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Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (18th April)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. India needs to fundamentally alter its export strategy

Indian exports up to $5.6 billion could be hit as the US pressures India for greater market access by declaring a review of the generalized system of preferences (GSP) through which Indian exporters get preferential market access to the US.

2. India, Sweden to step up cyber security, defence ties

Call for cooperation

  1. India and Sweden has decided to step up cooperation in cyber security and defence production
  2. They also agreed to strengthen their defence and security ties
    (The Indian PM is currently in Sweden)
  3. The two sides decided to explore the finalisation of a bilateral agreement on exchange and mutual protection of classified information for cooperation in defence

Special emphasis on defence ties

  1. The joint statement said both countries will enhance Indo-Swedish dialogue on defence cooperation
  2. They will also “proceed with India-Sweden defence seminars in India and Sweden in 2018-19 and explore, together with the ISBLRT, opportunities for investment in Defence Production Corridors in India”,
  3. “encourage industry partners to develop supply chains for small and medium sized enterprises with major Defence & Aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturers”

3. Law Commission for simultaneous polls

Recommendation of the Law Commission

  1. It recommends that in 2019, the election could be held in phases
  2. In the first phase, it says, elections to the legislatures which are scheduled to go for polls synchronous with the Lok Sabha in 2019 could be held together
  3. The rest of the States could go to elections in proximity with the Lok Sabha elections of 2024
    Relaxation: anti-defection law
  4. It even suggests the relaxation of the “rigours” of the anti-defection law in the Tenth Schedule to prevent a stalemate in the Lok Sabha or Assemblies in case of a hung Parliament or Assembly
  5. The panel says that in case of mid-term elections, the new Lok Sabha or Assembly would only serve the remainder of the term of the previous Lok Sabha/Assembly and not a fresh term of five years
    Go for constitutional amendments
  6. The commission says the Centre should get the Constitutional amendments, if agreed upon, to be ratified by all the States so as to avoid any challenge to them
  7. It also says that the Prime Minister/Chief Minister should be “elected” to lead by the full House like the Lok Sabha Speaker

4. The ‘new’ South Asia

Context

  1. As China’s leverage increases, India has to reimagine its terms of engagement with neighbours

Priority to the immediate Indian neighbors

  1. Soon after coming to power, the Modi government had promised to give priority to the immediate neighbourhood
  2. Relations with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh saw a dramatic improvement while Nepal was given due attention
  3. With Afghanistan, ties were galvanised with security cooperation taking centre stage
  4. Except for the Maldives, Mr. Modi visited all of India’s neighbours and tried to reassure them of New Delhi’s commitment to deliver the goods

But situation is different now: Concern for India

  1. In Sri Lanka, domestic political developments are affecting India, while in the Maldives, India has found its diminishing clout being publicly taken apart
  2. A vocal critic of India has assumed power in Nepal, and with a massive political mandate
  3. In the Seychelles, India is struggling to operationalise a pact to build a military facility
  4. China’s influence is growing markedly around India’s periphery, further constraining India’s ability to push its regional agenda

According to some experts, there was never a golden age of Indian predominance in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region

  1. Smaller states in the region have always had enough agency to chart their own foreign policy pathways;
  2. sometimes they converged with those of India and at other times they varied significantly
  3. There have always been ‘extra regional’ powers which have come to the aid of India’s neighbours, often to New Delhi’s discomfiture

China’s entry is affecting the policies of South Asian Nations

  1. China’s entry into the South Asian region has opened up new avenues for smaller neighbours which can be leveraged in their dealings with India
  2. As a result, the very idea of what South Asian geography means is undergoing a change

Importance of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation(BIMSTEC )

  1. The idea of the BIMSTEC is gaining currency in Indian policy-making
  2. It can potentially allow India to break through the straitjacket of the traditional confines of South Asia and leverage its Bay of Bengal identity to link up with the wider Southeast Asian region
  3. In that sense, it is about reimagining India’s strategic geography altogether

Difficulties faced by India in South Indian Nations

  1. India’s structural dominance of South Asia makes it a natural target of resentment and suspicion which India has often found difficult to overcome
  2. India is also part of the domestic politics of most regional states where anti-India sentiment is often used to bolster the nationalist credentials of various political formations
  3. South Asian states remain politically fragile and the economic projects in the region have failed to take off as a result
  4. This means that the room available for India to manoeuvre in the region is severely limited despite what many in India and outside would like to believe

5. Dry Dictat: J&K telling farmers not to cultivate rice in dry year is a move water-stressed states should emulate

Paddy cultivation is heavily water-intensive—on an average, it needs more than 1,400 mm of water against, say, 600 mm for pigeon pea or 500 mm for soybean.

 Rice:

  • Geographical Conditions of Growth:
    • Rice grows best in areas of warm, humid climate; rice requires temperatures between 20°C and 35°C and a well-distributed rainfall of about 100 cm or irrigation facilities.
    • Fertile soil. Delta and valley soils are the most suitable. Soils with higher clay content are preferred for its cultivation due to their better moisture retention capacity.
  • Important Producing Areas:
    • West Bengal (highest producer), Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab (highest per hectare yield), Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Haryana.
    • About 25% of the arable land is used for the cultivation of rice.
  • On the basis of climatic conditions, three varieties of rice are found in India:
    • Winter/ Agahani/ Aman – Planted in July-August and harvested in October-December. 86% of the total rice cultivation comes under this variety.
    • Autumnal/ Kuari/Aus – Sown in May-June and harvested in September – October.
    • Summer/Boro – It is sown in November – December and harvested in March-April. It is grown on 1% of the total rice area.

Note: All the above mentioned 3 varieties (aman, aus, boro) are grown in West Bengal and Assam.

  • Important varieties: IR-8, Jaya, Padma, Hamsa, Krishna, Sabarmati, and IET 1039.
  • India is the 2nd largest producer in the world after China.

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