Insights Daily Current Events, 19 November 2014
India’s Alternate Governor on the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank
Rajiv Mehrishi, Finance Secretary and Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance, Government of India has been appointed as India’s Alternate Governor on the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank.
It is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 and is headquartered in Philippines.
Aim: to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia. It also aims for an Asia and Pacific free from poverty.
- The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly known as the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East) and non-regional developed countries.
- Currently, it has 67 members – of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with member’s capital subscriptions.
- ADB raises funds through bond issues on the world’s capital markets.
- ADB also rely on its members’ contributions, retained earnings from its lending operations, and the repayment of loans.
- Japan holds the largest proportions of shares at 15.67%. The United States holds 15.56%, China holds 6.47%, India holds 6.36%, and Australia holds 5.81%.
Board of Governors:
- It is the highest policy-making body of the bank.
- It is composed of one representative from each member state.
- The Board of Governors also elect the bank’s President who is the chairperson of the Board of Directors and manages ADB.
The Alternate Board of Governors are nominated by Board of Governors of ADB’s 67 to represent them at the Annual Meeting that meets formally once year to be held in a member country.
- It offers both Hard Loans and Soft loans.
- The ADB offers “hard” loans from ordinary capital resources (OCR) on commercial terms, and the Asian Development Fund (ADF) affiliated with the ADB extends “soft” loans from special fund resources with concessional conditions.
ADB focuses on five core areas of operations: infrastructure; the environment, including climate change; regional cooperation and integration; finance sector development; and education.
ADB against Corruption:
- Its Anticorruption Policy requires all staff and parties carrying out activities financed by ADB (e.g., bidders, consulting firms, consultants, contractors, and suppliers) to adhere to the highest financial and ethical standards.
- The Office of Anticorruption and Integrity (OAI) conducts investigations and audits related to project procurement, and raises awareness on anticorruption issues.
The Asian Development Fund (ADF) bridges the development gap in Asia and the Pacific, home to both the world’s fast-rising and most vulnerable economies. ADF is a major instrument of concessional financing that has supported equitable and sustainable development in the region since 1973. Funded by ADB’s member countries, it offers loans at very low interest rates as well as grants to help reduce poverty in ADB’s poorest member countries.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, adb.org.
Memoranda of Understanding signed during the visit of Prime Minister to Australia
Various agreements signed between the two countries during the visit of Prime Minister of India to Australia are as follows:
Agreement on Social Security
- Will strengthen the people-to-people contacts and facilitate and regulate the regulations between the two countries with respect to social security benefits and coverage.
- It will provide for social security and superannuation benefits for those who have been residents of the other country on basis of equality of benefit, export of benefits and avoidance of double coverage.
- It will lead to greater economies and promote the flow of professionals.
Agreement concerning Transfer of Sentenced Persons
- Will enhance cooperative efforts in law enforcement and administration of justice and to cooperate in the enforcement of penal sentences.
- It will facilitate, regulate and lay down procedures for the transfer of sentenced persons and enable rehabilitation and reintegration of sentenced persons into society.
- MOU on Combating Narcotics Trafficking and Developing Police Cooperation
- Will address concerns regarding illicit trafficking and drug abuse.
- It places priority on tackling illicit trade, diversion of precursors, asset forfeiture and drug money laundering.
- It will promote capacity building and help develop strategies and procedures for operations to disrupt and dismantle transnational narcotic related threats.
MOU on Cooperation in the Field of Arts and Culture
- Will enhance cultural relations between the two countries in pursuance of the Cultural Agreement of 1971.
- It will promote cooperation through exchange of information, professional expertise, training and exhibitions in the field of culture.
- It will deepen understanding between the people, institutions and art genres and promote sound and sustainable artistic and cultural activities.
MOU in the Field of Tourism
- Will enhance the bilateral cooperation and strengthen the friendly between the people.
- It will encourage cooperation in tourism policy, information exchange, interaction between tourism stakeholders, training and investments in hospitality sector and promote the importance of the tourism sector in economic development and employment generation.
TSR Subramanian Committee Submits Report
The TSR Subramanian Committee headed by Shri TSR Subramanian has submitted its report to the Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
Why was it constituted?
- It was constituted to review the processes, laws and Acts of the Ministry.
The recommendations of the Report are expected to enhance Ministry’s efforts to avoid undue delays and ensure transparency in clearances and implementation of projects.
The committee was asked to:
- To assess the status of implementation of each of the above Acts vis-a-vis the objectives;
- To examine and take into account various court orders and judicial pronouncements relating to these Acts;
- To recommend specific amendments needed in each of these Acts so as to bring them in line with current requirements to meet objectives; and
- To draft proposed amendments in each of the above Acts to give effect to the proposed recommendations.
Deaths Linked to Terrorism Are Up 60 Percent, Study Finds
The report by the Nonprofit Institute for Economics and Peace has said that the number of fatalities related to terrorism soared 60 percent last year.
Important observations made by the Report:
- The report says that five countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria — accounted for four-fifths of the almost 18,000 fatalities attributed to terrorism last year. Iraq had the bloodiest record of all, with more than 6,300 fatalities.
- Four groups — the Islamic State, Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Taliban, which is active in both Pakistan and Afghanistan — took credit for two-thirds of worldwide deaths related to terrorism in 2013.
- In 2013, terrorist activity increased substantially with the total number of deaths rising from 11,133 in 2012 to 17,958 in 2013, a 61 percent increase.
- Terrorism is both highly concentrated as well as a globally distributed phenomenon. But it is also true that only 5 percent of fatalities ascribed to terrorism had occurred in the 34-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes some of the world’s wealthiest, industrialized economies.
- The impact of the turmoil in Syria has spread across the region, strengthening Islamist groups opposed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, including the Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State.
- The report seemed to indicate that, for four years beginning in 2007, efforts to confront terrorism had resulted in “modest decreases.” But in 2011, the year a Navy SEAL team killed Osama bin Laden at his hide-out in Pakistan, and when Syria’s civil war began, the number of terrorism-related deaths began to rise sharply.
The report tallied fatalities to the end of 2013 and did not therefore reflect the rise in killings since Islamic State forces in June spilled from Syria into Iraq with the intention of creating an Islamic caliphate, provoking an American-led air campaign.
The statistics in the organization’s Global Terrorism Index, also, suggest that the world’s industrialized nations — often the target of threats by groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL — had suffered relatively few attacks on their soil since the Sept. 11, 2001, onslaught in the United States and the July 7, 2005, suicide bombings in London.