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News in Short

News in Short - 18-January-2021

Russia withdraws from Open Skies treaty

Date: 18 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Russia will withdraw from an international treaty allowing observation flights over military facilities following the US exit from the pact.
  • The treaty was intended to build trust between Russia and the West by allowing the accord's more than three dozen signatories to conduct reconnaissance flights over each other's territories to collect information about military forces and activities.
  • US President Donald Trump had declared Washington's intention to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty in May, arguing that Russian violations made it untenable for the United States to remain a party. The US completed its withdrawal from the pact in November.

India’s trade with China falls

Date: 18 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • India’s trade with China last year fell to the lowest since 2017, with the trade imbalance declining to a five-year low on the back of a slump in India’s imports from China.
  • Two-way trade in 2020 reached $87.6 billion, down by 5.6%. India’s imports from China declined by 10.8% year-on-year and the lowest figure since 2016.
  • India’s exports to China rose to the highest figure on record, for the first time crossing the $20 billion-mark and growing 16% last year to $20.86 billion.
  • India’s biggest import in 2019 was electrical machinery and equipment. Other major imports in 2019 were organic chemicals and fertilizers, while India’s top exports were iron ore, organic chemicals, cotton and unfinished diamonds.

Exports rise and imports surge in December

Date: 18 January 2021 Tags: Reports & Indices
  • India’s exports rose marginally to $27.2 billion in December, while imports surged 7.6% to $42.6 billion, according to official data. Merchandise exports were valued at $27.1 billion in December 2019.
  • The trade deficit for December 2020 was estimated at $15.44 billion as against the deficit of $12.49 billion in December 2019, an increase of 23.66%.
  • India’s overall exports (merchandise and services) in April-December 2020-21 were estimated at $348.5 billion, showing a negative growth of 12.7% YoY. Overall imports fell 25.9% to $343.3 billion.

Metal pollution in aquaculture farms

Date: 18 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • A study of aquaculture farms across 10 States has found “hazardous” levels of metals such as lead and cadmium in all of them.
  • Profligate use of antibiotics and insecticides for cultivation and the threat of anti-microbial resistance have contributed making aquaculture a ticking time bomb.
  • Researchers studied about 250 fish and shrimp farms across the nine highest producing States and one Union Territory.
  • This included fresh and brackish water farms in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Gujarat, West Bengal and Orissa, and freshwater farms in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Assam.
  • The objective of the study was to assess the condition of fish and shrimp farms in India on animal welfare, public health, and environmental hazard standards.

Former union minister Kamal Morarka dies

Date: 18 January 2021 Tags: Obituaries
  • Former Union minister and noted businessman Kamal Morarka passed away after a brief illness. He was 74.
  • Morarka was a Union minister in the Chandra Shekhar government in 1990-91 and a Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan from Janata Dal (Secular) during 1988-94.
  • Morarka was also a noted industrialist and was the chairman of Morarka Organic. He headed the Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) since 2012.
  • Morarka had a keen interest in sports and served as vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and vice-president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association.