Daily Current Affairs 14-12-2023

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    SR Bommai Judgment 

    Syllabus: GS2/Indian Polity

    In Context

    • In upholding the abrogation of Article 370, the Supreme Court relied on its landmark 1994 judgement in SR Bommai v Union of India.

    State Emergency in India

    • President’s Rule is when the state government is suspended and the central government directly administers the state through the office of the governor.
    • Article 356 of the Constitution of India is based on Section 93 of the Government of India Act, 1935.
    • Grounds: If the President receives a report from the state’s Governor or otherwise is convinced or satisfied that the state’s situation is such that the state government cannot carry on the governance according to the provisions of the Constitution.
      • Article 365: President’s Rule can be imposed if any state fails to comply with all directions given by the Union on matters it is empowered to.
    • Approval by Parliament: The imposition of the President’s rule requires the sanction of both the houses of Parliament.
    • Duration: If approved, it can go on for a period of six months. However, the imposition cannot be extended for more than three years and needs to be brought before the two houses every six months for approval.

    What happens after the President’s Rule is imposed?

    • The governor carries on with the administration of the state on behalf of the President. 
    • He or she takes the help of the state’s Chief Secretary and other advisors/administrators whom he or she can appoint.
    • The state legislative assembly would be either suspended or dissolved by the President.
    • When the Parliament is not in session, the President can promulgate ordinances with respect to the state’s administration.
    • Revocation: A proclamation of President’s Rule may be revoked by the President at any time by a subsequent proclamation.
      • Such a proclamation does not require parliamentary approval.

    Concerns with the Use of Article 356

    • Potential for Political Misuse: In its 2015 report, Sarkaria Committee noted that since independence, it has been used over 100 times. In almost all cases it was used for political considerations rather than any genuine problem. 
    • Erosion of Federalism: Article 356 allows for the temporary suspension of a state government and the imposition of direct central rule and critics argue that this undermines the principles of federalism by concentrating power in the hands of the central government. 
    • Judicial Scrutiny: The process of judicial review often takes time, and by the time a decision is reached, the damage to the democratic process in the state may already be done.
    • Impact on Stability and Governance: The imposition of President’s Rule can create a period of instability in the affected state. This can have repercussions on the delivery of public services and the overall stability of the state.
    • Public Mandate: The dismissal of a popularly elected government through President’s Rule may be seen as overriding the will of the people.
    SR Bommai Judgment
    – Background: In 1989, the Union government dismissed the Karnataka government by imposing President’s rule.
    a. The Karnataka Governor recommended to the President that he take over the state’s administration.
    SC Verdict: The SC unanimously held that the President’s proclamation can be subject to judicial review on grounds of illegality, malafide, extraneous considerations, abuse of power, or fraud. 
    a. While the President’s subjective appraisal of the issue cannot be examined, the material relied on for making the decision can be reviewed.
    Guidelines Laid by the SC
    – Parliamentary Approval: It made Parliamentary approval necessary for imposing President’s rule. 
    a. Till then, the President can only suspend the state legislature. 
    b. If the Parliament does not approve the proclamation within two months, then the government that was dismissed would automatically stand revived.
    Test of Majority: The majority enjoyed by the Council of Ministers shall be tested on the floor of the House.
    Prior Warning: The centre should give a warning to the state and a time period of one week to reply.
    Breakdown of Constitutional Machinery: Article 356 is justified only when there is a breakdown of constitutional machinery and not administrative machinery
    Significance: The judgment, therefore, restricted the arbitrary use of Article 356 and emphasized the principles of federalism and the autonomy of state governments.
    a. It is considered a crucial decision in upholding the democratic and federal structure of the Indian Constitution. 
    b. The SR Bommai case has had a lasting impact on Indian politics and has been cited in subsequent cases dealing with similar issues.

    Way Ahead

    • The President’s Rule should be imposed in exceptional situations on reasonable grounds.
    • The presence of a healthy and strong Opposition, vigilant public opinion, good statesmanship and respect for principles of federalism and healthy conventions of parliamentary democracy are also effective checks upon the misuse of this power.

    Source: IE

    Pharma-Doctor Nexus: Freebies to Doctors 

    Syllabus: GS2/Health, GS4/ Ethics

    In Context

    • A five-member committee has suggested the Union government to bring in restrictions on freebies offered to doctors by pharma companies.

    What are Freebies?

    • Freebies also referred to as the “Doctors’ Commission” have always been a part of the system and pharma companies give out gifts, in cash or kind, to medical professionals to prescribe their brand of drug.
    • Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had described the issue as ‘serious’ when the manufacturer making an antipyretic drug ‘Dolo’ had allegedly spent exorbitant amounts of money on marketing.

    Key concerns associated with this relationship 

    • Conflict of Interest: Doctors are expected to make medical decisions based on the best interests of patients, and financial or material benefits may compromise this objectivity.
    • Patient Trust and Confidence: Patients rely on the expertise and unbiased judgment of their doctors, and any perception of undue influence from pharmaceutical companies can undermine this trust.
    • Distortion of Medical Education: While industry support for medical education is important, excessive influence may distort the learning environment and promote specific pharmaceutical products over others.
    • Economic Impact on Healthcare Costs: If doctors are influenced to prescribe more expensive medications due to relationships with pharmaceutical companies, it could contribute to higher healthcare costs.
    • Professional Ethics and Integrity: Medical professionals are expected to adhere to ethical standards that prioritize patient welfare.
      • Accepting gifts or benefits from pharmaceutical companies may be perceived as a breach of professional ethics and integrity.
    • Regulatory Compliance: Violations of guidelines and regulations, such as those set by the Medical Council of India (MCI) or other regulatory bodies, can lead to professional and legal consequences for doctors and pharmaceutical companies.
    • Public Perception and Image: The perception of a cozy relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies can negatively impact the image of the healthcare profession as a whole. It may be perceived as prioritizing commercial interests over patient welfare.

    Measures Taken by Government to Regulate it

    • Medical Council of India (MCI) Guidelines: The MCI, which regulates the medical profession in India, has issued guidelines that address the issue of gifts and benefits from pharmaceutical companies.
      • These guidelines emphasize maintaining professional independence and integrity.
    • Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP): It has been in force since 2015. As per this Code, acceptance of gifts and entertainment, travel facilities, hospitality, cash or monetary grants by medical practitioners from pharmaceutical companies is prohibited.
      • But, this code is not statutory and lacks the force of law. 
    • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA): The NPPA monitors and regulates the prices of pharmaceutical products in India. While its primary focus is on pricing, it also plays a role in ensuring fair trade practices within the pharmaceutical industry.
    • Collaboration with Professional Bodies: The government collaborates with professional medical associations and bodies to develop and implement guidelines that address the ethical concerns related to interactions between doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

    Need for the Law

    • There are several laws and regulations enacted between 1945 and 1986 to regulate the manufacture, sale, and distribution of drugs. However, there is no law regulating drug marketing by medicine firms.
    • Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 regulates the manufacture, sale, and distribution of drugs. 
    • In countries like the United States, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, UK, etc, there are stringent laws in place to reduce corruption in the pharma sector. 

    Suggestions by the Panel

    • Price of branded gifts to doctors  should not exceed ₹1,000 per item.
    • Prohibition on the continuous medical education (CME) workshops for doctors in foreign locations.
    • The money received by medical practitioners from pharmaceutical companies to conduct research should be taxable.
    • In the case of free drug samples, tax should be deducted at source for the company under the Income Tax (I-T) Act if their value exceeds ₹20,000 per year. 

    Source: TH

    Concerns about crypto asset intermediaries

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy

    Context

    • The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published a report assessing the risks posed by multifunction crypto-asset intermediaries (MCIs).

    What are Crypto Assets?

    • Crypto assets are purely digital assets that use public ledgers over the internet to prove ownership. 
    • They use cryptography, peer-to-peer networks and distributed ledger technology (DLT) – such as blockchain – to create, verify and secure transactions. 
    • Crypto assets generally operate independently of a central bank, central authority or government. They may be used as a medium of exchange; a way to store value; or for other business purposes. 
    •  Types of crypto assets: Cryptocurrency, Utility Tokens, Security Tokens, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

    Multi-function crypto-asset intermediaries (MCIs)

    • MCIs are individual firms or groups of affiliated firms that offer a range of crypto-based services, products and functions which primarily revolve around operating the trading platform. 
    • Examples: Binance, Bitfinex and Coinbase.

    Sources of Revenue for MCIs

    • The primary source of revenue for these platforms are the transaction fees generated from trading-related activities.
    • These MCIs can derive revenue from operating a blockchain infrastructure for which they may collect transaction validation fees. 
    • Another source of revenue could be proprietary trading (trading with their own individual capital rather than that of clients, with the aim of acquiring profits).

    Concerns

    • Technological and Operational Vulnerabilities: MCIs face various technological and operational challenges, including susceptibility to cyber-attacks and technical issues that can disrupt platform functions like trading and withdrawals​​.
    • Increased Interconnectedness: By combining trading and investment functions, MCIs amplify interconnectedness within the crypto-asset ecosystem. This can lead to conflicts of interest and market manipulation, especially in the absence of robust admission rules and due diligence processes​​.
    • Governance and Structural Issues: Many MCIs may lack effective governance and risk management frameworks, exposing them and their clients to uncontrolled leverage and liquidity risks.
    • Transparency and Disclosure Deficiencies: A lack of transparency and disclosure can obscure the true risks associated with MCIs, hindering regulators and market participants from effectively assessing the safety and soundness of MCI business models​​.
    • Challenges in Global Operations: MCIs operating globally, especially those headquartered or incorporated in lightly regulated jurisdictions, pose challenges for national authorities in terms of monitoring and enforcing regulations​​.
    • Market Concentration Concerns: A few MCIs could become dominant liquidity providers in crypto-asset markets, leading to potential market disruptions if a single MCI fails. This concentration could also foster anti-competitive behaviors​​.
    Distributed ledger technology (DLT)
    – A distributed ledger is a type of database that stores electronic records shared and replicated across many locations and maintained by members of this decentralized network. 
    – Each new transaction must be agreed upon by all members of the network before it is added to the ledger. 
    – Blockchain is one type of distributed ledger that arranges the data in chunks and chains them together. This unique way of structuring data gives blockchain transactions additional security as they are irreversible.

    Source: TH

    Myanmar World’s Biggest Opium Producer

    Syllabus: GS3/Security

    Context

    • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released a report “Southeast Asia Opium Survey 2023: Cultivation, Production and Implications”.

    Key Findings

    • Myanmar has become the world’s top producer of opium, overtaking Afghanistan in 2023.
    • Afghanistan, the world’s biggest producer for some years, has seen cultivation collapse after the Taliban authorities vowed to end illegal drug production. 
    • Opium farming in Southeast Asia is due to poverty, lack of government services, challenging macroeconomic environments, instability and insecurity.

    Reasons for increased production in Myanmar 

    • Golden Triangle: Northeastern Myanmar is part of the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet. 
    • Lawlessness in border areas: Myanmar’s central government has not been able to exercise necessary control over various ethnic minority militias, some of them partners in the drug trade.
    • Economic hardships: Poor access to markets and state infrastructure along with rampant inflation have played a significant role in farmers’ decisions to increase opium production.
    Golden Triangle
    – It includes the regions of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. 
    – It is Southeast Asia’s main opium-producing region and one of the oldest narcotics supply routes to Europe and North America.
    Golden Crescent 
    – It includes Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. 
    – It is a principal global site for opium production and distribution.    

    Impact on India

    • Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: It can lead to the illegal drug trade and contribute to the growth of organized crime networks.
      • Once the Trafficking routes are established, it leads to increased criminal activities and violence.
    • Challenges for Law Enforcement: Increased opium production poses challenges for law enforcement agencies, requiring resources and efforts to combat illegal activities associated with the drug trade.
    • Public Health Issues: It leads to Increased heroin production, contributing to drug addiction and associated health problems.
      • The spread of HIV/AIDS and other bloodborne diseases may increase due to unsafe drug use practices.
    • Terror Funding: Drug trafficking linked to funding for terrorist activities, poses a threat to national security.
    • Overburdened Treatment Facilities: The prevalence of drug abuse can overwhelm existing healthcare facilities and rehabilitation centers, making it challenging to provide adequate treatment.

    Opium

    • Opium comes from the sap in unripe poppy-seed pods. 
    • The sap dries into a brown latex that contains alkaloids which produce a host of narcotic and pharmaceutical drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine, morphine and codeine.

    Opium production in India

    • In India, there are about 1 lakh farmers across 22 districts in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh with a license to cultivate opium. 
    • The majority of them are from three districts that border Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan — Mandsaur, Neemuch, and Chittorgarh.
      • Together, these districts produce 80% of India’s opium.

    Way Ahead

    • International cooperation: Development of international accountability mechanisms and best practices would greatly increase interception capacity. 
    • Global Monitoring: Increased expert access to the dark web in order to take down online markets and platforms. Implement real-time data monitoring systems for promptly detecting and addressing drug market changes. 
    • Awareness Creation: Fact-based information to raise awareness of the potential harm from non-medical use of cannabis is necessary.
    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
    – UNODC was established in 1997 to assist the UN in better addressing the interrelated issues of illicit trafficking and abuse of drugs, crime prevention and criminal justice, international terrorism, and political corruption.
    Headquarters: Vienna, Austria

    Source: AIR

    COP28 : The UAE Consensus 

    Syllabus :GS 3/Environment

    In News

    The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded with agreement  named The UAE Consensus

    About The UAE Consensus

    • The UAE Consensus, which follows a year of inclusive diplomatic engagements and two weeks of intense negotiations, reflects the COP28 Presidency’s goal to provide the most ambitious response possible to the Global Stocktake and delivers on the central aims of the Paris Agreement.
      • It sets out an ambitious climate agenda to keep 1.5°C within reach. 
      • It calls on Parties to transition away from fossil fuels to reach net zero by 2050 .
      • It encourages the submission of economy-wide Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), includes a new specific target to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030, and builds momentum towards a new architecture for climate finance.

    Other outcomes of COP28 

    • COP28 delivered historic negotiated outcomes to operationalize Loss and Damage fund(securing $792 million of early pledges), providing a framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), and institutionalizing the role of the Youth Climate Champion to mainstream youth inclusion at future COPs..
    • The Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) picked up more than 10 new members during the talks — including the US and the UAE.
      •  Over 80 percent of OECD and EU countries are now committed to the alliance.
    • Nuclear energy: More than 20 countries led by the US called for the tripling of the world’s nuclear energy capacity by 2050.
    • the COP28 Presidency has taken decisive steps to deliver beyond the negotiated text through its ‘Action Agenda’ which spans four pillars:
      •  fast tracking a just and orderly energy transition; 
      • fixing climate finance to make it more available, affordable, and accessible;
      • focusing on people, nature, lives and livelihoods; and 
      • fostering full inclusivity in climate action.
    • Under the total Action Agenda at COP28, over $85 billion in funding has been mobilized
      • Major Action Agenda achievements: The launch of ALTÉRRA, the UAE’s $30 billion catalytic private finance vehicle, which seeks to mobilize a total of $250 billion for global climate action.
        • The ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Agriculture, Food, & Climate,’ embedding sustainable agriculture and food systems in the response to climate change. 
        • The ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health,’ to accelerate the development of climate-resilient, sustainable and equitable health systems. 
        • The Global Decarbonization Accelerator (GDA) – a series of landmark energy initiatives across the public and private sectors to speed up the energy transition.
        • The Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter (OGDC), which commits signatories to zero methane emissions and ending routine flaring by 2030, and to net-zero operations by 2050 at the latest. 
        • The ‘Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships (CHAMP) Pledge’ to advance the integration of sub-national leaders in climate-related decision making

    Significance 

    • It is a balanced plan that tackles emissions, bridges the gap on adaptation, reimagines global finance and delivers on loss and damage.
    • “It is built on common ground. It is strengthened by inclusivity and it is reinforced by collaboration. It is an enhanced, balanced, but make no mistake, historic package to accelerate climate action.”
    • The scale of achievements delivered under the Action Agenda has been unprecedented for any COP and testament to the willingness of representatives from a huge range of sectors and industries to take positive action.

    Criticism 

    • Like all previous COPs, it still remained an underachiever, unable to measure up to the expectations, particularly in galvanising more ambitious climate action in the immediate term.
    • Tripling of Renewable Energy is a global target, and it is not incumbent on every country to individually triple its current installed capacity.
      • It is thus not clear how this tripling would be ensured.
    • Phase-down of coal: There is nothing about how this phase-down is to be measured, or from what baseline.
    • Cutting methane emissions could involve tweaking agricultural patterns. 
    • The adaptation agreement currently lacks financial provisions.

    India’s Position 

    • Amid the global consensus in Dubai to transition away from fossil fuels, India welcomed the agreement though new avenues of opposition may have opened that it will have to address in future climate negotiations.
    • India supports the proposal of the Presidency on the COP decision document while reiterating the fundamental principles enshrined in the Paris Agreement to take action for global good in accordance with national circumstances.
    Do you know ?
    – Over the years, India’s position has been that it is a large, developing country that accounted for 3% greenhouse gases emitted historically (1850-2019) compared to the United States (25%) and European Union (17%). 
    – Its per capita emissions, at 2.5 tonnes of CO2, were below the world average of 2.6 tonnes. 
    – However India’s development trajectory and population also meant that it had become the third-largest greenhouse-gas emitter, among countries, after the United States and China. 
    – This had led to calls that for keeping global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5C over pre-industrial era, major polluters — India and China despite their developing country status — too had to reign in their emissions.
    – India has also embarked upon expanding its solar and wind energy capacity to produce electricity and commit to a net zero state by 2070.
    a. However at the Glasgow COP in 2021, it agreed — under immense pressure and along with other countries — to a ‘phase-down’ of coal use. 

    Future Outlook 

    • The COP28 Presidency has been clear in its intention to ensure that the agreements made at COP28 are delivered and followed through to COP29 and COP30, with mechanisms to track progress against implementation.
    •  Already, the Presidency has signed an agreement with Brazil, the host country of COP30, to deepen collaboration and increase climate ambitions by COP30.
    • Central to the agreement with Brazil will be working with Azerbaijan, the hosts of COP29, to ensure Parties come to COP30 with ambitious updated climate plans for action in this critical decade, as well as whole-of-economy NDCs building on the momentum generated at COP28.

    Source:TH

    Abatement and Removal of Carbon Emissions

    Syllabus: GS3/Environment and Climate Change

    Context:

    • The draft decision texts for the abatement and removal of carbon emissions using carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon-dioxide removal (CDR) technologies taken at the COP28 held in Dubai.
    ‘Unabated’ and ‘abated’ fossil fuels
    – At COP28, the term ‘unabated fossil fuels’ has come to mean the combustion of fossil fuels without using CCS technologies to capture their emissions.
    a. Draft decision texts point to a need to ‘phase out’ such unabated fossil fuels.
    ‘Unabated’ fossil fuel means doing nothing to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that are released from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas.
    ‘Abated’ fossil fuel refers to the attempts to decrease the release of polluting substances to an acceptable level.
    a. Moreover, there is no international or agreed-upon definition of the two phrases.

    Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

    • It is a way of reducing carbon emissions, which could be key to helping to tackle global warming.
    • It’s a three-step process, involving:
      • Capturing the carbon dioxide produced by power generation or industrial activity, such as steel or cement making;
      • Transporting it; and then
      • Storing it deep underground.
    • CCS involves the capture of CO2 emissions from industrial processes, such as steel and cement production, or from the burning of fossil fuels in power generation, and then transported from where it was produced, via ship or in a pipeline, and stored deep underground in geological formations.

    Carbon-dioxide Removal (CDR)

    • It refers to technologies, practices and approaches that remove and durably store carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.
    • It encompasses a wide array of approaches, including direct air capture (DAC) coupled to durable storage, soil carbon sequestration, biomass carbon removal and storage, enhanced mineralization, ocean-based CDR, and afforestation/reforestation.
      • It does not refer to point source carbon capture for the fossil fuel or industrial sector.
    • It is to be used strategically to compensate hard to abate residual emissions —like agriculture and transportation—and to eventually remove legacy CO2 emissions from the atmosphere, not to maintain a high level of fossil fuel use.
    Points to remember
    – CCS is a way to catch carbon and trap it beneath the earth. It is different to CDR where carbon is sucked out of the atmosphere.
    – The key difference is that CDR brings down the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, cooling the planet, while CCS in fossil fuel plants and factories prevents the gas from getting out in the first place.

    Limitations

    • Land rights of indigenous communities: CDR methods like afforestation, reforestation, BECCS, and direct air capture are constrained by their need for land that invokes equity concerns.
      • Land in the Global South is often considered to be ‘viable’ and/or ‘cost-effective’ for planting trees and deploying other large-scale CDR methods.
    • CDR projects can adversely affect land rights of indigenous communities and biodiversity and compete with other forms of land-use, like agriculture that is crucial for ensuring food security.
    • Future emissions scenarios: IPCC has assessed that the world’s use of coal, oil, and gas in 2050 needs to decline by about 95%, 60%, and 45% respectively from their use in 2019 to keep the planet from warming by less than 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot.
      • But without CCS, the expected reductions are 100%, 60%, and 70% for coal, oil, and gas by 2050.
    • High Costs: It requires significant investments in research, development, and infrastructure.
    • Energy Intensive Process:  It requires a significant amount of energy to capture carbon dioxide and transport it to storage facilities.
    • Environmental Risks: CCS involves the injection of carbon dioxide into geological formations that can pose environmental risks such as leakage or seepage into groundwater or the atmosphere.

    What are the possible solutions?

    • Nature-based solutions: These involve growing more organisms that naturally absorb CO2. Examples include afforestation and reforestation, where new trees are planted or existing forests are restored and managed.
      • Soil carbon sequestration and wetland restoration are also nature-based practices.
    • Technological solutions: These rely on machines to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
      • One such method is Direct Air Capture, which aims to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.
      • Seawater Carbon Extraction or Electrochemical Carbon Dioxide Removal which aims to remove the carbon dioxide in ocean water and store it elsewhere.
    • Hybrid solutions: These use technology or biological changes to supplement the natural CO2 removal processes.

    Conclusion

    • CCS is a promising technology for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. However, it also has its drawbacks, including high costs, energy intensity, environmental risks, and limited scale.
    • Policymakers and industry leaders continue to explore the potential of CCS, and ultimately, the success of CCS will depend not only on its technical feasibility but also its economic viability and social acceptance.

    Source: TH

    News In Shorts

    Anthrax

    Syllabus: GS2/Health

    Context

    • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a significant anthrax outbreak in Five countries in East and southern Africa.

    About

    • Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. 
      • It occurs naturally in soil and commonly affects domestic and wild animals around the world. 
    • Transmission: People get sick with anthrax when they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products.
      • Animal-to-animal and human-to-human transmission of anthrax does not typically occur, although rare records of person-to-person transmission have been reported with cutaneous anthrax.
    • Symptoms: Fever, nausea, vomiting, and sweats which progress to dyspnea and ultimately respiratory failure and hemodynamic collapse. 
    • Diagnosis: Anthrax can be diagnosed by identifying Bacillus anthracis in blood, skin lesions, or respiratory secretions through laboratory culture, PCR, or ELISA tests.
    • Treatment: Antibiotic treatment can cure most anthrax infections. In severe cases, treatments like continuous fluid drainage and mechanical ventilation are required.
      • Vaccines are also available for both livestock and humans.

    Source: WHO

    Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) Scheme

    Syllabus :GS 3/Economy

    In News

    • The U.S. and the European Union have now imposed countervailing duties (CVDs) on four Indian products, as a retaliation against the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme introduced for outbound shipments in January 2021.

    About RoDTEP 

    • It is based on the globally accepted principle that taxes and duties should not be exported, and taxes and levies borne on the exported products should be either exempted or remitted to exporters. 
    • The RoDTEP scheme rebates/refunds the embedded Central, State and local duties/taxes to the exporters that were so far not being rebated/refunded. 
    • The scheme is being implemented from 1st January 2021 and the rebate is issued as a transferable electronic scrip by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) in an end to end IT environment.
    Countervailing duty (CVD)
    – It is a specific form of duty that the government imposes in order to protect domestic producers by countering the negative impact of import subsidies.
    a. CVD is thus an import tax by the importing country on imported products.
    – The World Trade Organization (WTO) permits the imposition of countervailing duty by its member countries. 
    Anti dumping and anti subsidies & countervailing measures in India are administered by the Directorate General of Anti dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) functioning in the Dept. of Commerce in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the same is headed by the “Designated Authority”.

    Source:TH

    Developmental Assistance from ADB

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    In Context

    • The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed an agreement for availing a $200 million loan for the state of Uttarakhand.

    About

    • The loan is signed for the Uttarakhand Climate Resilient Power System Development Project.
    • The project will modernize Dehradun city’s power network infrastructure by introducing an advanced and climate-resilient underground cable system. 

    Asian Development Bank (ADB) 

    • Establishment: It was established in 1966 as a financial institution that would be Asian in character and foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions in the world.
    • Members: It has 68 members, of which 49 are from the Asia-Pacific region and 19 are from other parts of the world, including North America and Europe.
    • Highest decision-making body: Board of Governors, consisting of representatives from each member country. 
    • Objective: It provides financial assistance to its developing member countries in the form of loans, grants, and technical assistance. 
    • Headquarters: Manila, Philippines.

    Source: PIB