Today Current Affairs In Hindi
News of the Day – 12 July 2019
- July 12, 2019
- Posted by: Shivam
- Category: NEWS Worth To Read
News of the Day
India-US trade talks to restart today with little sign of compromise
Indian and US trade negotiators will meet on Friday, with little sign of a compromise on a series of protectionist measures taken by the two governments in recent months that have strained ties between the strategic partners.
US President Donald Trump has been putting pressure on India to do more to open its markets, saying this week again on Twitter its high tariffs were “unacceptable”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, re-elected in May, has been pushing nationalist policies with higher tariffs on everything from electronic goods to tighter controls on foreign firms in the fast growing e-commerce market to help foster domestic companies and create jobs for millions of youth.
A delegation led by Assistant US Trade Representative (AUSTR) for South and Central Asia, Christopher Wilson, will meet Indian officials to try to re-start negotiations on tit-for-tat tariffs that were put on hold because of India’s election.
“Since India’s election period has now passed, USTR officials are visiting India for relationship-building with Indian government counterparts,” a USTR spokesperson said.
The USTR delegation is likely to meet Commerce Minister PiyushGoyal along with key trade officials on Friday. The delegation is also likely to meet top officials at the IT ministry.
Trump and Modi met in Osaka on the sidelines of a G20 summit in June where they agreed to build ties and sort out thorny trade issues.
At Friday’s meeting, New Delhi expects US officials to push against India’s efforts to mandate foreign firms to store more of their data locally, an Indian government official said.
Washington is also expected to seek revisions to foreign investment rules for the e-commerce sector that have forced companies such as Walmart Inc’s Flipkart and Amazon.com Inc to rework their business strategies in the country.
“The meeting with USTR was meant to set the tone for further talks after a positive G20 discussion. But Trump’s tweet has shown their intention is to continue with a tough stance,” another official said.
India’s trade ministry did not respond to a Reuters email seeking comment.
Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said during a briefing that India was looking to resolve trade issues, many of which were discussed in Osaka.
“We are looking forward to a constructive engagement,” Kumar said.
One concern among Indian policymakers is that the Trump administration may push for a free trade agreement with India that could dent India’s competitiveness, lead to a flurry of imports and hurt Modi’s “Make in India” plan.
In a recent meeting, Foreign Minister SubrahmanyamJaishankar told trade ministry officials that “Trump is clearly preparing for a larger game, a larger opening,” according to one of the officials aware of the discussions.
Mark Linscott, a former USTR official, wrote in India’s The Hindu newspaper on Tuesday that trade should be a bigger part of the strategic partnership and that a free trade pact “is the ultimate example of economic integration”.
Trade between and India and United States was worth $142.1 billion in 2018, with India having a surplus of $24.2 billion.
Monsoon on pause, Delhi pollution in red again
A sudden change in wind direction covered the national capital in dust, which was kicked up from the deserts in Rajasthan, pushing pollution levels on Thursday to more than double of what they were the day before, according to information from weather officials.
The spike was driven by an increase in PM10 particles, which come from road dust, dried soil and sand. From 148 (classified as moderate) on Wednesday, the 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 317 (very poor) on Thursday.
“Delhi has come under the influence of a dust storm that originated in Rajasthan. The change in wind direction transported high mineral dust… It will take at least two days to dissipate,” said a scientist from Safar, a pollution forecasting agency under the Union earth sciences ministry.
The effect was apparent throughout the day as hot, dry winds swept the city and the haze turned the sky white.
“That the pollution shot up because of change in meteorological factors was evident from the fact that only the level of PM10 shot up. Level of PM2.5 (finer pollutants that are emitted as smoke from industries and vehicles) didn’t spike in tandem,” said a senior official of the Central Pollution Control Board.
The problem has been aggravated by a slowdown in monsoon activity. There has hardly been any rain since it was declared that the monsoon had arrived last week, and the lack of moisture has meant that more dust is being kicked up in the atmosphere.
This is, however, not the first time that Delhi’s air quality dipped because of a dust storm in Rajasthan and regions further northwest, such as Pakistan and Iran. PM10 levels shot up in a similar manner on June 12, when a dust storm hit the national capital region. Last year, such episodes took place twice: in mid-June and August 2018 when dust storms from Rajasthan and Oman had an impact on the region’s weather.
The temperature at the India Meteorological Department’s Safdarjung observatory, which is taken to be representative of Delhi’s weather, was recorded to be 37.2°C on Wednesday. This increased to 39.2°C on Thursday, while relative humidity levels dropped from 52 to 47.
“Strong winds from the west and northwest will continue to blow over the region for the next two days at least. We are expecting light rain in some parts of Delhi early next week,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, a scientist with the regional weather forecasting centre in Delhi.
(Source – Hindustan Times)