Bilateral Current Affairs
July 1st Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) Deadline for finalisation of social security pact

Upping the ante, India has, for the first time, demanded that the US set a timeframe to finalise the long-pending bilateral social security agreement — also called a totalisation pact. 
  • Refusing to let Washington dilly-dally anymore on a matter that is costing the Indian IT industry an estimated $4 billion every year in non-refunded social security payments, New Delhi is insisting on a solution by the year-end.  
  • In the absence of a social security agreement, Indians working on short-term visas in the US have been losing their social security contributions as they are neither eligible for a refund nor are they able to take advantage of the scheme. 
  • According to US laws, social security refund can be claimed by foreign workers after 10 years of service whereas the H1B visas are given for only six years. New Delhi wants workers on short-term visas exempted from contributing to social security. 
2) Rs.1,000 crore approved for India-Bangladesh rail link
The Indian government has sanctioned around Rs.1,000 crore for a 15-km India-Bangladesh railway project. The union government on 25th July communicated to Tripura that it had sanctioned Rs.580 crore to lay the rail tracks and acquire required land in Tripura
  • The external affairs ministry earlier agreed to provide Rs.400 crore to lay the new tracks and to acquire land in Bangladeshi territory. 
  • The 1,650-km distance between Agartala and Kolkata would be reduced to 515 km once the rail track is constructed through Bangladesh. 

3) India signs loan agreement with ADB $300mn for NUHM

  • Current Affirs India signed a loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) worth 300 Million dollar to support the Government’s flagship program, the National Urban Health Mission.
  • The loan will reinforce ongoing government efforts to develop health systems in urban areas that can deliver quality services and reach the urban poor and vulnerable sections. It will focus on strengthening primary healthcare and promote better coordination between health and urban sectors and opportunities for public-private partnerships.  
  • India is urbanising rapidly, bringing a massive growth of urban poor. Disparities in health status between the poor and non-poor in urban areas are large, due to the adverse living conditions of the urban poor and their limited access to good basic health services. 
4) India gives $ 50,000 grant to Satyajit Ray Centre at California University
India has given a grant of 50,000 U.S. dollars to the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Centre at the University of California, Santa Cruz, USA for conducting lectures, workshops and film screenings. Likewise, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C. has been given 70,000 U.S.
  • dollars to support a lecture series on rising India. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj gave this information in the Rajya Sabha 30th July. 
  • She said India has also given 1.5 million U.S. dollars to the University of Chicago to enrich its Vivekananda Chair for promoting the study of Indian sub-continent as also for research and teaching of India’s history and culture. 

5) India signs civil nuclear cooperation deals to enhance power generation capacity: Govt

Current Affirs The Lok Sabha was informed on July 22nd that India has signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with France, United States, Russia, Namibia, Canada, Argentina, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Czech Republic, Australia, Sri Lanka and Mongolia. Also, a joint declaration has been signed with the United Kingdom. 
  • In a written reply, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K.Singh informed the House that these agreements have been finalised to enhance India’s nuclear power generation capacity. The aim is to achieve the long-term target of generating 63,000 megawatt of nuclear energy by 2032-33. 
6) India and Kyrgyzstan sign four agreements
India and Kyrgyzstan signed four agreements including one on bolstering defence cooperation and holding annual joint military exercises
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said both the countries can reinforce each other’s economic development. 
  • Other agreements signed between India and Kyrgyzstan include 
  • Memorandum of mutual understanding and corporation in the field of elections, 
  • MoU between Ministry of Economy of Kyrgyzstan and Bureau of Indian Standards on cooperation in the sphere of standards and agreement on cooperation in culture.  
  • On defence cooperation, the Indian Prime Minister said new agreement on defence cooperation would provide a framework to broaden engagement between the two countries.  
  • The defence agreement signed is aimed at deepening bilateral cooperation in defence, security, military education and training. 
  • Two MoU were also signed for cooperation between the Election Commissions of the two countries and on cooperation in the sphere of Standards, a move that will help economic relations.  
  • Noting that agriculture is an important sector in both India and the Kyrgyz Republic, Modi said they will shortly hold a round-table to explore possible avenues for cooperation and identify concrete projects in this sector. 
7) Mahatma Gandhi’s statue unveiled
Current Affirs Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Bishkek. He was accompanied by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Temir Sariyev. Prior to it, PM inaugurated the first telemedicine link of central Asia in which a patient suffering from serious cardiac problem in Osh of Kyrgyzstan, was advised in real time by the doctors of AIIMS and Apollo hospitals. 
  • His case history was digitally transferred by a special software known as E-Sanjeevani. Successfully completing the penultimate leg of his five nation tour of central Asia, PM Modi proceeded for Dushanbe leaving a message of friendship and love in Kyrgyzstan.