26 October, 2019

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Context :

USA claiming to remove the developing country status for India, China and South Korea .

South Korea has said that it will no longer seek special treatment reserved for developing countries by the World Trade Organization in future negotiations given its enhanced global economic status.


South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, has maintained its developing country status as a member of the WTO since the body’s creation in 1995, mainly to guard its agriculture industry.

Who are the developing countries in the WTO?

There are no WTO definitions of “developed” and “developing” countries. Members announce for themselves whether they are “developed” or “developing” countries.

However, other members can challenge the decision of a member to make use of provisions available to developing countries.

USA has it's own definition of Developing country. It calls a country developed if it satisfies any one of the following criteria:

A. If it is a member of OECD.
B. Member of G20
C. If it has global share of exports more than 0.5%

What are the advantages of “developing country” status?

Developing country status in the WTO brings certain rights.

Developing country status ensures special and differential treatment (S&DT) or provisions which allow them more time to implement agreements and commitments, include measures to increase trading opportunities, safeguard their trade interests, and support to build capacity to handle disputes and implement technical standards.

US demands :

For sometime now, developed countries, mainly the US, have been asking the WTO to end the benefits being given to developing countries.

Nearly two-thirds of the members of the World Trade Organization(WTO) have been able to avail themselves of special treatment and to take on weaker commitments under the WTO framework by designating themselves as developing countries.


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UNEP Colombo Declaration


UN Environment Programme (UNEP)member states recently adopted the “Colombo Declaration” which calls for tackling global nitrogen challenge.


The Colombo Declaration has been developed with the technical support of the International Nitrogen Management System (INMS), a joint activity of the UNEP and the International Nitrogen Initiative supported by the Global Environmental Facility.

The aim is to halve nitrogen waste by 2030.

A campaign on sustainable nitrogen management called “Nitrogen for Life” is to be launched.
It stems from the Sustainable Nitrogen Management Resolution which was adopted during the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly held from 11 – 15 March 2019 at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Declaration calls upon UN agencies, other international organizations, development partners, philanthropic agencies, academic and civil society organizations to support its implementation.

It also urges countries to conduct a comprehensive assessment on nitrogen cycling covering policy, implementation, regulation, and scientific aspects at a national level plus sensitize the citizens to understand the natural nitrogen cycle and how human impacts alter its balance.

Why ?

While a critical element for building structures of living organisms and an essential element for the survival of all living things, nitrogen overuse has negative impacts on the planet, biodiversity and is a contributor to the climate crisis.

How Nitrogen is a pollutant?

Nitrogen is an inert gas that’s necessary for life. But we’re changing it into forms that are harmful, overloading the environment with it, and throwing the natural nitrogen cycle out of whack.

Nitrogen compounds running off farmland have led to water pollution problems around the world, while nitrogen emissions from industry, agriculture and vehicles make a big contribution to air pollution.

Over 80% of the nitrogen in soil is not utilised by humans. While over four-fifths of the nitrogen is used to feed livestock, only about six per cent reaches humans in case of non-vegetarian diet, as compared to the 20% that reaches the plate of a vegetarian.

Nitrogen becomes a pollutant when it escapes into the environment and reacts with other organic compounds. It is either released into the atmosphere, gets dissolved in water sources such as rivers, lakes or groundwater, or remains in the soil. While it might lead to favourable growth of species that can utilise this nutrient, nitrogen as a pollutant is often detrimental to the environment and health.

According to the World Health Organization, nitrate-contaminated drinking water can cause reduced blood function, cancer and endemic goiters. Surplus inputs of nitrogen compounds have been found to cause soil acidification. The lowering pH, as a result of the acidification, can lead to nutrient disorders and increased toxicity in plants. It may also affect natural soil decomposition.

Source: PIB

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The IndiGen Genome project is conducted by CSIR.
It is a whole genome sequencing project.

The initiative was implemented by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.


The outcomes of the IndiGen will have applications in a number of areas including predictive and preventive medicine with faster and efficient diagnosis of rare genetic diseases.

The data will be important for building the knowhow, baseline data and indigenous capacity in the emerging area of Precision Medicine.

Advantages :

A. It will sequence the Gene which hides the information on susceptibility to attain a disease.
B. Treatment of cancer, heart strokes and other diseases.
C. Personalised medicine vis a vis faster treatment process and less Out Of Pocket expenditure.
D. More research on understanding the gene functioning


A. It can breach the ethical standards fixed in the development of pluripotent stem cells.

B. It can also cause personalised biological attacks by anyone who has the access of your gene sequence.

C. Can also lead to breach of Right to Privacy which is also a fundamental right.

About Genomics for Public Health in India (IndiGen) programme:

IndiGen programme aims to undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.

The objective is to enable genetic epidemiology and develop public health technologies applications using population genome data.

Why Genome sequencing?

Ever since the human genome was first sequenced in 2003, it opened a fresh perspective on the link between disease and the unique genetic make-up of each individual.

Nearly 10,000 diseases — including cystic fibrosis, thalassemia — are known to be the result of a single gene malfunctioning.

While genes may render some insensitive to certain drugs, genome sequencing has shown that cancer too can be understood from the viewpoint of genetics, rather than being seen as a disease of certain organs.


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