UPSC Prelims News of 22 November 2022
Context: The US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke about friendshoring on a trip to Toronto.
- Friendshoring is a strategy where a country brings in the raw materials, components and even manufactured goods from countries that share its values.
- The term has evolved from similar terms such as “reshoring” or “onshoring” (making products at home) and “nearshoring” (making products closer to home).
- Apart from geopolitical and security risks, friendshoring will also reduce the reliance on manufacturers whose human rights values clash with its own.
- While countries do not necessarily choose their production from a list of allied countries, they have now started to consider geopolitical conditions before making decisions.
- Ex: China’s zero-COVID policy has caused major disruptions to global companies operating there.
Implications of Friendshoring:
- Friendshoring practice can make products more expensive.
- The practice could further divide the world into West and East. Developing countries will have to face the consequences of increasing costs.
- Friendshoring practice may push the world towards a more isolated place for trade and reverse the gains of globalisation.
Qatar-China Gas Deal
Context: QatarEnergy has announced a 27-year natural gas supply deal with China.
More on the News:
- Under the deal, Qatar will send four million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually from its new North Field East project to China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation.
- Qatar is the world’s largest supplier of LNG and China is the world’s largest LNG importer.
- Asian countries such as China, Japan and South Korea are the main market for Qatar’s gas.
- North Field project:
- North Field is critical for Qatar’s expansion of its liquefied natural gas production by more than 60% to 126 million tonnes a year by 2027.
- China is the first country to seal a deal for North Field East and has also asked for full share of the North Field South project.
- LNG is methane, or methane mixed with ethane, devoid of impurities and cooled to approximately -160°C. This converts the gas into a liquid, which takes up 600 times less space.
- At its destination, liquid is turned back into a gas and used for heating, cooking and power.
- Features LNG:
- LNG is colorless, odorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive.
- LNG is not explosive and cannot ignite during its liquid stage.
- Creation of LNG terminals are required to offload it and turn it back into gas form.
- LNG is least environmentally harmful fossil fuel because it has the lowest CO2 emission.
Framework for Safeguarding Consumers from Fake Reviews
Context: The Department of Consumer Affairs has launched the framework for safeguarding and protecting consumer interest from fake and deceptive reviews in e-commerce.
- Aim: To safeguard and protect consumer interest from fake and deceptive reviews on e-commerce platforms.
- Framework was prepared by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
- Indian Standard (IS) 19000:2022 ‘Online Consumer Reviews — Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication.
- It will be applicable to every online platform which publishes consumer reviews.
- Guiding principles are integrity, accuracy, privacy, security, transparency, accessibility and responsiveness.
- Applicability: The standard will initially be voluntary for compliance by all e-commerce platforms.
- Once made mandatory, the violation of the standards by any entity may be considered as an unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights and a consumer may submit such grievances to the National Consumer Helpline, Consumer Commissions or the CCPA.
- The standard is expected to benefit all stakeholders in the e-commerce ecosystem i.e., consumers, e-commerce platforms, sellers etc.
- It will help usher in confidence among consumers to purchase goods online and help them take better purchase decisions.
Context: The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has been closely watching the volcano on the Barren Island to check for signs of an eruption.
About the Barren Island:
- Location: Barren Island is an island located in the Andaman Sea.
- It is a part of the Indian Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and lies about 138 km (86 mi) northeast of the territory’s capital, Port Blair.
- Type: It is a stratovolcano composed of lava, rock fragments, and volcanic ash.
- Significance: It is the only confirmed active volcano in the Indian subcontinent, and the only active volcano along a chain of volcanoes from Sumatra to Myanmar.
- This volcanic island stands in the midst of a volcanic belt on the edge of the Indian and Burmese tectonic plates.
- It is the northern-most volcano in the Indonesian arc.
- On the west side of the island is a caldera formed by an explosive eruption in the Pleistocene era.