15, September 2017

Operation Insaaniyat – PIB

  • A humanitarian crisis arose in Bangladesh due to heavy influx of refugees from neighboring Myanmar.
  • The government of India has decided to assist Bangladesh in this crisis by sending relief material.
  • The Indian Air Force was tasked to airlift the relief material from India to Bangladesh.
  • One C-17 Globe master strategic heavy lift cargo aircraft was positioned at short notice at Delhi on 13 Sep 17 to airlift 55 Tons of relief material to Chittagong, Bangladesh.
  • This aircraft was loaded overnight with relief material consisting of critical daily necessities viz., rice, pulses, sugar, salt, cooking oil, ready to eat meals, mosquito nets etc.

‘SWACHHTA’ Ranking – 2017 of Higher Educational Institutions – PIB

  • An award ceremony based on ‘SWACHHTA’ Ranking 2017 of Higher Educational Institutions was held in New Delhi.
  • Union Human Resource Development Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar gave away the prizes to the awardees
  • That the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is the most significant cleanliness campaign by the Government of India. Under this mission more than four crore and eighty lakhs toilets were constructed in India since 2nd October, 2014 and more than two lakhs villages are now open defecation free.
  • An exercise to rank Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) on the basis of cleanliness and hygiene has been undertaken and concluded.
  • Parameters for a clean campus were formulated, like student/toilet ratio, kitchen hygiene, availability of running water, modernity of toilet & kitchen equipment, campus green cover, garbage disposal in hostels and academic buildings, disposal techniques, water supply systems and also a certain weightage to whether the institutions has adopted any neighbouring locality or village to spread awareness & activities in Swachhta.

 

1.List of MoUs/Agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister of Japan to India

Source: PIB

S. No. Memorandums Description
A. Disaster Risk Management
1 MOC between the Ministry of Home Affairs, of the Government of the Republic of India and the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan Aims to cooperate and collaborate in the field of disaster risk reduction and to share the experiences, knowledge and policies on disaster prevention.
B. Skills Development
2 MoC in the field of Japanese Language Education in India between MEA and MOFA, Japan To further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in the field of Japanese language education in India
C. Connectivity
3 India Japan Act East Forum To enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in the North Eastern Region of India in an efficient and effective manner
D. Economic & Commercial
4 Arrangement between India Post and Japan Post on Administrative Instruction for the Implementation of Cool EMS service Aims at implementing the commercial arrangement of “Cool EMS” service between the Japan Post and India Post through which fresh food can be sent from Japan to India in cool boxes to facilitate for the Japanese expatriates in India
E. Investment (Gujarat)
5 India-Japan Investment Promotion Road map between DIPP and METI To facilitate and accelerate the Japanese investments in India
6 MOC between METI and the State of Gujarat on ‘Japan-India special programme for Make In India’ in Mandal Bechraj-Khoraj in Gujarat To Cooperate in infrastructure development programmes in the Mandal Bechraj-Khoraj region

 

F. Science & Technology
7. Agreement for International joint exchange programme between interdisciplinary theoretical and mathematical sciences programme (iTHEMS), RIKEN and National Centres for Biological Sciences (Simons-NCBS) To establish a Joint Exchange Program to identify and foster talented young scientists from both the countriesto collaborate in the field of theoretical biology
8 Joint Research Contract between National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST), Japan and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) To conduct joint research and to establish an
International Center named as “DBT-AISTInternational CENter for Translational & Environmental Research (DAICENTER)” at AIST, Japan in order to promote science and technology in both the institutions and countries.
9 MOU Between DBT and National Institute of Advanced Science & Technology (AIST) To promote research collaboration between DBT Research Institutes and AIST in the field of Life Science and Biotechnology
G. Sports
10 MoU on International Academic and Sports Exchange between Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE)and Nippon Sports Science University, Japan (NSSU) To facilitate and deepen international education cooperation and exchanges between Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education, India and Nippon Sport Science University, Japan
11 MoU on International Academic and Sports Exchange between Sports Authority of India and Nippon Sports Science University, Japan (NSSU) To facilitate and deepen international education cooperation and exchanges between both Sports Authority of India and Nippon Sport Science University , Japan
12 LETTER OF INTENT between Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE) and University of Tsukuba, Japan To strengthen strategic collaboration, joint research programme and exchanges betweenLakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education, India and University of Tsukuba, Japan
13 LETTER OF INTENT between Sports Authority of India and University of Tsukuba, Japan To strengthen strategic collaboration, joint research programme and exchanges betweenUniversity of Tsukuba, Japan and Sports Authority of India
H. Academics/Think Tank
14 MoU between RIS and IDE-JETRO for promotion of Cooperation in Research Related Activities To promote institutional cooperation between RIS and IDE-JETRO to strengthen the capacity of researchand effectiveness of dissemination of research findings
   
I. Civil Aviation
 

15

 

Exchange of RoD on Civil Aviation Cooperation (Open Sky)

 

It opens skies between India and Japan i.e. Indian and Japanese carriers can mount now unlimited number of flights to the selected cities of each other’s countries.

 

More details: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-japan-joint-statement-during-shinzo-abes-visit-full-text-narendra-modi-bullet-train-mous-4843849/

2.PM Narendra Modi, Shinzo Abe commit to practice free trade between the two nations

Source: Indian Express

India and Japan committed to resist protectionism while making a strong case for rule based multilateral trading system for sustainable growth.

  • Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe reaffirmed their commitment to work together to implement the Bali and Nairobi Ministerial decisions.
  • Aims to create a “free and open” Asia-Pacific region which connects parts of eastern Africa, south Asia and southeast Asia with the western Pacific Ocean region and Japan.
  • Japan will expand infrastructure, development, trade and investment, and enhance business environment and human development from East Asia as a starting point, to the Middle East and Africa,”. The ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’ rests on “two oceans” — Indian and Pacific — and “two continents” — Africa and Asia.
  • It is understood that by connecting “two oceans” and “two continents”, Japan is quietly challenging China’s aggressive plans in the South China Sea that pose a threat to the energy lane that sustains Japanese economy.

Key facts:

  • India and Japan committed to resist protectionism while making a strong case for rule based multilateral trading system for sustainable growth.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe held strategic discussions on a wide range of issues under the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries.
  • The two Prime Ministers underlined the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and enhancing free, fair, and open trade, for achieving sustainable growth and development.
  • Japan reaffirmed its support to India’s membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies. The two leaders decided to work towards liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • They reaffirmed to cooperate towards conclusion of a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, in order to achieve a balanced outcome.

3. Swachhta Hi Seva

Source: PIB

Swachh Bharat Mission

Ahead of the 3rd anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission that falls on 2nd October.

The Prime Minister has named the nation-wide sanitation campaign from 15th September to 2nd October 2017 as “Swachhta Hi Seva”. This is being coordinated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, the convening Ministry for the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Key facts:

  • The objective of the campaign is to mobilise people and reinforce the “Jan Aandolan” for sanitation to contribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Clean India.
  • Swachhta Hi Seva campaign will see large scale mobilisation of people from all walks of life to undertake shramdaan for cleanliness and construction of toilets and to make their environments free from open defecation.
  • There will be targeted cleaning of public and tourist places.
  • The participation will range from the President of India to the common citizen and would involve Union Ministers, Governors, Chief Ministers, legislators celebrities and top officials. Celebrities, faith leaders, corporate honchos etc. are being mobilised to spearhead the campaign in their respective areas of influence.

4.India, Pakistan hold talks on Indus Waters Treaty

Source: Indian Express

Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory

What are the issues?

  • The World Bank had said that under the IWT, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions.
  • Pakistan opposes the construction of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants being built by India, it had said in a fact sheet issued at the conclusion of secretary-level talks between the two countries over the IWT.

Background:

  • The IWT was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory.
  • The World Bank’s role in relation to “differences” and “disputes” is limited to the designation of people to fulfil certain roles when requested by either or both of the parties.

Indus Water Treaty:

At a time when States within India are unable to find an amicable solution to sharing water from rivers that flow between them, India and Pakistan are living examples of how water resources can be shared through legal frame work.

For 56 years, both India and Pakistan are peacefully sharing the water of Indus and its tributaries, The Indus Water Treaty.

  • The Indus Waters Treaty was signed on September 19, 1960 by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan
  • It was brokered by the World Bank
  • The treaty administers how river Indus and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be utilised
  • According to the treaty, Beas, Ravi and Sutlej are to be governed by India, while, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum are to be taken care by Pakistan.
  • However, since Indus flows from India, the country is allowed to use 20% of its water for irrigation, power generation and transport purposes
  • A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty & it solves disputes arising over water sharing.
  • The Treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably
  • Chinese angle: Though Indus originates from Tibet, China has been kept out of the Treaty; if China decides to stop or change the flow of the river, it will affect both India and Pakistan
  • Climate change is causing melting of ice in Tibetan plateau, which scientists believe will affect the river in future.
  • It may be noted that both India and Pakistan are still at loggerheads over various issues since Partition, but there has been no fight over water after the Treaty was ratified.

5.Here is how various refugee communities have fared in India

Source: Indian Express

India doesn’t have any law dealing with refugees. An utterly humanitarian matter like the ‘refugees’ has come to be influenced by considerations of national security or relations between countries.

  • The refugee situation in India remains complicated but the government’s move to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong community has come as a welcome signal.

Who is a refugee?

  • Article 1 Para 2 of the 1951 United Nations Conventions defines a refugee as “a person who owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.
  • They are individuals that are recognised under the 1951 convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol relating to the Convention, the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, 1969, and those people that are recognised as per the statutes of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
  • Refugees are also those individuals who have been provided complementary forms of protection (permanent or temporary). After 2007, the people living in refugee-like situations are also included in the refugee population.

How many refugees are there in India?

  • According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), India had a refugee population of just over 2 lakh by end of 2015.
  • India has given shelter to Tibetans, Chakmas from Bangladesh, and refugees from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka etc.

What is the legal status of refugees in India?

  • India is not a signatory of several international laws and conventions that govern the inflow, status and treatment of refugees like the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention on the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol – the latter lays down the rights and services that the host country is stipulated to provide refugees.
  • India, meanwhile, deals with refugees and asylum seekers and refugees on an ad hoc basis, consulting a basic refugee policy and administrative laws like The Passport (Entry of India) Act, 1920, The Passport Act 1967, The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939, The Foreigners Act, 1946, and the Foreigners Order, 1948.

What is the condition of different refugee communities in India?

Tibetans

  • An independent state before 1950, Tibet was attacked by China under Mao Zedong’s leadership.
  • China took control of Lhasa – the capital city of Tibet – by 1950.
  • A year later, the Tibetan government was forced into signing a 17-point agreement with China that recognised China’s sovereignty over Tibet.
  • After an 8-year long uprising against China’s violation of terms of the agreement and state-inflicted violence against Tibetans, destruction of thousands of monasteries, the 14th Dalai Lama and tens of thousands of his followers fled Tibet to take refuge in India in 1959.
  • Now, the Dalai Lama lives in his abode at Dharamsala from where the small Tibetan government-in-exile operate. Every year, hundreds, if not thousands of Tibetans register in India as refugees.

Bangladeshi refugees in India

  • Since the partition of India in 1947, India has received waves of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from Bangladesh.
  • The largest influx of refugees was seen during the Bangladesh Liberation War.
  • Lakhs of people living in then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) escaped the genocide carried out by Pakistani military. Refugee settlements came up in states such as West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam and Tripura. According to official estimates, as many as 10 million refugees were given shelter during the massacre.
  • As the massacres in Bangladesh escalated an estimated 10 million refugees fled to India causing financial hardship and instability in Bangladesh due to 1971 Bangladesh genocides as well as regional conflicts in the north-eastern states.

Pakistani Refugees

  • Currently, India has at least 400 settlements of Pakistani Hindu refugees.
  • Additionally, India on regular occasions has accepted pleas of refuge from persecuted religious minorities from Pakistan. Most of the refugee settlements are located in Gujarat and Rajasthan along the India-Pakistan border. T
  • he condition of the refugees in India, though vastly better from what they escaped in Pakistan, is not rosy.
  • Since partition, the population of religious minorities in Pakistan has dwindled and thousands flee to India seeking protection from the persecution they were subjected to in Pakistan.

Afghan refugees

  • After the Afghan-Soviet war that lasted from 1979-1989, around 60,000 refugees from Afghanistan had arrived in India. UNHCR India and NHRC operate welfare programmes for the population. However, the community is yet to be recognised as refugees by the Government of India.

Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka

  • Around a lakh Sri Lankan Tamils currently live in India with most having arrived during or around the time of the Sri Lankan civil war.
  • The people escaped violence and killings in Sri Lanka and sought refuge in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and also in some settlements in Kerala and Karnataka.
  • The population of Sri Lankan Tamils is more than the number that arrived but official estimates place around 60,000 Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu’s 109 camps alone.

Rohingyas

  • An ethnic Muslim community belonging to the Rakhine state of Myanmar, Rohingyas have been recognised as one of the most persecuted ethnic groups in the world. Even though they belong to Myanmar, Burmese authorities refuse to recognise them as citizens.
  • Bangladesh and India, where they have sought refuge now, have said they can’t keep them permanently. In effect, Rohingyas are stateless people.
  • The Rohingyas are facing violence arguably to the extent of genocide in Rakhine with many calling it an act or attempt at ethnic cleansing. In recent months, Rohingyas have settled in places like Delhi, Hyderabad, Kashmir, West Bengal and the northeastern states. However, the government has refused to recognise Rohingyas as refugees. UNHCR is, meanwhile, running a support program for them in India.

6.India, China unlikely to be growth poles for global economy: UNCTAD

Source: The Hindu

The world economy in 2017 is picking up but not lifting off, and while growth in China and India remains relatively buoyant, it is still at a slower pace than before the 2008 financial crisis and with serious downside risks, according to a report by UNCTAD — the United Nations’ permanent intergovernmental body.

Key facts:

  • “The world economy) Growth is expected to reach 2.6%, slightly higher than in 2016 but well below the pre-financial crisis average of 3.2%,” according to the UNCTAD’s ‘Trade and Development Report, 2017’.
  • India’s growth performance depends to a large extent on reforms to its banking sector, which is burdened with large volumes of stressed and non-performing assets, and there are already signs of a reduction in the pace of credit creation.
  • Since debt-financed private investment and consumption have been important drivers of growth in India, the easing of the credit boom is likely to slow GDP growth.

Demonetisation, GST hit India

  • The informal sector, which still accounts for at least one third of the country’s (India’s) GDP and more than four fifths of employment, was badly affected by the Government’s ‘demonetization’ move in November 2016, and it may be further affected by the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax from July 2017.”
  • China’s estimated debt-to-GDP ratio is 249%, adding that as the Chinese Government introduces measures to contain its rising debt, domestic demand could be squeezed, with adverse consequences.
  • The dependence on debt makes the boom in China and India difficult to sustain and raises the possibility that when the downturn occurs in these countries, deleveraging will accelerate the fall and make recovery difficult, the report said. Therefore, expecting these countries to continue to serve as the growth poles that would fuel a global recovery is clearly unwarranted.
  • The main obstacle to a robust recovery in such countries is fiscal austerity, which remains the default macroeconomic option.
  • Capital inflows to developing countries remain negative, albeit less so than in recent years, it said, adding that unforeseen events could knock recovering economies off balance.

Way ahead:

In today’s integrated global economy, Governments will need to act together for any one country to achieve success. UNCTAD urges them to seize the opportunity offered by the Sustainable Development Goals and put in place a global new deal for the twenty-first century.



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