Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 February 2017
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
New IMF Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC)
New IMF Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) was recently inaugurated in Delhi for Economic Capacity Building in South Asia.
- Less than a year after IMF Managing Director Ms Christine Lagarde and the Finance Minister of India, Shri Arun Jaitley, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a capacity development center for South Asia, the opening of SARTTAC marks a major milestone in the partnership between the IMF and its member countries in the region.
SARTTAC, the newest addition to the IMF’s global network of fourteen regional centers, is a new kind of capacity development institution, fully integrating customized hands-on training with targeted technical advice in a range of macroeconomic and financial areas, and generating synergies between the two.
- SARTTAC is financed mainly by its six member countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka — with additional support from Australia, the Republic of Korea, the European Union and the United Kingdom.
- SARTTAC’s strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.
- SARTTAC will allow the IMF to meet more of the high demand for technical assistance and training from the region. Through its team of international resident experts, SARTTAC is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Karnataka assembly passes bill to allow ‘Kambala’
Paving the way for the conduct of kambala, traditional buffalo race, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly has passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017.The Bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.
The clamour for Kambala was spurred by the success of the stir in Tamil Nadu for allowing Jallikattu, which led to the state government bringing a similar amendment to the Central act. Kambala committees and various Kannada organisations had held protests at several places against the ban.
Kambala is currently stayed by the High Court following a petition by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
- The bill noted the significant role played by traditional sports events “Kambala” and “Bulls race or Bullock cart race” in preserving and promoting traditions and culture among the people in the state.
- It also took note of their vital role in ensuring survival and continuance of native breeds of cattle in deciding to exempt the conduct of the races from the ambit of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Kambla in its traditional form is non-competitive with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields, which is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.
- Over the years, it has however become an organised sport with animal rights activists claiming that the buffaloes run in the race due to fear of being beaten, which the organisers dismiss, saying no violence is involved and that several modifications had been made to ensure that it is an animal friendly event.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
NIIF to raise Rs 8k cr from anchor investors in FY18
The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) will tap anchor investors such as sovereign wealth funds to raise Rs 8,000 crore to fund infrastructure projects worth Rs 16,000 crore in FY18.
- According to the Output Outcome Framework for Schemes 2017-18, the Fund will raise Rs 8,000 crore from strategic anchor partners, ie, multilateral/bilateral institutions, SWFs, pension funds and domestic public sector enterprises.
- The government has set a target for the Fund to finance projects worth R16,000 crore infrastructure projects, both greenfield & brownfield.
The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) was proposed in Union Budget 2015. In the last week of December, the government has set up this Rs. 40000 crore fund to provide long term capital for infrastructure projects.
- The objective of NIIF is to maximise economic impact through infrastructure development in viable projects both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects, mainly in the core infra sector.
- NIIF has been structured as a fund of funds and set up as Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations.
Facts for Prelims
Indian Seed Congress – 2017:
- Indian Seed Congress – 2017 is being held in Kolkata.
- The theme of Seed Congress is “Seed of Joy”.
- The annual forum will deliberate on the new technological advances and the barriers to technology development and introduction. It will showcase new product range, services and network for better business development.
- It would provide a platform for the seed industry stakeholders to talk to technology developers, and policy makers.
World Radio Day 2017:
- World Radio Day is observed on February 13 to celebrate radio as a medium to promote and access information.
- After originally proposed by the Kingdom of Spain, UNESCO in its 36th General Conference proclaimed World Radio Day on November 3, 2011. Later, it was adopted as an International Day by the United Nations General Assembly.
- 13 February is the anniversary of the day the United Nations established United Nations Radio in 1946.
- The theme for the 2017 edition of World Radio Day is “Radio is You.” Last year, the UNESCO’s theme for World Radio Day is “Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster”.
India’s first floating elementary school:
- Loktak lake, the largest freshwater lake in the country, has now become home to first of its kind loktak floating elementary school.
- Situated about 50 km from Imphal, the school has been inaugurated at Langolsabi Leikai of Champu Khangpok village in Manipur.
- It aims to provide education to drop outs students, who were rendered homeless due to the recent evacuation of phumdis.
- The school has been opened under the initiative undertaken by All Loktak Lake Fisherman’s Union with the support of an NGO – People Resources Development Association (PRDA). The school will not only cater to the need of the children but for the illiterate adults as well. The school will be accommodating around 25 students and two teachers from the community.
- The honorarium of the volunteers will be sanction by the PRDA, under the project called ‘Empowering vulnerable local communities for sustainable development’, which is funded by Action Aid India.
International Spice Conference:
- Kerala’s capital is hosting the second edition of the International Spice Conference.
- Over 700 delegates representing various States, industry leaders from 40 countries, representatives of international spice associations, policymakers and end-users are attending the event.
- The central theme of the conference would be ‘21st century spice industry: Disrupt or be disrupted.’
- It will discuss effective strategies and innovative technologies to improve the livelihood of farmers; address industry challenges, food safety concerns and demand supply disparity; and seek to foster sustainable growth.
- The event is being hosted by the All India Spices Exporters Forum (AISEF), which represents about 80 per cent of spices exports, in association with the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry.