PM Modi’s Visit to the White House
Why in news?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the White House in Washington DC, where he presented gifts to President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.The gifts included a 7.5 carat lab-grown diamond, an exquisite sandalwood box, and a first edition print of the book “The Ten Principal Upanishads” from 1937.
The Ten Principal Upanishads: Significance and Translation
- “The Ten Principal Upanishads” is a renowned book containing translations of important Upanishads.
- The Upanishads are considered to be among the most significant Hindu religious texts.
- The book was translated from Sanskrit by Shri Purohit Swami, a scholar of Hindu scripture, and Irish poet WB Yeats.
- Yeats aimed to create a translation that was faithful to the original text while remaining accessible to the general reader.
Hindu Scriptures: Shruti and Smriti
- Hindu sacred texts are categorized into two main groups: shruti (the revealed) and smriti (the remembered).
- Shruti texts are considered highly authoritative and include the four Vedas and associated texts like Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads.
- Smriti texts are derived from shruti and include popular scriptures like the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Dharmashastras, and Puranas.
The Upanishads: Foundations of Hindu Philosophy
- The Upanishads, also known as Vedanta, explore the metaphysical connection between humanity and the universe.
- They serve as foundational texts in Hindu theology and have attracted significant attention.
- The Upanishads discuss concepts such as transmigration and delve into the relationship between the atman (individual self) and the brahman (ultimate reality).
William Butler Yeats: Influential Irish Poet
- WB Yeats was a highly influential figure in modern English literature and is recognized as one of the foremost modern poets in English.
- He played a central role in the Irish Literary Revival and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.
- Yeats was influenced by poets like John Keats and William Wordsworth and addressed various themes in his work, including political and social commentary.
- WB Yeats’ fascination with the Upanishads predates his translation work.
- He developed an interest in Indian culture through his acquaintance with Mohini Chatterjee, a prominent figure in Bengal’s Theosophical circles.
- Yeats’ friendship with Rabindranath Tagore, the renowned Bengali poet and philosopher, further deepened his connection to India.
- His introduction to Tagore’s Gitanjali played a significant role in bringing Indian literature to Western audiences.
GS PAPER – III
India and US Resolve WTO Disputes
Why in news?
- In a significant development, India and the United States have reached an agreement to resolve six longstanding disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
- The resolution includes India’s retaliatory tariffs on select agricultural imports from the US, marking a positive step towards strengthening bilateral trade ties between the two nations.
- The joint statement issued at the conclusion of Prime Minister’s state visit to the US underscores the commitment and trust of both countries in resolving trade issues and fostering a mutually beneficial trade relationship.
- The joint statement highlights the successful resolution of six outstanding WTO disputes through mutually agreed solutions.
- These disputes cover a range of issues, including countervailing measures on certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products, measures relating to the renewable energy sector, and measures on steel and aluminum products initiated by India.
- Similarly, disputes initiated by the US involve measures relating to solar cells and solar modules, export-related measures, and additional duties on specific US products.
- By agreeing to bilaterally resolve these disputes, both India and the US are signaling their commitment to constructive dialogue and dispute resolution within the framework of the WTO.
Impact on Trade Relations
- The resolution of these disputes is expected to have a profound impact on India-US trade relations.
- With the intention of fostering a harmonious trade environment, both nations have agreed to notify the WTO’s dispute settlement panel and withdraw three cases each.
- This commitment to resolving disputes and the resulting withdrawal of litigation will create a more conducive atmosphere for trade growth and collaboration.
- Furthermore, it is anticipated that by the end of the year, all trade disputes between India and the US will be resolved, reflecting the determined efforts of both governments to ensure a favorable trade environment.
Market Access and Generalized System of Preferences
- In addition to dispute resolution, the joint statement addresses market access-related concerns.
- The US has expressed its willingness to consider restoring India’s beneficiary status under the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.
- India’s GSP status, which granted duty-free market access to certain goods, was withdrawn in 2019.
- The statement acknowledges the US Congress’s eligibility criteria for reinstating India’s GSP status and signals a positive outlook towards restoring trade preferences.
- This development opens the door for improved market access for Indian goods in the US, contributing to the growth of bilateral trade.
Boosting Steel and Aluminum Exports
- Another noteworthy aspect of the resolution is the potential boost it offers to India’s steel and aluminum exports.
- As part of the agreed market access, the US Department of Commerce will clear a significant proportion of steel and aluminum applications originating in India.
- Under the exclusion process of Section 232, importers will submit applications on behalf of exporters, leading to the clearance of approximately 70% of steel and 80% of aluminum applications.
- This facilitation is projected to bolster India’s steel and aluminum exports by approximately 35%, providing a substantial impetus to these sectors.
- The resolution of six WTO disputes between India and the US signifies a significant milestone in their bilateral trade relations. By opting for bilateral resolution and withdrawal of litigations, both countries have demonstrated their commitment to resolving disputes in a mutually agreed and constructive manner.
GS PAPER – III
Micron’s Semiconductor Plant in India
Why in news?
- Micron, the U.S.-headquartered semiconductor company, has unveiled plans to establish a state-of-the-art semiconductor assembly and testing plant in India.
- With an estimated investment of $2.7 billion, the plant is set to become a significant milestone for the Indian semiconductor ecosystem.
- Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, announced that the plant aims to commence chip production by December 2024, positioning India as a key player in the global semiconductor industry.
Job Creation and Economic Impact
- The establishment of the Micron semiconductor plant is expected to generate a substantial number of employment opportunities.
- It is projected to create 5,000 direct jobs and an additional 15,000 indirect jobs, fostering economic growth and bolstering the country’s manufacturing sector.
- The infusion of skilled talent and increased economic activity will contribute to India’s development as a global technology hub.
Significance of Semiconductors
- Semiconductors, often regarded as a foundational technology, are integral components in various electronic devices such as smartphones, computers, and automobiles.
- By enabling advanced functionalities and powering modern technologies, semiconductors play a vital role in driving innovation and digital transformation across industries.
- Micron’s investment signifies the recognition of semiconductors as a crucial enabler for India’s digital future.
Manufacturing and Sales Strategy
- The Micron plant will import manufacturing inputs from Japan, ensuring access to high-quality materials necessary for semiconductor production.
- The facility aims to manufacture cutting-edge chips that will cater to both domestic and international markets.
- While the exact breakdown of domestic and international sales is yet to be disclosed, the establishment of the plant reinforces India’s position as a competitive player in the global semiconductor supply chain.
Development of Semiconductor Manufacturing Infrastructure
- In addition to chip production, the Indian government has focused on bolstering the entire semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem.
- Efforts have been made to domestically synthesize a wide range of chemicals and gases involved in semiconductor production.
- Furthermore, the establishment of facilities to manufacture ultra-pure water (UPW), a critical component in semiconductor manufacturing, highlights the commitment to building a robust and self-reliant semiconductor manufacturing infrastructure in India.
Government Incentives and Policies
- Recognizing the strategic importance of semiconductor manufacturing, the Indian government has revised incentives under the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme.
- This scheme provides attractive incentives to manufacturers, encouraging investments and driving the growth of domestic semiconductor production.
- The recent policy updates, including allowing previously ineligible applicants to re-apply for benefits, demonstrate the government’s proactive approach in facilitating the expansion of the semiconductor industry.
- With chip production set to begin by December 2024, the plant is poised to generate employment opportunities, stimulate economic growth, and bolster India’s technological capabilities. By investing in domestic semiconductor manufacturing infrastructure and implementing favorable policies, India is laying the foundation for a vibrant and self-sustaining semiconductor industry that will contribute to its technological advancement and global competitiveness.