15, December 2017

  1. ‘Ekuverin’

Source: PIB

It is a joint military exercise between India and Maldives. The eighth edition of the exercise is being held in Belagavi, Karnataka.

Key facts:

  • The bilateral annual exercise is a 14-day joint military training between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), which is held alternatively in India and Maldives since 2009. The seventh edition of the exercise was held at Kadhdhoo, Lammu Atoll, Maldives in December, 2016.
  • The focus of the exercise is to acquaint both armies with each other’s operating procedures in the backdrop of a counter-insurgency or counter-terrorist operations in an urban or semi-urban environment under the United Nations (UN) Charter, with an overall aim to enhance interoperability between the two armies.
  • ‘Ekuverin’ means ‘friends’ in the Maldivian language

  1. World Trade Organization conference

Source: The Hindu

The Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the WTO was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The meeting ended in stalemate after U.S. criticism and member country vetoes, raising questions about the body’s ability to govern increasingly disputed global trade. However, the outcome of the conference was a positive one for India as the country was able to secure the interests of its farmers as well food security for the poor.

India was successful stopping any of the new issues like investment facilitation and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from entering the ambit of the WTO. India became the second largest proponent of issues after the EU as it submitted proposals on six issues — public stock-holding, special safeguards mechanism, domestic regulation, domestic support, trade facilitation in services, and eCommerce.

India’s issue:

  • A permanent solution for food security by improving existing peace clause.
  • Stopping entry of new issues like investment facilitation, e- commerce, MSMEs.
  • Safeguarding WTO and multilateralism.

What they got?

  • No dilution in peace clause that protects MSP programmes for food grain.
  • No fast- tracking of e- commerce talks.
  • No commitments to curb fisheries subsidies.
  • New issues and non trade issues like gender and trade were not taken forward.

Present in India:

  • Get legal backing for permanent solution.
  • Broaden interests on agriculture and services.
  • Form coalition to push interests.

Peace Clause:

  • It is an interim mechanism, as per which WTO members had agreed not to challenge developing nations at the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism if they breached the cap of the product-specific domestic support (which is 10% of the value of production).
  • The ‘Peace Clause’ is available to developing nations, including India, till a permanent solution is found to public stock holding for food security purposes.
  • The limited window offered by the Western powers for the peace clause was seen by India as insufficient assurance. The clause also requires full disclosure of MSPs and annual procurement for food security programmes, which the Government fears would leave India open to questioning by other countries on domestic matters.

Significance:

  • The right to food is a basic human right. Therefore, Western misgivings about a country like India − where a third of the 1.3 billion-population lives beneath the poverty line − providing food subsidies seems hypocritical. The developed nations see India as a huge market for foodgrains and other products, but their produce is rendered uncompetitive when the government is willing to subsidise farmers, purchase their produce for a minimum support price and then sell it at a loss through the public distribution system and other channels.
  • Accepting a temporary peace clause would be tantamount to admitting that the subsidy programmes in India and other developing nations violate global trade norms, leaving the nation a sitting duck if a complaint was to be raised in the WTO or other international forums later. This would also result in India losing its biggest bargaining chip in future WTO meetings.

  1. Sakhi One Stop Centres

Source: PIB

A National Workshop on Role of Sakhi One Stop Centres in Strengthening Multi Sectoral Response to Violence is being held in New Delhi. The workshop has been organized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Around 400 Sakhi- One Stop Centre Functionaries and nodal officials from State Department of Women and Child Development from 33 States/UTs across the country, are participating in the workshop.

  • The conference provides platform to understand, discuss and deliberate on strengthening the multisector response to address violence against women through the Sakhi One Stop Centres across the country.

The Sakhi scheme:

  • Popularly known as Sakhi, the scheme is being implemented since 1st April 2015. The scheme aims to facilitate access to an integrated range of services including medical aid, police assistance, legal aid/case management, psychosocial counselling, and temporary support services to women affected by violence.
  • Under the scheme, it has been envisaged that One Stop Centres (OSC) would be set up across the country in a phased manner.



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