Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations
1)Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)
Bangladesh signed its first Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bhutan allowing duty free access to a range of goods between the two countries. This is the first PTA Bangladesh has signed with any country in the world.
- The agreement was signed on the occasion marking the 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
- Under the PTA 100 Bangladeshi products will get duty free access to Bhutan.
- 34 items from Bhutan will get duty free access into Bangladesh.
- Goods like Jute and Jute products, baby clothes and accessories, men’s trousers, jackets and blazers are among the 100 items from Bangladesh which will get duty free access to Bhutan.
- On the other hand fruit juice, natural honey, wheat flour jams, jellies and lime stone, quartzite etc. from Bhutan will have duty free access to Bangladesh.
- The trade volume between the two countries is approximately 50 million dollars with 7.56 million of export and 42.09 million import into Bangladesh.
- Bangladesh is expected to sign 11 more PTAs and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries like Indonesia and Nepal by June next year.
Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)
- Preferential trade area or Preferential trade agreement (PTA) is called the first stage of economic integration among countries.
- In PTA, the participating countries give preferential access to certain products among themselves. So, the tariff barriers are reduced and non-tarrif barriers are made less stringent.
Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
- Whenever some countries sit together and decide to eliminate tariffs, import quotas, and preferences on most (if not all) goods and services traded between them, they are creating a FTA.
- The aim of a free-trade area is to reduce barriers to exchange so that trade can grow as a result of specialization, division of labor, and most importantly via comparative advantage.
- A Free trade agreement can be an agreement between two countries (bilateral) or many countries (multilateral).
- FTA does not mean everything is free.
Source: DD News
2) United Nations Investment Promotion Award, 2020
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has declared 'Invest India' as winner of the United Nations Investment Promotion Award 2020.
- The award ceremony took place on at the UNCTAD headquarters in Geneva.
- The award recognises and celebrates the outstanding achievements of the world's investment promotion agencies.
- The evaluation was based on UNCTAD's assessment of work undertaken by 180 national investment promotion agencies across the world.
- UNCTAD highlighted good practices followed by 'Invest India' such as the Business Immunity Platform, Exclusive Investment Forum webinar series, its social media engagement and focus COVID-19 response teams.
- National investment promotion and facilitation agency Invest India has also shared long-term strategies and practices being followed for investment promotion, facilitation and retention at UNCTAD's high-level brainstorming sessions.
- The award is testament to Prime Minister's vision of making India a preferred investment destination with a focus on both ease of living and ease of doing business. It bears testimony to his focus on bringing excellence within the government.
- UNCTAD is the central agency that monitors performance of investment promotion agencies and identifies global best practices. Germany, South Korea and Singapore have been some of the past winners of the award.
Source: Free Press Journal
Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
Topic: Awards & Prizes
3) Global Teacher Prize 2020
Ranjitsinh Disale from India has just been announced as the winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2020. The award was established by the London-based Varkey Foundation and is given in partnership with UNESCO.
- Indian village teacher Ranjitsinh Disale, who transformed the life chances of young girls at the Zilla Parishad Primary School, Paritewadi, Solapur, Maharashtra, India, has been named the winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2020, in partnership with UNESCO.
- Mr Disale was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world.
- The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.
- In the past, Disale had been named as the Innovative Researcher of the Year 2016 and has featured in the Satya Nadella’s book ‘Hit Refresh’.
- Disale learned the local language of the village in order to translate class textbooks into his pupils' mother tongue.
- He also created unique QR codes on the textbooks to give students access to audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments, greatly improving school attendance. His QR technology is now being rolled out more widely across India.
- The award's nine runners-up are teachers working in the United States, Britain, Vietnam, Nigeria, South Africa, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia and Brazil.
- The US$45,000 COVID Hero Award, supported by CVC Capital Partners, was given to UK Maths teacher Jamie Frost.
- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, the sciences, and culture.
- It has 193 member states and 11 associate members, as well as partners in the nongovernmental, intergovernmental, and private sector.
- It is headquartered in Paris.
- UNESCO was founded in 1945 as the successor to the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.
Source: Global Teacher Prize
4) HAL-IISc Skill Development Centre
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) formally launched the first training programme being organised under the HAL- Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Skill Development Centre (SDC) at Challakere, Chitradurga – a workshop on IoT and Embedded Applications.
- The Centre's activities will start with five courses planned to be offered in the first cohort in the virtual mode during December 2020 to February 2021.
Internet of things (IoT)
- The Internet of things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects-“things”-that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.
- The definition of the Internet of things has evolved due to the convergence of multiple technologies, real-time analytics, machine learning, commodity sensors, and embedded systems.
- Traditional fields of embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, control systems, automation (including home and building automation), and others all contribute to enabling the Internet of things.
- An embedded application is software that is placed permanently inside some kind of device to perform a very specific set of functions.
- Some small embedded applications like those in a microwave oven do not need an operating system (OS) to control them.
- The programmes offered are in the niche engineering areas of aerospace, mechanical, electrical and electronic sectors, and in line with the “Make in India” mission.
- The experienced engineers, supervisors and faculty members of various technical institutes will be trained in the Centre.
- Faculty members will be selected from Indian Institute of Science and other leading organisations including HAL.
- The HAL-IISc skill development programme is ambitious and meets the needs of the country by training the trainers, therefore having a multiplier effect.
- The training will cover both skill upgradation as well as developing new skills.
- The uniqueness lies in their emphasis on learning by doing. Trainees will spend more than 50% of the course duration in labs, conducting experiments.
- Defence Minister had formally inaugurated the Skill Development Centre in Challakere on August 13th 2020.
- It was set up as a partnership between HAL and IISc to impart high-end skills related to the aerospace domain and manufacturing-related sectors, in line with the goals of the Atmanirbhar initiative.
- The Centre is located in IISc’s new 1500 acre campus in Challakere, projected as a Science and Technology city. The Skill Development Centre spread over 75000 sq.feet.
- It is well equipped with modern labs, class rooms, auditorium and residential accommodation for 250 trainees and faculty members.
- IISc's neighbours here include the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- IISc had envisioned establishing a centre to create a large pool of trained personnel in order to address vital skill development gaps in the nation. In 2016, IISc approached HAL to partner in this unique project.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
HAL is an Indian state-owned aerospace and defence company headquartered in Bangalore, India. It is governed under the management of the Indian Ministry of Defence.
Source: The Hans India
5) Draft Guidelines for Floating Jetties
Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways issues draft guidelines for technical specifications of floating structures, with a vision to set up and deploy world-class floating infrastructure all along the coastline and issued the same for public consultation.
- The draft guidelines along with proposed Specifications / Schedule of Technical Requirements (SOTR) are issued for seeking the feedback and suggestions from the public.
- The Ministry has entrusted IIT Chennai to work out the technical specifications of sustainable floating structures like floating jetties, water-aerodromes, floating marinas, fish landing facilities etc so that precise and stringent technical specifications are established.
Benefits of floating jetties
There are many benefits of floating jetties over the conventional quay and fixed concrete structures such as:
- Cost effectiveness
- Much cheaper than conventional structures
- Setting up of floating structures is much faster as compared to conventional jetties
- Floating structures can be built in six to eight months as compared to 24 months for conventional structures
- Environmental impact is minimal
- Expansions are easily feasible due to modular construction techniques
- Easily transportable in case of reconfiguring of the port
- Provides constant freeboard between jetties and boats
- The deployment of floating jetties, especially in locations having a large tidal range, where conventional quay poses problems during low tide periods, is convenient.
- Floating jetties, at such locations, provide constant freeboard, ease embarkation of ship's stores and straightforward unloading of the fishermen's catch.
- It consequently leads to increased productivity as well as safety of the fishermen in the long run.
The shipping ministry has successfully implemented a few pilot projects in the recent past by following the international guiding principles. These include:
- Setting up of passenger floating jetties in Goa
- Water-aerodromes at Sabarmati River and at Sardar Sarovar Dam (for the seaplane services)
Source: Business World
6) India Mobile Congress 2020
Prime Minister will deliver the inaugural address at the virtual India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2020 today.
- IMC 2020 is being organised by the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
- The aim of IMC 2020 is to promote 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', 'Digital Inclusivity', 'Sustainable Development', entrepreneurship and innovation.
- It also aims to drive foreign and local investments, encourage R&D in the telecom and emerging technology sectors.
- IMC 2020 will see the participation from various ministries, the telecom CEOs, global CEOs, and domain experts in 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, cloud and edge computing, blockchain, cyber-security, smart cities and automation.
- IMC is the largest digital technologies forum in India and South Asia.
- The event is envisioned to be the "leading platform for India's start-up and technology ecosystem."
Cellular Operators Association of India
- COAI is a registered, non-governmental society, constituted in 1995 for the advancement of modern communication and successful proliferation of mobile networks throughout India.
- COAI is now the official voice of the India telecom industry and aims to present an industry consensus to the Government on crucial issues related to the Indian telecom industry.
The core members of the COAI are:
- Bharti Airtel
- Vodafone Idea Limited
- Reliance Jio Infocomm
Source: Live Mint
7) Red Sea turtles
Turtle populations in the Red Sea could be turning overwhelmingly female because of a rise in sea temperatures caused due to anthropogenic climate change.
- A Team of researchers from the Saudi Arabia King Abdullah University of Science and Technology collected data for every fifteen minutes for five months.
- The Red Sea is home to five out of seven species of sea turtles.
- According to the researchers, to maintain 50:50 ratio of males and females population, temperature of 29.2 degrees Celsius is required. Above this temperature, the turtle hatchlings will predominantly be female.
- The researchers during the study found that the sand temperature at four out of the selected five sites exceeded 29.2 degrees Celsius.
Conservation of Turtles
- Different turtles are classified differently by IUCN.
- The Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles are classified as “Endangered”.
- Leatherback Turtles and Oliver Ridley Turtles have been classified as “Vulnerable”.
- Leatherback Turtle in Northwest Atlantic has been classified as “Endangered”.
- Green Turtle, Kemp’s Ridley Turtle and Hawksbill turtle have been classified as “Critically endangered”. According to IUCN, 80% of these turtles were lost in the last 10 years.
Conservation of Turtles in India
- In India, the Green Turtle and Hawksbill turtles are listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
- Turtles are also protected under the Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation programme.
- India has five species of turtles. They are Olive Ridley, Loggerhead, Leatherback, Green Turtle, Hawksbill.
- Every year World Turtle Day is celebrated on May 23.
Source: Down To Earth