Current Affairs – March 2017

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India’s contribution to UN increases to Rs 244 crore in 2015-16: Government

India’s contribution to the United Nations has rose by 55% to Rs 244 crore in 2015-16 compared with the previous fiscal. In 2014-15, India had contributed Rs 157 crore.

It was announced by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the Lok Sabha. In the same period, India also made voluntary contributions to tune of Rs 22 crore to international organisations, including UN agencies.

For the period 2016-18, India’s Scale of Assessment for the UN’s Regular and Peacekeeping budgets has been fixed at 0.737% and 0.1474%, respectively.

How countries contribute to UN?

Each UN member is required to contribute to the organisation’s Regular and Peacekeeping budgets. These obligatory contributions are calculated based on a member’s relative ‘capacity to pay’. It is defined through a scale of assessment that takes into account the member country’s Gross National Income relative to the Global Gross National Income, further adjusted for the level of its national external debt and low per capita income. For Peacekeeping budget all permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) bear special responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security, but they also contribute additional amounts.

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Manhar Valji Bhai Zala assumes charge as new Chairperson of National Commission for Safai Karamcharis

Former BJP legislator from Gujarat Manhar Valjibhai Zala has assumed charge as Chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK).

Along with him, two other members Dilip Kallu Haathived from Maharashtra and Manju Diler from Uttar Pradesh also took charge as members of the NCSK.

About National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK)

  • The NCSK was established in 1994 to deal with the grievances of persons engaged in manual scavenging. It has a sanctioned strength of four members and a chairperson.
  • It is statutory body established under National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993. It aims to promote and safeguard the interests and rights of Safai Karamcharis.
  • Its mandate is to study, evaluate and monitor the implementation of various schemes for Safai Karamcharis as an autonomous organisation.

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India, Brazil finalise social security agreement    

India and Brazil have finalised text of the Social Security Agreement (SSA). It will come in force by early 2018 after it is ratified. It will be the first such agreement between the BRICS countries.

This SSA takes forward the spirit of Goa Declaration adopted at 8th BRICS Summit, outcomes of the meetings of BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers held in June 2016 in Geneva and September 2016 in New Delhi.

Key Features of the agreement
  • Detached workers of the two countries exempted from making social security contributions in either countries so long as they were making such contributions in their respective countries.
  • Rights and obligations of nationals of both countries have been established. Equal treatment will be provided to nationals.
  • Unrestricted payment of pensions will be provided to nationals even in the case of residence in the other contracting state.
  • The requirements to be entitled to a pension can be met by aggregating the periods of insurance completed in India and Brazil, whereby each country will only pay pension for the insurance periods covered by its laws.
Comment

Once SSA between Brazil and India is brought into force, it will favourably impact the profitability and competitive position of companies of both countries with foreign operations in either countries by reducing their cost of doing business abroad. It will also help promote more investment flows between the two countries.

Background

So far, India has signed and operationalized Social Security Agreements (SSAs) with 18 countries. They are Australia, Belgium, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and South Korea.

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