Current Affairs – November, 2013

Latest Current Affairs November, 2013 with Current Affairs, news summary on current events of National and International importance of November, 2013 for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS, Railways and other Competitive Examinations.

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China sets up air defence zone over East China Sea

In a recent international development, China has announced that it is creating an Air Defence Identification Zone over an area that includes disputed Senkaku islands in the East-China Sea which are controlled by Japan but claimed by China.

Chinese defence ministry has also released protocol for aircraft identification that must be followed by all planes entering the area, under penalty of intervention by the military. As per the protocol, aircrafts are required to provide their flight plan, clearly mark their nationality, and maintain two-way radio communication allowing them to respond in a timely and accurate manner to the identification inquiries from Chinese authorities.

The outline of the new zone covers a wide area of the East China Sea between South Korea and Taiwan that includes the Tokyo-controlled islands known as the Senkaku to Japan and Diaoyou to China.  As per Chinese defense ministry, China’s armed forces will exercise defensive emergency steps to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in the identification or refuse to follow the instructions.

Why China took this stance?

The step from China follows a report that said Japan had sketched plans to strike down foreign drones that infringe its airspace if warnings to leave are ignored.

What is the dispute over Senkaku archipelago?

The Senkaku Islands (also known as the Diaoyu Islands  in Mainland China or Tiaoyutai Islands in Taiwan, or the Pinnacle Islands) are a group of uninhabited islands controlled by Japan in the East China Sea. The dispute is over the claim of Senkaku islands which are located in the East China Sea. The main parts of the islands which are currently controlled by Japan are also being claimed by the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan (Republic of China). These islands are called Diaoyu in China, and Tiaoyutai Islands in Taiwan.

Background of Senkaku Islands:
  • Senkaku Islands were controlled by Japan since 1895.
  • From a 1945 to 1972 administered by the United Stateses.
  • US handover of authority to Japan in 1971, disputed by China
  • China and Taiwan claim the islands as their possession and a seizure by Japan and want Japan to return as the rest of Imperial Japan’s conquests were returned in 1945.
Importance of Senkaku islands:
  • Senkaku Islands are believed to have abundance of natural resources and is also strategically important as it is close to international trade rout

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India declines WTO Peace Clause proposal

India has decided not to agree to the ‘Peace Clause’ for agriculture subsidies that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo has proposed for Bali talks. India will not agree to any deal until it is clear that the proposed interim solution will be available till a permanent solution to the issue of India’s Minimum Support Prices (MSP) transgressing the WTO norms has been found and agreed to.

What is the ‘Peace Clause’ offered by the WTO?

India wants to implement its Food Security Scheme by providing food entitlements at subsidized rates to 2/3rd of its population. To realize this, the government will have to procure a huge quantity of grains from farmers. The government procures grains at certain MSPs. However, WTO norms under the Agreement on Agriculture may hamper the plan as the rules set a subsidy cap of 10% of the value of production for developing countries. India is already inching closer to that limit. If India breaches that limit it would create dispute and may be dragged to the WTO Disputes Settlement Body. The ‘Peace Clause’ proposed by the WTO general-secretary offers an interim solution by allowing the developing countries to offer subsidies to farmers that are currently prohibited under WTO norms. The clause will restrict other WTO members from seeking penalties and facilitating the government to procure grains at MSPs and sell them at subsidized rates through Public Distribution System (PDS).

What is the problem then?

 There is catch in this ‘peace Clause’ : While developing countries can provide WTO-prohibited subsidies to farmers without inviting any dispute under the Agreement on Agriculture, developed countries will have the right to drag these countries to the WTO Disputes Settlement Body, under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. This would render the peace clause null-and-void. There is also lack of clarity on when the proposed Peace Clause will expire and in case there arrives no solution or agreement at the eleventh Ministerial conference, the protection from the Peace Clause will end and its extension will be have to be renegotiated — a contingency India doesn’t want.

What is Minimum Support Price?

The Minimum Support Price (MSP) Scheme is a scheme of the Government of India (GOI) to safeguard the interests of the farmers. Under this Scheme the GOI declares the minimum support Prices of various agricultural produces and assures the farmers that their agricultural produce will be purchased at the MSP, thereby preventing its distress sale. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) acts as the Nodal Agency of the GOI.

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