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Insights Daily Current Events, 28 April 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 28 April 2015


U.S., Japan agree on new defence rules

The United States and Japan have unveiled new rules for defence cooperation that will give Japanese armed forces a more ambitious global role amid concerns over China’s rising sway.


  • Under the revised guidelines, Japan could come to the aid of U.S forces. This agreement would expand the reach of Japan’s military — now limited to its own defense — allowing it to act when the United States or countries American forces are defending are threatened.
  • Under the previous rules, Japanese forces could assist American troops only if they were operating in the direct defence of Japan. This agreement replaces guidelines geared exclusively toward the defense of Japan with new rules that eliminate any geographic restriction.

The agreement also reflects worries about North Korea and, especially, China, whose territorial claims in the South China Sea and growing military spending have upset its neighbors.

Sources: The Hindu.


China to integrate Mongolian, Russian initiatives with MSR

In tune with its effort to interface India’s Mausam and Spice Route projects with its Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiative, China is making headway in integrating a Mongolian and a Russian initiative to develop another spur of its ambitious Silk Road land corridor.

What China wants?

  • China wants to include Mongolia’s “Steppe road” initiative, and link up with the Moscow-driven transcontinental rail plan to develop the China-Mongolia-Russia (CMR) economic corridor.

The China-Mongolia-Russia (CMR) initiative is similar to two other undertaking initiated by China: the recently inaugurated Pakistan-China economic corridor, and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor.

What is ‘Project Mausam’?

It is a Project under which the Government of India has proposed to establish cross cultural linkages and to revive historic maritime cultural and economic ties with 39 Indian Ocean countries.

  • The 39 countries include Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Iraq, Mauritius, Singapore, Thailand, Yemen, South Africa, Philippines, Pakistan among others.

More details:

  • Project ‘Mausam’ was launched in the 30th Session of World Heritage Committee meeting which was held at Doha, Quatar in June, 2014 and since then it has received positive response from countries such as China, UAE, Qatar, Myanmar, Iran and Vietnam.
  • It is a Ministry of Culture project with Archaeological Society of India (ASI) as the nodal agency and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) as its Research Unit.
  • The endeavour of Project ‘Mausam’ is to position itself at two levels: at the macro level it aims to reconnect and re-establish communications between countries of the Indian Ocean world, which would lead to an enhanced understanding of cultural values and concerns; while at the micro level the focus is on understanding national cultures in their regional maritime milieu.
  • The central themes that hold Project ‘Mausam’ together are those of cultural routes and maritime landscapes that not only linked different parts of the Indian Ocean littoral, but also connected the coastal centres to their hinterlands.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, PIB.


3 more NDRF teams leave for Kathmandu

Three teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) comprising 118 personnel, including doctors and nursing staff, have left for Nepal from India.

  • It has carried medical supplies, communication equipment and devices to rescue people trapped under debris.


The Disaster Management Act has made statutory provisions for the constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.

Why was it constituted?

  • Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to the enactment of the DM Act on 26 Dec 2005.
  • NDRF has been proving its importance by highly skilled rescue and relief operations, regular and intensive training and re-training, capacity building & familiarization exercises within the area of responsibility, carrying out mock drills and joint exercises with the various stakeholders.


  • Specialized response during disasters
  • Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations
  • Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills
  • Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills
  • Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards)
  • Community Capacity Building Programme
  • Public Awareness Campaign
  • Exhibitions : Posters, Pamphlets, literatures

Why it is said to be a UNIQUE Force?

  • It is the only dedicated disaster response force of the world.
  • The only agency with comprehensive response capabilities having multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled, high-tech, stand alone nature.
  • Experienced paramilitary personnel specially trained and equipped for disaster response.
  • Capabilities for undertaking disaster response, prevention, mitigation and capacity building.

Sources: PIB,


‘Gender gap becoming a chasm in labour market’

A new report from UN Women has found that South Asia has the world’s most skewed gender wage gap and is among the few regions where the gender labour force participation gap is both large and growing.

  • The report is titled ‘The Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016’. It comes 20 years after the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

The report says that:

  • Since the Beijing Conference, significant advances have been made by many societies, particularly in advancing women’s legal rights. However, in an era of unprecedented global wealth, millions of women are still consigned to work in low paid, poor quality jobs, denied even basic levels of health care, without access to clean water and decent sanitation.
  • Globally, only half of women participate in the labour force, compared to three quarters of men. In India only a third of women are in the labour force.
  • In developing regions, up to 95% of women’s employment is informal, in jobs that are unprotected by labour laws and lack social protection. Simultaneously, women shoulder the bulk of the burden of unpaid care work.
  • In India women do nearly six hours of unpaid care and housework every day as compared to half an hour for men. While on average globally, women are paid 24% less than men, the gaps for women with children are even wider. In South Asia, the gender pay gap is% for women with children compared to 14% for those without.

Sources: The Hindu.


Trifed Bags National Award in Training Innovation

Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) functioning under Ministry of Tribal Affairs, has bagged the “National Award for Excellence in Training for the Year 2015” in a contest organized by the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India.


  • It is the only apex body of Govt. of India which is engaged in the development and marketing of traditional tribal products including Metal craft, Paintings, Textiles, Jewellery, Natural/ Organic/ Herbal products etc.
  • It works under Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • Its objective is to improve the livelihood of the tribal communities by creating a sustainable market and create business opportunities for them based on their cultural knowledge and traditional skills whilst ensuring fair and equitable remuneration for their products by organizing Tribal Crafts Mela.
  • TRIFED also focuses on trainings for skill up gradation and capacity building of tribal artisans and Minor Forest Produce gatherers.

Sources: PIB.


PMNRF fund

The readers of the newspaper “Dainik Savera Times” have contributed rupees 2 Crore towards the Prime Minister Nation Relief Fund (PMNRF).


In pursuance of an appeal by the then Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in January, 1948, the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was established with public contributions to assist displaced persons from Pakistan.

  • The resources of the PMNRF are now utilized primarily to render immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquakes, etc. and to the victims of the major accidents and riots.
  • Assistance from PMNRF is also rendered, to partially defray the expenses for medical treatment like heart surgeries, kidney transplantation, cancer treatment, etc.

Some facts:

  • The fund consists entirely of public contributions and does not get any budgetary support.
  • The corpus of the fund is invested with banks in fixed deposits.
  • Disbursements are made with the approval of the Prime Minister.
  • PMNRF has not been constituted by the Parliament.
  • The fund is recognized as a Trust under the Income Tax Act and the same is managed by Prime Minister or multiple delegates for national causes.
  • PMNRF is exempt under Income Tax Act.
  • Prime Minister is the Chairman of PMNRF and is assisted by Officers/ Staff on honorary basis.
  • These contributions also qualify as CSR (corporate social responsibility) spend for companies, making it more attractive in terms of tax exemptions.

Type of contributions accepted in PMNRF:

  • PMNRF accepts only voluntary donations by individuals and institutions.
  • Contributions flowing out of budgetary sources of Government or from the balance sheets of the public sector undertakings are not accepted.
  • At the time of natural calamity of devastating scale, Prime Minister, makes an appeal for donation to the fund.


In its effort to popularise the PMNRF, the PMO had in September 2014 asked the government departments to publicise the scheme of 100% tax exemption for contributions to the PMNRF, to encourage donations.

Sources: The Hindu, PMNRF.

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