Current Affairs 12th April

De-escalation trend positive, says China #GS2 #IR

China’s military said that it hoped India “could cherish the current positive trend of de-escalation” following the 11th round of talks between Corps Commanders, but did not acknowledge the remaining unresolved issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

In its statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said both sides had “a detailed exchange of views for the resolution of the remaining issues related to disengagement along the LAC”. It added that they had “agreed on the need to resolve the outstanding issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols”.

Both sides also agreed to jointly maintain stability on the ground and avoid any new incidents.

A spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Western Theatre Command said in a statement later in the day that both sides “exchanged views on issues of mutual concern and agreed to maintain communications through military and diplomatic channels”.

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/de-escalation-trend-positive-says-china/article34298449.ece

Investment projects bounce back in Q4: report #GS3 #Economy

Fresh investments rebounded strongly in the last quarter of 2020-21, with both private sector and government-backed capital spending taking off sharply for the first time in the pandemic-hit year, even as the project execution ratio, which denotes actual ground-level action, hit a five-year high.

The Q4 surge drove up the overall fresh investments in 2020-21 to Rs. 10.72 lakh crore, just 1.2% below the 2019-20 levels, although investments had plummeted sharply that year from Rs. 16.87 lakh crore in 2018-19.

New project investments in the January to March 2021 quarter hit almost Rs. 4 lakh crore, nearly Rs. 1 lakh crore or 33.4% higher than the previous quarter.

The government’s push for capital expansion finally translated into new projects getting off the ground rising 21.8% during the quarter, after an 11.3% dip in the Centre and States’ investment announcements in the third quarter.

Over 1,700 new government projects were announced in Q4, with the Centre accounting for projects worth Rs. 76,185 crore and State agencies pushing projects worth Rs. 91,067 crore.

Path to normalcy

“The Centre’s investment stimulus since March 2020 and the RBI’s liberal monetary policy have helped hasten the recovery in projects investment activities. While we are still far from the high growth in projects investment in 2018-19, the last two quarters’ trends indicate the journey towards normalcy has begun.

The fresh surge in COVID-19 cases and the spate of lockdowns would certainly be an impediment in the return to complete normalcy, so the government should step up its investment plans, intensify the vaccination drive and extend support to the private sector to sustain the growth in project investments through 2021-22.

Private sector investments grew by a sharp 43.5% over Q3 to Rs. 2.26 lakh crore in Q4, with manufacturing investments rising by a healthy 40.6% on top of the 88.4% quarter-on-quarter growth in Q3.

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/investment-projects-bounce-back-in-q4-report/article34298448.ece

Centre to certify shrimp farms #GS3 #Economy

To bolster confidence in India’s frozen shrimp produce, the country’s biggest seafood export item, the Centre has kicked off a new scheme to certify hatcheries and farms that adopt good aquaculture practices.

India exported frozen shrimp worth almost $5 billion in 2019-20 to the U.S. and China — its biggest buyers. But a combination of factors had hurt export volumes in recent months, including container shortages and incidents of seafood consignments being rejected because of food safety concerns.

We have seen some recent consignments sourced from Indian shrimp farms being rejected due to the presence of antibiotic residue and this is a matter of concern for exporters.

The Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) has developed a certification scheme for aquaculture products called Shaphari , a Sanksrit word that means superior quality of fishery products suitable for human consumption.

We already have a National Residue Control Programme for food safety issues in farm produce and pre-harvest testing system in place, but this certification was proposed as a market-based tool for hatcheries to adopt good aquaculture practices and help produce quality antibiotic-free shrimp products to assure global consumers.

Frozen shrimp is India’s largest exported seafood item. It constituted 50.58% in quantity and 73.2% in terms of total U.S. dollar earnings from the sector during 2019-20. Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are the major shrimp producing States, and around 95% of the cultured shrimp produce is exported.

Overall, certified aquaculture products will help exporters to export their consignments to markets under stringent food safety regulations without the fear of getting rejected.

The Shaphari scheme is based on the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s technical guidelines on aquaculture certification and will have two components — certifying hatcheries for the quality of their seeds and, separately, approving shrimp farms that adopt the requisite good practices.

The certification of hatcheries will help farmers easily identify good quality seed producers. Those who successfully clear multiple audits of their operations shall be granted a certificate for a period of two years.

The entire certification process will be online to minimise human errors and ensure higher credibility and transparency, adding that the guidelines for certification of farms are under preparation in consultation with stakeholders.

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/centre-to-certify-shrimp-farms/article34298362.ece

Centre bans export of Remdesivir #GS3 #SnT

The Centre has prohibited the exports of Remdesivir injection and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) in an order issued on Sunday stating there was a sudden spike in the demand for the drug used in COVID-19 treatment.

India is witnessing a recent surge in COVID-19 cases and there is a potential of further increase in the demand for injection Remdesivir in the coming days. Seven Indian companies are producing injection Remdesivir under a voluntary licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences of the U.S. They have an installed capacity of 38.8 lakh units a month.

The release issued by the Health Ministry noted that to ensure easy access to the injection, all domestic manufactures of Remdesivir have been advised to display on their website, details of their stockists and distributors.

Drug inspectors and other officers have been directed to verify stocks and check malpractices and also take other effective action to curb hoarding and black marketing. The State Health Secretaries will review this with the drug inspectors of the respective States/Union Territories.

It added that the Department of Pharmaceuticals was in contact with the domestic manufacturers to ramp up the production of Remdesivir. As per the National Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19 of the Central government, Remdesivir is listed as an Investigational Therapy (i.e. where informed and shared decision-making is essential).

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/centre-bans-export-of-remdesivir/article34298383.ece

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