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US team of experts in Delhi to discuss key military agreements of 2016
On June 18, 2018, US officials from Pentagon will meet the Indian experts on negotiation of communications military agreements.
The US had granted India the status of a ‘Major Defence Partner’ in 2016.
i. The talks are based on the military agreement between India and US in 2016 on Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).
ii. The agreements consist of COMCASA and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) and singing of the Indian counterparts are required for this to take shape.
iii.It is meant to facilitate the use of high-end secured communication equipment to be installed on military platforms being sold to India.
iv. If COMCASA becomes mandatory if India is to get the armed version of the Sea Guardian drones from Washington.
v. The Indian officials are hesistant to sign due to American access to Indian military communication and also as the indigenously built Indian military platforms and Russian origin platforms might not be compatible with COMCASA.
COMCASA essentially provides a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India that would facilitate “interoperability” between Indian and US forces — and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secure data links. It was called the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) before the name was changed to reflect its India-specific nature.
European Union Film Festival (EUFF) starts in New Delhi; I&B Minister inaugurates it
From 18th to 24th June 2018, European Union Film Festival (EUFF) 2018 is held in Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi.
European Union Film Festival (EUFF):
i. European Union Film Festival (EUFF) will be held from 18th June to 31st August 2018 in 11 Indian cities: New Delhi, Chennai, Port Blair, Pune, Puducherry, Kolkata, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, Thrissur, Hyderabad and Goa.
ii. 24 latest European films from 23 European Union (EU) Member States have been selected for EUFF 2018.
iii. On 18th June 2018, the Festival was inaugurated at the Siri fort auditorium in Delhi by Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
iv. Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; Raimund Magis, Deputy head of Delegation of the European Union to India; Chaitanya Prasad, Additional Director General, Directorate of Film Festivals; Katarina Tomkova, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Slovak Republic were also present at the occasion.
v. Movies from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden will be screened.
vi. The European Union Film Festival is organised by Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting along with the Delegation of the European Union and embassies of EU Member States in several city film clubs.
vii. Also, this year, audience, students and filmmakers will get an opportunity to interact with Katarína Krnáčová (Slovakian producer), Paula Ortiz (Spanish Director), Salvatore Alloca (Italian Director), Yannis Korris (Greek Director), Douglas Boswell (Belgium Director) and Ádám Fekete (Hungarian Actor).
About Film and Television Institute of India (FTII):
♦ Chairman – Anupam Kher
♦ Location – Pune, Maharashtra
KisanKraft plans to take ‘aerobic rice’ technology to 5 states for the Kharif season; mainly aims to reduce cost for water stressed farmers
On June 18, 2018, The Bengaluru-based KisanKraft intends to take the ‘aerobic rice’ technology to five states during this kharif season and conduct demonstrations to reach out to more farmers.
i. The aerobic rice technology is a solution for water-stressed paddy farmers.
ii. hIt would help in restoring soil conditions while contributing to national food security.
iii. Since there is no puddling and no standing water, hence costs associated with the use of water and pumping cost is also minimized.
iv. As against up to 5,000 litres of water required to produce one kg of wetland rice, the aerobic rice requires only up to 2,500 litres.
v. This would save more than 60 per cent in water and 55 per cent in labour.
vi. Except the Himalayas, the coastal areas and the hilly areas (with excess water), the rest of the country can grow aerobic rice. Black cotton soil and lowlands in submerged water conditions are unsuitable.
About Aerobic Rice:
Aerobic rice is direct-seeded into the field, eliminating the cost of raising nursery, transplantation and its related impact on labour health. Direct seeding also reduces ‘seed rate’ dramatically.Certain pests and diseases don’t breed in aerobic conditions, therefore, use of chemicals is also reduced.
♦ KisanKraft is a designer, importer and distributor of affordable farming equipment suited to the needs of small and marginal farmers.
♦ It has signed a 10 year licensing agreement with the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) and the National Bio-diversity Authority (NBA) for the marketing and sale of an aerobic rice variety developed by University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru.
Tripura starts GPS (Global Positioning System) and wireless based 24×7 mobile policing service
On 16th June 2018, the Tripura government launched the GPS (Global Positioning System) and wireless based 24×7 “mobile policing” service to control crime, mainly against women.
i. Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb launched the “mobile policing” service. He said that, with the introduction of “mobile policing” service, people don’t have to go to the police. Police will reach the spot within a few minutes to tackle the situation.
ii. Police chief Akhil Kumar Sukhla said that, the complete service will be monitored and directed using GPS and wireless based technology.
iii. As per the ‘mobile policing’ service, a police van or a small vehicle with police personnel will be patrolling 24*7 in their assigned zone.
iv. The mobile patrolling will be in constant contact with the nearest police station, outpost and higher authorities.
Some National Parks in Tripura:
♦ Clouded Leopard National Park
♦ Rajbari National Park
NSG plenary meeting held in Jurmala, Latvia on 14th and 15th June 2018
On 14th and 15th June 2018, the 28th Plenary Meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was held in Jūrmala, Latvia.
28th Plenary Meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG):
i. The NSG plenary meeting was chaired by Ambassador Jānis Zlamets of Latvia. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Mr. Edgars Rinkēvičs, welcomed the Participating Governments on behalf of Latvia.
ii. The NSG reviewed the developments since the last meeting in Bern in 2017. Participating Governments exchanged information on global proliferation challenges.
iii. They reiterated their support for the full, complete and effective implementation of the Treaty on Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
iv. On the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Participating Governments noted the developments in the DPRK since the 2017 NSG Plenary in Bern.
v. On Iran, the Participating Governments noted the continued implementation by the E3/EU+2 and the Islamic Republic of Iran of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
vi. At the Plenary meeting the NSG:
- maintained its focus on technical issues related to the implementation of the Control Lists
- discussed the significance of updating the NSG Guidelines
- strengthened the NSG’s policies on transparency and confidentiality
- discussed national best practices on licensing and enforcement and national experiences in implementing the NSG Guidelines
- welcomed the number of States that have harmonized their national export control systems with the NSG Guidelines and Control Lists
- took note of the report on outreach to non-NSG participants
- discussed on the national practices of awareness-raising and interaction with industry and academic and research institutions, related to NSG controlled items
- took note of an outreach event with the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and the World Nuclear Association (WNA) on 10 April 2018
- decided to revise and update the NSG website
- continued to consider the implementation of the 2008 Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with Indiaand discussed the relationship with India
About NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group):
♦ Comprises – 48 Participating Governments with the European Commission and the Chair of the Zangger Committee participating as permanent observers.
♦ Purpose – aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI eases norms for FPIs to invest in debt securities and corporate bonds
On June 18, 2018, The Reserve Bank has eased investment norms for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) in debt, especially into individual large corporates .
It can help attract more overseas flows and thereby help elevate the recent fall in the rupee and also lift the recent fall in demand for corporate bonds.
The modified norms are:
For Government Securities:
i. The RBI increased the FPIs cap on investment in government security to 30 per cent of the outstanding stock of that security, from 20 per cent earlier.
ii. FPIs were allowed to invest in government bonds with a minimum residual maturity of three years.
iii. FPIs are permitted to invest in Government securities (G-secs), including treasury bills, and SDLs without any minimum residual maturity requirement, subject to the condition that short-term investments( Investments with maturity of one year) by an FPI under either category shall not exceed 20 per cent of the total investment of that FPI in that category.
iv. FPIs were permitted to invest in government securities till the limit utilisation reaches 90 per cent, after which the auction mechanism was triggered for allocation of the remaining limit.
For Corporate Bonds:
i. FPIs are permitted to invest with a minimum maturity of three years.
ii. FPIs to invest in corporate bonds with minimum residual maturity of above one year.
iii. Short-term investments in corporate bonds by an FPI shall not exceed 20 per cent of the total investment of that FPI in corporate bonds which will be applicable on an end-of-day basis.
iv. RBI said short-term investments by an FPI may exceed 20 per cent of total investments, only if the short-term investments consist entirely of investments made on or before April 27, 2018, and not made after April 27, 2018.
v. The RBI also said investment by any FPI, including investments by related FPIs, should not exceed 50 per cent of any issue of a corporate bond.
vi. No FPI shall have an exposure of more than 20 per cent of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate.
Foreign portfolio investment (FPI) consists of securities and other financial assets passively held by foreign investors. It does not provide the investor with direct ownership of financial assets and is relatively liquid depending on the volatility of the market. Foreign portfolio investment differs from foreign direct investment (FDI), in which a domestic company runs a foreign firm, because although FDI allows a company to maintain better control over the firm held abroad, it may face more difficulty selling the firm at a premium price in the future.
About Government Securities and Corporate Bonds:
A government security is a bond or other type of debt obligation that is issued by a government with a promise of repayment upon the security’s maturity date.Government securities are usually considered low-risk investments because they are backed by the taxing power of a government.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Dhanush artillery gun clears 3rd and final trials and soon to be inducted in the army
On June 18, 2018, The indigenously built Dhanush artillery gun passes the final tests successfully and is ready to be inducted to the Army.
i. It was the 3rd and final phase of testing which was done from May 31 to June 7th 2018.
ii. There were firing of 6 Dhanush guns in battery formation.
iii. A total of 301 rounds were fired from these 6 guns.
iv. Each gun travelled a distance of 1000km in desert and high altitude terrains.
v. After the general staff evaluation the bulk production would take place where 114 guns would be inducted in the Indian Army by the next two years.
vi. The first phase was conducted in September 2016 in Pokhran and Babina and the second phase was conducted in December 2016 in Siachen base. A total of 1520 rounds have been fired in all the 3 phases.
About Dhanush Guns:
♦ It is an indigenously built upgraded version of Swedish Bofors that was procured by India in mid 1980s. It is a 155 mm , 45 calibre gun with a range of 36 km .It is compatible with NATO 155 mm ammunition system.
International Picnic Day – 18th June 2018
On 18th June 2018, International Picnic Day was celebrated all over the world.
International Picnic Day:
i. The International Picnic Day is celebrated in many countries on 18th June every year. Its origin is uncertain.
ii. Charity events, school picnics and various types of group meals are held to commemorate this day.
iii. The word “picnic” originated from the French language. It relates to informal outdoor meal. Picnic became a popular time pass in France after the Revolution.
Some important temples in India:
♦ Mahakaleshwar Temple – Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
♦ Kamakhya Temple – Guwahati, Assam
♦ Bhimashankar Temple – Pune, Maharashtra
Sustainable Gastronomy Day – 18 June
On 18th June 2018, the Sustainable Gastronomy Day was observed all over the world.
Sustainable Gastronomy Day:
i. In 2016, the UN General Assembly declared 18 June as Sustainable Gastronomy Day.
ii. Sustainable gastronomy can play a major role in promoting agricultural development, food security, nutrition, sustainable food production and the conservation of biodiversity.
iii. Observance of Sustainable Gastronomy Day acknowledges gastronomy as a cultural expression related to the natural and cultural diversity of the world.
Some important lakes in India:
♦ Hamirsar Lake – Gujarat
♦ Kankaria Lake – Gujarat
♦ Lakhota Lake – Gujarat