Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 23rd October 2021

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1.  India-UK Relations

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II –  International Relations
Sub Theme:  India -UK relations | UPSC

Context: UK Foreign secretary made a visit to India and called India-UK relation vital for coming decades.

Background of India-UK relations: 

  • Both Nations share a 500 years long history of colonial period.
  • Post-independence, India and UK had cordial relations despite having bitter colonial relations.
  • Relations were weak during the cold war, however, rise of globalisation in India and expansion of economic trade brought both these nations closure.
  • Defense relations and aspects of commonwealth were regular in the bilateral relation.
  • UK’s close relations to capitalist USA at one hand and India over reliance on Russia brought small hiccups in the relations.

Need of each other:

  • India is the third largest economy in the world (at purchasing power parity exchange rates).
    As its economy is transformed, its political, military and cultural power is also likely to increase, elevating India to a 21st Century superpower.
  • Post Brexit UK is looking for building partnerships bilaterally.
  • India can also get help from the UK for control strategies, export of medical oxygen, resilient medical supply chains, etc. to control COVID crisis.
  • British Council report suggests great opportunities for India and the UK if they engage in a stronger relationship.
  • Indian Diaspora is gaining on both sides with employment opportunities and contribution to economies.
  • India is looking for new defence partners given the changing dynamics in the neighbours and beyond.
  • Both nations share common ground on international issues like climate change or Terrorism.
  • Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at 15.5 billion USD in 2019-20
  • 1.5 million people of Indian origin live in Britain.
  • UK is the 4th largest inward investor in India.
  • India was  the third-largest investor in the UK and emerged as the second-largest international job creator.

India-UK Relations – Investment 

  • UK is the 4th largest inward investor in India,
  • India was  the third-largest investor in the UK

Educational Relations between India and UK

  • The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) was launched in 2005 with a focus on higher education and research, schools and professional and technical skills
  • Joint Working Group on Education, Newton-Bhabha Fund and Scholarship schemes are some other educational initiatives by the two countries for maintaining the bilateral relationship

Cultural Links between India and the United Kingdom

  • India and UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation in July 2010
  • The Nehru Centre (TNC), established in 1992 in London, is the cultural outreach of the High Commission of India in UK. It organises a wide range of cultural functions at its premises.

Defence exercises like Konkan Shakti, Passage exercises, Ajeya Warrior, Himalaya Warrior etc.

Issue of BTIA

  • India has been trying to finalize the BTIA – (Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement) with EU.
  • The EU wanted duty reductions on automobiles, wines and spirits and wanted India to open financial sectors such as banking and insurance, postal, legal, accountancy, maritime and security and retail.
  • India, as always, sought free movement for service professionals.
  • The same obstacles with post-Brexit Britain will arise, because the export profile of both countries is predominantly services oriented.
  • In response to free movement for professionals, Britain will refer to its new points-based system for immigrants.
  • After withdrawing from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, India is cautious about negotiating any new trade agreement, and will place greater stress on aspects related to country of origin and percentage of value addition in exports.
  • So, India and UK might finalize a trade agreement which cover limited items covering pharmaceuticals, financial technology, chemicals, defense production, petroleum and food products.

Challenges in India UK relations

  1. Issues associated with Brexit: 
    • Impact on Indian Companies: There are more than 800 Indian companies in the UK their trade ties with the EU impacted directly.
    • Stagnancy in the relations: For the past five years India-UK relations are stagnant due to Britain’s Brexit.
  2. Impact of illegal migrants: There are more than 1 lakh of illegal Indian immigrants in the UK.
  3. The closeness of the UK to Pakistan and China: Few Indian observers view the UK as overly sympathetic to Pakistan. Similarly, Parliamentary Inquiry Report highlighted that India will face strict and tough visa norms than China. This closeness of the UK to China and Pakistan make India UK relations a distant one.
  4. Cairn Energy issue: future investments from the UK to India demands timely and logical settlement of the Industrial dispute.
  5.  Pro-USA stance of UK
  6. Influence of Labour Party on bilateral relations: The Labour Party in Britain still have hardcore policies and ideals of British India. They even protest on many occasions against India’s interest. For example,
    • The recent protests at the Indian High Commission in London over the Article 370 move in Jammu and Kashmir, and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
    • The UK’s concerns about the farmers’ protests
  1. Both India and UK should negotiate a free trade deal which should include,
    • Timely and logical settlement of the Industrial dispute between both the nations.
    • The agreement should facilitate enhancement of bilateral trade
    • A detailed assessment from time to time to improve the trade ties without waiting for another FTA.
  2. The UK should live up to its commitment to the extradition of Indian fugitives.
  3. The UK should take care for ensuring stronger ties with China and Pakistan are not at the expense of a deeper partnership with India.
  4. Both India and the UK can improve their bilateral relationship by
    • Improving security and defence cooperation,
    • Conducting joint exercises of Military
    • Collaborate with each other in reforming multilateral institutes such as WTO reforms, UN reforms, etc.

2.  Bengal can’t bar CBI from probing crimes in State, Centre tells SC 

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II –   Centre-state relations
Sub Theme: CBI | Bengal | UPSC

Context: The Union Government told the Supreme Court that West Bengal Government does not have any “absolute” power to keep the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from investigating crimes inside the State. The Union Government, through the Department of Personnel and Training, was responding to a suit filed by the West Bengal Government against the Union of India under Article 131 of the Constitution. West Bengal has challenged the CBI’s jurisdiction to register FIRs and conduct investigations in the State in myriad cases.

Providing and Withdrawal of Consent given to CBI by State Government (Section 6)

  • The issue of providing consent or even withdrawal of consent to CBI to investigate any case specific to state jurisdiction has arose in the past.
  • This is done by state as per Section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. The general consent is necessary for CBI as the jurisdiction of the CBI and other agencies covered under Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 is confined to Delhi and Union Territories.
  • Earlier, state government of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal had withdrawn the “general consent” given to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate cases of corruption in the state.
  • Section 6 – Consent of State Government to exercise of powers and jurisdiction — Nothing contained in section 5 shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a State, not being a Union territory or railway area, without the consent of the Government of that State.

ARTICLE 131 – ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OF SUPREME COURT

  • Article 131 of the Constitution confers original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court of India to deal with disputes involving legal rights.
  • Article 131 covers any dispute between:
  1. Government of India and one or more States; or
  2. Government of India and any State or States on one side and one or more other States on the other; or
  3. Two or more States

 

3.  Brahmos Missile

UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Science and Technology
Sub Theme: Brahmos Missile | UPSC

Brahmos

The name BrahMos is a combination of the names of Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers.

These missiles are designed, developed and produced by BrahMos Aerospace.

BrahMos Aerospace: A joint venture company set up by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Mashinostroyenia of Russia with 50.5% share of India and remaining of Russia.

This is the first supersonic cruise missile to enter service

A two-stage missile

First stage: solid propellant booster

Second stage: liquid ramjet

It can be fired from land, warships, submarines and Sukhoi-30 fighter jets (Air)

It is capable of attaining a speed of Mach 2.8 (almost three times the speed of sound)

The world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, BrahMos is a part of the arsenal of all three arms of the Indian defence forces – Army, Navy, and Air Force

Efforts to increase the speed and range of the missile in its next iterations are underway, with a goal of achieving hypersonic speeds (at or above Mach 5) and a maximum range of 1,500 km.

These types of systems are known as the ‘standoff range weapons’ which are fired from a range sufficient to allow the attacker to evade defensive fire from the adversary.

The versions of the BrahMos that are being tested have an extended range of around 400 kilometers, as compared to its initial range of 290 kilometers, with more versions of higher ranges currently under development.

A new manufacturing unit for the BrahMos missile is set to come up in the Uttar Pradesh Defence Corridor.

 

4.  India weighs ‘net zero’ target ahead of CoP 

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III –     Environment
Sub Theme:  India’s Net Zero Emissions  | UPSC

Context:

  • India has not entirely ruled out the possibility of agreeing to a “net zero” climate target, though it will not budge on demanding that developed nations make good their commitments, such as providing an annual $100 billion to developing countries for mitigating the impacts of climate change, facilitating technology transfer and putting in place a tangible market-based mechanism to activate the moribund carbon credit markets.

What Does It Mean to Reach Net-Zero Emissions?

  • Net-zero emissions will be achieved when all GHG emissions released by humans are counterbalanced by removing GHGs from the atmosphere in a process known as carbon removal.
  • First and foremost, human-caused emissions (such as those from fossil-fuelled vehicles and factories) should be reduced as close to zero as possible.
  • Any remaining GHGs should then be balanced with an equivalent amount of carbon removal, which can happen through things like restoring forests or using direct air capture and storage (DACS) technology. Reaching net-zero emissions is akin to achieving “climate neutrality.”
To avoid the worst climate impacts, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will need to drop by half by 2030 and reach net-zero around mid-century. Recognizing this urgency, a rapidly growing number of national government, local government and business leaders are making commitments to reach net-zero emissions within their jurisdictions or businesses. To date, over fifty countries have communicated such “net-zero targets,” including the world’s largest emitters (China and the United States). On top of that, hundreds more regions, cities and businesses have set targets of their own.

These numbers are climbing quickly, particularly because the U.N. Secretary General asked countries to come forward with net-zero targets. The U.N. High Level Climate Champions’ Race to Zero campaign also calls on regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society to submit plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 in advance of the United Nations climate negotiations (COP 26) in Glasgow in November 2021.

When Does the World Need to Reach Net-Zero Emissions?

  • Under the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to limit warming well below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), ideally to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F). Global climate impacts that are already unfolding under today’s 1.1 degrees C (2 degrees F) of warming — from melting ice to devastating heat waves and more intense storms — show the urgency of minimizing temperature increase.
  • In scenarios limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C, carbon dioxide (CO2) needs to reach net-zero between 2044 and 2052, and total GHG emissions must reach net-zero between 2063 and 2068. Reaching net zero earlier in the range avoids a risk of temporarily overshooting 1.5 degrees C. Reaching the top of the range almost guarantees surpassing 1.5 degrees C for some time before it eventually drops down.
  • In scenarios limiting warming to 2 degrees C, CO2 needs to reach net zero by 2070 (for a 66% likelihood of limiting warming to 2 degrees C) to 2085 (with a 50-66% likelihood). Total GHG emissions must reach net-zero by the end of the century or beyond.

What are the timelines to reach net-zero emissions to achieve the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals?                  

  • In scenarios limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C, carbon dioxide (CO2) needs to reach net-zero between 2044 and 2052, and total GHG emissions must reach net-zero between 2063 and 2068. Reaching net zero earlier in the range avoids a risk of temporarily overshooting 1.5 degrees C. Reaching the top of the range almost guarantees surpassing 1.5 degrees C for some time before it eventually drops down.
  • In scenarios limiting warming to 2 degrees C, CO2 needs to reach net zero by 2070 (for a 66% likelihood of limiting warming to 2 degrees C) to 2085 (with a 50-66% likelihood). Total GHG emissions must reach net-zero by the end of the century or beyond.

What Needs to Happen to Achieve Net-Zero Emissions?

Policy, technology and behaviour need to shift across the board. For example, in pathways to 1.5 degrees C, renewables are projected to supply 70-85% of electricity by 2050. Energy efficiency and fuel-switching measures are critical for transportation. Improving the efficiency of food production, changing dietary choices, halting deforestation, restoring degraded lands and reducing food loss and waste also have significant potential to reduce emissions.

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