10, November 2016

1.Agrobiodiversity Management – 1st International Agrobiodiversity  –  Ministry of Agriculture

Source: PIB

The 1st International Agrobiodiversity

Conservation and use of agrobiodiversity in 16 technical sessions, four satellite sessions, a genebank roundtable, a public forum, a farmers’ forum and poster sessions.


  1. To accord top priority to the agrobiodiversity conservation and their sustainable use towards achieving targets of SDGs relating to poverty alleviation, food and nutritional security, good health, gender equity and partnership.
  2. The importance of traditional knowledge on agrobiodiversity of farm men and women, pastoralists and other tribal and rural communities and their central role in its conservation and use for a food and climate resilient world.
  3. Researchers and policy-makers to initiate, strengthen, and promote complementary conservation strategies to conserve and use agrobiodiversity including crop wild relatives in more dynamic way to ensure a continuum between ex situ, in situ and on farm conservation strategies to combat food and nutrition insecurity as well as adverse effects of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss.
  4. The aim to achieve efficiency, equality, economy and environmental security in agricultural production systems and landscapes.
  5. The necessity of global exchange of plant, animal, aquatic microbial and insect genetic resources for food and agriculture to meet the ever-growing food and nutritional needs of each country.
  6. Nations also need to harmonise their multiple legal systems and prioritize the improvement of their phytosanitary capacities to facilitate safe transfer of genetic resources using latest technologies and trans-boundary partnerships.
  7. Recommend that the governments and societies put grater emphasis on public awareness and capacity enhancement programs on agrobiodiversity conservation and use.
  8. Urge public and private sector partnerships to actively invest in and incentivize the utilization of agrobiodiversity to address malnutrition, increase the resilience and productivity of farms, and enhance ecosystem services leading to equitable benefits and opportunities with particular emphasis on women and youth.
  9. Strongly suggest developing and implementing an agrobiodiversity index to help monitor conservation and use of agrobiodiversity.
  10. UN is urged to consider declaring soon a ‘Year of Agrobiodiversity’ to draw worldwide attention and to catalyze urgent action.

Agrobiodiversity is a key component of overall biodiversity. It is the result of natural selection processes and creative thinking of farmers, herders and fishers over millennia. Agrobiodiversity is a vital, fundamental part of biodiversity. Food and livelihood security and people’s health depend on the sustained management of biological resources.

Agricultural biodiversity, also known as agrobiodiversity

Agricultural biodiversity is the outcome of the interactions among genetic resources, the environment and the management systems and practices used by farmers. This is the result of both natural selection and human inventive developed over millennia.

  • Agricultural biodiversity is a broad term that includes all components of biological diversity of relevance to food and agriculture, and all components of biological diversity that constitute the agricultural ecosystems, also named agro-ecosystems
  • The variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms, at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels, which are necessary to sustain key functions of the agro-ecosystem.

The IAC 2016 is being organized by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources (ISPGR) and Bioversity International, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV&FRA), and other national and regional organizations.

2.Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana – Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

Source: PIB

MSDE Announces Launch Of Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana To Scale Up An Ecosystem Of Entrepreneurship For Youngsters

MSDE’s flagship scheme on entrepreneurship education and training.


The scheme spans over five years (2016-17 to 2020-21) with a project cost of Rs. 499.94 crore, and will provide entrepreneurship education and training to over 7 lakh students in 5 years through 3050 Institutes.

 It will also include easy access to information and mentor network, credit, incubator and accelerator and advocacy to create a pathway for the youth.

3.Union Government extends AFSPA in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh

Source: The Hindu

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh. These districts are Tirap, Changlang and Longding. They have been “disturbed area” under Section 3 of the AFSPA.

Why AFSPA has been extended in these districts?

The Naga underground factions including National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah)/ NSCN-IM and NSCN (Khaplang)/NSCN-K continue to indulge in extortion, area domination, recruitment of locals and inter-factional rivalry in these districts.


The NSCN-IM had entered into a ceasefire agreement with India in 1997 after decades of violence. It is the largest group representing the Nagas.

 It is demanding a “Greater Nagalim” or a contiguous land for Nagas, across the north-eastern states of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram.

The NSCN-K (now banned ground) had unilaterally abrogated the ceasefire in March 2015 but NSCN-IM continues to be in a ceasefire pact with the Union Government.

Earlier in August 2015, the Union Government had signed a ‘framework agreement’ with NSCN-IM to find a final solution to the six-decade-old Naga issue.


Violence became the way of life in north-eastern States of India. State administration became incapable to maintain its internal disturbance.  

Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Ordinance was promulgated by the President on 22nd May of 1958.

In which some special powers have been given to the members of the armed forces in disturbed areas in the State of Assam and Union Territory of Manipur.

Later the Ordinance was replaced by the armed Forces Special Powers Bill.


It is necessary for a part of State to be handed over to the armed forces is for the Governor or the Central Government to notify it to be in a “disturbed and dangerous” condition.

Even a non-commissioned officer of the armed forces is free, on the mere suspicion of violation of the law or commission of an offence, to fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person.

He can also without any warrant, arrest any person and enter and search any premises. No prosecution of anyone indulging in excesses purporting to act under AFSPA is possible except with the previous sanction of the Government.

4.RBI issues clarifications on Hedging for External Commercial Borrowings

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued the Clarifications on hedging for External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) in a bid to effectively address currency risk at the systemic level.

The Clarifications were issued by RBI under section 10(4) and 11(1) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.

External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs)

ECBs are commercial loans borrowed from foreign sources for financing the commercial activities in India.

 It may be bank loans, securitised instruments, buyers’ credit, suppliers’ credit, foreign currency convertible bonds, etc.

Difference between FDI and ECB:Should be noted that ECBs are not FDI.

  • In case of FDI, foreign money is used only to finance the equity Capital.
  • But in case ECBs, foreign money is used to finance any kind of funding other than equity.

Hedging Means Hedging is an investment mechanism to cut the risk of adverse price movements in an asset. Usually, a hedge involves taking an offsetting position in a related security.

Clarifications  are issued

  • Coverage: Wherever hedging has been mandated by the RBI, the ECB borrower will be required to cover principal as well as coupon through financial hedges. The financial hedge for all exposures on account of ECB should start from the time of each such exposure (i.e. the day liability is created in the books of the borrower).
  • Tenor and rollover: A minimum tenor of one year of financial hedge would be required with periodic rollover duly ensuring that the exposure on account of ECB is not unhedged at any point during the currency of ECB.
  • Natural Hedge: Natural hedge, in lieu of financial hedge, will be considered only to the extent of offsetting projected cash flows/revenues in matching currency, net of all other projected outflows.
  • For this purpose, an ECB may be considered naturally hedged if the offsetting exposure has the maturity/cash flow within the same accounting year. Any other arrangements/structures, where revenues are indexed to foreign currency will not be considered as natural hedge.

The responsibility of verifying that 100 per cent hedging requirement is complied with. All other aspects of the ECB policy shall remain unchanged.

5.Union Government  Smart India Hackathon 2017 – The World’s Largest nation-Building Digital Initiative- Ministry of Human Resource Development

Source: PIB

The initiative will help to institutionalize a model for harnessing the creativity and skills of youth for nation-building.

This initiative, HRD Ministry is keen to reach out to all technology institutions in the country and challenge students to offer innovative solutions to some of the daunting problems faced by our nation.


  • The Hackathon aims to find digital solutions by harnessing creativity and technical expertise of over 30 lakh students from technology institutes in remotest parts of India.
  • Besides, it seeks to spark several institute-level hackathons countrywide and help build a funnel for ‘Startup India, Standup India’ campaign.
  • It is joint initiative of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC), MyGov, NASSCOM, i4c, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhiniand Persistent Systems.
  • It will find digital solutions to problems in the areas of education, health, water, power, agriculture, finance, urban & rural development, energy, aviation & shipping, transport, sanitation, law & justice, sports, skill development & entrepreneurship, textiles, tourism, defence etc.
  • The initiative will help to institutionalize a model for harnessing the creativity and skills of youth for nation-building.
  • The Hackathon will have nearly 500 problem statements in all and will be published on innovate.mygov.in. In the first set of 250 problem statements were unveiled.

  1. Donald anti-TPP stance may help India

Source: The Hindu

Donald Trump as President, the US could see a renegotiation of some of its existing trade deals with other countries. Most of all, Trump, with his strong trade protectionist stance, has vociferously opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and has talked about withdrawing from it.

The deal, which was negotiated under Barack Obama’s presidency and agreed last year, is yet to be ratified. It aims at free trade in goods and services and investment flows between the participating countries. It eliminates or reduces tariff and non-tariff barriers across trade in goods and services.


The TPP is a trade and investment agreement between the US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru. India is not part of the TPP.

Loss of market

If the TPP were to go through, India could likely see a diversion of its trade with the US to TPP member countries, over a period of time.

  • The US is India’s second biggest trade partner and the single biggest export destination. India exported goods worth ₹6 lakh crore to the US in 2015-16.
  • The US accounts for over 15 per cent of our exports (in value terms) with pearls and gemstones, textiles and apparel and pharmaceutical products being the top items of export.

For instance, countries such as Vietnam, which are among the biggest textile exporters to the US, could gain an edge over India thanks to freer market access. Moreover, the Indian textile sector would have to brace for the stricter labour standards laid down for imports by TPP countries.

  • The TPP requires its members to discourage the import of goods that have not been produced in adherence with internationally recognised labour laws. This would impact employment generation.
  • India’s merchandise exports to TPP member countries (apart from the US) would be rendered less competitive in the event of enforcement of the agreement. These countries account for 12 per cent of India’s merchandise exports.

Services exports would also be hurt as these would be replaced by trade in services between the TPP member countries.




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