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Current Affairs 11 January 2022 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS

CONTEXT

  1. FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT
  2. RED SANDERS
  3. PASSPORT SEVA PROGRAMME
  4. GHARIALS
  5. COLLECTIVE SECURITY TREATY ORGANIZATION

 


FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

Context:

Outward foreign direct investment (FDI) by Indian companies fell by over 8% to $2.05 billion in December in the current fiscal.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, External Sector)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
  2. FDI in India
  3. FDI Routes in India
  4. Government Measures to Promote FDI

About Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country. It is thus distinguished from a Foreign Portfolio Investment by a notion of direct control.
  • FDI may be made either “inorganically” by buying a company in the target country or “organically” by expanding the operations of an existing business in that country.
  • Broadly, FDI includes “mergers and acquisitions, building new facilities, reinvesting profits earned from overseas operations, and intra company loans”. In a narrow sense, it refers just to building a new facility, and lasting management interest.

FDI in India

  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a major driver of economic growth and an important source of non-debt finance for the economic development of India.
  • It has been the endeavor of the Government to put in place an enabling and investor friendly FDI policy. The intent all this while has been to make the FDI policy more investor friendly and remove the policy bottlenecks that have been hindering the investment inflows into the country.
  • The steps taken in this direction during the last six years have borne fruit as is evident from the ever-increasing volumes of FDI inflows being received into the country. Continuing on the path of FDI liberalization and simplification, Government has carried out FDI reforms across various sectors.

FDI Routes in India

  • Foreign investment was introduced in 1991 under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), driven by then FM Manmohan Singh.
  • There are three routes through which FDI flows into India. They are described in the following table:
Category 1Category 2Category 3
100% FDI permitted through Automatic RouteUp to 100% FDI permitted through Government RouteUp to 100% FDI permitted through Automatic + Government Route
  • Automatic route: By this route, FDI is allowed without prior approval by Government or RBI.
  • Government route: Prior approval by the government is needed via this route. The application needs to be made through Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal, which will facilitate the single-window clearance of FDI application under Approval Route.
  • Global Depository Receipts – GDR
  • Foreign Depository Receipts – FDR
  • Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds – FCCB
  • Foreign institutional investors – FII

Government Measures to Promote FDI

  • Factors such as favourable demographics, impressive mobile and internet penetration, massive consumption and technology uptake, played an important role in attracting the investments.
  • Launch of Schemes attracting investments, such as, National technical Textile Mission, Production Linked Incentive Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana, etc.
  • The government has elaborated upon the initiatives under the Atmanirbhar Bharat to encourage investments in different sectors.
  • As a part of its Make in India initiative to promote domestic manufacturing, India deregulated FDI rules for several sectors over the last few years.

-Source: The Hindu


RED SANDERS

Context:

Red Sanders falls back in IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment and Ecology, Protected Areas, Species in news)

Dimensions
  1. About Red Sanders
  2. About the IUCN and its Red list

About Red Sanders

  • Red Sanders (Red sandalwood or Saunderswood)
  • The scientific name for Red Sanders is Pterocarpus santalinus.
  • The species is endemic to a distinct tract of forests in Andhra Pradesh.
  • It grows in rocky, degraded and fallow land with Red soil.
Uses of Red sanders
  • It is valued for its colour.
  • It is medicinally, scientifically and ornamentally very important and essential tree.
  •  Known for their rich hue and therapeutic properties, are high in demand across Asia, particularly in China and Japan
  • It is use in cosmetics and medicinal products
  • It is for making furniture, woodcraft and musical instruments.
Conservation status
  • It is listed as an Endangered Species by the IUCN because of overexploitation of its timber in South India.
  •  It was classified as ‘near threatened’ in 2018 and has now joined the ‘endangered’ list once again in 2021.
  • It is also listed in the appendix II of the CITES which means that a certificate is required in order to export it.
  • Certificate is granted only if the trade is not detrimental to the survival of the species.

About the IUCN and its Red list

  • Established in 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global extinction risk status of animal, fungus and plant species.
  • The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity.  It provides information about range, population size, habitat and ecology, use and/or trade, threats, and conservation actions that will help inform necessary conservation decisions.
  • The IUCN Red List is used by government agencies, wildlife departments, conservation-related non-governmental organisations (NGOs), natural resource planners, educational organisations, students, and the business community. 
The main objectives are:
  1. Identification and documentation of endangered species.
  2. Providing a global index of the decline of biodiversity.
  3. Developing awareness about the importance of threatened biodiversity.
  4. Defining conservation priorities at the local level and guiding conservation action.

Every four years, IUCN convenes the IUCN World Conservation Congress to set the global conservation agenda.

About the criteria for the IUCN Red List

The IUCN system uses a set of five quantitative criteria to assess the extinction risk of a given species. In general, these criteria consider:

  1. The rate of population decline.
  2. The geographic range.
  3. Whether the species already possesses a small population size.
  4. Whether the species is very small or lives in a restricted area.
  5. Whether the results of a quantitative analysis indicate a high probability of extinction in the wild.

-Source:  Down to Earth Magazine


PASSPORT SEVA PROGRAMME

Context:  

The government of India has announced that it will soon start issuing ePassports to citizens applying for a new passport or renewing their expiring passport.

Relevance

GS II- Governance,  GS III- Nanotechnology

Dimensions
  1. Passport Seva Programme (PSP)
  2. PSP-V2.0
  3. E-passports and its Significance
Details:
  • The announcement is under an agreement signed between the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) which will facilitate the next phase of the PSP (Passport Seva Programme) termed PSP-V2.0.
  • The government plans to embark on technology upgrades with the use of biometrics, artificial intelligence, advanced data analytics and auto-response under the Passport Seva Programme (PSP).
  • Tata Consultancy Services Ltd has been involved as a service provider in the Passport Seva Project for over 10 years.
  • The project design ensured that support functions like citizen interface, technology backbone, call centres, training and change management were provided by the service provider, and the government continued to exercise all sovereign and security-related functions in the passport issuance process.

Passport Seva Programme (PSP):

  • The Passport Seva Programme (PSP) Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, provides passport services through the Central Passport Organization (CPO) and its network of Passport Offices, Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs); and Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSKs).
  • It is one of the several Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) of India.

PSP-V2.0:

  • The PSP-V2.0 is a continuation and enhancement of PSP-V1.0
  • The key elements of PSP-V 2.0 are setting up of a state-of-art digital ecosystem, process overhauling and integration among various stakeholders and database, improving citizen interface, upgrading technology, adopting best practices and strengthening data security
  • The new programme is expected to have technology upgrades including the use of the latest biometrics technology, Artificial Intelligence, Advance Data Analytics, Chat-Bot, Auto-response, Natural Language Processing, Cloud Enablement.
  • The newest feature under the PSP-V2.0 will be the issuance of the new generation of passports called e-passports for enhanced customer satisfaction, increased security and next level of citizen experience .
E-passports and its Significance:
  • It is an upgrade to the traditional passport 
  • Its aim is to make it more secure and ensuring smooth passage through immigration posts globally.
  • It will ease immigration process across the world.
  • It will also increase digital safety for the passport holders.
  • The ePassports will be embedded with a chip that will include personal details of the holder including biographical information.
  • The software for the ePassport has been developed by IIT Kanpur and the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
  • The e-passports will follow the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards, and will be tougher, as well as harder to destroy.

-Source: The Hindu


GHARIALS

Context

The Assam government has issued a preliminary notification to make Orang National Park more than thrice its existing size for conserving Gharials.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment and Ecology, Protected Areas, Species in news)

Dimensions:
  1. About Gharials: 
  2. Causes of decline
  3. Orang National Park

About Gharials: 

  • The gharials is the longest of all living crocodilians and are also known as the gavial. 
  • These are the type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts.
    • Crocodilians are a group of reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and more.
  • It currently inhabits rivers in the plains of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent
  • The Chambal river in the northern slopes of the Vindhya mountains is known as the primary habitat of gharials

India has three species of Crocodilians namely:

  • Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus): IUCN Red List- Critically Endangered
  • Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris): IUCN- Vulnerable.
  • Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus): IUCN- Least Concern.
Conservation status:
IUCN Red ListCritically Endangered
CITESAppendix I
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972Schedule I
Causes of decline
  • Illegal sand mining,
  • Poaching,
  • Habitat destruction,
  • Floods
  • Massive scale fishing operations
  • Increased river pollution
  • Dam construction

Orang National Park

  • The Orang National Park also known as Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park
  • It is located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River in the Darrang and Sonitpur districts of Assam and covers an area of 78.81 square kilometers.
  • It was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 but was declared as National Park in 1999. It is also 49th Tiger Reserve of the country, being notified in 2016.
  • It is also known as the mini Kaziranga National Park (IUCN site) since the two parks have a similar landscape made up of marshes, streams, and grasslands.
  • It is the only stronghold of rhinoceros on the north bank of the Brahmaputra river.
  • Pachnoi River, Belsiri River and Dhansiri River border the park and join the Brahmaputra River.
  • Dibru-Saikhowa National Park,
  • Manas National Park,
  • Nameri National Park,
  • Kaziranga National Park.
  • Dehing Patkai and Raimona National Parks
  • Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary

-Source: The Hindu


COLLECTIVE SECURITY TREATY ORGANIZATION

Context:

Recently, Kazakhstan’s President called on the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to help manage ongoing protests in the country.

Relevance

Prelims, GS II- Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests

About Collective Security Treaty Organization:

  • It is an intergovernmental military alliance (six countries) that came into effect in 2002.
  • It started storming into Kazakhstan to curb the protests which threatened the very existence of the regime that has ruled the Central Asian country since it became an independent republic in 1991.
  • The headquarters is located in the Russian capital of Moscow.
  • Current members are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan.
  • Objectives: To strengthen peace, international and regional security including cybersecurity and stability, the protection on a collective basis of the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the member states.

-Source: Indian Express


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