Delhi PT Capsule Mar 23

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Daily PT Capsule UPSC Civil Services
Daily PT Capsule UPSC Civil Services

BRICS Summit in October, India to host

India will host the eighth annual summit of BRICS from October 15-16 in Goa. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made the announcement during a function where she also unveiled a logo and a website of the summit.The logo for the summit is a lotus with colours from all the five member-countries and a traditional ‘namaste’ in the centre.

India assumed chairmanship of BRICS from Russia on February 15 , 2016 and will hold the position till December 31, 2016 The seventh summit was held in Ufa, Russia.

India’s core theme during BRICS chairmanship will be building responsive, inclusive and collective solutions for the grouping. It will adopt a five-pronged approach during our chairmanship. It will comprise Institution Building, Implementation, Integration, Innovation, and Continuity with Consolidation (IIIIC or I4C).

Analysis

What happened at the last  summit? – The seventh summit was held in Ufa, Russia. The BRICS bloc noted the fragile recovery of global growth and also said they were “concerned about potential spillover effects from the unconventional monetary policies of the advanced economies”.

The Ufa declaration also asserted that “the NDB (New Development Bank” shall serve as a powerful instrument for financing infrastructure investment and sustainable development projects in the BRICS and other developing countries and emerging market economies”.

The BRICS Bank will approve its inaugural investment projects in the first quarter of 2016 and will work closely with the China-led AIIB. All the five BRICS countries are members of the AIIB.

The Ufa declaration also makes references to the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, “fascism” and  “militarism” during World War II and denounces attempts to rewrite history but stops short of mentioning Japan.

China and Russia also said they support the UNSC aspirations of Brazil, South Africa and India.

The BRICS leaders vowed to work close with the UN to uphold international treaties, while criticizing the adoption of “double standards”.

The BRICS countries have regularly criticized the interventionist foreign policy approach of Washington, including air strikes in Middle eastern countries, like Syria and Iraq.

In major succor for Russian President Putin, his BRICS counterparts continued to rally behind Moscow by opposing the Western sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

The bloc continued its stance on the two-state theory for the Palestine-Israel conflict. The BRICS called for East Jerusalem to be established as the capital of the state of Palestine and an end to Israeli settlement building.

Source: TheBric Post,TheHindu

 

New Defence Procurement Procedure not sure on private participation

The Defence Procurement Procedure(DPP) would be unveiled later in the month. It is highly likely that it would not contain the critical reform, meant to induct the private sector in a major way into defence manufacturing.

There is still no clarity on how to select private companies to become strategic partners in defence procurement programmes. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was quoted as saying that the chapter on identifying strategic private sector partners was going “through an extensive exercise that will take another month or two” and it requires approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security. The chapter which would have listed major Indian private sector companies identified for preferential treatment, would now be on hold.

Analysis

How to include the private sector in defence ? – A committee formed under Dhirendra Singh in May 2015 had called for strategic partners to evolve public-private tie-ups in the defence sector. The report recommended that Indian firms be identified for manufacturing and transfer of technology from abroad.

In 2006, the UPA government had recommended Raksha Udyog Ratnas status to a dozen major private industry players giving them preference at par with defence PSUs in contracts. The government had to shelve the plan in the final moment because of opposition, from both the trade unions of DPSUs and from Indian private players who were left out of the list.

The Ministry’s task force to work out the modalities for implementing the recommendation, suggested creation of two groups — group 1 for aircraft, aero-engines, helicopters, submarines, naval ships, guns and armoured vehicles and group 2 various materials and alloys, composites and polymers, and ammunition. It gave a set of criteria for selecting strategic partners.

Source: The Hindu

 

Insurance scheme for better coverage to farmers

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley present at an event at NABARD said that the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) will reduce the distress of farmers in the country as it will grant insurance cover to 50 per cent of them.

Since the last two crop seasons have witnessed lower than usual rainfall there is a dire need to provide social security to farmers. Under the scheme, farmers will pay a lower premium for more coverage, while compensation will be higher in the event of any crop failure or damage. The scheme will be rolled out on a “mission mode” from April, 2016 to cover kharif or summer crop from this year itself.

The government was also planning to impose penalties for delays in settlement of farmers’ claims.

Analysis

What is the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana? – The crop insurance scheme will be administered under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India. It replaces the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme(NAIS) which was launched in 1999.

Under the new scheme, farmers will have to pay a uniform premium of two per cent for all kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for all rabi crops. For annual commercial and horticultural crops, farmers will have to pay a premium of 5 per cent. The remaining share of the premium, as in previous schemes, will continue to be borne equally by the Centre and the respective state governments.

The use of technology will be encouraged to a great extent. Smart phones will be used to capture and upload data of crop cutting to reduce the delays in claim payment to farmers. Remote sensing will be used to reduce the number of crop cutting experiments.

What have been the drawbacks of past insurance schemes? – NAIS was implemented only in 14 states of India, which are most affected by weather calamities. States like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, etc. were in the list of the affected states. As per NIAS, the insurance premium rates were 1.5 % and up to 3.5 % of the net sum assured for all food crops. These food crops include pulses, cereals, oilseeds, grains, etc. And actuarial premium rates were charged for commercial crops and horticulture crops.

The other reasons for failure of these past schemes were caps on the sum assured, slow claim process, fraud in the insurance system, etc. Also a major setback of this insurance plan was that those farmers who have taken loan for purchasing agricultural machineries, crop seeds, insecticides and pesticides, etc. were only given the insurance benefit.

With farmers having been required to pay a premium share of as high as 15 per cent in several areas in the country, there has been a long-standing discussion on the need to bring down these rates.

Source: TheHindu, The Indian Express

 

PM to announce nuclear security plan next week

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a three nation visit from next week. He will be attending the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, India-EU summit in Brussels and then by flying to Saudi Arabia in his first official visit. The 4th Nuclear Security Summit will be held from March 31 to April 1.

Countries, including India, will come out with a communiqué for the future of the nuclear security regime. Member countries will also submit latest “progress reports” on steps taken to prevent non-state actors from gaining access to nuclear material. Prime Minister Modi will also make some specific announcements during his intervention on nuclear security, which will be made public in due course.

Analysis

What is the Nuclear Security Summit? – The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) is a world summit, aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the globe. The first summit was held in Washington, D.C. on April 12–13, 2010. The second summit was held in Seoul, South Korea in 2012. The third summit was held in The Hague, the Netherlands on March 24–25, 2014. The fourth summit will be held in Washington, D.C. on March 31-April 1, 2016.

Forty-seven countries and three international organisations participated in the first Nuclear Security Summit, held in Washington in 2010 at the initiative of President Obama. The aim of the summit was to improve worldwide nuclear security by enhancing cooperation and to make concrete agreements aimed at better securing nuclear materials and facilities. The results of the summit were set down in the Washington Work Plan in the form of concrete plans and action points, and the Washington Communiqué, which contains commitments and declarations of intent from the participating countries.

Source: TheHindu, Wikipedia

 

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