Current Affairs September 25

Antidumping duty

  • The Commerce Ministry has recommended the imposition of anti-dumping duty on a pharma raw material — Ceftriaxone Sodium Sterile — from China to guard local players from cheap imports.
  • Ceftriaxone Sodium Sterile is an API used in formulation for treating diseases such as lower respiratory tract infection, skin and surgical prophylaxis.


Anti-dumping duty

  • Anti-dumping duty is a tariff. .
  • The government imposes anti-dumping duty on foreign imports when it believes that the goods are being “dumped” – through the low pricing – in the domestic market.
  • Anti-dumping duty is imposed to protect local businesses and markets from unfair competition by foreign imports.
  • The imposition of antidumping duty is permissible under the World Trade Organization regime.
  • It is aimed at ensuring fair trading practices and creating a level-playing field for local producers vis-a-vis foreign producers and exporters


Medical device parks


  • The Union government on Friday notified a scheme to promote medical device parks at a financial outlay of ₹400 crore till financial year 2024-2025.
  • The scheme aims to ensure easy access to testing and infrastructure facilities.
  • It is expected that this will bring down the cost of production of medical devices, thereby making them more affordable for domestic consumption
  • The financial assistance for a selected medical device park would be 90% of the project cost of common infrastructure facilities for the northeastern and hilly States.
  • For the rest, it would be 70%.
  • However, a maximum assistance under the scheme for one such park will be ₹100 crore.


Caste census


  • The idea of a national caste census might be abhorrent when the stated policy is to strive for a casteless society, but it will be useful to establish statistical justification for preserving caste-based affirmative action programmes.
  • It may also be a legal imperative, considering that courts want ‘quantifiable data’ to support the existing levels of reservation.
  • Political parties with their base in particular social groups may find a caste enumeration useful, if their favoured groups are established as dominant in specific geographies;
  • or they may find the outcome inconvenient, if the precise count turns out to be lower and has a negative bearing on perceptions about their electoral importance.
  • In this backdrop, the Union government’s assertion in the Supreme Court that a census of the backward castes is “administratively difficult and cumbersome” may evoke varying responses.
  • There are two components to the Government’s stand.
  • First, it asserts that it is a policy decision not to have caste as part of the regular census and that, administratively, the enumeration would be rendered so complex that it may jeopardise the decennial census itself.
  • Second, it cites the difficulties and complexities inherent in getting an accurate count of castes, given the mind-boggling numbers of castes and sub-castes, with phonetic variations and similarities, that people returned as their caste in the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) conducted in 2011.
  • A caste census need not necessarily mean caste in the census.
  • It may be an independent exercise, but one that needs adequate thought and preparation, if its ultimate goal is not for political or electoral purposes, but for equity in distribution of opportunities.
  • A preliminary socio-anthropological study can be done at the State and district levels to establish all sects and sub-castes present in the population.
  • These can be tabulated under caste names that have wider recognition based on synonymity and equivalence among the appellations that people use to denote themselves.
  • Thereafter, it may be possible to do a field enumeration that can mark any group under castes found in the available OBC/BC lists.


India and AUKUS

  • For observers in India, the AUKUS saga evokes mixed feelings. Many are happy for Australia — a partner in the Quad (of India, the U.S., Japan and Australia) — to receive top quality nuclear submarine technology from the U.S. and the U.K., strengthening China deterrence in the Indo-Pacific.
  • But there is no mistaking a sense of commiseration with France, India’s foremost partner in the Indian Ocean.
  • “Why couldn’t France have been taken into confidence,” many ask.
  • “It would have prevented an unseemly spat between friends, all big players in the IndoPacific region.”
  • There is apprehension that the deal could eventually lead to a crowding of nuclear attack submarines (SSNs/submersible ship nuclear) in the Eastern Indian Ocean, eroding India’s regional pre-eminence.
  • The Indian Navy presently dominates the space, but its conventional underwater capability has been shrinking.
  • Possibility that Australia could deploy nuclear submarines in the Eastern Indian Ocean well before India positions its own.
  • This is not merely hypothetical.
  • The Indian Navy, the principal security provider in the Eastern Indian Ocean, is not building submarines at a pace commensurate with needs
  • It does not help that AUKUS has taken the focus away from the Quad.
  • The agreement suggests preferential treatment on the part of Washington for a close Anglo-alliance partner.
  • India has instead relied on Russia for nuclear submarine technology, including in the construction of the reactor of India’s first SSBN/submersible ship ballistic missile nuclear (Arihant) and in the acquisition (on lease) of a nuclear attack submarine.
  • The Indian Navy’s indigenous SSN programme, however, requires a nuclear reactor more powerful than the one installed in the Arihant (a non war-fighting platform)
  • Following the deepening of Quad ties, some in India were hopeful that the U.S. would consider providing the Indian Navy with nuclear submarine propulsion technology.
  • There is a view that New Delhi must seize the opportunity to push France to transfer its nuclear propulsion technology.


FDI and unemployment


  • The most recent labour statistics, for August 2021, released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) shows that the unemployment rate has increased from around 7% in July to 8.3% for August 2021.
  • In absolute terms, employment shrunk from 399.7 million in July to 397.8 million, that is, 1.9 million jobs were lost in one month.
  • Sectoral analysis shows that most of the jobs lost were farm jobs; while non-farm jobs did increase to absorb some of these, the quality of new jobs generated is a matter of concern.
  • While employment in agriculture fell by 8.7 million, non-farm jobs increased by 6.8 million, mainly in business and small trade, but the manufacturing sector shed 0.94 million jobs.

Employment sustainability

  • During normal times, seasonal labour released from agriculture gets accommodated in the construction sector, even though the ideal situation would be their movement to the factory sector.
  • But, currently, the construction sector itself is shedding jobs, forcing workers to find employment in the household sector and low-end services.
  • This non-availability of sufficient jobs in manufacturing and higher end services could be the dampener for economic recovery in the subsequent quarters of the current fiscal year
  • Elementary economic theory suggests that raising the level of investments is the key to output and employment growth.
  • While public investments are important, especially in the current context of sluggish aggregate demand, there is a dire need to complement public investments with even more private investments.
  • Resorting to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to augment domestic capital formation is an approach that India has been pursuing by making ‘ease of doing business’ more enticing.

Automobile sector

  • The automobile sector employs 19.1 million workers, directly and indirectly.
  • Currently, more than 70% of the auto component companies are small and medium enterprises. It was expected that by 2022, the employment in this sector would reach 38 million with a higher generation of indirect employment.
  • However, three factors have created roadblocks to the expansion of the sector.
  • First, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown, aggregate demand in the economy is low, which is being reflected in vehicle sales.
  • Second, the shortage of semiconductors continues to impact production even when customer sentiments are slowly turning positive.
  • Third, the recent exit of Ford from the Indian market would release a large number of employees, who would be in search of jobs that are hard to find

Exit of high profile firm

  • The exits of high-profile global firms affect employment generation in two ways.
  • First, it creates apprehensions among potential investors about choosing that location for greenfield investments or for scaling up existing facilities. Such circumstances generally lead to a ‘wait and watch’ approach, affecting private investments even if an economy claims to have the tag of investor friendliness. A downturn in private investments leads to slower employment growth.
  • Second, the process of the ‘destruction’ of jobs through exits creates mismatches in the labour market.

Nothing is permanent

  • The euphoria on the inflow of FDI and associated benefits needs to be tempered with the reality of the emergence of modern transnational corporations (TNC) with ‘agility, rapidity and mobility’.
  • When these TNCs emerge as key players in an industry, a proliferation of mergers and consolidations across national and international borders might be frequent.
  • These are efforts to open up new opportunities in new markets.
  • Such waves of expansions and contractions are aimed at acquiring new markets and new trade opportunities.
  • This process of an internationalization of production is driven by the big firms by investing in and out of developing economies