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  • The Wassenaar Arrangement was founded in 1996, and is clubbed with

    mechanisms such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile

    Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Australia Group.

  • Wassenaar Arrangement, a multilateral export control regime

    It will embed India deeper in the global non-proliferation architecture and enableaccess to critical technologies in the defence and space sectors.

    Formal acceptance as a responsible nuclear power.

    As a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

    Aim: to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilising accumulations.

    The Australia Group, which focusses on biological and chemical weapons, may be easier to crack given that China is not a member.

  • 123 Agreement in 2005 (India-USA Nuclear Deal): India separated its civil and military nuclear programmes and plugged the loopholes to prevent diffusion of nuclear materials and technology

    Lesson: need for quiet diplomacy in sensitive nuclear issues

    Nonetheless, now that more and more countries are signing on to Indias steadily strengthening credentials in the nuclear area, there is hope that a fresh momentum will be imparted to a future bid for the NSG.

  • An incident last week, where at least 15 peacekeepers and five soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were killed and numerous peacekeepers wounded by armed militants in one of the worst attacks on United Nations personnel.

    Most of the dead and wounded are from Tanzania. Was there any media coverage in India?

    China rising

    Having made a reluctant entry in peacekeeping, when it sent a small cadre of soldiers to Cambodia in 1992, Beijing has become the largest troop contributor among the permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

    Third-largest contributor to the uns regular budget

    Second-largest contributor to the peacekeeping budget

  • In a September 2017 report, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) says: Chinas participation in UN operations offers... a low-cost means of demonstrating their commitment to global stability... and allay(s) fears about its military and economic strength.

    The UN, especially the UNSC, is a blue-blooded political body, notwithstanding its charter of considering all countries as equals.

    In practice, a nations voice is in proportion to what it contributes towards the UN, especially funds Indias contribution is only 0.737% when compared to Chinas 7.92% and the U.S.s 22%.

    Troop contributions to peacekeeping do not get their due in UN power politics.

    Pivotal posts in UN missions have always been with major fund contributors.

  • Peacekeeping is said to be a cover for China to test its strengths in overseas deployments.

    Is India losing out despite having provided almost 200,000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions over the past six decades?

    Chinese opposition to Indias candidature for a UNSC seat and its repeated vetos on the Masood Azhar issue are unwelcome indicators.

    Indias generous contributions as far as peacekeeping troops are concerned should be key in its argument to have a greater say in the affairs of the UN.

    India must demand its pound of flesh.

  • Lancet Commission: 19 lakh people die prematurely every year

    Lungs of children who grow up in polluted environments like Delhi are 10% smaller

    At the heart of the problem of pollution are carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

    About 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions are CO2 emissions produced through burning fossil fuels oil, coal and natural gas to generate energy.

    In 2014, Indias total carbon emissions were more than three times the levels in 1990, as per World Bank data.

    Remodel the energy mix

    Tax carbon: revenue thus generated can be used for a systemic overhaul of the energy mix

  • Raising the level of energy efficiency through investments in building retrofits, grid upgrades, and industrial efficiency.

    Energy mix overhaul requires an additional 1.5% of GDP (to the current annual level of 0.6%) annually over the next two decades.

    Rich and Poor Balance

    In-kind transfer:

    This policy not only curbs emissions but also delivers on providing more employment since the employment elasticity in greener forms of energy is higher than those in fossil fuel-based energy.

    Its difficult to put a figure on the health benefits that such a policy will entail, but as a rough measure, a significant part of more than 3% of Indias GDP currently spent on pollution-induced diseases will surely come down.

  • Around 38 million Indians rely on health facilities without electricity. Without access to regular power supply, numerous life-saving interventions cannot be undertaken.

    Role of solar energy in bridging the gaps in electricity access in rural healthcare facilities.

    The Rural Health Statistics 2016 data find that India has around 25,000 PHCs, and of the functional PHCs, 4.6% are not electrified.

    Substitute traditional grid-based power systems

    Chhattisgarh: CEEW study found that the solar-powered PHCs in Chhattisgarh admitted over 50% more patients and conducted almost twice the number of child deliveries in a month compared to the power-deficit PHCs without a solar system.

  • The ability of solar-powered PHCs to maintain cold chains to store vaccines and drugs and operate new-born care equipment has significantly improved.

    Disaster-prone areas that need blood storage units and other health services could invest in higher capacity systems or greater storage capacity.

    Significant opportunities exist to simultaneously address the multisectoral goals of energy access, energy security, resource management, and health outcomes, often competing for resources and political attention.

    Solar power for healthcare in Chhattisgarh is a crucial opportunity, with evidencethat scaling this initiative can meet national and regional ambitions for energy access and improved health outcomes.

  • The article A misleading hunger index (Dec. 4) could have been ignored for its wrong understanding of both epidemiology and nutrition if it wasnt for the fact that its authors are members of the NITI Aayog. The authors, unhappy about the Global Hunger Index (GHI) put out by the International Food Policy Research Institute, ranking India 100 out of 119 countries, said we should have been somewhere around 77, as though that would make India proud.

    The first flaw in the article is the assumption that, with a 26% increase in per capita food production in the last decade, and a doubling in the last 50 years, hunger must have automatically come down.

    In reality, hunger is not related as much to the production of food as to access and distribution.

    Do the urban poor, who depend predominantly on PDS, have the same access as the urban rich? There is also a gender, caste, religion, regional variation in access.

  • The authors say that the GHI is neither appropriate nor representative of hunger since more weightage (70.5%) is assigned to children less than five years, who constitute only a minor population.

    Childrens requirement for calories is 2-3 times (80 calories/kg/day for children versus 35-45 calories/kg/day for adults) the adult requirement. This makes them more vulnerable to undernutrition and its consequences.

    The statement that weight and height of children are not solely determined by food intake but are an outcome of a complex interaction of genetics, environment, sanitation and utilisation of food intake is mischievous at best and dangerous at worst.

    The role of genetics in determining adult height is significant only after two or three generations of adequate food availability. When children have deficits of 600 calories (they are recommended 1200-1500 calories), neither can the argument for wholesome food be ignored nor the fact that these children are more vulnerable to infections due to lowered immunity and possibly malabsorption.

  • No WTO deal without food security: India

    India on Monday said it cannot envisage any negotiated outcome at the ongoing meeting of the World Trade Organisations (WTO) apex decision-making body, which does not include successful resolution of the food security right issue.

    In his address at the Plenary Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC) here, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said, the permanent solution for public stockholding for food security purposes is a matter of survival for 800 million hungry and undernourished people in the world.

    India has already made it clear that it will not accept a permanent solution with onerous conditions that in turn make it very difficult for the [Indian] government or other developing countries to meet the food security needs of their people.

  • WTO: India hardens stand on e-commerce

    India has taken a hard stand at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting here on e-commerceinvestment facilitationnorms for small firms access to the global marketplace

    On e-commerce, India has laid preconditions for giving its consent for extension of a moratorium that constrains member nations from levying customs duties on electronic transmission.

    1998 Declaration on Global E-commerce: member countries will continue their current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmission

    This moratorium which is temporary in nature gets extended at every biennial MC.

    India said its decis