Daily Current Affairs & General Studies For UPSC Prelims & Mains (July 3): India’s Trade Deficit With China; Rajasthan To Start Ease Of Doing Measures; India’s Torture Culture

India’s Trade Deficit With China

India’s trade deficit with China fell to $48.66 billion in 2019-20 on account of the decline in imports from the neighbouring country, according to government data.

  • Exports to China in the last financial year stood at $16.6 billion, while imports aggregated at $65.26 billion, the data showed. The trade deficit stood at $53.56 billion in 2018-19 and $63 billion in 2017-18.
  • India has time and again raised concerns over the widening trade deficit with China. The government is framing technical regulations and quality norms for several products to reduce dependence on Chinese imports.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from China in India dipped to $163.78 million in 2019-20 from $229 million in the previous fiscal, according to the data. India had received $350.22 million in FDI from the neighbouring country in 2017-18 and $277.25 million in 2016-17.

Source: The Hindu

Rajasthan To Start Ease Of Doing Measures

With the Centre linking reform parameters to the additional borrowing limit of States, the Rajasthan has decided to speed up the ease of doing business (EoDB) measures.

  • The Union government has linked the implementation of EoDB parameters with the States’ additional borrowing limit, which has been established at 2% of the respective Gross State Domestic Product.
  • The States are expected to comply with the directives till January 2021. Rajasthan proposes to create a centralised portal at the State level to help the districts implement the business reforms under the guidelines. The portal will also have a provision for the future requirements, as the Centre keeps amending the EoDB criteria.

Source: The Hindu

India’s Torture Culture

Torture is, in fact, an integral part of police culture all over the country.

It would not be amiss to argue that this culture in India today is reminiscent of the brutality of the colonial police forces that we are so keen to forget.

Official data also accept that police torture is a reality, but the quality of such data is always suspect. The pervasiveness of police torture is best understood in the compelling case found in reports made by NGOs and observers over the years, including by the Asian Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International and People’s Union for Democratic Rights.

Current Laws Felicitating Torture: The fact is that the current laws facilitate such torture, such as through the admissibility of confessions as evidence under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which continues refurbished as the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. Unfortunately, policing has also not mainstreamed the upgrade to newer technologies, like DNA analysis, which can directly impact law enforcement practices.

What We Need: What we really need is a recognition that torture is endemic and a systemic problem, and the only answer lies in stringent legal framework that is aligned with and committed to the principles of international law under the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) to which India has been a signatory since 1997, and a watertight enforcement mechanism that deters such practices.

Source: The Hindu India’s torture culture needs to end now)

Monitoring Other Diseases During Covid-19

The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), the backbone of India’s disease monitoring network, is responsible for alerting the Centre and the wider world, on a weekly basis, about the emergence of disease outbreaks, a surge in novel pathogens, the rate of spread and remedial action taken. On average, there are 30-40 such alerts. However, the advent of COVID-19 appears to have veiled the country from any other disease.

If the country has, as a policy, decided to ‘unlock’ and restore pre-pandemic routines, then this should also apply to routine surveillance for other diseases. The IDSP also faces a manpower crunch and, mirroring the experience of public health facilities in other countries, is trying to recruit in the middle of a pandemic.

Source: The Hindu (Edit Staying alert)

Live streaming of court proceedings

The pandemic has presented the Supreme Court with both a challenge and an opportunity to adopt technology. As the lockdown began, the Court had to quickly find the technology and create protocols for virtual courts and e-hearings.

Now that the Court is proactively adopting technology, it must expand the right of access to justice by live-streaming proceedings. Further, court proceedings must also be documented and preserved for posterity.

In its 2018 judgment in Swapnil Tripathi v Supreme Court of India, the Court recommended that proceedings be broadcast live.

Over the last few years, the Supreme Court has taken steps to make justice more accessible. The Court started providing vernacular translations of its judgments. Non-accredited journalists were permitted to live-tweet court proceedings. During the lockdown, journalists have been permitted to view virtual court proceedings in real time. If that technology is available, it could be extended to members of the public, who can then view court proceedings themselves.

Source: The Indian Express (Live streaming of court proceedings is part of the right to access justice)

China Undermines India’s Manufacturing And IT Sectors

In India, post the Galwan treachery, there is a determination to redefine the economic relationship with China.

  • China started ratcheting up huge trade surpluses, currently over $50 billion annually. As our exports remained flat, imports from China steadily surged — displacing Indian manufacturers and jobs.
  • PM Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat signals a strong strategic focus on economic and technological sovereignty and security, as the global economy undergoes deep, tectonic changes post the coronavirus shock.

The ban on 59 Chinese apps needs to be seen in this context. As you see consumers dumping Chinese brands, Indian corporates are diversifying their supply chains away from China. This reset of the India-China relationship will undoubtedly create short-term disruptions. But the move will also launch the mobile app sector in a new direction.

Source: The Indian Express (A much-needed reset)

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