07, September 2017

  1. The India-Japan Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue

Source: PIB

The Defence Minister of India Shri Arun Jaitley is on a bilateral visit to Japan at the invitation of the Defence Minister of Japan Mr Itsunori Onodera from 05 to 06 September 2017

Background:

  • The Ministers exchanged views and ideas with the aim to further strengthen defence and security cooperation under the framework of the “Japan-lndia Special Strategic and Global Partnership”.
  • They expressed satisfaction at the continued deepening and diversification of bilateral defence cooperation since the signing of the bilateral Memorandum on Defence Co-operation and Exchanges in September 2014 and the two Defence Framework agreements signed in December 2015.

India-pacific region:

  • The Ministers exchanged views on the current security situation in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • They condemned in the strongest terms North Korea’s nuclear test of 03 September 2017, which is in violation of its international obligations and commitments, including under relevant UNSC resolutions and called upon DPRK to cease such action which adversely impacts peace and stability of the region and beyond.
  • The Ministers noted that regular interactions at all levels, in particular the establishment of Staff Talks at the level of the three Services, have enhanced mutual understanding.

The Ministers underlined their intention to explore opportunities for enhancing exchanges and decided to promote cooperation in the following areas:-

  1. Institutionalised Dialogue and Visits.
  2. Exchanges between Japan Ground Self Defence Force and Indian Army
    • The Ministers welcomed the progress in the Army to Army Staff talks in November 2016 and agreed to develop active exchanges in the fields of PKO, Counter-Terrorism and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), as key areas of common interest for the two countries.
    • Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) would invite Indian Armed Forces personnel to participate in the HADR exercise conducted by JGSDF as Observers.
    • In the context of enhanced co-operation between the two ground forces the Ministers decided to explore a joint field exercise in the field of counter-terrorism between the Indian Army and the JGSDF in 2018.
  3. Exchanges between Japan Maritime Self Defence Force and the Indian Navy.
  • The Ministers expressed satisfaction at the success of Japan-India-US Trilateral Maritime Exercise MALABAR 2017 in July 2017 and confirmed their intention to further deepen and advance the objectives of this Exercise. Minister Onodera expressed his intention to have state-of-the-art Japanese assets including P-1 to participate in the MALABAR 2018. Minister Jaitley welcomed this proposal.
  • The Ministers noted the importance of bilateral training interactions between Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF). The two sides will consider inclusion of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training to expand cooperation.
  1. Exchanges between Japan Air Self Defence Force and Indian Air Force.
  • The Ministers welcomed the participation of Vice Chief of Staff, JASDF in “Aero India-2017” in February 2017.
  • They also welcomed the visit of Indian Air Force helicopter crews to JASDF’s Air Rescue Squadron in Hyakuri, expanding bilateral air-to-air exchanges in the domains of aviation safety and air crew exchanges.
  1. Education and Research exchanges
  2. Cooperation in Defence Equipment and Technology
  • The Ministers endorsed the importance of enhancing interaction between governments and defence industries of the two countries to encourage equipment collaboration including defence and dual-use technologies
  1. Cooperation in Defence Equipment and Technology
  • The Ministers endorsed the importance of enhancing interaction between governments and defence industries of the two countries to encourage equipment collaboration including defence and dual-use technologies.
  • They welcomed the constructive engagement between Acquisition, Technology and Logistic Agency (ATLA) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and agreed to commence the technical discussions for research collaboration in the areas of Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Robotics.

  1. UJALA scheme launched in Melaka, Malaysia

Source: PIB

The successful Indian model of UJALA scheme has become a sought-after example for the different nations of the world and will now be implemented in Melaka to extend programme benefits to people of the region.

  • Under the extensive and ever-expanding idea of UJALA, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) plans to distribute about 1 million 9W LED bulbs, which will replace 18W CFLs.
  • The initiative will have the logistical assistance and facilitation support from Green Growth Asia, which is a not for profit organization.

Significance of this move:

  • UJALA’s impact in Malaysia will bring about clean energy, contribute to climate change targets and save the already dwindling energy resources.
  • With a fairly large switch to LED bulbs, Melaka will be able to reduce carbon emissions by around 19,000 tonnes per year.
  • An innovative zero-subsidy model, this scheme will help reduce the subsidy burdens of the State Government.
  • The concept of energy efficiency has strongly overcome many bottlenecks and this adoption by a Malaysian State is yet another achievement towards furthering the idea of energy efficiency to conserve the resources, money and environment.

Currently, over 25-crore LED bulbs have been distributed under the UJALA scheme in India, which are resulting in 33,828 mn kWh of energy savings per year. While about 13,531 crores are being saved in energy bills of consumers per annum, about 2,74,00,887 tonnes of CO2 reduction is taking place per year. Social surveying in India had strongly indicated a public contentment with the scheme and people openly expressed their happiness after witnessing reduction in their electricity bills.

  1. Two new contraceptives launched by Health Ministry to aid family planning

Source: PIB

In a bid to keep a check on the increasing population in the country, The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched two new contraceptives- MPA and Chhaya.

Key facts:

  • The two new contraceptives, an injectable contraceptive MPA under the ‘Antara’ programme and a contraceptive pill, ‘Chhaya’, in the public health system will expand the basket of contraceptive choices to meet the emerging needs of couples.
  • The contraceptives are being launched under the government’s Mission Parivar Vikas, a central family planning initiative.
  • The contraceptives are safe and highly effective, the ‘Antara’ injectable being effective for three months and the ‘Chayya’ pill for one week, and will help meet the changing needs of couples and help women plan and space their pregnancies.

Mission Parivar Vikas:

  • The main objective of the Mission Parivar Vikas family planning initiative is to bring down the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) to 2.1, which is when the population starts stabilizing, by the year 2025.
  • The mission is being implemented in 146 high focus districts that house 44% of the country’s population, with the highest total fertility rates of 3 and more in the country. The high focus districts are in the seven states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Assam.
  • The key strategic focus of this initiative will be on improving access to contraceptives through delivering assured services, dovetailing with new promotional schemes, ensuring commodity security, building capacity (service providers), creating an enabling environment along with close monitoring and implementation.

  1. Task Force on Employment and Exports and its Terms of Reference

Source: PIB

  • In a bid to provide a “major” thrust to job creation by enhancing India’s exports, the NITI Aayog has set up a task force to be headed by its Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar.
  • The task force, which includes government and private sector representatives, will submit its report by November.

The steps outlined by the taskforce to address this challenge of creating well-paid, formal sector jobs, include:

  • Proposing a comprehensive plan of action to generate employment and alleviate under-employment in both goods and services sectors and low wages by boosting India’s exports in key labour-intensive industries
  • Recommending sector-specific policy interventions in key employment sectors
  • Recommending measures to enhance trade in services with high employment potential
  • Identifying key macroeconomic factors constraining exports and suggesting methods to address these constraints
  • Assessing the effectiveness of existing schemes to promote exports
  • Addressing issues related to logistics, export credits and trade facilitation
  • Suggesting ways to enhance the availability of data on trade such that it is reliable, globally comparable and timely, particularly with respect to trade in services.

Background:

Incidentally, the “Three Years Action Agenda” unveiled by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently had also stressed on creation of well-paid jobs by exploiting the potential in exports. The action agenda had also laid emphasis on creation of well-paid jobs by expanding the formal sector.

Way ahead:

  • While the Indian workforce has high aspirations, a majority of the workers are still employed in low-productivity, low-wage jobs in small, micro and own-account enterprises.
  • An urgent and sustained expansion of the organized sector is essential to address India’s unemployment and under-employment issue.
  • An important strategy is also to enable a shift towards more labour-intensive goods and services that are destined for exports. Given the importance of exports in generating jobs, India needs to create an environment in which globally competitive exporters can emerge and flourish.



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