International Conference on Energy and Environment: Challenges and Opportunities
- The President of India inaugurated the International Conference and Exhibition on Energy and Environment in New Delhi.
- The 3-day conference organized by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) aimsto deliberate and identify the R&D needs to innovate new techniques, technologies and applications for clean, safe, symbiotic sustenance of society, environment, energy and industries in post-2020 era.
- The President said that India is committed to provide power to all citizens at affordable cost as well as boost the national economy through an industrial revolution in tune with Industry 4.0.
- India has mounted the world’s largest and most innovative energy efficient lighting programme, 33o million LED lights which have resulted in reduction of 32 million tons of CO2
Saudi Arabian Business Delegation Calls on Suresh Prabhu
- Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation met a Saudi business delegation in New Delhi.
- Commerce Minster said that India’s energy security is ensured due to the continuous and uninterrupted supply of petroleum products from Saudi Arabia. But now it is time for both the countries to go beyond petroleum and diversify into new products, businesses and regions.
- Opportunities are endless for both the countries to collaborate and work together in new regions like Africa.
- Commerce Minister welcomed Saudi investment in businesses like medical implants, agro- processing, education and other sunrise sectors.
- Saudi Arabia is India’s 4th largest trade partner (after China, USA and Japan) and is a major source of energy.
- India imports around 17 % of our crude oil requirement from the Kingdom. In 2017-18, the India-Saudi bilateral trade has increased by 9.56 % to USD 27.48 billion.
- During this period, our imports from Saudi Arabia reached USD 22.06 billion, registering a increase of 10.50 % over previous year (USD 19.97 billion).
- Whereas our exports to Saudi Arabia reached USD 5.41 billion registering an increase of 5.88 % over previous year (USD 5.11 billion). The current bilateral trade (April- Oct 2018 provisional figures) is valued USD 19.64 billion.
- Saudi Arabia is the 15th largest market in the world for Indian exports and is destination to 1.85% (2017-18) of India’s global exports.
- On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is the 3rd largest source (4.74% in 2017-18) of India’s global imports.
- For Saudi Arabia, as per 2017 data, India is the 4th largest market for its exports, accounting for 8.88 % of its global exports.
- In terms of imports by Saudi Arabia, India ranks 7th and is source of around 4.13 % of Saudi Arabia’s total imports.
4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit
- The 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit will be held on 21-23 February 2019 in New Delhi.
- This is a flagship event of Department of Commerce, being organised with FICCI to carry forward the momentum and to further strengthen India-ASEAN relations under the Act-East Policy.
- The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises of Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei.
- India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of our foreign policy and the foundation of our Act-East Policy.
- India-ASEAN trade and investment relations have been growing steadily, with ASEAN being the second largest trading partner of India, after China, with a total bilateral merchandise trade of USD 81.33 billion.
- The Summit is a platform for the policy makers, industry captains and business leaders to come together and forge a common vision for India and ASEAN’s mutual growth and progress.
Background : India’s Act East Policy
- India’s Act East Policy focusses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region.
- The policy which was originally conceived as an economic initiative, has gained political, strategic and cultural dimensions including establishment of institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation.
- India has upgraded its relations to strategic partnership with Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Republic of Korea (ROK), Australia, Singapore and ASEAN and forged close ties with all countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Further, apart from ASEAN, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and East Asia Summit (EAS), India has also been actively engaged in regional fora such as BIMSTEC, Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
- Act East Policy has placed emphasis on India-ASEAN cooperation in our domestic agenda on infrastructure, manufacturing, trade, skills, urban renewal, smart cities, Make in India and other initiatives.
- Connectivity projects, cooperation in space, S&T and people-to-people exchanges could become a springboard for regional integration and prosperity.
- The North East of India has been a priority in our Act East Policy (AEP). AEP provides an interface between North East India including the state of Arunachal Pradesh and the ASEAN region.
- Various plans at bilateral and regional levels include steady efforts to develop and strengthen connectivity of Northeast with the ASEAN region through trade, culture, people-to-people contacts and physical infrastructure.
- Some of the major projects include Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project, the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway Project, Rhi-Tiddim Road Project, Border Haats, etc.
- The ASEAN-India Plan of Action for the period 2016-20 has been adopted in August 2015 which identifies concrete initiatives and areas of cooperation along the three pillars of political-security, economic and socio-cultural.
- On the Civilizational front, Buddhist and Hindu links could be energized to develop new contacts and connectivity between people.
- On Connectivity, special efforts are being made to develop a coherent strategy, particularly for linking ASEAN with our North East.
- The ASEAN-India Agreement on Trade in Service and Investments has entered into force for India and seven ASEAN countries from 1 July 2015.
- The ASEAN-India Trade Negotiating Committee has been tasked to undertake a review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement.
- India has also invited ASEAN member states to participate in the International Solar Alliance which it has co-launched with France on 30 November 2015 at COP-21.
- On strategic issues, we have increasing convergence on security interests with key partners both in bilateral and multilateral format.
- Closer cooperation in combating terrorism, collaborating for peace and stability in the region and promotion of maritime security based on international norms and laws are being pursued.
Sikaria Mega Food Park, the 1st Mega Food Park of Tripura
- Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries inaugurated Sikaria Mega Food Park Pvt Ltd at Village Tulakona in Agartala. This is the first Mega Food Park in the state of Tripura.
- The Mega Food Park will leverage an additional investment of about Rs. 250 crores in 25-30 food processing units in the park and generate a turnover of about Rs. 450-500 Crore annually. The Park will also provide direct and indirect employment to 5000 people and benefit about 25000 farmers in the CPC and PPC catchment areas.
- The Minister said that in 2014 there were only 2 MFP which were inadequate to meet the demands of the farmers of the country.
- Farmers in this country have always faced the problem of storage of their produce and its processing. She said that upon taking over in 2014, the government had promised that it would give this country 42 Mega Food Parks.
Mega Food Park Scheme
- Under the Visionary guidance of Hon’ble PM Modi, Ministry of Food Processing Industries is focusing on boosting the food processing industry so that agriculture sector grows exponentially and become a major contributor to doubling the farmer’s income and Make In India initiative of the government.
- To give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables, Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.
- Mega Food Parks create modern infrastructure facilities for food processing along the value chain from farm to market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster-based approach.
- Common facilities and enabling infrastructure is created at Central Processing Centre and facilities for primary processing and storage is created near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centers (PPCs) and Collection Centers (CCs).
- Under the Scheme, Government of India provides financial assistance upto Rs. 50.00 Crore per Mega Food Park project.