Everything You Need To Know About 18 November 2023 : Daily Current Affairs
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18 November 2023 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs

18-November-2023

1) 11 Lakh children in India missed 1st measles shot in ’22: Report

Topic: GS2- Health

Context:

  • According to an alarming report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, in 2022, almost 11 lakh (1.1 million) Indian children were not vaccinated against measles in their critical first dose.
  • According to this data, India is among the top 10 nations where the greatest proportion of youngsters do not receive the first dose of the measles vaccination.

Measles Outbreaks in India:

  • India is one of the 37 nations that saw notable outbreaks of measles, with an astounding 40,967 cases reported in 2022.
  • The study emphasizes how the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects led to a decline in routine immunization in 2020 and 2021, making some places particularly peri-urban areas and clusters more susceptible to measles outbreaks.

Global Impact of the Pandemic on Measles Immunization:

  • The pandemic caused the lowest rates of measles vaccination worldwide since 2008.
  • The measles cases increased by 18% and the alarming number of deaths increased by 43% in 2022 as a result of this reduction.
  • The study notes that these are the post-pandemic estimates of vaccination gaps.

Challenges and Vulnerabilities:

  • Experts claim that youngsters are more susceptible to contracting measles if even one cohort in immunization is missed.
  • During the pandemic, immunization gaps were mostly seen in peri-urban regions and clusters, where outbreaks were later reported.

Measles Vaccine Protection:

  • It is emphasized that a single dosage of the measles vaccine may offer less protection than two doses, which together offer 97% lifetime protection.
  • Measles can cause serious complications like brain swelling, pneumonia, breathing difficulties, and, in some cases, death.
  • The disease is marked by symptoms like high fever, cough, runny nose, and red rashes.

Government Response and Immunization Campaigns:

  • Experts state that the three rounds of the Intensified Mission Indradhanush, which ended in October, have filled up the gaps in immunization.
  • The purpose is to make sure children who were not vaccinated receive immunization treatments.
  • The aim of the campaign was to eliminate the measles-rubella vaccination, thus children up to the age of five were included in its coverage.

Measles Surveillance and Government Initiatives:

  • Experts applaud India’s sensitivity in monitoring cases of measles, noting that the nation has outperformed other nations in terms of measurability.
  • However, as a result of the health apparatus’s concentration on COVID-19, immunization rates decreased, which increased the number of cases of measles that were reported, especially in states like Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra.

Outbreak Response and Positive Impact:

  • The government launched an outbreak response immunization effort in response to an outbreak in Maharashtra, immunizing 13 lakh children between the ages of nine months and fifteen between November 2022 and May 2023.
  • Experts saw the outbreak as a “blessing in disguise,” since it allowed for natural immunization to occur in the area and the government vaccinated residents living in affected areas.

2) COP28 in Dubai: What to expect from climate meeting

Topic: GS3- Environment

Context:

  • Decades of debates and campaigns have established nations’ collective commitment to combating climate change, yet it is considered insufficient.
  • There is an urgent need for significant results as we get closer to COP28, which will take place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, to address the worrisome shortcomings in global climate action.

Details:

  • There is no denying the catastrophic effects of climate change; 2023 is expected to top 2016 as the warmest year ever recorded.
  • The urgency of the crisis has not been met by the global reaction, despite rising temperatures.
  • According to assessment reports, even under hopeful circumstances, existing climate action plans would only reduce emissions by 2% by 2030, falling well short of the 43% reduction in emissions that the IPCC has determined is necessary to achieve the 1.5-degree Celsius target.

Financial Challenges and Adaptation Measures:

  • The implementation of adaptation measures presents a significant financial barrier for developing nations, costing at least $215 billion yearly.
  • Nevertheless, the Adaptation Gap analysis indicates that just $21 billion in funding is available, which is a significant shortfall.
  • The age-old problem of funding presents a major obstacle, especially for countries most at danger from climate change.

Expectations at COP28:

Even though the immediate effects of climate action are acknowledged to be limited, it is expected that COP28 will produce significant results in order to avert a completely dismal situation. A few major anticipations are as follows:

  • Tripling of Renewable Energy: By 2030, efforts are being made to increase the amount of installed renewable energy capacity worldwide, with the goal of having roughly 70% of all electricity produced by renewable sources. This action might prevent 7 billion tons of emissions equivalent to carbon dioxide between now and 2030, which would be a major reduction in emissions.
  • Delivery of $100 Billion: After more than ten years, wealthy nations are anticipated to declare that they have provided the $100 billion in climate funds per year starting in 2020. The true test, though, will be in moving forward with a fresh funding pledge that exceeds the $100 billion mark, which is essential for successful climate action.
  • Money for Loss and Damage Fund: It is expected that Dubai would contribute some funds to the establishment of a loss and damage fund, which is meant to give financial assistance to nations affected by climate change. This is especially important for small island states, who could be the fund’s main beneficiaries.
  • Global Stocktake: The results of the first stocktake exercise are anticipated to be presented during COP28, as required by the 2015 Paris Agreement. Countries will evaluate how far they have come in combating climate change and lay out plans for the ensuing five years of action.
  • Phase-Down of Fossil Fuels: At COP28, the divisive topic of a planned reduction or phase-out of fossil fuels, particularly coal, is probably going to come up again. Deep divides still exist, though, suggesting that a settlement in Dubai would be difficult to achieve.

Way Forward:

  • Countries have a crucial chance at COP28 to confront the shortcomings in climate action and lay the groundwork for a future that is more resilient and sustainable.
  • The conference’s conclusions will be very important in defining the future course of international efforts to tackle climate change.

3) The new flare-up in Myanmar

Topic: GS2-IR

Context:

  • The prolonged fighting in Myanmar’s Chin State, especially in the Rikhawdar region close to the Indian border, has caused an inflow of Burmese nationals into Indian territory, which has deeply concerned the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • Given the ongoing unrest in Myanmar following the military’s takeover on February 1, 2021, the scenario is changing.

Overview of Myanmar’s Ongoing Crisis:

  • Following the military takeover, there has been a great deal of turmoil in Myanmar.
  • Armed civilian groups such as the People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) have sided with the self-declared National Unity Government in exile to oppose the military regime.
  • Increased fighting in recent weeks has led to the takeover of important towns close to the border between India and Myanmar and a large migration of refugees into Mizoram.

Commencement of Current Round of Fighting:

  • The Three Brotherhood Alliance, which is made up of EAOs such the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Arakan Army, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), launched surprise attacks on October 27 to start the current round of battle, known as Operation 1027.
  • As a result of the offensive, which was directed against military positions in Shan State, vital border towns and checkpoints, including Chinshwehaw, were taken over.

Unprecedented Level of Coordination:

  • The extraordinary degree of coordination across the several rebel organizations sets apart the present offensive, which is the biggest threat to the junta since the coup of 2021.
  • The military has found it difficult to organize a strong defense as the resistance forces have taken control of a sizable area; in some cases, entire battalions have surrendered without putting up a fight.

Threat to the Junta’s Position – Operation 1027:

  • Three Brotherhood Alliance’s common goal is to overthrow the military regime, posing an unprecedented threat to the junta.
  • The junta is facing tremendous strain in the border regions even though it still holds control over the Bamar heartland in Central Myanmar.
  • The military is facing poor combat spirit among its ranks and coordination issues, which make the ongoing offensive a major concern.

Role of China and Implications for India:

  • China, Myanmar’s massive trading partner and neighbor, is apparently providing implicit support to the rebels in Shan State.
  • The complexity of the problem is shown by China’s pressure on the military administration to suppress criminal settlements along the Myanmar-China border and by the rebels’ reference to fighting online gambling fraud along the same border.
  • The analysis by the US Institute of Peace highlights the geopolitical ramifications of the conflict by suggesting that China may be implicitly supporting the rebels’ advancement.

India’s Concerns and Balancing Act:

  • India is currently concerned about the inflow of Myanmarese people into its Northeastern states.
  • The country has managed to strike a delicate balance between communicating its concerns about the disruption of democracy in Myanmar and working with the junta to safeguard its interests.
  • India’s strategic considerations have taken on a new dimension with the conquest of towns close to the border with Myanmar.
  • This development has ramifications for existing projects like the trilateral expressway connecting Thailand, Myanmar, and India as well as for regional stability.

4) Proposed India-UK FTA, its politics, and why the UK may benefit more

Topic: GS3- Economy

Context:

  • Speaking with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary David Cameron, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar discussed the continuing discussions of the India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
  • Jaishankar expressed hope about finding a middle position that benefits both countries while highlighting the FTA as a focal point of the negotiations.

FTA as a Template and Shift in Trade Policy:

  • After it is signed, the India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would likely become the model for a deal with the European Union (EU), which will be a departure from India’s prior look-east strategy.
  • To increase export growth, the administration wants to give priority to economic integration with countries in Western and African Africa.

China Factor and Geopolitical Considerations:

  • A ‘China-plus-one’ policy is necessary, as disruptions in supply chains caused by the pandemic forced Western corporations to reevaluate their reliance on China.
  • The push for a trade agreement between India and the UK was aided by Australia’s economic complementarities with India and its tensions with China.
  • In an effort to balance regional dynamics, India is actively pursuing trade agreements with the UK, Australia, the EU, and Canada following its exit from the RCEP.

Brexit and UK’s Incentives:

  • A trade agreement with India is vital for the UK given the uncertainties surrounding Brexit and the challenging election that the ruling Conservatives will face in 2025.
  • The UK has a chance to make up for losing access to the European Single Market thanks to the sizeable Indian market, notwithstanding ongoing concerns over providing work permits to workers in the service industry from India.

Gains and Challenges for India and the UK:

  • India aims to restore textile exports by collaborating with competitors like Bangladesh and seeking advantages in labor-intensive sectors like clothing and gems and jewelry.
  • The British Parliament has expressed worry, meanwhile, regarding possible detrimental effects on Least Developed Countries.
  • Lower tariffs may allow the UK to gain greater access to Indian markets, particularly for products like automobiles, wine, and Scotch whiskey that are subject to high tariffs.

Non-Tariff Barriers and Modern FTAs:

  • Modern free trade agreements (FTAs) go beyond simply lowering tariffs; they also give India a chance to eliminate non-tariff barriers (NTBs), which have previously prevented exports.
  • Indian exporters stand to gain from the removal of obstacles pertaining to rules, standards, certification, testing, and pre shipment inspection, especially those in the industrial and agriculture sectors.

Challenges of Carbon Tax and Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM):

  • India’s exports are threatened by the UK’s contemplation of a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) similar to that of the EU.
  • India’s exports may be impacted by a possible carbon tax on metal imports depending on carbon emissions, particularly in industries like steel, chemicals, and cement.

Way Forward:

  • The ongoing free trade agreements negotiations between India and the UK offer both opportunities and difficulties for the two countries.
  • Important factors that will shape the final agreement include managing prospective carbon levies, resolving non-tariff barriers, and striking a balance between economic interests.
  • The result of these talks would not only affect commerce between the two countries, but it will also establish a standard for India’s interactions with other international partners.

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