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28 August 2019: PIB Summary & Analysis

Read the daily PIB update and stay up-to-date on current affairs for the UPSC exam.

August 28th, 2019 PIB:-Download PDF Here

Agreement between India and Peru

Context

  • The Union Cabinet, has approved signing of agreement between the National Medicinal Plants Board, Ministry of AYUSH of the Republic of India and the National Institute of Health of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Peru on Cooperation in the field of Medicinal Plants.

Background

  • India is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biodiversity and more than 7000 species of plants are estimated to have medicinal usage in folk and documented systems of traditional medicines like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha & Homoeopathy (AYUSH System of Medicine).
  • The Republic of Peru is one of the Latin American Countries which are the biodiversity hotspots in the world and like India.
  • Peru is also having rich biodiversity of medicinal plants and the medicinal plants based traditional medicine practices are prominently practiced by indigenous people.

Significance

  • Both countries having rich medicinal plants biodiversity and medicinal plants based indigenous traditional system of medicines.
  • Considering the richness of medicinal plants biodiversity and uses of these resources in Indigenous Traditional Systems of medicines in both countries and to strengthen the bilateral cooperation, the proposed Agreement on cooperation, in the field of medicinal plants is envisaged.

Impact

  • The proposed Agreement will further enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the area of Medicinal Plants.
  • This will be of immense importance to both countries. This Agreement will provide structured framework for cooperation between the two countries on Medicinal Plants.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Gambia

Context

  • The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Gambia in the Field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.

Significance

  • The MoU will provide a framework for cooperation between India and Gambia for the promotion of traditional systems of medicine and will mutually benefit the two countries in this field.
  • Activities mentioned in the MoU will boost the importance of AYUSH Systems of Medicine in Gambia.
  • As a consequence of the MoU, exchange of experts for training of the practitioners, and Scientists undertaking collaborative research in Traditional Systems of Medicine are expected to lead to new innovations in drug development and practice of Traditional Medicine.

Review of FDI policy

Context

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for Review of Foreign Direct Investment on various sectors.

About FDI

  • FDI is a major driver of economic growth and a source of non-debt finance for the economic development of the country.
  • Government has put in place an investor friendly policy on FDI, under which FDI up to 100% is permitted on the automatic route in most sectors/ activities.
  • FDI policy provisions have been progressively liberalized across various sectors in recent years to make India an attractive investment destination.
  • Some of the sectors include Defence, Construction Development, Trading, Pharmaceuticals, Power Exchanges, Insurance, Pension, Other Financial Services, Asset reconstruction Companies, Broadcasting and Civil Aviation.
  • These reforms have contributed to India attracting record FDI inflows in the last 5 years.
  • However, it is felt that the country has the potential to attract far more foreign investment which can be achieved inter-alia by further liberalizing and simplifying the FDI policy regime.

Stats on FDI

  • Total FDI into India from 2014-15 to 2018-19 has been US $ 286 billion as compared to US $ 189 billion in the 5-year period prior to that (2009-10 to 2013-14).
  • In fact, total FDI in 2018-19 i.e. US $ 64.37 billion (provisional figure) is the highest ever FDI received for any financial year.
  • Global FDI inflows have been facing headwinds for the last few years.
  • As per UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2019, global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows slid by 13% in 2018
  • Despite the dim global picture, India continues to remain a preferred and attractive destination for global FDI flows.

Impact of FDI Policy Reform

  • The changes in FDI policy will result in making India a more attractive FDI destination, leading to benefits of increased investments, employment and growth.
  • In the coal sector, for sale of coal, 100% FDI under automatic route for coal mining,activities including associated processing infrastructure will attract international players to create an efficient and competitive coal market.
  • Further, manufacturing through contract contributes equally to the objective of Make in India. FDI now being permitted under automatic route in contract manufacturing will be a big boost to Manufacturing sector in India.
  • Easing local sourcing norms for FDI in Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT) was announced in Union Budget Speech of Finance Minister. This will lead to greater flexibility and ease of operations for SBRT entities, besides creating a level playing field for companies with higher exports.
  • In addition, permitting online sales prior to opening of brick and mortar stores brings policy in sync with current market practices. Online sales will also lead to creation of jobs in logistics, digital payments, customer care, training and product skilling.
  • The above amendments to the FDI Policy are meant to liberalize and simplify the FDI policy to provide ease of doing business in the country, leading to larger FDI inflows and thereby contributing to growth of investment, income and employment.

Establishment of an International CDRI

Context

  • The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval for the Establishment of an International Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) along with its supporting Secretariat Office in New Delhi

About CDRI

  • The CDRI is proposed to be launched at the UN Climate Action Summit.
  • Organized by the UN Secretary General, this event will bring together the largest number of Heads of States to generate commitments for combating the effects of climate change and resulting disasters, and will provide the high-level visibility required for the CDRI.
  • A global coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure would address concerns that are common to developing and developed countries, small and large economies, countries at early and advanced stages of infrastructure development, and countries that have moderate or high disaster risk.
  • Few concrete initiatives work at the intersection of Sendai Framework, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Change Adaptation with a focus on infrastructure.

Impact

  • The CDRI will serve as a platform where knowledge is generated and exchanged on different aspects of disaster and climate resilience of infrastructure.
  • It will bring together technical expertise from a multitude of stakeholders. In doing so, it will create a mechanism to assist countries to upgrade their capacities and practices, with regard to infrastructure development in accordance with their risk context and economic needs.
  • This initiative will benefit all sections of society. Economically weaker sections of society, women and children, are the most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters and hence, will be benefitted from the improvement of knowledge and practice in creating disaster resilient infrastructure.
  • It will also benefit all areas with high disaster risk. In India, the north-eastern and Himalayan regions are prone to earthquakes, coastal areas to cyclones and tsunamis and central peninsular region to droughts.

Online junction for School Education ‘Shagun

Context

  • Union Human Resource Development Minister launched one of world’s largest Integrated Online Junction for – School Education ‘Shagun’

About the initiative

  • School Education Shagun (URL: htpp://shagun.govt.in/) is an over-arching initiative to improve school education system
  • This is done by creating a junction for all online portals and websites relating to various activities of the Department of School Education and Literacy in the Government of India and all States and Union Territories.
  • Shagun is coined from two different words- ‘Shala’ meaning Schools and ‘Gunvatta’ meaning Quality.
  • This online junction of different websites and portals into a single platform will enhance the accessibility of information relating to schools and will ensure a holistic approach to transform education sector.
  • The portal seeks to connect approximately 92 lakh teachers and 26 crore students.

Major focus of the portal

  • Reinforcing and cleaning the data of the Integrated Online Junction through feedback from Stakeholders
  • Ensuring full inter-operability among the websites, portals and applications which are already hosted in the junction
  • Creating high quality e-contents, including quizzes and puzzles to enhance learning and also for teachers in aiding classroom transactions
  • Using artificial intelligence and deep machine learning in a variety of ways to enhance the quality of school education including for designing evidence-based inventions.

Related Links:

FDI in E-commerce: Whom will it benefit? National Ayush Mission
RSTV – The Big Picture: Ayushman Bharat UPSC 2020

August 28th, 2019 PIB:-Download PDF Here

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