Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 10 July 2023

India is at forefront of global trade facilitation efforts

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

India is at the forefront of global trade facilitation efforts; with an impressive score of 93.55 per cent in 2023 vis a vis 90.32 per cent in 2021, as per the recently released United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific's (UNESCAP) Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation. The 2023 survey covers more than 140 economies and evaluates 60 trade facilitation measures.

More about News

  • With this, India is now the best-performing country amongst all the countries of the South Asia region.
  • The overall score of India has been greater than many developed countries including Canada, France, the UK, Germany etc.
  • The country continues to demonstrate its commitment to digital and sustainable trade facilitation, according to a release issued by the Ministry of Finance.
  • The 2023 Survey has recognized India's exceptional progress across various sub-indicators, with the country achieving a perfect score of 100 per cent in four key areas: TransparencyFormalitiesInstitutional Arrangement and Cooperation, and Paperless Trade.
  • The scores are a testament to India's relentless efforts in streamlining trade processes, enhancing transparency, and promoting cooperation among stakeholders through initiatives such as Turant CustomsSingle Window Interface for Facilitation of Trade (SWIFT)Pre-Arrival data processinge- SanchitCoordinated Border Management etc.
  • India has witnessed a substantial improvement in the score for the "Women in Trade Facilitation" component from 66.7 per cent in 2021 to 77.8 per cent in 2023 thereby indicating commitment to gender inclusivity and the empowerment of women in the trade sector.
  • India's overall score has continued to improve year by year indicating a strong commitment to further enhancing the ease of Doing Business by undertaking next generational Trade Facilitation measures.


  • The UNESCAP conducted Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation covers WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) along with set of nearly 60 trade facilitation measures categorized into eleven sub-groups, namely: Transparency; Formalities; Institutional arrangement and cooperation; Transit facilitation; Paperless trade; Cross-border paperless trade; Trade facilitation for SMEs; Agricultural trade facilitation; Women in trade facilitation; Trade finance for trade facilitation; and Trade facilitation in times of crisis.
  • The survey is fact-based rather than perception-based. A three-step approach to data collection and validation is generally followed, implemented over a six-month period every 2 years.
  • The Survey reflects the efficacy of Trade facilitation measures taken by Indian Customs such as Turant Customs comprising Faceless Customs, Paperless Customs and Contact Customs, in enhancing India's ease of doing business and promoting a trade facilitative environment in the country.


India’s first Vedic-themed park unveiled

GS Paper - 1 (Culture)

India’s first Vedic-themed park has been opened to the public in Noida’s Sector 78, inaugurated by Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath. Known as the Ved Van Park, the place is home to over 50,000 plants, such as banyankalpavriksha, and coconut, which have been mentioned in Vedic literature.

More about the Park

  • Construction on the park commenced in January 2021, and reports say that the park now stands on what was once a dump yard.
  • In order to create a suitable environment for planting trees and facilitating construction, the soil had to undergo compaction.
  • Reportedly built with a budget of Rs 27 crores, the park showcases a variety of attractions including laser and sound shows, as well as wall paintings and sculptures featuring excerpts from the four Vedic literary works: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda.
  • The park aims to accomplish a dual objective by both educating and entertaining its visitors.
  • The park is divided into seven zones, each named after renowned Vedic sages: KashyapAgastyaVishvamitraVasishthaAtriGautam, and Bharadwaj.
  • Within the park, visitors can explore informative displays featuring holy scriptures that delve into the lives of these sages and the teachings of the Vedas.
  • Furthermore, the walls of the park are adorned with vivid depictions portraying scenes from the Vedas. It is also home to a gym and an amphitheatre, both powered by solar energy.
  • Within the park, you will discover tranquil meditation gardens that provide an ideal setting for practising yoga and finding inner peace amidst the serene landscape.
  • The park also features a Vedic Knowledge Centre, serving as a central hub for delving into the depths of Vedic literature.
  • Visitors can participate in workshops and attend lectures on various subjects, includingVedic astrologyAyurveda, and traditional Indian music.


The challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

GS Paper - 3 (Health and Diseases)

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is today reckoned among the most ominous threats confronting Global Public Health. AMR implies that a pathogen sensitive to a certain drug ceases to respond to that drug. While the more commonly known resistance is Antibacterial (ABR), the larger term AMR encompasses resistance to medicines for treatment of other pathogens too, which cause viralfungal, and parasitic diseases.

A serious concern around the world

  • Over the last ten years, the prevention, control, and response to AMR has been a high priority for most national governmentsinternational organisations (such as the WHO, FAO, OIE), healthcare communities, and civil society, etc.
  • The WHO’s global action plan (GAP) was adopted by member nations in 2015National action plans have been prepared by many countries.
  • India’s NAP was approved in 2017. It is understood that NAP 2.0 is now envisaged.
  • The thrust of India’s NAP includes coordinated action by the government and non-government sectors; a whole of government approach (Health, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Agriculture, Dairy, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology sectors); advocacy; awareness-building; involvement of the communityinfection prevention and controlNational AMR Surveillance Network (NARS Net); research and international collaboration.
  • AMR is an important priority in the G20 health agenda under India’s presidency.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic hijacked the priorities of the health sector. The entire focus shifted to the management and containment of COVID.
  • As a consequence, most public health programmes, including AMR endeavours, suffered and timelines got extended. Hence, substantial effort is now needed to get back on track.

Why urgent action is needed?

  • AMR puts a huge economic burden on both individual families and society as a whole.
  • Long periods of morbidity due to non-responsive medicines, increased mortality due to AMR, massive loss of productive man-days of work, wasteful expenditure on medicines which do not work, maintaining large ill populations, etc. put an enormous burden on national resources.
  • This can be prevented by effectively neutralize the threat of AMR. Hence, investments in the AMR programme is not only a health necessity, it is also good economics.
  • India has achieved huge success in the application of digital technology. Leveraging such applications, especially conceived for the AMR programme, will yield good dividends. This can also add value to India’s contribution in the G20 collaboration.
  • Applications can be for monitoring the use of antibioticsprescription auditsmovement of antibiotics from the production source to the ultimate user, for surveillance of incidence and prevalence of AMR including state-wise or interspatial variations, etc.

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