GS PAPER – III
Why in news?
- India has dropped the retaliatory customs tariffs it had imposed on imports of some American goods such as almonds and lentils, effective September 6.
About the move
- The import duties on almond shipments to India will now go back to ₹35 a kg on in-shell.
- India raised import duties on 28 products from the U.S. in June 2019, after the latter had increased its customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products.
- In a notification, the Finance Ministry dropped some of these tariff increases “on being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest so to do”.
- During his state visit to the U.S. in June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Biden administration had agreed to resolve six bilateral trade disputes that were pending at the World Trade Organization and unwind the tariff hikes imposed on some U.S. products, including walnuts, almonds, and apples.
Response from the US
- The Almond Board of California (ABC) welcomed the move in a statement, noting that the import duties on their almond shipments to India will now go back to ₹35 a kg on in-shell and ₹100 a kg of kernels.
- India had raised the applied tariff rates on U.S. almonds to ₹41 a kg on in-shell and ₹120 a kg on kernels.
Implications of the move
- The retaliatory tariffs removed which will both help increase demand in India and reduce the cost to consumers.
- The almond industry has been working hard along with government officials to reduce the impediments for exports of California almonds to India, which is the largest export destination.
GS PAPER – III
Why in news?
- The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has alerted healthcare professionals, consumers, patients, wholesalers, distributors, and regulatory authorities to the voluntary recall of the antacid syrup Digene Gel, manufactured by Abbott India at its Goa facility.
Notice issued by the controller
- The impugned product may be unsafe and its use may result in adverse reaction.
- The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), who heads the CDSCO, also advised the doctors and healthcare professionals to carefully prescribe and educate their patients to discontinue the use and to report any adverse drug reactions arising from the consumption of Digene Gel.
- The drug controller’s notice said the company initially withdrew one batch of its product available in mint flavour and four batches in orange flavour after receiving a complaint about a product that was white and had a bitter taste and pungent smell.
- CDSCO urged distributors and users to discontinue the use while stating that there is no need to panic.
- Within a week the company recalled all batches of its Digene syrup sold in mint, orange, and mixed-fruit flavours manufactured at its Goa facility.
- The company had voluntarily recalled the medicine due to isolated customer complaints on taste and odour. Firm’s spokesperson noted that the antacid medicine was recalled after isolated complaints.
About the drug
- The drug is known to relieve acidity and its symptoms such as heartburn, stomach discomfort, abdominal pain and gas.
GS PAPER – III
Viability gap funding for battery energy storage
Why in news?
The Union Cabinet approved Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for the development of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS).
About the Programme
- The programme will support battery-energy storage capacity of 4,000 mega-watts hours, to be developed by 2030-31.
- The government will offer incentives worth up to 40% of capital costs to companies setting up manufacturing units.
- A minimum of 85% of the BESS project capacity would be made available to discoms. The selection of BESS developers for VGF grants would be carried out through a transparent, competitive-bidding process.
- The funding for the development of BESS scheme, with an initial outlay of ₹9,400 crore, including a Budgetary support of ₹3,760 crore, signifies the government’s commitment to sustainable energy solutions.
GS PAPER: II
India, that is, Bharat: One Country, Many Names
Why in the news?
Recently, the shift from “India” to “Bharat” on President Droupadi Murmu’s G20 invitations to foreign leaders today triggered a huge row.
In recent years, there has been a growing movement to use the name “Bharat” more often. This is due in part to the rise of Hindu nationalism, which sees “Bharat” as a more authentically Indian name.
What does the Constitution Say?
- The Constitution of India uses both the names “India” and “Bharat.” Article 1 of the Constitution states that “India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of states.” This means that the official name of the country is “India, that is Bharat.”
Origin of the Different Names
- INDIA: The name “India” has a long and complex history. It is thought to have originated from the Greek word “Indus,” which was the name of the Indus River.
- BHARAT: The name “Bharat” is also ancient. It appears in the Rig Veda, one of the oldest texts of Hinduism, as the name of a tribe. Over time, the name “Bharat” came to be used to refer to the entire Indian subcontinent.
- HINDUSTAN: The word “Hindustan” is also a name for India. It is thought to have originated from the Persian word “Hindu,” which is the Persian cognate form of the Sanskrit word “Sindhu,” which means “Indus River.” The name “Hindustan” was first used by the Persians in the 6th century BCE, when they conquered the Indus Valley region.
Arguments In Favour of “BHARAT”:
- The name “Bharat” is more ancient and traditional. It has been used in Indian texts for centuries, dating back to the Vedas and the Puranas.
- The name “Bharat” is more accurate reflection of the country’s cultural and linguistic diversity. The country is home to over 1 billion people who speak over 100 different languages. The name “Bharat” is a unifying force that can help to bridge these linguistic and cultural divides.
- Vishnu Purana describes “Bharata” as the land between the southern sea and the northern snowy Himalayan mountain.
- The name “Bharat” is not associated with any particular religion or ethnic group. This makes it a more neutral name that can be accepted by all Indians.
Arguments In Favour of “INDIA”:
- The name “India” is more widely known and used internationally. This is important for a country that aspires to be a global power.
- The name “India” is a more neutral name that does not offend any particular religious or ethnic group.
- The name “India” has been used for centuries by foreigners to refer to the country. This name has historical significance and should not be discarded.
- The Supreme Court has already rejected two pleas to rename ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’, in 2016 and then in 2020, which reaffirms that “Bharat” and “India” both find mention in the Constitution.
- The debate over the name of India is a complex one with no easy answers. There are valid arguments to be made on both sides of the issue. Ultimately, the decision of which name to use is a political one that must be made by the Indian people.
- It is important to note that the debate over the name of India is not just about semantics. It is also about identity and belonging. The name that we choose to call our country reflects how we see ourselves and our place in the world.
GS PAPER – III
Femtoscope: A new tool to study unstable nuclei
Why in news?
Recently, researchers in Japan have developed a new tool that can be used to study the structure of unstable nuclei.
- The tool, called a femtoscope, uses electron scattering to probe the femtometer scale (10^-15 m) of atomic nuclei.
How does it work?
- The femtoscope works by first accelerating electrons to a high energy. These electrons are then fired at a target of unstable nuclei. When the electrons collide with the nuclei, they scatter off of them.
- The team used a technique called SCRIT (Self-Confined Radioactive-isotope Ion Target) to trap the target ions in three dimensions along the electron beam. This allowed the electrons to have a good chance of colliding with the ions.
- The pattern of the scattered electrons can be used to infer the structure of the nuclei.
- The researchers used a magnetic spectrometer to record the resulting interference pattern of the scattered electrons. This interference pattern can be used to infer the structure of the nuclei.
Benefits of using a femtoscope:
- It is much more sensitive than other methods, allowing scientists to study even the most unstable nuclei.
- It is non-destructive, meaning that the nuclei are not damaged in the process of being studied.
- It can be used to study the structure of nuclei in real-time.
- The development of the femtoscope is a major step forward in the study of nuclear physics, as it could help to solve the long-standing problem of understanding the structure of unstable nuclei.
GS PAPER – II
Abbott India recalls Digene Gel, an antacid syrup
Why in news?
Recently, the drug manufacturer, Abbott India recalled all batches of its popular antacid syrup Digene gel manufactured at its Goa facility after customers reported that the liquid in the bottle had turned white, tasted bitter, and had a pungent smell.
- The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has issued an alert to voluntary recall of the antacid syrup.
About Digene Gel:
- Digene gel is used to treat acidity and its symptoms, such as heartburn, stomach discomfort, abdominal pain, and gas. It can also be prescribed for gastritis and acid reflux.
- The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
- It is responsible for regulating the quality, safety, and efficacy of drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, and other healthcare products in India.
- The CDSCO was established in 1970 under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, of 1940.
GS PAPER – III
SEBI to launch “One-Hour Trade Settlement”
Why in news?
Recently, SEBI has decided to launch the One-Hour Trade Settlement by March 2024.
- Additionally, a facility similar to the Application Supported by Blocked Amount (ASBA) for secondary market trading is anticipated to launch in January 2024.
What is a one-hour settlement?
- A one-hour settlement is a new settlement cycle that is being proposed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
- It would allow for the settlement of trades to take place within one hour of the transaction, instead of the current T+1 settlement cycle, which takes one day.
What is the Trade Settlement?
- Trade settlement is a two-way process wherein the purchased securities are delivered to the buyer, and the seller receives cash. As one buy or sell financial securities, the actual transfer of ownership occurs on the settlement date.
What are the benefits of one-hour settlement?
- Reduced risk for investors: In the current T1 cycle, there is a one-day window during which the price of the security can move significantly. This can cause investors to lose money if they sell their securities before settlement and the stock price drops. Settlement in One hour eliminates this risk.
- Improved liquidity in the market: Liquidity refers to how easily a security can be bought or sold.
- Reduced costs for investors: Currently, investors have to pay fees for the clearing and settlement of trades. The one-hour settlement would reduce these fees, as it would require less processing time.
- Increased transparency in the market: One-hour settlement would make it easier for investors to track the prices of securities and to identify potential trading opportunities.
What are the challenges of one-hour settlement?
- It would require the cooperation of all the participants in the securities market, including brokers, clearinghouses, and exchanges.
- Complex Changes and Infrastructure: It would require changes to the infrastructure of the securities market.
Despite these challenges, a one-hour settlement is a promising development that could improve the efficiency and safety of the securities market.
Do You Know?
- India is the first jurisdiction in the globe to have moved to T+1 settlement (trade plus one day).