11&12, June 2017

  1. India, UNOSSC launch partnership fund to promote sustainable development

Source: The Hindu

India and the UN Office for South- South Cooperation have launched a partnership fund that will support sustainable development projects across the developing world.

Key facts:

  • Managed by UNOSSC, the India-UN Development Partnership Fund will support Southern-owned and led, demand-driven, and transformational sustainable development projects across the developing world.
  • Focusing on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), United Nations agencies will implement the Fund’s projects in close collaboration with partnering governments.
  • The India-UN Development Partnership Fund will implement country-level projects that are catalytic towards achieving the 17 sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda.
  • The collaborative initiative is aimed at reducing poverty and hunger, improving health, education and equality, and expanding access to clean water, energy and livelihoods.

UNOSSC:

  • The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) was established to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system.
  • UNOSSC, hosted by UNDP since 1974, was established by the UN General Assembly with a mandate to advocate for and coordinate South-South and triangular cooperation on a global and UN system-wide basis. UNOSSC receives policy directives and guidance from the General Assembly and through its subsidiary body, the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation. UNOSSC submits its strategic planning frameworks to the UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS Executive Board for approval and funding. The Director reports to the UNDP Administrator and has also been appointed Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation.

  1. India awards road contract to complete Kaladan project in Myanmar

Source: The Hindu

The contract for building 109-km road connecting Paletwa river terminal to Zorinpui in Mizoram border has been awarded by the government. The construction is expected to start after the monsoon in October.

Background:

Mooted in 2003, India entered a framework agreement with Myanmar for Kaladan project in 2008. Construction began in 2010 with a deadline in June 2015. But, no headway was achieved on the road project. Inadequate fund allocation and planning failure were seen as major reasons for the delay. In October 2015, the government revised the budget estimates by nearly six times to ₹2,904 crore and roped in State-owned Ircon Infrastructure and Services Ltd as consultant with an aim to complete the project in 2019. However, finding a contractor became an issue. Last year, the project was tendered twice but without success.

Kaladan project:

  • The Kaladan project connects Sittwe Port in Myanmar to the India-Myanmar border.
  • The project was jointly initiated by India and Myanmar to create a multi-modal platform for cargo shipments from the eastern ports to Myanmar and to the North-eastern parts of the country through Myanmar.
  • It is expected to open up sea routes and promote economic development in the North-eastern states, and also add value to the economic, commercial and strategic ties between India and Myanmar.
  • This project will reduce distance from Kolkata to Sittwe by approximately 1328 km and will reduce the need to transport good through the narrow Siliguri corridor, also known as Chicken’s Neck.

  1. Tele-Law through CSCs To Mainstream Legal Aid in Rural India

Source: The Hindu

In its effort to make legal aid easily accessible to the marginalized communities and citizens living in rural areas, the Government of India has launched the ‘Tele-Law’.

The scheme

  • Under the scheme, a portal called ‘Tele-Law’ will be launched, which will be available across the Common Service Centre (CSC) network. This will connect the citizens to legal service providers with the help of technology enabled platforms.
  • ‘Tele-Law’ will enable people to seek legal advice from lawyers through video conferencing available at the Common Service Centres (CSC). Additionally, law school clinics, District Legal Service Authorities, voluntary service providers and Non-Government Organisations working on legal aid and empowerment can also be connected through the CSCs anywhere and anytime, in order to strengthen access to justice for the marginalized communities.
  • The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) will provide a panel of lawyers from State capitals, who will be available through video conferencing to provide legal advice and counselling to the applicants, across the 1000 Common Service Centres (CSC).
  • A robust monitoring and evaluation system is also being designed which will help in assessing the quality of legal advice provided and the ensuing benefit to those accessing it.

PLVs:

  • Under this scheme, every Common Service Centre (CSC) will engage a Para Legal Volunteer (PLV), who will be the first point of contact for the rural citizens and will help them in understanding the legal issues, explain the advice given by lawyers and assist in further action required in cases as per the advice of the lawyer.
  • Women PLVs will be encouraged and trained under the Scheme. One thousand women PLVs will work for mainstreaming legal aid services through the CSCs. The aim is to promote women entrepreneurship and empowerment and ensure women participation. The selected PLVs will also be provided with relevant training to fulfil their responsibilities effectively.
  • A trained PLV will be available in a CSC for ten days in a month under the Scheme. These PLVs will help the applicant connect with a lawyer through the video conferencing facility at the CSC and will keep a track of the progress of the applicants’ cases and grievances and maintain a record.
  • They will also submit the records maintained to the District Legal Service Authority every week. The National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) will provide a panel of lawyers who will be sitting in the State capitals and will be available through video conferencing to provide legal advice/counselling to the applicant at the CSCs.

Key facts:

  • The Ministry of Law and Justice partnered with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), which anchors the Digital India programme, to provide legal aid services through its Common Service Centres (CSC) at the panchayat level, spread across the country.
  • In the first phase, the ‘Tele-Law’ scheme will be tested as a pilot across 500 Common service Centres (CSC) in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to understand the challenges and make necessary corrections to the scheme before it is scaled up and rolled out across the country in a phased manner.



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