Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 19 February 2023

India against Carbon border tax

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

India in a submission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has slammed carbon border measures being imposed by some countries, calling them discriminatory and protectionist. India has written to WTO raising concerns over the selective application of Carbon border rules to "trade-exposed industries" like steel, aluminium, chemicals, plastics, polymers, chemicals and fertilisers, which reflects the underlying competitiveness concerns driving such measures.


  1. According to the WTO rules, it is mandatory that there is non-discriminatory treatment for the same products, irrespective of their production methods and such border measures can lead to "behind-the-border" protectionist practices, India said.
  2. Any measures taken to combat climate change, including unilateral ones, should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade, India's submission to WTO said.
  3. This statement from India comes at a time when the US introduced an Inflation Reduction Act to establish green technology industries.
  4. The European Union (EU) too has a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism which is a global carbon tax levied on imports to the bloc.

What are Carbon Border measures?

  1. A few developed countries have imposed high costs on carbon-intensive businesses in their own countries to reduce emissions.
  2. However, it was found that businesses could overcome these restrictions by moving production to developing countries where the norms are less strict.
  3. This is known as carbon leakage. To curb these, the countries started imposing Carbon Tax at borders.
  4. One such instance is the EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).
  5. The EU defines CBAM as a "landmark tool to put a fair price on the carbon emitted during the production of carbon-intensive goods that are entering the EU, and to encourage cleaner industrial production in non-EU countries."
  6. It is like a carbon tax on goods entering the EU from other countries. India's concern is that these border taxes on its goods entering the EU would increase the prices of Indian-made goods and make them less attractive to buyers and could negatively affect demand.
  7. Such a tax could pose a serious threat to companies with larger greenhouse gas footprints.
  8. India along with other BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) raised this issue in November last year at the COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, saying it could “result in market distortion”.


DRDO develops EO/IR system for surveillance

GS Paper - 3 (Defence)

The Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS), a laboratory of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), has indigenously developed electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) systems to carry out surveillance from airborne, land and naval platforms.


  1. On the sidelines of Aero India 2023, DRDO, on condition of anonymity, said, “It (EO/IR system) can be mounted on ships, aircraft and vehicles.
  2. It has the capability to detect objects even behind fire and smoke. The EO/IR system has a short wave infrared (SWIR) imagerlaser range finder, laser pointer and cameras.
  3. The sensors can operate simultaneously depending on daylight weather conditions and display HD images to the operator. It is also integrated with a video tracker which can track moving targets.
  4. CABS will equip multi-mode maritime aircraft (MMMA) with the EO/IR system, which can be used to identify ships responsible for oil spilling in seas and oceans.
  5. EO/IR can be integrated with a multi-functional tactical console (MTC), which consists of monitors on which real time maritime and air situations are displayed.
  6. Through this integration, users (Army, Navy and Coast Guard) will get to know about the situation.


  1. Presently, we are equipping this with multi-mode maritime aircraft (MMMA) and is being developed for the Indian Coast Guard.
  2. One of the roles of MMMA is pollution surveillance. Oil spills are one of the major pollutants in the oceans. So, EO/IR would detect ships responsible for the oil spills as it has artificial intelligence-enabled object detection and tracking.
  3. The EO/IR is equipped with a laser illuminator that could help in reading the names of the ships and it also has a laser-range finder that could be used to find the range of the target.


GoM report adopted by GST Council

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 18 February 2023 said the GST Council adopted the report of the Group of Ministers on GST Appellate Tribunal with certain modifications, and the final draft amendments will be circulated to state finance ministers for their comments. The GoM on Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunals (GSTATs) was set up in July last year under the chairmanship of Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala.

What the panel said?

  1. The panel has suggested that the tribunals should consist of two judicial members, and one technical member each from the Centre and states, besides a retired Supreme Court judge as president.
  2. The GoM report on the establishment of the GST Appellate Tribunal has been accepted with slight modifications in the language that will be shared with States and following which a final draft of the Tribunal's setting up will be worked out, Sitharaman said after chairing the 49th meeting of the GST Council.
  3. She also informed that the Council has authorised the chairperson to take the final view and incorporate it in the Finance Bill, since there is not much time for the Council to meet again.
  4. The much-awaited GSTAT is expected to help resolve these matters faster. The establishment of GSTAT is expected to bring relief to businesses that have long awaited a quick and efficient process for resolving GST disputes.
  5. The GST Council also took on board a GoM report to plug the leakages and improve the revenue collection from commodities like pan masala, gutkha, and chewing tobacco.
  6. The GST Council has now relaxed and capped the late fees for filing GSTR 9 to 0.04 per cent of turnover for those taxpayers with a turnover of up to Rs 20 Crore. This is a relief to such taxpayers.


‘Ex Dharma Guardian’ Start

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

The armies of India and Japan conducted the fourth edition of joint military exercise, ‘Ex Dharma Guardian’, at Camp Imazu in Japan’s Shiga province from 17 February 2023. The military drill that will last till 2 March 2023 will help them know each other better, share their wide experiences and enhance their situational awareness, the Army said.

More about the exercise

  1. The scope of this exercise covers platoon-level joint training on operations in jungle and semi-urban/urban terrain. The Indian contingent arrived at the exercise location on 12 February 2023.
  2. The troops of the Garhwal Rifles Regiment of the Indian Army and an Infantry Regiment from the Middle Army of the Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) are participating in the exercise to share experiences gained during operations in order to enhance interoperability in planning and execution.
  3. The joint exercise will enable the armies from the two countries to share best practices in tacticstechniques, and procedures for conducting tactical operations under a UN mandate, in addition to developing interoperabilitybonhomiecamaraderie, and friendship between the two armies.
  4. The training will focus primarily on a high degree of physical fitness and sharing of drills at the tactical level.
  5. The exercise will further enhance the level of defence cooperation between Indian and Japanese troops, furthering the bilateral relations between the two nations.
  6. This annual training event with Japan is crucial and significant in terms of security challenges faced by both nations against the backdrop of the current global situation.

Book A Free Counseling Session