Evening digest: India, China most affected by weather-related disasters, says UN report

GN Bureau | November 24, 2015


#China   #weather disasters   #NPA   #Arun Jaitley   #SEIAA   #SEAC   #Call drop   #Pakistan   #Wagah border   #Orange Day   #The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion   #FDI   #wheat  

India and China are among the countries most affected by weather-related disasters with the two nations accounting for more than three billion disaster-affected people between 1995 and 2015, a new UN report has said ahead of the crucial Paris climate conference from November 30. The report titled 'The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction' said the five countries hit by the highest number of disasters are the US, China, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

"Asian population giants, China and India, dominate the league table of countries most affected by weather-related disasters. Together these two nations account for more than 3 billion disaster-affected people between 1995 and 2015. That is 75 per cent of the global total of 4.1 billion people," the report said.In India, 805 million people were affected by weather- related disasters during the 1995-2015 period, second only after China where 2,274 million were people affected.India was hit by 288 disasters over the last 20 years, third only after the US (472) and China (441).The Philippines (274) and Indonesia (163) round of the five nations hit by the highest number of disasters.The report shows that over the last 20 years, 90 per cent of major disasters have been caused by 6,457 recorded floods, storms, heatwaves, droughts and other weather-related events

Five banks put on special focus to arrest NPAs
Five banks - Bank of India, IDBI, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, UCO Bank and United Bank of India - require special focus to arrest their bad loans. As per the finance ministry data, the slippages in these banks continue to be higher than the reduction and there has been an increase in impaired assets. On Monday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had asked state-run banks to clean-up their balance sheets of non-performing assets, and said that the government was willing to take the necessary policy corrective measures to help them.

State green panels told to speed up construction projects

Concerned over delay in approval of construction and building projects, the Union Environment Ministry has directed state-level green panels to seek all relevant information at one go to ensure speedy clearances. The State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) examines the Category B projects and make recommendations to State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) for green nod.In an official memorandum, the ministry said it has come to its notice that state-level panels -- SEIAA and SEAC -- seek piecemeal information and even some are not related to environmental concernsThe state-level green panels have been asked to strictly adhere to the timelines stipulated in the 2006 EIA Notification while processing the proposals."SEAC will make appropriate recommendations within 60 days of the receipt of the complete proposal from the project proponents. SEIAA shall consider the recommendations of the SEAC and convey its decision to the applicant within 45 days of the receipt of the recommendations," it said.

Call drop rate rises to 24.59% for April-June period
Making a strong case for penalty, telecom regulator Trai today said mobile operators had a call drop rate of as much as 24.59 per cent for 2G services and 16.13 per cent for 3G services in the April-June quarter. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said the performance has deteriorated during the quarter on sequential basis with regard to worst affected mobile sites or cells having more than 3 per cent call drop rate.Trai said worst affected cells call drop rate increased to 24.59 per cent during the April-June period from 12.50 per cent in January-March period for 2G services whereas for 3G services, the call drop rate increased to 16.13 per cent from 15.96 per cent in the preceding quarter.However, the overall call drop rate remained at 1.64 per cent for the reported quarter.As per Trai parameters, the call drop rate should not be more than 2 per cent and for worst affected cells it should not be more than 3 per cent.

Pakistan turns down Afghan proposal for throughway to India
Pakistan has turned down an Afghan proposal for a throughway to India via Wagah border. According to Pakistani media, during the 10th session of the Pakistan-Afghanistan joint economic commission held yesterday in Islamabad, Pak finance minister Ishaq Dar and his Afghan counterpart Eklil Ahmad Hakimi could only agree on a new framework to complete already agreed upon bilateral economic goals without achieving a breakthrough on border issues. Kabul had sought access to New Delhi for its trucks via the Wagah-Attari border crossing. But Islamabad denied the request, citing security issues.

Kerala to organise 'Orange Day' campaign to end violence against women
Kerala government will tomorrow organise 'Orange Day' campaign to mark the international day for elimination of violence against women, as stipulated by the UN General Assembly. The UN Secretary-General's UNiTE Campaign, managed by UN Women to end violence against women has marked out the 25th of each month to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls.The 'Sudodham' initiative under the government, which was started earlier this year to fight substance abuse, is holding a walkathon in the state capital tomorrow as part of the campaign.A host of dignitaries, including popular south Indian actress Parvathy and state DGP T P Senkumar, prominent women activists, political leaders and celebrities from the art world are expected to participate in it, a release said here today.Orange, the bright and optimistic colour is expected to represent a future free from violence against women and girls, usually committed by men under the influence of alcohol and drugs, it said.

DIPP notifies easing of FDI policy in several sectors
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion on Tuesday notified the recent liberalization of foreign direct investment (FDI) policy in several sectors including defence, retail and construction development sector. The DIPP has also defined the term “manufacturing” for attracting FDI. In a recent decision, the government has permitted a manufacturer to sell products made in India through wholesale, retail including through e-commerce platforms without government approval.The press note of the DIPP has defined the term “control” for the purpose of FDI in limited liability partnerships (LLPs). Press notes are official documents issued by DIPP through which the new FDI policies or changes in existing ones come into effect. Unveiling sweeping liberalization of foreign investment norms, the government had on 10 November opened up 15 sectors including real estate, defence, civil aviation and news broadcasting in a bid to push up reforms.

Higher temperatures delay wheat planting in India

India’s wheat planting has been delayed by at least a week due to high temperatures, threatening its output of the grain yet again after hailstorms during harvest earlier this year dragged down annual production levels for the first time since 2007.Lower wheat acreage, down around 26% so far this season, in the world’s No. 2 wheat producer could buoy global benchmark prices of the grain that have shed 5% this month amid crop-friendly rains across the United States.

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