Insights Daily Current Affairs, 03 March 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 03 March 2017


 

Pape 3 Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

DRDO Hands Over its Developed Products to Indian Army

 

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently handed over three of its products for induction into the Indian Army.

  • The products are namely (i) Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), SWATHI, (ii) NBC Recce vehicle and (iii) NBC Drugs.
  • In 2016, the Weapon Locating Radar, NBC Recce Vehicle and a set of NBC Drugs had been successfully tested after extensive evaluation by competent evaluation teams.

 

About WLR SWATHI:

Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), SWATHI, developed by DRDO’s Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), provides fast, automatic and accurate location of all enemy weapons like mortars, shells and rockets firing within in its effective zone of coverage and simultaneously handles multiples projectiles fired from different weapons at different locations.

The system is capable of adjusting the fire of our own artillery weapon also. The weapon includes 81mm or higher calibre mortars, 105mm or higher calibre shells and 120mm or higher calibre free flying rockets. Thus, WLR has two roles to perform i.e. Weapon Location Mode for enemy Artillery and Direction of Own artillery Fire (DOOAF) Mode for our own Artillery.

 

NBC Recce Vehicle Mk-1:

The NBC Recce Vehicle Mk-I, is developed by Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (VRDE) for carrying out post event recce of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Contaminated areas. It is capable of collecting solid and liquid samples of biologically contaminated areas, mark the nuclear and chemical contamination zone and transfer the recce data speedily to support formations. On successful development of NBC RV Mk-I in association with DL, Jodhpur, the equipment was approved for induction into the Services.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

India to attend Lahore meet on Indus Waters Treaty  

 

Signalling a major shift in its position on talks with Pakistan on the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), India has accepted an invitation to attend the next meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) to be held in Lahore in March.

  • The move came after two months of diplomatic negotiations, with World Bank officials playing mediator in encouraging Pakistan to extend the invitation and for India to accept.
  • A look at the two major hydro electric projects- Kishenganga and Ratle- in Jammu and Kashmir may be taken up in the meeting.

 

About Indus Water Treaty:

The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank. The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.

  • According to this treaty, waters of the three western rivers (the Jhelum, the Chenab, and the Indus itself) were allocated to Pakistan, and those of the three eastern rivers (the Ravi, the Beas, and the Sutlej) were allocated to India.
  • Indus Waters Treaty has remained a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Earlier, India had reviewed the IWT and decided to fully utilise its share water of rivers as per its rights under the pact.
  • Under the IWT, which covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum, the World Bank has a specified role in the process of resolution of differences and disputes.

 

What is PIC?

Permanent Indus Commission is a bilateral commission of officials from India-Pakistan, created to implement and manage goals of Indus Waters Treaty. Under the treaty, it is required that India and Pakistan meet every financial year. The Indus Commission is the first step for conflict resolution. If an agreement cannot be reached at the Commission level, the dispute is to be referred to the two governments. If the governments too fail to reach an agreement, the Treaty provides an arbitration mechanism. The last meeting of the commission was held in July 2016.

 

Background:

The Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is an $864 million dam which is part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin. It is located 5 km north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir, India and will have an installed capacity of 330 MW. Construction on the project began in 2007 and is expected to be complete in 2016. Construction on the dam was temporarily halted by the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in October 2011 due to Pakistan’s protest of its effect on the flow of the Kishanganga River (called the Neelum River in Pakistan). In February 2013, the Hague ruled that India could divert a minimum amount of water for power generation.

The Ratle Hydroelectric Plant is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power station currently under construction on the Chenab River, downstream of the village of Ratle in Doda district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The project includes a 133 m (436 ft) tall gravity dam and two power stations adjacent to one another.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Pakistan returns to SAARC, gets Secretary General post

 

After months of difficulty posed mainly by India, Pakistan has succeeded in getting its official elected to the post of the Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). This was backed by all members, including India, which made the selection consensus-based.

 

Background:

As the incoming chair, Pakistan was supposed to provide the next Secretary General. The new chief of SAARC was expected to take charge a year ago. Earlier, India had opposed holding of the 19th SAARC summit in Islamabad in November 2016 following the terror strike in Uri.

 

About Secretary General SAARC:

The Secretary–General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, is the head of the SAARC Secretariat, which is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Secretary-General is appointed for a three-year term by election by a council of Ministers from member states. The Secretary-General is assisted by eight deputies, one from each nation, who also reside in Kathmandu.

 

SAARC- Key facts:

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and geopolitical organisation of eight countries that are primarily located in South Asia or the Indian subcontinent.

  • The SAARC Secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • The combined economy of SAARC is the third largest in the world in the terms of GDP (PPP) after the United States and China and fifth largest in the terms of nominal GDP.
  • SAARC nations comprise 3% of the world’s area and contain 21% (around 1.7 billion) of the world’s total population and around 9.12% of the global economy as of 2015.
  • India makes up over 70% of the area and population among these eight nations.
  • The SAARC policies aim to promote welfare economics, collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia, and to accelerate socio-cultural development in the region.
  • The SAARC has also developed external relations by establishing permanent diplomatic relations with the EU, the UN (as an observer), and other multilateral entities.
  • The member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
  • States with observer status include Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea and the United States.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 1 Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

 

Revitalising a language

 

Kurukh, an endangered tribal language of the Dravidian family, is set to get a new lease of life in West Bengal. It is spoken by the Oraon tribal community.

  • West Bengal government is taking steps for the recognition of the Kurukh language of the Oraon community who live in Dooars. The language was given official status in the State last month.

 

Key facts:

  • Kurukh a member of the North Dravidian subfamily of Dravidian languages, spoken by some 1.8 million people of the Oraon tribes of the Chota Nagpur plateau of east-central India.
  • It is closely related to Sauria Paharia and Kumarbhag Paharia, which are often together referred to as Malto.
  • The script is called Tolong Siki.
  • The language is marked as being in a “vulnerable” state in UNESCO’s list of endangered languages.
  • Jharkhand has recognised Kurukh as a language.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Syrian Army recaptures Palmyra  

 

The Syrian Army has recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State (IS) for the second time in a year, with help from allied forces and Russian war-planes.

Background:

IS is on the back foot in Syria after losing territory in the north to an alliance of U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led militias, and to Turkey-backed Syrian rebels. The Syrian Army is also fighting IS in the area east of Aleppo and in the city of Deir al-Zor, where it controls an enclave that is besieged by the group.

 

About Palmyra:

Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.

Palmyra is a UNESCO designated World Heritage site and home to some of the world’s most magnificent ancient ruins. The city is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and was eventually incorporated into the Roman Empire, before passing to almost all empires to have operated in the region over some 2,000 years.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Sweden to reintroduce conscription after 6 years

 

Sweden has announced that it will reintroduce compulsory military service starting this summer to respond to global security challenges, including from Russia.

 

Background:

The Scandinavian nation, which has not seen armed conflict on its territory in two centuries, ended conscription in 2010 after it was deemed an unsatisfactory way of meeting the needs of a modern army. The government wants a more stable staff supply system and to boost its military capability because the security situation has changed.

 

Key facts:

  • Sweden’s government is set to introduce to the Parliament a bill to restore conscription this summer for all Swedes born after 1999. It will last for 11 months.
  • Some 13,000 young Swedes are expected to be mobilised from July 1, but only 4,000 of them will be selected for military service based on motivation and skills. They will be called up each year after January 1 2018.

 

About Sweden:

Sweden is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of 10.0 million.

  • Situated in Northern Europe, Sweden lies west of the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia, providing a long coastline, and forms the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. To the west is the Scandinavian mountain chain (Skanderna), a range that separates Sweden from Norway. Finland is located to its north-east.
  • It has maritime borders with Denmark, Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and it is also linked to Denmark (south-west) by the Öresund Bridge. Its border with Norway (1,619 km long) is the longest uninterrupted border within Europe.
  • Sweden is not a NATO member but has signed the body’s Partnership for Peace programme launched in 1994 to develop military cooperation between NATO and non-member countries.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

Half of India-Bangladesh border fenced

 

Half of the 4,096-km border India shares with Bangladesh has been fenced. Land acquisition is a major challenge to completing the work by the 2019 deadline. Fencing is mainly aimed to curb infiltration and smuggling of cattle and fake Indian currency notes.

  • Across rivers, where fencing is not possible, the government going in for technological solutions such as cameras and lasers.

 

Background:

The border runs along West Bengal for 2,216.7 km, Assam 263 km, Meghalaya 443 km, Tripura 856 km and Mizoram 318 km.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

NGT fixes norms for camping along Ganga

 

The National Green Tribunal has prohibited all camping activity on beaches along the Ganga which fall within 100 meters from the middle of the river during lean season flow from Shivpuri to Rishikesh, a hub for eco-tourism and river rafting.

  • The Bench relied on various studies by Uttarakhand and the Wildlife Institute of India which said that of the total 56 beaches, 33 were recommended for camping while 23 were out of bounds.
  • Out of the 33 sites recommended for beach camping, 3 fall entirely outside the restriction of 100 meters imposed by the Tribunal in various cases, 8 sites are wholly within 100 meters while the remaining 22 sites are partially within 100 meters and partially outside 100 meters.
  • The Bench has directed that the management plan prepared by the State government with regard to beach camping be implemented while noting how authorities allowed large number of defaulters included people carrying weapons, drinking on the beaches and even raising permanent/concrete structure at the camping sites.

 

Background:

The judgment came on a petition highlighting how unregulated camping was leading to pollution in the river and adjoining areas. The petition also showed how tourists left behind litter and polluted the river and the soil.

In December 2015, the NGT in its order had banned rafting and camping activities along 36 kms stretch between Kaudiyala and Rishikesh. It had then noted that the “camping ban” would continue till the “regulatory regime comes into force”.

 

About the National Green Tribunal (NGT): quick look

NGT has been established under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.

  • The tribunal deals with matters relating to the enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.
  • The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
  • The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
  • The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.

 

Members:

  • Sanctioned strength: currently, 10 expert members and 10 judicial members (although the act allows for up to 20 of each).
  • Chairman: is the administrative head of the tribunal, also serves as a judicial member and is required to be a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court of India.
  • Selection: Members are chosen by a selection committee (headed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India) that reviews their applications and conducts interviews.
  • The Judicial members are chosen from applicants who are serving or retired judges of High Courts.
  • Expert members are chosen from applicants who are either serving or retired bureaucrats not below the rank of an Additional Secretary to the Government of India (not below the rank of Principal Secretary if serving under a state government) with a minimum administrative experience of five years in dealing with environmental matters. Or, the expert members must have a doctorate in a related field.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

WHO’s First-Ever List Of The Dirty Dozen Superbugs

 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published its first ever list of antibiotic-resistant `priority pathogens’ -a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health. This is bad news for India as most of these 12 superbugs are present in the country.

  • The list was drawn up to promote research and development of new antibiotics. The move was part of efforts to address the problem of growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.

 

Key facts:

  • The WHO list of drug-resistant bacteria is divided into three categories. The most critical group includes multidrug-resistant bacteria that pose a particular threat in hospitals, nursing homes and among patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters.
  • These include Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and various Enterobacteriaceae (including Klebsiella, E coli, Serratia and Proteus). They can cause severe and often deadly infections such as bloodstream infections and pneumonia. These bacteria have become resistant to a large number of antibiotics, including carbapenems and third-generation cephalosporins ­ the best available antibiotics for treating multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Sources: et.


 

Facts for Prelims

 

#WeAreEqual:

  • Leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8, 2017, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has initiated a social media campaign – #WeAreEqual – targeted at raising awareness about gender discrimination.
  • The campaign will culminate into the celebration of International Women’s Day marked by the prestigious Nari Shakti Award ceremony, in which the Hon’ble President will honour individuals and institutions for their exemplary contribution to women’s empowerment.
  • The campaign takes a positive approach, engaging both men and women across the cross-section of the society and reflects their personal effort at creating a more equal society.
  • Many prominent personalities have also joined the campaign.