Daily Current affairs and Questions from The Hindu & PIB - August 27

Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020

  • NITI Aayog in partnership with the Institute of Competitiveness released the Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020. 

  • The first report to examine export preparedness and performance of Indian states, EPI intends to identify challenges and opportunities; enhance the effectiveness of government policies; and encourage a facilitative regulatory framework.

  • The structure of the EPI includes 4 pillars –Policy; Business Ecosystem; Export Ecosystem; Export Performance – and 11 sub-pillars –Export Promotion Policy; Institutional Framework; Business Environment; Infrastructure; Transport Connectivity; Access to Finance; Export Infrastructure; Trade Support; R&D Infrastructure; Export Diversification; and Growth Orientation.

  • What this edition of the EPI has shown is that most Indian states performed well on average across the sub-pillars of Exports Diversification, Transport Connectivity, and Infrastructure. The average score of Indian states in these three sub-pillars was above 50%. 

Key findings

  • Most of the Coastal States are the best performers. Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu occupy the top three ranks, respectively. 

  • Six of eight coastal states feature in the top ten rankings, indicating the presence of strong enabling and facilitating factors to promote exports. 

  • In the landlocked states, Rajasthan has performed the best, followed by Telangana and Haryana. 

  • Among the Himalayan states, Uttarakhand is the highest, followed by Tripura and Himachal Pradesh. 

  • Across the Union Territories, Delhi has performed the best, followed by Goa and Chandigarh.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

With a focus on indigenous development of futuristic technologies, a five member expert committee has been constituted to review the charter of duties for all laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Key points

  • The committee was constituted by G. Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D), who is also the Chairman, DRDO.

  • The five member committee is headed by Professor V. Ramagopal Rao, Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

  • According to a letter dated August 24, the terms of reference are: to study and review the charter of duties of all the labs of the DRDO, to redefine the charter of duties of the labs on the current and futuristic defence and battlefield scenario, and to minimise the overlap of technologies amongst the labs.

  • The committee has to submit its report within 45 days, the letter states.

U.S. blacklists 24 Chinese firms

The United States blacklisted 24 Chinese companies and targeted a number of individuals it said were part of construction and military actions related to disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Key Points

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said the two dozen companies played a “role in helping the Chinese military construct and militarise the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea.

  • The United States accuses China of militarising the South China Sea and trying to intimidate Asian neighbors who might want to exploit its extensive oil and gas reserves.

  • The U.S. has conducted multiple freedom of navigation operations by sending its warships through the area to assert the freedom of access to international waterways.

  • China claims 90% of the potentially energy rich South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also lay claim to parts of an area through which about $3 trillion of trade passes each year.

  • Companies blacklisted by the Commerce Department include Guangzhou Haige Communications Group, several firms that appear to be related to the China Communications Construction Co, as well as Beijing Huanjia Telecommunication, China Electronics Technology Group Corp, Changzhou Guoguang Data Communications and China Shipbuilding Group.

  • Since 2013, the PRC (People's Republic of China) has used its state-owned enterprises to dredge and reclaim more than 3,000 acres on disputed features in the South China Sea, destabilizing the region, trampling on the sovereign rights of its neighbors, and causing untold environmental devastation.

  • The actions follow the same blueprint used by Washington in its attempt to limit the influence of Huawei Technologies Co for what it says are national security reasons

BRICS innovation base

Industry Ministers of BRICS countries - five members bloc which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. attended a video meeting to discuss ways to boost cooperation in areas including 5G and Artificial Intelligence.

Key Points

  • China has proposed the creation of what it calls a ‘BRICS innovation base’ to take forward 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) cooperation among the five countries, as their industry ministers met virtually.

  • China urged the BRICS countries to strengthen their cooperation on digital transformation, especially in 5G, AI and the digital economy, to promote the digital transformation of enterprises and their innovation capabilities, and to promote sustainable economic and social development.

  • India is unlikely to allow Chinese participation in the roll-out of its national 5G network, particularly in the wake of recent moves to tighten investment from China and to ban 59 Chinese apps, citing national security concerns.

  • Russia has agreed to work with China on 5G and with Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, which has been largely banned by the United States.

  • In South Africa, Huawei is providing services to three of its telecom operators in the roll-out of their 5G networks.

  • Brazil has allowed participation of Huawein in 5G trials. More than a third of Brazil’s 4G network operators use Huawei equipment. Brazil maintains that Huawei has capacity above its international competitors.

Nationally Determined Contributions- Transport Initiative for Asia (NDC-TIA)

  • NITI Aayog will virtually launch the India Component of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA).

  • With the aim to promote a comprehensive approach to decarbonize transport in India, Vietnam, and China, NDC–TIA is a joint programme, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and implemented by a consortium of seven organisations, namely:
 1. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

2. International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)

3. World Resources Institute (WRI)

4. International Transport Forum (ITF)

5. Agora Verkehrswende (AGORA)

6. Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) Foundation

7. Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century e.V. (REN21)

  • The India Component is implemented by six consortium organisations, all except SLoCaT. On behalf of the Government of India, NITI Aayog, the country’s premier policy think tank, will be the implementing partner.

  • The NDC-TIA programme has a duration of 4 years and will allow India and other partner countries to achieve accountable long-term targets by making a sectoral contribution through various interventions, coordinated with a large number of stakeholders in the domain. This will contribute towards achieving their NDCs and increasing their ambition in the transport sector of 2025 NDCs.

  • The NDC–TIA India Component will focus on establishing a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform for decarbonizing transport in India, strengthening GHG and transport modelling capacities, providing technical support on GHG emission reduction measures, financing climate actions in transport, offering policy recommendations on electric vehicle (EV) demand and supply policies, evaluating business models through cost-benefit analyses and so forth.

Multiple-choice question (MCQ)

1) Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020, the first report to examine export preparedness and performance of Indian states, EPI intends to identify challenges and opportunities; enhance the effectiveness of government policies; and encourage a facilitative regulatory framework. Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020 Was released by 

a) NITI Aayog
b) Ministry of Commerce and Industry
c) Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation
d) RBI

2) NITI Aayog will virtually launch the India Component of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA), with the aim to promote a comprehensive approach to decarbonize transport in India, Vietnam, and China. NDC–TIA is a joint programme, supported by the 

a) International Union for Conservation of Nature
b) Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
c) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
d) All the above

3) Name the state which has topped the Export Preparedness Index 2020 followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu in the second and third place respectively.

a) Karnataka
b) Assam
c) Kerala
d)  Gujarat

4) The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean that extends from the Strait of Malacca in the southwest, to the Strait of Taiwan in the northeast. Arrange the littoral countries of the South China Sea from North to south direction.

a) Taiwan
b) China
c) Malaysia
d) Philippines
Identify the correct sequence using the code given below

1. a-b-c-d
2. b-a-d-c
3. d-c-b-a
4. c-d-a-b


4- option  2. b-a-d-c

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