Daily GS Mains Notes or Mains Content Enrichment for Civil Services
Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- Centre unable to pay States’ GST dues: official
Why in news
Finance Secretary has informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance that the government is in no position to pay the GST share of States as per the current revenue sharing formula.
- The Finance Ministry recently said that the Centre had released the final installment of 13,806 crore of GST compensation for the financial year 2019-20.
- In its stimulus package, in May 2020, the Centre enhanced States’ power to borrow, but only part of that was completely unconditional, and a large chunk was contingent on States undertaking specified reforms.
- Considering the extent of economic damage as well as the States’ fiscal positions, there is an urgent need to finalise the way forward for paying States the compensation.
- With any further delay in arriving at a plan, the Centre-State ties could turn more fractious, especially in the GST Council where things have usually evolved with consensus so far.
- One of the ideas on the table is to raise loans against future GST cess accruals in order to recompense States.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- Working with India to make clean power accessible: U.K. Minister
Why in news
U.K. Minister of State (Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth) was on a virtual visit to India.
India – UK partnership:
- The U.K. had recently contributed analysis and market simulations for India’s Real-Time Power Market which was launched on June 1 2020, to get more renewables on the national grid at more competitive rates.
- It has been announced that the U.K. would strengthen its collaboration, in areas such as increased use of renewable energy by Indian Railways to help it become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030.
- Britain is also working with Indian partners on a clean energy transition.
- UKRI research partnerships would help develop the next generation of solar buildings and through the Newton–Bhabha Fund, Catapult innovation centres are partnering institutions in Bangalore to develop electric mobility and air pollution solutions.
- UK is working together with India through the MGNREGA to build climate-resilient livelihoods.
- This focused on drought-proofing, flood defences and river structures for aquifer replenishment.
- The Infrastructure for Climate Resilient Growth (ICRG) has invested in climate-resilient livelihood strategies in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Bihar.
- The Green Growth Equity Fund’s (GGEF) first investment in India had gone to Ayana Renewable Power, with a target of 6 GW in 5 years.
- It aims to leverage private sector investment from the City of London to invest in Green Infrastructure Projects in India.
- The Fund has also invested in e-mobility and integrated waste management.
- India is demonstrating leadership with the International Solar Alliance and the U.K. is working with it and other countries to mobilise more than $1 trillion of investments in solar energy by 2030.
- Separately, the U.K. is supporting a £40 million programme for technology advancement and market development of electric cooking, using solar and other energy sources.
- This programme, in operation in 15 ISA member-countries, is now establishing itself in India.
- The United Kingdom holds the Presidency of the next UN Climate Change Conference, COP26 that is planned for 2020.
- New Supreme Court Building of Mauritius
Why in News
The Prime Minister of India and the Prime Minister of Mauritius will jointly inaugurate the new Supreme Court building of Mauritius on 30 July, 2020.
- It will be the first India assisted infrastructure project within the capital city of Port Louis, Mauritius.
- The new Supreme Court Building is expected to become an important landmark in the city center symbolizing the strong bilateral partnership between the two countries.
- It is one of the five projects being implemented under the ‘Special Economic Package’ of 353 million USD extended by the Government of India to Mauritius in 2016.
- Connections between India and Mauritius date back to 1730 and diplomatic relations were established in 1948 before Mauritius became an independent state (1968).
- India has viewed Mauritius through the prism of diaspora. This was, perhaps, natural since communities of Indian origin constitute a significant majority in the island.
- More than 68% of the Mauritian population are of Indian origin, most commonly known as Indo-Mauritians.
- It is a significant partner of India in celebrating Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas which is a forum for issues concerning the Indian Diaspora.
- Geo-strategic: India has begun to see the strategic significance of Mauritius to the renewed great power contestation in the Indian Ocean.
- Mauritius is part of India’s security grid including Coastal Surveillance Radar (CSR) station of Indian Navy’s National Command Control Communication Intelligence network.
- In 2015 India unveiled an ambitious policy called the SAGAR (security and growth for all).
- Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities.
- In 2015, India and Mauritius signed an agreement that allows India to develop infrastructure in terms of establishing military bases on the Mauritian islands.
- The agreement covers within its purview our shared efforts in antipiracy operations, and enhanced Exclusive Economic Zones
- (EEZ) surveillance to prevent intrusions by potential economic offenders including those indulging in illegal fishing, poaching, drug and human trafficking.
- As a “central geographic point” Maurituis holds importance for commerce and connectivity in the Indian Ocean.
- As a member of the African Union, Indian Ocean Rim Association and the Indian Ocean Commission, Mauritius is a stepping stone to multiple geographies.
- Mauritius is the second largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for India after Singapore.
- As new investments pour into Mauritius from Africa, Mauritius can be the fulcrum for India’s own African economic outreach. India could also contribute to the evolution of Mauritius as a regional centre for technological innovation. Therefore, India must respond to the demands from Mauritius for higher education facilities.
Pivot of Island Policy:
- Until now India has tended to deal with the so-called Vanilla islands of the south western Indian Ocean — Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion and Seychelles — on a bilateral basis.
- If the Indian establishment thinks of them as a collective, it could make Mauritius the pivot of Delhi’s island policy..
Keeping Pace with China:
- In its “string of pearls” policy, China has built significant relations across the Indian Ocean, from Gwadar (Pakistan) to Hambantota (Sri Lanka) to Kyaukpyu (Myanmar).
- Deep Rooted Perception: There is an urgent need to discard the deep-rooted perception that Mauritius is simply an extension of India.
- Mauritius is a sovereign entity with an international identity of its own due to the island’s special place in the Indian Ocean as a thriving economic hub and an attractive strategic location.
China Centric Policies:
- China’s rapidly growing presence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean along with the deployment of Chinese submarines and ships in the region is a challenge for India.
- However, India has often been accused of being self-centred in its relations with its smaller neighbours.
- Much of India’s move of reaching out to its littoral neighbours has been driven by China’s increasing involvement in this region mainly through large and ambitious infrastructure projects.
Indian Ocean Region:
- As the power dynamic in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is changing, world has started to view Mauritius as an integral part of the new security architecture.
- As India takes an integrated view of its security cooperation in the south western Indian Ocean, Mauritius is the natural node for it. Therefore, it is important to take coursecorrections in India’s Neighbourhood First policy.
Hong Kong’s Extradition Treaties Suspended
Why in News
Recently, China has announced the suspension of Hong Kong’s extradition treaties and criminal justice cooperation agreements with Australia, Britain and Canada.
- Australia, Britain and Canada along with New Zealand and the USA are part of the Five Eyes (FVEY), which is an intelligence-sharing alliance between these five
- New Zealand has already suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, and the USA is preparing to do the same.
- It is the formal process of one state surrendering an individual to another state for prosecution or punishment for crimes committed in the requesting country’s
- It is generally enabled through a bilateral or multilateral treaty. The Extradition Act of 1962 provides India’s legislative basis for extradition.
- This move comes after these three countries first suspended the treaties after China imposed new security law on Hong Kong.
- These western nations see the law imposed on Hong Kong as an erosion of the civil liberties and human rights it had enjoyed since its handover from Britain in 1997.
Other Similar Moves Against China:
- London (UK) and Canberra (Australia) offered pathways to citizenship or residency to Hong Kong citizens looking to leave because of the new law, which also angered China.
- The European Union (EU) announced to restrict exports of equipment that could be used for surveillance and repression to Hong Kong.
- France and Germany proposed the restriction on so-called ‘dual-use’ technology.
- Dual-use goods are products and technologies normally used for civilian purposes but which may have military applications. For example, radio navigation systems and nuclear power technologies.
- The EU will also bring in measures to support Hong Kong’s population by making it easier for them to travel to Europe through the granting of visas, scholarships and academic exchanges.
- China has accused these countries of interfering in its internal affairs and defended the security law as crucial to restore order in Hong Kong.
- It held that these three countries chose the wrong path of politicising judicial cooperation with Hong Kong, and it has seriously hurt the basis of judicial
- They used the national security law as an excuse to announce the suspension of extradition treaties unilaterally.
- ‘Notification on 74% FDI in defence soon’
Why in news
The government is soon going to come out with a notification on 74% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in defence.
- In May 2020, as a part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan economic stimulus package, the government announced a series of measures to promote domestic defence manufacturing. These include: o A negative import list
- Separate budgetary allocation for domestic procurements
- Indigenisation of spares and components
- Raising the FDI cap through automatic route from 49% to 74%
- Also, the second draft of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2020, now renamed as the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020 has been put out in the public domain for comments.