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04 June, 2020

65 Min Read

Paper Topics Subject
GS-II India-Georgia Relations International Relations
GS-III Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H)
Amendment to Essential Commodities Act Economic Issues
Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs) for attracting investment in India Economic Issues
Initiatives of Coal Ministry  to improve efficiency
PT Pointer Salome Zourabichvili International Relations
Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Human Geography
SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) Economic Issues
Expansion of Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS) Human Geography
GS-II : International Relations
India-Georgia Relations

India-Georgia Relations

Historical Background

  • There is enough literary and folklore-based evidence to suggest that links between India and Georgia and awareness of India in Georgia have existed from very early times of human civilization.
  • Fables from India’s Panchtantra are believed to have influenced the Georgian folk legends. Those links were further strengthened in medieval ages by missionaries, travelers, and traders.
  • Georgians are said to have served at the Mughal Courts and some of them are believed to have risen to the positions of Governors.
  • The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s wife Udaipuri Begum was of Georgian origin.

Soviet Era

  • During the Soviet era, Prime Minister Pt. Nehru visited Tbilisi in 1955 (when he was welcomed in Hindi by the renowned Georgian Indologist and Sanskrit scholar Georgi Akhvledani); Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi visited Tbilisi in the summer of 1976. Mr.Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Georgia in June 1978 as Foreign Minister.

Post-Soviet/ Contemporary Period

  • Recognition of Georgia and Establishment of Diplomatic Relations following the declaration of independence by Georgia in the wake of the disintegration of the USSR, India recognized Georgia on 26th December 1991.
  • Formal diplomatic relations were established on 28th September 1992. At present we do not have a Resident Mission in Georgia. Our Ambassador to Armenia with residence in Yerevan (Armenia) is concurrently accredited to Georgia.

Institutional Mechanisms

Protocol on Foreign Office Consultations was concluded on 11th May 2000; it was signed by the Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili and EAM Mr. Jaswant Singh and provides for “regular consultations at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and other agreed levels on international, regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest”.

India and Georgia are in the process of establishing Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation which would create a framework for cooperation in diverse areas.

India’s Development Assistance

In December 1994, India had gifted medicines and relief supplies worth Rs. 0.5 million for refugees and displaced persons from Abkhazia.

India’s assistance to Georgia at present is mainly in the field of Human Resource Development.

India offers:

(i) Training slots (25 on average) every year under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC);

(ii) Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Scholarships to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Indian Universities; and

(iii) Kendriya Hindi Sansthan scholarships to study Hindi in India. In addition, an ICCR Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies has been established at the Tbilisi State University (TSU).

Indian Community

  • The Indian community is comprised of businessmen, workers, etc.; their number jumped considerably in 2012 and according to rough estimates, around 2000-3000 Indian nationals are now resident in Georgia.
  • Traditionally, Indian students have been coming to Georgia to study Medicine at the Tbilisi State Medical University.
  • Indian films and food are popular in Georgia.
  • Hindi is palpable. The India-Georgia Cultural Association ‘Bharat’ is engaged in promoting Indian culture; it is coordinating Hindi classes in Tbilisi for which the Government of India is extending the required support.

Trade and Economic Relations

  • Balance of trade is in favour of India.
  • The main commodity of Georgian exports to India is the ferrous waste and scrap, whereas meat and meat products are India’s main items of exports.
  • According to Geostat, Georgia, the total bilateral trade between India and Georgia in 2012 was at USD 88.81 million.

 

Source: PIB

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GS-III :
Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H)

Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H)

Context

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to re-establish Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) as Subordinate Office under Ministry of AYUSH by merging into it Pharmacopoeia Laboratory for Indian Medicine (PLIM) and Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory (HPL)- the two central laboratories established at Ghaziabad since 1975.

About Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H)

  • Presently, Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) is an autonomous body under the aegis of Ministry of AYUSH established since 2010.
  • The merger is aimed at optimizing the use of infrastructural facilities, technical manpower and financial resources of the three organizations for enhancing the standardization outcomes of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs towards their effective regulation and quality control.

Pharmacopoeia

 

A pharmacopoeia, pharmacopeia, or pharmacopoea, in its modern technical sense, is a book containing directions for the identification of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society.

 

Importance

  • This merger will facilitate focused and cohesive development of standards of AYUSH drugs and publication of pharmacopoeias and formularies.
  • It is also intended to accord legal status to the merged structure of PCIM&H and its laboratory by virtue of making necessary amendment and enabling provisions in the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
  • Post-merger PCIM&H will have adequate administrative structure under the Ministry to strive for augmenting the capacity and outcomes of pharmacopoieal work, achieving harmonization of pharmacopoeial standards of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs, preventing duplication and overlapping of drug standardization work and optimal utilization of resources in effective manner.

Source: PIB

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Amendment to Essential Commodities Act

Amendment to Essential Commodities Act

Historic Amendment to Essential Commodities Act

  • The Cabinet today approved historic amendment to the Essential Commodities Act. This is a visionary step towards transformation of agriculture and raising farmers’ income.

Background

  • While India has become surplus in most agri-commodities, farmers have been unable to get better prices due to lack of investment in cold storage, warehouses, processing and export as the entrepreneurial spirit gets dampened due to hanging sword of Essential Commodities Act.
  • Farmers suffer huge losses when there are bumper harvests, especially of perishable commodities. With adequate processing facilities, much of this wastage can be reduced.

Benefits

  • With the amendment to Essential Commodities Act, commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes will be removed from list of essential commodities.
  • This will remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.
  • The freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to harnessing of economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into agriculture sector. It will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernization of food supply chain.

Safeguarding interest of consumers

  • The Government, while liberalizing the regulatory environment, has also ensured that interests of consumers are safeguarded. 
  • It has been provided in the Amendment, that in situations such as war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity, such agricultural foodstuff can be regulated. 

Barrier-free trade in agriculture produce

  • Cabinet approved 'The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020'

Background of 'The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020'

  • Farmers in India today suffer from various restrictions in marketing their produce.
  • There are restrictions for farmers in selling agri-produce outside the notified APMC market yards.
  • The farmers are also restricted to sell the produce only to registered licensees of the State Governments.
  • Further, Barriers exist in free flow of agriculture produce between various States owing to the prevalence of various APMC legislations enacted by the State Governments.

Benefits of 'The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020'

  • The Ordinance will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce.
  • It will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations.
  • This is a historic-step in unlocking the vastly regulated agriculture markets in the country.
  • It will open more choices for the farmer, reduce marketing costs for the farmers and help them in getting better prices.
  • It will also help farmers of regions with surplus produce to get better prices and consumers of regions with shortages, lower prices.
  • The ordinance also proposes an electronic trading in transaction platform for ensuring a seamless trade electronically.
  • The farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce under this Act. Further there will be a separate dispute resolution mechanism for the farmers.
  • Farmers will engage in direct marketing thereby eliminating intermediaries resulting in full realization of price.
  • Farmers have been provided adequate protection. Sale, lease or mortgage of farmers’ land is totally prohibited and farmers’ land is also protected against any recovery.
  • Effective dispute resolution mechanism has been provided for with clear time lines for redressal.

One India, One Agriculture Market

  • The ordinance basically aims at creating additional trading opportunities outside the APMC market yards to help farmers get remunerative prices due to additional competition.
  • This will supplement the existing MSP procurement system which is providing stable income to farmers.
  • It will certainly pave the way for creating One India, One Agriculture Market and will lay the foundation for ensuring golden harvests for our hard working farmers.
  • Farmers empowered to engage with processors, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters

Government committed to the cause of farmer welfare

  • A series of steps were announced as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan to provide a boost to those engaged in agriculture and allied activities.
  • These include provision of concessional credit through Kisan Credit Cards, financing facility for agri-infra projects, Pradhan MantriMatsyaSampadaYojana and other measures to strengthen fisheries, vaccination against Foot & Mouth Disease and Brucellosis, Herbal Cultivation promotion, boost to beekeeping, Operation Green etc.
  • Through PM KISAN, over 9.54 crorefarmer families(as on first June 2020) have benefited and an amount of Rs. 19,515 crore has been disbursed so far during the lockdown period. An Amount of Rs. 8090 crore has been paid during lockdown period under PMFBY.

 

Source: PIB

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs) for attracting investment in India

Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs) for attracting investment in India

Context

  • The Union Cabinet under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi  has given its approval for setting up of an “Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs) in Ministries/Departments of Government of Indiafor attracting investments in India”.
  • This new mechanism will reinforce India’s vision of becoming a US$ 5 trillion economy by 2024-25.
  • DPIIT proposes strategic implementation of an integrated approach that will eventually bring about synergies between Ministries/Departments and among the Central and State Governments in our investment and related incentive policies.

Background

  • In the midst of current ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, India is presented with an opportunity to attract FDI inflows into the country especially from large companies which seek to diversify their investments into new geographies and mitigate risks.
  • Also, ramping up production across product lines will help to serve big markets in the US, EU, China and elsewhere.

Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS)

In order to provide support and facilitation to investors for investing in India and to boost growth in key sectors of the economy, an Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) is approved with the following composition and objectives:

Objectives of EGoS:

  • To bring synergies and ensure timely clearances from different departments and Ministries.
  • To attract increased investments into India and provide investment support and facilitation to global investors.
  • To facilitate investments of top investors in a targeted manner and to usher policy stability & consistency in the overall investment environment.
  • To evaluate investments put forward by the departments on the basis of their (i) project creation (ii) actual investments that come.

Project Development Cell (PDC)

  • A ‘Project Development Cell’ (PDC) is also approved for the development of investible projects in coordination between the Central Government and State Governments and thereby grow the pipeline of investible projects in India and in turn increase FDI inflows.
  • Under the guidance of the Secretary, an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary of each relevant central line Ministry, who will be in-charge of the PDC will be tasked to conceptualize, strategize, implement, and disseminate details with respect to investable projects.

PDC will have the following objectives:

  • To create projects with all approvals, land available for allocation and with the complete Detailed Project Reports for adoption/investment by investors.
  • To identify issues that need to be resolved in order to attract and finalise the investments and put forth these before the Empowered Group.

 

 

Source: PIB

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GS-III :
Initiatives of Coal Ministry  to improve efficiency

Initiatives of Coal Ministry  to improve efficiency

Introduction

  • Ministry of Coal has taken initiatives to re-visit old laws with an aim to improve efficiency, ease of doing business and to open up coal sector which would result in improving domestic coal production and reduce imports.
  • In the present scenario of coal sector, there has been dominance of public sector companies both in exploration and mining of coal.
  • Age old Mineral Concession Rule, 1960 was governing many aspects of coal mining and needed amendment in furthering the Coal Sector Reforms and also due to several legislations coming into existence such as those related to Environment and Forest conservation etc.

Mineral Laws (Amendment) Act, 2020: Salient features

  • Amendment to provide for allocation of coal blocks for composite Prospecting License-cum-Mining Lease (“PL-cum-ML”) to help in increasing the available inventory of coal/ lignite blocks for auction.
  • Provisions for any company selected through auction/ allotment to carry on coal mining operation for own consumption, sale without possessing any prior coal mining experience in India.
  • FDI Policy in Coal Sector allowing 100% FDI through automatic route for sale of coal, coal mining activities including associated processing infrastructure.
  • Provisions to remove the requirement of previous approval in cases where the allocation or reservation of coal/ lignite block is made by the Central Government
  • Entitlement to an allottee to utilize mined coal in any of its plants or plants of its subsidiary or holding company.

Amendment in Mineral Concession Rule 1960: Salient features

  • Registration of Qualified Persons for Mining Plan preparation is no longer required. Project proponent’s declaration in this regard will suffice.
  • Empowering block allocatee to make minor changes in mining plan and reducing requirement of repeated approvals thus giving flexibility in operation.
  • An option is now available to Coal Block allocatee to engage an Accredited Prospecting Agency for conduct of prospecting operation and preparation of Geological Report (GR) with a view to expedite exploration, bringing technology and faster growth of coal sector.
  • Additional option is also made available to Project Proponent through accreditation system for Mining Plan Preparing Agency for preparation.
  • Similarly, a peer review of Mining Plan to improve quality of mine planning and fast tracking approval system has also been introduced.
  • Provision for regulating grant of PL-cum-ML in light of the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Act, 2020.
  • Process has been made compatible to online approval so as to formulate an online single window clearance system.

Source: PIB

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GS-II : International Relations
Salome Zourabichvili

Salome Zourabichvili

  • Salome Zourabichvili is  the President of Georgia

Source: PIB

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GS-I : Human Geography
Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port

Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port

  • Kolkata Port is renamed as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port.
  • The Board of Trustees of Kolkata Port Trust in its Meeting held on 25th February, 2020 has also passed a Resolution to re-name Kolkata Port as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port.

Background:

  • The Kolkata Port is the first Major Port as well as the only riverine port of the country.
  • It came to be governed by a Trust on 17th October, 1870 on appointment of the Commissioners for Improvement of the Port of Calcutta as per Act V of 1870.
  • It features at Serial Number 1 in The First Schedule, Part I—Major Ports of the Indian Ports Act, 1908 and is governed by the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.
  • Kolkata Port has traversed 150 years and in this journey it has been India's gateway to trade, commerce and economic development.
  • It has also been a witness to India's struggle for independence, World Wars l & II and socio-cultural changes taking place in the country, especially in Eastern India.
  • Generally, the Major Ports in India are named after the city or the town in which they are situated.
  • Some ports, however, in special cases or in due consideration of contribution made by eminent leaders have been re-named after great national leaders in the past.
  • Nhava Sheva Port Trust was renamed as Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust by the Government in the year 1989.
  • The Tuticorin Port Trust was renamed as V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust in the year 2011 and the Ennore Port Limited has been re-named as Kamarajar Port Limited in the honour of Shri K Kamarajar, eminent freedom fighter and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
  • Recently, in 2017 Kandla Port was re-named as Deendayal Port.
  • Besides, many airports have also been named after the great national leaders in India.

 

Source: PIB

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GS-III : Economic Issues
SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support)

SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support)

  • With the aim of making the best of our skilled workforce returning to the country due to the ongoing pandemic, the Government of India has launched a new initiative SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) to conduct a skill mapping exercise of the returning citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission.
  • This is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of External Affairs which aims to create a database of qualified citizens based on their skillsets and experience to tap into and fulfil demand of Indian and foreign companies.
  • The collected information will be shared with the companies for suitable placement opportunities in the country.
  • The returning citizens are required to fill up an online SWADES Skills Card.
  • The card will facilitate a strategic framework to provide the returning citizens with suitable employment opportunities through discussions with key stakeholders including State Governments, Industry Associations and Employers.
  • MSDE’s implementation arm National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is supporting the implementation of the project.

Source: PIB

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GS-I : Human Geography
Expansion of Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS)

Expansion of Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS)

  • The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) predicts that there would be a 24% increase in the expansion of Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS) boundaries by 2021 and another 24% expansion by 2026 from its 2016 positions.
  • The floating sheets of ice called the ice shelves play a multi-faceted role in maintaining the stability of a glacier.
  • Ice shelves connect a glacier to the landmass.
  • The ice sheet mass balance, sea stratification, and bottom water formation are important parameters for the balancing of a glacier.
  • Latent and sensible heat processes do play important roles here.

 

The AIS is one of the largest glacier drainage basins in the world, located on the east coast of Antarctica, at about 70ºS Latitude, 70ºE Longitude. The AIS dynamics and mass balance help in understanding the changes in the global climate scenario.

 

  • The NCOPOR scientists observed a spatio-temporal change in the ice shelf as reflected by the extension of the Pridze and Mackenzie and the extension of a 200-km stretch between Mackenzie Bay (68.5ºS Latitude; 70.2ºE Longitude) and the Sandefjord Bay (69.65ºS Latitude; 74.3ºE Longitude), which is a part of the AIS.
  • It becomes clear from the study that the AIS is losing its stability owing to the impact of a downstream giant glacial drainage system over the past 19 years, thereby advancing the ice shelf boundaries due to higher freezing rates than basal melting.

Source: PIB

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