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 theAgreement 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.
Astronomers have, for the first time, discovered phosphorous — one of the vital elements for life — in the cosmic remains from a supernova explosion.
It has been found that phosphorus is 100 times more abundant in the leftovers of a supernova than elsewhere in the galaxy, affirming the hypothesis that massive exploding stars are the churning factories of the element.
While researches have calculated the abundance of essential life elements like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur in supernovae remains, supernova remnantCassiopeia A disclosed the first measurement of the relatively scarce phosphorus. The new observations of the object were made with a spectrograph positioned on a 5-meter telescope atPalomar Observatory at the California Institute of Technology.
What are Supernovae and Supernova remnant?
A supernova is a celestial event which happens when massive stars exhaust their nuclear fuel and explode in a spectacular fashion. Being extremely luminous, they briefly outshine an entire galaxy, before fading from view over several days.
During a short period of some weeks or months, a supernova can radiate as much energy as the Sun is expected to emit over its entire life span. Once it fades away, what remains is an expanding shell of gas and dust called a supernova remnant.
What is the scientific thought on the formation of essential life elements?
As per astronomers, these elements are formed in the stars and are dissipated throughout our galaxy when the star explodes, and they become part of other stars, planets and ultimately, humans.
Scientists are of the view that when a star with mass several times the mass of the Sun runs out of the hydrogen that it combusts to produce energy, the core of the star goes through a sequence of collapses, synthesising heavier elements with each collapse.
OIL signs pact with IRMA for studying the feasibility of Project ‘Kamdhenu’
January 1, 2014
PSU (Public Sector Unit) OilIndiaLtd. has inked an agreement with Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) to conduct a feasibility study for the company for its plan to set up dairy production facility in Assam. The project which has been named ‘Kamdhenu’ aims to set up big milk production centre in Upper Assam.
Why OIL intends to enter dairy sector?
OIL wants to set up dairy production facility under its project ‘Kamdhenu’as part of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)initiative. The project would seek to boost milk production in Upper Assam by providing employment opportunity to the people of the state. In future, the project aims to enhance the production to supply milk and dairy products in the whole North-East region. The project derives inspiration from the ‘Amul’ model which has been very successful in Gujarat.
What is the role of IRMA in this project?
As per the agreement with Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA)inGujarat,the institute has the task of conducting feasibility study and prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) after the study in Dibrugarh and Tinsukiadistricts of Assam where Oil India Ltd (OIL) has significant presence. The DPR will help the company to devise a roadmap and a long-term broad vision plan for the project.
What is CSR?
As mentioned in the new Companies Act 2009, CSR orCorporate Social Responsibility is the obligation of the companies to spend 2% of their net profit in philanthropic activities every year.
Responding to the objections raised by corporate sector against this mandatory provision, the government has recently diluted it. Now, if a company is unable to do so, it will have to explain in its report as to why it could not fulfill its CSR obligations.