Tuesday, 19 April 2016 02:26


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19 - APRIL - 2016



India and the US agreed in principle to conclude a logistics exchange agreement to enable both militaries to use each other's assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.

The agreement on Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) was reached after delegation-level talks between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and visiting US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter in New Delhi.

The agreement, which was cleared during the meet and will be signed in coming months, does not entail deployment of American troops on Indian soil.

Reached agreements include

• To set up a new bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue between officials of defence and foreign affairs ministries

• To enhance on-going navy-to-navy discussions to cover submarine-related issues

• Both countries will deepen cooperation in maritime domain awareness by finalising a ‘White Shipping’ agreement in the near future.

What is LEMOA?

LEMOA traditionally known as the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) facilitates the provision of logistical support, supplies and services between the US military and armed forces of partner countries on a reimbursable basis. It also provides a framework that governs the exchange of logistics support, supplies and services.

The logistic support agreement with India was earlier proposed in 2004 but it was resisted by the then UPA government for a decade. The then defence minister AK Anthony saw the agreement as intrusive and compromising on India’s non-aligned stance.


Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao conferred the Hridaynath Award on Chess wizard Viswanathan Anand in Mumbai.

He was conferred the award during the celebrations of 25thanniversary of the Hridayesh Arts which gives the awards.

He was chosen for the award for his contributions to the game of Chess in India by becoming five-time world chess champion.

With this, he joined others personalities who have received the award like Lata Mangeshkar, Babasaheb Purandare, Asha Bhosle, Amitabh Bachchan, Hariprasad Chaurasia and AR Rahman.

Vishwanathan Anand also is the first sports personality to have received this prestigious award.

Born on 11 December 1969, Anand became India's first grandmaster in 1988. He held the FIDE World Chess Championship title from 2000 to 2002 and became the undisputed world champion in 2007.

Other sports personalities who were felicitated during the awards ceremony were D Prasad, Praveen Thipsey along with his wife Bhagyashree, Padmashree Anupama Gokhale, Raghunandan Gokhale, Dhanraj Pillay, Devendra Joshi, Kamesh Mehta and Parnali Dharia.

About Hridaynath Mangeskar Award

• It was instituted by Hridayesh Art, a Mumbai- based socio-cultural organization founded in 1990 in honour of music composer and singer Hridaynath Mangeskar.

• The annual award given since 2011 recognises individuals for success in various walks of life. It comprises a cash award of 2 lakh rupees and a memento.


Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and German International Cooperation (GIZ) signed an Implementation agreement for Ganga Rejuvenation under the Namami Gange Programme in New Delhi.

The agreement was signed in the presence of the German Ambassador to India, Dr. Martin Ney and Secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Shashi Shekhar.

The project will closely cooperate with other National and international initiatives including Indo-German bilateral projects like Support to National Urban Sanitation Policy (SNUSP) and Sustainable Environment-friendly Industrial Production (SEIP).

The project duration is three years that is from 2016 to 2018 and the German contribution in the project will be to the tune of 22.5 crore rupees.

The objective of the agreement

• It will enable responsibility of stakeholders at National and State level to apply integrated river basin management approach for the rejuvenation of the river Ganga.

• This will be based on Indo-German Knowledge exchange and practical experience on strategic river basin management issues, effective data management system and public engagement.

• Initial actions will focus on the State of Uttarakhand, with scope of expansion to other upstream Ganga States.

• The ultimate goal is to adopt the successful river basin management strategies used for Rhine and Danube and replicate the same, wherever possible for attaining the pristine status of river Ganga.

About Namami Gange Programme

The Union Government gave its nod for implementation of Namami Gange programme (NGP) on 13 May 2015.

It is a flagship programme of Union Government with a renewed impetus to decrease river pollution and to rejuvenate the Ganga.

In order to achieve this Indian Government has solicited support from various countries to conserve the revered river Ganga.

Germany Government, with its vast experiences in cleaning and rejuvenating European rivers such as Rhine, Elbe and Danube was keen to join hands for collaboration with Union Government of India.


Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved India for adopting the Statute of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) and India.

It also approved India to become a formal member of SAWEN to strengthen ties with the member countries in controlling the trans-boundary wildlife crime through communication, coordination, collaboration, capacity building and cooperation in the region.

Objectives that were set to attain the goal are as follows:

• To take initiatives for bringing harmonization and standardization in laws and policies of member countries concerning conservation of fauna and flora;

• To document the trend of poaching and illegal trade, and related threats to the natural biodiversity within and across countries in the region;

• To strengthen institutional responses to combat wildlife crime by promoting research and information sharing, training and capacity building, technical support, sharing experiences and outreach; and

• To encourage member countries to prepare and implement their National Action Plans in curbing wildlife crime and to collaborate towards effective implementation.


The South Asia region is very vulnerable to illegal traffic and wildlife crimes due to presence of precious biodiversity and large markets as well as traffic routes for wildlife products in the south East Asian region.

The collaboration in harmonising as well as enforcing the wildlife protection in the region is considered very important for effective conservation of such precious biodiversity.


Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) on cooperation in preventing and combating of Human Trafficking.

The MoU will strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries and increase the bilateral cooperation on the issues of prevention, rescue, recovery and repatriation related to human trafficking especially women and children expeditiously.

The salient features of the MoU:

• To strengthen cooperation to prevent all forms of human trafficking, especially that of women and children and ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of traffickers and organized crime syndicates in either country.

• Taking preventive measures that would eliminate human trafficking in women and children and in protecting the rights of victims of trafficking.

• Anti-trafficking Cells and Task Forces will work on both sides to prevent human trafficking.

• Police and other concerned authorities will work in close cooperation and exchange information which can be used to interdict human traffickers.

• The repatriation of victims would be done as expeditiously as possible and the home country will undertake the safe and effective re-integration of the victims.

• A Joint Task Force with representatives from both sides would be constituted to monitor the working of the MoU.


As a destination of trafficking, South Asian countries are mainly affected by domestic trafficking, or trafficking from the neighboring countries. However, South Asian victims are also increasingly detected in the Middle East.

India is a source and transit country as far as trafficking to UAE is concerned, whereas UAE is a destination and transit country for men and women, predominantly from South, Southeast and Central Asia and Eastern Europe who are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.

Migrant workers, who comprise over 95 percent of the UAE's private sector workforce, are recruited primarily from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran and East, South and Southeast Asia.

Some of these workers face forced labour in the UAE. Women from some of these countries travel willingly to the UAE to work as domestic workers, secretaries, beauticians and hotel cleaners, but some are subjected to forced labour by unlawful withholding of their passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats and physical or sexual abuse.

The reinforcement of anti-trafficking efforts at all levels between the UAE and India is essential for prevention and protection of victims. This requires mutual cooperation among both the countries for intelligence sharing, joint investigation and a coordinated response to the challenges of human trafficking. For this purpose, it is proposed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with UAE. We have already signed one MoU to prevent trafficking with Bangladesh and another with Bahrain is to be signed during this month.


SAWEN: South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network

The acronym SAWEN was in news on 13 April 2016 as Union cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved India to become a formal member in the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN).

SAWEN is a Regional network comprising of eight countries in South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

It aims at working as a strong regional inter¬governmental body for combating wildlife crime by attempting common goals and approaches for combating illegal trade in the region.

It enables the member countries in controlling the trans-boundary wildlife crime through communication, coordination, collaboration, capacity building and cooperation in the region.


Delhi Government approved the Delhi Slum and JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015. The bill focuses on in-situ development for the city’s urban poor.

At present, the city has 675 slums and JJ clusters, which have a requirement of about 3 lakh dwelling units.

Main Features of the Policy

• JJ clusters which have come up before 01 January 2006 shall not be removed without rehabilitation; the cut-off date for eligibility for alternative accommodation for JJ dwellers living in these clusters would be 14 February 2015.

• No new jhuggi will be allowed to come up.

• DUSIB will plan and implement In-situ rehabilitation/re-development of JJ clusters wherever technically feasible; in other cases, DUSIB will resort to nearest possible relocation.

• Once JJ clusters are taken over by DUSIB/GNCTD, in-situ rehabilitation of all the clusters will be planned and implemented by DUSIB wherever feasible; in other cases, DUSIB /GNCTD will resort to relocation of eligible JJ dwellers.

• Land owing agencies like DDA may handover the JJ clusters on their lands to DUSIB/GNCTD on land sharing basis in the ratio of 40:60.

• After in-situ re-development and rehabilitation, 40% land would be returned to the Land Owning Agency for whatever projects they want to have the land and JJ dwellers will be rehabilitated in the remaining 60% by constructing the multi-storey flats. In that case, Land Owing Agency will have to pay the cost of land.

Legal framework for policy

The policy will facilitate the survey of JJ clusters as well as rehabilitation of eligible JJ dwellers. The policy is based on the following legal frame-work:

I. Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Act, 2010

II. NCT of Delhi Laws (Special Provision Act, 2011)

III. Master Plan of Delhi 2021

IV. Housing for all (Urban) Scheme Guidelines, 2015 issued by M/o HUPA, Union Government

V. Landmark decisions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the most recent decision of the Chief Justices’ Bench of Delhi High Court in the case of Sudama Singh vs. Government of Delhi


  • Google, in association with RailTel, the telecom arm of the Indian Railways, announced the roll out of free WiFi services at nine more stations after Mumbai Central, bringing high-speed Internet access to about 1.5 million passengers.
  • The companies are also looking at making the service, which is currently free for users, financially sustainable.
  • The firms are in talks with multiple partners, including operators and advertisers, for potential revenue generation.
  • Since the launch in Mumbai on January 22, more than one lakh users are seen every week. As people become more aware, this number will grow rapidly.
  • The WiFi service is now available at Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Ranchi, Raipur, Vijayawada, Kacheguda (Hyderabad), Ernakulum Jn (Kochi) and Vishakhapatnam stations.
  • Google and RailTel had collaborated to make WiFi network available across 100 stations to deliver high-speed Internet to 10 million Indians a day by the end of the year.
  • The project will eventually be rolled out to cover 400 railway stations across India.


  • While the seventh and last of the regional navigation spacecraft is due to be launched on April 28, space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lined up a record-making feat towards the end of May.
  • It will put in orbit 21 small and mostly foreign commercial satellites along with a larger Indian spacecraft.
  • The primary passenger on the PSLV-C33 launcher will be the Earth observing, high-resolution Cartosat-2C, weighing around 700 kg.
  • Offering a resolution of about 60 cm, Cartosat-2C is touted to be the best Indian eye yet in the sky.
  • It will cater to the country’s military requirements. Its camera, among other functions, can spot objects that are 60 cm wide or long - roughly an arm’s length, from its orbit of around 600 km.
  • As far as multiple launches go, the PSLV has launched 10 spacecrafts including eight small foreign ones in April 2008.
  • Then, too, the main passenger was Cartosat-2A, another defence enabler, giving pictures of 80 cm resolution of the ground below. Last December, a PSLV took up six small Singapore satellites into orbit in one go.
  • NASA holds the 2013 record for placing the highest number — 29 — of mostly small customer satellites in orbit on a Minotaur launcher.
  • Multiple launches need multiple interfaces between the rocket and the spacecraft, and coordination with operators of each spacecraft.
  • The launch team must ensure that one spacecraft does not get into the path of the other. The needs of each customer and its spacecraft must be accounted for.
  • Such many-in-one flights add to ISRO’s capability to service more and more small satellites commercially.
  • According to secondary sources, the small satellites are of masses ranging from one kg to 130 kg.
  • Three are from Indian universities – the 12-kg NIUSAT from the Noorul Islam University in Kanyakumari; the 2-kgSathyabamaSat; and the 1-kg Swayam from Pune’s College of Engineering.
  • According to the ISRO official, considering the global demand for launching small satellites, packing many of them into one PSLV optimises a globally scarce service.
  • Otherwise, satellite operators would have to wait for the next PSLV or look for another launcher.


  • After a request from the Enforcement Directorate, in connection with a money laundering probe in the over Rs. 900 crore IDBI Bank loan fraud case, the Ministry of External Affairs suspended Vijay Mallya’s diplomatic passport.
  • It has also threatened to revoke it if he doesn’t appear before the Indian High Commission in London within a week.
  • Section 10 A of the Act empowers the authorities to suspend passports or travel documents in certain cases. The suspension order is communicated to all the ports of entry or exit in India.
  • The beleaguered NRI businessman, whose ordinary passport is also rendered invalid by a Ministry order, is now left with the sole option of returning to the country on an emergency certificate issued by the Indian mission.
  • Mr. Mallya left India on March 2, flying out of Delhi on his diplomatic passport, and is believed to be in the United Kingdom.
  • Mr. Swarup said Mr. Mallya was asked to respond within one week why his passport should not be impounded or revoked under Section 10(3)(c) of the Act.
  • The provision is invoked if the passport authority deems it necessary to suspend the document in the interest of the country’s sovereignty, integrity or security and its friendly relations with other countries, or in public interest.


  • India has sought changes in the U.N. procedures to designate a group or an individual terrorist.
  • The demand for more transparency comes days after China blocked its bid to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a terrorist.
  • The existing rules allow Security Council members to oppose any move in the sanctions committees in a clandestine manner and without offering any explanation.
  • The sanctions committees can take decisions only unanimously, and this means any of the 15 members can veto a move.
  • For instance, China put a ‘technical hold’ on action against Azhar, and India came to know only informally from members of the council.
  • This amounts to allowing a “hidden veto” for every member of the council, Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India to the U.N., said at an open debate.
  • The Security Council has Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Islamic State Sanctions Committees that can mandate international sanctions, which will require countries to freeze the targeted group’s or individual’s assets, ban designated individuals from travelling and prevent the supply of weapons, technology and other aid.
  • Earlier too, China delayed moves against the Pakistan-based terror groups such as the Jamaat-Ud-Dawa and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.


  • The seasonal melting of Greenland's vast ice sheet reached record levels this week, data from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) showed.
  • Around 12 percent of the ice sheet was melting, almost one month earlier than the previous top three dates for when more than 10 percent of the ice had begun to melt
  • The record coincided with unusually warm weather in the Arctic territory, with temperatures at some weather stations on the ice reaching 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • The warm weather also affected regions outside the ice sheet: In Kangerlussuaq on Greenland's west coast, the mercury reached 17.8 degrees Celsius, one of the highest April temperatures in Greenland since records began in 1873.
  • Rain and meltwater at this time of the year typically runs back into the snow and freezes again, but by warming the snow further down it reduces the amount of heating needed to prompt the melting to start again later in the season.
  • The Greenland ice sheet, a potentially massive contributor to rising sea levels, lost mass twice as fast between 2003 and 2010 as during the entire 20th century, researchers said in December.
  • Greenland ice loss contributed to a global average sea level rise of 25 millimetres (about an inch) between 1990 and 2010 -- mainly from surface melt.


  • At least 30,000 civilians have fled fighting between jihadists and rebels in northern Syria in the past 48 hours, Human Rights Watch said, calling on Turkey to open its border to them.
  • The watchdog accused Turkish border guards of shooting at some of those displaced in Aleppo province by fighting between the Islamic State (IS) group and rebels as they approached the frontier.
  • “The whole world is talking about fighting IS, and yet those most at risk of becoming victims of its abuses are trapped on the wrong side of a concrete wall.” HRW said


  • Ethnic minorities in the U.K., including those from India, are likely to vote for the country to stay in the European Union in the June 23 referendum in which roughly 43 million people are eligible to cast their vote.
  • One reason is that the ethnic minorities are still pro-Labour. While one should not, of course, fall into the trap of assuming that all immigrants are pro-immigration, there is something on the edge of racism of people in the Leave campaign.
  • In the political realignments that the referendum debate has effected, prominent Indian-origin Conservative cabinet minister Priti Patel — whom Prime Minister David Cameron had appointed the U.K. India Diaspora Champion — joined the group of Conservative members of Parliament, led by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, who support Brexit.
  • The official campaign period for the June 23 referendum began on Friday, according to the U.K.’s Election Commission.
  • In this period, which includes the referendum day, “the rules that campaigners must follow at the referendum on issues such as spending and working together come into force,” the release states.
  • Spending limits for a registered campaigner is £7,00,000, for the designated lead campaigners £7 million, and for political parties a variable amount between £7,00,000 and £7 million based on the party’s share of the vote at the last United Kingdon Parliamentary General Election.


  • China recorded a growth rate of 6.7 per cent for the first quarter, slightly lower than the previous quarter’s figure but well within this year’s planned range, riding mainly on a fresh acceleration in the real estate and services sectors.
  • Growth in the last quarter of 2015 was 6.8 per cent, but the marginal decline in the January-March quarter is in tune with the annual target of 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent GDP growth.
  • Government is making transition from a low-end manufacturing and export-led model to a “supply-side” economy that focuses on consumption, services and manufacturing of hi-end products.
  • There were other signs that the economy was moving into positive territory. On Wednesday, trade data released by the government showed that the import and export activity was higher than expected.
  • Yet the surge in the real estate sector and a fresh dose of hefty lending partly explain the current expansion of the economy.
  • The services sector expanded by 7.6 per cent till March, outpacing the 5.8 per cent GDP contribution by industry. However, services growth had dropped compared to its 8.3 per cent rise in the last quarter of 2015.
  • The government may have to scale up financial stimulus, since higher housing and real estate demand is unlikely to push the economy to achieve the annual projected 6.5-7 per cent growth, according to some observers.
  • Already, new bank loans and other forms of credit in March rose by $351 billion—an amount that was surpassed by record lending in January. Rapid accumulation of debt is adding to the urgency of structural reforms in order to avoid a hard-landing in the future.
  • There are signs of China’s economy “bottoming out”, but analysts warned of a persisting downward pressure on account of uncertainty in the global economy coupled with the difficulties in the country’s structural shift to consumption-driven growth and entrepreneurship.


  • The Provident Fund office, following protest from trade unions, is considering to amend its new rules that restrict employees from taking out their entire PF balance till they turn 58, according to an official.
  • Subscribers could be allowed to withdraw their entire savings in specific cases such as their own marriage, studying professional courses and illness.
  • According to a February notification, EPFO subscribers can withdraw only their own share of PF deposit and the balance, comprising the employer’s contribution, only after the employee attains 58 years of age.
  • The employer’s share will continue to earn interest as the EPFO had recently approved a plan to credit interest even on inoperative accounts (those with no deposits for three consecutive years).
  • The decision to place restrictions on withdrawing PF money was taken after it was found many workers took out all the money from the account immediately on quitting their jobs.
  • However, this was opposed by the trade unions and over 1.2 lakh people signed an online petition to oppose the restrictions on withdrawals before retirement.
  • The central trade unions had unanimously opposed the move at EPFO’s Central Board of Trustees meeting held on March 29.
  • At present, EPF accounts are mandatory for firms hiring 20 employees or more and are funded by employees paying 12 per cent of their salary to the EPFO with employers making a similar contribution.


  • India’s mining sector appears to be on a firm turnaround path after years of tumult with production of metallic minerals growing by nearly 20 per cent in the first eleven months of 2015-16 and total mineral output rising by 8.2 per cent, official data showed.
  • While the value of the mineral production is lower than previous years owing to lower global prices, the recovery in quantum of output signals a higher demand for raw materials and augurs well for a sustainable industrial recovery.
  • Mining sector output had contracted for three successive years till 2013-14, and made only a marginal recovery in 2014-15 as output of non-metallic minerals like limestone continued to shrink.
  • In 2015-16, both metallic and non-metallic minerals reported robust growth. Mining has an over 14 per cent weightage in the Index of Industrial production or IIP, which has registered a 2.6 per cent growth between April 2015 and February 2016.
  • Industrial output grew 2 per cent in February, after three months of contraction, largely driven by 10 per cent rise in the production of electricity and a 5 per cent increase in minerals.
  • “Metallic minerals’ output has grown from 14.24 crore metric tonnes to 17.05 crore metric tonnes between April 2015 and February 2016.
  • Iron ore output has risen significantly as many of the mines that were shut in recent years have started opening again, in states like Goa and Odisha.
  • The government expects mineral output to rise further in 2016-17 as six new mines allotted via auctions could start operations.
  • Several more mines would be auctioned and some of the mines affected by the Supreme Court embargo could come back into production.
  • Most blocks that didn’t get any bids in the first round of auctions pertained to limestone mines.
  • In 2011, the Supreme Court had banned all 168 iron ore mines in Karnataka for violating the law and damaging the environment.
  • In 2013, the court allowed 117 mines involved in minor violations to re-start and cancelled licences for 51 mines where serious violations took place, requiring their permits to be auctioned.
  • The state had told the SC that it will auction the permits for 15 such mines by 2015-16.
  • The biggest growth in output was seen in chromite (36.1 per cent), lead concentrate (33.7 per cent), copper concentrate (31 per cent) and Bauxite (27.4 per cent).
  • Non-metallic minerals output grew 2.1 per cent in the first eleven months of 2015-16, with phosphorite production rising nearly 12 per cent and limestone growing over 2 per cent, after years of decline.



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Last Updated on Thursday, 21 April 2016 01:49