India slipped to 7th position in the world Coffee production in 2011-12 from 6th in the previous year with a share of 4%. Brazil produced 33% of the world's coffee, followed by Vietnam (15.2%), Indonesia (6.3%) and Colombia (5.9 %). The Coffee Board has estimated 3,14,000 tons for the season in 2011-12, this includes 1,01,500 tons of Arabica and 2,12,500 tons of Robusta.
Current Affairs in India Category
India slips to 7th position in Coffee production
October 1st, 2012 | Comment|
Vietnam offers ONGC Videsh Ltd contract for exploration in South China Sea
July 16th, 2012 | Comment|
In order to sustain Indian presence in the hydrocarbon-rich South China Sea, Vietnam has decided to extend the contract for exploration of oil and gas resources in a significant oil block in the region to ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL).
OVL is thinking over to terminate operations in the 128 blocks as it could not start oil exploration due to hard sea bed and looks to quit for techno-commercial reasons. A formal announcement to extend the contract for exploration of hydrocarbons in the block to the overseas arm of ONGC, will happen soon.
All this is happening amid upsurge in tension in the South China Sea with US, India and a number of ASEAN countries, asking China to resolve the confrontation through negotiations with the concerned countries according to international law.
What is the controversy over South China Sea?
- The whole controversy is over territory and sovereignty of several regions in South China Sea, particularly the Paracels and the Spratlys group of islands which are being claimed by a number of countries.
What is claimed by whom?
- The largest share of the territory is claimed by China. The area claimed stretches several hundred miles south and east from its most southern province of Hainan. It puts forward a historical claim. It said that from 2,000 years the Paracel and Spratly island chains were considered as integral parts of China.
- Earlier, in 1947, China issued a map which showed the two islands fully lying in its territory. Those claims are imitated by Taiwan as the island regards itself the Republic of China and has the same territorial claims.
- Vietnam strongly confronts China's historical ground, asserting China never claimed sovereignty over the islands until the 1940s. According to Vietnam both island chains are under the purview of its territory. The country gives document proofs of having ruled over both the Paracels and the Spratlys since the 17th Century.
- The Philippines is another nation on the scene to claim the islands, which cites its geographical propinquity to the Spratly Islands as the central basis of its claim for part of the grouping.
- Scarborough Shoal (known as Huangyan Island in China) is claimed by both the Philippines and China. The island is a little more than 100 miles (160km) from the Philippines and 500 miles from China.
- Malaysia and Brunei also extend claim to region in the South China Sea as they claim it falls under their exclusive economic zones, as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982.
- No disputed islands are claimed by Brunei, but Malaysia claims a few islands in the Spratlys.
Why these nations are so interested in these archipelagoes?
- The secret is the presence of huge natural resources around the Paracels and the Spratlys. Although no detailed exploration has been done in the region, the estimates are basically projected taking into account the mineral wealth of neighboring areas.
- As per Chinese estimate the area contains oil reserves of 213 billion barrels - 10 times the proven reserves of the US. But America estimates the amount of oil at 28 billion barrels.
- The region is also estimated to have about 900 trillion cubic ft (25 trillion cubic m) of natural gas, the equivalent of the proven reserves of Qatar.
- The area is also one of the region's main shipping routes, and is home to a fishing ground that provides livelihoods to thousands of people.
How many times the dispute has erupted in past and why?
- In the recent decade, the worst skirmish has occurred b/w Vietnam and China. The Chinese captured the Paracels from Vietnam in 1974, and killed more than 70 Vietnamese troops. In 1988 both sides collided in the Spratlys, when Vietnam again bore the brunt of China, and lost about 60 sailors.
- The Philippines has also been involved in a few minor scuffles with Chinese, Vietnamese and Malaysian forces.
- The latest rise in tension has overlapped with powerful posturing from China. Chinese officials have sent out a number of strongly worded statements, and have warned their rivals to stop any mineral exploration in the area.
- China has also been accused by the Philippines of establishing its military presence in the Spratlys. The two countries have involved in a maritime confrontation, accusing each other of invasions in the Scarborough Shoal. Chinese and Philippine vessels are not ready to leave the area, and tension has surged, leading to rhetoric and protests.
What interventions have been made to resolve the issue?
- Over the years, China has remained inclined to arrangements negotiated behind closed doors with the individual leaders of other countries. But the other countries have called for international interventions.
- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had called for a binding code of conduct. The suggestions were vehemently rejected by China.
- Agreements such as the UN's 1982 convention seemed to lay the framework for a solution. However, the convention resulted in more overlapping claims, and did nothing to dissuade China and Vietnam in pushing their historical claims.
- Even the agreements signed among Philippines, Vietnam and China to put in place codes of conduct in the area made little difference.
- ASEAN concluded a code of conduct deal with China in 2002.
- Under the pact, the countries decided to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations.
- But current events show that Vietnam and China have failed to follow the spirit of that agreement. ASEAN still ponders over to bring new ideas for resolving the dispute.
India, Israel sign agreement to enhance bilateral relation in the Tourism Sector
June 30th, 2012 | Comment|
India and Israel signed an MoU to promote the bilateral relation in the tourism sector. Israel, under this pact, will set up a tourism office in Mumbai and amplify the frequency of flights to India. Israel will invest $ 660000 to attract more Indian tourists to the country. The agreement also laid the foundation to create a tourism development forum, which will invite advice from various stakeholders including travel agents, hoteliers, tour operators and from the media, to enlarge tourism market in both the countries.
The two countries have a huge potential of tourism development by entering into mutual cooperation as nearly 40000 Indian tourists travel Israel every year, and approximately equal number of Israeli citizens visit India annually.
India set to become eighth largest shareholder in IMF
June 25th, 2012 | Comment|
India is ready to become the 8th largest shareholder in the IMF after quota reforms which are expected to be finalized at the agency's annual meeting at Tokyo in October 2012. Once the quota reforms are put through, India's share at IMF will elevate to 2.75% from 2.44%.
- Presently India is at 11th position
India had committed to contribute10 billion dollars to the IMF's 430 billion dollars bailout fund for the Eurozone. Some nations such as US have not yet ratified the proposal which is essential for its complete implementation. The matter of quota reforms was discussed at the G20 summit at Los Cabos and the world leaders had highlighted the need for prompt completion of the quota reforms to provide more power to emerging economies
Government rejects Fitch ratings
June 23rd, 2012 | Comment|
Lashing out at global rating agencies for reducing credit outlook of Indian banks, the government held these bodies are fully capitalized and there is nothing to worry about them. Finance Minister Pranab ruled out the Fitch revision enunciating that the rating was based on "older data" as it disregarded recent positive trends.
Fitch modified downward credit rating outlook of 12 financial agencies, including State Bank of India, ICICI bank, Punjab National Bank. Fitch has already cut the credit stance of the India from stable to negative. The list of downgraded entities include 6 PSUs and 2 private banks including Bank of Baroda and its overseas subsidiary Bank of Baroda (New Zealand), Canara Bank, IDBI Bank and Axis Bank, EXIM Bank of India, Hudco, IDFC and Indian Railway Finance Corporation.
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