18, August 2017

1.PM addresses Young Entrepreneurs at the “Champions of Change” initiative organised by NITI Aayog

Source: PIB

“Champions of Change” initiative organised by NITI Aayog

  • “Champions of Change” initiative as one effort to bring together diverse strengths for the benefit of the nation and society.
  • This is the second such event — after Prime Minister’s magnum opus event Startup India in January 2016 — where start-up bosses are being called by the PM en-masse. This would lead to a similar programme on August 21-22, where 180 young CEOs would deliberate on Six groups of Young Entrepreneurs made presentations before the PM on themes such as
    1. Soft Power
    2. Incredible India 2.0
    3. Education and Skill Development
    4. Health and Nutrition
    5. Energizing a sustainable tomorrow and
    6. Digital India New India by 2022.

Key facts:

  • It is encouraging to see that the government have invited opinions from change agents such as new-age entrepreneurs in solving key problems
  • Entrepreneurs need to focus on job creation, moving away from capital-intensive or high-skill jobs.
  • Ease of doing business has been a constant demand of start-ups, who still find it hard to run a business in the country.
  • The government has, in the past few months, come out with some policies to provide relief to Indian companies. Most recently, it notified provisions for fast-tracking resolution of insolvency proceedings. Under this part of the code, also applicable to small companies, insolvency proceedings would be completed in 90 days.
  • According to industry data, 95 per cent of start-ups are unsuccessful ventures and wind down within two years. However, liquidation of the companies is a painful process that takes at least five years.

2.Navika Sagar Parikrama – Circumnavigating The Globe on an Indian-Built Sail Boat INSV Tarini by Women Naval Officers

Source: PIB

Navika Sagar Parikrama is a project wherein a team of women officers of the Indian Navy would circumnavigate the globe on an Indian-built sail boat INSV Tarini.

  • The expedition has been aptly titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, aimed at promoting women empowerment in the country and ocean sailing by the Indian Navy.
  • The expedition would inspire the youth of our nation to develop an understanding of the sea and instill a spirit of adventure and camaraderie.

Key facts:

  • This is the first ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
  • The project is scheduled to commence in early Sep 17.
  • INSV Tarini is the sister vessel of INSV Mhadei.
  • The project is considered essential towards promoting Ocean Sailing activities in the Navy while depicting Government of India’s thrust for ‘Nari Shakti’.
  • The first Indian Solo circumnavigation was undertaken by Capt Dilip Donde, SC (Retd) from 19 Aug 09 to 19 May 10 onboard the Indian built vessel, INSV Mhadei.
  • The first Indian non-stop solo circumnavigation was undertaken by Cdr Abhilash Tomy, KC from 01 Nov 12 to 31 Mar 13.

INSV Tarini:

  • INSV Tarini is a 55-foot sailing vessel, which has been built indigenously, and was inducted in the Indian Navy earlier this year
  • The vessel has sailed approximately 8,000 Nm till date. Navika Sagar Parikrama would be covered in five legs with stop-overs at four ports (same ports as Capt Dilip Donde) for replenishment of ration and repairs as necessary.

Additional aims of the Expedition are as follows:-

  • Nari ShaktiIn consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential, the expedition aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform. This would also help to discard the societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of participation by women in challenging environment.
  • Environment and Climate Change – Sailing encourages the use of environment friendly non-conventional renewable energy resources which affects the life of women. The expedition thereby aims at harnessing the energy to optimise the livelihood of the women onboard.
  • Make in India – The voyage also aims to show case the ‘Make in India’ initiative by sailing onboard the indigenously built INSV Tarini.
  • Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave Data Observation – The crew would also collate and update Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave data on a daily basis for subsequent analysis by research and development organisations.
  • Marine Pollution – The crew would monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas.
  • Interaction with Local PIOs – Since the expedition aims to promote Ocean Sailing and the spirit of adventure, the crew would interact extensively with the local PIOs at the various port halts.

3.Ahead of Xiamen summit, BRICS discuss new rules of global governance

Source: The Hindu

The BRICS summit is being held in China’s coastal city of Xiamen from September 3-5.

It highlights the theme: “BRICS: stronger partnership for a brighter future

  • As the countdown for the September summit of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping begins, scholars, academics and government officials have been brainstorming ways in which the emerging economies can set the global agenda, based on new rules of governance.

Key facts:

BRICS members account for about 23 per cent of the world economy, and contributed to more than half of global growth in 2016.

  • Nearly 200 developing economies since the end of the Second World War, only two have transitioned from low-income to high-income economies, with China possibly emerging as the third by 2025. The failure to avoid either the middle-income or low income trap, to pursuit of western mainstream economic theories — structuralism, and neoliberalism.
  • While acknowledging China’s success, most participants also underscored that there is no one-size-fits-all development model that can be fully replicated to achieve growth.
  • The editor of South Africa’s Thinker Magazine, pointed out that a change of mindset was essential as communities and their leader must believe that development is possible, whatever the odds. “The weak hatchling will never take off if it depends on government aid, financial grants, and welfare allowances.
  • The brainstorming in Quanzhou has been preceded by a conference, earlier this month of the BRICS trade minister in Shanghai, which focused on the continued relevance of globalisation.
  • A BRICS security meeting was held in Beijing, with discussions on global governance, anti-terrorism, the internet, energy, national security and development. A month earlier, finance ministers and central bank governors agreed to strengthen cooperation in several fiscal and financial areas, including the BRICS New Development Bank and regulatory collaboration.

4.Environment Minister Launches “Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali” Campaign

Source: PIB

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has launched the “Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali” campaign.

As a part of the campaign, the Environment Ministry will undertake various activities to create awareness among various stakeholders and encourage people to participate in combating air pollution.

Key facts:

  • Diwali is an integral part of our rich tradition and a festival that embodies joy and happiness. In recent times, the pattern of celebration has changed somewhat and has got associated with excessive bursting of crackers, which contributes significantly to air and noise pollution.  As a result, there has been a significant impact on the environment and health of the people.
  • As has been the experience in the past few years, airborne pollution has been rising above safe limits during winter in many cities. The excessive burning of crackers during Diwali aggravates the problem.  The pollution levels in Delhi last year, especially post Diwali, reached such levels that the government had to declare an emergency situation, which had socio-economic consequences like closing down of schools, construction sites and power stations.

5.New BRICS bank plans $1.5 billion lending for South African projects

Source: The Hindu

A New Development Bank (NDB) set up by the “BRICS” group of emerging economies plans to lend $1.5 billion to South Africa for infrastructure projects over the next eighteen months. The bank also officially opened its African regional centre in Johannesburg.


The New Development Bank will mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

  • It is a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). It is seens as an alternative to the existing US-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
  • The New Development Bank was agreed to by BRICS leaders at the 5th BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa in 2013.
  • The bank is set up to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets.
  • The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, China.
  • Unlike the World Bank, which assigns votes based on capital share, in the New Development Bank each participant country will be assigned one vote, and none of the countries will have veto power.

6.Why India must take China’s warning of a trade war seriously

Source: Economic Timees

A trade war between China and India seems to be looming after the imposition of anti-dumping duties on Chinese products. Recently, India imposed anti-dumping duties on 93 Chinese products.

China is not going to tolerate this measure and is likely to respond. State-owned Chinese media has urged Chinese firms to reconsider the risks of investing in India and warned New Delhi to be prepared for the “possible consequences for its ill-considered action”.

Why India cannot afford to fight a trade war with China?

  • Trade deficit: India’s trade deficit with China rose to $46.56 billion last year. China’s exports to India totaled $58.33 billion, registering a meager increase of 0.2% compared to $58.25 billion in 2015. India’s exports to China dropped 12% from 2015 to $11.76 billion. India exports less to China (mainly raw materials) and imports more (mainly electronics and other manufactured goods which are in high demand).
  • India’s share: China’s exports to India account for only 2% of its total exports. So even if Indians boycott all the goods imported form China, it will not make as big an impact on China as to bring it to its knees before India.
  • Emerging markets: Of course, China needs new markets for its manufactured goods, and India is one of those new markets where its electronic goods, especially smartphones, have found a large market. But China can find markets in other Asian countries and even in Africa. It is also trying to create a market for its goods in Europe. It is in no way dependent on India.
  • Telecom and pharma sectors: India today imports telecom gear worth over Rs 70,000 crore annually, much of it from Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE. Chinese companies dominate the telecom sector in India. India’s pharma sector has critical dependence on Chinese imports used in drugs manufacturing.
  • Power: Power is another sector where India has come to be dependent on Chinese imports. In the 12th Plan alone, almost 30% of the generating capacity was imported from China. In the rapidly growing solar energy sector, between April 2016 and January 2017, solar equipment from China had a share of 87% in a market pegged at $1.9 billion.

Way ahead:

  • The popular impression is that China is dumping consumer goods into India. But the fact is that India depends on China for capital goods too. Reduction in import of cheaper capital goods will push up production costs.
  • China is India’s largest trading partner, but the trade is heavily skewed in favour of China. India can fight trade wars with China only when it has removed the big skew in its trade with China, which can take a decade of manufacturing growth. A trade war when Indian manufacturing ability is limited is not going to favour India. India’s imports from China are crucial at this stage.

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