PIB Weekly Analysis

Compilation of PIB News Articles

GS PAPER 2

Vice President urges world community to work unitedly to root out terrorism

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora. 

In news 

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called upon the world community to work together to completely root out terrorism and promote a peaceful global order.

Speaking at the valedictory session of a national conference on ‘India-Africa Partnership in a Changing Global Order--Priorities, Prospects and Challenges’, organized by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA)  in New Delhi, he said that terrorism is the enemy of humanity and must be eliminated.

Key points from the Vice President’s speech:

  • Peace is the prerequisite for progress, he asserted that India believed in peaceful relations with all countries, including one of its neighbours provided they did not interfere in the internal affairs of the country.
  • He called for enlarging and democratizing the United Nations Security Council, while pointing out that India represented one-sixth of the global population. 
  • India and Africa have common interests in issues such as UN Security Council reforms, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping and cybersecurity.
  • India would stand with Africa for a just, representative and democratic global order to provide a voice for one-third of the humanity that lives in Africa and India.
  • India and African nations have always been natural partners in civilization, culture, and progress, he said that they were forged by a strong bond of long traditions of friendship, civilizational contacts, historical goodwill, shared experiences, mutuality of worldviews and interests.
  • Africa’s support played a decisive role in making the Non- Aligned Movement initiated by India, Yugoslavia, and Egypt into a powerful voice of the developing world.
  • The sense of solidarity and unity formed during the Cold War days continues to drive the India-Africa relations to this date.

India and African relations:

  • India Africa development partnership model seeks mutual benefits through a consultative process, that it was responsive to the needs and priorities of African countries. 
  • Both India and Africa have vital stakes in each other’s progress, peace, and prosperity.
  • India’s development initiatives including capacity building and human resource development under ITEC, Lines of Credit and Grant Assistance to Africa made it a close partner of Africa in its socio-economic transformation.
  • Africa has been accorded a very high priority in India’s foreign policy. While articulating our Africa policy in 10 broad guiding principles.

Some key areas that have been highlighted as high priority in India’s Africa-outreach. 

  • Our development partnership would be guided by African priorities and agendas. It will be on terms that are comfortable to Africa; that will liberate Africa’s potential and not constrain their future.
  • India, with its vast experience with the digital revolution would certainly support Africa’s development; improve delivery of public services; extend education and health; spread digital literacy; expand financial inclusion; and mainstream the marginalized.
  • India will also work with Africa to improve agriculture as Africa has 60% of the world’s arable land, but produces just 10% of the global output.
  • India and Africa fought colonialism together. Both regions have experienced the exploitation and subsequent ruination associated with colonialism. India will therefore work together for a just, representative and democratic global order that has a voice for one-third of humanity that lives in Africa and India.

As India strengthens and intensifies its engagement with Africa, the need to promote a better understanding on India-African relations and Indian perspective on African Affairs, becomes even more important.

India on its part has initiated a series of policy interventions like:

  • TEAM 9 initiative
  • Focus Africa Programme
  • India Africa Forums Summit process

To strengthen and diversify India’s the engagement with African states.

The (Indian Council of World Affairs) conference explored five most important themes in India-Africa relation:

  • Governance and Geopolitics
  • Economic and Development Cooperation
  • Diaspora Relations
  • Common Security Challenges
  • Media, Culture and Education exchange
  • Promotion of African studies in India.

India and Africa have always been natural partners in civilization, culture and progress. The bonding has been forged by long traditions of friendship, civilizational contacts, historical goodwill, shared experiences, mutuality of worldviews and interests.

Why Africa is important for India?

  • India’s rise as a significant economic and global player which aspires to be a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 as outlined in  the Economic Survey-2019  and Africa’s rapid economic growth and its desire to take charge of its own destiny, as outlined in its Agenda 2063 are factors that are shaping the contemporary relationship.
  • Africa’s priorities and commitments to its seven aspirations are in line with India’s 10 broad guiding principles of its engagement with Africa.
  • Today Africa is poised to be a significant growth engine in the global economy.  It is a continent that holds immense opportunity given its rising economic growth and, education standards; quest for democracy; pursuit for regional integration, relentless efforts to mitigate conflict and address security threats; abundance of natural resources and fastest growing youth population and human capital.
  • Our interactions with Africa in recent years have acquired vibrancy and dynamism.
  • There has been unprecedented intensification of our political engagement with Africa with 32 high-level visits to African countries apart from several Ministerial visits; and in addition and we have hosted over 36 leaders from Africa since the third India-Africa Forum Summit held in 2015.
  • India has already opened 6 of the 18 additional Missions in Africa to increase its diplomatic outreach in Africa. This focus will further strengthen in the years ahead.
  • Africa has become an important trade and investment partner for us. Our bilateral trade stood at USD 62.66 billion in 2017 - 2018, and cumulative investments in Africa amounting to US$54 billion, making India the fourth-largest investor in Africa. However there remains great uncharted potential to be explored.
  • We view the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world, as yet another opportunity to boost trade and economic ties with Africa.
  • Our model of development partnership seeks mutual benefits through a consultative process and is responsive to the needs and priorities of African countries.
  • Towards this end, our development initiatives including capacity building and human resource development under ITEC, Lines of Credit and Grant Assistance has made India a close partner of Africa in its socio-economic transformation.
  • We have vital stakes in each other’s progress, peace and prosperity.

MAINS QUESTIONS

Africa has been an important geostrategic location which connects both the west and the east. How important is Africa to India and what are the government steps to strengthen the relations? (15 marks)


Steps taken to implement the Institutions of Eminence (IoE) Scheme

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

In news:

The Ministry of HRD has taken various steps to implement the scheme of Institutions of Eminence (IoEs). 

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, on the advice of UGC and the Empowered Expert Committee issued orders to 5 public Universities conveying their declaration as Institutions of Eminence (IoE).

  • IIT Madras
  • Banaras Hindu University
  • IIT Kharagpur
  • University of Delhi
  • University of Hyderabad. 

The 3 Public Institutions were declared IoEs, while the 3 private institutions were issued Letters of Intent.  Till date we have 16 institutions as IoEs, apart from which  another 4 institutions where State Government’s confirmation and commitment is awaited.

Benefits of Institutions of Eminence:

  • Government Institutions to get additional funding upto 1000 Cr.
  • The selected Institutions under IoE shall have complete academic and administrative autonomy.
  • The Institutions of Eminence will have complete financial autonomy to spend the resources raised and allocated, subject to general conditions & restrictions of the Statutes and GFR.
  • Academic collaborations with foreign higher educational institutions (in top 500) would be exempt from government approvals.
  • Freedom to hire personnel from industry, etc, as faculty who are experts in their areasbut may not have the requisite higher academic qualifications.
  • Freedom to recruit faculty from outside India (limit of 25% of its faculty strength for public institution).
  • Freedom to enter into academic collaborations with other Institutions within the country.
  • Freedom to have own transparent merit based system for admission of students.
  • Freedom to admit additionally foreign students on merit subject to a maximum of 30% of the strength of admitted domestic students.
  • Freedom to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction.
  • Freedom to determine the domestic student fees, subject to the condition that no student who gets selected admission is turned away for lack of finance. Every Institute to encourage scholarships and extension of loans facility.
  • Freedom to offer courses within a program as well as to offer degrees in newer areas, including inter-disciplinary ones, after approval of its Governing Council and conforming to the minimum prevailing standards. 
  • Freedom to have the flexibility of course structure in terms of number of credit hours and years to take a degree, after approval of their Governing Council and conforming to the minimum prevailing standards.
  • Flexibility in fixing of curriculum and syllabus, with no UGC mandated curriculum structure.
  • Freedom to offer online courses as part of their programmes with a restriction that not more than 20% of the programme should be in online mode. Certificate courses can entirely be through online mode.
  • Students enrolment capacity to be 10,000 in 15 years. 
  • Faculty Student Ratio should be 1:20 at the time of Notification and should increase to 1:10 in five years.
  • UGC Inspection shall not apply to Institutions of Eminence.


6th India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue September 2019

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

In news 

The 6th India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) will be held in New Delhi September 2019. 

About:

The Dialogue will comprise of round table meetings of Joint Working Groups (JWG) on:

  • Infrastructure
  • Energy
  • High-Tech
  • Resource Conservation
  • Pharmaceuticals

Background:

Set up between erstwhile Planning Commission and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to India in December 2010, the SED has since then served as an effective mechanism for enhancing bilateral practical cooperation. 

NITI Aayog after its formation has taken the Dialogue forward giving it a greater momentum. Under the aegis of the SED, senior representatives from both sides come together to constructively deliberate on and share individual best practices and successfully identify sector-specific challenges and opportunities for enabling ease of doing business and facilitating bilateral trade and investment flows.

Six standing Joint Working Groups with Co-Chairs (of the rank of Joint Secretary and above) are appointed by both sides to address pertinent economic and commercial issues across infrastructure, energy, high-tech, resource conservation, pharmaceuticals and policy coordination in a structured and outcome-oriented manner by ensuring regular interaction and continued exchanges between respective counterparts.

Structure:

  • NITI Aayog (earlier Planning Commission) on the Indian side and National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) on the Chinese side lead the SED Mechanism wherein an annual Dialogue is held annually alternately at the capital cities of the two countries. 
  • At the 2nd SED which was held in November 2012  at New Delhi, it was decided to constitute 5 standing Joint Working Groups (JWGs) on Policy Coordination, Infrastructure, Environment, Energy, and High Technology under the SED for strengthening cooperation in these fields. 
  • A 6th Joint Working Group on Pharmaceuticals has also been constituted after the 5thSED.

5th Strategic Economic Dialogue:

The 5th SED was held in Beijing in April 2018 right before the informal Wuhan Summit between the leaders of the two countries. 

Focused deliberations around the global macroeconomic scenario along with detailed discussions centred on the progress made by the Joint Working Groups and identifying potential areas of mutual cooperation were taken up at the Dialogue. Alluding to the immense potential of bilateral cooperation in the Pharma sector, the Indian side made a representation to constitute a Joint Working Group on Pharmaceuticals to constructively address market access and related issues under the SED umbrella. The JWG on Pharmaceuticals has since been constituted and its first Meeting was held in May at Beijing this year.


GS PAPER 3

Cabinet approves revision of ethanol price for supply to Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies for procurement of ethanol

Topic:  Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Infrastructure: Energy 

In news:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister has given its approval for the following, including fixing higher ethanol price derived from different raw materials under the EBP Programme for the forthcoming sugar season 2019-20 during ethanol supply year from 1st December 2019 to 30th November 2020:

  • The price of ethanol from C heavy molasses route be increased from Rs.43.46 per lit to Rs.43.75 per litre,
  • The price of ethanol from B heavy molasses route be increased from Rs.52.43 per lit to Rs.54.27 per litre,
  • The price of ethanol from sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup route be fixed at Rs.59.48 per litre,
  • Additionally, GST and transportation charges will also be payable. OMCs have been advised to fix realistic transportation charges so that long distance transportation of ethanol is not disincentivised.

OMCs are advised to continue according priority of ethanol from:

  • Sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup
  • B heavy molasses
  • C heavy molasses
  • Damaged Food grains/other sources

Background and Facts:

  • Government has been implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%. 
  • This programme has been extended to whole of India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 01st April, 2019 to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels. 
  • This intervention also seeks to reduce import dependence for energy requirements and give boost to agriculture sector.
  • Government has notified administered price of ethanol since 2014. For the first time during 2018, differential price of ethanol based on raw material utilized for ethanol production was announced by the Government. 
  • These decisions have significantly improved the supply of ethanol thereby ethanol procurement by Public Sector OMCs has increased from 38 crore litre in ethanol supply year 2013-14 to estimated over 200 crore litre in 2018-19.
  • Consistent surplus of sugar production is depressing sugar price. Consequently, sugarcane farmer’s dues have increased due to lower capability of sugar industry to pay the farmers. Government has taken many decisions for reduction of cane farmer’s dues.
  • With a view to limit sugar production in the Country and to increase domestic production of ethanol, Government has taken multiple steps including, allowing diversion of B heavy molasses and sugarcane juice for ethanol production. 
  • As the ex-mill price of sugar and conversion cost have undergone changes, there is a need to revise the ex-mill price of ethanol derived from different sugarcane based raw materials. There is also a demand from the industry to include sugar and sugar syrup for ethanol production to help in solving the problem of inventory and liquidity with the sugar mills.

Major benefits:

  • All distilleries will be able to take benefit of the scheme and large number of them are expected to supply ethanol for the EBP programme. 
  • Remunerative price to ethanol suppliers will help in reduction of cane farmer’s arrears, in the process contributing to minimizing difficulty of sugarcane farmers.
  • Ethanol availability for EBP Programme is expected to increase significantly due to higher price being offered for procurement of ethanol from all the sugarcane based routes, subsuming “partial sugarcane juice route” and “100% sugarcane juice route” under “sugarcane juice route” and for the first time allowing sugar and sugar syrup for ethanol production. 

Increased ethanol blending in petrol has many benefits including:

  • Reduction in import dependency
  • Support to agricultural sector
  • More environmental friendly fuel
  • Lesser pollution
  • Additional income to farmers.


Scheduling irrigation, constructive use of water, proper crop selection and utilising modern irrigation technologies will enhance water security

Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce issues and related constraints

In news

Highlighting the efforts of ICAR in scientific water management in line with the Jal Shakti Abhiyan Secretary DARE said that measures like scheduling irrigation, constructive use of water, proper crop selection and utilising modern irrigation technologies are some major aspects which will enhance water security ensuring a high agricultural productivity. 

Background:

  • India with a geographical area of 328 M ha supports more than 18% of the world’s population, but has only 4.2% of freshwater resources. 
  • The country receives annual precipitation (including snowfall) of almost 4000 billion cubic meter (BCM), which results into estimated average water potential of 1869 BCM. 
  • Per capita annual water availability has declined from 5177 m3 in 1951 to 1508 mby 2014 and likely to reduce further to 1465 m3 and 1235 m3 by 2025 and 2050, respectively. 
  • The situation may further deteriorate, if anticipated impact of climate change on hydrology and water resources are also considered.

The benefits of several water conservation methods:

  • 35-40% water could be saved and 20-25% reduction in fertilizer use could be ensured by scheduling of irrigation. 
  • Moisture sensors and automated irrigation systems which can be controlled by a farmer using mobile phone will help in deciding the time and amount of irrigation to be carried out. 
  • Constructive use of water, which includes use of recycled water and proper selection of crops, also helps in enhancing water security. 
  • Alternatives like cultivation of Fruits, Millets, Bajra and selection of proper varieties of crops also ensure constructive utilisation of water. 
  • Using Bio mulch and Hydro Gels which ensures slow release of water and utilising microbes that help in efficient absorption of water shall help in further ensuring reduced and proper utilisation of water in agriculture.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

The objectives of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY): 

  • District Irrigation Plans has been prepared by the respective states based on the technical support from ICAR for implementation under PMKSY so that the slogan Har khet ko pani may be translated into reality. 
  • ICAR also contributed in preparing State Specific Action Plan for water sector for scientific assessment of the supply and demand side of water resources and vulnerability to climate change under National Water Mission. 
  • It will help to formulate annual State/UT Water Budgets and hence, allocation and efficient utilization of available water resources.

Facts and background of groundwater usage:

  • Steps are being taken by Government in ensuring that the groundwater usage for irrigation is reduced. 
  • Water is the critical input of agriculture and about 80% of the current water use is drawn by agriculture. 
  • Out of 140 million ha of net sown area in the country, net irrigated area accounts about 68.38 million ha (48.8%) and remaining 51.2% is under rainfed. 
  • Out of the net irrigated area, about 40% is irrigated through canal systems and 60% is irrigated through groundwater. 
  • An important challenge facing the irrigation sector in India is the growing gap between Irrigation Potential Created (IPC) and Irrigation Potential Utilized (IPU), and uneven distribution of water over the length of the canal system. 
  • The overall irrigation efficiency of the major and medium irrigation projects is estimated to be around 38%. 
  • The efficiency of surface irrigation system can be improved from about 35-40% to around 50-60% and that of groundwater from about 65-70% to 72-75%.

The major challenges being faced in the canal commands are:

  • Low irrigation efficiency (35-40%)
  • Inequity in water distribution
  • Mismatch between irrigation water supply and crop water demand
  • Tail enders deprivation
  • Irrigation induced salinity and waterlogging

The groundwater irrigated command faces problems like:

  • Indiscriminate withdrawal of groundwater has resulted in decline of groundwater table in North-Western and Southern regions. 
  • The groundwater development in the Eastern region is sub-optimal. 
  • The stage of groundwater development in India is 63.3%. 
  • However, it is 166%, 140%, 137% and 120% in states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi, respectively, which has serious negative consequences.

MAINS QUESTION

Government has recently launched Jal Shakti Abhiyan. How far is important in the present context and write down the steps taken. (10 marks)


Points to be noted down for prelims

4th General Assembly of Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) 

  • The Election Commission of India has scheduled to host the 4th General Assembly of Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) at Bengaluru.  
  • India will take over as A-WEB’s Chair for the 2019-21 term. 
  • The Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) is the largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide. 
  • A-WEB was established on October 14, 2013 in Song-doSouth Korea
  • The permanent secretariat of A-WEB is located at Seoul
  • A-WEB’s vision is to foster efficiency and effectiveness in conducting free, fair, transparent and participative elections worldwide. 
  • Its activities are guided by its mission to identify latest trends, challenges and developments in democratic electoral management and electoral processes and to facilitate appropriate exchange of experience and expertise among members with the objective of strengthening electoral democracy worldwide.
  • At present A-WEB has 115 EMBs as Members & 20 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members. 
  • A-WEB was founded with the shared vision among its members of achieving sustainable democracy around the world. 
  • A-WEB aims at strengthening the processes of election management in member countries.  

India takes over COP Presidency from China for next two years

  • Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC and Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)jointly inaugurated the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to UNCCD at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida. 
  • Addressing the Inaugural session of the Conference, the Environment Minister who is also the elected COP President for next two years, expressed India’s resounding commitment to finding a long-term solution for minimizing the impact of desertification and land degradation. 
  • 2019 India being the global host for COP 14 will take over the COP Presidency from China for the next two years till 2021. 
  • India is privileged to be among the select few countries to have hosted the COP of all three Rio conventions on climate change, biodiversity and land. 
  • Through hosting COP 14, India will highlight its leadership in navigating the land management agenda at global level. 
  • It will also provide a stage to mainstream sustainable land management in country’s national development policies”.
  • The key outcomes of COP 14 will facilitate in delivering convergence and synergies among the existing programmes in the field of agriculture, forestry, land, water management and poverty alleviation, which will cater the need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and focused vision of our  Hon’blePrime Minister’s agenda of “Doubling the Farmer’s Income by 2022”.

UNCCD

  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994 and ratified by 196 countries & European Union. 
  • India ratified the UNCCD Convention on 17th December 1996. 
  • This convention can be called as “Mother convention” of the other two Rio Conventions that emerged as a major outcome of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit viz. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • The objective of the COP 14, accompanied with fourteenth meeting of Committee on Science and Technology (CST 14) and eighteenth meeting of Committee to Review the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 18), is to discuss on various issues of land:
  • Sustainable land management
  • Reversing land degradation
  • Mitigating drought
  • Halting desertification
  • Addressing sand and dust storms
  • Linkages with gender and tenure
  • Guide the Convention as global and national circumstances needs change.

KVIC Launches ‘Terracotta Grinder’ at Varanasi to Re-use wasted pottery

  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched a first ever ‘Terracotta Grinder’ at Sewapuri in Varanasi. 
  • The machine will grind the wasted and broken pottery items for re-using in pottery-making.
  • Earlier the wasted pottery items were grinded in normal khal-musal (mortar and pestle) and its fine powder was mixed with the normal clay. 
  • Mixing this powder in stipulated ratio to normal clay makes the resulting pottery items stronger.  
  • This Terracotta grinder will make grinding of wasted pottery items faster than the traditional mortar and pestle. 
  • It will lessen the cost of production, and will also help in solving the problem of shortage of clays. 
  • By mixing 20 percent of this wasted terracotta powder, the potter will make a saving of at least Rs 520.  
  • This will also create more job opportunities in the villages. 
  • The grinder was designed by KVIC Chairman, and fabricated by a Rajkot-based engineering unit.  
  • The machine will be a boon for potters as Union Minister of MSME has proposed to introduce kulhads and other terracotta products at 400 prominent railway stations. The proposal is under active consideration of the Railways.
  • KVIC, as part of its commitment to Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, had also started manufacturing of plastic-mixed handmade paper at Kumarappa National Handmade Paper Institute (KNHPI), a KVIC unit in Jaipur under its project REPLAN (REducing PLAstic in Nature). 
  • In this project, the waste plastic is collected, cleaned, chopped, beaten and treated for softness. After that, it is mixed with the paper raw material i.e. cotton rags pulp in a ratio of 80 % (pulp) and 20% (plastic waste). The institute has sold over six lakh handmade plastic mixed carry bags since September 2018.

India announces contribution of 22 mn USD to GFTAM for 6th replenishment cycle

  • India has announced a contribution of 22 million US Dollars to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFTAM) for the 6th replenishment cycle (2020-22), an increase of 10% over the amount contributed by us in the 5th cycle.
  • “India stands firm to its long-standing partnership with the Global Fund and its commitment to eliminate AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria”. 
  • India’s pledge for the Global Fund strongly demonstrates its strong political leadership to achieve the universal health for all and its equally strong commitment to work across borders to join hands in fighting the epidemics of these three diseases”.
  • India was the first implementing country to host a replenishment milestone of the Global Fund and now has become first among G20, BRICS and implementer countries to announce the pledge for the 6th Replenishment Conference, setting precedent for other donors to contribute generously for the cause.  
  • India has inched a step closer in this direction by stepping up the Global Fund efforts to strengthen health systems and save 16 million more lives across the globe.

Partnership between India and Global Fund

  • India shares a sustained partnership with the Global Fund since 2002 both as recipient and as a donor. 
  • Global Fund support with investment of US $ 2.0 billion so far has made significant contribution in attaining targets related to HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria reduction and escalating our fight against these three diseases. 
  • In the current funding cycle (2018-21), the Global Fund has allocated US$ 500 million to India. As a donor, India has contributed US$ 46.5 million so far till 2019 including US$ 20 million for the 5th Replenishment.


NYKS to Prepare Disaster Response Teams for Disaster Risk Reduction 

  • Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) under Department of Youth Affairs of MoYAS has taken up an initiative on preparing Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) of NYKS Youth Volunteers for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in collaboration with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). 
  • It is proposed to establish institutional mechanism for organized and structured engagement of NYKS by creating Block Level Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) of volunteers as first responders in NDRF selected hazard prone districts. 
  • It is also proposed to cover such districts in India in a phased manner in collaboration with NDRF, State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMA) and District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA).
  • Any disaster requires a quick response to save lives, contain the damage and prevent any secondary disasters. 
  • Affected community is always the “First Responder”. In most instances, this takes place spontaneously, outside any organized setting. 
  • Volunteers from the community play a vital role in immediate response to any disaster. National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force and other organised services including police, fire services etc. take some time to reach the disaster sites.  
  • Initially, institutional mechanism for organized and structured engagement of NYKS by creating Block Level Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) of volunteers as first responders is going to be on a pilot basis in 32 multi-hazard Districts of 28 States/UTs. Further, 295 blocks have been selected in districts across India. 
  • A comprehensive course has been prepared by NDRF including topics like Basic Search and Rescue, patient assessment, BLS & CPR, Snake Biting, Fire safety, group exercises, etc. 
  • The training will consist of both theoretical and practical sessions so as to build the capacity and confidence of volunteers to act as first responders to a disaster in their respective area. 
  • Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan is the largest grassroot level youth organization, of its kind in the world. 
  • It channelizes the power of youth on the principles of voluntarism, self-help and community participation. 
  • Over the years, NYKS has established a network of youth volunteers through its 623 District Kendras. 
  • It has played a major role in implementing various flagship schemes of the Government.

Commerce & Industry Minister to attend 7th RCEP Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok from 8-10 September 2019

  • Union Minister of Commerce & Industry will attend the 7th RCEP Ministerial Meeting, 16th ASEAN India Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting and the 7th East Asia Economic Ministers Summit being held in Bangkok September 2019.  
  • The meetings will be   attended by Economic Ministers and senior leaders of ten ASEAN member countries and eight East Asia Summit (EAS) countries.
  • Engagement with ASEAN is at the core of India’s ‘Act East’ policy. 
  • ASEAN is the gateway to the Indian Ocean region and as close partners, there is convergence of views in India’s and ASEAN outlook in the region.
  • Trade and investment relations between India and ASEAN continue to show remarkable growth. 
  • India’s bilateral trade jumped threefold from USD 21 billion in 2005-06 to USD 96.7 billion in 2018-19.  
  • ASEAN countries together have emerged as the largest trading partner of India in 2018-19 (followed by USA), with a share of 11.47 % in India’s overall trade, while India was ASEAN’s sixth largest trading partner in 2018.
  • Investment flows are also substantial both ways.   
  • The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into India from ASEAN between April 2018 to March 2019 was about USD 16.41 billion which is approximately 36.98 % of total FDI flow into India. 
  • FDI inflows from India to ASEAN in 20018 amounted to USD 1.7 billion, placing India as ASEAN’s sixth largest source of FDI. 
  • The EAS meeting will discuss regional and global economic developments and ASEAN’s outlook on the Indo-Pacific regions. Matters related to promotion of trade and investment among the partner countries will also be discussed in the India ASEAN AEM and EAS-EMM meetings.

Opening Ceremony Exercise Yudh Abhyas - 2019

  • Exercise Yudh Abhyas - 2019, a joint military exercise between Indian and US armies
  • It is held at Joint Base Lewis MC Chord, Washington, USA.
  • Inaugural remarks highlighted the common shared beliefs of democracy, freedom, equality and justice that are precious to both nations.
  • Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in UN peace keeping operations.
  • Experts from both sides will also hold detailed discussions to share their experience on varied topics for mutual benefit.

28TH Indo–Thai CORPAT

  • 28th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is being conducted from 05 – 15 September 2019. 
  • Indian Naval (IN) Ship Kesari and His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi along with Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both the navies are participating in the CORPAT.
  • IN ships and aircraft of Andaman and Nicobar Command have been participating in the biannual Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) with the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) since 2003. 
  • The Objectives of the Indo-Thai CORPAT are to ensure effective implementation of United Nations Conventions on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) which specify regulations regarding protection and conservation of natural resources, conservation of marine environment, prevention and suppression of illegal, unregulated fishing activity/ drug trafficking/ piracy, exchange of information in prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration and conduct of Search and Rescue operations at sea.
  • The 28th cycle of Indo-Thai CORPAT is poised to further enhance strong bilateral ties and maritime cooperation between India and Thailand. 
  • The CORPAT is truly reflective of the strong desire for a peaceful Indian Ocean safeguarded through good maritime order in the region.