Insights Daily Current Events, 15 October 2015
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
Indian appointed to key FAO post
Kundhavi Kadiresan has been appointed as the Assistant Director-General of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.
- Kundhavi is an economist who has spent most of her professional career with the World Bank Group.
- Kadiresan will lead the prioritisation of FAO’s work across the region in close consultation with technical specialists of the organisation.
- She replaces Hiroyuki Konuma who retired from FAO earlier this year.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization is an agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
- It acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy.
- it is also a source of knowledge and information, and helps developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all.
- There are a total of 197 members comprising 194 member nations, 1 member organization (European Union) and 2 associate members (Faroe Islands and Tokelau).
sources: the hindu, wiki.
Paper 3 Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
India now most attractive investment destination: EY
India has been named the most attractive country for investment in a survey of more than 500 global investors published by accounting firm EY (Ernst & Young).
What else the survey says?
- According to the survey, the second most favoured investment destination is China and is followed by Southeast Asia and Brazil.
- 32% of the 505 executives questioned said India was their favoured market for investment, with China second on 15% of the vote. About 62% said they were looking at manufacturing, both to serve the Indian and global markets from India.
- Perception about India’s macroeconomic stability is up to 76% in 2015 in comparison to 70% in.
- Perception about political and social stability is up from 59% in 2014 to 74% in 2015.
- For relaxation in FDI policy the score improved from 60% in 2014 to 68% in 2015.
- For government’s efforts to ease doing business the score has improved from 57% in 2014 to 67% in 2015.
- Compared to the 2014 survey, the number of respondents, who believe that India would be among the world’s leading top three destinations for manufacturing by 2020, had increased from 24% to 35%, while those who believed India would evolve as a regional and global hub for operations was up from 9% to 21%.
- Among specific reforms expected to drive growth, 89% of the investors polled said that investment in infrastructure projects and the 100 Smart Cities project would be significant.
- Financial inclusion, including Digital India and the Government’s proposal to reduce the rate of corporate tax from 30 %to 25%, were considered significant by 83% of the respondents.
- Implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and legislation on land acquisition were also mentioned by investors as important for attracting FDI.
- Investors rated India’s domestic market and availability of labour among the most attractive features for doing business.
India’s notorious red tape, complex investment rules and poor infrastructure have long posed huge obstacles for companies, with the World Bank ranking it 142 out of 189 countries in its Ease of Doing Business index.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.
Cabinet approves revised cost of Kaladan project with Myanmar
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the revised cost estimate of Rs 2,904 crore for the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport project in Myanmar.
About the project:
- The project was jointly initiated by India and Myanmar to create a multi-modal platform for cargo shipments from the eastern ports to Myanmar and to the North-eastern parts of the country through Myanmar.
- It is expected to open up sea routes and promote economic development in the North-eastern states, and also add value to the economic, commercial and strategic ties between India and Myanmar.
- This project will reduce distance from Kolkata to Sittwe by approximately 1328 km and will reduce the need to transport good through the narrow Siliguri corridor, also known as Chicken’s Neck.
- The project is likely to be completed by 2016. The project is being piloted and funded by the Ministry of External Affairs (India).
sources: the hindu, wiki.
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
FSSAI to notify junk food guidelines for schools
The country’s apex food regulator, FSSAI, has put up draft guidelines on its website intended to monitor the consumption of junk food by school children.
- Under the draft guidelines, which were first submitted to the court last year, food high in fat, salt or sugar will not be sold within 50 metres of a school’s premises.
- This includes an array of food & beverages commonly consumed by school children including chips, ready-to-eat noodles, pizzas, burgers, sugar-sweetened carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, potato fries (commonly called French fries) and confectionery items.
- The draft guidelines have also suggested creation of a canteen policy and school health education programmes to make students and parents aware about the ill-effects of unhealthy food habits.
The guidelines if notified could bring about a paradigm shift in how food is consumed in schools in India.
- The move comes after the Delhi High Court had given the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India three months in a hearing to do so.
- The judgement was in response to a public interest suit moved in 2010 by a non-government organisation.
- The NGO had raised the issue of easy availability of junk food and carbonated drinks to children and had sought a ban on these food items in schools.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
- It was created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
- Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministry for the implementation of FSSAI.
- The Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) are appointed by Government of India.
- The Chairperson is in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.
Important functions performed by the authority:
- Framing of Regulations to lay down the Standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food and specifying appropriate system of enforcing various standards thus notified.
- Laying down mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management system for food businesses.
- Laying down procedure and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories.
- To provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition .
- Collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various, contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
- Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats etc receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern.
- Provide training programmes for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food businesses.
Prelims: International Current events
Jamaican novelist Marlon James wins Man Booker prize
Marlon James, the Jamaican novelist, has won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction for “A Brief History of Seven Killings.”
- He is the first Jamaican author to win the prize in the British award’s 47 years. It’s also the first for his publisher, Oneworld Publications.
- The novel is fictional retelling of the 1976 attempted murder of Bob Marley.
About Man Booker Prize:
- The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language, and published in the UK.
- The winner of the Man Booker Prize is generally assured of international renown and success; therefore, the prize is of great significance for the book trade.
- The prize was historically limited to authors from the U.K., the Commonwealth, Ireland and Zimbabwe; this is only the second year that it has been open to anyone writing in the English language and published in the U.K.
- The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers. It carries a cash prize of 50000 pounds.
sources: the hindu, wiki.