- India ‘out of recession’, GDP grows 0.4%
- Migratory birds leave Chilika lake and Bhitarkanika early
- FSSAI threshold for GMO in imported food crops
- Sri Lanka seeks India’s support for UNHRC Resolution
INDIA ‘OUT OF RECESSION’, GDP GROWS 0.4%
India’s economy resurfaced to growth territory in the third quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2020-21, clocking a 0.4% rise in the gross domestic product (GDP), as per data from the National Statistical Office (NSO).
GS-III: Indian Economy (Economic Development)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Current trend of India’s GDP growth
- Analysis of the performance of Difference Sectors
- What is Gross Value Added (GVA)?
- How does India Measure GVA?
- Back to Basics: Terms Used
Current trend of India’s GDP growth
- The economy suffered an annual contraction of almost 25% in the quarter ending June 2020, and more than 7% in the quarter ending September 2020.
- This was largely a result of the lockdown’s disruption to economic activity.
- The Finance Ministry termed the 0.4% real GDP growth in Q3 as a return to ‘the pre-pandemic times of positive growth rates’ and a reflection of a ‘further strengthening of V-shaped recovery that began in Q2’.
- However, the Indian economy will still face its largest ever contraction in the current fiscal year.
Analysis of the performance of Difference Sectors
- India’s farm sector remained resilient, clocking almost 4% growth in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy in the October-to-December quarter, after recording a more than 3% rise in the first two quarters.
- For the full year FY21, the NSO expects only two sectors to record positive growth in GVA — agriculture (3%) and electricity, gas, water & other utilities (1.8%).
- Overall GVA is expected to contract 6.5% in the year, led by a dip in trade, hotels and other services along with a decline in construction, and also the fall in mining and manufacturing GVA.
- In Q3, manufacturing, construction and financial, real estate and professional services staged a return to growth for the first time in the year after two bad quarters.
- Services including trade, hotels, transport and communication remained in trouble, with GVA declining more than 7%, though it was better than the negative almost 50% reading in Q1.
What is Gross Value Added (GVA)?
- As per the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA) – Gross Value Added (GVA) is defined as the value of output minus the value of intermediate consumption;
- and GVA is a measure of the contribution to GDP made by an individual producer, industry or sector.
- In simple terms, GVA gives the rupee value of goods and services produced in the economy after deducting the cost of inputs and raw materials used.
- GVA can be described as the main entry on the income side of the nation’s accounting balance sheet, and from an economics perspective represents the supply side.
How does India Measure GVA?
- India had been measuring GVA earlier using ‘factor cost’.
- In the new series, in which the base year was shifted to 2011-12 from the earlier 2004-05, GVA at BASIC PRICES became the primary measure of output across the economy’s various sectors and when added to net taxes on products amounts to the GDP.
Back to Basics: Terms Used
- Gross Domestic Product (GDP): GDP is the final value of the goods and services produced within the geographic boundaries of a country during a specified period of time, normally a year.
- Expansionary Phase: When the overall output of goods and services typically measured by the GDP increases from one quarter (or month) to another.
- Recessionary Phase: When the overall output of goods and services typically measured by the GDP decreases from one quarter (or month) to another.
- Business Cycle: It is composed of concerted cyclical upswings and downswings in the broad measures of economic activity which are output, employment, income, and sales in other words it is a cycle created by the expansionary and recessionary phases clubbed together.
- Recession: It is a macroeconomic term that refers to a slowdown or a massive contraction in economic activities for a long enough period, or it can be said that when a recessionary phase sustains for long enough, it is called a recession.
- Depression: It is a deep and long-lasting period of negative economic growth, with output falling for at least 12 months and GDP falling by over 10% or it can be referred to as a severe and prolonged recession.
-Source: The Hindu
MIGRATORY BIRDS LEAVE CHILIKA LAKE AND BHITARKANIKA EARLY
- Migratory birds in and around Chilika lake and Bhitarkanika National Park have started their homeward journey a couple of weeks earlier than other years, as temperatures in Odisha began to soar.
- Rising temperature coupled with the decreasing water levels in the lake also contributed to this early migration.
GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Ecology, Eco-Sensitive Areas)
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Chilika Lake
- Threats to Chilika Lake ecosystem
- About Bhitarkanika National Park
About Chilika Lake
- Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India.
- It is situated at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
- It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest brackish water lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef.
- In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
- It has been listed as a TENTATIVE UNESCO World Heritage site.
- It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent, hosting over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season.
- Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Kazakhstan, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here.
- Geological evidence indicates that Chilika Lake was part of the Bay of Bengal during the later stages of the Pleistocene period (1.8 million to 10,000 years BP).
Threats to Chilika Lake ecosystem
Over the years, the Chilika lake ecosystem of the lake encountered several problems and threats such as:
- Siltation due to littoral drift and sediments from the inland river systems
- Shrinkage of water surface area
- Choking of the inlet channel as well as shifting of the mouth connecting to the sea
- Decrease in salinity and fishery resources
- Proliferation of freshwater invasive species and
- An overall loss of biodiversity with decline in productivity adversely affecting the livelihood of the community that depended on it
- Fights between fishermen and non-fishermen communities about fishing rights in the lake and consequent court cases
About Bhitarkanika National Park
Bhitarkanika National Park is located in northeast Kendrapara district in Odisha and since 2002 it is recognized as one of the Ramsar sites in India.
The National Park is surrounded by Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and the Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary are to the east of the National Park separating the swamp region and mangroves from the Bay of Bengal.
The national park is home to Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Indian python, king cobra, black ibis, darters and many other species of flora and fauna.
Bhitarkanika has one of the largest populations of endangered saltwater crocodile in India and is globally unique in that, 10% of the adults exceed 6 m length.
-Source: The Hindu
FSSAI THRESHOLD FOR GMO IN IMPORTED FOOD CROPS
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in a recent order has set 1% threshold for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in food crops imported into India.
GS-III: Agriculture, Science and Technology (Application of Biotechnology in Agriculture)
Dimensions of the Article:
- What are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)?
- What are GM Crops?
- Regulating Bodies concerned with GM Crops:
What are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)?
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering.
- Artificially Manipulating genetic material creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
What are GM Crops?
- Genetically modified crops (GM crops) are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering techniques. More than 10% of the world’s crop lands are planted with GM crops.
- In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species like resistance to certain pests, diseases, environmental conditions, herbicides etc.
- Genetic Modification is also done to increase nutritional value, bioremediation and for other purposes like production of pharmaceutical agents, biofuels etc.
Examples of GM Crops:
- Bt cotton is the only Genetically Modified (GM) crop that is allowed in India. It has alien genes from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that allows the crop to develop a protein toxic to the common pest pink bollworm.
- Herbicide Tolerant Bt (Ht Bt) cotton, on the other hand is derived with the insertion of an additional gene, from another soil bacterium, which allows the plant to resist the common herbicide glyphosate.
- In Bt brinjal, a gene allows the plant to resist attacks of fruit and shoot borers.
- In DMH-11 mustard, genetic modification allows cross-pollination in a crop that self-pollinates in nature.
Regulating Bodies concerned with GM Crops:
Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
- The top biotech regulator in India is Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
- The committee functions as a statutory body under the Environment Protection Act 1986 of the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF).
- GEAC is responsible for granting permits to conduct experimental and large-scale open field trials and also grant approval for commercial release of biotech crops.
FSSAI taking over GAEC’s role of approval:
- The role of GAEC was diluted with the enactment of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and FSSAI was asked to take over approvals of imported goods.
- In 2018, after years of confusion and contradictory government orders around which body was capable of taking up the task, the FSSAI rolled out the procedure of framing regulations for imported foods.
- The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement on biosafety as a supplement to the Convention on Biological Diversity effective since 2003.
- The Biosafety Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by genetically modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.
-Source: The Hindu
SRI LANKA SEEKS INDIA’S SUPPORT FOR UNHRC RESOLUTION
Sri Lanka is seeking India’s “proactive” support at the UN Human Rights Council, where a resolution on Sri Lanka is to be put to vote, citing External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s reference to ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ in his recent address to the UNHRC.
GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors, International Policies and Developments affecting India’s interests)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Background to the Resolution against Sri Lanka
- About the UNHRC Resolution against Sri Lanka
- India’s role in the resolution
- UNHRC’s Stand on the Sri Lanka war crimes matter
- Changes in Sri Lanka at the backdrop of this resolution
Background to the Resolution against Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka is facing a new resolution calling on it to hold human rights abusers to account and deliver justice to victims of its 26-year civil war (1983-2009).
- The war was mainly a clash between the Sinhalese-dominated Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) insurgent group, the latter of which had hoped to establish a separate state for the Tamil minority.
- Sri Lankan forces and Tamil rebels were accused of atrocities during the war, which killed at least 1,00,000 people.
About the UNHRC Resolution against Sri Lanka
- The draft resolution is based on a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) – according to which the government of Sri Lanka had created parallel military task forces and commissions that encroach on civilian functions, and reversed important institutional checks and balances, threatening democratic gains, the independence of the judiciary and other key institutions.
- Sri Lanka abruptly withdrew in 2020 from an earlier UNHRC resolution (Resolution 30/1) on war crimes – under which it had committed, 5 years previously, to a time-bound investigation of war crimes that took place during the military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
India’s role in the resolution
- Sri Lanka has described the resolution as “unwanted interference by powerful countries” and has officially sought India’s help to gather support against the resolution.
- Whichever way it goes, the resolution is likely to resonate in India-Sri Lanka relations and for India internally, it will reflect in the run-up to the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
- Previously, India voted against Sri Lanka in 2012 and India abstained in 2014.
UNHRC’s Stand on the Sri Lanka war crimes matter
- The present government in Sri Lanka was “proactively” obstructing investigations into past crimes to prevent accountability, and that this had a “devastating effect” on families seeking truth, justice and reparations.
- United Nations (UN) member states “should pay attention to the early warning signs of more violations to come, and called for “international action” including targeted sanctions such as asset freezes and travel bans against “credibly alleged” perpetrators of grave human rights violations and abuses.
- States should also pursue investigations and prosecution in their national courts under accepted principles of extraterritorial or universal jurisdiction of international crimes committed by all parties in Sri Lanka.
Changes in Sri Lanka at the backdrop of this resolution
- The appointment of at least 28 serving or former military and intelligence personnel to “key administrative posts” along with the appointments of two senior military officials implicated in UN reports on alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the final years of the conflict are some of the key points highlighted in the report.
- The Sri Lankan government had created parallel military task forces and commissions that encroach on civilian functions.
- It has reversed important institutional checks and balances, threatening democratic gains, the independence of the judiciary and other key institutions.
- The shrinking space for independent media and civil society, and human rights organisations are also themes in the report.
-Source: The Hindu