Recently, the 17th ASEAN-India Economic Ministers Consultations was held virtually, co-chaired by India and Vietnam.
The meeting was attended by the Trade Ministers of all the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries.
The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to take collective actions in mitigating the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They also resolved to ensure macroeconomic and financial stability and resilient supply chain connectivity.
The report of the ASEAN India Business Council (AIBC) was placed.
It was also recommended that the ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) be reviewed for mutual benefit.
Discussions on review of the ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) took place.
ASEAN India-Business Council (AIBC) was set up in March 2003 as a forum to bring key private sector players from India and the ASEAN countries on a single platform for business networking and sharing of ideas.
The AITIGA is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) among ASEAN countries and India which came into force in January, 2010.
ASEAN countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Proposal of Supply Chain Resilience Initiative
Covid-19 and trade tensions between China and the USA are threatening supply chains.
Thus, Japan has mooted the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) as a trilateral approach to trade, with India and Australia as the key-partners.
Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI)
The initiative aims to reduce the dependency on a single nation (at present China).
SCRI is a direct response to individual companies and economies concerned about Chinese political behaviour and the supply chain disruption.
The initiative also potentially sees other Asian and Pacific Rim nations later.
To attract foreign direct investment to turn the Indo-Pacific into an “economic powerhouse”.
To build a mutually complementary relationship among partner countries.
To work out a plan to build on the existential supply chain network.
Special Frontier Force: Vikas Battalion
The Special Frontier Force (SFF) unit, referred to as Vikas Battalion, was recently in the news.
It had been said to be instrumental in preventing Chinese occupation on the LAC in Ladakh.
Special Frontier Force (SFF)
SFF was established on 14th November 1962 in the immediate aftermath of the 1962 Sino-India war.
It falls under the purview of the Cabinet Secretariat.
It is headed by an Inspector General who is an Army officer of the rank of Major General.
They are highly trained special forces personnel who can undertake a variety of tasks.
Women soldiers, too, form a part of SFF units.
The SFF units are not part of the Army
However, they function under operational control of the Army
Major Operations of SFF:
Operation Eagle (1971 war with Pakistan)
Operation Bluestar (clearing Amritsar’s Golden Temple in 1984)
Operation Meghdoot (securing the Siachen glacier in 1984)
Operation Vijay (war with Pakistan at Kargil in 1999)
Early Migration of Butterflies
The annual migration of butterflies from the hill ranges of the Eastern Ghats towards the Western
Ghats has been observed earlier in 2020 (in the months of July and August).
Usually, these butterflies breed during the southwest monsoon season on the eastern areas of South India and their progeny migrate back to the Western Ghats in October- November.
The Eastern Ghats complex of the Yercaud hills (Shevaroy hills), Pachamalai, Kolli hills, Kalvarayan are major originating places for the migrating species.
Possible Reasons for Early Migration: Change in rainfall pattern, a considerable increase in the number of sunny days and a population outburst of butterflies.
Four species of milkweed butterflies belonging to the Danainae subfamily are mainly involved in the migration — the Dark Blue Tiger, Blue Tiger, Common Crow and the Double-branded (commonly known as tigers and crows).
The Ferns Nature Conservation Society (FNCS) initiated a citizen science project in 2018 to study the migration ecology of milkweed butterflies in south India,
Butterflies are insects from the order Lepidoptera of phylum Arthropoda which also includes moths.
Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight.
Abundance of butterflies in any area represents the rich biodiversity.
The State of Young Child in India
Indian Vice President recently released ‘The State of Young Child in India’ report.
It is a comprehensive account of the challenges related to early child development in India.
Prepared by: Mobile Crèches. It is a policy advocacy organization which works with the underprivileged children across India.
Out of 159 million children aged below 6 years in India, 21% are undernourished, 36% are underweight and 38% do not receive full immunization.
Huge returns on investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) at the individual, household and country levels were also reported.
Top performers: Kerala, Goa, Tripura and Tamil Nadu.
States with scores below the national average – Assam, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Under Poshan Abhiyaan, the month of September is observed as Poshan Maah i.e. Nutrition month every year, since 2018.
‘Agricultural Fund of India’ is being created to have complete information about the crops that are grown in each district and their related nutritional value.
It includes a month-long activities focussed on antenatal care, optimal breastfeeding, anaemia, girls education, right age of marriage, etc.
The activities focus on Social and Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC) and are based on Jan Andolan Guidelines.
A food and nutrition quiz as well as meme competition will be organized on the My Gov portal.
A unique kind of Nutrition Park has been created at Statue of Unity (Gujarat), where one can witness nutrition related education along with fun and frolic.
Shetrunji and Bhadar Dams of Gujarat
Due to heavy rains, Shetrunji and Bhadar dams have overflowed simultaneously.
These are two largest reservoirs in the Saurashtra region (Gujarat).
The two dams are across Shetrunji and Bhadar rivers.
These rivers flow in opposite directions.
These two dams have different catchment areas.
Sardar Sarovar Dam, also called Narmada Dam, is the largest reservoir in Gujarat
The term BIPOC became popular on the internet during the Black Lives Matter movement.
It stands for “Black, Indigenous and People of Color.”
The BIPOC movement urges to acknowledge the diversity in skin color, race, and hair.
It advocates for inclusivity and representation across all areas of life, from politics to skin care.
It is been seen as a substitute to degrading and offensive terms like negro, african-american and minority