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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 6th May to 12th May – 2019

  • IASbaba
  • May 14, 2019
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 6th May to 12th May – 2019

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Prelims Oriented News

Vietnam’s Capital: Honoi

Chintan Baithak: A meeting with the stakeholders of Renewable Energy (RE) sector

9th National Voters’ Day: 25th January 2019

  • Celebrated all over the country on January 25th every year since 2011 to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India (January 25, 1950)
  • Purpose: Encourage, facilitate and maximize the enrolment

What are Bye-elections?

By-elections are elections conducted to fill elected offices that have become vacant between general elections. This may happen due to

  • Resignation
  • Death or dismissal of the person holding the office until then

What are Snap Elections?

A snap election is an election called earlier than expected.

  • Generally it refers to an election in a parliamentary system that is called when it is not required either by law or convention, usually to capitalize on a unique electoral opportunity or to decide a pressing issue.
  • It differs from a recall election in that it is initiated by politicians (usually the head of government or ruling party) rather than voters, and from a by-election in that the winners will serve an entire term as opposed to the remainder of an already established term.
  • Since the power to call snap elections usually lies with the incumbent, they usually result in increased majorities for the party already in power having been called at an advantageous time. However, snap elections can also backfire on the incumbent and resulting in a decreased majority or even the opposition winning or gaining power. As a result of the latter cases there have been occasions in which the consequences have been the implementation of fixed term elections.

India CEO Forum on Climate Change

  • Organized by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC)
  • A pioneering initiative of the government, inviting industry representatives, exchanged views on climate change issues and discussed opportunities to collaborate in regard to fulfilling India’s national as well as international climate change commitments.

India and U.S. Hold Bilateral Trade Meeting

  • Bilateral trade in Goods and Services registering a growth of 12.6% from $ 126 billion in 2017 to $142 billion in 2018
  • US Trade Winds Indo-Pacific Business Forum and Mission initiative 2019: The forum will bring together distributors, representatives and partners and enable them to increase sales by taking part in business-to-business meetings
  • US – India SME Forum: The new bilateral private sector led Small Business Interaction initiative that would pave the way for collaboration and partnership between the U.S. and Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the areas of manufacturing and services.

Initiatives by Commerce Ministry to Boost Trade with African Countries

Statistics

  • India’s total trade with the African region during 2017-18 was USD 62.69 billion (8.15% of India’s total trade with the World).
  • India’s share of exports to African countries as a percentage of India’s total exports to the world was of the order of 8.21% in 2017-18.  
  • Africa region’s share in India’s total imports from the World accounted for 8.12% in 2017-18.
  • As per the latest available estimates, the current strength of the Indian Diaspora in the African countries is 2.8 million out of those 2.5 million are PIOs and rest 220967 are NRIs.
  • Total overseas Indians are 30.83 million of which 17.83 million are PIOs and 13 million are NRIs. (Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, 2016).
  • Indian Diaspora in Africa constitutes 9.11% of the total Diaspora of India.

Opportunities for India

  • It has the world’s largest land mass, 54 countries, a population growing to be almost equivalent to that of India, huge mineral resources, oil wealth, a youthful population, falling poverty levels and increasing consumption patterns.
  • Africa has a huge demand for new business models for market entry, stable market access, entrepreneurship and investments in transport, telecom, tourism, financial services, real estate and construction.

The major issues highlighted by the Indian Business Community in these 11 countries are:

  • Improving the Line of Credit system and developing a facility for an affordable and competitive funding.
  • Setting up of Indian Banks/financial institutions in Africa
  • Enhanced Buyers’ Credit facility for promotion of trade between the two regions
  • Reviewing and liberalizing visa policies from both sides
  • Need for direct flights between the India and African countries
  • Exploring the possibility of rupee trade to address the issue of shortage of dollars in region.
  • Creation of common database of buyer-suppliers in the two regions for facilitating matchmaking for enhancement of bilateral trade.
  • Development of a robust trade dispute settlement mechanism
  • More frequent and structured country/sector specific trade exhibitions in Africa
  • Establishment of country chapters of FICCI or CII in Africa
  • Frequent visits of policy makers, chamber of commerce and investors for familiarization with local business and investment regime for informed decisions

WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries

Participants: Sixteen developing countries, Six Least Developed Countries (LDC)(Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Brazil, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda)and DG

Purpose: To sort out issues related to multilateral rule-based-trading system by bringing together the developing countries and Least Developed Countries on a single platform and work together to address these issues.

  • In the recent past, there have been increasing unilateral measures and counter measures by members, deadlock in key areas of negotiations and the impasse in the Appellate Body, which threaten the very existence of Dispute Settlement Mechanism of the WTO and impact the position of the WTO as an effective multilateral organisation. The current situation has given rise to demands from various quarters to reform the WTO.
  • This meeting also provides an opportunity to the developing countries and LDCs to build consensus on how to move forward on the WTO reforms, while preserving the fundamentals of the multilateral trading system enshrined in the WTO. The deliberations will aim at getting a direction on how to constructively engage on various issues in the WTO, both institutional and negotiating, in the run up to the Twelfth Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held in Kazakhstan in June 2020.

20th Conference of Regional Heads of Customs Administration (RHCA) of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) 

India hosted this Conference in its capacity as Vice-Chair of the Asia Pacific Region of WCO which it assumed on 1st July, 2018 for a two-year period.

Purpose: The Conference took stock of the progress made in carrying forward the programmes and initiatives of WCO to promote, facilitate and secure cross-border trade in the Region and the capacity building and technical assistance required by Member Administrations to achieve these goals.

Discussions on:

  • The strategic priorities of the Asia Pacific Region
  • Deliberated on the work programs of the Vice-Chair, ROCB & RILO
  • Security related issues
  • Trade facilitation
  • E-commerce
  • Performance measurement
  • Trusted trader programmes
  • Emerging technological and logistical challenges in the fields of trade facilitation and Customs Administrations
  • The Conference also facilitated Bilateral Meetings between the Member States.

India and China sign protocol for Export of Indian Chilli Meal

  • Both sides appreciated each other’s concerns and agreed to resolve market access issues expeditiously in order to achieve the vision of the leaders of both India and China by promoting a more balanced trade.
  • Protocols signed between India and China on Agricultural Commodities
    • Mango
    • Grapes
    • Bitter Gourd
    • Basmati rice & Non-Basmati Rice
    • Rapeseed meal
    • Fish meal/ Fish oil
    • Tobacco Leaves
    • Chilli Meal

Launch of Fourth Scorpene Class Submarine – VELA

  • Part of the ongoing ‘Make In India’ programme, which is being actively implemented by the Department of Defence Production (MoD)
  • The submarine was towed to Mumbai Port Trust, for separation from the pontoon, after which she will undergo rigorous trials and tests, both in harbour and at sea before delivery to the Indian Navy.
  • The Scorpene class of submarines can undertake multifarious tasks typically undertaken by any modern submarine which include anti-surface as well as anti-submarine warfare.

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