Everything about INDIA- SINGAPORE Relations.

INDIA- SINGAPORE RELATIONS

• India’s connection with Singapore dates back to the Cholas who are credited with naming the island and establishing a permanent settlement.

• The close relationship shared by India and Singapore is based on convergence of economic and political interests.

• The process of economic reforms in India since the early 1990s created a strong basis for cooperation with Singapore, opening up possibilities for significant presence in each other’s economies.

• Singapore has played an important role in reconnecting us to the countries of South East Asia since the inception of our Look East Policy in the early 1990s.

Political relations

• India was among the first countries to set up diplomatic relations after the independence of Singapore on 24 August 1965.

• Singapore’s Foreign and Law Minister was the first minster from any ASEAN nation to  meet the new government.

• Former Singapore’s PM was awarded Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International understanding in 2004.

Economic relations

• Bilateral Trade has expanded significantly from $ 12.4 million in 1980-81 to $2.18 billion in 2013-14.

• Singapore has emerged as the 2nd largest source of FDI amounting to US$ 31.9 billion (April 2000 – Feb 2015), which is 13% of total FDI inflow.

• Singapore was the largest source of FDI into India for the year 2013-14 overtaking Mauritius.

• Outward Indian FDI to Singapore increased from US $351 million in 2004-05 to US $37.4 billion (April 2015), making Singapore one of the top destinations for Indian investments.

• In June 2005, the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) was signed by India with Singapore.

• Singapore has largest air connections to India with 6 airlines flying 232 weekly services.

Cultural Relations 

• To promote inter-governmental cooperation in culture, a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Arts, Archives and Heritage was concluded in 1993.

• Given the large and diverse Indian community in Singapore, cultural activities receive considerable support from community organizations.

• A number of cultural societies, namely Temple of Fine Arts, Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society, Nrityalaya, Kalamandir, among others, promote Indian classical dance and arts.

• Deepawali is regarded as the premier Indian cultural celebration.

Visa & Consular 

• India introduced a visa requirement for Singapore citizens in 1984 while Singapore introduced it in 1985.

• Tourists from Singapore are allowed ‘eTourist Visa (eTV)’ in select airports in India since 2010 on unilateral basis.

Indian Community 

• Ethnic Indians constitute about 9.1 per cent or around 3.5 lakhs of the resident population of 3.9 million in Singapore.

• Tamil is one of the four official languages of Singapore.

• Approximately two-thirds of the Indian community in Singapore are of Tamil origin. Punjabis, Malayalis and Sindhis are the other major Indian communities

Naval Agreements

• The bilateral agreement for naval cooperation includes:

1 Maritime security

2 Joint exercises

3 Temporary deployments from the naval facilities of each other

4 Mutual logistical support

Logistic Support

• Indian Navy will have a full-fledged logistics facility that is 2,177 km east from its nearest base at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

• This is the first such military logistics agreement with a country east of Malacca indicating a shift eastwards for the Indian Navy.

Lanes of communication

• Both Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea are the key sea lanes of communication.

• India and Singapore should increase their participation and activity in these regions.

• Indian Navy has started its Malacca patrol in June this year to protect the sea lanes of communication (SLOCs).

Choke point of commerce

• The Strait of Malacca is considered a critical choke point for global commerce.

• It is critical for the transportation of natural gas and oil.

• It is seen by China as vulnerable for its energy security.

Strait of Malacca

• It is waterway connecting the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean) and South China Sea (Pacific Ocean).

• It runs between the Indonesian island of Sumatra to the west and peninsular Malaysia and extreme southern Thailand to the east.

• It has an area of about 25,000 square miles (65,000 square km).

• The Strait derived its name from the trading port of Melaka (formerly Malacca) which was of importance in the 16th and 17th centuries on the Malay coast.

Everything about World Malaria Report 2017 by WHO

The global figures

• The report shows that there were 5 million more malaria cases in 2016 than in 2015.

• The estimated global tally of malaria deaths reached 445,000 in 2016 compared to 446,000 the previous year.

• The African Region continues to bear an estimated 90% of all malaria cases and deaths worldwide.

• About 80% of the deaths were accounted for by 15 countries, namely India and 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

India specific findings

• India accounts for 6% of global malaria cases and 7% of the total deaths are caused by it.

• The WHO figures also suggest that India is unlikely to reduce its case burden beyond 40% by 2020.

Limitations

• Maldives, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan achieved malaria-free status in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Major impediments in eliminating malaria front in India are:

1.Weak surveillance system: India and Nigeria were able to detect only 8% and 16% of cases respectively by using their detection system.

• These two are major contributors to the global burden of malaria.

2. Resistance to chloroquine: In India, cases of plasmodium vivax were also traced.

• It is the milder cousin of the p. Falciparum.

• This can be due be resistance to chloroquine which is the first line treatment to p. vivax infections.

3. Low funding and resistance: Due to low funding per person at risk and resistance to certain frontline insecticides, India is only expected to achieve a 20%-40% reduction.

Target 2020

• WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria has called for reductions of at least 40% in malaria cases incidence and mortality rates by the year 2020.

Problem in achieving the target

• According to the latest malaria report, the world is not on track to reach these critical milestones.

• A major problem is insufficient funding at both domestic and international levels.

• Around US$ 2.7 billion was invested in malaria control and elimination efforts globally in 2016.

• This is well below to meet the targets of WHO global malaria strategy.

• This results in major gaps in coverage of insecticide-treated nets, medicines and other life-saving tools.

Controlling malaria

• In most malaria-affected countries, the most common and effective ways to prevent malarial infection are the followings:

1 Sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net (ITN)

2 Spraying the inside walls of homes with insecticides

3 Artemisinin-based combination therapies are the most effective in controlling malarial cases

A wake-up call

• World is at the crossroads in the response to malaria.

• WHO is hoping that this report will serve as a wake-up call for the global health communities. Meeting the global malaria targets will only be possible through greater investment and expanded coverage of core tools that prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.

• Robust financing for the research and development of new tools is equally critical.

Everything about Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

• It is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes emerging entrepreneurs, investors and supporters from around the world.

• It was started by U.S. government in 2010.

• It serves as a vital link between governments and the private sector and convenes global participants to showcase projects, network, exchange ideas and champion new opportunities for investment.

Aim

• It aims to highlight entrepreneurship as means to address some of the most intractable global challenges.

GES-2017, Hyderabad

• It is the eighth annual GES summit.

• It is the first GES summit being held in South Asia.

• Since 2010, it has been hosted by Kenya, Morocco, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and last year it was held in Silicon Valley in the US.

• The Theme of GES-2017 is ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’.

• The main focus will be on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally.

Areas of focus:

The GES 2017 will focus on four key industry sectors:

1 Energy and Infrastructure

2 Healthcare and Life Sciences

3 Financial Technology and Digital Economy

4 Media and Entertainment

Everything about Net Neutrality

Net neutrality

• The term was coined by Tim Wu in 2003.

• It is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.

• It means that the Internet Service Provider may not discriminate between different kind of content and applications online.

• It guarantees a level playing field for all websites and Internet technologies.

• In this, all data on the Internet is treated as same and is not discriminated or charged differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment or method of communication.

• Under  this principle, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

• In net neutrality all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally, the service providers should allow access to all content without favouring any particular product or website.

Advantages of Net Neutrality

• It has remained a core democratising tenet of the internet since the time it came into existence.

• It protects innovation and if big companies like Google and Netflix could pay to get exceptional treatment, more bandwidth, faster speeds, the new start-up firms would be at a disadvantage.

• It will also negatively affect freedom of speech. In absence of net neutrality, the big companies could give priority to TV networks from videos it owns and slow down the signals from its peers.

• It supports competitive marketplace and provides chance to every firm, from big companies to small start-ups to take part in it. Curbing netizens right to a neutral net will be a big blow for the budding entrepreneurs.

Disadvantages of Net Neutrality

• The users download large amount of software, music and movies illegally. The changes will put a restriction.

• The various companies like Google have created services that allow people to make calls for free on networks that telecom companies have spent billions to build. Net neutrality is injustice to these companies.

• Net neutrality do not protects innovation instead stifles innovation. If the telecom companies can charge higher fees to the prime bandwidth hogs, they can also afford to develop advanced fiber networks that support all forms of new Internet services.

• Some level of prioritisation or restriction is essential to support the best interest of consumers as a whole.

• Bandwidth is definitely a limited commodity and regulation will help restrict illegal use of the platform.

Net neutrality in India

• There are no laws enforcing net neutrality in India.

• Although TRAI guidelines for the Unified Access Service license promotes net neutrality, it does not enforce it.

• The Information Technology Act, 2000 also does not prohibit companies from throttling their service in accordance with their business interests.

• In India, telecom operators and ISPs offering VoIP services have to pay a part of their revenues to the government.

• Violations of net neutrality have been common in India.

• Examples include Facebook’s internet.org, Aircel’s Wikipedia Zero along free access to Facebook and WhatsApp, Airtel’s free access to Google and Reliance’s free access to Twitter .

Everything about Umang App (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG)

Umang (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) app:

• It is a unified app to serve e-governance through mobile devices.

• It is developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD).

• It is to offer services of the central, state, local bodies and various government agencies right on Android and iOS based mobile devices.

• It will provide over a hundred citizen-centric services.

• At the back-end, these services will be catered for by many different departments of the Union and State Governments.

• This integrated approach will add an automatic layer of ‘peer performance pressure’, in the working of these departments.

List of services:

• The Umang app bundles a list of Digital India services, including Aadhaar, DigiLocker and PayGov.

• The app provides citizens with all the major government services provided through app, web, SMS and IVR channels.

• The citizens can use the app to access their income tax filing, LPG cylinder bookings and Provident Fund account.

• Parents can use the Umang app to access CBSE results.

Multilingual support:

• The app has multilingual support with as many as 13 languages and includes a payment-based transaction access.

Social media integration

• The app has social media integration that allows to connect your Facebook, Google, and Twitter accounts and enable one-touch login process.

• The interface of the Umang app appears to be convenient for novices.

• The app comes with features like favourites and push notification alerts.

Indian Council of Medical Research – ICMR

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR):

  • It is an apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research and is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world.
  • Its headquarters are at New Delhi.
  • It is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The Governing Body of the Council is presided over by the Union Health Minister.
  • It seeks to address the growing demands of scientific advances in biomedical research on the one hand, and to the need of finding practical solutions to the health problems of the country, on the other.

Lymphatic Filariasis

Introduction

• The national health policy had aimed at eliminating filariasis by 2015 but the deadline was extended to 2017 and now has been shifted to 2020.

• But India is likely to miss the target date of stamping out elephantiasis or lymphatic filariasis.

Filariasis

• Filariasis, called hathipaon (elephant foot) locally, can cause limbs, usually the leg, knee downwards, to swell enormously or hydrocele (swelling of the scrotum), causing disfigurement and disability.

• It is caused by various coiled and thread-like parasitic worms.

• These parasites after getting deposited on skin penetrate on their own or through the opening created by mosquito bites to reach the lymphatic system.

• The disease is caused by the nematode worm, either Wuchereria bancrofti or Brugia malayi and transmitted by ubiquitous mosquito species Culex quinquefasciatus and Mansonia  annulifera/M.uniformis respectively.

• The worms produce about 50,000 microfilariae (minute larvae) that enter a person’s blood stream and get passed on when a mosquito bites an infected person.

• The larvae develop into adult worms that can live upto 5-8 years and more in humans. They damage the lymphatic system though no symptoms may show for years.

• It is found that though changes to lymphatic vessels occurred early in the infection, treatment could reverse these in most cases.

Lymphatic filariasis (LF)

• Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), commonly known as elephantiasis is a disfiguring and disabling disease, usually acquired in childhood.

• In the early stages, there are either no symptoms or non-specific symptoms but the lymphatic system is damaged.

• The long term physical consequences are painful swollen limbs (lymphoedema or elephantiasis).

• Hydrocele in males is also common in endemic areas.

• Due to damaged lymphatic system, patients with lymphoedema have frequent attacks of infection causing high fever and severe pain.

National Filaria Control Programme (NFCP)

• After pilot project in Orissa from 1949 to 1954, the National Filaria Control Programme (NFCP) was launched in the country in 1955 with the objective of delimiting the problem, to undertake control measures in endemic areas and to train personnel to man the programme. The main control measures are:

1 Mass DEC administration

2 Antilarval measures in urban areas

3 Indoor residual spray in rural areas.

Strategy to tackle the disease

• Mass drug administration (MDA) in endemic districts ensuring coverage of over 65% population is the global strategy to eliminate the disease.

• Since 2004, the health ministry has been carrying out mass drug administration as part of the Hathipaon Mukt Bharat (Filaria Free India) programme for preventive medication.

• This involves giving at least 65% of the population in endemic districts two drugs:

1 Tablets of diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC)

2 Albendazole once a year for five years

• Children below two years, pregnant women and seriously-ill people are not eligible for these drugs.

• After five years of MDA and 65% coverage, a transmission assessment survey is conducted to see if the district qualifies for stoppage of mass drug administration.

• The new three-drug combination, IDA, involves adding tablets of Ivermectin to the DEC and albendazole tablets and has been shown to reduce microfilariae by 99% with the first dose itself.

• The two-drug regimen (DEC and albendazole) reduces the disease by 60-80% and hence requires five rounds.

• The new drug regimen is expected to help clear the infection faster as IDA would require just two rounds.

Challenges

• India stopped the MDA in 96 of the 256 districts last year. But many of the 96 districts failed a treatment assessment survey by external evaluators.

• The surveillance that identified the 256 endemic districts is now outdated. A fresh survey could push up the number of endemic districts to over 300. This would require an overhaul of programme strategy and consequently, the chances of meeting the 2020 target are slim.

• It’s also a challenge to get people to take as many as four tablets simultaneously, especially when they have no symptoms. Health workers must ensure the person consumes the tablets right then which doesn’t always happen.

• Recently added drug Ivermectin has to be given according to bodyweight, which could mean adding 2-4 tablets to the existing drug regimen depending on the person’s body weight.

• That could be an additional challenge to the programme, the success of which hinges on community compliance (ensuring people take the medicine) and coverage (ensuring medicines reach at least 65% of the population).

• WHO gives India albendazole free of cost but it has to buy 70% of the required DE, 30% is free. Government will now have to find the funds to buy Ivermectin and meet the cost of expanding the programme. Budget approvals for the same are still in the pipeline.

Commissions for Women

National Commission for Women

• The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act,1990.

Objectives

• Review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women.

• Recommend remedial legislative measures.

• Facilitate redressal of grievances.

• Advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.

State Commission for Women

• The State Commissions for Women have been established at the State level along the lines of National Commission for Women at the national level.

Objectives

• To protect women from violence, atrocities or inhuman or cruel treatment in general.

• It has been endowed with the powers to protect and promote women’s rights throughout the State.

Everything about Brahmos

Brahmos:

• It is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft or land.

• It is a joint venture between the Russia’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation.

• It has derived its name from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.

Speed:

• It travels at the speed of Mach 2.8 to 3.0.

• The missile is first propelled by a solid propellant booster engine that takes it to supersonic speeds.

• After it separates, the missile is accelerated further to around three times the speed of sound (mach 3) in the cruise phase with a liquid ramjet.

Range:

• It has a flight range upto 290 Km.

• Recently, the range variants were upgraded from 290 km to 450 km after India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime.

Fire and Forget:

• It operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’, adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target.

• It takes a variety of trajectories while in flight and is equipped with advanced guidance technology.

• Its stealth features also give it a low radar signature.

Air-launched cruise missile (ALCM):

• It is a cruise missile that is launched from a military aircraft.

• Its current versions are typically standoff weapons which are used to attack predetermined land targets with conventional, nuclear or thermonuclear payloads.

SU-30 MKI:

• It is a twin-jet multirole air superiority fighter jet.

• It was developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force.

• It is a heavy, all-weather, long-range fighter jet.

• It has a maximum speed of 2 Mach with a single in flight range of 3,000 Km.

• It can carry a payload of 8,000 Kg upto a maximum altitude of 17 Km.

• Till date, Brahmos ALCM is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on the Su-30 MKI.

Completes cruise missile triad:

• The land and sea variants of Brahmos are already operational with the Indian Army and the Navy.

• The successful maiden test firing will significantly bolster the IAF’s air combat operations capability from stand-off ranges.

• The armed forces now have a multi-platform, multi-mission cruise missile that can be launched from land, sea and air.

• This completes the tactical cruise missile triad for India which is a world record.

National Anti-Profiteering Authority:

National Anti-Profiteering Authority:

• According to anti-profiteering clause of GST, it is mandatory to pass on the benefits due to reduction in rate of tax or from input tax credit to the consumer as an anti-profiteering measure.

• The authority will decide on levying penalty if businesses do not pass on the benefit of price reduction to consumers under the goods and services tax regime.

Composition of Anti-profiteering Authority

• It will be a five member body.

• The Authority will be headed by:-

• Either a retired High Court judge

• Or a member of the Indian Legal Service, having minimum three years of experience at the level of Additional Secretary or higher

Power of National Anti-Profiteering Authority:

• To issue notices to anybody that it feels warrants a fair enquiry

• To order a reduction in prices

• To impose a penalty

• To cancel the registration of a company deemed to have not passed profit on a tax rate reduction to consumers

Three-step procedure:

• From the detection of anti-profiteering to the decision of the Authority, three-step procedure has to be followed:

• Step1 – Standing Committee  would receive written complaints from anyone about profiteering practices and review the evidences prima facie.

• Step2 – Director-General of Safeguards (DGS) would conduct detailed inquiry of the complaint and complete its investigation within three months of receiving the reference from the Standing Committee.

• Step3 -National Anti-Profiteering Authority will have three months to issue its verdict following the inquiry by DGS.

• The entire procedure from investigation to verdict cannot exceed nine months.