Hindu Notes from General Studies-02
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WTO: diverse views fuel bleak prospect for outcomes
- The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Buenos Aires meeting commenced amid concerns on support for anti-globalization, protectionism and bilateralism.
- A vast majority of the 164 WTO member nations — led by India, China and South Africa — are, therefore, learnt to be demanding that the final declaration of the WTO’s highest decision-making body reaffirms commitment to multilateralism and rules-based trading system as well as negotiations with development agenda at the centre.
However, due to the divergent views of the WTO members on several issues, including the outstanding ones in the ongoing Doha Round negotiations, there is little expectation that the outcome of the December 10-13 Ministerial Conference would be substantial.
- The Doha Round had begun in Doha in 2001 with the ‘development agenda’ — to improve trading prospects of developing nations — at the heart of the talks.
- Countries, mostly from the developed world, want what they call the ‘21st century trade issues’ — such as e-commerce, investment facilitation, matters relating to small firms and gender equality — to be discussed for rule-making to enhance the relevance of the WTO.
India, and several countries mainly from the developing world, are against introduction of such ‘new issues’ into the Doha Round, saying it is important to first resolve outstanding issues such as the ones relating to food security and protection of poor farmers before taking up new topics.
New tanks in fourth phase of Mission Kakatiya
The State Government has decided to take up formation of new minor irrigation tanks across the local rainwater flows – streams – and extend the benefits of small water bodies to people as part of the fourth-phase of Mission Kakatiya programme scheduled to be launched next month.
Mission Kakatiya programme
- Mission Kakatiya tagline or Mana Ooru Mana Cheruvu is a program of restoring all the tanks and lakes in Telangana State, India. The Program was inaugurated on 12 March 2015 by chief minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao.The name ‘Mission Kakatiya’ is given in the remembrance and tribute to the Kakatiya rulers who developed a large number of the irrigation tanks.
Formation of new tanks would be in addition to taking up restoration of the identified existing minor irrigation tanks as part of the programme. Only repairs and de-silting of small water bodies including restoration of feeder channels, strengthening of bunds, repairs to surplus weirs and sluices were taken up in the first three phases of the programme which also aimed at revival of the chain-link-tank system.
24 years on, OBC workforce in Centre still short of Mandal mark
- President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed a five-member commission to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) “to achieve greater social justice,” a reality check shows that representation of OBCs in the workforce in Central Government offices falls far short of achieving the 27% quota recommended by the Mandal Commission.
- Data furnished under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by 24 of the 35 Union Ministries, 25 of the 37 Central departments and various constitutional bodies reveal that 24 years since the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations, across various groups of employees, the OBCs have not optimally benefited from it.
- Only 17% of the Group A officers in the 24 Ministries belong to the OBCs. The representation among the Group B officers is even lower at 14%.
- Likewise, only 11% of the Group C employees are from the OBCs and in Group D, the figure is 10%. (See Graphic)
In the Cabinet Secretariat, which has 64 Group A officers, not one is from the OBCs, whereas 60 belong to the Open Competition (OC) category and four are from the Scheduled Castes.
‘Older persons hardly aware of their rights ’
Older persons in India are hardly aware of their human rights, which is a major cause of violation of their human rights, mostly within the four walls of their homes: noted a study on human rights of older persons in India by NGO Agewell Foundation.
Findings of the Survey
- 9% of older persons had never heard of human rights of older persons.
- The foundation interacted and surveyed over 5,000 persons aged 60 years and above across the country.
- Over 23.3% older persons were found living in inhuman conditions and that every eighth elderly or 12.9% revealed that they did not get proper food in old age.
- Only 68% older persons claimed to have access to necessary medicines, healthcare and medical facilities.
- The survey also revealed that 48.6% of elderly persons were not respected by their family, relatives and society.
- Nearly 47% of them were discriminated against because of their age and were humiliated occasionally or treated disrespectfully.
The survey found that 65% older persons in urban areas compared to 57% elderly persons in rural areas reported living in abject situations due to violation of their basic human rights.
- Due to lack of awareness about human rights of older persons, particularly among the elderly, old people face increased incidences of age discrimination, ageism, elder abuse and mistreatment.
India, Russia and China slam terrorism
In a joint communique issued after the 15th meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, India and China in New Delhi, the countries made it clear that their cooperation was not directed against any nation.
- Russia, China and India on condemned terrorism in all forms and reaffirmed their determination to prevent and counter it.
- They said that, those committing, organising, inciting or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice.
The statement urged all countries to take adequate measures to prevent terrorist activities from their territory.