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

2017 Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index: India At 28th Position.

Background-

  • While India stands at the 28th position out of the 30 among the reviewed countries in the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index 2017, its pension system is found to be more sustainable than that of Poland, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, Austria, Brazil, China and Argentina.
  • The index measuring 30 countries and covering 60 percent of the world’s population, has urged countries with unsustainable pension systems to take action now, rather than risk the need to take even more drastic action in the future.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • Preeti Chandrashekhar, India Business Leader-Retirement, Health and Benefits, Mercer said that India’s continued increase in sub-index value under sustainability from 40.9 to 43.8 is primarily due to the inclusion of the new economic growth question in the sustainability sub-index.
  • The report said the increase in value under the integrity sub-index from 53.4 to 55.1 was due to the government’s efforts to improve transparency and member experience in various schemes.
  • This year’s Index reveals that Denmark, in its sixth year running, has retained the top position with an overall score of 78.9, ahead of the Netherlands and Australia at 78.8 and 77.1, respectively.
  • While Australia maintained its number three status within the Index, the overall score slipped from 77.9 in 2016 to 77.1 in 2017, acting as a reminder that despite being world-class, it needs further reform to continue to improve its retirement income system.
  • The Melbourne Mercer global Pension Index is published by the Australian Centre for Financial Studies (ACFS), in collaboration with Mercer and the State Government of Victoria who provides most of the funding.
  • Jacques Goulet, President of Health and Wealth at Mercer, stressed the need for countries to address sustainability when considering pension reform.
  • Increasing life expectancies and low investment returns are having significant long-term impacts on the ability of many systems around the world to deliver adequate retirement benefits both now and into the future, Goulet said.
  • The report said in the long-term, there is no perfect pension system, but the principles of best practice are clear and nations should create policy and economic conditions that make the required changes possible.

Sources- Moneycontrol.

 

GS Paper II- Governance, International Relations.

Union Ayush Ministry Hosts First Meeting Of BIMSTEC Task Force On Traditional Medicine In New Delhi; BIMSTEC Forum Provides An Ideal Platform For Fostering Of Traditional Medicine.

Background

  • Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India hosted   First Meeting of BIMSTEC Task Force on Traditional Medicine on 24-25 October, 2017 at Parvasi Bhartiya Kendra, New Delhi.
  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an International Organisation involving a group of countries in the South Asia and South East Asia namely, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. India being a major stake holder in the field of Traditional Medicine plays an important role in influencing the policies and strategies related to the Traditional Medicine in the BIMSTEC Forum.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Delegations from the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Republic of India, and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Thailand along with the BIMSTEC Secretariat participated in the Meeting.
  • The Meeting was inaugurated on 24 October 2017 by Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH. While welcoming the delegates from the BIMSTEC Member States, Secretary AYUSH  referred  to the rich heritage of Traditional systems of Medicine in the BIMSTEC Member States. He emphasised that the BIMSTEC Forum provides an ideal platform for fostering collaborations among the Member States in the area of Traditional Medicine. He highlighted the recent developments in the International Cooperation activities of the Ministry. He hoped that the deliberations during the Meeting would bring fruitful outcomes in strengthening the cooperation amongst the BIMSTEC Member States in areas of Traditional Medicine.
  • Sh. Pramod Kumar Pathak, Joint Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH and Head of Delegation of India was elected Chairman of the Meeting and  Dr. Yi Yi Myint, Head of Delegation of Myanmar was elected  Vice-Chair. All the Delegations made Country Presentations on the status and best practices of Traditional Medicine in their respective country.
  • The Meeting also acknowledged that in accordance with the ToR of the Task Force, the BTFTM Meetings shall be held on rotational basis among the BIMSTEC Member States.
  • The Meeting considered and adopted the draft Report of the First Meeting of the Task Force for submission to the Fourth Meeting of the BNNCCTM to be held in Bangladesh. The Meeting conveyed its deep appreciation to the Government of the Republic of India for the warm hospitality extended to the participants and for the excellent arrangement made for the Meeting.

Sources- Press Information Bureau.

 

GS Paper III- Security.

Nirmala Sitharaman Attends Southeast Asian Defence Ministers’ Meet In Philippines.

Background

  • In her first foreign visit as defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman travelled to the Philippines to attend a Southeast Asian defence ministers’ meeting to review the regional security architecture including China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea.
  • During her three-day visit, Sitharaman held bilateral talks with her counterparts from a number of countries. The ADMM (ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting)-Plus meeting on 23 and 24 October, 2017 deliberated extensively on the situation in Afghanistan and Syria besides China’s growing military presence in the disputed South China Sea.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.
  • The two-day meeting discussed ways to enhance defence and security cooperation among the member nations to effectively counter various transnational security challenges facing the region.
  • Sitharaman asserted India’s position on the issues at the gathering. China claims sovereignty over all of South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, a number of ASEAN member countries including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei have counter claims. India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the South China Sea in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The ADMM-plus is also discussed enhancing maritime cooperation among the member countries.
  • The inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Hanoi in 2010. The defence ministers then had agreed on five areas of practical cooperation to pursue under the new mechanism, including maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations.

Sources- Livemint.