The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic 1: Investment lessons from the India-EFTA trade deal

GS-2 Mains Exam : IR

Revision Notes

Question : Analyze the significance of India’s stalled free trade agreements with major economies like the UK and EU in the context of the country’s elections. Evaluate the impact of the India-EFTA Trade Deal on boosting trade volumes and its innovative investment chapter’s potential in facilitating investment and job creation.

Basic Concept :

A free trade agreement (FTA) is a pact between two or more countries to reduce barriers to trade and investment. Imagine it as an agreement to lower or eliminate customs duties (taxes on imports), quotas (limits on imports), and other restrictions on trade. This makes it cheaper and easier for businesses in each country to sell goods and services to each other.

Think of it like creating a special economic zone between countries, but without the physical borders. FTAs can also include provisions on other areas like intellectual property rights and labor standards. The goal is to boost economic activity and create a win-win situation for all parties involved.

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs): Merits and Demerits

Merits (Benefits):

  1. Increased Trade:FTAs eliminate or reduce tariffs and barriers, making imports and exports cheaper and easier. This stimulates trade between countries, boosting economic activity.
  2. Economic Growth:Increased trade leads to higher production, which creates jobs and generates government revenue. FTAs can foster innovation and competitiveness.
  3. Foreign Investment:FTAs often create a more stable and predictable trade environment, attracting foreign investment. This injects capital, creates jobs, and promotes technological advancements.
  4. Consumer Benefits:Lower import costs from FTAs translate to cheaper goods and a wider variety of products for consumers. This increases purchasing power and improves living standards.
  5. Global Integration:FTAs promote closer economic ties between countries, fostering international cooperation and potentially leading to political stability.

Demerits (Drawbacks):

  1. Job Losses:Increased competition from imports can lead to job losses in domestic industries that struggle to compete. This can be disruptive for workers and communities.
  2. Environmental Concerns:Lower trade barriers may incentivize production in countries with less stringent environmental regulations. This can lead to increased pollution and resource depletion.
  3. Unequal Benefits:FTAs can disproportionately benefit large corporations and developed countries. Smaller businesses and developing economies may struggle to compete, hindering their growth.
  4. Loss of Sovereignty:FTAs can limit a country’s ability to control its own policies, such as setting tariffs or enacting environmental regulations. This can raise concerns about national sovereignty.
  5. Social Disparity:FTAs can exacerbate income inequality as benefits may concentrate on certain sectors or regions. This can widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

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Why in News?

  • India’s free trade agreements with major economies like the UK and EU are stalled due to Indian elections.

India-EFTA Trade Deal:

  • Signed in March 2024 with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland.
  • Expected to boost low trade volumes between India and EFTA countries.
  • Notably, India agreed to include environment and labor issues, which it previously opposed.

Investment Chapter:

  • A key differentiator from recent India FTAs (Australia, UAE, Mauritius).
  • Focuses on investment facilitation, not just protection.
  • Unique Feature:EFTA countries will “aim to” increase FDI in India:
    • $50 billion within 10 years of the FTA.
    • Another $50 billion in the following five years.
    • “Aim to” facilitate creation of one million jobs in India.
  • This is an obligation of conduct, requiring a good-faith effort to achieve the goals, not a guaranteed outcome.
  • Indian negotiators are praised for this innovative approach in the investment chapter.


  • Sets a precedent for ongoing trade negotiations with the UK, EU, and others.

Trade and Investment in India’s FTAs

Economic Linkage:

  • Trade and investment are interconnected, especially in global supply chains.
  • FTAs typically include rules for both trade and investment.

India’s FTA Strategy:

  • Early 2000s FTAs (Japan, Korea, etc.) included investment protection chapters.
  • Recent FTAs (Australia, UAE, etc.) decoupled trade and investment rules (FTA 2.0).
  • Separate agreements for trade and investment are being explored (e.g., UAE).

FTA 3.0 Recommendations:

  • Clear FTA policy needed for trade and investment laws.
  • Negotiate trade and investment together in one comprehensive treaty.
  • Expand investment focus from facilitation to protection with strong dispute settlement.
  • Legal protection for foreign investors will boost confidence.


  • Foreign direct investment in India has dropped.
  • A clear and comprehensive FTA policy is needed for higher economic growth.



The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic 2: Worms Develop and Inherit Food Habits (Princeton University Research)

GS-3 : Mains = Science and Technology

Revision Notes

Question : Examine the mechanism of trans-generational learning observed in C. elegans, particularly in acquiring and passing on avoidance behavior towards harmful bacteria.

Basic Concept :

Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), affectionately nicknamed “the worm” by researchers, is a free-living, transparent roundworm widely used in biological research. It holds several distinctions:

  • First Multicellular Organism with Sequenced Genome:Scientists have completely mapped its genetic code, providing a foundational understanding of gene function in complex organisms.
  • Simple Yet Informative:Despite its basic anatomy, C. elegans shares many biological processes with humans, offering valuable insights into human development, physiology, and diseases.
  • Rapid Life Cycle:elegans completes its entire life cycle, from fertilized egg to adult, in just 3-5 days. This rapid development allows scientists to study multiple generations within a short timeframe.
  • Transparent Body:elegans’ transparent body allows researchers to directly observe its internal organs and development under a microscope, making it ideal for cell and developmental biology studies.

Due to these unique characteristics, C. elegans has become a powerful tool for researchers in various fields, including genetics, neuroscience, aging, and drug discovery.

About DNA and RNA

DNA and RNA are both nucleic acids, but they play distinct roles in the cell:

  • DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid):The blueprint of life. It’s a double-stranded molecule shaped like a twisted ladder. Each rung is made of paired chemical bases (A, C, G, T). This code stores the instructions for building and maintaining an organism. DNA is found in the nucleus of most cells and mitochondria.
  • RNA (Ribonucleic acid): The messenger and worker bee. It’s a single-stranded molecule with a similar structure to DNA, but with one key difference: it uses the base uracil (U) instead of thymine (T). RNA carries out DNA’s instructions. There are three main types of RNA:
    • Messenger RNA (mRNA):Carries the genetic code from DNA in the nucleus to ribosomes in the cytoplasm, where proteins are built.
    • Ribosomal RNA (rRNA):Forms the core of ribosomes, the protein-building factories of the cell.
    • Transfer RNA (tRNA):Delivers amino acids (protein building blocks) to ribosomes based on the mRNA code.

In short, DNA stores the information, and RNA uses it to build the cell’s machinery (proteins). They work together to orchestrate all the activities of life.


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Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans)

  • Nicknamed “the worm” for its frequent use in biological research.
  • First multicellular organism with sequenced genome and mapped neural wiring.
  • Grows from egg to adult (1 mm) in 3-5 days.
  • Offers insights into human biology and broader biological principles.

Trans-generational Learning

  • elegans worms can learn to avoid harmful bacteria.
  • Worms exposed to disease-causing Pseudomonas vranovensis bacteria:
    • Acquire ability to avoid this bacteria (avoidance behavior).
    • Pass on this behavior to offspring for up to 4 generations.
  • Similar finding observed previously with P. aeruginosa bacteria.


  • vranovensis produces a small RNA molecule (sRNA).
  • When worms ingest the bacteria, they also ingest sRNA.
  • sRNA alters worm’s feeding behavior to avoid the harmful bacteria.

Understanding RNA

  • DNA molecule: double-stranded ladder with sugar-phosphate backbone and A, C, G, T bases.
  • RNA molecule: single-stranded with sugar-phosphate backbone and A, C, G, U bases.
  • Messenger RNA (mRNA): RNA copy of a DNA gene sequence, carries instructions for protein assembly.


  • Potential for cross-generational inheritance of learned behaviors in simple organisms.
  • Further research needed to understand implications for complex organisms like humans.

sRNA and Gene Expression

  • Some genes in C. elegans code for small RNAs (sRNA) instead of proteins. (length ~100-200 nucleotides)
  • sRNA bind to other proteins and RNAs, affecting the expression of other genes.

Diet and Learned Behavior

  • Worms trained to avoid harmful bacteria (P. vranovensis) also avoid non-pathogenic P. mendocina (food source).
  • This suggests learned avoidance of similar bacteria types.


  • sRNA from P. vranovensis triggers learned avoidance in worms.
  • Worms take up sRNA when feeding on the bacteria.
  • sRNA is then:
    • Maintained within the worm’s body.
    • Transmitted to offspring for multiple generations (RNA interference).

Open Questions

  • Can humans take up sRNA from gut microbes?
  • Can sRNA modify human behavior across generations? (Needs further research)

Significance of C. elegans Research

  • elegans studies led to Nobel Prizes (2002, 2006, 2008).
  • This tiny worm contributes significantly to scientific and medical advancements.




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