IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


6th November, 2019


Could join RCEP if demands are met, says Piyush Goyal

The decision not to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is final for now, but if the other countries agree to India’s demands, negotiations and talks are possible in the future, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.


Minister's comment:

-       We are not making enemies with anybody.

-       Relations are good with every RCEP country.

-       India needs balancing of the present inequality in the RCEP 

-       Current decision to being out of RCEP is final but if RCEP countries come with better proposal considering Indian proposal, India can become member of RCEP.

-       India wants certain rules : strong clause on rules of origin, updating the base duty rates based on 2019 than 2014 as proposed  and implementing an auto-trigger mechanism to clamp down on imports from a country in case of a sudden surge.

About RCEP:

The RCEP was to be the largest such trade agreement, and would have included the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/could-join-rcep-if-demands-are-met-says-piyush-goyal/article29893633.ece



Delhi police stage protest after attacks on their colleagues

Thousands of Delhi police personnel on laid siege to the force’s headquarters for 11 hours and staged a virtual revolt, sparked by two attacks on colleagues.

Police families were also part of the protests.


Reason of protests:

-       There were two attacks on police personnel — one outside the Saket district court and the other in the Tis Hazari Courts Complex

-       These attacks happened after a parking dispute between an on-duty police officer and a lawyer, which led to at least 20 security personnel and several advocates being injured.


Demand of the Protestors:

-       The protesters demanded that the suspension and transfer of police officers ordered by the High Court following the clash be revoked.

-       They also demanded that cases be registered against the lawyers based on the complaints by the injured officers, and that strict action be taken.

-       The courts should treat all parties equitably and grant justice.

-       All lawyers who were part of the violence should be identified and “befitting legal action, including cancellation of their license, should be initiated”.

Responses of the senior officers and govt:

-       Senior Police officials asked the police personnel to return to duty.

-       Government had taken note of their demands.

-       They appealed to moral conscience of police officers that police is known for good deeds and must maintain its image.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/delhi-police-stage-protest-after-attacks-on-their-colleagues/article29893623.ece


EC to debut ‘booth app’ for Delhi polls

The upcoming Delhi Assembly elections will debut the Election Commission’s ‘Booth app’, which will automate real-time collection and display of booth-wise voter data.


About the Booth app:

-       The app will allow access to different types of information, such as demographic data and voter turnout that will be collected and updated in real time

-       Through this app, voters can also check queues at their polling booths and time their visit accordingly.

-       Once a voter enters a particular booth, their identification will be scanned by officials and their details will be automatically verified.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/ec-to-debut-booth-app-for-delhi-polls/article29883393.ece






India, Russia to conclude mutual logistics agreement

India and Russia are expected to conclude a mutual logistics agreement and review the setting up of joint ventures for manufacturing spares for Russian defence platforms in India during the visit of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to Moscow from November 5 to 7.


Agreement on Reciprocal, logistics support agreement:

It is to operationalize a mechanism for collaboration on joint manufacturing of spare parts, components, aggregates and other products for the maintenance of Russian-origin arms and defence equipment in India under the ‘Make in India’ programme through the transfer of technology and setting up of joint ventures.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/india-russia-to-conclude-mutual-logistics-agreement/article29884261.ece




Ready to address India’s concerns on RCEP: China

China on the door on India’s participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade deal has not been closed, and that Beijing was ready to address New Delhi’s concerns through further negotiations.


Chinese Statements:

-       China is willing to negotiate and resolve issues with India in the spirit of mutual understanding and mutual accommodation.

-       On the argument of trade imbalance with China, if the 16-nation deal is accomplished, it will benefit both the countries.

-       China does not intend to pursue a trade surplus with India. In the past five years, China’s imports from India have increased by 15%.

-       The two sides can further broaden their thinking, adopt comprehensive measures, strengthen cooperation in investment, production capacity, tourism and other fields and continue to expand the cooperative cake.

-       RCEP is a regional free trade arrangement, which is essentially mutually beneficial and win-win.

Trade Disputes:

-       If a RCEP did not materialise, it could further “politicise” the trade issue between India and China.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/ready-to-address-indias-concerns-on-rcep-china/article29893564.ece



Economic slowdown may lighten India’s carbon burden

There is a silver lining to India’s economic slowdown. Carbon dioxide emissions are poised to grow at their slowest — a 2% rise from last year — since 2001, according to an analysis published in Carbon Brief, a site that tracks emission and carbon dioxide trends.


Reasons behind:

-       Coal sales are declining due to slowdown in construction sector.

-       There is a rapid increase in renewable energy sector. Wind generation rose by 17% in the first six months of 2019, solar up 30% and hydro increasing by 22%.


Indian Per Capita emission:

-       A report by the International Energy Emissions Agency said India’s per capita emissions were about 40% of the global average and contributed 7% to the global carbon dioxide burden.

-       The U.S., the largest emitter, contributed 14%.


Indian Commitment in Paris Agreement:

-       India has promised to reduce the emission intensity of its economy by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

-       It has also committed to having 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/economic-slowdown-may-lighten-indias-carbon-burden/article29893544.ece



Indian lungs under extreme stress


Acute respiratory infections (ARI) accounted for 69.47% of morbidity last year, which was the highest in the communicable disease category, leading to 27.21% mortality.


About ARI:

-       According to World Health Organisation, acute respiratory infection is a serious ailment that prevents normal breathing function and kills an estimated 2.6 million children annually every year worldwide.

-       Indians face the double burden of heavy air pollution in addition to the high rate of ARI, which hits children the hardest.


Impact of Pollution:

-       When we breathe in polluted air, particles and pollutants penetrate and inflame the linings of our bronchial tubes and lungs. This leads to respiratory illness such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, asthma, wheezing, coughing and difficulty in breathing.

-       The current level of air pollution poses a high risk to pregnant women and the baby. The foetus receives oxygen from the mother, and if she is breathing polluted air, it can increase the health risk of unborn babies.

-       Prenatal exposure to pollutants increases risk of pre-term delivery and low birth weight, factors that can lead to developmental disabilities later on.

-       Children are particularly susceptible as they “breathe through their mouths, bypassing the filtering effects of the nasal passages and allowing pollutants to travel deeper into the lungs.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/indian-lungs-under-extreme-stress/article29893534.ece


‘Visibly elusive’ Bengal tree frog gets recorded as new species

Six herpetologists from Assam, West Bengal and Malaysia have recorded a new species of tree frog that had eluded the world of science despite thriving in residential areas.


About the Species:

-       The new species has been named Brown Blotched Bengal Tree Frog (Polypedatesbengalensis).

-       The name is derived from a series of six to nine dark brown blotches that extend laterally from behind the frog’s eye to the vent.

-       This frog is a classic case of an amphibian being elusive while in plain human sight for ages.

-       The male frogs were seen perched on vegetation, including bamboo, banana and taro leaves, and were calling from a height of 1.2-1.8 m above ground, over stagnant waters bodies that were mostly rainwater pools.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/visibly-elusive-bengal-tree-frog-gets-recorded-as-new-species/article29877245.ece




Ban proposed on sale, ads of junk food in schools

Aimed at enabling children to eat and grow healthy, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released draft regulations titled Food Safety and Standards (Safe Food and healthy diets for School Children) Regulations, 2019.

Objective of the Regulations:

-       Fundamental idea is to make it clear what is healthy for children and what is not.

-       Children have to be encouraged to consume balanced diet in schools as per the guidelines issued by National Institute of Nutrition.

Proposed Regulations:

Foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) cannot be sold to children in school canteens/mess premises/hostel kitchens or within 50 m of the school campus.

-       The school campus should be converted into ‘Eat Right School’ focussing on local and seasonal food and no food waste as per the specified benchmarks.

-       Schools should adopt a comprehensive programme for promoting healthy diets among children.

-       Nutritionists, dieticians may be engaged by the school to assist in preparation of menu periodically.

-       There should be regular inspection of school premises where safe, healthy and hygienic food should be served to students.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/ban-proposed-on-sale-ads-of-junk-food-in-schools/article29893542.ece