Insights Daily Current Affairs, 12 March 2018
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA)
Context: European Investment Bank (EIB) and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) Ltd. have signed a loan agreement for a second line of credit (LoC) of Euro 150 million on non-sovereign basis.
The line of credit is for tenure of 15 years including a grace period of 3 years, and it will be used for financing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency projects in India. More than 1.1 million households are expected to benefit from clean energy produced with these funds.
Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd:
Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) is a Mini Ratna (Category – I) Government of India Enterprise under the administrative control of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
IREDA is a Public Limited Government Company established as a Non-Banking Financial Institution in 1987 engaged in promoting, developing and extending financial assistance for setting up projects relating to new and renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency/conservation with the motto: “ENERGY FOR EVER”.
The main objectives of IREDA are:
- To give financial support to specific projects and schemes for generating electricity and / or energy through new and renewable sources and conserving energy through energy efficiency.
- To maintain its position as a leading organization to provide efficient and effective financing in renewable energy and energy efficiency / conservation projects.
- To increase IREDA`s share in the renewable energy sector by way of innovative financing.
- Improvement in the efficiency of services provided to customers through continual improvement of systems, processes and resources.
- To strive to be competitive institution through customer satisfaction.
- For Prelims: IREDA.
- For Mains: Renewable energy- potential, significance, challenges and solutions.
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)
Context: National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) celebrated its 33rd Inception Day, on March 11, 2018.
- NCRB is the Nodal Agency for authentic source of Data on crime, accidents, suicides, and prisons for policy matters and research. It was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.
- It was set up based on the recommendations of the National Police Commission (1977-1981) and the MHA’s Task force (1985).
- It was set up by merging the Directorate of Coordination and Police Computer (DCPC), Inter State Criminals Data Branch of CBI, Central Finger Print Bureau of CBI, and Statistical Branch of BPR&D.
- Bureau is implementing & monitoring agency for implementation of Crime & Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), a Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan of Government of India. The project aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing in the country.
- NCRB also imparts training in Information Technology (IT) and Finger Print Science for Indian Police Officers as well Foreign Police officers.
- Central finger print bureau is under the administrative control of NCRB.
NCRB publishes 4 annual publications on Crime, Accidental Deaths & Suicides, Prison Statistics and Finger Prints. These publications serve as principal reference points on crime statistics not only police officers but also for criminologists, researchers, media and policy makers not only in India but abroad well.
- For Prelims and Mains: All about NCRB.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Indo-French Knowledge Summit
Context: The first ever Indo-French Knowledge Summit was held recently at New Delhi. The summit coincided with the state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India.
Outcomes of the summit:
The summit ended with a landmark agreement on mutual recognition of educational qualifications between the two countries and a record 15 other MoUs between universities and research institutions on joint initiatives and partnerships.
Significance of mutual recognition of educational qualifications:
Agreement on mutual recognition of academic qualifications will go a long way in boosting the educational relationship between the two countries and will encourage mobility of students from both the countries by facilitating possibilities for them to continue their studies in the other country and would also promote excellence in higher education through cooperation, university and research exchanges.
Franco-Indian Education Trust:
A Franco-Indian Education Trust was also unveiled at the closing session of the summit. It will be funded by the Indian industry and French Companies in India to offer educational scholarships and merit based financial support to Indian students.
About the summit:
The Knowledge Summit is the First Franco-Indian Summit for university, scientific and technology cooperation with the broader objective to design a roadmap of Franco-India cooperation for the next five years, in collaboration with companies.
- The objective of the Knowledge Summit is to design a roadmap of Franco-Indian cooperation for the next five years, in collaboration with companies.
- This event offers a common moment for a common goal; increase student mobility, enlarge Research & Development collaborations and link campuses to companies by focusing on employability.
- The summit was organized by the French Embassy in India and co-hosted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
- More than 350 people from nearly 80 Indian Institutions and 70 French Institutions along with key enterprises participated in the Summit.
For Prelims and Mains: Knowledge summit, Franco- Indian education trust.
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
CP Trans-Pacific Partnership
Context: On March 8th trade ministers from 11 countries gathered in Santiago, the capital of Chile, to sign the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP.
What is CPTPP?
The CPTPP, also dubbed the TPP-11, was negotiated by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The revived deal will look to reduce tariffs in economies that together represent 500 million people and account for 13.5 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) – equivalent to a total of US$10 trillion.
How is it different from TPP?
With the exclusion of the US, the CPTPP is putting on hold 20 provisions even as it incorporates the original TPP text by reference. Out of which, 11 of the suspended clauses are related to intellectual property (IP) originally inserted at the demand of US negotiators. The other nine involve areas like investment, financial services, copyright, telecommunication and government procurement.
Individual member countries will now begin their respective domestic ratification processes and the CPTPP will enter into force after at least 50% of the signatories complete that.
How does the CPTPP compare with RCEP?
- The 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) covers nearly 3.5 billion people and account for a third of the world’s gross domestic product.
- The RCEP was conceived in 2012. If approved, the free trade agreement will be the largest trade bloc in terms of population. The RCEP countries make up 46% of the global population and are worth 24% of global GDP.
- RCEP seeks to bring into its fold China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand and Asean countries. Seven of them are also CPTPP members, namely Australia, Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Vietnam.
Significance of the deal:
Even without the US, it’s a hugely significant deal and could become a blueprint for future regional free trade agreements. Other nations have the chance to enter at a later time, if they so wish, and there have been suggestions Indonesia and even the United Kingdom may have some interest.
The TPP also comes at a time when major powers, such as the US, are reverting to protectionist trade policies. The head of policy at the Export Council of Australia, Heath Baker, said its symbolism was significant. It shows that despite the protectionism coming out of the US, there is still momentum to increasing shared prosperity through freer trade.
- For Prelims: CPTPP, RCEP.
- For Mains: CPTPP- significance, challenges and effects on other countries.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Letters of undertaking (LoUs)
Context: Rattled by a spate of banking frauds, RBI has initiated special audit of State-owned lenders with focus on trade financing activities, especially relating to issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) by them.
In addition, the RBI has asked all banks for details of the LoUs they had issued, including the amounts outstanding, and whether the banks had pre-approved credit limits or kept enough cash on margin before issuing the guarantees.
What is LoU?
Technically, Letter of Undertaking is a bank guarantee under which a bank allows its customer to raise money from another Indian bank’s foreign branch in the form of short-term credit. The loan is used to make payment to the customer’s offshore suppliers in foreign currency. The overseas bank usually lends to the importer based on the LoU issued by the importer’s bank.
Why is it important?
LoUs are important instruments that allow those in the import trade to transact their business. As an importer in India cannot simply buy dollars and send it abroad to make payments to his supplier, various instruments such as LoUs and Letters of Credit are required to carry out the transaction. LoUs, which are essentially a form of guarantee, have come to be a far cheaper and convenient way for importer to raise credit.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
India’s first coastal policing academy
Context: The Union home ministry has sanctioned the launch of the National Academy of Coastal Policing (NACP) from a campus of Gujarat’s Fisheries Research Centre located in coastal Okha in the newly created Devbhoomi Dwarka district.
- It will be the country’s first national academy to train police forces in effectively safeguarding the Indian shoreline. It will sharpen the response and skills of the marine forces of multiple states which have sea lines.
- The first-of-its-kind institution of the country will be created and run by a multi-agency team of paramilitary and defence forces.
- The Union home ministry’s policing think tank — the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) — will pilot the establishment and running of the academy.
- The Border Security Force (BSF), that guards the Indian frontier in Gujarat with Pakistan, the navy and the Coast Guard will form the core to run the academy. The BSF will also provide security to the campus which on the Arabian Sea coast and is at a flying distance from the Pakistan coast.
- The navy and the Coast Guard will help design “the training curriculum, providing skilled trainers and ensuring access to jetties and boats” for the trainees of the academy.
- The academy, that will have faculty from the Navy, Coast Guard and the BSF, will train police personnel and other security agencies staff in maritime laws, seamanship, boat work, navigation, weapons handling, usage of sea guidance and surveillance gadgets and survival skills for long haul operations on the sea or during distress times when they may get stranded in these waters running up to 12 nautical miles from the shore.
Significance of the academy:
India has a vast coastline of 7,516 kms touching 13 states and union territories (UTs). It also has around 1,197 islands. There is no institute in the country that trains marine or coastal police forces in these subjects in a professional manner. That is why the academy will be first-ever and the best practises of various agencies like the navy, the BSF and the Coast Guard will be borrowed by it for teaching purposes. Also, the academy was specially required since India faced its major sea-borne terror attack in November 2008 in Mumbai.
For Prelims: Coastal policing academy.
For Mains: Coastal security- challenges and significance.
Facts for Prelims:
ITB – Berlin:
Context: India has won the “Best Exhibitor Award ” at ITB – Berlin.
What is it?
- As the Leading Travel Trade Show, ITB Berlin is the foremost business platform for global touristic offers.
- The ITB Berlin takes place annually in March at the Messe Berlin. The fair always has an official partner country, in 2018 represented by the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
- ‘ITB- Berlin World Tourist Meet’ 2018 was convened at Berlin, Germany.
Context: A Multilateral Air Force exercise, ‘Ex Samvedna’, is being spearheaded by Indian Air Force and conducted by Southern Air Command (SAC).
What is it?
- It is the first composite HADR Air exercise in the South Asian region and would be focused on practicing Air Force centric HADR solutions in a Multi-national cooperative Disaster Management environment.
- It is aimed at setting up a scenario of pre and post Tsunami disaster requirements and guide participants to work out Air Force Centric HADR solutions.
- ‘Samvedna’ means ‘Empathy’ and will ensure better understanding and sharing of response procedures between a number of friendly neighbouring nations.
National Legislators Conference:
Context: National Legislators Conference was recently inaugurated at the Central Hall of Parliament House.
What is it?
- Hosted by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, the conference is based on the theme “We for development”.
- It is being attended by Members of Parliament and state Assemblies.
- The motive of the conference is to bring MPs and MLAs on a single platform where ideas and plans for development can be exchanged.
Reciprocal logistics support deal:
Context: A reciprocal logistics support deal has been signed between the respective armed forces of India and France.
What is it?
- The deal will facilitate the French and Indian armed forces to receive logistical support, supplies and services from each other during authorised port visits, joint exercises, joint training, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
- The deal, which is similar to the logistical support pact with the US, is an indicator of the strategic depth and maturity in defence ties between the two countries.