GENERAL STUDIES PAPER 2
Government keen to ensure a decent living Habitat for the poor, says HUA Minister
- The Government is committed to ensure a decent living habitat to all in urban areas and in particular, for the poor
- The flagship new urban missions launched during the last three years constitute an integrated urban habitat model.
- On the occasion of ‘World Habitat Day’ the theme ‘Housing Policies : Affordable Homes’ was popularized in New Delhi.
- The new urban mission launched by the Government like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) is at the core of ensuring affordable homes to the poor and the needy while other missions like the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) aim at enabling the much needed basic infrastructure for a decent habitat.
- Several initiatives to give a boost to housing sector and in particular to affordable housing to meet the housing needs of the people.
- Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030 noted that India’s performance would be the key to achieve these goals at global scale.
Topic: International Relations
India – EU Joint Statement during 14th India-EU Summit, New Delhi (October 06, 2017)
- The 14th annual Summit between India and the European Union (EU) was held in New Delhi on 6 October 2017.
- Recognising that India and the EU are natural partners, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further deepen and strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership based on shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights and territorial integrity of States.
- The leaders expressed satisfaction at the progress made towards implementing the India-EU Agenda for Action 2020 – the roadmap for bilateral cooperation (13th India-EU Summit).
- The leaders committed to work in a result-oriented and mutually beneficial manner to further strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership by deepening their trade cooperation, enhancing investment flows in both directions and broadening dialogue and engagement on global and regional issues, including climate change, as well as migration and the refugee crisis, and resolved to further strengthen their bilateral and multilateral cooperation in these areas.
- The leaders underlined the importance of regular high level contacts to enhance India-EU co-operation and mutual understanding.
- They welcomed the growing convergence on contemporary global issues and agreed to enhance India-EU cooperation in all multilateral fora. They also recognised their common responsibility towards ensuring international peace and security, and an open and inclusive international order.
- The leaders confirmed their commitment towards conflict prevention and sustaining peace as fundamental aspects of promoting security and prosperity, fostering non-proliferation and disarmament, and agreed on the need for the global community to unite to address the menace of terrorism and safeguard the security of the global commons – sea lanes, cyber space and outer space.
- The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to an open, free, secure, stable, peaceful and accessible cyberspace, enabling economic growth and innovation.
- The leaders joint commitment to explore opportunities to, inter alia, share information, best practices, including regarding countering the on-line threat of radicalisation, and to engage in capacity building activities, such as training and workshops. They also emphasised the need to deepen cooperation within the UN and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
- India and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to enhance maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean and beyond. Both sides noted the recent joint manoeuvres (PASSEX) between the EU Naval Force and the Indian Navy off the coast of Somalia, as a successful example of naval cooperation.
- Both sides agreed to enhance the India-EU space cooperation, including Earth observation.
- India and the EU reiterated the importance they attach to human rights cooperation, including on gender equality and women empowerment in all spheres of life.
- The two sides expressed support to the Government and the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to achieve an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national peace and reconciliation. The two sides remain determined to counter all forms of terrorism and violent extremism, considering them fundamental threats to international peace and stability.
- India and the EU reaffirmed their support for the continued full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Iranian nuclear issue.
- Both sides condemned the nuclear test conducted by DPRK on 3 September 2017, which was another direct and unacceptable violation of the DPRK’s international commitments. They agreed that DPRK’s continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its proliferation links pose a grave threat to international peace and security, and called for the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which has been endorsed by the UNSC and the Six Party Talks.
- Regarding the situation in Syria, India and the EU reaffirmed the primacy of the UN-led Geneva process and called for full support for the intra-Syrian talks with a view to promoting a political solution in Syria.
- Protection of civilians and territorial integrity is fundamental and all parties to the conflict and their supporters are expected to live up to their commitments.
- India and the EU acknowledged the importance of connectivity in today’s globalised world. They underlined that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality and must follow principles of financial responsibility, accountable debt financing practices, balanced ecological and environmental protection, preservation standards and social sustainability.
- Both sides reaffirmed their support to the new United Nations reform agenda on the three reform tracks of peace and security, development and management reform. The two sides’ commitment to stronger global governance also translates to reforming the bodies and organs of the UN system, including the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council as well as the revitalisation of the work of the General Assembly.
- The two sides agreed to work bilaterally and with partners in the G20, the United Nations and other multilateral fora to address emerging challenges to international security, global economic stability and growth.
- The leaders reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and the importance of enhancing free, fair, and open trade for achieving sustainable growth and development.
- Both sides recalled the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the joint commitment to its implementation with the complementary new EU Consensus on Development and India’s “sab kasaath, sab kavikas” policy initiatives, and reaffirmed the importance of global partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and poverty alleviation.
- The EU welcomed India’s contribution to peace and development in Africa, including its participation in UN Peacekeeping Missions.
- The EU leaders welcomed India’s efforts to promote economic and social development and expressed the EU’s continued interest in participating in India’s flagship initiatives such as “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Skill India”, “Smart City”, “Clean India,” and “Start-Up India”.
- 24.The EU closely follows Prime Minister Modi’s economic reforms, including the historic introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which can facilitate ease of doing business and promotes market integration in India by realising a simple, efficient and nation-wide indirect tax system.
- 25.Both sides agreed to enhanced cooperation and exchange of experience and best practices in the field of Intellectual Property rights (IPR) and public procurement.
- Leaders welcomed the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU investments in India as a means to improve the business climate and hoped that the IFM will ease sharing of best practices and innovative technology from the EU to India.
- Leaders welcomed the establishment of the South Asian Regional Representative Office of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in India and noted that its investments, especially in urban mobility and renewable energy projects, will support India-EU collaboration on the Climate Agenda.
- India and the EU noted that addressing climate change and promoting secure, affordable and sustainable supplies of energy are key shared priorities and welcomed the progress on the Clean Energy and Climate Partnership, adopted at the 2016 EU-India Summit.
- India and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to undertake mutual cooperation for reducing the cost of development and deployment of renewable energy projects through technology innovation, knowledge sharing, capacity building, trade and investment, and project establishment.
- The leaders reiterated the importance of reconciling economic growth and environment protection. They highlighted the importance of moving towards a more circular economic model that reduces primary resource consumption and enhanced the use of secondary raw materials.
- The leaders agreed to work towards an enhanced cooperation on innovation and technology development aiming at actions strengthening cooperation between European and Indian industries and start-up ecosystems.
- Both sides noted positive exchanges on Internet Governance, on increasing the ease of doing business for ICT companies on both sides, as well as meetings between the Indian and European start-up ecosystems under a “Start-up Europe India Network”.
- The two sides confirmed their interest in further strengthening the cooperation in the area of pharmaceuticals, including capacity building of the regulatory system with particular focus on inspections by creating a more structured and stable training environment. The Indian side also highlighted its interest for cooperation on capacity building of the entire pharmaceutical value chain.
- The leaders adopted the India-EU Joint Statement on a Partnership for Smart and Sustainable Urbanisation with a view to step up cooperation including with regard to priority sectors such as the upgrading of urban infrastructure for transport and sanitation, developing Smart Cities in India, as well as promoting the New Urban Agenda of the United Nations adopted in 2016.
- The leaders encouraged Euratom and the Department of Atomic Energy to conclude the Agreement for Research & Development Cooperation in the field of the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. They stressed that this cooperation will contribute to further enhancement of nuclear safety and will be mutually advantageous. The cooperation will also lead to improving the skills and deployment of non-power technologies in the areas of water, health care & medicine, environment, etc., for the benefit of the society.
- Both sides will continue their strong partnership in the development of fusion energy, building on the agreements to which they are parties, including under the Euratom-India Cooperation Agreement on Fusion Energy research.
- The Leaders welcomed the imminent operationalisation of the 2008 Horizontal Civil Aviation Agreement, which will enhance air connectivity between India and Europe and help foster greater people-to-people contacts, business travel and increase in tourism.
- India and the EU agreed to intensify cooperation in skills development and agreed to find complementarities and synergies between India’s Skill India initiative and the EU’s New Skills Agenda for Europe.
- The leaders emphasised that, as part of the India-EU Agenda for Action 2020, there was a need to work towards strengthening cooperation on higher-education, including through India’s GIAN programme and the EU’s Erasmus+ programme.
- The leaders agreed to intensify people-to-people exchanges and facilitate increased travel of tourists, business persons, students and researchers between India and the EU.
- The leaders noted the adoption of the report on “EU’s Political Relations with India” in the European Parliament and welcomed its recommendations for intensifying the exchanges between the Indian and European parliamentary delegations. The leaders also looked forward to intensified exchanges between scholars, think tanks and cultural delegations.
Topic: Governance and Welfare
Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to address Digital Saksharata Abhinandan Samaroh
- Pradhanmantri Grameen Digital Saksharata Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) is an integral component of Digital India Initiative of the Government.
- The scheme envisage to make 6 crore citizens digitally literate in rural India, targeting at least one person from every household.
- The function will highlight the significance of digital literacy in addressing issue of digital divide/promote digital financial transactions and support in providing access to information, knowledge and skill there by leading to digitally empowered society.
- Citizens trained under PMGDISHA would be skilled in operating digital devices like computers, tablets, smart phones and use Internet in daily life for enhancing their skills and knowledge, access Government to Citizens services, healthcare and financial services as well.
- The scheme also focuses on enabling digital financial transactions among the citizens.
- By seeding Aadhaar number to bank account of the beneficiary and enabling him to access various online Government services like booking of railway tickets, passport application, etc would enable the citizen to leverage technology and participate actively in governance.
- The scheme will be implemented through Training Center – One in Every Panchayat (2.5 Lakh Training Center).
- Corporate through CSR and NGOs having facilities for conduct of training also participates in Digital Literacy program.
- Common Services Centers (CSC) Scheme is an integral part of “Digital India” initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India.
- The CSCs are ICT enabled front end service delivery points at the village level enabling delivery of Government, Financial, Social and Private Sector services in the areas of agriculture, health, education, entertainment, FMCG products, banking, insurance, pension, utility payments, etc.
GENERAL STUDIES PAPER 3
Topic: Energy Security
India gets Lowest Wind Tariff of Rs. 2.64 per kWh in second Wind Auction of 1000 MW
- The wind tariff in India touched lowest level of Rs.2.64 per kWh in the second wind auction conducted by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) on behalf of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Government of India.
- The tariff discovered is much lower than first wind auction concluded at Rs. 3.46 per kWh in February this year.
- With improving technology and reducing tariffs Ministry is not only confident of achieving the target of 175 GW by 2022 but exceeding it.
- Against the 1000 MW capacity SECI received 12 number of bids totalling to 2892 MW capacity of which 9 bids with a cumulative capacity of 2142 MW were shortlisted for e-reverse auction.
- As per provisions of scheme additional 100 MW capacity can be allotted to Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) willing to undertake development of inter-state transmission system (ISTS) connected wind power projects at the lowest bid tariff of Rs.2.64/kWh, for which they have to submit their proposal within 30 days from the declaration of results of e-reverse auction.
- The power from these projects will be supplied to obligated entities for fulfilment of their non-solar RPO obligation at pooled price of capacity selected.