Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 23rd May to 31st May, 2017

Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 23rd May to 31st May, 2017 (PIB Weekly Compilation)


Archive


International Day for Biodiversity Celebrated all over the Country – MAY 22- UNITED NATIONS

{Bio-diversity}


Source: PIB

National-Level Celbrations Held at Goa

The International Day for Biodiversity (IDB) 2017 was celebrated all over the country.

Biodiversity, the variety of all life on earth, is vital to social and economic development, and is indeed fundamental to our survival. Protecting biodiversity and halting its loss is therefore an essential investment for our collective well-being.

  • The Chief Minister inaugurated an exhibition on the theme and Green Haat, which had exhibits from 12 States including Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh besides stalls from UNDP, GIZ, Zoological Survey of India, Botanical Survey of India, Goa Forest Department, Goa State Biodiversity Board and NBA.
  • Exhibits, posters and other material highlighting the role of biodiversity in sustaining livelihoods were depicted at the exhibition. Several students and others interested participated enthusiastically in the exhibition. The dignitaries too walked through the exhibition.

2017 Theme: “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism” – let us all pledge to be mindful and conscious in reducing our biodiversity footprint, including when we travel as a tourist.

  • Diversity in species, ecosystems and landscapes attracts tourism and promotes economic growth. In turn, a well-managed tourist sector can help reduce threats to key wildlife populations, and can maintain or increase biodiversity, through tourism revenue.
  • The celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity under the theme “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism” is an opportunity to raise awareness of the important contribution of sustainable tourism both to economic growth and to the conservation of biodiversity.
  • This theme has been chosen to coincide with the observance of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and can contribute to ongoing initiatives such as the Sustainable Tourism Programme.

Why an International Day for Biological Diversity?

  • While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities.
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has been ratified by 196 nations.
  • Given the importance of public education and awareness for the implementation of the Convention, the General Assembly proclaimed 22 May, the date of the adoption of its text, as the International Day for Biological Diversity by its resolution 55/201 of 20 December 2000.

Biodiversity and the Sustainable Development Goals

  • The objectives of halting biodiversity loss and promoting the sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems are included in Sustainable Development Goal Nº15.

The Union Minister of Finance Shri Arun Jaitley says India-Africa together can shape the future of the world

{International Relations}


Source: PIB

The Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs said that the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Annual Meeting organized in India this year is a new chapter in India – Africa relationship.

  • India-Africa together can shape the future of the world. Opening Session of Annual meeting of African Development Bank themed on ‘Africa-India Cooperation on enhancing the High 5 Strategy’at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
  • India-Africa partnership model is unique; the cornerstone is voluntary partnership without any imposition on partner and the partner is free to decide what is best for them.

African Development Bank:

  • The Bank has revamped the review to give greater attention to Africa’s fundamental challenges and how the Bank is addressing them.
  • The Bank is also reorganising itself to become more agile and responsive to the continent’s needs.
  • A new business model has been adopted and three new vice presidencies established: on power, energy and green growth; on agriculture, human and social development; and on the private sector, infrastructure and industrialisation.

High 5 strategy:

The African Development Bank is stepping up the pace by focusing on five priorities that are crucial for accelerating Africa’s economic transformation. The Bank calls them the “High 5s”:

  • Light up and power Africa,
  • Feed Africa,
  • Industrialise Africa,
  • Integrate Africa, and
  • Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

The High 5 priorities are an integral part of that effort:

  1. Light up and power Africa— About 635 million Africans still live without electricity and demand for energy is rising rapidly. Through the New Deal on Energy for Africa, the AfDB is working to unify efforts to achieve universal access to energy. Its new Energy Strategy aims to increase energy production and access, and improve affordability, reliability and energy efficiency.
  2. Feed Africa— More than 70% of Africans depend for their livelihoods on agriculture. If its full potential were unlocked, agriculture could vastly improve the lives of millions. The Bank is framing its agricultural operations within a business-oriented approach, based on a deeper understanding of the obstacles, potential and investment opportunities.
  3. Industrialise Africa— A persistent lack of industrialisation is holding back Africa’s economies. Over the next 10 years, the Bank will invest US $3.5 billion per year through direct financing and leveraging to implement six flagship industrialisation programmes in areas where the AfDB can best leverage its experience, capabilities and finances.
  4. Integrate Africa— Through its Regional Integration Policy and Strategy, the Bank is focusing its integration efforts not just on movement of goods and services but also on mobility of people and investment.
  5. Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa — Africa’s economic growth has not been rapid or inclusive enough to create enough jobs and improve quality of life. The Bank is committed to building up the availability of technical skills so that African economies can realise their full potential in high-technology sectors. Acknowledging the urgent need to address climate change, the Bank will nearly triple its annual climate financing to reach $5 billion a year by 2020.

AfDB

  • The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is a multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries.
  • The AfDB was founded in 1964 and comprises three entities: The African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund.
  • The AfDB’s mission is to fight poverty and improve living conditions on the continent through promoting the investment of public and private capital in projects and programs that are likely to contribute to the economic and social development of the region

Key achievements of Department of Economic Affairs: Improvement in India’s Macroeconomic Stability

{Indian Economy}


Source: PIB

India is one of the bright spots among the major countries in the subdued global economic context

The key initiatives of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance taken in the past 3 years have led to Improvement in India’s Macroeconomic Stability.

  • Today, India is one of the bright spots among the major countries in the subdued global economic context. India recorded a growth of 7.9 per cent in 2015-16, as compared to 7.2 per cent in 2014-15 and 6.5 per cent in 2013-14. Predictions by expert agencies suggest that India’s growth rate is set to improve further in 2017-18.
  • In terms of the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) prepared by World Economic Forumfor 138 countries, India ranked 39 in 2016-17, as compared to India’s rank in GCI of 60 (among 148 countries) in 2013-14.

Petroleum Minister co chairs India OPEC Institutional Dialogue at Vienna

{International Relations}, {Sustainable Development}


Source: PIB

Shri Pradhan emphasised on ‘Asian Dividend rather than paying Asian Premium’

  • Stressed on work towards “Responsible Pricing” by OPEC; important for India for socio-economic and developmental reasons
  • The production cut is an attempt to arrest slide in prices; But there is chance of under investment and consumer’s needs not being met in long run

All you know about this move:

  • The Minister said that India had been and continued to be a reliable customer of OPEC countries, the only big economy where the demand for crude oil continues to rise each year.
  • About 86% if India’s import of crude oil, 70% of natural gas, 95% of LPG are from OPEC countries which informed about the increasing refining capacity of India and future expansion plans OPEC which is the expanding petrochemical sector in India.

Highlights:

  • Shri Pradhan reiterated that as a large import destination there should be no ‘Asian Premium’ on the crude supplied to India and Asian buyers. India provided timely payments and honored all its contractual commitments and demanded due acknowledgment through discount in prices for large volumes that India imports.
  • That for a long time OPEC subsidised western buyers at the cost of Asian buyers. Given the importance of Asian market for OPEC, particularly fast growing Indian market which stood by OPEC as a reliable and continued customer, Shri Pradhan emphasised on ‘Asian Dividend rather than paying Asian Premium’.
  • The Minister also stressed that the OPEC should work towards “Responsible Pricing” which is important for India for socio-economic and developmental reasons. It would allow India to provide energy to the common and marginalised people who have been deprived of access to energy so far. Higher crude prices would retard growth rate which will result in slowing down the demand of crude oil.

Renewable energy:

  • The Minister highlighted that the Energy Mix in India is undergoing major changes with renewables coming in a big way and pricing of solar energy coming down to 4 cents per unit. There is also a shift in focus to solar, wind, biomass, Electric Vehicles, Hybrid cars etc. He emphasised that the oil Industry is at a delicate cross road and higher crude prices will give a further push to renewables.
  • On the proposed plan of continued production cut by OPEC and non-OPEC countries, Shri Pradhan said that energy security was a full circle while the production cut is an attempt to arrest the slide in prices, however, it also has an inherent chance of under investment and consumer’s needs not being met in the long run, which is not in the interest of a balanced and healthy global oil and gas market.

Ozone2Climate” Technology Roadshow

{Environment}


Source: PIB

  • In a first, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, along with the UN Environment OzonAction’s Compliance Assistance Programme, recently organized an “Ozone2Climate” TechnologyRoadshow, post Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, on the sidelines of the South Asia National Ozone Officers Annual Network Meeting – 2017 in Agra.
  • Over 200 refrigerant technicians, ozone officers, business representatives and government officials attended the Roadshow.

Ozone2Climate technology

  • The Technology Roadshow was organized for the first time as part of the annual network meeting for Ozone Officers of South Asia.
  • The “Ozone2Climate Technology Roadshow” had 13 exhibitors that promoted ozone and climate-friendly alternative technologies to HCFCs and HFCs in the refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) sector.
  • The Technology Roadshow showcased current refrigeration and air conditioning equipment designed to be more energy efficient, hence with a double benefit of saving money for consumers, and with a much lower impact on the environment.

Kigali conference 2016:

  • The negotiations at Kigali were aimed at including Hydrofluoro Carbons (HFCs) in the list of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol with a view to regulate their production and consumption and phase them down over a period of time with financial assistance from the Multilateral Fund created under the Montreal Protocol.
  • The Kigali amendments to the Montreal Protocol will, for the first time, incentivise improvementin energy efficiency in case of use of new refrigerant and technology. Funding for R&D and servicing sector in developing countries has also been included in the agreed solutions on finance.
  • The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is legally binding and will come into force from 1 January 2019Under Kigali Amendment, in all 197 countries, including India have agreed to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.

All signatory countries have been divided into three groups with different timelines to go about reductions of HFCs.

  1. Wealthy, developed countries, such as the United States and the European Union, will start to limit their use of HFCs within a few years and make a cut of at least 10% from 2019.
  2. Rapidly developing countries, including many in Latin America, will freeze their use of HFCs starting in 2024.
  3. Developing countries, specifically India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states, will freeze their use starting in 2028.

Climate Technology Centre and Network

  • The CTCN is the operational arm of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism, hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
  • The Centre promotes the accelerated transfer of environmentally sound technologies for low carbon and climate resilient development at the request of developing countries. We provide technology solutions, capacity building and advice on policy, legal and regulatory frameworks tailored to the needs of individual countries.

SEVA App

{Public Policy}


Source: PIB

The government has launched the Saral Eindhan Vitaran Application (SEVA), developed in-house by Coal India Limited (CIL) for power sector consumers.

Key facts:

  • SEVA is a part of ‘Digital India’ initiative, which is aimed at increasing the Consumer Connect as well as the Transparency and Accountability in Coal dispatch.
  • The SEVA Dashboard provides summary of quantity of coal dispatched along with grades for the given day, month, and the latest yearly updates as well. It also provides information on rake movement including latest status of indents of rake, allotment and loading. This would help consumers making advance logistics planning.
  • The app has a dedicated backend team to monitor the status of specific grievances from consumers and take action on the feedback received on the app. While much of the information on the SEVA Dashboard is available in open access, consumer specific data would be password protected.

 Significance:

  • The consumer friendly mobile app helps in tracking of coal dispatch to 118 Power Plants through Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) of around 500 MT besides, dispatch through Special Forward E-Auction and Bridge Linkage from more than 200 dispatch points spread over eight states of the country.
  • By using this app the common man would be able to hold the Government accountable for the coal linkage allocations and would be able to check any pilferage or inefficiencies in coal consumption for power generation. This would, in turn, lead to rationalization of coal linkages and finally reduction in the power prices in the country. In near future, non-power sector mines would also be added in this App.

Reader titled “Raising Happy Children and Providing Safe Childhoods” released

{Rights Issues}


Source: PIB

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has developed a reader titled “Raising Happy Children and Providing Safe Childhoods”.

Key facts:

  • It provides advisory guidelines to parents, teachers and community to protect children from being involved in delinquent behavior through early detection, counselling and positive engagement.
  • It draws upon basic principles laid down in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 which provides a strong formal framework for dealing with children in conflict with the law throughout the criminal justice process.
  • The reader draws upon good practices across the world which have proved to be successful in keeping children safe and away from delinquent behavior.
  • The reader suggests a broad framework for imbibing positive skills such as conflict resolution and violence prevention to keep them protected and help them achieve their full potential.
  • The reader is divided into three parts wherein part-I is for parents and what they can do to prevent violence and crimes by children, followed by part-II and III for teachers and community members respectively. Each part briefly discusses few major problems that can push children on the wrong side of law, the early signs of this, what can be done to strengthen protection or intervene to reduce risks.

Young children experience their world through their relationships with parents, teachers, peers and other caregivers.  Therefore, there is a need to create a warm, loving and nurturing environment where their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are recognized and honored by their family, school and community so as to allow them to reach their full potential.


Joint Declaration of Intent between Germany and India regarding cooperation in the sector of alternative medicine

{International Relations}


Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has approved the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between Germany and India regarding cooperation in the sector of alternative medicine.

  • The financial resources necessary to conduct research, training courses, conferences / meetings will be met from the existing allocated budget and existing plan schemes of Ministry of AYUSH.
  • The signing of the JDl will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of traditional/alternative medicine. Initiation of collaborative research, training and scientific capacity building in the field of alternative medicine under the JDI between the two countries would contribute to the enhanced employment opportunities in the AYUSH sector.

Cabinet approves phasing out Foreign Investment Promotion Board

{Public Policy}


Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the phasing out of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

  • The proposal entails abolishing the FIPB and allowing administrative Ministries/Departments to process applications for FDI requiring government approval.
  • The FIPB is the inter-ministerial body — or a single window clearance mechanism for applications on foreign direct investment (FDI) in India in sectors under the government approval route.

Significance of this move:

  • Henceforth, the work relating to processing of applications for FDI and approval of the Government thereon under the extant FDI Policy and FEMA, shall now be handled by the concerned Ministries/Departments in consultation with the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion(DIPP), Ministry of Commerce, which will also issue the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for processing of applications and decision of the Government under the extant FDI policy.
  • With this, Foreign Investors will find India more attractive destination and this will result in more inflow of FDI.
  • The move will provide ease of doing business and will help in promoting the principle of Maximum Governance and Minimum Government.

FIPB:

  • The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), housed in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, is an inter-ministerial body, responsible for processing of FDI proposals and making
  • It considers and recommends foreign direct investment (FDI) which does not come under the automatic route.
  • It provides a single window clearance for proposals on FDI in India.

The extant FDI Policy, Press Notes and other related notified guidelines formulated by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry are the bases of the FIPB decisions.


Fund for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs)

{Transport}, {Development and Employment}


Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has accorded its approval to a proposal jointly mooted by the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) for amendment of Central Road Fund Act, 2000 to allocate 2.5% of the proceeds of Central Road Fund (CRF) for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs) and a reduction in the share provided for development of National Highways.

  • In this regard, the Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017 would be moved by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways in the ensuing Monsoon Session, 2017 of the Parliament.

Significance of this move:

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has estimated that approximately Rs. 25,000 crores would be required for development of identified projects on NWs till 2022-23. An allocation of 2.5% of CRF proceeds would provide approximately Rs.2000 crore per annum for the development and maintenance of NWs at existing rates of duties funding the CRF.

Central Road Fund

  • The Central Road Fund was established by the government as per the Central road fund act 2000 to fund the development and maintenance of National Highways, State Highways and Rural roads.
  • In order to mobilise the fund, the Central Road Fund Act 2000 proposed to levy and collect by way of cess, a duty of excise and duty of customs on petrol and high speed diesel oil.
  • The fund is utilised for the development and maintenance of National highways, State roads, Rural roads and for provision of road overbridges/under bridges and other safety features at unmanned Railway Crossings.

Cabinet approves policy for providing preference to ‘Make in India’ in Government procurements

{Public Policy}


Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved a policy for providing preference to ‘Make in India’ in government procurements.

The new policy will give a substantial boost to domestic manufacturing and service provision, thereby creating employment.

Keya facts:

  • It will also stimulate the flow of capital and technology into domestic manufacturing and services.
  • It will also provide a further thrust towards manufacture of parts, components, sub-components etc. of these items, in line with the vision of ‘Make in India’.

Significance of this move:

  • The new policy is the reflection of the Government of India to encourage ‘Make in India’ and promote manufacturing and production of goods and services in India with a view to enhancing income and employment.
  • Procurement by the Government is substantial in amount and can contribute towards this policy objective.
  • Local content can be increased through partnerships, cooperation with local companies, establishing production units in India or Joint Ventures (JV) with Indian suppliers, increasing the participation of local employees in services and by training them.
  • The policy will be implemented through an Order pursuant to Rule 153(iii) of the General Financial Rules, 2017 to provide purchase preference (linked with local content) in Government procurements.
  • Under the policy, preference in Government procurement will be given to local suppliers. Local suppliers are those whose goods or services meet prescribed minimum thresholds (ordinarily 50%) for local content. Local content is essentially domestic value addition.
  • In procurement of goods for Rs. 50 lakhs and less, and where the Nodal Ministry determines that there is sufficient local capacity and local competition, only local suppliers will be eligible.
  • Small purchases of less than Rs.5 lakhs are exempted. The order also covers autonomous bodies, government companies/ entities under the government’s control.
  • The policy also requires that specifications in tenders must not be restrictive e.g. should not require proof of supply in other countries or proof of exports in respect of previous experience. They must not result in unreasonable exclusion of local suppliers who would otherwise be eligible, beyond what is essential for ensuring quality or creditworthiness of the supplier.
  • The policy lays down a procedure for verification of local content relying primarily on self-certification. There will be penal consequences for false declarations. In some cases, verification by statutory / cost auditors etc. will be required.
  • A Standing Committee in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion will oversee the implementation of this order and issues arising therefrom, and make recommendations to Nodal Ministries and procuring entities.
  • The policy has been developed keeping in view the core principles of procurement including competitiveness and adhering to sound procurement practices and execution of orders. The policy would continue to maintain the balance between promoting ‘Make in India’ and ensuring timely, value-for-money products for the procuring entities.

Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

{Disaster management}


Source: PIB

The 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is being held in Cancun, Mexico. The Global Platform is the most important international forum dedicated to the disaster risk reduction agenda, and this will be the first time it has been staged outside Geneva.

The 2017 Global Platform will mark the first opportunity for the international community to review global progress on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which was adopted in Japan in 2015. More than 5,000 participants are expected, including policy makers and disaster risk managers.

Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

  • The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is a biennial forum for information exchange, discussion of latest developments, knowledge and partnership-building across sectors, with the goal of improving implementation of disaster risk reduction through better communication and coordination amongst stakeholders.
  • Its core function is to enable governments, NGOs, scientists, practitioners, and UN organizations to share experience and formulate strategic guidance for the implementation of global disaster risk reduction agreements: the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Action and its post-2015 successor the Sendai Framework.

Sendai Framework:

  • The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.
  • It is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.
  • It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).
  • The Framework is for 15-year. It is a voluntary and non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.
  • The new Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.
  • The implementation of the Sendai Framework involves adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures so as to work towards preventing vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery and strengthen resilience.

The Seven Global Targets:

  • Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
  • Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020 -2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
  • Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.
  • Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.
  • Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.
  • Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030.
  • Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030.

The Four Priorities for Action under the Framework:

  1. Understanding disaster risk.
  2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk.
  3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience.
  4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

National Commission for Women holds Interactive Meeting with State Commissions for Women

{Rights Issues}


Source: PIB

The National Commission for Women recently organised an Interactive Meeting of the State Commissions for Women with a view to strengthening the process of NCW’s networking with State Commissions for Women and to gain from each other’s experience. The meeting was attended by Chairpersons, Members and Member secretaries of various State Commissions for Women.

constitutional-provisions-relating-to-children-and-women

NCW came up with the following recommendations:

  • State Commissions for Women should take up with their respective State Government for setting up of Hostels for girls and women.
  • State Commission should pro-actively coordinate and send feedback on the complaint matters forwarded to them by NCW in the last six months.
  • SCWs may pursue with the state Government on the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment on ban of un-regulated sale of acids with a view to prevent horrific crimes against women specifically acid attacks.

NCW

  • The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990.
  • The primary mandate of the National Commission for Women and State Commissions for Women Commission is to safeguard and protect the interests of women. It has wide responsibility covering almost all aspects of women development.

Indo-Thailand Siam Bharat 17: HADR

{International Relations}


Source: PIB

Indo-Thailand Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Table Top Exercise 2017 is in progress at Chiang Mai, Thailand from 22 May to 26 May 17 between the Indian Air Force and Royal Thailand Air Force (RTAF).

The eleven member IAF contingent is led by Group Captain Sucharu Rai VM. This is second such exercise to be conducted between the two Air Forces.

Objectives:

  • The aim of the bilateral exercise is to evolve SOPs for planning and executing relief missions during unforeseen natural calamities like Tsunami, earthquakes, cyclones, floods etc.
  • The objective is to enhance interoperability between both the Air Forces, while conducting combined air operations triggered by a crisis.
  • The exercise would assist in laying down procedures and establish decision support system at various stages of relief operations.

National Award for Social Understanding and Upliftment of Weaker Sections

{Rights Issues}, {Governance}


Source: PIB

The President of India Shri Pranab Mukharjee presented the “Dr. Ambedkar National Award for Social Understanding and up-liftment of Weaker Sections for the year 2011, 2012 and 2014” at a function.

The function was organized by The Ambedkar’s Foundation under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Key facts:

  • The award was instituted by the Government of India in the year 1992 and is given for outstanding contribution to the promotion of Social Understanding and for the upliftment of the Weaker sections in India.
  • One Award each year is presented to individuals or organizations and is presented jointly or shared by more than one recipient or organization as may be considered by the Jury to be equally deserving of recognition in the year.
  • As per the Code of Procedure of the National Award, one Award each year is presented to individuals or organizations. The Award is presented jointly or shared by more than one recipient or organization as may be considered by the Jury to be equally deserving of recognition in the year. The award consists of a citation and Rs. 10.00 lakh as cash prize.

ATR of DRDO

{Science and Technology}


Source: PIB

  • The Defence Minister Shri Arun Jaitley recently inaugurated the newly built Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) at Chitradurga in Karnataka.
  • It is aimed at creating conditions for research, which will in turn develop the type of human resource in the country required in the field of aeronautical testing. The range will cater to the needs of DRDO for testing of indigenously developed aeronautical systems.
  • The ATR is the first of its kind range in the country exclusively meant to conduct flight-tests of indigenous unmanned and manned aircrafts, developed by the DRDO.
  • This outdoor testing and evaluating facility has been set up by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), one of the premier laboratories of the DRDO.

North Eastern Council

{Governance}


Source: PIB

Plenary of the North Eastern Council was recently held under the chairmanship of Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr. Jitendra Singh.

North Eastern Council:

  1. In 1971, the Indian Central government set up the North Eastern Council by an Act of Parliament. The eight States of North East India viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim, are members of the council, with their respective Chief Ministers and Governors representing them. Sikkim was added to the council in the year 2002.
  2. The headquarters of the council is situated in Shillong and functions under the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region of the (Government of India).
  3. The Council is an advisory body and may discuss any matter in which the North Eastern States have a common interest and advise the Central Government as to the action to be taken on any such matter. This was done so as to take care of the economic and social planning of these states, as well as to provide mediation in the event of inter-State disputes.

International Day of UN Peacekeepers

{International Relations}


Source: PIB

May 29th is the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. The International Day of Peacekeepers serves to honor the memory of UN Peacekeepers who have lost their lives, and pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.

The theme for the 2017 International Day of UN Peacekeepers is “Investing in Peace Around the World”.

UN Peacekeeping

  • United Nations Peacekeeping was created in 1948. Its first mission involved the establishment of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO),which served to observe and maintain ceasefire during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
  • UN Peacekeeping maintains three basic principles: Consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of Force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
  • The UN Peacekeepers are led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DKPO).
  • There are currently 17 UN peace operations deployed on four continents.
  • UN Peacekeepers are from diverse backgrounds, from areas all around the world. They include police, military and civilian personnel. They are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets.
  • The UN Peacekeeping Force won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.
  • The United Nations Charter gives the United Nations Security Council the power and responsibility to take collective action to maintain international peace and security. For this reason, the international community usually looks to the Security Council to authorize peacekeeping operations.

Important Decision of NCST

{Rights Issues}


Source: PIB

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has asked the Department of Personnel and Training to constitute a committee having minimum of two members from ST community to investigate any matter requiring penalty on employees belonging to Scheduled Tribes community.

  • As per the recommendations of the commission if ST officers are not available in the Department or Ministry then ST officers from other Departments may be included in the committee.
  • The commission has also asked the Department of Personnel and Training to issue instructions to all Departments and Ministries so that they take necessary action on the recommendations of NCST. If the Department face any problem than before approaching the High Court they should take permission of the concerned Ministry.

NCST:

  • NCST was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).
  • The term of office of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and each member is three years from the date of assumption of charge. The Chairperson has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister and the Vice-Chairperson that of a Minister of State and other Members have the ranks of a Secretary to the Government of India.
  • NCST is empowered to investigate and monitor matters relating to safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Govt. order. The Commission is also authorized to inquire into specific complaints relating to rights and safeguards of STs and to participate and advise in the Planning Process relating to socio-economic development of STs and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and States.
  • The commission submits its report to the President annually on the working of safeguards and measures required for effective implementation of Programmers/ Schemes relating to welfare and socio-economic development of STs.

International Comparison Programme (ICP)

{Global groupings}, {International Relations}


Source: PIB

India is participating in the current phase of International Comparison Programme (ICP) with reference to 2017.

International Comparison Programme

  • The ICP is a worldwide statistical initiative led by the World Bankunder the auspices of the United Nations Statistical Commission, with the main objective of providing comparable price and volume measures of gross domestic product (GDP) and its expenditure aggregates among countries within and across regions. Through a partnership with international, regional, sub-regional and national agencies, the ICP collects and compares price data and GDP expenditures to estimate and publish purchasing power parities (PPPs) of the world’s economies.
  • In India, Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MOSPI) will take up the price collection work in rural and urban areas shortly all over the country.

PPPs

  • PPPs measure the total amount of goods and services that a single unit of a country’s currency can buy in another country.
  • The PPP between countries A and B measures the number of units of country A’s currency required to purchase a basket of goods or services in country A as compared to one unit of country B’s currency to purchase a similar basket of goods in country B. PPPs can thus be used to convert the cost of a basket of goods and service into a common currency while eliminating price level differences across countries. In other words, PPPs equalize the purchasing power of currencies. Due to large differences in price levels across economies, market exchange rate- converted GDP does not accurately measure the relative sizes of economies and the levels of material well-being. PPPs make it possible to compare the output of economies and the welfare of their inhabitants in ‘real’ terms, thus controlling for price level differences across countries.

Uses of PPPs:

  • Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals (United Nations).
  • Human Development Index (United Nations Development Programme).
  • Poverty rates at international poverty line, size of the economy, and price levels in the World Development Indicators (World Bank).
  • Country group aggregates and growth rates in the World Economic Outlook and country quota formula (International Monetary Fund).
  • Allocation of the European structural and investment funds (European Union).

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) sign $100 million loan to finance Solar Rooftop projects. (Not World Bank):

{Banking Sector}, {Sustainable Development}


Source: PIB

This is the first tranche loan of the $500 million multi tranche finance facility Solar Rooftop Investment Program (SRIP)

India’s solar rooftop market expanding fast with an estimated total capacity potential of 124 GW.

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Punjab National Bank (PNB) yesterday signed a $100 million loan — to be guaranteed by the Government of India— that will finance large solar rooftop systems on industrial and commercial buildings throughout India. The PNB will use the ADB funds to make further loans to various developers and end users to install rooftop solar systems.

Target:

  • This is the first tranche loan of the $500 million multi tranche finance facility Solar Rooftop Investment Program (SRIP) approved by ADB in 2016.The financing includes $330 million from ADB’s ordinary capital resources and $170 million from the multi donor Clean Technology Fund (CTF) administered by ADB. The first tranche loan of $100 million would be financed entirely from the CTF.
  • The project is aligned with the goal set by Government of India to increase the country’s solar rooftop capacity by 40 GW by 2022, and would also contribute to Government’s efforts to promote solar energy solutions as affordable and sustainable energy sources.
  • The entire Solar Rooftop Investment Program will cost $1 billion, inclusive of ADB $500 million funding, and the projects financed under the program will install solar rooftop system of around 1 GW capacity.
  • This will contribute to the climate change goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 11 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over the typical 25-year lifetime of rooftop solar systems.

The program will contribute to the government’s plans to increase solar power generation capacity, and also help India meet the carbon emission reduction target in line with its commitment at the recent global climate change agreement.” India’s solar rooftop market is expanding fast with an estimated total capacity potential of 124GW.


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