The Hindu Newspaper Analysis for UPSC
- Iran will nudge India towards reviving its procurement of discounted Iranian sweet crude during a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi that is likely to take place this Friday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand.
- The question of India’s oil imports from Iran, which were cancelled in 2018-19, and the next stage of Chabahar port development are expected to be on the agenda for bilateral talks.
- Its participation in the SCO summit is a clear signal of pursuing multi-alignment with its partners worldwide.
- In his book The India Way, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar offers a critique of India’s traditional policy of “non-alignment” where he distinguishes between the “optimistic non-alignment” of the past, which he feels has failed, that must give way to more realistic “multiple engagements of the future”.
- By announcing his visit to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan this week (September 15 and 16), Prime Minister Narendra Modi has certainly spoken with his feet, as have the other leaders attending the event, at a time when lingering strains of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian war in Ukraine, the upcoming Chinese Party Congress (in October), and floods in Pakistan could well have given them reason to hold the summit virtually — as they have for the past two years.
- the Uzbekistan SCO summit will host a full house: 15 leaders including eight member states from four Central Asian States, China, India, Pakistan and Russia, the observer states: Belarus, Mongolia and Iran (which will become member this year) — Afghanistan is not invited — and leaders of guest countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Turkmenistan.
- India’s membership of the SCO and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) against its membership of the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, the U.S.), groups such as the I2U2 ( India-Israel-U.S.-UAE), and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
- Next year, India will host the SCO summit, and is expected to invite all members — this includes Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif — showing how far New Delhi will be willing to go in its commitment to the SCO.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):
- SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.
- It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organization aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
- It was created in 2001. The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.
- Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.
- Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders.
- Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organization in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.
- India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
- On 17th September, 2021, it was announced that Iran would become a full member of the SCO.
- The recent report of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), ‘Why India Needs to Urgently Invest in its Patent Ecosystem?’, highlights the significance of a robust patent system for a knowledge economy and for the promotion of technological innovations.
- It highlights the rising share of residents in the total number of patent applications filed in India, which has more than doubled during the last decade. And, for the first time, the number of patent applications by residents has surpassed that of foreign applications during the last quarter of the financial year 2021-22.
- A major concern expressed in the EAC-PM report is the long pendency of processing patent applications in India.
- Since the adoption of the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy 2016, a lot of emphasis has been attached to the filing of patent applications.
- The GII is launched by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.
- India has climbed two spots and has been ranked 46thin the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2021 rankings.
- India has shot up from a rank of 81 in 2015 to 46 in 2021.
- The guilt complex associated with making money has long since disappeared from the nation’s conscience.
- Corporate India receives a reservoir of trust, goodwill and confidence from the nation and must return it in equal measure.
- Mahatma Gandhi’s insight that “what we need is not mass production, but production by the masses” must be an enlightened vision of Indian business.
- The reality is that much of India’s blue-collar employment is generated in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and in its sprawling gig economy.
- The result is that India has not been able to create a McDonald’s or KFC to bring Indian food to the world stage as a global business in scale and sophistication.
- A quarter of a century ago, Taiwanese SMEs were selling cotton shirts, plastic flowers and wooden toys. Today, they are producing memory chips and laptops and assembling smartphones.
- India will hold over 200 G-20-related meetings across the country during its presidency of the grouping that will begin on December 1, 2022 and continue till November 30, 2023.
- The G-20 Leaders’ Summit will be held in New Delhi on September 9 and 10 in 2023, and Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the UAE will be the “guest countries” at the event, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on September 13.
- “India is currently part of the G-20 Troika [current, previous and incoming G20 presidencies] comprising Indonesia, Italy and India. During our Presidency, India, Indonesia and Brazil would form the troika.
- G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the U.K., the U.S. and the European Union (EU).
Attorney General Of India
- S/he is the top legal officer in the country & part of Union Excecutive.
- S/he is not considered as a government servant.
- Assisted by 2 Solicitor Generals & 4 Additional Solicitor Generals.
- Under the Constitution of India, Article 76 deals with for Attorney General of India & Article 165 for Advocate General of States.
- Qualified to be appointed as Supreme Court judge.
- Citizen of India.
- Judge of High Court (HC) for 5 years/advocate HC for 10 years/eminent jurist President’s opinion.
- Tenure: Not fixed.
- Appointment: By President on Government advice.
- Advise Government on legal matters.
- Perform legal duties assigned by President.
- Appear on behalf of Government in all cases in SC or HC.
- Represent Government under Article 143 (Power of President to consult SC).
- Discharge functions conferred by Constitution or law.
- Right to Speak & take part in proceedings of both Houses of Parliament/joint sitting/any committee of Parliament of which he/she may be named a member.
- Enjoys privileges & immunities of a member of Parliament.
- Not a Government servant & not debarred from private legal practice.
- No Right to Vote in House proceedings/committees.
- Should not advise against or hold a brief against Government.
- Should not defend accused persons in criminal prosecutions without the permission of the Government of India.
- Should not accept appointment as a director in any company or corporation without the permission of the Government of India.
- Holds office during President’s pleasure & can be removed by President at any time.
- No grounds for removal or procedure mentioned in Constitution.
- Twenty-six drugs, including the common gastrointestinal medicines ranitidine and sucralfate, have been excluded from the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), 2022, released on Tuesday by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
- The first NLEM was compiled in 1996 and was revised thrice in 2003, 2011, and 2015.
- As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), Essential Medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population.
- The list is made with consideration to disease prevalence, efficacy, safety and comparative cost-effectiveness of the medicines.
- Such medicines are intended to be available in adequate amounts, inappropriate dosage forms and strengths with assured quality.
- They should be available in such a way that an individual or community can afford them.
- The WHO Essential Medicines List (EML) is a model list. The decision about which medicines are essential remains a national responsibility based on the country’s disease burden, priority health concerns, affordability concerns etc.
- It is a joint forum of the Centre and the states which was set up by the President as per Article 279A (1) of the amended Constitution.
- the Union Finance Minister (chairperson), the Union Minister of State (Finance) from the Centre.
- Each state can nominate a minister in-charge of finance or taxation or any other minister as a member.
- The Council, according to Article 279, is meant to “make recommendations to the Union and the states on important issues related to GST, like the goods and services that may be subjected or exempted from GST, model GST Laws”.
- The current fall in prices is attributed primarily to a weak Chinese demand and the European energy crisis, along with high inflation and an import glut, among other things.
- While the unremitting zero COVID strategy in China, which consumes about 42% of the global volume, has cost the industry dearly, analysts have also flagged the acceleration of imports.
- The domestic tyre industry, according to them, is sitting pretty on an ample inventory, especially in the form of block rubber from the Ivory Coast and compounded rubber from the Far East.
- India is currently the world’s fifth largest producer of natural rubber while it also remains the second biggest consumer of the material globally. (About 40% of India’s total natural rubber consumption is currently met through imports)
- Natural rubber is a polymer of isoprene, an organic compound.
- Rubber is a coherent elastic solid obtained from the latex of a number of tropical trees of which Hevea brasiliensis is the most important.
- Rubber trees have an economic life period of around 32 years in plantations.
- The trees demand well-drained and well-weathered soils.
- Lateritic type, alluvial, sedimentary types, and non lateritic red soils are best for the growth of these trees.
Precipitation and Temperature:
- An evenly distributed rainfall with at least 100 rainy days a year and a temperature range of about 20 to 34°C are optimum conditions for the growth of the Hevea rubber tree.
- A humidity of around 80%, 2000 hours of sunshine, and absence of strong winds are also necessary for the best results.
What is a windfall tax?
- Windfall taxes are designed to tax the profits a company derives from an external, sometimes unprecedented event — for instance, the energy price-rise as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. These are profits that cannot be attributed to something the firm actively did, like an investment strategy or an expansion of business.
- The Central government on July 1, introduced a windfall profit tax of ₹23,250 per tonne on domestic crude oil production, which was subsequently revised fortnightly four times so far.
- Sithraman explained the introduction of the windfall tax as a way to rein in the “phenomenal profits” made by some oil refiners who chose to export fuel to reap the benefits of skyrocketing global prices which affected domestic supplies.
Mains Practice Question:
Q) “India’s greatest national treasure is its people especially women and children but even after 75 years of independence, a majority of them do not get the required diet to meet their nutritional needs”. Explain (250 words)
“भारत का सबसे बड़ा राष्ट्रीय खजाना इसके लोग हैं, खासकर महिलाएं और बच्चे, लेकिन आजादी के 75 साल बाद भी, उनमें से अधिकांश को अपनी पोषण संबंधी जरूरतों को पूरा करने के लिए आवश्यक आहार नहीं मिलता है”। समझाएं (250 शब्द)
- A Child’s nutritional status is directly linked to their mother. Poor nutrition among pregnant women affects the nutritional status of the child and has a greater chance to affect future generations.
- Undernourished children are at risk of underperforming in studies and have limited job prospects.
- This vicious cycle restrains the development of the country, whose workforce, affected mentally and physically, has reduced work capacity. India’s family planning programme has improved access to contraceptives.
- This has led to a reduction in the Total Fertility Rate from 4 in 1990-92 to 2.0 in 2019-21, according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
- According to NFHS-5 and the 2022 report by the United Nations Population Fund, there is a rise in adolescent childbearing in some States such as Tripura and Meghalaya.
- While there has been some progress in tackling malnutrition among children and women over the past decade, the improvement has been modest at best.
- While there was some reduction in stunting rates (35.5% from 38.4%in NFHS-4) 13 States or Union Territories have seen an increase in stunted children since NFHS-4;this includes Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Kerala.
- India also has the highest prevalence of anemia in the world(Anemia is defined as the condition in which the number of red blood cells or the hemoglobin concentration within them is lower than normal).
- The NFHS-5 survey indicates that more than 57% of women (15-49 years) and over 67% children (six-59 months) suffer from anemia.
- Monoculture agricultural practices: While foodgrain production has increased over five times since Independence, it has not sufficiently addressed the issue of malnutrition.
- Poverty: Though poverty alone does not lead to malnutrition, it affects the availability of adequate amounts of nutritious food for the most vulnerable populations.
- Lack of sanitation and clean drinking water: Lack of potable water, poor sanitation, and dangerous hygiene practices increase vulnerability to infectious and water-borne diseases, which are direct causes of acute malnutrition.
- Migration: Seasonal migrations have long been a livelihood strategy for the poorest households in India, as a means to access food and money through casual labour.
- There is a greater need now to increase investment in women and children’s health and nutrition to ensure their sustainable development and improved quality of life.
- While the Government’s focus has been on the consolidation of several programmes to improve outcomes, there is a need for increased financial commitment.