Daily Current Affairs for 18th Dec 2023

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India –Oman bilateral talks

Why in the news?

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik adopted a vision document to strengthen bilateral ties and also pushed for sealing a comprehensive economic partnership agreement. 


About various agreements

  • The two sides signed on five documents that included an agreement between the Financial Intelligence Unit of India and the National Centre for Financial Information to prevent money laundering.
  • As a gesture to celebrate the ancient relation between India and Oman the two sides also took up a proposal by the Ministry of Culture to recreate maritime voyage of a stitched ship which is expected to sail from Mandvi in Gujarat to Muscat during 2025 to ‘26.
  • The two sides have agreed on a vision document titled ‘A Joint Partnership for the Future’ that covers several sectors vital for upgrading the relationship.
  • Digital connectivity, medical tourism, maritime security, hospitality, agriculture, and food security are some of the areas that the vision document has focused on.
  • The third tranche of the Oman-India Joint Investment Fund has the “potential to galvanise investments from Oman and the Gulf region into the fastest growing sectors of the Indian economy”.

Background: India-Oman Bilateral Relationship

  • The Sultanate of Oman is a strategic partner of India and an important interlocutor at Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Arab League and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) fora.
  • India and Oman are linked by geography, history and culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations.
  • Diplomatic relations were established in 1955 and the relationship was upgraded to Strategic partnership in 2008.
  • Visits at the highest level have been exchanged frequently between India and Oman.
  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited Oman in February 2018.
  • Both India and Oman accord high priority to strengthening economic and commercial relations between the two countries.
  • Economic cooperation between India and Oman is reviewed thorough the institutional mechanism of Indo-Oman Joint Commission Meeting (JCM).
  • During 2019-20, bilateral trade was US$ 5.93 billion and during 2020 – 21 (April 2020 – February 2021) the total trade was US$ 4.6 billion.
  • Major Exports:
  • Mineral fuels and products of their distillation, textiles, machinery, electrical items, chemicals, iron and steel, tea, coffee, spices, rice and meat products and seafood.
  • Major Imports:
  • Urea, LNG, polypropylene, lubricating oil, dates and chromite ore.
  • Oman-India Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF) is a 50-50 Joint Venture between State Bank of India and erstwhile State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of Oman.
  • Indian firms have invested heavily Oman in various sectors like iron and steel, cement, fertilizers, textile, cables, chemicals, automotive, etc.

Indian Community in Oman

  • There are about 624,000 Indians in Oman (February 2021), of which about 4, 83,901 are workers and professionals.
  • The Basic Law of Oman recognizes the right to different forms of worship.
  • The Hindu merchant community has two temples, including one over a century old, and their own cremation grounds.




Vacancies in ministries and various commissions

Why in the news?

  • Recently a parliamentary panel has asked the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to submit a detailed plan on speedily filling up existing vacancies within the Ministry as well as the autonomous bodies affiliated to it.
  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports noted that it had previously flagged the existing vacancies against the sanctioned positions in the WCD Ministry as well as in autonomous bodies such as the National Commission for Women (NCW), National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the Central Adoption Resources Authority (CARA), and the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD).
  • In an action taken report, however, the Ministry had informed the panel that it still has 44 vacancies despite engaging in regular correspondence on filling them with the Department of Personnel and Training.
  • The NCPCR has filled up three positions against six vacancies, of which one has already resigned. The CARA still has 12 vacancies, the NCW has 14, and the NIPPD still has 214 vacant posts.

About National Commission for Women (NCW)

The National Commission for Women was set up as a statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act 1990 to:

  • Review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women
  • Recommend remedial legislative measures
  • Facilitate redressal of grievances and
  • Advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.

The Commission shall consist of:

  • A Chairperson, committed to the cause of women, to be nominated by the Central Government.
  • Five Members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of ability, integrity, and standing who have had experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry potential of women, women’s voluntary organizations (including women activists), administration, economic development, health, education or social welfare;
  • Provided that at least one Member each shall be from amongst persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively;
  • A Member-Secretary to be nominated by the Central Government who shall be:
  • an expert in the field of management, organizational structure or sociological movement, or
  • an officer who is a member of a civil service of the Union or an all-India service or holds a civil post under the Union with appropriate experience

About National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

Composition of NCPCR

The commission consists of the following members:

  • A Chairperson
  • Six other members
  • The Chairperson and members are appointed by the Central Government.
  • Provided, the Chairperson of the Commission shall be appointed on the recommendation of a three-member Selection Committee constituted by the Central Government.
  • The Chairperson can be someone who has done outstanding work promoting children’s welfare.
  • Out of the 6 other members, at least two are women from the field related to the promotion of the welfare of children.
  • The 6 members must be appointed from amongst persons of eminence, ability, integrity, standing, and experience in:
  • Education;
  • Child health, care, welfare, or child development;
  • Juvenile justice or care of neglected or marginalized children or children with disabilities;
  • Elimination of child labor or children in distress;
  • Child psychology or sociology; and
  • Laws relating to children.

Term of Office of NCPCR

  • The Chairperson and other members hold office for a period of 3 Years.
  • Provided, the Chairman and Members shall not hold office for more than 2 terms.
  • Chairman Can hold office till the maximum age of 65 years and other members can hold office till the maximum age of 60 years.

About Central Adoption Resources Authority (CARA)

  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  • It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  • CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  • CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
  • CARA is also mandated to frame regulations on adoption-related matters from time to time as per Section 68 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

About National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD)

  • National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD), erstwhile known as Central Institute of Research and Training in Public Cooperation(under the Societies Registration Act XXI, 1860), under the aegis of Planning Commission, was established on 28 February, 1966 to promote voluntary action in social development.
  • After adoption of National Policy for Children, 1975, and after being identified as an apex body for training of the functionaries of the newly launched flagship programme of the Government of India called Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), the Institute was renamed as National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) in 1975.
  • Presently, NIPCCD being an autonomous institute under the aegis of Ministry of Women and Child Development has its Headquarters established at Delhi and has expanded its area of work across the country through its Five Regional Centres namely:
  1. Regional Centre, Guwahati (established in1978),
  2. Regional Centre, Bengaluru (1980),
  3. Regional Centre, Lucknow (1982),
  4. Regional Centre, Indore (2001), and
  5. Regional Centre, Mohali (2019) to cater to the region-specific requirements.
  • The Institute has a Vision to become a Centre of Excellence in a field of Women and Child Development by developing partnerships and linkages with National and International activities relevant. NIPCCD has played a strategic role in advancing women and child development over the last 50 years. The institute supports the Ministry with programmatic research, capacity building and advisory for the following schemes:
  • Saksham Anganwadi /Mission Poshan 2.0
  • Mission Vatsalya (Child Protection Services & Child Welfare Services)
  • Mission Shakti (Mission for Protection and Empowerment of Women)
  • NIPCCD aims to deliver quality capacity building, counselling services and research output in the areas of women’s development, children’s holistic development, mental health and child protection.



No link between the suspension of opposition MPs and security breach

Why in news?

  • There was major security breach on the 22nd anniversary of the attack on parliament, two people jumped inside the Lok sabha chamber from the visitors’ gallery..
  • Speaker told that there was no link between the suspension of opposition MPs and security breach.

Reason gave for suspension?

In a two page letter to all members, Loksabha speaker mentions that MPs were suspended not for raising the issue, but for carrying placards and creating ruckus.

What followed the security breach?

  • It was followed by opposition members suspended for disrupting proceedings and protest.
  • The opposition members, who had moved notices to take up the matter as adjournment motions, continued their protest after Rajyasabha and loksabha didn’t accepted the notices.
  • Both the houses were adjourned till the Monday.

Recent update

  • High level enquiry committee set up by union home ministry under CRPF Director General Anish Dayal singh.
  • A high powered committee constituted which will review various aspects of security in the parliament complex and formulate a concrete plan to ensure that such incidents do not occur.

Rules for Parliament visitors

  • Rules of the House mandate security staff in the visitors’ gallery to maintain a strict vigil and ensure that the visitors do not indulge in any misbehaviour.
  • Existing rules
  • Visitors’ (“strangers” in parliamentary parlance) admission, withdrawal and removal is governed by Rule 386 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha.
  • This rule states that the admission of strangers during the sittings of the House to those portions of the House which are not reserved for the exclusive use of members shall be regulated in accordance with orders made by the Speaker.
  • Rule 387 gives the Speaker the power to withdraw “strangers” from any part of the House if he/she deems it fit.
  • A member can apply for the issue of visitors’ cards only for those who are very well known to them personally.
  • Members applying for a visitor card are also mandated to provide a certificate.
  • This certificate should say, “I know the visitor personally, and I am responsible for them. They are my relative or personal friend.”
  • To address security concerns, visitors must also carry a photo ID with them.

Duration for which passes are issued

  • The visitors’ cards are usually issued to a member for a particular day for fixed hours. However, in exceptional cases, the rules permit the issue of two cards.
  • A card is ordinarily issued only for a period of one hour.
  • These cards are not transferable and are issued subject to the holder observing the conditions endorsed thereon.
  • There is also a provision which allows members to apply for a visitor card on the same day in emergent cases when it is not possible for them to apply within the prescribed time limit.
  • There are two types of galleries – public and Speaker’s – in Lok Sabha.
  • While a member can facilitate the entry of four people on a daily basis in the public gallery, he/she is entitled to facilitate the entry of two people in the Speaker’s gallery.
  • The names of the visitors for the Speaker’s gallery need to be vetted by the Speaker.



Trade pact with Nordic countries

Why in news?

  • Trade ministers from Switzerland and Norway has visited Delhi. It is regarding reaching an agreement on a trade pact with Nordic countries.
  • The talks will be about Trade and Economic partnership agreement (TEPA) and Bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between India and four European countries


  • The trade talks about TEPA and BIT between India and the four European countries which make up the free trade association (EFTA) , outside the European union , countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein , Norway and Switzerland began 15 years ago .
  • Even after 20 rounds of negotiation, it has been not closed.
  • This meeting is taking place with an attempt to sign an agreement before the general election due in India in early 2024.
  • The two day visit of Norwegian trade minister followed by visit of ministry of external affairs secretary Sanjay Verma to Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Recent update:

  • The recent round of discussion gain momentum.
  • The discussion on trade in goods and services, trade and sustainable development, Sanitary and Phyto sanitary measures, trade remedies and trade facilitation and rules of origin.
  • Intellectual property rights or patents and copyrights concerns with India were key bread and butter issue.
  • Intellectual property rights are always a challenge for Switzerland and India.
  • India is known as most innovative country and has quickly moved from an agricultural country into industrialization and Switzerland is one of the leading in R and D.
  • The EFTA countries that are not part of the European Union have already completed 30 FTAs and even negotiating agreements with South American group MERCOSUR, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • There is a need to speed up the TEPA talks, as there is some homework to do but leaders are optimistic about it.

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