- U.S. may end zero-tariffs for India
- Due to the latest downturn in trade ties was India’s new rule on FDI in e-commerce. India could lose a vital U.S. trade concession known as Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) under which it enjoys zero tariffs on $5.6 billion of exports to the United States.
Generalised System of Prefernces
- India is the world’s largest beneficiary of a scheme Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) that has been in force since the 1970s.
- GSP is largest and oldest US trade preference programme introduced in 1976.
- It is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries both developing and developed countries.
- Under it, a wide range of industrial and agricultural products originating from certain developing countries are given preferential access to US markets.
- India’s case, GSP enables duty-free entry of 3,500 product lines in US markets, which benefits exporters of textiles, engineering, gems and jewellery and chemical products.
- The total US imports under GSP in 2017 was $21.2 billion, of which India was biggest beneficiary with $5.6 billion, followed by Thailand ($4.2 billion) and Brazil ($2.5 billion).
- The US Congress in March 2018 had voted to renew GSP through 2020
- Successful Flight Test of SFDR
- Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested the second indigenously developed ‘Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR)’ propulsion based missile system.
About Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet technology
- It is jointly developed by India and Russia.
- It will help both India’s surface-to-air and air to-air missiles to perform better and enhance their strike range, making them more lethal.
- India can now have fastest long-range missiles in two categories, providing full-edged and multi-layered aerial protection from hostile attacks.
Difference between SFDR and Conventional Missiles
- Conventional Rocket Motor based BVRAAMs have higher burning out rate since it works in the same amount of thrust levels from the moment it is fired, which means it can run out of fuel when it reaches its target in longer range and highly maneuverable targets can outrun the missile in the last phase if missile is fired from a long range.
- Ramjets, by contrast, maintain their peak energy state for longer, delivering power throughout the flight, providing a high – though slightly slower – average speed and long ranges over a wide operational envelope, from sea level to high altitude.
- Unlike traditional rocket motor, SFDR can throttle its engine during different phases of flight especially while approaching its target it can throttle up and able to maneuver and attack even fast maneuvering targets.
- Not only does this mean the SFDR will have more energy to maneuver during the endgame of the engagement, but this capability also drastically increases the size of the missile’s “no escape zone.
- Medical devices to be treated as drugs
- The Centre in a notification aid that medical devices — all implantable devices, CT Scan, PET and MRI equipment, defibrillators, dialysis machines and bone marrow separators — will be treated as drugs for human beings with effect from April 1, 2020.
- The decision was taken in consultation with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board.
About Drugs Technical Advisory Board
- Drugs Technical Advisory Board is the highest statutory decision-making body on technical matters related to drugs in the country.
- It is constituted as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
- It is part of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- Exercise: Cutlass Express 2019
- Recently CUTLASS EXPRESS – 19 a multinational training exercise held in which INS Trikand, a front-line warship of the Indian Navy, participated.
- The aim of the exercise was to improve law enforcement capacity, promote regional security and progress inter-operability between the armed forces of the participating nations for the purpose of interdicting illegal maritime activity in the Western Indian Ocean.
- During the exercise, Naval, Coast Guard and Marine Police personnel from a number of East African countries were jointly trained by mentors from USA, India, and Netherlands, with support of international organisations like the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Combined Maritime Force (CMF) and European Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR).
- The Indian Navy played a significant role in ‘CUTLASS EXPRESS – 19’, being involved in planning, coordination and execution.
- The exercise was conducted in two phases.
- The first, called the Command Post Exercise (CPX).
- The second phase called the Final Training Exercise (FTX).
- Shark Bay: A World Heritage Site at catastrophic risk
- Shark Bay is a World Heritage-listed marine ecosystem in Australia.
- Shark Bay, was recently devastated by extreme temperatures, when a brutal marine heatwave struck off Western Australia in 2011.
- Recently A workshop convened by the Shark Bay World Heritage Advisory Committee classified Shark Bay as being in the highest category of vulnerability to future climate change.
- Shark Bay, in West Australia’s Gascoyne region, is one of 49 marine World Heritage Sites globally, but one of only four of these sites that meets all four natural criteria for World Heritage listing.
- The marine ecosystem supports the local economy through tourism and fisheries benefits.
- The combined Shark Bay invertebrate fishery (crabs, prawns and scallops) is the second most valuable commercial fishery in Western Australia.
- This iconic and valuable marine ecosystem is under serious threat due future climate change, given that the temperate sea grass that underpins the entire ecosystem is already living at the upper edge of its tolerable temperature range.
- These sea grasses provide vital habitat for fish and marine mammals, and help the stromatolites survive by regulating the water salinity.
- ‘India Size’ project
- Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani launched the India Size project in Mumbai.
- It is a first-of-its-kind project in the history of the country which aims to arrive at a standard Indian Size for the ready-to-wear clothing industry, on the lines of the standardized sizes available in countries such as the USA and the UK.
- The India size project will benefit manufacturers, consumers and generate data which will help tap into the potential of the sector.
- The study of Apparel Consumption aims to bridge the lack of accurate and reliable data on the size, spread, and extent of the domestic market.
- The study will attempt to come up with region-wise and product category-wise consumption patterns in the country, to arrive at a statistically reliable database, which could then become the foundation to study growth patterns in the coming year.
- The report would be ready for release by July 2019.