The India-Australia Trade Agreement


On April 2, India and Australia signed an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA). The landmark bilateral trade pact is the second trade agreement India has signed this year after inking a similar deal with the United Arab Emirates.


GS II- International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India-Australia ECTA
  2. Main features
  3. Dispute settlement mechanism

India-Australia ECTA

  • The Agreement spans cooperation throughout the entire gamut of bilateral economic and commercial relations between the two friendly countries, and it is India’s first trade agreement with a developed country in more than a decade.
  •  It covers topics such as trade in goods, rules of origin, trade in services, technical barriers to trade (TBT), sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, dispute resolution, natural person movement, telecommunications, customs procedures, pharmaceutical products, and other areas of cooperation.
  • As part of the Agreement, eight subject-specific side letters addressing various sectors of bilateral economic cooperation were also signed.
  • The ECTA is expected to increase trade between the two sides to $45-50 billion over five years, from the current estimate of $27 billion, and create over 10 lakh additional job opportunities.
  • Under this agreement, India will give 85% of Australia’s exports zero-duty access to its domestic market. India is expected to get zero-duty access to Australia for its goods over five years.
  • The negotiations had begun over a decade ago in 2011, but were restarted in September 2021.

Main features:

  • The ECTA is guided by a Preamble and is divided into multiple sections that will govern what is hoped to be the most expansive bilateral trade since the two countries established diplomatic ties before India attained independence. 
  • It has a section on goods exports, and lays out clearly “Rules of Origin” that are aimed at creating anti-dumping measures.
  • There are also sections that are aimed at providing remedies and mechanisms for resolving trade disputes. The Commerce Ministry underlined that this is the first trade deal signed by India that has a compulsory review mechanism after 15 years of implementation.
What are the rules of origin included in the agreement?

The rules of origin are based on the principle that they should be “wholly obtained or produced in the territory of one or both of the parties”. This section ensures that waste material will not be exported by either side unless they contribute to the production of any of the items listed in the ECTA.

Will Australia get access to India’s agriculture market?

  • With limited exceptions, Australia will be able to export some agricultural items like as potatoes, lentils, and meat products under this agreement.
    • Bovine meat, on the other hand, is not included in the agreement.
  • Under this agreement, Australia may also provide machines that are required for food processing.
  • India may become the first country in the world to allow a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including Australian beer.
  • In India, wines costing more than $5 may be subject to lower import charges.

Indian side:

  • The Indian side said Australia will provide ‘preferential access’ to “all the labour-intensive sectors” of export items from India such as gems and jewellery, textiles, leather, footwear, furniture, food, engineering products, medical devices and automobiles.
  • India will also allow Australia to export raw materials under preferential terms like coal and mineral ores.
Services sector:
  • The Government of India has said that Australia has “offered wide ranging commitments” in around 135 sub-sectors and Most Favoured Nation in 120 sub-sectors which cover key areas of the Indian services sector like IT, ITES, business services, health, education and audio-visual services.
  • Indian chefs and yoga teachers will be given special admission quotas into Australia, while Indian students studying in Australia will be able to obtain work visas on a’reciprocal’ basis for periods ranging from 18 months to four years.
  • According to the pact’s provisions, students who complete a diploma in Australia will be considered for an 18-month work visa; those who complete their undergraduation will be considered for two years; and those with a Ph.D. would be considered for a four-year visa.
Pharmaceuticals sector:
  • India and Australia have agreed to enable fast track approval for patented, generic and biosimilar medicines.
  • Therapeutic Goods Regulators of both sides will have a role to play in monitoring and ensuring smooth trade in pharma products between the two sides.
  • Both sides have agreed to audits of imports that require sanitary and phytosanitary inspection as per the law of the land.
  • The importing side will ensure that plants and plant products, animal products and other goods, and their packaging are inspected through recognised methodologies.
  • If either party finds examples of non-compliance, remedial measures will be taken by both sides.

Dispute settlement mechanism

  • Under Article 13.5, both parties have agreed to hold consultations — and make “every effort” to find a solution — in case of disputes that may emerge in the course of trade in goods or services.
  • They have also recognised that in case they have to resort to international arbitration, they may opt for an organisation (i.e, World Trade Organization) where both are members.
  • They may also use “good offices” and form panels with qualified members drawn from government and business to resolve the disputes.
  • The dispute resolution may range from 45 days to 15 months.

Emergency in Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared an Emergency on April 1 as thousands of people came out on the streets to protest the crippling power cuts and shortages of essential commodities caused by the country’s economic meltdown. This is the second time within a year that Rajapaksa has resorted to this measure — he declared an Emergency on August 30 last year to deal with hoarding of essential commodities when the economic crisis had begun to manifest itself in all its severity, but lifted it within a few weeks.


GS II- International Relations (India and its neighborhood)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. History
  2. Process of declaring emergency
  3. Role of Parliament
  4. Scope of restrictions


  • Before Rajapaksa, President Maithripala Sirisena had declared an Emergency in March 2018 to contain anti-Muslim violence in some parts of the country that led to the deaths of two people, acts of arson, and damage to property.
  • And before that, Sri Lanka was under a near continuous state of Emergency for 27 years — from the anti-Tamil riots of July 1983 to August 2011 — with brief respites in 1989 and 2001.
  • Emergency was first imposed in 1958 after Sri Lanka embraced the Sinhala Only language policy, and off and on from 1971 onward, when the left-wing Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna mounted its first insurrection.

Process of declaring Emergency

The power to declare a state of Emergency is vested in the President, who is the head of government, under Article 155 of the Constitution.

Public Security Ordinance (PSO) 1947
  • It provides the legal framework for the proclamation of Emergency.
  • Under the ordinance, a state of Emergency can be proclaimed “where, in view of the existence or imminence of a state of public Emergency, the President is of opinion that it is expedient so to do in the interests of public security and the preservation of public order or for the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community…”.
  • The PSO empowers the President to frame Emergency regulations — for detention, taking possession of property or undertaking; authorisation to enter and search any premises; for amending any law, suspending the operation of any law, and for applying any law with or without modification, without reference to Parliament. The regulations can override all existing laws.
The Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions and Powers) Regulations (EMPPR):
  • It give special powers of search, arrest, and detention to the national security forces and law enforcement agencies.
  • In 2005, after the assassination of then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, more such regulations were framed to define new offences under “terrorism”.
  • There is also the draconian Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1979, which has remained on the books even after the civil war has ended. In response to international criticism, the government recently amended this Act, but not enough to satisfy domestic or international critics.

Role of Parliament

  • Emergency regulations are valid for a month, but the President must seek ratification for the proclamation or extension beyond a month, every 14 days.
  • The Emergency lapses if it is not brought before Parliament.

Scope of restrictions

  • In a background paper for the Colombo think tank Centre for Policy Alternatives, legal expert writes that as freedom of thought and conscience, the prohibition of torture, and the right to be heard at a fair trial by a competent court (but excluding pre-trial detention which can be imposed by Emergency Regulations) are not subject to any restriction and are thereby to be considered absolute, these therefore may never be restricted by Emergency Regulations.
  • According to him, the fundamental rights that may be restricted in the interests of national security and public order are the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof, and retroactive penal sanctions; equality before the law and non-discrimination; the ordinary procedure for arrests and judicial sanction for detention; and the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association, movement, occupation, religion, culture and language.

Why WHO suspended Covaxin?


Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that it has suspended the supply of Covaxin through UN procurement agencies and recommended to countries that received the vaccine to take actions as “appropriate”.


GS II- Health

Dimensions of the Article

  1. Why has the WHO taken this step now?
  2. What did the WHO inspection find?
  3. Why did the company not upgrade its facility specifically for Covaxin earlier?
  4. How does the order impact the supply of Covaxin?

Why has the WHO taken this step now?

  • In November of last year, the WHO granted Covaxin, India’s first indigenous vaccine for Covid-19, an emergency use listing (EUL).
  • This means it met the World Health Organization’s (WHO) requirements for coronavirus protection.
  • The WHO’s EUL is also required for a vaccine to be included in the COVAX supply chain; hence, Bharat Biotech was able to supply Covaxin to UN agencies, including through COVAX.
  • The WHO had not conducted an inspection at the time the EUL for Covaxin was granted.
  • Following a recent examination of the Bharat Biotech plant, the WHO has announced the suspension of Covaxin supply through UN procurement agencies, as well as advising countries that have received the vaccine “to take actions as appropriate”.

What did the WHO inspection find?

  • The WHO has said that the data available to it indicate that Covaxin is effective and there is no safety concern. It has, however, asked the company to address deficiencies in good manufacturing practice (GMP).
  • In other words, the WHO has asked Bharat Biotech to upgrade and make specific changes in its manufacturing facilities for Covaxin.
What are these upgrades?
  • The facilities used to manufacture Covaxin were not specifically designed for a Covid-19 vaccine.
  • When the company received emergency use authorisation from India’s drug regulator, it repurposed its existing facilities, some of which were used for producing a polio virus vaccine, some for a vaccine rabies and some for a Japanese encephalitis vaccine.
  • Sources said the WHO has asked the company to upgrade facilities specifically for manufacturing a Covid-19 vaccine, in this case Covaxin.

Why did the company not upgrade its facility specifically for Covaxin earlier?

  • When a facility needs to be upgraded for a specific vaccine, it has to completely shut down. As such, when the company is engaged in active production, it cannot undertake extensive maintenance and upgrade.
  • During the peak of the pandemic, procurement and supply of new equipment required for an upgrade would have taken 15-18 months.
  • Manufacture of a batch of Covaxin takes 120 days from start to finish.  Shutdown and upgrade of the facility could have resulted in the loss of almost 6 months. The company could not have shut down its facility only for upgrade because of the urgency to vaccinate the population
Can the company shut down and upgrade the facilities now?
  • The company announced a temporary slowing down of production of Covaxin across its manufacturing facilities, having completed its supply obligations to procurement agencies and foreseeing a decrease in demand.
  • The decision was taken because the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines has come down.

How does the order impact the supply of Covaxin?

  • It does not impact the supply of Covaxin. In the first place, the company has not received any orders from UN agencies, including the GAVI-COVAX facility, to supply Covaxin.
  • Second, in some 25 countries, Covaxin has been given emergency use authorisation (EUA). In these countries, the company has already fulfilled its supply commitments. Sources said it has not received any fresh orders from these countries.
  • Again, the company has also stockpiled vaccines required for India’s inoculation drive.

Fundamental Duties


Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal said that there was no need to enact specific laws to “enforce” fundamental duties on citizens.


GS II- Polity (Indian Constitution)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What really is the situation?
  2. How were the fundamental duties incorporated in the Constitution?
  3. What are the fundamental duties of the citizen?

What really is the situation?

The Supreme Court is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition to enact “comprehensive, well-defined laws” to enforce citizens’ fundamental duties, including as patriotism and national unity.

Precursor to AG’s remark
  • In the Ranganath Mishra case of 2003, the Supreme Court directed that the Justice J.S. Verma Committee’s report on the “operationalization of fundamental duties” be implemented.
  • The work of the committee was included in a report by the National Commission to Review the Constitution’s Workings.
  • The government was advised in the study to educate people about their responsibilities, as well as the preservation of minorities and religious freedom.

How were the fundamental duties incorporated in the Constitution?

  • The fundamental duties were incorporated in Part IV-A of the Constitution by The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976, during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency.
  • Article 51(A) describes 11 fundamental duties — 10 came with the 42nd Amendment; the 11th was added by the 86th Amendment in 2002, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister.
  • These duties are not enforceable by law.
    • However, a court may take them into account while adjudicating on a matter.
  • They were made a part of the Constitution to emphasise the obligation of the citizen in return for the fundamental rights that he or she enjoys.

What are the fundamental duties of the citizen?

Article 51(A) says it shall be the duty of every citizen of India:

  • to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
  • to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
  •  to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
  • to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
  • to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
  • to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
  • to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;
  • to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
  • to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
  • to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;
  • who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

The last subsection, (k), on the education of children, was added in 2002 by The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act. The same amendment also introduced Article 21A in the Constitution: “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.”

Puri Jagannath Temple


The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has asked the Odisha government to tweak its much vaunted Shree Mandira Parikrama Project (SMPP) — a massive beautification project around the 12th-century Jagannath temple in Puri — which has already run into a controversy. 


GS I- Art and Architecture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Shree Mandira Parikrama Project (SMPP)
  2. About Shree Jagannath temple
  3. Architecture of Jagannath temple

Shree Mandira Parikrama Project (SMPP)

  • The Rs 800-crore project will create an unobstructed 75-metre corridor around the Meghanada Pacheri (outer wall of the Shree Jagannath Temple).
  • This is the biggest redevelopment project of temple surroundings in centuries.
  • Upon completion, devotees will get an obstructed view of the temple from a distance.
  • The corridor will also provide amenities for devotees and strengthen security
What exactly is the problem?
  • The State government, it is claimed, does not have permission from the National Monuments Authority (NMA) or authorisation from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to plan.
  • The project’s completion could jeopardise the temple’s centuries-old status.

About Shree Jagannath temple

  • The Shree Jagannath Temple of Puri is an important Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a form of Vishnu, in Puri in the state of Odisha on the eastern coast of India.
  • The present temple was rebuilt from the 10th century onwards, on the site of an earlier temple, and begun by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, first of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
  • The Puri temple is famous for its Annual Ratha yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three principal deities are pulled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. These gave their name to the English term Juggernaut.
  • Unlike the stone and metal icons found in most Hindu temples, the image of Jagannath is made of wood and is ceremoniously replaced every twelve or nineteen years by an exact replica.

Architecture of Jagannath temple

  • The Temple of Jagannath at Puri is one of the major Hindu temples in India.
  • The temple is built in the Kalinga style of architecture, with the Pancharatha (Five chariots) type consisting of two anurathas, two konakas and one ratha. Jagannath temple is a pancharatha with well-developed pagas. ‘Gajasimhas’ (elephant lions) carved in recesses of the pagas, the ‘Jhampasimhas’ (Jumping lions) are also placed properly.
  • The perfect pancharatha temple developed into a Nagara-rekha temple.
  • The temple is built on an elevated platform, as compared to Lingaraja temple and other temples belonging to this type.
  • This is the first temple in the history of Kalingaan temple architecture where all the chambers like Jagamohana, Bhogamandapa and Natyamandapa were built along with the main temple.
  • There are miniature shrines on the three outer sides of the main temple.


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