06, October 2017

1.International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons awarded 2017 Nobel Prize in Peace

Source: The Hindu

ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organisations from nearly 100 different countries around the globe.

  • The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of non-governmental organisations from over 100 countries around the globe.
  • The Norwegian Nobel Committee honoured the Geneva-based group “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.

ICAN awarded 2017 Nobel Prize in Peace 

  • ICAN has been the leading civil society actor in the effort to achieve a prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in Oslo on October 6.
  • The committee emphasised that “the next steps towards attaining a world free of nuclear weapons must involve the nuclear-armed states”.
  • It said the 2017 Peace Prize called upon nuclear-armed states to initiate negotiations to gradual elimination of the world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons .
  • ICAN had in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigour, it added.
  • ICAN describes itself as a coalition of grass roots non-government groups in more than 100 nations. It began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007.
  • In July, 122 nations adopted a U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons but nuclear-armed states, including the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France stayed out of the talks.
  • The Nobel Prize seeks to bolster the case of disarmament amid nuclear tensions between the United States and North Korea and uncertainty over the fate of a 2015 deal between Iran and major powers to limit Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Background: 2017-  Nuclear weapon ban treaty adopted

  • ICAN and its partners, and weeks of negotiations at the UN headquarters in New York, an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations vote in favour of adopting a landmark global agreement to ban nuclear weapons, known officially as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Campaign overview

  • The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. This landmark global agreement was adopted in New York on 7 July 2017.
  • ICAN began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna, Austria in 2007. Our campaign’s founders were inspired by the tremendous success of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which a decade earlier had played an instrumental role in the negotiation of the anti-personnel mine ban convention, or Ottawa treaty.
  • Since our founding, we have worked to build a powerful global groundswell of public support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. By engaging a diverse range of groups and working alongside the Red Cross and like-minded governments, we have helped reshape the debate on nuclear weapons and generate momentum towards elimination.

More Details: http://www.icanw.org/campaign/campaign-overview/

And http://www.icanw.org/campaign/humanitarian-initiative/

Kazuo Ishiguro wins 2017 Nobel Literature Prize

  • British author Kazuo Ishiguro, best known for his novel The Remains of the Day, has won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 5, the Swedish Academy
  • The 62-year-old writer, “in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world,” the Academy wrote in its citation.

 

2.PARYATAN PARV 2017

Source: PIB

The ‘Paryatan Parv’ wave spread all over the country creating a climate of Tourism from Gurdaspur in the North to Kovalam in the South up until Portblair down south, with Ahmadabad in the west to Shillong in the east – Everyone celebrating the new season of travel this “PARYATAN PARV 2017”.

What is Paryatan Parv?

  • The Paryatan Parv will showcase the cultural diversity of the country, with cultural performances, crafts bazaar, food court showcasing folk and classical dance & music, handicrafts & handlooms and cuisine from all regions and States of the country.
  • The Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Stakeholders is organizing “Paryatan Parv” across the country.
  • The programme is being organized with the objective of drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of “Tourism for All”.

 Paryatan Parv will have three main components:

  • Dekho Apna Desh: To encourage Indians to visit their own country. This includes Video, Photograph and Blog Competitions of sites visited during the Event, Stories of India through Travelers’ Eyes, on Social Media, Tourism related Quiz, Essay, Debate and Painting Competitions for Students, Television Campaigns to promote travel to J&K and N.E. States.
  • Tourism for All: Tourism Events at sites across all States in the country. The activities at these sites include illumination in and around the Sites, Cultural Programmes of Dance, Music, Theatre, Story Telling, Sensitisation Programmes for Stakeholders around the Sites, Tourism Exhibitions etc. These will be “People’s Events” with large scale public participation.
  • Tourism & Governance: Interactive Sessions & Workshops with Stakeholders on varied themes.

3.Mudra Yojana promotions

Source: PIB

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

Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme:

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

Significance:

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

There are three types of loans under PMMY:

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

4.India seeks greater role for troops contributing countries in UN peacekeeping missions

Source: The Hindu

India has sought enhanced role for troops contributing countries in the decision-making process of UN peacekeeping missions.

  • Also, India has asked the UN Security Council to revisit the way mandates are designed.
  • It is because, according to India, the current system of excluding the troop and police-contributing countries (T/PCCs) from the process of framing the mandates is not sustainable.
  • India is one of the largest contributors of troops and police to UN peacekeeping missions. However, it has no say in the process of formulation of the mandate.

Way ahead:

  • The current approach is not sustainable. It is hence an inescapable requirement to incorporate the troop and police-contributing countries (T/PCCs) in the decision making and mandate formulation from the very onset.
  • There is also a need to ensure more effective triangular cooperation between the T/PCCs, Secretariat and Security Council on important policy and doctrinal issues being formulated in the field of peacekeeping.
  • Today’s peacekeeping operations pose complex challenges. Non-state actors have become the major players in many of these conflicts. Today’s peacekeeping requires a political consensus among Security Council members, Troop Contributors and Secretariat on the cost, limits and dangers of operations in high-risk environments.

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

5.RBI panel pushes new rules so lenders pass on rate cuts more quickly

Source: The Hindu

A RBI set- up panel has come out with a set of new rules to make lenders pass on rate cuts more quickly. The panel submitted its report recently to the RBI.

What’s the issue?

The RBI has cut its policy rate by a total of 200 basis points from January 2015 to August 2017 to support economic growth, but to its frustration banks have lowered their lending rates by only about 120 bps.

Suggestions made by the panel:

  • Remove some of the leeway that banks have enjoyed, including allowing lenders to use only one of three benchmarks to set their lending rates: the policy repo rate, Treasury bill rates or certificate of deposit rates. Currently, banks can use multiple market rates and each one is free to set its own benchmark.
  • Adjust the key criteria used to set their lending rates once a quarter, rather than the current once a year.
  • Indian banks are struggling with a record $140 billion in stressed assets, and have sought to protect their margins by trying to avoid lowering their lending rates.

What has RBI done so far in this regard?

  • The RBI last year unveiled the so-called marginal cost of funds-based lending rates (MCLR), which sought to remove much of the discretion commercial banks have to set lending rates and force them to base borrowing costs on prevailing money market rates.
  • Banks were instructed to follow a specific formula in setting lending rates, although the RBI has since made some tweaks.

6.Bangladesh backs China’s OBOR

Source: The Hindu

Bangladesh has come out in support of China’s ‘One-Belt-One-Road’ (OBOR) initiative, also known as the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI).

  • This is in absolute contradiction to India’s stand on OBOR which it boycotted on grounds of violating India’s territorial integrity as it runs through the disputed territory of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and because China has not been transparent leading to compromise on sovereignty.
  • Bangladesh defends its move saying that small countries need to overcome few limitations by weaving themselves with the rest of the world with the help of projects such as OBOR.

Background:

  • China’s $4 trillion OBOR initiative will span 65 countries with 70% of the world’s population. Bangladesh formally declared joining China’s OBOR initiative during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016.

What is One Belt, One Road initiative?

  • The One Belt One Road initiative is the centrepiece of China’s foreign policy and domestic economic strategy.
  • It aims to rejuvenate ancient trade routes–Silk Routes–which will open up markets within and beyond the region.
  • Through this initiative, China’s plan is to construct roads, railways, ports, and other infrastructure across Asia and beyond to bind its economy more tightly to the rest of the world.



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