Table of Contents:
A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
D. GS4 Related
Useful News Articles
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here today folks!
B. GS2 Related
Topic: India and Pakistan
Category: International Relations
- Pakistan on Monday invited India for talks on Kashmir, saying it is the “international obligation” of both the countries to resolve the issue, notwithstanding India’s insistence that it would talk on “contemporary and relevant” issues in Indo-Pak relations
- The invite came days after the Union Home Minister addressed Parliament on the Kashmir issue and said that India was willing to discuss only Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) with Pakistan, and that the question of discussing Jammu and Kashmir with Islamabad just did not arise
- A committee tasked by the government’s apex planning body with studying how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used in crop insurance schemes has said drones trump satellite technology for the purpose. The committee also maintained that sharing cadastral (land’s location, ownership, tenure) details, Aadhaar card and bank account details is “mandatory” for effective crop insurance policies
- “The ideal alternative is to gather data from low heights [i.e., below the cloud] and at very high resolution where aerial photography or UAVs score over all available alternatives,” says a draft report of the subcommittee’s recommendation. “The current satellites which are even better than 10m spatial resolution would not be sufficient due to their non-availability during cloud cover, limited revisit possibility during the crop season and high price,” it said.
- The government’s apparent objective is to increase the number of insured farmers from the current 20 per cent to 50 per cent within three years
C. GS3 Related
Topic: Industry- Steel Industry
- the Steel Ministry is pushing for a rethink on domestic policies that are hurting producers. This includes the railways’ freight policy and the clean energy cess that was doubled in this year’s Budget
- The Steel Ministry wants the Indian Railways to change the tariff classification for steel goods and treat them on par with coal, which, it reckons, could cut the logistic costs of moving finished steel by around 14 per cent
- Moreover, it has questioned the levy of clean energy cess on coking coal since it is distinct in quality from the coal used in thermal power plants
- High power costs are also pushing up the price of production
D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
Knowledge of Islam scarce among IS recruits. Majority jihadist recruits giving into superficial propaganda says the article
- Must Read: Not only the mother’s responsibility
The Article talks about the failings of the The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016
Topic: India and Pakistan
Category: International Relations
- The prime minister’s Independence Day address was not meant merely for domestic consumption. While he was silent on the violence in Kashmir, he had a lot to say about attacks on Balochs in Pakistan
- In what was perhaps intended as a hint of India’s capability to intervene, in an unspecified manner, in Balochistan, he said the people there had commended him for highlighting attacks against them by people within Pakistan
- The warning sent out was that if Pakistan continues to interfere in Kashmir, India can do likewise, making an issue over the violence in Balochistan
- Other than further escalating tensions between the two countries, it is difficult to see what can come out of such aggressive posturing on the internal problems of Pakistan
- India’s Kashmir problem will not go away with the government’s renewed claims on Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Of course, the Prime Minister may have felt compelled to respond in some way to the provocative remarks of Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, dedicating Pakistan’s Independence Day this year to the “freedom” of Kashmir. But, in this, as in some other things, India will benefit more if the prime minister sticks to playing a more statesmanly role
Category: Global Economy
- The question uppermost in the minds of many Europeans is that if the U.K. — which had perhaps the best possible deal within the EU, being a member of the Common Market without belonging to the Eurozone and the Schengen Area — preferred to opt out, other nations who had more serious differences may also choose not to remain
- Britain hopes to keep its lead role as a financial services hub
- For now, financial jitters are more likely as almost immediately the U.K. will need to prepare for the loss of nearly 2,85,000 financial sector jobs. The City’s relations with China are also likely to suffer as a result of Brexit. London’s standing as the world’s principal place for trading in euro — a $2 trillion-a-day market — will come under new pressures
- The writing on the wall is thus all too clear. Brexit has diminished both Britain and Europe
- NATO will be affected as the U.K is a favoured partner of the U.S.A
- Russia may see sanctions against it eased
- Tension may rise between Germany and France as to who would emerge the leader
- Thus Brexit could lead to protectionism and lead to profound geopolitical shifts, and substantially alter the international security environment
Deals with social issues plaguing India
- While no official data exists, WHO believes that nearly 40 million people have Hepatitis B and six million have Hepatitis C in India
- “The syringe culture is similar in Egypt and India. People take less oral medication and prefer injections. Syringe safety is necessary to prevent new cases,” says Manal El Sayed, a member of the Egyptian national hepatitis committee since its inception in 2006. She says her country raised awareness on the use of sterile razors in barber shops, use of new instruments for pedicure and manicure and on the use of disposable syringes for patients. “It’s all about advocacy. There should be multiple stakeholders like the government, politicians, the media and individuals from different sectors who wish to bring this health problem into the limelight,” Sayed, a paediatrician, explains
- The Hepatitis pool grew in Egypt in the 1950s and 1960s due to the reuse of glass syringes after boiling. It is believed that similar unsafe syringe practices have led to the increased cases in India
- The Egyptian government, she says, also urged Hepatitis drug manufacturing companies to lower costs
- Egypt has now introduced a birth-dose policy to prevent new infections. “Our aim is to reach most isolated and rural areas
- The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare hasbegun a vaccination drive for newborns against HBV under Mission Indradhanush, that is aimed to prevent seven diseases in infants. Since 2014, over 40 lakh children have been covered under the scheme. But there still stands no active diagnosis or free treatment programme for Hepatitis adult patients unlike AIDS or Tuberculosis
- We are talking about increasing manufacturing’s share in GDP from current 17.4% to 25% by 2025. What is the scale of output required and how can this be achieved? Consider the following details:
- Most countries specialize in a select range of products. East Asian countries trade mostly in textile and electronic products while African and Latin American countries deal mainly in mining and agriculture related goods. China exports most products except very complex ones. However, it is Germany, Japan and the US that are on top of manufacturing and innovation pyramid and continue to develop most high end products
- What should be the product development priorities for an aspiring nation? The central core of world manufacturing consists largely of complex metal, machinery and chemical products requiring most sophisticated development capabilities. The products under this group are considered related to each other as their development requires broadly similar core capabilities. This makes it easier for countries like Germany or Japan to redeploy the existing capabilities for development of a large number of new products
- While complex products are located in the densely connected central core of world manufacturing, less sophisticated products occupy a less connected peripheral space. These products either require low skillset (examples-raw materials, agriculture and mining) or specialized capability which is of use within the same product group (apparel, electronics) only. For a country that specializes in peripheral products, shift to other products is challenging. This rationalizes why East Asia or Africa manufacture only particular type of products
- A Country’s capability to manufacture complex products is numerically captured through the Economic Complexity Index (ECI). It ranks a country on the basis of how diversified and complex a country’s manufacturing export basket is. Germany is top ranker followed by Japan, while India ranks 54 out of 144 countries. Japan or Germany, with high ECI’s, produce high end products that face less competition in the global market as these are highly unlikely to be produced by countries with low ECI. Countries like India with low ECI’s produce goods that are commonly produced around the globe
- Becoming a true manufacturing nation or reaching large scale of manufacturing output would require India to develop capabilities in core products and also organize large scale production in peripheral products. This will require targeting the following 4 product groups. Each requires a different focus
- Develop plan to manufacture factory machinery, the machinery that makes the goods. Development of one successful application changes the fate of nations. Machine tools have ensured decades of economic prosperity and also gave birth to large number of small and large firms in many countries. The semiconductor-making equipment (SME) is at the heart of today’s most import products/sectors: computer, mobile, telecom, and now automobiles, and internet of things. No country can enter big league without a share in this sector. Some of the technology required can be obtained through licenses or outright purchase but most critical can come only from the in-house industrial R &D centers
- Set up advance manufacturing facilities. Specialty materials, biologics, nanotechnology, precision mechanical devices, integrated circuits, high-end general-purpose chips, embedded systems, processors, medical imaging devices fall in this category
- We can draw on our strengths in software products, engineering design and testing. India can also use the latecomer advantage to develop new products through imitation, reverse engineering and licensing. Korea is an interesting example of how a developing country can transition into a high income and high tech manufacturing country largely through government driven interventions. Korea largely focused on purchase of technology and providing subsidies on R&D investments made by the public and private sectors
- Facilitate setting up of large capacities to manufacture computer, TV, mobile phone and other electronic and telecom equipment. Manufacturing in China, Korea and Taiwan revolves around this product group which now account for over 15% of GDP of each of these countries. How China became the largest exporter in this sector is an amazing tale of shrewd policy interventions and business acumen. Starting in mid-1990s, China initially, did not choose products that required deep R&D or advance manufacturing as it did not have sound technological capability base then. Rather, it focused on electronics and telecom sectors where final products had modular structure containing large number of components and parts that could be imported from other countries. China tied up with suppliers in Southeast Asian Countries for sourcing of raw material and components, and Japan, Korea and Taiwan for supply of components requiring advance manufacturing. With Pre- Assembly inputs securely in place, China could lure anchor MNCs to invest in downstream stages of production. Abundant supplies of low-cost Labor, government incentives, tax exemptions and an efficient customs administration were other critical factors. By 2008, in less than 15 years China emerged as the leading exporter of electrical machinery, electronic and telecom equipment, the items once considered preserve of developed countries. Despite competition, India, is in better position today than China was in 1990s, as the required technology base, expert manpower and the firms that built up Chinese story are all present here
- Create large scale manufacturing facility for producing skill and labour intensive products. China has become leading exporter of auto components, Toys, furniture, footwear, apparels, mattresses, locks, low end engineering products by creating largest possible scale of organized production that ensured economies of scale. India can move quickly as the factories are easy to develop and can employ millions of people who can move from the agriculture or informal sector to the formal jobs
- Finally, for experts who argue for a services driven development path for India, remember services account for only 20% of world trade much of which is tied to products. Rest is all about products and developing still more new products
Asserting India’s right to question Tahawwur Rana, a close associate of David Coleman Headley charged in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, senior officials of the Home Ministry quietly visited the United States early this month to press for his extradition.The move stemmed from the failure of the National Investigation Agency to get custody of Headley, who entered into a plea bargain with the U.S. authorities.
Acting on a complaint by the AkhilBharatiyaVidyarthiParishad (ABVP) filed on Saturday, the J.C. Nagar police(Bangalore) has charged Amnesty International India under section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which defines sedition as attempts to bring hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection towards the Government of India.
India and Russia made significant progress in the discussions for modernisation of all Su-30 fighters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) during the visit of a Russian team last month. An agreement is possible by the year-end.India had signed the initial agreement with Russia in the late 1990s for procuring 50 Su-30 multi-role fighter jets in a fly-away condition.
Then, it ordered 272 Su-30MKI fighter jets to be made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at Nasik. Most of the aircraft to be made by HAL have been delivered.
“Today we have moved towards online refund. In a week, 2 weeks or 3 weeks refunds have started going. This is a result of measures like accountability and answerability,” he added.
Seeking to eliminate corruption and promote ease of doing business, the Income Tax Department has been taking various tax payer friendly measures, including e-verification of returns, paperless email-based inquiry and e-scrutiny.In order to bring in transparency, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has recently published comprehensive data based on income tax returns filed for assessment year 2012-13.
As the next round of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade talks begin in Vietnam on Monday, humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called for the removal of intellectual property provisions — known as the TRIPS-plus provisions — from the agreement. The talks are scheduled for August 15-19.
According to the MSF, the TRIPS-plus provisions like patent term extensions and data exclusivity could hinder access to affordable drugs.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
- Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana
- The Maternity Benefit(Amendment) Bill
- Motor vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- Regional Connectivity Scheme
- Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following is/are correct about Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana?
- The scheme covers kharif, rabi crops as well as annual commercial and horticultural crops.
- Apart from yield loss, the new scheme will cover post-harvest losses also.
- The scheme proposes mandatory use of remote sensing, smart phones and drones for quick estimation of crop loss
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 1 and 3 only
d) All the Above
Question 2: Which of the following statements is/are raw materials used in the steel industry?
- Iron Ore
- Coking coal
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 1 and 3 only
c) 1,2 and 3 only
d) All the above
Question 3: Which of the following is/are provisions of the Motor vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 ?
- Automated testing for driving licences
- Guidelines for speedy settlement of vehicle accident claims
- National Registry for vehicles
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) 3 only
d) All the Above
Question 4: Which of the following statements is/are correct about the regional connectivity scheme?
- The regional connectivity scheme will be applicable on route length between 200 to 800 km with no lower limit set for hilly, remote, island and security sensitive regions.
- A Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) will be created to fund the scheme via a levy on certain flights
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
Question 5: Which of the following statements is/are correct?
- The Sukhoi/HAL Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF)is afifth-generation fighter being developed by India and Russia
- The Indian version, according to the deal, will be different from the Russian version and specific to Indian requirements
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
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