Daily Current Affairs
22 February 2021

1) FII bats for subsidy on e-vehicles to combat pollution

GS 2

pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity

 

ABOUT:

  1. Ahead of the State budget next month, the Haryana chapter of Federation of Indian Industry (FII) has demanded focused attention for the promotion of electric vehicles and special allocation to control pollution and provide basic amenities to the industries in the unapproved areas.
  2. In a letter to Haryana Chief Minister, the FII demanded that a special provision be made in the upcoming budget for subsidy to electric vehicles on the pattern of Delhi government that offers a subsidy of ?1.5 lakh and has also waived off the registration charges.

 

VALUABLE CONTRIBUTOR:

  1. The industry body argued that this would not only help reduce pollution but also make Haryana a valuable contributor towards the promotion of electric vehicles.
  2. Special budget should be assigned to control pollution.
  3. Installation of smog towers in polluted areas should be taken up on priority basis as it will help industries to run smoothly.
  4. Also, the installation of gas lines in all industrial areas be expedited and provisions for subsidy on gas-operated gensets be made to further motivate industries to switch to this alternative fuel at the earliest.

 

MSMEs GROWTH:

  1. The letter pointed out that the Haryana government had in 2018 announced survey and regulation of unapproved industrial units but it has still remained on paper.
  2. The industry body demanded that the industries in these unapproved areas be provided basic amenities and separate budget be earmarked for it.
  3. It will result in growth of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in these areas and create more job opportunities which is one of the top priorities in the Union Budget.
  4. Besides, the industry body demanded land on lease to the MSMEs, support for agriculture and rural industry and freight subsidy to the traders at par with the manufacturers to boost exports.

 

CENTRAL GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES ON EVS:

  1. Government has set a target of EV making up 30% of new sales of cars and two-wheelers by 2030.
  2. To build a sustainable EV ecosystem, initiatives like National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) have been launched.
  3. NEMMP was launched in 2013 with an aim to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and EVs in the country. There is an ambitious target to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and EVs year on year from 2020 onwards.
  4. FAME India was launched in 2015 with the objective to support hybrid/EV market development and manufacturing ecosystem.
  5. The scheme has 4 focus areas viz. technology development, demand creation, pilot projects and charging infrastructure.
  6. Organisations like Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Department of Heavy Industry, Automotive Research Association of India are devising design and manufacturing standards of EVs, Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSEs) and charging infrastructure to smoothen the advent of in-house production of EVs.

 

Source- The Hindu

 

2) India, China to push for resolving remaining issues

GS 2

Bilateral agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

ABOUT:

  1. Disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Tso area was a significant step forward for the resolution of issues in other areas in the Western Sector.
  2. India and China, at the 10th Corps Commander talks, agreed to push for a mutually acceptable solution for the remaining issues.

 

JOINT STATEMENT:

  1. The two sides agreed to follow the important consensus of their state leaders, continue their communication and dialogue, stabilise and control the situation on the ground, push for a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues in a steady and orderly manner, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
  2. The Corps Commanders had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on other issues along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector, the statement said.
  3. The two sides positively appraised the “smooth completion” of disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Lake area and said that it provided a “good basis” for resolution of other remaining issues.
  4. The focus of the talks was to work out a phased disengagement plan for the other friction areas. These include Gogra, Hot Springs, Depsang and Demchok.

 

PAST:

  1. In the previous two rounds, India sought restoration of the status quo as it existed before the standoff began in May 2020.
  2. Indian and Chinese troops scuffled at Pangong Tso in Ladakh on 5/6th May.
  3. After the first round of talks on 6th June, 2020, clashes occurred in Galwan Valley (Ladakh) that claimed 20 Indian soldiers’ lives and an unknown number of casualties on the Chinese side.
  4. While faceoffs and standoffs keep occurring on the LAC due to differences in perception on the alignment, there has been no instance of firing on the LAC since 1975.
  5. India and China fought a war in 1962.

 

Source- The Hindu

 

3) Iran says talks with IAEA chief ‘fruitful’

GS 2

Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate

 

ABOUT:

  1. Iran said recently it had held “fruitful discussions” with UN nuclear watchdog chief in Tehran, ahead of a deadline when it is set to restrict the agency’s inspections unless the United States lifts painful sanctions.
  2. UN nuclear watchdog chief ’s visit comes amid stepped-up efforts between U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, European powers and Iran to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal that has been on the brink of collapse since former President Donald Trump withdrew from it.

 

IMPASSE:

  1. Iran’s Foreign Minister signalled that the Islamic republic wants to avoid an “impasse”, but also warned it could step further away from its commitments if Washington does not lift the sanctions.
  2. Iran and the IAEA held fruitful discussions based on mutual respect, the result of which will be released this evening.
  3. Iran’s conservative-dominated Parliament months ago demanded that if the U.S. does not lift sanctions by this Sunday, Iran will suspend some IAEA inspections.

 

What was the iran nuclear deal?

  1. Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear programme in a 2015 deal struck with the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany.
  2. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) Tehran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.
  3. The JCPOA established the Joint Commission, with the negotiating parties all represented, to monitor implementation of the agreement.
  4. In 2019, US had withdrawn from the Iran Nuclear Deal. Post the decision by the US, Iran has taken further steps away from its crumbling nuclear deal with world powers by announcing it is doubling the number of its advanced centrifuges.
  5. By doing so, Iran is trying to increase the pressure on Britain, France and Germany in particular to find some arrangement that will allow them to sell the oil they were buying when Iran was not under sanctions.
  6. That requires some level of US support to waive sanctions against European firms by the United States. So far, the US has no agreed to do that.

 

WHY DID IRAN AGREE TO THE DEAL?

  1. It had been hit with devastating economic sanctions by the United Nations, United States and the European Union that are estimated to have cost it tens of billions of pounds a year in lost oil export revenues. Billions in overseas assets had also been frozen.

 

WHY HAS US PULLED OUT OF THE DEAL NOW?

  1. Trump and opponents to the deal say it is flawed because it gives Iran access to billions of dollars but does not address Iran’s support for groups the U.S. considers terrorists, like Hamas and Hezbollah.
  2. They note it also doesn’t curb Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and that the deal phases out by 2030.
  3. They say Iran has lied about its nuclear program in the past.

 

IMPACT OF ESCALATED TENSION BETWEEN IRAN AND THE US:

  1. Iran can make things difficult for the U.S. in Afghanistan as also in Iraq and Syria.
  2. The U.S.’s ability to work with Russia in Syria or with China regarding North Korea will also be impacted.
  3. And sooner or later, questions may be asked in Iran about why it should continue with other restrictions and inspections that it accepted under the JCPOA, which would have far-reaching implications for the global nuclear architecture.
  4. Coming after the rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Paris climate change accord and the North American Free Trade Agreement, President’s decision further diminishes U.S. credibility.

 

IMPLICATIONS FOR INDIA:

  1. Oil and Gas: The impact on world oil prices will be the immediately visible impact of the U.S. decision. Iran is presently India’s third biggest supplier (after Iraq and Saudi Arabia), and any increase in prices will hit both inflation levels as well as the Indian rupee.
  2. It would impact the development of Chahbahar port.
  3. INSTC: New U.S. sanctions will affect these plans, especially if any of the countries along the route or banking and insurance companies dealing with the INSTC plan also decide to adhere to U.S. restrictions on trade with Iran.
  4. Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: China may consider inducting Iran into the SCO. If the proposal is accepted by the SCO, which is led by China and Russia, India will become a member of a bloc that will be seen as anti-American, and will run counter to some of the government’s other initiatives like the Indo-Pacific quadrilateral with the U.S., Australia and Japan.
  5. Rules-based order: By walking out of the JCPOA, the U.S. government has overturned the precept that such international agreements are made by “States” not just with prevailing governments or regimes.

 

Source- The Hindu

 

4) CARBON WATCH:

GS-3: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.

 

Context:

  1. Chandigarh became the first state or Union Territory in India to launch Carbon Watch, a mobile application to assess the carbon footprint of an individual.

 

About:

  1. Although the app Carbon Watch can be accessed by everyone, it has specific options for the residents of Chandigarh to compile a detail study.
  2. The application Carbon Watch can be downloaded through a QR code in Android supported smart cell phones.
  3. As a person downloads the Carbon Watch application, they will need to fill details in four parts- Water, Energy, Waste Generation and Transport (Vehicular movement).
  4. With the mentioned information, the mobile application will automatically calculate the carbon footprint of the individual. The application will also provide information such as the national and world average of the emission, and the individual’s level of emission generation.
  5. The mobile application will suggest methods to reduce the carbon footprints. The application will suggest ways as per the information furnished by the individuals.

 

Why should we measure ambient particulate matter?

  1. The Chandigarh has recorded a high concentration of PM 10- (particulate matters with diameter of 10 microns or less) and PM2.5 (particulate matters less than 2.5 microns)-form of air pollution, which is considered most serious.
  2. The both PM10 and PM2.5 is largely associated with the potential damaging effects they can have on the human body. WHO believes particles are affecting more people worldwide than any other pollutant.
  3. the damaging health effects from PM10 and PM2.5 the WHO recommend the following exposure limits:

 

 

Carbon footprint:

  1. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions.
  2. Driving from the grocery store burns a certain amount of fuel, and fossil fuels are the primary sources of greenhouses gases. But that grocery store is powered by electricity, and its employees probably drove to work, so the store has its own carbon footprint.
  3. India emits about 3 gigatonnes (GT) CO2 eq of greenhouse gases each year; about two and a half tons per person, which is half the world average. The country emits 7% of global emissions.

 

Source: Indian Express

 

5) INDIA-MALDIVES RELATION:

GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Context:

  1. India and Maldives on Saturday signed agreements on wide range of domains including fish processing, public broadcasting, sustainable urban development, road infrastructure and housing.
  2. The new agreement in the field of broadcasting is for cooperation between Prasar Bharati and PSM, the official State Media of Maldives .The MoU intends to facilitate collaboration and capacity building in the field of public broadcasting

 

About agreements:

  1. Foreign ministry also handed over one lakh additional doses of COVID vaccine to Mr Shahid and Maldivian Health Minister Ahmed Naseem.
  2. India has signed a 50 million dollar Line of Credit agreement in defence sector with the Maldives. The agreement will facilitate capability building in the maritime domain.
  3. Foreign ministry also co-signed the UTF Harbour Project agreement with Maldives Defence Minister Mariya Didi. He said that the project agreement will strengthen Maldivian Coast Guard capability and facilitate regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief efforts.
  4. India also extended a new line of credit of US dollar 40 million for the development of new sports infrastructure in the Maldives.

 

Impotence of Maldives:

  1. Strategically located in the Indian Ocean: Maldives archipelago comprising 1,200 coral islands lies next to key shipping lanes which ensure uninterrupted energy supplies to countries like China, Japan and India.
  2. China effect: Since China started to send naval ships to Indian Ocean roughly 10 years ago and right up to Gulf of Aden in the name of antipiracy operations, Maldives' significance has steadily grown and now it's at the heart of international geopolitics.
  3. Security in Indian Ocean: the pre-eminent South Asian power and a 'net security provider” the Indian Ocean region, India needs to cooperate with Maldives.
  4. Maldives member of SAARC: It is important for India to have Maldives on board to maintain its leadership in the region. Maldives was the only Saarc country which seemed reluctant to follow India's call for boycott of Saarc summit in Pakistan after the Uri attack.
  5. India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links:  India was among the first to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965 and later established its mission at Malé in 1972.
  6. Bilateral Trade of modest beginnings: India-Maldives bilateral trade now stands at US$ 290.27 mn with trade balance for India, include agriculture and poultry produce, textiles, sugar, fruits, vegetables, drugs and medicines, spices, rice, wheat flour (Atta), a variety of engineering and industrial products, sand and aggregate, cement etc

 

Source: PIB