18, November 2017

1.South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC)- IMF

Source: PIB

SARTTAC is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia.

  • An Interim Meeting of the Steering Committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) was held recently in national capital to assess the Center’s activities since its inauguration in February 2017 and to review the Fiscal Year 2018 Work Plan.
  • Officials from all Six (6) Member countries attended the meeting, together with the Development Partner representatives (the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, and USAID), and IMF staff.
  • The Center’s strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.

SARTTAC:

South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) is a collaborative venture between the IMF, the member countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka), and development partners.

  • SARTTAC, the newest addition to the IMF’s global network of fourteen regional centers, is a new kind of capacity development institution, fully integrating customized hands-on training with targeted technical advice in a range of macroeconomic and financial areas, and generating synergies between the two. It was inaugurated at Delhi in February 2017.
  • SARTTAC is financed mainly by its six member countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka — with additional support from Australia, the Republic of Korea, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Strategic Goal:

  • SARTTAC’s strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.
  • SARTTAC will allow the IMF to meet more of the high demand for technical assistance and training from the region. Through its team of international resident experts, SARTTAC is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia.

More Details: https://www.sarttac.org/content/sarttac/en1.html

2.Furnace oil and pet coke

Source: The Hindu

The Supreme Court has requested all States and Union Territories to move forward towards a nationwide ban on the use of pet coke and furnace oil to power up industries, in a bid to fight pollution.

Background:

  • The Environment Bench of the Supreme Court had already ordered a ban on the industrial use of pet coke and furnace oil in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan on October 24. This ban specifically came after an Environment Pollution Control Authority Report recommended the ban on sale, distribution and use of furnace oil and pet coke in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Impacts and Ban:

  • Automobile fuel — petrol and diesel — has 50 parts per million (PPM) of the highly dangerous sulphur. Comparatively, furnace oil has 15,000- 23,000 ppm sulphur and petcoke 69,000-74,000 ppm sulphur. They emit sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide, which form particulate matter, tiny particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs.
  • Although the DPCC had declared them as “unacceptable fuel” way back in 1996, but they are not banned outside Delhi borders and are being increasingly used by industries in the NCR, aggravating the pollution problem.
  • Furnace oil being the last grade produced by refineries is extremely polluting and pet coke is even more polluting.

3.Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Source: The Hindu

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Meeting of the Ministers of Member States responsible for Foreign Economic and Foreign Trade was recently held in Russia. This is the first Ministerial Conference on Trade organized by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization after India became a full member of the Organization in June 2017.

SCO:

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, also known as the Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Apart from Uzbekistan, the other five countries have been a part of the Shanghai 5 since 1996. The cooperation was renamed to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation after Uzbekistan joined the organisation in 2001.
  • India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members in June 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
  • The SCO counts four observer states, namely the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Mongolia.

The SCO’s main goals are as follows:

  • Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

4.International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO)

Source: The Hindu

Under the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme, a five member audit team recently carried out the audit of India in areas of Personal Licensing, Airworthiness, Operations, Legislation and Organization from 6th to 16th November. The audit involved verification of response provided by DGCA against protocol questions made available by ICAO.

International-Civil-Aviation-Organisation-ICAO

  • As per preliminary feedback, the audit team was satisfied with the safety system put in place by the safety regulator. As per procedure laid down by ICAO, the audit team presents its report to the headquarter team and draft report is made available to the state in about 90 days.
  • The state is required to provide its comment and draw its action plan on various aspects of the report and make it available to ICAO within 45 days. Thereafter the report will be finalised and made available to member states.

ICAO:

  • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN specialized agency, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention).

5.EK BHARAT-SHRESHTHA BHARAT

Source: The Hindu

Under ‘Ek Bharat-Shreshtha Bharat’ Yojana, Madhya Pradesh has been made partner of Manipur and Nagaland.

  • The Higher Education Department of Madhya Pradesh has been made nodal department to implement the scheme.

EK-Bharat

  • As part of this, Madhya Pradesh will participate in Sangai Mahotsav being organized in Manipur from November 21 to 30. Similarly, teams of Manipur and Nagaland will take part in Lok Rang and Bal Rang programmes to present their cultural programmes and to apprise people with their culture.
  • Besides, translation work of Nagaland’s books has also been started in Madhya Pradesh to introduce people of the state with their activities and cultural heritage. Other activities are also being conducted in this regard.

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat:

  • “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” was announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 31st October, 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Subsequently, the Finance Minister announced the initiative in his Budget Speech for 2016-17.
  • Through this innovative measure, the knowledge of the culture, traditions and practices of different States & UTs will lead to an enhanced understanding and bonding between the States, thereby strengthening the unity and integrity of India.
  • All States and UTs will be covered under the programme. There will be pairing of States/UTs at national level and these pairings will be in effect for one year, or till the next round of pairings. The State/UT level pairings would be utilized for state level activities. District level pairings would be independent of the State level pairings.

Significance:

  • The activity will be very useful to link various States and Districts in annual programmes that will connect people through exchanges in areas of culture, tourism, language, education trade etc. and citizens will be able to experience the cultural diversity of a much larger number of States/UTs while realising that India is one.



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