11, October 2016

1.Launch of Enhanced Foreign Trade Data Dashboard (Ministry of Commerce & Industry)

Source: PIB

Dashboard on Foreign Trade Data

Dashboard is an improved version of the earlier EXIM Analytics Dashboard developed with many added features.

It is more user friendly and would facilitate the general public to have an accurate picture on dynamics of foreign trade performance of India.

The new Dashboard gives a graphical collection of

  1. Export
  2. Import
  3. Balance of trade of India.

Import view gives a sharp perspective of how India’s imports have changed compared to the previous year.

Export view how their selected choices were to behave in the Exports area.

Balance of Trade view world map detailing countries with positive/negative balance of trade with India.

Visual comparison of import-export trade values over the years is also available. Touching a monthly value in Trade Performance would highlight corresponding value in the Balance of Trade performance chart as well, making it easy to understand India’s position on Balance of Trade (BoT) in that month compared to the previous months.

 

2.BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement declared operational

Source: The Hindu

The Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) of BRICS nations viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was declared operational.

What is BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA)?

CRA was established in 2015 during 7th BRICS summit in July 2015.

The Treaty for the establishment of BRICS CRA was signed at Fortaleza, Brazil in July 2014. It is a framework that aims at providing support through additional liquidity and other means to BRICS countries at a time of economic crisis.

It will be providing support to BRICS countries through liquidity and precautionary instruments in response to actual or potential short-term balance of payments pressures.

The initial total committed resources of the CRA will be 100 billion dollars with individual commitments as follows: China ($41 billion), India ($18 billion), Brazil ($18 billion), Russia ($18 billion) and South Africa ($5 billion).

The CRA is generally seen as a competitor to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and along with BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) is viewed as an example of increasing South-South cooperation.

 Both CRA and NDB were annoucned as part of BRICS Fortaleza Declaration announed during 6th BRICS summit held in  Fortaleza, Brazil in July 2014.

Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Meeting Union Finance Minister also had chaired the Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Meeting at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington DC, US. During the meeting, two important issues were discussed and deliberated.

They are (i) International Taxation-a Commonwealth Conversation around the Panama Paper

                 (ii) Economics of Climate Change and Financing Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

3.Two professors share Economics Nobel

Source: The Hindu

British-born Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom of Finland won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for their contributions to contract theory, shedding light on how contracts help people deal with conflicting interests.

The economics prize is not an original Nobel Prize. It was added to the others in 1968 by Sweden’s central bank.

Each award is worth 8 million kronor, or about $930,000. The laureates will collect them on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

4.Gene therapy may treat Alzheimer’s: study

Source: Indian Express

Amyloid-beta peptide is the main component of amyloid plaques, the sticky clumps of protein found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Injecting a specific gene directly into the brain may offer a potential new therapy for halting the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, especially when treated at an early stage, a new study has claimed.

Previous studies by the same team suggest this gene, called PGC1 – alpha, may prevent the formation of a protein called amyloid-beta peptide in cells.

Amyloid-beta peptide- These plaques are thought to trigger the death of brain cells. Worldwide 47.5 million people are affected by dementia – of which Alzheimer’s is the most common form.

There is no cure, although current drugs can help treat the symptoms of the disease.

  1. Bay of Bengal’s glad tidings

Source: Indian Express

Dhaka and Colombo’s commitment to regionalism indicates that the climate is right for bringing South and South East Asia closer

Pakistan’s beyond SAARC:

As the Subcontinent looks beyond the SAARC for a productive regional forum that is not constrained by Pakistan’s veto, the Bay of Bengal beckons.

The collapse of the SAARC summit in Islamabad has made the consideration of alternatives an immediate imperative, the extraordinary enthusiasm of Sri Lanka’s prime minister, for Bay of Bengal regionalism is showing us a way forward which is in linking South and South East Asia and Dhaka’s traditional commitment to regionalism.

India and Srilanka:

Agenda for both sub-regional — between Sri Lanka and south Indian states — and trans-regional economic integration among the South and South East Asian nations bordering the Bay of Bengal littoral.

To the fact that Sri Lanka and India’s five southern states together have a population of 272 million people and a combined GDP of over $500 billion.

The Sri Lankan PM insists that if Delhi and Colombo work together this economic zone can emerge as one of the world’s most dynamic. Dhaka meanwhile has championed sub-regional integration in the eastern subcontinent.

Tripartite trade liberalization: called for a tripartite trade liberalization  agreement between Lanka, India and Singapore. Familiar with the Japanese role in the economic modernisation of South East Asia to the rapid economic transformation of the Bay of Bengal littoral.

BIMSTEC:

The region of the rich history of maritime commerce across the Bay of Bengal between peninsular India, Sri Lanka and South East Asia.

The Bay of Bengal could rival the Caribbean as a high-end tourist destination.

Possibilities for regional economic cooperation among the members of the BIMSTEC forum that brings five nations from South Asia — Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka — and two from South East Asia — Burma and Thailand — under one umbrella.

Background:

  • The new hopes for Bay of Bengal ride on the fact that Lanka and Bangladesh have long been champions of regionalism.
  • In the 1960s and early 1970s, when Delhi was smug about its self-imposed economic isolation, Lanka was eager to join the ASEAN institutions.
  • In the 1980s, it was Bangladesh that took the lead in promoting the idea of SAARC. It also now hosts the secretariat for the BIMSTEC. Colombo and Dhaka are raring to go forward in uniting the Bay of Bengal.
  • The prospect of the Bay of Bengal emerging as a vehicle for regional cooperation was also presaged by the formation of the BBIN grouping that brought four contiguous states — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India — in the eastern subcontinent together after Pakistan’s reluctance to sign on to the South Asian connectivity agreements at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu in November 2014.

Wayahead:

  • The BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.
  • Delhi, which chafed at Pakistan’s reluctance to allow progress under the SAARC framework, now has the opportunity to demonstrate that it can do a lot better in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The PM’s meetings with the leaders of Bay of Bengal in Goa this week provides a big opportunity to set a new agenda for regional cooperation under the BIMSTEC forum.
  • The initiatives could range from coastal shipping to counter-terrorism and from the development of underwater resources in the Bay to protecting the marine environment.
  1. INS Sumitra visits Surabaya

Source: PIB

In pursuit of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and outreach to friendly countries, the Indian Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel Sumitra, has arrived at Surabaya, Indonesia as part of its deployment to the South Western Pacific Ocean.

The visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and enhancing maritime security cooperation between the two countries.

PASSEX:

A passing exercise is an exercise done between two navies to ensure that the navies are able to communicate and cooperate in times of war or humanitarian relief.

The ship has been deployed for multiple operational tasks, the most notable being ‘Operation Rahat’, which entailed the evacuation of personnel of various nationalities from war-torn Yemen in 2015.



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