Daily Prelims Newsletter for upsc 14 Mar 2022

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

14 Mar 2022-Monday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Permanent Normal Commercial Relations

Why in the news?

To punish Russia for the war in Ukraine, the United States and other members of the Group of Seven (G7) will revoke Russia’s “Permanent Normal Trade Relations (Pntr)” status.

The move would pave the way for the United States to impose tariffs on a wide range of Russian goods, putting additional pressure on an economy already in the grip of a deep recession.

A recession is a prolonged period of declining economic performance across an entire economy.

The G7 is a group of developed western countries (the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States) that was formed in 1975.

What exactly is PNTR?

Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status is a legal designation in the United States for free trade with a foreign country.

In 1998, the name was changed from Most Favored Nation (MFN) to PNTR in the United States.

What exactly is MFN Status?

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agree to treat one another fairly so that they can all benefit from each other’s lowest tariffs, highest import quotas, and fewest trade barriers for goods and services.

This non-discrimination principle is known as Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment.

This is one of the measures that ensures non-discriminatory trade. ‘National Treatment’ is another.

Article 1 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of 1994 requires all WTO members to grant MFN status to all other WTO members.

There are some exceptions, such as when members enter into bilateral trade agreements or provide developing countries with preferential access to their markets.

WTO members can impose whatever trade measures they want on countries that are not members of the WTO, such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Belarus, without violating global trading rules.

MFN status (or treatment) is granted by one country to another in international trade.

For example, India granted MFN status to all WTO member countries, including Pakistan, as of the date the so-called Marrakesh Agreement, which established the WTO, entered into force.

A nation with MFN status will not face discrimination or be treated differently than any other nation with MFN status.

If you give someone a special favour (such as a lower customs duty rate on one of their products), you must reciprocate for all other WTO members.

There is no formal procedure for suspending MFN treatment, and it is unclear whether members must notify the WTO if they do so.

In 2019, India revoked Pakistan’s MFN status after a suicide attack by a Pakistan-based Islamist group killed 40 police officers. Pakistan has never granted India MFN status.

What exactly is national treatment?

It entails treating both foreigners and natives equally.

Imported and domestically produced goods should be treated equally, at least after the foreign goods enter the market.

The same should be true for foreign and domestic services, as well as for foreign and domestic trademarks, copyrights, and patents.

This “national treatment” principle is also found in all three major WTO agreements (Article 3 of GATT, Article 17 of GATS and Article 3 of TRIPS).

National treatment applies only after a product, service, or intellectual property item has entered the market.

As a result, charging customs duty on an import is not a violation of national treatment, even if equivalent taxes are not levied on locally produced goods.

What does the loss of MFN status imply?

Removing Russia’s MFN status sends a strong signal that the US and its Western allies do not consider Russia to be an economic partner in any way, but it does not change trade conditions.

It does formally allow Western allies to raise import tariffs, impose quotas, or even ban Russian goods, as well as restrict services leaving the country.

They may also fail to recognise Russian intellectual property rights.

Prior to the removal of MFN status, the US announced a ban on Russian oil and gas imports.

Furthermore, the European Union has already banned roughly 70% of all imports from non-WTO member Belarus (Russia’s ally in the war with Ukraine), including tobacco, potash, and wood and steel products.

Russia is discontinuing its support for the International Space Station.

Why in the news?

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US imposed sanctions on Russia, including a ban on technology transfers and a freeze on Russian banks.

Following this, the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced that the Russian State Corporation will not collaborate with Germany on joint experiments in the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS).

What is Russia’s role in the ISS’s upkeep?

The International Space Station (ISS) is being built with the help of scientists from five international space agencies: NASA in the United States, Roscosmos in Russia, JAXA in Japan, the Canadian Space Agency, and the European Space Agency.

Each agency has a role to play and a stake in the ISS’s upkeep. It is not a feat that a single country can support in terms of both cost and effort.

Russia’s contribution to the collaboration is the module in charge of correcting the ISS’s orbit.

Furthermore, the Russian segment ensures that the space station’s orbit is corrected 11 times a year to keep it clear of space debris.

What might the consequences of Russia’s withdrawal be?

The ISS tends to sink from its orbit at a height of about 250 miles above the Earth due to its enormous weight and the resulting drag.

Every now and then, it needs to be pushed up to its original line of motion.

Russia’s withdrawal from its segment of the ISS cooperation spacecraft could have an impact on the ISS’s orbit correction.

This meant that the ISS could crash into the sea or land.

The ISS would most likely crash into some country, but most likely not Russia itself. Most of the time, the ISS’s orbit does not pass over Russian territory.

Dropping the ISS, on the other hand, poses a greater risk to regions closer to the equator. However, this is only a possibility because it could move or disintegrate.

In this case, people on the ISS will be brought back, and modules can be detached, making the ISS much smaller and ensuring that it disintegrates before it reaches Earth.

The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station that orbits the Earth.

The International Space Station (ISS) is the most complex international scientific and engineering project in history, as well as the largest structure ever built in space.

This high-altitude satellite serves as a testing ground for new technologies as well as an observation platform for astronomical, environmental, and geological research.

It serves as a stepping stone for further space exploration as a permanently occupied outpost in outer space.

The space station flies at an altitude of 400 kilometres above Earth on average. It travels around the world every 90 minutes at a speed of about 28,000 kilometres per hour.

The station travels roughly the distance between Earth and the moon in a single day.

Night sky observers who know when and where to look can see it without using a telescope from Earth.

The International Space Station was built and is still operated by five different space agencies from 15 different countries.

The International Space Station was launched into space in pieces and gradually assembled in orbit.

It is made up of modules and connecting nodes that house living quarters and laboratories, as well as exterior trusses for structural support and solar panels for power.

The first module, Russia’s Zarya, debuted in 1998.

The first space station crews consisted of three people, but after the tragic Columbia shuttle disaster, the crew size was temporarily reduced to two people.

The space station’s crew size was increased to six people in 2009, as new modules, laboratories, and facilities were added.

According to current plans, the space station will be operational until at least 2020. NASA has asked for an extension until 2024.

Are there any alternatives to Russia?

There are currently two options. The Dragon module from SpaceX and the Starliner from Boeing can both dock with the ISS.

Until SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft arrived, Russian spacecraft were the only way to reach the ISS and return.

WHO Issues New Abortion Care Guidelines

Why in the news?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released new abortion care guidelines. It claimed that these would prevent more than 25 million unsafe abortions each year.

The new guidelines include recommendations for many simple primary care interventions that improve the quality of abortion care provided to women and girls.

The new guidelines will assist interested countries in implementing and strengthening national policies and programmes related to contraception, family planning, and abortion services, allowing them to provide the best possible care to women and girls.

What is the Global Situation Regarding Abortions?

Every year, between 13,865 and 38,940 lives are lost globally as a result of the failure to provide safe abortion.

Developing countries are responsible for 97 percent of unsafe abortions.

In addition, the proportion of unsafe abortions is significantly higher in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws than in those with less restrictive laws.

More than half (53.8 percent) of all unsafe abortions take place in Asia, with the majority taking place in South and Central Asia. A quarter (24.8%) occur in Africa, primarily in eastern and western Africa, and a fifth (19.5%) occur in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Low-income countries with the most legal restrictions on abortion care had the highest abortion rates.

The number of abortions increased by 12% in countries with legal restrictions on the procedure, while it decreased slightly in countries where abortion is broadly legal.

What are the WHO’s New Guidelines?

Task Sharing: This includes task sharing by a broader range of health workers, ensuring access to medical abortion pills, which means that more women can obtain safe abortion services, and ensuring that accurate information on care is available to all those who require it.

Telemedicine: It also includes recommendations for the use of telemedicine, which aided in the availability of abortion and family planning services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Removing Medically Unnecessary Political Barriers to Safe Abortion: It also recommends removing medically unnecessary political barriers to safe abortion, such as criminalization, mandatory waiting periods before receiving a requested abortion, third-party abortion authorization, and restrictions on which health workers can provide abortion services.

Such barriers can cause critical delays in accessing treatment, putting women and girls at risk of unsafe abortions, stigma, and health complications, as well as increasing barriers to education and employment.

Restricting abortion access has no effect on the number of abortions performed. Restrictions, on the other hand, are more likely to push women and girls into unsafe practises.

Providing an Enabling Environment: A person’s environment has a significant impact on their access to care and health outcomes.

A supportive environment is the bedrock of high-quality, all-inclusive abortion care.

The three pillars of an enabling environment for abortion care are as follows:

Respect for human rights, including a supportive legal and policy framework

Information availability and accessibility

A health-care system that is supportive, universally accessible, affordable, and well-functioning.

What steps has the Indian government taken to ensure safe abortions?

The government provides safe and comprehensive abortion care (CAC) services to women in health facilities through the National Health Mission’s RMNCH+A (Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health) programme.

Capacity Building for Medical Officers in Safe Abortion Techniques, as well as Auxiliary Nurse Midwife workers, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), and other functionaries, to provide confidential abortion counselling and promote post-abortion care.

Certification of private and non-profit sector facilities to provide quality Comprehensive Abortion Care services.

Nischay Pregnancy Detection Kits are distributed to sub-centers for early pregnancy detection.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act of 2021 broadens access to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian, and social grounds in order to ensure universal access to comprehensive care.

The Way Forward

Access to legal and safe abortion is an essential component of sexual and reproductive equality, a public health issue, and must be viewed as a critical component in contemporary debates on democracy that seek to provide a just society that rejects all forms of discrimination.

The silence surrounding unsafe abortion leads to women’s deaths and conceals serious issues that exist at the intersection of these concerns, such as the formidable barriers that adolescent girls face in accessing reproductive health services, including abortion services.

The right to safe abortion is a critical component of women’s rights to bodily integrity, life, and equality, and it must be safeguarded.

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