The Centre is carrying out a review of all memorandum of
understandings (MoUs) signed with foreign governments and wants to weed out
obsolete agreements that have lost their relevance. In a set of instructions
sent to all ministries, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has asked for updates
and outcomes of all MoUs and agreements signed.
Over the past years, ministries have signed scores of Mo-Us that
are usually centred around visits by the top leadership. These range from
cooperation in green energy to information sharing, health care, infrastructure
and defence talks.
Though not legally binding, the MoUs are often the starting
point to initiate formal agreements or set in a mechanism to enable talks on
specific topics between Indian ministries and foreign governments. While
ministries have limited autonomy in deciding on the MoUs, the more relevant ones
require prior permission by the Cabinet.
In the last 10 years, during the foreign visits of the Indian
Prime Minister, 609 MoUs have been signed. According to Parliament data, 138 of
these were signed in 2018.
The actual number of MoUs over the last 10 years would greatly
exceed this number as such agreements are also signed during visits of other
ministers abroad as well as incoming visits by foreign leaders.
In the communique sent to ministries last month, Gauba wrote
that MoUs provide strong opportunities to strengthen bilateral relations but
there needs to be a “continuous and effective monitoring” to ensure that their
potential is fully tapped.
Over 40% residents of Delhi and NCR want to move to another
city because of bad air quality while 16% want to travel during the period,
according to a new survey. The survey with over 17,000 respondents from
Delhi and NCR region has found that 13% resident believe that they have no
option but to cope with rising pollution levels.
“While 16% people said they would stay in Delhi NCR but travel
during this period of toxic pollution, 13% said they would stay here and have no
option but to cope with rising pollution levels,” it added.
When asked how pollution affected their health in the past week,
13% respondents said a family member has visited a hospital while 29% said one
or more have visited a doctor.
“Some 44% respondents said they were having health problems
related to pollution but have not visited a doctor or hospital and only 14%
people said they have had no impact of pollution on health,” according to the
The Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority has
banned construction activities in Delhi-NCR till Tuesday as of now.
India is rolling out "faceless tax assessment" system to
forestall any discretion or harassment in tax collection, Prime Minister
NarendraModi said on Sunday as he highlighted major reform initiatives
launched by his government in the financial sectors in the last five years.
Hard-selling India as one of the most attractive investment
destinations globally, Modi also said the country has stopped working in a
routine, bureaucratic manner and was undergoing "transformative changes" in its
march towards economic and social development.
Modi also asserted that India now has one of the most
people-friendly tax regimes in the world and that efforts are on to further
improve taxation system.
Modi specifically mentioned about how rolling out of the Goods
and Services Tax has resulted in the economic integration in the country, adding
his government was working towards making it more people-friendly.
The prime minister said it was the best time to be in India and
that many things such as foreign direct investment, ease of doing business, ease
of living and productivity are rising while tax rates, red -tapism, corruption,
cronyism are on a decline.
Citing a potential increase in trade within Asia-Pacific
region and opportunity for India to become part of the global value chains,
the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has said the country should join
the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade
The industry association said that if India does not join the
agreement, it would be cut off from the RCEP region in terms of preferential
access and that this would “hinder investments from many RCEP countries and thus
stymie its efforts to increase its integration into regional and global chains”.
Talks for the proposed trade pact are in the final stages in
Bangkok and Prime Minister NarendraModi is visiting Thailand from November 2-4
to participate in various ASEAN related summits, including the ASEAN-India
Summit, East Asia Summit and a meeting on RCEP negotiations.
The CII’s statement comes at a time when various domestic
industries including dairy, textile and automobiles have raised serious concerns
and opposed the pact over tariff related issues, especially with China.
The PM had said on Saturday that India will consider whether its
concerns and interests in trade in goods, services, and investments are being
fully accommodated when he attends the RCEP Leaders’ Summit.
Russia will not only train Indian astronauts for the
country’s maiden human spaceflight programme or Gaganyaan mission but will
also help provide life support system to the Indian space crew and heating
mechanism for the spacecraft.
A life support system is a group of devices that allow a human
to survive in space. The system supplies air, water and food, maintains optimum
body temperature and deals with human waste products.
The thermal control system keeps all the spacecraft’s component
systems within acceptable temperature ranges during all phases of the mission.
If a component is subjected to extreme temperatures, it could
get damaged or its performance could be severely affected.
Glavkosmos and Isro had earlier signed a contract on June 27 in
providing support in the selection of astronauts, their medical examination as
well as training them for space flight. Under the agreement, Glavkosmos would
select and train four Indian astronauts out of the 12 India would sent.
The two countries had then also discussed Indian-crewed flight
carrier rocket aerodynamic tests, piloted vehicle and crew rescue system. It was
then reported that the two sides may also negotiate the contracts for supply of
crew seats, windows and spacesuits.