23, January 2018


Agriculture Ministers’ Conference

  • Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference was recently held under the auspices of the 10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Germany. The conference affirmed to the role of ICT technologies as an important tool to agriculture, for example in improving water-use efficiency.
  • The meeting was attended by agriculture ministers of 83 nations, as well as high-level representatives of international organisations such as the European Commission and the FAO. Together they adopted an ambitious communiqué and committed to a sustainable stewardship of water.
  • The theme of the meeting was “Agriculture and Water – Key to Feeding the World”

1.Navika Sagar Parikrama INSV Tarini enters port Stanley Falkland Islands

Source: PIB

INSV Tarini entered Port Stanley (Falkland islands) during it’s maiden voyage to circumnavigate the globe.

  • This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.

Key facts:

  • The indigenously-built INSV Tarini is a 56-foot sailing vessel, which was inducted in the Indian Navy earlier this year, and showcases the ‘Make in India’ initiative on the International forum.
  • The vessel and the crew experienced rough weather and stormy winds during the passage across the Pacific ocean that spanned 41 days. This coupled with the extremely cold climatic conditions prevailing in the region, proved to be a daunting task to overcome for the Indian Navy crew. Winds in excess of 60 knots and waves upto 7 meters were experienced on this leg of the passage.
  • The expedition titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, is in consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential.
  • It also aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform and help revolutionise societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environs.
  • The crew has also been collating and updating meteorological, ocean and wave data on a regular basis for accurate weather forecast by India Meteorological Department (IMD), as also monitoring marine pollution on the high seas.
  • They would interact extensively with the local populace, especially children, during the port halt to promote Ocean sailing and the spirit of adventure.

2.National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) makes its First Investment

Source: PIB

The Government of India is pleased to take note that the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has made its First investment.

  • An India-UK Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF) is also being set-up under the fund of funds vertical of NIIF, and shall have anchor commitments of GBP 120 million each from Government of India (through NIIF) and Government of UK
  • Following its First Close in October 2017 on the fund-raising side, and now with its first investment, NIIF is making visible progress. (Came in to effect 2018)

Key facts:

  • NIIF has partnered with DP World to create an investment platform for ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India.
  • The platform will invest in opportunities in the ports sector, and beyond sea ports into areas such as river ports and transportation, freight corridors, port-led special economic zones, inland container terminals, and logistics infrastructure including cold storage.
  • NIIF, set-up to function as a major platform in India for attracting foreign investments, has made good progress


  • The NIIF is being operationalized by establishing three Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) under the SEBI Regulations.
  • The proposed corpus of NIIF is Rs. 40,000 Crores (around USD 6 Billion).
  • GOI’s contribution to the AIFs under the NIIF scheme shall be 49% of the total commitment.
  • NIIF has mandate to solicit equity participation from strategic anchor partners, like overseas sovereign/quasi-sovereign/multilateral/bilateral investors.


  • NIIF Ltd. is a fund manager that seeks to create long-term value for domestic and international investors seeking investment in energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India.
  • The company is jointly-owned by the Government of India and investors from India and abroad.
  • While NIIF’s government partnership ensures close engagement with policy-makers and central and state government agencies, its commercial investors ensure a principles led and professional approach to all investments.
  • It will operate with the highest standards of governance, and keep in mind the need to balance transparency and confidentiality among stakeholders and partners.
  • Strategy encompasses aggregation of operating assets, development of greenfield projects, and anchoring and, investing in, private equity funds.
  • NIIF seeks to become one of the main channels of investment into Indian infrastructure. It aims to develop lasting partnerships with multiple stakeholders in the country to provide smart investment and financing solutions to its investors and investees.

3.Aadhaar Card: 10 Things To Know About Unique Identity Number (UID)

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has said that Aadhaar – the 12-digit identity number based on the biometrics data of an individual – can be obtained at any age.
  • Aadhaar card or UID is available to residents only. Therefore, NRIs (non-resident Indians) and OCIs (Overseas Citizens of India) are not eligible for Aadhaar card.
  • Aadhaar is to be mandatorily quoted for a number of important tasks.

More Details: https://www.ndtv.com/business/aadhaar-card-10-things-to-know-about-uid-unique-identity-number-1761658

4.India among least inclusive in G20 economies: World Economic Forum report

Source: Indian Express

According to the report, India ranks second last among the G20 economies ahead of only South Africa and trailing behind Russia (19), China (26) and Brazil (37).

  • The Inclusive Development Index (IDI) 2018, a report published by the World Economic Forum, ranked India 62 out of the total 74 emerging countries.
  • In fact, even regional rival Pakistan ranks 47, 15 places ahead of India, as per the report.

Key facts:

The IDI is essentially based on the notion that most people base economic progress by changes in their standard of living rather than published GDP growth.

The index namely has three pillars of growth for global economies:

  1. Growth and development;
  2. Inclusion,
  3. Intergenerational equity and sustainability.

What report says?

  • The report says that the IDI is ‘designed as an alternative to GDP that reflects more closely the criteria through which people evaluate their respective countries’ economies.
  • That means The IDI is essentially based on the notion that most people base economic progress by changes in their standard of living rather than published GDP growth.

India ranks second last among the G20 economies:

  • India ranks second last among the G20 economies ahead of only South Africa and trailing behind Russia (19), China (26) and Brazil (37).
  • Even in the inclusive emerging and developing economies, India couldn’t make it to the top 10, with China, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka making a mark.
  • South Asian economies such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines also ranked far better than India.
  • The report, however, says that India is an ‘advancing economy’ as compared to China and Bangladesh which are ‘slowly advancing’ and Sri Lanka which is ‘slowly receding.


  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) update on Monday, projected India growing at 7.4 per cent in 2018 as compared to China’s 6.8 per cent, making it the fastest growing country among emerging economies.
  • As per the IMF, the Indian economy is estimated to expand 7.8 per cent in 2019.


5.Parker Solar Probe

Source: Indian Express

Nasa has begun testing its new probe- Parker solar probe- that will ‘touch the sun’, when it launches into space this summer.

Parker Solar Probe:

  • ‘Parker Solar Probe will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.’

Aims of the mission:

  • It will study the outer atmosphere of the sun, known as the corona. To measure the corona, the probe will reach an orbit within four million miles (6.5 million km) of the sun. The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) is also aimed at collecting vital information about the life of stars and their weather events. This will help scientists improve how we predict dangerous solar flares, which can disrupt satellites and power supplies here on Earth.
  • The mission can help scientists to better understand solar flares – brief eruptions of intense high-energy radiation from the sun’s surface that can knock out communications on Earth. According to Nasa, observations from this new vantage point will also help to uncover the physics of how stars work, and could improve our ability to predict space weather. These events have impacts on Earth as well as the satellites and astronauts in space.

Why study the corona?

  • The corona is the sun’s outer atmosphere. It is unstable and produces solar wind and flares. Millions of tons of highly magnetised material can erupt from the sun at speeds of several million miles an hour. Therefore, we need to get closer to it in order to understand how it works.

How solar flares impact earth?

  • Solar flares can damage satellites and have an enormous financial cost. The charged particles can also threaten airlines by disturbing the Earth’s magnetic field. Very large flares can even create currents within electricity grids and knock out energy supplies.
  • Geomagnetic storms are more disruptive now than in the past because of our greater dependence on technical systems that can be affected by electric currents.

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