India, Vietnam Sign 12 Agreements
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc for one-to-one talks ahead of delegation-level talks on 3rd
- India and Vietnam sign 12 agreements for cooperation in areas, including defence and IT, to boost bilateral ties. Modi announced that New Delhi will provide $500 million credit line for Vietnam for defence cooperation. India also offered a grant of $5 million to set up a software park in Vietnam.
- This is the first bilateral prime ministerial visit from India to Vietnam in 15 years since the visit of then premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2001. He also visited the much revered stilted house where Vietnamese icon Ho Chi Minh lived.
- Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome with a guard of honour at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.
China Ratifies Paris Agreement Ahead of G20
- China has declared that it has ratified the emissions—cutting agreement reached last year in Paris, giving a big boost to efforts to bring the accord into effect by the end of this year.
- The United States was also expected to announce that it was formally joining the Paris Agreement in advance of the Group of 20 summit that starts in China.
- While tensions have risen between Beijing and Washington during President Barack Obama’s term over issues including cyber hacking, the South China Sea and the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in China’s neighbour South Korea, combating climate change is one area where both countries have stressed they can work together.
- Together, the two countries produce 38 percent of the world’s man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Both were key to getting an agreement in Paris last year. To build momentum for a deal, they set a 2030 deadline for emissions to stop rising and announced their “shared conviction that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity.”
- China had said in April that it would ratify the Paris Agreement, negotiated by representatives of 195 nations in Paris last year, before its hosting of the G20 summit. The agreement goes into force when joined by at least 55 nations that produce a total of 55 per cent of global emissions. Together, China and the U.S. together produce 38 per cent.
- Before China’s announcement, 23 countries had ratified or otherwise joined the agreement, representing just 1 percent of global emissions, according to the World Resources Institute.
- The agreement’s long-term goal is to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), compared with pre-industrial times. It has an aspirational goal of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F). Temperatures have already risen by almost 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) since the industrial revolution.
- Under the Paris Agreement, countries are required to set national targets for reducing or reining in their greenhouse gas emissions. Those targets aren’t legally binding, but countries must report on their progress and update their targets every five years. The first cycle begins in 2020. Only developed countries are expected to slash their emissions in absolute terms. Developing nations are “encouraged” to do so as their capabilities evolve over time.
Govt allots 333% More Funds for Urban Infrastructure
- Government has committed Rs 1.13 lakh crore assistance for improving urban infrastructure, which is a 333% increase from Rs 33,902 crore that UPA had approved during its tenure of 10 years under JNNURM.
- Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu claimed that during 2004-14, the government had approved the construction of 13.7 lakh houses for the urban poor whereas the new government has approved the construction of 9 lakh houses during the last one year. Central government has “mainstreamed” the urban agenda by ending the longstanding neglect to improve living conditions in cities and towns.
- Under the new urban missions, an investment potential of about Rs 18 lakh crore has been created of which, an investment of Rs 1.8 lakh crore has already been approved over the last one year.
- The total central assistance of Rs 53,747 crore to states and urban local bodies has already been approved for release. This is almost at par with the total central assistance of Rs 54,974 crore that was approved during the entire UPA regime.
- 34 countries, including the US and the UK, have so far evinced an interest in investing in ‘smart cities’ programme announced by the Centre.