Environment expert panel defers large scale island resort project in Andaman
& Nicobar islands
An expert committee of the Union Environment Ministry has
“deferred” clearance to a Rs. 100 crore proposal by the Andaman and Nicobar
Islands Integrated Development Corporation Limited (ANIIDCL) to develop an
island resorton the grounds that it doesn’t take into account the
biodiversity of the islands’ coast.
The Centre has been working on a long-term plan to make several of
the islands more conducive to tourism. Last year, the Home Ministry revived
an Island Development Agency that would coordinate infrastructure projects
to aid tourism in the A&N islands as well as Lakshadweep.
Last month, the Environment Ministry approved a new set of rules
for infrastructure development along the coasts. The new rules, in general,
gave greater flexibility to development and infrastructure projects.
The panel also expressed “concern” over the management of solid
waste collection, treatment and disposal and how these would be managed once
the project was commissioned and handed over to the resort.
The arrival of domestic tourists in A&N islands rose from over
2.02 lakh in 2011 to over 3.84 lakh in 2016. The inflow of foreign tourists
was stagnant at around 15,000, according to the NITI Aayog in a presentation
in August 2018.
When the latest CRZ rules were announced in December,
environmentalists had raised concerns that the A&N islands already
vulnerable to soil erosion and threat of climate change would be further
susceptible to environmental challenges from infrastructure development.
Centre’s rule on spread of fake messages to be tough call for social media
The Indian government’s proposal to make it mandatory for online
platforms to trace the origin of unlawful messages is ‘overbroad’ and will
require WhatsApp to re-architect the product into one without privacy, a
spokesperson for the instant messaging app said on Wednesday.
The firm, however, did not elaborate on the plans for India, its
largest market with over 200 million users, if the proposal is accepted.
The government and WhatsApp have been at loggerheads over the
issue of tracing the origin of fake messages. The Facebook-owned instant
messaging platform has said on multiple occasions that it would not comply
with the government’s demand as it would undermine the privacy of WhatsApp
The government, on the other hand, said that it did not want
WhatsApp to decrypt and read messages, but insisted that it should be able
to trace the origin of messages that lead to serious crimes.
Mr.Woog head of communications stressed that WhatsApp ‘cares
deeply about creating a space for private conversations online’ and that it
was a private messaging platform. Asked if the company would quit India if
the proposed norms are adopted, He said the company would take one step at a
On Thursday, the Parliamentary Committee on IT will meet
representatives of the IT Ministry and Twitter to discuss issues related to
‘safeguarding citizens’ rights’ on such platforms.
Transfer of contingency funds to centre unlikely
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is unlikely to give in to the
government’s demand of transferring funds that was set aside for contingency
reserves in 2016-17 and 2017-18, according to sources.
A total of Rs. 27,330 croreRs. 13,140 crore in FY17 and Rs. 14,190
crore in FY18 was set aside by the RBI for the contingency fund.The sources
said there was no precedence of such a dividend being paid, that is, from
funds that have already been set aside for contingencies.
Finance Minister PiyushGoyal, in a written response to the
RajyaSabha, had said: “The government has requested the RBI for providing an
interim surplus for the financial year 2018-19 on the analogy of previous
financial year and transfer of the amount withheld from the surplus of
2016-17 and 2017-18.”
At the same time, the RBI has now decided to conduct statutory
audit of its account twice a year, so that it can transfer the surplus to
the government as many times. The government has been demanding more funds
as dividend from the RBI which has become a bone of contention.
A six-member committee headed by former RBI Governor BimalJalan
has been formed to review the economic capital framework of the central
bank. The committee would submit its report within 90 days from the date of
its first meeting.
Cabinet approves setting up of unified regulator of IFSC’s
The Cabinet has approved the setting up of a unified authority
that would regulate all the financial services in International Financial
Services Centres (IFSC), such as the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City
(GIFT) in Gandhinagar.
This is to be done through the International Financial Services
Centres Authority Bill, 2019.
An IFSC is aimed at encouraging Indian companies that are
conducting business in foreign financial centres such as London and
Singapore, to bring that business to India by providing them with a
global-standard regulatory and business environment.
“It would provide Indian corporates easier access to global
financial markets,” the government said in a release. “IFSC would also
complement and promote further development of financial markets in India.”
“Currently, the banking, capital markets and insurance sectors in
IFSCs are regulated by multiple regulators, i.e. RBI, SEBI and IRDAI,” it
India Brazil expands cooperation in the field of traditional medicines and
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister NarendraModi has
approvedMemorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Brazil on
cooperationin the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy.
The MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation between India and
Brazil in the areas of Traditional Systems of Medicine. This will be of
immense importance to both countries considering their shared cultural
India is blessed with well-developed systems of traditional
medicine including medicinal plants, which hold tremendous potential in the
global health scenario.
India and Brazil share a very close and multi-fraceted
relationship at bilateral level as well as in plurilateral for a such as
BRICS, BASIC, G-20, G-4, BSA, and in the larger multilateral bodies such as
the UN, WTO, UNESCO and Who. Brazil is one of the most important trading
partners of India in the entire Latin America and Carribean region.
Both India and Brazil are rich in biodiversity with a large range
of health practices based on medicinal plants and history of use of
traditional medicine. Ayurveda, Yoga and other traditional systems are
popular in Brazil.
Cabinet approves MoU on India-Norway ocean dialogue
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister NarendraModi has
approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Norway on
India-Norway Ocean Dialogue.
The MoU will promote cooperation in the areas of mutual interest
pertaining to the development of blue economy. Norway is a global leader in
the area of Blue Economy and has cutting-edge technologies and expertise in
areas such as fisheries, hydrocarbons, renewable energy, sustainable
harnessing of ocean resources and maritime transport.
The proposed MoU will contribute to create opportunities for
collaboration in areas such as exploitation of hydrocarbons and other marine
resources, as well as management of ports and tourism development for the
mutual benefit of all stakeholders within the framework of the Joint Task
It will contribute to the objective of Food Security through
infusion of new technologies in fisheries and aquaculture. It will further
offer a platform for businesses in both countries to execute profitable
ventures. Scientists and researchers may collaborate on studying ocean
ecosystem also in the context of the Arctic region.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Centre to use space technology in border management
The government has approved a plan to use space technology in
border management to check intrusion. In a written reply in RajyaSabha,
Minister of State for Home KirenRijiju said, over three thousand incidents
of intrusion on country’s borders took place in the last four years. He
said, 27 such incidents were also reported till the 24th of last month.
Mr Rijiju said Island development, border security, communication
and navigation, Geographic Information System and border infrastructure
development are the areas which have been identified for use of space
technology in improving border management.
The Minister said, to execute the project, a short, medium and
long term plan has been approved for implementation in five years in
coordination with Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO and Ministry of
Davis cup to witness India-Pakistan match after a long gap
The Indian Davis Cup team was on Wednesday drawn to meet Pakistan
in an away tie which could well be shifted to a neutral venue provided the
central government sticks to its policy of not allowing teams to travel to
the neighbouring country.
No Indian Davis Cup squad has travelled to Pakistan since March
1964 and in that tie, held in Lahore, India had won 4-0.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) said it will approach the
government to know if the team will be allowed to travel. “AITA does not
have a choice. We have to follow the government policy. We will speak to the
government to know,” AITA secretary-general HironmoyChatterjee said.