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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 10 November 2016

 

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 10 November 2016


 

Paper 2 Topic: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

 

SHOCK AND AWE WIN FOR DONALD TRUMP

 

Republican Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States. Mr. Trump is now the oldest person to be elected President.

  • Trump defeated Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton by garnering about 300 votes in the electoral college.
  • He did so by winning most of the “swing states,” despite losing the popular vote marginally to Ms. Clinton.

 

How the US election works?

All 50 US states and Washington DC have a set number of “electors” in the electoral college – roughly proportionate to the size of each state.

  • California, the largest state, has 55 electoral votes, while sparsely-populated Wyoming and tiny Washington DC only get only three each.
  • There are 538 electors and to win a majority and become president either candidate needs to accumulate 270 electors – half the total plus one.
  • Americans technically vote for electors, not the candidates themselves. The electors are state officials or senior party figures, but they are not usually named on the ballot.
  • The number of electors each state gets is also equal to the number of seats it has in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
  • All but two states – Maine and Nebraska – use a winner-takes-all system, so if you win the most votes in a state you take its entire haul of electoral college votes.
  • The key for either party to win the presidential election is to target specific battleground states. There are several swing states that over recent elections have gone both ways. They hold the key to winning the election.

 

swing-states-2016

What are swing states?

These states are called so because they swing between the Republicans and Democrats depending upon the election season. They do not have any one personal favourite party that they have been holding on to traditionally and have the potential to alter the course of the elections in favour or against either of the parties.

Swing states are largely determined through opinion polls and results of previous elections. In 2016, the states that are being regarded as swing states include, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Colorado, and North Carolina. These states can be divided into three categories:

  1. First, there are those states which over the years have kept oscillating between the parties. They include Ohio and Florida and these two states are crucial in making the final decision.
  2. Then there are those states which have traditionally been Republican but might be swinging in favour of Clinton on account of Trump’s unpopularity.
  3. Finally, there are some states which had been won over by Obama from the Republicans in 2008 and 2012 and Clinton would have to hold on to them lest they go back to the Republicans.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Improve ports, logistics to boost exports: WB

 

The World Bank has released a report titled ‘South Asia’s Turn: Policies to Boost Competitiveness and Create the Next Export Powerhouse’.

 

Important observations made by the report:

  • With the right set of productivity-enhancing policies, South Asia, led by India, could more than triple its share in global markets of electronics and motor vehicles and come close to doubling its already significant market share in wearing apparel (excluding textiles and leather) by 2030.
  • In the farm sector, passive and non-targeted subsidies (e.g. water, fertilisers and minimum support price) have encouraged farmers to continue to produce low value crops using low productivity and unsustainable techniques while restrictions on agricultural markets have constrained productive private investments in higher value food products.
  • The electronics sector faces constraints such as underdeveloped clusters and poor trade logistics, while the apparel sector is facing difficulties to import man-made fibre, preventing upgrading and diversification.
  • India remains behind on ‘global value chain’ capabilities including physical capital, human capital, institutions and logistics.

 

Suggestions made by the World Bank in its report:

It has suggested a set of policy actions in four sectors — agribusiness, apparel, electronics and automotive.

  • India must frame policies to reduce farm subsidies and cut import tariffs on cars and take steps to improve ports and logistics to emerge as an export powerhouse.
  • In order to enhance the business environment in the sector, the government needs to bring out reforms including reducing subsidies and promoting competition.
  • The government needs to improve target subsidies so that only the poor farmers are benefited because passive and non-targeted subsidies are not encouraging farmers to adopt new technologies and (seed) varieties.
  • The government should also consider gradually reducing tariffs on final cars, as the prevailing high import tariffs on the completely built units are slowing down diffusion of good practices.
  • To become a significant player in electronics, India needs to facilitate the development of clusters (reducing transaction costs and facilitating access to large pools of skilled labour and services) and improve its trade logistics to enable the seamless import and export of hundreds of components.
  • India needs to reform the duty drawback scheme to facilitate the import of fabrics for exports. The current system imposes delays that are unacceptable to global buyers, cutting Indian exporters from the increasingly important manmade fibre segment.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management

 

The 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress was recently held in New Delhi. It was attended by 900 participants from 60 countries.

  • Throughout the Congress, delegated discussed various aspects of access, conservation and use of agrobiodiversity.
  • Based on these deliberations, the delegates unanimously adopted the declaration at the concluding session.

 

Highlights of the declaration:

  • It calls upon nations to accord top priority to the agrobiodiversity conservation and their sustainable use towards achieving targets of SDGs relating to poverty alleviation, food and nutritional security, good health, gender equity and partnership.
  • It recognises the importance of traditional knowledge on agrobiodiversity of farm men and women, pastoralists and other tribal and rural communities and their central role in its conservation and use for a food and climate resilient world. The declaration, therefore, calls upon countries to develop the necessary funding, legal and institutional mechanism to ensure and facilitate their continued active participation.
  • It urges researchers and policy-makers to initiate, strengthen, and promote complementary conservation strategies to conserve and use agrobiodiversity including crop wild relatives in more dynamic way to ensure a continuum between ex situ, in situ and on farm conservation strategies to combat food and nutrition insecurity as well as adverse effects of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss.
  • It invites researchers to employ modern technologies including, but not limited to, genomic, space, computational, and nano-technologies for characterization, evaluation and trait discovery using genetic resources. The aim should be to achieve efficiency, equality, economy and environmental security in agricultural production systems and landscapes.
  • It reemphasises the necessity of global exchange of plant, animal, aquatic microbial and insect genetic resources for food and agriculture to meet the ever-growing food and nutritional needs of each country.
  • It strongly recommends that the governments and societies put grater emphasis on public awareness and capacity enhancement programs on agrobiodiversity conservation and use.
  • It also suggests developing and implementing an agrobiodiversity index to help monitor conservation and use of agrobiodiversity.
  • It urges public and private sector partnerships to actively invest in and incentivize the utilization of agrobiodiversity to address malnutrition, increase the resilience and productivity of farms, and enhance ecosystem services leading to equitable benefits and opportunities with particular emphasis on women and youth.
  • The UN is also urged to consider declaring soon a ‘Year of Agrobiodiversity’ to draw worldwide attention and to catalyze urgent action.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Competition Commission of India (CCI) selected to host ICN 2018 Annual Conference

 

Recognising the growing stature of Competition Commission of India (CCI) in the world, International Competition Network (ICN) has accepted the proposal and decided that Competition Commission of India would host the 2018 ICN Annual Conference. This will be held at Delhi in March –April 2018.

  • By virtue of this event, CCI has also been inducted as an ex-officio member of the steering group member of the ICN for a period of 3 years.  

 

About ICN:

ICN is an international body comprising 132 members from 120 competition jurisdictions exclusively devoted to international competition enforcement.

  • ICN provides competition authorities with a specialised yet informal platform for addressing practical competition concerns, sharing experiences and adopting international best practices.
  • Its members are national competition authorities and NGA (Non-governmental Advisers) which include reputed law firms, eminent persons, and think tanks of international repute.
  • The ICN holds an Annual Conference which is hosted by a member competition agency. The last such Conference was hosted by Competition Commission of Singapore in April 2016 and Portuguese Competition Authority is hosting the next conference in May 2017.
  • CCI is a member of the ICN since 2003.

 

About CCI:

Competition Commission of India is a body responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India. It was established on 14 October 2003. It became fully functional in May 2009.

  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
  • The duty of the Commission is to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Protocol amending the Double Taxation Amending Convention (DTAC) between India and Japan comes into force

 

A Protocol amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between India and Japan for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income which was signed on 11th December, 2015 has entered into force on 29th October, 2016 on completion of procedural requirements by both countries.

 

Key facts:

  • The Protocol amending the DTAC aims to promote transparency and cooperation between the two countries.
  • The Protocol provides for internationally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters including bank information and information without domestic tax interest.
  • It is further provided that the information received from Japan in respect of a resident of India can be shared with other law enforcement agencies with authorization of the Competent Authority of Japan and vice versa.
  • The Protocol provides for exemption of interest income from taxation in the source country with respect to debt-claims insured by the Government/Government owned financial institutions.
  • The Protocol also inserts a new article on assistance in collection of taxes. India and Japan shall now lend assistance to each other in the collection of revenue claims.

 

Background:

The existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between India and Japan was earlier signed on 7th March, 1989 and was notified on 1st March 1990. The DTAC was subsequently amended on 24th February, 2006.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

 

Government rolls out Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana for entrepreneurs

 

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has announced launch of Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana to scale up an ecosystem of entrepreneurship for youngsters.

 

Highlights of the scheme:

  • The scheme spans over five years (2016-17 to 2020-21) with a project cost of Rs 499.94 crore.
  • It will provide entrepreneurship education and training to over 7 lakh students in 5 years through 3,050 institutes.
  • It will also include easy access to information and mentor network, credit, incubator and accelerator and advocacy to create a pathway for the youth.
  • The institutes under the PM’s Yuva Yojana include 2,200 institutes of higher learning (colleges, universities, and premier institutes), 300 schools, 500 ITIs and 50 entrepreneurship development centres through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
  • MSDE has plans to disburse around Rs 7,000 crore to states to help align them with the Centre’s skill development agenda.

Sources: pib.


 

Facts for Prelims

 

Healthy India Initiative/Swastha Bharat-ek pehal:

  • It is a quarterly magazine launched recently by the government.
  • It will cater to health related information and will raise awareness about healthy living.
  • The magazine will cover different aspect of health: women and child health, elderly health, seasonal ailments, daily nutritional needs, safe medication practices, home remedies healthy living and many more.
  • The magazine will be made available at all the government facilities up to the sub-centre and will be available free of cost.
  • The current issue is in Hindi and English and the next version will be available in 13 other languages.

 

No More Tension:

  • It is stress management mobile application. It helps users to manage stress. It was recently launched by the government.
  • The main objective of ‘No More Tension’ is to provide information to users regarding stress such as, what is stress, effects, symptoms and its management.
  • The application allows the user to measure their stress level and learn various techniques like yoga and meditation to reduce stress from their lives.