Daily Current Affairs : 19th September 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. CAROTAR 2020
  2. World Bamboo Day
  3. Artificial Reproduction Technique (ART)
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . CAROTAR 2020

Context: The Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules, 2020 (CAROTAR, 2020)  that was notified on August 21 and will come into force from September 21, 2020.

What is CAROTAR?

  • Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules, 2020 are the rules which the importers have to follow to ensure that the imported goods meet the prescribed ‘rules of origin’ provisions.
  • Rules of origin are the criteria needed to determine the national source of a product. Their importance is derived from the fact that duties and restrictions in several cases depend upon the source of imports. There is wide variation in the practice of governments with regard to the rules of origin.
  • Importers and other stakeholders were given 30-day period to familiarise themselves with new provisions

Details of the Rules

  • According to CAROTAR 2020, the importers will have to do their due diligence to ensure that imported goods meet the prescribed ‘rules of origin’ provisions for availing concessional rate of customs duty under free trade agreements (FTAs)
  • An importer will also have to enter certain origin related information in the Bill of Entry.
  • Importers will now have to provide sufficient proof to the domestic customs authorities that the goods being imported have a minimum 35 per cent value addition in the country from which it is being exported to India
  • A list of minimum information, which the importer is required to possess, has also been provided in the rules along with general guidance
  • The new rules will support the importer to correctly ascertain the country of origin, properly claim the concessional duty and assist customs authorities in smooth clearance of legitimate imports under FTAs
  • CAROTAR 2020 supplements the existing operational certification procedures prescribed under different trade agreements.

Need for the new rules

  • There were concerns being raised by certain quarters of the domestic industry about misuse of free trade agreement (FTA) benefits from 10-member ASEAN countries.
  • There are also concerns regarding China which according to the experts is diverting its supplies to India through Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations. This way rules of origin are being abused and illegal advantage is being taken of duty-free market access under FTA.

2 . World Bamboo Day

Context: The World Bamboo Day was celebrated on 18th September 2020.

Health Benefits of Bamboo

  • Bamboo shoots are emerging as high-value and safe edibles and are also among the cheapest immunity boosters for increasing the human body’s resistance to viral attacks.
  • The protein content in fresh bamboo shoots which is considered as nutraceutical, can range between 1.49-4.04%. ‘Nutraceutical’ is used to describe medicinally or nutritionally functional foods while bamboo shoots are the edible sprouts of the perennial grass.
  • They also contain 17 amino acids, eight of which are essential for the human body.
  • Bamboo has been a key ingredient in new antimicrobial soaps and hand mists developed by Filipino scientists to fight the novel coronavirus.

Bamboo production in India

  • According to the National Bamboo Mission, India has the highest area (13.96 million hectares) under bamboo and is the second richest country after China in terms of bamboo diversity with 136 species. 
  • The annual production of bamboo in India is 14.6 million tonnes and the bamboo-rattan industry in the country was worth ₹28,005 crore in 2017.
  • More than 3 million tonnes of bamboo shoots are consumed across the earth annually, but the shoot production and consumption in India are confined mostly to the north-eastern States.

National Bamboo Mission

  • The Mission envisages promoting holistic growth of bamboo sector by adopting area-based, regionally differentiated strategy and to increase the area under bamboo cultivation and marketing. 
  • Under the Mission, steps have been taken to increase the availability of quality planting material by supporting the setting up of new nurseries and strengthening of existing ones. 
  • To address forward integration, the Mission is taking steps to strengthen marketing of bamboo products,especially those of handicraft items.

Major objectives of the Mission

  • To increase the area under bamboo plantation in non forest Government and private lands to supplement farm income and contribute towards resilience to climate change as well as availability of quality raw material for industries.
  • To improve post-harvest management through establishment of innovative primary processing units near the source of production, primary treatment and seasoning plants, preservation technologies and market infrastructure.
  • To promote product development keeping in view market demand, by assisting R&D, entrepreneurship & business models at micro, small and medium levels and feed bigger industry.
  • To rejuvenate the under developed bamboo industry in India.
  • To promote skill development, capacity building, awareness generation for development of bamboo sector from production to market demand.
  • To re-align efforts so as to reduce dependency on import of bamboo and bamboo products by way of improved productivity and suitability of domestic raw material for industry, so as to enhance income of the primary producers.

3 . Artificial Reproduction Technique (ART)

Context: The Supreme Court has asked the government to respond to a plea to ban Artificial Reproduction Technique (ART), including Artificial Insemination (AI), used on livestock and other animals.

About the Petition

  • A petition was filed by a Madurai resident Dr. S. Venkatesh in which it was stated that the ART performed on livestock/animals without any proven biomedical need was cruel, illegal, mala fide and contrary to the established principles of law. 
  • In the petition, it was stated that  ART is violative of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Biological Diversity Act and the Environment (Protection) Act.
  • It said that invasive techniques were used on animals which were not even anaesthetised to the pain but merely restrained physically.

Supreme Court’s stand on the issue

  • The Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde has issued a notice to the government, the Animal Husbandry Department, the Animal Welfare Board of India, and the National Biodiversity Authority to respond to the plea.

Artificial Reproduction Technique (ART)

  • In recent years, livestock productivity has been increased by improved reproduction. Various techniques have been developed and refined to obtain a large number of offspring from genetically superior animals or obtain offspring from infertile animals.
  • These techniques include: artificial insemination, cryopreservation of gametes or embryos, induction of multiple ovulations, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, sex determination of sperm or embryos, nuclear transfer, cloning, etc. Further the wide development radio-immuno-assay technology offers wide scope for improving the reproductive efficiency of farm animals.

Artificial Insemination

  • Artificial insemination (AI) is the process of collecting sperm cells from a male animal and manually depositing them into the reproductive tract of a female.
  • it is a powerful tool mostly employed for livestock improvement. In artificial insemination, the germplasm of the bulls of superior quality can be effectively utilized with the least regard for their location in faraway places. By adoption of artificial insemination, there would be considerable reduction in both genital and non-genital diseases in the farm stock.

4 . Facts for Prelims

Vaishwik Bharatiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit

  • Vaishwik Bharatiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit will be organised by the Department of Science and Technology and the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  • It will be a month-long session of webinars and online discussions involving non-resident Indian (NRI) scientists. 
  • It is being organised to help develop a comprehensive road map to leverage the expertise and knowledge of global Indian researchers for solving emerging challenges. By bringing the Indian overseas and resident academicians/scientists together, a structure of association will be evolved.
  • The end product of this program will be a road map and broad direction on the kind of research that will benefit India in the future.
  • Key areas of discussion will include: quantum technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning, electronics and semi-conductor technologies, communications technologies, photonics, computational and data sciences and aerospace technologies among others.

Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP)

  • The Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP) is located in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
  • It became the first zoo in India to join World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in 2009. 
  • It also contains a botanical garden and part of it has been declared a sanctuary. Nandankanan, literally meaning The Garden of Heaven, is located near the capital city, Bhubaneswar, in the environs of the Chandaka forest, and includes the 134-acre (54 ha) Kanjia lake.
  • It has the largest collection of white tigers in India. 
  • The endangered species such as the Asiatic lion, three Indian crocodilians, Sangal lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Indian pangolin, mouse deer and countless birds, reptiles and fish have been breeding successfully at Nandankanan. 

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