11 & 12 , March 2018

1. India has won the “Best Exhibitor Award ” at ITB – Berlin.
Source: PIB

As the Leading Travel Trade Show, ITB Berlin is the foremost business platform for global touristic offers. The ITB Berlin takes place annually in March at the Messe Berlin. The fair always has an official partner country, in 2018 represented by the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

‘ITB- Berlin World Tourist Meet’ 2018 was convened at Berlin, Germany.

2.ISA-ADB, NDB, GCF, AfDB and AIIB joint declarations of Financial partnership
Source: PIB

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the African Development Bank (AfDb), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Green climate fund (GCF), and the New Development Bank (NDB) signed Joint financial partnership Declarations here today. The International Energy Agency (IEA) also signed a Joint partnership Declaration with the ISA.

The objective of the agreements is to deepen their cooperation in support of Renewable Energy. The previous three partnerships were signed by ISA with the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

ISA is working for deployment of over 1000 GW of solar energy and mobilising more than US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by the year 2030.

3.NCRB celebrates its 33rd Inception Day & releases “Citizen Services” Mobile APP
Source: PIB

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) celebrated its 33rd Inception Day, on March 11, 2018 (Sunday) and released “Citizen Services” Mobile APP.

A Mobile App called “Citizen Services” developed in-house by NCRB. This single App is a bouquet of various essential police related services to the citizen. The App can be used by citizen for various services such as Complaint Registration & Status Check, View FIR Detail, SOS – Stay Safe, Locate Police Stations, Vahan-Samanvay, Emergency Contact List, Police Stations Telephone Directory etc.

4.NCRB to collate data on online child sexual abuse
Source: The Hindu

In a first, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has started collating data on online child sexual abuse in the country. Till now no repository of such crimes was available at the national level

  • The move comes after a parliamentary standing committee on home affairs pulled up officials for not reporting the cases
  • There was severe under-reporting of crimes related to online child sex abuse in India
  • NCRB was collecting data on cases registered under Section 67B of IT Act (publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in a sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form, on annual basis)

Separate mechanism for data collection:

  • The panel recommended that starting 2017, NCRB should collate all the instances of online child sex abuse and other cyber crimes against children under a separate category
  • After the parliamentary panel’s observations, NCRB has started segregating the data where children have been abused online

Other initiatives to control child abuse:

  • The home ministry informed the panel that the Crime & Criminal Tracking Network & System (CCTNS), once operational, will generate details with regard to child victims reported under cyber crimes
  • The home ministry said that it has approved a Central Sector Project, namely Cyber Crime Prevention Against Women and Children (CCPWC)
  • It will set up online cybercrime reporting platform, a national level advanced cyber forensic laboratory and provide support to 36 states and Union Territories for police training institutions

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):

  • NCRB is nodal agency under Union Home Ministry for authentic source of data on crime on various parameters including accidents, suicides from across all the states of the country and prisons for policy matters and research.
  • It was established on 11 March 1986 as the central police organisation. It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It is implementing and monitoring agency of Crime & Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), a Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan of Government.
  • It also imparts training in Information Technology (IT) and Finger Print Science for Indian Police Officers as well Foreign Police officers.
  • NCRB publishes 4 annual publications on Crime, Prison Statistics, Accidental Deaths & Suicides and Finger Prints. These publications serve as principal reference points on crime statistics

Crime & Criminal Tracking Network & System (CCTNS):

  • CCTNS is a project under Indian government for creating a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing through e-Governance
  • The system includes nationwide online tracking system by integrating more than 14,000 police stations across the country
  • The project is implemented by National Crime Records Bureau
  • CCTNS aims to integrate all the data and records of crime into a Core Application Software (CAS), which is presently spreading across 29 states and 7 union territories of India
  • The project also involves training of police personnel and setting up of citizen portal to provide services to citizens.

5.PNB fraud: RBI starts special audit of public sector banks
Source: The Hindu

RBI has initiated special audit of State-owned lenders with focus on trade financing activities, especially relating to issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) by them

In addition, the RBI has asked all banks for details of the LoUs they had issued, including the amounts outstanding, and whether the banks had pre-approved credit limits or kept enough cash on margin before issuing the guarantees

Major frauds & wilful defaults in: Trade Finance

In view of the recent Rs. 12,646-crore PNB scam, perpetuated through fraudulent issuance of LoUs with the connivance of the bank’s staff, it was pertinent for the regulator RBI to examine the issue of trade finance which also included issuance of letters of credit (LC) and LoUs

NPA scrutiny:

The government recently asked the State-owned banks to scrutinise all cases of non-performing assets (NPAs) exceeding Rs. 50 crore for possible fraud and report the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Pre-emptive action plan: Banks have also been asked by Finance Ministry to come up with a “pre-emptive” action plan in a fortnight to combat rising operational and technical risks, and assign clear accountability to senior functionaries

6.India, France join hands for Indian Ocean security
Source: PIB

Fresh logistical agreement to allow closer defence cooperation

  • India and France joined hands in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region along with a new phase of cooperation in space security focussed on the maritime domain and a fresh logistics agreement.
  • This move allows their defence forces to closely cooperate on mutually agreed operations.

Common concerns:

  • India and France share common concerns on freedom of navigation in the region and will tackle challenges to over-flight and threat of weapons of mass destruction. The agreement has a vast scope stretching from countering maritime terrorism and piracy to building maritime domain awareness.
  • This is the second major maritime agreement India has signed in the last six months following the Quadrilateral agreement with Australia, Japan and the U.S. in October 2017.

7.  4.5 lakh anganwadi centres have no toilets, drinking water facilities: Report
Source: The Hindu

According to the report, about a third of total 13.6 lakh anganwadi centres have neither toilets nor drinking water facilities. It adds that nearly 25 per cent of anganwadi centres don’t have drinking water facilities and 36 per cent of these don’t have toilets

The report mentions that the under the revised Anganwadi services, the ministry plans to build 70,000 toilets and provide drinking water facilities in 2,000 AWCs. Funds to the tune of Rs 54.14 crore and Rs 13.24 crore, respectively, have been released to various states

Anganwadi centres:

  • Anganwadi centres are part of the Centre’s Integrated Child Development Scheme
  • And provide a package of six services–supplementary nutrition, referral services, immunisation, health check-up, pre-school non-formal education and health and nutrition education– to women and children

8.Ex Samvedna
Source: PIB

  • It is a multilateral Air force exercise being spearheaded by Indian Air Force and conducted by Southern Air Command (SAC).
  • It is the first composite Human assistance and disaster relief (HADR) Air exercise in the South Asian region and would be focused on practicing Air Force centric HADR solutions in a Multi-national cooperative Disaster Management environment.
  • Air Forces of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, UAE and Myanmar have already committed resources and personnel for the exercise. Few other Air Forces from the region are also expected to join in.
  • This exercise would help in putting in place a basic framework for conduct of Joint Air HADR operations, which will be further refined during subsequent exercises.
  • This exercise is expected to lead to more coordinated and efficient HADR Air operations in the entire South Asian region when the need arises.

9.IREDA & European Investment Bank sign Euro 150 million Loan Agreement
Source: PIB

European Investment Bank (EIB) and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) Ltd. have signed a loan agreement for a second line of credit (LoC) of Euro 150 million on non-sovereign basis.

The line of credit is for tenure of 15 years including a grace period of 3 years, and it will be used for financing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency projects in India. More than 1.1 million households are expected to benefit from clean energy produced with these funds.

About EIB:

  • EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States.
  • It works closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy and is also engaged in multilateral financing.
  • More than 90 per cent of its activity is in Europe but it is also a big investor globally.
  • EIB’s activities focus on four priority areas including innovation and skills, access to finance for smaller businesses, infrastructure and climate & environment.

About IREDA:

  • IREDA is the dedicated financing arm of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for financing the renewable and energy efficiency projects and has been spearheading the growth of renewable energy in the country for over three decades.
  • It has financed renewable and energy efficiency projects of financial value of over Rs.34,534.06 crore till date.
  • To meet the financing requirement of renewable energy projects in the country, IREDA has been raising resources from various bilateral and multilateral agencies, Masala bonds, and domestic – taxable and tax-free bonds.

10.WHO releases new guidelines on tobacco product regulation
Source: PIB

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched new guidelines on the role that tobacco product regulations can play in reducing tobacco demand, saving lives and raising revenues for health services to treat tobacco-related diseases

The new guide, titled ‘Tobacco product regulation: Building laboratory testing capacity’ was launched at the 2018 World Conference on Tobacco or Health recently. The launch of these important publications will further aid the implementation of Articles 9 and 10 of the WHO FCTC

New guidelines:

  • The new guidelines provide practical, stepwise approaches to implementing tobacco testing
  • Such guidance is relevant to a wide range of countries in various settings, including those with inadequate resources to establish a testing facility
  • It provides regulators and policymakers with comprehensible information on how to test tobacco products, what products to test, and how to use testing data in a meaningful way to support regulation

WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC):

  • It is a global treaty established under the auspices of the WHO to combat the tobacco epidemic
  • WHO FCTC is the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO
  • It was adopted by the World Health Assembly on 21 May 2003 and entered into force on 27 February 2005
  • It has since become one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in United Nations history
  • The WHO FCTC was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic and is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health
  • The Convention represents a milestone for the promotion of public health and provides new legal dimensions for international health cooperation

11.  CP TPP  : 11 countries sign revised TPP trade pact without US
Source: The Hindu

  • 11 Pacific Rim countries have formally entered into Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or CP TPP or TPP11 in Santiago, Chile.
  • It is revised version of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) proposed by US, that was finalized after US withdrew from it.
  • TPP11 includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
  • It will be world’s third largest trade bloc after European Union (EU) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It will come into effect 60 day.
Schematic map of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership after the USA (TPP).

12.U.S. tariffs: ‘India must raise dispute at WTO’

India should drag the United States into the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) dispute mechanism against the latter’s move to hike import duties on steel and aluminium, as the decision will impact exports and is not in compliance with the global trade norms

The decision of the U.S. is protectionist in nature and it would not only impact India’s export of these goods to America but also affect global trade

WTO’s Dispute settlement Body (DSB):

  • The General Council convenes as the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to deal with disputes between WTO members
  • Such disputes may arise with respect to any agreement contained in the Final Act of the Uruguay Round that is subject to the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU)
  • The DSB has authority to establish dispute settlement panels, refer matters to arbitration, adopt panel, Appellate Body and arbitration reports, maintain surveillance over the implementation of recommendations and rulings contained in such reports, and authorize suspension of concessions in the event of non-compliance with those recommendations and rulings

Appellate body:

There is one appellate body to file appeals against decisions of DSB

  • The Appellate Body was established in 1995 under Article 17 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU)
  • It is a standing body of seven persons that hears appeals from reports issued by panels in disputes brought by WTO Members
  • The Appellate Body can uphold, modify or reverse the legal findings and conclusions of a panel, and Appellate Body Reports, once adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), must be accepted by the parties to the dispute
  • The Appellate Body has its seat in Geneva, Switzerland

 Member Countries Of  RCEP , TPP , NAFTA :

With US President Donald Trump withdrawing his country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), its future is now up in the air.
Trump campaigned against TPP, warning that it would cost US jobs and comparing it to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed by President Bill Clinton.

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