- India is considering a middle path on cryptocurrencies
- Unregulated virtual currencies are also unlikely to be allowed as a legal tender
- Govt will not take hard-line stance, as many Indians have invested in such instruments
- A growing view within the policymakers in the government is that law should be drafted in a manner that it can be executed effectively and technological developments in digital space should be taken into cognisance.
- The new year will see grocery essentials, personal care products, packaged food and dining out get more expensive as freight, packaging and agri-commodities become costlier.
- AMUL: Globally, inflation in the dairy sector is at about a steep 10%.
- Nestle India: further rise in food prices, owing to higher commodity prices
- Prices of key commodities such as palm oil, crude-based derivatives and palm, sunflower, rice bran and safflower oils have risen 35-50% from a year earlier.
- Crude derivatives, a core raw material for personal care products, have seen 30% year-on-year inflation.
- Analysts said a combination of pandemic-induced disruptions in supply chains and logistics, and rising energy costs, along with a shortage of manpower have led to commodity prices rising.
Fuel price optics | TH
- The Centre finally decided last week to relent and act on the advice of monetary policymakers by cutting the excise duty on petrol and diesel by ₹5 and ₹10 a litre, respectively.
- More than 20 States and Union Territories also reduced the VAT levied on the fuel products
- Fillip to the reviving economy + easing inflationary pressure
- NOTE: the political significance of its timing was hard to overlook
- As far as the economy is concerned, the reduction in fuel bills is bound to have a salutary impact on inflation as diesel is the main fuel for freight carriage and impacts the cost of everything requiring to be transported.
- The softening in transportation costs ought to provide some cushion to the manufacturing sector, which has had to cope with surging input prices at a time when demand is still tenuous.
- Global oil prices have been on a boil this year and the World Bank group projected last month that average crude prices would end 2021 with a gain of about 70%.
- Indian crude basket having risen on average almost 62% in the 10 months through October
- Northern hemisphere’s winter
Strengthening vaccine trust | TH
- In India, 78% of the adult population has received one dose and more than 36% has received both doses.
- This is great news as vaccination, together with face masks and social distancing, is a powerful tool for returning to normalcy.
- Recent evidence indicates that acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines in India is among the highest in the world.
- However, even small pockets of unvaccinated individuals can threaten the success of an immunisation campaign.
- This is especially true for a highly transmissible virus like the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.
- Misinformation about vaccines, in particular, can erode vaccine confidence.
- In 2017-2019, false rumours about the measles-rubella vaccine spread through social media and led to a spike in vaccine refusals in some areas.
- Also, with daily confirmed cases as low as they are now, enthusiasm to get vaccinated could wane.
- This is why we need to solidify vaccine confidence now.
- Perhaps they have concerns about the speed with which the vaccines were developed or they received a message from a trusted family member or friend about the ingredients of the vaccine.
- Providing data from a trusted source, like government agencies or academic institutions, can also help correct misperceptions about vaccines.
- “Teeka lagwaya, na?” or “You’ve been vaccinated, right?” By asking this simple question, we are setting expectations for those around us.
- The messenger is also important for building trust.
- Doctors and health workers are also often trusted sources of information about health decisions.
- Actors and sportspersons are also powerful spokespersons.
- In 2014, India was declared polio free.
- This achievement could not have been possible without the simple campaign, ‘Do boond zindagi ke’ or ‘Two drops of life’.
- An effective response to any health emergency requires a multidisciplinary approach.
- This is important because not everyone connects in the same way with facts and figures.
AUKUS could rock China’s boat in the Indo-Pacific | TH
- The trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS) continues to be in the news.
- Australian submarine deal
- There is also the matter of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) disunity over the emergence of AUKUS.
- While AUKUS is clearly an attempt by the U.S. to bolster regional security, including securing Australia’s seaborne trade.
- Any sudden accretion in Australia’s naval capabilities is bound to cause unease in the region.
- In a statement on September 20, Australia had unambiguously reassured the region of its commitment to ASEAN centrality and its continued support for the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone Treaty as well as the Treaty of Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone.
- China is exploiting ASEAN’s concerns
- Chinese Foreign Ministry: AUKUS reflects a Cold War mentality
- AUKUS is based on a shared commitment of its three members to deepening diplomatic, security and defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
- Even though this has not been stated explicitly, the rise of China, particularly its rapid militarisation and aggressive behaviour, is undoubtedly the trigger.
- They have been alliance partners all along.
- The U.S. and the U.K. have fought together as allies, together with Australia, in the Second World War.
- The U.S. shared nuclear weapons technology with the U.K. following the merging of the latter’s nuclear weapons programme with the American Manhattan Project as early as in 1943.
- The first U.K. test was conducted in 1952 in the Montebello Islands in Australia.
British monarch as the head of state
- Australia, especially, had for years subordinated its strategic assessment of China to transactional commercial interests.
- Australia’s distant geographical location could not guarantee its security against a direct maritime threat.
- The transfer of sensitive submarine technology by the U.S. to the U.K. is a sui generis arrangement based on their long-standing Mutual Defence Agreement of 1958.
- The other areas covered are cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence and quantum technologies, apart from undersea capabilities.
- All three nations will also play a major role in U.S.-led programmes such as Build Back Better World, Blue Dot Network and Clean Network, to meet the challenge of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
- New Zealand is ready to support cyber capabilities
- The Quad and AUKUS are distinct, yet complementary.
- China has a large and growing undersea fleet, including attack submarines, both nuclear-powered and diesel-electric.
- AUKUS, though, provides an opportunity to the U.S. to place proxy submarine forces to limit China’s forays, especially in the Pacific Ocean.
- PM Modi to dedicate to nation multiple road projects for boosting connectivity to Pandharpur in Maharashtra today
- Vice President calls for bringing effective synergy between traditional knowledge and state-of-art technology
- Over 108 crore 21 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses administered so far; Recovery rate reaches 98.24 pct
- Haryana govt notifies State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020; To come into force from Jan 15, 2022
- France to help India in advanced military technologies
- Indian Coast Guard rescues seven fishermen from burning boat off Gujarat coast
- Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan to be held in New Delhi on Nov 10
- MoS Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh to pay two-day official visit to New York from today
- Power Minister R K Singh addresses 47th Raising Day of NTPC
- India condemns assassination attempt on Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi
- At least 99 people killed in Sierra Leone
- US not trying to transform China, looking for ways to co-exist: Jake Sullivan
- Eight dead in crowd surge at music festival in Texas
Q.) What is the proposed rate of global minimum corporate tax on multinationals, backed by the G20 leadership, to create a more stable and fairer international tax system?
Q.) Name the capital city of Ethiopia
- Dire Dawa
- Bahir Dar
- Addis Ababa