(Current Affairs) India and The World | March: 2016

India & The World

NRIs likely to get Aadhhhaar number

  • The government is considering giving Aadhaar cards to non-resident Indians and a decision on it will be taken soon, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said while inviting the diaspora community to actively participate in India’s growth story.
  • Ms. Swaraj said it had been decided that women workers would be al- lowed to go to Gulf countries for employment only through the government agencies to ensure they were not duped by recruiting agents or firms.
  • The PBD, webcast by almost all Indian Missions and Posts, was organised for the first time by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) after the government’s decision to merge Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) with it.
  • Earlier the MOIA used to host the event. January 9 was chosen as the day for PBD as it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the “greatest Pravasi,” returned home from South Africa to lead India’s freedom struggle.
  • Asking the diaspora to participate in government’s various flagship programmes including the Skill India, the Digital India and the Clean Ganga initiatives.
  • She said Prime Minister NarendraModi wanted the Aadhaar card scheme to be extended to the NRIs.

Bus service between India and Nepal

  • A friendship bus service between India and Nepal via Champawat in Uttarakhand resumed after a gap of 27 years, much to the delight of people on either side of the border who have family and trade ties with each other.
  • These air-conditioned buses with free Wi-Fi facility, painted with Indian and Nepalese flags, will enter the Nepalese district of Kanchanpur at 6 a.m. everyday and start for Delhi, and return from there at 6 p.m.
  • No special documents are required to travel in these buses.
  • The service was suspended 27 years ago in the wake of the Indo-Nepal Trade and Transit Treaty.

Sahyog-Kaijin will start from chennai coast

  • The latest edition of ‘Sahyog-Kaijin,’ the Indo-Japan Coast Guard Joint Exercise, will begin in the Bay of Bengal of the Chennai coast on January 12.
  • The five-day event would witness seminars and exercises involving strategic assets of both the countries, besides meeting of high-level officials in Delhi and Chennai, sources said.
  • While one ship would represent the Japanese side, five to six ships are expected to participate from the Indian Coast Guard.
  •  The Commandant of the Japan Coast Guard would also meet his Indian counterpart in Delhi and later arrive in Chennai.
  • This would be the second time in the last three months that a ship from Japanese military is participating in an exercise with India in the Bay of Bengal.
  • During the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India last month, he said that Japan would be a permanent partner in the Malabar naval exercise along with India and U.S. navies. Japan is also likely to send its maritime assets to participate in the International Fleet Review to be conducted at Visakhapatnam next month.
  • Sahyog-Kaijin is held once in two years and the venue would shift between India and Japan on alternate occasions. India’s ICGS Samudra Paheredar participated in the 2014 edition held at Yokohama in Japan.

India seeks to lead developing nations at WTO

  • Starting with a proposed visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Africa in February, India plans to play a leadership role at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations to boost the trade prospects of the developing and poor nations.
  • To forge strong alliances on the “development agenda” of the WTO’s ongoing Doha Round of talks, the government will, in the coming months, also hold a series of “strategy workshops” of stakeholders, inter-ministerial and Centre- state discussions in addition to summits with African countries and other developing country groups.
  • The move comes in the backdrop of widespread criticism by the Opposition and civil society groups that the NDA government had failed to protect the interests of India and the developing world at the Ministerial Conference (WTO’s highest decision making body) held in Nairobi last month for negotiations on an agreement to lower global trade barriers.
  • The Nairobi Ministerial Declaration reaffirmed the pre-eminence of the WTO as the global forum for trade rules setting and governance, but noted that there was a lack of consensus on the part of the WTO’s 162-member countries on the way to take forward the Doha Development Agenda (DDA).
  • The Ministerial Declaration only said: “We recognise that many members reairm the DDA, and the Declarations and Decisions adopted at Doha and at the Ministerial Conferences held since then, and reaffirm their full commitment to conclude the DDA on that basis.”
  • This includes ensuring that the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), aiming to ease customs rules and expedite trade flows, does not come into effect till all the Doha Round issues are sorted out.
  • The TFA, which is being pushed mostly by rich countries, will come into effect only when two-thirds of the WTO’s members or 108 of the 162 member countries, ratify it. As of now, 63 countries have done so. India is yet to ratify the TFA.

Leading banks from Iran will open branches in India

  • Iran’s leading banks will soon open branches in India to energise commercial ties between New Delhi and Tehran.
  • The decision was amongst a slew of commercial measures taken by the India-Iran Joint Commission that met for the first time since Iran and the P-5+1 grouping struck a deal to end sanctions on Iran.
  • A major beneficiary of normalisation of banking channels between two sides will be India which has just begun settling more than $6.5 billion energy-related pending payment, with Iran.
  • Two countries also dis- cussed measures to boost logistic services, including allowing freight forwarding companies (numbering around 5,500 in India) to take advantage of the rupee payment mechanism and the insurance cover that are currently available only to exporters and importers.
  • India and Iran have decided to hold preliminary discussions for a preferential trade agreement (PTA).
  • The PTA is meant to ensure that both the countries will cut oreliminate duties on certain mutually agreed products to increase bilateral trade. A Joint Working Group will hold meetings to look at the feasibility of the PTA.

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