Read about the new name of Gurgaon, the Indo-Us logistics exchange agreement, the MoU signed between UNICEF and GITAM University and more …
1) India, US agree in principle to logistics exchange agreement.
- India and the US today agreed “in principle” to a logistics exchange agreement to enable both militaries to use each other’s assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, an issue which did not find favour with the previous UPA government.
- Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and visiting US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter made it clear that the agreement, which will be signed in “weeks” or “coming months”, does not entail deployment of American troops on Indian soil.
- Ramping up bilateral defence ties, both sides agreed to set up a new bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue between officials from their respective defence and foreign affairs ministries.
- This came as India and the US emphasised on freedom of navigation and need for international based order, in an apparent reference to China’s assertiveness in South China Sea.
- Following the delegation-level talks at South Block here, both countries also decided to enhance on-going navy-to-navy discussions to cover submarine-related issues.
- Both countries will also deepen cooperation in maritime domain awareness by finalising a ‘White Shipping’ agreement in the near future.
2) Gurgaon is now Gurugram!
- Gurgaon, the corporate hub of Haryana on the outskirts of Delhi, will now be known as ‘Gurugram’.
- The decision was taken by the BJP government claiming that people of the area have been making a demand in this regard.
- An official spokesman said the decision to change the name was taken on the basis of the representations received in several fora that it would be appropriate to rename Gurgaon as ‘Gurugram’, an official spokesman said.
- The Haryana government also decided to rename Mewat district as Nuh.
- Mewat, in fact, is a geographical and cultural unit and not a town. It is spread beyond Haryana in the adjoining states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the spokesman said.
- Legend has it that Gurgaon derived its name from the name of Guru Dronacharya, the master of archery in Mahabharata who tutored the Pandavas.
- The village was given as gurudakshina to him by his students — the Pandavas — and hence it came to be known as Guru-gram, which in course of time is said to have got distorted to Gurgaon.
- “Haryana is a historic land of the Bhagwat Gita and Gurgaon had been a centre of learning,” the spokesman said.
3) IIP rebounds, retail inflation slides to 6-month low-
- Industrial production grew at 2 per cent in February after remaining negative for three months and retail inflation dropped to a 6-month low of 4.83 per cent in March, reflecting some improvement in the economy and offering further scope to RBI to stay accommodative.
- Worried over the slow pace of recovery, India Inc has pitched for government intervention as well as a lower interest rate regime to accelerate growth.
- Although there is an uptick in the industrial output in February, the manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75 per cent of the index, crawled at 0.7 per cent as against a growth of 5.1 per cent in February 2015.
- The uptick in industrial output was mainly on account of improvement in mining, power and consumer durables.
- Factory output measured in terms of the index of industrial production (IIP) declined 3.4 per cent in November, 1.2 per cent in December and 1.5 per cent in January, data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed.
- The index had registered a growth of 4.8 per cent in February last year.
- During April-February, industrial output grew at 2.6 per cent compared with a growth of 2.8 per cent in the year-ago period.
- Mining too shaped up, logging a growth of 5 per cent as against a growth of 1.6 per cent in same month a year ago.
4) UNICEF signs MoU with GITAM:
- The UNICEF and GITAM University signed an MoU to empower the adolescents and to address the adolescents’ issues in Visakhapatnam District.
- Visakhapatnam has been selected as one of the four districts in India to deal with adolescents’ issues. The other districts are Purulia, West Bengal; Sibsahar District in Assam; and East Singhbum in Jharkhand.
- The four states have been selected based on indicators related to adolescent girls and Visakhapatnam district was chosen as it has a high incidence of child marriage of 57.4 per cent and a significant number of tribal population, said UNICEF Chief Field Officer Ruth Leano.
- Interacting with GITAM University Vice-Chancellor M.S. Prasada Rao, she informed that as part of the MoU, the UNICEF and the GITAM will identify, develop and sustain the best possible digital platforms.
- They will make use of channels like empowering adolescents through formation of youth reporter groups, facilitating them to discuss their development issues through weekly and fortnightly meetings, supporting adolescents to appropriately articulate their development concerns, and sharing them with peers and stakeholders through digital media.
5) With Chabahar Text Finalised, India’s Dream of a Road to Afghanistan Gathers Speed.
- The 13-year-old proposal of a trade route from India to Iran, and Afghanistan and also Central Asia – bypassing Pakistan – is now within grasping distance of becoming reality.
- The three countries have finished negotiations on the text of the trilateral transport and transit pact that will serve as the legal framework to operate trade corridors with the Iranian port of Chabahar as its main hub.
- Monday was a very long day for Indian, Iranian and Afghanistan negotiators as they laboured to finish the text. They finally dispersed after shaking hands at 9.30 in the night. The text was finalized at the second meeting of the expert group. Their first meeting had been in Tehran last September.
- Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Iran in the first half of this year.
- Sources said that the agreement will encompass the trade and transport corridors which will link Mumbai to Chabahar and Afghanistan, via Zahedan. However, the pact has not specified the routes, which will be decided later.
- On July 9, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Hassan Rouhani met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Ufa, Russia, which provided the required political impetus to Chabahar.
- Meanwhile, New Delhi and Kabul were also coordinating efforts, with the project figuring large in bilateral documents released after major visits in April and December last year.