Visit of Prime Minister of Israel to India

Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India from 14 to 19 January 2018 closed a momentous twenty fifth anniversary year of India-Israel relationship and its growing partnership. The summit level meetings between the Republic of India and the State of Israel that commenced with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel from 4 to 6 July 2017, have further strengthened the bonds between the two governments and peoples and have consolidated the foundation for their Strategic Partnership.

The two Prime Ministers share a common vision for the relationship. They believe that in the next twenty-five years the two respective countries should strive to raise bilateral cooperation in diverse sectors to a qualitatively new level in consonance with our Strategic Partnership.

Both sides are working together on a Five Year Joint Work Plan for strategic cooperation in Agriculture and Water. Both sides also agreed to deepen cooperation in innovation, business and trade, space, homeland security and cyber, higher education and research, science and technology, tourism and culture. The two prime ministers noted with satisfaction the commencement and implementation of India-Israel development cooperation – three-year work programme in Agriculture (2018-2020) under the stewardship of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MASHAV) and the Ministry of Agriculture of India aimed at increasing farmers’ productivity and optimization of water use efficiency.

The two Prime Ministers were apprised of state of progress on the twenty-eight Centres of Excellence that are being jointly established in different States of India, and noted with satisfaction that seven more Centres of Excellence have become operational in the last six months since the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Israel. The two Prime Ministers will be visiting Centre of Excellence in Vadrad, Gujarat and will inaugurate the Centre of Excellence in Bhuj, Gujarat, during this visit.

The two Prime Ministers commended the decision of the respective Ministries of Science and Technology to commence nine joint R&D projects in the areas of big data analytics in health care and security in cyber space, in pursuance of their decision in July 2017 to upgrade scientific and technological collaboration.

 List of MoUs/Agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister of Israel to India

S. No.MoU / Agreement / LoIExchanged by
Indian sideIsraeli side
1MoU on Cyber Security Cooperation between India and IsraelShri Vijay Gokhale, Secretary (ER)Mr. Yuval Rotem, Director General, MoFA, Government of Israel
2MoU between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Ministry of Energy on Cooperation in Oil and Gas SectorShri Vijay Gokhale, Secretary (ER)Mr. Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India
3Protocol between India and Israel on Amendments to theAir Transport AgreementShri Rajiv Nayan Choubey, Secretary, Civil AviationMr. Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India
4Agreement on Film-co-production between India and IsraelShri N. K. Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Information & BroadcastingMr. Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India
5MoU between the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH and the Centre for Integrative Complementary Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Cooperation in the field of Research inHomeopathic MedicineVaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSHMr. Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India
6MoU between Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology for cooperation in the field ofspaceDr. V. K. Dadhwal, Director of IISTMr. Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India
7Memorandum of Intent between Invest India and Invest in IsraelShri Deepak Bagla, Managing Director & CEO, Invest IndiaMr. Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India
8Letter of Intent between IOCL and Phinergy Ltd. For cooperation in the area of metal-air batteriesShri Sanjiv Singh, Chairman, IOCLMr. Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India
9Letter of Intent between IOCL and Yeda Research and Development Co Ltd for cooperation in the area of concentrated solar thermal technologiesShri Sanjiv Singh, Chairman, IOCLMr. Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India

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sex-ratio-India’s ‘unwanted’ girls

While an average Indian family prefers to have two children, there are instances where families have more than five children if the last child is not a male.

The Economic Survey has mentioned that the desire for a male child has created 21 million “unwanted” girls in India between 0 and 25 years.

Chapter Seven of the Survey, tabled in Parliament on Monday, deals with gender equality. While India has shown improvement in several parameters related to women’s empowerment, the preference for a son has not diminished. “In some sense, once born, the lives of women are improving but society still appears to want fewer of them to be born,” the Survey stated.

The Survey has taken note of the behavioural pattern of Indian parents who prefer to have children “until the desired number of sons are born.” Calling this the “son meta-preference,” the Survey has found that while an average Indian family prefers to have two children, there are instances where families have more than five children if the last child is not a male.

The biologically determined natural sex ratio at birth is 1050 males per 1000 females. After sex selection was declared illegal in India in 1994, the sex ratio at birth (SRB) began to stabilise. In 1970, the SRB was 1060 males per 1000 females. In 2014, this rose to 1108, contrary to the belief that development would mend the skewed sex ratio.

 The Survey pointed out the missing link by analysing the sex ratio of last child (SRLC). The SRLC in India is biased against females and is lower by 9.5 percentage points in 2015-16 in comparison with other countries.

The sex ratio among families with one child stood at 1.82 i.e., 1820 males per 1000 females. This drops to 1.55 for families with two children and rises to 1.65 for three, and drops to 1.51 and 1.45 for four and five children, respectively. Comparing it with the sex ratio of families where the last child is not a male, it stands at 1.07, 0.86, 0.85, 0.84, 0.88 respectively. This shows the Indian families tend to “stop” having children after a son is born.

The Survey pointed out several reasons behind preferring a male child such as compulsion of a woman to move to her husband’s house post marriage, inheritance of property, rituals performed by sons, and dowry, among others.

Male child preference lowest in Meghalaya

The male child preference is highest in Punjab and Haryana and lowest in Meghalaya. More than 2 million women go missing across age groups every year either due to sex-selective abortion, disease, neglect, or inadequate nutrition, according to the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS).

While more women are educated, employed and earning than 10 years ago, they still do not have control over their earnings and childbirth. Quoting the NFHS, the Survey pointed out that more women tend to quit their employment after marriage or childbirth.

The Survey recommended that the nation must confront the societal preference for male offspring. Noting that schemes such as Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samridhi Yojana, enhanced maternity leave and mandatory creches in workplaces are steps in the right direction, the Survey called for a stronger commitment on the gender front similar to the government’s push for Ease of Doing Business.

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Economic Survey 2018

  • GDP to grow 7-7.5% in FY19; India to regain fastest growing major economy tag
  • GDP growth to be 6.75% in FY2017-18.
  • NITI Aayog Vice Chairman says that he hopes the government sticks to its 3% fiscal deficit target for FY19 but that it was possible that the deficit could end up being higher than that.
  • Agriculture, education, and employment will be areas of focus in the medium term.
    Economic Survey says private investment is poised for a rebound.
  • Policy vigilance required next fiscal if high oil prices persist or stock prices correct sharply.
  • The Economic Survey says economy management is likely to be challenging in FY19.
  • Policy agenda for next year — support agriculture, privatise Air India, finish bank recapitalization.
  • GST data shows 50% rise in number of indirect taxpayers.
  • Tax collection by states, local governments significantly lower than those in other federal countries.
  • Demonetisation has encouraged financial savings.
  • Insolvency Code being actively used to resolve NPA woes.
  • Retail inflation averaged 3.3% in 2017-18, lowest in last 6 fiscals.
  • India needs to address pendency, delays and backlogs in the appellate and judicial arenas.
  • Urban migration leading to feminisation of farm sector.
  • Economic Survey says that consumption demand is likely to be aided by low real estate.
  • Rs 20,339 cr approved for interest subvention for farmers in current fiscal
  • FDI in services sector rises 15% in 2017-18 on reforms.
  • Fiscal federalism, accountability to help avoid low equilibrium trap.
  • India’s external sector to remain strong on likely improvement in global trade. The biggest source of upside potential is the exports sector.
  • Technology should be used for better enforcement of labour laws.
  • Swachh Bharat initiative improved sanitation coverage in rural areas from 39% in 2014 to 76% in January 2018.
  • Priority to social infrastructure like education, health to promote inclusive growth
  • Centre, states should enhance cooperation to deal with severe air pollution
  • Survey 2017-18 in pink colour to highlight gender issues.
  • The Economic Survey has taken note of the behavioural pattern of Indian parents who prefer to have children “until the desired number of sons are born” calling this the “son meta-preference. The Economic Survey has mentioned that the desire for a male child has created 21 million “unwanted” girls in India between 0 and 25 years. While India has shown improvement in several parameters related to women’s empowerment, the preference for a son has not diminished.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented his Budget for the year 2018-19 in Parliament on February 1, 2018.  The budget is largely focused on uplift of agricultural sector, along with major push to healthcare and education sectors in the country. The FM claimed that government has worked sincerely, and without weighing the political costs, hoping that benefits are delivered to people at their doorsteps.  This year’s Budget will particularly focus on agriculture. The finance minister also pointed out that India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. He said that Indian economy has performed very well since our government took over in May 2014. He also recalled the measures — like GST, FDI, demonetisation, etc. — taken by the NDA government in the past four years that have impacted the economy of the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised his finance minister Arun Jaitley for delivering a budget that is “farmer friendly, common citizen friendly, business environment-friendly and development friendly.”

Major Highlights:

  • PAN to be used as Unique Entity Number for non- individuals from April 1. Govt makes PAN mandatory for any entity entering into a financial transaction of Rs 2.5 lakh or more
  • No changes in personal income tax slabs.
  • FM Jaitley proposes to introduce tax on distributed income by equity oriented mutual funds at 10 per cent.
  • Salaried tax-payers to get a standard deduction of ₹40,000 in lieu of transport allowance and “other medical expenses”.
  • ₹2,000-crore fund for development of agri markets.
  • Companies with turnover of up to Rs 250 crore to be taxed at 25 per cent.
  • Health and education cess has been increased to 4 per cent.
  • Electronic IT assessment will be rolled out across the country, leading to greater efficiency and transparency:
  • All senior citizens will now be able to claim benefit of a deduction of ₹50,000 for any medical insurance.
  • For critical illnesses, the deduction has been increased to ₹1,00,000.
  • Free power connections to 4 crore homes under Saubhagya Yojana.
  • Eight crore free gas connections for poor women through Ujjwala Yojana.
  • to implement minimum support price for all crops; It is hiked to 1.5 times of production costs.
  • FM says governments’s emphasis is on generating higher benefits and productive employment for the farmers:
  • Target of 3 lakh crore for lending under PM Mudra Yojana.
  • Government aims to bring 60 crore bank accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana.
  • FM says the Direct Benefit Transfer system of India is a success story that is reiterated across the world.
  • Government to contribute 12 per cent of EPF contribution for new employees in all sectors.
  • FM proposes a fiscal deficit of 3.3% of GDP for 2018-19.
  • Govt’s health scheme to cover 10 crore poor families is world’s largest government-funded health protection scheme.
  • New flagship National Health Protection Scheme, providing a health insurance cover of ₹5 lakh per family per year announced.
  • Rs 600 crore allocated to Tuberculosis patients undergoing treatment.
  • 5 lakh WiFi hotspots will be set up in rural areas to provide easy internet access.
  • Eklavya schools to be started for Scheduled Tribe populations.
  • To tackle brain drain, Jaitley announces scheme to identify bright students pursuing B Tech in premiere engineering institutes, and providing them higher-education opportunities in the IITs and IISc. These students will receive handsome fellowships, and will be expected to dedicate a few hours to teach in higher education institutions weekly.
  • FM proposed integrated BEd programme for teachers: “training of teachers during service is essential.” Technology will be the biggest driver in improving the quality of education.
  • Budget allocates money for social security and protection programme for all widows and orphaned children.
  • Govt announces Amrut program to focus on water supply to all households in 500 cities. Water supply contracts for 494 projects worth Rs 19,428 core will be awarded.
  • FM proposes a sum of Rs 500 crore for ‘Operation Green’ on the lines of ‘Operation Flood’.
  • Air pollution in Delhi-NCR has been a cause of concern, govt has proposed subsidised machinery for in-situ management of crop residue in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT Delhi.
  • Govt of India will take necessary measures to put in place measures for the state government to purchase surplus solar power produced by local farmers at sutiable prices.
  • Infrastructure and MSMES ARE the growth driver of economy
  • Railway capex for 2018-19 set at ₹1.48 lakh crore.
  • FM says that 4,000 km of new railway track will be laid down by 2019.
  • All railways stations with footfall more than 25,000 to have escalators.
  • The government will undertake redevelopment of 600 major railway stations across the country.
  • Specialised railway university to be set up at Vadodara.
  • Airport capacity to be hiked to handle 1 billion trips every year.
  • National Heritage City Development Augmentation Scheme has been undertaken to preserve and protect heritage cities in the country.
  • Disinvestment target for 2017-18 has been exceeded and will reach Rs 1 lakh crore. Target for 2018-19 is Rs 80,000 crore.
  • Mobile phones set to become costlier as custom duty on them has been increased to 20 per cent.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposes revising emoluments as per the following structure:– Rs 5 lakh for the President of India
    — Rs 4 lakh for the Vice President
    — Rs 3.5 lakh for the Governors
  • Automatic revision of emoluments parliamentarians every five years, pegged to inflation.
  • Government will take all steps to eliminate use of cryptocurrencies which are funding illegitimate transactions.
  • NITI Aayog will establish a national programme to direct our efforts in the area of Artificial Intelligence towards national development.

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