Current Affair To The Point – 27 Aug 2020

1. India-Bangladesh to open inland waterways

As of 3 September 2020, India and Bangladesh must launch new inland waterways. This is focused on the Inland Water Transit and Trade Agreement which the countries signed in May 2020. It increased the number of IBP (Indo-Bangladesh Protocol) routes from eight to ten.

Highlights: –

North East India is a Geography hostage. Being landlocked by ring-fenced neighbours like China, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar, its land-based connection with India is narrow. This link is the Siliguri corridor which is 22 km away. Often it is called the neck of the Chicken.
Thus, India plans to open trade, commerce, and other lifelines from which commodities, growth, and prosperity will flow.
India is also extending its Law East policy that places North East at the forefront. That means the trade and investment agreements signed with ASEAN and other East Asian countries will be focused on North East needs and requirements.
In essence, India enhanced the Look East Strategy, with Act East Strategy focused solely on economic activities. The emphasis was on security and counter-terrorism. Through this, India, with the aid of the ASEAN countries, intends to arrest insurgency and counter-terrorism in the North East Region.

2. E-Auction Portal launched for Kashmir Saffron

The Department of Agriculture operating under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has developed an e-auction platform in collaboration with NSE-IT to facilitate the trading of GI-tagged Kashmir Saffron. The portal has been developed by the Department under the aegis of India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre.

Highlights
The portal’s main goal is to ensure that purchasers have better access to Kashmir Saffron. The portal will support the registered growers and buyers in trouble-free e-trading.

Types of Kashmir Saffron
There are three types of saffron
1. Lachha Saffron
2. Guchhi Saffron
3. Mongra Saffron

3. India-Vietnam Joint Commission Meeting

Virtually recently, the Joint Commission meeting was held between India and Vietnam. It was chaired by India’s foreign minister Dr S Jai Shankar and his counterpart Mr Pham Binh Minh, Vietnam’s foreign minister.

Highlights
The countries explored closer cooperation in the land, maritime, nuclear and technical fields. They also expressed their views on global and regional issues to be closely coordinated on international forums such as the UN Security Council, ASEAN. It should be noted that both India and Vietnam are the present non-permanent members of the UNSC. They will continue to serve until 2021.
India and Vietnam have agreed in the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative to reinforce their bilateral cooperation.

4. BRICS Industry Ministers Video Meeting in 5G and AI

The BRICS countries’ technology ministers attended a video conference on 5 G, digital internet and Artificial Intelligence.

Highlights
China urged the BRICS countries to step up collaboration on digital transformation during the meeting. China also stressed the need for BRICS countries to cooperate in promoting an economic survey, resuming work and growth, ensuring medical supplies and encouraging industrial development. According to the leaders of the BRICS, there is a need to improve and enhance the supply chain and the countries’ abilities to build a good environment for growth.
The conference has come ahead of the September 2020 conference of BRICS foreign ministers.

About BRICS
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are the economies which form part of the BRICS grouping. BRICS ‘population makes up 43 per cent of the global population as a whole. PM Modi revealed it will host the BRICS Digital Health Summit during the 11th BRICS Summit held in Brazil in 2019. The summit will concentrate on creative Safe Approaches approaches. India has also suggested holding the first meeting of BRICS water ministers in India. BRICS grouping’s key goal is to promote economic and political cooperation.
New Development Bank is also known as the BRICS Development Bank was established in 2014. It is based in Shanghai, China.

5. Export Preparedness Index, 2020 released by NITI Aayog

The NITI Aayog released its Export Preparedness Index (EPI) on 26 August 2020. The Innovation Center had collaborated with the think tank.

Highlights: –
Gujarat has topped the index with Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu following. This is partly due to their position close to the sea. Kerala, Odisha and Karnataka are the other three coastal states that featured in top ten rankings.
Rajasthan was the top performer among land-locked states followed by Telangana and Haryana. Uttarakhand toped the list in the group of Himalayan states followed by Tripura and Himachal Pradesh.
Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have top the list among the states that initiated export promotion measures.
The report says that five states, namely Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, dominate India’s 70 per cent exports. Most states did well on transport connectivity, diversification of exports, and infrastructure.
The report also notes that the notes lack the necessary support for trade. There are only 10 countries in the region offering a trade guide and only 15 states have provided an online platform for disseminating information to exporters.

Policy Parameters
Based on parameters of strategy, Maharashtra tops the list followed by Gujarat and Jharkhand
Export Ecosystem
Based on the ecosystem of exports, Maharashtra had topped the index followed by Odisha and Rajasthan.
Export Performance
Mizoram has led the index based on export results followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra

6. KIRAN: Mental health care line to be initiated by the Ministry of Social Justice

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will open a mental health recovery center via video conference on August 27, 2020. The helpline number “1800-599-0019” will assist in providing clinical assistance, treatment of psychiatric problems, early screening, mental well-being, first aid, and will also help deter deviant actions.

Highlights
The program supports people with depression, anxiety, traumatic stress disorder, panic attack, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, misuse of drugs and emergency mental well being.
The helpline will fund 668 volunteer psychologists, who will be able to treat 300 patients every hour. The helpline will be providing assistance in 13 languages. It is available to families, individuals, non-governmental organisations, professional groups, recovery institutes or anyone in existence.
India’s government has taken many steps against mentally ill patients.

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