PIB – 18th Feb 2021

Cabinet approves Comprehensive Economic cooperation and Partnership Agreement between India and Mauritius

  • The Union Cabinet has approved signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) between India and Mauritius.

The salient features of India-Mauritius CECPA are as follows:

  • The India-Mauritius CECPA will be the first trade Agreement to be signed by India with a country in Africa. The Agreement is a limited agreement, which will cover Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, Dispute Settlement, Movement of Natural Persons, Telecom, Financial services, Customs Procedures and Cooperation in other Areas.

Impact or benefits:

  • CECPA provides for an institutional mechanism to encourage and improve trade between the two countries. The CECPA between India and Mauritius covers 310 export items for India, including food stuff and beverages (80 lines), agricultural products (25 lines), textile and textile articles (27 lines), and others. 
  • Mauritius will benefit from preferential market access into India for its 615 products, including frozen fish, speciality sugar, biscuits, etc.
  • As regards trade in services, Indian service providers will have access to around 115 sub-sectors from the 11 broad service sectors such as professional services, computer related services, research & development, etc.
  • Both sides have also agreed to negotiate an Automatic Trigger Safeguard Mechanism (ATSM) for a limited number of highly sensitive products within two years of the Signing of the Agreement.

Background:

  • Mauritius is an important development partner of India. India had extended a ‘Special Economic Package’ of USD 353 million to Mauritius in 2016. 
  • The new Supreme Court building project is one of the five projects being implemented under this package and was jointly inaugurated by both countries in July 2020. 
  • Since 2005, India has been among the largest trading partners of Mauritius, and has been one of the largest exporters of goods and services to Mauritius. 

Cabinet approves Amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Women and Child Development to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 to introduce measures for strengthening Child Protection set-up to ensure best interest of children.
  • The amendments include authorizing District Magistrate including Additional District Magistrate to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance  accountability. 
  • The District Magistrates have been further empowered under the Act, to ensure its smooth implementation, as well as garner synergized efforts in favour of children in distress conditions. 
  • Defining eligibility parameters for appointment of CWC members, and categorizing previously undefined offences as ‘serious offence’ are some of the other aspects of the proposal. Several difficulties faced in implementation of various provisions of the Act have also been addressed.

Ministry of Earth Sciences invites stakeholders’ suggestions on the Draft Blue Economy Policy for India

  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has rolled out the Draft Blue Economy policy for India in the public domain inviting suggestions and inputs from various stakeholders including industry, NGOs, academia, and citizens. 
  • The draft blue economy policy document outlines the vision and strategy that can be adopted by the Government of India to utilize the plethora of oceanic resources available in the country. 
  • The policy document aims to enhance contribution of the blue economy to India’s GDP, improve lives of coastal communities, preserve marine biodiversity, and maintain the national security of marine areas and resources.
  • India’s blue economy is understood as a subset of the national economy comprising an entire ocean resources system and human-made economic infrastructure in marine, maritime, and onshore coastal zones within the country’s legal jurisdiction. 
  • It aids the production of goods and services that have clear linkages with economic growth, environmental sustainability, and national security. The blue economy is a vast socio-economic opportunity for coastal nations like India to utilize ocean resources for societal benefit responsibly.
  • With a coastline of nearly 7.5 thousand kilometers, India has a unique maritime position. Nine of its 29 states are coastal, and the nation’s geography includes 1,382 islands. 
  • There are nearly 199 ports, including 12 major ports that handle approximately 1,400 million tons of cargo each year. Moreover, India’s Exclusive Economic Zone of over 2 million square kilometers has a bounty of living and non-living resources with significant recoverable resources such as crude oil and natural gas. 
  • Also, the coastal economy sustains over 4 million fisherfolk and coastal communities. With these vast maritime interests, the blue economy occupies a vital potential position in India’s economic growth. 
  • The MoES prepared the draft blue economy policy framework in line with the Government of India’s Vision of New India by 2030. It highlighted the blue economy as one of the ten core dimensions for national growth. The draft policy framework emphasizes policies across several key sectors to achieve holistic growth of India’s economy. The document recognizes the following seven thematic areas.
  1. National accounting framework for the blue economy and ocean governance.
  2. Coastal marine spatial planning and tourism.
  3. Marine fisheries, aquaculture, and fish processing.
  4. Manufacturing, emerging industries, trade, technology, services, and skill development.
  5. Logistics, infrastructure and shipping, including trans-shipments.
  6. Coastal and deep-sea mining and offshore energy.
  7. Security, strategic dimensions, and international engagement.

Jal Jeevan Mission reaches milestone of 3.5 Crore rural households tap water connections

  • The Jal Jeevan Mission announced by the Prime Minister on 15th August, 2019 with the aim to provide tap water connection to every rural household by 2024 has reached a new milestone by providing 3.53 Crore rural household tap water connections. 
  • Further, every family living in 52 districts and 77 thousand villages are getting assured tap water supply in their homes. Now 6.76 Crore (35.24%) i.e. more than 1/3rd of rural households are getting potable water through taps. 
  • Goa has become the first State in the country to provide 100% tap water connection followed by Telangana. 
  • States/ UTs are now competing with each other and focusing on the target to ensure that every household in the country gets safe drinking water adhering to the core principle of ‘equity & inclusiveness’.
  • Jal Jeevan Mission is working in partnership with the States with an aim to provide potable water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on a regular and long-term basis. 
  • Extensive planning exercise was undertaken by the States/ UTs following the ‘bottom-up approach’. Accordingly, they have firmed up the Action Plan to provide tap water connection to every rural household. 
  • While implementing, States are giving priority to water quality-affected areas, villages in drought prone and desert areas, Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe majority villages, aspirational districts and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana villages.