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

8th SAARC Speakers And Parliamentarians’ Conference Begins In Sri Lanka.

Background-

  • The eighth Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians (ASSP) began on 4th October, 2017 in Colombo.
  • The main theme of this year’s conference is ‘Association of the SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians’. This conference is a platform for the parliamentarians of South Asia to work together to reach the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The conference will be held from 4-6 October, 2017.

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The SAARC Speakers General Assembly also expects to hold discussions on ‘Promoting parliamentary diplomacy and open parliament in the age of digitalization’ and ‘SAARC parliamentarians’ role in preserving cultural and archaeological heritage in South Asia region’.
  • The Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians was set up in 1992 with the vision of promoting friendship and understanding among the people of South Asia, promoting coordination and exchange of information among parliaments and parliamentarians of SAARC countries and providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information on parliamentary procedures and practices of the region.
  • It is expected that the eighth conference, which is being hosted by Sri Lanka, will create a broad stage for Members of Parliament and the Speakers of Parliament of SAARC countries to join together and discuss regional cooperation.
  • Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya delivered the welcome speech at the inauguration.
  • A commemorative stamp was issued to mark the eighth Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians.

Sources- South-Asian Monitor.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

India Extends $4.5 Billion Loan To Bangladesh.

Background

  • India on 4th October, 2017 operationalized a $4.5 billion line of credit—its third and largest ever—to Bangladesh during the ongoing two-day visit to Dhaka by finance minister Arun Jaitley.
  • The announcement of the line of credit was made during the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in April, 2017. It is seen as part of India’s larger strategic move to wean Dhaka away from China, the biggest supplier of defence equipment to Bangladesh for many years now.
  • In recent years, China has been making inroads into countries in India’s neighbourhood—with major infrastructure projects, development aid and financial assistance.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • India’s ties with Bangladesh have improved dramatically in recent years after India signed the land boundary agreement in June 2015—hanging fire since 1974. The conclusion of the pact was seen as a major confidence-building measure between the two neighbours.
  • The signing of the third line of credit agreement will enable the implementation of 17 pre-identified projects of developmental priority to Bangladesh in key sectors such as power, railways, roads, shipping, ports, etc. Like the earlier ones extended by India to Bangladesh, this line of credit will also be provided at a concessional interest rate of 1% per annum, with repayment over a period of 20 years including a five-year moratorium.
  • India also signed a Joint Interpretive Note with Bangladesh to update the Bilateral Investment Promotion Agreement to the new investment framework.
  • Jaitley said connectivity is crucial to the success of the bilateral development partnership, sub-regional economic cooperation and economic prosperity in the South Asia region. He said that he is happy to note the increased thrust placed by both governments on the restoration of pre-1965 linkages encompassing road, rail, water, and coastal shipping connections. He is confident that this will help to increase bilateral trade and foster people-to-people contacts between our countries.
  • India’s operationalization of the $4.5 billion line of credit follows a recent wrinkle in ties following New Delhi saying that it shared Myanmar’s concerns over “extremist violence” in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The comments were made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to India’s key eastern neighbour.

Sources- Livemint.

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

€300-Million European Investment Bank Loan For Bangalore Metro.

Background

  • The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend €300 million for Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II Line R6.
  • The agreement was signed on Thursday, 5th October, 2017 by S Selvakumar, Joint Secretary (BC), Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Union Ministry of Finance and Andrew McDowell, Vice-President.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II will be jointly financed by the European Investment Bank (€500 million) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (€300 million). The agreement signed today was for first tranche of €300 million.
  • The project envisages extension of East-West and North-South lines for Bangalore Metro Rail which includes a total length of 72.095 km (13.79 km underground) and 61 stations with 12 underground stations.
  • The project implementation period is five years from date of commencement of the work.
  • The objective of the project is to bring in a quantum improvement in the transportation sector in the city in tandem with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and other modes of urban transport.
  • A statement said project aims to ensure modern transport facility for the commuters.
  • The spinoffs of the project would include employment opportunities, benefits to the economy, reduction of number of vehicles on road, less fuel consumption, reduction in air pollution, reduction in passenger travel time and also improvement in the aesthetic value of the city.

Sources- The Hindu Business Line.