Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 01st Oct to 07th Oct, 2017

Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 01st Oct to 07th Oct, 2017 (CAO PIB Weekly Notes for UPSC IAS)


PIB Current Affairs Oct 1st week

Archive



All cities and towns in five more States declared Open Defecation Free

{Governance}


The Union government declared 5 more states– Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana , Jharkhand and Chattisgarh as ‘Open Defecation Free’ on 2 October 2017, the same day when Swacch Bharat Mission completed three years.

This was declared by the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs on the occasion of the third anniversary of the mission.  The Minister said that all the five states have reached the milestone of making all its cities and towns open defecation free.

Swacch Bharat Mission Report after 3-years

  • The target was to build about 66 lakh individual household toilets in urban areas, against that 38 lakh toilets have already been built and building of another 14 lakh toilets is in progress.
  • Over 2-lakh community and public toilet seats have been constructed as against the mission target of 5-lakh toilet seats.
  • For Solid Waste Management, efforts are on to produce over 500 MW of electricity and over 50 lakh tons of compost from municipal solid waste to allow dispensation of the entire solid waste being generated in urban areas.

About Swacch Bharat Mission

Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on 2nd October 2014, all over length and breadth of the country as a national movement.

The campaign objective is to realize the vision of a ‘Clean India’ by 2nd October 2019.


President Appoints Commission to Examine Sub Categorization of other Backward Classes under Article 340 of the Constitution

{Governance}


Objective:

  • Decision will ensure more Backwards among OBC Communities to Avail benefits of Reservation

Keypoints:

  • The President, in exercise of the powers conferred by article 340 of the Constitution appointed a Commission to examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes.
  • This decision, taken on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, reinforces, in the spirit of his teachings, the Government’s efforts to achieve greater social justice and inclusion for all, and specifically members of the Other Backward Classes.
  • Sub categorization of the OBCs will ensure that the more backward among the OBC communities can also access the benefits of reservation for educational institutions and government jobs.

The composition of the Commission is as follows:

(i) Chairperson -Justice (Retd.) G. Rohini,

(ii) Member -Dr. J.K. Bajaj

(iii) Member(Ex-officio)-Director, Anthropological Survey of India,

(iv) Member (Ex-officio)-Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India

(v) Secretary of the Commission-Joint Secretary, Department of SJ&E, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

The terms of reference of the Commission are as under

(i) to examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of Other Backward Classes with reference to such classes included in the Central List;

(ii) to work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such Other Backward Classes; and

(iii) to take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of Other Backward Classes and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.

  • The Commission is required to present their Report to the President within a period of twelve weeks of assumption of charge by the Chairperson of the Commission.
  • On receipt of the Report of the Commission, the Central Government will consider ways and means for equitable distribution of the benefits of the reservation in Central Government jobs and admission in Central Government Institutions amongst all strata of the Other Backward Classes.

One million children saved, says a new study published in the Lancet

{Health policy}


India has avoided about 1 million (10 lakh) deaths of children under age five since 2005, owing to the significant reductions in mortality from pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal infections and birth asphyxia/trauma, measles and tetanus, according to study published in the latest issue of The Lancet.

  • The ‘India’s Million Death Study’, implemented by the Registrar General of India, is the first study to directly quantify changes in cause-specific child deaths in India, nationally and sub-nationally, from 2000-15 among randomly selected homes.

National Health Mission

  • The study further illustrates that the conditions prioritized under the National Health Mission had the greatest declines.

Significant reductions:

  • Pneumonia and diarrhea mortality fell by over 60% (most of the decline due to effective treatment), mortality from birth-related breathing and trauma during delivery fell by 66% (most of the decline due to more births occurring in hospital), and measles and tetanus mortality fell by 90% (mostly due to special immunization campaigns against each).
  • The study states that mortality rate (per 1000 live births) fell in neonates from 45 in 2000 to 27 in 2015 (3.3% annual decline) and 1-59 month mortality rate fell from 45.2 in 2000 to 19.6 in 2015 (5.4% annual decline).
  • Further, amongst 1-59 months, pneumonia fell by 63%, diarrhoea fell by 66% and measles fell by more than 90%.
  • These declines were greater in girls, indicating that India has, remarkably, equal numbers of girls and boys dying, a significant improvement from just a few years ago.
  • Pneumonia and diarrhoea mortality rates for 1-59 months declined substantially between 2010 and 2015 at an average of 8-10 % annual decline nationally and more so in the rural areas and poorer states.
  • The Million Death Study builds on the SRS by directly monitoring the causes of death in over 1.3 million (13 lakh) homes.
  • Since 2001, about 900 staff interviewed about 100,000 (1 lakh) living members in all homes who had a child die (about 53,000 deaths in the first month of life and 42,000 at 1-59 months) every six months and completed a simple two-page form with a local language half-page narrative describing the deceased’s symptoms and treatments.
  • The records have been digitized and each one uniformly coded for cause of death independently by two of about 400 trained physicians, using World Health Organization approved procedures. This is a direct study based on face-to-face interviews with families, and is not based on modeling or projections from small samples.

CWC sign MoU with IIT Roorkee and MNNIT Allahabad to support capacity building in dam safety areas under dam rehabilitation and improvement project

{Development and Employment}


Context:

  • Central Water Commission (CWC) has signed MoUs with IIT Roorkee and MNNIT Allahabad to support dam rehabilitation efforts of various implementing agencies and CWC.

Keypoints:

  • The scope includes strengthening the testing laboratories, enhancing analytical capabilities, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions.
  • CWC has already signed MoUs with IIT Madras, IISc Bangaluru, NIT Calicut and NIT Raurkela for supporting these institutes for the procurement of specified equipment and software for enhancing their testing and modeling capabilities.
  • Establishment of seismic instruments, certification of these installations, generation of post seismic event report having an intensity greater than 4.0 on Richter Scale and sharing of these reports with State and Central Agencies, data collection, processing, monitoring, analysis, interpretation, integration of the State Dam Seismological Network (SDSN) with Indian Dam Seismological Network (IDSN) being maintained by National Agencies to exchange the information and help to strengthen the existing seismological network for a strong national perspective plan, and conducting training programmes for the dam owning personnel.
  • DRIP is assisting rehabilitation of 225 dams in seven States which are experiencing different levels of distress.
  • Owners of these dams require technical support for the investigation of dam conditions and supporting rehabilitation efforts.
  • The Government of India has decided to enhance the capability of selected premier academic institutes in dam safety areas so that they, in turn, carry out field investigations and material testing, and provide training and consulting services to the dam owners in their dam rehabilitation efforts.
  • In addition to rehabilitation of dams, Project also has component of institutional strengthening wherein capacity building of all partners agencies as well as few selected premier academic institutions of country are being strengthened in dam safety areas by imparting trainings to operational efficiencies of these owner agencies, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to the dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions.
  • It is a holistic effort of the Government of India to equip our national institutions to develop capability and expertise at par with global institutions in the coming times to ensure self-reliance.

Turtle Sanctuary to be set up in Allahabad

{Environment} {Ecology}


In news:

In order to protect the rich aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga from escalating anthropogenic pressures, development of a Turtle sanctuary in Allahabad along with a River Biodiversity Park at Sangam have been approved under Namami Gange programme.

The project includes development of River Biodiversity Park at Sangam (confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati), establishment of a Turtle Rearing Centre (Permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp and makeshift annual hatcheries) and awareness about the importance of river Ganga and imperativeness of its conservation has been approved.

Importance:

This project will provide much needed platform to make the visitors aware of their place in the ecosystem, their roles and responsibilities, improve their understanding of the complexity of co-existence with the environment and help generate awareness for reducing the impact of human activities on critical natural resources. The task of dissipating knowledge about river Ganga will be taken up ardently in this project, which is 100% centrally funded.

Aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga

The sustenance of more than 2000 aquatic species including threatened gharials, dolphins and turtles in river Ganga exemplifies the rich biodiversity of this lifeline to over 40 per cent of the country’s population. Rivers Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad are home to some of the most endangered fauna like turtles (Batagur kachuga, Batagur dhongoka, Nilssonia gangetica, Chitra indica, Hardella thurjii etc.), the National Aquatic Animal – Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and numerous migratory and resident birds.


Tourism Minister Briefs on ‘Paryatan Parv’ to be Organized Nationwide from 5th  to 25th October, 2017

 {Tourism}


In news:

‘Paryatan Parv’ of the Ministry of Tourism has begun across the country. The Parv is being inaugurated at the Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi  by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Culture.

About Paryatan Parv

The Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Stakeholders is organizing a “Paryatan Parv” across the country from the 5th to 25th October 2017.

The programme is being organized with the objective of drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of “Tourism for All”.

Three main components of Paryatan Parv:

  • Dekho Apna Desh:-  To encourage Indians to visit their own country.
  • Tourism for All: – Tourism Events at sites across all States in the country.
  • Tourism & Governance:- Interactive Sessions & Workshops with Stakeholders on varied themes including Skill Development in Tourism Sector, Innovation in Tourism

Other Highlights:

  • In the overseas markets, the Ministry of External Affairs through the Indian Missions overseas, is conducting outreach programmes to encourage people to visit India, with special focus on PIOs who have never visited the country.
  • The “Adopt a Heritage” project launched by the Ministry of Tourism will be implemented at key sites during this period. Wayside Amenities for tourists will also be launched at important sites in identified circuits.
  • In addition, the mega event will see active participation by Cultural Associations and Organisations, Travel & Hospitality Industry, Institutes of Hotel Management, Indian Institutes of Tourism & Travel Management, Service Providers, Students and Youth and the Local Population.
  • Paryatan Parv is being supported by extensive media activities and programmes in all media, including Social Media. Doordarshan will telecast special programmes during the event including:
  • Quiz Programmes – “The Wonder that is India”.
  • Smile India Smile Campaign – A still photography competition.
  • Do You Know?  – A Campaign to propagate interesting facts about India.

Cabinet approves the Extradition Treaty between India and Lithuania

{International Relations}


Keypoints:

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the signing and ratification of the Extradition Treaty between India and Lithuania.
  • The Treaty would provide a legal framework for seeking extradition of terrorists, economic offenders and other criminals from and to Lithuania.
  • The Treaty would help in extradition of fugitive criminals including terrorists for criminal prosecutions from Lithuania who may have committed crimes against India.
  • It will bring the criminals to justice, with a view to ensure peace and tranquility to public at large. 

Cabinet apprised of the MoU between India and Switzerland on Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector

{International Relations}


Context:

  • The Memorandum of Understanding between Ministry of Railways, Government of India and the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications of Swiss Confederation on Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector.

Keypoints:

The MoU will enable technical cooperation in the following areas:-

  1. Traction Rolling stock
  2. EMU and train sets
  3. Traction Propulsion Equipments
  4. Freight and Passenger Cars
  5. Tilting Trains
  6. Railway Electrification Equipments
  7. Train scheduling and operation improvement
  8. Railway Station modernization
  9. Multimodal transport
  10. Tunneling technology

Background

  • Ministry of Railways have signed MoUs for technical cooperation in the Rail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways.
  • The identified areas of cooperation include high-speed corridors, speed raising of existing routes, development of world-class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure, etc.
  • The cooperation is achieved through exchange of information on developments in areas of railways technology & operations, knowledge sharing, technical visits, training & seminars and workshops in areas of mutual interest.
  • The MoUs provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector.
  • The MoUs facilitate exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and seminars/workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.

“Pradhanmantri Mudra Yojna” promotion camp

{Economic Policy}


  • The government has launched promotion campaigns for its flagship scheme Mudra Yojana. 50 promotion campaign will be organised in different parts of the country where the union ministers will be participating among others.
  • The promotion campaigns will be launched by the department of financial services and state level banking committee (SLBC) of different states will actively participate and coordinate all these campaigns.

Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme:

  • The PMMY Scheme was launched in April, 2015. The scheme’s objective is to refinance collateral-free loans given by the lenders to small borrowers.
  • The scheme, which has a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore, can lend between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs.
  • Banks and MFIs can draw refinance under the MUDRA Scheme after becoming member-lending institutions of MUDRA.

Significance:

  • It will greatly increase the confidence of young, educated or skilled workers who would now be able to aspire to become first generation entrepreneurs.
  • Existing small businesses, too, will be able to expand their activities.
  • Under the scheme, by floating MUDRA bank, the Centre has ensured credit flow to SMEs sector and has also identified NBFCs as a good fit to reach out to them.
  • People will now be able to get refinance at subsidised rate and it would be passed on to the SMEs. Moreover, it would enable SMEs to expand their activities.

There are three types of loans under PMMY:

  1. Shishu (up to Rs.50,000).
  2. Kishore (from Rs.50,001 to Rs.5 lakh).
  3. Tarun (from Rs.500,001 to Rs.10,00,000).

India’s trade and investment relationship with Ethiopia is very strong, says President; symbolic of India’s commitment to African Continent

{International Relations}


Keypoints:

  • Ethiopia and India have been trading with each other for centuries.
  • Trade relations between Ethiopia and India flourished during the ancient Axumite Empire from the 1st century AD.
  • Today the economic relationship covers trade, private investment, concessional loans for infrastructure projects and development assistance, largely for capacity building.
  • India is now among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia. Indian investment has made a mark in textiles and garments, engineering, plastics, water management, consultancy and ICT, education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Indian investments in Ethiopia have had a significant presence in manufacturing and value addition to local resources.
  • At the Third India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in 2015, India had announced the offer of concessional credit of US$ 10 billion over the next five years to Africa. This was in addition to the on-going credit programme.
  • We have also committed to a grant assistance of US$ 600 million that will include an India-Africa Development Fund of US$ 100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of US$ 10 million.
  • India’s willingness to positively consider support for power transmission projects in Ethiopia, as well as announced specific assistance in the areas of healthcare, education and agriculture was expressed.
  • The two Presidents witnessed the signing of two bilateral agreements – the first on Trade Facilitation and the second related to the Information Communication and Media sector.

Embryo Transfer Technology, a promising revolution in Bovine breeding

{Science and Technology}


Keypoints:

  • Embryo transfer technology (ETT) has revolutionized the breeding strategies in Bovines as a tool to optimize the genetic improvement in cattle.
  • Department of Animal husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in co-operation with 12 States has undertaken a Mass Embryo Transfer programme in Indigenous Breeds under the scheme, National Mission on Bovine Productivity.
  • The programme is implemented with the objective of conservation and development of indigenous breeds under Rashtriya Gokul Mission.
  • The technology now being taken up to the doorstep of the farmers will result in rapid propogation of high genetic merit indigenous cattle.

Advantages through the use of ETT,

  • a farmer can get a 5-6 fold increase in number of offsprings ,
  • the calves so born will be of high genetic merit and
  • the offsprings born will be free from diseases.

“Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM)

 {Art & Culture}


  • The “Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM)-2017” will be held from 7th to 9th October, 2017 in India’s 1st World Heritage City i.e Ahmadabad, Gujarat. Ms. Sujata Prasad, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Culture addressing the media persons Ahmadabad, Gujarat
  • The Mahotsav will cover a profusion of art forms from classical and folk music and dance, theatre to literature and the visual arts and would offer the chance to experience the best in established and emerging virtuosity.
  • The inscription of the historic walled city of Ahmadabad on UNESCO’s world heritage list will also be celebrated. A handloom and handicrafts-utsav is part of the proposed event. The gastronomic culture of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and several other partnering states will be showcased through a food festival.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has amended the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2016 and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Fast Track Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2017 .
  • According to theAmended Regulations, a Resolution Plan shall include a statement as to how it has dealt with the interests of all stakeholders, including financial creditors and operational creditors, of the Corporate Debtor.

IBBI- Ministry of Corporate Affairs

  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India was set up on 1st October 2016 under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code).
  • It is a unique regulator: regulates a profession as well as transactions. It has regulatory oversight over the Insolvency Professionals, Insolvency Professional Agencies and Information Utilities. It writes and enforces rules for transactions, namely, corporate insolvency resolution, corporate liquidation, individual insolvency resolution and individual bankruptcy under the Code.
  • It is a key pillar of the ecosystem responsible for implementation of the Code that consolidates and amends the laws relating to reorganization and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximization of the value of assets of such persons, to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance the interests of all the stakeholders.

First ever conference of Partner NGOs to be inaugurated-Schemes and Programmes for Women and Children

 {Women’s Empowerment} {Social issue}


The first ever Conference of Partners NGOs is being organized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on 9th October, 2017 in New Delhi.

  • The subject of the conference is “Implementation of Policies, Schemes and Programmes for Women and Children: Challenges and Way Forward”.

Significance of this move:

  • The aim of the daylong conference is to sensitize partner NGOs across the country for the implementation of various WCD schemes and to give them an opportunity to share their experiences and insights. The challenges confronted at the grassroots level for the welfare of women and children will also be deliberated upon.
  • Ensuring prevention and wellbeing of women and children is not only a constitutional commitment but is also absolutely necessary for natural growth and development.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has made various intervention and created legislative and supportive institutional mechanisms for preventing crime against women and facilitating access to justice.
  • Similarly, measures have also been taken by the Ministry for the safety and protection of children.

The conference will be based on the following broad themes:

  • Violence Against Women: Prevention and Facilitating Access to Justice
  • National Policy for Women: Policy Interventions for Gender Parity
  • Trafficking of Women and Children: Role of State Institutions
  • Cyber Crime and Children: Prevention and Harm Reduction
  • Implementation of JJ Act: Structural Challenges and Mainstreaming of Children


Ministry of Women and Child Development to celebrate the BBBP Week

{Women’s Empowerment}


National wide activities and awareness generation campaigns to mark the celebration of BBBP Week

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development will be celebrating the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Week from 09th to 14th October, 2017.
  • The week is being celebrated in view of the International Girl Child Day on 11th October, 2017. The theme of the program will be “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Week- The Daughters of New India”

Key facts:

  • The week-long celebration will witness various awareness generation activities and community engagement programmes such as Oath ceremonies, prabhat pherries, rallies, nukkad natraks, street plays, joint door to door campaigns by AWWs and ASHAs, etc.
  • At the National level, the occasion will also be marked by a Panel Discussion coinciding with the theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl –“Girls Progress=Goals Progress: What Counts for Girls” to engage key sport influencers and women and girls role models from the field, to generate support through their voice and reach.

BBBP

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched in January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana.
  • The scheme is aimed at promoting gender equality and the significance of educating girls.
  • The Scheme is targeted at improving the Child Sex Ratio through multi sectoral interventions including prevention of gender biased sex selection and promoting girls’ education and her holistic empowerment.
  • It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.

Scheme:

  • The collective and coordinated efforts undertaken at national, state and districts level has been successful in establishing a substantial improvement in the number of girls being born in the target districts.
  • As per the HIMS data for the 161 districts of BBBP, an increasing trend in Sex Ratio at Birth is visible in 104 BBBP Districts during 2016-17 as compared to the period 2015-16. Similarly, 119 districts have reported progress in registration of pregnancies in the first trimester during 2016-17 as compared to 2015-16.
  • During the same period, Institutional deliveries against the total reported deliveries have improved in 146 districts in comparison to the previous year.

Framing of rules in respect of Country-by-Country reporting and furnishing of master file

{Economic Policy}


  • In keeping with India’s commitment to implement the recommendations of 2015 Final Report on Action 13, titled “Transfer Pricing Documentation and Country-by-Country Reporting”, identified under the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project, Section 286 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (‘the Act’) was inserted vide Finance Act, 2016, providing for furnishing of a Country-by-Country report in respect of an international group by its constituent or parent entity.

Transfer Pricing Documentation and Country-by-Country Reporting- OECD Base Erosion Profit Sharing

  • This report contains revised standards for transfer pricing documentation incorporating a master file, local file, and a template for country-by-country reporting of revenues, profits, taxes paid and certain measures of economic activity.
  • The revised standardised approach will require taxpayers to articulate consistent transfer pricing positions and will provide tax administrations with useful information to assess transfer pricing and other BEPS risks, make determinations about where audit resources can most effectively be deployed, and, in the event audits are called for, provide information to commence and target audit enquiries.
  • Country-by-country reports will be disseminated through an automatic government-to-government exchange mechanism.
  • The implementation package included in this report sets out guidance to ensure that the reports are provided in a timely manner, that confidentiality is preserved and that the information is used appropriately, by incorporating model legislation and model Competent Authority Agreements forming the basis for government-to-government exchanges of the reports.
  • Section 92D of the Act was also amended vide Finance Act, 2016 to provide for keeping and maintaining of Master File by every constituent entity of an international group, which was to be furnished as per rules prescribed in this regard.
  • Accordingly, subsequent to the aforesaid amendments to the Act, it is proposed to insert rules 10DA, 10DB and form nos. 3CEBA to 3CEBE in the Income-tax Rules, 1962 (‘the Rules’), laying down the guidelines for maintaining and furnishing of transfer pricing documentation in the Master File and Country-by-Country report.

Base erosion and profit shifting

Developed in the context of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project, 5 actions are set out equip governments with domestic and international instruments to address tax avoidance, ensuring that profits are taxed where economic activities generating the profits are performed and where value is created.

  • Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to tax avoidance strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations.
  • Under the inclusive framework, over 100 countries and jurisdictions are collaborating to implement the BEPS measures and tackle BEPS.
  • The inclusive framework brings together over 100 countries and jurisdictions to collaborate on the implementation of the OECD/ G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Package.
  • Monitoring implementation and the impact of the different BEPS measures is a key element of the work ahead. The OECD has established an inclusive framework on BEPS, which allows interested countries and jurisdictions to work with OECD and G20 members on developing standards on BEPS related issues and reviewing and monitoring the implementation of the whole BEPS Package.
  • The inclusive framework will also support the development of the toolkits for low-capacity developing countries. The G20 Development Working Group (G20 DWG) has requested the IMF, the OECD, the UN and the WBG to work together on the development of toolkits and guidance to support low-capacity developing countries to address BEPS issues.

India – EU Joint Statement during 14th India-EU Summit

{International Relations}


  1. The 14th annual Summit between India and the European Union (EU) was held in New Delhi on 6 October 2017.
  2. Recognising that India and the EU are natural partners, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further deepen and strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership based onshared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights and territorial integrity of States.
  3. The leaders expressed satisfaction at the progress made towards implementing the India-EU Agenda for Action 2020 – the roadmap for bilateral cooperation (13th India-EU Summit).
  4. The leaders committed to work in a result-oriented and mutually beneficial manner to further strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership by deepening their trade cooperation, enhancing investment flows in both directions and broadening dialogue and engagement on global and regional issues, including climate change, as well as migration and the refugee crisis, and resolved to further strengthen their bilateral and multilateral cooperation in these areas.
  5. The leaders underlined the importance of regular high level contacts to enhance India-EU co-operation and mutual understanding.
  6. They welcomed the growing convergence on contemporary global issues and agreed to enhance India-EU cooperation in all multilateral fora. They also recognised their common responsibilitytowards ensuring international peace and security, and an open and inclusive international order.
  7. The leaders confirmed their commitment towards conflict prevention and sustaining peace as fundamental aspects of promoting security and prosperity, fostering non-proliferation and disarmament, and agreed on the need for the global community to unite to address the menace of terrorism and safeguard the security of the global commons – sea lanes, cyber space and outer space.
  8. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to an open, free, secure, stable, peaceful and accessible cyberspace, enabling economic growth and innovation.
  9. The leaders joint commitment to explore opportunities to, inter alia, share information, best practices, including regarding countering the on-line threat of radicalisation, and to engage in capacity building activities, such as training and workshops. They also emphasised the need to deepen cooperation within the UN and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
  10. India and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to enhance maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean and beyond. Both sides noted the recent joint manoeuvres (PASSEX) between the EU Naval Force and the Indian Navy off the coast of Somalia, as a successful example of naval cooperation.
  11. Both sides agreed to enhance the India-EU space cooperation, including Earth observation.
  12. India and the EU reiterated the importance they attach to human rights cooperation, including on gender equality and women empowerment in all spheres of life.
  13. The two sides expressed support to the Government and the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to achieve an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national peace and reconciliation. The two sides remain determined to counter all forms of terrorism and violent extremism, considering them fundamental threats to international peace and stability.
  14. India and the EU reaffirmed their support for the continued full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Iranian nuclear issue.
  15. Both sides condemned the nuclear test conducted by DPRK on 3 September 2017, which was another direct and unacceptable violation of the DPRK’s international commitments. They agreed that DPRK’s continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its proliferation links pose a grave threat to international peace and security, and called for the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which has been endorsed by the UNSC and the Six Party Talks.
  16. Regarding the situation in Syria, India and the EU reaffirmed the primacy of the UN-led Geneva process and called for full support for the intra-Syrian talks with a view to promoting a political solution in Syria.
  17. Protection of civilians and territorial integrity is fundamental and all parties to the conflict and their supporters are expected to live up to their commitments.
  18. India and the EU acknowledged the importance of connectivity in today’s globalised world. They underlined that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality and must follow principles of financial responsibility, accountable debt financing practices, balanced ecological and environmental protection, preservation standards and social sustainability.
  19. Both sides reaffirmed their support to the new United Nations reform agenda on the three reform tracks of peace and security, development and management reform. The two sides’ commitment to stronger global governance also translates to reforming the bodies and organs of the UN system, including the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council as well as the revitalisation of the work of the General Assembly.
  20. The two sides agreed to work bilaterally and with partners in the G20, the United Nations and other multilateral fora to address emerging challenges to international security, global economic stability and growth.
  21. The leaders reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and the importance of enhancing free, fair, and open trade for achieving sustainable growth and development.
  22. Both sides recalled the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the joint commitment to its implementation with the complementary new EU Consensus on Development and India’s “sab kasaath, sab kavikas” policy initiatives, and reaffirmed the importance of global partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and poverty alleviation.
  23. The EU welcomed India’s contribution to peace and development in Africa, including its participation in UN Peacekeeping Missions.
  24. The EU leaders welcomed India’s efforts to promote economic and social development and expressed the EU’s continued interest in participating in India’s flagship initiatives such as “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Skill India”, “Smart City”, “Clean India,” and “Start-Up India”.
  25. 24.The EU closely follows Prime Minister Modi’s economic reforms, including the historic introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which can facilitate ease of doing business and promotes market integration in India by realising a simple, efficient and nation-wide indirect tax system.
  26. 25.Both sides agreed to enhanced cooperation and exchange of experience and best practices in the field of Intellectual Property rights (IPR) and public procurement.
  27. Leaders welcomed the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU investments in India as a means to improve the business climate and hoped that the IFM will ease sharing of best practices and innovative technology from the EU to India.
  28. Leaders welcomed the establishment of the South Asian Regional Representative Office of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in India and noted that its investments, especially in urban mobility and renewable energy projects, will support India-EU collaboration on the Climate Agenda.
  29. India and the EU noted that addressing climate change and promoting secure, affordable and sustainable supplies of energy are key shared priorities and welcomed the progress on the Clean Energy and Climate Partnership, adopted at the 2016 EU-India Summit.
  30. India and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to undertake mutual cooperation for reducing the cost of development and deployment of renewable energy projects through technology innovation, knowledge sharing, capacity building, trade and investment, and project establishment.
  31. The leaders reiterated the importance of reconciling economic growth and environment protection. They highlighted the importance of moving towards a more circular economic model that reduces primary resource consumption and enhanced the use of secondary raw materials.
  32. The leaders agreed to work towards an enhanced cooperation on innovation and technology development aiming at actions strengthening cooperation between European and Indian industries and start-up ecosystems.
  33. Both sides noted positive exchanges on Internet Governance, on increasing the ease of doing business for ICT companies on both sides, as well as meetings between the Indian and European start-up ecosystems under a “Start-up Europe India Network”.
  34. The two sides confirmed their interest in further strengthening the cooperation in the area of pharmaceuticals, including capacity building of the regulatory system with particular focus on inspections by creating a more structured and stable training environment. The Indian side also highlighted its interest for cooperation on capacity building of the entire pharmaceutical value chain.
  35. The leaders adopted the India-EU Joint Statement on a Partnership for Smart and Sustainable Urbanisation with a view to step up cooperation including with regard to priority sectors such as the upgrading of urban infrastructure for transport and sanitation, developing Smart Cities in India, as well as promoting the New Urban Agenda of the United Nations adopted in 2016.
  36. The leaders encouraged Euratom and the Department of Atomic Energy to conclude the Agreement for Research & Development Cooperation in the field of the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. They stressed that this cooperation will contribute to further enhancement of nuclear safety and will be mutually advantageous. The cooperation will also lead toimproving the skills and deployment of non-power technologies in the areas of water, health care & medicine, environment, etc., for the benefit of the society.
  37. Both sides will continue their strong partnership in the development of fusion energy, building on the agreements to which they are parties, including under the Euratom-India Cooperation Agreement on Fusion Energy research.
  38. The Leaders welcomed the imminent operationalisation of the 2008 Horizontal Civil Aviation Agreement, which will enhance air connectivity between India and Europe and help foster greater people-to-people contacts, business travel and increase in tourism.
  39. India and the EU agreed to intensify cooperation in skills development and agreed to find complementarities and synergies between India’s Skill India initiative and the EU’s New Skills Agenda for Europe.
  40. The leaders emphasised that, as part of the India-EU Agenda for Action 2020, there was a need to work towards strengthening cooperation on higher-education, including through India’s GIAN programmeand the EU’s Erasmus+ programme.
  41. The leaders agreed to intensify people-to-people exchanges and facilitate increased travel of tourists, business persons, students and researchers between India and the EU.
  42. The leaders noted the adoption of the report on “EU’s Political Relations with India” in the European Parliament and welcomed its recommendations for intensifying the exchanges between the Indian and European parliamentary delegations. The leaders also looked forward to intensified exchanges between scholars, think tanks and cultural delegations.

Government keen to ensure a decent living Habitat for the poor, says HUA Minister

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Context:

  • The Government is committed to ensure a decent living habitat to all in urban areas and in particular, for the poor
  • The flagship new urban missions launched during the last three years constitute an integrated urban habitat model.

Keypoints:

  • On the occasion of ‘World Habitat Day’ the theme ‘Housing Policies : Affordable Homes’ was popularized in New Delhi.
  • The new urban mission launched by the Government like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) is at the core of ensuring affordable homes to the poor and the needy while other missions like the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) aim at enabling the much needed basic infrastructure for a decent habitat.
  • Several initiatives to give a boost to housing sector and in particular to affordable housing to meet the housing needs of the people.
  • Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030 noted that India’s performance would be the key to achieve these goals at global scale.

 

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