INDEX :

1. Approval of PLI plan for pharmaceuticals and IT Hardware.

2. SEBI moots concept of ‘accredited investor’.

3. U.S. will seek to rejoin UNHRC

4. Propose a bilateral green deal to the U.S.

 

PIB SUMMARY: 

1. Australia's Oldest Aboriginal Rock Art Identified.

2. 'HUNTER KILLERS' Approved for the Indian Army

 

 

 

 

Approval of PLI plan for pharmaceuticals and IT Hardware.

#GS-3 #ECONOMY #TECHNOLOGY AND ADVANCEMENT

 

Context 

 The Union Cabinet approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for the pharmaceuticals and IT hardware sectors, entailing an outlay of 15,000 crore and 7,350 crore, respectively. 

Significance

  • The PLI scheme for pharmaceuticals, for nine years till 2028-29, will benefit domestic manufacturers, help create employment and is expected to contribute to the availability of a wider range of affordable medicines for consumers. 
  • The scheme is expected to bring in investment of ₹15,000 crore in the pharmaceutical sector. 
  • The scheme is expected to promote the production of high-value products in the country and increase the value addition in exports. 

‘20,000 direct jobs’ 

  • Total incremental sales of  2,94,000 crore and total incremental exports of ₹1,96,000 crore are estimated during six years from 2022-23 to 2027-28. 
  • The growth in the sector is expected to add 20,000 direct and 80,000 indirect jobs for both skilled and unskilled personnel. 
  • The scheme also aims to create global champions from India that have the potential to grow in size and scale using cutting-edge technology and thereby penetrate global value chains. 
  • The Cabinet also approved the PLI Scheme for IT hardware such as laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs and servers. 
  • The scheme, under which an incentive will be given on net incremental sales of goods manufactured in India for four years, will benefit five ‘major global players’ and ten domestic ‘champions’ in IT hardware. 
  • This is an important segment to promote manufacturing under AtmaNirbhar Bharat as there is huge import reliance for these items at present. 
  • It will enhance the development of the electronics ecosystem in the country. 
  • The scheme could generate more than 1,80,000 jobs (direct and indirect) over four years. 

PLI Scheme for Ten More Sectors 

  • Recently, the Union Cabinet has given its approval to introduce the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in 10 more sectors for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and exports (Atmanirbhar Bharat). 
  • The ten sectors include food processing, telecom, electronics, textiles, specialty steel, automobiles and auto components, solar photo-voltaic modules and white goods such as air conditioners and LEDs. 
  • Earlier, the government had announced a production linked incentive or PLI scheme for medical devices, mobile phones and specified active pharmaceutical ingredients, with a proposed outlay of Rs. 51,311 crore. 

PLI Scheme 

  • A scheme that aims to give companies incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in domestic units. 
  • The scheme invites foreign companies to set units in India, however, it also aims to encourage local companies to set up or expand existing manufacturing units. 

 

 

SEBI moots concept of ‘accredited investor’.

#GS-2 #GS-3 #FINANCIAL MARKETS.

 

Context 

  • Regulator SEBI sought comments on the proposal to introduce the concept of ‘accredited investors’ in the Indian securities market. 
  • The comments can be sent to the regulator in a prescribed format latest by March 18. 

 

Qualified investors or professional investors 

  • SEBI noted that accredited investors, also called qualified investors or professional investors, are those who have an understanding of various financial products and the risks and returns associated with them. 
  • They are able to take informed decisions regarding their investments and are recognised by many securities and financial market regulators globally. 
  • The accredited investor concept may offer benefits to investors and financial product/service providers, such as – 

✓ Flexibility in minimum investment amount, 

✓ Flexibility and relaxation in regulatory requirements and 

✓ Access to products/ services offered exclusively to accredited investors. 

  • The accreditation once granted shall be valid for a year. 
  • The accreditation may be carried out via 'Accreditation Agencies’ which may be the market infrastructure institutions or their subsidiaries. 

 

The concept of ‘accredited investors’ 

  • An accredited investor can be a business institution or an individual who is allowed to deal with securities that are not available to the general public. 
  • Also, these securities may or may not be registered with any financial regulatory authority. 
  • However, in order to become an accredited investor, an individual or a business entity will have to fulfill the eligibility requirement set by the market regulator. 
  • In India, the accredited investor process was introduced by the Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for high net-worth individual (HNI) investors who satisfy the regulatory body’s requirements to invest in listed startups. 

How to Become an Accredited Investor in India? 

  • In order to become an accredited investor in India, the investor or business entity, who owns a demat account will be required to apply for accreditation to the depositories or the stock exchange. 
  • Once the eligibility of the investor has been determined, the investor will be granted accreditation for a period of three years by the stock exchange. 
  • Also, the accredited investor is required to keep the stock exchange and depositories informed of any change in the financial status. 

Who Can Be an Accredited Investor? 

  • A business entity or institution who wishes to invest in listed startups is required to have a net worth of Rs.25 crore to be considered an accredited investor. 
  • Similarly, for an individual to be considered an accredited investor, a liquid net worth of at least Rs.5 crore and total annual gross of Rs. 50 lakh is to be maintained. 
  • The requirements for accredited investors are set by the regulatory body to ensure that the investor interests are safeguarded as the risk of losing capital on unfamiliar investments are generally high. 
  • SEBI also ensures that accredited investors are financially stable enough to absorb any losses that can occur due to unregulated securities. 

 

 

 

U.S. will seek to rejoin UNHRC

#GS-2 #IR #ORGANIZATION AND MANDATE.

 

Context 

  • The U.S. will seek re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Secretary of State “humbly” asked for the support of UN member states. 
  • This is the latest in a series of moves by the Biden administration to reverse a pattern of retreat from multilateralism that was characteristic of the Trump regime Former President had taken the U.S. out of the Council in 2018, saying it was biased against Israel and had members who were human rights abusers. 

 

Seeking election for the 2022 to 2024 term

  • While acknowledging that American democracy was “imperfect” and often fell short of its ideals, the U.S. was placing human rights at the centre of its foreign policy and therefore seeking to rejoin the Council. 
  • The United States will seek election to the human rights council for the 2022 to 2024 term. 
  • The Council was biased against Israel - a position shared by Democrats and Republicans. 
  • The Secretary also referred to the Council’s membership. While he praised the Council for bringing attention to the coup d’etat in Myanmar, he said those with the “worst human rights record” should not be part of the Council. 
  • The Secretary spoke of challenges to racial justice in the U.S. and said the fight for racial justice should be on top of the global human rights agenda. 
  • There was no moral equivalence between the actions of the United States and authoritarian regimes. 
  • The United States does not claim to be perfect, but they strive every day to improve, to hold themselves accountable, to become a more perfect union. 

 

Absence Of Moral Equivalence

There's no moral equivalence between the actions of the United States, which are subject to robust, impartial, and transparent accountability mechanisms, and those of authoritarian regimes, which violate and abuse human rights with impunity. together, we must push back against blatant attempts to subvert the values upon which the United nations was founded. 

  • Those who use economic development as a reason to undermine human rights will be held accountable. 
  • Those who hide under the mantle of promoting economic development while seeking to undermine human rights will be held to account, including for their own human rights violations. 
  • The Secretary called for Russia to unconditionally release dissident Alexei Navalny and others wrongfully detained. 
  • Other countries that were mentioned by name included China and Sri Lanka. 
  • U.S. will speak out for universal values when atrocities are committed in Xinjiang, or when fundamental freedoms are undermined in Hong Kong. 
  • He also called on the Council to adopt resolutions in this session, including one on Sri Lanka. 
  • They encourage the Council to support resolutions in the session, addressing issues of concern around the world, including ongoing human rights violations in Syria, North Korea, the lack of accountability for past atrocities in Sri Lanka and the need for further investigation into the situation in South Sudan 
  • The U.K. and other countries have circulated a draft resolution asking for accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka’s 26 year civil war. 

 

The US Withdrawal from UNHRC 

  • Trump pulled out of the world body’s main human rights agency in 2018 due to its disproportionate focus on Israel. 
  • Israel had received by far the largest number of critical council resolutions against any country. 
  • The Trump administration took issue with the body’s membership, which currently includes China, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia and Venezuela, all of which have been accused of human rights abuses. 

Background of the withdrawal 

  • The US witnessing a decline in human rights record: The UNHCR reports have highlighted various issues regarding the current policies like separation of families at Mexican border or various violations of human rights committed in the course of the War on Terror. 
  • Israel bias: The US has accused UNHRC of imposing a disproportionate number of resolutions against Israel as compared to other human rights violators. 
  • Protectionism: The US government, in recent times, is seen to be bent more towards moving away from many platforms of international cooperation like Trans-Pacific Partnership or Global Compact on Migration. 

UNHRC 

  • UNHRC was reconstituted from its predecessor organisation, the UN Commission on Human Rights to help overcome the “credibility deficit” of the previous organisation.
  • Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Composition 

  • The UNHRC has 47 members serving at any time with elections held to fill up seats every year, based on allocations to regions across the world to ensure geographical representation. 
  • Each elected member serves for a term of three years. 
  • Countries are disallowed from occupying a seat for more than two consecutive terms. 

Functions 

  • The UNHRC passes non-binding resolutions on human rights issues through a periodic review of all 193 UN member states called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). 
  • It oversees expert investigation of violations in specific countries (Special Procedures). 

Challenges and Need for reforms 

  • The human rights record of the member-states such as Saudi Arabia, China and Russia in the council has also not been in line with the aims and mission of the UNHRC, which has led to critics questioning its relevance. 
  • Despite the continued participation of several western countries in the UNHRC, they continue to harbour misgivings on the understanding of Human rights. 
  • Non-compliance has been a serious issue with respect to the UNHRC’s functioning. 

 

 

 

Propose bilateral green deal to the U.S

#GS-2 #IR #BILATERAL RELATIONS.

 

Context 

  • Council on Energy Environment and Water (CEEW), founder-CEO, says India needs to proactively negotiate a bilateral climate agreement with the U.S. 
  • He suggests that hill States such as Uttarakhand be given a concrete plan to transition from reliance on large hydropower plants for energy. 

 

The U.S. has re-entered the Paris Climate agreement. What does this mean for India? 

  • This is an opportunity for India to be proactive and propose a bilateral deal, where the U.S. and India can work more closely on climate change. 
  • It should be similar to the 2014 deal involving U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. 
  • The focus should be on what can be achieved in the near-term. There will be pressure on India to give a plan on when it will achieve Net Zero (when a country’s carbon dioxide emissions are balanced by the amount locked back in). 
  • However, we must have an agreement on say the use of hydrogen, and form a Green Hydrogen Alliance. 
  • The U.S. will predictably try to nudge, cajole other countries into raising ambition (in the form of greater emission targets, for example) but India shouldn’t be swayed by emotion. 
  • India can use this opportunity to ask the U.S. to raise ambition, given that it has been out of the agreement for four years. We can ask for concrete targets, finance, technology. 

 

Expectations from United Nations Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow 

  • Given the expectations, it will be a very significant event though probably not as much as the conference in Paris (in 2015). 
  • The reason for its importance is because it’s coming in a year after the pandemic began. 
  • It will reveal if the world’s recovery has been a green one and if we are building a world that is better. 
  • COP26 will likely be about the mechanisms, especially financial ones, to operationalise plans. 

 

What’s the future for hydropower? 

  • Hydro power is considered part of the renewable energy mix. However, in light of the disaster in Uttarakhand, questions are being raised on the role of dams. 
  • It was only two years ago that large hydropower projects (above 25 MW) started to be considered as renewable energy. 
  • We should be going back to the earlier definition where only the smaller hydropower plants were considered renewable energy. 
  • In future, we have to think if hydropower can compete with solar-plus-storage and it’s very much possible that the latter will be cheaper than a new hydropower plant. 
  • On the other hand, even smaller hydropower plants are in fragile ecosystems and will still be a challenge. 

Significance of Solar power 

  • We see the per-unit cost of solar power falling. We are not anywhere close to an inflection point of solar power becoming a much bigger component of our energy mix. 
  • There are three additional drivers: financial, technological and new markets. 
  • We can still shave off a few paise from improving financial contracts and the implementing of them. 
  • The solar rooftop market is relatively untapped. 
  • There are also solar irrigation pumps, urban microgrids, etc. These are niche markets not being exploited at all. 
  • We must be able to offer our market as a test bed for new batteries and storage technologies, like we are doing with vaccines. 
  • We’ve developed a vaccine here but we are the factory for the other vaccine, and that makes us relevant to the global market. 

 

 

PIB SUMMARY

1. Australia's Oldest Aboriginal Rock Art Identified.

 

kangaroo painting created over 17,000 years ago by Aboriginal artists has been identified as the oldest intact rock art of Australia.

Key Points

  • As per research, the six-foot-long (2 metre) artwork on the sloped ceiling of a rock shelter in Western Australia’s Kimberley region was painted in an early naturalistic style.
  • This style often features life-sized renderings of animals.
  • In to establish the age of original rock artworks, scientists worked with the local Aboriginal community, who can trace their heritage in the region back tens of thousands of years.
  • The main challenge, globally, in dating ancient paintings, is that they very rarely employed a pigment that can be dated with any of the current, quantitative dating techniques.
  • To get around this, the scientists identified a way to work out the age of the painting using ancient mud wasp nests.
  • After this, they estimated that the kangaroo painting was between 17,500 and 17,100 years old, the oldest discovered to date.
  • In total, the researchers dated 27 mud wasp nests around 16 different paintings from 8 rock shelters and found that the artworks in this same naturalistic style were produced between around 17,000 and 13,000 years ago.
  • The images were mostly depictions of animals, including a lizard-like figure, a snake, and three macropods — marsupials including wallabies, kangaroos, and quokkas.
  • The research is a part of Australia’s largest rock art dating project. It was published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

 

2. 'HUNTER KILLERS' Approved for the Indian Army

118 indigenous Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks will soon be added to the Indian Army fleet. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh has approved the Indian Army’s proposal to buy 118 Arjun Mark 1-A ‘Hunter Killers’.

 

Key Points

  • The Indian Army will now soon issue the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the purchase of 118 Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The entire process will take at least a year before it is finalized and the contract is inked.
  • This will be the 2nd biggest contract for the indigenously manufactured platforms for the Indian Armed Forces this year.
  • The first such deal was signed for 83 Light Combat Aircraft Tejas’ between the Ministry of Defence and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) gave the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) to the proposal worth Rs 8,380-crore for the Indian Army.
  • Three AoNs for an overall cost of Rs 13,700 crore were accorded. And, these will be indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured.
  • The approvals are for 118 main battle tanks and equipping the armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) with modern protection and countermeasure systems.
  • The protection systems for the army’s fleet of more than 3,000 AFVs (tanks and infantry combat vehicles) is expected to cost around Rs 5,300 crore.
  • The order for the MBT Arjun’ is expected to be placed with the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) soon. And once the deal is firmed up around five tanks are expected to be rolled out in 30 months and thereafter 30 tanks every year.

 

About the 118 indigenous Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks

  • Arjun Mk-1A MBT is an upgraded version of the Arjun Mk-1 which being presently used by the Indian Army.
  • The new version of the Arjun has 71 upgrades, including 14 major improvements.
  • These upgrades will significantly the tank’s lethality, mobility, and survivability.
  • The new variant of the tank will have advanced land navigation systems, better firepower, and improved night vision capabilities.
  • Some other features are containerized ammunition bin and advanced laser warning and countermeasure systems.

The tanks will be manufactured at the Heavy Vehicles Factory of Ordnance Factory Board at Avadi, Chennai. This tank has been designed and developed by DRDO’s Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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