1. India, Mozambique ink MoU to boost ties in New and Renewable Energy sector
i. India and Mozambique agreed to deepen cooperation in New and Renewable Energy. In this regard both sides inked Memorandum of understanding (MoU) on expanding cooperation in energy sector.
ii. It was signed after delegation level talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique who is on official 5 day visit to India.
iii. Apart from this, both nations also agreed ways to intensify cooperation in maritime security and ocean economy as both have large coastlines and are linked by Indian Ocean.
iv. India and Mozambique share a history of profitable trade relations and there bilateral trade in 2014-15 valued at US 2.4 billion dollars. In last 5 years trade between the two countries has multiplied five times.
2. ILO, FICCI ink MoU to boost MSME productivity
i. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have inked MoU to impart training to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to make them competitive and boost productivity.
ii. The MoU was signed as part of the second phase of Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Global Programme. The second phase covers three years period from January 2014 to December 2017 wherein national institutes will provide training to MSMEs.
iii. SCORE is a training programme which seeks to empower employers and workers and increase productivity and competitiveness of MSMEs. It is being supported by the Norway Agency for Development Cooperation (NADC) and the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SSEA). Presently it is operational in eight countries including India.
iv. It seeks to enable the FICCI to effectively coordinate and manage SCORE training services. Each phase under this global programme will approximately have year or more period and will be governed by a technical partnership agreement. The first phase was covered between October 2009 and December 2013.
3. Union Cabinet approves proposal to sign agreement with UNESCO
i. Union Cabinet gave its nod to a proposal to sign an agreement with UNESCO for establishment of a Centre for World Natural Heritage Management and Training for Asia-Pacific region.
ii. This centre will be established as a category-2 centre (C2C) of the UN body at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
iii. By signing this agreement WII Dehradun will be first existing institute to be accorded recognition by UNESC. It will be also the first institute to get natural heritage recognition by UNESCO as currently there are 9 C2C institutes related to cultural heritage.
this agreement has been mooted by the Union Environment Ministry. While, Union Government will provide capacity building for establishing this centre in order to support countries in the region for up keeping of heritage and natural sites.
4. Union Cabinet gives nod to Direct Release of Wages into bank accounts of MNREGA workers
i. Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of direct release of wages in to the accounts of the workers engaged under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Direct release of wages system under the MNREGA aims to streamline the flow of funds and to empower state governments to deliver entitlements as per the objectives of the Act.
ii. The wage component of MGNREGA will be directly released to the worker’s accounts based on a fund transfer order to be generated by states’ implementing agencies of government.
iii. The fund transfer order in case of wages of workers from implementing agencies will be based in accordance with procedures prescribed by Union Rural Development Ministry and the wage component will be given to the State Employment Guarantee Fund window for further transferring it to beneficiaries.
iv. In the implementation of this scheme, the gram panchayats will be empowered to take up work according to the agreed labour budget and without struggling for release of funds.
5. Central Government liberalises single-brand retail norms for non-resident entities
i. Now non resident single-branded retailers in India can operate their own outlets, can franchise their stores and can even opt for wholesale business as per central government’s new notification.
ii. These single-brand retailers can opt for above said trading options only when they do business through subsidiaries in India or form a joint venture with Indian entity.
iii. Central government allowed single-brand retailers because the proceeds from franchise business will come into the current account while proceeds from FDI will be accounted in the capital account which does not violates rules set for non resident entities doing business in India.
iv. Central government norm of 30 percent sourcing from Indian MSEs or cottage industries may be relaxed for all non-resident entities who are involved in FDI beyond 51 percent.
v. At present there is 100 per cent FDI allowed in single-brand retail trading and require prior approval from government for the proposals beyond 49 per cent FDI
6. Murugappa Group to form new Joint venture with Japan-based Organo
i. The water treatment engineering company Polutech Limited of Murugappa Group signed an agreement with Organo Corp of Japan to set an industrial water treatment requirement company in a Joint venture.
ii. According to the agreement signed the Murugappa Group will hold 51 per cent in joint venture and the remaining portion will be with the Organo Group. The estimated new venture will deal in industrial water treatment requirements services, which will deal to meet growing demand of industries for waste water management.
iii. Murugappa Group’s Polutech is a key player in the water treatment engineering services in India; it manufactures equipment and designs systems for water and waste water treatment plants. Whereas, Japan’s Organo is a key player in general water treatment engineering. It provides water treatment systems, management and maintenance of delivered systems and also deals in sales of standard products and chemicals.
7. Airtel commercially Launches India’s first 4G services across 290 cities
i. On 6 August 2015 India’s telecom giant Airtel has commercially launched the high-speed 4G services across 296 towns across India .
ii. In April 2012 Bharti Airtel had first launched its 4G service in Kolkata and from then conducted trials in 51 cities.
iii. For the 4G devices Airtel has join hands with mobile handset maker Samsung to develop and provide 4G-enabled handsets in affordable price.
iv. It should be noted that it is Airtel who has built first commercial 4G network in India that has brought high speed mobile broadband into reality.