Current Affairs – 2017

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India, Germany ratify 2011 Pact on Social Security Investment

India and Germany have ratified a comprehensive Social Security Agreement (SSA) to improve investment flows between the two countries.

The agreement was signed in October 2011 and its instruments of ratification were exchanged in February 2017. It will come into force from May 1, 2017.

Key Facts
  • The SSA establishes the rights and obligations of nationals of both countries and provides for equal treatment and unrestricted payment of pensions even in case of residence in the other contracting state.
  • It also integrate the provisions of the 2008 social insurance pact and is expected to reduce the operational costs of companies on both countries active in either of the countries.
  • Under it, requirements to be entitled to pension can be met by aggregating periods of insurance completed in India and Germany, whereby each country only pays pension for insurance periods covered by its laws.
  • This comprehensive SSA will favorably impact the profitability and competitive position of Indian and German companies with foreign by reducing their cost of doing business abroad. It will also help promote more investment flows between the two countries.
Background

India and Germany had earlier signed an Agreement on Social Insurance in October 2008. It exempted detached workers of the two countries from making social security contributions in either countries as long as they were making such contributions in their respective countries. Later, both countries, negotiated for a wider encompassing SSA including totalisation of benefits and was signed in October 2011. So far, India has signed and operationalised similar agreements with 18 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, South Korea, Belgium and Japan

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World’s first Braille Atlas for visually impaired persons released in New Delhi  

The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the Special Edition of “Atlas for Visually Impaired (India)” in English Braille in New Delhi.

This Braille Atlas has been prepared by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) under Department of S&T. It is world’s first braille atlas for the visually impaired

Key Facts 
  • In the Braille Atlas, maps are raised and embossed with simple point and lines symbols to facilitate users to realize the location and area coverage easily in terms of distinguishable shapes and textures.
  • It is made using indigenously developed silk-screen painting technology. The legend and reference is also placed on map in Braille script to navigate map.
  • About 20 maps on different themes of physical, socio-economic and cultural aspects of the country have been incorporated in it.
  • The Atlas will be distributed free of cost to various schools across the country for educating the students with visual challenges.
  • It was awarded National award for S&T intervention in empowering the physically challenged by the Prime Minister in January, 2017 at the Indian Science Congress held in Tirupati.

About National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO)

  • NATMO is the premier agency of applied Geo-Spatial technology and pioneer in Thematic Mapping and Atlas Cartography under Department of S&T, Union Ministry of Science & Technology.
  • It is engaged in preparing different atlases, thematic maps and other documents on block level, district, state, national and many other monograms.
  • Its thematic maps and data are used by the decision makers at districts and sub-divisions levels for implementing the developmental schemes as well as by the researchers, students and common people.

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Cabinet approves Introduction of The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introduction of The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Parliament.

The amendment Bill has provision for the inclusion of Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM), Kurnool along with the other IITs in the Principal Act. With this, IIITDM Kurnool will become fifth Member as a Centrally Funded IIIT.

Key Facts
  • IITDM Kurnool inclusions will make it an institute of National Importance with the power to award degrees to students. Its academic session had commenced in two branches of study in 2015-16.
  • The expenditure for the operationalization of IITDM Kurnool is incurred from the Plan funds of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Background

The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 confers the status of Institutions of National Importance on the IIITs. It deals with matters connected with administering these IIITs. The Andhra Pradesh as embodied in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014 had embodied creation of a new NIT at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. Subsequently, Government had approved its creation. Due to addition of a new IIIT, amendment has to be made in the IIIT Act, 2014.

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