India-Australia sign landmark Defence Agreements
Indian PM Modi and the Australian PM Scott Morrison held India’s first virtual bilateral summit. The leaders signed several agreements during their meet and also discussed about the COVID-19 measures being implemented in their respective countries.
India and Australia signed the following agreements namely
The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement signed will allow the countries to have access to each other’s military bases. The countries also decided to enhance their 2+2 foreign affairs and defence dialogues.
The countries signed a framework of security cooperation in November 2014. This had laid the foundation for intensified defence, security and foreign policy exchanges between the countries. The countries also share a free open and prosperous Indo Pacific region. Australia supported for India’s non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council. Also, Australia backs India at the global initiatives such as Indo-Pacific and International Solar Alliance. Australia had also supported India for the membership of the later at the Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group. Also, Australia supports India for its membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
TULIP internship programme
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the Ministry of HRD (Human Resource Development) launched an internship learning programme called “TULIP”.
The programme has been launched for fresh engineering graduates. Under the programme, they will get opportunities to work with 4,400 urban local bodies and 100 smart cities in India. The internship will be held for one year. The areas of interests included in the programme are financing, urban planning, environmental planning, sanitation and infrastructure, environmental engineering.
Along with the portal, an online portal of TULIP was also launched. The interested graduates shall apply for internship through this portal.
Both the urban local bodies and the smart cities shall make use of the youths to improve their services to the citizens of the country. The programme has set a target of 25,000 fresh engineering graduates.
The programme will help India solve its manpower shortage problem in implementing several government schemes.
World Economic Forum to hold Twin Summit
The World Economic Forum announced that it is to host its next summit in Davos under the theme “The Great Reset”. The forum has named the summit as “A Unique Twin Summit”.
The 51st annual summit of the World Economic Forum is to bring together global leaders, civil society and multi stake holders from 400 cities. The plan of the summit is to draw thousands of young people all around the world and keep them interconnected through a powerful virtual hub to interact with the leaders.
World Economic Forum:
The World Economic Forum was established in 1971. The motto of the forum is “committed to improving the state of the world”. It was formerly called the European Management Forum.
The Global Social Mobility Report is prepared by the World Economic Forum. It also generates the global Risks Report.
India joins virtual Global Vaccine Summit
India is to join the UK-led virtual Global Vaccine Summit. India will be one among the 50 countries participating at the summit.
The summit is being held to raise at least 7.4 billion USD of funds for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. The UK is currently playing a larger role. The country had set a Vaccine Task Force to support the COVID-19 Vaccine discovery.
GAVI: Vaccine Alliance
The GAVI alliance was set up in 2000 under the partnership of UNICEF, WHO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, research agencies, vaccine manufacturers and several other private sector partners.
The main aim of the alliance is to strengthen primary health care, bring the countries closer to Sustainable Development Goals and make sure no one is left behind.
India and GAVI:
In 2014, India became a donor country from a recipient. Till date India ahs contributed 12 million USD to the Alliance.
WHO resumes Hydroxychloroquine Study
The World Health Organization resumed its clinical trials on exploring whether the Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) drug is effective in treating COVID-19.
The clinical trial on Malaria Drug HCQ was earlier put on hold by the World Health Organization raising concerns of its efficacy.
Why were the trials put off?
The clinical trials were put off by the world organization considering the safety of the patients. WHO raised concerns about people in different parts of the world taking the drugs without proper medical guidance.
Why are the trials resumed now?
The trials were paused to analyze the results of using the drugs so far. The board set up by the WHO has reviewed the available mortality data of COVID-19 and now found that there are no reasons to stop the trials. There are more than 400 hospitals that are participating in the trials from 35 countries. It includes hospitals from Gujarat as well.
Why did the issue begin?
The Food and Drug Administration of US and other chief editorials like the Lancet have warned about the use of drugs without the advice of a medical professional. Thus, the WHO stepped in to make sure if the trials can be proceeded based on the success rate of the drug so far.
Kohala Hydro Power Project
An agreement has been signed between China and Pakistan to implement Kohala Hydroelectric Power project in the region of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The project is being implemented under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China sets up Kohala Hydropower project in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. A tripartite agreement was signed between the Tripartite Gorges Corporation, Private Power and Infrastructure Board and the authorities in PoK in order to implement the project.
About the Project:
The project is to be built on Jhelum river. It aims at providing 5 billion units of clean hydro electric power to Pakistan. The project will earn carbon credit from the United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change for clean energy.
India had earlier protested plans of Pakistan to build dam in Gilgit-Baltistan. Also, India says that projects in territories of illegal occupation of Pakistan is not appropriate.
Jhelum is the western most of the river of the five rivers in Punjab. It is a tributary of Indus.
Petition on nation’s name
The Supreme Court has ordered that a plea to change India’s name exclusively to ‘Bharat’ be converted into a representation and forwarded to the Union government for an appropriate decision.
The Court said, “Bharat and India are both names given in the Constitution. India is already called ‘Bharat’ in the Constitution”.
What’s the issue?
A petition was filed which said, ‘India’ is a name of foreign origin. The name can be traced back to the Greek term ‘Indica’.
The petition seeks an amendment to Article 1 of the Constitution, which says “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States”.
It wants ‘India’ to be struck off from the Article. This is to ensure citizens of this country to get over the colonial past and instil a sense of pride in our nationality.
And it will also justify the hard fought freedom by our freedom fighters.
How constituent assembly dealt with this?
The constituent assembly debated Article 1 of the then draft constitution prepared under the chairmanship of BR Ambedkar.
It was a heated debate that saw sharp exchanges among the members on November 18, 1949 – just eight days before the Constitution was adopted by “We, the people”.
HV Kamath objected to the Ambedkar committee’s draft that had two names – India and Bharat.
He proposed amendments to Article 1 putting Bharat or alternatively Hind as the primary name for the country and pronouncing India only as the name in the English language.
Seth Govind Das said, “India, that is, Bharat” are not beautiful words for the name of a country. We should have put the words “Bharat known as India also in foreign countries.”
Das cited the Vedas, the Mahabharat, couple of Puranas and the writings of Chinese traveller Hiuen-Tsang to say that Bharat was the original name of the country, hence India should not be put as the primary name in the constitution post-independence.
He also invoked Mahatma Gandhi saying that the country fought the battle of freedom raising the slogan of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” asserting that Bharat could be the only plausible name for the country.
Among others who supported India being named only as Bharat included KV Rao from Andhra Pradesh.
MA Ayyangar of Madras province proposed names of Bharat, Bharat Varsha and Hindustan as substitutes for India in Article 1.
At the end, when Rajendra Prasad put the amendments to vote, all fell. Article 1 remained intact as “India, that is Bharat”. However, the debate has continued.
What the constitution says?
As per Article 1 in the Constitution, the territory of India shall consist of: The territories of the states, The Union territories and Any territory that may be acquired.
The names of the States and the Unions have been described in the First Schedule. This schedule also held that there were four Categories of State and territories – Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.
In the seventh amendment of the Constitution in 1956 the distinction between the Part A and Part B states was abolished. Subsequently states were reorganized on linguistic basis.