Daily News Analysis for IAS/UPSC (29-06-2015) Current Affairs


Non-traditional threats stalk Kolkata-Kunming corridor

  • Leading Chinese scholars have proposed setting up a security mechanism and accelerating a legal dialogue among Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar, in order to turn the proposed BCIM corridor into an economic reality.
  • “Security is a very important aspect of BCIM,” Dr. Ren said, pointing out that ethnic insurgencies, terrorism, drug trafficking and the accompanying spread of HIV infections, antiques smuggling, as well as cross-border human trafficking, threatened to derail the project.
  • The BCIM corridor is an ambitious undertaking that hopes to connect Kolkata with Kunming, capital of the Yunnan province.
  • It envisages formation of a thriving economic belt, focusing on cross-border transport, energy and telecommunication networks.
  • It heads towards Kolkata after passing through Manipur and Silchar, before crossing Bangladesh via Sylhet and Dhaka, with branches extending to the ports of Cox Bazar and Chittagong.


Call for active collaboration to sanitise BCIM corridor

  • Chinese experts in Yunnan say that except for a 200-km stretch between Silchar in Assam and Manipur, and a similar length between Kalewa and Monywah in Myanmar, the central artery of the BCIM route is nearly functional
  • Fighting between the Myanmar Army and the ethnic Kokang rebels, known as the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, based near the Chinese border, pose a threat to the network.
  • The United Wa State Army, that has virtually a free reign in north-eastern Myanmar, and is known for a narcotics trafficking, poses a big security problem to the corridor.
  • Communal violence involving Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims has also flared in Rakhine State.
  • The killing of 18 Indian soldiers in Manipur by Naga militants based in Myanmar has sharpened focus on sanitising the corridor through active security collaboration by the four states.
  • Asked whether it would be premature to forge a formal arrangement involving a joint command headquarters, intelligence sharing and joint operations to target security threats along the corridor, Dr. Ren said that the BCIM countries could draw lessons from the six-nation Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperation Programme “such as joint enforcement along the Mekong river.”


Telangana to host Skill University soon

  • Telangana State will get a Skill University once the required legislation was passed, said Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
  • Andhra Pradesh could also get one Skill University but it would depend on several factors. Things would crystallise once Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches his ‘Skill Mission’ from the Vignan Bhavan in New Delhi on July 15
  • The formation of a separate Ministry of Skill Development itself is a landmark move
  • Target was to provide skills training to a whopping 50 crore population by the year 2022.
  • By the end of 2017, the figure proposed was 5 crore,
  • The trades include electrician, mason, plumber and dozens others.
  • The central idea is the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), the recently-approved quality assurance framework, standardise modules, offer training and then provide jobs.


Many women unaware of safety alarm in BMTC buses

  • As women continue to complain of safety issues on Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses, a pilot project of installing alarms has garnered almost zero response.
  • BMTC officials attribute this to lack of awareness.
  • Fixing cameras too has not helped. One of the first safety measures introduced by BMTC following the brutal gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 was to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in 500 buses, two per bus.
  • While BMTC has been facing a funds crunch to expand the project to the rest of its fleet, commuters complain that even the existing cameras have become ineffective.


‘Mann ki Baat’ highlights need to save the girl child

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent a good amount of time speaking on the welfare of girls and women.
  • “In Haryana, the number of girls is lower than that of boys. Across the country, there are about 100 districts where the situation is worrisome. In Haryana, the situation is more serious,” he said.
  • He encouraged people to engage with him on social media and pitched for a campaign to save the girl child.
  • Sarpanch of Bibipur village in Haryana, Sunil Jaglan, had started a “Selfie with daughter” competition, asking fathers to post their selfies with their daughters
  • I urge you to click pictures with your daughters and post those on #selfiewithdaughter,” Mr. Modi said.
  • “In August, we have Raksha Bandhan. We can begin a mass movement to ensure that all women and sisters of our country get all security scheme benefits before Raksha Bandhan,” he said.


East should lead next Green Revolution: Modi

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called for a second Green Revolution, saying it should start immediately from eastern India.
  • Agriculture sector had been lagging in several areas including inputs, irrigation, value addition and market linkages, and his government was committed to modernising the sector and making it more productive.
  • It is possible in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Odhisa
  • Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Barhi.
  • “That is why the government is focussing on the development of this area. For that, we have started this research institute,” he said.
  • Pitching for “per drop, more crop,” Mr. Modi stressed the need for research in the field of agriculture to determine the health of soil and its needs in terms of seeds, water quantity, amount of fertilizers and so on.
  • Government was taking steps to train youth in soil testing so that such labs could be set up on the pattern of pathological labs for humans. “This will also lead to job creation,”
  • Turning to pulses, he said India needed to import these because of a shortfall in production, and noted that a special package had been given to farmers engaged in cultivation of pulses.


43 officials in Indian missions face action

  • The government is taking action on complaints against 43 officials of Indian diplomatic missions in 17 countries facing a variety of charges including corruption and dereliction of duty, top External Affairs Ministry sources said
  • Some of the complaints were against low-ranking officials and locally hired staff
  • As per official figures, six complaints against officials in Indian missions were received in 2012, 10 in 2013 and 27 in 2014.
  • A maximum of eight complaints each have been received from the missions in the U.K. and in Madagascar in the last three years.
  • Complaints have also been received against Indian Embassy staff in Afghanistan, Austria, Canada, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Botswana, Thailand, Zambia, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, South Africa and Mali.


Rail line to link Jaigarh Port to Konkan Railway

  • A 33.7-km railway corridor, connecting Jaigarh Port to the Digni station of Konkan Railway, is set to become a reality
  • The port operator had won the competitive bidding to develop the project under a public-private partnership model.
  • The concession period is 30 years.
  • The rail link, to be executed in 30 months, will have eight tunnels spanning a total 18 km, and eight bridges.
  • The corridor is expected to handle around 12 million tonnes of cargo a year.
  • The main purpose is to transport bulk commodities from the port to the Konkan Railway network and further to the hinterland.


SpaceX rocket with Dragon cargo ship to ISS explodes

  • An unmanned SpaceX rocket exploded less than three minutes after lift-off from Cape Canaveral, Florida
  • launch of the gleaming white Falcon 9 rocket that was meant to propel the Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station on a routine supply mission, the seventh for SpaceX so far.
  • The Dragon cargo ship was carrying 1,800 kg of gear to the space station, including a large parking space, known as an international docking adaptor, designed to make it easier for an array of commercial crew spacecraft to dock at the orbiting lab in the future.


Imphal to open museum to present horrors of WW II

  • A gory chapter of World Ward II played out here in the summer of 1944, and to remind posterity of the horrors of war, a museum will soon open here.
  • The toll the war took on Manipur was beyond measure — an unknown number of civilian victims, apart from 53,000 Japanese soldiers and 16,000 Allied Forces personnel slain during four months.
  • Manipur Tourism Forum and the World War II Imphal Campaign, have decided to open the war museum.
  • On April 14, 1944, Indian National Army soldiers hoisted the flag of an independent India at Moirang in Manipur. But it was a pyrrhic victory for the INA and Japanese forces as the casualties were enormous. The Allies eventually won the Battle of Imphal.
  • The families had wanted to construct a modern hospital in one of the war sites in memory of the soldiers, but the plan has been caught in red tape.
  • It will help boost tourism in the State, said a government source.


OROP: exclusivity key to preventing legal recourse

  • To prevent legal challenges in future, the Defence Ministry has stated that OROP would be made exclusive for Service personnel by classifying it as “military pension.”
  • Experts said this could be accomplished through a government order as it was an executive decision and a Bill was not required.
  • The essential criterion is to clearly define it as different from civilian pension, they said.


Rajapaksa may contest for PM post, says aide

  • Sri Lanka’s former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, plans to return to mainstream politics as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the main opposition party, his close associate Kumar Welgama said
  • “He will be the prime ministerial candidate of either the Sri Lanka Freedom Party or the United People’s Freedom Alliance,” Mr. Welgama said.


Jewish numbers near pre-WWII level

  • The world’s Jewish population has grown to be nearly as large as it was before the Holocaust, an Israeli think tank said in its annual report
  • The Jewish People Policy Institute said there are currently 14.2 million Jews in the world.
  • The Nazis and their collaborators murdered about 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.
  • The report said the rise has been due in part to natural growth, mainly in Israel, which has about 6.1 million Jews and one of the Western world’s highest fertility rates.