Author: Amit Bhardwaj

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March 2017
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Solar Panel Dispute: India and WTO Global Groupings

WTO Ruling against India

  1. WTO ruled against India’s imposition of local content requirements in its solar power programme.
  2. India will appeal against this ruling in the dispute which was raised by the US.
  3. WTO members are not supposed to insist on national content requirements and provide “national” treatment under which imports must be treated at par with domestic products.
  4. India maintains the ruling shall not affect its solar power programme or ‘Make in India’ initiative.

India’s Patent Performance

  1. Of the total patent applications filed annually in India only 28% are by Indians and only 3% of the patents granted are actually commercialised.
  2. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi top the chart.
  3. Year-on-Year increase in filing patents is a paltry 15%.
  4. Complex process and commercialisation aspects hold back even the foreign firms from filing the patents in India.
e-waste problem in India & world Conservation & Mitigation

India’s Growing E-waste: A Fact Sheet

  1. As Indians grow richer and spend more on electronic items, more outmoded gadgets are being thrown away leading to a 20% increase in e-waste every year.
  2. India is home to 900 million mobile phone users and is the fastest growing smart phone market in the world. The sale of other electronic items is rising 15% every year.
  3. In 2011 India created rules for its safe recycling still 90% of it is being dealt by unorganised industry operating from slums and shanty towns in major cities.
BBC
Payments Banks Revolution in India Finance and Banking

Licence to payment banks

  1. RBI gave in-principle nod to eleven entities including Reliance Industries Ltd, Tech Mahindra Ltd and The Department of Posts to launch a payments bank.
  2. Payments banks will not lend money but will provide basic savings, deposit, payment, and remittance services.
  3. They will play a key role in reaching the unbanked half of India’s population.

Lobsters are marching North. Why?

  1. Climate change is driving many US lobstermen out of business as the lobster population has crashed to record levels.
  2. Responding to the warming oceans, the species is moving towards the poles.
  3. It is a clear indication of how climate change may be altering the natural range of many animals and plants.

NALSAR goes the Oxford way!

  1. The National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) has become the first in the country to drop the gender honorifics from its grade sheets following the tradition of Oxford University.
  2. The move is an acknowledgement of struggles for gender fluidity.
  3. Gender cannot be a measure to assess one’s abilities asserted the NALSAR convener terming the decision to be a progressive step towards inclusion.

Organic Farming: Countering the Unsustainable

  1. The Committee on Estimates recommends formulation of national policy on organic farming and establishment of Organic Finance and Development Corporation.
  2. Chemical based farming has lead to soil degradation, toxic farm products, groundwater contamination, adverse health effects and has precipitated agrarian distress.
  3. Organic farming can countermand the fallout of chemical farming and can generate employment and reduce farm subsidy.

Santhara: The Law and the Religion

  1. What is ‘Santhara’ ? The centuries-old Jain Practice of starving to death.
  2. Underlying Philosophy: Considered to be the truest form of ‘ahimsa’ or nonviolence, the fundamental tenet of Jainism.
  3. The issue: Rajasthan High Court ruled it to be henceforth treated as “suicide” punishable under law.
Steel Industry – Current challenges, National Steel Policy 2017, etc Infrastructure

India steels itself to face impact of yuan devaluation

  1. China’s central bank has followed up on Tuesday’s devaluation of the yuan by 1.9% with another 1% cut on Wednesday.
  2. This is so that Chinese manufactured products become cheaper in the world, and that demand for them increases compared to products from other countries.
  3. India has responded to this by increasing the import duty on certain steel products (that are imported from China) by 2.5%
Indian Heritage & Culture Indian Culture

Clamour for bringing back Amaravati relics from U.K.

  1. What are the “Amravati relics”?
  2. They are a collection of over 120 masterpieces and artefacts of Buddhist sculptures on display in the British Museum in London.
  3. They were excavated by the British and shipped to the UK from Madras in the 1850s.
  4. Why the clamour?
  5. Andhra Pradesh government wants to attract world tourists to Amaravati, its new capital area, by showcasing its Buddhist heritage.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) Finance and Banking

[op-ed snap] Circumventing the Rajya Sabha

  1. The govt is in policy paralysis right now because of the Opposition’s obstructionist approach in the Rajya Sabha.
  2. Govt does not have a majority in RS.
  3. So, the Finance Minister has indicated that most of the crucial bills which go to the Rajya Sabha be branded as money bills.
  4. Why? Rajya Sabha has little authority to prevent money bills from being rejected.
  5. But the Rajya Sabha should not be deprived of its legitimate rights through legislative stratagems.

What do you think? What are the moral and ethical dilemmas and what could be the political consequences of this manoeuvre?

What is SITA?

  1. The SITA (Supporting India’s Trade and Investment Preferences for Africa) is a project to explore the untapped potential of Indo-African trade.
  2. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is the implementation partner for the project in India.
  3. The CII has received proposals for five projects in East African countries under the SITA.
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