Sunday, 07 February 2016 06:17



07 -FEBRUARY - 2016



India and Afghanistan inked a pact for visa-free travel by their diplomats. The agreement was signed after Afghan Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah's meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which they discussed key bilateral and regional issues including security cooperation.

On the other hand, both leaders discussed the role of international community to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan and to defeat challenge of terrorism. They also shared views on further deepening the India-Afghanistan relationship in the bilateral and regional context and also to reenergise the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Besides, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed the Afghan Chief Executive about India's efforts to expedite implementation of as many as 92 small developmental projects in Afghanistan that are nearing completion.

About Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan

The Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan is position within the Government of Afghanistan.

The extra-constitutional post was created in September 2014 following the disputes that arose after the 2014 Afghan presidential election when both Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory in that election.

As part of a national unity agreement, it was agreed that Ashraf Ghani would assume the presidency and a new post of Chief Executive Officer would be created for Abdullah Abdullah.


The Union Government appointed Jai Kumar Garg as Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Corporation Bank for a period of three years.

Garg took charge of the public sector bank, succeeding S R Bansal, who superannuated from services as CMD on 31 January 2016.

Who is Jai Kumar Garg?

Garg is a chartered accountant and also associate member of Indian Institute of Banking and Finance.

Prior to his appointment at Corporation Bank, he worked as executive director in UCO Bank.

He started his career at Corporation Bank in 1986.

He has experience in credit management, recovery, forex operations, retail banking and administration.

About Corporation Bank

Corporation Bank is a public sector banking company headquartered in Mangaluru, India.

It was founded on 12 March 1906 in the Temple Town of Udupi, by a small group of philanthropists led by Khan Bahadur Haji Abdulla Haji Kasim Saheb Bahadur.

It is the oldest banking institution in the erstwhile undivided South Canara District of the Madras Presidency.


An Indian national Saroj Kumar Jha was in news as he was appointed as the Senior Director for the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank.

He was appointed to provide strategic leadership to address the challenge of fragility, conflict and violence, working across the Bank Group and in close collaboration with partnes.

The WB President Jim Young Kim assigned him the new role.

Earlier to this, he was the World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia based in Almaty, Kazakhstan since February 2012. He also worked as the World Bank's Global Manager for Disaster Risk Management Practice.

About Saroj Kumar Jha

• He is an Indian national and holds a dual degree in civil engineering and development economics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, India.

• He joined the World Bank in 2005 as a Senior Infrastructure Specialist in the Sustainable Development Network.

• He had significant experience with the Government of India and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a senior executive in the field of public sector management, infrastructure financing, natural resources management, natural disaster prevention and environmental sustainability.

• He is credited for innovations in regional cooperation, social safety nets, and grievance redress mechanisms in various regions of the world.

• He also served as head of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, now the world's largest global fund for disaster prevention and post-disaster recovery operations.

• He led international response efforts to many global catastrophic disasters.

What is Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group?

• Almost half of the world’s poor expected to live in countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence (FCV) by 2030.

• Addressing this challenge remains a concern for achievement of the new Sustainable Development Goals and a priority for the World Bank Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group to end poverty and promote shared prosperity.

• This group provides financing, analysis and knowledge, and builds global partnership to support countries addressing the challenge of FCV, by focusing on conflict and violence prevention and resilience; humanitarian and development continuum and forced displacement; security and justice; political transitions and local governance; bottlenecks to private investments and job creation.

• In particular, the global displacement crisis has become a critical part of its fragility agenda. The length of displacement can amount to years, making this a development challenge that affects poverty levels, employment, and service delivery which is not just a humanitarian emergency.

• It is building on efforts so far to help address the root causes of refugee flows, including support to help the displaced rebuild their lives and improve infrastructure in host communities, access jobs, or return home,

• It is coordinating closely with humanitarian partners to provide effective financing instruments to alleviate pressure on host countries; to develop operations that can address the development aspects of forced displacement; and to provide strong analytics to inform policy discussions.

• It is also conducting analytical work on the economic impact of forced displacement to inform discussions at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.


India and Brunei signed 3 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to deepen bilateral cooperation. The MoUs were signed in Brunei capital Bandar Seri Begawan during the Vice President Hamid Ansari’s 3-day visit to the country.

Details related to 3 MoUs

• MoU in health cooperation: The objective of this MOU is to establish cooperation in the field of health by means of pooling technical, scientific, financial and human resources and to upgrade the health care, medical education, research between the two countries.
• MoU on Defence cooperation: The purpose of this MOU is to enhance Defence cooperation between India and Brunei in various fields. Cooperation in defence already exists in the form of naval ship visits, training of senior military officers in Staff colleges and exchange of experience.
• MOU on cooperation in youth and sports affairs: It seeks to provide a framework for exchanges of sports persons and sports teams; to facilitate the exchange of expertise in coaching, sports talent identification, sports management and administration and exchange of information in the field of youth affairs.

Apart from signing of the MoUs, the Vice President’s tour included his meeting with the Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah and a visit to the sultan omar ali saifuddin mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan.


The World Bank Board approved a 35 million US dollars credit for the Citizen Access to Responsive Services Project.The Project will improve access to selected public services for the people of Madhya Pradesh (MP) and particularly those belonging to deprived groups.

The World Bank’s concessionary lending arm, the International Development Association (IDA) will lend the amount with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.

Silent Features of the Citizen Access to Responsive Services Project

• This project will provide support to Madhya Pradesh Government to expand the number of services under the 2010 Public Services Guarantee Act.

• It would help to open LSK centers in underserved and remote areas, streamline government procedures and reach out to citizens so they all benefit from access to key public services anywhere, anytime through transparent and accountable governance as per the government’sVision 2018.

• Madhya Pradesh was the first state in India and worldwide to approve a Right to Public Services legislation and since then, 14 states have emulated the initiative by focusing on providing a more responsive service delivery, particularly for the poor and underserved groups.

• Three guiding principles will drive the next generation of PSGA reforms in MP: inclusiveness, simplification and accountability.

• It will integrate various service delivery platforms currently under operation and develop a Sarv Seva portal to allow citizens to access services through the channel of their choice (i.e., kiosk, phone, web or mobile technologies).

• The MP government is also working on simplifying government procedures so that some certificates are not needed at all, or are available real time at a single repository.

Efforts of Madhya Pradesh Government to improve service delivery

• In an effort to improve service delivery, Madhya Pradesh Government adopted the Public Services Guarantee Act (PSGA) in 2010.

• The PSGA has contributed to improving the delivery of public services to the citizens of Madhya Pradesh in a transparent, efficient and accountable manner.

• It has triggered several reforms including mandatory issuance of receipts for applications, online applications, and adhering to timelines.

• Under the PSGA, services are provided by Lok Seva Kendras (LSKs) or kiosks.

• The LSKs are privately operated under a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement and allowed citizens to apply for multiple government services at a one stop shop.

• Currently, there are 334 LSK centers throughout the state and more than 10 million applications have been processed since 2010.

• Around 126 public services were notified under the Act which includes water and electric connections, various government schemes like the widow allowance and pension schemes, caste and property certificates, and legal agriculture documents among others.


World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects in the Americas.

The UN health agency convened an emergency meeting of independent experts in Geneva to assess the outbreak of the virus. The meeting was convened after noting a suspicious link between Zika's arrival in Brazil in 2015 and a surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads.

This was the first meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005).

Recommended Measures

After the meeting a broad list of precautionary measures were recommended and they are:

• Surveillance for Zika virus infection should be enhanced, with the dissemination of standard case definitions and diagnostics to at-risk areas.

• The development of new diagnostics for Zika virus infection should be prioritized to facilitate surveillance and control measures.

• Risk communications should be enhanced in countries with Zika virus transmission to address population concerns, enhance community engagement, improve reporting, and ensure application of vector control and personal protective measures.

• Vector control measures and appropriate personal protective measures should be aggressively promoted and implemented to reduce the risk of exposure to Zika virus.

• Attention should be given to ensuring women of childbearing age and particularly pregnant women have the necessary information and materials to reduce risk of exposure.

• Pregnant women who have been exposed to Zika virus should be counselled and followed for birth outcomes based on the best available information and national practice and policies.

Longer-term measures

• It calls to intensify an appropriate research and development efforts for Zika virus vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

• In areas of known Zika virus transmission health services should be prepared for potential increases in neurological syndromes and/or congenital malformations.’

Travel measures

• There should be no restrictions on travel or trade with countries, areas and/or territories with Zika virus transmission.

• Travellers to areas with Zika virus transmission should be provided with up to date advice on potential risks and appropriate measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to mosquito bites.

• Standard WHO recommendations regarding disinsection of aircraft and airports should be implemented.

Data sharing

• National authorities should ensure the rapid and timely reporting and sharing of information of public health importance relevant to this PHEIC.

• Clinical, virologic and epidemiologic data related to the increased rates of microcephaly and/or GBS, and Zika virus transmission, should be rapidly shared with WHO to facilitate international understanding of the these events, to guide international support for control efforts, and to prioritize further research and product development.

Zika Virus

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus, transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti. In case of humans, the virus cases mild illness known as Zika fever (Zika or Zika disease). It has been occurring since the 1950s within a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia.

In 2014, the virus spread eastward across the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia, then to Easter Island and in 2015 to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, where the Zika outbreak has reached pandemic levels.

Earlier in last week of January 2016, WHO estimated that there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika in Americas by 2017 but no recommendations didn’t issued travel restriction or trade.

What is a public health emergency of international concern?

The term public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) is defined in the International Health Regulations as “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”. This definition implies a situation that is:

- Serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected

- Carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national border

- May require immediate international action

The responsibility of determining whether an event is within this category lies with WHO’s Director-General who may seek the views of the IHR Emergency Committee.

The last such public health emergency was declared for the devastating 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which killed more than 11000 people. A similar declaration was made for polio the year before.


National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Ltd. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RUSNANO OJSC of Russia. The MoU was to set-up Russia-India High Technology Private Equity Fund for joint implementation of investments into projects in India

The two parties agreed to cooperate in diverse sectors and facilitate high-technology investments in India.

They will establish a joint working group with a view to further develop cooperation between them and work on the development of the definitive agreements based on the principles outlined in the Memorandum.

About National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Ltd

The Union Government established NIIF as a Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations.

It is financed from Government’s own contribution and is expected to have equity participation from both foreign and domestic strategic anchor partners with Government’s share being 49 percent.

The initial authorized corpus of NIIF is 40000 crore rupees, which may be raised from time to time.

The objective of NIIF is to maximise economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects bothGreenfield and Brownfield, including stalled projects and other nationally important projects in India.


It is a Russian development institute with interest to invest in projects in the field of high technologies and defense including the projects aimed at establishment of manufacturing industrial enterprises in India.


  • Sending out a dual message to Pakistan, the government said that it would continue to engage with it to ensure it makes progress on the Pathankot investigation, but also made it clear that the Sharif government would have to show “sincerity” as it is from their territory that most attacks come from.
  • Most of the terror attacks emanate from Pakistan. It has to show some sincerity and take action against terrorists operating from its soil,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said at a counter-terror conference.
  • “Our government will stand by Pakistan if it takes decisive action against terrorists and their organisations,” he added.
  • Earlier in the day, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said that despite the attacks, India would continue to engage Pakistan at both the Foreign Secretary and National Security Adviser levels.
  • The statements by the Foreign Secretary and the Home Minister, as well as those made by President Pranab Mukherjee and NSA Ajit Doval indicate the government’s next steps with Pakistan are still under discussion, with no clear signs on whether India will go ahead with Foreign Secretary-level talks that were called of last month.


  • Faced with the challenges of both home-grown extremism and the global Islamic State (IS) threat, Maharashtra has rolled out a deradicalisation programme for the minority community.
  • The programme includes opening vyayam shalas in minority areas, making National Cadet Corps (NCC), Bharat Scouts and Guides (BS&G) compulsory in minority schools, and setting up an independent media outlet to deliver ‘mainstream thoughts and values’ to the minority youth in the State.
  • The Union Home Ministry had asked three States to draw up a comprehensive counter- strategy in the wake of at- tempts by international terrorist outfits to propagate jihadi ideologies.
  • The State Home Department has rolled out a 50-point socio-economic strategy with the aim of ‘bringing youth of the minority community into the main- stream’ and making coordinated efforts and policies in 13 sectors, including education, sports, urban planning, law and order, skill development, women and child, social justice, and health.


  • Vaccines manufacturer Bharat Biotech announced a breakthrough in developing the world’s first Zika vaccine.
  • The Hyderabad-based company has submitted to the government two vaccine candidates: one inactivated and one recombinant.
  • It said pre-clinical studies would be concluded in the next five months, and then the process for regulatory approval would start.
  • An inactivated vaccine consists of the disease-causing microbe killed with chemicals, heat, or radiation. This is more stable and safer than live vaccines.
  • A recombinant vaccine is produced through the recombinant DNA technology. This involves inserting the DNA encoding an antigen (such as a bacterial surface protein) that stimulates an “immune response.


  • The government has drawn up an ambitious plan to scale up the present regime for direct transfer of benefits to the poor under various welfare schemes, by creating a unified national database of beneficiaries that can be updated in real-time and automatically trigger new benefits such as vaccine shots for a newborn baby.
  • The blueprint drawn up over the past three months aims to transform the direct benefits transfer (DBT) regime launched in January 2013, into a social security platform linked to the beneficiary database that will have details about the household.
  • While the trinity of Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and mobile connectivity, referred to as JAM, would still play a key role, the government believes there are still several operational issues with thethree elements that will take time to sort out.
  • For instance, improvement in mobile network coverage and higher enrolments under Aadhaar would take time.
  • A committee in the Cabinet Secretariat is also working with the Finance Ministry to create a network of 2 million cash points such as kirana stores, chemists and Grameen Dak Sewaks in 6 lakh villages by March 2017, so that getting the cash in hand isn’t an ordeal for the rural poor.


  • Moving a step closer to fulfilling its promise of implementing the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for military personnel, the government released detailed instructions and tables on its implementation.
  • This is a follow-up to the notification on OROP on November 7 last year.
  • According to the notification, the annual recurring cost of the scheme would be Rs.7,500 crore, pushing the total Defence budget for pensions from Rs.54,000 crore (Budget estimate 2015- 16) to around Rs.65,000 crore (proposed estimate for 2016-17).
  • The arrears for 18 months from July 2014 to December 2015 would be Rs.10,900 crore.
  • According to the government, 86 per cent of the total expenditure on account of OROP would benefit jawans and Junior Commissioned officers.
  • However, the OROP notification had been rejected by ex-servicemen who said that it was in violation of the “accepted definition”.
  • In December, the government appointed a one-man judicial commission headed by Justice L.Narasimha Reddy, former Chief Justice of Patna High Court, to look into the issues arising out of the implementation and the report to be submitted in six months.


  • A person in Texas has been infected with the Zika virus after having sex with an ill person who had returned from South America.
  • It’s the first case of the virus being transmitted in the U.S. during the current outbreak of Zika, which has been linked to birth defects in the Americas.
  • There was report of a Colorado researcher who picked up the virus in Africa and apparently spread it to his wife back home in 2008, and it was found in one man’s semen in Tahiti.
  • The CDC has already recommended that pregnant women postpone trips to more than two dozen countries with Zika outbreaks, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • In the epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean, the main villain identified so far is called Aedes aegypti a species of mosquito that spreads other tropical diseases, including chikungunya and dengue fever.
  • It is found in the southern United States, though no mosquito-borne transmission has been reported in the continental United States to date.


  • India’s Vice-President Hamid Ansari told the leader- ship of Thailand that India- Thailand collaboration is necessary to ensure freedom of navigation and connectivity in the Southeast Asian region.
  • During the ongoing tour of Southeast Asia, the Indian delegation led by Mr. Ansari hasexpressed Indian concerns about freedom of navigation in the region due to growing
  • maritime disputes between China and several other regional countries over SouthChina Sea.
  • Thailand has been the country coordinator of ASEAN-China relations and took useful steps towards solving the dispute.
  • India and Thailand recently held a joint task force meeting in Delhi to deepen maritime and defence cooperation which covers a range of issues, including ocean safety, disaster management and anti-terror drills.
  • The delegations also confirmed that India and Thailand will soon hold naval exercises in the Andaman Seas.


  • India’s exports, since December, 2014, have been in negative territory. While the primary reason has been the slowdown in the global economy, declining crude oil prices coupled with low commodity prices have added to the woes of the exports sector.
  • However, domestic challenges like slowdown in manufacturing, high logistics cost, increasing transaction cost and product profile of our exports have also contributed in no less measure.
  • Our competitors like Vietnam and Bangladesh have shown positive exports growth in the last 6 months or so asking us to do some introspection.
  • The recent incentives by the government in the form of revision of MEIS benefits and its expansion, announcement of Interest Equalisation Scheme on Export Credit along with the benefits on all Industry Rates of Duty Drawback did give some cushion in such difficult times.
  • However, Chinese slowdown and devaluation of Yuan has come as yet another jolt for the sector.
  • In the upcoming Union Budget, we expect that the inverted duty structure in respect of various items may be addressed as it not only affects exports but also the manufacturing sector and adversely impacts Make in India and the import substitution strategy.
  • The exemption from service tax on ex- port may see the light of the day.The biggest challenge affecting MSME exports is on the marketing front.
  • The total marketing support extended by Department of Commerce under MAI and MDA is insufficient and therefore a Export Development Fund (EDF) should be created with a corpus of 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent of total export value so that sizeable money is available to pro- mote MSME exports.
  • In view of current global trend, we expect country’s exports to reach $260-$270 billion in 2015-16.
  • All exporters may also be given Interest Equalisation Benefit (IES) as cost of credit is the same across sectors.
  • With all these happening, we expect the exports sector to see some green shoots coming out only from the second quarter of the FY 2016-17 expecting to end the financial year with an export figure of $310-15 billion.


  • Coal linkages to non-regulated sectors such as steel/sponge iron, cement and aluminium will be provided only through auctions.
  • This was decided by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) which met under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The auction of coal linkages will be transparent and creates a level-playing field, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said.
  • The auction ensures all market participants have a fair chance to secure the coal linkage, irrespective of their size. It attempts to ensure an optimal allocation of coal across user industries and geographies.
  • As per the CCEA decision, all allocations of linkages/ Letter of Assurance (LoAs) for non-regulated sector (but excluding fertilizer (urea) sector), including their cap- tive power plants, shall from now on be auction-based.
  • State-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) and Singareni Collieries (SCCL) will put up 25 per cent of their incremental production during 2015-16 over 2014-15 for auction. The
  • Supreme Court in August and September 2014 had declared 204 coal mines/blocks allocated since 1993 as illegal on the grounds that the proce- dure followed was arbitrary.
  • Pursuant to this judgment, e- auction of Schedule II and Schedule III Coal Mines wasconducted. The same philosophy of non-discretionary al- location is being extended for the coal linkages as well. This would require CIL to allocate linkages through a market- based mechanism.
  • The union cabinet allowed the railways ministry to form joint venture (JV) companies with the state governments to mobilize resources for under- taking various rail infrastructure projects in states.
  • The JV can also form project-specific SPVs with equity holding by other shareholders like banks, ports, public sector undertakings, mining companies etc.
  • The JV exercise would ensure greater participation of states in implementation of railway projects in terms of financial participation and decision-making process.
  • This will facilitate in faster statutory approvals and land acquisition. Besides transporting people, various cement, steel and power plants would get the necessary rail link for transportation of their raw material and finished products.


  • Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that better developed ‘futures markets’ for agricultural commodities will be significant for farmers as it could help them secure fair price for their products.
  • Mr. Singh, said with a better developed futures market, farmers will face lower price risks.
  • This is good indication for the agriculture arena of the countrythat Assocham is taking interest to revitalise agricultural sector by adopting sophisticated techniques so as to improve production in agricultural sector.
  • Mr. Singh said most of Indian farmers are small and marginal and they do not enjoy specific capacity to transact the deals concerned, which is a serious problem.
  • They deal with their business in low-benefiting markets and are victimized to exploitation owing to limited awareness about marketing.
  • A better-developed futures markets for farmer meant for agricultural commodities attribute to great importance. He said the government was working towards developing National Agriculture Market (NAM) a pan India electronic trade portal.


No one ever became a more enlightened soul by focusing on money and possessions...Everything has a piece of goodness in them, even if it’s hard to see it. Meditate. Start watching out for yourself and love yourself more than anything. Aim for positive thoughts for a positive life forever. Don’t sweep things under the rug or mask the bad stuff for short-term gain. You owe it to yourself. We can't have knowledge in our hearts and souls...you can only feel your heart. Knowledge only comes by experience which you can't have in ignorance age...Do some deep reflection.
‪#‎RAY‬ - ‪#‎Empowering‬ ‪#‎Talent‬ ‪#‎Since‬ 1971

Last Updated on Monday, 08 February 2016 03:14