AIR Discussions (May 1st Week)
AIR SPOTLIGHT SUMMARY: G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting
- A meeting between G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ was held recently in London.
- India was also invited.
- Australia, Republic of Korea, ASEAN and South Africa were other guest countries and groups.
- The United Kingdom has invited Indian Prime Minister as a guest to attend the 47th G7 summit that is scheduled to be held in June 2021.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MEETING:
- Democracy is under pressure globally;
- Pandemic continues to pose acute global challenges;
- New technological threats are mounting; and
- The catastrophic effects of climate change are increasing.
- Strengthening open societies, shared values, and the rules-based international order.
- Affirm that free and fair trade, and the free and secure flow of capital, data, knowledge, ideas and talent is essential to long-term prosperity.
- Affirm that liberal democracy and free and fair markets remain the best models for inclusive, sustainable social and economic advancement.
- Commit to tackling threats jointly and committing resources to achieve shared security.
- Will promote respect for, and protect, human rights for all individuals, regardless of where they live and whatever their identity, faith, gender, disability or race.
- Commit to working with the international community to further advance gender equality; and reaffirm the importance of focusing on educating girls, empowering women, and ending violence against women and girls.
- Affirm the need to take collective action on the most pressing foreign and security challenges.
- Commitment to working with developing partner countries, especially in Africa, to achieve a green, inclusive and sustainable recovery from COVID-19, aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
- Commit to supporting developing partner countries to tackle and prevent the interlinked threats of conflict, climate change, poverty, food insecurity, and the health, humanitarian, human rights and economic effects of COVID-19; and building back better.
- Commit to renewing global cooperation, including strengthened G7-Africa partnerships and greater engagement in the Indo-Pacific.
- Foreign and security policy
- Russia: G7 is deeply concerned that the negative pattern of Russia’s irresponsible and destabilising behaviour continues- the large build-up of Russian military forces on Ukraine’s borders and in illegally-annexed Crimea, its malign activities aimed at undermining other countries’ democratic systems, its malicious cyber activity, and use of disinformation.
- G7 reaffirmed support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders including its territorial waters.
- G7 is deeply concerned about the political and human rights crisis following the fraudulent August 2020 presidential election in Belarus.
- G7 reaffirmed support for the centrality of ASEAN and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and commit to explore concrete cooperation in line with the Outlook. It reiterated the importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.
- It called upon China, as a major power and economy with advanced technological capability, to participate constructively in the rules-based international system and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
- G7 remain gravely concerned by China’s decision fundamentally to erode democratic elements of the electoral system in Hong Kong.
- G7 remain gravely concerned about the documented accounts of human rights violations and abuses in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and called on DPRK to refrain from provocative actions and to engage in a diplomatic process with the explicit goal of denuclearisation.
- G7 condemned in the strongest terms the military coup in
- Afghanistan: A sustainable, inclusive political settlement is the only way to achieve a just and durable peace that benefits all Afghans.
- It also talked about situation in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iran and various African countries.
- Other themes that were discussed:
- Maritime security: promoting a cooperative system of international governance for the ocean and seas and to maintaining the rules-based maritime order based on international law.
- Non-proliferation and disarmament: essential role of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty as the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear technology.
- Open societies: all people can benefit from a more open world, where democracy, respect for human rights, effective and accountable governance, and the rule of law can thrive.
- Media freedom
- Internet shutdowns: concerned about actions by states to intentionally disrupt their own populations’ access to, or dissemination of, information, knowledge, and data online.
- Cyber governance: commit to work together to further a common understanding of how existing international law applies to cyberspace.
- Freedom of religion or belief
- Rapid Response Mechanism as part of our ongoing shared efforts to defend democratic systems and Open Societies from foreign malign activity.
- Arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations are contrary to international human rights law.
- Commitment to achieving an inclusive and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for all and enabling equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics
- Development finance: will take concrete action to address priority development finance challenges.
GROUP OF SEVEN (G-7)
- The G-7 or ‘Group of Seven’ are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- It is an intergovernmental organisation that was formed in 1975 by the top economies of the time as an informal forum to discuss pressing world issues.
- Canada joined the group in 1976, and the European Union began attending in 1977.
- Initially formed as an effort by the US and its allies to discuss economic issues, the G-7 forum has deliberated about several challenges over the decades, such as the oil crashes of the 1970s, the economic changeover of ex-Soviet bloc nations, and many pressing issues such as financial crises, terrorism, arms control, and drug trafficking.
- The G-7 was known as the ‘G-8’ for several years after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997.
- The Group returned to being called G-7 after Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
- The G-7 does not have a formal constitution or a fixed headquarters.
- The decisions taken by leaders during annual summits are non-binding.
- The rise of India, China, and Brazil over the past few decades has reduced the G-7’s relevance, whose share in global GDP has now fallen to around 40%.
- The G-7 nations meet at annual summits that are presided over by leaders of member countries on a rotational basis.
- The summit is an informal gathering that lasts two days, in which leaders of member countries discuss a wide range of global issues.
- The host country typically gets to invite dignitaries from outside the G-7 to attend the Summit.
- The G-20 is a larger group of countries, which also includes G7 members.
- The G-20 was formed in 1999, in response to a felt need to bring more countries on board to address global economic concerns.
- Apart from the G-7 countries, the G-20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.
- Together, the G-20 countries make up around 80% of the world’s economy.
- Deliberations at the G-20 are confined to those concerning the global economy and financial markets.
- India is slated to host a G-20 summit in 2022.
GROUP OF TEN
- The Group of Ten (G10) refers to the group of countries that have agreed to participate in the General Arrangements to Borrow (GAB), a supplementary borrowing arrangement that can be invoked if the IMF’s resources are estimated to be below a member’s needs.
- The G10 was also the forum for discussions that led to the December 1971 Smithsonian Agreement following the collapse of the Bretton Woods system.
- G10: Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, United States, Japan
GROUP OF FIFTEEN
- It was established at the Ninth Non-Aligned Summit Meeting in Belgrade, then Yugoslavia, in September 1989. It is composed of countries from Latin America, Africa, and Asia with a common goal of enhanced growth and prosperity. The G15 focuses on cooperation among developing countries in the areas of investment, trade, and technology. The membership of the G15 has since expanded to 17 countries but the name has remained unchanged.
- G15 Members: Algeria, Indonesia, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, Islamic Republic of Senegal, Brazil, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Chile, Kenya, Venezuela, Egypt, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, India, Mexico
- Originally a chapter of the G77, was established in 1971 to coordinate the positions of emerging markets and developing countries on international monetary and development finance issues and to ensure that their interests were adequately represented at the Bretton Woods Institutions, particularly in the IMFC and Development Committee meetings of the IMF and World Bank. The group—officially called the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development—is not an organ of the IMF but the IMF provides secretariat services for the Group.
- Members: Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Islamic Republic of Peru, Argentina, Ethiopia, Kenya, Philippines, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon, South Africa, Colombia, Ghana, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Congo, Dem. Rep. of , Guatemala, Morocco, Syrian Arab Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago ,Ecuador, India, Pakistan, Venezuela
- It was established in 1964 at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.
- It was formed to articulate and promote the collective economic interests of its members and to strengthen their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues in the United Nations system.
- The membership of the G77 has since expanded to 134 member countries but the original name has been retained because of its historical significance.
- Friends of Special Products in agriculture is a coalition of developing countries, established prior to the 2003 Cancun ministerial conference, that have coordinated during the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, specifically in regard to agriculture.
- Dominated by India, the group has "defensive" concerns regarding agriculture in relation to World Trade Organization negotiations, and seeks to limit the degree of market opening required of developing countries.
NEWS IN BRIEF: PRELIMS SPECIAL
- Scientists from the IITs of Kanpur and Hyderabad have applied the ‘Susceptible, Undetected, Tested (positive), and Removed Approach’ (SUTRA) model to predict the COVID graph in India.
- The model uses three main parameters to predict the course of the pandemic.
- The first is called beta, or contact rate, which measures how many people an infected person infects per day. It is related to the R0 value, which is the number of people an infected person spreads the virus to over the course of their infection.
- The second parameter is ‘reach’ which is a measure of the exposure level of the population to the pandemic.
- The third is ‘epsilon’ which is the ratio of detected and undetected cases.
GOVT ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR PRODUCTION LINKED INCENTIVE SCHEME FOR FOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRY
- Government has approved a new Central Sector Scheme namely PLISFPI for implementation during 2021-22 to 2026-27 with an outlay of 10 thousand 900 crore rupees.
- The aim is to support creation of global food manufacturing champions commensurate with India's natural resource endowment and support Indian brands of food products in the international markets.
INDIA – UK VIRTUAL SUMMIT
- The prime ministers of India and the United Kingdom held a virtual summit.
- An ambitious ‘Roadmap 2030’ was adopted at the Summit to elevate bilateral ties to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’.
- The Roadmap will pave the way for a deeper and stronger engagement over the next ten years in the key areas of people to people contacts, trade and economy, defence and security, climate action and health.
- The two leaders discussed the Covid-19 situation and ongoing cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, including the successful partnership on vaccines.
- The leaders launched an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ (ETP) to unleash the trade potential between the 5th and 6th largest economies of the world and by setting an ambitious target of more than doubling bilateral trade by 2030.
- As part of the ETP, India and the UK agreed on a roadmap to negotiate a comprehensive and balanced FTA, including consideration of an Interim Trade Agreement for delivering early gains.
- A new India-UK ‘Global Innovation Partnership’ was announced.
- Clinical trials conducted by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) has shown that the polyherbal drug Ayush-64 has notable antiviral, immune-modulator and antipyretic properties.
- Originally developed in 1980 for the management of Malaria, this drug has now been repurposed for Covid-19.
- The in-silico study done on Ayush 64 showed that 35 out of 36 of its Phyto-constituents have high binding affinity against the COVID-19 virus.
RBI MEASURES TO TACKLE SECOND COVID WAVE
- RBI Governor said the measures proposed are part of the first round of calibrated and comprehensive strategy against the pandemic.
- As part of the measures, the RBI eased lending and restructuring norms for all stakeholders, especially those smaller businesses and MSMEs that have been impacted by the second wave.
- The first measures announced was 'Term Liquidity Facility' of Rs 50,000 crore to ease access to emergency health services. The RBI has also proposed “On-tap liquidity” of Rs 50,000 crore with tenor up to three years at repo rate.
- Banks will be incentivised for quick delivery of credit under the scheme through the extension of priority sector classification to such lending. This facility will be available till March 31, 2022.
- The second measure relates to special long-term repo operations (SLTRO) for small finance banks (SFBs), which primarily lend to micro, unorganised and small industries.
- The facility will help them with fresh lending of up to Rs 10 lakh per borrowers and it will be available till October 31, 2021.
- The RBI also added that SFBs lending to micro-finance institutions (MFIs) will be classified as priority sector lending.
- SFBs are now being permitted to lend to smaller MFIs with asset size of up to Rs 500 crore and this is likely to help individual borrowers on priority. This facility will be available up to March 31, 2022.
- The RBI has also proposed an extension of a measure for incentivising the flow of credit to MSMEs borrowers.
- The RBI has allowed borrowers (individuals, small businesses and MSMEs) with aggregate exposure of up to Rs 25 crore -- who have not availed restructuring under earlier frameworks and classified as 'Standard' on March 31, 2021 -- shall be eligible to be considered under Resolution 2.0 framework.
- The RBI has also rationalised certain compliance requirements in view of the Covid-19 second wave.
- The RBI has also announced certain relaxation with regard to availment of overdraft facility by states.