Insights Daily Current Affairs, 01 September 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Project Development Fund
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to create a Project Development Fund (PDF) for catalysing Indian economic presence in the Cambodia, Laos Myanmar and Vietnam.
- The fund will be established with a corpus of Rs 500 Crore.
- It shall be housed in Department of Commerce and operated through the EXIM Bank.
- It shall be governed by an Inter-Ministerial Committee under the chairpersonship of the Commerce Secretary.
Significance of this fund:
CLMV countries namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have a unique position in the regional value chains and offer a gateway for market access to China/EU and other markets due to various trade agreements.
- The key advantage of positioning India on the regional value chains is securing on a long term basis, a dedicated market for Indian raw materials and intermediate goods besides a dedicated source for inputs and raw materials for Indian industry.
- While opportunities are a plenty in CLMV region, Indian entrepreneurs’ endeavors in these countries have, thus far, been limited due to limited information, infrastructure and other contingent risks. The PDF shall benefit India’s industrial community for business expansion, and to maintain cost competitive supply chains, besides integrating with global production networks.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Permanent Residency Status to Foreign Investors
The Union Cabinet has approved the scheme for grant of Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors subject to the relevant conditions as specified in the FDI Policy notified by the Government from time to time.
- The scheme is expected to encourage foreign investment in India and facilitate Make in India Programme.
Features of the scheme:
- Under the Scheme, suitable provisions will be incorporated in the Visa Manual to provide for the grant of PRS to foreign investors.
- The PRS will be granted for a period of 10 years with multiple entry. This can be reviewed for another 10 years if the PRS holder has not come to adverse notice.
- PRS will serve as a multiple entry visa without any stay stipulation and PRS holders will be exempted from the registration requirements.
- PRS holders will be allowed to purchase one residential property for dwelling purpose.
- The spouse/ dependents of the PRS holder will be allowed to take up employment in private sector (in relaxation to salary stipulations for Employment Visa) and undertake studies in India.
The scheme will be applicable only to foreign investors fulfilling the prescribed eligibility conditions, his/her spouse and dependents. These include:
- The foreign investor will have to invest a minimum of Rs. 10 crores to be brought within 18 months or Rs.25 crores to be brought within 36 months.
- Further, the foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident Indians every financial year.
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Dissolution of Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Limited
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to proposal for dissolution of Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Limited (CIWTC).
Why this was necessary?
Due to inherent limitation and infrastructure bottle necks, the operations of CIWTC have never become viable and company has been incurring losses since inception. The Company has only five employees at present. Hence, it has been decided to dissolve the company.
This decision is in line with the decision of the Government to revitalize sick CPSUs wherever possible or to wind up irretrievable cases.
Significance of this move:
This would free up the assets for better utilization and for the benefit of the people. A number of assets would be taken up by Inland Waterways Authority of India to provide services on Brahmputra River (NW-4).
Central Inland Water Corporation Limited (CIWTC LTD) was incorporated in May 1967 as a Govt. of India Undertaking after taking over the business from a loss making erstwhile sterling company, namely River Steam Navigation & Co. (RSN & Co.). It is under the administrative control of Ministry of Shipping (MOS).
Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Cabinet apprised of MoU between CERT-In India and CERT-UK
The Union Cabinet was recently apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in May, 2016 between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and Ministry of Cabinet Office, UK.
- The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation between India and the United Kingdom for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security-related incidents.
- With this MoU, participating countries can exchange technical information on Cyber attacks, response to cyber security incidents and find solutions to counter the cyber attacks.
- They can also exchange information on prevalent cyber security policies and best practices.
- This MoU helps to strengthen cyber space of both countries, capacity building and improving relationship between them.
CERT-In has signed MoUs with counterpart/similar organizations in about seven countries – Korea, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Uzbekistan. Ministry of External Affairs has also signed MoU with Cyber Security as one of the areas of cooperation with Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
What is it?
CERT-In (the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is a government-mandated information technology (IT) security organization. CERT-In was created by the Indian Department of Information Technology in 2004 and operates under the auspices of that department.
- The purpose of CERT-In is to respond to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country.
- According to the provisions of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, CERT-In is responsible for overseeing administration of the Act.
CERT organizations throughout the world are independent entities, although there may be coordinated activites among groups. The first CERT group was formed in the United States at Carnegie Mellon University.
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
India jumps 19 places in Logistics Performance Index
The World Bank has recently released a Logistics Performance Index (LPI) 2016 report titled “Connecting to Complete 2016“.
- The Logistics Performance Index Report is published by World Bank every two years.
- The Logistics Performance Index (LPI) is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance.
- The LPI is based on a worldwide survey of stakeholders on the ground providing feedback on the logistics “friendliness” of the countries in which they operate and those with which they trade.
- They combine in-depth knowledge of the countries in which they operate with informed qualitative assessments of other countries where they trade and have experience of global logistics environment.
Highlights of the report:
- India has now been ranked 35 amongst 160 countries.
- In terms of the six-components of the LPI i.e. Customs, Infrastructure, International Shipments, Logistics Quality and Competence, Tracking and Tracing, and Timeliness, India’s ranking is 38, 36, 39, 32, 33 and 42 respectively.
- Improvement in India’s rank in Logistics Performance Index adequately establishes steady performance in India’s competitiveness in manufacturing and trade that also acts as one of the growth driver of Make in India Programme.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
Canada to apply to join China-backed AIIB
Canada is all set to join the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. In this regard, Canada will submit its application by the end of September 2016.
About AIIB- Key facts:
- The AIIB was established as a new multilateral financial institution aimed at providing “financial support for infrastructure development and regional connectivity in Asia.”
- It was founded in October, 2014, and will have its headquarters in Beijing.
- Its goals are also to boost economic development in the region, create wealth, prove infrastructure, and promote regional cooperation and partnership.
- The value of AIIB’s authorized capital amounts to $100 billion, with almost $30 billion invested by China.
- The bank expects to lend $10 billion to $15 billion a year for the first five years of its operations, beginning in the second quarter of 2016.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
Jains have highest percentage of literates: Census 2011
Census 2011 data on ‘education level by religious community for age 7 and above’ was recently released.
Highlights of the data:
- Jains have the highest percentage of literates above 7 years of age among India’s religious communities, with 86.73% of them as literate and only 13.57% as illiterate.
- Muslims have the highest percentage of illiterates aged beyond 7 years at 42.72%, as compared to 36.40% among Hindus, 32.49% among Sikhs, 28.17% among Buddhists and 25.66% among Christians.
- Other minority communities score over both Hindus and Muslims in literacy levels. As compared to 63.60% of 7 years-plus Hindus and 57.28% Muslims in the ‘literate’ category, the percentage of literates among Christians is 74.34%, among Buddhists 71.83% and among Sikhs 67.51%.
The overall literacy rates among all communities have gone up since 2001. The following table shows the rise in literacy levels of various religious communities in 2011 when compared to 2001.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- HADR exercise: It is an Annual Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise. It was recently organized by the Armed Forces in collaboration with Central Armed Police Forces and civil administration in different places of the country.