- National and International Issues on
- Economic Development
- Social Development
- Industrial Development
- Energy and Environment
- Information and Communication Technology
Topic 1:Economic development
The United States announced last week that it will impose tariffs on the import of aluminium and steel.
- The Tariff will affect consumers across the world, which includes ordinary Americans, who will no longer be able to enjoy the full benefits of free trade across borders
- It may also fail to address America’s trade deficit with the rest of the world as long as Americans prefer foreign goods while foreigners prefer American assets.
- Unfortunately, except for special interest groups who can influence the trade policy of their respective governments, there are likely to be no winners as a result of a global trade war.
- Many ordinary consumers of all countries are likely to lose as a result of any trade war between countries.
Read more at:The Hindu
Topic 2 : Environment
The ecologically subsidised city
Kolkata is fortunate to be home to the world’s largest organic ‘sewage treatment plant’, the wetlands. Unobserved by the rest of the world, sun-fed algae and the bacteria in the sewage perform this wondrous function.
- Kolkata’s wastewater is introduced into and detained in shallow water bodies (bheris in Bengali) which serve as oxidation ponds because of the presence of algae. Under the open tropical sun, the water undergoes change, getting comprehensively treated and cleaned as the bacteria disintegrate and the algae proliferate, serving as food for fish. The treated water is used by villagers in the area to grow vegetables and paddy.
- These villagers have been following such sane ecological practices for many decades without any help from the State, and well beyond the gaze of the media. It suggests remarkable ecological wisdom on the part of largely illiterate villagers, based on knowledge of local conditions and wetland hydrology.
- the wetlands were recognised internationally in 2002 as a ‘Ramsar site’, or a wetland of international significance, which made it incumbent by both the State and the Central governments to protect them from invasive encroachments.
- These wetlands are also home to a wide variety of aquatic life, vegetation, and hundreds of species of birds.
- After nature’s organic treatment, the sewage that drains into the wetlands results in 55,000 tonnes of vegetables and paddy and 10,000 tonnes of fish annually, giving a community of 100,000 people a livelihood.
- In effect, the wastewater works as a costless fertilizer to produce cheap food for what Ghosh called an “ecologically subsidised” city.
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 2 : Energy
MoU between India and Hellenic on Renewable Energy Cooperation
The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy between India and Hellenic.
- Both sides aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage
- Promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity.
- The MoU envisages establishing a Joint Working Group to review, monitor and discuss matters relation to areas of cooperation.
- The MoU aims for exchange of expertise and networking of information.
Read more at: PIB
Synergy needed to enable industrialization of Biofuels
Petroleum Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has emphasized the importance of research to promote the use of biofuels. In his inaugural speech at the “EU-India Conference on Advanced Biofuels” Pradhan said while there are challenges in promoting advanced biofuels but it also offers business opportunities worth one lakh crores in the ‘waste to wealth’ sector.
Benefits of Biofuels:
- pollution-free import substitute to polluting fossil fuels
- Easy To Source
- Renewable source of energy
- Reduce Greenhouse Gases
- Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil
- First generation biofuels are made from sugars via molasses and vegetable oils
- Advanced biofuels are made from lignocellulosic biomass or woody crops, agricultural residues and municipal waste.
- India is committed to reaching the target of 10 percent blending of ethanol in petrol by the year 2022.
- 12 bio-refineries are being set up in the country by the Oil PSUs to enhance the ethanol production capacity.
Read more at: PIB
Topic 3 : ICT
Google steps up partnership programme to get more enterprises on its cloud platform
Google has stepped up its partnership programme to get more enterprises on its cloud platform as it takes on global rivals such as Amazon, Microsoft and Alibaba in India, a country that has more early adopters on the cloud than other markets
- Google Cloud provides them vehicle to service customers in India as well as globally by building software on top of Google Cloud, then leveraging platforms which is a force multiplier.
- Google’s approach mirrors an established practice of global technology majors of tapping partners who have relationships with local businesses to grow their business.
- It also helps in reaching out to customers in mid-tier cities who are more open to hosting applications on the cloud than investing in IT infrastructure locally due to lack of available talent.
Read more at: ET
Regulatory policies must change to cater to digital world:
Policies of the physical world cannot be simply “exported” to the digital world which is seeing rapid technological advances such as artificial intelligence (AI) and convergence of devices, Trai Chairman R S Sharma said today.
- There is convergence of pipes as also communication devices, the advent of 5G is driving greater throughput, lowering latency and facilitating machine-to-machine communication.
- A lot is changing in the digital world. We also need to change the policies, so we can grapple with this issue.
- India has great opportunity to “leapfrog” by using technology, as the technological advancements make it possible to overcome deficiencies in physical infrastructure, and to offer services.
- The regulatory and policy space must change to cater to digital world and it has to leverage technologies, algorithms, Artificial Intelligence and other technologies,
Read more at: ET