(Current Affairs) India and The World | November + December: 2015

India & The World

India’s bid for permanent Security Council seat gets a boost as UN adopts negotiations on reforms

  • The UN General Assembly on Monday adopted a negotiating text by consensus for the long-pending Security Council reforms, setting the stage for talks on the issue at its 70th session beginning Tuesday, boosting India’s bid for a permanent seat in the revamped world body.

  • India termed as “historic” and “path-breaking” the adoption of the document, saying the decision puts the Inter-Governmental Process formally on an “irreversible text-based negotiations path” and changes the “dynamics” of the negotiations on achieving UNSC reforms.

  • UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa convened a plenary meeting to take action on the draft decision on the “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters”.

  • During the meeting, he also circulated letters containing the positions of key countries, including Russia, the US and China which refused to contribute to the negotiating text.ers

  • There was no voting on the decision to continue text-based UNSC reforms in the 70th session of the General Assembly and it was adopted by consensus.

  • The draft decision contains a negotiating text which has positions of UN member states on Security Council reforms and how the powerful 15-nation body should be expanded in its permanent and non-permanent categories.

  • The adoption is a significant step towards beginning talks on the long-stalled reforms process in the 70th session of the Assembly on the basis of a negotiating text, a first in the last seven years of Inter-Governmental Negotiations that have been conducted so far without the basis of any text.

  • India’s Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukerji said the “most important aspect” of Monday’s decision is the text circulated by Kutesa in July which “we have agreed will be the guiding basis for our deliberations in the 70th General Assembly session”.

Indian-origin Ashok Sridharan becomes Mayor of Germany’s Bonn city

  • Ashok Sridharan, a mayoral candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel-led Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has comprehensively won the election in Bonn, becoming the first person of Indian-origin to occupy the mayor’s office in a major German city.
  • 49-year-old Sridharan secured the absolute majority by polling 50.06 per cent of the votes in Sunday’s election in the former German capital, according to provisional results.
  • His victory marks the end of more than 21 years’ rule of the city by the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
  • Mr. Sridharan, who is the son of a migrant from India and a German mother, will take over the reigns of the city administration from the outgoing SPD mayor Juergen Nymptsch on October 21.
  • Until now, he served as the treasurer and assistant mayor in the municipal administration of neighbouring town Koenigswinter.

India prepared to deal with any eventualities if US Fed raises rates: Govt

  • With expectations growing that US Fed may raise interest rates later this week, India’s economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das on Monday said the country is well prepared to deal with any eventuality.

  • Pointing to the country’s sound macro economic indicators such as low inflation as well as current account deficit, Shaktikanta said India’s economy might grow 7.5-8% in the current fiscal year while the world economy was going through uncertainties.

  • Continued worries on a slowing Chinese economy and possible interest rate hike by Fed has created bouts of volatility in emerging market economies and their currencies. The US Fed is scheduled to review its monetary policy on September 17.

  • India fears tightening of interest rates by US Fed could lead to outflow of capital from the country, further pulling down the value of rupee against the US Dollar. While depreciation of rupee could offer little help to exports as demand is low in major global markets, it might inflate imports and hurt companies with foreign currency loans that they have not hedged as yet.

India vote in favour of Palestine

  • India was among 119 nations that voted in support of a UN general assembly resolution granting the right to non-member observer states of Palestine and the Vatican to raise their flags at the world body’s headquarters along side the flags of UN member nations.

  • The resolution ‘Raising the flags of non-member observer States at the United Nations’ was adopted on Thursday by a vote of 119 in favour to 8 against, with 45 delegations abstaining.

  • Voting against the resolution were Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Tuvalu and the United States.

  • By the terms of that text, the general assembly decided that the flags of non-member observer states maintaining permanent observer missions at headquarters shall be raised at headquarters and United Nations offices following the flags of the members states of the organisation.

  • The assembly took the decision noting the participation of non-member observer States that maintain permanent observer missions at headquarters, of which there are currently two - the Holy See and Palestine, in its sessions and work.

  • The text of the resolution also requested secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to take “the measures necessary” for the implementation of the decision during the assembly’s 70th session, which begins on September 15, and within 20 days of the adoption of the resolution.

India can’t compete with China on INDCs

  • As the world eagerly awaits India’s climate action, there is absolute clarity that the country’s intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) will not be similar to that of China.
  • The inter-governmental consultations on framing up the INDCs have shown that India is nowhere close to China on energy generation and consumption — drivers for deciding a nation’s climate action.
  • China’s installed energy capacity is five times that of India; every household in China has access to electricity unlike 56% households in India and just a quarter of households in China use biomass for cooking as compared to 85% of rural homes in India.
  • When it comes to emissions, more than one-fourth of global emissions were by China as compared to just 6% for India in 2014. India’s per capita emissions are one-third of China’s.
  • These are some facts that energy ministries — power, coal and new and renewable energy (RE) — have conveyed to the environment ministry during consultation for firming up India’s INDCs. They have also highlighted why coal-based thermal power plants were necessary for India to continue high economic growth trajectory in the next 15 years or so.
  • Documents accessed by Hindustan Times show these ministries have strongly voiced their opposition towards any attempt to match China on INDCs as it could have implications on the country’s economic growth.
  • Former Planning Commission member Kirit Parikh too has strongly advocated against pushing renewable beyond a certain threshold to match China’s ambitious RE goal.
  • China has committed to generate 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030, reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels and limit power generation from thermal power plants.
  • Something similar could be disastrous for India, which is expected to submit its INDCs in September to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) after getting Cabinet’s nod.
  • China’s installed energy capacity is five times that of India, every household in China has access to electricity unlike 56% households in India and just a quarter of households in China use biomass for cooking as compared to 85% of rural homes in India.
  • When it comes to emissions, more than one-fourth of global emissions were by China as compared to just 6% for India in 2014. India’s per capita emissions are one-third of China’s.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: The man behind the Teacher’s Day in India

  • Every year on September 5, we celebrate Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday as Teacher’s day. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was India’s first Vice President and second President, who was one of the most learned scholars and statesman.
  • Radhakrishnan taught in the University of Calcutta, the University of Oxford and the University of Mysore. He is credited for creating and shaping the contemporary Hindu identity and for connecting India to the West with his philosophies.

Some interesting facts about Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan that you must know:

  • Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888 in a village near Thiruttani in Tamil Nadu
  • When Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan became the President of India, many of his students and friends wanted to celebrate his birthday at a national level. Instead Radhakrishnan asked them to celebrate ‘Teacher’s Day’.
  • Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was a proud Hindu. He wanted the World to know about the Indian philosophy and therefore, he did a critical study on the Indian philosophy, especially that of Vedantas
  • Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was married to a distant cousin, at the age of 16. He was married for 51 years, until his wife, Sivakamu died in 1956
  • In 1931 during the birthday honours, King George V knighted Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. After the Independence of India, Radhakrishnan stopped using the title of ‘Sir’ and instead preferred the title of ‘Doctor’
  • In 1939, Radhakrishnan served as the Vice Chancellor of Banarus Hindu University
  • After independence, Sarvepalli Radhekrishnan represented India at United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and later, he also served as the Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union
  • Former Indian cricketer, VVS Laxman was the great grandnephew of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
  • Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan died at the age of 86 on April 17, 1975.

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