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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Nature Index-2020

15thJune, 2020

Why in News?

 India has ranked twelfth, globally in science research output as per the recently-released Nature Index table 2020.

The top five positions have gone to the United States of America, China, Germany, United Kingdom and Japan.

What is the Nature Index?

  • The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collected from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals.
  • It serves as an indicator of high-quality research in the Natural and Physical Sciences.
  • The database is compiled by Nature Research, a division of the international scientific publishing company Springer Nature that publishes academic journals.
  • The index provides a close to the real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level.

 India’s achievements

  • Globally the top-rated Indian institutions in this list are CSIR, a group of 39 institutions at the 160th position and IISc Bangalore at the 184
  • Three of the autonomous institutions of the DST have found their place among the top 30 Indian Institutions.
  • Keeping out CSIR, which is a cluster of institutions, IACS Kolkata is among the top three institutions in quality Chemistry Research in India.
  • NCASR Banglore ranks 4thamong academic institutions in life sciences, 10th in Chemistry and Physical Sciences, 10th among Indian academic institutions, and 469th in the global ranking.

Anti- Dumping Duty on PTA

Why in news

The government has abolished anti-dumping duty on a chemical called Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA). The same was mentioned by the Finance Minister in her Budget speech.

  • PTA is an important raw materialwhich is used in making various products, including polyester fabrics.
  • PTA makes up for around 70-80% of a polyester productand is, therefore, important to those involved in the manufacture of man-made fabrics or their components.
  • The latest move has come after persistent demand from the manufacturing and textile industry to source PTA at an affordable rate.

Meaning and Purpose of Anti Dumping Measures:

  • Dumping is said to occur when the goods are exported by a country to another country at a price lower than the price it normally charges in its own home market. This is an unfair trade practice which can have a distortive effect on international trade.
  • Anti-dumping is a measure to rectify the situation arising out of the dumping of goods and its trade distortive effect.
  • Many countries impose stiff duties (known as anti-dumping duties) on products they believe are being dumped in their national market, undercutting local businesses and markets.
  • The use of anti-dumping measure as an instrument of fair competition is permitted by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Background

  • The anti-dumping duty on PTA was imposed after domestic manufacturers approached the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) in October 2013.
  • DGTR imposed anti-dumping duties on PTA imported from South Korea, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Iran and Malaysia between 2014 and 2016.
  • However, companies using PTA to manufacture polyester products claimed that the move left them with limited domestic suppliers of PTA.
  • The companies alleged that the cost of PTA became more expensive domestically, which made their own products pricier and less attractive for their domestic and international buyers.

East Asia Summit

Why in News?

India is set to host an East Asia Summit conference this week in Chennai with a focus on maritime security cooperation and tackling challenges in the maritime domain.

It will be organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in partnership with the governments of Australia and Indonesia.

Significance:

The Conference is expected to serve as a platform for free and open dialogue among all the EAS partners on various issues of maritime security cooperation, and to come up with useful suggestions on tackling challenges in the maritime domain in a cooperative manner.

Background:

This conference is the fourth in a series of EAS Maritime Security Conferences organised by the Indian government — the first conference was organised in New Delhi in November 2015, the second in Goa in November 2016 and the third in Bhubaneswar in June 2018.

About East Asia Summit:

  • EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.
  • It is a forum held annually by leaders of 18 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian regions.
  • EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings.
  • The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 14 December 2005.

There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS. These are – Environment and Energy, Education, Finance, Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases, Natural Disaster Management, and ASEAN Connectivity. India endorses regional collaboration in all six priority areas.

Potential:

  1. EAS, representing nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population and over 20 per cent of global trade, is a mega gathering and is a testimony to the rise of Asia.
  2. EAS is a region of strong and fast growing economies. It is considered the third pole of world economy after the US and Europe.Its four major economic players namely Japan, China, India and Korea are among the twelve largest ranking global economies.
  3. Financial and monetary cooperation between ASEAN+6 or EAS countries could be an area of fruitful cooperation in view of the fact that their combined foreign exchange reserves exceed $ 3 trillion.

Significance for India:

  1. For India, EAS acts as an alternative to the APEC in which India doesn’t enjoy the membership.
  2. India’s membership to the EAS is a recognition of its fast growing economic and political clout.
  3. Act East policy of India: In order to build multi-faceted relations with ASEAN and other multilateral nations and strengthen bilateral relations India has emphasised upon its Act East Policies for which EAS will prove crucial.
  4. China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and the nature of its growing investments has led the ASEAN countries to view India as a potential power that could balance a rising China.
  5. India’s strength lies in service sector and information-technology and Japan has a sound capital base. Thus there are complementarities in trade and production structures of the EAS members.
  6. India’s deep cultural and civilizational links with the EAS countries are widely known. India can play a major role in cultural and people to people cooperation with the region, which can reinforce the economic momentum for community building.

Facts for Prelims

Global Go to Think Tank Index:

Why in news?

CSE leads from Global South among world’s top environment think tanks.

Global Go to Think Tank Index:

  • The Index is released by University of Pennsylvania each year since 2008.
  • The ‘Think Tank Index’ evaluates public-policy research analysis and engagement organizations that generate policy-oriented research, analysis, and advice on domestic and international issues.
  • It claims to enable policy makers and the public to make informed decisions on public policy.

From India:

  • Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) was placed 16 among 2019’s ‘top environment policy think tanks’ of the world.
  • The organisation also moved up four places among ‘best independent think tanks’ to be at No.122 in the world and fifth among Indian think tanks.
  • It also ranked 18 among 78 global think tanks for its work on ‘water security’ — second in India after Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment.
  • Globally, it was ranked 41 of 60 organisations committed to energy and resource policy.

 

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