3rd March Current Affairs
March 3, 2021
5th March Current Affairs
March 5, 2021
Show all

4th March Current Affairs

Govt. to review anti-dumping duty on Chinese steel products

In News:

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), under Commerce Ministry, has initiated a probe to review the need for continuing imposition of anti-dumping duty on certain types of steel products imported from China following complaints from domestic industry.

What’s the issue?

Few companies have filed an application before the DGTR for a sunset review of anti-dumping duty imposed on imports of seamless tubes, pipes and hollow profiles of iron, alloy or non-alloy steel from China.

The applicants have alleged that dumping of these products from China has continued even after imposition of anti-dumping duty, and there has been a significant increase in the volume of imports.

What Next?

The duty on the product was first imposed in February 2017 and is set to expire on May 16 this year.

DGTR would review the need for continued imposition of the duties in force and examine whether the expiry of existing duties is likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping and impact the domestic industry.

What is Dumping? What is anti dumping duty?

In international trade practise, dumping happens when a country or a firm exports an item at a price lower than the price of that product in its domestic market.

Dumping impacts the price of that product in the importing country, hitting margins and profits of local manufacturing firms.

Anti-dumping duty is imposed to rectify the situation arising out of the dumping of goods and its trade distortive effect.

According to global trade norms, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) regime, a country is allowed to impose tariffs on such dumped products to provide a level-playing field to domestic manufacturers.

The duty is imposed only after a thorough investigation by a quasi-judicial body, such as DGTR, in India.

Steel- imports and exports:

  • India was a net exporter of steel in 2019-20.
  • Capacity for domestic crude steel production increased in the last five years.
  • Crude steel production has increased in the last five years.

Pharma exports to Arab nations cumbersome

In News:

India has urged Arab countries to make it easier to export pharmaceutical products to the region and asked them to tap Indian farms to secure food supplies, as it seeks to diversify the $160 billion trade basket with the Arab bloc beyond hydrocarbons.

What’s the issue now?

Indian pharma products enjoy great credibility around the world, but they do not have the same kind of recognition in most of the Arab world, because the process through which medicines are brought into Arab countries are very elaborate and cumbersome at times.

Why trade with Arab World is important for India?

India-Arab trade accounts for 20% of India’s overall trade, but is still concentrated in hydrocarbons. Agriculture, technology and tourism are the potential areas for diversification.

Indian Pharma Industry:

India enjoys an important position in the global pharmaceuticals sector, as India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry meets over 50% of global demand for various vaccines, 40% of generic demand in the U.S. and 25% of all medicine in the U.K.

Presently, over 80% of the antiretroviral drugs used globally to combat AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms.

The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the world’s third-largest in terms of volume and thirteenth-largest in terms of value. It has established itself as a global manufacturing and research hub.

India has one of the lowest manufacturing costs in the world – lower than that of the U.S. and almost half of the cost in Europe.

Challenges that need to be addressed:

Dependence: Indian pharmaceutical industry is highly dependent on China for pharmaceutical raw materials. These raw materials are called the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), also known as bulk drugs. Indian drug-makers import around 70% of their total bulk drug requirements from China.

Fake versions of high value and/or high volume brands of the pharmaceutical companies in India are adversely affecting their business performance posing another major challenge. It also creates a negative impact to the end consumer and a huge health hazard.

So, what India is doing?

Call for greater self-reliance: In June, the department of pharmaceuticals announced a scheme for the promotion of three bulk drug parks in the country.

A bulk drug park will have a designated contiguous area of land with common infrastructure facilities for the exclusive manufacture of APIs, DIs or KSMs, and also a common waste management system.

These parks are expected to bring down manufacturing costs of bulk drugs in the country and increase competitiveness in the domestic bulk drug industry.

Key features of the scheme for promotion of Bulk Drug parks:

  • The scheme will support three selected parks in the country by providing a one-time grant-in-aid for the creation of common infrastructure facilities.
  • The grant-in-aid will be 70 per cent of the cost of the common facilities but in the case of Himachal Pradesh and other hill states, it will be 90 per cent.
  • The Centre will provide a maximum of Rs 1,000 crore per park.
  • A state can only propose one site, which is not less than a thousand acres in area, or not less than 700 acres in the case of hill states.

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA)

In News:

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA) had recently cancelled its “indigenous cow science” examination after widespread criticism about its promotion of fake claims and pseudoscience.

Now, the Animal Husbandry Department has said that RKA had “no mandate” to conduct such an examination.

What’s the issue?

The RKA had announced a national “Kamdhenu Gau Vigyan Prachar Prasar Exam” to be held on February 25.

Reference materials for the exam made a number of unscientific claims, including that the dung of indigenous cows protected against radioactivity, their milk had traces of gold, and that cow slaughter caused earthquakes.

The RKA had the backing of the University Grants Commission (UGC), which publicised the examination, causing widespread outrage.

About the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog:

Constituted in 2019, the Aayog is a high powered permanent apex advisory body with the mandate to help the Central Government to develop appropriate programmes for conservation, sustainable development and genetic upgradation of indigenous breeds of cows.

It comes under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will function as an integral part of Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

Functions:

  • Review existing laws, policies as well as suggest measures for optimum economic utilization of cow wealth for enhanced production and productivity, leading to higher farm income and better quality of life for the dairy farmers.
  • Advise and guide the Central Government and State Governments on policy matters concerning conservation, protection, development and welfare of cows and their progeny.
  • Promote schemes to encourage the use of organic manure and recommend suitable measures including incentive schemes for use of dung or urine of cow in organic manure by farmers to minimize the use of chemical fertilizers.
  • Make provisions for solutions to the problems related to abandoned cows in the country by providing technical inputs to Gaushalas, Gosadans and pinjarapoles.
  • Develop pastures or grazing lands and to associate with institutions or other bodies whether private or public, for the purpose of developing pastures and Gauchars.