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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 26th Sep to 2nd Oct, 2016

  • October 4, 2016
  • 2
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis
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GS-2

 

3rd India and Canada Annual Ministerial Dialogue

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

About- A high level delegation led by Commerce and Industry Minister is attending 3rd Annual Ministerial Dialogue scheduled on 29th September, 2016 at Toronto, Canada.

Significance-

  • It is recognised that India and Canada have enormous scope for enhanced bilateral trade relations but, the bilateral trade between the two countries has not been up to the potential.
  • Both sides recognized the immense potential and mutual interest in promoting trade.
  • PM of India, during his historic bilateral visit to Canada in April 2015, stressed the importance of bilateral business and commercial linkages as key drivers of India-Canada partnership.

Both the nations recognised the need for-

Early finalisation of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) and expeditiously conclude a progressive, balanced, and mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), as a basis for expanding two-way trade and investment.

Issues discussed- 

  • Exploring ways of expeditious early conclusion of FIFA and CEPA
  • Exploring options for Indian interest in addressing the Temporary Foreign Workers Programmes (TWEP) of Canada which is affecting the Indian IT Industry; address equivalance by Canadian Food Inspection Agency for Indian organic product exports; and exploring investment opportunities in different sectors of India.
  • Both leaders are expected to discuss regarding recent commercial achievments between both countries, bilateral FDI flows, issues relating to intellectual property, etc in addition to other issues relating to trade and investment.

 

14th ASEAN-India Summit and 11th East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Lao PDR (September 08, 2016)

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

About- PM will attend the 14th ASEAN-India Summit and the 11th East Asia Summit to be held in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 8 September 2016.

Participants- Summits will be attended by Heads of State/Government of the 10 ASEAN and 18 East Asia Summit Participating Countries respectively. In the margins, PM will also hold bilateral meetings with several leaders.

Highlights-

  • At the 14th ASEAN-India Summit, PM and ASEAN Leaders will review ASEAN-India cooperation and discuss its future direction under each of the three pillars of politico-security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation.
  • They will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest and concern. 2017 will mark 25 years of India’s dialogue partnership with ASEAN, to celebrate which a number of commemorative activities will also be announced by Prime Minister.

India and ASEAN-

  • ASEAN is a strategic partner of India since 2012.
  • India and ASEAN have 30 dialogue mechanisms which meet regularly, including a Summit and 7 Ministerial meetings in Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Tourism, Agriculture, Environment, Renewable Energy and Telecommunications.

Trade between India and ASEAN-

  • Trade between India and ASEAN stood at US$ 65.04 billion in 2015-16 and comprises 10.12% of India’s total trade with the world.
  • ASEAN-India economic integration process has got a fillip with the creation of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area in July 2015, following the entry into force of the ASEAN-India Trade in Services and Investment Agreements.
  • Conclusion of a balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will further boost our trade and investment ties with the region.

East Asia Summit

  • East Asia Summit is the premier leaders-led forum in the Asia-Pacific. Since its inception in 2005, it has played a significant role in the strategic, geopolitical and economic evolution of East Asia.
  • Apart from the 10 ASEAN Member states, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia.
  • India, being a founding member of the East Asia Summit, is committed to strengthening the East Asia Summit and making it more effective for dealing with contemporary challenges.

Highlights of East Asia Summit- 

  • At the 11th East Asia Summit, Leaders will discuss matters of regional and international interest and concern including maritime security, terrorism, non-proliferation, irregular migration, etc.
  • Three statements/declarations are expected to be adopted at the EAS, viz. the Vientiane Declaration on Promoting Infrastructure Development Cooperation in East Asia; an EAS Declaration on Strengthening Responses to Migrants in Crisis and Trafficking in Persons; and an EAS Statement on Non-Proliferation.
  • A Joint Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations is expected to be adopted at a separate ceremony after the EAS.

 

 

President to present ‘Vayoshreshtha Samman’ To older persons & institutions on International Day of Older Persons

(Topic: Social justice and empowerment)

About- President of India will present the National Awards for Senior Citizens “Vayoshreshtha Samman-2016” to eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their service towards the cause of elderly persons especially indigent senior citizens at a function organized by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment on 1st October, 2016 (Saturday) in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

Awards are presented as part of– Celebration of the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) on 1st October.

Objective-

  • National Awards are intended to show case the Government’s concern for senior citizens and its commitment towards them with the aim of strengthening their legitimate place in the society.
  • It is also intended to provide an opportunity to the younger generation to understand the contribution of the elderly in building of the society and the nation.

Awards given to-

  • The recipients are drawn from diverse fields.
  • Awards are given to institutions/organisations/individuals from any part of the country. Nominations are invited from Governmental and Non-Governmental Agencies

Vayoshreshtha Samman

  • It is a Scheme of National Awards instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (D/o Social Justice & Empowerment) initially in 2005 and was upgraded to the status of National Awards in 2013, for institutions involved in rendering distinguished service for the cause of elderly persons especially indigent senior citizens and to eminent citizens in recognition of their service/achievements.
  • “Vayoshrestha Samman” was elevated to the level of national awards in 2013 under 13 categories and this is the second year in which these national awards are being conferred.

International Day of Older Persons is observed on– 1st of October every year pursuant to the adoption of a resolution by the UN General Assembly to observe the year 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons with the theme, “a society for all ages”.

Ministry of Urban Development28-September, 2016 16:30 IST

Two day Sanitation Technologies Exhibition in Delhi

(Topic: Minister of Urban development)

About-A two day exhibition showcasing a wide range of sanitation technologies is being organized in New Delhi from September 29, 2016.

Exhibition to be inaugurated by- Minister of Urban Development and Minister of State for Drinking Water & Sanitation, will be open to public on first day.

Exhibition is being organized as a part of- Ongoing Swachh Bharat Week for the benefit of the people and large number of delegates attending the INDOSAN (India Sanitation Conference) to be held on September 30,2016. INDOSAN will be inaugurated by PM and will be attended by Chief Ministers, Ministers, elected representatives of people, District Collectors, Municipal Commissioners of 500 cities and towns, representatives of private sector and NGOs etc.

About 30 technological equipment applicable to different components of sanitation chain will be on show for the two days. These include– Smart Public Toilet models, waterless urinals with microbiological cleaning systems, low cost portable toilet blocks, public toilets with bio-digester, twin pit toilets with onsite compost making, small size sewage treatment units for use at community level, sanitary napkin vending machines, underground bins, rickshaw for direct unloading of garbage in large bins, CNG sweeping machines, mechanical suction sweepers, organic waste convertors for compost making, food waste composter, house level compost makers, cleaning machines etc.

 

Cabinet approves India – Singapore MoU to give a boost to Innovation, Creativity and Technological Advancement 

(Topic: Cabinet Decision)

About- Union Cabinet chaired by the PM has given its approval to the MoU in the field of Industrial Property Cooperation between Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), Ministry of Law, Government of Singapore. The MoU will be signed at the upcoming visit of Singapore’s Prime Minister to India from 4-7 October, 2016.

Benefit-

  • It will enhance bilateral cooperation activities in the arena of Industrial Property Rights of Patents, Trademarks and Industrial Designs.
  • It is intended to give a boost to innovation, creativity and technological advancement in both regions.
  • MoU will enable India to exchange experiences in the innovation and IP ecosystems that will substantially benefit entrepreneurs, investor and businesses on both sides.
  • Exchange of best practices between the two countries will lead to improved protection and awareness about India’s range of Intellectual creations which are as diverse as its people.
  • It will be a landmark step forward in India’s journey towards becoming a major player in global innovation and will further the objectives of the National IPR Policy, 2016.

MoU-

  • Exchange of best practices, experiences and knowledge on Intellectual Property awareness among the public, businesses and educational institutions of both countries
  • Exchange of experts specialized in the field of intellectual property
  • Exchange and dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP with the industry, universities, R & D organizations and Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Cooperation in the development of automation and implementation of modernization projects
  • Partnership in IP-related training for local IP and business communities

 

Cabinet approves an Undertaking between India and Korea on Mutual Recognition of Certificates for Seafarers, 1978

(Topic: Cabinet Decisions)

About- Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of PM has given its approval for signing of an Undertaking between India and Korea on Mutual Recognition of Certificates. It is in pursuance of the Regulation 1/10 of International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers, 1978, as amended.

Undertaking will pave way for

  • Recognition of maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, training documentary evidence and medical fitness certificates for seafarers issued by the Government of the other country.
  • It is done in accordance with the provisions of regulation 1/10 of the STCW Convention, and cooperation between the two countries in the training, certification and management of seafarers.

 

Cabinet approves Administrative and Financial Sanction towards the implementation of the Project SAKSHAM

(Topic: Economic Affairs)

About- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the PM has approved ‘Project SAKSHAM’, a New Indirect Tax Network (Systems Integration) of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

Total project cost involved is Rs.2256 crore which will be incurred over a period of seven years.

Help-

  • Implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Extension of the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) and
  • Other taxpayer-friendly initiatives under Digital India and Ease of Doing Business of Central Board of Excise and Customs.

Effectiveness-

Implementation strategy for the project will be to ensure readiness of CBEC’s IT systems by April, 1, 2017, when GST is to be introduced. The upgrade of the IT systems will be carried out while keeping the existing Tax-payer services running.

CBEC-

  • CBEC’s IT systems need to integrate with the Goods & Services Tax Network (GSTN) for processing of registration, payment and returns data sent by GSTN systems to CBEC, as well as act as a front-end for other modules like Audit, Appeal, Investigation. There is no overlap in the GST-related systems of CBEC and GSTN.
  • This IT infrastructure is also urgently required for continuation of CBEC’s e-Services in Customs, Central Excise & Service Tax, implementation of tax¬payer services such as scanned document upload facility, extension of Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) initiative and integration with Government initiatives such as E-Nivesh, E-Taal, e-Sign.

All Taxpayers/lmporters/Exporters/Dealers under various indirect tax laws administered by CBEC- presently about 36 lakhs, likely to go up to over 65 lakhs after introduction of GST.

Background:

  • Introduction of GST will result in a several-fold increase in the number of taxpayers and resultant document load on the system.
  • CBEC’s current IT system was set up in 2008. It cannot cater to the increased load under GST without an immediate upgrade of its IT Infrastructure. Further, CBEC has implemented the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) and is integrating other partner agencies involved in Customs clearance in order to make the process simple and fast.
  • The Customs EDI system which is currently operational at about 140 locations in India has to be extended to, many more locations with improved response time and better service delivery.
  • Taxpayers have to be given a facility for Upload of Digitally Signed Scanned Documents in order to reduce the physical interface with tax authorities and to increase the speed of clearance.
  • CBEC also aims to introduce mobile services for taxpayers and departmental users to increase the outreach of its services.

 

New Coal Distribution Policy amended to increase annual cap of coal through State Nominated Agencies and amend phrase of Small and Medium Sector


(Topic: Coal Distribution and policies related to it)

About- Union Ministry of Coal has issued an order with respect to the amendment to the New Coal Distribution Policy (NCDP), 2007.

It is to- Increase the annual cap of coal from 4200 tonnes per annum for sale through State Nominated Agencies (SNA) to 10,000 tonnes per annum. In addition to raising the annual cap of coal, the Ministry has also amended the phrase, ‘small and medium sector’, as mentioned in the NCDP to ‘small, medium and others’.

The Ministry’s issued order to states that the above guidelines will also stand applicable to the distribution of coal from Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL).

NCDP-

  • The NCDP was issued vide Ministry of Coal Office Memorandum No. 23011/4/2007-CPD dated 18th October, 2007, laying down the guidelines for distribution and pricing of coal to various sectors.
  • As per the policy, the scope of coverage through State Nominated Agencies was increased up to 4200 tonnes per annum.

Why needed?

There have been requests from consumers and state governments for reconsideration of guidelines as mentioned in NCDP, 2007 for upward revision of annual cap on coal through SNAs and also for amending the condition of the small and medium sector to include other sectors where annual coal requirement is very low.

Amendment is for-  Only small and medium sector consumers, having requirement less than 4200 tonnes per annum were entitled to take coal through SNA, large units having requirement of less than 4200 tonnes per annum were not recommended for coal by the District Industries Centre (DIC). Moreover, the limit of requirement of less than 4200 tonnes per annum needed to be revised as small units might have expanded over a period of time.

As adequate quantity of coal at notified price through SNA would be available for this sector , this amendment is seen as one of the many steps taken by the Government to improve ease of doing business in the country and make more coal available for the small,medium and other sectors.

Cabinet approves ratification of the Paris Agreement 

(Topic: International Relations)

About- Union Cabinet chaired by the PM has given its approval to ratify the Paris Agreement (on Climate Change) on 2nd October 2016, the day of Gandhi Jayanti.

Paris Agreement-

  • Paris Agreement was adopted by 185 nations last year on 12th December 2015 and India signed the Paris Agreement in New York early this year on 22nd April 2016.
  • A total of 191 countries have signed to the Paris Agreement so far. As per the provisions of the Paris Agreement, the treaty will come into force as and when 55 countries contributing to 55 % of total global emission ratify the agreement.
  • So far, 61 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 47.79% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.

India’s step –

  • India’s decision to ratify the agreement will take the number of cumulative level of emission of countries that have ratified the agreement so far to 51.89%.
  • With the gathering momentum and willingness expressed by several other countries to ratify the agreement before the end of this year, it is expected that the Agreement will enter into force soon and give a thrust to the global actions to address climate change.
  • With its decision to ratify the Agreement, India will be one of the key countries that will be instrumental in bringing the Paris Agreement into force.
  • Given the critical role that India played in securing international consensus on Paris Agreement, today’s decision will further underline India’s responsive leadership in the community of nations committed to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice.
  • While agreeing to ratify the Paris Agreement, the Cabinet has also decided that India should declare that India will treat its national laws, its development agenda, and availability of means of implementation, its assessment of global commitment to combating climate change, and predictable and affordable access to cleaner source of energy as the context in which the Agreement is being ratified.
  • Paris Agreement pertains to post-2020 climate actions. In the pre-2020 period, developed countries are to act as per Kyoto Protocol and some developing countries have taken voluntary pledges.

 

GS-3

Tirupati Airport Awarded “Best Tourist Friendly Airport” under the category for “State Annual Excellence Awards “

(Topic:

About- Airports Authority of India’s Tirupati Airport has been awarded as “Best Tourist Friendly Airport” under the category for “State Annual Excellence Awards for the year 2015-16” by Andhra Pradesh Tourism.

Award was presented on– The eve of World Tourism Day by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh at Bhawani Islands, Vijayawada.

State Annual Tourism Excellence Awards under various segments of Travel and Tourism Industry are awarded by Department of Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh for maintaining excellent Customer friendly relations with tourists and passengers, coinciding with World Tourism Day Celebrations.

IWAI Signs MoUs with Dredging Corporation of India, Paradip Port Trust and Mormugao Port Trust

(Topic: Shipping)

About- Development of Inland Water Transport is a priority of the Ministry of Shipping. After the declaration of 106 new National Waterways, in addition to the existing 5 National Waterways, under the National Waterways Act, 2016, the responsibilities of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) have increased manifold.

Aim- To ensure the development of the National Waterways in a time-bound and effective manner, the IWAI in the presence of Minister of Shipping and Road Transport & Highways has signed three separate MoU with Dredging Corporation of India (DCI), Paradip Port Trust (PPT) and Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) on Wednesday, 28th September 2016.

MoUs are meant to make use of- Synergies, strengths and expertise of the Ports and Dredging sectors to enable IWAI to accelerate the development of Inland Water Transport (IWT) sector as an alternative, viable and environment friendly mode of transport.

While the MoU with DCI will enable IWAI to maintain navigable depth in National Waterways, the MoUs with PPT and MPT will help IWAI to develop National Waterway-5 in Odisha and various National Waterways in Goa ,respectively.

MoU between IWAI and DCI

To ensure development of the fairways, the dredging responsibilities of the IWAI are expected to increase rapidly in the next few years. Under the MoU, DCI will supplement the asset base of IWAI by purchasing/leasing shallow depth dredgers and operating them in National Waterways. DCI will also prepare cost estimates and determine the duration of the dredging projects.

MoU between IWAI and Mormugao Port Trust

  • MoU between MPT and IWAI will assist IWAI in the development of National Waterways like Mandovi river (NW-68), Zuari river (NW-111), Chapora river (NW-25), Cumbharjua canal (NW-27), Mapusa river (NW-71), and Sal river (NW-88) in Goa.
  • IWAI and MPT will jointly work to achieve fairway development of the 182-Km stretch in Goa which includes dredging, river training works, bank protection, navigation aids, Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) etc.
  • MPT will also provide project management supervision services related to the infrastructure works in the NWs.

MoU between IWAI and Paradip Port Trust (PPT)

  • MoU between IWAI and PPT will result in a collaboration between IWAI and PPT to develop a viable navigation system on NW-5 in Odisha for Phase-1 (Pankapal-Paradip/Dhamra-212 Km on the Brahmaniand Mahanadi river system) to facilitate the movement of cargo vessels of economical size and viable capacity.
  • Development activities in Phase-I of NW-5 will include fairway development of 212 Km stretch which includes dredging, river training works, bank protection works; terminal construction with cargo handling facilities, off shore structures and related activities; and navigational aids including DGPS, RIS (River Information System)/VTMS.
  • PPT will cooperate and assist IWAI in project management, supervision, services including planning, designing, consultancy in respect of the works related to fairway development, terminals construction and other related infrastructure works on NW-5.

 

Trilateral Meet between India, Afghanistan and Iran to Take Chabahar Agreement Further

(Topic: Road transport and Highways)

About- Trilateral meeting was held between Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Afghanistan, and Minister of Road and Urban Development, Iran, in the capital.

The three Ministers held discussions on Trilateral Agreement on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor i.e. Chabahar Agreement which was signed by them on 23rd May, 2016 in Tehran in the presence of Prime Minister of India and Presidents of Iran and Afghanistan.

Highlights-

  • During the meeting the Ministers reiterated the importance of Chabahar as a hub for regional connectivity and their commitment to work towards this objective.
  • It was decided to organize a connectivity event involving all stakeholders at Chabahar within two months to increase awareness about the new opportunities offered by Chabahar Port.
  • Ministers expressed satisfaction that the three countries are taking prompt measures for completing internal processes for the ratification of the Agreement.
  • They also exchanged views on the next steps to be taken for an early implementation of the Agreement. It was decided to evolve protocols related to transport and transit, ports, customs procedures and consular affairs.
  • It was also decided to convene an Expert level meeting of senior officials of the three countries within one month in Chabahar.
  • Development of Ports, Road and Rail connectivity will open up new opportunities leading to new jobs and prosperity in all three countries.
  • Trade is recognized as driving economic growth and development, the implementation of the Agreement would provide the eco-system for the private sector to seize the business opportunities emerging due to substantial reduction of logistic costs for trade among the three countries,

 

3rd India and Canada Annual Ministerial Dialogue

(Topic: Commerce and Industry)

 

About- A high level delegation led by Commerce and Industry Minister is attending 3rd Annual Ministerial Dialogue scheduled on 29th September, 2016 at Toronto, Canada.

India and Canada bilateral trade-

  • It is recognised that India and Canada have enormous scope for enhanced bilateral trade relations but, the bilateral trade between the two countries has not been up to the potential.
  • Both sides recognized the immense potential and mutual interest in promoting trade.
  • PM of India,during his historic bilateral visit to Canada in April 2015, stressed the importance of bilateral business and commercial linkages as key drivers of India-Canada partnership.
  • During his visit both the nations recognised the need for early finalisation of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) and expeditiously conclude a progressive, balanced, and mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), as a basis for expanding two-way trade and investment.

Issues discussed-

  • Exploring ways of expeditious early conclusion of FIFA and CEPA.
  • Exploring options for Indian interest in addressing the Temporary Foreign Workers Programmes (TWEP) of Canada which is affecting the Indian IT Industry; address equivalence by Canadian Food Inspection Agency for Indian organic product exports; and exploring investment opportunities in different sectors of India.
  • In addition, both leaders are expected to discuss regarding recent commercial achievements between both countries, bilateral FDI flows, issues relating to intellectual property, etc in addition to other issues relating to trade and investment.

 

Monetary Policy Committee constitution under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 notified

(Topic:  Monetary Policy)

About- Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (RBI Act) has been amended by the Finance Act, 2016,  to provide for a statutory and institutionalised framework for a Monetary Policy Committee, for maintaining price stability, while keeping in mind the objective of growth.

Entrusted with

  • Monetary Policy Committee would be entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy rate (repo rate) required to contain inflation within the specified target level.
  • A Committee-based approach for determining the Monetary Policy will add lot of value and transparency to monetary policy decisions.
  • The meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee shall be held at least 4 times a year and it shall publish its decisions after each such meeting.
  • The provisions of the RBI Act relating to Monetary Policy have been brought into force through a Notification in the Gazette of India Extraordinary on 27.6.2016.
  • The factors constituting failure to meet inflation target under the Monetary Policy Committee Framework have also been notified in the Gazette on 27.6.2016.
  • The Government, in consultation with RBI, has notified the inflation target in the Gazette of India Extraordinary dated 5thAugust 2016 for the period  beginning from the date of publication of this notification and ending on the March 31, 2021, as under:-
  • Inflation Target:                      Four per cent.
  • Upper tolerance level:             Six per cent.
  • Lower tolerance level:             Two per cent.

Members-

  • As per the provisions of the RBI Act, out of the six Members of Monetary Policy Committee, three Members will be from the RBI and the other three Members of MPC will be appointed by the Central Government.
  • In exercise of the powers conferred by section 45ZB of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, the Central Government has accordingly constituted, through a Gazette Notification dated 29thSept 2016, the Monetary Policy Committee of RBI, with the following composition, namely:-
  • The Governor of the Bank—Chairperson, ex officio
  • Deputy Governor of the Bank, in charge of Monetary Policy—Member, ex officio
  • One officer of the Bank to be nominated by the Central Board—Member, ex officio
  • Shri Chetan Ghate, Professor, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) —Member
  • Professor Pami Dua, Director, Delhi School of Economics (DSE) — Member
  • Ravindra H. Dholakia, Professor, Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad—  Member

The Members of the Monetary Policy Committee appointed by the Central Government shall hold office for a period of four years, with immediate effect or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

M/o Tourism Organizes ‘5th International Buddhist Conclave’ in Varanasi-Sarnath from 2nd to 6th October 2016

(Topic: Tourism)

About- With a view to showcasing and projecting the Buddhist heritage and pilgrim sites of India, the Ministry of Tourism is organizing the “5th International Buddhist Conclave (from 2nd to 6th October 2016)” in Varanasi-Sarnath in collaboration with the State Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Conclave will be inaugurated by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister for Tourism & Culture on 2nd October, 2016 in New Delhi.

India, the birthplace of Buddhism, has a very rich Buddhist Heritage, with several important sites associated with the life of Lord Buddha which are essential pilgrimages for followers of Buddhism the world over

Buddhist Conclave-

  • The International Buddhist Conclave is also one of the initiatives being taken by India as its commitment as the land of origin of Buddhism and to improve the experience of pilgrims as well as tourists wishing to savor the essence of Buddhist heritage, at the Buddhist sites of the country.
  • Conclave will include presentations, panel discussion, business to business meetings between the international and domestic tour operators, an exhibition highlighting the Buddhist attractions in India, as well as visits to important Buddhist sites in and around Varanasi and Sarnath.
  • This year’s International Buddhist Conclave is very special as ASEAN as a Guest of Honour partner and a large participation is expected from ASEAN Countries which are also major source markets for India in general and the Buddhist Heritage sites in particular.
  • Participants in the Buddhist Conclave will include international Buddhist opinion makers, tour operators and media, as well as State Governments and domestic tour operators promoting pilgrimages to the Buddhist sites in the country.

Ministry of Tourism has received over 250 nominations from 38 countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Czech Republic, |Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, USA and Vietnam for participation in the Conclave.

Highlights-

  • Conclave will include Presentations, Panel discussions, Business to Business Meetings between international and domestic tour operators and State Governments, an exhibition highlighting Buddhist attractions in India, as well as visits to important Buddhist sites in and around Varanasi, Sarnath and Bodhgaya.
  • The event will give the participants an opportunity to interact, promote, package and sell pilgrimage itineraries to the Buddhist sites in the country, for overseas visitors. International Buddhist Conclaves have earlier been organized in New Delhi and Bodhgaya (February 2004); Nalanda and Bodhgaya (February 2010), Varanasi and Bodh Gaya (September 2012) and Bodhgaya  – Varanasi (2014).
  • State Governments will set up booths at the conference venue for interacting with the international delegates and for showcasing India’s Buddhist Heritage.
  • Conclave is expected to be a great success with the cooperation of State Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

 

TEPC- 2nd edition of India Telecom (B2B Meet) to attract more than 70 qualified buyers from 28 countries 

(Topic: Communication and information technology)

About-Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council, TEPC is organizing 2nd edition of India Telecom 2016, an exclusive International Buyer-Seller Business (B2B) Meet on 3rd and 4th October 2016 in New Delhi and on 5th October 2016 in Bangalore.

TEPC has received confirmations from more than 70 qualified buyers from 28 countries across the world. These buyers consist of telecom service providers and system integrators who are keen to source Indian telecom equipment and services. The event will witness enthusiastic participation by senior representatives from telecom service provider companies as well as Governments from Latin America, Africa, Middle East and South-East Asia.

Benefit- This event provides opportunities to Indian telecom exporters to meet qualified overseas buyers and develop long term business relationships

Highlights-

  • The three-day event to be inaugurated by Minister of Communications will have other senior officers of Government of India including Secretary, DIPP, to share “Ease of doing Business” and Shri J.S. Deepak, Chairman, Telecom Commission and Secretary, Telecom on Digital Connectivity Transforming the Developing Nations.
  • The event will showcase Government of India’s flagship programmes “Make in India” and “Digital India” which has created design-led ecosystem of domestic products and enabled manufacturing with high domestic value-addition.

TEPC-

  • TEPC is geared up to grab multi-billion-dollar opportunity in telecom product and services that can become a new growth driver for India’s high-tech exports.
  • TEPC Buyer-Seller meet is one of the most impactful events for the domestic industry, since more than 80% of the visitors from earlier events have been converted into buyers of Indian telecom products and services.
  • Once potential customers visit India, they get a lot of confidence in Indian products after meeting the leaders of local industry and government, visiting R&D labs and manufacturing facilities and getting positive references from satisfied customers.
  • The “India Telecom- International Buyer-Seller meet” is TEPC’s flagship event and is a unique platform where potential buyers from across the globe are invited to meet Indian suppliers of telecom equipment and services as well as key stakeholders in the Indian Government.
  • During this event, in addition to the Buyer-Seller business meetings by more than 90 Indian exporters, TEPC is also organizing exhibition for Indian telecom exporters to showcase their products and capabilities.

 

India climbs steadily in the Global Competitiveness Index; Improves its ranking by 16 places for the second year in a row

(Topic: Economy)

About– Union Finance Minister said that in an extremely positive development, data released today by the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows that India’s ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) has improved by 16 places for the second year in a row.

Latest Ranking-

According to the latest ranking, India is placed 39th among 138 countries, ahead of BRICS countries other than China which is ranked 28th

GCI

  • Global Competitiveness Index released by the World Economic Forum is one of the major studies which indicate how a country scores in the scale of global competitiveness.
  • Index is calculated by aggregating indicators across 12 pillars which again are clubbed together in three broad sub-indices, namely basic requirements, efficiency enhancers and innovation and sophistication factors.
  • Report covers both business and social indicators which, directly or indirectly, impacts the competitiveness of the country in the global arena.

 

12 pillars underlying GCI include- Institutions, Infrastructure, Macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation

India’s improvement-

  • India’s rank has steadily improved from 71 in 2014-15 to 55 in 2015-16 and to 39 in the latest report. With this improvement in its ranking, India has covered a long distance and is well on its way to emerge as a major player in the global economy.
  • The landmark improvement in the Global Competitiveness rankings India is in consequence of the structural reforms and policy initiatives taken by GOI in the last two years and should be viewed as an encouragement to us to continue with the agenda of reforms which would further streamline economic decision making and help us move up on the index of global competitiveness.
  • India’s competitiveness has improved this year across the board, in particular in goods market efficiency, business sophistication and innovation. The macroeconomic environment also improved due to better monetary and fiscal policies and lower oil prices.

Report Analyses-

  • The Report analyses how India’s competitiveness score had stagnated between 2007 and 2014 till the new government took office and undertook a range of reforms including opening the economy to foreign investors and international Improvements in infrastructure which were small and faltering during most of the past decade, actually picked up after 2014 when the government increased public investment and speeded up the approval procedures.
  • Similarly, the institutional environment deteriorated until 2014, as mounting governance scandals and inefficiencies led to a loss of trust in public administration but this trend was reversed in 2014.
  • Macroeconomic conditions also followed a similar path and the country was able to keep a lid on inflation and reduce both the current account and fiscal deficits. India also ranks 8th in the strength of investor protection.
  • There is however no room for complacency and Government will continue to focus on areas which need improvement.
  • In the coming months and years, significant improvement in goods market efficiency may be expected from the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax which will reduce fragmentation of the domestic market.

 

Consultative Committee meeting of Members of Parliament attached to the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers held

(Topic: Chemicals and Fertilizers)

About- Consultative Committee meeting of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers was held in New Delhi. The subject for the meeting was National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA). The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers chaired the meeting.

Highlights –

  • A presentation was made on the behalf of NPPA, showing its activities and steps taken by it to regulate the prices of medicines falling under the National List of Essential Medicines.
  • Customer friendly initiatives and the e-initiatives taken by the Authority were also presented. MPs gave their suggestions and recommendations for improving the system of providing affordable medicines to the poor people.
  • Briefing was done about the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Scheme. With the cooperation of all MPs in opening as many Jan Aushadhi Kendras in their constituencies.
  • Government aims to open 3000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras across the country this year. He added that over 500 medicines are being provided in these kendras at cheap rates.

Steps taken by Govenrnment-

  • To bring more medicines under the price control. Consumers have been saved over Rs 5000 due to the Government’s interventions.
  • Government also intends to setup the Indian council of Fertilizers and Nutrients Research so that research can be undertaken for providing appropriate fertilizers and manures to the farmers.
  • Neem coated urea is helping in balanced use of fertilizers and reducing the use of pesticides.

 

Commerce and Industry Minister visits Sri Lanka to enhance bilateral trade and investment relations

(Topic: Commerce and Industry)

About-Commerce and Industry Minister visited Sri Lanka on September 26-27, 2016 with the objective of enhancing and deepening bilateral trade and investment relations.

Highlights-

  • During the visit, a meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Business Forum was held which was attended by the Commerce and Industry Minister, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade of Sri Lanka.
  • Many issues relating to trade, services and investment were highlighted and it was agreed that their resolution be explored.
  • The Commerce and Industry Minister also suggested that the meeting of the reconstituted India-Sri Lanka CEO Forum be held at the earliest.
  • Commerce and Industry Minister also had a bilateral meeting with a high level Sri Lankan delegation led by Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade of Sri Lanka.
  • The leaders expressed satisfaction on the progress of the proposed Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka. It was noted that the Second Round of negotiations for the ETCA is scheduled to take place in New Delhi on September 29-30, 2016. The leaders also discussed several other issues related to bilateral trade and investment.
  • The deliberations were extremely cordial and marked by a spirit of mutual respect and understating that characterizes the strong and vibrant relations between the two countries.
  • The visit has emphasised the importance of Sri Lanka as an important trading and investment partner for India and would help in further deepening the existing bilateral relations.

 

Inter-Ministerial committee reviews procurement of Kharif pulses

(Topic: Agriculture)

About- An Inter-Ministerial meeting held under chairmanship of Secretary Department of Consumer Affairs, reviewed prices and availability of pulses.

Aim- To ensure that farmers get minimum support prices for pulses and wide publicity should be given to the procurement operations in pulses procuring pockets

Government agencies- NAFED, FCI and SFAC have started aggressive procurement operations to ensure minimum support prices to farmers after the arrival of crop in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Benefit- After the intervention of the Government agencies through direct procurement from the farmers at MSP, farmers are getting better prices for their crop in market also. So far, 200 centres have been set up in pulses producing states and more centres will be added after arrival of Tur crop in October- November.

 

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