Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - December 14, 2017

Multilateral Development Banks

India Signs Loan Agreement with World Bank for US$ 250 Million for “Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion” (SANKALP) Project

Implementing body –

  • A Financing Agreement for IBRD loan of USD 250 million (equivalent) for the “Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) Project” was today signed with the World Bank.
  • The Financing Agreement was signed in New Delhi by Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs Shri Sameer Kumar Khare on behalf of Government of India and Mr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank.
  • The Objective of the project is to enhance institutional mechanisms for skills development and increase access to quality and market-relevant training for the work force.
  • The Key result areas for the project include Institutional Strengthening at the National and State Levels for Planning, Delivering, and Monitoring High-Quality Market-Relevant Training; Improved Quality and Market Relevance of Skills Development Programs; Improved access to and completion of skills training for female trainees and other disadvantaged groups; and Expanding skills training through private-public partnerships (PPPs).

Defence

PM to dedicate naval submarine INS Kalvari to the nation
Named after deep sea tiger shark, the submarine carries sea-skimming missiles
PROJECT 75

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will dedicate to the nation, the naval submarine INS Kalvari, at Mumbai on Thursday.
  • The INS Kalvari is a diesel-electric attack submarine that has been built for the Indian Navy by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited.
  • It is the first of six such submarines that will be inducted into the Indian Navy, and represents a significant success for the "Make in India" initiative.
  • The project has been undertaken with French collaboration.

Enlighten about the first Scorpene submarine Kalvari

Implementing body –

  • The Navy will induct its first modern conventional submarine into the fleet.
  • Kalvari is a potent Man o’ War capable of undertaking offensive operations spanning across the entire spectrum of Maritime Warfare.
  • Embodies cutting-edge technology and compares favourably with the best in the world.
  • The Navy last inducted a conventional diesel-electric submarine, INS Sindhushastra, procured from Russia in July 2000.
  • Kalvari, named after a deep sea tiger shark, weighs about 1,600 tonnes and carries the sea skimming SM 39 Exocet missiles and the heavy weight wire guided Surface and Underwater Target (SUT) torpedoes. For self-defence it has mobile anti-torpedo decoys.
  • The boat also has her two 1250 kW MAN diesel engines for rapidly charging batteries.
  • The submarine boasts of a highly advanced Combat Management System and a sophisticated Integrated Platform Management System,” the Navy said.

International Highway

IMT Highway to be extended upto Vietnam (proposal from India)

  • India is planning to hold talks with Asean countries to extend the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway up to Vietnam.
  • As per proposals from India, the highway could be extended to Vietnam via Laos and Cambodia.

Significance of this connectivity

  • This connectivity can generate an estimated $70 billion annually in incremental GDP and $20 million in incremental aggregate employment by 2025.
  • Connecting India with the South eastern countries through a network of road will create jobs, market for crops grown in hilly regions of the Northeast which will also help growers in getting better price for their produce.

Enlighten about IMT highway

  • The India–Myanmar–Thailand Trilateral Highway is a highway under construction under India’s Look East policy that will connect Moreh, India with Mae Sot, Thailand via Myanmar.
  • The road is expected to boost trade and commerce in the ASEAN–India Free Trade Area, as well as with the rest of Southeast Asia.
  • It is important to note that the project already missed its first deadline in 2015 and India has consistently faced difficulty in implementing its projects in Myanmar.

Enlighten about ASEAN

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), has 10 member nations Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Meeting/Mou/Summits

AIIB (ASIAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT BANK)
3RD Annual Meeting of the board of Governors
To be held in – Mumbai – 25th and 26th June 2018
Theme - “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration”.

  • India will host the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of AIIB at Mumbai on 25th and 26th June 2018.
  • In this regard, the Government of India and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Secretariat have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to delineate the duties and responsibilities of major stakeholders who would be involved in organizing the aforesaid Annual Meeting.

Enlighten about AIIB –

  • The AIIB was established as a new multilateral financial institution aimed at providing “financial support for infrastructure development and regional connectivity in Asia.”
  • It was founded in October, 2014, and has its headquarters in Beijing.
  • Its goals are also to boost economic development in the region, create wealth, prove infrastructure, and promote regional cooperation and partnership.
  • The value of AIIB’s authorized capital amounts to $100 billion, with almost $30 billion invested by China. India is not only one of the founding members of AIIB but is also the 2nd largest shareholder in AIIB.

MoU between DCI and NHAI for supply of sand for highways construction work

  • Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have signed a MoU for facilitating the supply of sand for highways construction work.
  • The MoU aims to fill sand supply gap by facilitating the availability of sand for concessionaires working on highways projects who were facing shortage of sand at many sites.
  • Under this MoU, DCI intends will do dredging operations at locations in South East Asia and generate large volumes of sand.
  • This dredging will be done for purpose of obtaining sand.
  • Business intermediaries will ship and store this sand at various ports in India and market it for highways projects.
  • NHAI will facilitate process by displaying availability of sand at various stockyards at ports.

Enlighten about Dredging Corporation of India (DCI)

  • DCI is Indian Government Miniratna undertaking engaged in business of dredging.
  • It was established in 1976 and reports to the Ministry of Shipping.
  • It is headquartered at Visakhapatnam and has project offices at many seaports in India.
  • DCI is involved in maintenance dredging, capital dredging, beach nourishment, land reclamation, shallow water dredging, Project Management consultancy and Marine construction.
  • It also occasionally dredges at foreign seaports in countries such as Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Dubai.

Index/Ranking

Speed test Global Index (SGI)
Mobile internet speed – India’s Rank – 109/122

  • India ranked 109th out of 122 countries in the mobile internet speed and 76th out of 133 countries in broadband space in the November 2017 Speed test Global Index (SGI).
  • The index was released by popular internet speed testing service provider Ookla.
  • It ranked average internet speeds in different countries on mobile and home broadband to understand a real state of the networks that internet users are relying on.
  • The mobile network and broadband speeds are calculated based on every speed test done by user on Ookla app in every country.

Enlighten about November 2017 SGI
Mobile internet speed

  • Top 5 fastest mobile network countries: Norway (average speed of 62.66Mbps), Netherlands (53.01Mbps), Iceland (52.78Mbps), Singapore (51.50Mbps) and Malta (50.46Mbps).
  • India’s neighbours: China is ranked 31st (31.22Mbps), Pakistan ranked 89th (13.08Mbps), Myanmar ranked 94th (11.72Mbps), Nepal ranked 99th (10.97Mbps) and Sri Lanka ranked 107th (9.32Mbps).
  • India related Facts: Average speed of mobile data networks in India is 8.80Mbps, marginally down from 8.83Mbps in October 2017 when it was ranked 108th.
  • But it is significantly higher than 7.65Mbps average speed in January 2017.

Home broadband speed

  • Top 5 fastest Home broadband Countries: Singapore (153.85Mbps), Iceland (147.51Mbps), Hong Kong (133.94Mbps), South Korea (127.45Mbps) and Romania (104.46Mbps).
  • India’s neighbours: China ranked 23rd (61.24Mbps), Sri Lanka ranked 71st (19.26Mbps) well before India.
  • However, Bangladesh ranked 85th (16.14Mbps), Nepal ranked 92nd (14.05Mbps) and Pakistan ranked 126th (6.13Mbps) after India.

International Relations

Hambantota Port – officially handed over to China

Implementing body –

  • Sri Lanka has formally handed over its southern strategic port of Hambantota to China on 99-year lease.
  • Two Chinese firms managed by China Merchants Port Holdings Company (CMPort) and Sri Lanka Ports Authority will own port and the investment zone around it.
  • Hambantota port is strategically located right in middle of vital energy supply lines in Indian Ocean, connecting Middle East and East Asia.
  • It had gained strategic significance after Sri Lankan government had decided to build massive deep-sea port and airport with huge Chinese loans.