Given below are the daily current affairs for 29th Dec. 2020. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.
- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
India to Become Fifth Largest Economy in 2025
Why in News:
A recent report published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CBER) has predicted that India will again overtake the UK to become the fifth largest economy in 2025 and race to the third spot by 2030.
- CBER is a UK based company that gives independent economic forecasts for public and private firms.
- The Indian economy will expand by 9% in 2021 and by 7% in 2022.
- This growth trajectory will see India become the world’s third largest economy by 2030, overtaking the UK in 2025, Germany in 2027 and Japan in 2030.
- China in 2028 will overtake the USA to become the world’s biggest economy, five years earlier than previously estimated due to the contrasting recoveries of the two countries from the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Japan would remain the world’s third-biggest economy, until the early 2030s when it would be overtaken by India, pushing Germany down from fourth to fifth.
- Current Scenario:
- Previously, India had overtaken the UK in 2019 to become the fifth largest economy in the world but has been relegated to 6th spot in 2020.
- The five economies ahead are the United States, China, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom respectively.
- India’s economy had been losing momentum even ahead of the shock delivered by the Covid-19 crisis.
- The rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth sank to a more than ten-year low of 4.2% in 2019.
- Slowing growth has been a consequence of a confluence of factors including fragility in the banking system, adjustment to reforms (Demonetisation, GST) and a deceleration of global trade.
- GDP in Q2 (April-June) 2020 was 23.9% below its 2019 level, indicating that nearly a quarter of the country’s economic activity was wiped out by the drying up of global demand and the collapse of domestic demand that accompanied the series of strict national lockdowns
- The pace of the economic recovery will be indistinguishably linked to the development of the Covid-19 pandemic, both domestically and internationally.
- As the manufacturer of the majority of the world’s vaccines and with a 42-year-old vaccination Programme (Universal Immunization Programme) that targets 55 million people each year, India is better placed than many other developing countries to roll out the vaccines successfully and efficiently next year.
- In the medium to long term, reforms such as the 2016 demonetisation and more recently the controversial efforts to liberalise the agricultural sector can deliver economic benefits.
- However, with the majority of the Indian workforce employed in the agricultural sector, the reform process requires a delicate and gradual approach that balances the need for longer-term efficiency gains with the need to support incomes in the short-term.
- The infrastructure bottlenecks that exist in India mean that investment in this area has the potential to unlock significant productivity gains.
- Therefore, the outlook for the economy going forwards will be closely related to the government’s approach to infrastructure spending.
International Blue Flag hoisted at 8 beaches across the Country
The beaches where the International Blue Flags were hoisted are: Kappad (Kerala), Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha) and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
- India had secured the International Blue Flag Certification for these 8 beaches on 6th October 2020, when an International Jury comprising of member organizations UNEP, UNWTO, UNESCO, IUCN, ILS, FEE etc. announced the award at Copenhagen, Denmark.
About Blue flag Programme:
The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).
- It started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001, when South Africa joined.
What is a Blue Flag beach?
It is an ‘eco-tourism model’ and marks out beaches as providing tourists and beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, a safe and healthy environment, and sustainable development of the area.
There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach. Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.
- Spain tops the list with more than 560 such beaches; Greece and France follow.
- India is now in the league of 50 “BLUE FLAG” countries.
Is Blue Flag certification available only for beaches?
No. It can be given to a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator. Basically, the Blue Flag is a trademark.
Dhaka moves refugees to Bhashan Char island
Bangladesh has started moving Rohingya refugees to a controversial flood-prone Bhashan Char island in the Bay of Bengal despite opposition from rights activists.
What’s the concern?
The island was formed from a build-up of silt in the Bay of Bengal only 20 years ago, and concerns have been consistently raised about Bhasan Char’s exposure to extreme weather and distance from the mainland in emergencies since Bangladesh first raised the idea in 2015.
Who are Rohingyas?
- They are an Ethnic group, mostly Muslims. They were not granted full citizenship by Myanmar.
- They were classified as “resident foreigners or associate citizens”.
- Ethnically they are much closer to Indo-Aryan people of India and Bangladesh than to the Sino-Tibetans of the Country.
Described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as “one of, if not the, most discriminated people in the world”.
Where are they now?
- About 860,000 Rohingya live in the world’s largest and most densely populated refugee camp in southern Bangladesh.
- The Myanmar and Bangladesh governments continue to negotiate terms for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.
- According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, there are approximately 40,000 Rohingyas living in India.
China defends progress of Pak. Corridor
China defends progress of Pak. corridor and rejects reports of seeking additional guarantees from Islamabad before sanctioning a loan for CPEC.
The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.
- The 3,000 km-long China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consists of highways, railways, and pipelines.
- CPEC eventually aims at linking the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through a vast network of highways and railways.
- The proposed project will be financed by heavily-subsidised loans, that will be disbursed to the Government of Pakistan by Chinese banks.
But, why is India concerned?
It passes through PoK.
- CPEC rests on a Chinese plan to secure and shorten its supply lines through Gwadar with an enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean. Hence, it is widely believed that upon CPEC’s fruition, an extensive Chinese presence will undermine India’s influence in the Indian Ocean.
- It is also being contended that if CPEC were to successfully transform the Pakistan economy that could be a “red rag” for India which will remain at the receiving end of a wealthier and stronger Pakistan.
- Besides, India shares a great deal of trust deficit with China and Pakistan and has a history of conflict with both. As a result, even though suggestions to re-approach the project pragmatically have been made, no advocate has overruled the principle strands of contention that continue to mar India’s equations with China and Pakistan.
PM flags off India’s first driverless train
What’s in News?
The Prime Minister inaugurated India’s first fully automated Metro – the ‘Driverless Metro’.
- It is India’s first-ever driverless train.
- It would operate on Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line.
Different types of metro rail on which work is being carried out:
- Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) between Delhi and Meerut will reduce the distance between Delhi and Meerut to less than an hour.
- MetroLite version would be constructed at 40 percent cost of normal metro.
- Metro Neo is being worked in cities where the ridership is less. It would be built at the cost of 25 percent of the normal metro.
- Water metro would be an out of the box thinking. It is for the cities where there are large water bodies. It would provide last mile connectivity to the people near the islands.
- In 2014, only 5 cities had metro rail. At present, metro rail is available in 18 cities.
- By the year 2025, the government aims to expand it to more than 25 cities.
- At present, 130 MW of solar power is being used in metro rail, which would be increased to 600 MW.
- It is a new grievance redressal mechanism launched recently by West Bengal.
- Paray Samadhan means redressal in the neighbourhood.
- This will not address major infrastructural gaps but will address municipal, local or service gaps through specific mission mode to reach out to the neighbourhood.
- This will be supplementary of ‘Duare Sarkar’.
Duare Sarkar is an initiative of the state government, spread over 60 days, for delivery of specific schemes of the state government at the doorsteps of the people through outreach camps organized at the level of gram panchayat and municipal ward level.
‘My Stamp’ scheme
- Run by India Post for personalised sheets of postage stamps.
- Under the scheme, any person may submit soft or hard copies of their photographs or of that of their relatives or friends or any other image including logo, symbols, heritage places or wildlife to get them printed and published on stamps.
- Each stamp sheet would cost the applicant ?300.
Why in News?
Stamps bearing photographs of many antisocial elements were issued under ‘My Stamp’ scheme. Postal Department says it was a mistake and begins enquiry.
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