3rd March, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Naxalism and Maoist challenge to Indian Security’
(GS3: Challenges to Internal Security)
Issue: Ten members, including six women, of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and a commando of the anti-Naxal Greyhounds were killed in an exchange of fire with the police on the Chhattisgarh-Telangana border
Left-wing extremism in India
*A number of Left Wing Extremist outfits have been operating in certain remote and poorly connected pockets of the country for a few decades now. In a significant development in 2004, the People’s War (PW), then operating in Andhra Pradesh, and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI), then operating in Bihar and adjoining areas, merged to form the CPI (Maoist) Party. The CPI (Maoist) Party, is the major Left Wing Extremist outfit responsible for majority of incidents of violence and killing of civilians and security forces and has been included in the Schedule of Terrorist Organisations along with all its formations and front organisations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The CPI (Maoist) philosophy of armed insurgency to overthrow the Government is unacceptable under the Indian Constitution and the founding principles of the Indian State.
*Between 2010 to 2017 (upto 15.05.2017) around 2457 civilians and 930 security force personnel have been killed by the Maoists in different parts of India. The majority of the civilians killed are tribal’s, often branded as ‘Police informers’ before being brutally tortured and killed. In fact, the tribal and the economically underprivileged sections, whose cause the Maoists claim to espouse, have been the biggest victims of the so called ‘protracted peoples war’ of the CPI (Maoist) against the Indian state.
*Government’s approach to stem left-wing extremism in India
*The Government’s approach is to deal with Left Wing Extremism in a holistic manner, in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities, improvement in governance and public perception management. In dealing with this decades-old problem, it has been felt appropriate, after various high-level deliberations and interactions with the State Governments concerned, that an integrated approach aimed at the relatively more affected areas would deliver results. With this in view, a detailed analysis of the spread and trends in respect of Left Wing Extremist violence has been made and 106 districts in ten States have been taken up for special attention with regard to planning, implementation and monitoring various interventions. However, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ being State subjects, action on maintenance of law and order lies primarily in the domain of the State Governments. The Central Government closely monitors the situation and supplements and coordinates their efforts in several ways. These include providing Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Commando Battalions for Resolute Action (CoBRA); sanction of India Reserve (IR) battalions, setting up of Counter Insurgency and Anti Terrorism (CIAT) schools; modernisation and upgradation of the State Police and their Intelligence apparatus under the Scheme for Modernization of State Police Forces (MPF scheme); re-imbursement of security related expenditure under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme; providing helicopters for anti-naxal operations, assistance in training of State Police through the Ministry of Defence, the Central Police Organisations and the Bureau of Police Research and Development; sharing of Intelligence; facilitating inter-State coordination; assistance in community policing and civic action programmes etc. The underlying philosophy is to enhance the capacity of the State Governments to tackle the Maoist menace in a concerted manner.
IMPORTANT SCHEMES FOR LWE AFFECTED STATES
*In order to holistically address the LWE problem in an effective manner, Government has formulated National Policy and Action Plan adopting multi pronged strategy in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights & entitlement of local communities etc.
*Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme:
*Under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme, assistance is provided to 106 LWE affected districts in 10 States for recurring expenditure relating to operational needs of security forces, training and insurance and also for Left Wing Extremist cadres who surrender in accordance with the surrender and rehabilitation policy of the concerned State Government, community policing, security related infrastructure by village defence committees and publicity material.
*Road Requirement Plan-I (RRP-I):For improving road connectivity, the Government approved the Road Requirement Plan Phase I (RRP-I) on *26.02.2009 covering 34 LWE affected districts of 8 States i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. The scheme envisages 5,422 km road lengths at an estimated cost of ₹ 8,585 Crores. 4,290 km roads have been completed. 08 critical bridges are also being constructed under RRP-I in 6 LWE affected States. The progress is being reviewed regularly. Out of 8 bridges, 2 have been completed in Telangana (1) and Maharashtra (1), while other 6 are under progress at various stages.
*Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RRP-II) The Government approved this scheme on 28.12.2016 for further improving road connectivity in 44 districts of 9 LWE affected States. This Scheme envisages 5412 km roads and 126 bridges at an estimated cost of Rs. 11,725 Crores. Ministry of Rural Development is the nodal Ministry for this project. The roads included under the scheme have been identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with the State Governments and the security agencies.
*LWE Mobile Tower Project:
*To improve mobile connectivity in the LWE areas, the Government on 20.08.2014 approved installation of mobile towers in LWE affected States, namely: Andhra Pradesh (227), Bihar (184), Chhattisgarh (497), Jharkhand (782), Madhya Pradesh (22), Maharashtra (60), and Odisha (253). The Department of Telecommunication, has been implementing this Scheme. 2187 mobile towers have been installed and the project stands completed.
*Scheme of Fortified Police stations:
*The Ministry has sanctioned 400 police stations in 10 LWE affected States at a unit cost Rs. 2 crores under this scheme. A total of 373 of PSs have been completed, work at 27 PSs is under progress.
*Civic Action Programme (CAP)
*This scheme is under implementation from 2010-11 in LWE affected areas. Under this scheme funds are provided to CAPFs (CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB) @ Rs. 3.00 lakh per company per year for conducting various civic activities for welfare of local poor peoples in LWE affected areas. This is a very successful scheme to bridge the gap between the Security Forces and the local people and also helpful for winning their hearts and minds. In this context, funds of Rs. 19.02 crore and Rs. 19.00 crore were released during the financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively. For the current financial year 2017-18, an amount of Rs. 19.00 crore has been allocated under the Scheme.
*LWE Division initiated a new proposal of GIS mapping of the essential services in the 35 most affected LWE districts. A project has been initiated for mapping of financial services, school, post offices, health facilities, mobile towers, PDS services, Road and security features etc. in time bound manner. This will help to the stakeholder to take informed decision on the developmental and security related issues.
*Unified Command. A Unified Command has been set up in the States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand , Odisha and West Bengal. The Unified Command have officers from the security establishment, besides civilian officers representing the civil administration and it will carry out carefully planned counter LWE measures.
*The Left Wing Extremism affected States have been asked to effectively implement the provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) on priority, which categorically assigns rights over minor forest produce to the Gram Sabhas.
The Red Corridor is the region in the eastern, central and the southern parts of India that experience considerable Naxalite–Maoist insurgency
The Naxalite group mainly consists of the armed cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). These are also areas that suffer from the greatest illiteracy, poverty and overpopulation in modern India, and span parts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, and West Bengal and eastern Uttar Pradesh states. As per Ministry of Home Affairs, altogether 1048 incidents of Left-wing extremism (LWE) violence took place in these 10 states in 2016.
All forms of naxalite organisations have been declared as terrorist organizations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of India (1967). According to the Government of India, as of July 2011, 83 districts (this figure includes a proposed addition of 20 districts) across 10 states are affected by left-wing extremism down from 180 districts in 2009.
Note: Effort has been made to cover the geographical location LWE affected states, approaches of the government and specific schemes of the government to combat LWE in India, students though are requested to study the conditions that led to the origin of LWE in India during the 1960 and 1970 decades. Questions on this topic are often asked in mains exams. Care should be taken not to neglect this topic
‘Women of worth awards’
(GS2: Issues relating to development and management of Human resources)
Issue: Ahead of international women’s day, the Karnataka state government honored women entrepreneurs in the state and organized ‘Women of Worth’ (WoW) to celebrate their achievements and recognize their struggles and successes. This for the first time a platform such as this is being created in India for such an issue
About International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.
(GS2: Bilateral Relations)
Issue: India, Bangladesh and Russia have signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the construction of the Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.
The MoU was signed in Moscow by the Department of Atomic Energy of India, the Ministry of Science and Technology of Bangladesh and Rosatom.
Russia is building the nuclear power plant in Bangladesh on a turnkey basis.
Indian companies can be involved in construction and installation works and in the supply of equipment of a non-critical category.
(GS2: Issues relating to health)
Issue: Scientists on Friday unveiled a revised classification for diabetes, one they said could lead to better treatments and help doctors more accurately predict life-threatening complications from the disease.
There are five distinct types of diabetes that can occur in adulthood, rather than the two currently recognised. The findings are consistent with the growing trend toward “precision medicine”, which takes into account differences between individuals in managing disease. In the same way that a patient requiring a transfusion must receive the right blood type, diabetes sub-types need different treatments
Scientists have also identified distinct kinds of micro-biome — the bacterial ecosystem in our digestive tract — that can react differently to the same medication, rendering it more or less effective. This is the first step towards personalized treatment of diabetes. People with diabetes have excessively high blood glucose, or blood sugar, which comes from food.
Some 420 million people around the world today suffer from diabetes, with the number expected to rise to 629 million by 2045, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
Current classification of diabetes
Currently, the disease is divided into two sub-types.
With type-1 — generally diagnosed in childhood and accounting for about 10% of cases — the body simply doesn’t make insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.
For type-2, the body makes some insulin but not enough, which means glucose stays in the blood.
This form of the disease correlates highly with obesity and can, over time, lead to blindness, kidney damage, and heart disease or stroke.
It has long been known that type-2 diabetes is highly variable, but classification has remained unchanged for decades.
‘Antarctic Sea Ice’
(GS1: Changes in critical geographical features)
Issue: Sea ice cover in Antarctica appears to have dropped to its second-lowest on record. According to Australian researchers, floating ice is now covering a relatively small area in Antarctica this winter and this drop is caused by rising temperatures in the region.
About Antarctic climate
*Every year, Antarctica’s frozen ocean water melts during the spring and summer. As the temperatures drop in the autumn and winter, the ice cover retreats, reaching its yearly maximum extent in March. The cycle usually reaches its minimum in the month of February.
*Researchers have been continuously measuring Antarctica sea ice since 1979. Using latest satellite data, they have found a total 2.15 million square kilometers ice cover surrounding the continent during the lowest point in February during the summer season. It is slightly larger than the previous minimum extent of 2.07 million square kilometers that occurred in March 2017.
Importance of Antarctic in a warming world
*Antarctica holds a staggering amount of water. The three ice sheets that cover the continent contain around 70% of our planet’s fresh water, all of which we now know to be vulnerable to warming air and oceans. If all the ice sheets were to melt, Antarctica would raise global sea levels by at least 56m. In addition to rising sea levels, melt-water would slow down the world’s ocean circulation, while shifting wind belts may affect the climate in the southern hemisphere.
*In 2014, NASA reported that several major Antarctic ice streams, which hold enough water to trigger the equivalent of a one-and-a-half metre sea level rise, are now irreversibly in retreat. With more than 150 million people exposed to the threat of sea level rise and sea levels now rising at a faster rate globally than any time in the past 3,000 years, these are sobering statistics for island nations and coastal cities worldwide.
‘Spell of heavy rainfall see a two-fold increase’
Issue: Very heavy rainfall lasting less than 24 hours (sub-daily) in urban locations in India has become more intense during the last few decades.
*The team found that changes in sub-daily precipitation extremes are more strongly related to variations in the atmospheric motion and increase in vertical velocity than the increase in atmospheric moisture content and climate warming.
*Urban flooding is significantly different from rural flooding as urbanization leads to developed catchments, which increases the flood peaks from 1.8 to 8 times and flood volumes by up to 6 times. Consequently, flooding occurs very quickly due to faster flow times (in a matter of minutes). Urban areas are densely populated and people living in vulnerable areas suffer due to flooding, sometimes resulting in loss of life. It is not only the event of flooding but the secondary effect of exposure to infection also has its toll in terms of human suffering, loss of livelihood and, in extreme cases, loss of life.
*Urban areas are also centres of economic activities with vital infrastructure which needs to be protected 24×7. In most of the cities, damage to vital infrastructure has a bearing not only for the state and the country but it could even have global implications. Major cities in India have witnessed loss of life and property, disruption in transport and power and incidence of epidemics. Therefore, management of urban flooding has to be accorded top priority.
*Increasing trend of urban flooding is a universal phenomenon and poses a great challenge to urban planners the world over. Problems associated with urban floods range from relatively localized incidents to major incidents, resulting in cities being inundated from hours to several days. Therefore, the impact can also be widespread, including temporary relocation of people, damage to civic amenities, deterioration of water quality and risk of epidemics.
Arcelor Mittal signs JV agreement with Nippon Steel to acquire Essar Steel
(GS2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
*Arcelor Mittal on Friday said it has entered into a joint venture pact with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC) to jointly acquire the assets of Essar Steel. The company’s arm ArcelorMittal India Pvt. Ltd (AMIPL) had submitted a resolution plan for Essar Steel on 12 February, which outlined the intention to have NSSMC formally join its bid for Essar Steel.
*Essar Steel was among the initial 12 companies identified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for insolvency proceedings. Should the submitted resolution plan be selected and formally accepted by India’s National Company Law Tribunal, ArcelorMittal and NSSMC would jointly acquire and manage Essar Steel
About Insolvency and Bankruptcy code
*The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) is the bankruptcy law of India which seeks to consolidate the existing framework by creating a single law for insolvency and bankruptcy. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2015. It was passed by Lok Sabha on 5 May 2016. The Code received the assent of the President of India on 28 May 2016. Certain provisions of the Act have come into force from 5 August and 19 August 2016. The bankruptcy code is a one stop solution for resolving insolvencies which at present is a long process and does not offer an economically viable arrangement. A strong insolvency framework where the cost, time, incurred is minimized in attaining liquidation has been long overdue in India. The code will be able to protect the interests of small investors and make the process of doing business a less cumbersome process.
Features of the code:
Insolvency Resolution: The Code outlines separate insolvency resolution processes for individuals, companies and partnership firms. The process may be initiated by either the debtor or the creditors. A maximum time limit, for completion of the insolvency resolution process, has been set for corporate and individuals. For companies, the process will have to be completed in 180 days, which may be extended by 90 days, if a majority of the creditors agree. For start-ups (other than partnership firms), small companies and other companies (with asset less than Rs. 1 crore), resolution process would be completed within 90 days of initiation of request which may be extended by 45 days.
Insolvency regulator: The Code establishes the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, to oversee the insolvency proceedings in the country and regulate the entities registered under it. The Board will have 10 members, including representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Law, and the Reserve Bank of India.
Insolvency professionals: The insolvency process will be managed by licensed professionals. These professionals will also control the assets of the debtor during the insolvency process.
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Adjudicator: The Code proposes two separate tribunals to oversee the process of insolvency resolution, for individuals and companies:
(i) the National Company Law Tribunal for Companies and Limited Liability Partnership firms; and
(ii) the Debt Recovery Tribunal for individuals and partnerships.
About Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India was set up on 1st October 2016 under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code). It is a unique regulator: regulates a profession as well as transactions. It has regulatory oversight over the Insolvency Professionals, Insolvency Professional Agencies and Information Utilities. It writes and enforces rules for transactions, namely, corporate insolvency resolution, corporate liquidation, individual insolvency resolution and individual bankruptcy under the Code. It is a key pillar of the ecosystem responsible for implementation of the Code that consolidates and amends the laws relating to reorganization and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximization of the value of assets of such persons, to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance the interests of all the stakeholders.