International Organisations


Global Trends Report on Forced Displacements Released by UNHCR

Read More

What is the News? The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has released the Global Trends Report on Forced Displacements.

About Global Trends Report:
  • The Global Trends Report is an annual report. UNHCR publishes this report.
  • Purpose: The report counts and tracks the numbers of refugees, internally displaced people. It also tracks people who have returned to their countries or areas of origin, asylum-seekers, stateless people, and other populations of concern.
Key Takeaways from the Report:
  • Around 82.4 million people were forcibly displaced, by the end of 2020. Reasons behind that were, persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, and events seriously disturbing public order.
    • This is a 4% increase in forcibly displaced people when compared to 2019.
  • Countries: More than two-thirds of all people who fled abroad came from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar.
  • Turkey is hosting the largest refugee population worldwide for the seventh year in a row, It was followed by Colombia, Pakistan, Uganda, and Germany.
  • Climate Change: Climate change is also driving displacement and increasing the vulnerability of those already forced to flee.
  • Demographics: Children are particularly affected during displacement crises, especially if their displacement drags on for many years. They account for 30% of the world’s population, but an estimated 42% of all forcibly displaced people.
  • Covid-19: As of May 2021, more than 165 million people worldwide have been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 since the first case was recorded in December 2019. People who have been forcibly displaced have been among the hardest-hit groups among them.

Source: UNHCR

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

“Global Peace Index 2021” Released

Read More

What is the News? The 15th edition of Global Peace Index 2021 has been released.

About Global Peace Index:
  • The Global Peace Index is released by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), an international think tank.
  • Aim: The index presents the most comprehensive analysis of trends in peace. It ranks countries according to their levels of peacefulness and identifies potential determinants of peace.
  • Coverage: The index measures the peacefulness of 163 countries and territories. It covers 99.7% of the world’s population.
  • Parameters: The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources. These indicators are grouped into three key domains:
    • ongoing conflict
    • safety and security and
    • militarization

Read Also :-Afghan Peace Process and India

Key Takeaways from the index:
  • Iceland has topped the peace index. It was followed by New Zealand, Denmark, and Portugal.
    • Out of the 10 most peaceful countries in the world, 8 are from Europe.
  • Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Only three out of nine regions in the world improved in the peace index. The largest improvement took place in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2020 was $14.96 trillion in purchasing power parity(PPP) terms. It is equivalent to 11.6% of the world’s economic activity.
  • There was an increase in military expenditure as a percentage of GDP for the second straight year. This indicator has deteriorated in 105 countries.
  • Moreover, the average level of global peacefulness deteriorated by 0.07% in the Index. This is the ninth time in the last 13 years that global peacefulness has deteriorated.

India:

  • India has been ranked 135th in the 2021 Global Peace Index.
  • Bhutan and Nepal are the first and second most peaceful in the South Asia region. India is the 5th most peaceful country in this region.
  • Bangladesh was 91st out of 163 countries across the world, while it was at 3rd place in South Asia.
  • Pakistan witnessed the most improvement in peacefulness, with 150th rank globally and 6th in the South Asia region.

Source: AIR

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged , , ,

“World Competitiveness Index 2021”: India maintained 43rd position

Read More

What is the news?

World Competitiveness Index 2021 has been released by the Institute for Management Development (IMD).

About World Competitiveness Index

  • The World Competitiveness Index is an annual report published since 1989.
  • Released by: The index is released by the Institute for Management Development (IMD).
  • Aim: The index ranks 64 economies. It assesses the extent to which a country promotes the prosperity of its people by measuring economic well-being through data and survey responses.
  • Parameters: The index measures the prosperity and competitiveness of countries by examining four factors:
    • Economic performance
    • Government efficiency
    • Business efficiency
    • Infrastructure
Key Findings of World Competitiveness Index 2021:
  • Top Rankings: Switzerland has topped the index. It was followed by Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and Singapore.
  • Asia: The top-performing Asian economies in order are: Singapore (5th), Hong Kong (7th), Taiwan (8th) and China (16th).
  • The UAE and the USA remain in the same spots as last year (9th and 10th, respectively)
Key Findings Related to India:
  • India’s Ranking: India has maintained the 43rd rank in the world competitiveness index 2021.
    • In 2020, India was ranked 43rd on the index.
  • Comparison with BRICS Countries: Among BRICS countries, India was ranked second (43rd) after China (16th), followed by Russia (45th), Brazil (57th) and South Africa (62nd).
  • Performance of India:
    • Among the four factors, India made significant improvements in government efficiency this year. These improvements are due to the following reasons:
      • Relatively stable public finances (despite difficulties brought by the pandemic, in 2020 the government deficit stayed at 7 per cent) and
      • Positive feedbacks registered among Indian business executives with respect to the support and subsidies provided by the government to the private companies
    • But India’s performance in other parameters such as economic performance, business efficiency and infrastructure remained the same.
  • Strengths of India: India’s strengths lie in investments in telecoms (1st), mobile telephone costs (1st), ICT services exports (3rd), remuneration in services professions (4th) and terms of trade index (5th).
  • Weaknesses of India: India’s weakness lies in the broadband subscribers (64th), exposure to particulate pollution (64th), human development index (64th), GDP per capita (63rd) and foreign currency reserves per capita (62nd).
Also read: World Ease of Doing Business Report
Qualities of higher-ranked countries

The report finds that

  • Qualities such as investment in innovation, digitalization, welfare benefits and leadership, resulting in social cohesion, have helped countries to perform better. Thus ranked higher in competitiveness.
  • Top-performing economies are characterized by varying degrees of investment in innovation, diversified economic activities, and supportive public policy.
  • Competitive economies succeeded in transitioning to a remote work routine while also allowing remote learning. Addressing unemployment has been fundamental

Source: Business Standard

Read Also :-Highlights of 43rd GST Council Meeting

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

UNESCO Science Report Finds India’s investment in Research Unsatisfactory

Read More

What is the News? The UNESCO Science Report(USR) has been released.

About UNESCO Science Report(USR):
  • UNESCO Science Report is a global monitoring report. It is published every five years by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization(UNESCO).
  • Objective: The report monitors trends in science governance worldwide to identify which development path countries are following.
  • Latest Report: The latest edition was published with the title ‘The race against time for smarter development’. The report has an exclusive chapter on India.
UNESCO Science Report(USR) on India:

 India’s Investment in Research:

  • India’s investment in research and development(R&D) remains unsatisfactory.
  • The gross domestic expenditure on research(GERD) has been stagnant at 0.7% of the GDP for years. However, in absolute terms, the research expenditure has increased.
  • India also has one of the lowest GERD/GDP ratios among the BRICS nations.
  • Target: The Science and Technology Policy of 2003 fixed the threshold of devoting 2% of GDP to research and development (R&D) by 2007.
    • However, the target has not been achieved and is being extended again and again.
Density of Scientists and Engineers:
  • In 1990, the density of scientists/engineers engaged in R&D in India per 10,000 of the labour force stood at 10.
  • This has now marginally increased to just 11 in 2018. This is too low when compared to 50 in China, 130 in Japan, and 180 in South Korea.
R&D by Government and Private Sector:
  • Research and Development(R&D) in the government sector has been declining steadily since 2015.
  • On the other hand, the share of private business enterprises in R&D has increased to 42%.
  • Moreover, investment in R&D by foreign multinationals is on the rise. Ir accounts for as much as 16% of private-sector investment in R&D in 2019.
Scientific Publications:
  • There has been an increase in scientific publications by Indian researchers on cutting-edge technologies. Total publications have risen from 80,458 in 2011 to 1.61 lakh in 2019.
  • However, patenting by domestic corporations, research institutes, universities, and individuals remain low in India.
Recommendations:
  • The report underscores the need for ‘policy bridges’ for developing a more effective interaction between foreign and local research firms.
  • The report has also called for improved linkages between the start-up ecosystem and manufacturers. It will push technological development in sectors where India enjoys a global presence.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

NATO Summit 2021 – Countries Agreed to Step Up Defense

Read More

What is the News?

The NATO Summit was held recently in Brussels. During the summit, countries agreed to step up their collective defence against threats from all directions.

Key Outcomes of NATO Summit

NATO summit concluded on the following points:-

  • It will respond to Russia’s increasing nuclear arsenal.
  • Further, It called on Iran to stop all ballistic missile activities.
  • All members will strengthen their collective defense against all threats from all directions.
  • It asked Russia to drop the designation of “unfriendly countries” for US and and the Czech Republic.
About NATO:
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) also called North Atlantic Alliance is an intergovernmental military alliance.
  • Formed in: NATO was formed in 1949 with the signing of the Washington Treaty.
  • Members: It consists of 30 countries from North America and Europe.
    • The most recent member state is North Macedonia, included in NATO in 2020.
  • Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium.

Mandate of NATO: NATO’s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means:

  • Political – NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defense and security-related issues.
  • Military- NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. However, if diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations.
    • These operations are carried out under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Article 5 states that if one member of the alliance is attacked in Europe or North America, it is to be considered an attack on all members.
    • So far, Article 5 has been invoked once – in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001.
NATO membership:
  • NATO membership is open to any other European state which can follow the principles of this Treaty and contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.
  • It also has what it calls the Membership Action Plan(MAP). It helps the aspiring members in preparation for membership and meet key requirements by providing practical advice and targeted assistance.
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina are currently participating in this plan.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged , ,

“World Giving Index 2021” – 10th Edition Released

Read More

What is the News? The 10th edition of the World Giving Index (WGI) 2021 has been released.

About World Giving Index(WGI):
  • The World Giving Index(WGI) is published by the Charities Aid Foundation(CAF).
  • Parameters: The index provides combined insight into the scope and nature of giving around the world. It looks at three aspects of giving behavior and asks: Have you done any of the following in the past month?
    • Helped a stranger or someone you didn’t know who needed help?
    • Donated money to a charity?
    • Volunteered your time to an organization?
  • Data Source: The index uses data gathered by Gallup and ranks countries in the world according to how charitable they are.
    • The report includes the results of 1.6 million individuals interviewed across the globe since 2009.
What are the Key Findings of the World Giving Index 2021?

 India:

  • India is among the top 20 generous countries in the world. It has been ranked 14th position in the Index.
    • This is a significant improvement from the 10-year global rank of 82.
  • In India, at least 61% of Indians helped strangers. Meanwhile, 34% volunteered for a cause and 36% donated money.
Other key takeaways from the World Giving Index 2021:

Read Also:-India and EU promising relationship

  • Topped by: Indonesia has topped the index. It was followed by Kenya in second place.
  • Four African nations are in the top 10 in the index. Three of them (Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda) are for the first time in the top 10.
  • More than 3 billion people helped someone they didn’t know in 2020.
  • Despite or perhaps because of the pandemic, money donation increased across the globe.
  • Moreover, more people donated money in 2020 than had done so in the last five years (31 percent).

Read Also:-Bowled over by a sea of blue 

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

G7 Summit Presents a Template for Indian Engagement With the West

Read More

Synopsis:

The recent meeting of G7 countries was attended by India as a guest country. The meeting provided a template for Indian engagement with the West based on shared democratic values and mutual cooperation.

Background:
  • The recent summit of G7 countries took place in Cornwall, England from 11-13th June 2021. India, Australia, South Korea, and South Africa were invited as guest countries for the Summit.
  • A joint statement on Open Societies was adopted. The statement reaffirms and encourages the values of freedom of expression, both online and offline. 
    • It recognizes freedom as a virtue for safeguarding democracy and allowing people to live free from fear and oppression. 
Significance of the summit:
  • Indian Participation shows it is a natural ally of the G-7 and its partners. Further, laying emphasis on shared democratic values that bind India with the West shows a greater willingness to cooperate with India.
  • The summit can be seen as the beginning of institutionalization of India’s cooperation with the West.
  • The joint statement on open societies shows a willingness to construct an alliance of democratic countries. This can be leveraged as a common platform to counter China’s assertiveness over India and the western countries.
  • It also shows the revived importance of the grouping in comparison to the G20. The revival has been on account of China’s rise in the global economic order and rising U.S-China and U.S-Russia rivalry.

   Read Also :-Important Reports and Index 

Relations between India and West:
  • India and U.S: The relations were not very conducive during the Cold War. The 1998 nuclear test saw the imposition of sanctions by the U.S over India.
    • However, prudent efforts have been made since 1998 to improve the relations based on the shared commitment to democratic values.
    • The Indian government supported the U.S’s initiative on building a global community of democracies. It later joined the Bush Administration in promoting a Global Democracy Fund at the UN.
    • The recent deterioration of US-China and Indo-China relations induced both countries to further improve their bilateral relations.
  • India and Europe: The improvement in Indo-U.S relations didn’t automatically compute into broader warmth towards the West. 
    • However, this position began to change in the last few years, as Delhi embarked on an expansive engagement with Europe.

Read Also :-“G7 Foreign Ministers Summit” Held

Way Forward:
  • The grouping can be used to reorient global supply chains and reduce dependency on Chinese products. It can be used to initiate a fresh inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in China.
  • India should participate in the grouping for ensuring a peaceful Indo-Pacific, mitigating climate change and prudently managing the Covid pandemic
  • Further, there is a need for sustained consultations based on democratic values between India and the West over new challenges posed by digital technologies. This includes radicalization, disinformation, electoral interference, cyberattacks, and the role of large social media companies.

Source: Click Here

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, CURRENT AFFAIRS, PUBLICTagged , ,

“SIPRI Yearbook 2021”: China, India, Pakistan expanding “nuclear arsenal”

Read More
What is the News?

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI) has released the SIPRI Yearbook 2021. The report assesses the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security.

What are the key findings of the SIPRI Yearbook 2021?
  • Nine Nuclear-Armed States- the US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea together possessed an estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons at the start of 2021.
  • Russia and the U.S. together possessed over 90% of global nuclear weapons. Further, both of them have an extensive and expensive modernisation programme underway.
  • China is in the middle of significant modernisation and expansion of its nuclear weapon inventory. India and Pakistan also appear to be expanding their nuclear arsenals.
  • India possessed an estimated 156 nuclear warheads at the start of 2021 compared to 150 at the start of 2020.
    • On the other hand, Pakistan had 165 warheads, up from 160 in 2020. China’s nuclear arsenal consisted of 350 warheads, up from 320 at the start of 2020.
  • Concerns: The overall number of nuclear warheads in global military stockpiles appears to be increasing. This is a worrying sign as the declining trend that started since the end of the Cold War has stalled.
Other reports on nuclear arsenal:

International Institute for Strategic Studies(IISS), London has released a report titled ‘Nuclear Deterrence and Stability in South Asia: Perceptions and Realities’.

  • The report examines nuclear deterrence and stability in South Asia by assessing the extent to which India and Pakistan may be at risk from mistaken the use of nuclear weapons.
  • According to the report, India and Pakistan were at risk of using nuclear weapons during the crisis of February 2019.
  • Moreover, India and Pakistan are also in the process of seeking new technologies and capabilities. But these dangerously undermine each other’s defence under the nuclear threshold.
  • The report concludes by saying that robust, trusted, reliable backchannel talks between India and Pakistan leadership are the most promising way. By that, both India and Pakistan could achieve greater strategic and nuclear-deterrence stability.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

G7 accommodates Indian stand on the need for “Internet shutdown”

Read More
What is the News?

The G7 countries statement on the Internet Shutdown was amended after India objected to the original language criticising “Internet shutdowns”.

Internet Shutdowns all over the world:
  • According to a report by digital rights and privacy organisation Access Now, of the total 155 internet shutdowns globally in 2020, India alone accounted for 109.
  • The next highest Internet Shutdowns was in Yemen, with six. It was followed by Ethiopia with four.
Examples of Internet Shutdowns in India:
  • Jammu and Kashmir had Internet and mobile telephony shutdown since Article 370 was amended in 2019.
  • Internet shutdowns were also witnessed in Delhi during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act during 2019-2020 and the farmer’s protest in 2020.

Read Also :-The value of the SC’s Kashmir order

What was the original G7 statement on Internet Shutdown?
  • The G7 Countries had issued a statement expressing concerns over actions by states to intentionally disrupt their own populations’ access to data online.
  • The statement noted that internet shutdowns had undermined civic space both online and offline. They also noted that the shutdowns unjustifiably limited access to information and the rights of peaceful assembly, association and freedom of expression online.
  • Moreover, the statement also referred to “Politically Motivated Internet Shutdowns” which indirectly addresses Internet blackouts in various parts of the world including India.
What were India’s objections to the G7 statement?
  • India has asked for a change in the original language criticising “Internet shutdowns”.
  • Further, India has objected to the Politically Motivated Internet Shutdowns. India has also said that national security and public order concerns as an exception should be added to the statement.
Was the G7 statement on Internet shutdown changed then?
  • Yes, it was changed. The statement clarified that Internet shutdowns to protect the national security and public order concerns as an exception to the need for Internet freedoms.

Source: The Hindu

Read Also :-“G7 Foreign Ministers Summit” Held

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

Key Outcomes of the G7 Summit

Read More
What is the News?

The 47th Group of Seven(G7) summit has concluded in Cornwall, UK. India also virtually participated in the summit as a guest country.

What are the key outcomes of the summit?

On Covid-19 Pandemic:

  • The G7 countries have pledged to donate 1 billion vaccine doses to poorer countries by the end of 2021.
  • Carbis Bay Declaration: The G7 countries have signed the Carbis Bay Declaration. Under it, member countries pledged to end the pandemic and prepare for the future, as well as to “build back better.

On Climate:

  • G7 countries will support a green revolution that creates jobs, cuts emissions, and seeks to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees.
  • The countries have agreed to increase their climate finance contributions and meet an overdue spending pledge of $100 billion a year to help poorer countries.
  • Moreover, the G7 countries have also promised to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. They have also pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Read Also :-“G7 Foreign Ministers Summit” Held
Build Back Better World(B3W) Initiative:
  • Build Back Better World(B3W) is an initiative launched by the G7 countries.
  • Purpose: It is a new infrastructure financing mechanism that will provide a transparent infrastructure partnership to help narrow the $40 trillion needed by low and middle-income countries by 2035.
  • Led by: The initiative will be led by the United States.
  • Coverage: The initiative will be global in coverage. It will cover Latin American countries to the Caribbean, Africa, and Indo-Pacific.
  • Significance: The initiative is designed to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative(BRI).

Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate:

  • The Finance Ministers from the G7 countries have reached a landmark accord setting a Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate (GMCTR) of 15%.

On China:

  • The G-7 countries have hit out at China on violation of human rights and freedom in Xinjiang (Uyghur Muslims) and Hong Kong, and the unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the South China Sea.

India at the G7 Summit:

  • Firstly, India has called for a “one earth, one health” approach. It aims for unity and solidarity among the states of the world to deal with the pandemic.
  • Secondly, India has said that the planet’s atmosphere, biodiversity, and oceans cannot be protected by countries acting in isolation. Hence, collective action on climate change is required.
    • India is the only G20 state on track to meet its Paris Accord commitments.
  • Lastly, India has called on G7 states to meet their unfulfilled promise of $100 billion annually in climate finance.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

“Small Island Developing States” faced most GDP loss in 2020: UN report

Read More

What is the News? The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD) has released a report titled “Development and Globalization: Facts and Figures”. The report highlights the numerous challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Key Findings of the Development and Globalization: Facts and Figures Report:
  • Small island developing states(SIDS) faced thrice as much fall in Gross Domestic Product(GDP) in 2020 as other developing countries.
    • SIDS GDP is expected to decline by 9% in 2020 compared to 3.3% for developing countries.
  • The SIDS countries were also 35% more vulnerable to external economic and financial shocks than other developing countries.
  • Moreover, COVID-19 has affected all spheres of life in SIDS including health, the economy, and trade.
    • For instance, COVID-19 has affected tourism services across the world. This has had a huge impact on SIDS as most of them are heavily reliant on tourism.
What is Small island developing states(SIDS)?
  • Small Island Developing States(SIDS) are a distinct group of 38 UN Member States and 20 Non-UN Members/Associate Members of UN regional commissions that face unique social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities.
    • Maldives is one of the Small Island Developing States(SIDS).
  • They were recognized as a distinct group of developing countries in June 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development.
  • The geographical regions in which SIDS are located are the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the AIS (Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea).
  • The Barbados Programme of Action was produced in 1994 in order to assist the SIDS in their sustainable development efforts.
  • The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) represent this group of states.
Why are Small Island Developing States are unique?
  • SIDS countries are unique as most of them hardly emit greenhouse emissions but are the first to suffer the impacts of climate change.
  • Many of them are low-lying, situated just five metres above sea level. This makes them vulnerable to sea-level rise, storm surges and coastal destruction.
    • According to the 2020 Environmental Vulnerability Index, 4 of the top 10 most environmentally vulnerable countries in the world are SIDS.
  • According to the United Nations report on World Population Prospects 2019, many SIDS countries would not be able to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 because of increasing populations and climate risks.

Source: Down To Earth

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

G7 countries (Group of 7)- Issues and Prospects – Explained, Pointwise

Read More
Introduction

The meeting of G7 countries is going on in Cornwall, England. The expectation from this meeting is to draw out a framework that is inclusive and resilient in nature. The new Cornwall Consensus should be able to overcome the lacunas of the current Washington consensus.

The Washington consensus supports the notion of free market and globalization. However, it failed to prevent the occurrence of the 2008-09 financial crisis, raised inequalities within the countries, and neglected focus on social goods like education and health. Due to this, the countries are facing greater challenges in coping up with the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, relying on the Washington consensus is not feasible for developed as well as developing countries.

Therefore, it is now imperative that grouping creates a new consensus that can reflect the demands of the 21st century.  

About G7 countries
  • The G7, originally G8, was set up in 1975 as an informal forum. It brought together the leaders of the world’s leading industrial nations. It was established to tackle the oil crisis of 1973 created by the OPEC oil embargo.
  • The member states are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The EU is not a member but is usually invited to the summits.
  • The member countries represent 40% of the global GDP and 10% of the world’s population. 
  • From1998 to 2014, it was the G8 that included Russia. However, post the Crimean crisis, Russia was expelled from the group.
    • In 2014, Russia carried out armed aggression on Ukraine and ceded the Crimean Peninsula from it.
Current Scenario of G7 countries 
  • The recent summit of G7 is going on in Cornwall, England from 11-13th June as the UK is holding the G7 presidency for 2021. It will witness a hybrid of physical and virtual participation.
  • India, Australia, South Korea, and South Africa are invited as guest countries for the Summit. 
  • The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Build Back Better’ and the focus would be on 4 priority areas:
    1. Leading the global recovery from coronavirus while strengthening resilience against future pandemics; 
    2. Promoting future prosperity by championing free and fair trade; 
    3. Tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity; 
    4. Championing shared values and open societies
  • This holistic vision will help in developing the Cornwall Consensus that will displace the “Washington consensus.
  • At the end of the summit, the UK will publish a document called a communiqué which will outline what has been agreed upon during the meeting.
Significance of G7 countries
  • The major purpose of the G-7 is to discuss and sometimes act to help resolve global problems, with a special focus on economic issues.
    • In response to mounting concern over money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force was established by the G-7 group in Paris in 1989.
  • It became more relevant in the 1980s when it started discussing issues related to foreign policy and security as well. 
  • In recent years, G7 leaders have met to formulate common responses to challenges encompassing counterterrorism, development, education, health, human rights, and climate change.
    • In 1997, the G7 countries agreed to provide $300 million in order to contain the effects of the reactor meltdown in Chernobyl
    • Then, in 2002, members decided to launch a coordinated response to fight the threat of AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. This led to the formation of the Global Fund, an innovative financing mechanism that has disbursed more than $45 billion in aid. 
    • In 2015, members launched the Global Apollo Program. It was designed to tackle climate change through clean energy research and development.
      • The programme calls for developed nations to commit to spending 0.02% of their GDP on tackling climate change from 2015 to 2025. This would mean spending $150 billion over a 10-year period.
  • It is considered to be the second most important grouping after the UNSC which can effectively deal with global issues. 
Issues with G7 countries
  • Disregards the interest of smaller nations:  Several countries and individuals still perceive the G7 as an exclusive, closed group that blatantly exercises its power over other nations. The collective power of the group is so huge that it creates a disproportionate impact on other nations.
    • For instance, the 1985 Plaza Accords had major ramifications for global currency markets as they brutally impacted exchange rates of various currencies.
  • Shortcomings of Washington Consensus: The grouping has mainly focused on realising the Washington consensus. It is a collective term used for 10 economic policy prescriptions to promote a free-market economy. It was promoted for crisis-wracked developing countries. However:
    • It puts ruthless conditions on the global South countries that undermine their economic sovereignty.
    • Furthermore, it ignores environmental and social considerations for economic growth. The mere focus placed on global good like health enhanced the vulnerability of smaller nations against the pandemic.
    • It enhanced the economic inequality within and among the countries.
    • The East Asian crisis in the late 1990s and the global recession of 2008–09 were further reminders that increased deregulation would only result in financial instability.
  • A tussle between the members: The US relationship with Germany and Canada deteriorated during the trump era.
    • He criticised Germany for its trade surplus and threatened to block the US import of German cars. 
    • Further, the U.S refused to endorse the official G7 statement of the 2018 summit as Trump got offended by the Canadian PM’s comments during a news conference.
  • Failed in tackling Global problems: G7 accounts for 59% of historical CO2 emissions and pledged to phase out fossil fuels. Yet there is no visible progress of the same, and they currently account for twice the CO2 emission than African continent.
    • In terms of terrorism, ISIS has thousands of fighters from G7 countries.
    • The West Asian crisis in Syria, Yemen, Iraq led to a migrant exodus towards the European nations. G7 nations failed in addressing this migrant crisis, leading to deaths and inhumane statelessness for millions.
  • Outdated Group: The group no longer reflects the modern-day geopolitical realities. Many incumbent members like Italy and Canada possess less economic and political power in comparison to nonmembers like India and China.
  • Non-Binding nature:  Unlike other bodies such as NATO, the G7 has no legal existence or a permanent secretariat. Further, the meeting commitments are non-binding in nature.
    • All decisions and commitments made at G7 meetings need to be ratified independently by governing bodies of member states.
Suggestions 
  • The grouping needs expansion to reflect the current geopolitical reality. It can be converted to G 11 with the inclusion of India, Australia, South Korea, and Russia.
  • The G7 countries should expeditiously fulfill their commitment to supply one billion doses of Covid vaccines to poor and middle-income countries. 
    • The doses would be supplied as part of a campaign to “vaccinate the world” by the end of 2022.
  • The grouping requires a G7 charter and a permanent secretariat for the organisation. It must realise that global interdependence cannot be managed without global public goods.
  • A consensus should be formed over the Global Minimum Corporate Tax by the head of states. The consensus of 15% Global Minimum Corporate Tax was developed in a recent meeting of G7 country’s finance ministers.
  • India should actively participate in the talks, especially the ones related to global vaccine delivery as it is both – a major manufacturer and consumer of vaccines. 
Conclusion

The grouping should become more representative in nature and emerging economies like India and South Korea must be made a part of the group. The new principles and policies of the group should reflect a global outlook rather than merely focusing on the myopic interests of the developed world. This would result in prudent tackling of global problems like climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Posted in 7 PM, PUBLICTagged

“G7 summit” takes place in the UK: Indian PM will participate virtually

Read More

What is the News?

Indian Prime Minister will participate in the Outreach Sessions of the G7 Summit in virtual format.

What is G7?
  • The G7 (Group of Seven) is an organisation of the world’s seven largest so-called advanced economies. They are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States.
    • The European Union is also represented within the G7.
    • Russia joined the Group in 1998 creating the G8 but was excluded in 2014 for its takeover of Crimea.
  • The group meets annually to discuss issues such as global economic governance, international security and energy policy.
  • The group does not have a formal constitution or a fixed headquarters. The decisions taken by leaders during annual summits are non-binding.
Why is the G7 summit in the UK?
  • The UK is holding the G7 presidency for 2021, so this is where the summit is taking place.
  • Guest Countries: India along with Australia, the Republic of Korea and South Africa are guest countries for the Summit.
  • Theme: The theme for the summit is ‘Build Back Better’
  • Priority Areas: The UK has outlined four priority areas for its summit. These are
    • Leading the global recovery from coronavirus while Restrengthening resilience against future pandemics;
    • Promoting future prosperity by championing free and fair trade;
    • Tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity; and
    • Championing shared values and open societies.
Is India attending it for the first time?
  • Since 2014, this is the second time Indian PM will be participating in a G7 meeting.
  • India had been invited by the G7 French Presidency in 2019 to the Biarritz Summit as a “Goodwill Partner”.
  • During the earlier Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s rule, India attended the G8 summit five times.

Read Also :-“G7 Foreign Ministers Summit” Held

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

“Global Liveability Index” 2021 Released by EIU

Read More

What is the News? Economist Intelligence Unit(EIU) has released the Global Liveability Index 2021.

About Global Liveability Index:
  • The index assesses the locations that provide the best and the worst living conditions around the world. It assesses 140 cities around the world.
  • Parameters: The index takes into account more than 30 qualitative and quantitative factors. These factors are spanning five broad categories: stability (25%), healthcare (20%), culture and environment (25%), education (10%), and infrastructure (20%).
    • However, due to the pandemic, the EIU added new indicators to it. It includes stress on healthcare resources as well as restrictions around local sporting events, theatres, music concerts, restaurants, and schools.
  • Scores: Each factor in a city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable, or intolerable. Factor-wise scores are then compiled and weighted to provide a score of 1–100 where 1 is considered intolerable and 100 is considered ideal.

Read Also :-India’s low rank in Global Health Index, 2020

Key Takeaways from the index:
  • Top Five Liveable Cities: Auckland (New Zealand), Osaka (Japan), Adelaide (Australia), Wellington (New Zealand), and Tokyo (Japan).
  • Top Five Least Liveable Cities: Damascus (Syria), Lagos (Nigeria), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), Dhaka (Bangladesh), and Algiers (Algeria).
Other Takeaways from the index:
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has reduced liveability level. Cities experience lockdowns and significant strains on their healthcare system.
    • Impact: This led to an unprecedented level of change in the rankings, with many of the cities that were previously ranked as the most liveable came down.
  • Austria’s Vienna was number one in both 2018 and 2019. However, it is out of the top 10 due to the effects of Covid-19 and now ranks 12.
  • Auckland topped the ranking due to its successful approach in containing the Covid-19 pandemic. It allowed its society to remain open and the city to score strongly on a number of metrics including education, culture, and environment.
  • Damascus remains the world’s least liveable city as the effects of the civil war in Syria continues to take their toll.

Read Also :-EIU’s Democracy Index – India at 53rd Position

Source: Hindustan Times

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

“Child Labour: Global estimates 2020” report released by ILO

Read More
What is the news?

“Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward” report has been released by International Labour Organization and UNICEF.

What is Child labour?

As per ILO,

Child labour is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to their physical and mental development.

It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children. Or the work schedule that interferes with their ability to attend regular school or work that affects in any manner their ability to focus during school or experience healthy childhood.

What is not Child labour?

Children or adolescents who participate in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling is not child labour. Such work includes activities such as helping their parents at home, assisting family or earning pocket money outside school hours and on holidays.

Key Findings of the Child Labour: Global estimates 2020 report

Overall gist: The report warns that progress to end child labour has stalled for the first time in 20 years. It has reversed the previous downward trend that saw it fall by 94 million between 2000 and 2016.

  • The number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years.
  • Covid-19 Impact: Globally, 9 million additional children are at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of the pandemic.
  • Sectors: The agriculture sector accounts for 70% of children in child labor (112 million) followed by 20% in services (31.4 million) and 10% in industry (16.5 million).
  • Age Group: Nearly 28% of children aged 5 to 11 years and 35% of children aged 12 to 14 years in child labour are out of school.
  • Gender: Child labor is more prevalent among boys than girls at every age. But the gap narrows when household chores performed for at least 21 hours per week are taken into account.
  • Rural vs Urban: The prevalence of child labor in rural areas (14%) is close to three times higher than in urban areas (5%).
Also read: World day against Child labour
Recommendations of Child Labour: Global estimates 2020 report
  • Adequate social protection for all, including universal child benefits.
  • Increased spending on quality education and getting all children back into school – including children who were out of school before COVID-19.
  • Promotion of decent work for adults, so families don’t have to resort to children helping to generate family income.
  • An end to harmful gender norms and discrimination that influence child labor.
  • Investment in child protection systems, agricultural development, rural public services, infrastructure and livelihoods.
Child labour in India
  • As per Census 2011, the total child population in India in the age group 5-14 years is 259.6 million.
  • Among them, over 10 million (4% of total child population) are working either as ‘main worker’ or ‘marginal worker’.
  • The Census data indicates the decreased incidence of child labour in India by 2.6 million between 2001 and 2011.
  • Moreover, there is a greater decline in rural than in urban areas. This is because an increase in rural-to-urban migration is driving demand for child workers in urban areas.

Source: India Today

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

How is the “UN Secretary-General” appointed?

Read More
What is the news?

Secretary-General António Guterres has been formally approved for a second term by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). He will have a term of five more years starting January 1, 2022.

  • The recommendation will now go to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) which is expected to make the appointment.
Process of UN Secretary-General Appointment:
  • Appointment: The UN Secretary-General is appointed by the UN General Assembly on the recommendation of the UN Security Council.

Procedure:

  • To be selected as a UN Secretary-General, a candidate must receive the votes of at least 9 members of the United Nations Security Council, with no vetoes from permanent members.
  • Therefore, the Secretary-General’s selection is subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members (France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) of the UN Security Council.
    • The US used this power to deny Egypt’s Boutros-Ghali a second term in 1997 and China did the same in 1981 for denying Austria’s Waldheim a third term.
  • The other 10 elected non-permanent members of the UN Security Council do not have veto powers. But their backing is crucial, as a candidate requires at least 9 out of 15 votes to be recommended for the top job.
  • Moreover, for any candidate to have a real chance at being considered for the top post, a recommendation by any UN member state is essential.
    • In the current race, Guterres was endorsed by Portugal for a second term, and none of his seven other challengers received backing from a member state.
Functions of UN Secretary-General:
  • The UN Charter refers to the Secretary-General as the UN chief administrative officer.
  • Mandate: UN Secretary-General shall act and perform such functions as given to him by the UN Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and other United Nations organs.
  • Functions: The Secretary-General’s day-to-day work includes:
    • attendance at sessions of United Nations bodies;
    • consultations with world leaders, government officials and
    • worldwide travel intended to keep the Secretary-General in touch with the peoples of the UN member states.

Note:

  • All the nine occupants of the post have been men.
  • There is technically no limit to the number of five-year terms a Secretary-General may serve. But none so far has held office for more than two terms.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

“Operation Pangea” of Interpol targets counterfeit and illicit health products

Read More

What is the News?

Interpol has conducted Operation Pangea XIV to target the sale of counterfeit and illicit medicines and medical products.

About Operation Pangea:

  • Operation Pangea is an international effort to target the online sale of counterfeit and illicit health products. It also aims to raise public awareness of the potential dangers of buying medicines online.
    • The first time Operation Pangea was conducted was in 2008.
  • Led by: The operation is coordinated by INTERPOL. It involved police, customs and health regulatory authorities from 92 countries.
  • India: Indian agencies also participated in the operation. The Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) is the nodal body for Interpol in the country.
  • Impact:
    • The operation resulted in around 1 lakh web links including websites and online marketplaces being closed down or removed.
    • Moreover, more than half of all medical devices seized during the operation were fake and unauthorized COVID-19 tests.

 Read Also :-Report card of demonetization after one year 

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

“Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons” and “Chemical Weapons Convention”

Read More
What is the news?

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has informed the United Nations(UN) Security Council (UNSC) that in 17 cases, chemical weapons were likely or definitely used by Syria.

About Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW):
  • OPCW is an intergovernmental organization and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention. This convention has been in force since 1997 and 193 members.
  • Aim: To achieve the vision of a world free of chemical weapons by implementing the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • Powers:
    • The OPCW is authorized to perform inspections to verify that signatory states are complying with the convention.
    • It can also perform testing of sites and victims of suspected chemical weapons attacks.
  • Headquarters: The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Significance: The OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
About Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC):

Read Also :-ICAN and Nuclear Deterrence

  • Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is a multilateral treaty that bans chemical weapons and requires their destruction within a specified period of time.
  • The negotiations for the convention started in 1980 at the UN Conference on Disarmament. The convention opened for signature in 1993 and entered into force in 1997.
  • The convention prohibits the large-scale use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons and their precursors, except for very limited purposes (research, medical, pharmaceutical or protective).
  • The convention is implemented by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
  • Members: The convention is open to all nations and currently has 193 states-parties. India signed the treaty in 1993.
    • Israel has signed but has yet to ratify the convention.
    • Three states have neither signed nor ratified the convention are Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan.
  • Significance: A unique feature of the Convention is its incorporation of the ‘challenge inspection’. Under this, any State Party in doubt about another State Party’s compliance can request a surprise inspection.

Read Also :-Amendments proposed to the Juvenile Justice Act 

Steps taken by India against Chemical Weapons:
  • India was the First State Party of the CWC to secure the distinction of chemical weapon-free state Party by destroying all its stockpile of its chemical weapons amongst all State Parties of the Convention.
  • India enacted the Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000 to implement the CWC.
    • Under the act, National Authority Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC) has been established for implementing the provisions of the Convention. NACWC is an office in the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India.
    • NACWC also acts as the national focal point for effective liaison with the OPCW and other State Parties on matters relating to the CWC.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

World Bank’s “Global Economic Prospects Report” predicts India’s growth as 8.3%

Read More
What is the News?

The World Bank has released the Global Economic Prospects Report.

About the Global Economic Prospects Report:
  • Global Economic Prospects is a World Bank Group flagship report. It is issued twice a year, in January and June.
  • Aim: To examine global economic developments and prospects with a special focus on emerging markets and developing economies.
Key Findings of Global Economic Prospects Report related to India:
  • The World Bank has reduced its growth forecast for India for the 2021-’22 financial year to 8.3% from 10.1% estimated in April.
    • Reason: It has attributed it to the devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that slowed down the economic revival in early 2021.
  • Moreover, the report has said that the economic activity in India would likely follow a similar but less pronounced ‘collapse and recovery’ trend seen during the first wave.
Key Global Findings of Global Economic Prospects Report:
  • The global economy is expected to expand 5.6% in 2021. This is the fastest post-recession pace in 80 years, largely due to strong rebounds from a few major economies.
  • However, many emerging markets and developing economies continue to struggle due to the following reasons,
    • A resurgence of COVID-19 cases,
    • Lagging vaccination progress
    • The withdrawal of policy support in some instances.
  • Among major economies, the growth of the US is projected to reach 6.8% this year. This is due to large-scale fiscal support and the easing of pandemic restrictions.
  • Among emerging markets and developing economies, China is anticipated to rebound to 8.5% this year, reflecting an increase in demand.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

China hosts “ASEAN foreign ministers meeting”

Read More
What is the news?

China is hosting ASEAN foreign ministers meeting this year. This year (2021) also marks the 30th anniversary of the dialogue relations between China and the 10-member ASEAN countries. Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Read Also :-India and East Asia Relations

Key Focus of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting:

The meeting will focus on

  • Combating COVID-19
  • Promoting economic recovery
  • Discussing the proposal of vaccine passport connecting China and ASEAN countries
Significance of this ASEAN foreign ministers meeting:
  • This meeting comes in the backdrop of China criticizing the Quad (India, Australia, Japan and the United States grouping) during recent visits to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
  • China’s Defence Minister has called on both countries to reject “military alliances” — a term that China is using to describe the Quad but a label that the Quad group rejects.

Read Also :-India and ASEAN

China and ASEAN Cooperation:
  • China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) countries established a strategic partnership in 2005.
  • China-ASEAN free trade zone was formally established in the year 2010.
  • China and ASEAN countries are a part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal.
  • China has been ASEAN’s largest trade partner for 12 consecutive years. On the other hand, ASEAN became China’s largest trade partner in 2020.
  • China has pledged to deliver 100 million doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine to ASEAN nations. Apart from that, China will also provide other pandemic-fighting materials and technical help to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in ASEAN Countries.

Read Also :-India’s Act East Policy

About ASEAN:
  • ASEAN is a regional grouping that was established in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration.
  • Members: Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei, and Laos.
  • Headquarters: Jakarta, Indonesia.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

NTPC joins “UN’s CEO Water Mandate” to work on water conservation

Read More
What is the News?

India’s largest power utility, NTPC Ltd has become a signatory of UN’s CEO Water Mandate.

About UN’s CEO Water Mandate:
  • UN’s CEO Water Mandate is a UN Global Compact initiative to demonstrate the commitment and efforts of companies towards better water and sanitation agendas as part of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Purpose: The mandate is designed to assist companies in the development, implementation, and disclosure of comprehensive water strategies and policies.
  • It also provides a platform for companies to partner with like-minded businesses, UN agencies, public authorities, civil society organizations and other key stakeholders.
  • Companies: The mandate is now endorsed by over 180 companies from a range of industry sectors and regions around the world.

Read Also :-United Nations Organisations in News

About United Nations Global Compact Initiative:
  • United Nations Global Compact is a non-binding United Nations Initiative.
  • Purpose: It aims to encourage companies worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies. For that, the UN categorised 10 principles range from human rights, anti-corruption, environment, labour, etc.
  • Launched in: The initiative was announced by the then UN Secretary-General in 1999. It was officially launched at UN Headquarters in New York City in 2000.

Source: DDNews

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

INTERPOL launches “I-Familia” to identify missing persons

Read More

What is the News?

Interpol has launched a new global database named “I-Familia”.

About I-Familia:

  • I-Familia is a global database launched to identify missing persons through family DNA. It will help the police to solve cases in member countries.
  • Interpol applies cutting-edge scientific research and uses the DNA of relatives to identify missing persons or unidentified human remains around the world.
    • DNA kinship matching is used mostly in cases where a direct sample of the missing person is not available.
  • Components: I-Familia has three components:
    • Dedicated global database to host the DNA profiles provided by relatives. It is held separately from any criminal data;
    • DNA matching software called Bonaparte developed by Dutch company Smart Research; and
    • Interpretation guidelines developed by Interpol.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

ILO releases “World Employment and Social Outlook” report

Read More
What is the News?

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released the annual World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021 (WESO) report.

About the World Employment and Social Outlook report:
  • The report analyses key labour market issues including unemployment, labour underutilisation, working poverty, income inequality, labour income share and factors that exclude people from decent work.
  • It highlights how the COVID-19 crisis had worsened pre-existing inequalities by hitting vulnerable workers harder.
 Key Findings of the World Employment and Social Outlook report
  • COVID-induced job loss: Covid-19 induced jobs loss will reach 75 million in 2021, before falling to 23 million in 2022.
    • Further, people who have held onto their jobs have seen their working hours cut dramatically.
  • Global Unemployment: Unemployment is expected to stand at 205 million people in 2022. This far greater than the 187 million in 2019. This corresponds to an unemployment rate of 5.7%.
  • Poor quality of jobs: The quality of newly created jobs would likely deteriorate in developing and emerging economies.
  • Increase in Poverty: Compared to 2019, an additional 108 million workers worldwide are now categorized as poor or extremely poor. This means they and their families live on the equivalent of less than US$3.20 per person per day.
  • Women: Covid-19 crisis has hit women disproportionately. They have lost jobs at a greater rate than men. Moreover, additional domestic responsibilities for women from crisis lockdowns have created the risk of a “re-traditionalization” of gender roles.
  • Child Labour: The crisis has also appeared to reverse the decade of progress in battling child labour and forced labour.

The report cautions that in absence of any decisive action, COVID-crisis will impact the global labour market for the long term.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Index | Reports | Summits, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

World Health Assembly Adopts New Resolution to End Malaria

Read More

What is the News? The 74th World Health Assembly(WHA) has adopted a new resolution to end malaria. It will accelerate efforts towards this aim.

About the Resolution to End Malaria:
  • The resolution is led by the United States of America and Zambia.
  • The aim of the resolution is to urge the Member States to step up progress on containing the disease. It is in line with WHO’s updated global malaria strategy and the WHO Guidelines for malaria.
  • The resolution called on countries to expand investment, scale-up funding for a global response. Also, it will boost investment in the research and development of new tools.
About WHOs Global Malaria Program:
  • The WHO Global Malaria Program is responsible for coordinating WHO’s global efforts to control and eliminate malaria.
  • The work of the program is guided by the “Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030”.
Global Technical Strategy for malaria 2016–2030
  • The WHO’s global technical strategy was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2015.
  • Aim: The strategy provides a technical framework for all malaria-endemic countries working towards malaria control and elimination.
  • Targets: Its global targets for 2030 include:
    • Reducing malaria case incidence by at least 90%.
    • Reducing malaria mortality rates by at least 90%.
    • Eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries.
    • Preventing a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.
About Malaria:
  • Malaria is a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • The disease claims more than 400,000 lives annually. In 2019, the world reported an estimated 229 million cases of malaria and 409,000 deaths.
  • However, an estimated 6 million deaths and 1.5 billion cases had been averted since 2000. But the global gains in combating malaria have leveled off in recent years.

Source: Down To Earth

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

Jan 30 Declared World “Neglected Tropical Diseases” Day by WHA

Read More

What is the News?

The 74th World Health Assembly has declared January 30 as ‘World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day.

About World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day:
  • The first World Neglected Tropical Diseases(NTD) Day was celebrated informally in 2020.
  • UAE moved the proposal to recognize this day as ‘World NTD Day’
  • Significance: World NTD Day commemorates the simultaneous launch of the first NTD road map and the London Declaration on NTDs on 30 January 2012.
About Neglected Tropical Diseases(NTD):
  • Firstly, Neglected Tropical Diseases(NTD) are a group of infections. These diseases are most common in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas among marginalized communities. The basic reason behind them is no access to clean water or safe ways to dispose of human waste.
  • Secondly, Caused by: A variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and parasitic worms.
  • Thirdly, these diseases generally receive less funding for research and treatment than diseases like tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS, and malaria.
  • Fourthly, some examples of NTDs include snakebite envenomation, scabies, yaws, trachoma, Leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease.
  • Cases: NTDs affect more than a billion people globally. However, the diseases are preventable and treatable.
About London Declaration:
  1. London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases was a collaborative disease eradication program. It launched on 30 January 2012 in London.
  2. Based on: World Health Organization 2020 roadmap to eradicate or prevent transmission of neglected tropical diseases.
  3. This declaration aimed to eliminate or control 10 neglected diseases by 2020 by providing more than US$785 million to support research and development.
    • Great progress has been made since 2012, but not all the goals have been met by 2020.
WHO’s New Roadmap for NTDs for 2021-30:
  • The World Health Organization(WHO) has launched a new road map to
    • prevent, control, eliminate and eradicate a set of 20 diseases termed neglected tropical diseases by 2030.
    • Reducing the number of people in need of NTD treatment by 90%.
    • Elimination of at least one NTD in more than 100 countries.
    • Complete elimination of dracunculiasis (guinea worm) and yaws
  • Strategy: The roadmap calls for three strategic changes in approach to end NTDs:
    1. From measuring process to measuring impact.
    2. From disease-specific planning and programming to collaborative work across sectors.
    3. Lastly, From externally driven agendas on programmes that are country-owned and country-financed.

Source: Down To Earth

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

WHO report on “Origin of Covid-19”: India seeks more studies on virus

Read More
What is the News?

India has welcomed the global study on the origin of Covid-19 convened by the World Health Organisation(WHO). However, India demanded initiating further studies in order to reach robust conclusions.

WHO report on Origin of Covid-19:

The report had listed “four pathways” or possible options that led to the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • A direct zoonotic transmission;
  • Introduction of the virus through another intermediate host or animal;
  • Introduction through the cold chain or food chain;
  • Laboratory incident.
What did the Global Study on the Origin of Covid-19 found?
  • The study was conducted by the World Health Organisation(WHO) in association with China.
  • The study has said that direct zoonotic transmission or the introduction of the virus through another intermediate host or animal are the most likely theories of the origin of Covid-19.
  • Moreover, the introduction of the Covid-19 through the cold chain or food chain is also possible.
  • However, the lab leak theory of the virus was “extremely unlikely”. But there was a need for further research.
India’s stand on WHO’s study:
  • India has called for a comprehensive and expert-led mechanism to investigate the origin of Covid-19 in cooperation with all stakeholders.
  • Further, India also demanded that the mechanism should be supported by an additional WHO mission. This mission should have the power to visit the Chinese sites for further studies.

China’s stand on WHO’s study:

  • China has denied the theory that there was a leak from the Wuhan lab (research on zoonotic transmissions of coronaviruses was taking place).

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

“One Health High-Level Expert Panel” – A WHO panel to investigate zoonotic diseases

Read More

What is the News?

The World Health Organization(WHO) has formed a One Health High-Level Expert Panel.

About One Health High-Level Expert Panel:
  • Purpose: The panel has been formed to study the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases. Such as H5N1, avian influenza, MERS, Ebola, Zika and possibly the novel coronavirus disease(COVID-19).
  • Mandate of the Panel:
    • Firstly, to consider the impact of human activity on the environment and wildlife habitats.
    • Secondly, to analyse the factors that lead to transmission of a disease from animal to human and vice versa
    • Thirdly, to develop risk assessment and surveillance frameworks;
    • Fourthly, to identify capacity gaps as well as agreement on good practices that help to prevent and prepare for zoonotic outbreaks.
  • Approach: The panel will operate under the One Health Approach. This approach recognizes the links between the health of people, animals, and the environment.
  • Advisory Role: The panel will advise four global agencies on how future outbreaks especially due to zoonotic diseases can be averted. These four organisations are:
    • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
    • World Health Organization(WHO)
    • World Organisation for Animal Health(OIE) and
    • United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP).
What is One Health Approach?

One health

  • It is an approach that recognizes that the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems as interconnected one.
  • Hence, it involves applying a coordinated and multidisciplinary approach at the local, regional, national and global levels. It will address potential or existing risks that originate at the animal-human ecosystems interface.
What are Zoonotic Diseases?
  • Zoonosis is an infectious disease that spreads from non-human to humans.
  • Zoonotic pathogens may be bacterial, viral, or parasitic. They can spread to humans through direct contact or through food, water, and the environment.
  • Three of every four infectious diseases are caused by zoonosis. Moreover, scientists across the world suspect COVID-19 is also a zoonosis disease.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

Union Minister virtually Chairs 74th “World Health Assembly”

Read More
What is the News?

As the Chairman of WHO Executive Board, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare of India has virtually chaired the 74th World Health Assembly.

WHO Decision Making Bodies: The World Health Organisation(WHO) is governed by two decision-making bodies — the World Health Assembly and the Executive Board.

About World Health Assembly:
  • The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation(WHO).
  • The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States. The assembly focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.
  • Functions: The main functions of the World Health Assembly are:
    • Firstly, To determine the policies of the Organisation
    • Secondly, To appoint the Director-General
    • Thirdly, to supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
About WHO Executive Board:
  • Firstly, WHO Executive Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health. The members of the executive board will be elected for three-year terms.
  • Secondly, Functions: To give effect to the decisions and policies of the World Health Assembly. Further, the board will advise and generally facilitate the work of the Assembly.
  • Thirdly, Chairman: It is held in rotation for one year by each of the WHO’s six regional groups. This includes the African Region, Region of the Americas, South-East Asia Region, European Region, Eastern Mediterranean Region and Western Pacific Region.
  • Fourthly, Meeting: The Board meets at least twice a year, once usually in January and then in May.

Source: PIB

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

“Global Health Summit 2021” adopted “Rome Declaration”

Read More
What is the News?

The Virtual Global Health Summit 2021 is being held in Rome, Italy.

About Global Health Summit 2021:
  • Global Health Summit was organised by Italy in its role as president of the G20 in partnership with the European Commission.
  • Purpose: The summit seeks to empower and enable stakeholders to address the challenges in the third sustainable development goal(SDG) of Health and Wellbeing for all.
Rome Declaration:
  • The Rome Declaration was adopted at the Global Health Summit 2021.
  • Principles: The declaration is made up of 16 mutually agreed principles. These principles aim at guiding joint action to prevent future health crises and to build a safer, fairer and more equitable and sustainable world.
Key Features of the Rome Declaration:
  • Firstly, to support and enhance the existing multilateral health architecture.
  • Secondly, to promote the multilateral trading system and global supply chains related to Health emergencies,
  • Thirdly, to enable equitable, affordable, timely global access to high-quality, safe, effective prevention, detection and response tools.
  • Fourthly, to support low and middle-income countries to build expertise and develop local and regional manufacturing capacities for tools.
  • Fifthly, to facilitate data sharing, capacity building, licensing agreements among stakeholders. Further, it aims to facilitate voluntary technology and know-how transfers on mutually agreed terms.
  • Sixthly, to invest in the worldwide health and care workforce
  • Seventhly, to increase the effectiveness of preparedness and response measures by promoting inclusive dialogue with local communities,
  • Lastly, to seek to ensure the effectiveness of financing mechanisms.

Source: WHO

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

Lithuania quits China’s “17+1 cooperation forum”

Read More

What is the News?

Lithuania has pulled out of China’s 17+1 cooperation forum with central and eastern European states.

About 17+1 cooperation forum:

  • The 17+1 cooperation forum is a China-led initiative founded in the year 2012.
  • Aim: The aim is to expand cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European(CEE) member countries. This is done through investments and trade for the development of the CEE region.
  • The initiative also focuses on infrastructure projects such as bridges, motorways, railway lines and the modernisation of ports in the member states.
  • Significance: The initiative is largely seen as an extension of China’s flagship Belt and Road initiative (BRI).

About Lithuania:

  • Lithuania is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. Its capital and largest city is Vilnius.
  • It is one of the Baltic States and lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea.
  • Border Countries: Sweden, Denmark, Latvia Belarus Poland and Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

“BRICS Astronomy Working Group” Proposes Networking of Existing Telescopes

Read More
What is the News?

India virtually hosted the 7th meeting of the BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG) under the Science, Technology, and Innovation track of the BRICS 2021.

Note: India has assumed the BRICS Presidency from January 2021.

About BRICS Astronomy Working Group(BAWG):
  • Astronomy was established as one of five thematic science areas within BRICS at a ministerial meeting held in South Africa in 2014.
  • Formed in: The BRICS Astronomy Working Group(BAWG) established in 2015.
  • Purpose: The group provides a platform for the BRICS member countries to collaborate in the field of astronomy.
About 7th BRICS Astronomy Working Group(BAWG) Meeting:
  • The Department of Science and Technology(DST), Government of India, and Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune coordinated the meeting from the Indian side.
  • During the meeting, the countries recommended the networking of existing telescopes in BRICS countries and creating regional data networks.
  • Further, the members recommended that each country should present the scientific results of the work being carried out in their country.
  • Moreover, the countries indicated research in the following areas. Such as, building networks of intelligent telescopes, a study of transient astronomical phenomena in the universe, Big data, Artificial Intelligence among others.
About BRICS:
  • Firstly, BRICS is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies. It stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
  • Secondly, BRICS does not exist in the form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
  • Thirdly, Chairmanship: The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
  • Fourthly, Recent Summits: The 2020 BRICS summit was the twelfth annual BRICS summit.It was hosted by Russia. The theme was “Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth”.
  • Fifthly, BRICS 2021: The chair of BRICS 2021 is in India. It will be the third time that India will be hosting the BRICS Summit after 2012 and 2016.
    • The theme of the Summit is, ‘BRICS @ 15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation, and Consensus.’

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

World Bank’s “Migration and Development Brief”: India is the top receiver of remittances

Read More

What is the News?

The World Bank has released a report titled “Migration and Development Brief, 2020”.

Key Findings of the Migration and Development Brief:

 Findings Related to India:

  • Firstly, India has received the highest amount of remittances in 2020. This was followed by China, Mexico, the Philippines, Egypt, Pakistan, France and Bangladesh.
  • Secondly, India’s Remittances: India has received over USD83 billion in remittances in 2020. This was despite the pandemic that devastated the world economy.
    • In 2019, India had received USD83.3 billion in remittances.
  • Thirdly, India’s remittances fell by just 0.2% in 2020. This was due to a 17% fall in remittances from the United Arab Emirates. However, this was offset by the resilient flows from the United States and other host countries.
  • Fourthly, Remittances outflow from India in 2020 was USD7 billion. In 2019, it was around USD7.5 billion.
Other Key Findings:
  • China received $59.5 billion in remittances in 2020 against $68.3 billion in 2019.
  • The remittance outflow was maximum from the United States. This is followed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Germany and China.
  • Remittance inflows have increased in Latin America, South Asia, Middle East and North Africa.
  • However, remittances have fallen for East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
About Migration and Development Brief Report:
  • Prepared by: The report is prepared by the Migration and Remittances Unit, Development Economics (DEC)- the premier research and data arm of the World Bank.
  • Aim: The report aims to provide an update on key developments. Especially in the area of migration and remittance flows and related policies over the past six months.
    • The report also provides medium-term projections of remittance flows to developing countries.
  • The report is produced twice a year.
About Remittances:
  • Remittance is money usually sent to a person in another country. The sender is typically an immigrant and the recipient a relative back home.
  • Remittances represent one of the largest sources of income for people in low-income and developing nations.

 Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

Shakuntala Haraksingh of Indian descent wins “World Food Prize”

Read More

What is the News?

Dr Shakuntala Haraksingh, a global nutrition expert of Indian descent has won the prestigious 2021 World Food Prize. She was awarded for her research in developing holistic, nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquaculture and food systems.

About World Food Prize:

  • Firstly, the World Food Prize is an international honor recognizing the achievements of individuals. Especially persons who have achieved human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
  • Secondly, the World Food Prize Foundation presents the award.
  • Thirdly, regarding categories, the award recognizes contributions in any field involved in the world food supply. This includes plant, animal and soil science; food science and technology; nutrition, rural development among others.
  • Fourthly, on eligibility, the prize is open to every individual without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs.
  • Lastly, Significance of this award:
    • Dr. Norman E. Borlaug conceived the award in 1987. He was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in global agriculture. He is also known as the Father of the Green Revolution.
    • M.S. Swaminathan, the father of India’s green revolution was the first recipient of this award in 1987.

Source: Indian Express

Government congratulated “International Ranger Award” winner from India

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

US joins “Christchurch Call to Action” against online extremism

Read More

What is the News?

The United States has announced that it will be joining “Christchurch Call to Action” against online extremism.

About Christchurch Call to Action:

  • Christchurch Call to Action was launched during the Online Extremism Summit in Paris, France in 2019. The summit was co-chaired by New Zealand and France.
  • Objective: The Christchurch Call is a global pledge by member governments and technology partners. Under this, they work together to address terrorist and violent extremist contents online.
  • Named after: The call is named after the New Zealand city. In Christchurch, 51 members of the Muslim community were murdered in a live-streamed terrorist attack in 2019.
  • Member Countries: Seventeen countries originally signed the agreement. Another 31 countries signed the agreement later.
  • India: India is one of the member countries.
  • Sections: The pledge is non-binding. It consists of three sections or commitments.
    • The governments,
    • Online service providers and
    • Ways in which the earlier two can work together.
  • Measures: The plan commits Governments, international organizations and Internet companies to perform a range of measures. This includes,
    • Developing tools to prevent the upload of terrorist and violent extremist content;
    • Countering the roots of violent extremism;
    • Increasing transparency around the detection and removal of content;
    • Ensuring that algorithms designed and used by companies do not direct users towards violent and extremist content.

Source: AIR


[Answered] “World is facing an unprecedented threat from intolerance, violent extremism and terrorism, exacerbating conflicts and destabilising entire regions”. Discuss how India should tackle the growing threat of extremism and terrorism in the region?

Posted in CURRENT AFFAIRS, Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

India participates in the “3rd Arctic Science Ministerial”

Read More
What is the News?

India is participating in the 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3) meeting.

About Arctic Science Ministerial(ASM):
  • Arctic Science Ministerial(ASM) is a global platform for discussing research and cooperation in the Arctic region.
  • The USA and Germany held the first two Arctic Science Ministerial(ASM) meetings in 2016 and in 2018 respectively.
3rd Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3):
  • Iceland and Japan have jointly organised The 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial(ASM3). It is the first Ministerial meeting being held in Asia.
  • Purpose: The meeting is designed to provide opportunities to various stakeholders to enhance collective understanding of the Arctic region. The meeting also emphasizes the constant engagement in monitoring and strengthen Arctic observations.
  • Theme: ‘Knowledge for a Sustainable Arctic’.

India’s Engagement in the Arctic Region:

  • Firstly, India’s engagement with the Arctic dates back to 1920 with the signing of the Svalbard Treaty in Paris.
  • Secondly, since July 2008, India has had a permanent research station in the Arctic called Himadri at NyAlesund, Svalbard Area in Norway.
  • Thirdly, India has also deployed a multi-sensor moored(anchored) observatory called IndARC in the Kongsfjorden fjord since July 2014.
  • Fourthly, the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, coordinates the research in the Arctic region from India. The NCPOR falls under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.
Arctic Council:
  • The Arctic Council was formally established in 1996 by the Ottawa Declaration.
  • Purpose: It is an intergovernmental forum for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States.
  • Members: The members of the Arctic Council include Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
  • Observer Status: Since 2013, India enjoys ‘Observer’ status in the Arctic Council. Twelve other observer countries are Japan, China, France, Germany, UK, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Netherlands, Singapore, and South Korea.

Source: PIB


“3rd Quad meeting” Focussed on rules-based world order

Posted in CURRENT AFFAIRS, Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

GNAFC releases “Global Report on Food Crises 2021”

Read More
What is the News?

Global Network Against Food Crises(GNAFC) has released the “Global Report on Food Crises 2021”.

Key Findings:
  • Firstly, more than 155 million people experienced acute food insecurity in 2020. This is an increase of 20 million as compared to 2019.
  • Secondly, two-thirds of the people in acute food crisis levels were in 10 countries. Such as Congo, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, northern Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe and Haiti.
  • Thirdly, the majority of the people facing acute food insecurity depend on agriculture.
  • Fourthly, according to the report, 40.5 million people in 17 countries faced acute food insecurity because of “economic shocks”. This is primarily due to cut in jobs and incomes.
  • Reasons: The magnitude and severity of food crises in 2020 worsened due to:
    • Prolonged conflicts
    • Economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Weather extremes that increased pre-existing fragilities.
About Global Report on Food Crises 2021:
  • The report focuses on 55 countries that account for 97% of the humanitarian assistance.
  • Also, the report depicts the acute food insecurity and malnutrition situation in countries chronically vulnerable to food crises. These countries often affected by fragile agri-food systems.
About Global Network Against Food Crises(GNAFC):
  • It was founded during the first World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. It was jointly found by
    • European Commission for International Cooperation and Development,
    • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and
    • The World Food Programme(WFP)
  • Purpose: It is an alliance that is united by a common commitment to tackle the root causes of food crises. They aim to tackle the food crisis through increased sharing of knowledge and analysis and strengthened coordination.

Source: Business Today

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

“G7 Foreign Ministers Summit” Held

Read More

What is the News?

The G7 Foreign Ministers meeting was held ahead of the G7 leader’s summit.

About the G7 Summit:
  • The G7 Summit takes place at Carbis Bay in Cornwall in the UK. It is the first in-person G7 Leaders Summit in almost two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The aim of this year’s G7 summit is to help the world fight and then build it better from coronavirus. It is to create a greener and more prosperous future.
  • Guest Countries: India, Australia, and South Korea have been invited to participate in the proceedings of the summit as “guest countries”.
Group of Seven(G7) 
  • G7 is an intergovernmental organization formed in 1975. The bloc meets annually to discuss issues of common interest like global economic governance, international security, and energy policy.
  • Countries: G-7 consists of the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan.
  • Origin: The G-7 was formerly referred to as the G-8 until Russia was suspended from the group in 2014 after illegally annexing Crimea.
  • The G-7 is not an official, formal entity and therefore has no legislative or authoritative power to enforce the recommended policies and plans it compiles.
 D10 Group of Countries:
  • D10 is a proposal by the UK Prime Minister. It is to turn the G7 into a forum for the world’s ten leading democracies.
  • The D10 would include G7 countries – UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada – plus Australia, South Korea, and India.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in CURRENT AFFAIRS, Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

India’s Oil Imports From OPEC Down To 20-Year Low

Read More
What is the News?

The share of India’s oil imports from OPEC countries dropped to its lowest in at least 20 years in the fiscal year ending March 2021.

India’s Oil Imports:
  • India’s overall oil imports fell by nearly 12% in the Fiscal Year 2021 compared to the previous fiscal year.
  • Of all those imports, the share of OPEC reduced to 72% from 80%. It is the lowest share of crude oil imports from OPEC since at least Fiscal Year(FY)-2002.
  • Further, India bought more US and Canadian oil. This was at the expense of the reduction from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) countries.
    • US and Canadian oil accounted for about 7% and 1.3% respectively of India’s imports compared to 4.5% and 0.60% a year earlier.
    • Moreover, the US has also emerged as the fifth-biggest oil supplier to India in FY21, up by two places from FY20.
Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC):
  • It is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960. Its founding members are Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
  • Purpose: The purpose is to manage the supply of oil in an effort to set the price of oil in the world market. Further, it also aims to manage price fluctuations that might affect the economies of both producing and purchasing countries.
  • Members: Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela
  • Secretariat: Vienna, Austria.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

“Global Electric Vehicles Outlook 2021” released by IEA

Read More
What is the News?

International Energy Agency(IEA) has released a report titled “Global Electric Vehicle Outlook Report,2021”.

The Global EV Outlook(GEVO) is an annual report published by IEA. The report looks at the latest EV trends. Apart from that, it also looks at the drivers for road transport sector electrification around the world.

Key Findings of Global Electric Vehicles Outlook 2021 related to India:
  • More than 30% of the new vehicle sales in India will be electric by 2030.
  • Electric Vehicles(EV) deployment in India will mainly be achieved through the electrification of two/three-wheelers. The report mentions that electric two/three-wheeler sales will reach a sales share of almost 50% by 2030.
  • However, the lack of government spending under the FAME II Scheme has delayed EV deployment in India.
  • Further, EV deployment was also delayed due to pressure on domestic automakers to focus on BS-VI innovation instead of EVs.
International findings of Global Electric Vehicles Outlook 2021:
  • Firstly, three million new electric cars were registered in 2020. This was 41% higher than those registered in 2019.
  • Secondly, the rise in electric car sales in 2020 came even as the worldwide automobile market contracted by 16% due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Thirdly, apart from that, the number of electric cars, buses, vans and heavy trucks on roads is expected to hit 145 million by 2030.
  • Fourthly, if the governments improve their efforts to meet international climate goals, then the number of global electric vehicles will increase to 230 million by 2030.
About International Energy Agency(IEA):
  • It was established in 1974 as an autonomous intergovernmental organization under the OECD framework.
  • Objective: To ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy for its member countries and beyond.
  • Members: It has 30 member countries and eight association countries. India became an associate member in 2017.
  • Secretariat: Paris, France.

Source: IEA

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Science and Technology, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

“Immunisation Agenda 2030 or IA2030” launched on World Immunisation Week.

Read More

What is the News?

Global agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, GAVI and others have launched the Immunisation Agenda 2030 or IA2030 during World Immunisation Week.

World Immunisation Week:
  • It is celebrated every year in the last week of April. It aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
  • The theme for 2021: Vaccines bring us closer.
About Immunisation Agenda 2030(IA2030):
  • The Immunisation Agenda 2030(IA2030) sets an ambitious, overarching global vision and strategy for vaccines and immunisation for the decade 2021–2030.
  • Vision: IA2030 envisions “A world where everyone, everywhere, at every age, fully benefits from vaccines for good health and well-being.”
  • Based on: The IA2030 is based on the learnings from Global Vaccine Action Plan(GVAP). IA2030 has a target to address the unmet targets of the GVAP.
    • The GVAP  was developed to help realize the vision of the “Decade of Vaccines(2011–2020)”.
    • GVAP was launched in 2012 with the aim to prevent millions of deaths by 2020. The GVAP aims to achieve this through more equitable access to vaccines for people in all communities.
  • Core Principles: The IA 2030 strategy is guided by four core principles: it puts people in the centre. The strategy is led by countries. They will implement the strategy through broad partnerships and data.
Key Features of Immunisation Agenda 2030:
  • The IA2030 will ensure the benefits of immunisation are shared equitably among and within countries.
  • It will focus on a bottom-up approach. This is in contrast to the GVAP’s ‘top-down’ approach.
  • It will give priority to people particularly, the most marginalised communities living in fragile and conflict-affected settings. It also gives priority to mobile populations such as people moving across borders.
Targets:
  • Firstly, to avoid 50 million vaccine-preventable infections in this decade as part of this immunization program.
  • Secondly, to reduce the number of zero-dose children by 50%. The programme hopes to do this by extending immunisation services to 13 million such children.
    • Zero-dose children are those who have received no vaccines through immunisation programs.
  • Thirdly, to achieve 90% coverage for essential vaccines given in childhood and adolescence
  • Fourthly, completing 500 national or subnational introduction of new or under-utilized vaccines. This includes vaccines such as COVID-19, rotavirus, or human papillomavirus(HPV), etc.
Significance:
  • The agenda will help by contributing to the achievement of the UN-mandated sustainable development goals or SDGs, specifically SDG3. SDG 3 aims to“Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

Saudi Arabia joins “Net Zero Producers Forum” on climate change

Read More
What is the News?

Saudi Arabia has announced that it will be joining Canada, the US, Qatar and Norway in the formation of the Net Zero Producers Forum.

About Net Zero Producers Forum:
  • The Net Zero Producers Forum has been formed for the oil and gas producing countries. The Forum aims to discuss the ways to achieve net zero carbon emission targets to limit global warming.
  • The countries will also discuss ways to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • Strategies: The Forum will consider strategies and technologies which include

Note: Qatar, the US, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Norway are collectively responsible for 40% of global oil and gas production.

Targets of Countries under Paris Climate Agreement:
  • US: It has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50-52 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Canada: It has pledged to cut emissions by 40-45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Saudi Arabia has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by generating 50% of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030.
  • EU: It has shown a commitment to reduce emissions by 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030.
 What is Net-Zero?
  • Firstly, net-zero is also referred to as carbon-neutrality.
  • Secondly, it does not mean that a country would bring down its emissions to zero.
  • Thirdly, net-zero, rather is a state in which a country’s emissions are compensated by absorption and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • Fourthly, absorption of the emissions can be increased by creating more carbon sinks such as forests
  • Fifthly, the removal of gases from the atmosphere requires futuristic technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

Source: AIR

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

Migrants Workers, Who Returned to Cities Earned five-fold : Study

Read More
What is the News?

 Yale University tracked 5,000 migrants workers across north and central India from April 2020 to February 2021. Recently, it released the findings of the survey.

The survey was conducted over the phone by researchers from Yale and the Inclusion Economics India Centre. Bihar and Chhattisgarh are “source states”.

What are the key findings of the survey?
  • Migrant workers who returned to cities for work after the first Covid-19 lockdown earned roughly five times as much as those who stayed back.
  • The first Covid-19 induced lockdown affected women migrants, more than men.
  • After the first lockdown, only 45% of female migrants returned to their urban workplaces. However, 40% of them earned no income across a week in which they were tracked in February 2021.
    • In comparison, 55% of men returned to their workplaces and only a quarter of them had no income across the same week in February 2021.
  • Male migrant workers who returned to urban areas after the first lockdown for work earned up to 90% of their pre-pandemic earnings. But the women earned up to 72% of their pre-pandemic income.
    • While, female migrant workers who did not return to urban areas earned only 23% of their pre-pandemic income. Whereas female migrant workers earned just 13%.
  • Further, more than 40% of those who stayed home were still concerned about running out of food after the harvest season. More than 20% of them said they were eating less than normal.
Conclusion of the survey:
  • The survey has found that those migrant workers who remained at home in rural areas after the first lockdown were more likely to report being unemployed. It reduced their food consumption, mortgaging or selling assets, spending down savings, and taking loans to make ends meet.
  • Hence, it has urged policymakers to make efforts to retain workers in urban areas. It has also asked them to focus more on women by providing economic support through employers and rations.

Source: Indian Express

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

“Supply Chain Resilience Initiative or SCRI” launched by India, Japan and Australia

Read More

What is the News? India, Japan, and Australia have launched the SCRI or Supply Chain Resilience Initiative in a virtual Trilateral Ministerial Meeting.

What do you mean by Supply Chain Resilience?
  • It is the capability of the supply chain of a country to handle any kind of disruption and function normally in difficult times. One approach is diversifying the source of supply across a group of supplying nations instead of being dependent on just one or a few.
  • Need: Disruption of supplies from a particular country can happen due to natural calamities such as pandemics or man-made events such as armed conflicts. It can adversely impact the destination country’s economic activities.
  • Example: Japan imported $169 billion worth from China in 2019 accounting for 24% of its total imports. However, Japan’s imports from China fell by half in February 2020 that impacted Japan’s economic activity.
About Supply Chain Resilience Initiative:
  1. Aim: The initiative aims to create a virtuous cycle of enhancing supply chain resilience to attain strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth in the region.
  2. Projects: The initial projects under the SCRI will be:
    • Sharing of best practices on supply chain resilience and
    • Organizing Investment promotion events and buyer-seller matching events. It will provide stakeholders an opportunity to explore the possibility of diversification of their supply chains.
  3. Policy Areas: The possible policy measures may include:
    1. supporting the enhanced utilization of digital technology and
    2. supporting trade and investment diversification.
  4. Meeting: The meeting by the trade ministers of three countries will be convened at least once a year. It will be helpful in the implementation of the SCRI as well as to consult on how to develop the Initiative.
What was the need for this initiative?
  • Firstly, Covid-19 Impact: With the disruption by Covid-19, countries have realized the shortcomings of that dependence over a single nation. Thus, the initiative aims to reduce the dependency on a single nation (at present China).
  • Secondly, Impact of US-China Trade Tensions: The tariff sanctions imposed on each other during the US-China trade threatened all significant economies heavily reliant on international trade.
  • Thirdly, to counter China’s Influence in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Source: Hindu Businessline

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

“Chandlers Good Governance Index” 2021 Released

Read More
What is the News? 

The Chandler Good Government Index(CGGI) 2021 has been released.

About Chandler Good Government Index(CGGI):
  • The Chandler Institute of Governance(CIG) publishes the Chandler Good Government Index(CGGI) . It is an international non-profit organization, with headquarter in Singapore.
  • Objective: The index measures the effectiveness and capabilities of 104 governments around the world in terms of government capabilities and outcomes.
  • Parameters: The Index comprises of 34 indicators. They are organized into seven pillars:
    1. Leadership and Foresight
    2. Robust Laws and Policies
    3. Strong Institutions
    4. Financial Stewardship
    5. Attractive Marketplace
    6. Global Influence and Reputation
    7. Helping people rise.
Key Findings:
  • India’s ranking: India has been ranked 49th in the Chandler Good Government Index(CGGI).
  • Topped by: Finland has topped the index.
  • South Asian Countries: At 74th ranks Sri Lanka. Further, Pakistan is at 90th and Nepal at 92nd.
  • Seven of the top ten countries are from Europe. But there are four continents represented in the top ten. Here, Singapore stands first in Asia, New Zealand leading Oceania, and Canada leading in the Americas.
  • All the top ten countries are high-income as defined by the World Bank.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

India is 3rd Highest Military Spender in 2020: SIPRI

Read More

What is the News? Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI) released a report titled “Trends in World Military Expenditure Report, 2020”. The report provides data related to the military expenditure by countries in 2020.

Note: SIPRI is an independent international institute established in 1966 in Stockholm, Sweden. Its functions are to research into conflict, armaments, arms control, and disarmament.

Key Findings Related to India:
  • Firstly, India was the 3rd largest military spender in the world in 2020 behind only the US and China.
  • Secondly, India’s military expenditure was $72.9 billion in 2020. This is an increase of 2.1% since the year 2019.
  • Thirdly, India’s military spending is 2.9% of its Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
  • Fourthly, India accounted for 3.7% of the money spent on the military globally.
Other Key Findings:
  1. World military expenditure was $1981 billion in 2020. It is an increase of 2.6% compared to 2019.
    1. The increase in military spending came in a year when the global GDP shrank by 4.4% largely due to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  2. Total military spending accounted for 2.4% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.
  3. The five biggest spenders in 2020 were the United States, China, India, Russia, and the United Kingdom. These countries together accounted for 62% of world military spending.
  4. The United States accounted for 39% of the money spent on the military globally. It spent $778 billion on the military in 2020 representing an increase of 4.4% over 2019.
  5. Whereas, China accounted for 13% of the money spent on the military globally with $252 billion on the military in 2020, representing an increase of 1.9% over 2019.
  6. Likewise, the other top military spenders include Russia with $61.7 billion, the UK at $59.2 billion, Saudi Arabia at $57.5 billion, followed by Germany and France at just under $53 billion each.
  7. From 2011 to 2020, US military expenditure dropped by 10%. But China saw a 76% growth while India’s military spending grew by 34%.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in CURRENT AFFAIRS, Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged

“GloLitter Partnerships Project” – 30 countries join the initiative to tackle marine litter

Read More

What is the News? Around 30 Countries from across the oceans have joined the GloLitter Partnerships Project to tackle marine plastic litter.

GloLitter Partnerships Project:
  • GloLitter Partnerships Project was launched by the International Maritime Organization(IMO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO). The Government of Norway provided initial funding for the project.
  • Aim: The project aims to help the maritime transport and fishing sectors to adapt to a low-plastic future. To achieve this goal, this initiative will assist developing countries to apply best practices for prevention, reduction, and control of marine plastic litter from those sectors.
  • Participating Countries: 30 Countries will be participating in the project. India is one of the participating countries.
  • Significance:
    • The project will promote compliance with the Voluntary Guidelines of the MARPOL Convention. It contains regulations against discharging plastics into the sea.
    • Further, protecting the marine environment is also the objective of Sustainable Development Goal(SDG) 14.
About MARPOL:
  • International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is one of the main international conventions. It aims at the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
  • Adopted in: The Convention was adopted by the International Maritime Organisation(IMO) on 2nd November 1973.
  • India is a signatory to the MARPOL Convention.
  • Annexes: The convention currently includes six technical Annexes:
    • Firstly, Annex I: Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil
    • Secondly, Annex II: Regulations for the Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk
    • Thirdly, Annex III: Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea in Packaged Form
    • Fourthly, Annex IV: Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships
    • Fifthly, Annex V: Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships
    • Sixthly, Annex VI: Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships.
About International Maritime Organization(IMO):
  • International Maritime Organization(IMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations founded in 1948.
  • Purpose: IMO is responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent pollution from ships.
  • Headquarters: London, United Kingdom

Source: IMO

Posted in CURRENT AFFAIRS, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons or OPCW

Read More
What is the News?

India’s Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) GC Murmu selected as an external auditor to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons(OPCW). His term will be for 3 years, starting in 2021.

India was also selected as a member of the Executive Council of the OPCW. It is representing Asia Group for another two-year term during the OPCW Conference of State Parties.

About Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons(OPCW):
  • OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention. This convention is in force since 1997 and 193 members.
  • Aim: To achieve the vision of a world free of chemical weapons by implementing the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • Objectives:
    • Destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification.
    • Monitoring chemical industry to prevent chemical weapons from re-emerging.
    • Providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats.
    • Fostering international cooperation to strengthen implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry.
  • Powers:
    • The OPCW is authorized to perform inspections to verify that signatory states are complying with the convention.
    • It can also perform testing of sites and victims of suspected chemical weapons attacks.
  • Members: It has 193 members including India.
  • Headquarters: The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Significance: The OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
  • Relations with UN: OPCW is not a United Nations(UN) organization. However, by the 2001 Relationship Agreement between the OPCW and the UN, the OPCW reports on its inspections and other activities to the UN through the office of the Secretary-General.

Source: AIR

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

“UN-ECOSOC” -India Elected to 3 Key Bodies

Read More

What is the News? India has been elected to three key bodies of the UN ECOSOC (United Nations’ Economic and Social Council).

These bodies are the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), Executive Board of UN Women, Executive Board of the World Food Programme.

United Nations Economic and Social Council(ECOSOC)
  • UN- ECOSOC was established in 1945. It is one of the six main organs of the United Nations.
    • Other organs are UNSC, UNGA, Trusteeship Council, ICJ, and UN secretariat.
  • Aim: To serve as a forum for discussing international economic and social issues. It also works towards formulating policy recommendations addressed to the Member States and the United Nations system.
  • Members: The Council consists of 54 Member States. The UNGA will elect them for a three-year term.
  • Headquarters: New York, United States.
 Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ):
  • Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice(CCPCJ) is a functional commission of the UN-ECOSOC
  • Purpose: The commission serves as the primary organ that guides the activities of the United Nations. Especially in the fields of crime prevention and criminal justice.
  • Members: CCPJ has 40 member states that are elected by ECOSOC.
  • Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.
UN Women
  • UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
  • The UN General Assembly established UN Women in 2010 to accelerate the progress on meeting women’s needs worldwide.
  • Members: The Executive Board of UN Women consists of 41 members.
  • Headquarters: New York, United States
World Food Programme(WFP):
  • Both the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) founded the WFP in 1961.
  • Aim: To eradicate hunger and malnutrition with the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
  • Significance: It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
  • Members: The Executive Board of WFP consists of 36 states members. The board provides intergovernmental support, policy direction and supervision of the activities of WFP.
  • Funding: Voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors will entirely fund the operations of WFP.
  • Nobel Prize: WFP was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020. This is for the following reasons,
    • Firstly, WFP’s contribution in combating hunger,
    • Secondly, Work of WFP towards bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas
    • Thirdly, Its role as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
  • Headquarters: Rome, Italy

Source: WION

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

India hosted the 5th session of “Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs”

Read More
What is the News?

The fifth session of the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) has been virtually inaugurated.

About Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs(CCSCH):
  • The Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs(CCSCH) was established in 2013. It was established with the support of more than a hundred countries under the Codex Alimentarius Commission(CAC).
  • Purpose:
    • To develop and expand worldwide standards for spices and culinary herbs.
    • To consult with other international organisations in the standard development process.
  • Host Country: India is the host country. Spices Board India acts as the Secretariat for organising the sessions of the committee.
  • Significance: Since its inception, the Committee has been successful in developing harmonised global Codex standards for spices and herbs.
About Codex Alimentarius Commission(CAC):
  • Codex Alimentarius Commission(CAC) was established in 1963. It is an intergovernmental body established jointly by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). It was established within the framework of the Joint Food Standards Programme.
  • Purpose:
    • To establish international food standards to protect the health of consumers
    • To ensure fair practices in the food trade. Especially while promoting coordination of food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organisations.
  • Membership: Membership of the Commission is open to all Member Nations and Associate Members of FAO and WHO. The countries interested in international food standards can become a member of CAC.
  • Funding: The programme of work of the Commission is funded through the regular budgets of WHO and FAO. All works are subjected to the approval of the two governing bodies of the parent organisation.
  • Headquarters: Rome, Italy.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

“E-2025 initiative” – WHO Identifies 25 countries with potential to be malaria-free by 2025

Read More

What is the News? WHO has launched the E-2025 initiative. Under this initiative WHO Identifies 25 countries with the potential to be malaria-free by 2025.

Malaria: It is a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. It transmits to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

World Malaria Day:
  • World Malaria Day is observed on April 25 every year by the WHO.
  • The 60th session of the World Health Assembly in 2007 identified April 25 as World Malaria Day.
  • 2021 Theme: “Reaching the Zero Malaria target”.
About ‘Zeroing in on malaria elimination’ Report:
  • Purpose: The report provides the progress made by 21 malaria eliminating countries as part of the “E-2020 Initiative”.
    • The E-2020 initiative was launched by WHO in 2017. The initiative supported 21 countries in their efforts to get to zero malaria cases within the 2020 timeline. The countries were identified by WHO in 2016 as having the potential to become malaria-free by 2020.
  • Findings: According to the report, 8 of the 21 E-2020 member countries reported zero indigenous cases of human malaria by the end of 2020. However, the progress was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
About E-2025 initiative:
  • Building on the successes of the E-2020, WHO has launched the E-2025 initiative.
  • As part of this initiative, WHO has identified 25 countries that have the potential to eliminate malaria within a 5-year timeline.
  • The countries will receive technical and on-the-ground support by WHO and its partners, in their work towards the target of zero malaria.
  • In return, the countries will audit their elimination programs annually, participate in elimination forums, conduct surveillance assessments, and share malaria case data periodically.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

WMO Releases “State of the Global Climate Report 2020”

Read More



What is the News?

The World Meteorological Organization(WMO) has released its annual State of the Global Climate Report 2020.

Key Findings of annual State of the Global Climate Report 2020:
  • Temperature: 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record, despite a cooling La Niña. The other two warmest years were 2016 and 2019.
    • Moreover, the six years since 2015 have been the warmest on record. Further, 2011-2020 was the warmest decade on record.
  • Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic: Extreme weather combined with COVID-19 is a double blow for millions of people in 2020. However, the pandemic-related economic slowdown failed to slow down climate change and its impacts.
  • Greenhouse Gases: Concentrations of the major greenhouse gases continued to increase in 2019 and 2020 despite a temporary reduction in emissions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 response.
  • Oceans: In 2020, the oceans had the highest heat content on the record. Over 80% of the ocean services area experienced at least one marine heatwave in 2020.
  • Sea-level rise: Sea level has recently been rising at a higher rate partly due to the increased melting of the ice sheets.
  • Arctic Region: In 2020, the Arctic sea-ice extent came down to second-lowest on record.
  • Antarctica Region: Antarctic ice sheet has exhibited a strong mass loss trend since the late 1990s. This trend accelerated around 2005.
Findings Related to India:
  • India experienced one of its wettest monsoons since 1994, with a seasonal surplus of 9% that led to severe floods and landslides.
  • Cyclone Amphan which hit Kolkata in May 2020 was the costliest tropical cyclone for the North Indian Ocean region. It brought about an estimated loss of USD 14 billion.
About World Meteorological Organization (WMO):
  • WMO is an intergovernmental organization established by the ratification of the WMO Convention in 1950.
  • Origin: WMO originated from the International Meteorological Organization(IMO) which was established after the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress.
  • Members: 193 Member States and Territories. India is one of the members.
  • Significance: It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

WEF Releases “Energy Transition Index 2021”

Read More

What is the News?

The World Economic Forum(WEF) has released the Energy Transition Index, 2021.

About Energy Transition Index(ETI), 2021:

  • Energy Transition Index is an annual report by the World Economic Forum (WEF). It prepares the report in collaboration with Accenture.
  • Purpose: The ranking aims to enable policy-makers and businesses to plan for a successful energy transition.
  • ETI checks the readiness of countries for transition to secure, sustainable, affordable, and inclusive energy systems.
  • Parameters: The index ranks 115 countries on the basis following three dimensions:
    • Economic development and growth,
    • Environmental sustainability and
    • Lastly, Energy security and access;
Key Findings Related to India:
  • Firstly, India ranks at the 87th position among 115 countries in the Energy Transition Index (ETI).
  • Secondly, the report also says India improved in energy transition through the subsidy reforms and by increasing energy access with a regulatory environment and strong political commitment.

Other Key Takeaways:

  • Firstly, Sweden tops the index. It is followed by Norway and Denmark.
  • Further, China has been ranked 67th on the index. India and China collectively account for a third of global energy demand. However, their improvement level is strong over the past decade even though coal continues to play a significant role in their energy mix.

Source: Economic Times

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

“Boao Forum for Asia” Annual Conference 2021

Read More
What is the News?

The opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 was held in Boao, China.

Boao  Forum for Asia -Annual Conference 2021:
  • More than 2,600 guests from over 60 countries and region attended the conference.
  • Theme: “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation.”
Boao Forum for Asia(BFA):
  • Boao Forum for Asia(BFA) is a non-profit international organization founded in the year 2001.
  • Purpose: The Forum is committed to promoting regional economic integration in Asia. It also aims at bringing Asian countries even closer to their development goals.
  • Members: 29 participant countries including India. Other countries include China, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Nepal among others.
  • Annual Conference: BFA holds its annual conference in Boao in Hainan, China on a regular basis.
  • Significance: Boao Forum is modelled after the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland. So it also called Davos of the East.
  • Headquarters: China.

Source: Livemint

 

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

Indian Ads Increase Gender Stereotypes, Shows Study

Read More
What is the News?

UNICEF and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media(GDI) have released a study titled “Gender bias and inclusion in advertising in India”.

About the study:
  • Purpose: The study measures the level and type of gender stereotyping found in Indian advertisements on TV and YouTube. For this purpose, over 1,000 most viewed advertisements were analyzed in 2019.
  • The study found that female representation in Indian ads still depicts colorism, hypersexualization, and also women without careers or aspirations outside the home.
Key Findings of the study:
  • Women in ads dominate the screen and speaking time with 59.7% and 56.3% of female representation respectively. This is above the global average of 44% and 39%
  • Female-dominated activities in ads include roles of shopping, cleaning, and preparing meals.
  • Male-dominated activities in these ads include them being in an office, outdoors, or at a sporting event
  • A greater percentage of female characters are depicted as married, than male characters (11% compared with 8.8%).
  • Female characters are thrice as likely to be shown as caretakers or a parent than male characters (18.7% to 5.9%).
  • Male characters are more likely to be shown making decisions about their future than female characters (7.3% compared with 4.8%),
  • Lower Income Class: Characters of a lower-income class are underrepresented. Only 6.4% of the ads show people from that class. The Middle-class is most prominent with 51.3% representation.
  • Sexualisation: Female characters are 6 times more likely to be in revealing clothing than men (11.2% to 1.7%). They are 5 times more likely to be sexually objectified (4.7% compared to 0.9%).
  • Intelligence: Male characters are more likely to be shown as smart, than female characters (32.2% compared to 26.2%).
  • Skin Tone: Two-thirds of female characters (66.9%) in Indian ads have light or medium-light skin tones — a higher percentage than male characters (52.1%).

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

USCIRF Recommends “Country of Particular Concern” Tag for India

Read More



What is the News? 
The USCIRF (US Commission on International Religious Freedom) has recommended classifying India as a Country of Particular Concern(CPC). It is due to the worst violations of religious freedom in India in 2020.

Reasons for recommendations:
  • USCIRF has recommended India to be put on a Countries of Particular Concern(CPC) list because of:
    • Religiously Discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act
    • Seeming police complicity in the Delhi riots
    • During the COVID-19 pandemic, disinformation and hateful rhetoric including from government officials targeted religious minorities.
    • Efforts to prohibit interfaith marriage – such as those in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh among other reasons.

Suggestions by USCIRF:

  • Firstly, the US administration should impose targeted sanctions on Indian individuals and entities for ‘severe violations of religious freedom’.
  • Secondly, the US administration should promote interfaith dialogue and the rights of all communities at forums such as Quadrilateral [the Quad].
  • Thirdly, the US Congress should raise issues in the U.S-India bilateral space by hosting hearings, writing letters, and constituting Congressional delegations.
Other Recommendations of USCIRF:
  • Other new recommendations by USCIRF for the CPC list 2021 are Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.
    • Moreover, countries already on the CPCs list and recommended by USCIRF for re-designation are Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
  • Special Watch List Countries: Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Russia.
About Country of Particular Concern(CPC):
  • USCIRF recommends the Country of Particular Concern(CPC) designation to the US State Department. It recommends countries engaged in severe violations of religious freedom under IRFA (International Religious Freedom Act) 1998.
    • The IRFA 1998 promotes religious freedom as a foreign policy of the United States.
  • Why is the country given the CPC designation? The countries that receive this designation either engage in or tolerate systematic, ongoing, glaring violations of religious freedom.
  • In addition to its CPC recommendations, the USCIRF established a Special Watch List countries. The list includes countries which does not fit in the CPC criterion, but still engage in or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom.

Note: The recommendations given by the USCIRF are non-binding on the US Government.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged

“Global Youth Mobilization Initiative” launched by UN

Read More
What is the News? 

United Nations agencies, youth organisations, and WHO have come together to launch the Global Youth Mobilization Initiative for local Solutions.

About Global Youth Mobilization Initiative:
  • World Health Organization and United Nations Foundation are supporting Global Youth Mobilization Initiative. Whereas, it is led by the world’s six largest youth organisations, including
    1. First, the World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations
    2. Second, World Young Women’s Christian Association
    3. Third, the World Organization of the Scout Movement
    4. Fourth, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
    5. Also, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
    6. Lastly, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award
  • Aim: The aim is to address the negative impact of the pandemic on young people and support them to build back better.
  • Funding: Young people from around the world can apply for funding. It will support innovative Local Solutions to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Need of the Initiative
  • Firstly, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) terms the current young population as the ‘lockdown generation’.
  • Secondly, as per some estimates, around 90 per cent of young people “reported increased mental anxiety during the pandemic”.
  • Whereas “one in six young people worldwide has lost their jobs during the pandemic”.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLICTagged

“World Press Freedom Index” 2021 Released

Read More

What is the News? The World Press Freedom Index 2021 released.

About World Press Freedom Index:
  • Published by: Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders since 2002.
  • Purpose: The purpose of the Index is to rank 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists.
    • However, the index neither ranks public policies and nor is it an indicator of the quality of journalism in each country or region.
  • Parameters: The index ranks 180 countries based on the following parameters, such as a) pluralism, b) media independence c) environment and self-censorship d) legislative framework e) Transparency f) Infrastructure, and g) Abuses.

Also Read- Reports and Index in news

Key Findings Related to India:
  • India ranks 142nd on the World Press Freedom Index 2021. The rank is the same as in 2020 after it had consistently slid down from 133 in 2016.
  • India continues to be counted among the countries classified “bad” for journalism. Similarly, India is termed as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their jobs properly.
Other key Findings:
  • Topped by: Norway tops the index, followed by Finland and Denmark.
  • China: China ranks 177 in the index. It is only above North Korea at 179 and Turkmenistan at 178.
  • India’s South Asian neighborhood: Nepal is at 106, Sri Lanka at 127, Myanmar (before the coup) at 140, Pakistan at 145, and Bangladesh at 152.
  • Further, the report shows that journalism is completely or partially blocked in 73% of all the countries on the index

Source: Indian Express


Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Factly: Polity and Nation, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

“Global Diabetes Compact” – To Increase Access to Treatment

Read More

What is the News? The World Health Organization (WHO) launches a Global Diabetes Compact Initiative.

About Global Diabetes Compact Initiative:
  • Global Diabetes Compact aims to reduce the risk of diabetes. It will ensure that all people diagnosed with diabetes have access to equitable, comprehensive, affordable, quality treatment and care.
  • This initiative launched at the Global Diabetes Summit. WHO and the government of Canada Co-hosted the summit with the support of the University of Toronto.
  • Global Targets: The initiative will set standards for tackling the disease in the form of ‘global coverage targets’. It will ensure a wider reach of diabetes care. A “global price tag” will also quantify the costs and benefits of meeting these new targets.
Need of Global Diabetes Compact
  • Diabetes is one of the major comorbid conditions. It is linked to severe COVID-19 infections.
  • The number of people with diabetes quadrupled in the last 40 years. It is also the only major non-communicable disease for which the risk of dying early is going up rather than down.
  • About half of all adults with type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed. And 50% of people with type 2 diabetes don’t get the insulin they need.

Also readIncreasing cases of getational Diabetes

About Diabetes:
  • Diabetes is a Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar, or glucose) or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Read AlsoIncreasing Cases of Gestational Diabetes … –

Types of Diabetes:
  • Type I diabetes: It is also known as juvenile diabetes (as it mostly affects children of age 14-16 years). It occurs when the body fails to produce sufficient insulin. People with type I diabetes are insulin-dependent which means they must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive.
  • Type 2 diabetes: It affects the way the body uses insulin. While the body still makes insulin, unlike in type I, the cells in the body do not respond to it as effectively as they once did. This is also the most common type of diabetes, and it has strong links with obesity.
  • Gestational diabetes: This type occurs in women during pregnancy when the body sometimes becomes less sensitive to insulin.

Source: Down To Earth

[Answered] Explain various types of revolutions, took place in Agriculture after Independence in India. How these revolutions have helped in poverty alleviation and food security in India?

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

“Inclusive Internet Index 2021” Released

Read More

What is the News? Inclusive Internet Index 2021 has been released.

About Inclusive Internet Index, 2021
  • Facebook Commissions the Inclusive Internet Index, 2021, and The Economist Intelligence Unit will develop the index.
  • Purpose: It seeks to measure the extent of accessibility and affordability of the Internet. Also, the internet should be able to enable positive social and economic outcomes at the individual and group levels.
  • Countries Covered: The index assesses the performance of 120 countries representing 98% of global GDP and 96% of the global population.
  • Categories: The Index score is based on the scores of 4 categories;
    1. Availability: It examines the quality and breadth of available infrastructure required for access and levels of Internet usage.
    2. Affordability: It examines the cost of access relative to income and the level of competition in the Internet marketplace.
    3. Relevance: It also examines the existence and extent of local language content and relevant content.
    4.  Readiness: Furthermore, it examines the capacity to access the Internet. It includes skills (literacy), cultural acceptance, and supporting policy. Literacy measures the level of education and preparedness to use the Internet
Key Findings Related to India:
  • India’s Rank: 49th out of 120 countries in the Index.
  • India is set to reach one billion internet users by 2025. There were over 687.6 million internet users in India in 2020.
Other Findings:
  • Topped by: Sweden ranks 1st in the index, followed by the US and Spain.
  • The majority of countries (77 out of 120) saw improvements in internet inclusion overall, in part because of increased availability.
  • People in low and lower-middle-income countries relied more on online education during the pandemic in comparison to wealthier countries.

Source: EIU


Important Reports and Index

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Science and Technology, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

IFPRI Releases “Global Food Policy Report 2021”

Read More

What is the News? The International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI) released the Global Food Policy Report, 2021.

About Global Food Policy Report, 2021:
  • Purpose: The report provides lessons drawn from the current crisis. Especially the lessons that can help
    • transform food systems to reduce the impact of the ongoing pandemic,
    • better prepare for future shocks, and
    • address long-standing weaknesses and inequalities.
  • Theme: “Transforming Food Systems After COVID-19”.
Key Findings related to India:
  • Firstly, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the pandemic restrictions resulted in half of India’s poor people deprived of nutritious food.
  • Secondly, the midday meal program of India that covers 80% of primary-school-age children in the country, was affected due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Thirdly, 50% of households in India reported that women spent more time fetching firewood and water in comparison with the previous year.
  • Fourthly, efforts of India to incorporate migrant workers into social protection programs were a huge success.
Other Key Findings:
  • The number of poor people living below the poverty line is to increase by 150 million as compared to the pre-pandemic levels.
  • Women accounted for 39% of employment globally. However, they incurred 54% of job losses during the pandemic.

About IFPRI:

  • International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI) is a non-profit international research center founded in 1976.
  • Mandate: To provide research-based policy solutions that sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition.
  • Headquarters: Washington, USA.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

“Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace” – Microsoft Urges India to Join in

Read More
What is the News?

The Microsoft president urged India and the U.S. to join the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace. The Paris call for Trust and Security now has 75 countries on board. It deals with the new cybersecurity threats faced in the world.

About Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace:
  • The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace was announced in 2018 by the French President. It was announced during the Internet Governance Forum held at UNESCO and the Paris Peace Forum.
  • Purpose: It is a non-binding declaration. It calls states, private sector and civil society organizations to work together to promote security in cyberspace, counter disinformation. Also, it aims to address new cyber threats endangering citizens and infrastructure.

Nine Principles: The Paris Call is based on nine common principles. Such as:

  1. Firstly, Protect Individuals and Infrastructure: Prevent and recover from malicious cyber and digital activities. As it threatens or causes significant, indiscriminate or systemic harm to individuals and critical infrastructure.
  2. Secondly, Protect the Internet: Prevent activity that intentionally and substantially damages the general availability or integrity of the public core of the Internet.
  3. Thirdly, Defend Electoral Processes: Strengthen capacity to prevent interferences by foreign actors. Especially those aimed at undermining electoral processes through malicious cyber activities and disinformation.
  4. Fourthly, Defend Intellectual Property: Prevent information and communications technology-enabled theft of intellectual property. Such as trade secrets or other confidential business information. It provides a competitive advantage to info. Holder.
  5. Fifthly, Non-Proliferation: Develop ways to prevent the proliferation of malicious software and practices intended to cause harm.
  6. Sixthly, Lifecycle Security: Strengthen the security of digital processes, products, and services, throughout the lifecycle and supply chain.
  7. Seventhly, Cyber Hygiene: Support efforts to strengthen advanced cyber hygiene for all actors.
  8. Eighthly, No Private Hack Back: Take steps to prevent non-State actors, including the private sector, from hacking back for their own purposes.
    • Hacking back: It means giving corporations and other hack victims, the permission to counter-attack cyber-threats. The Hacking back can be more aggressive against perpetrators as it is a retaliatory attack.
  9. Ninthly, International Norms: Promote the widespread acceptance and implementation of international norms of responsible behavior. It also aims to generate confidence-building measures in cyberspace.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

“UN Food Systems Summit 2021” -India Holds National Dialogue

Read More
What is the News?

The Ministry of Agricultural and Farmers Welfare conducted a National Dialogue on UN Food Systems Summit 2021.

About UN Food Systems Summit,2021:
  • The first-ever UN Food Systems Summit 2021 is expected to hold in September 2021. For that, the United Nations Secretary-General has called for members to participate.
  • Purpose: The summit will strategize the actions for positive change in Agri-food systems in the world. It will help to realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Focus: The Summit will focus on levers and pathways to shape food systems nationally and globally.
  • Significance: The summit will be held as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Action Tracks: The Summit’s Action Tracks offer stakeholders to learn and share new actions, partnerships and to amplify existing initiatives. The five Action Tracks are:

  1. Track 1: Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all.
  2. Track 2: Shift to sustainable consumption patterns.
  3. Track 3: Boost nature-positive production.
  4. Track 4: Advance equitable livelihoods.
  5. Track 5: Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress.
Why food systems?
  • Firstly, the term “food system” refers to the constellation of activities involved in producing, processing, transporting, and consuming food.
  • Secondly, food systems touch every aspect of human existence. The health of our food systems profoundly affects the health of our bodies as well as the health of our environment, our economies, and our cultures.
  • Hence, when they function well, food systems have the power to bring us together as families, communities, and nations.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

Issues and Challenges facing BIMSTEC Organisation

Read More

Synopsis: Recently, the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held. In this article, we will discuss the progress, issues, and challenges concerning the BIMSTEC organisation.

Background
  • Recently, the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held online. The foreign ministers of BIMSTEC (the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) were the participants.
About BIMSTEC
  • Initially, BIMSTEC was a grouping of four nations (India, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) formed through the Bangkok Declaration of 1997. Its aim was to promote rapid economic development.
  • Later, three more countries (Myanmar, Nepal, and Bhutan) also included in BIMSTEC.
  • The progress under BIMSTEC was slow in the first 2 decades of its establishment. For instance, only 3 summits were held in the first 20 years.
  • However, After the failure of SAARC, India changed its foreign policy to treat it as a more important instrument for regional cooperation.
  • BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat, followed by their Outreach Summit with the BRICS leaders in Goa in October 2016, gained international attention.
  • Later, the 4th leaders’ summit, held in Kathmandu in August 2018. It framed an ambitious plan for institutional reform to include economic and security cooperation.
  • During the 4th summit, the decision was also taken to form the BIMSTEC charter.
  • Today the shared goal is to aim for “a Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region”.

What are the developments in the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting?

  • One, the meeting welcomed the proposal to hold the 5th BIMSTEC Summit in Sri Lanka in the next few months.
  • Two, the ministers recommended the early adoption of BIMSTEC charter.
  • Three, they also endorsed the rationalization of sectors and sub-sectors of activity, with each member-state serving as a lead for the assigned areas of special interest.
  • Four, they also supported the Master Plan for Transport Connectivity, which will be adopted at the next summit.
  • Five, three MoUs / Agreements were also endorsed for signing at the next BIMSTEC Summit.
    1. Mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
    2. Cooperation between diplomatic academies.
    3. The establishment of a technology transfer facility in Colombo.
What were the opportunities missed out in the recent ministerial meeting?
  • One, lack of deliberation on the trade and economic front. The BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement, signed in 2004 remains unsuccessful even after 20 rounds of negotiations. A recent study by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry had suggested that BIMSTEC should aim for a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement to be a real game-changer.
  • Two, there is no effort from the BIMSEC leaders to expand their dialogue by involving the vibrant business communities.
What are the issues that are hampering the progressive development of BIMSTEC?

BIMSTEC has achieved much progress in the fields of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and security, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and coastal security cooperation.

Also, the academic and strategic community actively interact through the BIMSTEC Network of Policy Think Tanks. Despite these developments, some concern remains

  1. One, lack of cordial bilateral relations between its member states. For instance, India-Nepal, India-Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh-Myanmar ties are not good, due to political, economic, and social reasons.
  2. Two, uncertainties over SAARC impact the development of BIMSTEC. For instance, BIMSTEC members Nepal and Sri Lanka want a revival of the SAARC summit.
  3. Third, the growing influence of China in South Asia is another threat to BIMSTEC cooperation. For instance, a popular Bangladeshi scholar supported admitting China as a partner in BIMSTEC. However, India will not welcome this idea.
  4. Fourth, the ongoing military coup in Myanmar and popular protest against the military coup is a new practical challenge.
  5. Fifth, apathy towards holding regular annual summits. For instance, while most of the regional organisation (SCO, ASEAN, G20) were able to meet at a high political level even during the Pandemic, BIMSTEC leaders failed to meet.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, PUBLICTagged

IEVP or International Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IVEP) 2021

Read More
What is the News?

The Election Commission of India hosted the International Virtual Election Visitors Programme(IEVP) 2021.

About International Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IEVP) 2021:
  • The Election Commission of India(ECI) organized IEVP 2021.
  • Attended by: Election Management Bodies(EMBs)/ Organisations from 26 countries and three International Organisations attended it.
  • Focus of the programme: The programme aims to provide the participants with an overview of:
    • The large canvas of the Indian electoral process.
    • The ECI will take new initiatives on voter facilitation, transparency and accessibility of the electoral system.
    • ECI’s response to the changing needs of training and capacity building and New formats necessitated by COVID-19
    • insights into the elections underway in different states.
About Association of World Election Bodies(A-WEB):
  • Association of World Election Bodies(A-WEB) was established in 2013 in South Korea. It is the largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide.
  • Purpose: The purpose is to achieve sustainable democracy around the world.
  • Chaired by: India is currently chairing A-WEB for the 2019-21 term.
  • Members: At present A-WEB has 115 EMBs as Members & 16 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members.
    • ECI is very closely associated with the process of formation of A-WEB since 2011.
  • Secretariat: Seoul, South Korea.
  • Programmes: A-WEB undertakes Election Visitor and Observation Programmes in various countries. These programs aim to study various election management practices and share knowledge with other Member of EMBs.

Source: PIB

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged ,

Delhi CM to represent Delhi at “World Cities Cultural Forum”

Read More
What is the News?

The Delhi CM will represent Delhi and India at the World Cities Cultural Forum.

About World Cities Cultural Forum:
  • The World Cities Culture Forum got established in London in 2012. Eight cities are its member(London, New York City, Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris, Istanbul, Sydney and Johannesburg).
  • Organized by: It is an initiative of the Mayor of London. BOP Consulting, a specialist consulting firm, is organising and coordinating it.
  • Purpose: The forum provides a way for policymakers to share research and intelligence. Further, they can explore the vital role of culture in their future prosperity.
  • Participating Cities: The forum now has 43 participating member cities. Delhi has been invited this year, but it is not a part of member cities.
World Cities Cultural Forum Summit:
  • Each year, members of the World Cities Culture Forum meet at the World Cities Culture Summit.
  • The member cities host the summit on a rotating basis. Deputy Mayors for Culture and Heads of Culture from the member cities attend it.
  • The theme for 2021: The Future of Culture.
Publications by Forum:
  • World Cities Culture report: The forum publishes it in every three years. It contains data and details on innovative projects from cities across the world. The last report was published in 2018.
    • Delhi will now also be part of the World Cities Culture Report.
  • World Cities Culture Finance Report: It is the first comparative analysis of culture financing in world cities. It was first published in 2017. Further, the reports get updated annually.

Source: The Hindu


India participated in ‘World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021’

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

India-NATO alliance – Why India Should think About it?

Read More

Synopsis: India maintains a distance from the NATO alliance due to various reasons. However, it is not the right strategy to continue in the present scenario. India NATO alliance will be in line with India’s present policies.

Introduction
  • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 North American and European countries. Its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
  • India, as per its non-alignment strategy, still maintains a distance from the NATO alliance.
  • This stand is not in line with some steps taken by India
    • India is doing military exercises with countries like China and Pakistan.
    • India already has military engagements with many NATO members, such as the US, Britain, and France.

Then, why India cannot have a military alliance with NATO?

What are the arguments favouring India NATO Alliance?
  • Engagement with NATO could facilitate productive developments against terrorism, changing geopolitics, the evolving nature of military conflict, the role of emerging military technologies, and new military doctrines.
  • Further, it would be easier for India to deal with the military establishments of its 30 NATO member states.
  • On a bilateral front, each of the members of NATO can support in strengthening India’s national capabilities.
Why India didn’t give much attention to Join NATO?
  • First, India has viewed European Powers with suspicion. This mindset is due to India’s historical struggle against European powers-The France, Portuguese, Dutch.
  • Second, India’s reliance on Russia during the Cold War years due to the political divide between the west.
  • Third, after the end of the Cold War, the India-Europe tie could not be strengthened due to a lack of high-level political interest. This prevented India from taking full advantage of a re-emerging Europe.
What are the arguments against India NATO Alliance?
  1. First, the Idea of Non-alignment after the Cold War years has little relevance. For example, after the Cold War years, NATO built partnerships with many neutral and non-aligned states.
  2. Second, most of the NATO members are well-established partners of India. For example, India has military exchanges with many members of NATO — including the US, Britain, and France
  3. Third, for the European and NATO members to play any role in the Indo-Pacific, they need partners like India, Australia, and Japan.
  4. Fourth, if India wants to draw Russia into discussions on the Indo-Pacific then, engagement with NATO is significant. Because, NATO has regular consultations with both Russia and China.
  5. Fifth, Russia and China have intensive bilateral engagement with Europe, India cannot afford to miss out.
  6. Sixth, India’s worry that joining NATO will upset Russia-India relation is groundless. As engagement with Quad and a closer alliance with the US have already strained India-Russia relations. Further, deepening ties between China and Russia calls for India’s application of Strategic Autonomy.
What are the present issues in the NATO alliance?
  1. One, it is divided on how to share the military burden and balance between NATO and the EU’s willingness for an independent military role.
  2. Two, there is no convergence in decision-making in matters related to Russia, the Middle East, and China.
  3. Three, conflicts among NATO members have increased. For example, Greece and Turkey.
  4. Four, NATO’s recent adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have not been successful.

Way Forward

  • The present government efforts to end the prolonged political neglect of Europe is a significant improvement in building India-Europe ties. For example,
    • Deepening maritime partnership with France since 2018.
    • Joining the Franco-German Alliance for Multilateralism in 2019
  • Further India needs to strengthen this by joining NATO.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, PUBLICTagged

“E9 Initiative” to Accelerate Digital Learning

Read More

What is the News? The Minister of State for Education will attend a consultation meeting of Education Ministers of E9 countries called the E9 Initiative.

About the E9 Initiative:
  • Theme of the Meeting: “E9 initiative: Scaling up digital learning to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4”
  • This consultation meeting will be the 1st of the 3 phase process to co-create a Digital Learning initiative. Marginalized children and youth, especially girls, would be the target population.
  • The initiative will aim to accelerate recovery and advance the Sustainable Development Goal 4 agenda by driving rapid change in education systems.
  • The initiative will also focus on three of the 2020 Global Education Meeting priorities namely: (i) support to teachers; (ii) investment in skills and (iii) narrowing of the digital divide.
About E9 Partnership:
  • Launched in: 1993 at the UNESCO’s Education For All (EFA) Summit in New Delhi.
  • Member Countries: The United Nations is spearheading the initiative with nine countries namely Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
  • Purpose: The E9 forum aims to achieve the goals of UNESCO’s Education For All(EFA) initiative. It strengthens political will and collective effort to ensure quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • The forum represents over half of the world’s population and 70% of the world’s illiterate adults.
  • Significance: E-9 Initiative has become a forum for the countries to discuss their experiences related to education, exchange best practices, and monitor EFA-related progress.
About Education For All(EFA) Summit:
  • Education For All(EFA) is a global movement led by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) with the aim to meet the learning needs of all children, youth, and adults.
  • EFA was adopted by The Dakar Framework in 2000 at the World Education Forum in Senegal, Africa.

Source: PIB


Central Vista judgment: Issue of public participation in public projects

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

Relevance of BIMSTEC in the Present Scenario-Explained, Pointwise

Read More
Introduction

Recently the 17th Ministerial level meeting of the Bay of Bengal Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) took place in a virtual format. India committed to make BIMSTEC a stronger, vibrant and result-oriented grouping. So, it will help in strengthening regional cooperation among countries. Nonetheless, certain challenges have to be addressed to unleash the true potential of BIMSTEC.

Outcomes of the recent BIMSTEC meeting
  1. Sri Lanka Chaired the 17th Ministerial Meeting.
  2. During the recent meeting, the leaders agreed to adopt the BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity. They aimed to adopt this in the next BIMSTEC summit (5th) hosted by Sri Lanka. It will lead to better connectivity and integration in the region.
  3. Further, the BIMSTEC members also aim to sign 3 more agreements in the next summit. Such as,
    • Agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters
    • MoU on cooperation between diplomatic academies of member states
    • Memorandum of association for establishing a technology transfer facility in Colombo
About BIMSTEC
  1. BIMSTEC Stands for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. It is a regional organization founded in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  2. It is an international organization of seven nations of South Asia and Southeast Asia. All the members of the organization are lying in the littorals and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal. 
    • Members – Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, and Bhutan.
  3. Aim: To create an enabling environment for economic development; accelerate social progress and promote collaboration on matters of common interest in the region.
  4. Significance: Nearly 1.5 billion people or 22% of the global population comes under the BIMSTEC. Together, it has a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.7 trillion.
  5. Sectors: Currently, the organization is involved in 15 sectors. This includes sectors such as trade, technology, agriculture, tourism, fisheries, energy, and climate change among others for sectoral cooperation.
  6. First Summit: Bangkok, Thailand conducted the First BIMSTEC Summit Meeting in 2004.
  7. BIMSTEC not only connects South and Southeast Asia, but also the ecologies of the Great Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal.
Relevance of BIMSTEC in Present scenario
  1. Huge untapped potential: A study by Asian Development Bank has identified 167 projects within the BIMSTEC region that can boost connectivity. However, the grouping has to date only focused on 66 of them. The remaining have not yet received enough attention.
  2. Synergy with other regions: Better BIMSTEC connectivity can help to improve relations with other regions like south-east Asia. 
    • For instance, the BIMSTEC master plan will also promote synergy with other connectivity frameworks such as the ASEAN master plan on connectivity 2025.
  3. Tackling Security Challenges: Members of the grouping face several traditional and non-traditional security challenges. Enhanced cooperation can address them effectively. 
    • In this regard, National Security Advisors of member countries have met thrice since 2017. Further, the members are collaborating on controlling drug trafficking, facilitating intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism, coastal security, cybersecurity, etc. 
  4. Strategic location: The Bay region is a key transit route between the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. Therefore, BIMSTEC as a grouping can help in ensuring freedom of navigation in the waters. It can also help in harnessing and sharing the Bay’s natural wealth.
  5. Combating the web of uncertainties: The institution can help member states to tackle any future uncertainties. Especially like challenges in climate change, COVID-19 pandemic and balancing US-China relations, etc. 
Achievements of BIMSTEC
  1. The BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat was opened in 2014 in Dhaka. It helps in better management of regional issues.
  2. BIMSTEC Permanent Working Committee (BPWC) to deal with administrative and financial matters of the Secretariat was set up post the 4th Kathmandu summit of 2018.
  3. BIMSTEC convention on cooperation in combating international terrorism, transnational organised crime, and illicit drug trafficking has come into force in March 2021. It encourages data sharing and intelligence gathering on criminal activities.
Importance of BIMSTEC for India
  1. Development of North East: BIMSTEC can boost the development of the northeast region by providing greater interaction with Bangladesh and Myanmar. For instance, the master plan of connectivity includes the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and Kolkata-Siliguri-Guwahati-Imphal link.
  2. Alternative of SAARC: The persistent differences between India and Pakistan in the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have crippled the organisation. As BIMSTEC comprises similar members excluding Pakistan, it can improve greater cooperation in the region.
  3. Better cooperation with ASEAN: India has already come out of the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) agreement. As it may hinder India’s trade potential. Therefore, more robust cooperation with Thailand and Myanmar can help in resolving India – ASEAN differences and ensure better implementation of ‘Act East Policy’.
  4. Countering China: BIMSTEC can help in countering China’s Cheque Book diplomacy. Further, it can strengthen India’s position as a responsible regional power in the Indo-Pacific.
Challenges of BIMSTEC development
  1. Stalemate on Agreements: The Free Trade Agreement (FTA), coastal shipping agreement, and motor vehicle agreement have undergone numerous negotiations. But so far no consensus is developed over them.
  2. Priority to Bilateralism: The members of the organization focused primarily on enhancing bilateral ties, with multilateralism. This restricts the development of BIMSTEC despite having common ecological concerns and a shared past.
  3. Big brother attitude: Allegations are made on India for playing a dominant role in the organisation and neglecting the agendas of small states.
  4. Irregularity in working: The summits are not held at regular intervals. A slow pace is observed in working. For instance, it took almost 17 years to establish a permanent secretariat.
  5. Preference to other organisations: Countries like Myanmar and Thailand show more enthusiasm towards ASEAN and neglect the vision of BIMSTEC.
  6. Resource Deficit: Lack of adequate financial and manpower resources is impairing the performance of the body. Although, India is the largest contributor. India alone contributes about 32% of the annual budget of BIMSTEC.
Suggestions to improve BIMSTEC cooperation
  1. Member states should adopt the proposed agreements in the upcoming BIMSTEC summit. This will boost the confidence of the organisation.
  2. Further, the organisation has to develop consensus on long-pending agreements like the BIMSTEC coastal shipping agreement and motor vehicles’ agreement.
  3. Apart from that, the group has to move forward by doing ‘institutional hedging’. This means focusing on developing collective soft and hard power for the group. Thereby, it will protect individual interests and shape up a regional order.
  4. Also, The group should focus on facilitating tourism diplomacy, academic and student-exchange programmes, and cross-border public health initiatives. 
  5. India should project itself as a compatriot and an equal partner to other BIMSTEC member-countries. This will reduce the trust deficit and ensure better integration in the region.
  6. BIMSTEC members have to finalise the Visa Facilitation agreement expeditiously. This will help strengthen the interest of the common man in regional groupings. This is significant as a tide of protectionism is flowing across the world.
Conclusion

The year 2022 will mark the silver jubilee of the organization and would provide a symbolic opportunity to strengthen regional cooperation and multilateral ties. Considering this, India and other member states must work on 3Cs – cooperation, coordination, and collaboration that would unleash the true potential of BIMSTEC.

Posted in 7 PM, PUBLICTagged

India contributes $300,000 to “UN Women”

Read More

What is the News? India contributes USD 300,000 to the UN Women to support gender equality and women empowerment.

About UN Women:

  • UN Women is the United Nations entity, dedicated to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.
  • Headquarter: New York
  • Established in: 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly to accelerate the progress on meeting women’s needs worldwide.
  • UN Women formed by merging the four previously distinct parts of the UN system which are:
    • Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)
    • International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
    • Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)
    • United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
  • Objectives of UN Women:
    • To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women in their formulation of policies, global standards, and norms.
    • To help the Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
    • Furthermore, to hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality. It includes regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
  • Headquarters: New York, United States

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

“BIMSTEC” 17th Ministerial Meeting

Read More
What is the News?

India’s External Affairs Minister attended the 17th ministerial meet of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries.

About the 17th ministerial meet of the BIMSTEC
  • Sri Lanka Chaired the 17th Ministerial Meeting.
  • In meeting External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar, reiterated India’s commitment to take BIMSTEC forward.
About BIMSTEC:
  • It is a regional organization consisting of members from South Asia and South-East Asia. It was founded in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  • Objective: The organization aims to harness shared, accelerated growth through mutual cooperation on multiple areas of common interests. The members will achieve this by using regional resources and geographical advantage.
  • Members: It comprises seven Member States:
    • Five from South Asia including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka
    • Two from Southeast Asia including Myanmar and Thailand.
  • Chairmanship: BIMSTEC Chairmanship rotates among member countries (alphabetically).
  • Significance: Nearly 1.5 billion people or 22% of the global population comes under the BIMSTEC. Together, it has a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.7 trillion.
  • Sectors: Currently, it is involved in 15 sectors. This includes sectors such as trade, technology, agriculture, tourism, fisheries, energy, and climate change among others for sectoral cooperation.
  • First Summit: The First Summit Meeting of the Heads of the BIMSTEC Countries was held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2004.
  • Headquarters: Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

Global Wind Report 2021

Read More

What is the News?

The Global Wind Energy Council(GWEC) has released the Global Wind Report,2021.

About Global Wind Report:

  • The Global Wind Report highlights the role of wind power on the road to net-zero emissions.

Key Findings of the report:

  • Firstly, Wind Energy: The world’s capacity to generate electricity from wind jumped 53% in 2020. A total of 93 gigawatts (GW) capacity was installed in the year.
    • However, this growth is not sufficient for the world to reach a ‘net zero’ emission status by 2050. The world needs to install a minimum of 180 GW of new wind energy capacity every year.
  • Secondly, Current Global Wind Energy Capacity: At present, the world has a total wind energy capacity of 743 GW. This has helped avoid an annual CO2 emission of over 1.1 billion tonnes which is equivalent to the volume of carbon South America emits in a year.
  • Thirdly, China and the United States accounted for 75% of the new installations and over half the world’s wind power capacity.

India’s Wind Power Capacity:

  • Wind power generation capacity in India has significantly increased in recent years.
  • As of February 2021, India’s total installed wind power capacity was 38GW, the fourth largest installed wind power capacity in the world.

About Global Wind Energy Council(GWEC):

  • The Global Wind Energy Council(GEWC) was established in 2005. It provides a credible and representative forum for the entire wind energy sector at an international level.
  • Aim: Its mission is to establish wind power as one of the world’s leading energy sources, providing substantial environmental and economic benefits.
  • Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

Foreign Minister attends “Heart of Asia” Ministerial Conference

Read More
What is the News?

India’s Foreign Minister is attending the 9th ministerial conference of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

 About Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process:
  • Firstly, Heart of Asia Istanbul Process is a regional initiative of Afghanistan and the Republic of Turkey. It was launched in November 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Secondly, the process aims to promote economic and political cooperation for Afghanistan peace through dialogue and confidence-building measures (CBMs).
  • Thirdly, Composition: The platform comprises 15 participating countries, 17 supporting countries, and 12 supporting regional and international organizations.
    • India is one of the participating countries.
    • Other participating countries are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates
  • Fourthly, Pillars: The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process is based on three pillars:
    • Political Consultations to resolve disputes in the region and Afghanistan.
    • Implementation of the Confidence Building Measures(CBMs) and
    • Cooperation with Regional Organizations.
  • Fifthly, De facto Secretariat: The Directorate-General for Regional Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan.
  • Lastly, has India ever hosted the conference: India co-hosted the 6th Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Amritsar, Punjab in 2016.

Source: AIR

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

IMD launches “Climate Data Service Portal” on World Meteorological Day

Read More
What is the News?

India Meteorological Department(IMD) launches the Climate Data Service Portal on the occasion of World Meteorological Day.

About Climate Data Service Portal:
  • Aim: Climate Data Service Portal serves as an integrated platform that aims to provide weather and climate services to the users.
  • Developed by: India Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune
Components of the Climate Data Service Portal:

The major components of the portal are:

  • Real-Time monitoring of weather observations recorded by IMD Observatories.
  • Online access to meteorological data through Data Supply Portal.
  • Free download facility for Gridded Temperature and Rainfall Data of India.
  • Climatological Tables, Extremes and Normal.
  • Information on Monsoon Rainfall and Cyclone frequencies among others.
About India Meteorological Department (IMD):
  • India Meteorological Department (IMD) was established in 1875. It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting, and seismology.
About World Meteorological Organization(WMO):
  • Firstly, World Meteorological Organization(WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is responsible for promoting international cooperation in atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology, and geophysics.
  • Secondly, WMO originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO). The idea of IMO comes from the Vienna International Meteorological Congress, 1873.
  • Thirdly, WMO was then established by the ratification of the WMO convention in 1950. After that, the organization became a specialized agency of the United Nations(UN) in 1951.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
About World Meteorological Day:
  • World Meteorological Day is observed on March 23rd every year. It is observed to mark the establishment of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
  • The theme for 2021: The Ocean, Our Climate, and Weather.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

PM thanks “United Nations Institute for Training and Research(UNITAR)”

Read More
What is the News?

Recently the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) appreciated India’s progress in reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The Indian Prime Minister(PM) has thanked the UNITAR in return.

About United Nations Institute for Training and Research(UNITAR)
  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research(UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations system. It was founded in 1963.
  • Purpose: UNITAR provides training and learning services to individuals, organizations and institutions. The services of UNITAR aims to enhance global decision-making and support country-level action for shaping a better future.
  • Governance: UNITAR is operated as an autonomous body within the United Nations system. It is headed by an Executive Director and governed by a Board of Trustees. They are appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General.
  • Funding: UNITAR does not receive any funds from the United Nations budget. The institute is financed entirely from voluntary contributions. It receives contributions mainly from the UN Member States, other UN agencies, Intergovernmental organization, NGOs and the private sector.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
About United Nations University(UNU):
  • United Nations University(UNU) is the academic and research arm of the United Nations established in 1972.
  • Purpose: Its mission is to help resolve global issues related to human development and welfare through collaborative research and education.
  • Significance: Since 2010, UNU has been authorized by the UNGA to grant degrees, offering several masters and doctoral programs.
  • Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

“International Intellectual Property Index” 2021 Released

Read More
What is the News?

The International Intellectual Property Index,2021 has been released.

About International Intellectual Property Index:
  • It is an annual report that the US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Centre(GIPC) releases.
  • Aim: The aim of the index is to evaluate Intellectual Property rights in 53 global economies. These economies represent together over 90% of global GDP.
  • Parameters: It ranks countries based on 50 unique indicators. These indicators are divided across nine categories of protection: 1) Patents 2) copyrights 3) trademarks 4) design rights 5) trade secrets 6) commercialization of IP assets 7) enforcement 8) systemic efficiency and 9) membership and ratification of international treaties.
Key Findings Related to India:
  • India ranks 40 in the 2021 index among the 53 global economies. In 2020, India ranked 40 as well.
  • Among BRICS nations, India registered the second-highest growth with an overall improvement of over 13%,
Other Key Findings Globally:
  • Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the global IP environment continued to strengthen. In the 2021 report, 32 of the 53 economies had positive improvements in their scores.
  • Further, the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Japan are the top five economies on the IP Index in 2021.

Source: NDTV

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Science and Technology, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

India abstains in the “UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka”

Read More
What is the News?

India has abstained from a crucial vote on Sri Lanka’s human rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC).

About UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka:
  • Firstly, the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC) adopted a resolution titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka”.
  • Secondly, the resolution said that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka has deteriorated under the current administration. Further, the resolution also mentions that the rights defenders and ethnic and religious minorities are facing problems.
  • Further, the UNHRC resolution provides the UNHRC chief mandate to collect and preserve evidence of crimes related to Sri Lanka’s civil war. The Civil War ended in 2009 with the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels.
Was the Resolution adopted or rejected?
  • The UNHRC resolution was adopted after 22 states of the 47-member Council voted in its favor.
  • However, 11 countries including Bangladesh, China, and Pakistan voted against the resolution. On the other hand, 14 countries, including India, Indonesia, Japan, and Nepal abstained.
Sri Lanka’s Reaction:
  • Sri Lanka rejected the UNHRC resolution. It said that the resolution cannot be implemented without the consent and acceptance of the country concerned.
About UNHRC
  • The UNHRC is a United Nations body established in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  • Read more about UNHRC

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

India participated in ‘World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021’

Read More
What is the News?

Union Minister of Telecom has represented India at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021.

 About World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021(WSIS):
  • World Summit on the Information Society(WSIS) is one of the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community.
  • The UN General Assembly approved the holding of WSIS in two phases. One in 2003 at Geneva and the other in 2005 at Tunis.
  • Aim: WSIS’s chief aim is to bridge the global digital divide separating rich countries from poor countries. The WSIS aims to achieve this by increasing internet accessibility in the developing world.
  • Organized by: The summit is co-organized by International Telecommunication Union(ITU), UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD.
About International Telecommunication Union(ITU):
  • International Telecommunication Union(ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs.
  • It was originally established in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union. It is one of the oldest international organizations in operations.
  • Members: It is open to all Member States of the United Nations. There are currently 193 Member States of the ITU. This includes all the UN member states except the Republic of Palau.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Source: PIB

“India Telecom 2021” Event Inaugurated

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

India partnered with ‘United Nations Office for Project Services'(UNOPS)

Read More

What is the News?

The Ministry of Jal Shakti Ministry has entered a partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services(UNOPS) and the government of Denmark. The agreement aims to bring tap water connections to 11 water-scarce districts in Uttar Pradesh under the Jal Jeevan mission.

About United Nations Office for Project Services(UNOPS):

  • The United Nations Office for Project Services(UNOPS) was established in 1973 as part of the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP). It became an independent, self-financing organization in 1995.
  • Aim: It is dedicated to implementing projects for the United Nations System. Apart from that, UNOPS also help in project implementation of international financial institutions, governments and other partners around the world.
  • Significance: UNOPS is a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group(UNSDG).
  • The headquarters of the United Nations Office for Project Services is located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Click Here to Read about Jal Jeevan Mission

About United Nations Sustainable Development Group(UNSDG):

  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Group(UNSDG) was established in 1997. It was previously known as the United Nations Development Group (UNDG).
  • It is a consortium of 36 United Nations funds, programs, specialized agencies, departments and offices playing a role in development.
  • The UNSDG was created by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Furthermore, it is created with the intent to improve the effectiveness of United Nations development activities at the country level.
  • Headquarters: New York, United States

Click Here to Read about Jal Jeevan Mission(Urban)

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Military Direct releases “Ultimate military strength Index”.

Read More
What is the News?

A Defence Website Military Direct has released a study titled “Ultimate military strength Index”.

About Ultimate military strength index:
  • Firstly, the Ultimate military strength index ranks the strongest military forces in the world.
  • Secondly, the index calculated this after taking into consideration various factors. The factors include budgets, average salaries, number of inactive and active military personnel. The index also includes total air, sea, land, and nuclear resources and the weight of equipment.

Key Findings of Ultimate military strength index related to India:

  • India has the fourth strongest military force in the world.
  • India is the world’s third-biggest military spender. According to the index, India spends almost a budget of USD 71 billion.
Other Key Findings of the Ultimate military strength index:
  • Firstly, China has the strongest military force in the world. Despite the enormous military budget, the USA gets a second position. This is followed by Russia, India, and France.
  • Secondly, The US is the world’s biggest military spender with a budget of USD 732 billion per year. This is followed by China(USD 261 billion) and India.
  • Thirdly, based on the number of air, sea, land resources the Ultimate military strength index predicted a winner in terms of hypothetical conflicts.
  • Finally, the report predicts China would win by sea, the USA would win by air, and Russia by land in this hypothetical conflict.

Source: The Hindu

Dire need of Police reforms

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

United Nations SDSN publishes “World Happiness Report 2021”

Read More
What is the News?

World Happiness Report 2021 has been released. The report evaluated levels of happiness by accounting factors such as GDP, social support, personal freedom, and levels of corruption in each nation.

 About The World Happiness Report:
  • The World Happiness Report is an annual report published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network(SDSN).
  • The report ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.
  • The World Happiness Report 2021 focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared.

Parameters: The survey used the Gallup World Poll. The poll asked people to vote on three indicators:

  • Firstly, Life Evaluations: Under this, people were asked to evaluate their current life using the image of a ladder. The best possible life for them is rated at 10 and the worst possible at 0.
  • Secondly, Positive Emotions: Under this, respondents were asked whether they smiled or laughed a lot the previous day. An affirmative response is coded as a 1 while a negative response is coded as 0.
  • And lastly, Negative Emotions: Under this, people were asked whether they have experienced negative emotions such as worry, sadness, and anger a lot on the same day.
Key Findings Related to India:
  • India has been ranked 139 out of 149 countries in the World Happiness Report 2021.
  • In 2020, India was ranked 144 out of 156 countries.

Other Key Findings of the World Happiness Report 2021:

  • Finland ranked as the happiest country in the world for the fourth consecutive year.
  • It was followed by Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and Norway.
  • Afghanistan(149) is the most unhappy country. Zimbabwe (148), Rwanda (147), Botswana (146), and Lesotho (145) followed it.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

EU joins “CDRI or Coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure initiative”

Read More
What is the news?

The 27-member European Union joins the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) initiative.

About Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure(CDRI) Initiative:
  • Firstly, Prime Minister of India launched it in 2019 at the UN Climate Change Summit.
  • Secondly, it is a multi-stakeholder global partnership of national governments, UN agencies, multilateral development banks, private sector, academic and knowledge institutions.
  • Thirdly, it aims to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks. It also supports sustainable development.
  • Fourthly, Governing Council: The Governing Council is the highest policy-making body of the CDRI. It is co-chaired by India and a representative of another nation, nominated by rotation every two years.
  • Fifthly, funding: A large share of the fund over the first five years has been invested by India. There are no obligations on the part of members to make financial contributions to CDRI. However, at any point, members of the CDRI may make voluntary contributions.
  • Lastly, Secretariat: New Delhi, India.

Source: Livemint

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

“SIPRI Report” – India Remains the 2nd Largest Arms Importer

Read More
What is the news?

Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI) released a report titled “Trends in International Arms Transfers Report”. It presents global trends in arms exports and imports.

What are the key findings of the SIPRI report?

SIPRI Report on India:

  1. Second Largest Arms Importer: India remains the second largest arms importer after Saudi Arabia.
  2. Decrease in Arms Imports: However, India’s arms imports have decreased by 33 % between 2011-15 and 2016-20.
    • Reason: The decrease in arms imports is mainly due to complex and lengthy procurement processes. Also, India is attempting to reduce its dependence on Russian arms by diversifying its network of arms suppliers.
  3. India’s Arms Imports: India’s top three arms suppliers during 2016-20 were Russia (accounting for 49% of India’s imports), France (18%), and Israel (13%).
    • The US was the 4th largest arms supplier to India. Its imports to India reduced by 46% between 2016-20.
  4. India’s Arms Exports: India accounted for 0.2% of the share of global arms exports during 2016-20. It makes the country the world’s 24th largest exporter of major arms. Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius are the top recipients of Indian military hardware.
Other Global Findings of SIPRI report:
  • Firstly, the volume of international transfers of major arms in 2016–20 was 0.5% lower than in 2011–15 and 12% higher than in 2006–10.
  • Secondly, the five largest arms exporters in 2016–20 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany, and China.
  • Thirdly the five largest arms importers were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia, and China.
  • Lastly, the arms import by Pakistan between 2011–15 and 2016–20 decreased by 23%. China accounted for 61% of its imports in 2011–15 and for 74% in 2016–20.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

WHO Announced “Global Breast Cancer Initiative”

Read More

What is the News?

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced an initiative called the “Global Breast Cancer Initiative”.

About Global Breast Cancer Initiative:

  • Aim: The initiative aims to reduce global breast mortality by 2.5% by 2040.
  • The initiative will particularly focus on reducing deaths in low-income countries. There the progress to tackle the disease is relatively slow.
  • Key Features of the Initiative:
    • Guidance to Governments: Under the initiative, WHO will work with other UN agencies. They will provide guidance to governments on how to strengthen systems for diagnosing and treating breast cancer. It is expected to improve capacities to manage other types of cancer.
    • Evidence-based Technical Package: An evidence-based technical package will also be provided to countries as part of the initiative. It will incorporate existing WHO cancer tools and products.

About Breast Cancer:

  • Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. It is responsible for one in six cancer deaths among women and has overtaken lung cancer as the world’s most commonly diagnosed cancer.
  • Survival Rates: Breast cancer survives for five years after diagnosis exceeds 80% in most high-income countries. However, it is 66% in India and 40% in South Africa.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

“Index of Economic Freedom” 2021 released

Read More


What is the News?

The Heritage Foundation releases The Index of Economic Freedom 2021.

Key Findings of  Index of Economic Freedom 2021
  • India ranked 121st in the index with a score of 56.5 points under the category of ‘mostly unfree’.
  • In Asia-Pacific, India ranked 26th among the 40 countries.

Other Key Findings

  • Singapore tops the index followed by New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, and Ireland.
  • Hong Kong was left out of the 2021 index calculation for the first time. It is because of China’s increasing control over the city’s economic policies. Hong Kong topped the index for 25 out of 26 years except for 2020.
About Index of Economic Freedom
  • It is an annual index.  This index created in 1995 by think-tank The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.
  • Purpose: It measures the degree of economic freedom in countries across the world.
  • Coverage: The Index covered economic freedoms in 184 countries.

Parameters: The index measures 12 indicators grouped into four broad categories of economic freedom:

  • Rule of Law (property rights, government integrity, judicial effectiveness)
  • Government Size (government spending, tax burden, fiscal health)
  • Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom)
  • Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom).

Each of these twelve economic freedoms within these categories is graded on a scale of 0 to 100. Score 0 is the least economic freedom and score 100 is the highest economic freedom.

Source: Business Standard

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

PM received “Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award”

Read More

What is the News?

The Prime Minister received the Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award.

Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award:

  • Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award was instituted in 2016.
  • Awarded by: the Cambridge Energy Research Associates Week (CERAWeek).
  • Purpose: The Global Energy and Environment Leadership award recognize the commitment of leadership to the future of global energy and the environment. Awarded for: Providing solutions and policies for energy access, affordability, and environmental stewardship.

CERAWeek:

  • It was founded in 1983 by Daniel Yergin. It is an annual energy conference organized by the information and insights company IHS Markit in Houston, US.
  • The conference provides a platform for discussion on a range of energy-related topics.

Source: The Hindu

Knowledge Economy in India

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

WHO released “World Report on Hearing”

Read More


What is the news?

The World Health Organization(WHO) releases its first-ever World Report on Hearing. This report released on World Hearing Day (observed on 3rd March).

About World Report on Hearing:
  • The report has been developed in response to the World Health Assembly resolution adopted in 2017. The resolution aims to provide guidance for the Member States to integrate ear and hearing care into their national health plans.
  • Purpose: The report presents data on hearing loss. It outlines available cost-effective solutions to prevent hearing loss.
Key Findings of World Report on Hearing:
  • Around 5% of the world population (430 million people) suffers from disabling hearing loss. Further, one-third of people above 65 years of age affected by hearing loss.
  • Nearly 2.5 billion people (1 in 4 people) will be living with some degree of hearing loss by 2050. At least 700 million of these people will require access to ear and hearing care and other rehabilitation services unless governments start preventive actions.
Suggestions by World Report on Hearing

The World Report on Hearing mentions the acronym “H.E.A.R.I.N.G.”. Stands for:

  • Hearing screening and intervention
  • Ear disease prevention and management
  • Access to technologies
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Improved communication
  • Noise reduction and
  • Greater community engagement

The report suggested governments can provide access to quality ear and hearing care to everyone through this “H.E.A.R.I.N.G.” initiative.

India specific findings of World Report on Hearing:
  • Disabling hearing loss has affected 2.9% of the Indian population. Further, hearing loss will affect communication, education and work-related problems for them.
  • Over 27,000 children are born deaf every year in India. This is because hearing impairment or loss is often neglected or in most cases, the diagnosis is delayed.
  • According to a 2018 WHO report, 2% of India’s population, mainly children, suffer from the condition of Otitis Media.
    • Otitis media is an infection in the middle ear. It can occur as a result of a cold, sore throat, or respiratory infection.

Indian initiative towards improving ear and hearing care:

The Indian government is implementing a National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness. The salient points about the programme are,

  • Nodal Ministry: It was launched in 2006 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Objectives: The program aims:
    • To prevent the avoidable hearing loss on account of disease or injury.
    • Early identification, diagnosis and treatment of ear problems responsible for hearing loss and deafness.
    • To develop institutional capacity for ear care services by providing support for equipment and material and training personnel.
  • Funding: The programme is funded completely by the Government of India.
  • Target: The programme aims to target over 6% of India’s population with Disabling Hearing Loss.

Source: WHO

Judiciary news and updates

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Polity and Nation, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

UNEP releases “Food Waste Index Report 2021”

Read More


What is the news?

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) releases the Food Waste Index Report 2021.

About Food Waste Index Report, 2021:
  • Aim: The Report aims at supporting the goals of SDG 12.3. It does so by presenting the most comprehensive food waste data collection and analysis.
    • SDG Target 12.3: It aims to halve global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses, including post-harvest losses, along supply chains by 2030.
Key Findings of the report:
  1. Food Waste: An estimated 17% (931 million tonnes) of total global food production was wasted in 2019. Among them, 61% of the global waste came from households, 26% from food service and 13% from retail.
  2. Food Wastes across income groups: Household per capita food waste generation is broadly similar across country income groups. It suggests that action on food waste is equally relevant in high, upper‐middle and lower-middle-income countries.
  3. Hunger Across the World: In 2019, some 690 million people were impacted by hunger and three billion were unable to afford a healthy diet.
Impact of Food Waste:
  • Environment Impact: Around 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed.
  • Economic Impact: Food loss and waste cause about $940 billion per year in economic losses.

Suggestions for Reducing Food Waste:

  • Include Food Waste in NDC’s: None of the Nationally Determined Contributions(NDCs) to the Paris Agreement mention food waste and only 11 countries mentions food loss. Hence, countries can raise climate ambition by including food systems in their NDCs.
About Food Systems Summit:
  • UN Secretary-General will convene the Food Systems Summit in 2021. It is part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
  • Purpose: The Summit will launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs. Each of the actions relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food systems.

Source: Down To Earth

Download: UPSC Previous Year’s Question Papers ( PYQ ) Prelims & Mains

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

Ranking of Indian Universities in “QS World University Rankings 2021”

Read More

What is the News?

The QS World University Rankings 2021 released.

About QS World University Rankings 2021

  • Released by: Global higher education consultancy Quacquarelli Symonds releases annually.
  • Parameters: It calculates the performance of the universities based on the following four parameters:
    1. Academic reputation
    2. Employer reputation
    3. Research impact (citations per paper)
    4. Productivity of an institution’s research faculty
  • Subjects Covered: It covers a total of 51 disciplines grouped into five broad subject areas: 1) Arts & Humanities 2) Engineering and Technology 3) Life Sciences & Medicine 4) Natural Sciences and 5) Social Sciences & Management.

Key Findings Related to India:

  1. Twelve Indian universities and higher education institutions have achieved top-100 positions in their subject. In total, 25 Indian programs have achieved top-100 positions – two fewer than in 2020.
  2. The top-ranked Indian programme globally is the IIT Madras petroleum engineering program. It is followed by mineral and mining engineering at Bombay and Kharagpur IITs.
  3. Engineering and Technology: Only three institutions made it to the top 100 in this category — the Bombay, Delhi, and Madras IITs. In 2020, 5 institutions were ranked in the top 100.
  4. Social Sciences and management: the University of Delhi is the highest-ranked Indian institution in this category. But it fell 48 places at 208.
  5. Life Sciences and Medicine: All India Institute of Medical Sciences remained the only institution in the top 300 in this category.
  6. Natural Sciences: Indian Institute of Science(IISc) has entered into the top 100 in this category.
  7. Arts & Humanities: Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) anthropology program has been ranked 159th in this category.
  8. Private Institute: OP Jindal Global University is the only Indian private institution in the top 100 list. It entered into the top 100 law schools of the world with a rank of 76.

Source: The Hindu

 

[Answered]What is good governance? Discuss recent findings of Good Governance Index report in India. Suggest some measures to improve the governance in Indians states.

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Polity and Nation, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

“Freedom in the World 2021 Report” Downgrades India’s Ranking

Read More

What is the News? 

Freedom House releases the report titled “Freedom in the World 2021 – Democracy under Siege”. Freedom House is a US-based Human rights watchdog.

About Freedom in the World 2021 Report:

  • Freedom in the World is an annual global report that tracks political rights and civil liberties. The report has been produced since 1973.
  • Methodology: The report’s methodology is derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN General Assembly adopted the declaration in 1948.
  • The report assesses the individual’s real-world rights and freedoms. It doesn’t focus on governments or government performance in Human Rights.
  • Countries: The 2021 edition covers developments in 195 countries and 15 territories from January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
  • Parameters: The countries are awarded scores based on:
    • Political rights indicators such as the electoral process, political pluralism and participation, and government functioning.
    • Civil liberties indicators are related to freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, the rule of law and personal autonomy, and individual rights.
  • Categories: These two score totals are then weighted equally to determine a country/territory’s status of a) Free b) Partly Free or c) Not Free. Countries are ranked from 1 to 100, 100 being the ranking for the freest country.

Key Findings Related to India:

  • India’s rank has fallen from 83 to 88 out of 195 countries and 15 territories.
  • India’s score decreased from 71 to 67.
  • India’s status has been downgraded from ‘Free’ to ‘Partly Free’.

Why has India’s status been downgraded? The report has highlighted the following reasons for the downgrade:

  • Use of the sedition law and other charges in recent years to deter free speech
  • Government’s coronavirus response including the lockdown.
  • The migrant crisis and violent and discriminatory enforcement by police and civilian vigilantes
  • Attack on Minorities
  • The decrease in Judicial Independence among others.

Other key Findings Related to India:

  • Kashmir: The Freedom House report has listed “Indian Kashmir” separately and retained its status as last year of “not free”. The score fell from 28 to 27.
  • Internet Freedom in India: India’s Internet Freedom Score has stayed at 51. However, the report has stated that Internet freedom in India has declined dramatically for a third straight year. It is due to reasons like Internet shutdowns, blocked content, misinformation spread by political leaders, online harassment among others.

Other Key Findings Globally:

  • There is a decline in global democracy over the last 15 years. Nearly 75% of the world’s population lived in a country that faced deterioration over the last year.
  • Finland, Norway, and Sweden are the most free countries in the world, with a score of 100. While the least free countries are Tibet and Syria, with a score of 1.

Source: The Hindu

Freedom In The World 2020 Report

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged ,

Pakistan Remains on FATF’s Grey list

Read More

Synopsis: Pakistan avoided the blacklist in the recent FATF meeting. However, it has to do more, to come out of the grey list of FATF.

Introduction: 

The recent Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting has once again decided to keep Pakistan in their grey list of countries under “increased monitoring”.

Further, the FATF ruled out the option of placing Pakistan on blacklist like Iran and North Korea. It is because Pakistan made some progress on its commitments to FATF. Further, the FATF also provided a 3-month time limit to Pakistan for fulfilling its remaining commitments.

Pakistan’s progress under FATF grey list:

  1. Pakistan was removed from the Financial Action Task Force lists in 2015. But in 2018, it was again put on the list. Pakistan was provided with a 27-point action list to fulfill, to come out of the FATF grey list.
  2. FATF President Marcus Pleyer acknowledged Pakistan’s “significant progress”. However, He further mentioned that Pakistan fulfilled 3 points on the list only partially. Notably, 3 of them in the area of curbing terror financing. The FATF mentions the few important areas of non-compliance such as,
    • Demonstrating terror-funding prosecution is accurate, effective, and dissuasive
    • Implementing financial sanctions against all terrorists designated by the UN Security Council. This includes LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, JeM chief Masood Azhar and those who belong to al-Qaeda.

India’s relations with Pakistan

Since 2016, political, trade, cultural ties between Pakistan and India are minimal. But recently the recent decision of Directors General of Military Operations (DGMO’s)  to strictly observe the ceasefire agreement, is a great first step.

The move indicates more dialogues are possible between both countries. But the success of dialogues also depends upon Pakistan’s compliance with other points in the 27 point action list. Such as

    • Successfully prosecuting terrorists and terror financiers.
    • Addressing cross-border terror that emanates from Pakistan.

Conclusion

India Pakistan relations may progress by fulfilling Pakistan’s commitment to the FATF action list. Because these actions also address India’s main grievance with Pakistan on State-sponsored terrorism.

 

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, PUBLICTagged ,

5th edition of “Asia Economic Dialogue” held

Read More

What is the News?

The 5th edition of the Asia Economic Dialogue(AED) held virtually.

 About Asia Economic Dialogue(AED):

  • Asia Economic Dialogue(AED) is the flagship geo-economics conference of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs(MEA).
  • The dialogue focuses on trade and finance dynamics in Asia and its extended neighbourhood.

AED 2021:

  • It is jointly organized by the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) and Pune International Centre (PIC).
  • Theme: “Post Covid-19 Global Trade and Finance Dynamics”.
  • Focus: The dialogue focuses on the pandemic’s impact on trade and finance, on the world, and on Asia in particular. It also discusses strategies to deal with this impact.

Source: The Hindu

“3rd Quad meeting” Focussed on rules-based world order

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

World bank Released “Education Finance Watch(EFW) Report” 2021

Read More

What is the News?

The World Bank and UNESCO released the Education Finance Watch Report (EFW), 2021.

About the Education Finance Watch Report:

  • The report is a collaborative effort between the World Bank and UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report.
  • It summarizes the available information on patterns and trends in education financing around the world.

Key Findings of the Education Finance Watch Report:

  • Global spending on education has increased continuously in absolute terms over the last 10 years. However, the pandemic may interrupt this upward trend.
  • Education Budgets: 2/3rd of low and middle-income countries reduced their education budgets since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. In comparison, only a third of upper-middle and high-income countries have reduced their budgets.
  • Spending on Child’s Education: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, high-income countries were spending annually the equivalent of $8,501 for every child’s education. It was $48 in low-income countries. The pandemic has further widened this spending gap.
  • Access to education has improved in low and middle-income countries. However, the learning poverty rate (the proportion of 10-year-olds unable to read a short, age-appropriate text) was at around 53%. It was only 9% for high-income countries. This has increased further to 63% after COVID-19-related school closures.

Global Education Monitoring Report(GEM Report):

  • Published by: It is an annual report published by UNESCO. The report was formerly known as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report.
  • Mandate: The report aims to monitor progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education. It also targets education-related goals in the SDG agenda.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

COVAX program

Read More

What is the News?

Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive a shipment of coronavirus vaccines under the COVAX program.

What is the COVAX program?

  • The COVAX program is led by the vaccine alliance GAVI, the World Health Organisation(WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations(CEPI). The COVAX program is in partnership with UNICEF, vaccine manufacturers and the World Bank.
  • Aim: The COVAX program aims to ensure rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all the countries around the world.
  • The COVAX program forms a key part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools(ACT) Accelerator.
  • Target: To vaccinate roughly 20% of the population in the 92 Advance Market Commitment (AMC) countries. This includes middle and lower-income nations that cannot afford to pay for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Process of Vaccination: Once the vaccines receive approval, the vaccines will be bought by the COVAX facility. The COVAX facility will then try to provide it to the 20% population of each of the eligible countries at free of cost.
  • Funding: The funding target for this program for 2021 is about the US $6.8 billion. The funding is partly coming from high and middle-income countries that will also receive a share of the vaccines produced for COVAX.

ACT Accelerator

  • It is a framework that was set up in response to a call from G20 Leaders in 2020. ACT Accelerator was launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020.
  • Goal: To end the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible. The ACT Accelerator aim to achieve this by reducing COVID-19 mortality and controlling the severe disease spread. This will be targeted through the accelerated development, equitable allocation and scaled-up delivery of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.
  • Pillars of ACT Accelerator: The Accelerator comprises four pillars:
    • Diagnostics
    • Treatment
    • Vaccines (also known as COVAX)
    • Health system strengthening.
  • Significance: ACT accelerator is not a legal or decision-making entity. Instead, it has been set up as a support structure. It will help in the working of the delivery partners and facilitate knowledge sharing among them.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, Factly: Science and Technology, PUBLICTagged , ,

India hosts meeting of “BRICS finance and central bank Meeting” 2021

Read More

What is the News?

India has virtually hosted the BRICS Finance and the central bank meeting.

BRICS Finance and the central bank Meeting:

  • It was the first meeting on the BRICS Financial Cooperation held under India’s Chair.
  • The meeting was co-chaired by the Secretary, Department of economic affairs, Ministry of finance, and Deputy governor, Reserve Bank of India(RBI).
  • Other participants in the meeting included BRICS finance and central bank deputies of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.

Issues discussed during the meeting:

  • During the meeting, India has discussed issues such as:
    1. Global Economic Outlook and Response to COVID-19
    2. Social Infrastructure Financing and Use of Digital Technologies
    3. New Development Bank(NDB) Activities
    4. Fintech for SME and Financial Inclusion,
    5. BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA).

Click Here to Read about BRICS

 BRICS chairmanship for 2021:

  • India has assumed the chairmanship for BRICS in 2021. It is the year in which BRICS is celebrating its 15th anniversary.
  • Theme: BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation

BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement(CRA)

  • Established in: It was established in 2015 as a part of the Fortaleza Declaration at the Sixth BRICS summit.
  • Aim: It aims to provide short-term liquidity support to the members through currency swaps. It will help to mitigate the Balance of Payment(BOP) crisis situations in case such a situation arises.
  • Other objectives:
    • It will help member countries to forestall short-term liquidity pressures,
    • Moreover, it will provide mutual support and further strengthen financial stability.
    • It would also contribute to strengthening the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements (from IMF) as an additional line of defence.

Source: PIB

[Answered] “BRICS is becoming a magnet for many emerging economies.” In light of this discuss the significance of BRICS as a pillar of the emerging, fairer poly-centric world order.

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

Sri Lanka looking for Indian Support ahead “46th Session of UNHRC”

Read More

What is the News?

46th session of the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) will start next week. Sri Lanka has officially sought India’s support for its nation’s rights and accountability record.

About past UNHRC resolution

  • In 2015, UNHRC had adopted a resolution on accountability for the alleged human rights violations during the Sri Lankan civil war.
  • The resolution was adopted against the accusation of killing at least 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan army. This 37-year guerrilla war ended in May 2009.
  • The resolution had called upon Sri Lanka to establish a credible judicial process. This process requires the participation of the Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorised prosecutors and investigators to look into the alleged rights abuses.
  • However, the current Sri Lankan government has officially withdrawn from the resolution.

Present Status:

  • During the 46th UNHRC session in Geneva, Sri Lanka’s record in human rights and related accountability will be probed.
  • It is expected that a tougher resolution will be passed. This resolution may call for action against Sri Lanka.

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

  • The UNHRC is a United Nations body established in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  • Aim: To promote and protect human rights around the globe. Apart from that, the UNHRC also investigates alleged human rights violations in countries.
  • Members: The council has 47 members elected for a 3-year term.
  • Meeting: The members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Resolutions: The UNHRC resolutions are not legally binding but carry moral significance.

Click Here to Read more about UNHRC

 Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

United Nations Capital Development Fund UNCDF

Read More

What is the news?

Indian-origin investment and development banker Preeti Sinha is appointed as Executive Secretary of UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

 UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF):

  • It was established by the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) in 1966.
  • Mandate: To provide microfinance access to Least Developed Countries (LDCs). It will unlock the full potential of public and private finance in these countries.
  • Funding: UNCDF is an autonomous, voluntarily funded UN organization affiliated with UNDP. Its funding comes from UN member states, foundations, and the private sector.
  • Headquarters: New York, United States.
  • Financing Model: UNCDF’s financing models work through two channels:
    • Financial Inclusion: It expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small businesses to participate in the local economy. Moreover, it provides them with the tools to climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives.
    • Localised Investments: It shows how fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion and sustainable development.

Source: Business Standard

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged

“3rd Quad meeting” Focussed on rules-based world order

Read More

What is the News?

The 3rd Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) meeting of the foreign ministers of India, Australia, Japan, and the USA held virtually. This is the third such meeting since 2019 when the Quad was upgraded to the ministerial level.

Focus of the meeting: The QUAD meeting focussed on issues such as countering disinformation, counter-terrorism, maritime security. It also set the priority of strengthening democratic resilience in the broader region.

Key highlights of the QUAD meeting:

  • On Covid-19: The ministers discussed efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic including vaccination programs. They also agreed to cooperate on enhancing access to affordable vaccines, medicines, and medical equipment.
  • On Myanmar: The Indian and the US statement reflected the difference in the approach to the military coup in Myanmar:
    • The US asked for an urgent need to restore the democratically elected government in Myanmar. It also referred to Myanmar as Burma, the name it stopped using since the 1989 military coup in Myanmar.
    • On the other hand, India adopted a more cautious approach. It emphasized on upholding of rule of law and the democratic transition.

About Quad Group

Read More About Quad

  • It is the strategic dialogue between four countries viz. India, United States, Japan, and Australia.
  • Origin:
    • The grouping traces its genesis to 2004, when the four countries came together to coordinate relief operations in the aftermath of the tsunami.
    • However, the idea of Quad was initiated in 2007 by the Japanese Prime Minister.  But it was dropped with the withdrawal of Australia. It was later revived in the year 2017.
  • Objective: It is viewed as a group of four democracies. They have a shared objective to ensure and support a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
  • The foundation of Quad is also based on collective effort and shared commitment to counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief, maritime security cooperation, development finance, and cybersecurity.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged , ,

India to gift 2 lakh vaccine doses to ‘UN peacekeeping forces’

Read More

What is the News?

India has announced a gift of 2,00,000 doses of vaccine to the UN Peacekeeping Forces.

About United Nations Peacekeeping forces:

  • It was created in 1948. They are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets
  • Purpose: It provides security, political, and peacebuilding support to countries under conflicts. It helps countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.
  • Principles: They are guided by three basic principles:
    • Consent of the parties
    • Impartiality
    • Non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate.
  • Authorised by: Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the UN Security Council.
  • Peacekeeping forces: Member states contribute their manpower for Peacekeeping forces on a voluntary basis.
  • Funding: The financial resources of UN Peacekeeping operations are the collective responsibility of UN Member States. Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share for peacekeeping.

India and the UN Peacekeeping forces:

  • India is consistently among the top troop-contributing nations to the UN. At present, 5,424 personnel of India are serving in eight countries. It is currently the fifth-largest contribution.
  • India’s contribution to the regular budget is 0.83% and 0.16% of the peacekeeping budget.

Other Countries Contributions:

  • The US has never contributed ground troops. But it contributes 27% of the U.N. peacekeeping budget.
  • China currently contributes over 2,500 troops in various UN missions. It provides for 12% of the UN’s regular general budget and 15% of the peacekeeping budget.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

‘ICC ruling’ over Palestinian Territories

Read More

Synopsis: The recent ICC (International Criminal Court) ruling allows it to prosecute war crimes in Palestinian Territories. The ruling is welcomed by Palestine but criticized by the U.S. and Israel.

Background: 

  • Israel had been accused of committing atrocities in Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967.
  • Palestine joined the ICC in 2015 but remained silent towards the atrocities during the Trump administration. It was because it didn’t want to end U.S. aid towards Palestinian Territories.  
  • It is notable that the US Congress was allowed to freeze US Aid in Palestinian territory if Palestine pursues its own legal matters.
  • The change of administration in the U.S. allowed it to be more focal in the ICC. The recent February 2021 ruling of ICC is a result of this changed stance. 

About the Ruling:

  • It allows the ICC to investigate persons committing war crimes in the Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • However, there is no possibility of immediate investigations, even on the cases already filed in front of ICC.
International Criminal Court:

  • It is the only court in the world to try individuals for international crimes.
  • It is headquartered in Haque, Netherlands.
  • Not only that, but it is empowered to try crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.
  • A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war which includes intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torturing, destroying civilian property among others.

Significance of Judgement:

  • It will ensure accountability and justice delivery in the region.
  • It will ensure that individuals and militant groups like Hamas are subjected to international law. Furthermore, it will impose adequate criminal responsibility on them.  

The response of various countries:

  • Palestine: It welcomed the judgement as a step towards correcting past injustices suffered by the country since the 1967 occupation of Israel.
  • Israel: It criticised the judgement of being Anti-Semitic and accused the court of ignoring atrocities done by Iran and Syria in the region.
  • US: It objected against the judgement and reminded that Israel was not a member of the ICC.
  • India: It has refrained from commenting on the judgement based on its geopolitical interest as both Palestine and Israel share a good bond with it.   

ICC has said that any future conduct would be based on a thorough examination of judgement based on principles of impartiality and objectivity.

 

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, PUBLICTagged ,

“International Criminal Court (ICC)” has jurisdiction in Palestinian Territories

Read More

What is the News?
The International Criminal Court has said that it has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the Palestinian Territories.

About ICC:

  • It is the world’s first permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). It was created by the 1998 Rome Statute and entered into force on July 1,2002.
  • Furthermore, it was created on the principle of complementarity. It is only intended to complement existing national judicial systems. Therefore, it may exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals.
  • Headquarters: Hague, Netherlands.

Jurisdiction

The Rome Statute grants the ICC jurisdiction over four main crimes:

  1. Crime of Genocide: Acts committed with intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.
  2. Crimes against Humanity: A large-scale attack against any civilian population.
  3. War crimes: These are grave breaches of the Geneva conventions in the context of armed conflict.
  4. Crime of Aggression: It is the use of armed force of a State against the sovereignty, integrity or independence of another State.

How is it related to the United Nations?

  • ICC is not part of the UN. It was established by the Rome Statute. This treaty was negotiated within the UN. However, it created an independent judicial body distinct from the UN.

Territorial Jurisdiction:

  • The ICC lacks universal territorial jurisdiction. It may only investigate and prosecute crimes committed within the Member States or by nationals of member states. It also investigates the crimes referred to it, by the United Nations Security Council.

Who are Member Parties of ICC?

  • To become a member of the ICC, States need to become a party to the Rome Statute. As of December 2020, there are 123 ICC member countries.
  • 42 countries including India have not signed the Rome Statute.
  • India is not a signatory to the Rome Statute and hence is not a member of the ICC. India did not sign the statute because of reasons such as state sovereignty, national interests, difficulty in collection of evidence, problem to find impartial prosecutors and definition of crime.

Funding:

  • The Court is funded by contributions from the States Parties. Funds also come from voluntary contributions of governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

Limitations of ICC:

  • The ICC court has no retrospective jurisdiction. It can deal only with crimes committed after 1 July 2002 when the 1998 Rome Statute came into force.
  • ICC cannot impose a death sentence; it can impose lengthy terms of imprisonment of up to 30 years of life. However, it depends upon the gravity of the cases.
  • ICC does not have its own police force or enforcement body. Thus, it relies on cooperation with countries worldwide, for support.
  • The Court also has no jurisdiction with respect to any person who was under the age of 18 when the crimes concerned were committed.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

CFS endorses Voluntary guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition

Read More

What is the News?

The UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has endorsed the first-ever Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition(VGFSyN).

About the guidelines:

  • These guidelines will support countries in their efforts to eradicate all forms of hunger and malnutrition.
  • It will utilize a comprehensive food systems approach for this aim. It will be built upon the existing work and mandate of other international bodies. For example, the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition(2016-2025) and Sustainable Development Goal (2) of ‘Zero Hunger’.

These guidelines are framed around 7 Focus areas:

  1. Governance, which is Transparent, democratic, and accountable.
  2. Sustainable food supply chains to achieve healthy diets.
  3. Equal and equitable access to healthy diets.
  4. Food safety.
  5. People-centred nutrition knowledge, education, and information.
  6. Gender equality and women’s empowerment across food systems.
  7. Resilient food systems in humanitarian contexts.

Significance of the guidelines:

  • Guidelines call for the realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security for all. Its particular focus is on the most vulnerable and affected groups.
  • They focus on policy planning and governance so that food systems can be made more resilient and responsive. The food system will be mould in accordance with the needs of consumers and producers too, especially small and marginal farmers.

Committee on World Food Security(CFS):

  • It was established in 1974 as an intergovernmental body. It serves as a forum in the United Nations System for review and follow-up of policies concerning world food security including production and physical and economic access to food.
  • Secretariat: It has a permanent Secretariat. It is located in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy,
  • Reports to: The Committee reports to the UN General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to FAO Conference.
  • Funding: It receives its core funding equally from The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and The World Food Programme (WFP).

Source: Down To Earth

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

US decides to rejoin “UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)”

Read More

What is the News?
The US President has decided to rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The moves come after the former US President had withdrawn from the global body three years ago.

Facts:

 United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

  • The UNHRC is a United Nations body established in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  • Aim: To promote and protect human rights around the globe. Apart from that, the UNHRC also investigate alleged human rights violations in countries.
  • Members: The council has 47 members elected for a 3-year term. 5 Regional groups elect these 47 members.
    • Five regional groups for membership: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Western Europe and Eastern Europe.
  • Duration: The members are elected for a period of three years. Each member can hold office for a maximum of two consecutive terms.
  • Meeting: The members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues. In addition to that, the commission also passes non-binding resolutions and recommendations by majority vote.
  • Working: The UNHRC works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights(OHCHR). The commission also engages in the UN’s special procedures.
    • UN’s Special Procedures of Human Rights Council: These are independent human rights experts. They have the mandate to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective.
  • Universal Periodic Review(UPR): The council also carries out the Universal Periodic Review of all UN member states. This allows civil society groups to bring accusations of human rights violations in member states to the attention of the UN.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Resolutions: The UNHRC resolutions are not legally binding but carry moral significance.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

EIU’s “Democracy Index” – India at 53rd position

Read More

What is the News?

The Economist Intelligence Unit(EIU) has released the Democracy Index, 2020. In that, India dropped two places and currently at 53rd position.

Facts:

Democracy Index 2020:

  • It was started in 2006 by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The index provides a clear image of the status of democracy worldwide in 167 countries.
  • Categories: The index is based on five categories :
    • Civil liberties,
    • Electoral process and pluralism;
    • Functioning of government;
    • Political participation;
    • Political culture.
  • Classification: Each country will be provided with a score of 0 to 10. These scores are decided based on the 60 indicators within the five categories. Based on their scores, each country is then classified into any one of the four types of regime. Such as,
    • full democracy,
    • flawed democracy,
    • hybrid regime,
    • authoritarian regime.

Findings Related to India:

  • India has dropped two places and India’s score was 6.61. Currently, India was in 53rd position in 2020. This is due to,
    • A lapse in democratic processes among authorities.
    • Suppressive actions by the government on civil liberties.
  • India has been classified as a ‘flawed democracy’ along with countries such as the US, France, Belgium and Brazil.
  • However, India’s rank was higher than most of its neighbouring countries, such as Sri Lanka (68), Bangladesh (76), Bhutan (84) and Pakistan (105).

What is “Flawed Democracy” country?

These are the countries which hold free and fair elections and respect the basic civil liberties. But they have notable weaknesses with regards to democracy. Such as an underdeveloped political culture, problems in governance and low levels of political participation.

Other Findings:

  • Topped by: Norway has topped the index followed by Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Polity and Nation, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

World Economic Forum launches “EDISON Alliance”

Read More

What is the News?
The World Economic Forum has announced the launch of an Essential Digital Infrastructure and Services Network(EDISON) Alliance.

About Essential Digital Infrastructure and Services Network(EDISON) Alliance:

  • Aim: To work towards ensuring global and equitable access to the digital economy.
  • How will it ensure equitable access to the digital economy? The alliance will work with governments and industries. It will accelerate digital inclusion and will ensure cross-sectoral collaboration between the technology industry and other critical sectors of the economy.
  • Advisory Board: An expert group of Champions Leaders board will advise and support the Alliance. The board will be chaired by Verizon’s Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg.
  • Secretariat: The World Economic Forum (WEF) will serve as the secretariat and platform for the Alliance.

What was the need of the alliance?

  • Access to digital technologies has enabled many to work, learn and live during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • However, the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated existing digital gaps and inequalities in the global population.
  • Some 3.6 billion people remain offline and broadband services are too expensive for 50% of the population in developed countries. This hampers access to health, education, and economic inclusion.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

World Economic Forum launches “Global artificial intelligence alliance”

Read More

What is the News?
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched the Global AI Action Alliance (GAIA).

About the alliance:

  1. GAIA: It is a multi-stakeholder collaboration platform. It has been designed to accelerate the adoption of inclusive, transparent, and trusted artificial intelligence tools globally and in industry sectors.
  2. Members: The alliance is consisting of over 100 leading companies, governments, international organizations, non-profits, and academics. They all are committed to maximizing AI’s societal benefits while minimizing its risks.
  3. Committee: A steering committee will guide the alliance. It is consisting of top global leaders from industry, government, academia, and civil society.
  4. Significance: The alliance will provide a platform for members to;
    • engage in real-time learning,
    • frame new approaches to ethical AI,
    • increase adoption of best practices and
    • undertake collective action to ensure that AI’s benefits are shared by all.

Additional Facts:

  • Artificial Intelligence(AI): It is a constellation of technologies that enable machines to act with higher levels of intelligence. It emulates the human capabilities of sense, comprehend and act, in the machines.
  • Importance of AI: Artificial Intelligence(AI) could contribute more than $15 trillion to the world economy by 2030, adding 14% to global GDP. This would make AI the biggest economic opportunity of the next decade. It represents more value than today’s insurance, oil, and gas, commercial real estate, and automotive industries combined.

Source: Hindustan Times

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Science and Technology, PUBLICTagged ,

Chasing National Interests at the UN high table

Read More

Source: click here

Syllabus: GS 2

Synopsis: India’s mission of achieving its goals at the UNSC should have a clear plan and reveal its material and geopolitical confines.

Introduction

India has got a two-year non-permanent period at the UNSC. But it is almost certain that India is not getting permanent membership of UNSC  anytime soon. Thus, this opportunity should be viewed as a once in a decade opportunity to pursue the national interests of the country.

What are the trends that will dominate UNSC?

New Delhi’s entry into the UNSC coincides with the rise of the new world order. There is an absence of global leadership. The world is divided into rival blocs for narrow national interests.

Currently, the relevance of the UNSC is in serious doubt, and it is not able to do justice to its primary objective i.e. “the maintenance of international peace and security”.

Biden’s administration will be busy undoing the policies of the previous regime for some time. Thus, nothing much should be expected from US as of now.

India’s term at the UNSC comes at a time when its military rivalry with China is increasing. This has come to the UNSC table after china opposed the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) to be chaired by India in 2022.

How will India’s approach be in addressing its key issues at UNSC?

  • India’s seat at the UNSC is important for keeping in check the further Chinese invasions along the line of actual control. 
  • Terror is going to be a major focus for India at the UNSC. New Delhi’s approach on the issue is going to be on the lines of external minister’s statement: “Terrorists are terrorists; there are no good and bad ones. Those who propagate this distinction have an agenda. And those who cover up for them are just as culpable”.
  • Recently India assumed the chair of the Taliban sanctions committee. India’s policy approach on the Taliban will be very important for its global image.
  • India should focus to use the platform and its engagement there to build alliances among like-minded states. It should set out its priorities for the next decade from climate change to non-proliferation.
  • India would try to shape the narrative and global policy engagement regarding the Indo-Pacific concept. This would also provide an opportunity to improve its relations with Moscow.

The way forward

  • New Delhi must focus its energies on what it can achieve during the short period that it would be in the UNSC rather than expecting a permanent membership because UNSC is unlikely to admit new members anytime soon.
Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, PUBLICTagged ,

“Corruption Perception Index 2020” – India’s Rank Slips to 86th

Read More

What is the News?

Transparency International(TI) has released the Corruption Perception Index, 2020.

About Corruption Perception Index, 2020:

  1. Transparency International publishes this index annually, since 1995.
  2. The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption.  Corruption is measured based on expert assessments and surveys of business people. It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Key Findings:

  1. India: India’s rank on this index, has slipped six places to 86th among 180 countries in 2020. However, the CPI score for India is constant at 40 this year as well as in 2019.
  2. Topped by: New Zealand and Denmark are ranked at the first position with scores of 88.
  3. Bottom in the index: Somalia and South Sudan were ranked lowest at 179th position with scores of 12.

Source: Indian Express

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Factly: Polity and Nation, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

What is Covid Performance Index?

Read More

What is the News?

The COVID Performance Index has been released by the Lowy Institute, an Australian think-tank.

Facts:

  • COVID Performance Index: The index aims to rank the best-performing countries in their response to the pandemic. It measures the impact of geography, political systems, population size, and economic development on COVID-19 outcomes, for a conclusion.
  • Measuring Indicators: To assess the performance of countries, the index tracked six measures of COVID-19 in the 98 countries for which data was available. The six indicators are:
    • Confirmed cases
    • Confirmed deaths
    • Confirmed cases per million people
    • Confirmed deaths per million people
    • Confirmed cases as a proportion of tests
    • Tests per thousand people.
  • An average across indicators was then calculated for individual countries in each period and normalized to produce a score from 0 (worst performing) to 100 (best performing).

Rankings:

  1. India: India has been ranked at 86 out of 98 countries in the index.
  2. Topped by: New Zealand has topped the index followed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, and Cyprus.
  3. Bottom Countries: The United States has been placed at 94 and Brazil at the bottom of the index.
  4. South Asia: Sri Lanka was the best performing nation in South Asia ranking at 10, while the Maldives was at 25, Pakistan at 69, Nepal at 70, and Bangladesh at 84.
  5. Region-wise: The countries in the Asia-Pacific region did a better job at controlling the pandemic while Europe and the US were quickly overburdened by the COVID-19 cases.
  6. China was not included in the index due to a lack of publicly available data on testing.

Factors that played the role in the Performance of countries:

  1. Population size: Smaller countries with fewer than 10 million people consistently outperformed their larger counterparts throughout 2020.
  2. Levels of economic development or differences in political systems between countries had less impact on the handling of Covid-19 outcomes.
  3. Democratic countries have found to be marginally more successful than other forms of government in their handling of the pandemic.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged , ,

India ranks 10th in Asia-Pacific Personalised Health Index

Read More

Why in News?
Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released the ‘Asia-Pacific Personalized Health Index’.

India has been ranked 10th out of 11 Asia Pacific countries in the index.

Facts:

Asia-Pacific Personalised Health Index

  • The index measures the progress of Asia Pacific countries in adopting personalised healthcare. It includes enabling the right care to be tailored for the right person at the right time.
  • Countries covered: The index ranks 11 countries of Asia Pacific namely Australia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and New Zealand.
  • Indicators: It measures performance against 27 different indicators of personalised health across four categories called ‘Vital Signs’. These include:
    • Health Information Indicator: It takes into account data, infrastructure, and technical expertise driving personalized healthcare.
    • Health Services Indicators: It takes into account planning, organization, and delivery of services with respect to personalized healthcare.
    • Personalized Technologies indicator: It takes into account the devices, applications, platforms, and reimbursement structures that will drive personalized healthcare based on the needs of stakeholders.
    • Policy Context indicator: It takes into account the polities, frameworks, partnerships, people, and drivers that will facilitate personalized healthcare.

Other Takeaways from the index:

  • Topped by: Singapore has topped the index followed by Taiwan (2nd), Japan (3rd), and Australia (4th).
  • Bottom in the index: Indonesia was ranked 11th in the index.

Source: Indian Express

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

4th edition of “Future Investment Initiative” Forum

Read More

Why in News?

The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has addressed the 4th edition of the Future Investment Initiative(FII) Forum.

Facts:

  • Future Investment Initiative(FII): It is an annual investment forum held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Forum discusses trends in the world economy and investment environment.
  • Hosted by:  Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF). The first event was held in 2017.
  • Purpose of 4th FII: To find solutions on how business and government can expand access to healthcare, train healthcare workers, remove regulatory barriers and encourage investment in advanced health technologies.

Key Highlights from the address: Union Minister has highlighted the five big trends which are influencing global business, due to COVID-19:

  • The impact of Technology and Innovation
  • Importance of Infrastructure for Global Growth
  • Changes coming in human resource and future of work
  • Compassion for environment
  • Business-friendly governance with a focus on the whole of society and government approach.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

India Signs Strategic Partnership Agreement with IEA

Read More

What is the News?

Indian Government has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the International Energy Agency(IEA).

 About the Strategic Partnership agreement

  • The agreement aims to strengthen cooperation with India in global energy security, stability, and sustainability. Both IEA members and India will jointly decide the terms of the partnership. It will include a phased increase in benefits and responsibilities for India as an IEA strategic partner.
  • Implementation: The IEA Secretariat will be responsible for
    • The implementation of the agreed activities in India.
    • Facilitating discussion between the IEA members and India, to further develop the strategic partnership.
  • Significance: This strategic partnership will lead to an extensive exchange of knowledge. It would also be a stepping stone towards India’s full membership of IEA.

International Energy Agency(IEA):

  1. It was established in 1974 as an autonomous intergovernmental organization under the OECD framework.
  2. Objective: To ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy for its member countries and beyond.
  3. Focus areas: It has four main areas of focus: a) Energy security b) Economic development c) Environmental awareness and d) Engagement worldwide.
  4. Members: It has 30 member countries and eight association countries. India became an associate member in 2017.
  5. Oil Stock: IEA member countries need to maintain total oil stock levels equivalent to at least 90 days of the previous year’s net imports.
  6. Secretariat: Paris, France.
  7. Reports: It releases the World Energy Outlook report annually.

Clean Energy Transitions Programme (CETP)

  1. It was launched at the IEA Ministerial Meeting in 2017. It will provide technical support to governments, whose energy policies can facilitate the global transition towards a sustainable energy future.
  2. Priority Countries: The CETP’s priority countries are Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa. These countries collectively accounted for 41% of CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in 2018 and two-thirds of emissions from developing economies.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged ,

Oxfam International

Read More

Oxfam International was formed in 1995 by a group of independent non-governmental organizations. The Oxfam International Secretariat is based in Nairobi, Kenya. Apart from that, they are also having offices in 7 other locations.

The Oxfam International aims to maximize efficiency and achieve greater impact to reduce global poverty and injustice

The name “Oxfam” comes from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief. It was founded in Britain in 1942 during the Second World War. During the world war, the group campaigned for food supplies to starving women and children in Greece.

After the war, they served Europe and later shifted their focus to the people in developing countries.

At present, Oxfam is working in more than 90 countries. Oxfam International confederation has 19 member organizations in total and India is one of them.

Oxfam International has released major reports such as The Inequality virus, Reaching People: Empowering Lives, etc.

 

Posted in PUBLICTagged

World Economic Forum: Need for ‘the Great Reset’ of capitalism

Read More

Source: Indian Express

GS-2: Important International Institutions, agencies, and fora  – their Structure, Mandate

Synopsis: WEF’s executive chairman Klaus Schwab is advocating for rearrangement of the global order through “The Great Reset”. India should also take this development seriously and try to limit the potential implications of this possible global reset.

Background

  • The WEF’s (World Economic Forum) online  Summit began recently. Its physical meeting is scheduled to take place in Singapore in June 2021. It is only the second time after 2002 that Davos annual meeting is taking place outside Davos.
  • Choice of place in Singapore instead of any European or American city is a symbol of shifting focus on Asia.
  • In this context, the World Economic Forum’s initiative for “The Great Reset” has gained attention.
  • In this article, we will discuss what is “Great Reset” and what are the key changes suggested by the “Great Reset” initiative, and how India should plan for it?

What is “The Great Reset”?

  • The concept has been given by the founder and executive chairman of the WEF- Klaus Schwab.
  • The concept is developed, based on the assessment that the world economy is in deep trouble. Events like the pandemic, ongoing technological revolution, impacts of climate change have further worsened the global situation.
  • Hence, the concept of  “The Great Reset” suggests, there is an urgent need to reform global societies and economies. Reforms should be brought into every country and industry of the world.
  • This initiative will mainly focus on reforming market-led Capitalism into stakeholder capitalism. Which will be focussed on ensuring equality and sustainability.

Why the “Great Reset” initiative is a step in the right direction?

Firstly, economic reforms like deregulation and globalization reduced barriers to capital movement within the countries. Now it is being challenged even in a country like the US.

Secondly, US and EU countries failed in dealing with the COVID pandemic and its economic impacts. Whereas Asian Countries handled it effectively. It magnifies the failure of the Capitalism model of these countries.

How focus areas of The Great Reset’ are relevant for the present world?

The agenda of The Great Reset focuses on many key issues faced by the world today. Three important themes among them are,

  • First, serious thinking on moving from capitalism to “stakeholder capitalism”. Because
      • One, capitalism’s lack of concern for stakeholders/society’s interests and its greed for profit maximization. For example, Tech giants who are the big beneficiaries of deregulation pay few taxes and actively depress wages for working people.
      • Two, their increasing power to influence the governments is a cause of concern.
  • Second, with the US rejoining the 2015 Paris accord on mitigating climate change. Now the focus needs to shift on equal distribution of economic and social costs of moving away from carbon use. 
  • Third,  Liberalism of the ’90s resulted in increasing conflicts among nations and resulted in present “competitive multilateralism”. The forum will focus on global cooperation on important universal issues.

What India should do to deal with the impacts of the Global reset?

Rearrangement of the global order looks inevitable. India should prepare for changes that will be introduced due to it;

  • First, making capitalism more responsive is the duty of the state. The balance of political forces within societies will facilitate beneficial policy choices for different stakeholders.
  • Second, to resolve the challenge of climate change, the economic and social costs required for moving away from carbon use need to be equally distributed among different stakeholders.
  • Third, to promote Global co-operation, India must actively contribute to the framing of new rules to govern global capitalism and the reshaping of international institutions.
      • Simultaneously, we must also reform our own economy and society to make it more equitable, sustainable.
Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged

World Economic Forum(WEF)

Read More
  • World Economic Forum (WEF): It was established by Klaus Schwab in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation. It was initially named as European Management Forum. Later, it changed its name to the World Economic Forum in 1987.
  • Aim: To improve the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Reports: a) Global Competitiveness Report b) Global Gender Gap Report c) Global Risks Report and d) Global Travel and Tourism Report among others.

WEF Davos Agenda Summit,2021:

  • It will be organized virtually by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • The summit will mark the launch of WEF’s “Great Reset Initiative” which aims to rebuild the economy sustainably following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Themes: The seven key themes of the summit are: How to Save the Planet, Fairer Economies, Tech for Good, Society, and Future of Work, Better Business, Healthy Futures and Beyond Geopolitics.

Source: Indian Express 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, PUBLICTagged

Global Firepower Index 2021

Read More

Why in News?

Global Firepower has published the Global Firepower Index (GFP) /Military Strength Ranking 2021.

Facts:

  • Global Firepower Index: It ranks each nation’s potential war-making capability across land, sea and air with conventional weapons.
  • Factors: The index is calculated using fifty individual factors such as geography, logistical capability, manpower, land forces, airpower, natural resources, naval forces and financials.

Key Takeaways:

  • The United States military was ranked the most powerful armed force in the world closely followed by Russia and China.
  • India was ranked fourth in the Index with 542 combat aircraft, 17 submarines, 4,730 tanks, and 37 attack helicopters.
  • Pakistan was ranked the tenth most powerful country in the Index. It has surpassed Israel, Indonesia, Iran, and Canada in terms of military power.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

Henley Passport Index 2021

Read More

News: Henley & Partners has released the Henley Passport Index 2021.

Facts:

    • Henley Passport Index(HPI): It is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom for their citizens.
    • When was it started? It was started in 2006 as Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index (HVRI) and was modified and renamed in January 2018.
    • Based on: The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association(IATA) which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information and research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.

Key Takeaways:

    • Topped by: Japan continues to hold the number one position on the index, with passport holders able to access 191 destinations around the world visa-free.
    • India: India ranks 85th in the index with a visa-free score of 58.
    • Neighboring countries: Pakistan (rank 107) and Nepal (rank 104) continue to be in the ‘worst passports to hold’ category with Pakistan having a visa-free score of 32 countries and Nepal having a score of 38 destinations.
    • Worst Passports: Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be the countries with the worst passports to hold with a passport score of 29, 28 and 26 respectively.

Article Source

 

 

Posted in Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

Importance of Reviving SAARC

Read More

Synopsis- SAARC has become dysfunctional and not able to meet since las 6 yearsReviving SAARC is crucial for countering common challenges in the region, amid COVID pandemic. 

Introduction 

  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia founded in 1985 with 7 member nations. 
  • The group was established to promote regional economic growth through active collaboration. But in past years there has been deadlock type condition especially due to India-Pakistan conflict.  
  • In 2016, the Summit schedule in Pakistan got canceled in the backdrop of the terrorist attack in Pathankot and Uri. Since then, no SAARC meeting has been held.  

 Why SAARC failed? 

The last physical SAARC summit was held in 2014 and subsequently, summits could not be held after that. The reasons for a dysfunctional SAARC are; 

  • First, India-Pakistan bilateral relationsEnmity between India and Pakistan is one of the main reasons why SAARC is not prospering. This long-standing conflict has impacted other meeting of SAARC as well, making it easier for member countries, as well as international agencies, to deal with South Asia as a fragmented group. 
  • Secondthe novel coronavirus pandemic and China’s aggressions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) put a new spotlight and shadows for SAARC meeting. 

India’s position on not attending SAARC is particularly confusing. It has been attending SCO meeting even after clashes with China and engaged with Nepal even after boundary related issues.    

Why reviving SAARC can be helpful in countering the common challenges? 

  1. Pandemic Challenges.  
    • First, South Asia’s experience of the pandemic has been very unique. The COVID-19 has provided a window for introspection and for scaling up preparedness for inevitable pandemics in the future. 
    • Second, a Collaborative approach is also necessary for the distribution and further trials needs for the vaccine as well as developing cold storage chain.  
    • Third, the pandemic’s impact on South Asian economies– The economic consequences of COVID -19 on South Asia are proving to be even greater than the health Challenges in the region. 
  1. China’s Factor in SAARC– Amid India- China border tensions, as part of its global expansionism, China is chipping away at India’s interests in South Asia, a unified South Asian platform remains India’s most potent countermeasure. 
    • China expanding footprints in South Asia by investments in trade, tourism, BRI, and other programs should be given attention. All SAARC members except Bhutan, are Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partners of China will be hard placed to help individually. 
    • Only a matter of time before china, it may hold a meeting of all SAARC countries except minus India and Bhutan for they are all part of the BRI, and even that they will be invited to join RCEP, which India declined. 

Way forward 

  • To make SAARC more effective the organization must be reformed and member countries must reach a consensus regarding the changes required.  
  • The tragedy of Covid-19 provided an opportunity for India to demonstrate its compassionate face to secure a region at peace with itself 
  • In dealing with the challenge from China too, both at India’s borders and in its neighborhood, a unified South Asian platform remains India’s most potent countermeasure. 

 

 

Posted in 9 PM Daily ArticlesTagged , , ,

India at the UN – challenges, significance and way forward

Read More

This article is based on the recent Indian Express article India at UN high table.
Context

Recently India has been elected as a non-permanent member to UN Security Council for the 8th time.

The United Nations is the most powerful International Organisation that ever existed in the history of mankind. 193 members of the UN have participated and contributed their part to make the UN a truly global organisation. India as a country and a member have participated and contributed significantly to the United Nations.

About United Nations (Source)

  •  The name “United Nations”, was coined by then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Declaration during the peace declaration of Second World War, where the representatives of 26 nations pledged their Governments to continue fighting together against global challenges.
  •   As an International Organization, The United Nations was founded in 1945.
  •  The powers vested in the UN Charter facilitate the United Nations to take action on a variety of global issues such as peace, security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, global governance, food production, etc.
  •  The Six major organs of UN are
  1. UN General Assembly (UNGA)
  2. The UN Security Council (UNSC)
  3. Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC)
  4.  International Court of Justice (ICJ)
  5.  UN Secretariat
  6. Trusteeship Council

All the six were established in 1945 during the formation of the UN.

  • Under the UN Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.  The UNSC has 15 Members of which 5 are permanent members (China, France, Russia, UK, and the U.S.) and other 10 are non-permanent members elected for 2 year terms. Each Member has one vote and the permanent members have Veto Powers.

History of India’s participation at the UN:

India is a founding member of UN. India signed the UN charter on 1945. Since the Independence the participation of India in the UN is huge and highly commendable. The participation can be divided into 3 Phases.

    1. During Cold war period (1947 to 1990)
    2. A decade of economic reforms in India (1990-2000)
    3. The phase of New India (Since 2000’s)

During Cold war period (1947 to 1990):

    • In 1950-51, India, being a  President of UNSC, India presided over the adoption of resolutions asking for a cessation of hostilities during the Korean War and also for assisting the Republic of Korea.
    • In 1967-68, India co-sponsored a Resolution for extending the mandate of the UN mission in Cyprus.
    • In 1977-78, India was a strong supporter of Africa and spoke against apartheid, and also raise concerns for the independence of Namibia.
    • In 1984-85, India was leading supporter in the UNSC for the resolution of conflicts in the Middle East, especially Palestine and Lebanon.

A decade of economic reforms in India (1990-1992):

    • India suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of Japan in the 1996 contest for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC.
    • India stood against indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT)in 1995, and rejected the backdoor introduction for adoption of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty(CTBT) in 1996
    • With the objective of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combat terrorism, India piloted a draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in 1996.

The phase of New India (Since 2000’s)

India’s Economic policies and globalization strengthened India’s role and negotiating powers in the UN.

    • Gradually India became a strong voice for the developing world, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, and concerns about the problems in the African nations.
    • During the 2011-12 term, India chaired the UNSC Committee concerning Counter-Terrorism, a Working Group concerning the threat to international peace and security by terror acts, and Security Council Committee concerning Somalia and Eritrea.
    • India worked closely with its supporters in the UNSC and in May 2019 India succeeded in placing Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar under the UNSC’s 1267 Sanctions Committee concerning al-Qaida and ISIS and associated individuals and entities, The action which was pending since 2009.

Significance of India to the UN:

    • Firstly, India is the 3rd largest economy in terms of GDP (PPP) and the 2nd most populous nation.
    • Secondly, India is a founding member of the UN, and India has been a  non-permanent member of the UNSC for the 8th term and also a member of other international structures such as MTCR, The Wassenaar Arrangement, etc.
    • Thirdly, India enjoys the backing of major powers including four permanent members other than China and also the African Union, Latin America, Middle Eastern countries, and other LDCs from different parts of the globe.
    • Fourthly, India provides large numbers of soldiers to the UN for peacekeeping missions,
    • Fifthly, India is a responsible nuclear nation, which has stated a clear no-first-use policy and also followed the same in spirit and soul.
    • Sixthly, India’s success in space technology is another point for its candidature.
    • Lastly, India has been a responsible power and it has contributed significantly to global peace efforts and Humanitarian and Disaster Relief measures in various countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, South Sudan and the majority of the South Asian nations, etc.

Read Also :upsc current affairs

What are the Challenges to India at the UN?

  • Firstly, the China Factor: China does not want India and Japan to join the UNSC as permanent members. China is against India for reasons such as
    • On the issue of cross-border terrorism, China continues to protect Pakistan.
    • China tried to get the UNSC to focus on India’s constitutional changes in Kashmir.
    • China uses India’s non-membership in the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as the reasons to deny India’s entry into UNSC.
  • Secondly, Challenge to multilateralism– There is a rift between the permanent members of the Security Council. For example,
    • China has stepped in to take advantage of the West’s retreat from multilateralism and China is also flouting international law and order.
    • BREXIT has shown that nationalism still remains a strong factor in Europe.
    • The recent Coup in the USA and the global wave of right wing politics failed to reach a consensus on critical issues.
  • Thirdly, change in Contemporary geopolitical realities:The global power matrix has moved towards multilateralism but the UNSC and UN’s power matrix concentrated on select countries.
  • Fourthly, under-representation of Countries: The regions like far East Asia, South America, Africa have no representation in the permanent membership of the council which can push for reforms at the UN level.

What are the solutions for India?

    • Firstly, making the UN effective. India needs to carve out a larger room for itself and try to create an atmosphere of cooperation as done by the US and USSR on nuclear proliferation.
    • Secondly, making the UN more representative. India should push its efforts in partnership with Brazil, Germany, and Japan (G4 countries), to expand the UNSC.
    • Thirdly, India has to deal with China’s growing enmity: By presenting the real facts on the issue of cross-border terrorism and the constitutional changes in Kashmir.
    • Fourthly, India should renew its ties with African Nations:  60 percent of UNSC documents and 70 percent of its resolutions are about peace and security in Africa. So there is an opportunity for India to deepen ties on peace and security issues in Africa at bilateral, regional, and global levels.
    • Fifthly, P5 has to be realistic: The UNSC’s Permanent members have to accept the present world’s challenges and the significance of co-operation at multi-level, especially the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fault lines and the need for a multilateral collective solution.

Way forward:

UN should not merely be an institution but also an instrument for positive change. But the UN as an institution for conflict resolution has not developed as desired and India along with other nations should try to reform the UN structure.

 

Posted in 7 PM, PUBLICTagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is USTR? What are their powers?

Read More

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is a government agency responsible for developing and recommending international trade policy to the US president.

The USTR directly negotiate with foreign governments to create trade agreements, to resolve trade disputes, and to participate in global trade policy organizations.

The US Trade Act gives the USTR broad authority to investigate and respond to a foreign country’s action. These actions include unfair or discriminatory practices as well as policies negatively affect US commerce.

The USTR publishes few major annual reports. Such as

  • National Trade Estimate Report
  • The Special 301 Report – identifies trade barriers to United States companies and products
Posted in PUBLICTagged

Way forward for India at UNSC

Read More

Synopsis: As India assumes UNSC membership for the 8th time as one of the 10 non-permanent members, it should integrate UNSC functions with national objectives while adjusting to changed realities. 

Introduction  

Dynamics at UNSC have changed completely since the cold war, while India’s attitude has changed from the reactive to the proactive. 

India needs to align its goals of national objectives at UNSC with the present dynamics at UNSC to achieve maximum gain. 

  • India’s new term should be led by purposeful and pragmatism.
      • Purposefulness is about tightly incorporating UNSC meeting with India’s broader national goals.  
      • Pragmatism requires adapting to the changed conditions at the UNSC and avoiding overly ambitious goals. 

How UNSC and India evolved post-cold war? 

  • During 1991-92, India’s term at UNSC was influenced by collapse of the Soviet Union. 
  • Delhi was fixing its broken economy and was reorganising its foreign policy to survive in the post-Soviet world.
      • Countries Like EU and Us wanted to transform this “inter-national” forum into a “supra-national” institution, to interfere actively in the matter of countries.  
      • India had to resist external solutions to its problems on issues like the Kashmir question and the nuclear.
      • Thus, India was not vocal and adopted a defensive approach at that time.
  • In 2011-12, revived Russia and a rising China began influencing UNSC to resist west.  
  • India witnessed rapid economic growth in the first decade of 21st century which resulted in improvement of its own relative position in the meeting. 
      • Delhi was less defensive than in the 1990s, but was struggling to change its new strengths into practical outcomes.
  • At present UNSC term of India, it is facing the challenge of sharp competition between US, China and Russia. Which is enforced by closeness of Russia-China and disagreement between US and EU.   

What objectives India would be taking along at the UNSC? 

To make its present term fruitful, India needs to work towards 5 objectives; 

  • Firstlymaking the UNSC effective. Except brief moment of cooperation in 1990s, UNSC is dealing with the divisions among 5 permanent members, making it less effective.  
      • India needs to carve out the larger room for itself and try to create an atmosphere of cooperation as done by US and USSR on nuclear proliferation.  
  • Secondlymaking the UNSC more representative. India wanted permanent membership since the end of the Cold War but China does not want India and Japan to join the UNSC as permanent members. 
      • However, India should push its efforts in partnership with Brazil, Germany and Japan, to expand the UNSC.  
  • Thirdly, India has to deal with China’s growing enmity. On the issue of cross-border terrorism china continues to protect Pakistan from the international pressures and also tried to get the UNSC to focus on India’s constitutional changes in Kashmir. 
      • India should try to get the wind in its favour by presenting real facts  
  • Fourthly, the engagement with peace and security issues at the UNSC. India will be able to strengthen its new coalitions. 
      • For example, the Quad which brings together Australia, India, Japan and the US.
      • Collaboration with its European partners like France and Germany in the security field. 
  • Fifthly, Delhi should renew its ties with its old partnersDelhi should express the peace and security concerns of the global south in UNSC. Supporting the rule and survivability of the island states is a critical political task for India. 
      • 60 per cent of UNSC documents and 70 per cent of its resolutions are about peace and security in Africa. There is an opportunity for Delhi to deepen India’s engagement on peace and security issues in Africa at bilateral, regional and global levels.
Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, International Organisations, Org.| Bodies, PUBLICTagged

India lost Retrospective taxation case to Cairn

Read More

Synopsis: In a 2nd setback after Vodafone case, Indian government has lost an International arbitration case to energy giant Cairn, on the issue of retrospective taxation.  

Introduction 

  • The Indian government has lost an international arbitration case to energy giant Cairn Plc over the retrospective levy of taxes, and has been asked to pay damages worth RS. 8000 crore to the UK firm. 
  • This is the second setback for Indian government related to retrospective taxation after it lost the arbitration case against Vodafone. 

What is retrospective taxation?  

Retrospective taxation allows a country to pass a rule on taxing certain products, items or services and deals and charge companies from a time behind the date on which the law is passed. 

  • Countries use this route to correct any anomalies in their taxation policies that have, in the past, allowed companies to take advantage of such loopholes. 

Apart from India, many countries including the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Australia and Italy have retrospectively taxed companies. 

What is the case? 

The case pertains to the tax demand related to an alleged Rs24,500 crore worth capital gains it made in 2006 while transferring all its shares of Cairn India Holdings to a new company, Cairn India, and got it listed on the stock exchanges.  

However, Cairn argued the retroactive application of a newly enacted law is a breach by India of its obligations under the Treaty [UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty] to treat Cairn and its investments fairly and equitably and refrain from unlawfully expropriating Cairn’s assets.  

  • Owing to different interpretations of capital gains, the company refused to pay the tax. 
  • This prompted cases being filed at the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) and the High Court. 

What is the verdict of Court? 

The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague has maintained that the Cairn tax issue is not a tax dispute but a tax-related investment dispute and, hence, it falls under its jurisdiction. 

  • India’s demand in past taxes, it said, was in breach of fair treatment under the UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty. 
  • The GOI was ordered to compensate for the total harm suffered together with interest and cost of arbitration.  

The order does not contain a provision for challenge or appeal. Moreover, Cairn can use the arbitration award to approach courts in countries such as the UK to seize any property owned by India overseas to recover the money if the award is not honored.  

Way forward- 

Government needs to assured global investors that concerns over retrospective taxation would be taken care of. 

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged , , ,

Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

Read More

Indian government has lost an arbitration case in Permanent Court of Arbitration, to energy giant Cairn Plc over the retrospective taxation, India has to pay damages worth Rs 8,842 crore ($1.2 billion) to the UK firm.

This was a Second such case in which India lost with respect to retrospective taxation after the arbitration case of Vodafone Plc.

There are three major Judicial organizations in the world. The major difference between them is listed in the table below.

TopicICJ (International Court of Justice)ICC (International Criminal Court)PCA (Permanent Court of Arbitration)
Established underEstablished under UN Charter 1945 (which also established UNSC) to act as a principal Judicial organ of UNSetup under Rome Statute in 1998 Established by the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, concluded at The Hague in 1899 and the convention revised in second Hague Peace Conference in 1907.
Head QuartersHague, The Netherland

(Only principal UN organ not located in New York)

Hague, The NetherlandHague, The Netherland
MembershipMembers of UN automatically becomes the member of ICJThe nations have to sign and ratify the Rome Statute to become the member of ICCThe nations have to sign and ratify any one of the above conventions to become a member of PCA
CapacityCivil courtCriminal CourtArbitration tribunal
Area of function ICJ Settles legal disputes between Nations only. ICJ settle disputes on issues of Sovereignty, trade, treaty violations and interpretations, etc.ICC Tries Individual only for the crimes like Genocide, war crimes, crimes of aggression and crimes against humanity.PCA settles disputes between member states, International organizations or private parties, like territorial and maritime disputes, sovereignty, human rights, International investments and regional trade etc.
Jurisdiction ·         Once the country accepts UN intervention then the judgement is binding.

·         Judgments given in contentious cases between states are also binding in nature

·         Court also gives advisory opinions to the Council, the General Assembly and other authorized bodies on legal questions referred to it by these entities

·         Co-operation of non-party state is voluntary.

·         If the case is referred by UNSC then the judgement is binding on all UN members

Rulings are binding in nature. But the PCA has no powers to enforce the rulings.
Relationship with UNNot Applicable (Principal Judicial organ of UN)Observer Status in UNObserver Status in UN
Members15 members elected for 9 years.

·         To get elected candidate has to get absolute majority in UNGA and UNSC

·         5 Judges are elected for 3 year once

·         No two Judges can be from same nationality

·         Members can be re-elected

18 judges elected among member countriesNo sitting judges for the organization. Parties select their arbitrators
SpecialtyAs it is the UN principal judicial organ it is called as “world court”Worlds first Permanent Criminal Court.

The ICC is a court of last resort. It acts essentially as a safety net when national courts are unable to prosecute, either because the criminal justice system is unequipped or collapsed, or because the perpetrators continue to wield influence over the government

First permanent intergovernmental organization to provide arbitration
Membership of IndiaIndia is a member of UN so India is a member of ICJ also.

Indian Judge Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected in 2018.

 

India is not a signatory to Rome StatuteIndia is member of PCA. India ratified the 1899 convention in 1950.
Few important cases related to India·         The Kulbhushan Jadhav case – India approached ICJ against Pakistan denying India, its right of consular access to Jadhav that is in violation of the Vienna Convention. ICJ ruled Pakistan to provide access and to review the sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav.

·         Right of Passage over Indian Territory (Portugal v. India) 1954 – Provided then Portugese territories Dadra and Nagar-Aveli the right to passage but the right did not extend to armed forces, armed police, arms and ammunition

Not applicable as the Jurisdiction is limited to individual·         Enrica Lexie case – A dispute about a shooting by two Italian marines off the western coast of India. The Tribunal ruled Italy to compensate India.

·         The Bangladesh v. India (Bay of Bengal Maritime Boundary) case – tribunal awarded Bangladesh 19,467 sq. km of the 25,602 sq. km sea area of the Bay of Bengal. India accepted the terms.

·         The recent Cairn Plc case and Vodafone Plc case – India lost both the cases and asked to pay compensation.

 

 

Posted in daily news, Daily News UpdatesTagged

India looks at integrating more countries into coastal radar network

Read More

Source: The Hindu 

News: India is in talks with Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh to set up coastal radar stations as part of efforts to further expand the coastal radar chain network meant to enable real-time monitoring of the high seas for threats.

Facts:

  • Countries already integrated in the Coastal Radar Network: Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka have been integrated into the country’s coastal radar chain network.

Other Developments:

  • Information Management and Analysis Centre(IMAC): It was established in 2014 and is the nodal centre for maritime security information collation and dissemination.
    • Location: Gurgaon, Haryana
    • Operated by: It is jointly operated by the Navy and Coast Guard.
  • White Shipping agreements: It refers to exchange of relevant advance information on the identity and movement of commercial non-military merchant vessels.
    • Indian Navy has been authorised to conclude white shipping agreements with 36 countries and three multilateral constructs. So far agreements have been concluded with 22 countries and one multilateral construct.
  • Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean region(IFC-IOR): It was set up in 2018 within the premises of the IMAC to coordinate with regional countries on maritime safety and security and act as a regional repository of maritime data.
Posted in PUBLICTagged ,

Asia-Pacific Broadcast Union(ABU)

Read More

Source: Click here

News: Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Sekhar Vempati has been elected as Vice President of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union(ABU).

Facts:

  • ABU: It was established in 1964 as a non-profit, non-governmental, non- political, professional association with a mandate to assist the development of broadcasting in the region.
  • Objective: To promote the collective interests of television and radio broadcasters as well as key industry players and facilitate regional and international media co-operation.
  • Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Posted in PUBLICTagged

India and UK launches Virtual Vaccines Hub

Read More

Source: Click here

News: India and the UK Government has launched a Virtual Vaccines Hub. 

Facts: 

  • Objective: To distribute vaccines for Covid-19 and other deadly viruses by sharing knowledge on clinical trials and regulatory approvals and get vaccines to people who need them most in a safe, secure and energy-efficient way. 

Previous such collaboration with the UK: 

  • This Serum Institute and Oxford University partnership demonstrates the UK-India relationship at its best: a vaccine developed in the UK and made in India 
  • According to the British High Commission, India supplies over 50 per cent of the world’s vaccines and 25 per cent of the Britain’s National Health Service’s (NHS) generic drugs. 

Need for Collaboration: 

  • The new hub will enable both country experts to share knowledge on clinical trials and regulatory approvals. 
  • A global pandemic requires a global solution. Scientific cooperation has made breakthroughs on corona virus vaccines at record-breaking pace 
  • The UK-India Vaccine Hub will now build on innovations, to bring COVID crisis and also to an end and protect against future pandemics 
  • A closer UK-India cooperation on medicines and vaccines approvals will ensure speedy access for the UK to Indian-produced pharmaceuticals and help safeguard future supplies to the National Health Services of Britain. 
  • A closer UK-India relationship is a part of a wider UK Programme to focus on partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region.

Global COVAX initiative: 

Millions of doses made will be distributed to the world’s poorest people through the global COVAX initiative, in partnership with World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. 

Posted in PUBLICTagged , , ,

New technology coalitions

Read More

Context: India must actively participate in new technology coalitions to secure its geopolitical interests.

Why India needs Tech-coalition?

  • Reducing economic and digital dependence on China.
  • China’s use of newly acquired technological muscle in support of its expansionist aims.
  • To promote and regulate advanced technologies.
  • India is also now a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulates the flow of dual-use technologies and the Missile Technology Control Regime.
  • The size of India’s market as well as technological capabilities make India an attractive partner in the effort to build “technology coalitions of the capable and willing”.
  • Developing trusted global supply chains that are not vulnerable to Beijing’s weaponisation of economic interdependence.

How issue-based coalitions are growing?

  • Biden promised to convene a “Democracy Summit” with multiple objectives, including the promotion of human rights and protection of democracies from new digital technologies.
  • Britain has been discussing the merits of a “Democracy Ten” that brings India, South Korea and Australia with the G-7 to build telecom products to reduce the current global reliance on China.
  • European Union has offered to rebuild the transatlantic alliance with a special focus on technological cooperation.
  • France and Canada launched the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to promote responsible development and use of AI. India was among the 15 founding members.
  • “Digital Nations” that was founded in 2014 by Britain, Estonia, Israel, South Korea and New Zealand to mobilise digital technologies to enhance the quality of life for their citizens.
  • “Artemis Accords” which outline a set of principles for the cooperative and transparent exploration of outer space. The founding members of the Artemis Accords are Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the US.

What are the future prospects for India-USA coalition?

  • New presidency in USA: Restoring multilateralism is among Biden’s top priorities.
  • USA’s technological objectives: for example, the US negotiated arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, during the Cold War. Also,USA worked in multilateral forums to produce the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and exclusive groupings like the Nuclear Suppliers Group to regulate the flows of civil nuclear technology.
  • India’s growing significance: USA devoted much energy to the consolidation of the Quad and idea of a “Quad Plus” to discuss the coordination of national responses to the pandemic.
  • Against China’s assertion: USA mobilised allies and partners to shun China’s telecom companies in the rollout of 5G or “fifth-generation” wireless technology and promoted the idea of a coalition of “clean networks”.
  • Intelligence sharing: USA expanded the ambit of Five Eyes (US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) by initiating consultation with Japan and India on addressing the tension between encryption, privacy and law enforcement.

What is way forward?

  • Appreciate the value of issue-based coalitions in producing more productive outcomes in the technological arena.
  • Coalitions will complement India’s traditional focus on multilateralism. For example, International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
  • Like-minded countries can come together to cope with emerging global challenges, including the governance of emerging technologies that are reshaping relations within and among societies.
Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged

ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus(ADMM-Plus)

Read More

Source: Click here

News: India’s defence minister attended the 14th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus organized online at Hanoi,Vietnam.

Facts:

  • ADMM-Plus: It is a platform for ASEAN countries and its eight Dialogue Partners.It was held for the first time in Hanoi,Vietnam in 2010.
  • Eight Dialogue Partners: Australia,New Zealand, India, China, Russia, the US, Japan and South Korea.
  • Aim: To promote mutual trust and confidence between defence establishments of ASEAN and its eight partner countries through greater dialogue and transparency.
  • Areas of Cooperation: Maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operations military medicine and humanitarian mine action.

Additional Facts:

  • ASEAN: It is a regional grouping which was established in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration.
    • Members: Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei, and Laos.
    • Headquarters: Jakarta, Indonesia.
Posted in PUBLICTagged

SAARC Celebrates 36th Charter Day

Read More

Source: Click here

News: The 36th SAARC Charter Day is being observed on 8th December.This day marks the signing of the SAARC Charter in 1985 by the leaders of SAARC Countries at the First SAARC Summit held in Dhaka (Bangladesh).

Facts:

  • South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation(SAARC): It is a regional intergovernmental organization of states in South Asia. It was established in 1985.
  • Aim: To promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life, and to accelerate economic growth, among other things.
  • Members: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • Secretariat: Kathmandu, Nepal.

Challenges Faced by SAARC:

  • As per the World Bank report, with intra-regional trade at less than 5% of total trade, South Asia is the least integrated region in the world.
  • The South Asia Free Trade Agreement(SAFTA) that came into force in 2006 is yet to be implemented in spirit.
  • Pakistan’s non-cooperation has stalled some major initiatives under SAARC such as Motor Vehicle agreement among others.
Posted in PUBLICTagged

UN removes cannabis from ‘most dangerous drug’ category

Read More

Source: Click Here

News: United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs(CND) has voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Facts:

  • Earlier Status: Cannabis was a part of both Schedule I and IV of the UN’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs — and while drugs in Schedule I can be used for medicinal purposes with state consent, drugs in Schedule IV are strictly controlled and their usage is a criminal offence.
  • Present Status: Now, both cannabis and cannabis resin will only remain on Schedule I which includes the least dangerous category of substances.
  • Status in India: Currently in India, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, illegalises any mixture with or without any neutral material of any of the two forms of cannabis – charas and ganja — or any drink prepared from it.
  • Significance: This decision has opened the door to recognising the medicinal and therapeutic potential of cannabis.

Additional Facts:

  • Cannabis: It is a generic term used to denote the several psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa.According to WHO, cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug in the world.
  • Commission on Narcotic Drugs: It is the UN agency mandated to decide on the scope of control of substances by placing them in the schedules of global drug control conventions.It was founded in 1946 and is headquartered in Vienna,Austria.
  • Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961: It is an international treaty to prohibit production and supply of specific (nominally narcotic) drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under licence for specific purposes, such as medical treatment and research.India is a party to the convention.

For further read Click here

Posted in PUBLICTagged ,

India’s stand against ‘UN’s selectivity on religions’

Read More

Context: India criticised UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) for “selectivity” in seeking to protect Abrahamic religions — Islam, Christianity and Judaism over others.

What is UNAOC?

  • UNAOC is an organisation which was set up in 2005
  • Objective: to prevent polarisation between societies and cultures and to bridge differences between them.

How UNAOC criticised India?

  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, for example, has been criticised for offering fast-track citizenship to only a select group of religions, leaving out Muslims.
  • India cannot call for a culture of peace that stitches together an alliance of faiths, while Indian States bring laws that seek to make difficult inter-faith marriages.

What are the key highlights of statements issued by India while criticising the world body?

  • India pointed out that previous resolutions of the UNAOC dating back to 2006 had repeatedly decried the hatred against those religions “Islamophobia, Christianophobia and anti-Semitism”
  • However, the body didn’t condemn attacks on other religious groups including Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, who have suffered terror strikes and seen their shrines destroyed in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • The UNGA statement welcomed the Kartarpur Gurdwara corridor agreement between India and Pakistan.
  • The world body failed to note that Pakistan’s government has taken over the management of the Sikh shrine, which it called a contravention of the agreement and a violation of Sikh beliefs.
  • India’s delegate also accused Pakistan of a “culture of hatred” against “religions in India” and fostering cross-border terrorism.
  • UNAOC only serves to further the theory of an inevitable “clash of civilisations”.

What are India’s concerns?

  • UNAOC portrays only three religions as victims of religious hatred.
  • It is important that they are broadened to include every community that faces religion-based violence.
  • It is also important that the government thwarts Pakistan’s particularly insidious attempts to create a controversy against India at this time, by pushing these resolutions as India steps to take its two-year seat at the UN Security Council.
  • India has been concerned by an increase in intrusive language from the UN bodies concerned as well, given that UNAOC issued a statement of “grave concern” over the Delhi riots this year that it said resulted in casualties of “mostly Muslims”.
  • India is keen to push back on the UNAOC and other UN arms, like the UN Human Rights Council, that have criticised the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

India needs to maintains its own secular credentials enshrined in the Constitution and its pluralistic ethos.

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, daily news, Daily News UpdatesTagged

Origin of COVID-19

Read More

Context: WHO must work alongside China in quickly uncovering the origins of the virus.

Uncovering the origin of corona virus is shrouded in mystery due to various factors. Discuss.

  • Origin of the virus: In the case of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), its source is still unknown even 11 months after WHO reported the first case.
  • Knowing the natural reservoirs, intermediate hosts and the events that allowed the virus to jump across the species barrier are important in prevention.
  • Soon after the virus spread around the world, there was heightened demand to identify its origin in China’s Wuhan where the first case cluster was reported.
  • Efforts to find the origin: It was only in early August that WHO completed the mission to lay the groundwork for joint efforts to identify the origin.
  • It was only in late October that China began early studies for the two-phase investigation.
  • Politicizing the issue: If China failed to alert WHO immediately after a Wuhan cluster was reported, its reluctance to quickly and earnestly investigate the source can partly be explained by U.S. President Donald Trump’s attempt to politicise the issue.
  • Economic cost: The reluctance has only increased after mounting international anger over its reporting the outbreak and the huge economic cost of the pandemic globally.
  • Susceptibility: One way to find this out is to know the susceptibility of different animal species.
    • There is strong evidence that the virus originated in bats and probably spread to humans through an intermediate species.
    • Already, many animals including cats have been found susceptible to the virus in the lab and outside.
    • With the virus spread so wide, zeroing in on the intermediate host becomes more difficult as the possibility of humans having spread the virus to animals cannot be ruled out.

Way forward

  • A multi-pronged approach with an emphasis on investigating China’s wildlife farms becomes crucial. This highlights the importance of working alongside China to uncover the virus’s origin.
Posted in daily news, Daily News UpdatesTagged

15th East Asia Summit

Read More

News: India’s External Affairs Minister has represented India at the 15th East Asia Summit(EAS).

Facts:

  • The summit was chaired by the Prime Minister of Vietnam.
  • During the summit, countries adopted the Ha Noi Declaration and discussed ways to strengthen the EAS platform and make it more responsive to emerging challenges.

Additional Facts:

east asia summit

  • East Asia Summit: It was established in 2005.It is a premier forum in the Asia-Pacific region dealing with issues relating to security and defence.
  • Members: It comprises the ten member states of the ASEAN countries along with 8 members Australia, China, Japan, India, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.India is a founding member of the East Asia Summit.
  • Priority Areas: There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS which are a) Environment and Energy b) Education c) Finance d) Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases e) Natural Disaster Management and f) ASEAN Connectivity.
  • Significance: The members of the EAS together represent 54% of the world population and account for 58% of the global GDP.

Read Also :MAINS QUESTION BANK AND ANSWERS for UPSC

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, International OrganisationsTagged ,

206th Session of the Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

Read More

News: The 206th Session of the Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU) will be held from 1st to 4th November 2020.

Facts:

  1. Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU): It was established in 1889 as a global organization of national parliaments.
  2. Aim: To promote parliamentary dialogue worldwide and works for peace and cooperation among the people.
  3. Members: It consists of 179 Member Parliaments and 13 Associate Members.
  4. Significance: IPU has permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly.
  5. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

Read Also :GS Paper 2 Previous year Questions

Posted in International OrganisationsTagged

Post Quad era for India

Read More

Context: Future possible rearrangement of the global structures will have major consequences for India’s economic prosperity and technological future.

What are the likely changes?

  • Expansion of the Five Eyes forum with inclusion of India: Recently India was invited to join the Five Eyes meeting earlier this month in Tokyo on communications security.
  • The growth of “Quad Plus”: Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea, and Vietnam can be added along with the existing Quad members.
  • Emergence of league of democracies: To address a wide range of issues, including the defence of shared values, commerce, corruption, taxation, climate change and digital governance.
  • Emergence of the ideas of the “free world: New international coalitions will be formed to address the emerging challenges from China.
  • Expansion of G-7: It will have new nations like Australia, India, Russia and South Korea.
  • Coalition of 10 democracies, including India: it will contribute to the construction of secure 5G networks and reduce the current dependence on China.
  • Demand to reform the global trading system: it has been distorted by Chinese success in subverting it.
  • Reforming the global trade rules: Moving away from the free trade and more focus on self-reliance. For example, American industrial policy and “Buy American” strategy and India’s “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
  • Development of Clean Network: Clean Network is a broader effort among like-minded countries to build secure technology ecosystems.it eliminates untrustworthy vendors from telecom systems, digital apps, trans-oceanic cables and cloud infrastructure.

What are the opportunities for India?

  • India will engage more closely with Japan and Australia: it will help in developing resilient supply chains to reduce the reliance on China.
  • Opportunities for responsible development of AI: France and Canada have invited India to join the Global Partnership on artificial intelligence a collaboration of 15 countries.

The post-Quad era opens a new phase in which India, for the first time, can help shape global institutions.

Posted in 9 PM Daily ArticlesTagged ,

IBSA

Read More

News: External Affairs Minister of India has chaired the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Foreign Ministers meet.

Facts:

  • The countries called for accelerated and comprehensive reforms of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  • They also agreed to extend their support to the African Union in accordance with the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration.
  • Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte declaration: It was adopted by the African Union in 2003 to call for at least 2 permanent and 5 to 2 non-permanent UNSC seats to be given to African countries at UNSC.

About IBSA

It is a unique Forum that brings together India, Brazil and South Africa. The grouping was formalized and named the IBSA Dialogue Forum when the Foreign Ministers of the three countries met in Brasilia in 2003 and issued the Brasilia Declaration.

Cooperation in IBSA is on three fronts:

  • Forum for consultation and coordination on global and regional political issues.
  • Trilateral collaboration on concrete areas/projects, through fourteen working groups and six People-to-People Forums for the common benefit of three countries and
  • Assisting other developing countries by taking up projects in the latter through IBSA Fund.

IBSA Fund: It was established in 2004 and became operational in 2006 to support projects on a demand driven basis through partnerships with local governments, national institutions and implementing partners.

Read Also :-IAS Preparation strategy

Posted in International OrganisationsTagged

WHO South East Asia Region (SEAR)

Read More

News: The 73rd session of WHO South East Asia Region was held under the Chairmanship of Minister of Health, Thailand.

Facts:

  • WHO South East Asia Region (SEAR): It was established at the First World Health Assembly in 1948.
  • Objective: To address persisting and emerging epidemiological and demographic challenges in the South East Asia Region.
  • Member States: It has 11 Member States – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste.
  • Regional Office: New Delhi.
  • Programmes: The Region has eight flagship priorities.
    • Measles and rubella elimination
    • preventing non-communicable diseases
    • reducing maternal, under-five and neonatal mortality
    • universal health coverage with a focus on human resources for health and essential medicines
    • combating antimicrobial resistance
    • scaling up capacities for emergency risk management

eliminating neglected tropical diseases and accelerating efforts to end TB.

Read Also :-indian economy quiz

Posted in International OrganisationsTagged

BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation)

Read More
  • Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC): It is a regional organization founded in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  • Aim: To create an enabling environment for economic development; accelerate social progress and promote collaboration on matters of common interest in the region.
  • Members: It comprises seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.
  • Headquarters: Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • First Summit: The First Summit Meeting of the Heads of the BIMSTEC Countries was held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2004.
  • The Fourth Summit was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2018.
Posted in International OrganisationsTagged

International Labour Organization (ILO)

Read More

News: After 35 years, India has assumed the Chairmanship of the Governing Body of International Labour Organization(ILO).

International Labour Organization(ILO):

  • Established in: 1919
  • Aim: To promote social and economic justice through setting up of international labour standards.
  • Members: 187 member states
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Significance: It is the first affiliated specialized agency of the United Nations and the only tripartite U.N. agency that brings together governments, employers and workers to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
  • Recognition: It received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969 for improving peace among classes, pursuing justice for workers and for technical assistance to other developing nations.
  • Reports: a) World Employment and Social Outlook b) Global Wage Report and c) World Social Protection Report.
  • ILO Conventions ratified by India:
    • The six conventions of ILO which have been ratified by India are a) Forced Labour Convention b) Abolition of Forced Labour Convention c) Equal Remuneration Convention d) Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention e) Minimum Age Convention and f) Worst forms of Child Labour Convention.
    • The other two conventions namely a) Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organised Convention b) Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention has not been ratified by India.

Read Also :upsc previous year question paper

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, International OrganisationsTagged

G-20 Anti-Corruption Working Group

Read More

News: Union Minister has addressed the 1st ever Ministerial Meeting of G-20 Anti-Corruption Working Group.

Facts:

  • G-20 Anti-Corruption Working Group: It was set up in June 2010 at the Toronto Summit of G-20.
    • Objective: To prepare comprehensive recommendations for consideration by leaders on how the G20 could continue to make practical and valuable contributions to international efforts to combat corruption.
  • G20: It is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
    • Origin: It was initially founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis.However after the 2008 Financial Crisis, the meeting has been held annually since 2010.
    • Members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the USA and the EU.
    • G20 Summit,2020: Saudi Arabia is the first Arab nation to hold the G20 presidency in 2020.Theme: “Realising Opportunities of the 21st Century for All”.

Read Also :upsc previous year paper

Posted in International OrganisationsTagged

India’s UN journey and its role

Read More

What are the different phases of India’s journey in UN?

  1. Phase 1- Before the end of the Cold War in 1989-
  • The Indian leadership learned that the UN could not be relied upon to impartially resolve vital security disputes.
  • The UN only to focus on common causes such as anti-colonialism, anti-racism, nuclear disarmament, environment conservation and equitable economic development.
  • In 1988- India claims the moral high ground by proposing, three-phase plan to eliminate nuclear weapons from the surface of earth.
  1. Phase 2- The demanding decade from 1990-2000-
  • There was a change in India’s foreign policy which was reflected in voting patterns at the UN.

For example– India showed pragmatism in enabling the toughest terms on Iraq even after eviction from occupied Kuwait, or in reversing the hitherto stated position on Zionism as racism

  • India’s diplomatic difficulties were exposed when it suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of Japan in the 1996 contest for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC.
  • India stood against indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995, and rejected the backdoor introduction for adoption of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996.
  1. Phase 3- Wind of changes – 21st century.
  • India strengthened its profile- The economic liberalization and globalization policies, helped India to strengthening its profile.
  1. The reliable and substantial troop contributions to several peacekeeping operations in African conflict theatres.
  2. India has emerged as a responsible stakeholder in non-traditional security issue areas such as the spread of small and light weapons, the threat of non-state actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and the impact of climate change.

What will be the role of India as a non-permanent UNSC member?

India’s areas of priority will continue to be-

  • The upholding of Charter principles in the backdrop of a turbulent world..
  • Mounting effective punitive measures against those who support, finance and sponsor terrorists.
  • Striving for securing due say to the troop contributing countries in the management of peace operations.

Challenge for India-

  1. In the midst of multilateralism and, and China’s aggressive territorial forays India may face challenges and opportunities in the UNSC.
  2. Voting scenario– China might succeeding in convening a formal meeting on Kashmir, India may have to choose either to abstain in the vote since it is a party to the dispute or vote against any unfavorable proposal that might be tabled.
  • The growing proximity with the US may prompt India not to stay neutral in order to counter balance China.

Way forward-

  • India’s future role will probably depend on its ability to weather the impact of the multiple crises it now faces on account of an unabated economic slowdown and a troubled relationship with China.
    Read also:-

India’s UN journey and its role

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, International Organisations, PUBLICTagged

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

Read More
  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
  • Its Secretariat is located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to (a) set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures (b) for combating money laundering (c)terrorist financing and (d) other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • Currently, the FATF comprises 37 member jurisdiction and 2 regional organisations representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe.
  • The FATF is, therefore, a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.

Listing by FATF:

  • Grey List: Countries that are considered a safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
  • Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly adding or deleting entries
Posted in International OrganisationsTagged

UN Reforms

Read More

Source- Live Mint

Context- UN  reforms are urgently required. India’s absence from UN decision-making structures and lack of genuine reforms might force India to look for alternatives.

What are the current issues of the UN?

  1. Ineffectiveness of UN-The UN has been unable to respond effectively to the once-in-a-century global crisis triggered by the coronavirus.
  • A global health pandemic should have been the high point of the multilateral search for a collective solution. Instead, it has turned out to be its nadir.
  1. Challenge to multilateralism– The rift between the permanent members of the Security Council has already started affecting the work of the UN Security Council.
  • China has stepped in to take advantage of the West’s retreat from multilateralism.
  • The U.S. withdrawing from multilateralism.
  • Brexit has shown that nationalism remains strong in Europe.

What steps should India take in future with regard to UN?

  1. Reforming UNSC – Equitable representation as well as expansion of the UNSC is the desired reform that India envisages.
  • It is not readily evident if the global multilateral order will be able to reform itself and cope with rising geopolitical tensions and new security challenges.
  1. Looking for Alternatives– If the extant multilateral order will not work to secure Indian interests, then India will have to look for alternatives.
  • Today, the Indo-Pacific is driving the global economic and political agenda. Global institutional frameworks should reflect this shift.
  • Reforming UN multilateralism is wishful thinking and countries like India should embrace plurilateral setups, where like-minded nations come together on common interests.

Way forward-

  • India called for a new template of multilateralism that reflects today’s reality, gives voice to all stakeholders, addresses contemporary challenges, and focuses on human welfare.
  • For India, the status quo is no longer a viable option. If UN reforms fail, New Delhi’s approach to the United Nations could significantly alter in the coming years as India would feel it necessary to look elsewhere for solutions.

 Read also :-msme full form

Posted in International OrganisationsTagged

About Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) 

Read More

Quad is an informal strategic forum among the like-minded democracies across the Indian and the Pacific Ocean aimed to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region. It comprises of the USA, India, Japan and Australia.

It is rooted in the formation of “core group”, in response to Tsunami in 2004.

The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.

The Quadrilateral coalition was refurbished as ‘QUAD 2.0’ in 2017 on the lines of ASEAN Summit. Quad meetings are taking place on a biannual basis since then but the inclusion of Australia into ‘Malabar’ naval exercise is still being discussed.

Read Also : union territories of india

Posted in International OrganisationsTagged ,

7 PM Editorial | Quad and India: challenges and opportunities | 15th October 2020

Read More

Topic –Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting the Indian interests

Quad and India

In the wake of recent aggression by China in Ladakh and Taiwan, foreign ministers of the US, India, Japan and Australia Quadrilateral Security Dialogue was held in Tokyo. Countries reaffirmed their “collective vision” of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific in this meeting.

About Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)   

Quad is an informal strategic forum among the like-minded democracies across the Indian and the Pacific Ocean aimed to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region. It comprises of the USA, India, Japan and Australia.

It is rooted in the formation of “core group”, in response to Tsunami in 2004.

The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.

The Quadrilateral coalition was refurbished as ‘QUAD 2.0’ in 2017 on the lines of ASEAN Summit. Quad meetings are taking place on a biannual basis since then but the inclusion of Australia into ‘Malabar’ naval exercise is still being discussed.

Challenges for India

Non-alignment: India is abandoning its “sacred” tradition of non-alignment in favour of a military alliance with the US in order to counter the China threat.

Trustworthiness of US: At present, political discourse in Washington is hostile to alliance-making. Thus, any military alliance offered by US may not translate into reality. There have been previous examples as well for that, like

  • US never (was close a few times) involved militarily with Pakistan after 1954 bilateral security agreement in its conflicts with India.
  • US military alliances with Japan and the Philippines has not provided any challenge to Chinese aggression in the region.

No clarity on objectives: India wants advancing the security and economic interests of all countries having legitimate and vital interests in the Asia-Pacific region as stated in Quad ministerial meeting by External Affairs Minister whereas US secretary of the state Mike Pompeo is pitching for mutating the Indo-Pacific Quad into a more formal security grouping modelled on NATO.

Individual visions of the Indo-Pacific: The Indo-pacific system, as muted by Quad is not clear. British empire never managed to combine the Indo and the Pacific into a unitary system It would be difficult to align the combined vision of the grouping with that of their individual visions regarding Indo-Pacific.

Internal economic changes: If India wants to engage the Quad partners on reforming the China-centred economic globalisation, it also requires to engineer many changes on trade-related aspects, which might prove to be difficult, given India’s drive for self-reliance.

Significance of Quad for India

Defence-related spending: China’s spending on defence ($261 b) is more than the collective spending of India ($71.1 b), Japan ($ 47.6 b), Australia ($25.9 b). In this time of COVID pandemic and fund crunch associated with lockdowns, Entry of US will provide heavyweight to the alliance.

Challenges on the continental sphere: China is neither keen on ending the ongoing border stalemate nor reinstating the status quo with India as of March 2020. The situation has been aggravated by geopolitical collusion between Islamabad and Beijing to contain and pressure India, creating a ‘nutcracker situation’ for India.

Keeping in mind the relations of India with Taliban, US withdrawal from Afghanistan will hurt India’s interest in the region and deteriorating Iran-India relations will further dampen India’s ‘Mission Central Asia’.

Looking at the challenges on the continental sphere, India must start giving importance to the maritime sphere which is far more important to China compared to opportunistic land grab attempts in the Himalayas. Joining Quad will strengthen India’s position in the maritime sphere Vis-à-vis China.

Sustainable Development in the Indian Ocean Region: India, as a mistress of the Indian Ocean, holds the responsibility to act as the net security provider in the Indian Ocean region. India along with likeminded countries needs to counter China’s String of Pearls strategy and ‘debt-trap’ diplomacy.

Act East policy: Joining Quad group will strengthen and supplement India’s Act East policy.

Issue-based alliance or minilateralism: As per the statement of foreign secretory of India last year, India has moved beyond non-alignment towards an issue-based alliance with no formal agreements. Therefore, joining Quad will be in line with the present foreign policies of the government.

Way forward

  • In the wake of recent aggression, India would require to be more aggressive diplomatically, therefore rather than involving in the Russia-India-China trilateral, India should look for reliable partnerships to deal with China. The Quad is not a panacea, but it’s shaping up as the backbone of India’s post-Covid foreign policy.
  • Quad should avoid becoming an Asian-NATO as being projected in the discussions. Such an alliance has the potential to start an arms race in the region. It should be more inclusive, taking into consideration the interest and concerns of littoral and ASEAN countries.
  • India should not compromise on its strategic autonomy unlike Australia and Japan, which are bound by alliance treaties to the U.S.
Posted in 7 PM, Factly: IRTagged , , , , , ,

World Food Programme (WFP)

Read More

WFP was created in 1961 as an experiment to provide food aid through the UN system and in 1965, it was enshrined as a fully-fledged UN programme. It launched its 1st development program in Sudan.

Headquarters: Rome, Italy

Since then, WFP has been forefront at the conflict-ridden countries like for humanitarian assistance to the hungry and needy people. Globally, WFP functions in more than 83 countries including India, reaching 86.7 million people.

Aim: To eradicate hunger and malnutrition with the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for food aid itself.

It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.

Funding: Its operations are funded entirely by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors. It raised US$8 billion in 2019

WFP is governed by a 36-member Executive Board and partners with more than 1,000 national and international NGOs to provide food assistance and tackle the underlying causes of hunger.

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, International OrganisationsTagged