1)India-Sri Lanka Joint Statement on Virtual Bilateral Summit:
Context: Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa held a Virtual Summit today in which they discussed bilateral relations and regional & international issues of mutual concern.
For imparting further impetus to the bilateral relationship, the two leaders agreed to:
- Enhance cooperation to combat terrorism and drug trafficking including in the fields of intelligence, information sharing, de-radicalization and capacity building.
- Continue the fruitful and efficient development partnership in accordance with the priority areas identified by the Government and people of Sri Lanka and to further broad base the island wide engagement under the Memorandum of Understanding for Implementation of High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) for the period 2020-2025.
- Work together to expeditiously complete construction of 10,000 housing units in the plantation areas, which was announced during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Sri Lanka in May 2017.
- Facilitate an enabling environment for trade and investment between the two countries and to deepen integration of supply chains in the backdrop of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Work towards early realization of infrastructure and connectivity projects including in the sectors of Ports and Energy through close consultations as per the Bilateral Agreements and MoUs, and strong commitment towards a mutually beneficial development cooperation partnership between the two countries.
- Deepen cooperation in renewable energy with particular emphasis on solar projects under the US$ 100 million Line of Credit from India.
- Strengthen technical cooperation in the areas of agriculture, animal husbandry, science & technology, health care and AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) as well as skill development by increased training of professionals thereby realizing the full potential of the demographic dividend in both the countries.
- Further strengthen people-to-people ties by exploring opportunities in the field of civilizational linkages and common heritage such as Buddhism, Ayurveda and Yoga.
- Government of India will facilitate visit of a delegation of Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka in the inaugural international flight to the sacred city of Kushinagar, which has recently been announced as an International Airport recognizing its significance in Buddhism.
- Facilitate tourism by enhancing connectivity and by early establishment of an air bubble between the two countries to resume travel, bearing in mind threat posed by Covid-19 pandemic and to take all necessary preventative measures.
- Continue engagement to address the issues related to fishermen through regular consultation and bilateral channels according to the existing frameworks and shared goals including the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
- Strengthen cooperation between armed forces of the two sides including through mutual exchange of personnel visits, maritime security cooperation and support to Sri Lanka in the spheres of defence and security.
- Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa welcomed the announcement made by Prime Minister Modi of India’s grant assistance of US$ 15 million for promotion of Buddhist ties between the two countries.
- The grant will assist in deepening people-to-people linkages between the two countries in the sphere of Buddhism including inter alia through construction/renovation of Buddhist monasteries, capacity development, cultural exchanges, archaeological cooperation, reciprocal exposition of The Buddha’s relics, strengthening engagement of Buddhist scholars and clergy etc.
- Prime Minister Modi called on the Government of Sri Lanka to address the aspirations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace and respect within a united Sri Lanka, including by carrying forward the process of reconciliation with the implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
- Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed the confidence that Sri Lanka will work towards realizing the expectations of all ethnic groups, including Tamils, by achieving reconciliation nurtured as per the mandate of the people of Sri Lanka and implementation of the Constitutional provisions.
- Both leaders acknowledged the increasing convergence on regional and international issues of mutual engagement, including within the frameworks of SAARC, BIMSTEC, IORA and the United Nations system.
- Recognizing that BIMSTEC is an important platform for regional cooperation linking South Asia with South East Asia, both leaders agreed to work together to ensure a successful BIMSTEC Summit to be hosted under the Chairmanship of Sri Lanka.
- Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the strong support received from the international community for India’s election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term 2021-2022.
2) India, Denmark MoU on Intellectual Property cooperation:
The Union Cabinet in its meeting dated 15.09.2020 gave the approval for signing the MoU with Denmark in the field of IP Cooperation.
The MoU aims at increasing IP co-operation between the two countries by way of:
- Exchange of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP awareness among public, authorities, businesses and research and educational institution of both countries.
- Collaboration in training programmes, exchange of experts, technical exchanges and outreach activities.
- Exchange of information and best practices on processes for disposal of applications for patents, trademarks, industrial designs and Geographical Indications, as also the protection, enforcement and use of IP rights.
- Cooperation in the development of automation and implementation of modernization projects, new documentation and information systems in IP and procedures for management of IP.
- Cooperation to understand how Traditional Knowledge is protected; including the use of traditional knowledge related databases and awareness raising of existing IP systems.
- The two sides will draw up Biennial Work Plan to implement the MoU which will include the detailed planning for carrying out of the co-operation activities, including the scope of action.
It will be a landmark step forward in India’s journey towards becoming a major player in global innovation and further the objectives of National IPR Policy, 2016
3) International Commission of Jurists:
Context: International Commission of Jurists ICJ observed that the foreign contribution regulation Amendment Bill 2020 passed by Parliament was incompatible with international law and would hamper the work of civil society
International commission of jurists
- ICJ was established following 1952 International Congress of Jurists in West Berlin
- The International Commission of Jurists is an International Human Rights Non-governmental organization
- It is a standing group of 60 eminent Jurists including senior judges, attorneys’ academicians who work to develop National and International human rights standard through the law
- Commission aims to reflect the geographical diversity of the world and its legal systems
International commission of jurist’s statement regarding FCRA 2020:
- It called on the president to withhold his assent to FCRA 2020 due to the incompatibility of the bill with international law
- No law should criminalize or delegitimize activities in defence of Human Rights on account of origin of funding
4) Leuser Ecosystem:
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has shown that various food Cosmetics, and Finance Companies have links with companies implicated in the destruction of the leuser ecosystem
- Area of forest located in provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia
- It is one of the richest expanses of Tropical rainforest in Southeast Asia
- It is the last place on the earth where Sumatran Elephant, Rhino, Tiger and orangutan are found with in one area
- The ecosystem has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site
Threats to the Leuser ecosystem:
- Industrial Development for palm oil, pulp and paper plantations and mining continues to threaten the entire ecosystem
- The fires from the widespread destruction have caused major haze pollution from Singapore to Jakarta, resulting in huge economic losses and Public Health issues
- Sumatra’s unique species are dying out with their negligible populations left and some are on the verge of extinction
5) ADB approved $300 million loan to develop Rajasthan’s secondary towns:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a 300 million dollar (about Rs 2,200 crore) loan to develop the inclusive water supply, sanitation infrastructure and services in secondary towns of Rajasthan.
- The project will improved water supply services for about 5.7 lakh people.
- It will enhance sanitation services for about 7.2 lakh people in at least 14 secondary towns.
- Secondary towns’ means the localities have 20,000 to one lakh residents.
- Water supply systems in at least eight project towns will improve by 2027 with the implementation of the project.
- One lakh households including the urban poor households will from 5 new or rehabilitated water treatment plants and 1,350 km of distribution networks.
- Under the project, citywide sanitation systems will be developed which will be based on the most cost-effective solutions.
- The project will be built on three related projects which were started earlier and sector reforms funded by ADB in Rajasthan.
Significance of the project
- The project will strengthen the institutional capacity of local governments and Rajasthan Urban Drinking Water and Sewerage.
- It will set up an Infrastructure Corporation Ltd which is a corporate entity established with the support of ADB.
- The project will provide support to women and vulnerable groups by providing them skills training, paid internships, community engagement and awareness activities.
- Partnership with ADB will ensure a long term policy dialogue to deepen the financial sustainability and institutional strengthening in local government.
- It will also introduce new good practices and technological supports.
- It will further ensure that the project incorporates practical lessons, innovations, use of smart technologies and a cost-effective system
6)The Central Road Fund (CRF):
- It is a non-lapsable fund created under Central Road Fund Act 2000 it is procured out of cess/tax imposed by the Union Government on the consumption of Petrol and Diesel.
- The fund comprises of a cess imposed along with excise duty on petrol and diesel.
- The administrative control of Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) falls under the Ministry of Finance.
- Earlier it was under the domain of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
- CRF should be used to develop and maintain National Highways, State roads (that have economic importance with inter-state connectivity), rural roads, railway under/over bridges etc., and national waterways (waterways from 2017 onwards only).
- A welcome and interesting trend about the CRF is that its revenue is increasing at a significant pace during the last few years.
- This has helped the government to finance various road development projects with much ease.
7) Scrub typhus:
- Bacterial disease, 5 dead in Nagaland
- More than 600 persons tested positive
- Also known as Bush typhus spreads to people through bites of larval mites
- Symptoms include fever, headache and body ache
- Found in: rural areas of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, China, Japan, India and Northern Australia
- Typhus is a group of bacterial infections diseases that include epidemic typhus, scrub typhus and murine typhus
8) Mother tongue as medium of instruction:
Union Ministry of Education informed the Supreme Court that it is fully backing a push for mother tongue as medium of instruction in schools
- The use of Home language for learning will bridge the gap between Intelligence and the masses
- The Centre’s affidavit came in response to the Supreme Court’s inclination to examine whether imposing English on a multitude of school children, whose language of instruction is their mother tongue will amount to depriving them of an effective education guaranteed to them under article 21 A, fundamental right to education of the constitution
- The case in question is an appeal filed by Andhra Pradesh Government against the state High Court decision to strike down is order to make English a compulsory medium of instruction
- In its affidavit, the government said National Education Policy 2020 focuses on multilingualism it recognizes the power of local language to help young children learn and grasp non-trivial concepts More quickly
9) Dharani portal:
- Dharani an online portal which is a single platform for accessing all records related to land in Telangana
- The portal is developed by National Informatics center
- Data pertaining to all types of properties will be uploaded in the portal
10) Destination North East-2020:
Theme for Destination North East 2020 is “The Emerging Delightful Destinations”
- N-E Region to emerge one of the favorite tourist and business destinations of India post COVID-19
- Destination North East is a calendar event of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region conceptualized with the objective of taking the North East Region to other parts of the country and bringing them closer together in order to strengthen national integration.
- The programme focuses mostly on Tourism and coincides with ‘World Tourism Day’ which falls on 27th September 2020.
- He said, the festival is not just about Tourism, but it’s an invitation to the organizations and especially to the young entrepreneurs who would like to avail the advantage of unexplored potentials of the region.
- The event “Destination North East 2020” is also an effort to make everyone explore the Local Destinations rather than going anywhere abroad.
- The Minister said that people should take a pledge to Visit Local, Travel Local and Explore Local thus giving a boost to the local Tourism and Hospitality industry.
- Moreover, he added that by remaining Corona free mostly, North East offers a very safe and attractive tourist destination in the entire World.
WHAT NE REGION HAS TO OFFER:
- Eco-tourism – North Eastern Region is ideal for both passive and adventure forms of Eco-Tourism with wildlife sanctuary/parks, good scenic beauty, waterfalls, forests etc.
- The region has much to offer for the active adventure segment including river rafting among others, trekking of various grades and levels, rock climbing, hang gliding etc.
- Culture – Culture is an important aspect and has the potential to attract selective culture tourists to North Eastern Region. The diverse and rich tribal heritage and culture is what differentiates North East with the rest of India.
- Another major differentiator is the rich and varying Arts and Crafts across the 8 North Eastern States. Here unlike most places, handicrafts are part of everyday life.
- One significant aspect is the local community’s active participation towards increasing tourist- community cultural interfaces.
- Heritage – Heritage tourism has picked up considerably in the Region with a participatory approach where tourists also get to actively participate than just seeing the monuments, old tea estates etc.
- Religious pilgrimage – The region has many famous and old religious spots, which have been integrated with national tourism circuits for the benefit of the pilgrims.
- Business – In view of attractive natural environment and growing trends of outbound business meets, the NER also offers ample opportunities for business tourism segment. Domestic and international connectivity, High-end hotels, Convention Centre’s, resort based convention facilities etc. have all contributed to the expansion of this Sector
- The branch to provide the easy access and services to the company’s borrowers and stakeholders in the region, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) has opened its third branch office in the country in Mumbai for facilitation of its customer, borrowers and other stakeholders.
- The Agency, a Mini Ratna (Category– I) Government of India Enterprise under the administrative control of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) already has two branch offices in Chennai and Hyderabad.
- IREDA is a Public Limited Government Company established as a Non-Banking Financial Institution in 1987 engaged in promoting, developing and extending financial assistance for setting up projects relating to new and renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency/conservation
Motto: “ENERGY FOR EVER”. IREDA’s corporate and registered office housed in New Delhi