Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, will participate in the G-20, Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting, being held in Mar del Plata in Argentina on 14th – 15th September 2018.
The meeting will provide an opportunity for a dialogue on current developments in international trade and its implications for the global economy. The Ministerial Meeting will discuss about building an inclusive trade system that contributes to sustainable and shared growth.
Trade and investment must benefit all and countries must jointly address both the opportunities and challenges of globalization, innovation and technological advancements.
The Ministerial Meeting will examine the inter relationship between trade and development with a special emphasis on the need to promote further integration of small and medium sized companies into international trade, and the opportunities posed by the digital economy and new technologies.
Ahead of the meeting, the Commerce Minister said that India will work along with other countries to reform WTO and ensure that it continues to be an engine for global trade. The Minister further said that India looks forward to working with all member countries for an agreeable, forward looking, reform agenda.
Through the G-20 forum India will take this idea forward in mission mode. Further, the key issues that will be discussed in the Ministerial Meeting include global value chains, the new industrial revolution and the international trade outlook. The multilateral trading system is facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of protectionist measures by some countries, which is not compatible with the WTO.
G-20 is made up of 19 countries and the EU. The countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The other invited members are Chile, Netherlands, Spain and representatives of regional groups of Jamaica, Rwanda, Singapore and Senegal.
G-20 members represent 75% of international trade, half of foreign direct investment flows, half of foreign flows and 80% of global production.
The participants in this one day conference include District Magistrates of 263 districts were DDRCs have been set up, Principal Secretaries Social Welfare, reputed NGOs, District Social Welfare officers, eminent Doctors etc.
The conference is organized for taking the message of DDRCs further, which play a crucial and central role for the wellbeing of Divyangjan and to give clarification about the mechanism of schemes and disseminate its success stories.
About DDRC: District Disability Rehabilitation Centre (DDRC) provide comprehensive services to persons with disabilities and facilitate creation of infrastructure and capacity building at the district level for awareness generation, rehabilitation and training of rehabilitation professionals.
The District Disability Rehabilitation Centres are set up under the Plan Scheme- “Scheme for implementation of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 (SIPDA).” 310 districts have been identified and 263 DDRCs have been set up.
Objectives of the District Disability Rehabilitation Centres are as under: Awareness generation, early intervention and assessment of the need of assistive devices to divyangjans. Therapeutic services such as Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy etc. to divyangjans through rehabilitation professionals. Equipment for rehabilitation services.
Role of State Government: State Governments are expected to play a more pro-active role in the effective working of DDRCs. In order to ensure greater involvement of State/District Administration, the State Government may suitably supplement the honorarium and other requirements of the DDRCs for undertaking their various activities in an effective manner.
State Governments may authorized District Collectors in their capacity as Chairperson of DMT, to make minor modifications for effective functioning of DDRCs, considering the ground realities within the broad stipulation of the DDRC Scheme.
State Government may also authorize the District Collectors to make interim advances out of the local funds placed at their disposal to tide over the difficulties caused in the field due to procedural delays in release of central funds.
Section 498A Latest verdict: The apex court, while modifying the verdict given by its two-judge bench, said that there is no scope for courts for constitutionally filling up gaps in penal law. The earlier order had provisions for setting up of a committee to deal with complaints of dowry harassment.
Erasing role of NALSA (National Legal Services Authority) and NGOs, the apex court said courts are there to protect harassed husbands and their relatives, who are not remotely connected to matrimonial cruelty, by granting them anticipatory bail.
Background: A batch of pleas were filed in the Supreme Court seeking revisiting of a judgement that had reduced the severity of the anti-dowry law on the offence of subjecting a married woman to cruelty by spouse and in-laws.
A two-judge bench of the apex court in July last year had voiced concern over “abuse” of section 498 A (subjecting a married woman to cruelty) and passed a slew of directions, including that no arrest should “normally be effected” without verifying allegations as violation of human rights of innocents could not be brushed aside.
Section 498A: Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code deals with husband or relatives of husbands subjecting a woman to cruelty. Punishment under the Section is a maximum of three years and was so far a non-bailable offence.
What necessitated the court’s intervention? The anti-dowry law was enacted with the laudable object of punishing cruelty at the hands of husband or his relatives – particularly when such cruelty drives the wife to suicide. However, complaints are mounting up over the years alleging misuse of the anti-dowry harassment law – framed in 1983 following a spate of dowry-related deaths – by disgruntled wives. The law is also being misused.
A growing trend is being observed among women involved in marital discord to abuse Section 498A of IPC to rope in their husbands’ relatives — including parents, minor children, siblings and grandparents — in criminal cases. Therefore, it is high time such frivolous cases which violate the human rights of innocent is checked.
Significance of this move: This is a shift from the dominant judicial conception of women as victims who would silently suffer injustice rather than bring disrepute to their family by taking domestic conflict outside the four walls of the home. Going by the popular portrait, it is only the worst victim of abuse among women who approach the court for redress. With its latest observations, the court broke away from the reigning perception to rule that in dowry cases, the account of the alleged victim need not be taken at face value.
Way ahead: Though Section 498A of the IPC was enacted to protect women from cruelty in matrimonial homes, its misuse to harass the other side too is causing social unrest. There should be gender justice for women as dowry has a chilling effect on marriage on the one hand. On the other hand, there is right to life and personal liberty of the man.
‘Exporting Corruption Report’ Highlights of the report: In this 2018 report, China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore –- all with 2% or more of world exports, but not parties to the OECD (Anti-Bribery) Convention –- are classified for the first time and all fall into the lowest level (little or no enforcement).
This poor performance argues for these countries’ accession to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. They are, however, parties to the UN Convention against Corruption, which also calls for enforcement against foreign bribery. Transparency International urges them to join the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.
Performance of India: India is among four countries with “no or little enforcement” mechanism to check foreign bribery. The report asks India to criminalise foreign bribery and introduce effective legislation to protect whistleblowers in the private sector.
The report notes that: The Indian government does not publish statistics on its foreign bribery enforcement and does not disclose such statistics on request. The authorities do not disclose any information about unpublished cases related to bribery of foreign public officials by Indians.
India is also not clear whether the governmental enforcement and investigative agencies collect information related to foreign bribery, separately or not. There are also inadequacies in implementation of Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Treaty. The translation of documents into foreign languages is a major factor slowing down the MLA process.
Challenges ahead: As foreign bribery is not yet criminalised in India, the adequacy of the enforcement system in relation to this specific offence cannot be assessed. However, certain shortcomings in the enforcement system, in particular those evident from current enforcement of domestic corruption, are also a concern for foreign bribery enforcement. In particular, while the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act prescribe criminal and civil liability for domestic corruption, the reality is that actions taken against the perpetrators have been few.
Concerns expressed by the report: If China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore do not enforce hard-won international standards for conducting business, competitors from countries that do enforce will find themselves disadvantaged. This may lead to a reduction in enforcement, destabilising the global marketplace. The real losers will be the global economy and people in countries affected by exported corruption, especially grand corruption.
OECD Anti-Bribery Convention: The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention was adopted in 1997 to address the supply side of international corruption. Its aim is to create a level playing field between OECD countries by subjecting countries to the same criminal standards. Before the OECD Convention, the US was the only OECD country that prohibited its companies from bribing foreign officials. The OECD Convention does not address private (business-to-business) bribery.
There are now 44 parties to the convention, 36 of them members of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). Highlights: Criminalisation: Prohibits the bribery of foreign officials. Enforcement: Includes an obligation to prosecute companies suspected of bribing public officials abroad.
Cooperation: Encourages enhanced collaboration between the law enforcement agencies of signatory countries. Tax Deductions: Bans the tax deductibility of bribes to foreign public officials.
Whistleblowing: Recommends the establishment of effective whistleblowing mechanisms. Monitoring: The OECD carries out rigorous peer-review examinations monitoring the level of implementation of the OECD Convention and OECD recommendations.
Nuclear Suppliers Group What’s the issue? India has been seeking entry into the 48-member elite nuclear club, which controls nuclear trade, but China has repeatedly stonewalled its bid.
While India, which is backed by the US and a number of western countries has garnered the support of a majority of the group’s members, China has stuck to its stand that new members should sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), making India’s entry difficult as the group is guided by the consensus principle. India is not a signatory to the NPT.
What is NSG? Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials. Interestingly, the NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India’s nuclear tests to stop what it called the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes.
Background: India sought membership of the NSG in 2008, but its application hasn’t been decided on, primarily because signing the NPT or other nuclear moratoriums on testing is a pre-requisite. However, India has received a special waiver to conduct nuclear trade with all nuclear exporters.
India, Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan are among the four UN member states which have not signed the NPT, the international pact aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
Why India should be granted NSG membership? In this game of developing nuclear weapons India has not indulged in any dubious/clandestine activity and its programme has been developed solely by years of hard work indigenously. By this single act India has shown that developing a credible nuclear weapons programme through honest and civilian means is possible for any country having high-level scientific manpower and materials.
Besides, by declaring a voluntary moratorium on further underground nuclear tests India has effectively acted in sense and spirit of NPT/CTBT provisions. By steering its programme only as a minimum deterrence and pledging NFU unless faced with an attack of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), India has established itself as a responsible nuclear state.
Benefits associated with NSG membership- Once admitted, an NSG member state gets: Timely information on nuclear matters. Contributes by way of information. Has confirmed credentials. Can act as an instrument of harmonization and coordination. Is part of a very transparent process.
“Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund” Context: The government has handed over a Rs 440 crore cheque to the NDDB from the Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF), marking the formal launch of the fund set up to provide soft loans to modernise and raise capacity of dairy cooperatives.
About DIDF: NABARD has set up the DIDF with a corpus of Rs 8,004 crore to bring more dairy farmers into organised milk marketing through cooperatives. The fund is implemented through National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Cooperative Development Corporation(NCDC).
The major activities of DIDF: The project will focus on building an efficient milk procurement system by setting up of chilling infrastructure & installation of electronic milk adulteration testing equipment, creation/modernization/expansion of processing infrastructure and manufacturing faculties for Value Added Products for the Milk Unions/ Milk Producer Companies.
Management of DIDF: The project will be implemented by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Dairy Development Cooperation (NCDC) directly through the End Borrowers such as Milk Unions, State Dairy Federations, Multi-state Milk Cooperatives, Milk Producer Companies and NDDB subsidiaries meeting the eligibility criteria under the project.
An Implementation and Monitoring Cell (IMC) located at NDDB, Anand, will manage the implementation and monitoring of day-to-day project activities. The end borrowers will get the loan @ 6.5% per annum. The period of repayment will be 10 years with initial two years moratorium.
The respective State Government will be the guarantor of loan repayment. Also for the project sanctioned if the end user is not able to contribute its share; State Government will contribute the same.
Benefits from DIDF: With this investment, 95,00,000 farmers in about 50,000 villages would be benefitted. Additional Milk processing capacity of 126 lakh litre per day, milk drying capacity of 210 MT per day, milk chilling capacity of 140 lakh litre per day, installation of 28000 Bulk Milk Coolers (BMCs) along with electronic milk adulteration testing equipment and value added products manufacturing capacity of 59.78 lakh litre per day of milk equivalent shall be created.
Employment Generation Potential: The implementation of DIDF scheme will generate direct and indirect employment opportunities for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower. Direct employment opportunities for about 40,000 people will be created under the scheme through project activities like expansion & modernisation of existing milk processing facilities, setting up of new processing plants, establishment of manufacturing facilities for value added products and setting up of Bulk Milk Coolers (BMCs) at village level.
About 2 lakh indirect employment opportunities will be created on account of expansion of milk and milk product marketing operations from existing Tier I, II & III to Tier IV, V & VI cities/towns etc. This will lead to deployment of more marketing staff by Milk Cooperatives, appointment of distributors and opening of additional milk booths/retail outlets in urban/rural locations.
With the increase in milk procurement operations of the Milk Cooperatives, there would be generation of additional manpower employment for supervision of increased milk procurement operations, transportation of milk from villages to processing units, and increased input delivery services like Artificial Insemination (AI) services, Veterinary Services, etc.
Conclusion: The dairy processing infrastructure of cooperatives needs modernisation and capacity enhancement, and with most cooperatives sharing their profits with milk producers, they need support.
NASA’s Orion spacecraft Context: NASA has successfully completed the final test to qualify Orion’s space capsule’s parachute system for flights with astronauts, ahead of its mission to send humans to the Moon and beyond.
The parachute system is the only system that must assemble itself in mid-air and must be able to keep the crew safe in several failure scenarios, such as mortar failures that prevent a single parachute type to deploy, or conditions that cause some of the parachute textile components to fail.
About Orion: NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
Orion will launch on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System. Orion will first fly with astronauts aboard during Exploration Mission-2, a mission that will venture near the Moon and farther from Earth than ever before, launching atop NASA’s Space Launch System rocket — which will be the world’s most powerful rocket.
Context: Union Ministry of Water Resources has instituted National Water Awards. The awards will be given for 13 categories. Key facts: The objective of these awards is to encourage all stakeholders including NGOs, Gram Panchayats, Urban local bodies, water user associations, institutions, corporate sector, Individuals etc. for adopting innovative practices of ground water augmentation by rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge.
It also seeks to encourage water use efficiency, recycling and reuse of water and creating awareness through people’s participation in targeted areas for ground water resources development, adequate capacity building etc.