- SAARC fund to launch social enterprise programme in India and 7 other member nations
- SAARC Development Fund (SDF) will soon be launching a social enterprise development programme (SEDP) to fund 80 entities annually across the 8-member states including India.
- SDF is in the process of launching the SEDP as part of its social window.
- The programme will be implemented in all the SAARC member states with the objective of identifying and building social enterprises by using a mix of grants and concessional returnable capital.
- SDF is currently implementing 12 regional projects with more than 70 implementing and lead implementing agencies covering all the member countries under the social window funding.
SAARC Development Fund (SDF)
- In 1996, a first funding mechanism was created in SAARC, ‘South Asian Development Fund (SADF), merging the SAARC Fund for Regional Projects (SFRP) and the SAARC Regional Fund.
- A primary reason for establishing SDF was that the existing South Asian Development Fund (SADF) was found to be inadequate i.e. in terms of required quantum of funds and its limited scope of work.
- In 2005, SAARC Financial Experts decided to reconstitute SADF as SAARC Development Fund (SDF).
- SDF was established by the Heads of the eight SAARC member states in April 2010 and its Governing Council comprises finance ministers of these eight countries.
- It is based in Thimphu, Bhutan.
- The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia.
- Its member states (8 countries) include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8th December 1985.
- Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal.
- Amjad Hussain B Sial is the current Secretary General of SAARC.
SAARC Apex Bodies-
- SAARC has six Apex Bodies, they are
(1) SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI)
(2) South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Law(SAARCLAW)
(3) South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA)
(4) South Asia Foundation (SAF)
(5) South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC)
(6) Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL)
Source- Economic Times
- India has the trade deficit with 10 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members
- India’s trade deficit with seven countries (Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand) of RCEP has in fact increased in 2017-18 as compared to the previous fiscal.
- However, the trade gap has dipped with the remaining three nations – Lao, Brunei, Malaysia -in 2017-18.
What is India’s concern?
- The strength of the domestic manufacturing is weak, India would not be able to take advantage of such free trade agreements.
- Our exports to countries like Singapore, with which India has a trade surplus, is not increasing with the healthy pace.
- India does not have a free trade agreement with two of its biggest trading partners – the US and China – but the country has the highest positive balance of trade with the US, while it has the highest deficit with China.
- The difference between imports and exports.
RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership)-
- RCEP aims at liberalising norms for trade in goods and services and boost investment among 16-member countries.
- The members comprise 10 ASEAN members and their six FTA partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
- RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
- RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
- Established in 1967 in Bangkok via Bangkok Declaration.
- Currently, there are 10-member states and 2 observer states are part of it.
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organisation comprising ten Southeast Asian states which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members and Asian states.
- Its headquarter is in Jakarta, Indonesia.
- India is not the member of it.
- The 10-member states of ASEAN are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.
Source- Economic Times
- India seeks answers as Seychelles backs out of the military base
- Recently, Seychelles President Danny Faure said that the development of a military base on Assumption Island by India “will not move forward”.
- He said that their govt will put funds for them to build a coast guard facility on Assumption themselves.
- Seychelles funding its own coast guard facility was not an issue, India is hoping it would not be kept out of a project, envisaged as a 20-year agreement, that it sees as crucial to its strategic interests- particularly given China’s growing influence in the area.
- The two countries have an established relationship in defence and maritime security, through which India helps patrol the waters of Seychelles and gives equipment to the island nation’s defence forces.
- The Assumption Island is situated southwest of the Seychelles main island of Mahe and falls in the Indian Ocean maritime routes.
- In early 2018, Seychelles and India signed an agreement to build and operate a joint military facility on a portion of the island.
Other Projects by India
- Port Duqm in Oman
- Port Chabahar in Iran
- Agalega Islands- in Mauritius
Source- Indian Express
- Fourth Governing Council Meeting of NITI Aayog Concludes
- The fourth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog was held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
- It was attended by 23 Chief Ministers and the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, apart from Union Ministers, who are ex-officio members and special invitees.
- The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog as a platform to inspire cooperative federalism, stressing the need for effective centre-state cooperation to advance development outcomes and achieve double-digit growth for India.
- He called upon States to fix growth targets for their economies as the world looks towards India soon becoming a USD 5 trillion economy.
NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog
- It is established in 2015 by the government to replace Planning commission (was based on top-down model).
- It is based on the bottom-up model.
- It is the policy-making body for whole India.
- The Ex-officio chairman of Aayog is prime minister.
- Current Vice President of Aayog is Rajiv Kumar.
- Current CEO of NITI Aayog is Amitabh Kant.
- Permanent members of the governing council-
(a) All state Chief Ministers
(b) Chief ministers of Delhi and Puducherry
(c) Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar
(d) Vice chairman nominated by the Prime Minister.
- Nitin Gadkari releases Nabard Publication on Water Productivity mapping of major Indian crops
- The Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari has released a book ‘Water productivity mapping of major Indian crops’ published by NABARD.
- The book ‘Water productivity mapping of major Indian crops’ is based on a study of 10 important crops by a team under the leadership of Dr Ashok Gulati (agricultural economist).
- The ten important crops include rice, wheat, maize, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane, cotton, and potato etc.
- The book suggests realigning cropping pattern keeping in view water scarcity of irrigation, ration irrigation supplies in canal irrigation system, improve micro-irrigation and invest in water harvesting and artificial recharge.