UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 20-May-2020


Topic Covered :

  1. Chinese troops resort to aggressive posturing in Ladakh, North Sikkim: Sources

  2. Govt moves to ban 27 pesticides

  3. Floating Solar Alternative

  4. India elected to WHO's decision making Executive Board, to be chair for 2020-21

  5. Philippines explores options to buy BrahMos missile from India


CHINESE TROOPS RESORT TO AGGRESSIVE POSTURING IN LADAKH, NORTH SIKKIM: SOURCES

Why in news?

  • Tension is gradually building up between Indian and Chinese armies in several areas in Ladakh and northern Sikkim along the un-demarcated Sino-India border with both sides bringing in additional troops, days after they were involved in two violent face-offs, authoritative sources said on Tuesday. 


Highlights:

  • Both the Indian and Chinese armies have brought in more troops in sensitive locations like Demchok, Daulat Beg Oldie and areas around Galwan river as well as Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh.

  • The area around Galwan has been a point of friction between the two sides for over six decades. They had a showdown over it in 1962 as well. 

  • It is learnt that Chinese side has erected a sizeable number of tents in the Galwan Valley area following which India is keeping a hawk-eye vigil there. 

  • The aggressive posturing by the two sides came amid India's escalating border row with Nepal over construction of a strategically key road linking Lipulekh Pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand. 

  • China on Tuesday said the Kalapani issue is between India and Nepal and hoped that the two neighbours would refrain from "unilateral actions" and properly resolve their disputes through friendly consultations. 

  • The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border between the two countries. 

  • China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it. 

  • China has been critical of India's reorganisation of J&K, and has particularly criticised New Delhi for making Ladakh a union territory. China lays claim over several parts of Ladakh. 


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/chinese-troops-resort-to-aggressive-posturing-in-ladakh-north-sikkim-sources/articleshow/75831131.cms )


GOVT MOVES TO BAN 27 PESTICIDES

Why in news?

  • After unleashing the agri-marketing reforms through the Atmanirbhar stimulus package, the government, in a surprise move, has proposed to ban 27 pesticides such as Carbendazim and Monocrotophos, which are widely used by the farmers across the country.


Highlights:

  • The draft order – called Banning of Insecticides Order 2020 – prohibits import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of such insecticides. The pesticides in the proposed list are: Acephate, Atrazine, Benfuracarb, Butachlor, Captan, Carbofuran, Chlorpyriphos, 2,4-D, Deltamethrin, Dicofol, Dimethoate, Dinocap, Diuron, Malathion, Mancozeb, Methomyl, Oxyfluorfen, Pendimethalin, Quinalphos and Sulfosulfuron.

  • The industry is baffled by the government’s move and plans to oppose the ban order. 

  • If implemented, the ban would not only hurt farmers, but also exports. The Indian pesticide industry is estimated at ₹19,000 crore, while exports are pegged at ₹21,000 crore. The list of chemicals account for about a fifth of the total industry

  • Industry sources said the timing of the notification is surprising as it has come at a time when the government is promoting ‘Make in India’ and has announced stimulus to make the country self-reliant. 

  • Also, banning these affordable chemicals would affect food security as it would lead to further increase in cost of cultivation for farmers. 


Source : Business Line ( https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/govt-moves-to-ban-27-pesticides-baffled-industry-says-it-will-oppose-the-order/article31626320.ece )


FLOATING SOLAR ALTERNATIVE

Why in news?

  • The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) has been exploring a ‘third pillar’— floating solar photovoltaic — to boost solar electricity generation in the country.


Highlights:

  • With a shortage of land, and high land prices for installation of solar systems at the ground level, it felt that placing solar panels on water bodies may be an alternative worth looking into.

  • With this in mind, last month, it released its research report on the potential of Floating Solar PV (FSPV), which involves placing solar panels on large and medium water bodies to generate electricity.

  • This is being currently done in several countries, with China leading the way, followed by Japan and South Korea.

  • The findings concluded that about 18,000 km2 water surface area is available and suitable for FSPV plants across a host of States and Union Territories, with possibility of generating as much as 280 GW.

  • However, the report points out a number of challenges that need to be addressed for floatovoltaics technology to be an alternative for States to consider.

  • The waterbody is moving and could have certain turbulence, therefore mooring and anchoring of the PVs is a critical element, along with the stability of the platform and ensuring that it does not pollute the water body.


Source : TERI ( https://www.teriin.org/renewable-energy )


INDIA ELECTED TO WHO'S DECISION MAKING EXECUTIVE BOARD, TO BE CHAIR FOR 2020-21

Why in news?

  • India was elected to the World Health Organization’s decision making Executive Board on Tuesday, along with 10 other countries including Russia, the UK and South Korea.


Highlights:

  • India will chair the Executive Board for 2020-21, taking the baton from Japan.

  • India’s chairing of the WHO’s Executive Board comes at a time when tensions between the US and China are running high over the origin of the novel coronavirus pandemic and whether Beijing had shared all information regarding the disease with countries.

  • It also comes at the US has demanded that the WHO institute "substantive improvements" in its working in 30 days or permanently forfeit US funding.

  • Addressing the World Health Aseembly in Geneva on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had accepted that there had been shortcomings in its handling of the covid-19 crisis and that an independent review of its response would begin as soon as possible.

  • India has been of the view that the global community must first focus attention on curbing the pandemic with reforms and changes within WHO to be discussed later.


Source : Livemint ( https://www.livemint.com/news/india/india-elected-to-who-s-decision-making-executive-board-to-be-chair-for-2020-21-11589892703816.html )


PHILIPPINES EXPLORES OPTIONS TO BUY BRAHMOS MISSILE FROM INDIA

Why in news?

  • India and the Phillipines are in talks for the purchase of a number of defence platforms from India including the Brahmos missile, India’s ambassador to the Phillipines Jaideep Majumdar has said.


Highlights:

  • The Philippines and India have had price negotiation talks for the BrahMos cruise missile jointly developed by India and Russia, with the aim of concluding a deal in 2020.

  • The Phillipines is one among several countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam that has shown an interest in purchasing the land and sea-based versions of the supersonic cruise missile.

  • Though India has offered a $100 million line of credit to the Philippines for defence purchases, Manila is exploring the option of acquiring the BrahMos system with its own funds to be allocated in the next budget.

  • In recent years, the Philippines has concluded several deals with India for personal protective items or bulletproof gear and armour plating for military vehicles.

  • An Indian firm has also bid for a recent Philippines tender for bulletproof gear.

  • During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Philippines in 2017, India and the Phillippines had signed an MoU on defence industry and logistics cooperation to provide a framework for strengthening cooperation and coordination in logistics support and services, and in the development, production and procurement of defence hardware.

  • India is also exploring the possibility of selling the BrahMos to Indonesia, and a team from the Indo-Russian joint venture that makes the system visited a state-run shipyard to assess the fitting of the missile on Indonesian warships.


India has also held talks with Vietnam for the sale of the BrahMos, which was developed by the Indo-Russian joint venture set up in 1998. The Indian Navy inducted the missile on its frontline warships in 2005 and the army began inducting the BrahMos from 2007 after a series of tests.



Source : Defence News ( https://www.defencenews.in/article/Philippines-explores-options-to-buy-BrahMos-missile-from-India-830698 )

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