Japan and Australia sign on Reciprocal Access Agreement

Japan and Australia concluded a historic security agreement on 17th November 2020 to fight China’s increasing dominance in South China and the Indo-Pacific region. The pact was concluded at a high-level conference between Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga as well as his touring Australian equivalent, Scott Morrison.

Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga tweeted that he would be delighted that the Japan-Australia Facilitation Deal, which they had signed to push security and defence relations between the two countries to a different extreme, had entered a general agreement. He also vowed to collaborate collaboratively with the Australian PM to bring about a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The Australian PM also announced in a statement that these countries have achieved an in-principle arrangement on a historic defence agreement that would further strengthen the political and security relations between the 2 nations.

Main highlights of this:

  • The Japan-Australia Mutual Access Agreement (RAA) comes weeks after the Quad Alliance Foreign Ministers meet in Tokyo. Other than Australia and Japan, the QUAD community also comprises the USA and India.
  • The security pact has taken 6 years to sign and could have been accepted by the legislators of both nations.
  • The agreement also opened new avenues on advanced military collaboration between Japan and Australia.
  • In the history, Japan has only entered into one such agreement with another country, and it was 60 years earlier with the USA.


The Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) would offer a solid framework to help both nations adapt to an extremely complex security situation in the region under unclear strategic circumstances.

Supreme Court’s interpretation of Article 32

The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde noted that it is “trying to discourage” individuals from filing petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution.

The observation emerged during the trial of a petition calling for the removal of journalist Siddique Kappan, who’d been arrested along with three others while on their way to Hathras, in UP, to talk on the alleged gang-rape as well as murder.

What is Article 32 of the Indian Constitution?

Article 32 deals with the ‘Right to Judicial Redress’ or affirms the right to bring cases to the Supreme Court for the protection of the rights granted by Part III of the Constitution.

It asserts that the Supreme Court shall have the authority to issue instructions or orders or writs, along with writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto as well as certiorari, as necessary, for the exercise of any of the powers guaranteed by this Part.

Key Takeaways:

The privilege granted by this Provision shall not be suspended except as otherwise provided for in this Constitution.”

Only if any of these constitutional rights are abused will a citizen be placed personally before the Supreme Court pursuant to Article 32.

Can the High Courts be taken before them in cases of violations of constitutional rights?

In civil or criminal cases, the first recourse open to the aggrieved party is that of the courts of justice, followed by an appeal before the High Court and the Supreme Court.

In the event of a violation of fundamental rights, a person can refer the matter to the High Court under Article 226 or to the Supreme Court directly under Article 32.

The Change game for Asian economies

Debates on the post-pandemic world economy to have anticipated that China’s attraction as a key contributor would fade, losing favour as a global manufacturing hub.

Arguments were made that production would be dispersed to other attractive locations, mostly in Asia, and even outside.

It was expected that this shift in production would benefit emerging labour-abundant economies.

Some labour-intensive sectors, such as textiles and clothing, have shifted to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as labour costs are rising in China.

However, trends in other industries show that companies have mostly remained in China.

The Importance of China

There are three reasons for firms to stay in China and pursue this strategy:

  1. First of all, setting up a company and managing operations in China is much simpler than elsewhere.
  2. Second, Chinese companies are nimble and quick, as can be seen from the rapid recovery of Chinese manufacturing after the lockdown.
  3. Third, several multinational businesses have spent decades developing supply chains in China.
  • So, getting out of here will mean shifting the whole ecosystem, which requires time and investment.
  • This policy of multinational firms has contributed to an intensification of competition between Asian economies, which is ‘plus one in the evolving manufacturing environment of the ‘China+1’ strategy of businesses setting up low-cost operations in different countries.

Celebration of World Toilet Day 2020

The United Nations and numerous other foreign organisations are marking World Toilet Day on 19th November each year. The UN-Water is the official convenor of World Toilet Day.

What’s the concept of World Toilet Day?

In 2020 the World Toilet Day will be celebrated together under the same concept.

Subject: Sustainable sanitation and climate change

What’s the requirement to mark World Toilet Day?

As per the United States, upwards of 4.2 billion people live without proper sanitation. Always more than 673 million people are now involved in open defecation. As per WHO, 58 per cent of cases of diarrhoea are caused by polluted water, poor grooming practises and poor hygiene. World Toilet Day would aim to alleviate these conditions by growing understanding of sanitation.

What are the SDGs gained by celebrating World Toilet Day?

The festivities of the day will aim to accomplish Sustainable Development Goal 6, which would be “Clean Water and Sanitation for All.”

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day 2020

Women’s entrepreneurship was already described as a significant driver for economic development. That being said, given industrialization, including economic growth and strengthened different measures, the representation of working women in India remains poor.

According to the World Bank report, India will raise its growth by 1.5 per cent if any 50 per cent of the female population voluntarily participates in the labour force. The current socio-economic situation has also seen substantial market growth in India. Literacy, schooling and awareness-raising have played a crucial role in building an encouraging atmosphere for entrepreneurship.

Although only 14% of them are women. Although many Indian women have aspirations for entrepreneurship, it is always challenging for them all to start a company, scale-up and maintain.

Challenges faced by women:

The shortage of well-equipped training and resource centres to fulfil their entrepreneurship needs is a major problem facing women in starting their own companies. Due to cultural prejudice, India’s women face difficulties in obtaining training to ensure career growth. Multi-sectoral funding is also needed to provide professional growth and career re-start services for women. It will ensure that women will explore their untapped potential. In addition, mentoring and advice from experienced experts will guarantee that recently founded women entrepreneurs are able to maintain their projects.



Odisha’s capital city the 1st city in getting ISO certification for FSSM services

The ‘Smart City’ Bhubaneswar has become the 1st city in the world to earn ISO 9001:2015 certification for successful Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) facilities.

As per Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) reports, the dream for FSSM in Bhubaneswar is seeing the city fully sanitized, safe and viable, ensuring the preservation of proper sanitary practices with enhanced on-site sanitation facilities.

This needs to be integrated with the FSSM programmes in order to achieve optimal public health and to uphold environmental integrity, with a particular emphasis on the vulnerable, added sources.

Vision for FSSM services:

The main goal of the urban FSSM strategy is to lay out the framework, goals and path to promote the deployment of FSSM services across the region, so that healthy and efficient sanitation can become a reality for citizens of every home, lane, town and city.



Regional Measles Elimination- Progress Report

In number, 1.2 million kids in India did not get the 1st dose of measles-containing vaccine (MCV1) in 2019, responsible for almost half of the world’s complete, together with the other 5 nations.


To manage outbreaks of measles, vaccine coverage rates of the appropriate MCV1 and MCV2 should be 95% and sustained at national as well as sub-national levels.

The contagious infectious disease emerged globally in 2019, hitting the largest number of recorded cases in 23 years.

BHUVAN’s assistance for the containment of COVID-19

The UN study referred to the efforts of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to exploit its geospatial resources to help central and state govt combat the COVID-19 pandemic and promote sustainable development initiatives in the region.

The UN study ‘Geospatial Practices for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific 2020’ focuses on the concept played by ‘BHUVAN,’ the national geo-portal built and hosted by ISRO, which includes geospatial data, resources and analysis tools in the battle against COVID-19.

It continued that the geospatial communications system offered services in six areas: surveillance, detection of hotspots, vegetable markets, food needs, home insulation and emissions.



National Population Register


 According to the office of the Registrar-General of India, the schedule of the National Population Register (NPR) is under the finalisation process. And there is no information about the expected date of the first phase of the census 2021-“House listing and Housing census”.

About National Population Register (NPR):

National Population Register is a Register of usual residents of the country. It was the first time collected in 2010. Then, it was updated in 2015. Now,  It is getting prepared at the Village, Sub-District, District, State, and National level. It is under the provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship Rules, 2003.

Why is NPR?

The objective of the NPR is to create the comprehensive identity database of every resident in the country.

Usual resident:

A usual resident is a person who either has resided in any local area for six months or intends to reside for next 6 months.



Indian Council of Medical Research against the reckless use of plasma therapy

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is against the aimless use of plasma therapy to treat covid-19 patients.


The ICMR has reported that the therapy has not led to any reduction in the spread of covid-19. There is no difference between the mortality rate in the group receiving convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) and the group not receiving CPT.

Steps to consider:

The plasma therapy should have specific criteria. The donor should be allowed to give plasma after 14 days of symptoms reduction without necessarily having negative report. The recipient should be in the early stage of the virus rather than in the stage of later 10 days. He/she should have no IgG antibody.

About plasma therapy:

Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of the blood that is extracted from the patients who are recovering from the infection. It is used as the source of antibody against the virus. Thus, the technique of using plasma to help in the recovery of other patients is called the plasma therapy.