India is taking benefits of cheap crude oil by stockpiling its emergency reserves, oil tankers offshore and asking other nations to store oil for India. Historically, India has been buying from OPEC+ nations, but seems to be diversifying by buying oil from US, and even asking it to park oil in its reserves.
Crux of the Matter
India’s Crude Oil Stockpile Strategic crude oil reserves help a country survive short-term supply disruptions in case of any emergency. Currently India has stored oil amounting to 20% of its annual need. As of now India imports nearly 80% of the annual crude oil need. India majorly depends on the gulf countries for oil.
However, as the price of crude oil has fallen due to less demand due to the Coronavirus lockdown, India seems to be taking advantage of it, just like China, by stockpiling 5.33 million tonnes (MT) in strategic storage. Strategic storage facilities in India are located at Visakhapatnam, Mangalore, and Padur (Karnataka). Looking at the increasing annual demand for fuel post lockdown, India is mulling to expand strategic storage to 6.5 MT. Moreover India has also stored around 8.5-9 MT oil on ships across the world.
Strategy to buy US’ Crude US WTI crude oil futures stock traded in negative in April before expiring. Thereafter, it has seen a rise, albeit a slow one due to prolonged lockdown and uncertainty. At a time when WTI oil is cheap, India is planning to park oil from America in its own local facilities as India’s storage facilities are full. Recently Australia has also stockpiled oil in the US.
We are exploring some possibility if we can store some of our investment in a different country … we are exploring the possibility in the USA if we can store some of the low priced oil.
Dharmendra Pradhan, Indian Oil Minister
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Fossil fuel phase-out is the gradual reduction of the use of fossil fuels to zero use. Current efforts in fossil fuel phase-out involve replacing fossil fuels with alternative energy sources in sectors such as transport, heating, and industry.
So far, the world’s second-most populous country, India appears to have dodged the bullet by reducing the estimated millions of Coronavirus cases with a significantly tiny figure of 100k+, as of 19 May. What could be the possible reasons for the nation having things under control? Were the range of lockdowns helpful in flattening the curve after all?
Crux of the Matter
Speedy Decision-Making By Authorities The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT), used data from 73 countries to report the commendable work of the Indian government in tackling the pandemic. It noted the government’s swift action, emergency policy-making, emergency investment in healthcare, fiscal measures, investment in vaccine research, and active response to the situation and scored India with a “100” for its strictness.
Impact of Lockdowns From introducing Lockdown 1.0 to taking swift decisions in 4.0, India announced a nationwide lockdown when the country had reported 519 coronavirus cases. Subsequently all international commercial flights were banned from landing in India and all passenger train services in the country were suspended.
Comparing this with other nations, Italy waited until it had 9,200 + cases while the UK had about 6,700 before both went into lockdowns. Thus while India took 106 days to reach the 80,000-mark, Italy, Spain, Germany and the US took 44-66 days to reach the same. So the sooner the people were self quarantined the lesser the point of contacts were established.
What Do The Figures Say About The Impact Of Lockdowns?
Journey from 1.0 to 4.0 in terms of doubling time
Doubling time refers to the time taken for a parameter to double in value. So if the doubling time of the number of new cases increases steadily over a period of time, it indicates that it is taking more time for new cases to emerge and thus the transmission rate of infection has declined. So if doubling time is 2, it means, day 1’s 10 cases become 20 on day 2 cases and 40 on day 3 and so on.
A large rise or dip in the number of total cases can give an incorrect impression of the severity of the spread of the disease. Therefore, doubling time is often calculated using a metric of 5-day, 7-day, or 10-day average of cases, in order to capture data trends over longer stretches of time.
In terms of a 5-day average calculated for India, On March 12, the first death was reported and when the death rate reached 10, on March 24, India announced the first Lockdown with a doubling time of 3 days. In the subsequent lockdown 2.0 declared on 14 April, the growth rate of the pandemic slowed down to a doubling time of 7 days by 18 April.
Then in lockdown 3.0 extended from May 1 to May 17, this very doubling time improved to 13.6 days, as reported on the last day of lockdown by the Health Ministry. Furthermore the country was divided into 3 zones namely Green Zone, Red Zone, Orange Zone in the third lockdown, that signified the relaxations implemented in each of them accordingly. Currently the country is in phase 4 of the nationwide lockdown which involves restarting of day to day lives of citizens.
To each doubling time projection, existed their own total cases
Case Projection: The estimated number of active coronavirus cases based on prior data values Actual Cases: The number of coronavirus cases calculated and updated on a daily, real-time basis
If that doubling time of 3 days from lockdown 1.0 continued for 2 months from March 17 to May 19, there would have been 150 million projected cases till date i.e more than 10% of the 1.3 billion Indian population!
Similarly if the doubling time of 7 days obtained on 11 April, the day of 7.5k active cases, continued for an approximate time of 30 days, 2.5 Lakh projected cases would have existed today in India.
However as of 19 May, India stands at a relatively optimistic figure of 1.1+ Lakh actual cases which directly signifies how the lockdowns imposed in the nation have made things come under control. The flattening of the coronavirus curve occurred when it could have gone far worse and steeper, as portrayed by blue and red curves respectively in the aforementioned graph.
Figures A and B confirm the same observations, wherein the former estimates are in stark contrast with the slowed-down latter doubling rate of actual cases (total, active and deaths).
As inferred from the stacked graph above, the active rate has decreased in the time frame of March to May along with an increase in recovery rate, that portrays an overall positive representation of the decline of infection in the country’s cases.
Zooming in on the red, straight lined fatality rate in the graph plotted w.r.t y-axis shooting up to ~3.5%, the measure saw an all-time low on 21 March and after witnessing a subtle rise from late March to mid-April. Thereby it remained constant at approximately 3%, with the latest figure stating a decline after 19 May.
It has been noted that the actual fatality rate signifies the total number of deaths reported by authorities globally due to novel coronavirus, refers to the demise of severely affected, hospitalized patients.
State-wise Test statistics in India
Number of Tests conducted globally
How To Maintain The Winning Curve? According to experts, India must continue to test, identify, and isolate the cases early to limit the spread of the disease even after the nationwide lockdown comes to a complete end. The hotspots should be updated on a daily basis in terms of the active and recovery cases and localise necessary lockdownmeasures accordingly.
Contagion is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Steven Soderbergh. In 2020, the film received renewed popularity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which bears some resemblance to the pandemic depicted in the film. In March HBO Now also reported that Contagion had been the most viewed title for two weeks straight.
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In the light of Coronavirus, after Japan announced a $2.2 billion package for its companies located in China to relocate to Japan or Southeast Asian nation, South Korean steel giants Hyundai Steel and POSCO are likely to shift their manufacturing base to India from China. As many as 1,000 manufacturers are in talks with Indian authorities to establish manufacturing in India. Complete Coverage: Coronavirus
Crux of the Matter
Retribution Or Safety? As Coronavirus persists, many companies are mulling over reducing their dependency on China. Recently, Japan offered a $2.2 billion package to its firms located in China to relocate to Japan or Southeast Asia. South Korean steel giants Hyundai Steel and POSCO are in talks with Indian authorities over shifting to India from China. As many as 1000 firms are in talks with the Indian authorities to shift manufacturing to India. Companies seem to be looking to diversify manufacturing to share risks in case of an event like Coronavirus. Companies in electronics, mobiles, synthetic fabric, textiles, medical devices sectors are thinking of moving to India.
Is India Ready? India seems to be a preferred destination because setting up and running manufacturing would cost these companies 10-12% less than other Southeast Asia nations. India even reduced its corporate tax rate to 25.17% last year. What is more incentivizing is the applicable tax rate to new manufacturers. It is 17% – the lowest in Southeast Asia. Foreign Direct Investment in India also growing steadily since last 5 years.
Unlike countries like Vietnam, India has a huge domestic market which can be catered by manufacturers. Apple began manufacturing iPhones at India’s Chennai plant owned by Chinese company Foxconn last year. Another iPhone manufacturer Wistron which is listed in Taipei is mulling over shifting production to India.
The largest assembler of Apple Inc.’s devices was China until the announcement by Foxconn technology group chairman Terry Gou was made about Foxconn India handling the production of iPhones shortly. India is now the fastest-growing smartphone market in the world.
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In 1952, 83% of the Chinese workforce was employed in agriculture. By 2012, the fraction of the workforce employed in agriculture had fallen to about 33% due to the industrialisation of China between the years 1960-90 and rapid population growth simultaneously.
Researchers have discovered how the Toba supereruption in India that happened roughly 74,000 years ago, was not a global catastrophe after all. An ancient and “unchanging” stone tool industry, uncovered at Dhaba in northern India, suggests instead that humans have been present in the Middle Son Valley for roughly 80,000 years, both before and after the Toba eruption.
Crux of the Matter
The Primitive Toba Catastrophe Theory The Toba supereruption was a supervolcanic eruption that occurred at the site of present-day Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia. It was estimated to have caused a global volcanic winter of six to ten years along with a 1,000-year-long coolingepisode. It spewed roughly 1,000 times as much rock as the famous 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens.
The Stone Tools that Changed It ArchaeologistChris Clarkson from the University of Queensland, explains how populations at Dhaba were using stone tools that were similar to the toolkits being used by Homo sapiens in Africa at the same time. Both were developed by them to modify their respective environments and the results confirm how humans migrated out of Africa and expanded across Eurasia much earlier than expected, surviving a natural calamity in the meantime.
If the Volcano Didn’t Get Them, What Did? Geneticists agree that back then, there was an unmistakable drop in human genetic diversity, but that shift could be a founder effect. However, without human fossils to back up the findings, there are some who remain unconvinced these tools were made by Homo sapiens. Further studies would be done by scientists to create new archaeological records in times ahead so that a solid reason comes out behind the supereruption.
The founder effect in population genetics is the loss of genetic variation that occurs when a new population is established by a very small number of individuals from a larger population. It was first fully outlined by Ernst Mayr in 1942, using existing theoretical work by those such as Sewall Wright. As a result of the loss of genetic variation, the new population may be distinctively different, both genotypically and phenotypically, from the parent population from which it is derived. In extreme cases, the founder effect is thought to lead to the speciation and subsequent evolution of new species. More Info
The Supreme Court of India has said that African cheetahs could be introduced to the wild at “carefully chosen location”. This comes as an apt response to a plea by the government, 70 years after cheetahs were wiped out. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s(IUCN)Red List, Only 7,100 cheetahs are left in the wild, majorly all of them surviving in Namibia, Africa.
Crux of the Matter
Statistics of the Spotted Cats Studies report that at least 200 cheetahs were killed in India, largely by sheep and goat herders, during the colonial period. It remains the only large mammal to become extinct after the country gained independence in 1947. The Asiatic cheetah, which once roamed parts of India, is now only found in Iran, amongst the 50 left.
SC’s Iconic Decision The highest judicial court under the Constitution of India adds that the animal would have to be introduced on an experimental basis to find out if it could adapt to Indian conditions. Three potential locations are in talks for this revival: Velavadar in Gujarat, Tal Chapar in Rajasthan and Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh, 2 grasslands and a scrub habitat. India’s former environment minister, Jairam Ramesh rejoiced the decision to reintroduce the animal as per the immediate tweet posted in his twitter handle.
Wildlife Officials’ Stance For more than a decade, wildlife officials, cheetah experts, and conservationists had discussed the reintroduction of the spotted big cat to India. The only fear that now remains is that haste may make waste as India would end up housing the animals in semi-captive conditions in huge, secured open-air zoos rather than allowing them to live free. Earlier Lions were reintroduced in the Chandraprabha sanctuary in northern Uttar Pradesh state in the 1950s but were poached out of existence subsequently.
A Larger Vision Can Help Abi Tamim Vanak, a savannah ecologist with the Ashoka Trust for Ecology and Environment, Bengaluru believes that if the government, working with conservationists, can think of an innovative model and a habitat-focused plan, traditionalpastoralists as well as grassland fauna such as blackbuck, Great Indian bustard, chinkara, wolves, etc. could be protected in such landscapes.
Reintroduction of the cheetah in India involves the re-establishment of a population of cheetahs into areas where they had previously existed but were hunted into extinction during and after the Mughal Period, largely by Rajput and Maratha Indian royalty and later by British colonialists, until the early 20th century when only several thousand remained. The Mughal emperor Akbar kept Cheetahs for hunting gazelle and blackbucks. Trapping of large numbers of adult Indian cheetahs, who had already learned hunting skills from wild mothers, for assisting in royal hunts is said to be another major cause of the species rapid decline in India as they never bred in captivity with only one record of a litter ever. Three of the last Asiatic cheetahs recorded from India were shot down in 1947, by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya. A part of the reintroduction process is the identification and restoration of their former grassland scrub forest habitats. This is within the scope of the duties of the local forest department of each State, where relocation occurs, through the use of Indian Central Government funding. More Info