GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

International Day Of Rural Women- 15 October; 2017 UN Theme: “Challenges And Opportunities In Climate-Resilient Agriculture For Gender Equality And The Empowerment Of Rural Women And Girls”.

Background-

  • Rural women, the majority of whom depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods, make up over a quarter of the total world population. In developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43% of the agricultural labour force, and produce, process and prepare much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security.
  • Bearing in mind that 76% of the extreme poor live in rural areas, ensuring rural women’s access to productive agricultural resources contributes to decreasing world hunger and poverty, and make rural women critical for the success of the new Sustainable Development agenda for 2030.
  • The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008 and was established to recognize the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • This year (2017), International Day for Rural Women (15 October), focuses on the theme, “Challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.
  • According to some estimates, closing the gender gap in access to land and other productive assets could increase agricultural outputs by up to 20 per cent in Africa. It would also enable women farmers to adopt climate-resilient agricultural approaches at the same rate as men, as key initiatives that address these gender gaps such as secured land tenure, greater financial inclusion and access to information are also essential to accelerate the adoption of climate-resilient agricultural practices. In essence, providing equal access to women and men farmers to land and other productive resources can provide a “triple dividend” of gender equality, food security and climate management, thereby offering a cost-effective and transformative approach to the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • A changing climate means that there is a shrinking window of opportunity to close gender gaps in agriculture. Climate change aggravates existing barriers, limiting women farmers’ access to long-term affordable finance and agricultural extension services, and increasing their unpaid care work burden as water and fuel become scarce. Women farmers are at risk of being trapped in a downward spiral in the absence of concerted efforts to close these gender gaps.

Sources- UN, Greening The Blue.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

Indian Peacekeepers In Sudan Awarded UN Medal.

Background

  • Fifty Indian peacekeepers stationed in South Sudan have been awarded the UN Medal for their professionalism and service in protecting civilians and building durable peace in the conflict-ridden country.
  • The Indian peacekeepers are part of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
  • They are deployed with the Indian battalion stationed at Bor in the Jonglei region of South Sudan. They were presented with the award recently by UNMISS Force Commander General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Presenting the award, General Kamanzi acknowledged their contribution in carrying out patrols across the region as well as providing a safe and secure environment for the 2,500 civilians who have sought sanctuary at the UN Protection of Civilians site at Bor.
  • General Kamanzi said that he would like to thank the Indian battalion for their courage and professionalism in executing their mandate in Jonglei.
  • The local government in Jonglei also paid tribute to the Indian troops.
  • The Indian battalion had played an important role in keeping the community safe as well as encouraging local peace efforts, said Agot Alier, Jonglei Acting Governor.
  • They had also provided much-needed services to the community outside of their core mandate, such as medical care for local residents and support for local farmers with veterinary treatment for their animals, he said in a media release issued by the UN.
  • The battalion has been intimately associated with peacekeeping efforts and the battalion has supported the mandate of the United Nations and the overall peace process, said Alier.
  • Indian Ambassador to South Sudan, Srikumar Menon, attended the medal ceremony and thanked the peacekeepers for their commitment and service.
  • He said that India is committed to the objectives of the UN Charter and therefore is ready to support the United Nations’ peacekeeping efforts globally.

Sources- The Hindu.

GS Paper III- Technology.

MasterCard Launches India Innovation Centre.

Background

  • MasterCard on 10th October, 2017, announced the launch of its innovation centre to focus on solving “India-specific” problems in the areas of technology and financial enablement. This would be their second innovation centre, after Singapore, in Asia and ninth globally.
  • Tobias Puehse, Vice President, Mastercard Labs, Asia Pacific said that Labs are the future-proofing arm of MasterCard to generate sustainable innovation. The labs are like a sandbox within the organisation to try out new technology that is consumer-oriented and can be built and deployed to market.
  • MasterCard has recently signed an MoU with the Andhra Pradesh Government towards strategic collaboration to enable safe and secure digital solutions adoption at the state level.

 

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • In India, Mastercard Labs will work with financial institutions and merchant partners from the Fintech community to identify and experiment with future technologies in areas including digital payments, data solutions, financial inclusion, alternative payments, safety and security. The Lab will also support and work with startups developing next generation, breakthrough commerce solutions through Mastercard’s Start Path program.
  • India is a unique market with immense scale. There is a huge opportunity to move more people into a cashless economy here, added Puehse. MasterCard has already announced over $750 million worth of investment in India over the next five years. They are working with startups like Razorpay, FluidAI and ToneTag among others in fintech and data analytics sectors.
  • Mastercard expects the Labs will be a key innovation engine for the country and foster collaboration and co-creation with academia, fintech experts, technologists and developers based in India. The labs will be an extension of their existing facility in Pune.
  • Globally 15 per cent of their employee base comes from India.
  • This year (2017), Mastercard co-innovated with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and other payments brands like Visa and Amreican Expresss to develop Bharat QR, the world’s first interoperable Quick Response (QR) code acceptance solution, as part of a national push to streamline local electronic payments infrastructure.

Sources- Business-Standard.