AFA DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS ANALYSIS [AFADCAA]

PRELIMS

Gross Domestic Product of INDIA [GDP]:

  • Back casting, or reworking past national accounts statistics based on the latest base year, is a regular exercise that governments carry out. Mainly done to enable precise comparison and analysis, it is a difficult exercise prone to contestation as it involves the inclusion of newer data sources, exclusion of outdated ones and making some subjective assumptions in the process.
  • The data computed by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and released by the Niti Aayog show that India never really grew in double-digits in 2010-11, nor was it the high-growth economy in the five years preceding this as earlier thought to be.

ISRO’s “sharp eye”:

  • Workhorse launch vehicle PSLV(polar satellite launch vehicle)  C-43 injects Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite into space.
  • The PSLV, carrying 31 satellites on board soared in a trajectory crossing the path of the Sun and sped to inject India’s Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS), being dubbed ‘Sharp Eye’, towards the launcher’s intended first orbit.
  • The HysIS is an Earth Observation satellite primarily to assist in a wide range of applications in agriculture,
  • Since Mr. Trump became President last January oil exports from the U.S. to India have risen. In 2017, India imported 8 million barrels of American crude. Until this July it had imported more than 15 million barrels of U.S. crude.
  • America’s energy dominance ignore the interdependent nature of today’s global energy market, and of relations between states. 

 


 

MAINS

 


 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS

INTERNATIONAL:

US and India on Iranian oil imports:

Intro: The six-month waiver on sanctions granted by the U.S. to India and seven other countries importing oil from Iran highlights the importance of economic factors in the India-U.S. strategic partnership. The exemption also puts the spotlight on the link between economics and strategy.

  • The waiver shows that Washington and New Delhi will cooperate on India’s oil and gas needs. Indeed, their Strategic Energy Partnership (April 2018) sees energy cooperation serving “as a centerpiece in the bilateral relationship”. This is because the U.S. believes that it is the world’s leading producer of oil and gas.
  • The U.S. National Security Strategy of November 2017 highlighted the importance of “energy dominance — America’s central position in the global energy system as a leading producer, consumer, and innovator”. India should entertain no illusion about the Trump administration’s wish that it should open up as a key energy market for the U.S.
  • Since Mr. Trump became President last January oil exports from the U.S. to India have risen. In 2017, India imported 8 million barrels of American crude. Until this July it had imported more than 15 million barrels of U.S. crude.
  • America’s energy dominance ignore the interdependent nature of today’s global energy market, and of relations between states. 

 

 India needs the help of both the U.S. and Iran.

The U.S. is India’s main strategic partner. Indeed, American naval power is indispensable for preserving maritime freedom and security in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

But the strengthening of commercial and political ties with Iran has been an uphill climb.

Previous relationships between India and Iran:

  • In 2009, the International Atomic Energy Agency demanded that Iran stop uranium enrichment. India made it clear that it did not support Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions and voted against it.
  • At another level, India has had a bilateral trade deficit with Iran over many years. In 2017 it was $8.5 billion. India’s offer to pay for oil in rupees is unattractive to Iran. Tehran does not want to buy enough Indian goods to make acceptance of rupee payment for its oil worthwhile.
  • On the security front, India’s cooperation with Iran has to be seen against the broader context of its regional rivalries with Pakistan and China.
  • India and Iran share regional interests. They could build a strategic partnership focussing on Afghanistan, Central Asia and West Asia. Together with Russia and some other countries, they are signatories to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) agreement, using Iran as the trade route to Russia and northern Europe. INSTC transit routes enable India to bypass a hostile Pakistan by exporting goods via the sea.
  • That is why India has been developing the Chabahar port in southern Iran in a strategic bid to connect to Central Asia through Iran and Afghanistan. Chabahar provides war-torn Afghanistan a crucial link to Indian goods and Iranian oil. In December 2017, India made its first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan via the port.

Iran Opinion:

Iran is keenly interested in building the port. Control over Chabahar could put the ace card in its hands as it deals with the competition between China, India and Russia in South and Central Asia.

Conclusion: India remains opposed to Iran’s alleged efforts to acquire nuclear weapon capability. A nuclear Iran would disrupt the balance of power across West and Central Asia, with serious consequences for India’s economic and strategic interests. But a stronger relationship with Iran would increase India’s influence in West and Central Asia. That could help to counter China. And a friendly U.S. could then approach Iran on nuclear issues through India’s good offices. Despite Mr. Trump’s propensity for springing unpleasant surprises, India has, so far, walked the U.S.-Iran strategy-economics tightrope. It has a good chance of remaining on the tightrope.

 


 

International

Effect Of climate change:

Intro: The Lancet countdown on health and climate has reported that India was particularly affected by the rising frequency of heatwave events and lost about 75 billion hours of work, a significant part of it in the agricultural sector. This has worrying implications for rural employment and the well-being of a large section of the population that depends on farming.

  • The staggering loss of an estimated 153 billion hours of labour during 2017 due to rising temperatures around the globe is a reminder to governments that they are not doing enough to dramatically curb greenhouse gas emissions.
  • At stake for all countries in the developing world is the health of millions, many of them already vulnerable to extreme weather events. Coming on the eve of the UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland, the report of the Lancet panel for 2018 brings clarity, placing connected issues in perspective for governmental action.
  • It is vital that India gets more ambitious about cutting back on carbon emissions, even as it presses for the fulfilment of the climate finance obligations of developed countries under the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • A further reduction in the share of coal in the energy mix through sustained support for renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaics, must form the cornerstone of national policy.
  • There must be replacement of fossil fuels for transport, and the induction of more electric vehicles Such a policy would yield the parallel benefit of improving air quality; ambient air pollution led to the premature death of an estimated half a million people in India in 2015.
  • The consensus on climate change is that it has begun to affect the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. India’s approach to adaptation should, therefore, prepare for catastrophes with a well-considered plan to provide relief and rehabilitation.

Conclusion: If the Centre and State governments can arrive at a consensus on the strong climate link to the excessive rain in Kerala and Cyclone Gaja in Tamil Nadu, for instance, a case could be made for climate funds under the Paris Agreement. Such a claim has to be supported by a perspective plan that identifies vulnerable regions and communities, and incorporates transparent systems for funds utilization.

More on it: The importance of funds for adaptation is underscored by Lancet ’s finding that 99% of losses from climate-related events in low-income countries were not insured. From a public health perspective, the report sounds a warning that rising temperatures will enable the dengue virus and malaria to spread farther and faster. This is also true of some other infections. 

Paris agreement: On 12 December 2015, the participating 196 countries agreed, by consensus, to the final global pact, the Paris Agreement, to reduce emissions as part of the method for reducing greenhouse gas.

 


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