Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020
Current Affair 1:
What are the agreements between India-China that call for restraint in border face-offs along the LAC?
On 15 June 2020, Indian and Chinese troops engaged in a face-off in Galwan Valley across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Indian Army sources stated that 20 Army personnel were killed in the clash, the worst such incident in the last few decades.
We have to go through two tweets to PROCEED THIS TOPIC.
Minister for External Affairs stated that Firearms not used as per India-China Agreements. It raised a doubt, government on sending the army personnel on the mission without arming them. First tweet:
Responding to his tweet, the Minister for External Affairs, Dr. S. Jaishankar has tweeted that troops were carrying arms as is the norm while leaving their post. However, they did not use them in adherence to the agreements made in 1996 & 2005 agreements, which specify not to use firearms during face offs.
We will learn here what are these agreements.
In 1996, India and China signed an agreement on ‘Confidence-Building Measures in the Military Field along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas’. This agreement was in continuation of an earlier agreement, ‘Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas’, which both the countries signed on 07 September 1993.
The first agreement made in 1993, was aimed at maintaining peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along India-China Border and to work towards peaceful resolution of the border disputes existing between the countries. The 1996 agreement specifically laid out the protocols to be followed by the military of the both the countries across the border.
Article VI (1) of the agreement, prevents either from opening fire, conduct blasts or hunt with guns or explosives within two Kilometres of the border, on either side.
Article VI (4) of the protocol in the agreement is relevant to the situation that emerged in Galwan Valley. As per this article, the border personnel are supposed to exercise restraint by when a face-face situation arises due to difference in the alignment of LAC or other reasons. Both the sides are required to enter into immediate consultations using diplomatic and other channels to review and prevent escalation of a situation.
However, unlike the protocol states, the forces were involved in a fight instead of exercising restraint. The protocols do not explicitly specify when to use firearms and what is to be done if either side does not exercise restraint and in face of provocation.
In 2003, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister of India made a visit to China. As part of the bilateral interactions, there was ‘Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation Between the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China’.
Apart from 1996 agreement, Dr. Jaishankar also refers to 2005 agreement.
Article 1, of the agreement states that neither side should use or threaten to use force by any means, and it further calls for the resolution of the boundary dispute through peaceful resolution.
Apart from this, Article VII and VIII of Border Defence Cooperation Agreement-2013, reiterate the aspects highlighted in 1996 agreement regarding the response in cases of face-face situation regarding the non-agreement on border alignment i.e. to practice restraint and to explore diplomatic route for resolution.
Conclusion: In this context, the External Affairs Minister’s statement of not using firearms as a long-standing practice stands ground, as multiple agreements signed over the period of time reinforce this practice of exercising restraint.
Also, one more thing:
Responding to a question in Lok Sabha on 27 November 2019, the government stated that there were more than 1000 transgressions on the Indo-China border between 2016 & 2018 with no casualty.
Current Affair 2:
Stoneflowers in northeast India
Closely related to the ornamental African violets and Episcias, plants of the genus Didymocarpus – also called “stoneflowers” probably because they often grow on wet rocks and stones – are distributed across south Asia’s wet forests. China is home to 34 species, while India comes a close second with 25, with most of them distributed in the northeastern states. Many are ‘narrow endemics’: species that have very small distributions and are found nowhere else in the world.
The Indian and Chinese teams’ find of Didymocarpus sinoindicus is the latest in a string of new Didymocarpus species discoveries in India.
Earlier in 2016, scientists from Kerala described Didymocarpus moelleri from Arunachal Pradesh, a species that bursts into flamboyant orange blooms and grows only in one location in the state. A team from the Botanical Survey of India also recorded Didymocarpus bhutanicus, previously know only from Bhutan, for the first time in India (in Sikkim) this February. What researchers have to say:
Few Prelims Question will be?
- Why they are called stoneflowers?
- They are found in which part of India?
- They are endemic to which part of world?
Current Affair 3:
India-China Trade relations
This topic is very much important for your exam, either it is Prelims or Mains. So, we will cover this in bit detail. Like if anyone says you that ban china for all products, we don’t need China, etc. you should have this explanation in mind, what is the current status of India-China Trade Relations.
This explanation is entirely based on the recent report released by Commerce Ministry. So, you can this latest data whenever you explain India-China Trade. Coming back to explanations.
What is the value of trade with China, especially the imports? What are the products that are imported from China? How much is India reliant on China as a trading partner? In this story we take a deeper look at all these questions.
Before 2018-19, India’s highest trade value was with China
As per the data on Export-Import Data Bank of the Commerce Ministry, the USA emerged as the leading trade partner for India in 2018-19 with ? 6.15 lakh crores. It has managed to just overtake China, with which the value of India’s trade in that year was ?6.09 lakh crores.
Prior to 2018-19, China was India’s leading trade partner. However, in 2018-19, value of trade with USA witnessed a significant increase, enabling it to overtake China. However, a major portion of it is due to the increase in India’s exports to USA.
China’s share in India’s total imports back to 2014-15 levels
- China’s share in overall trade with India is 10.32% in 2018-19. This is a slight decrease from the previous year (2017-19) when it was 11.66%. This fall in the share of total trade can be attributed to the fall in the share of imports from China.
- While China continues to hold the top position in value of Imports into India, its share in total imports has fallen in 2018-19 to 13.69% from the high of 16.4% in 2017-18.
- The share of Chinese imports in 2018-19 are back to the 2014-15 levels when it was 13.5% of India’s total imports.
- Meanwhile, the share of exports to China in India’s total exports has increased in 2018-19. It increased to 5.08% from 4.4% in the previous year. There is a consistent increase in share of exports to China in recent years.
Slight improvement in Balance of Trade with China
- In 2018-19, the total Imports from China amounted to ? 4.92 lakh crores, whereas the exports to China were only ? 1.17 Lakh crores i.e. the imports are more than 4 times more than the exports to China.
- India has a deficit Balance of Trade with China i.e. the Imports are more than the exports. The increase in exports to China and the fall in Imports in 2018-19, is reflected in the improved BoT (Balance of Trade) in 2018-19, which is a trade deficit of ? 3.75 lakh crores.
- The deficit has comparatively reduced compared to the previous year when it was Rs 4.06 lakh crores. However, the reduced deficit in 2018-19 is still higher than the deficit in each of the previous years from 2014-15 to 2016-17.
India’s share in China’s overall exports is less than 3%
- While the imports from China constitute a major share of India’s total imports, the same cannot be said with respect India’s share in China’s total exports.
- The value of goods which China exports to India is only 2.92% of their total exports in the year 2018.
- Further, India ranks 7th in 2018, among the countries which have the largest share of exports from China. USA with 19.3% of the exports has a significant share while the next largest export destination is Hongkong with 10.9% of the exports.
- Even though India’s share in China’s overall exports is less than 3%, this has been consistently increasing in the last few years. In 2014, India’s share was 2.22% which increased to 2.93% in 2018.
Electrical Machinery & Equipment form the major part of Imports from China
Out of the ? 4.92 lakh crores worth of imports from China in 2018-19, ? 1.44 lakh crores worth of imports is under the category ‘Electrical Machinery & Equipment’ i.e. nearly 30 %.
Second highest category of imports by value are under ‘Nuclear Reactors, Boilers etc.’ which account for ? 0.94 lakh crores in 2018-19. Organic Chemicals also account for a major portion of the total imports from China. The import of Iron & Steel fell over the last five years, but there is a slight increase in import of ‘Articles of Iron and Steel’.
India is more reliant on imports from China
As the data suggests, the imports from China form not just a major share of overall imports but are critical to certain sectors. A significant portion of these imports form the inputs and raw materials for various industries. Although there is fall in imports for certain commodities in 2018-19, it cannot be concluded if this is a one-off case or something that would continue.
There are around 1100 subcategories of commodities imported under 96 high level import categories. Many of these commodities are integral to Indian economy. Any decision on ban of such imports from China should consider various factors like their penetration at various levels, suitable substitutes to such products or raw material either internally or other countries. Otherwise, it could be catastrophic to our economy, specially at a time when we are fighting another crisis in the form of COVID-19.
It also needs to be noted that while India is heavily reliant on imports from China, the same is not true in the case of China. Even if India bans imports of many commodities, its impact is not going to be felt by China as exports to India form a meagre share of China’s total exports.
Current Affair 4:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
Recently, Recently, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee has reaffirmed that protesting peacefully, online or in person, is a fundamental human right.
This statement has come in the backdrop of increasing demonstrations over issues like political rights and racial justice.
Latest Interpretation of the Right to Peaceful Assembly:
- Fundamental Human Right for People: To gather to celebrate or to air grievances in public and in private spaces, outdoors, indoors and online is a fundamental human right.
- Protesters: Everyone, including children, foreign nationals, women, migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees, can exercise the right of peaceful assembly.
- Protection: Protesters have the right to wear masks or hoods to cover their face and that Governments should not collect personal data to harass or intimidate participants.
- Role of Journalists and Human Rights Observers: They have the right to monitor and document any assembly, including violent and unlawful ones.
- Government Obligations:
- Governments could not prohibit protests by making “generalized references to public order or public safety, or an unspecified risk of potential violence”.
- Governments cannot block internet networks or close down any website because of their roles in organizing or soliciting a peaceful assembly.
About International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.
- The ICCPR is a key international human rights treaty, providing a range of protections for civil and political rights.
- The ICCPR, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, are considered the International Bill of Human Rights.
- The ICCPR obligates countries that have ratified the treaty to protect and preserve basic human rights, such as: the right to life and human dignity; equality before the law; freedom of speech, assembly, and association; religious freedom and privacy; freedom from torture, ill-treatment, and arbitrary detention; gender equality; the right to a fair trial; right family life and family unity; and minority rights.
Current Affair 5:
What are pre-packs under IBC?
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has set up a committee to look into the possibility of including “pre-packs” under the current insolvency regime to offer faster insolvency resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), while maintaining business continuity and thereby preserving asset value and jobs.
- The Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (hereinafter referred to as Code) was enacted to provide timely and efficient resolution to the ever-growing stress assets in India.
- The main essence of the present code is a speedy procedure and its time-bound process. Therefore, the Code provides for strict timelines for completion of CIRP: if a corporate debtor is not resolved within this timeframe, it would have to be compulsorily liquidated.
- However, by way of judicial interpretation, certain periods, including the time taken during legal proceedings, have been excluded from the mandatory timelines prescribed under the Code.
- As a result, in most of the cases, the time limit prescribed by the code for completion Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) is exceeded. For example, as per the data available till December 2019, it took, on average, 394 days to successfully resolve 190 cases, which far exceeds the timeline of 330 days currently provided under the Code.
- It is pertinent to note that delay in resolution can cause serious detriment to the on-going concern of the corporate debtor impacting the realizing value of the assets. The need of the hour is the speedy and effective resolution which can be achieved by pre-pack.
Now, what is this Pre-Pack?
In a pre-pack, “a troubled company and its creditors conclude an agreement in advance of statutory administration procedures” which “allows statutory procedures to be implemented at maximum speed. “In other words, pre-pack means a corporate rescue of the business of corporate debtor i.e. its trade and enterprise value. Therefore, the purpose of pre-pack is to strike down a balance between safeguarding the interest of the creditor(s) and maintaining the business and assets of the corporate debtor by facilitating a swift transition of such assets and business.
Now, don’t go for anything else. This is enough. Once the committee publish its report about Pre-Pack, we will learn more.<< Previous Next >>