Insights Daily Current Affairs, 18 October 2016
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Sagarmala funds flagship project of Ro Pax Ferry Service in Gulf of Cambay, Gujarat
As part of promoting coastal shipping in the country under Sagarmala programme, the Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned the Capital Dredging Project for Ro Pax Ferry Services between Gogha & Dahej, in Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat.
- The Ministry has released Rs 58.50 Crore as first installment of grant-in–aid to Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB). The total project cost is estimated to be Rs 234 Crore and of which 50% will be funded by Centre Government under the Sagarmala programme.
Significance of this project:
- The project would result in reduction in motorable distance of 231 kms between Gogha & Dahej to mere 31 kms and reduce the travel time from 7 hours to 1 hour only by crossing the Gulf in Cambay in 17 Nautical Miles.
- The initiative would not only reduce the travel time but also result in savings in fuel, reduction in CO2 emission and reduction in road congestion.
- The project is first of its kinds in India as it will be executed in the area of world’s 2nd highest tidal range.
- The project would open up new avenues in coastal shipping & tourism and help in socio-economic development of proximate areas. It would also help in utilisation of inland waterways through River Narmada for shipping goods from industries located upstream.
The Sagarmala project seeks to develop a string of ports around India’s coast. The objective of this initiative is to promote “Port-led development” along India’s 7500 km long coastline.
- It aims to develop access to new development regions with intermodal solutions and promotion of the optimum modal split, enhanced connectivity with main economic centres and beyond through expansion of rail, inland water, coastal and road services.
- The Union Ministry of Shipping has been appointed as the nodal ministry for this initiative.
The Sagarmala initiative will address challenges by focusing on three pillars of development, namely:
- Supporting and enabling Port-led Development through appropriate policy and institutional interventions and providing for an institutional framework for ensuring inter-agency and ministries/departments/states’ collaboration for integrated development.
- Port Infrastructure Enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new ports.
- Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
BIMSTEC waxes as SAARC wanes
India has declared its commitment to play an asymmetric role in energising BIMSTEC. Meanwhile, the BIMSTEC countries, endorsing the Indian stand without naming Pakistan, have slammed states which “support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups” in BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat 2016 Outcome Document issued recently.
The leaders of seven-member BIMSTEC (The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) recently met in Goa for an outreach meeting with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
- The BIMSTEC also said “there should be no glorification of terrorists as martyrs” — a clear reference to Hizbul militant Burhan Wani who was killed by security forces in Kashmir in July and later hailed as a “martyr” by Pakistan.
- The BIMSTEC document also strongly condemned the “recent barbaric terror attacks in the region” — a reference to attacks in Uri and Dhaka.
- BIMSTEC countries have also agreed reiterated their strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stress that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever.
- Additionally, BIMSTEC leaders have expressed their commitment to expedite the signing of the BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, and early ratification of the BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organization involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia.
- The BIMSTEC comprises of seven countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
- The main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economical cooperation among South Asian and South East Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
- The headquarters of BIMSTEC is in Dhaka.
What this grouping means in numbers
The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of the global population. The region has a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.7 trillion. In the last five years, BIMSTEC member states have been able to sustain an average 6.5% economic growth trajectory despite global financial meltdown.
What is India’s interest in the grouping?
The BIMSTEC is a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia. The two Southeast Asian countries in the grouping, Myanmar and Thailand, have a crucial place for India’s ambitious connectivity plans for northeastern region. Myanmar is only Southeast Asian country India has a land boundary with. An India-Myanmar-Thailand highway is one of the key projects that figures in a big way in the government’s Act East (earlier Look East) policy. With the India-Pakistan bickering coming in way of a smooth functioning of the Saarc, groupings such as BIMSTEC can take forward the concept of regional cooperation in a different manner.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Now, India has a nuclear triad
India has quietly completed its nuclear triad by inducting the indigenously built strategic nuclear submarine INS Arihant into service.
- With this India joins the select group of countries which have a nuclear triad, i.e. capable of delivering nuclear weapons by aircraft, ballistic missiles and submarine launched missiles.
- Arihant is capable of carrying nuclear tipped ballistic missiles, the class referred to as Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN). SSBNs are designed to prowl the deep ocean waters carrying nuclear weapons and provide a nation with an assured second strike capability — the capability to strike back after being hit by nuclear weapons first.
- The vessel weighing 6000 tonnes is powered by a 83 MW pressurised light water nuclear reactor.
- It will be armed with the K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km and eventually with the much longer range K-4 missiles being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
What does this mean for the world?
India’s deployment of a nuclear-armed submarine could put the nation into a naval arms race with regional powers, potentially prompting China to assist its nuclear-armed allies Pakistan and North Korea in developing similar technologies.
Both India and China subscribe to a No First-Use policy on nuclear weapons. They regard nuclear-armed submarines as a deterrence aimed at preventing the outbreak of war.
The Arihant is harder to detect than India’s nuclear weapons platforms on land and in the air, giving it a “second-strike” capability. This would allow India to retaliate against an enemy who managed to destroy the rest of its nuclear arsenal in a first-strike.
Which other countries have nuclear-armed submarines?
The UK, USA, France, Russia and China already have nuclear-armed submarines.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Law Commission suggests changes in govt. draft Bill on child abduction
The 21st Law Commission in its first report has recommended a series of changes in the draft Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill-2016, proposed by the Women and Child Development Ministry.
Recommendations made by the commission:
- One-year jail term for wrongful retention or removal of a child from the custody of a parent. The offenders may include one of the parents or family, relatives and others.
- Three months punishment for wilful misrepresentation or concealment of fact as regards the location or information about the child or for voluntarily preventing the safe return of the child.
The Law Commission had, in its 218th report, examined the same issues and advised the government to sign the Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
- Upon coming to know that the government has prepared a draft of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill, 2016, the Commission decided to examine the proposed provisions.
- The commission is of the opinion that it requires revision keeping in view the legislative precedents and practices followed in the drafting of Bills and to suitably harmonise its provisions with the Hague Convention.
In June, 2016, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) uploaded on its website a proposal to enact a draft of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill, 2016. This was considered as it was imperative to have an enabling legislation in India before accession to the Hague Convention.
- The proposed Bill considered the removal to or the retention of a child in India to be wrongful if it is in breach of rights of custody attributed to a person, an institution, or any other body, either jointly or alone, at a place where the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention.
- It further stipulated that the removal to or the retention in India of a child is to be considered wrongful where at the time of removal or retention those rights were actually exercised, either jointly or alone, by a person, an institution or any other body, or would have been so exercised, but for the removal or retention.
- The draft Bill was prepared following a reference made by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Law Commission of India to consider whether recommendations should be made for enacting a suitable law and for signing the Hague Convention.
Sources: the hindu.