South Asia Current Affairs
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World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has designated India as nodal centre for developing customized model to issue advance warning of floods to Asian countries, including Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. The model will be called as Flash Flood Guidance System. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) under Ministry of Earth Sciences will work to customize this weather model.
Flash Flood Guidance System
The model will provide forecasts by computing likelihood of rainfall and soil moisture levels to warn of possible floods. It will carry out forecasts by using combination of satellite mapping and ground-based observation. It will be customized weather model, originally developed by US and donated to WMO to warn about flash floods at least six hours in advance. It already has carried out test version of this model. Pakistan was among list of beneficiary countries of this forecast model, but it has refused to participate in it.
Like India, several southeast Asian countries depend on monsoon and are prone to its vagaries. WMO estimates that flash floods account for 85% of flooding incidents across the world, leading to around 5,000 deaths every year. While science to warn of floods can be developed, India was yet to work out how exactly it will warn countries of potential inundation. India currently has its own warning system for tsunamis that also doubles up warning system for several Asian countries. At present in India, Central Water Commission (CWC), which monitors dams, warns of rising water levels in water reservoirs, which are usually taken to be signs of imminent floods. Recently CWC has recently tied up with internet giant Google to develop software application to visualise rising water levels during heavy rains.
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
WMO is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate covers weather, climate and water resources. It is UN specialized agency for meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences It is dedicated to international cooperation and coordination on state and behaviour of Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with land and oceans, the weather and climate and distribution of water resources. It has 191 Member States and Territories. It originated from International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Asian Development Outlook 2018 released by Asian Development Bank (ADB) has projected India’s economic growth to 7.3% in 2018-19 fiscal and further to 7.6% in 2019-20 fiscal. The ADB’s growth projection is in line with that of rating agency Fitch, but is lower than Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) forecast of 7.4%.
Asian Development Outlook 2018
India’s growth Projection: Indian growth is expected to pick up to 7.3% in fiscal year (FY) 2018 and 7.6% in FY2019, following the estimated 6.6% in FY2017. India will remain the world’s fastest growing major economy.
India’s growth will pick up with increased productivity post Goods and Services Tax (GST) and investment revival due to banking reform and corporate deleveraging take hold to reverse downtrend in investment.
The impact of demonetization of high-value banknotes has dissipated and full implementation of GST will bolster growth in India in 2019.
Indian economy grew 6.6% in last fiscal (2017-18) as it battled lingering effects of demonetisation in 2016, businesses adjusting GST in 2017 and subdued agriculture.
Growth Projections in South Asia: It will remain among world’s fastest, driven by recovery in India, region’s largest economy. Asian consumers and commodity price rises will fuel higher inflation in the region.
China’s growth projection: It will slow down to 6.6% and 6.4% in 2018 and 2019 respectively as its domestic economic policy leans further toward financial stability and more sustainable growth trajectory.
Regional Inflation Projections: It is projected to average 4.6% in FY 2018 (2018-19), rising to 5% in FY 2019 with further firming of global commodity prices and strengthening of domestic demand. Regional consumer price inflation (CPI) is projected to accelerate to 2.9% in 2018 and 2019, from 2.3% registered in 2017. Inflation projections for next two years, however, are well below 10-year regional average of 3.7%.
Prospects for Policy stimulus: It remains limited and there is risk of tight interest rate regime. The deferment of fiscal consolidation, upside risks of inflation and expected hikes in US interest rates in 2018 will squeeze maneuvering room for policy rate cuts to stimulate growth.
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
ADB is a regional development bank which aims to promote social and economic development in Asia. It was established in December 1966. It is headquartered in Manila, Philippines. Now it has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
The ADB has been modelled closely on the World Bank. It has similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions. As of 2014, Japan was largest shareholder (capital subscription) of ADB having 15.7% shares followed by US (15.6%), China (6.5%), India (6.4%), and Australia (5.8%).