Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 12 & 13 November 2017

4th India-Canada Annual Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi Today

A high level delegation led by the Canadian International Trade Minister, Mr. François-Philippe Champagne is visiting India to attend the 4th Annual Ministerial Dialogue (AMD) scheduled to begin today in New Delhi. The Indian delegation will be led by the Commerce and Industry Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhu.

In the current round of the Ministerial Dialogue, India and Canada would be focusing on some of the key commercial drivers to enhance the India-Canada partnership. Efforts would be made to work towards the expeditious conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) for a progressive, balanced, and mutually beneficial agreement covering both goods and services. Considering the high potential for bilateral trade, the trade ministers of both countries are likely to discuss issues to explore ways of expediting the early conclusion of the CEPA and the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). They would also explore options for Indian interests in addressing the Temporary Foreign Workers Programme (TWFP) of Canada, which is affecting the movement of Indian professionals seeking short term visas, address equivalence by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for Indian organic product exports and exploring two way investment opportunities.

India has long standing friendly bilateral relations with Canada. Though geographically separated by a large distance, the historical ties between the two countries date back to the late 19th Century, when Indians began migrating in small numbers to British Columbia in Canada. Canada now has over 1.2 million Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), comprising more than 3 percent of its population. Though India’s commercial ties with US have seen an upswing in the last few years, trade and investment relations between India and Canada are yet to realise their full potential. Given enormous complementarities, a concerted effort to boost bilateral trade and investment from both sides would provide a fruitful outcome.

 

National Conference on BharatNet – Launch of Phase II

Today, DoT is organizing a National Conference with the State Governments and Service Providers to brainstorm and showcase various utilization models leveraging BharatNet infrastructure.  The Conference will be attended by IT Ministers and IT Secretaries from States.

Broadband infrastructure on Optical Fibre network has been made available at over 1 lakh Gram Panchayats across the country as part of BharatNet Phase I. State Governments shall be sharing their plans for leveraging the BharatNet infrastructure. DoT, on its part, has taken initiative to demonstrate various models that could possibly be adopted for these services. The Telecom Service Providers, who in collaboration with DoT, have taken initiative to set up centers in rural areas to demonstrate service delivery on BharatNet infrastructure, shall also be present to share their experiences.

The DoT had significantly increased the pace of implementation during the last six months to complete Phase I. Under BharatNet Phase I, Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connectivity has reached in over 1, 00, 000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) across different States in the country.  By Dec 2017, all 1, 00, 000 GPs will be operational on the BharatNet infrastructure. As of today, almost 90,000 installations have been completed and Services are expected to commence in 80,000 GPs shortly.

DoT will also sign Memorandum of Understanding with States for the implementation of BharatNet Phase II during the Conference.

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