Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
India USA hold first ever maritime security dialogue
The Maritime security dialogue is part of the new initiatives agreed between Indian Defence Minister and his US counterpart. It forms a part of the maritime security objectives under the India-US Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region.
The dialogue is aimed at deepening the evolving India-USA partnership in maritime domain. It was held between officials of Defence and External Affairs ministries and their U.S. counterparts. Among the issues discussed were Asia-Pacific maritime challenges, naval cooperation, and multilateral engagement.
The other initiatives include the conclusion of a â€œwhite shippingâ€ technical arrangement to improve data sharing on commercial shipping traffic and Navy-to-Navy discussions on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare.
What is India-US Joint Â Strategic vision? – The India-USA Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, came into existence during one of the visits by USA President Barack Obama. It affirms the shared vision for promising prosperity and stability in the region, besides assuring concrete understandings and partnerships in the area of defence relations.
What is the significance of the document? – The document assumes great importance as it is the first standalone document that links mutual support between India and the US in both the Asia-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean. With clear reference to security and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea (SCS), the joint strategic vision suggests for the first time that India and the US could well come together, in future, to ensure a rule-based sea order. Cooperation in security forms an indispensable part in the Indian Ocean, the Indo-Pacific and the South-China Sea. Within the scope of the joint outlined vision, maritime security has been jointly highlighted as a key area of cooperation in the document.
What is white shipping information? – The White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships.
Source: TheHindu, Indiawrites.org
Panel Report on Ken Betwa Project
A panel of wildlife experts have submitted a report warns of the dangers to the ecology and animal life due to the proposed Ken-Betwa project. The main feature of the project is a 230-km long canal connecting the Ken and Betwa rivers which will irrigate 3.5 lakh hectares of drought-prone Bundelkhand. However, it will also inundate about 400 of the 4300-hectare Panna Tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh. Apart from threats to the tiger habitat, there are also threats to gharial, hyenas and vultures that live within the sanctuary.
The report neither endorses nor disapproves of the Ken-Betwa project but notes that if the government were to go ahead it ought to ensure that the proposed canal does not hinder tiger movement and that there should be enough habitable forest land developed to compensate for the loss of tiger reserve land.
What is the National Board of Â Wildlife? – National Board for Wildlife is a â€œStatutory Organizationâ€ constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The board is â€œadvisoryâ€ in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country. However, it is a very important body because it serves as apex body to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
What are the alternatives available? – The height of the proposed dam along the canal can be reduced to limit the extent of tiger reserve inundation. However, the project in its current form will not affect farmers in the vicinity of the river and portions of the tiger reserve that will be lost are not the territory of the resident big cats.
WB funds solar project
The World Bank Board announced it had approved a loan worth $625 million for the Indian governmentâ€™s initiative for rooftop solar power generation.
The Board also approved a co-financing loan of $120 million on concessional terms and a $5 million grant from the Climate Investment Fundâ€™s Clean Technology Fund.
The project will finance the installation of at least 400 MW of Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic (GRPV) across India.
The project will also strengthen the capacity of key institutions, and support the development of the overall solar PV market.
The project is to be implemented by the State Bank of India, which will on-lend the funds to solar photovoltaic developers and end-users.
What is the Clean Technology Fund? – The Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) were designed by developed and developing countries and are implemented with the multilateral development banks (MDBs) to bridge the financing and learning gap between now and the next international climate change agreement. CIFs are two distinct funds: the Clean Technology Fund and the Strategic Climate Fund.
The World Bank is the Trustee of the CIFs, which include a “sunset clause” to ensure that the Fund’s activities do not prejudice the outcome on the UNFCCC negotiations.
The Clean Technology Fund (CTF) promotes scaled-up financing for demonstration, deployment and transfer of low carbon technologies with a significant potential for long-term greenhouse gas emissions savings. Innovation and deployment of clean technologies at scale will be central to success.
The Strategic Climate Fund (SCF) will comprise targeted programs with dedicated funding to provide financing to pilot new approaches with potential for scaling up. It will help more vulnerable countries adapt their development programs to confront the impacts of climate change ensuring climate resilience and a program to take action to prevent deforestation is under design. It will also enable discussions between donors and recipient countries about climate related investment and encourage support from a wide range of bilateral donors, private sector and civil society stakeholders.
India-WHO sign agreement for Global promotion of Traditional Systems of Medicine
Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India and the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed a historic Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) for cooperation on promoting the quality, safety and effectiveness of service provision in traditional and complementary medicine.
The PCA is titled as â€˜Co-operation on promoting the quality, safety and effectiveness of service provision in traditional and complementary medicine between WHO and AYUSH, India, 2016-2020â€™. It aims to support WHO in the development and implementation of the â€˜WHO Traditional and Complementary Medicine Strategy: 2014-2023â€™ and will contribute to the global promotion of traditional Indian Systems of Medicine.
The PCA for the period 2016-2020 will deliver for the first time WHO benchmark document for training in Yoga, and WHO benchmarks for practice in Ayurveda, Unani and Panchakarma. These will contribute significantly to the strengthening of national capacities in ensuring the quality, safety and effectiveness of traditional medicine including in establishing regulatory frameworks for traditional medicine products and practice and promote their integration in national healthcare systems.
What is the significance of the project? – The PCA with WHO is a further recognition of Indiaâ€™s rich experience in the development and governance of traditional medicine. It will pave the way for Indiaâ€™s long-term collaboration with the WHO in fostering the global promotion and integration of AYUSH systems of medicine including through the inclusion of Ayurveda and Unani in the International Classification of diseases and the International Classification of Health interventions.
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