GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.
Justice Dalveer Bhandari Re-Elected To ICJ.
- Justice Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected as a judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) overnight 21st November, 2017, making him the third Indian to secure a prominent position in a United Nations (UN) body in recent months.
- International law expert Neeru Chadha was elected to the UN body, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), in Hamburg in June, 2017.
- And last month, Soumya Swaminathan, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), was appointed deputy director general for programmes at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.
Highlights Of The Development–
- Other Indians in key positions in the UN system include former diplomat Lakshmi Puri who is assistant secretary-general for Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Another former Indian diplomat Atul Khare is currently the UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support.
- Bhandari, 70, was declared elected for a fresh term at the ICJ after Britain withdrew its candidate Christopher Greenwood late on Monday with more than two-thirds of the UN General Assembly members backing the Indian candidate.
- He received 183 of the 193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all 15 votes in the Security Council to fill the final vacancy on the ICJ.
- The election was a hard fought battle—eleven rounds of balloting were held with Bhandari winning in the General Assembly and Greenwood in the Security Council vote.
- The Indian foreign ministry had over the past few weeks lobbied hard with countries to ensure Bhandari secures a two-thirds majority win. Envoys stationed in New Delhi were called in by the foreign office to seek assurances that they would vote for Bhandari.
- This effort was shored up by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and ministers of state V.K. Singh and M.J. Akbar, who called up their counterparts abroad. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chipped in, lobbying for Bhandari with leaders he met over the past weeks.
- Bhandari is the fourth Indian judge to be elected to the ICJ after B.N. Rau, Nagendra Singh and R.S. Pathak.
GS Paper III- Economic Development.
Logistics Sector Gets Infrastructure Status.
- In a major push to developing an integrated logistics framework in the country including industrial parks, cold chains and warehousing facilities—the government has granted infrastructure status to the logistics sector, enabling the industry to access cheaper finances.
- To adopt a coherent approach for the development of logistics infrastructure, the government appointed former Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) Binoy Kumar as special secretary in charge of logistics in the commerce and industry ministry earlier this month (November, 2017).
Highlights Of The Development-
- Considering a proposal by the commerce ministry, the finance ministry, in a meeting held on 10 November, 2017, decided to include logistics in the master list of infrastructure sub-sectors, according to a finance ministry statement.
- The government has defined “logistics infrastructure” to include a multimodal logistics Park comprising an Inland Container Depot (ICD) with a minimum investment of Rs50 crore and minimum area of 10 acre, a cold chain facility with a minimum investment of Rs15 crore and minimum area of 20,000 sq. ft and a warehousing facility with a minimum investment of Rs25 crore and a minimum area of 100,000 sq ft.
- Development of logistics will give a boost to both domestic and export markets, the finance ministry said in a statement. The need for integrated logistics sector development has been felt for quite some time, in view of the fact that the logistics cost in India is very high compared to developed countries. High logistics cost reduces the competitiveness of Indian goods both in domestic as well as export market, the statement said.
- The decision will enable the logistics sector to access infrastructure lending at easier terms with enhanced limits, larger amounts of funds as external commercial borrowings (ECB), longer tenor funds from insurance companies and pension funds and also make it eligible to borrow from the India Infrastructure Financing Co. Ltd (IIFCL).
- According to a study conducted by the government on Assessment of Quantitative Harvest and Post-Harvest Losses of Major Crops and Commodities in India, the annual value of harvest and post-harvest losses of major agricultural produces at the national level was of the order of Rs92,651 crore calculated using production data of 2012-13 at 2014 wholesale prices. Infrastructure status for cold chains and warehousing facilities will provide a big boost to attracting private investment in this sector.
- In 2017, India’s logistics performance improved from 54 to 35 under World Bank Logistics Performance Index (LPI). The government expects the Indian logistics sector to grow to $360 B by 2032 from the current $115 B.
- The road ministry plans to develop around 35 multimodal logistics parks in India that would cater to 50% of the freight movement, enable a 10% reduction in transportation costs and a 12% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
GS Paper II- Governance, Social Justice.
Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme Approved By CCEA.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for introducing Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme.
- The CCEA has also approved for expanding the schemes of Ministry of Women and Child Development under the umbrella scheme ‘Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women’ for a period 2017-18 to 2019-20.
- The scheme is a part of umbrella scheme ‘Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women’ of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Highlights Of The Development-
- The scheme aims at empowering rural women through community participation to create an environment in which they can realize their full potential.
- PMMSK scheme is envisioned as one-stop convergence support service with opportunities for skill development, digital literacy, health and nutrition and employment.
- The financial outlay of the scheme during 2017-18 to 2019-20 will be Rs 3,636.85 crore with a central share of approximately Rs 3,084.96 crore.
- The central government will constitute one common task force at national, state and district level.
- It will aim to improve declining child sex ratio; ensuring survival and protection of the girl child; ensuring her education, and empowering her to fulfill her potential.
- It will provide an interface for rural women to approach the government for availing their entitlements and for empowering them through training and capacity building
- Through this scheme, government plans to reach 115 most backward districts in the country with 920 Mahila Shakti Kendra by community engagement through student volunteers who will play an instrumental role in awareness generation regarding various important government schemes/ programmes as well as social issues.
- More than 3 lakhs student volunteers from local colleges will be engaged in this process, including NSS/NCC cadre providing an opportunity to them to participate in the development process by bringing change in their own communities and ensuring that women are equal partners in India’s progress.
- At national level, Mahila Shakti Kendra will provide domain-based knowledge support while at state level, it will cater to State Resource Centre for Women that will provide technical support on issues related to women at district and block level centres.