GS 2- International Relations

India will not accept less than bottom line in talks with China

Why in News?

Talks with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) could take much longer, External Affairs Minister of India indicated, drawing a parallel to a similar military stand-off in Arunachal Pradesh’s ‘Sumdorong Chu’ in 1986 that took nearly nine years to resolve.

Context

  • India and China must take a “long view” of the border dispute and not just the “incidents” at the LAC this year.
  • India cautioned Beijing against dealing with India through the prism of a “third party”, in a reference to India’s close ties with the United States.
  • There could not divulge details of the ongoing negotiations with the Chinese side on resolving the stand-off in Ladakh.
  • When asked about how long the talks, which have seen eight rounds of military commander-level negotiations, would continue.
  • It was necessary to remember the Sumdorong Chu crisis of 1986.
  • Several years of talks were fruitless before the two armies, which were eyeball to eyeball in the Tawang region, disengaged in 1995.
  • In between, the two sides signed the breakthrough 1993 agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control.
  • India, the bottom line is that China has violated past agreements by amassing troops at the border and that if “peace and tranquillity” at the border is disturbed the rest of the India-China relationship is affected.

 

GS 2- Polity & Governance

Centre plans professional courses in mother tongue

Why in News?

The Centre is drafting a road map to ensure that students of medicine, engineering, law and other professional programmes can study in their own mother tongue, the Education Ministry.

Context

  • The decision was taken by Education Minister, after a meeting on the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP).
  • It emphasised that no language will be imposed on any student, said the statement.
  • However, enabling provisions should be made so that bright students are not deprived of technical education due to lack of knowledge of English language.
  • Higher Education will head a task force to prepare the road map for imparting technical education in the mother tongue.
  • The task force will submit its report within a month after taking into consideration suggestions from various stakeholders.

National Education Policy (NEP)

  • It aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”.
  • The NEP cleared by the Cabinet is only the third major revamp of the framework of education in India since independence.
  • The two earlier education policies were brought in 1968 and 1986.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Part IV of Indian Constitution, Article 45 and Article 39 (f) of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), has a provision for state-funded as well as equitable and accessible education.
  • The 42nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1976 moved education from the State to the Concurrent List.
  • The education policies by the Central government provides a broad direction and state governments are expected to follow it. But it is not mandatory, for instance Tamil Nadu does not follow the three-language formula prescribed by the first education policy in 1968.
  • The 86th Amendment in 2002 made education an enforceable right under Article 21-A.

 

GS-3 Economy

Industry tells SC govt.’s payback scheme on interest is ‘arbitrary’

Why in News?

Industry and business sectors complained to the Supreme Court that the government’s decision to restrict its payback scheme to “small” borrowers covering only eight categories of loans, worth up to ₹2 crore, was “arbitrary.”

Context

  • A Bench led by hearing a host of pleas from various sectors for similar financial relief to help them overcome the stress caused by the pandemic and lockdown.
  • The payback scheme covers only MSME, education, housing, consumer durables, credit card, auto, personal and consumption loans.
  • The lenders have already returned over ₹4,300 crore as the difference in the compound interest and simple interest charged between March 1 and August 31 (Moratorium Period).
  • However, industrial and business sectors, classified as “big” borrowers, have been seeking industry-specific relief rather than being left to the mercy of individual lending institutions.
  • The need for the government and the Reserve Bank of India to understand the specific problems faced by each industry during the pandemic.
  • Observing that some sectors such as pharma and digital platforms had done well during the lockdown.
  • Others such as real estate and retail were in the doldrums. Clubbing distressed sectors with others would be a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Article 14 of the Constitution

Equality before law: The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

 

GS-3 Economy

China buys first Indian rice in decades amid scarce supply

Why in News?

China has begun importing Indian rice for the first time in at least three decades due to tightening supplies from Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam and an offer of sharply discounted prices, Indian industry officials.

Context

  • India is the world’s biggest rice exporter and China the biggest importer.
  • Beijing buys about 4 million tonnes a year but has avoided purchases from India, citing quality issues.
  • India has since tightened rules for investments from China and banned dozens of Chinese mobile apps.
  • Although the public mood in India has been anti-China, the country has remained engaged with Indian businesses.
  • For the first time, China has made rice purchases. They may increase buying next year after seeing the quality of Indian crop.
  • Indian traders have contracted to export 100,000 tonnes of broken rice for December-February shipments at around $300 per tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis.
  • China’s traditional suppliers, such as Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Pakistan, have limited surplus supplies for export and were quoting at least $30 per tonne more compared with Indian prices.