Daily Current Affairs for 15th July 2022

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India-UAE Relation

GS Paper 2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests
Important for
Prelims exam: I2U2, Abraham accord, AIM for Climate
Mains exam: India’s interest in west asia
Why in news
UAE announced in I2U2 summit to Invest $2 Billion to Set Up Food Parks in India. In the I2U2 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually participated along with Prime Minister of Israel Yair Lapid, President of the UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and President of the USA Joseph R. Biden.

Key takeaways of I2U2 summit

Need of food parks

In the backdrop of the current global supply chain disruption leading to food inflation and energy crisis, it is notable that the inaugural meeting focused on creating food delivery systems that can better manage global food shocks and also building more avenues of clean energy.
Food parks to deal with food security crisis
• The UAE will invest 2 billion USD to develop a series of integrated food parks across India that will incorporate state-of-the-art climate-smart technologies to reduce food waste and spoilage, conserve fresh water, and employ renewable energy sources.
• India will provide appropriate land for the project and will facilitate farmers’ integration into the food parks.
• U.S. and Israeli private sectors will be invited to lend their expertise and offer innovative solutions that contribute to the overall sustainability of the project.
• These investments will help maximise crop yields and, in turn, help tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East.
Renewable Energy Project in Gujarat
• I2U2 will advance a hybrid renewable energy project in India’s Gujarat State consisting of 300 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar capacity complemented by a battery energy storage system.
• Israel and the United States intend to work with the UAE and India to highlight private sector opportunities.
• Indian companies are keen to participate in this project and contribute to India’s goal of achieving 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030.
• Such projects have the potential to make India a global hub for alternate supply chains in the renewable energy sector.

Other outcome of the summit

• The grouping intends to mobilise private sector capital and expertise to modernise infrastructure, advance low carbon development pathways for our industries, improve public health and access to vaccines.
• The leaders also welcomed India’s interest in joining the United States, the UAE, and Israel in the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate initiative (AIM for Climate).

Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate Established(AIM for Climate)

• During the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the United States and United Arab Emirates (UAE), along with 31 other countries and 48 non-government partners, announced the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate). While speaking at COP26, President Joe Biden declared the United States intended to invest $1 billion in climate smart agriculture and food systems innovation over the next five years.
• AIM for Climate was first announced at President Biden’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021.
• The goal is for more rapid and transformative climate action in the agricultural sector by allowing greater public-private and cross-sectional partnerships.
• Participation in the AIM for Climate program is voluntary.
AIM for Climate has three main priorities:
• Demonstrate collective commitment to significantly increase investment in agricultural innovation for climate-smart agriculture and food systems over five years (2021-2025).
• Support frameworks and structures to enable technical discussions and the promotion of expertise, knowledge, and priorities across international and national levels of innovation to amplify the impact of participants’ investments.
• Establish appropriate structures for exchanges between Ministers, chief scientists, and other stakeholders as key focal points and champions for cooperation on climate-related agricultural innovation, to engender greater co-creation and cooperation on shared research priorities.

After the Abraham Accords, foreign ministers of India, Israel, USA and UAR got together and conceptualised the I2U2 grouping and in an exceptional pace after just 8 months the inaugural summit happened signifying the practicality of this cooperation and improving bilateral relations.
Note: To know more about I2U2 check 14 July DNA

What lies ahead

• According to the leaders of I2U2 group, these are only the first steps of a long-term strategic partnership to promote initiatives and incentivize innovation.
o It is the start of a series of measures in increasing sustainability and resilience through collaborative science and technology partnerships and improving the movement of people and goods across hemispheres.
• The concluded FTA with UAE and the ongoing FTA negotiations with Israel and Gulf Cooperation council when concluded will build on the platform laid by I2U2 grouping. Thus, India will be able to expand its food exports and trade across the Arab-Mediterranean corridor.


GS Paper 3: Developments in Science and Technology, Environmental pollution and degradation, Infrastructure
Important for
Prelims exam: E-highway
Mains exam: India’s effort to curb pollution and reduce import of fuel

Why in news

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways announced that India’s first E-Highway will be a reality soon. The Minister informed that the Road Transport Ministry is planning to construct an electric highway between Delhi and Mumbai.

What is the plan

• The plan is to make an electric highway from Delhi to Mumbai. Just like trolleybuses, one can run trolley trucks on the highway.
• Trolleybuses run on electric power from overhead wires, a good example of these could be the trams of Kolkata.
• They have been a major component of public transport in major European cities, and have been vital in curbing the usage of private ICE(Internal combustion engine) vehicles, and curbing pollution in Europe.
About an E-Highway
• An electric highway can be described as an electrically-augmented road which supplies power to vehicles travelling on it, either by using overhead power lines or by using power lines that have been set into pre-cut grooves, on the road itself.
• The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, currently under construction, is expected to include a separate lane for the electric highway and will be viable for electric trucks and buses.
• A good way to curb pollution Among many potential benefits of E-highways, from safety to energy efficiency, the one big advantage is its environment-friendly transportation system.
• When functional, it will contribute to the country’s climate sustainability goals.
• Trolleybus, unlike rail infrastructure run on rubber tyres that make them quieter than trams, moreover these vehicles have zero emissions.

Other countries using E-Highway

• At present, Berlin runs the world’s longest electric highway, which is stretched over 109 km.
• In 2012, the automation company Siemens announced its eHighway concept at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles which involved trucks powered by electricity from electric lines over the road.
o The company ran trucks with conductors on top of a test track in Europe, that would make contact with overhead electric lines on e-highways.
o The electricity could power the trucks’ electric drive motors, shutting the diesel engines.
o However, the diesel engines could start up again when the trucks left the lanes with overhead wires.
• Later in 2019, Germany introduced its first hybrid electric-diesel truck on a three-mile-long stretch on Autobahn 5 between Darmstadt and Frankfurt.
• Several media reports state that the model on which India’s E-highway is being constructed follows the basic design as presented by Siemens.

Benefits of E-Highway

• A good way to curb pollution Among many potential benefits of E-highways, from safety to energy efficiency, the one big advantage is its environment-friendly transportation system.
• When functional, it will contribute to the country’s climate sustainability goals.
• Trolleybus, unlike rail infrastructure run on rubber tyres that make them quieter than trams, moreover these vehicles have zero emissions.
As per the Union Minister of Transport, soon, the electric highway is going to be a reality for India and it definitely would revolutionise the mode of transport in the country.

Climate Resilient Agriculture

GS Paper 3: Agriculture, Environmental pollution and degradation
Important for
Prelims exam: DiCRA
Mains exam: Climate change and its effect on agriculture, Adaptation technique
Why in news
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has partnered with the Indian State of Telangana for Data in Climate Resilient Agriculture (DiCRA). The platform aims to strengthen food systems and food security by the use of Artificial Intelligence(AI).

About DiCRA

• DiCRA is a digital solution that aims to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
• DiCRA is a part of Digital Public Goods Alliance through which India is pioneering open data systems and making them widely available to other countries.
• It is a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to achieve sustainable development goals in low and middle-income countries by facilitating the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods.
• According to UNDP, DiCRA will help farmers mitigate the effects of climate change on their crops and livestock, boost the resilience of their livelihoods, and wider food security.
• This first-of-a-kind digital solution will also bring stakeholders together including data scientists, government, organisations, and citizens to promote open innovation to strengthen climate resilience in agriculture.
Facilitates Data Analysis
• The DiCRA can be used to identify farms and lands that are vulnerable to climate change and those that are resilient through remote sensing and pattern detection algorithms.
• It will also facilitate data analysis and insights on climate resilience, based on empirical inputs crowdsourced from hundreds of data scientists and citizen scientists on best-performing farms.
Ensuring services
DiCRA will add to open data policy, service delivery to farmers, and anticipatory governance to combat the global challenge of food security.

Impact of climate change on agriculture

• The agriculture sector in India is vulnerable to climate change.
• Higher temperatures tend to reduce crop yields and favour weed and pest proliferation.
• Climate change can have negative effects on irrigated crop yields across agro-ecological regions both due to temperature rise and changes in water availability.
• The Impact of climate change on Indian agriculture was studied under National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA).

UNDP and India Collaborations

• UNDP has collaborated with different State Governments in various areas to provide a solution, for instance, for water management, UNDP partnered with the Government of Odisha.
• It is also working with governments and innovators to create the digital public goods of the future. This includes open-source software and open data sets that help tackle acute challenges like poverty and inequalities and are focussed on Sustainable Development.
• The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW), the Government of India, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) wherein UNDP will provide technical support for the Centre’s aspirational Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) scheme and Kisan Credit Card – Modified Interest Subvention Scheme.
o Under the MoU, UNDP will leverage its expertise in systems and global know-how for supporting the Ministry of Agriculture in the implementation of combined agriculture credit and crop insurance.

Right to Repair

GS Paper 3: Government policies and interventions
Important for
Prelims exam: Right to Repair, LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment)
Mains exam: How Right to Repair will affect the local market and Big brands like apple, samsung.
Why in news
Department of Consumer Affairs sets up a committee to develop a comprehensive framework on the Right to Repair.
What is Right to Repair
The rationale behind the “Right to Repair” is that when we buy a product, it is inherent that we must own it completely for which the consumers should be able to repair and modify the product with ease and at reasonable cost, without being captive to the whims of manufacturers for repairs.
However, over a period of time it has been observed that the Right to Repair is getting severely restricted, and not only there is a considerable delay in repair but at times the products are repaired at an exorbitantly high price and the consumer who has once bought the product is hardly given any choice. Often the spare parts are not available, which causes consumers great distress and harassment.
What is India’s comprehensive framework on the Right to Repair
The aim of developing a framework on right to repair in India is to
• empower consumers and product buyers in the local market,
• harmonise trade between the original equipment manufacturers and the third-party buyers and sellers,
• emphasize on developing sustainable consumption of products and reduction in e-waste.
Once it is rolled out in India, it will become a game-changer both for the sustainability of the products and as well as serve as a catalyst for employment generation through Aatmanirbhar Bharat by allowing third-party repairs.
This Framework to be in synchronisation with call for global initiative of LiFE movement by the Hon’ble Prime Minister
• In a bid to emphasize on LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) movement through sustainable consumption, the Department of Consumer Affairs has taken a significant step for developing an overall framework for the Right to Repair.
Recent Developments
• The Department in this regard, has set up a committee which shall be chaired by Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India.
• The committee held its first meeting on 13th July, 2022 wherein important sectors for right to repair were identified.
o The sectors identified include Farming Equipment, Mobile Phones/ Tablets, Consumer Durables and Automobiles/Automobile Equipment.
• The pertinent issues highlighted during the meeting include
o companies avoiding the publication of manuals that can help users make repairs easily.
o Manufacturers have proprietary control over spare parts (regarding the kind of design they use for screws and other).
o Monopoly on repair processes infringes the customer’s’ “right to choose”.
o Digital warranty cards, for instance, ensure that by getting a product from a “non-recognized” outfit, a customer loses the right to claim a warranty.
o Controversy Surrounding Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Technological Protection Measure (TPM), DRM is a great relief for copyright holders.
o Manufacturers are encouraging a culture of ‘planned obsolescence’. This is a system whereby the design of any gadget is such that it lasts a particular time only and after that particular period it has to be mandatorily replaced.
o When contracts fail to cede full control to the buyer-the legal rights of owners are damaged.
• Further, the international best practices, steps that have been taken by other countries and how the same could be included in the Indian scenario were also discussed in the meeting.
Outcome of the First meeting
• It was felt that the tech companies should provide complete knowledge and access to manuals, schematics, and software updates and to which the software license shouldn’t limit the transparency of the product in sale.
• The parts and tools to service devices, including diagnostic tools should be made available to third parties, including individuals so that the product can be repaired if there are minor glitches.
o Fortunately, in our country, there exists a vibrant repair service sector and third party repairs, including those who cannibalise the products for providing spare parts for the circular economy.
Steps Taken by other countries
• The right to repair has been recognized in many countries across the globe, including the U.S.A, U.K and European Union.
o In the USA, the Federal Trade Commission has directed manufacturers to remedy unfair anti-competitive practices and asked them to make sure that consumers can make repairs, either themselves or by a third-party agency.
o Recently, the U.K has also passed a law that includes all the electronic appliance manufacturers to provide the consumers with spare parts for getting the repair done either by themselves or by the local repair shops.
o In Australia, repair cafes are a remarkable feature of the Australian system. These are free meeting places where volunteer repairmen gather to share their repairing skills. Further, the European Union passed legislation that required manufacturers to supply parts of products to professional repairmen for a time of 10 years.

LiFE movement

• The Prime Minister launched the concept of LiFE movement (Lifestyle for Environment) in India.
• This includes the concept of reuse and recycling various consumer products.
• Repair is a critical function of all forms of re-use and even for the sustainable life of the products. A product that cannot be repaired or falls under planned obsolescence i.e. designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, not only becomes e-waste but also forces the consumers to buy new products for want of any repair to reuse it.
• Thus, restricting the repair of products forces consumers to deliberately make a choice to purchase a new model of that product.
• The LiFE movement calls for mindful and deliberate utilization of products.

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