Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 8, 2017

Finance

e-Shakti initiative of NABARD

  • e-Shakti is a pilot project of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for digitisation of Self Help Groups (SHGs).
  • It was initiated to address certain concerns like improving the quality of book keeping of SHGs and to enable banks to take informed credit decisions about the group through a Management Information System (MIS).
  • The project covers 25 districts and 1,30,176 SHGs have been digitised as on 31st March, 2017.
  • As per information compiled by NABARD, about 69,696 SHGs of the SHGs which have been digitised are credit linked as on 31st July, 2017.
  • No SHG has been de-recognised on account of, or, after digitisation. The digitisation project does not impact the profit/ loss position of the SHGs.

Internal Security

AFSPA Enforced in entire Assam for one more month

  • Entire Assam state has been declared as a disturbed area by the Union Home Ministry under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act for one more month, citing various violent activities by insurgent groups ULFA, NDFB, and others.
  • The Home Ministry also declared 20 km belt along Meghalaya’s border areas adjoining Assam and three districts in Arunachal Pradesh (Tirap, Changlang and Longding) as disturbed under the AFSPA for two more months.
  • AFSPA has been continuing in Assam since November 1990. In 2016,
  • There were 75 incidents of violence reported in Assam in which 33 people were killed and 14 others
  • Continuing violence perpetrated by NSCN(K), NSCN(IM), ULFA, NDFB, and others were key reasons for continuing with AFSPA in Arunachal Pradesh
  • Meghalaya too has witnessed violence by ULFA, NDFB militants in the recent past

Enlighten About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act

  • It was enacted by the parliament in 1958.
  • It grants extra-ordinary powers and immunity to the armed forces to bring back order in the disturbed areas.
  • Some of these extra-ordinary powers include fire upon anyone after giving warning who is acting against law & order in the disturbed area, arrest anyone without warrant, stop and search any vehicle or vessel, legal immunity to armed forces personnel for their actions.
  • Presently AFSPA is enforced in the 6 states of North East (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland) and Jammu and Kashmir. It was lifted in Tripura in May 2015

NCRB Merged with BPRD

  • The three-decade old National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has been merged with Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) by the Union Home Ministry

Why

  • For improving administrative efficiency and optimal utilisation of resources for development works related to policing.
  • It will also boost crime data collection and research efforts.
  • Now BPR&D will oversee all the data collection related to Crime in India, Suicides and Accidental Deaths, Prison Statistics and Fingerprints which was earlier done by NCRB.
  • The BPRD Director General (DG) will be the head of the merged new entity, where the NCRB Director, an Additional DG rank post will report to the former.

Enlighten about NCRB and BPRD

  • The NCRB was established in 1986 as the central police organisation to collect crime data, on various parameters, from across all the states of the country.
  • The BPRD was established in 1970 as the national police organisation to study, research and develop on subjects and issues related to policing. Both the organisations were functioning under the aegis of Union Home Ministry

International Relations

8TH Mekong Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting - Manila, Philippines

  • INDIA has called for expanding the areas of cooperation among the member countries of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) bloc in the 8th Mekong Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting that held in Manila, Philippines MGC
  • Countries have proposed to add newer areas of cooperation to the traditional areas on tourism, culture, education, transport and communication to further deepen mutually benecial partnership and cooperation.
  • India and member states agreed to look forward to sustain this progress in the years to come and in further deepening our mutually benecial partnership and cooperation.
  • They also have shared the concept notes on formation of task forces on maritime connectivity and extension of (India-Myanmar-Thailand) trilateral highway into Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Enlighten about MGC

  • Launched in 2000 at Vientiane, Laos.
  • It is an initiative by India and five ASEAN countries, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communications.
  • It is named after Ganga and the Mekong which both are civilisational rivers.
  • MGC initiative aims to facilitate closer contacts among the people inhabiting these two major river basins.

Early completion and operationalisation of Chabahar Port

  • India and Iran have expressed commitment for early completion and operationalisation of Chabahar Port besides strengthening bilateral ties.
  • Iran had requested India to provide up to 150 million dollar credit and had made it a condition for activation of the Chabahar Port contract
  • India has also conveyed it’s readiness to aid Iran in taking up operations in Chabahar Port

Enlighten about the deal

  • India and Iran had signed a pact for the development and operation of the Chabahar port in May 2016.
  • India Ports Global – is a port project investment arm of the shipping ministry and a joint venture between the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and the Kandla port, will invest $85 million in

1. developing two container berths with a length of 640 meters
2. Three multi-cargo berths.

  • Chabahar port is located on the Gulf of Oman and is the only oceanic port of the country. The port gives access to the energy-rich Persian Gulf nations’ southern coast and India can bypass Pakistan with the Chabahar port becoming functional.

Why Chabahar port is important for India?

Easy access to afghanistan:
The utmost significance of the Chabahar port is the fact that India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan. Chabahar port will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.

Counter Chinese presence
Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port. Gwadar port is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea.

Iran as military ally:
With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India. Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East.

Import will boost:
With Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India. The import cost of oil to India will also see a considerable decline. India has already increased its crude purchase from Iran since the West imposed ban on Iran was lifted.

Better economic ties:
Chabahar port will ensure in the establishment of a politically sustainable connectivity between India and Afghanistan. This is will, in turn, lead to better economic ties between the two countries.

Easy connectivity in case of humanitarian operations:
From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated.

Easy access to Garland highway
The Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009 can give access to Afghanistan’s Garland Highway, setting up road access to four major cities in Afghanistan – Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.