Daily Mains Newsletter for UPSC 27 Jun 2022

Daily Mains Newsletter For
UPSC | RaghukulCS

27 June 2022 -Monday


Table of Contents

Appellate Body of WTO

In News, why?

At the recently finished 12th ministerial meeting, there was no debate about bringing back the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body (AB), which has been unnecessary since 2019.

The WTO Appellate Body is what?

  • The WTO was created to serve as a forum for discussions about regulating trade, facilitating trade, and monitoring and managing multilateral commerce.
  • The resolution of disputes amongst its members by serving as a court for international trade was another important goal.
  • The Appellate Body was established in 1995 and presides over appeals against rulings in trade-related disputes brought by WTO members. It consists of seven permanent members and has a short four-year term.
  • When one member country notices that another member government is violating a WTO commitment or trade agreement, a dispute will result.
  • Members are not allowed to raise their tariffs above a specific margin under the WTO’s trade remedy rules. However, it includes a clause that allows governments to flout these regulations in order to impose trade remedies, such as anti-dumping taxes, in cases where the manufacturing nation has distorted the market by exporting its products at a lower price than the market.
  • Countries are free to take action to defend their affordable imports and other compensating charges in order to safeguard tariffs that counteract import price increases.

What Problems Exist?

The appointment of judges is terminated:
  • After the judges’ terms expired in 2017, the United States ceased the practise of reappointing judges. The court’s judge count fell below the necessary minimum of three in December 2019.
  • It has criticised the WTO for being “unfair” and feels that it is prejudiced against it.
  • If new members are not selected to replace the two departing ones, the body will no longer be relevant because an appeal must be presided over by at least three people.
Very Inefficient at Making Decisions:
  • Since the body’s founding in 1995, more than 600 cases have been submitted, and decisions have been made in about 350 of them.
  • It has even accused the AB of not rendering decisions by the required 90 days.
  • Some Rules are Inconsistent: It has been determined that several U.S. provisions for enforcing countervailing and anti-dumping actions are incompatible with fundamental WTO accords.

What repercussions result?

  • The WTO’s dispute resolution procedure is already fraught with uncertainty because the Appellate Body is unable to evaluate fresh applications.
  • Countries may be forced to adopt panel decisions even if they believe serious errors have been made if the body is ruled non-functional.
  • Countries may choose not to abide by the panel’s decision on the grounds that there is no legal way to challenge it. It will run the danger of being subject to arbitration actions brought by the opposing side.
  • This is also not good news for India, which is dealing with an increase in dispute cases, particularly those involving agricultural products.

What disputes do India and the WTO have?

  • The US’s countervailing duty on Indian steel products, its policies for non-immigrant visas, its renewable energy initiatives, and its import duties on steel and aluminium products are the disputes in which India is a complaining party.
  • India is a responding party in WTO disputes including import restrictions on chicken and poultry products brought forth by the US as well as import taxes brought forth by the EU, Japan, and Taiwan on specific information and communication technology items.
  • India filed an appeal in January 2022 against a WTO trade dispute panel’s decision that the nation’s domestic support policies for sugar and sugarcane were in violation of international trade standards.
How to Support the Proposal to Recruit New Members:
  • There is a provision for voting in cases where a consensus of WTO members cannot be reached for choosing new members of the Appellate Body.
  • In order to break the deadlock at the Appellate Body, the group of 17 least developed and developing nations, including India, have agreed to cooperate. They can present or support a proposal to this effect, and aim to get additional members on the Appellate Body by a majority vote.
  • But given that other nations worry about the US taking unilateral action as a result of them directly rejecting its veto, this may be the last resort.
Suitable Punishment for Law Violations:
  • If a nation has committed a mistake, it should immediately make amends. Additionally, if it persists in breaking an agreement, it should make amends or face a suitable, bite-sized response. However, this is not a punishment; rather, it is a “remedy,” with the ultimate objective being for the nation to abide by the decision.
  • Reformative Approach: The long-term, permanent solutions based on the reformative approach include a transitional rule for the departing members, allowing them to finish adjudicating any appeals that remain unresolved even after the end of their terms, and limiting the appellate body’s interpretation to the intent of agreed-upon national laws without straying into uncharted territory in order to protect national sovereignty.
Regular Meetings of the Members:
  • To maintain effective communication and a quick remedy mechanism, regular meetings of the WTO members with the appellate body are one of the other long-term solutions.
  • In order to avoid the worst-case situation, all of the nations must work together to find a solution to the crisis.

14th Summit of BRICS

In News, why?

  • India’s prime minister recently travelled to China to attend the 14th BRICS meeting, which was essentially hosted by China.
  • Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development is the theme of the 14th BRICS Summit.
  • In addition to the main meeting, ministers from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Argentina, Nigeria, Senegal, and Thailand participated in the BRICS Plus virtual conference.

What are the Summit’s Key Highlights?

The Beijing Declaration’s adoption:
  • The BRICS are said to promote negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
  • The coalition is prepared to support the International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) and the UN’s initiatives to provide humanitarian relief to Ukraine.
  • Concerns about the situation in Afghanistan under Taliban control were also voiced by other nations.

Discussions on the Issues:

  • Humanitarian Situation in Ukraine:
  • Concerns over the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine and expressed their support for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and UN agencies’ efforts to provide humanitarian aid in accordance with the fundamental principles of humanity, neutrality, and impartiality.
  • The BRICS nations stated that only the UN Security council has the ability to impose sanctions when talking about terrorism and cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
  • The BRICS nations demanded that Afghanistan’s government “achieve national reconciliation through dialogue and negotiation, and to establish a broad-based, inclusive, and representative political structure,” adding that Afghan territory could not be used to harbour terrorists or launch attacks against other nations.
Initiative on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption:
  • The BRICS Initiative on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption aims to improve anti-corruption exchanges and cooperation within multilateral frameworks as well as further strengthen anti-corruption capacity building through education and training programmes.
  • Framework for Consumer Protection in E-Commerce: The statement upgraded the E-commerce Working Group to acknowledge the creation of the Digital Economy Working Group.
  • And the BRICS countries have decided to advance the implementation of the BRICS Framework for Consumer Safety in E-commerce in order to promote consumer protection in e-commerce.
  • The summit also expressed worry over the dire drug situation around the world, calling for increased attention to the fight against transnational drug trafficking. The BRICS declaration recognises the Anti-Drug Working Group’s proactive efforts in preventing international drug trafficking and advancing drug governance around the world and pledges to further improve drug control cooperation.

What is the BRICS?

  • The leading emerging economies in the world—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—are together referred to as BRICS.
  • The acronym BRIC, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China, was created by British economist Jim O’Neill in 2001.
  • The alliance was formally established at the inaugural BRIC Foreign Ministers’ conference in 2006.
  • In December 2010, South Africa received an invitation to join BRIC, which led to the name BRICS being used for the group.
  • Share of BRICS: The BRICS group of five greatest emerging nations in the world accounts for 16% of global commerce, 24% of the world’s GDP, and 41% of the world’s population.
  • In accordance with the alphabet B-R-I-C-S, the forum’s chairmanship is rotated annually among the members.
  • In 2021, India will be the chair.
Initiatives of the BRICS:
  • The Agreement creating the New Development Bank was signed by the leaders at the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2014. (NDB – Shanghai, China).
  • So far, 70 projects for sustainable development and infrastructure have been approved.
  • A convention on the establishment of the contingency reserve arrangement was agreed by the BRICS states in 2014.
  • The agreement aims to promote the financial stability of the BRICS countries, give mutual support, and prevent short-term balance of payments difficulties.
  • The BRICS countries are attempting to develop a different payment system from the SWIFT payment system.
  • Due of Russia’s exclusion from SWIFT following the Ukraine War, this has become more urgent.
Customs Agreements:
  • In order to coordinate and facilitate commerce transportation between the BRICS countries, customs agreements were negotiated.
Launch of Remote Sensing Satellite:
  • A constellation of six remote sensing satellites, including two each from India, China, and Russia as well as one from a Brazil-China partnership, have been launched.

Way ahead

  • The BRICS nations must improve their collaboration within the G20, World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank, and Important Institution International Monetary Fund frameworks ( IMF).
  • The BRICS should improve their multilateral collaboration and macroeconomic policy coordination.
  • The BRICS nations should utilise all available tools, especially the internet, for intercultural and interreligious dialogue and cooperation.

Salt Sector Emergency

In News, why?

  • The salt industry is having a very difficult time keeping up with demand and managing the crisis that salt workers and farmers are experiencing.
  • While employees are suffering owing to inadequate preparations for pay and social security, farmers are suffering from low prices as a result of the absence of minimum support prices.

Where is the Salt Sector located?

  • India: After the United States and China, India is the third-largest producer of salt worldwide.
  • About 70% of the nation’s total salt production is made up of sea salt.
  • Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa, West Bengal, Goa, and the hinterland state of Rajasthan are among the coastal states that produce salt.
  • Approximately 28.5 million tonnes of salt are produced in Gujarat each year, which is more than 80 percent of the nation’s total output.
  • The output of salt has reached 200 million tonnes and is continuing to rise.
  • This enormous amount of salt is produced globally by various businesses, not just for human consumption but also for industrial and inedible uses.

What are the production methods?

  • Solar salt manufacturing mainly involves collecting salt water in small ponds where the sun dries up the majority of the water.
  • Method of Extracting Rock Salt: Over thousands of years, tectonic movements covered an ancient subsurface seafloor, which contained salt reserves. The “room and pillar” style of mining is prevalent in salt mines.
  • Shafts are lowered to the mine’s floor, and rooms are meticulously built by drilling, cutting, and blasting through the spaces between them to form a checkerboard pattern.
  • A conveyor belt lifts the crushed salt to the surface once it has been extracted and removed. The majority of salt created in this technique is used as rock salt.
Vacuum Evaporation Method:
  • This technique includes heating salt brine with steam in sizable industrial evaporators referred to as vacuum pans.
  • This process produces salt with an extremely high purity, fine texture, and is mostly utilised in situations where the best salt is required.

The Salt Sector Crisis: What is it?

Support price minimum:
  • The Indian Salt Manufacturers’ Association (ISMA) has demanded that salt production be reclassified from an industry under the ministry of industries & mines to an agricultural activity under the ministry of agriculture.
  • Salt produced by mining is just about 0.5 percent. 99.5 percent of salt is created from subsurface water or seawater, and the entire process involves planting, cultivating, and harvesting.
  • The need for Minimum Support Price is being driven by unseasonably wet weather and flooding.
  • The Indian government uses the Minimum Support Price (MSP) as a kind of market intervention to protect farmers from a sudden drop in farm prices.
  • The main goals are to buy food grains for public distribution and to support farmers who are having to sell their crops at a loss.
Wages and Social Security:
  • Businesses have taken the place of cooperatives in determining these workers’ wages and farmers’ yields. They are mostly migrant workers.
  • The cooperative industry is largely inert. Without social security or a minimum wage, workers are suffering from major health problems and financial hardship.
  • In Morbi, a wall of a packing facility collapsed, killing 12 people.
  • Around 50,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of projects like the development of the 5,000 square kilometre Rann Sarovar freshwater lake.

What part does the government play in the development of the salt industry?

  • One of the main topics is salt, which is specified as item 58 of the Union List in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution. It is classified as the mining sector.
  • The Central Excise & Salt Act of 1944’s salt-related clauses were removed by the Indian government, thereby de-licensing the salt industry.
  • The Salt Commissioner’s Organization aids in the country’s salt industry’s general expansion and development.
  • It is necessary to establish a distinct nodal organisation with standard guidelines for salt manufacturing. A unified national policy must be implemented to provide social security and minimum wages.

What part does the government play in the development of the salt industry?

  • One of the main topics is salt, which is specified as item 58 of the Union List in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution. It is classified as the mining sector.
  • The Central Excise & Salt Act of 1944’s salt-related clauses were removed by the Indian government, thereby de-licensing the salt industry.
  • The Salt Commissioner’s Organization aids in the country’s salt industry’s general expansion and development.
  • It is necessary to establish a distinct nodal organisation with standard guidelines for salt manufacturing. A unified national policy must be implemented to provide social security and minimum wages.

Europe's Pesticide Use Will Be Halved by 2030

In News, why?

  • The executive branch of the European Union, the European Commission (EC), put up a draught rule that would limit the usage of pesticides in Europe in half by 2030.
  • In its sixth report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) urged rapid ecosystem restoration to slow climate change.
  • The role of natural ecosystems for climate mitigation and adaptation had also been emphasised by the Glasgow Climate Pact.
  • According to the EU biodiversity policy, which had a voluntary objective to restore at least 15% of degraded ecosystems by 2020, the European Union has not been effective in halting the loss of biodiversity between 2011 and 2020.

What is this draught law?

  • The plan establishes numerous legally obligatory restoration obligations and goals for a wide range of ecosystems. The overriding goal is to implement area-based restoration efforts on 20% of the land and water surface areas of the EU by 2030.
  • Wetlands, woods, meadows, rivers, lakes, and even dunes are examples of natural and semi-natural biodiversity ecosystems that will be greatly improved and reestablished.
  • It aims to remove large dams to allow rivers to flow freely among other things.
  • By 2030, chemical pesticide use and danger will be decreased by 50% in order to stop the decline of bee, butterfly, bumblebee, hoverfly, and other pollinator populations.
  • By 2030, there should be no net loss of green urban area, according to the proposal, which aims to slow down the loss of green urban space. In fact, the goal is to guarantee a 5% growth in these spaces by 2050.
  • The idea stipulates that the percentage of tree canopy in all cities and towns must rise by at least 10%.
  • By 2030, 25,000 km of rivers are to be brought back to a state of unrestricted flow, according to the idea. To do this, it will be necessary to locate and eliminate any obstacles that stop or block the connectivity of surface waters.

What Are Pesticides, Their Uses, and Problems?

  • Pesticides are chemical substances that are used to get rid of pest animals.
  • These are employed to eliminate or deter pests such as fungi, insects, rodents, and insects (rodenticides, insecticides, herbicides) (fungicides).
  • They are employed in the control of disease-carrying vectors, such as mosquitoes.
  • They are applied in farming to get rid of pests that harm crop plants.
  • Negative Effects on Farmers: According to experts, long-term low-level pesticide exposure is linked to a wide range of nervous system symptoms, including memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and headache, weariness, dizziness, and stress.
  • Pesticides have a negative impact on consumers because they go up the food chain by entering the soil or water systems, where they are then consumed by plants, aquatic animals, and eventually people. Biomagnification is the name given to this process.
  • Negative Impact on Agriculture: The Indian agriculture sector is currently experiencing an ecological, economic, and existential crisis as a result of the long-term usage of pesticides.
Regulatory Issues:
  • Despite the fact that agriculture is a state-level activity, teaching and research are overseen by the centrally administered Insecticides Act of 1968, hence state governments are unable to directly affect its revision.
  • Because of this, an estimated 104 pesticides that are still manufactured or used in India and have been outlawed in two or more other nations.

Menar Bird Village in Rajasthan will become a wetland

In News, why?

  • Menar in the Udaipur district, known as the “bird village” after community-driven conservation initiatives, is about to be declared Rajasthan’s new wetland.
  • This will open the door for the Mewar region’s rural heartland to receive the Ramsar site designation.

What Is a Wetland and What Does It Mean?

  • Wetlands:
  • Wetlands are habitats that are permanently or seasonally submerged in water. Mangroves, marshes, rivers, lakes, deltas, floodplains and flooded forests, rice fields, coral reefs, marine areas no deeper than 6 metres at low tide, as well as man-made wetlands such as waste-water treatment ponds and reservoirs, are all examples of these types of wetlands.
  • Wetlands are an essential component of our natural ecosystem. They lessen the effects of flooding, safeguard coasts, foster community resilience to catastrophes, absorb pollutants, and enhance water quality.
  • The survival of humans and the world depends on wetlands. Forty percent of all species on earth live and reproduce in wetlands, and more than 1 billion humans depend on them for their livelihood.
  • They are an essential source of hydropower, food, raw materials, and genetic materials for medications.
  • Peatland holds 30% of the carbon that is present on land.
  • They are crucial for travel, tourism, and people’s cultural and spiritual wellbeing.
  • Naturally beautiful wetlands abound, and many of them are significant to Aboriginal people.

What are the Menar Wetland’s Main Features?

  • A great number of migratory birds stop by the two lakes in the Menar hamlet, the Brahma and Dhandh, each year.
  • The Forest Department has started the procedure to recognise Menar as a wetland, which will acknowledge its function in the storage of nutrients and silt and give local governments the ability to maintain the corresponding lakes.
  • The two lakes will be better able to protect biodiversity and increase the growth of aquatic plants thanks to their position as wetlands.
Observed Species:
  • During the winter, the two lakes are home to around 150 different local and migratory bird species.
  • Along with the Greater Flamingo, these species also include the White-tailed Lapwing, Pelican, Marsh Harrier, Bar-headed Goose, Common Teal, Greenshank, Pintail, Wagtail, Green Sandpiper, and Red-wattled Lapwing.
  • Following the arrival of migratory birds from as far away as Central Asia, Europe, and Mongolia, visitors and bird lovers swarm to the village.
  • There are now two wetlands designated as Ramsar sites in Rajasthan: Keoladeo Ghana in the district of Bharatpur, and Sambhar Salt Lake in the district of Jaipur.

What does a listing on the Ramsar Convention mean?

  • It resembles an ISO certification, according to the International Organization for Standardization. In the event that it doesn’t consistently fulfil their requirements, they may also remove it off the list. It’s a plus, but there is a price to pay, and that price can only be met if there is brand value.
  • Authorities are required by the Ramsar designation to bolster the area’s protection system and build barriers to intruders.
  • A number of bird species choose to travel through Afghanistan and Pakistan rather than the Himalaya to reach the Indian subcontinent via Gujarat and Rajasthan. Gujarat thus becomes the first landing site for numerous migratory species of shorebirds, terns, gulls, waders, ducks, etc. that are found worldwide.
  • In India, wetlands serve as migratory birds’ wintering sites as well as feeding and resting areas.
  • According to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Central Asian Flyway (CAF), which spans 30 nations, is home to at least 279 populations of 182 migratory waterbird species, including 29 species that are threatened or near threat to extinction globally. These species breed, migrate, and spend the winter in the region.
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