Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Daily News Mail - News of 17/03/2015

Aadhar not mandatory for availing govt benefits, SC reiterates
  • Clearing all doubts about the validity of Aadhaar card to avail of government subsidies, the Supreme Court on March 16 confirmed that the card is not compulsory, and warned that officials ignoring this would be taken to task.
  • A Bench of Justices J. Chelameswar, S.A. Bobde and C. Nagappan said insistence on Aadhaar card is in clear violation of the SC’s interim order of September 23, 2013.
  • The court’s summary dismissal of Aadhaar card’s validity comes at a time when over 750 million Aadhar numbers have already been generated.
India on the right track : IMF Chief

  • India’s economy is the bright spot in the global economy, with recent policy reforms set to boost growth, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on March 16.
  • Delivering a lecture at a college here, Ms. Lagarde, who is in India on a two-day visit, said the Union Budget was ‘a step in the right direction.’
  • The IMF, in its latest forecast last week, said India’s economy was likely to grow 7.5% in 2015-16, below the Modi Government’s projection of 8.5%.
  • Ms. Lagarde said the IMF had confidence in the new GDP estimates that India recently released, though it had sought additional information on the data.
  • For sustainable long-term growth and to become the world’s largest by 2030, India must reduce inequality, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde said.
  • Ms. Lagarde said: “Growth can’t be your only goal…. Your objective should be inclusiveness, welfare of people, especially those who have traditionally not been included.”
  • Low and declining female participation in the labour force constituted a ‘huge missed opportunity’, she said.
  • Citing a new IMF working paper, she said only 33% of women in India participated in the labour force, as per the latest available data. This was lower than the global average of 50 per cent and the East Asian average in East Asia of 63%.

IMF Chief, Christine Lagarde
International Monetary Fund
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., in the United States, of 188 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
  • It is formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system. 
  • Countries contribute funds to a pool through a quota system from which countries with payment imbalances can borrow. As of 2010, the fund had SDR476.8 billion, about US$755.7 billion at then-current exchange rates.
  • Currently IMF Chief is Christine Lagarde of France, who has replaced Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Lagarde became the first woman to be elected as the head of the IMF.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an international financial institution proposed by China. The purpose of the multilateral development bank is to provide finance to infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region. AIIB is regarded by some as a rival for the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB),which are regarded as dominated by developed countries like the United States.
  • The Asian Development Bank Institute published a report in 2010 which said that the region requires $8 trillion to be invested from 2010 to 2020 in infrastructure for the region to continue economic development. In a 2014 editorial, The Guardian newspaper wrote that that the new bank could allow Chinese capital to finance these projects and allow it a greater role to play in the economic development of the region commensurate with its growing economic and political clout.
  • In June 2014 China proposed doubling the registered capital of the bank from $50 billion to $100 billion and invited India to participate in the founding of the bank.On October 24, 2014, a signing ceremony held in Beijing, formally recognized the establishment of the bank. 21 countries signed the bill, which included: China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.U.S. pressure allegedly kept Australia and South Korea from signing up as founding members, despite the fact that they had formerly expressed an interest in it.Indonesia's joining was slightly delayed due to their new presidential administration not being able to review the membership in time.
Now the todays news related to AIIB is..
  • After Britain, it may be Australia’s turn to seek membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) — a move, if it materialises, will signal a revolt by core members against the United States, which is discouraging the participation of its allies in the China-led initiative.
  • China would also want South Korea, another economic heavyweight to sign up to the new institution, but so far, Seoul has been sending ambivalent(having mixed feelings about someone or something; being unable to choose between two (usually opposing) courses of action) signals. Financial Times quoted a South Korean Foreign Ministry official as saying that Seoul is engaged in talks with both China and the U.S. regarding its participation in the bank.
  • Japan, another key U.S. ally in the Asia-Pacific, appears unenthusiastic about participation in the AIIB, which could well be perceived as a rival to the Manila-based ADB, which Tokyo dominates.

Asian Development Bank
  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 which is headquartered in Metro Manila, Philippines, to facilitate economic development in Asia. 
  • From 31 members at its establishment, ADB now has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside. The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members' capital subscriptions.
  • At the end of 2013, Japan holds the largest proportion of shares at 15.67%. The United States holds 15.56%, China holds 6.47%, India holds 6.36%, and Australia holds 5.81%.
Asian Development Bank

Mr. Modi's ocean view
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used his visits to Seychelles and Mauritius — besides Sri Lanka — to enunciate a proactive vision of India’s interests and responsibilities in this sensitive region. It is indeed the clearest expression yet by an Indian leader of what the Indian Ocean and the region around it mean for Delhi. “We seek a future for Indian Ocean that lives up to the name of SAGAR — Security and Growth for All in the Region,” Mr. Modi said, launching the offshore patrol vessel MCGS Barracuda in Mauritius on March 12. “Our goal is to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other’s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime security issues; and increase in maritime cooperation.” In a sense, India has now stepped out of the closet to engage with the wider Indian Ocean region, stressing that its security interests are critical. After all, the perpetrators of one of the worst terror attacks in the country’s history, Mumbai 2008, came by sea.
  • By inviting Seychelles and Mauritius to join the existing maritime security cooperation arrangement among India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister signalled that Delhi was ready to play a pre-eminent role in the region. Mr. Modi has batted for the creation of a strong regional grouping around the Indian Ocean. However, India’s record in building multilateral institutions has been poor — the Indian Ocean Rim Association is a case in point. Good and stated intentions by themselves are not enough to convince partners that India is willing to bear the burden of their security and economic expectations. Mr. Modi’s diplomatic calendar has been full and he is still very much within the grace period normally allowed to a government to match vision with reality. But India’s diplomatic and security establishments, unused to working together, must be enabled to work in tandem if Delhi is to make a lasting impact in the Indian Ocean region and beyond. Given that the Indian Ocean channels carry two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments, a third of the bulk cargo and half of all container traffic, the region’s strategic significance is unquestionable. And India’s commitment to “shape its future” can only be welcomed. Without referring to China and the United States, the Prime Minister said India had to recognise that there were “other nations around the world” with a strong interest and stakes in the region. A higher profile for India in the region is not necessarily a zero-sum game given the challenges it faces. For example, climate change is an issue Mr. Modi flagged both in Mauritius and Seychelles. A more confident India must play its role in the region — defending its interests but acting in cooperation with others.

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