GS PAPER II NEWS

India-UK Virtual Summit

Why in News

India is going to join India-UK Virtual Summit on 4th May 2021.

Key Points

  • According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the Summit will be an important opportunity:
  • To elevate multi-faceted strategic ties and
  • To enhance cooperation on regional and global issues of mutual interest.
  • Both nations will also discuss COVID-19 cooperation and the global efforts to fight the pandemic.
  • A comprehensive Roadmap 2030 will be launched during the Summit, which will pave the way for:

  • For further expanding and deepening India-UK cooperation over the next decade across five key areas namely:
  • People-to-People relationship,
  • Trade and Prosperity,
  • Defense and Security,
  • Climate action and
  • Healthcare.
  • Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister will also be visiting London from May 3-6, 2021 to participate in the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting, at which India has been invited as a guest country. He will thereafter undertake a bilateral visit to the UK.

India-UK Relationship

  • India and UK enjoy a Strategic Partnership since 2004.
  • It has been marked by regular high-level exchanges and growing convergences in diverse areas.
  • Economic Relation:
  • India is the second largest foreign investor of UK. While UK ranks 18th as a trading partner of India and third after Mauritius and Singapore as an investor in India.
  • There are many bilateral trade agreements between the two nations designed to strengthen ties.
  • In 2005, the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) was inaugurated in New Delhi aimed at boosting two-way bilateral investments.
  • In September 2017 the High Commission of India in the UK, with the support of the UK India Business Council, announced the Access India programme, a unique scheme set up to help many more UK SMEs export to India.
  • Political Relation:
  • Both nations are the member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the World Trade Organization and the Asian Development Bank.
  • Three Presidents of India have paid state visits to the United Kingdom: Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan in June 1963, Ramaswamy Venkataraman in October 1990, and Pratibha Patil in 2009.
  • The Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited the UK in November 2015 and became the first Indian Prime Minister to address the British Parliament.
  • UK-India Year of Culture:
  • The UK officially launched the UK India Year of Culture on 27 February 2017 at Buckingham Palace with India.
  • It includes the:
  • Exhibition from the British Museum and The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai,
  • The first exhibition on Indian innovation at the UK’s Science Museum, London, and
  • The restoration of 1928 Indian movie, Shiraz, by the British Film Institute with a new score by British-Indian musician Anoushka Shankar.

G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting


  • External affairs minister is going to join four-day meeting at United Kingdom to participate in the 47th G7 foreign ministers’ meeting and to hold bilateral meetings with British interlocutors.
  • The UK is hosting the first in-person G7 foreign ministers meeting in two years in London, from 3-5th May 2021.
  • India, Australia, South Korea, South Africa and the chair and secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been invited as guests.
  • It will focus on geopolitical priorities, such as Russia, China and Iran.
  • It will also take up global challenges, including climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and famine.
  • The meeting is a “crucial opportunity to revitalize in-person diplomacy and will look to establish a shared approach among the world’s leading democracies on equitable vaccine access, to agree global girls’ education targets, rigorous goals on climate finance and new measures to prevent famine and food insecurity.”
  • The 46th G7 foreign ministers meeting was held at Dinard and Saint-Malo in France in 2019.

Group of 7 or G-7

  • The Group of Seven (G7) is an inter-governmental organization established on 1975.
  • It consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • The heads of government of the member states, as well as the representatives of the European Union, meet at the annual G7 Summit.
  • It is annually held to discuss issues of common interest like global economic governance, international security and energy policy.
  • The leaders of important international organizations like European Union, IMF, World Bank and the United Nations are also invited. N GS PAPER II I

GS PAPER II

State Legislature

Why in News

Recently an election has been held at West Bengal, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Assam.

State Legislature

  • Article 168-212 of Part VI of the Indian Constitution deals with the organization, composition, duration, officers, procedures and many other powers of the State Legislature.
  • Most of the states have a unicameral system, while others have bicameral system.
  • Unicameral Legislature: The state which have only one house for making and implementation of laws is the Unicameral Legislature.
  • Bicameral Legislature: The state which have two houses for making and implementation of laws is the Bicameral Legislature. At present there are only six states having two houses or Bicameral Legislature.
  • There are two houses in State Legislature: Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.
  • Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha):
  • The real power existed with the Legislative Assembly. It is the lower house of the State.
  • It is the elected chamber of the State and the maximum strength of an assembly must not exceed 500 or its minimum strength fall below 60.

  • Some of the States have provision to have smaller Legislative Assemblies due to its small area. e.g., Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, etc.
  • State Legislature is the representative of the people of State.
  • The members of Vidhan Sabha are directly elected by people on the basis of universal adult franchise.
  • All men and women who are 18 years of age and above are eligible to enroll for Voters’ ID.
  • Every State is divided into as many (single member) constituencies as the number of members to be elected.
  • As in case of Lok Sabha, certain number of seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes, and in some States for Scheduled Tribes also. This depends on population of these weaker sections in the State.
  • The biggest state, Uttar Pradesh, has 404 members in its Assembly and the smallest states Puducherry have less than 40 seats.
  • Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad)
  • Vidhan Parishad is the upper House of the State Legislature.
  • Very few States have bicameral Legislature that means having two Houses.
  • The Parliament can create Vidhan Parishad in a State where it does not exist, if the Legislative Assembly of the State passes a resolution to this effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by a majority of not less than two thirds of the members of the Assembly present and voting, and sends the resolution to the Parliament.
  • According to the Constitution, the total number of members in the Vidhan Parishad of a State should not exceed one-third of the total number of members of Vidhan Sabha but this number should not be less than 40.
  • Eligibility to become a member of the Legislative Council:
  • be a citizen of India,
  • have attained the age of 30 years,
  • be a registered voter in the State, and
  • not hold any office of profit.

Powers and Functions of State Legislature

  • The Council of Ministers is responsible to Vidhan Sabha collectively and remains in the office
  • so long as it enjoys the confidence of the Vidhan Sabha.
  • The primary function of the State Legislature, is the law-making.
  • They are empowered to make laws on State List and Concurrent List.
  • Both, the Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies have the right to make the laws on the subjects mentioned in the Concurrent List, but in case of contradiction between the Union and State law on the subject the law made by the Parliament shall prevail.
  • The State Legislature keeps control over the finances of the State.
  • A money bill is introduced first only in the Vidhan Sabha and it includes authorization of the expenditure to be incurred by the government, imposition or abolition of taxes, borrowing, etc.

GS PAPER III

SUTRA Model

Why in News

Scientists working on the SUTRA model for charting the trajectory of COVID-19.

Key Points

  • They would like to clearly point out some facts related to predictions of mathematical model, especially since some of these have been misunderstood and misquoted.
  • In 2020, the government had formed a group of scientists, mathematicians and experts to forecast the surge of cases.
  • They said the nature of the virus has been changing very rapidly, and in such a scenario, any prediction must be continually readjusted, sometimes almost daily.

SUTRA Model

  • The SUTRA model was first released in 1984, is a three-dimensional groundwater model that simulates solute transport or temperature in a subsurface environment.
  • It employs a weight grid that is based on a finite element and integrated finite difference hybrid method framework.
  • The program then computes groundwater flow using Darcy’s law equation, and solute or transport modelling use similar equations.
  • SUTRA has been used to simulate the effects of saltwater intrusion, contaminant transport, and thermal pollution.
  • It lacks an inbuilt Graphical User Interface (GUI), but pre- and post-processing can be performed using external applications (e.g., Argus One or Model Muse).
  • The software’s modular structure allows for additions to the simulation. The software is open-source.

Advantages of SUTRA Model

  • Software code in public domain for over 30 years.
  • Estimates effects of saltwater intrusion.
  • Modular-based software allows for some customization.
  • Model run conditions can be steady state or transient.
  • Model Muse, a free software program, conducts pre- and post-processing of data.
  • Detailed technical manual is available.

Disadvantages of SUTRA Model

  • Models’ solute or temperature separately.
  • Aquifer properties are based on educated guesses.
  • Cannot simulate multiphase flow.

Way Forward

  • SUTRA model is used for charting the trajectory of COVID-19 in the country.
  • In such a context, Scientists said that any prediction for COVID-19 must be continually readjusted.
  • The Scientists working on the SUTRA model said that they continue their efforts to better estimate the future trajectory of the pandemic.

GS PAPER III

SpaceX Dragon Capsule

Why in News

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying four astronauts back to Earth splashed down off Florida early recently in NASA’s first night time ocean landing in more than 50 years.

Key Points


  • The capsule splashed down at 2:56am (12:26pm IST) in the dark in the Gulf of Mexico off Panama City after a six-and-a-half-hour flight from the ISS, night-vision images relayed by NASA’s WB-57 high-altitude research aircraft showed.
  • Teams aboard the Go Navigator recovery ship retrieved the capsule and hoisted it onto the deck about half an hour later.
  • It was the first night time splashdown for NASA since the crew of Apollo 8 arrived in the Pacific Ocean on December 27, 1968.

Background

  • The four astronauts went to space in November 2020 as the crew on the first fully operational mission to the ISS aboard a vehicle built by SpaceX.
  • They travelled 71.2 million miles during their 168 days in orbit (including 167 days aboard the space station).
  • The 167-day mission was the longest for astronauts launching from the US. The previous record of 84 days was set by Nasa’s final Skylab station crew in 1974.

Apllo-8

  • Apollo 8 was the Nasa’s first flight to the moon with astronauts which ended with a predawn splashdown in the Pacific near Hawaii on 27 December 1968.
  • Eight years later, a Soviet capsule with two cosmonauts ended up in a dark, partially frozen lake in Kazakhstan, blown off course in a blizzard.

SpaceX

  • Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California.
  • It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars.

GS PAPER III

Merchandise Exports in India

Why in News

India’s merchandise exports in April 2021 were $30.21 billion, an increase of 197.03% over USD 10.17 billion in April 2020 and an increase of 16.03% over $26.04 billion in April 2019.

Key Points

  • India’s merchandise imports in April 2021 were $45.45 billion, with an increase of 165.99% over $17.09 billion in April 2020 and an increase of 7.22% over USD 42.39 billion in April 2019.
  • India is, thus, a net importer in April 2021 with a trade deficit of $15.24 billion, which increased by 120.34% over trade deficit of $6.92 billion in April 2020 and declined by 6.81% over trade deficit of $16.35 billion in April 2019.
  • In April 2021, the value of non-petroleum exports was $26.85 billion, registering a positive growth of 200.62% over $8.93 billion in April 2020 and a positive growth of 19.44% over $22.48 billion in April 2019.
  • In April 2021, Oil imports was $10.8 billion, a positive growth of 132.26% compared to USD 4.65 billion in April 2020 and a negative growth of 6.62 compared to $11.56 billion in April 2019.
  • Non-oil imports in April 2021 were estimated at $34.65 billion, showing an increase of 178.6% compared to $12.44 billion in April 2020 and an increase of 12.42% compared to USD 30.82 billion in April 2019.

  • All Major commodities have recorded positive growth in export during April 2021 vis-à-vis April 2020.

Merchandise Exports

  • According to foreign trade policy (2015–2020) merchandise export is export of goods manufactured in India.
  • Govt is promoting manufacturers, merchant exporters to promote exports Under MEIS (Merchandise exports from India scheme).
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) stated that the prospects for a quick recovery in world trade have improved as merchandise trade expanded more rapidly than expected in the second half of last year.
  • According to new estimates from the WTO, the volume of world merchandise trade is expected to increase by 8% in 2021 after having fallen 5.3% in 2020, continuing its rebound from the pandemic-induced collapse that bottomed out in the second quarter of 2020.

Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)

  • Under Foreign Trade Policy of India (FTP 2015-20), MEIS is one of the two schemes introduced in Foreign Trade Policy of India 2015-20, as a part of Exports from India Scheme.
  • It was launched on 1st April 2015.
  • Objective is to offset infrastructural inefficiencies and associated costs involved in exporting goods/products which are produced /manufactured in India including products produced/manufactured by MSME Sector.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

  • It is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations.
  • It was operationalized on 1 January 1995, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that had been established in 1948.
  • The WTO is the world’s largest international economic organization, with 164 member states representing over 96% of global trade and global GDP.