Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2014 - Page 7

India approves $12 mn assistance to UN to fight Ebola in Africa

India will contribute $10 mn to the UN Secretary-General’s Fund for Ebola, and an additional $2 mn is being allocated towards purchase of protective gear to tackle the virus, which has been declared a threat to international peace and security by the UNSC.

The outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa earlier this year has worsened since, with a death toll of more than 2,000 persons. Certain areas in Sierra Leone have been quarantined to restrict the spread of the virus. The virus has caused widespread panic in the African continent withsome countries attempting to place restrictions on travel. The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response is being put in place to formulate an effective response mechanism.

India and China resolve stand-off at Ladakh border     

The stand-off at the Sino-Indian border at Ladakh, which escalated on the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India was finally resolved when the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met the Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi in New York, on the sidelines of the UNGA summit. The withdrawal of troops from Ladakh’s Chumar region is set to begin immediately and will be completed by the end of September.

The conflict between the two sides began when some Chinese workers who were building a road on their side of the border, crossed over to the Indian side and claimed that they had orders to construct a road up to Tible, which is around 5 kms into Indian territory. The situation escalated when both sides increased troop presence around that border.

This is not the first instance of border skirmishes overshadowing the visit of Chinese leaders. In 2013, during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India, Chinese troops entered Depsang Valley in Ladakh.

“5/20 Rule” of Aviation Sector likely to be scrapped by the Union government

Union government is planning to scrap the 5/20 Rule prevalent in the Indian aviation industry. Thus, Govt. plans to fulfill the demand of a few private airlines that want the rule to be relaxed.

5/20 Rule: As per this rule, a carrier must be 5-year-old and have at least 20 aircraft in its fleet before being permitted to fly abroad.

The UPA-II Government had started the course of scrapping the 5/20 rule but was not able to finish the job. Now, the new Modi government had called a meeting of the CEOs of all the Indian Airlines to look into the matter. In the Meeting, 4 private airlines (Air India, Jet, IndiGo and SpiceJet) requested retention of the 5/20 rule whereas the new airlines of Tatas, one with Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia and other with Singapore Airlines, requested the deletion of this rule.

Govind Mishra gets Saraswati Samman 2013 for novel ‘Dhool Paudhon Par’

The renowned Hindi author, Mr. Govind Mishra received the Sarawasti Samman 2013 for his book “Dhool Paudho Par” published in 2008. The award made Mr. Mishra the second Hindi author to receive the honour after noted Indian poet Mr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan.

 About Saraswati Samman

  • Establish: 1991 by the K. K. Birla Foundation.
  • Cash Price: Rs 10 lakh, a citation and a plaque.
  • Annual award for outstanding prose or poetry literary works in any Indian language listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India.

Note: In 1991, Mr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan became the first Hindi author to receive the  Saraswati Samman for his autobiography in four volumes.

PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ pitch to extend red carpet for investors

Make In India

In order to make India a manufacturing hub, PM Narendra Modi launched the Make In India Campaign at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. The promotion is intended to appeal foreign companies to set up their manufacturing units in India and to obtain larger foreign investment. P.M. Narendra Modi on his Independence Day speech had declared the Make in India policy.

The aim of the crusade is to get manufacturing sector to grow over 10% on a viable basis over a long run and to transform the economy from a Service-driven growth model to Labour-intensive manufacturing-driven growth. Thus, it will assist in creating jobs for over 10 million people, who join the workforce every year.

Via ‘Make In India’ campaign, the Union Government wishes to clear the disheartening image of complex rules and bureaucratic red tape of Indian administration. It will assist the global investors to promote their investment choices. This will assist in apprehending the objective of a liberalized economy.

As per the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, India ranks at very low at 134 (out of 189) nations in 2014. The ‘Make in India’ campaign will act as a guiding for foreign investors on all aspects of regulatory and policy issues and support them in attaining regulatory sanctions. The Government has already allowed 100% FDI under automatic route in construction, operation and maintenance in rail infrastructure projects.

The ‘Make In India’ places stress on 25 sectors with emphasis on job creation and skill development. These include: automobiles, chemicals, IT, pharmaceuticals, textiles, ports, aviation, leather, tourism and hospitality, wellness, railways, auto components, design manufacturing, renewable energy, mining, bio-technology, pharmaceuticals and electronics, etc.

Union Government released individual brochures for these sectors along with a general brochure. The brochures will offer details of growth drivers, investment opportunities, sector specific FDI and other policies and associated agencies.

Features of the ‘Make In India’ campaign

  • Govt to look into all regulatory processes to ease the load on investors.
  • A dedicated cell to answer enquiries from the business bodies via a freshly created web portal.
  • A.Q.s on the portal to assist investors find instant answers to their general queries
  • Back-end support team to answer specific enquiries within 72 hours
  • DIPP and FICCI have together set up an 8-member expert group to address enquiries and apprehensions of investors. They will explain Indian policies to the investors and propose reforms to the Central and states governments.
  • All Central government services are being integrated with an e-Biz single window online portal.
  • States recommended initiating the self-certification
  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has been asked to provide all security clearances to investment proposals within 3 months.
  • An advisory has been sent to all departments/ state governments to streamline and straighten out the regulatory environment.
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