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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 17-July-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Indian Council of Agricultural Research

  2. Flights to US and France will begin on Friday as India creates four 'air bubbles'

  3. India-US inch closer to seal the limited trade deal

  4. Indian officials walk out of Jadhav meeting after Pak reneges on conditions



Why in news?

  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) celebrated its 92nd foundation day today.


  • India is surplus in foodgrains production due to the research contribution of the scientists and hard work of the farmers.

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.

  • It was established on 16 July 1929 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

  • The Council is the apex body for co-ordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country.

  • With 102 ICAR institutes and 71 agricultural universities spread across the country this is one of the largest national agricultural systems in the world.

  • The ICAR has played a pioneering role in ushering Green Revolution and subsequent developments in agriculture in India through its research and technology development, thus making a visible impact on the national food and nutritional security.

  • It has played a major role in promoting excellence in higher education in agriculture. 

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has been recognizing and rewarding the institutions, scientists, teachers, farmers and agricultural journalists every year.

Source : PIB ( )



Why in news?

  • Interim international flights to the United States of America and France will begin from Friday while flights to Germany and the United Kingdom will operate shortly following necessary permissions and clearances. Union minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said the flights will operate under special bilateral arrangement – “air bubble” -- with these four countries and some more destinations may be added in the coming days.


Travel bubbles or bilateral “air bridges” or air corridors could be a way for countries to control where travellers come from.

  • This arrangement will likely depend on two key factors:

  1. state of COVID control in both countries and

  2. dependence on each other, commercially and culturally.

  • Travellers will be allowed special concessions such as no quarantines at the destination or on return. 

  • Travel bubbles, while great in theory, are not easy to execute, because the integrity of the bubble also depends on who else that country is opening up to.

  • A two-way bubble could fail if one of the two countries opens up to a third that has higher exposure to the coronavirus. But for now, it seems to be the most reasonable way to unlock air travel.

Source : Deccan Chronicle ( )



Why in news?

  • India and the US are inching closer towards a limited trade deal with flurry of high level meetings on both sides at a time India is looking for greater trade and strategic ties with the Western countries including European Union and Britain amid its rising tension with China.


  • The principals also conversed on the ongoing India-USA trade discussions and appreciated the substantial progress made by both sides on most of the outstanding issues.

  • There was a desire expressed to conclude this initial limited trade package and recognising the complementarities of the India-USA bilateral trade, (both sides) discussed the possibility of an FTA.

  • A limited trade package under negotiations since 2018 is expected to cover tariff-related concessions for US farm products, especially dairy items, pricing of pharmaceutical products such as stents and knee implants, and information and communication technology products.

  • In return for trade-related concessions from India, Washington was supposed to partially restore benefits accorded to Indian exporters under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which was terminated by Trump from 5 June last year.

  • Both sides may also remove the tit-for-tat tariff hikes after the US increased steel and aluminium tariffs on national security grounds.

  • Goyal also flagged the long pending proposal for a Totalisation Agreement to secure the social security contributions of professionals from both sides, which had been also discussed during the visit of President Trump to India in February this year. 

  • A totalisation agreement is essentially a social security agreement (SSA) that seeks to do away with dual social security taxation for international workers.

Source : Livemint ( )



Why in news?

  • Officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, who were offered consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav on Thursday, protested against Pakistan reneging on earlier assurances and left the venue after lodging a protest.


  • During backchannel talks on access to Jadhav that began on Monday, Pakistani diplomats had assured their Indian interlocutors that no one would be posted in Jadhav’s vicinity during the meeting with consular officials. There would also be no recording of the meeting.

  • But Pakistani officials with an intimidating demeanour were present close to Jadhav.

  • Indian consular officials detected a camera which meant the conversation was being recorded.

  • Jadhav, too, was under visible stress and indicated that to the Consular officers.

  • In the light of these circumstances, we came to the conclusion that this consular access was neither meaningful nor credible. After lodging a protest, the officers left the venue

  • Consular access is of utmost importance, as it is the basis for an effective review and reconsideration ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Source : Tribune India ( )

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