Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Fifteenth Finance Commission holds meeting on issues of Environment, Forest and Climate change

As per the terms of reference of the Fifteenth Finance Commission –

“The Commission may consider proposing measurable performance-based incentives for States, at the appropriate level of government, in following areas (i) Achievements in implementation of flagship schemes of Government of India, disaster resilient infrastructure, sustainable development goals, and quality of expenditure; (ii) Progress made in sanitation, solid waste managementand bringing in behavioural change to end open defecation.”

In this regard, the Commission headed by its Chairman, Shri N. K. Singh and including its Members, held a detailed discussion with the senior officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Discussions were held on the proposed formula for Forest Sector Based Tax Devolution along with a proposed catchment area treatment and forest restoration grant.

The meeting also discussed in detail the proposed recommendations for environment (pollution sector) and the proposed pollution abatement performance grant along with proposed formula for the purpose. 

The recommendations for climate change under the NDC Goal 5 were also discussed in the meeting. The Commission considered the proposed formula for climate change ( NDC Goal 5 Grant) and the possibilities of climate change grant conditionality. 


Fifteenth Finance Commission to visit Mizoram

As part of its visit to the different states across the country before submitting its recommendations, the Fifteenth Finance Commission shall be visiting the State of Mizoram on 25-26 March, 2019. This will be the 20th State that the Commission will be visiting.

Prior to the visit, the Commission was briefed in details on the Finances of the Government of Mizoram by the Principal Accountant General of Mizoram, in New Delhi today. 

As part of its visit the Commission will be holding detailed meetings with the Chief Secretary and Senior officers of the State and will be given presentation by the State Department of Finance, Urban Development and Rural Development. 


International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure-2019 concludes successfully

The two-day International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (IWDRI) successfully concluded here today. Experts from 33 countries representing a wide variety of development and disaster risk contexts, multilateral development banks, the United Nations, the private sector, academia, policy think tanks and other stakeholders participated in the workshop.

In his special address, the Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission of India, Shri N. K. Singh called for collective action on resilient infrastructure so that people-centric solutions are found.

“As millions of people will continue to move to towns and cities in the near future, urban resilience will be the key for sustainability”, said Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, while delivering the inaugural address. He added “it is the States where all the action happens and urged working in collaboration with State Governments for better results.

Reiterating the importance of disaster resilient infrastructure in achieving sustainable development goals, the Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr. P. K. Mishra proposed three mantras for achieving sustainability in DRI - the need to focus on the poor and the vulnerable; to follow an inclusive approach of collaboration with multiple stakeholders; and ensure proactive connectedness with other Global Processes in DRR.

good practices of disaster risk management in key infrastructure sectors such as Transport, Energy, Telecom and Water. It also discussed emerging technologies and nature-based innovation in the context of climate change and its impact on creation, operation and maintenance of infrastructure. The need and practical issues concerning finance and insurance for infrastructure were also discussed during the workshop.It set 

The CDRI is envisaged as a knowledge exchange and capacity development partnership. India had announced the creation of a CDRI soon after the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which was held in New Delhi in 2016.

, and in partnership with the Global Commission on Adaptation, United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.

Various international agreements have also reiterated the importance and long-term benefits of investing in resilient infrastructure. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), 2015-2030, which is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, identifies investing in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for resilience and to build back better in reconstruction as priorities for action towards reducing disaster risk. Similarly, Goal 9 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes disaster resilient infrastructure as a crucial driver of economic growth and development.


Indian Navy - first Responder to Cyclone 'IDAI' in Mozambique 19 March 2019

The ships of First Training Squadron of Indian Navy (Sujata, Sarathi and Shardul) operating in the Southern Indian Ocean were diverted to Port Beira, Mozambique based on request received from the Government of Mozambique to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the local population post the devastation caused by cyclone 'IDAI' which struck the coast of Mozambique on 15 Mar 19. INS Sujata along with ICGS Sarathi arrived at Port Beira morning of 18 Mar 19 whilst INS Shardul arrived on 19 Mar 19 and are providing necessary support to the local administration. Upon arrival at the port, the IN ships shifted from anchorage and berthed alongside taking advantage of the tide and commenced liaison work with local authorities immediately.

Cyclone 'IDAI' made landfall at Beira, Mozambique in early hours of 15 Mar 19 causing widespread damage and loss of human life in the Central and Northern provinces of the country. Preliminary inputs indicate that city of Beira faced the maximum devastation with large scale damage to infrastructure. There are also reports of about 5000 personnel marooned at Buzi near Port Beira requiring immediate evacuation. The safe evacuation of the affected personnel by IN ships is being coordinated in consultation with local authorities. The disembarkation of HADR stores including food, medicines and clothing to the Mozambique Defence authorities has been completed. Arrangements are in progress to disembark potable water.

The Hon'ble Defence Minister of Mozambique visited IN ships to oversee the relief efforts. The Senior Officer of First Training Squadron, Capt Varun Singh, NM embarked onboard IN Ship Sujata has indicated to the Mozambique Navy that no effort would be spared by the INships in providing HADR/ SAR effort. The helicopter from IN Ship Shardul is operating from the local airport for reccee and SAR. The boats, Landing Craft Assault and Gemini rubberised craft with divers would be used to render assistance for evacuation of marooned personnel.

The IN ships are likely to setup medical camps and provide food, water, blankets and other necessary relief items, as required by the local authorities. The situation is being monitored closely and the Indian Navy is prepared to render all necessary assistance to the local population in Mozambique.

Curtain Raiser: Indo-Sri Lanka joint Exercise Mitra shakti-VI

Exercise MITRA SHAKTI is conducted annually as part of military diplomacy and interaction between armies of India & Sri Lanka. The joint exercise for the year 2018-19 will be conducted from 26 March to 08 April 2019 in Sri Lanka. Troops from 1st Battalion the BIHAR Regiment of the Indian Army and Gemunu Watch Battalion of Sri Lankan Army would be jointly undertaking the exercise.

The aim of the exercise is to build and promote close relations between armies of both the countries and to enhance ability of joint exercise commander to take military contingents of both nations under command. The exercise will involve tactical level operations in an international Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist environment under United Nations mandate. Exercise MITRA SHAKTI-VI will go a long way in further cementing relationship between both the nations and will act as a catalyst in bringing synergy and cooperation at grassroots levels between both the armies.

ECI convenes meeting with Social Media Platforms

IAMAI and Social Media Intermediaries willingly agree to come up with a Code of Ethics for the Industry Laying Down Operational Details

Election Commission of India today(19.03.2019) had in-depth interactive session with representatives of various Social Media Platforms and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on the usage of Social Media ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.

In his opening remarks, Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora cited Model Code of Conduct as a unique and historic document which is followed by all political parties /entities from the date of declaration of schedule of elections till the election process is concluded. This Code is the outcome of consensus evolved amongst the different Political Parties and ECI. Infact, more often than not, this Code has obviated the need for application of more stringent provisions of law, he said. Shri Arora exhorted the Social Media Organizations, who are formidable force-multipliers, to come up with a similar Code for the ongoing election process in the immediate context and a lasting document in the long run.

Election Commissioner Shri Ashok Lavasa pointed out that today's (19.03.2019) has been a momentous meeting for evolution of ‘behaviour’ of Social Media platforms on Social Media. He said that voluntary restraint is a hallmark of civilized society and works as effectively as any regulation. He suggested that a clear clause on users' voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for election or political purposes should be considered by the management.

Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra reminded the representatives that Election Commission of India is committed to ethical, free & fair elections. He reiterated that role of social media in helping spread information as well as curbing misinformation cannot be underestimated. He added that deterrents like some punitive action against users misusing the platform should be considered pro-actively. Shri Chandra said that a participative approach from the social media platforms would greatly help ECI meet its objectives.

The meeting was centered on discussing issues like appointment of dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action by the organizations, pre- certification and transparency in expenditure of political advertisements. The meeting also focused on evolving a notification mechanism by social media platforms for acting upon the violations of Section 126 of R.P. Act, 1951 and preventing misuse of these platforms.

Today's meeting was attended by the industry head Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and representatives from social media organizations such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, TikTok and BigoTV.

IAMAI and Social Media intermediaries willingly agreed to come up with a ‘Code of Ethics’ for the Industry laying down operational details by tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Opening ceremony: Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019

The inaugural Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019 for India and African nations called AFINDEX-19 scheduled from 18 March to 27 March 2019 started with a grand opening ceremony on 18 March 2019 at Aundh Military Station, Pune. Contingents of the 17 African Nations i.e. Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe came together for the opening ceremony alongwith a contingent of Maratha Light Infantry representing India. Major General Sanjeev Sharma, General Officer Commanding, Golden Katar Division, who was the Chief Guest for the opening ceremony, reviewed the parade, in presence of a large number of Defence Attaches and other officials of participating nations. A fly past by a set of Advanced Light Helicopters and Cheetah Helicopter of the Indian Army carrying the flags of United Nations, India and the AFINDEX was the highlight of the opening ceremony. The Chief Guest and Defence Attaches from various nations interacted with the contingents after the completion of the parade.

The aim of the exercise is to practice the participating nations in planning and conduct of Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping Operations under Chapter VII of United Nations Peace Keeping Operations. The exercise will focus on exchange of best practices between the participating nations, team building and tactical level operations in conduct of United Nations mandated tasks to include establishment of a new mission, siting of a United Nations Headquarters for Peace Keeping operations, siting of Military Observer sites during the peace keeping missions, protection of civilians, nuances of standing combat deployment, convoy protection, patrolling aspects and aspects related to Humanitarian Mine Assistance.


Fifteenth Finance Commission holds meeting on issues of Environment, Forest and Climate change

As per the terms of reference of the Fifteenth Finance Commission – “The Commission may consider proposing measurable performance-base...