Insights Daily Current Events, 18 November 2014
It is a joint training exercise between Indian and Chinese army.
Aim: Getting acquainted with each other’s procedures in Counter terrorism.
Why is it Important?
- It enhances the confidence and trust between the two armies, which may be called upon to grapple with anti-terrorism operations even under the U.N. mandate.
- It upholds the values of peace, prosperity and stability in the region by jointly eradicating the terrorism.
It is the Indo Russian bilateral Air Force exercise.
- It is part of regular exchanges of joint exercises between the armed forces of Russia and India.
- It involves exchange of best practices in counter-terrorism training with helicopters, joint flights in fighter aircraft, fire-fighting and air defence.
Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP)
The union Finance Minister has decided to re-launch KVP.
The re-launched Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP):
- will be available to the investors in the denomination of Rs. 1000, 5000, 10,000 and 50,000, with no upper ceiling on investment.
- The certificates can be issued in single or joint names and can be transferred from one person to any other person / persons, multiple times.
- The certificate can also be pledged as security to avail loans from the banks and in other case where security is required to be deposited.
- Initially the certificates will be sold through post offices, but the same will soon be made available to the investing public through designated branches of nationalised banks.
Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) – a certificate savings scheme was launched by the Government on 1st April, 1988. The scheme provided facility of unlimited investment by way of purchase of certificates from post offices in various denominations. The maturity period of the scheme when launched was 5 ½ years and the money invested doubled on maturity. The scheme was very popular among the investors and the percentage share of gross collections secured in KVP was in the range of 9 % to 29 % against the total collections received under all National Savings Schemes in the country.
- It is a very popular instrument among small savers.
- The KVP will encourage people having banked and unbanked savings to Invest.
- Kisan Vikas Patras have unique liquidity feature, where an investor can, if he so desires, encash his certificates after the lock-in period of 2 years and 6 months and thereafter in any block of six months on pre-determined maturity value. The investment made in the certificate will double in 100 months.
Why is it important?
- It provides safe and secure investment avenues to small investors.
- It will help in augmenting the savings rate in the country.
- It will safeguard small investors from fraudulent schemes.
- With a maturity period of 8 years 4 months, the collections under the scheme will be available with the Govt. for a fairly long period to be utilized in financing developmental plans of the Centre and State Governments and will also help in enhancing domestic household financial savings in the country.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United States
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed, recently, between Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance, Government of India and Department of Commerce, United States of America (USA) on establishing Infrastructure Collaboration Platform.
The memorandum seeks to establish a United States India Infrastructure collaboration platform, under which both the Governments intend to coordinate and cooperate with the goal of facilitating U.S. industry participation in Indian infrastructure projects to improve the bilateral commercial relationship and benefit both the Participants’ economies.
Qaumi Ekta Week
The “Qaumi Ekta Week” (National Integration week) will be observed all over the country, from the 19th to 25th November, 2014.
- To foster and reinforce the spirit of Communal Harmony, National Integration and pride in vibrant, composite culture and nationhood.
- It provides an opportunity to reaffirm age old traditions and faith in the values of tolerance, co-existence and brotherhood in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society.
- It helps to highlight the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand actual and potential threats to the eclectic and secular fabric of our country, and nurture a spirit of communal harmony in its widest sense.
The week long programmes to be observed during Qaumi Ekta Week will be as under:
- November 19, 2004 will be observed as National Integration Day
- November 20, 2014 will be observed as Welfare of Minorities Day
- November 21, 2014 will be observed as Linguistic Harmony Day
- November 22, 2014 will be observed as Weaker Sections Day
- November 23, 2014 will be observed as Cultural Unity Day
- November 24, 2014 will be observed as Women’s Day
- November 25, 2014 will be observed as Conservation Day
MoU on Technical Cooperation in the Rail Sector
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of Railways, Government of India and the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) of the Government of Republic of Korea (South Korea).
- The MoU would enable technical assistance and cooperation between the Railways of the two countries on areas such as High Speed Rail, Modernisation of Rolling Stock, Railway Operations, Modernisation of Signalling, Construction & Maintenance technologies and in development of Logistics Parks/Terminals.
India brimming with youth
New data released by the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of the World’s Population Report shows that India has the world’s largest population of 10-24 year-olds, but this demographic dividend is nearing its end.
Other important observations made by the report:
- With 356 million 10-24 year-olds, India has the world’s largest youth population despite having a smaller population than China.
- China follows India with 269 million young people, followed by Indonesia (67 million), the United States (65 million) and Pakistan (59 million).
- While Africa is younger, northern Europe is substantially older — the United Kingdom’s youth population is 10 percentage point lower than that of India’s.
- India is aging faster than the global average and by 2050, the world will have a larger proportion of youth population than India.
- the young people entering the job market lack skills: less than three per cent of young people in high school received vocational education.
The emergence of a large youth population of unprecedented size can have a profound effect on any country. Whether that effect is positive or negative depends largely on how well governments respond to young people’s needs and enable them to engage fully and meaningfully in civic and economic affairs.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
It was formerly called as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. The UNFPA supports programs in more than 150 countries, territories and areas spread across four geographic regions: Arab States and Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa.
UNFPA is the world’s largest multilateral source of funding for population and reproductive health programs. The Fund works with governments and non-governmental organizations in over 150 countries with the support of the international community, supporting programs that help women, men and young people:
- voluntarily plan and have the number of children they desire and to avoid unwanted pregnancies
- undergo safe pregnancy and childbirth
- avoid spreading sexually transmitted infections
- decrease violence against women
- increase the equality of women
UNFPA’s work is guided by the Program of Action adopted by 179 governments at the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994.
The main goals of the Program of Action are:
- Universal access to reproductive health services by 2015
- Universal primary education and closing the gender gap in education by 2015
- Reducing maternal mortality by seventy-five percent by 2015
- Reducing infant mortality
- Increasing life expectancy
These goals were refined in 1999. One of the most important additions concerned HIV:
- HIV infection rates in persons 15–24 years of age should be reduced by 25 percent in the most affected countries by 2005 and by 25 percent globally by 2010.
The three core areas of UNFPA’s work are– reproductive health, gender equality and population and development strategies.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, unfpa.org.
Organisers offer to modify Kambala but activists want total ban
The Tulunadu pastime of Kambala (slush track buffalo racing) may soon be confined to the pages of history as activists are demanding total ban on it.
Udupi district has already issued orders banning Kambala — which is conducted across the coast post-monsoon. The ban came after the Supreme Court issued an order. The Supreme Court had in its order banned the holding of all such events including ‘Jallikattu’ and bullock cart races.
In case of violation, legal action would be taken against officers and organisers as per the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.
Kambala is an annual Buffalo Race held traditionally under the auspices local land lords and households or Patel of village, in coastal Karnataka, India. The Kambala season generally starts in November and lasts until March.
Since the last two decades nearly 18 kambalas are held. As of now, more than 45 he-buffalo races are held annually in Coastal Karnataka, even in smaller remote villages.
Why is it held? : As an entertaining programme for the rural people.
- The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair raced in wet rice fields, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.
- The ‘track’ used for Kambala is a paddy field filled with slush and mud.
- The “Kambala Committee” is formed and it usually arranges Kambala in several categories.
- People place massive bets on the buffaloes to win and one can witness more than 20,000 spectators in a well-organised Kambala, egging on and cheering the buffaloes to complete the race.
- In traditional form of Kambala, racing is non-competitive, and buffalo pairs run one by one in paddy fields.
- A ritualistic approach is also there, as some agriculturists race their buffaloes for thanks giving (to god) for protecting their animals from diseases.
- The buffaloes developed for the race are carefully fed and some owners of the buffaloes have even built separate swimming pool for competing buffaloes.
Why is it being opposed?
Kambala has been criticised by animal lovers as they perpetuate cruelty due to the use of whips on the racing buffaloes. Kambala organisers, on their part, contend that if whips are not used on the buffaloes, they may not run with speed in the race.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
IAF tests Akash missile
An Indian Air Force (IAF) team successfully flight-tested the surface-to-air missile, Akash, from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha.
- It is a medium range Surface to Air missile.
- The missile system can target aircraft up to 30 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m.
- A nuclear warhead could potentially give the missile the capability to destroy both aircraft and warheads from ballistic missiles.
- It is used by both Army and Air Force.
- The Akash system is fully mobile and capable of protecting a moving convoy of vehicles.
- The system provides air defence missile coverage for an area of 2,000 km².
- Akash flies at supersonic speed, reaching around Mach 2.5.
- A self-destruct device is also integrated. It is propelled by an Integrated Ramjet Rocket Engine. The use of a ramjet propulsion system enables sustained speeds without deceleration throughout its flight.
- The Missile has command guidance in its entire flight.
- The Akash SAM system can employ multiple air targets while operating in fully autonomous mode.
- Akash missiles are designed to be launched from static or mobile platforms, including battle tanks and wheeled trucks, providing flexible deployment.
- It can handle multiple targets and destroy manoeuvring targets, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, fighter aircraft, cruise missiles and missiles launched from helicopters.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.