India Current Affairs - 2019
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India became Vice-Chair or regional head of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) for two years from July 2018 to June 2020. By becoming Vice Chair, India will be able to take up leadership role at the WCO.
To mark assumption of Vice Chair, an event will be organised in New Delhi by Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The event was attended by Customs delegations of 33 countries of Asia-Pacific Region, Customs officers from different Ports in India, Partner Government Agencies and representatives from the trade among others.
World Customs Organisation (WCO)
WCO is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations. It was established in 1952 as Customs Co-operation Council (CCC). It is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and is considered as voice of international Customs community.
WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. It plays leading role in discussion, development, promotion and implementation of modern customs systems and procedures.
Objectives: It aims to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of member customs administrations and assist them to contribute successfully to national development goals, particularly revenue collection, national security, trade facilitation, community protection, and collection of trade statistics.
Organistaional Structure: WCO’s governing body – the Council relies on competence and skills of WCO Secretariat and a range of technical and advisory committees to accomplish its mission. The Secretariat comprises over 100 international officials, technical experts and support staff of some nationalities. WCO has divided its membership into six regions whereby each region is represented by elected vice-chairperson to WCO Council.
Functions: It offers range of Conventions and other international instruments, as well as technical assistance and training services to its members. It also actively supports its members in their endeavours to modernize and build capacity within their national Customs administrations.
It also plays vital role in stimulating growth of legitimate international trade and combats fraudulent activities. It also promotes emergence of honest, transparent and predictable Customs environment, thus directly contributing to economic and social well-being of its members.
According to updated World Bank figures on GDP of countries for 2017, India has become world’s sixth-biggest economy surpassing France to seventh place. India’s gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to $2.597 trillion at the end of 2017, as against $2.582 trillion for France.
Top largest economies: At end of 2017, United States was world’s largest economy with size of US $19.39 trillion, followed by China (US $12.23 trillion) at the second place. Japan (US $4.87 trillion) and Germany (US $3.67 trillion) are at third and fourth places, respectively. Britain is still world’s fifth-biggest economy with a GDP of $2.622 trillion.
Per capita GDP: India, with population of around 1.34 billion is poised to become world’s most populous nation, whereas France’s population stands at 67 million. This means India’s per capita GDP will continue to amount to just fraction of that of France which is still roughly 20 times higher.
India’s economy Growth: India has grown at seven-quarter high of 7.7% in the three months ended March 2018, helped by higher government spending and investment. Manufacturing and consumer spending were main drivers of Indian economy in 2017.
5th largest economy: India has doubled its GDP within decade and is expected to power ahead as key economic engine in Asia, even as China economy is slowing down. In near future India is also expected to surpass fifth largest economy United Kingdom.
According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), India is projected to grow at 7.4% in 2018 and 7.8% in 2019, mainly boosted by household spending and tax reform. This compares to world’s expected average growth of 3.9%. Besides, London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research has predicted that in future, India will overtake both Britain and France in terms of GDP and has good chance of becoming world’s third-biggest economy by 2032.