IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 25th November 2017
A comprehensive ‘safe city’ plan for women
Part of: Main GS Paper II – Social issue, Welfare, Women empowerment, government schemes
Key PT pointers:
- Eight cities in India will soon have a comprehensive ‘safe city’ plan for women.
- Eight cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Hyderabad.
- A robust emergency response system and police-verified public transport will come into place.
- The Nirbhaya fund largely remain un-utilised. Creation of comprehensive plan will help utilise this fund.
- Issues related to women security includes- 33 per cent reservation of women in police force, installation of CCTV cameras, deployment of women, emergency response system, mapping dark spots, transports and different safety apps, developed by various State Police.
- Initiatives taken by these cities include ‘Himmat’ app, all women patrol van, ‘shishtachar’ programme of the Delhi police; ‘Hawkeye’ mobile app and ‘Bharosa’ programme of the Hyderabad police; ‘Suraksha’ app of the Bengaluru police and Power Angels of Uttar Pradesh police.
- The steps taken by other metro cities- mobile counselling vans for hearing the grievances of women, lighting in the sub-urban railway station areas, complaint boxes in the colleges, dedicated helpline for women, awareness programmes organised by the police, setting up of shelter homes for women and making provisions for street lighting were also discussed.
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Part of: Main GS Paper II – Welfare and Health
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has capped the prices of 51 essential formulations, including those used for the treatment of cancer, pain, heart conditions and skin problems.
- NPPA fixes the ceiling price of essential medicines of Schedule I under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO) 2013.
- In respect of medicines that are not under price control, manufacturers are allowed to increase the maximum retail price by 10 per cent annually.
- The calculation for essential drugs is based on the simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1 per cent.
- Set up in 1997, NPPA has been entrusted with the task of fixation/revision of prices of pharma products, enforcement of provisions of DPCO and monitoring of prices of controlled and decontrolled drugs.
Article link: Click here
TOPIC: General studies 2:
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
- India and the world, India and its neighbours
Chabahar Port: crucial gateway for India and Afghan’s objectives
For India’s objectives, the port of Chabahar has become the crucial gateway to step up relations with Iran and Afghanistan.
- The much-awaited Chabahar route for Indo-Afghan trade, has finally taken off.
- The first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan left from Kandla port (India) and reached Chabahar port in Iran, and then through the land route (Zahedan-Zaranj-Kabul highway) via Iran into Afghanistan.
- This route is expected to propel the Indo-Afghan bilateral relationship into another level, besides strengthening the trilateral relationship between India, Afghanistan and Iran, and also increasing linkages between Kabul and Tehran.
About Chabahar Port
- Located on the Makran coast
- South-eastern coast of Iran
- It is relatively underdeveloped free trade and industrial zone (compared to the sprawling port of Bandar Abbas further west)
- It is located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast.
- It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.
Importance of activation of Chabahar port and the Zahedan-Zaranj-Kabul highway
- As discussed above, it will propel Indo-Afghan bilateral relationship into another level.
- It will strengthen the trilateral relationship between India, Afghanistan and Iran.
- It will help increase Afghanistan as a transit for Central Asian countries into the Arabian Sea.
- The route reduces Kabul’s dependence on Islamabad, especially over the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade agreement. In other words, Afghanistan would no longer depend on Pakistan for its transit trade with India and other countries with the opening of the strategic Chabahar Port.
- This would also help change the nature of Afghanistan’s relations both with Pakistan and Iran. For Afghanistan, Chabahar provides an additional leverage in dealing with Pakistan.
- For India, it is the nearest port to India on the Iranian coast, which provides access Chabahar to the resources and markets of Afghanistan and Central Asia.
- The strategic location makes it ideal for keeping track of Chinese or Pakistani military activity based out of Gwadar.
- For Afghanistan, Chabahar is faster and easier, when compared to the tough terrain across the Durand Line.
Chabahar and the India-Iran-Afghanistan Trilaterals
The activation of Chabahar for Indian goods into Afghanistan means the following.
First, it fulfills an Indian promise of an alternative route for Afghanistan. The idea of Chabahar was born when Pakistan refused for transit facilities to India.
Second, the activation of Chabahar also fulfils another promise – to Tehran. India has been ridiculed for making promises and not following them up — Chabahar in the West and Sittwe in the east. The Chabahar opening should change that perception.
Third, Chabahar also speaks for India’s commitment to improving Indo-Iran relations. There were apprehensions about India moving closer to the US, and Indo-Iran relations becoming hostage to it. It appears New Delhi has been able to withstand American pressure and move ahead with Iran.
Fourth, Chabahar port will also improve Afghan-Iran partnership and provide a crucial leverage for Kabul, as a transit between Central Asia and the Arabian Sea. It could further link Russia and provide another warm water outlet for Moscow.
Perhaps, for the Afghans, Chabahar is not just about Indo-Afghan trade; it is an opening of a huge new world!
But, the most important aspect of Chabahar for Kabul is the confidence that the new axis provides in dealing with Pakistan, especially over transit trade.
Connecting the dots:
- Discuss the strategic significance of Chabahar port for India. Also discuss the significance it hold for India-Iran-Afghanistan Trilaterals economically and geo-strategically?
TOPIC: General Studies 3:
- Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
- Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
Revamping Security Architecture of India
Terrorism continues to pose the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.
According to the US Country Reports on Terrorism 2016, India is the third most affected country after Iraq and Afghanistan in the number of attacks perpetrated on its soil.
It is estimated that a total of 52 terrorist groups are active in different parts of India, which is higher than in any other country.
Fortunately, there has been no major terrorist attack in the country after 26/11 (2008). But it is not so that we are better prepared now and our law enforcement agencies have been able to prevent such an onslaught.
Half-hearted Measures taken in the wake of 26/11:
- National Security Guard units were decentralised.
- An elaborate coastal security scheme was drawn up.
- The National Investigation Agency established.
Issues with internal security:
- The police, who are the first responders to any terrorist crime, continue to be in shambles. The states have done very little to reform, rejuvenate or reinforce the capabilities of the police forces. The Supreme Court’s directions of 2006 have been treated with contempt.
- The modernisation of police has suffered a setback following the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations and increase in the share of states’ revenues, as the Centre delegated the responsibility to the state governments.
- The Government of India recently approved a Rs 25,000 crore scheme to strengthen the law and order apparatus. It will have to be ensured that money is utilised for the purpose for which it has been sanctioned.
- The Central armed police forces are not in the best health. There is discontent, particularly in the BSF and CRPF, over the quality of leadership at different levels, promotional opportunities, irrational deployments, inadequate infrastructure in insurgency-affected states and aspects of service conditions.
- Intelligence at the state level is not robust.
- Implementation of the coastal security scheme has not been effective.
- The National Counter Terrorism Centre is still not in existence.
- The “SMART” police conceptualised by the prime minister is nowhere to be seen, because of the indifference of the state governments.
Internal security has remained a grey area.
- The Centre must initiate measures to move “police” to the Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
- The anti-terror law needs to be strengthened.
Threats from terrorism:
The threat from terrorism continues to increase.
- The ISI is working on the plan to engulf Assam in turbulence and is said to be coordinating strategies with radical elements among the Rohingyas and illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Assam.
Al Qaeda had declared its plans to intensify its activities in Assam as far back as 2014.
The Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh has been steadily setting up units in Assam as well as West Bengal.
- In two other states — West Bengal and Kerala — the fundamentalists have been emboldened.
- In J&K, the Pakistan-sponsored terrorist groups, particularly Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, remains active.
- The Islamic State has been losing territories in Iraq and Syria but its ideology has caught on and lone wolf attacks continue to take place in different parts of the world.
Even a small percentage of Muslims in India getting attracted to the ideology would be a good number and pose a serious challenge to the security of the state.
The overall scenario is, thus, not good. It is high time that the security architecture is revamped. India has repeatedly given a call at international fora for united efforts to combat terrorism. However, first we need to put our internal security in order. The future of democracy and our capacity to sustain the momentum of economic progress would depend on our ability to reinforce and strengthen internal security.
Connecting the dots:
- India has repeatedly given a call at international fora for united efforts to combat terrorism. However, first we need to put our internal security in order. Comment.
Endgame in Syria
The mandates of natural justice
Making RBI accountable
The Chabahar checkmate
States of healthcare
Keeping children safe