01/01/2019 – 07/01/2019

RCEP Agreement:

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is a proposed Free Trade Agreement between ten ASEAN member states and their six Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners namely India, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and Republic of Korea, is expected to provide market access for India’s goods and services exports and encourage greater investments and technology into India.
  • It would also facilitate India’s MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium) to effectively integrate into the regional value and supply chains.

APEC: Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) which is a grouping of twenty-one countries in the Asia Pacific region with an aim to deepen and strengthen economic and technological cooperation amongst APEC member countries. India is not a member of APEC.

Impact of trade agreements:

  • Some industry associations including those relating to steel have expressed concerns on imports under bilateral free trade agreements with Japan, Korea and ASEAN. Imports include high grade steels, not manufactured domestically.


  • The volume of trade, including both exports and imports with these countries has increased since the signing of the bilateral trade agreements.
  • Notwithstanding a slight increase in trade deficit, the domestic industry has benefited from the trade agreements due to cheaper import of raw materials and intermediates from these countries for stimulating value added domestic manufacturing.

Agri Export Zones (AEZ):

  • The concept of Agri Export Zone (AEZ) was introduced in 2001, through EXIM Policy 1997-2001, to take a comprehensive look at a particular produce/product located in a contiguous area for the purpose of developing and sourcing the raw materials, their processing/packaging, leading to final exports.

Know This:

  • The concept hinged primarily on convergence of existing Central and State Government schemes to take care of financial interventions required at various stages of value chain; partnership among various stakeholders viz. Central Government, State Government, farmer, processor, exporter etc.; and focus on targeted products and areas to identify required policy interventions.
  • In December 2004, an internal peer review conducted by Department of Commerce concluded that the notified AEZs had not been able to achieve the intended objectives.
  • It was decided that there will be no creation of new AEZs, unless there were strong and compelling reasons. No new AEZs have been set up after 2004. All the notified AEZs have completed their intended span of 5 years and have been discontinued.

India and Morocco on co operation in the area of cyber security:

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Morocco on cooperation in the area of Cyber Security.  The MoU was signed on 25th September 2018.
  • The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security-related incidents between India and Morocco.
  • Implementation of the MoU will result in significant mutual benefits in the Cyber Security sector, through institutional and capacity building with Morocco in the field of Cyber Security.

Amendment to Trade Union Act 1926:

Amendments benefits: 

  • The proposed Bill will ensure that the nomination of workers’ representatives in tripartite bodies by the government will become more transparent.
  • Trade Unions so recognized would be accountable in maintaining industrial harmony. 
  • Recognition of Trade Unions at Central/State level would reduce duplicity of such exercise by different departments.
  • Recognized Trade Unions may be assigned specific roles at Central or State level.

Yarn Bank Scheme:

  • To avoid fluctuation in yarn price, government has launched a Yarn Bank Scheme as one of the component of PowerTex India with effect from 01.04.2017 to 31.03.2020.
  • The Scheme provides interest free corpus fund up to Rs.2.00 crore to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)/Consortium formed by powerloom weavers to enable them to purchase yarn at wholesale rate and give the yarn at reasonable price to the small weavers to avoid middleman and local supplier’s brokerage charge on sales of yarn.
  • There is a 1% increase in powerloom fabric production. The estimated production of powerloom fabric during 2018-19(Apr-Oct) is 22781 Million Square Meters (MSM) which was 22539 MSM during the corresponding period of 2017-18.

India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway:

  • The 1360 kms long India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is an initiative pertaining to India, Myanmar and Thailand. India is undertaking construction of two sections of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar namely,
    1. construction of 120.74 km Kalewa-Yagyi road section.
    2. construction of 69 bridges along with the approach road on the 149.70 km Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa (TKK) road section.
  • The above mentioned both the projects are being funded by Government of India under grant assistance to the Government of Myanmar.
  • A Motor Vehicles Agreement along with protocols for regulating and facilitating movement of cargo and passenger vehicular traffic is under inter-governmental negotiations between India, Myanmar and Thailand.

CRR for employees of CPSE:

  • Counselling, Retraining & Redeployment (CRR) scheme is being implemented as a social safety net to provide opportunities to the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) employees or their dependents under Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) / Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS).
  • The aim of retraining of the employees is to re-orient them through short duration skill training to adjust to the new environment and adopt new jobs after their retirement from CPSEs.
  • From the year 2016-17, CRR scheme is being implemented in collaboration with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
  • According to VRS/VSS guidelines, once an employee avails of voluntary retirement from a CPSE, the employee shall not take up employment in another CPSE.

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Posted in PIB