GS 2


  1. Air bubble agreement: India-Germany flights resume

The issue in news

After a three-week impasse between India and Germany that led to the suspension of flights between the two countries, the Government of India has announced the resumption of services.

Main points

  • The disagreement between the two sides was primarily due to the fewer number of flights allowed to Air India (3 or 4 weekly) compared with those allowed to Lufthansa (20 weekly).
  • Both Lufthansa (of Germany) and Air India will now run 10 flights each a week. This air bubble agreement is for two months.
  • Civil Aviation Minister said that Lufthansa was using the air bubble agreement to ferry “sixth freedom rights” passengers. The sixth freedom permits a foreign carrier to fly passengers from one country to another while stopping in its own country.


What is an Air Bubble Agreement?

  • Transport Bubbles or Air Bubble Agreements are temporary arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • They are reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.


  1. Australia’s inclusion in Malabar naval exercise

The issue in news

A bipartisan group of Senators has written to India’s Ambassador to the United States backing India’s decision to invite Australia to the annual Malabar naval exercise.

Main points

  • Defense Ministry of India has issued a release on the upcoming trilateral India-U.S.-Japan Malabar exercises, noting that this year’s iteration would include Australia.
  • The Royal Australian Navy last participated in the Malabar exercise in 2007 (Quad-plus-Singapore naval exercise).
  • India’s invitation to Australia to join this year’s exercise comes three years after Canberra had asked to join the programme.



  • India is looking at increasing cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain.
  • The decision to add Australia will make the upcoming Malabar exercise, the first exercise to include all four Quad members since the grouping’s reconvening in November 2017 after a decade-long pause.
  • Australia’s participation can be counted as growing evidence of the seriousness of the reconvened Quad.
  • The development comes at a time of heightened tensions between China and the Quad states.
  • The expansion of Malabar is likely to further the integration of the Quad and further India-Australia security cooperation.

Malabar Exercise

  • Malabar Exercise started as a bilateral U.S.-India naval exercise in 1992. It transformed into a trilateral exercise in 2015 with the inclusion of the Japan Maritime Self- Defense Force on a permanent basis.


GS 3


  1. Air pollution now biggest health risk in India, says report

The issue in news

According to the State of Global Air 2020, air pollution is the largest risk factor for death among all health risks in India.

The report is published by the U.S.-based Health Effects Institute.

It sources its data from publicly available sources.


Main points

Findings of the Report:

  • Long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution contributed to over 1.67 million annual deaths from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and neonatal diseases in India in 2019.
  • Outdoor and household particulate matter pollution also contributed to the deaths of more than 1,16,000 Indian infants in their first month of life in 2019. o More than half of these deaths were associated with outdoor PM2.5.
  • Others were linked to the use of solid fuels such as charcoal, wood, animal dung for cooking.
  • India faced the highest per capita pollution exposure (83.2 μg/cubic metre) in the world, followed by Nepal and Niger.
  • Countries with the least population exposure are below 8 micrograms (μg) per cubic metre.

Marginal Decline in Pollution Levels:

  • The government has claimed that the average pollution levels in India are declining over the past three years. However, the decline is marginal, particularly in the Indo-Gangetic plains which see extremely high particulate matter pollution especially during winter.
  • Although there has been a slow and steady reduction in household reliance on poor-quality fuels, the air pollution from these fuels continues to be a key factor in the deaths of these youngest infants.


Pollution and COVID-19:

  • After a decline in pollution due to the nationwide lockdown, pollution levels are rising yet again and air quality has dipped to ‘very poor’ category in several cities.
  • Although the full links between air pollution and COVID-19 are not yet known, there is clear evidence linking air pollution and increased heart and lung disease, creating a growing concern that exposures to high levels of air pollution during winter months in South Asian countries and East Asia could worsen the effects of COVID-19.


Category: ECONOMY

  1. Govt. to widen manufacturing PLI plan

The issue in news

The production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing investments will be extended to eight more sectors. Also, the government is close to finalising its policy for the strategic sale of public sector enterprises (PSEs).

Production Linked Incentive Scheme

  • The scheme offers a production linked incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in mobile phone manufacturing and specified electronic components, including Assembly, Testing, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) units.
  • It is an outcome and output-oriented scheme wherein, incentives will be paid only if the manufacturers make the goods.


About the PLI Scheme:

  • The scheme offers a production linked incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in mobile phone manufacturing and specified electronic components, including Assembly, Testing, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) units.
  • The scheme shall extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India and covered under target segments, to eligible companies, for a period of five years subsequent to the base year as defined.
  • The Scheme will be implemented through a Nodal Agency which shall act as a Project Management Agency (PMA) and be responsible for providing secretarial, managerial and implementation support and carrying out other responsibilities as assigned by the Ministry from time to time.
  • The target segments include mobile phones and other electronic components such as transistors, diodes, thyristors, resistors, capacitors and nano-electronic components such as micro electromechanical systems.
  • According to the scheme, companies that make mobile phones which sell for Rs 15,000 or more will get an incentive of up to 6 per cent on incremental sales of all such mobile phones made in India.
  • In the same category, companies which are owned by Indian nationals and make such mobile phones, the incentive has been kept at Rs 200 crore for the next four years.
  • The scheme will attract big foreign investment in the sector, while also encouraging domestic mobile phone makers to expand their units and presence in India.

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