No New Schemes for a year
The Government of India announced that no new schemes will be approved till March 31, 2021. Till then, the schemes under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan are to be implemented.
The Government of India will implement the schemes that were announced under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana alone. All the other ministries have been asked to stop sending requests for new scheme.
This is being done to manage available finances efficiently. According to GoI, the announcement is being made as there is un-precendented demand on public financial resources and there is a huge need to use the available resources in a prudent way. Government of India had earlier frozen Dearness Allowance of Employee salaries till 2021 as well.
Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan:
The scheme was launched to improve the growth of the country. The scheme announced several measures and covered almost all sections of the society. It allocated Rs 20,000 lakh crores. The scheme covered agriculture, fisheries, MSME, street vendors, mining, migrant workers, Jal Jeevan Mission, MGNREGA, Public Distribution System, etc. The scheme also intends to provide houses and food for the migrant workers that have returned to their native places.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana:
The scheme was launched to ease lives of the people of India during the COVID-19 crisis. It aimed to provide rice, wheat and pulses at affordable rates and also free for a short period.
ISRO signs Memorandum of Understanding
The Indian Space Research Organization recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Aryabhata Research Institute of Observational Science (ARIES), Nainital.
The ISRO and ARIES signed the MoU on the cooperation in the filed of Space Situational Awareness and Astrophysics. The space situation awareness includes Space object tracking, space orbit analysis and space weather studies. The main objective of the MoU is to protect the Indian space assets from space debris threats. The MoU also aims at solar sciences, R&D of Astrophysics and space environment.
ISRO has signed similar agreement earlier with University of Texas, USA and Austin.
India’s perspective on Space Situation Awareness:
According to India, space assets play major role in a country’s power and prestige. The number of objects in space is increasing day by day. Today there are more than 19,432 objects in orbit. Out of these only 2,216 are active satellites.
Under the Space Situation Awareness, India is focusing on debris tracking, collision avoidance, satellite anomaly detection, monitoring threats from space weather station, prediction of threats from asteroids and meteorites.
Gairsain declared Summer Capital of Uttarakhand
The Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya assented to declare Gairsain as new summer capital. The Gairsain is also called Bhararisen.
Gairsain is to have an e-vidhan Sabha. This was announced on World Environment Day. The Legislative Assembly of the state is located at Dehradun, the winter capital city. The activists in Uttarakhand wanted Gairsain to be the capital of Uttarakhand state after it was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 1998.
The activists suggested Gairsain as the capital as it was falling on the border of Kumaon and Garhwal regions. The town is located in the Chamoli district and is 250 km from Dehradun. It comes under the administrative limits of Garhwal division. The boundary of Kumaon starts at a distance of 15 km from Gairsain.
The State of Uttarakhand was formed as the 27th state of India. The state was formed through the Uttar Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2000. The famous tourist attraction in the state includes Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The state also sources Ramganga river. The river begins its journey at the Dudhatoli Parvat.
INS Kesari reaches Seychelles
The Indian Naval Ship Kesari reached Port Victoria in Seychelles to provide COVID-19 related medicines under Mission Sagar.
The Mission Sagar was launched by the Indian Navy to provide COVID-19 related essential medicines. The Government of India under the mission is providing assistance to foreign countries in dealing with COVID-19.
India had launched Mission Sagar in May 2020 to provide food items to countries in the Southern Indian Ocean. As a part of the initiative, essentials were to be supplied to Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles.
The Mission also supplied HCQ tablets, medical assistance and special ayurvedic medicines. Under the mission India provided 600 tonnes of food items to Maldives, Ayurvedic medicines and COVID-19 related medicines to Mauritius, COVID-19 related essential medicines including HCQ to Madagascar, dengue fever tablets and medical assistance team to Comoros and COVID-19 related medicines to Seychelles.
The Mission was inspired by PM Modi’s vision of SAGAR.
SAGAR is Security and Growth for All in the Region.
Indian PMO secretaries to hold key positions in WTO, World Bank
The Private secretary of Prime Minister Modi Rajeev Topno was recently appointed as the Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of World Bank. Also, a joint secretary at the Prime Minister Office (PMO) was appointed to the World Trade Organization as an ambassador
Besides these officers, five other officers have been appointed abroad where they will have major role in economic and trade related decisions. H Atheli has been appointed as advisor to Executive Director of Asian Development Bank.
These appointments are important to India. This is because India is currently grappling with economic crisis and the organizations play an important in deciding trade related activities.
Board of Directors:
The World Bank group consists of four separate boards of directors. This includes International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Development Association (IDA) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). There are 25 Executive directors in all. They elect their president. The president has no voting powers except for the deciding vote of equally divided board.
The voting powers of the member countries are based on the number of shares held by them. The top eight countries with highest voting powers in the world bank are USA, Japan, China, UK, Germany, France, Canada and India.
State of India’s Environment Report
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has released the State of India’s Environment, 2020 report. The CSE also publishes the environment magazine called Down to Earth.
According to the report, around 19 major events have claimed 1,357 lives in 2019. More than 50 lakh internal displacements have occurred in India in 2019. This is the highest in the world according to the report. One on five internal displacements caused by disasters in the world were in India.
The floods that occurred due to South West Monsoon caused 26 lakh displacements. Cyclone Fani created 18 lakh displacements. The displacements increased further due to cyclones Vayu and Bulbul.
The draught conditions in the states created 63,000 displacements.
The state wise ranking was also made on water resources management and environment. The National average on governance of environment was 5.16 on 10. Punjab alone had a score greater than that of the national average. Score of Punjab was 5.2.
Observations of the report:
The report observed that India’s ranking in terms of Sustainable Development Goals has slipped to 114 in 2019 as compared to 115 in 2018. This was achievable as India took certain measures to end poverty (SDG 1), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6).
Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China
A group of eight democracies have launched Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China. It is an international cross-party group of legislators that are working towards reforms on democratic countries approach towards China.
The Alliance was formed by Japan, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Lithuania, Norway, Netherlands and USA. The European Union was also present when the representatives from these countries discussed about issues related to China.
Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China:
The Alliance follows two principles namely
The Alliance has met during a time when China is trying to dilute autonomy of Hong Kong. Also, during the time when several countries are raising concerns about origin of COVID-19.
About the alliance:
The alliance is an international group of legislators that are working towards reforms on how countries approach China. The mission monitors developments and assists legislators to craft strategic approach on the issues related to China. The activities of the alliance fall into the following areas:
Public procurement Norms modified
The Government of India recently modified public procurement norms. Under the new norms maximum preference is to be given to those goods and services that have 50% or more local content. This has been done to promote “Make in India”.
The GoI recently issued the Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India), Order 2017. The new order has introduced Class-I, Class-II and non-local suppliers. The goods and services are to get preferences based on their classes.
The goods and service company that have domestic value addition of 50% and more have been classified under Class I. These goods and services will get the most preference in all government purchases.
The goods and service company whose value addition range is between 20% and 50% come under Class II supplier.
The goods and service company that has less than 20% of domestic content in the products are classified as non-local suppliers. These companies cannot participate in most of the government tenders.
In the earlier orders, local suppliers were those whose goods and services had a minimum of 50% of local content. Earlier, there was no categorization among the local suppliers. Local content is amount of value added to a product in India.