- India Post launches Five Star Villages Scheme
- SAROD-Ports launched
- SCO Culture Ministers’ Meeting
- India and Japan sign agreement between forces
Focus: GS-II Social Justice
Why in news?
- The Department of Posts has launched a scheme called Five Star Villages, to ensure universal coverage of flagship postal schemes in rural areas of the country.
- The scheme is being launched on pilot basis in Maharashtra, and based on the experience – it will be implemented nation-wide.
Five Star Villages Scheme
- The Five Star Villages Scheme seeks to bridge the gaps in public awareness and reach of postal products and services, especially in interior villages.
- All postal products and services will be made available and marketed and publicized at village level under this scheme.
- Branch offices will function as one-stop shop to cater all post office – related needs of villagers.
The schemes covered under the Five Star scheme include:
- Savings Bank accounts, Recurrent Deposit Accounts, NSC / KVP certificates
- Sukanya Samridhi Accounts/ PPF Accounts
- Funded Post Office Savings Account linked India Post Payments Bank Accounts
- Postal Life Insurance Policy/Rural Postal Life Insurance Policy
- Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana Account / Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana Account
How it works?
- If a village attains universal coverage for four schemes from the above list, then that village gets four-star status; if a village completes three schemes, then that village get three-star status and so on.
- The scheme will be implemented by a team of five Gramin Dak Sevaks who will be assigned a village for marketing of all products, savings and insurance schemes of the Department of Posts.
- The team of Gramin Dak Sevaks will conduct door-to-door awareness campaign on all schemes, covering all eligible villagers. Wide publicity will be given by displaying the information on notice board of Branch Office.
- The scheme progress and target achievement will be closely monitored at Circle, Regional and Divisional levels.
Focus: Prelims, GS-II Governance
Why in news?
Union Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) launched ‘SAROD-Ports’ (Society for Affordable Redressal of Disputes – Ports).
SAROD-Ports is established under Societies Registration Act, 1860 with the following objectives:
- Affordable and timely resolution of disputes in fair manner
- Enrichment of Dispute Resolution Mechanism with the panel of technical experts as arbitrators.
SAROD-Ports consists members from Indian Ports Association (IPA) and Indian Private Ports and Terminals Association (IPTTA).
- SAROD-Ports will advise and assist in settlement of disputes through arbitrations in the maritime sector, including ports and shipping sector in Major Port Trusts, Non-major Ports, including private ports, jetties, terminals and harbours.
- It will also cover disputes between granting authority and Licensee/Concessionaire /Contractor and also disputes between Licensee/Concessionaire and their contractors arising out of and during the course of execution of various contracts.
- ‘SAROD-Ports’ is similar to provision available in Highway Sector in the form of SAROD-Roads constituted by NHAI.
- SAROD-Ports will inspire confidence in the private players and will ensure right kind of environment for our partners.
- It will promote ease of doing business in the maritime sector because of the fast, timely, cost effective and robust dispute resolution mechanism.
Focus: GS-II International Relations
Why in news?
Union Minister of State (I//C) for Culture and Tourism participated in the 17th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Culture Ministers’ Meeting.
- Discussion was held on the role and place of culture during the global epidemiological crisis and on the prospects for developing multilateral cultural cooperation within the SCO.
- To promote the mutual bonding, the National Museum of India is in process of organizing the first SCO Exhibition on Shared Buddhist Heritage in 2020.
- Sahitya Akademi is translating ten Indian literary works into the SCO languages Russian and Chinese with the objective of sharing Indian literature with our fellow nations of SCO.
- National Gallery of Modern Arts intends to hold collaborative programmes on reciprocal basis such as collection based virtual exhibitions, online art workshops and dialogues with museum professionals and artists to discuss ways that our partnership can grow stronger and discuss on a way forward for the future and the role of the museum/institutions.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance which was formed in 2001 in Shanghai, China.
- The SCO is the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population.
- The leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan were involved in the formation; India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members in 2017.
- The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO, it meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the Organisation
- The SCO is widely regarded as the “alliance of the East”, due to its growing centrality in Asia-Pacific
- The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO, it meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation.
- The Council of Heads of Government is the second-highest council in the organisation.
- Military exercises are also regularly conducted among members to promote cooperation and coordination against terrorism and other external threats, and to maintain regional peace and stability.
Focus: GS-II International Relations
Why in news?
India and Japan signed an Agreement between the two countries concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Armed Forces of India and The Self-Defense Forces of Japan.
- This agreement establishes the enabling framework for closer cooperation between the Armed Forces of India and Japan in reciprocal provision of supplies and services while engaged in bilateral training activities, United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, Humanitarian International Relief and other mutually agreed activities.
- The agreement will also enhance the interoperability between the Armed Force of India and Japan thereby further increasing the bilateral defence engagements under the Special Strategic & Global Partnership between the two countries.
India – Japan Relations
- Exchange between Japan and India is said to have begun in the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced to Japan, which spread indirectly from India to Japan, via China and Korea.
- India and Japan, two of the largest and oldest democracies in Asia, having a high degree of congruence of political, economic and strategic interests, view each other as partners that have responsibility for, and are capable of, responding to global and regional challenges.
- Post Japan’s defeat in World War-II, a relatively well-known result of the two nations was in 1949, when India sent the Tokyo Zoo two elephants to cheer the spirits of the defeated Japanese empire.
- Japan and India signed a peace treaty and established diplomatic relations in 1950s.
- The British occupiers of India and Japan were enemies during World War II, but political relations between the two nations have remained warm since India’s independence.
- Japanese companies, such as Yamaha, Sony, Toyota, and Honda have manufacturing facilities in India, and with the growth of the Indian economy, India is a big market for Japanese firms.
- In 2006, India culminated in the signing of the “Joint Statement Towards Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership”.
- Japan has helped finance many infrastructure projects in India, most notably the Delhi Metro system.
- In 2016, India and Japan signed the “Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy”, a landmark civil nuclear agreement, under which Japan will supply nuclear reactors, fuel and technology to India. (India is the only non-signatory of NPT to receive an exemption from Japan.)
- India and Japan have shared interests in maintaining the security of sea-lanes in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean, and in co-operation for fighting international crime, terrorism, piracy and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- The two nations have frequently held joint military exercises and co-operate on technology.