment in remote regions. Additionally, there were suggestions for the creation of incubation platforms such as the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, which aimed to support water management.
  • Knowledge Sharing: To expedite knowledge-sharing, the W12+ Blueprint, a UNESCO platform containing city profiles and case studies of various programs, technologies, and policies tackling typical water security issues, proved to be a valuable resource.
  • Capacity Building: Efforts like the Making Rights Real initiative offered to help marginalized communities and women understand how to exercise their rights. The ‘Water for Women Fund’ offered support mechanisms for more effective and sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene outcomes for women.
  • Data and Models: Cost-effective approaches to data generation included sensors and satellite data. Other efforts, like the World Meteorological Organization's Hydrological Status and Outlook System, offered data analysis tools.
  • Incentives: The conference highlighted that the lack of incentives is a major hindrance for farmers and industries to use water efficiently and sustainably. The integration of environmental, social, and corporate governance into the Water Action Agenda is a positive step towards effective water governance.
  • The effectiveness of these commitments hinges on their implementation during the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) and the upcoming COP28 climate talks in Dubai. Encouraging farmers to adopt sustainable practices necessitates consumers' willingness to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products.

Way Forward

  • The water sector is particularly prone to fragmentation because water problems tend to be local and need local solutions. The problem is no longer just about access to water and sanitation, but also about sustaining agriculture, industry, and natural ecosystems.
  • The conference aimed to achieve ambitious objectives such as identifying groundbreaking ideas, providing recommendations to policymakers on how to accelerate and expand transformative initiatives, prioritizing water-related issues in the climate agenda, as well as facilitating knowledge-sharing, technology transfer, and investment opportunities.
  • Enhancing access to safe drinking water and sanitation is insufficient to guarantee consistent access to these resources. Agricultural pumping is a significant contributor to groundwater over-abstraction, a prevalent issue that results in water scarcity and contamination.

 

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/un-water-conference-proceedings-commitments-technology/article66698127.ece

Keywords: GS -1 Geography, GS- 3 Report and Indexes
Daily Current Affairs

Indian Justice Report - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: India Justice Report 2022

About:

  • The 3rd edition of India Justice Report (IJR) 2022 was recently released in New Delhi to highlight performance of states in capacitating their justice delivery structures to effectively deliver mandated services.
  • It was initiated in 2019 by Tata Trusts in association with partners including the Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, DAKSH, TISS-Prayas, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy etc., as data partners.
  • The report is based on overall data of four pillars of justice delivery: Police, Judiciary, Prisons, and Legal Aid.
  • This third IJR also separately assesses the capacity of the 25 State Human Rights Commissions in the country.

Major Findings:

  • Karnataka tops the list of 18 large and mid-sized states with populations over one crore in the delivery of justice.
  • The State of Tamil Nadu has ranked second and Telangana ranks third, while Uttar Pradesh ranks 18th which is the lowest.
  • Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh ranked fourth and fifth respectively in the list of 18 large and mid-sized states.
  • Sikkim tops the list of small states with a population less than one crore followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura respectively while Goa ranks seventh and is the lowest among the small states.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/india-justice-report-2022-karnataka-tops-among-18-large-states-in-delivery-of-justice/article66698157.ece

 

Keywords: GS-2 Polity and governance
Daily Current Affairs

WTO concerned with domestic quality control


In News: WTO flags India's Quality Control Orders (QCOs)

About

  • Quality Control Orders (QCOs) in India are under scrutiny from Canada, Japan, the UK, and the EU at a meeting of the WTO's Council for Trade in Goods in Geneva.
  • India has in recent years increased the imposition of QCOs to prevent cheap imports from China flooding Indian markets.
  • China uses QCOs to delay granting permission for imports from specific countries and the registration is cancelled if one batch has issues.
  • India plans to issue 50 QCOs by Q2 of next financial year for products including toys, machinery safety equipment, pressure cookers, ACs, and chemicals under compulsory certification.
  • Previously, India has made Quality certification mark of ‘ISI’ from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) mandatory for the sale of toys from January 2021.

Key Points:

  • The Bureau of Indian Standards has issued QCOs for products like steel, fabrics, toys, and refrigerating appliances for both domestic and foreign goods.
  • Several countries have raised concerns that the QCOs appear protectionist and may not comply with the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.
  • Government has however argued that all orders are in line with WTO norms, and countries have standards to ensure the safety of goods consumed.
  • India's move to introduce Quality Control Orders (QCO) is seen as step to curb the Chinese import surge and boost exports to western markets is facing objections.
  • Technical regulations implemented through QCOs and Compulsory Registration Orders (CRO) are mainly based on the grounds of health, safety, environment, deceptive trade practice, or national security.

Challenges and Criticisms:

  • QCO implemented without a regulatory impact assessment (RAI) and proper consultation and thus members of WTO are calling QCO a trade restrictive measure.
  • Short notice to industry to comply leading to stress in export value chain, cancellation of orders, and export orders being diverted to competing countries.
  • India is far behind the world in terms of standards leading to a shortage of export-ready products.

 

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/wto-concerned-with-domestic-quality-controls/articleshow/99253309.cms

 

Keywords: GS-3 Economy, International Institutions
Daily Current Affairs

Open Source Seed Movements - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The Open-Source Seeds movement

About

  • Green Revolution spearheaded by public-sector breeding institutions made seeds available as ‘open pollinated varieties or reasonably priced hybrids with no restrictions on farmers to cultivate, reuse, and share.
  • The advent of hybrid seeds, scientific plant-breeding, and other factors led to the establishment of plant breeders’ rights (PBR) that limited farmers’ rights, while rights-holders could demand royalty on seeds and legally enforce PBRs.
  • The decline of public sector breeding and the rise of the private sector led to the need for alternatives solutions which the Open-source seeds tries to find in long run.

Key Points:

  • Open-Source Seeds is an approach to seeds based on the principles of open-source software which was suggested in 1999 by a Canadian plant-breeder named T.E. Michaels.
  • It aims to offer alternatives to the private sector’s domination of the seed sector through free exchange and development of new plant varieties using Open-Source Seeds Initiative (OSSI) and Agrecol models for open-source seeds.
  • It has also developed the General Public License (GPL) to protect users’ rights and prevent misappropriation.
  • At present, IPR protection in agriculture is given to Plant-breeders’ as rights and patents which restricts farmers’ rights and the freedom to develop new varieties using germplasm from IP-protected varieties.
  • In India, the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), part of the Apna Beej Network, has developed a model for open-source seeds that uses an agreement between CSA and the recipient of the seed/germplasm.

Implications:

  • Worldwide, the number of seed firms using open-source models and the crop varieties and seeds made available thereunder is small but growing.
  • The open-source approach could enable farmers to gain more rights over germplasm and seeds and facilitate innovation.
  • One potential application of the open-source approach is to make plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) available as global public goods.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/open-source-seeds-movement-plant-breeding-climate-resilience/article66702112.ece

 

Keywords: GS
Daily Current Affairs

Deep Learning Geomagnetic Perturbation (DAGGER) model


Why in news? Recently, NASA researchers have developed a new computer model called DAGGER, to forecast geomagnetic disturbances and provide a warning for solar storms.

About:

  • The model integrates Artificial intelligence with Satellite data, to predict the incoming solar winds.
  • It provides a lead time of 30 minutes for an impending solar storm anywhere on Earth, enough to protect the critical systems from solar storms.
    • The solar wind is a stream of material that flows from the Sun carrying the Sun’s magnetic field out into space and can cause damage to existing electrical infrastructure in the world.
  • The potential of this model was assessed using data from two geomagnetic storms that occurred in August 2011 and March 2015.

 

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2023/sun/nasa-enabled-ai-predictions-may-give-time-to-prepare-for-solar-storms

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Science & Technology
Daily Current Affairs

First Anti-Spyware Declaration


Why in news? Recently, The USA and 10 other nations issued the first-ever significant anti-spyware declaration.

About:

  • It recognized the threat posed by the misuse of commercial spyware.
  • Aim: The declaration seeks to realize the importance of stringent domestic and international controls on the proliferation and use of this technology.
  • Countries involved: Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Spyware

  • Spyware is a type of malicious software or malware that is installed on a computing device without the end user's knowledge.
  • It invades the device, steals sensitive information and internet usage data, and relays it to advertisers, data firms, or external users.

 

https://www.wionews.com/world/in-a-first-us-and-10-other-nations-issue-spyware-declaration-577745

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Science & Technology, IT & Computer
Daily Current Affairs

Japan's Deep-sea Snailfish Discovery


Why in news? Recently, the animal, an unknown snailfish species belonging to the genus Pseudoliparis, was filmed at a depth of 8,336 metres in the Izu-Ogasawara trench, south-east of Japan.

About:

  • It is also called a sea snail and it is a deep-sea fish.
  • There are over 400 known species of snailfish, and they range in size from just a few centimeters to nearly a meter in length.
  • They are Elongated, soft, tadpole-shaped fish with loose and scaleless, though sometimes prickly, skins.
  • They are well adapted to life in the extreme environment of the deep sea.
  • Habitat: They are found in cold water in the North Atlantic, North Pacific, Arctic, and Antarctic seas
  • Snailfish is the only polar fish reported to have biofluorescence.
    • Biofluorescence is the ability of an organism to convert blue light into green, red, or yellow light.

 

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/04/03/asia/deepest-fish-filmed-off-japan-scn-intl-hnk/index.html

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment & ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Basholi Painting - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Famous Basohli painting from Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua have received the Geographical Indication (GI) Tag.

About:

  • It is a distinct style of miniature painting that has a unique blend of Hindu mythology, folk art, and Persian influences.
  • Basohli paintings are known for their vibrant colours, intricate details, and unique style, characterized by bold lines, intense facial expressions, and rich ornamentation.
  • It is considered the first school of Pahari paintings.
  • These are painted on paper, cloth, or wood using natural pigments and dyes.

Geographical Indication (GI) Tag:

  • GI tag is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

More Information:

  • Basohli painting of Kathua is the first independent GI tagged product from Jammu region.

 

https://www.business-standard.com/india-news/famous-basohli-painting-from-jammu-and-kashmir-s-kathua-gets-gi-tagging-123040300958_1.html

 

Keywords: General Studies –1 Art & Culture
Daily Current Affairs

Prosopis chilensis - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? As per the study Prosopis chilensis, an alien invasive plant is threatening to pulverize native vegetation across 21 islands in the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (GoMBR).

About:

  • The Prosopis chilensis is also known as Chilean mesquite.
  • It is a small to medium-sized legume tree that grows up to 12 m in height and 1 m in diameter.
  • It is a drought-resistant plant native to the arid regions of four South American countries namely Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru.

GoMBR:

  • The Gulf of Mannar is one of the biologically richest coastal regions of India.
  • It is the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in South and Southeast Asia.
  • It is designated as a Biosphere Reserve.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/triple-trouble-for-gulf-of-mannar-islands-study-finds/article66692147.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment & ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Padma Vibhushan - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav was honoured with Padma Vibhushan posthumously.

About:

  • The Padma Awards, which were instituted in the year 1954, are one of the highest civilian honours of India, announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.
  • The Awards are given in three categories:
    • ‘Padma Vibhushan' is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service.
    • ‘Padma Bhushan' for distinguished service of a high order.
    • 'Padma Shri' for distinguished service in any field.
  • Padma Vibhushan is highest in the hierarchy of Padma Awards followed by Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
  • The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities; art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.

 

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/mulayam-singh-yadav-accorded-with-padma-vibhushan-award-posthumously/videoshow/99275684.cms?from=mdr

 

Keywords: General Studies –2 Polity & Governance
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