09th February, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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Mahadayi water dispute
(GS2: Issues and challenges pertaining to federal structure):
Issue: Parliament had established a tribunal under Article 262 in November 2010 to adjudicate on this matter. The tribunal has 3 years to submit its report. This can be extended by further 2 years. Karnataka government has opposed the request of Goa government to extend the tribunal’s term for the third time.
Mechanism to solve inter-state Water disputes in India:
- The genesis of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 lies in the Government of India Act, 1935. It contains provision similar to Sections 130 to 132 of the Act of 1935. This Act had been passed in pursuance of Article 262 of the Constitution.
- According to the Act, decisions given by the tribunals so constituted will be final and binding and no appeal can lie in Supreme Court. Thus the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and other courts is clearly barred in such matters. However, the tribunal is only vested with decision making role, the implementation of such decision is not its outlook.
- Furthermore, tribunal’s responsibility is not limited only to adjudicate the matters but also investigation of matters which are of public importance like water pollution, flood control, sustainability of river basin productivity, climate change effects and others.
Mahadayi is an Indian river that originates at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in the Belagavi district of Karnataka. This river is referred as ‘Mandovi’ in Goa. The river has a catchment area of around 2000 square kilometers in Karnataka and around 1500 square kilometers in Goa. This river is also responsible for waterfalls such as ‘Dudhsagar’ and ‘Varapoha’. The state capital of Goa is situated on the left bank of Mandovi. ‘Mapuso’ is a tributary of this river. Mormagoa harbour is also formed by this river. It is one of the west-flowing rivers of India, it finally reaches Arabian Sea. Other major west flowing rivers include: Narmada, Tapti, Mahi, Sabarmati and Luni.
Ceasefire violations along the ‘International Border’ and ‘Line of Control’ between India and Pakistan
(GS3: Security challenges and their management in border areas)
Issue: It has been reported that a total of 860 ceasefire violations took place along the border in 2017. This was the highest number of ceasefire violations reported in a year ever since 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan. These ceasefire violations have caused damage to both public and private property, along with loss of lives of military personnel and civilians.
The government has decided to upgrade its infrastructure along Indo-Pak and Sino-India border and has sanctioned 370 Crore to this effect. This would enable Indian security forces to meet any credible threat with utmost efficiency and effectiveness.
India shares its border with
- Bhutan: 699
- Afghanistan: 106
Border Area Development Programme (BADP)
This programme was started in the year 1986-87 for balanced development of border areas of States bordering Pakistan, namely Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan. During the Eighth Plan, the programme was revamped and its coverage was extended to the States on the eastern border with Bangladesh. In the Ninth Plan period, the programme has been extended to all the land borders in response to the demands of the State Governments and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Thus, in 1997-98, BADP was extended to States bordering Myanmar. In 1998-99 the States bordering China were included under the Programme and from 1999-2000, the Programme was further extended to include the States bordering Nepal and Bhutan also. The main objective of BADP is to meet the special needs of the people living in remote, and inaccessible areas situated near the border.
Innovation and research ecosystem in India
(GS3: Science and Technology)
Issue: The recent economic survey report laments that only 0.8% of India’s GDP is spent on research and development. It calls for doubling of this share. Some countries such as USA, Japan, and China spend 2% of their GDP on research and development.
Measures to improve this situation
- Increase outlay for research of small science projects
- Encourage collaborations of small science projects among the scientists
- Enhanced competitive grants for the Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research
- Investor driven model for funding of projects
- Creative governance structures
- Incentivize small ideas
- Encourage private investment in this area
India not only needs an increase in resources pertaining to research and development but it also needs a mechanism that creates an ecosystem that encourages and incentivizes small ideas.
‘Rohingya refugee situation’
(GS3: security challenges and their management in border areas)
Issue: There are several thousands of Rohingyas in India and several more are trying to cross over to Indian Territory since there is political un-stability in their home state in Myanmar. Indian government has decided for deportation of illegal migrants staying in India which also includes Rohingyas and also the Indian government has maintained a tight vigil to ensure no illegal migration takes place along its border. Several personalities have condemned such a stringent position of the Indian government as they believe it is against 1951 Refugee Convention even though India is not its signatory. Others have also lamented that Indian governments has ceded enough space for China to in this matter
Who are Rohingyas?
The Rohingya are often described as “the world’s most persecuted minority”. They are an ethnic group, majority of whom are Muslim, who have lived for centuries in the majority Buddhist Myanmar. Currently, there are about 1.1 million Rohingya who live in the Southeast Asian country
Ever since clashes erupted in Rakhine state of Myanmar between Rohingyas and Myanmar military force, a deluge of Rohingyas have sought asylum in neighboring countries, it is estimated that around 650000 Rohingyas have found refugee in Bangladesh alone
Role of India
India has provided basic supplies for rehabilitation of Rohingyas and as also inked a pact with Myanmar to promote development in the restive Rakhine state
Amendments to NABARD act
(GS3: mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment)
Issue: The amendments recognize the vital role of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and they are brought under the refinance ambit of NABARD
Other amendments include
- It enables Central Government to increase the authorized capital of NABARD from Rs. 5,000 crore to Rs. 30,000 crore and to increase it beyond Rs. 30,000 crore in consultation with RBI, as deemed necessary from time to time
- Transfer of 0.4 per cent. equity of RBI in NABARD amounting to Rs. 20 crores to the Government of India.
- The proposed amendments in NABARD Act, include, certain other amendments including changes in long title and certain Sections to bring Medium Enterprises and Handlooms in NABARD’s mandate.
- The proposed increase in the authorized capital would enable NABARD to respond to the commitments it has undertaken, particularly in respect of the Long Term Irrigation Fund and the recent Cabinet decision regarding on-lending to cooperative banks. Further, it will enable NABARD to augment its business and enhance its activities which would facilitate promotion of integrated rural development and securing prosperity of rural areas including generation of more employment.
- The transfer of entire shareholding in NABARD held by RBI to the Central Government will remove the conflict in RBI’s role as banking regulator and shareholder in NABARD.
‘A separate state flag for Karnataka’
(GS2: issue and challenges pertaining to federal structure)
Issue: The Karnataka government set up a committee to explore the possibilities of a separate state flag for the state. It wanted the committee to look into the constitutional and legal precedence that might arise in its idea of implementing a separate state flag
Arguments for a separate flag
- No constitutional restriction or a legal restriction on states to have their own flag
- States in USA have their own separate flag
- Various institutions including the armed forces have a flag of their own
Arguments against a separate flag
- It goes against the fraternity principle enshrined in the constitution
- Unlike the American federal structure, Indian federal structure is a ‘Union of States’ rather than ‘federation of states’ as in USA
- It might be dangerous to nationalistic ideals
Another line of arguments proposes a separate state flag but with conditions, this conditions are aimed at preventing to create an hierarchy of separate loyalties
(GS1: various parts of the world including India)
Issue: china has confirmed restarting Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the Natu la pass. The access was denied in June last year.
Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas in East Sikkim district. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass, at 4,310 m (14,140 ft) above mean sea level, forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. Nathu means “listening ears” and La means “pass” in Tibetan. On the Indian side, the pass is 54 km (34 mi) east of Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Only citizens of India can visit the pass, and then only after obtaining a permit in Gangtok.
Nathu La is one of the three open trading border posts between China and India; the others are Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh (or Lipulech) at the trisection point of Uttarakhand–India, Nepal and China. Sealed by India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, Nathu La was re-opened in 2006 following numerous bilateral trade agreements. The opening of the pass shortens the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region and was expected to bolster the economy of the region by playing a key role in the growing Sino-Indian trade. However, trade is limited to specific types of goods and to specific days of the week.
Competition Commission of India
(GS2: regulatory bodies)
Issue: CCI has imposed a fine of 136 crore on Google for unfair trade practices in the Indian market on the grounds of ‘infringing anti-trust conduct’. It was found that online search practices were biased and also manipulated
A fair competition in market is essential to achieve this objective. CCI goal is to create and sustain fair competition in the economy that will provide a ‘level playing field’ to the producers and make the markets work for the welfare of the consumers. The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws. The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India. The objectives of the Act are sought to be achieved through the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which has been established by the Central Government with effect from 14th October 2003. CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
Nuclear energy collaboration with Canada
(GS3: Infrastructure: Energy)
Issue: Nuclear technologies are being developed and applied in the areas of health, including cancer care; agriculture; food preservation; waste management apart from generation of power. This agreement would allow support of Canada in meeting India’s objectives
Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological Systems (IAAMS) (Facts for Prelims)
Issue: IAAMS is an ambitious project of the Indian Navy to modernise the Meteorological infrastructure of the nine Naval Air Stations. The IAAMS project at INS Garuda will give a major fillip to aviation safety through automation of weather monitoring process.
‘Hunar Haat’ 2018 – Development with dignity (Facts for Prelims)
Exquisite handicraft & handloom made by master artisans from across the country will be on display on the one hand, people will have a glimpse of the traditional Indian music at “Hunar Haat” on the other hand.
‘National nutritional mission’ (Facts for Prelims)
Government is implementing several schemes and programs like Anganwadi Services, Scheme for Adolescent Girls and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojna under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services. Apart from the existing schemes aimed at reduction in the levels of malnutrition among women and child, recently, the Government has set up National Nutrition Mission (NNM) for improving the nutritional indicators of children and pregnant women and lactating mothers. The Mission aims to prevent and reduce prevalence of stunting among children (0-6 years) in the country by 6%, undernutrition (underweight) prevalence among children (0-6 years) by 6%, prevalence of anaemia among children (6-59 m) by 9%, prevalence of anaemia among women (15-49 years) by 9% and reduction in prevalence of low birth weight by 6%.
‘Healthy states, progressive India’ report
NITI Aayog released today a comprehensive Health Index report titled, “Healthy States, Progressive India” at a function in the capital today. The report ranks states and Union territories innovatively on their year-on-year incremental change in health outcomes, as well as, their overall performance with respect to each other.
Among the Larger States, Kerala, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu ranked on top in terms of overall performance, while Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh are the top three ranking States in terms of annual incremental performance. Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh showed the maximum gains in improvement of health outcomes from base to reference year in indicators such as Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR), Under-five Mortality Rate (U5MR), full immunization coverage, institutional deliveries, and People Living with HIV (PLHIV) on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART).
Among Smaller States, Mizoram ranked first followed by Manipur on overall performance, while Manipur followed by Goa were the top ranked States in terms of annual incremental performance. Manipur registered maximum incremental progress on indicators such as PLHIV on ART, first trimester antenatal care (ANC) registration, grading quality parameters of Community Health Centres (CHCs), average occupancy of key State-level officers and good reporting on the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).