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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

26 Dec, 2020

42 Min Read

India and Vietnam Relations for UPSC

GS-II : International Relations South East Asia

India and Vietnam Relations for UPSC

GS-PAPER-2 International Relation- Political science (Mains)

Context: Guided by ACT East Asia policy and Indo-Pacific strategy India is working towards EXTENDED NEIGHBOURHOOD. The role of Vietnam is very critical for India ranging from Strategic to Energy security. This topic is highly important for UPSC mains and Political science.

India and Vietnam signed seven pacts during their virtual summit, in areas such as defence, petrochemicals, and nuclear energy, and agreed to intensify their development partnership that will enable achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and develop capabilities to address climate change.

Memorandums of Understanding:

  • Specific agreement will cover USD 5 million Indian Grant Assistance for Army Software Park at National Telecommunications University, Nha Trang, Vietnam.
  • Both sides committed to promote bilateral cooperation between the “regulatory bodies of the two countries in the fields of radiation protection and nuclear safety.”
  • Agreements covered diverse areas such as IT, UN peacekeeping and cancer research.

Defence major area of cooperation:

India and Vietnam are an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The two sides will step up their military-to-military exchanges, training and capacity building programmes across the three services and coast guards and will intensify their defence industry collaboration building on India’s defence credit lines extended to Vietnam.

  • VINBAX is the military exercise between armies of India and Vietnam.
  • Both sides will engage more closely through institutionalized dialogue mechanisms in dealing with traditional and non-traditional security threats in cyber and maritime domains, terrorism, natural disasters, health security, water security, transnational crimes etc, including through enhanced legal and judicial cooperation, where required.
  • One such example is the successful implementation of the High Speed Guard Boat (HSGB) Manufacturing Project for Vietnam Border Guard Command under the US dollar 100 million Defence Line of Credit extended by the Government of India to Vietnam.

Terrorism: joint efforts in building a strong consensus for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).

South China Sea:

  • Both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, while pursuing the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • Both leaders further called for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety.

Both countries in the region:

  • Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN): To foster practical cooperation between ASEAN and India in the key areas and in line with the objectives and principles as stated in the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
  • UN Security Council: The two sides will actively promote reformed multilateralism to make international organizations, including the UN Security Council, more representative, contemporary and capable of dealing with current challenges.
  • Cooperation in the Post Pandemic Era: Acknowledging the new challenges as well as opportunities brought upon by Covid-19 pandemic, the two sides will work towards reliable, efficient and resilient supply chains, and will promote human-centric globalization.

Economic Cooperation:

  • New horizons for partnership created by India’s goal to become a US dollar 5 trillion economy by 2024 and Vietnam’s ambition to become a high-income economy by 2045 will be fully explored for all segments of economy, including blue economy, MSMEs and farming communities of the two countries.
  • India and Vietnam share a comprehensive strategic partnership. One great example of economic cooperation is completion of the Development Projects with Indian ‘Grant-in-Aid’ Assistance of US dollar 1.5 million for the benefit of the local community in Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan province.

Climate Change:

  • India advocated that Vietnam’s possible future participation in the International Solar Alliance would bring new opportunities for cooperation in large scale deployment of solar energy.
  • India looks forward to Vietnam’s joining the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure in the near future.
  • They agreed to expand the Mekong - Ganga Quick Impact Projects.

Cultural:

  • Both sides will actively cooperate to publish an Encyclopedia of India - Vietnam Cultural and Civilizational Relations to mark the 50th anniversary of India - Vietnam diplomatic relations in 2022.
  • The two sides will promote understanding and research of their shared cultural and civilizational heritage, including Buddhist and Cham cultures, traditions and ancient scriptures.
  • The traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Vietnam-Traditional Medicine share many common threads of rich knowledge of health.
  • Yoga has emerged as a symbol of peace and harmony and shared pursuit of spiritual wellbeing and happiness.
  • New Development Partnership projects in heritage conservation in Vietnam (F-block of Temple at My Son; Dong Duong Buddhist Monastery in Quang Nam and Nhan Cham Tower in Phu Yen) will be materialised.

People-to-People Exchange: By increasing direct flights, providing ease of travelling through simplified visa procedures and facilitating tourism.

Education: They will further strengthen and institutionalize linkages such as Parliamentary exchanges; relations between Indian States and Vietnamese Provinces; exchanges between social organisations and youth organizations; collaboration between educational institutions; engagement between think tanks; joint research programmes; and exchanges in media, film, TV shows and sports.

Conclusion

Act East Policy is the core of Indo-Pacific strategy and Vietnam is the core of Act East Asia Policy. The close relationship between the two countries is significant for the maintenance of strategic balance in South East Asia which is witnessing aggressive Chinese activities.

Keeping in mind the strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, primarily those posed by China, India and Vietnam should work in close coordination at multilateral institutions such as the UN Security Council, where both India and Vietnam are elected to be non-permanent members in 2021.

Source: PIB

IISER scientists identify the gene that greens plants

GS-III : S&T R&D

IISER scientists identify the gene that greens plants

GS Paper III S&T (Prelims 2021)

What is the news?

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) have identified a gene that facilitates in the greening of plants by playing a crucial role in regulating the levels of protochlorophyllide — an intermediate in the biosynthesis of the green pigment chlorophyll.
  • The study was recently published in the prestigious U.K. journal New Phytologist.

How is the synthesis of Chlorophyll?

  • The synthesis of chlorophyll in plants is a lengthy, multi­step process.
  • When a seedling emerges from under the soil it must quickly synthesise chlorophyll to start supporting its own growth.
  • In order to facilitate quick synthesis of chlorophyll, plants make a precursor of chlorophyll called ‘protochlorophyllide’ in the dark, which glows red when blue light is shone on the plant.
  • As soon as the plant comes out into the light from under the soil, light­dependent enzymes convert protochlorophyllide to chlorophyll.
  • Using genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques, the duo found a mechanism where two proteins oppositely regulate the ‘BBX11’ gene to maintain optimum levels of ‘BBX11’.
  • “If there is excess of free protochlorophyllide, then exposure to light converts it into molecules that cause ‘photobleaching’. Thus, it is very important to regulate the amount of protochlorophyllide synthesized by the plant and here comes the vital plant played by the ‘BBX11’ gene.

Source: TH

Three Farm Acts-Agriculture Protest and activism

GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture reforms

Three Farm Acts-Agriculture Protest and activism

GS-Paper-2-Paper-3 Agriculture Reforms (PT-MAINS)

On 27 September 2020, President his assent to the three 'Agriculture Bills' that were earlier passed by the Indian Parliament. These Farm Acts are as follows:

Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

Act: It creates a national framework for contract farming through an agreement between a farmer and a buyer before the production or rearing of any farm produces.

Provisions:

(a) Farming Agreement: The Act provides for a farming agreement between a farmer and a buyer prior to the production or rearing of any farm produce.

b) Minimum Period of Farming Agreement: The minimum period of the farming agreement shall be for one crop season or one production cycle of livestock.

(c) Maximum Period of Farming Agreement: The maximum period of the farming agreement shall be five years. It also states that if the production cycle of any farming produce is longer and may go beyond five years, the maximum period of farming agreement may be mutually decided by the farmer and the buyer and explicitly mentioned in the farming agreement.

d) Pricing of Farming Produce: The pricing of farming produce and the process of price determination should be mentioned in the agreement. For prices subjected to variation, a guaranteed price for the produce and a clear reference for any additional amount above the guaranteed price must be specified in the agreement.

(e) Settlement of Dispute: The Act provides for a three-level dispute settlement mechanism-- Conciliation Board, Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Appellate Authority.

Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020

Act: It permits intra and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce beyond the physical premises of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets and other markets notified under the state APMC Acts.

a) Trade of Farmers' Produce: The Act allows the farmers to trade in outside trade area such as farm gates, factory premises, cold storages, and so on. Previously, it could only be done in the APMC yards or Mandis.

(b) Alternative Trading Channels: It facilitates lucrative prices for the farmers via alternative trading channels to promote barrier-free intra-state and inter-state trade of agriculture produce.

(c) Electronic Trading: Additionally, it allows the electronic trading of scheduled farmers’ produce (agricultural produce regulated under any state APMC Act) in the specified trade area. It will also facilitate direct and online buying and selling of the agricultural produce via electronic devices and the internet.

(d) Market Fee Abolished: As per the Act, the State Governments are prohibited from levying any market fee or cess on farmers, traders and electronic trading platforms for trading farmers’ produce in an 'outside trade area'.

Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

Act: It is an act of Indian Parliament which was enacted in 1955 to ensure the delivery of certain commodities or products, the supply of which if obstructed owing to hoarding or black-marketing would affect the normal life of the people. This includes foodstuff, drugs, fuel (petroleum products) etc.

Powers of Central Government:

(a) The Government of India regulates the production, supply, and distribution of a whole host of commodities it declares ‘essential’ in order to make them available to consumers at fair prices.

(b) The Government can also fix the MRP of any packaged product that it declares an 'essential commodity'.

(c) The Centre can add commodities in this list when the need arises and can take them off the list once the situation improves.

(d) If a certain commodity is in short supply and its price is spiking, the Government can notify stock-holding limits on it for a specified period.

Powers of State Government:

The respective State Governments can choose not to impose any restrictions as notified by the Centre. However, if the restrictions are imposed, traders have to immediately sell any stocks held beyond the mandated quantity into the market. This is done to improve supplies and brings down prices.

Amendment: With the amendment in the Act, the Government of India will list certain commodities as essential to regulate their supply and prices only in cases of war, famine, extraordinary price rises, or natural calamities. The commodities that have been deregulated are food items, including cereals, pulses, potato, onion, edible oilseeds, and oils.

Stock Limit: As per the amendment, the imposition of any stock limit on agricultural produce will be based on price rise and can only be imposed if there's-- a 100% increase in the retail price of horticultural produce and 50% increase in the retail price of non-perishable agricultural food items.

Calculation: The increase will be calculated over the price prevailing immediately preceding twelve months, or the average retail price of the last five years, whichever is lower.

It is to be noted that these restrictions will not be applied to stocks of food held for public distribution in India.

National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013:

As passed by the Parliament, Government has notified the National Food Security Act, 2013 on 10th September, 2013.

The objective is to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.

Key features:

  • The Act provides for coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), thus covering about two-thirds of the population.
  • The eligible persons will be entitled to receive 5 Kgs of foodgrains per person per month at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains.
  • The existing Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households, which constitute the poorest of the poor, will continue to receive 35 Kgs of foodgrains per household per month.
  • The Act also has a special focus on the nutritional support to women and children. Besides meal to pregnant women and lactating mothers during pregnancy and six months after the child birth, such women will also be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
  • Children upto 14 years of age will be entitled to nutritious meals as per the prescribed nutritional standards.
  • In case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals, the beneficiaries will receive food security allowance.
  • The Act also contains provisions for setting up of grievance redressal mechanism at the District and State levels.
  • Separate provisions have also been made in the Act for ensuring transparency and accountability.

Source: TH

Urdu Author S R Faruqi passes away

GS-I : Art and Culture Literature

Urdu Author S R Faruqi passes away

  • Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, one of the greatest modern Urdu writers, died Friday morning due to complications from Covid-19, at his residence in Allahabad. He was 85.
  • Faruqi was not only a celebrated writer and poet, but also a critic who formulated a modernist framework for evaluating Urdu literature.
  • A recipient of numerous awards, he was honoured with the prestigious Saraswati Samman for ‘She`r-e Shor-Angez’, a four-volume study of the 18th-century poet Mir Taqi Mir.
  • His 1982 book ‘Tanqidi Afqar’ that reflected on modern literary and critical theories of poetry won him the Sahitya Akademi award in 1986.
  • His 2006 novel ‘Kai Chand the Sar-e Aasman’, set in 19th century Delhi, set new standards for the Urdu novel.
  • Faruqi translated it into English in 2013 as ‘The Mirror of Beauty’.
  • In 1966, he founded ‘Shabkhoon’, a magazine that he edited for four decades

Source: TH

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