GoalTide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Jun 28, 2021

Current Affair 1:
US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)

USISPF was established in 2017 by a group of industry leaders in both countries who are committed to creating a powerful strategic partnership between the U.S. and India. A non-profit organization, USISPF is focused on driving economic growth, job creation, innovation, inclusion, and entrepreneurship in the U.S. and India.

How can they further strengthen ties?

The collaboration between the United States and India lies at the heart of our strategic interests in Asia. India is already an important market for US goods and services and has the potential to become a crucial link in the global manufacturing supply chain.

While the fundamentals of this relationship are strong, below are some priorities to strengthen this partnership further in the coming year:

Restart the “Pivot to Asia”

While India can play an important role in the region, it is being left behind economically and strategically. The strength of the bilateral strategic relationship provides the United States with a strong base of support to expand. U.S. leadership in the region can address China’s growing influence and could help mitigate the growing animosity between China and India.

Leverage the Progress of the Quad and Similar Groupings

India has express willingness to find common ground with small groupings of countries on like-minded issues. These vehicles can be harnessed where bilateral cooperation has stalled or India’s recalcitrance in the international multilaterals is counterproductive. The Japan-India-US-Australia group can be used to advance U.S. national security and commercial interests. The U.S. might also consider joining in the supply chain group of India-Singapore-Australia.

Focus on Issues of Common Ground

In addition to the national security strategic interests India has embraced the values of climate change and joint programs in addressing air pollution, water and other environmental issues can be accelerated, especially R&D programmatic elements.

Cyber security and Internet governance present another opportunity with India recently expressing opposition to China’s New IP proposal, support for the multi stakeholder approach to Internet governance and a desire to see the UN Group of Government Experts make clear progress on cyber. India’s ambitions in 5G and their stated desire to secure trusted vendors provide another opportunity that melds with U.S. national security and commercial interests.

Re-Commit to the Bilateral Dialogues

The 2+2 Strategic Dialogue is productive and can be expanded to include commercial issues of national security interest. The State-led ICT Working Group, an important engagement on technology and digital policy issues, has floundered as the dialogue has been downgraded to a deputy assistant secretary level. This group needs to be upgraded to a Dialogue held at least at an Assistant Secretary level, or as a best case at an Under Secretary level.

Current Affair 2:
International Solar Alliance

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was conceived as a coalition of solar-resource-rich countries (which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn) to address their special energy needs. It was launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30 November 2015 at Paris, France on the side-lines of the COP-21.

As guided by the Framework Agreement of the ISA, the interests and objectives of the ISA are as follows:

  1. To collectively address key common challenges to scale up solar energy applications in line with their needs;
  2. To mobilize investments of more than USD 1000 billion by 2030;
  3. To take coordinated action through programmes and activities launched on a voluntary basis, aimed at better harmonization, aggregation of demand, risk and resources, for promoting solar finance, solar technologies, innovation, R&D, capacity building etc.
  4. Reduce the cost of finance to increase investments in solar energy in member countries by promoting innovative financial mechanisms and mobilizing finance from Institutions
  5. Scale up applications of solar technologies in member countries, and Facilitate collaborative research and development (R&D) activities in solar energy technologies among member countries.
  6. Promote a common cyber platform for networking, cooperation and exchange of ideas among member countries

Current status of the number of signatories and ratification.

As per the latest update from its website, 95 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement and 77 countries have signed and ratified the ISA Framework Agreement.

Whether agreement has entered into force? Yes.

When the ISA Framework Agreement entered into force on December 6th, 2017, ISA formally became a de-jure treaty based International Intergovernmental Organization, headquartered at Gurugram, India.

Highest decision-making body in ISA.

The Assembly of the ISA is the apex decision-making body which comprises of representatives from each Member Country. The Assembly deliberates matters of substance such as the selection of the Director General, achievement of ISA objectives, its functioning, approval of operating budget and more.

Who all can be the member of ISA?

In pursuance of the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India for achieving the universalization of the membership of the International Solar Alliance beyond the Tropics, the First General Assembly of the ISA, held on 3 October 2018, adopted the amendment of the Framework Agreement on the establishment of the International Solar Alliance, to expand the scope of Membership of the ISA to all Member States of the United Nations.

After the necessary ratifications/ approvals/ acceptances were obtained from the requisite number of ISA Member countries as mandated by the Framework Agreement of the ISA, the said amendment has entered into force on 8th January 2021.The coming into force of the amendment of the ISA Framework Agreement allows all the Member States of the United Nations to join the International Solar Alliance, including those lying beyond the Tropics.


Current Affair 3:
What Is Debt-to-GDP Ratio?

News is, India's bank credit-to-GDP ratio inches up to 56% in 2020: BIS data

We will understand the term.

The debt-to-GDP ratio is the metric comparing a country's public debt to its gross domestic product (GDP). By comparing what a country owes with what it produces, the debt-to-GDP ratio reliably indicates that particular country’s ability to pay back its debts.

Understanding in bit detail:

A country able to continue paying interest on its debt--without refinancing, and without hampering economic growth, is generally considered to be stable. A country with a high debt-to-GDP ratio typically has trouble paying off external debts (also called “public debts”), which are any balances owed to outside lenders. In such scenarios, creditors are apt to seek higher interest rates when lending. Extravagantly high debt-to-GDP ratios may deter creditors from lending money altogether.


Debt-to-GDP Ratio is calculated by the following formula:

?When a country defaults on its debt, it often triggers financial panic in domestic and international markets alike. As a rule, the higher a country’s debt-to-GDP ratio climbs, the higher its risk of default becomes. Although governments strive to lower their debt-to-GDP ratios, this can be difficult to achieve during periods of unrest, such as wartime, or economic recession. In such challenging climates, governments tend to increase borrowing in an effort to stimulate growth and boost aggregate demand.

Current Affair 4:
Recent judgement of Supreme Court regarding education, illegal adoption and welfare of children who lost parents due to COVID-19 pandemic

In a suo moto proceeding regarding the problems of children during COVID-19, the supreme court directed the State and UT governments to ensure that there is no break in the education of children who have lost either one or both parents due to the pandemic.

The apex court noted that as per data collected by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) till June 2021, a total of 30,071 children have become orphans or have lost one parent or abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, 3,621 children have become orphans, 26,176 children have lost one parent and 274 children have been abandoned. The court ordered that after the identification of the children who have become orphans or lost one parent, prompt action has to be taken to provide for the basic needs of the children.

In view of this, the court issued the following directions:

  • The State Governments/Union Territories are directed to continue identifying the children who have become orphans or lost a parent after March 2020, either due to COVID-19 or otherwise and provide the data on the website of the NCPCR without any delay. The identification of the affected children can be done through Childline (1098), health officials, Panchayati Raj Institutions, police authorities, NGOs, etc.
  • The District Child Protection Units (DCPU) is directed to contact the affected child and his guardian immediately on receipt of information about the death of the parent/parents. The assessment shall be made about the suitability and willingness of the guardian to take care of the child.
  • The District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) should furnish his phone number and the name and phone number of the local official who can be contacted by the guardian and the child. There should be a regular follow-up by the concerned authorities with the child at least once a month.
  • If the DCPO is of the prima facie opinion that the guardian is not suitable to take care of the child, he should produce the child before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) immediately.
  • CWC should provide for the essential needs of the child during the pendency of the inquiry without fail. The inquiry should be completed expeditiously. CWC shall ensure that all financial benefits to which the child is entitled are provided without any delay.
  • The State Governments/Union Territories are directed to make provisions for continuance of education of the children both in Government as well as in private schools.
  • The State Governments/Union Territories are directed to take action against those NGOs/individuals who are indulging in illegal adoptions.
  • Wide publicity should be given to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2015 and the prevailing schemes of the Union of India and the State Governments/Union Territories which would benefit the affected children.
  • DPCO shall take the assistance of government servants at the Gram Panchayat level to monitor the welfare of the disconsolate children who are devastated by the catastrophe of losing their parent/parents.

 National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

 National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is a statutory body under the   Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 under the administrative control of     the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.

 The Commission's Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative   Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of  I  ndia and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.



Current Affair 5:
Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched the financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund via video conferencing. The fund has been launched as part of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) to make farmers self-reliant.

So, we will cover this topic in detail. Life and UPSC both will become easy. For any such schemes, we should always cover the introduction, why this was created. It becomes easy then to understand the scheme.

Objectives of Scheme

To mobilize a medium - long term debt finances facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through incentives and financial support in order to improve agriculture infrastructure in the country. This financing facility will have numerous objectives for all the stakeholders in the agriculture eco-system.

  1. Improved marketing infrastructure to allow farmers to sell directly to a larger base of consumers and will improve the overall income of farmers.
  2. With modern packaging and cold storage system access, farmers will be able to further decide when to sell in the market and improve realization.
  3. Due to improvements in post-harvest infrastructure, the government will further

be able to reduce national food wastage percentage thereby enable the agriculture sector to become competitive with current global levels.

  1. With a dedicated source of funding, entrepreneurs will push for innovation in the agriculture sector by leveraging new-age technologies including IoT, AI, etc.
  2. It will also connect the players in the ecosystem and hence, improve avenues for collaboration between entrepreneurs and farmers.
  3. With Credit Guarantee, incentive and interest subvention lending institutions will be able to lend with a lower risk. This scheme will help to enlarge their customer base and diversification of portfolio.
  4. Refinance facility will enable larger role for cooperative banks and RRBs.
  5. With reduced inefficiencies in post-harvest ecosystem, key benefit for

consumers will be a larger share of produce reaching the market and hence, better quality and prices.

Government Budgetary Support

All loans under this financing facility will have interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crores. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of 7 years. In case of loans beyond Rs.2 crore, then interest subvention will be limited up to 2 crores.


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