India, United Nations sign Sustainable Development Framework for 2018-2022

India and the United Nations on September 28, 2018 signed the Government of India-United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF) for 2018-2022.

The framework was signed by Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog and United Nations Resident Coordinator in India, Yuri Afanasiev. The signing ceremony was presided over by NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Dr. Rajiv Kumar, members of NITI Aayog and the heads of UN agencies in India.

Government of India-United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF) 2018-2022

• The Framework outlines the work of UN agencies in India to support the achievement of key development outcomes that have been identified in consultation with the government and are aligned to the national priorities. 

• The NITI Aayog is the national counterpart for the UN in India for the operationalisation of the UNSDF.

• Nineteen UN agencies have signed on the UNSDF 2018-2022.

Seven priority areas of UNSDF 2018-22
The UNSDF 2018-22 comprises of seven priority areas that outline the work that UN agencies will undertake jointly or individually fully aligned with the priorities of the Union Government.

The seven priority areas outlined in the UNSDF are:

1. Poverty and Urbanization

2. Health, Water, and Sanitation

3. Education and Employability

4. Nutrition and Food Security

5. Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Disaster Resilience

6. Skilling, Entrepreneurship, and Job Creation

7. Gender Equality and Youth Development.

United Nations in India

The United Nations system in India includes 26 organisations that have the privilege to serve in India. The Resident Coordinator, the designated representative of the UN Secretary-General to the Government, leads the UN Country Team to advocate the mandate of the United Nations.

Yuri Afanasiev is the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in India. He assumed his duties in July 2015.

Model Code will come into force on premature dissolution of state assembly: EC

The Election Commission of India on September 27, 2018 announced that the Model Code of Conduct will be applicable to the caretaker government till the formation of new government, in case of premature dissolution of state assembly.

The poll panel cited the Supreme Court verdict in the SR Bommai case that the caretaker government should merely carry on day-to-day governance and desist from taking any policy decisions.

Until now, the model code of conduct was applicable only with announcement of poll schedule by the Election Commission.

What is Model Code of Conduct?
The Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines released by the Election Commission of India to conduct free and fair elections in the country.

These guidelines lay out the instructions to be followed by both candidates and political parties contesting elections. These instructions on campaigning, general conduct and meetings remain effective till the entire elections process is not completed.

Highlights of the directions

• In cases of premature dissolution of legislative assembly, the model code of conduct shall come into operation with immediate effect and continue to remain in force till completion of the election to constitute the new assembly.

• These provisions of the Part-VII of Model Code of Conduct shall apply on the caretaker state government as well as on the Central Government. Para-VII lays down boundaries for the party in power and defines boundaries for conduct of government in the poll-bound state regarding policy decisions.

• As per the directions, neither the caretaker state government nor the Union Government will announce any new schemes and projects or undertake any of the activities prohibited under the Model Code of Conduct. 

• All other prohibitions including the use of resources for any non-official purposes and combining of an official visit with electioneering work will apply on all ministers and other authorities of the caretaker state government, the Central government as well as governments of other States. 

• The poll panel also cited earlier Supreme Court’s order that the caretaker government should merely carry on the day-to-day government and desist from taking any major policy decision.

Directions will have impact on poll-bound Telangana

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This significant order will have an immediate impact in poll-bound Telangana.

The Telangana Cabinet on September 6, 2018 passed a resolution calling for the dissolution of the Telangana Legislative Assembly. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao convened the meeting of his Council of Ministers to dissolve the Legislative Assembly and seek fresh elections, six months ahead of schedule. 

Telangana Governor ESL Narasimhan accepted the recommendation of the Telangana cabinet, however, asked Rao and his council of ministers to continue as the caretaker government.

NITI Aayog, UN sign Sustainable Development Framework for 2018-2022

NITI Aayog and United Nations in India on September 28, 2018 signed the Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF) for 2018-2022 at an event in New Delhi. The agreement is a reflection of the commitment and efforts made by India towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The framework was signed by the NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and United Nations Resident Coordinator in India Yuri Afanasiev at a special signing ceremony presided over by NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Rajiv Kumar. 

Significance

Rajiv Kumar emphasised that the period between 2018 and 2022 will be a crucial phase in India’s development story since the year 2022 marks the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.  

Hence, at such a time, partnership instruments such as the UNSDF assume gain even more significance to accelerate the pace towards building a New India by 2022, an India that is free of poverty and equal for all.

Key Features of UNSDF

• The framework outlines the development cooperation strategy between the Union Government and the United Nations country team in India, in support of the achievement of India’s key national development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

• The framework was created following a highly participative process, in consultation with government entities, civil society representatives, academia and the private sector. 

• The key focus areas of the framework include poverty and urbanisation, health, water, sanitation, education, nutrition and food security, climate change, clean energy, and disaster resilience, skilling, entrepreneurship, and job creation and gender equality and youth development. 

• Under the framework, the United Nations will support the Union Government on south-south cooperation, in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs. 

• The total planned budget outlay for the implementation of the UNSDF 2018-2022 is approximately Rs 11000 crore, of which 47 percent is planned to be mobilised through the course of implementation from multiple sources, including the private sector and the government.

Speaking on the occasion, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, highlighted the need to promote innovation in meeting India’s development challenges and bringing on board the power of social entrepreneurs and the private sector to act on scale.

Other Details

• The framework is a step in the direction of the overarching principle of the SDGs to leave no one behind. 

• The programmatic work outlined in the UNSDF targets the seven low-income states -Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP, Odisha, Rajasthan, UP and the North-East region along with the aspirational districts identified earlier this year by the NITI Aayog. 

• The work under the framework will mainly focus on improving the lives of the most marginalized, poor, and vulnerable communities and people in the country, especially women and girls.

• The framework also includes a set of UN flagship programs that are aligned with major government schemes. The flagship programmes will aim to provide innovative, multi-sectoral solutions to some of the most pressing development challenges faced by India, while also serving as catalysts for an increased investment of development finance. 

• The programmes range from affordable housing for the poor to increasing access to clean energy in rural off-grid areas, from protecting all children from vaccine-preventable diseases to quality education for all children and skilling for young people, especially young girls and from ending stunting to improving the child sex ratio.

Government approves constitution of High-Level Advisory Group to review India’s global trade strategy

The Union Commerce Minister, Suresh Prabhu, has approved the constitution of a High-Level Advisory Group (HLAG) to make recommendations for identifying opportunities and addressing challenges in order to find a way forward for India in the contemporary global trade scenario. 

The key responsibility of the group will be to consider ways for boosting India’s share and importance in global merchandise and services trade, managing pressing bilateral trade relations and mainstreaming new age policymaking.

Terms of reference of HLAG

• To examine the prevailing international trade dynamics and rising protectionist tendencies, especially on the part of major economies.

• To examine non-engagement by some countries on outstanding trade negotiation issues and commitments, including the Doha Development Agenda and their insistence on pursuing negotiating mandates.

• To build consensus and common understanding.

• To suggest a way forward for India in light of the examination, taking into account its interests and sensitivities.

• To provide options for a balanced approach for the global community to build on achievements thus far and create a conducive global trade framework and move forward in a harmonious and consensual manner that is acceptable to all.

Composition of the Group

The HLAG will be chaired by Surjit S Bhalla, who is the Director of Oxus Research and Investments.

The other members of the group will include former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, former Commerce Secretary and Member Rajeev Kher, Principal Economic Advisor Sanjeev Sanyal, Quality Council of India Chairman Adil Zainulbha, former DDG at WTO Harshavardhan Singh, DG NCAER Shekhar Shah, Foreign Policy Advisor Vijay Chauthaiwale, IIM Professor Pulok Ghosh, former Ambassador of India to the WTO Jayant Dasgupta, CII’s DG Chandrajit Banerjee and Rajiv K Luthra of Luthra&Luthra.

Other Details

The group may consider possible approaches and suggest a pragmatic framework for India’s future engagement in international trade.

It may also suggest the manner in which India can play a more proactive and constructive role in working with the international community in exploring and building consensus on resolving emergent trade-related issues.

The High-Level Group would meet regularly over the next two months and make specific implementable recommendations in light of its terms of reference on each of the areas, to facilitate the formulation of future trade policies.

The group may also invite special dignitaries whose inputs may be considered necessary. The Centre for WTO Studies (CWTOS) in New Delhi shall provide the secretariat to the group.

Finance Minister launches Financial Inclusion Index, Jan Dhan Darshak app

The Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley launched the Financial Inclusion Index (FII) in New Delhi on September 24, 2018. The index was launched after the Finance Minister’s annual performance review meeting with the CEOs of public sector banks. 

The annual index will be released by the Department of Financial Services (DFS) under the Ministry of Finance by the end of this year and it would rate states on their performance on last-mile banking services availability. The index will be a measure of access and usage of a basket of formal financial products and services that includes savings, remittances, credit, insurance and pension products.

The index will include the following three measurement dimensions:

(i) Access to financial services 

(ii) Usage of financial services 

(iii) Quality

Key Highlights

• The single composite index gives a snapshot of the level of financial inclusion that would guide the macro policy perspective. 

• The various components of the index will help measure financial services for use of internal policy making. The index can also be used directly as a composite measure in development indicators. 

• Further, the index enables fulfilment of G20 Financial Inclusion Indicators requirements. 

• It will also facilitate researchers to study the impact of financial inclusion and other macroeconomic variables.

Jan Dhan Darshak App

  Finance Minister launches Financial Inclusion Index As a part of financial inclusion initiative, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) under the Ministry of Finance along with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has jointly developed a mobile application called ‘Jan Dhan Darshak’.

Objective

The application will act as a guide for the common people in locating a financial service touch point at a given location in the country.

Key Details

The app will be in a unique position to provide a citizen-centric platform for locating financial service touch points across all providers such as banks, post office and common service centres (CSC).

These services could be availed as per the needs and convenience of the common people.

Over 5 lakh financial service touch points including bank branches, ATMs and post offices have been mapped on the application and approximately 1.35 lakh bank mitras would be brought on board by December 1, 2018.

The following are the salient features of the app:

• Find nearby Financial touch points,  based on the current location

• Search by place name

• Search by place name also available with Voice Interface

• Phone number of bank branches available in the app, with the facility of call button for integrated dialling

• Users’ feedback will go directly to the concerned bank for carrying out the necessary updation in data on financial touch points.

World Rabies Day

28 September is World Rabies Day. It is celebrated annually to raise awareness about rabies prevention and to highlight progress in defeating this horrifying disease. 28 September also marks the anniversary of Louis Pasteur’s death, the French chemist and microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine.

Adultery No Longer a Criminal Offence, SC Strikes Down Section 497 of IPC

A five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra scrapped the pre-Independence provision of adultery in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which treats a married woman as a commodity owned by her husband.Section 497 (adultery) gives a husband the exclusive right to prosecute his wife’s lover. If found guilty, the adulterer faces five years behind bars.

Punjab, Himachal agree to Anandpur Sahib-Naina Devi ropeway

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The northern states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a ropeway project between two religious sites- Anandpur Sahib and Naina Devi.

Govt constitutes High-Level Advisory Group for trade

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Minister for Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu, on Friday approved constitution of a High Level Advisory Group (HLAG) to make recommendations in identifying opportunities and addressing challenges in the contemporary global trade scenario. The HLAGwill be headed by Surjit S. Bhalla, Director of Oxus Research and Investments.

Argentina Gets Biggest Loan in IMF’s History At $57 billion

Argentina has received the biggest loan package ever from the International Monetary Fund, aimed at shoring up the country’s ailing finances a whopping $1bn that will be disbursed over the next three years.

USEFUL INFO
Argentina Capital Buenos Aires
Currency Peso
PM Mauricio Macri

Andhra Pradesh bagged the first prize in state category for comprehensive development of tourism

Tourism Minister K J Alphons presented National Tourism Awards 2016-17in New Delhi. The awards were given in various segments of the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.Andhra Pradesh bagged the first prize in state category for comprehensive development of tourism.

USEFUL INFO
Andhra Pradesh Capital Hyderabad, Amaravathi
CM Chandrababu Naidu
Governor ESL Narashiman

Odisha: Govt adopts ‘No Work No Pay’ policy in education department

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Odishagovernment has decided to adopt the ‘No Work No Pay’ policy with regard to the strike by the block grant teachers and lecturers.

USEFUL INFO
Orissa Capital Bhubaneswar
CM Naveen Patnaik
Governor Ganeshi Lal

RBI to ease SLR norms from October to induce liquidity

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The Reserve Bank of India will ease the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) norms from October to induce liquidity into the financial system, amid concerns of a credit crunch. The increase in ‘Facility to Avail Liquidity for Liquidity Coverage Ratio’ (FALLCR), will effect from October 1, 2018, from the existing 11 percent to 13 percent will take the carve out from SLR available to banks to 15 percent of their NDTL (Net Demand and Time Liabilities)”.

ADB retains India growth forecast for FY18 at 7.3%

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The ADB kept its growth forecasts unchanged at3% for 2018 and 7.6% for 2019 as the temporary effects of the demonetization of large bank notes and the introduction of GST abate as expected.

RBI cancels Bandhan Bank’s permission for new branches

Bandhan Bank on Friday informed stock exchanges that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had cancelled the permission given to it for opening new branches on account of its inability to bring down shareholding of non-operative financial holding company (NOFHC) to 40 per cent.

Mobiles To Drive $985 Bn Financial Services Sales In India By 2022

By influencing purchases of credit cards, insurance and loans, mobiles will create$985 billion sales opportunity for financial services brands in India by 2022, says a new Facebook-KPMG report titled “Eliminating friction in financial services path to purchase”.

Global IoT cellular connections to hit 5-bn mark by 2025: Report

Global Internet of Things (IoT) cellular connections will cross five billion mark by 2025 and China will continue to lead by contributing almost two-thirds of such connections.

Sanjay Kumar was given additional charge of the post of Director General of Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guards.

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National Disaster Response Forcechief Sanjay Kumar was given additional charge of the post of Director General of Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guards.

Rajni Kant Misra Appointed BSF Chief

Senior IPS officers Rajni Kant Misra appointed as the chief of Border Security Force (BSF) and S S Deswal have been appointed as the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) respectively.

Government constitutes Lokpal search committee

The Modi government constituted an eight-member search committee, to be headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, to recommend the chairperson and members of the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal.

PV Sindhu only sportsperson in Forbes India’s maiden list of 22 young achievers

Badminton player and Olympian PV Sindhu is the only sportsperson featuring in the Forbes India’s maiden ‘tycoons of tomorrow’ list of 22 young achievers in the fields of business, acting and sports.

India, United States form alliance in public and private sectors to combat menace of tuberculosis

The US and Indiahave formed an alliance comprising leading experts in public and private sectors to combat the menace of tuberculosis. US Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Mark Green announced the formation of ‘USAID-India End TB Alliance’ at an event in New York in presence of Union Health Minister USAID is making an initial USD 30 million

NITI Aayog, UN in India sign Sustainable Development Framework

The NITI Aayogand the United Nationsin India on Friday signed the Sustainable Development Framework for 2018-2022. The agreement is a reflection of the commitment and efforts made by India towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.

7th National Conference on Excellence in Workplace Safety held in New Delhi

The 7th edition of FICCI Safety Systems Excellence Awardsfor Industry was launched in June 2018. The award ceremony & the conference are scheduled in September. The conference theme is “Excellence in Workplace Safety & Occupational Health”.

 IISc Bengaluru tops India in global list of best institutes

·         The Times Higher Education’s (THE) world university rankings 2019, released on Wednesday, show Oxford continues to hold the first place, Cambridge second, and Stanford third. No Indian institution figures in the top 250 of the Times Higher Education’s (THE) world university rankings 2019, though the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has retained its position as the highest-ranked centre in the country, while the Indian Institute of Technology-Indore has risen to the highest position behind it.

8th Asian Yoga Sports Championship begins in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram is all set to play host to the 8th Asian Yoga Sports Championship, which will be held at the Jimmy George indoor stadium from September 27 to 30.

India to host first deaf ICC World T20 in November

Indiawill host the Deaf ICC T20 World Cup slated to begin from November 23-30 in Gurugram. The eight-day tournament will see participation from over 200 players across eight countries including England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, South Africa, apart from India.

 

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