Daily Analysis 5th September, 2020

Daily Analysis: 5th September 2020

The Hindu, PIB, IE and Others

Index

A) International Relations

1. Germany Joins the ‘Indo-Pacific’ Club (livemint)

2. Explained: The 1267 special procedure on terrorism (IE)

3. Explained: What is Antifa? (IE)

B) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues

4. Emerging Technologies Initiative (ETI) (IE)

C) Geography, Environment and Biodiversity

5. Overharvesting turns ‘Himalayan viagra’ into a ‘vulnerable’ species (IE)

6. The Dutch Urgenda Climate Case (IE)

7. Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) (TH, pg 10)

D) Science and Technology

8. Hybrid Sterilization: UV-C, cold plasma, and H2O2 (PIB)

9. Blockchain Technology (IE)

E) Economy

10. Recent spree of mergers and acquisitions in India (livemint)

11. Anti-Dumping Duty Vs Countervailing Duty (CVD) (TH, pg 15)

12. RBI alters Priority Sector Norms (TH, pg 15)

F) Miscellaneous

13. INDRA NAVY-20 (PIB)

14. CoViDx One (TH, pg 5)

A) International Relations

1. Germany Joins the ‘Indo-Pacific’ Club (livemint)

Context:

Germany has announced a set of Indo-Pacific policy guidelines, becoming the second European nation after France to formally adopt a strategy for the Indo-Pacific region.

  • On July 1, Germany assumed the EU Council’s six-monthly rotating presidency, putting it in a position to shape the bloc’s approach to the Indo-Pacific throughout the remainder of its term.

Analysis

  • The strategy is designed to allow Germany to make “an active contribution to shaping the international order in the Indo-Pacific.”
  • On one level, the strategy is a simple concession to economic and geopolitical reality.
  • Asia has long been Germany’s largest export market outside of Europe itself, and its economy remains heavily reliant on the global supply chains and open sea lanes that speed German-made cars and other goods to fast-growing Asian markets.
  • It recognizes that the growing strategic uncertainty in the Indo-Pacific—due both to China’s increasing assertiveness in the region and the American push back that this has engendered—is likely to have direct impact on Germany’s future prosperity and security.
  • Conversely, improved partnerships with other nations in the Indo-Pacific will undoubtedly help Germany handle many of the global challenges posed by an increasingly brash and ambitious China.
  • At the same time, Germany’s engagement with the Indo-Pacific is likely to differ considerably from the go-it-alone posture of the United States under President Donald Trump, which has also put the Indo-Pacific at the center of its national security strategy.
  • While the German guidelines hold out a diversification of economic and trade links away from China, preexisting trade flows militate against any significant economic decoupling.
  • Moreover, an important part of its approach to the region will be “to strengthen structures of international cooperation”—exactly the sort of multilateral mechanisms that the Trump administration disdains.
  • For example, the German announcement singled out the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a special focus of engagement.
  • Indeed, one could read Berlin’s opposition to “the law of the strong” as a veiled declaration of independence from Washington’s “America First” unilateralism.

2. Explained: The 1267 special procedure on terrorism (IE)

Context: Recently, five permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, UK, France, Germany, and Belgium — blocked an attempt by Pakistan to list four Indians (Appaji Angara, Gobinda Patnaik Duggivasala, Ajoy Mistry and Venumadhav Dongara) under a UN Security Council regime targeting international terrorism.

Analysis

How did the matter come up before the UNSC’s 1267 sanctions sub-committee?

  • Pakistan has been trying for a year now to get four Indians, who had been working in Afghanistan, sanctioned under the UN’s 1267 regime.
  • Islamabad has for years accused India of fomenting terrorism inside Pakistan through Afghanistan, an allegation India rejects. 

But why did Pakistan want to get these Indians sanctioned by the UN?

  • The 1267 Committee was first set up in 1999, and strengthened by a series of resolutions in the months and years after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • It is now known as the Da’esh and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
  • The 1267 list of terrorists is a global list, with a UNSC stamp.
  • It is full of Pakistani nationals and residents, and Pakistan would like to get a few Indians on it as well.
  • What is the process by which people are listed under UNSC 1267?
  • Any member state can submit a proposal for listing an individual, group, or entity.
  • The 1267 Committee, which comprises all permanent and non-permanent members of the UNSC, meets as required with a notice of four working days.
  • Decisions on listing and de-listing are adopted by consensus.  

3. Explained: What is Antifa?

Context: Michael Forest Reinoehl, who was being investigated for the fatal shooting of a Trump supporter in Portland, was killed by law enforcement agents. He was an Antifa supporter. What is this movement?

Analysis

  • Antifa has been around for several decades, though accounts vary on its exact beginnings.
  • The Merriam-Webster dates the term as far back as Nazi Germany, describing the etymology of ‘antifa’ as “borrowed from German Antifa, short for antifaschistische ‘anti-fascist’, in Antifaschistische Aktion (multiparty front initiated by the German Communist Party in 1932 to counter Nazism) and in other collocations”.
  • While the movement has had a presence in several European countries and has come into focus in the United States in recent years, Antifa does not have a formal organisational structure. 
  • It draws its members from other movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Occupy movement.
  • The movement has been known to have a presence in the US in the 1980s.
  • It shot into prominence following the election of President Trump in 2016, with violence marking some of its protests and demonstrations.
  • Antifa members typically dress in black and often wear a mask at their demonstrations, and follow far-left ideologies such as anti-capitalism.
  • They take up causes such as LGBTQ and indigenous rights. What makes them stand out is the violence.
  • Criticising mainstream liberal politicians for not doing enough, Antifa members have often physically confronted their conservative opponents on the streets, although the group also participates in non-violent protests.
  • Apart from public counter-protests, Antifa members run websites that track white extremist and ultra-right groups.

B) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues

4. Emerging Technologies Initiative (ETI) (IE)

  • The aim of the ETI is to identify disruptive, futuristic, emerging, strategic, and critical technologies, that underpin economies, employment, security, social equity, and global relations which are of importance and relevance to India and develop feasible roadmap (s) to indigenize them.

Partners

  • The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India (Office of PSA) 
  • Itis set-up by the Cabinet Secretariat.
  • The Office of PSA functions as the Secretariat to some of the apex advisory bodies, including Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) and Empowered Technology Group (ETG).

    New Emerging & Strategic Technologies (NEST) Division in the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs has set up New and Emerging Strategic Technologies (NEST) Division to engage in technology diplomacy and deal with the foreign policy and international legal aspects of new and emerging technologies.
  • It will enable more active participation of India in global forums in the area of technology governance and promoting our national interests in that context.

    Science Policy Forum (SPF) 
  • It is an open independent collaborative platform that aims to facilitate stakeholder engagement in science, technology and innovation policy (STIP).

C) Geography, Environment and Biodiversity

5. Overharvesting turns ‘Himalayan viagra’ into a ‘vulnerable’ species (IE)

  • The world’s costliest fungus — Ophiocordyceps sinensis — also known as Himalayan Viagra, which sells in international markets for upwards of Rs 20 lakh per kg, has entered the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
  • The list has placed the fungus, known for its aphrodisiac and rejuvenation properties, in the ‘vulnerable’ category.
  • The fungus is endemic to the Himalayan and Tibetan plateau and is found in China, Bhutan, Nepal and India.
  • In India, it is primarily found in Uttarakhand in the higher reaches of districts like Pithoragarh and Chamoli.

International Union for Conservation Of Nature (IUCN)

  • It is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations.
  • Created in 1948, IUCN has evolved into the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network.
  • As the only environmental organisation with official United Nations Observer Status.
  • Member organisations meet every four years at the IUCN World Conservation Congress to set priorities and agree on the Union’s work programme.
  • IUCN played a fundamental role in the creation of key international conventions, including:
  1. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1971),
  2. The World Heritage Convention (1972),
  3. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, (1974) and
  4. The Convention on Biological Diversity (1992).

  • IUCN is the first global environmental union.
  • IUCN Programme 2017- 2020 has three priority areas:
  1. Valuing and conserving nature
  2. Promoting and supporting effective and equitable governance of natural resources
  3. Deploying nature-based solutions to societal challenges
  • The IUCN Red List assesses the conservation status of species at a global level.
  • Data from The IUCN Red List are used as indicators for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 15: Life on Land.
  • The IUCN Red List Categories define the extinction risk of species assessed.
  • Nine categories extend from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct).
  • Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction.
  • The IUCN Red List Index is used by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to monitor progress towards achieving the Aichi Targets.
  • Do you know: The year 1500 is the cut-off date for recording extinctions on the IUCN Red List.

The Red List Index

  • The IUCN Red List Index (RLI) provides a clearer view of real trends within different taxonomic groups, and for biodiversity as a whole.
  • The RLI is available for groups in which all species have been assessed at least twice.
  • Currently, the Index is available for five groups: birds, mammals, amphibians, corals and cycads.

6. The Dutch Urgenda Climate Case (IE)

  • The IUCN Red List Index (RLI) provides a clearer view of real trends within different taxonomic groups, and for biodiversity as a whole.
  • The RLI is available for groups in which all species have been assessed at least twice.
  • Currently, the Index is available for five groups: birds, mammals, amphibians, corals and cycads.

6. The Dutch Urgenda Climate Case (IE)

  • In December 2019, the Dutch Supreme Court, the highest court in the Netherlands, became the first highest level domestic court to establish a state’s duty to significantly and immediately reduce emissions in line with human rights obligations.
  • The Urgenda Climate Case against the Dutch Government was the first in the world in which citizens established that their government has a legal duty to prevent dangerous climate change. 

7. Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) (TH, pg 10)

Context: The Assam government has approved the addition of 30.53 sq. km (3,053 hectares) to the 884 sq. km Kaziranga National Park.

Analysis

Kaziranga National Park

  • More than 90 percent of Assam’s rhinos were now concentrated in just one park — Kaziranga National Park— with small populations in Orang National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Along with the iconic Greater one-horned rhinoceros, the park is the breeding ground of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.
  • The park has 57% of the world’s wild water buffalo population, one of the largest groups of Asian elephants and 21 Royal Bengal tigers per 100 sq.km – one of the highest striped cat density.
  • Over the time, the tiger population has also increased in Kaziranga, and that’s the reason why Kaziranga was declared as Tiger Reserve in 2006.
  • Also, the park is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the conservation of avifaunal species.
  • Kaziranga National Park is also a World Heritage Site in India in the natural category.
  • The rhino may well be a keystone species – known to have a disproportionately large impact on its environment relative to its population.
  • There are five species of rhinos, of which only one — the Indian rhino — is found in the country.
  • Their horns are made of keratin, the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails.
  • The Indian rhino was moved from its status of endangered (since 1986) to vulnerable in 2008 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • The first successful attempt to move rhinos out of Assam and re-introduce them into a similar habitat was made in 1984 in Uttar Pradesh’s Dudhwa national park.

Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020)

  • Launched in 2005, the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 aimed to boost the population of rhinos in Assam State (3,000 by 2020) and expand the species’ range within the state from three protected areas (Kaziranga, Pobitora, Orang national park) to seven (Kaziranga, Pobitora, Orang National Park, Manas National Park, Burachapori and Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuaries and Dibru-Saikhowa National Park).
  • This ambitious project, called the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020), was launched in 2005 in response to the declining population of rhinos in Assam.

Rhinoceros

  • Rhinos are one of the oldest groups of mammals.
  • All rhinos have poor eyesight. Rhinos have blurred vision and tend to attack based on smell and hearing.
  • Rhinos are found in parts of Africa and Asia, depending on the species.

Where do rhinos live?

  • There are five species of rhino found in the world – two in Africa, and three in Asia.

Black Rhino

  • The black rhino lives in the grasslands and savannahs of Africa, where all four of its subspecies are listed as critically endangered.
  • One subspecies, Western Black Rhinoceros, was declared extinct in 2011.
  • Black rhinos have two horns on their heads, with the front one being larger.
  • Black rhinos aren’t actually black. Their name likely differentiates them from white rhinos, whose name is a corruption of the Afrikaans word “weit,” which means “wide” and describes the mouth of the rhinos.

White Rhino

  • There are two subspecies of the white rhino, the Southern White Rhino and the Northern White Rhino, which is presumed to be extinct.
  • The Southern White rhino is considered “near threatened,” and is the least endangered of the rhino species.
  • The white rhino is the largest of the rhino species, and have two horns, with the front one being larger.
  • The largest populations of white rhinos are found in South Africa.
  • White rhinos’ name comes from the Afrikaans word “weit,” meaning “wide,” which describes their mouths. English settlers misheard the name.

Javan Rhino

  • The Javan rhino is the rarest of the rhino species, with only between 27 and 44 individuals thought to live in the wild.
  • They are believed to have been poached from their former habitat in Vietnam and are now found only in Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park on the island of Java.
  • They are listed as critically endangered.
  • Javan rhinos are also the smallest of the rhinos, and have only one horn on their head.
  • These solitary rhinos are very rarely seen.

Greater One-Horned Rhino

  • As its name suggests, the Greater One-horned rhino has only one horn.
  • They are similar in size to white rhinos.
  • Greater one-horneds are the most amphibious of the rhino species and will immerse themselves in water and munch on aquatic plants.
  • The greater one-horned rhino (Vulnerable) found in India and Nepal

Sumatran Rhino

  • The Sumatran rhino has two horns.
  • The Sumatran rhino (Critically Endangered) found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

D) Science and Technology

7. Hybrid Sterilization: UV-C, cold plasma, and H2O2 (PIB)

Context: Scientists have developed a portable sterilisation unit using a new technology called the hybrid sterilization system that can decontaminate personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for combating COVID 19, easily and rapidly, allowing them to be used multiple times.

Analysis

  • UV radiation is a proven method for sterilization. However, the lower penetration depth of UV-C and faster divergence from the source can result in nonuniform treatment. The team of scientists have developed this hybrid sterilization system consisting of a UV radiation cavity, cold plasma, and H2O2 spray.
  • Unlike the traditional UV systems, this system confines the UV radiation and enhances photon-flux and sterilization efficacy. The coherent operation of UV-C, cold plasma, and H2O2 spray further strengthens the sterilization efficiency.

Cold Plasma

“What is the fourth state of matter?” 

  • Matter has a fourth state other than the three, everyone knows about – solid, liquid and gas. This fourth state of matter is called Plasma.
  • When heated, the ice (for example) changes into water. On further heating, the liquid water changes into water vapour, the gaseous state. With sufficient heating, heated gas changes into plasma.
  1. So, in essence, plasma is an exotic state consisting of a mixture of electrons, charged atoms and neutral atoms.
  • As a matter of fact, we are surrounded by plasma, since plasma is a common component of the universe.

  1. In our daily life, we meet plasma in the form of beautiful auroras (northern lights) and lighting in the sky.
  2. In addition, when leaving the atmosphere of our planet, we encounter plasma in the Sun, Stars and solar winds, which are all compose of plasma.
  3. Almost 99 percent of all known matter in the Universe is plasma, leaving the three ordinary states of matter with merely 1 percent.

What is cold plasma?

  • To understand cold plasma, we need to refresh our knowledge of temperature and heat.
  • It is a common misconception that higher temperature should always mean a lot of heat.
  • When defining the hotness or coldness of a given substance, one must not only consider its actual temperature but also its heat capacity.
  • For example: You might have experienced accidentally dropping the ash of a cigarette on your hand. Even though the temperature of the ash is very high, you were probably not immediately burned. This is because the total amount of heat involved is very low.
  • Cold plasma (or non-equilibrium plasma) is the plasma where the temperature of the individual constituents are different from each other.
  1. Electrons are at higher temperature (more than 10,000K) and neutral atoms are at room temperature.
  • However, the density of the electrons in the plasma is very low compared to the density of the neutral atoms.
  • In the laboratory, cold plasmas are generally produced by the provision of electrical energy to different inert gases. This can be done at room temperature and at atmospheric pressure.

What are the applications of Cold Plasma?

  • Cold plasma is a source of high-temperature electrons at ambient conditions (room temperature & pressure). 
  • In Biomedicine, cold plasma is used for the treatment of teeth, skin and sterilization of medical devices.
  • In material science, it is used for surface modifications (computer chip production).
  • In food industry, cold plasma finds applications in the packaging process as well as in food production.
  • In environmental sciences, it is used in air and water purification and many more.

Hydrogen peroxide, H2O2

  • Hydrogen peroxide works as a disinfectant by destroying essential components of germ cells, and can deactivate a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores. 
  • Hydrogen peroxide works by producing destructive hydroxyl free radicals that can attack membrane lipids, DNA, and other essential cell components. 

8. Blockchain Technology (IE)

Context: National Informatics Centre (NIC) has set up the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Blockchain Technology in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Analysis

About Blockchain technology

  • A blockchain is a specific type of data structure which can be used to transact across nodes or participants.
  • The ownership rights are recorded in cryptographically stored and linked blocks which contain records of ownership of assets among the participants that can remain anonymous.
  • Blockchains are open, distributed ledger that can chronologically record transactions between two or more parties efficiently in near real time.
  • The prerequisite for each subsequent transaction to be added to the ledger is the respective consensus of the network participants (called nodes), thereby creating a continuous mechanism of control regarding manipulation, errors, and data quality.
  • The blockchain technology generally has key characteristics of decentralization, persistency, anonymity and auditability. With these traits, blockchain can greatly save the cost and improve the efficiency.
  • It has various applications like in field of banking, capital markets, cybers security, healthcare, agriculture, telecom, governance etc.
  • The NITI Aayog is exploring the use of blockchain and AI technologies in diverse areas such as education, healthcare, agriculture, electricity distribution and land records, among others.
  1. In this direction, the Think-Tank is reportedly building a platform called ‘IndiaChain’ — a shared, India-specific blockchain infrastructure that would leverage the trinity of Jan-Dhan-Yojana, Aadhaar and the mobile trinity.
  2. When implemented, this one-of-its-kind initiative will likely be the world’s largest blockchain implementation programme in governance.

E) Economy

8. Recent spree of mergers and acquisitions in India (livemint)

Context: Acquisition of Future Group’s Retial assets will help billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled RIL to expand its fast-growing retail business and bolster online retail capabilities.

  • The Mergers, amalgamations and acquisitions in India are regulated by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
  • CCI is the statutory authority responsible for reviewing combinations and assessing whether or not they cause or are likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within the relevant market(s) in India.

Analysis

  • CCI is watchdog of market competition. Certain Checks are undertaken before any acquisition is approved by it.

    1. if it limits the number of suppliers available to customer in this market in India;

    2. if it reduces the intensity of innovation in the technology;

    3. If the substantial market position of the Parties in the market will reduce or eliminate the competitive pressure that would prevail in the absence of Proposed Combination;

    4. If it reduces the bargaining power that the customers enjoyed on account of fair competition in market.

    5. if it increases the cost of the entrants and rivals to compete.

Competition Commission of India

  • The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007:
  1. Prohibits anti-competitive agreements;
  2. Abuse of dominant position by enterprises and;
  3. Regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A),
  • Which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
  • The objectives of the Act are sought to be achieved through the Competition Commission of India (CCI), a quasi-judicial body.
  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.

Objective of Competition Commission of India (CCI)

  1. Remove negative competitive practices
  2. Promote sustainable market competition
  3. Protect the rights of the consumer
  4. Protect the freedom of trade in Indian markets
  5. Protect the rights of small traders from the large traders to ensure their survival
  6. Advice and give suggestions to Competition Appellate Tribunal
  7. Run informative campaigns and create public awareness about fair competitive practices.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law.
  • It also undertakes competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
  • The Competition Appellate Tribunal was formed in 2009 and is a fully empowered body by the Constitution of India. The final appeal after this tribunal can be made in the Supreme Court of India.

Who can approach CCI?

  • Recently the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, in the appeal case Samir Agarwal v. Competition Commission, ruled that, a ‘person’ must necessarily be one “who has suffered an invasion of their legal rights as a consumer or as a beneficiary of healthy competitive practices”. (Principle of LOCUS STANDI applies- Locus Standi can be simplified as the capacity to take action by himself or appear in court, only by an individual to seek justice for violation of his own rights.)

Herfindahl– Hirschman Index (HHI)

  • It can be used for measuring the level of competition or market concentration in a relevant market.

9. Anti-Dumping Duty Vs Countervailing Duty (CVD) (TH, pg 15)

Context: India has started an anti-dumping investigation into imports of vitamin C from China in the wake of the domestic manufacturers making a case for imposition of the levy.

Analysis

  • Binding tariffs, and applying them equally to all trading partners (most-favoured-nation treatment, or MFN) are key to the smooth flow of trade in goods.
  • The WTO agreements uphold the principles, but they also allow exceptions — in some circumstances.
  • Three of these issues are:
  1. Actions taken against dumping (selling at an unfairly low price);
  2. Subsidies and special “countervailing” duties to offset the subsidies;
  3. Emergency measures to limit imports temporarily, designed to “safeguard” domestic industries.       

Countervailing Duty (CVD)

  • It is an additional import duty imposed on imported products (by the importing country) when such products enjoy benefits like export subsidies and tax concessions in the country of their origin.
  • The objective of CVD is to nullify or eliminate the price advantage (low price) enjoyed by an imported product when it is given subsidies or exempted from domestic taxes in the country where they are manufactures.
  • The WTO permits member countries to impose countervailing duty when the exporting country gives export subsidy.  

Anti-Dumping Duty

  • Dumping is a process where a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges on its own home market.
  • An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value.
  • Typically, anti-dumping action means charging extra import duty on the particular product from the particular exporting country in order to bring its price closer to the “normal value” or to remove the injury to domestic industry in the importing country.
  • Anti-dumping duty is imposed on the basis of margin of dumping which can vary across countries, producers or exporters.
  • Accordingly, there are variable rates of anti-dumping duty on different exporting countries, producers or exporters. 
  • The use of anti-dumping measure as an instrument of fair competition is permitted by the WTO.
  • The WTO agreement allows governments to act against dumping where there is genuine (“material”) injury to the competing domestic industry.
  1. In order to do that the government has to be able to show that dumping is taking place, calculate the extent of dumping (how much lower the export price is compared to the exporter’s home market price), and show that the dumping is causing injury or threatening to do so.
  • Disputes in the anti-dumping area are subject to binding dispute settlement before the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO.

Anti-Dumping and The Customs Duty

  • Although anti-dumping duty is levied and collected by the Customs Authorities, it is entirely different from the Customs duties not only in concept and substance, but also in purpose and operation.
  • The following are the main differences between the two:
  • Anti-dumping and the like measures in their essence are linked to the notion of fair trade.
  • The object of these duties is to guard against the situation arising out of unfair trade practices while customs duties are there as a means of raising revenue and for overall development of the economy.
  • Customs duties fall in the realm of trade and fiscal policies of the Government while anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures are there as trade remedial measures.
  • Anti-dumping duties are not necessarily in the nature of a tax measure inasmuch as the Authority is empowered to suspend these duties in case of an exporter offering a price undertaking. Thus, such measures are not always in the form of duties/tax.
  • Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties are levied against exporter/country in as much as they are country specific and exporter specific as against the customs duties which are general and universally applicable to all imports irrespective of the country of origin and the exporter. 

Extent of anti-dumping duty

  • Under the WTO arrangement, the National Authorities can impose duties up to the margin of dumping i.e. the difference between the normal value and the export price.
  • The Indian law also provides that the anti-dumping duty to be recommended/levied shall not exceed the dumping margin.
  • The anti-dumping duty cannot be levied retrospectively beyond 90 days from the date of issue of Notification imposing duty.

Authority for Anti-Dumping

  • Anti-dumping and anti-subsidies & countervailing measures in India are administered by the Directorate General of anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) functioning in the Dept. of Commerce in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the same is headed by the “Designated Authority”.
  • The Designated Authority’s function, however, is only to conduct the anti-dumping/anti-subsidy & countervailing duty investigation and make recommendation to the Government for imposition of anti-dumping or anti subsidy measures.
  • Such duty is finally imposed/levied by a Notification of the Ministry of Finance.
  1. Thus, while the Designated Authority (in the Department of Commerce) recommends the anti-dumping duty, provisional or final, it is the Ministry of Finance, Dept. of Revenue which acts upon such recommendation within three months and imposes/levies such duty.
  • Safeguard measures, on the other hand, are administered by another Authority namely, Director General (Safeguard), which functions under the Dept. of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
  • The Standing Board of Safeguards (chaired by the Commerce Secretary) considers the recommendations of the DG (Safeguards) and then recommends the impositions of the Safeguard Duty as it deems fit, to the Ministry of Finance which levies the duty.

Minimum Level of Imports

Individual exporter:

  • Any exporter whose margin of dumping is less than 2% of the export price shall be excluded from the purview of anti-dumping duties even if the existence of dumping, injury as well as the causal link is established.

Country: 

  • Further, investigation against any country is required to be terminated if the volume of the dumped imports, actual or potential, from a particular country accounts for less than 3% of the total imports of the like product.
  1. However, in such a case, the cumulative imports of the like product from all these countries who individually account for less than 3%, should not exceed 7% of the import of the like product.

Appeal

  • The law provides that an order of determination of existence degree and effect of dumping is appealable before the Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal (CEGAT).
  • However, as per the judicial view, only the final findings/order of the Designated Authority/Ministry of Finance can be appealed against before the CEGAT.
  • Appeal cannot lie against the Preliminary findings of the Authority and the provisional duty imposed on the basis thereof.
  • The Appeal to the CEGAT should be filed within 90 days.

10. RBI alters Priority Sector Norms (TH, pg 15)

Context: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released revised priority sector lending guidelines to augment funding to segments including start-ups and agriculture.

Analysis

  • Bank finance of up to ?50 crore to start-ups, loans to farmers both for installation of solar power plants for solarization of grid-connected agriculture pumps, and for setting up compressed biogas (CBG) plants have been included as fresh categories eligible for finance under the priority sector.
  • Higher weightage has been assigned to incremental priority sector credit in ‘identified districts’ where priority sector credit flow is comparatively low.
  • The targets prescribed for ‘small and marginal farmers’ and ‘weaker sections’ are being increased in a phased manner and higher credit limit has been specified for farmer producer organisations (FPOs)/farmers producers companies (FPCs) undertaking farming with assured marketing of their produce at a pre-determined price.
  • Besides, loan limits for renewable energy have been doubled.

Analysis

March 2020: Priority sector classification for NBFCs

  • The RBI has decided to extend priority sector classification for bank loans to NBFCs for on-lending for FY2020-21.
  • Existing loans disbursed under the on-lending model will continue to be classified under priority sector till the date of repayment or maturity.
  • Bank loans to NBFCs for on-lending would be eligible for classification as priority sector up to March 31, 2020.
  • Credit to NBFCs and HFCs for on-lending will be allowed up to an overall 5% of the bank’s total priority sector lending.
  • Earlier in August 2019, the central bank had decided to increase the cap on a bank’s exposure to a single NBFC to 20% of its tier-I capital from 15% now.
  1. Further, RBI gave ‘priority sector’ tag for banks lending to NBFCs, for on-lending to farm, small and medium enterprises and housing sector.
  2. Banks were allowed to lend to the NBFCs for on-lending to the agriculture sector up to ?10 lakh, up to ?20 lakh to micro and small enterprises, and for housing, up to ?20 lakh per borrower. These will be classified as priority sector lending.

What is Priority Sector Lending?

  • Priority Sector includes the following categories:

    (i) Agriculture 
    (ii) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
    (iii) Export Credit
    (iv) Education
    (v) Housing
    (vi) Social Infrastructure
    (vii) Renewable Energy
    (viii) Others
  • The targets and sub-targets for banks under priority sector are as follows:
CategoriesDomestic scheduled commercial banks (excluding Regional Rural Banks and Small Finance Banks) and Foreign banks with 20 branches and aboveForeign banks with less than 20 branches
Total Priority Sector40 per cent of Adjusted Net Bank Credit or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher.40 per cent of Adjusted Net Bank Credit or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher, to be achieved in a phased manner by 2020.
Agriculture #18 per cent of ANBC or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher.

Within the 18 percent target for agriculture, a target of 8 percent of ANBC or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher is prescribed for Small and Marginal Farmers.
Not applicable
Micro Enterprises7.5 percent of ANBC or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher.Not applicable
Advances to Weaker Sections10 percent of ANBC or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higherNot applicable
# Domestic banks have been directed to ensure that their overall direct lending to non-corporate farmers does not fall below the system-wide average of the last three years achievement.
  • Priority sector loans to the following borrowers are eligible to be considered under Weaker Sections category:
No.Category
1.Small and Marginal Farmers
2.Artisans, village and cottage industries where individual credit limits do not exceed ? 0.1 million
3.Beneficiaries under Government Sponsored Schemes such as National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) and Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS)
4.Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
5.Beneficiaries of Differential Rate of Interest (DRI) scheme
6.Self Help Groups
7.Distressed farmers indebted to non-institutional lenders
8.Distressed persons other than farmers, with loan amount not exceeding ? 0.1 million per borrower to prepay their debt to non-institutional lenders
9.Individual women beneficiaries up to ? 0.1 million per borrower
10.Persons with disabilities
11.Overdraft limit to PMJDY account holder up to ? 10,000/- with age limit of 18-65 years.
12.Minority communities as may be notified by Government of India from time to time
  • In States, where one of the minority communities notified is, in fact, in majority, item (12) will cover only the other notified minorities.
  • These States/ Union Territories are Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Lakshadweep.
  • The Reserve Bank of India opted to break with convention by reducing the key policy rate, the repo rate, by 35 basis points (bps) as it focused monetary policy measures on helping revive demand to tackle a deepening economic slowdown.
  • Note: This is a very dynamic topic and the various limits keep on changing. Students are advised to reconfirm data with the latest categories and limits. The above article has been prepared using RBI website.

F) Miscellaneous

11. INDRA NAVY-20 (PIB)

  • The 11th edition of exercise INDRA NAVY, a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Navy is scheduled in the Bay of Bengal in September 2020.
  • Initiated in 2003, Ex INDRA NAVY epitomises the long-term strategic relationship between the two Navies.
  • The primary aim of exercise INDRA NAVY-20 is to further consolidate inter-operability built up by the two Navies over the years and also to enhance understanding and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations.

14. CoViDx One (TH, pg 5)

  • ‘CoViDx One’, the COVID-19 reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kit developed by Pune-based GenePath Diagnostics, has received approval for manufacture and sale in India from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

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