Insights Daily Current Affairs, 15 July 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 15 July 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

EU, India set up fund for investments

 

The European Union (EU) and India have announced the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU investments in India.

 

india-eu

What you need to know about IFM?

The IFM has been established with the key objectives of paving the way for identifying and solving problems faced by EU companies and investors with regard to their operations in India.

  • The mechanism will allow for a close coordination between the European Union and the Government of India with an aim to promote and facilitate EU investment in India. The IFM will cover new investors as well as those already established in India.
  • The IFM is also going to serve as a platform for discussing general suggestions from the point of view of EU companies and investors with regard to ease of doing business in India. Ease of doing business is a fundamental priority of the Indian Government’s Make in India Campaign and the establishment of IFM for facilitating EU investments in India is another step to achieve this goal.
  • As part of the IFM, the EU Delegation to India and the DIPP will hold regular high level meetings to assess and facilitate “ease of doing business” for EU investors in India. This will include identifying and putting in place solutions to procedural impediments faced by EU firms and investors in establishing or running their operations in India.

 

Background:

The IFM builds on the Joint Statement of the 13th EU-India Summit held in Brussels in March 2016, where the EU had welcomed India’s readiness to establish such a mechanism and leaders from both sides had reaffirmed their shared commitment to oppose protectionism and to work in favour of a fair, transparent and rule-based trade and investment environment.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

US House passes Bill for strengthening defence ties with India

 

The US House of Representatives has passed a $621.5 billion defence policy bill that proposes to advance defence cooperation with India. An amendment in this regard was adopted by a voice vote by the House as part of the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018, beginning 1 October this year. NDAA-2018 was passed by the House 344-81.

us house

Key facts:

  • As passed by the House, NDAA-2018 asks the State Department and the Pentagon to develop a strategy that addresses common security challenges, the role of American partners and allies in India-US defence relationship, and role of the defence technology and trade initiative.
  • Following the passage of the National Defence Authorisation Act, the Secretary of Defence and Secretary of State have 180 days to develop a strategy for advancing defence cooperation between the United States and India.
  • It also asks them to address how to advance the communications interoperability and security memorandum of agreement and the basic exchange and cooperation agreement for geospatial cooperation.

The previous NDAA-2017 had designated India as a major defence partner which brings India at par with closest American partners in terms of defence trade and technology transfer.

 

Way ahead:

NDAA needs to be passed by the Senate before it can be sent to the White House for the US President Donald Trump to sign into law.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

 

Centre to grant NIIF ₹20,000 cr.

 

The Department of Economic Affairs has signed an agreement with the NIIF for a ₹20,000 crore contribution to the Fund.

niif

About NIIF:

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) was proposed in Union Budget 2015. In the last week of December, the government has set up this Rs. 40000 crore fund to provide long term capital for infrastructure projects.

  • The objective of NIIF is to maximise economic impact through infrastructure development in viable projects both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects, mainly in the core infra sector.
  • NIIF has been structured as a fund of funds and set up as Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Mahadayi: Goa open to out-of-tribunal settlement

 

Goa has said that it is open to talks with Karnataka and Maharashtra to explore an out-of-tribunal settlement on Mahadayi issue.

 

mahadayi

Background:

Mahadayi, also known as the Mandovi river, is known as a lifeline in the northern parts of Karnataka. The river originates and flows in Karnataka and goes through Goa before meeting the Arabian Sea. The Mahadayi catchment area covers around 2,032 km and includes some parts of Maharashtra near the Maharashtra-Karnataka border region.

 

About the dispute:

The Karnataka government and Goa government are fighting on sharing of waters of the Mahadayi river (called Mandovi in Goa).

  • In order to divert 7.56 tmcft of water to the Malaprabha river basin, Karnataka government proposed to build canals to link Kalasa and Banduri, the tributaries of Mahadayi. However, objecting the move, Goa government argued that if Karnataka implemented the Kalasa-Banduri project, it would prove disastrous for the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats as the proposed project was deep inside the forest.
  • Karnataka had petitioned the tribunal seeking release of 7.56 tmcft of water for Kalasa-Banduri Nala project. The tribunal, which gave its interim order after hearing arguments from both Karnataka and Goa, had rejected the state’s plea citing various grounds including ecological damage that the project may cause.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

Raipur Airport ranks first in customer satisfaction:

  • Raipurs Swami Vivekananda Airport in Chhattisgarh has been ranked first in customer satisfaction in a survey carried out by the AAI across 49 airports in the country.
  • The airport in the Chhattisgarh capital was followed by those at Udaipur, Amritsar and Dehradun.
  • The survey, which was carried out by an independent agency appointed by AAI, covers a wide range of parameters like transportation, parking, passenger facilities and cleanliness, among others.

 

Antarctica iceberg break off:

  • A massive iceberg has broken away from Antarctica. The Trillion-tonne iceberg is considered as the one of the largest ever. The 5,800 square kilometre iceberg left the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica and has changed the landscape of the region.
  • The final breakthrough of the rift was detected in data from NASA’s Aqua MODIS satellite instrument, which images in the thermal infrared at a resolution of one kilometre and confirmed by NASA’s Suomi VIIRS instrument. The development of the rift over the last year was monitored using data from the European Space Agency Sentinel-1 satellites – part of the European Copernicus Space Component.
  • Although the remaining ice shelf will continue naturally to regrow, researchers have previously shown that the new configuration is potentially less stable than it was prior to the rift. There is a risk that Larsen C may eventually follow the example of its neighbour, Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 following a similar rift-induced calving event in 1995.

 

India’s first solar-powered 1600 HP DEMU train launched:

Indian Railways has launched the country’s first solar-powered local train with a battery bank facility that ensures sufficient power even in the absence of sunlight. The entire electrical need of the coaches, which includes lights, fans and information display system, will be met by the energy produced by solar panels fitted atop the coaches of the DEMU (diesel electric multiple unit) train. The train was launched from Safdarjung railway station.