Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 November 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 November 2017


 

GS Paper 1:

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Manipur Sangai Festival 2017

 

Every year the State of Manipur celebrates the “Manipur Sangai Festival” from 21st to 30th November.

 

sangai festival - manipur

 

About the Sangai festival:

What is it? Sangai Festival is an annual cultural extravaganza in Manipur. The festival is labelled as the grandest festival of the State today and helps promote Manipur as a world class tourism destination. Every edition of the festival showcases the tourism potential of the state in the field of Arts & Culture, Handloom, Handicrafts, Indigenous Sports, Cuisine, Music and Adventure sports of the state etc.

Background: The ‘Festival’ is named after the State animal, Sangai, the brow-antlered deer found only in Manipur. It started in the year 2010 and has grown over the years into a big platform for Manipur to showcase its rich tradition and culture to the world.

Focus areas: The festival will reflect the State’s proud cultural heritage and the love for art which is inherent amongst various tribes inhabiting the State of Manipur. The State’s classical dance form, ‘Ras Leela’ is quite famous all over the world for its distinctiveness from any other dance forms in India. The Ras Leela will form an important part of the dance performances at the Manipur Sangai Festival 2017 besides the various other folk dance performances like the Kabui Naga dance, Bamboo dance, Maibi dance, Lai Haraoba dance, Khamba Thoibi dance etc. which will be showcased at the festival.

Indigenous sports will also be a major highlight of the State’s biggest tourism festival this year. Manipur’s famous martial arts- Thang Ta (a combination Spear & Sword skills), Yubi-Lakpi (a game played with greased coconut like rugby), Mukna Kangjei (a game that combines hockey and wrestling), and Sagol Kangjei- Modern Polo (believed to have evolved in Manipur) will all form part of the festival.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Swachh Iconic Places

 

Context: A National Consultation of Swachh Iconic Places (SIP)was recently held at New Delhi. Representatives from 20 Iconic Sites including central and State officials, representatives of iconic places and Corporate and development partners including World Bank took part in the consultations.

swachh iconic places phase I

swachh iconic places phase I

 

About Swachh Iconic Places (SIP):

What is it? Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) is an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission. Initiated as a project to implement Prime Minister’s vision to take iconic places and their surroundings to higher standards of Swachhata, so that all visitors benefit and also take away home the message of cleanliness, Swachh Iconic Places is now in its second phase.

Implementation of the project: SIP is a truly collaborative project with three other central Ministries: Urban Development, Culture, Tourism; all levels in the concerned States and more importantly, Public Sector and Private companies as partners.

Ten New Iconic sites identified under Phase II are: 1. Gangotri, 2. Yamunotri, 3. Mahakaleshwar Temple, 4. Charminar, 5. Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assissi, 6. Kalady, 7. Gomateshwar, 8. Baijnath Dham, 9. Gaya Tirth and 10. Somnath temple.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

GS 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.

 

North East Development Summit

 

Context: Manipur is hosting the first ever North East Development Summit (NEDS) 2017 in Imphal from November 21.

 

neds

 

About the North East Development Summit:

What is it for? The summit seeks to boost trade and investment in the underdeveloped region. Various international finance agencies will lay down their plan for development in the region.

Aim: It is aimed at “building confidence” and altering the “perception” among visiting delegates and investors.

Organizers: India Foundation, a Delhi-based think tank, is organising the summit in collaboration with the Centre and Manipur government.

Significance of the summit: North Eastern states have lot of potential which is still unexplored. There is a need to explore this unexplored potential for the development of the region and the development of the country as a whole. The summit will contribute to the making of ‘New India’ and help explore the unexplored potential of the region.

 

Key Focus Areas:

  • Trade& Investment.
  • Connectivity& Infrastructure Development.
  • Tourism Development in North-East India.
  • Skill Development, Capacity Building and Entrepreneurship.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Insolvency law

 

insolvency & bankruptcy code 2016

 

Context:

With rising number of cases under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the government has set up a 14-member panel to identify and suggest ways to address issues faced in implementation of the law. The move also comes against the backdrop of concerns in certain quarters about various aspects of the law including the possibility of promoters wresting back control of a company under insolvency process.

 

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016:

It is considered as the biggest economic reform next only to GST. It offers a market determined, time bound mechanism for orderly resolution of insolvency, wherever possible, and orderly exit, wherever required.

The Code envisages an ecosystem comprising National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT), Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Board), Information Utilities (IUs), Insolvency Professionals (IPs), Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPAs) and Insolvency Professional Entities (IPEs) for implementation of the Code.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

IMD World Talent Rankings

 

india- world talent rankings 2017

 

Context: IMD World Talent Rankings 2017 have been released.

About IMD World Talent Rankings:

world talent ranking 2017

What is it?

World Talent Ranking covers 63 countries and assesses the methods countries use to attract and retain the talent their businesses need to thrive.

Assessment: The IMD World Talent Ranking is based on countries’ performance in three main categories – investment and development, appeal and readiness. The three categories assess how countries perform in a wide range of areas. These include education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates.

 

Performance of various countries:

  • India has improved its ranking by three notches to 51 globally.
  • Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium remain the most competitive countries.
  • Among the BRICS countries, South Africa ranks in the middle position – 48th – performing better than India (51st) and Brazil (52nd) but lagging behind both China (40th) and Russia (43rd).
  • Among Asian economies, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan took the top positions by attracting and retaining high skilled workers.

 

Way ahead for India:

As per the IMD rankings, India has not been successful in terms of investment in education as a percentage of GDP. According to the rank list by IMD, it ranked among the bottom five countries in the world in this aspect. Therefore, India needs to emphasise the education system as a key to prosperity. It also needs to prevent brain drain by providing better opportunities to local talent.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

BRICS bank

 

Context: The Shanghai-based BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) has approved two infrastructure and sustainable development projects in India and Russia with loans of $400 million. The loans will be used to rehabilitate the Indira Gandhi canal system in India and to build a toll transport corridor connecting Ufa city centre to the M-5 federal highway in Russia.

indira-gandhi-canal-map

About NDB:

It is a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). It is seen 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.
  • Voting: 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.

 

What it does?

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.

 

Sources: ET.

 


 

GS Paper 3:

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices.

 

WTO: India resolute on food security

 

wto ministerial conference

 

Context: At the upcoming WTO’s Ministerial Conference, India has decided not to agree to severe restrictions on its right to give price subsidies to farmers through the Minimum Support Price (MSP) to procure grains from them for food security purposes. Food security and protection of low-income and resource-poor farmers are top priority items for India at the WTO meet.

 

Present mechanism:

Currently, an interim mechanism called the ‘Peace Clause’ is in place, as per which WTO members had agreed not to challenge developing nations at the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism if they breached the cap of the product-specific domestic support (which is 10% of the value of production). The ‘Peace Clause’ is available to developing nations, including India, till a permanent solution is found to public stockholding for food security purposes.

 

Why is it difficult to invoke peace clause?

The ‘Peace Clause’ is difficult to invoke even in its current form because prior to using it, the country concerned will have to first admit that it ‘is breaching’ or ‘is about to breach’ the ceiling entitlement to give product-specific domestic support. Also, the ‘Peace Clause’ can be used only for public stockholding programmes that have been in existence on the date at which it was agreed upon at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013, and not for new programmes on public stockholding for food security purposes.

 

Challenges ahead:

The prospects of an agreement on a permanent solution are not that bright due to three roadblocks.

  • First, the U.S. has not been engaging actively on the matter till recently, and if the U.S. does not give its nod, it will be difficult to arrive at a decision.
  • Second, the European Union has tried to link the permanent solution with outcomes including stringent disciplines on domestic support given by developing nations.
  • Lastly, most WTO members are of the opinion that there should be a commitment on prohibition of exports from public stockholding saying such exports would be trade-distorting.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: infrastructure.

 

Sagarmala Programme

 

Context:

A world class Center of Excellence in Maritime and Ship Building (CEMS) is being set up by Ministry of Shipping in collaboration with Siemens and Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) under the Ministry’s flagship Sagarmala Programme. CEMS will have campuses at Vishakhapatnam and Mumbai.

sagar-mala-programme

About CEMS:

What is it for?

CEMS will provide industry-relevant skill development, equip students with employable engineering and technical skills in the port and maritime sector and contribute to the Government of India’s ambitious Sagarmala programme. CEMS is being set up to meet the domestic skill requirement in ship design, manufacturing, operating and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).

This initiative also adds to the Make in India and Skill India efforts in the maritime sector. CEMS will provide skilled manpower to make vessels for inland waterways, ships, fishing boats and other ancillary manufacturing sectors.

 

About Sagarmala:

What is it?

The Sagarmala project seeks to develop a string of ports around India’s coast. The objective of this initiative is to promote “Port-led development” along India’s 7500 km long coastline.

It aims to develop access to new development regions with intermodal solutions and promotion of the optimum modal split, enhanced connectivity with main economic centres and beyond through expansion of rail, inland water, coastal and road services.

Nodal ministry: The Union Ministry of Shipping has been appointed as the nodal ministry for this initiative.

 

The Sagarmala initiative will address challenges by focusing on three pillars of development, namely:

  • Supporting and enabling Port-led Development through appropriate policy and institutional interventions and providing for an institutional framework for ensuring inter-agency and ministries/departments/states’ collaboration for integrated development.
  • Port Infrastructure Enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new ports.
  • Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

  • World Conference on Access to Medical Products and International Laws for Trade and Health:

Context: 1st World Conference on Access to Medical Products and International Laws for Trade and Health in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is being held in New Delhi, India.

The Conference is being organized by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare with the support of WHO Country Office for India and in partnership with Indian Society of International Law.

The objective of the Conference is to exchange knowledge and expand understanding on contemporary issues in international trade laws and research and innovation for access to medical products to achieve SDG 2030 agenda.