IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 27th November 2018
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Kartarpur corridor can build bridges: Venkaiah
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II & III – India and its neighborhood, infrastructure
- Founding stone for the four-lane “human corridor” i.e. Kartarpur corridor was laid, it is to be completed by November 23, 2019, in time for Sikh founding Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.
- A public rally was organised for the event in the border town of Dera Baba Nanak, just 2 km from the International Border with Pakistan.
- It is hoped that the corridor would pave the way for peace and greater progress of all people.
- The corridor will drastically cut down the journey pilgrims have to make from more than 200 km to just 6 km.
Do you know?
- The gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the Ravi, about 120 km northeast of Lahore.
- It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.
- The shrine is visible from the Indian side, Sikhs gather in large numbers for darshan from the Indian side, and binoculars are installed at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak.
Access to gurdwaras in Pakistan:
- Sikh jathas from India travel to Pakistan on four occasions every year — for Baisakhi, the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev. These Indian pilgrims are given access to all gurdwaras in Pakistan.
Public bicycle sharing system launched in Odisha
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II & III – Steps to mitigate Environmental pollution, Public transport infrastructure, use of ICT
- The Odisha government launched a Public Bicycle Sharing system to reduce traffic congestion, enhance space efficiency, and improve air quality in Bhubaneswar.
- Capital Region Urban Transport and Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited have come together for the PBS, which has been christened as ‘Mo Cycle’ system.
How Public bicycle sharing system will work?
- More than 300 cyclists took part in the rally from Airport Square to Kalinaga Stadium, to generate public awareness.
- Initially, 2,000 cycles will be available at about 400 Mo Cycle stations in different locations of the city.
- According to the BSCL, riders can take cycles from any location and drop them off at any destination of their choice.
- The operators will coordinate to ensure the redistribution and availability of cycles at high-demand locations.
- Unlike rentals under the PBS system, cycles stored in a closely spaced network of stations will be made available to riders for short term shared use.
- This new system would encourage use of the same cycle by multiple riders every day.
- Users would have to download Mo Cycle application and register for a nominal monthly subscription.
- The rider can locate the nearest Mo Cycle station and unlock the cycle through Quick Response Code scan.
- Technology interventions such as GPS and smart locks are an integral part of the system.
Big leap in intelligence infrastructure post 26/11
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Security challenges and their management
- Ten years after the 26\11 terror strikes, Maharashtra is better placed to benefit from real-time, actionable intelligence, processed through its Central Monitoring System (CMS) and the Lawful Interception System (LIS).
- As per the International Telecom Union (ITU), Geneva, the State is periodically obtaining a Global Cell Identity (GCI) and Location Area Identity (LAI) from the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).
- The successful implementation of the CMS with inclusion of the GCI, LAI and location in the Call Data Record (CDR) has enhanced the intelligence collection abilities of the State in the past few years.
- Implementations of the CMS and LIM have helped agencies get full data without any hindrances from TSPs.
- The R.D. Pradhan Expert Committee, which probed lapses leading up to the November 26, 2008 terror strikes, had revealed that prior to the attacks, senior officers in the Maharashtra government did not even look at crucial intelligence inputs.
Incredible India campaign: Tawang Monastery
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Indian heritage and culture
- The Incredible India campaign has goofed up on Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, suggesting the ancient structure was built just three decades ago.
- Known in Tibetan as Gaden Namgyal Lhatse, the Tawang Monastery was built according to the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso.
- It was founded in 1680-81 by a monk named Merag Lodre Gyatso of the Gelug sect after the 4th Dalai Lama gave him a painting of goddess Palden Lhamo to be kept in the monastery.
- An eight-metre high gilded statue of Lord Buddha dominates the sanctum of the monastery.
- Local legend has it that China had attacked Tawang in 1962 primarily to extract the secret to eternal youth believed to be buried under the monastery built at about 10,000 ft above sea level.
RBI eases ECB hedging norms for companies
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian Economy
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has eased hedging norms for companies that raise funds through external commercial borrowings (ECB), a move that will lower the cost of hedging.
- The mandatory hedge coverage has been reduced from 100% to 70% under Track I of the ECB framework.
- Track I refers to medium-term foreign currency-denominated ECBs with a minimum average maturity of 3-5 years.
- The move will help reduce costs for companies that raise foreign funds.
Do you know?
- External commercial borrowings (ECBs) are loans in India made by non-resident lenders in foreign currency to Indian borrowers.
- They are used widely in India to facilitate access to foreign money by Indian corporations and PSUs (public sector undertakings).
NASA’s Insight rover heads for 6.5 minutes of terror
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Tech; Space research
NASA’s Mars Insight spacecraft landed on Mars.
- Mars Insight’s goal is to listen for quakes and tremors as a way to unveil the Red Planet’s inner mysteries, how it formed billions of years ago, and by extension, how other rocky planets like the earth took shape.
- The unmanned spacecraft, launched nearly seven months ago, is NASA’s first to attempt to touch down on Mars since the Curiosity rover arrived in 2012.
- More than half of 43 attempts to reach Mars with rovers, orbiters and probes by space agencies from around the world have failed.
- NASA is the only space agency to have made it, and is invested in these missions as a way to prepare for the first Marsbound human explorers in the 2030s.
TOPIC:General studies 2
- India and its neighborhood
- 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
Along the new Silk Roads: Multilateralism & Trade War
- In the context of the onslaught on the multilateralism in the form of on-going trade war, there is inevitable need to promote “Shared” and “Inclusive” multilateralism.
- In this regard, the impact of China’s BRI on the multilateralism is significant, but there are concerns that in spite of other countries joining BRI, it would always remain a Chinese led project with an underlying ambition to influence the world.
BRI- More Inclusive and Shared Multilateralism?
- China has labeled BRI as a project that would be based on more inclusive and connected multilateralism in order to promote trade integration.
- However, in spite of the underlying economic objectives, the BRI would always remain political project of china with an agenda to influence the world. China has given its own flavour to BRI by “Sinicising” the concepts of free trade agreements.
- Normally, the conventional trade agreements are based on sound legal texts. The BRI is not backed by any comprehensive legal framework. It is based on normative framework in the form of general agreements, guiding principles, and declarations etc which are just standards to abide by and are not legally binding.
- The non-legal framework is deliberately adopted by China to constantly adjust to the changing environment.
- Further, unlike other conventional trade agreements, China is preparing for domestic resolution of BRI disputes through creation of dedicated branches of the China International Commercial Court.
- The BRI mobilises support from other institution such as Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Asian Infrastructure investment Bank (AIIB) etc which are mainly dominated by China.
- The BRI is not a tool for economic integration. On the other hand, RCEP is better equipped to deal with aspects related to trade integration.
- However, as the global trade has increasingly come under pressure in the recent times, there is possibility that BRI would embrace greater liberalisation goals.
Connecting the dots:
China’s BRI is based on more inclusive and connected multilateralism and would promote trade integration. Critically analyse.
TOPIC:General studies 3
- Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security
- Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges
- Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism Various Security forces and agencies
Ten years after the Mumbai attack
- Terrorism is hardly a post-modern phenomenon. Several of the terror attacks in the 21st century reflect a paradigmatic change in the tactics of asymmetric warfare, and the practice of violence.
- Today’s attacks carried out in different corners of the world by various terror outfits are very different from those witnessed in the previous century.
- The tactics employed may vary, but the objective is common, viz. achieving mass casualties and widespread destruction.
- The 26/11 Mumbai terror attack was the rarest of rare cases, where one state’s resources, viz. Pakistan’s, were employed to carry out a series of terror attacks in a major Indian city.
- After ten years of the terror attack, it is important to analyse state sponsored terrorism and preparedness of India.
Involvement of “deep state” of Pakistan in Mumbai Terror Attacks
- Deep state refers to unelected shadow government who takes majority of the policy and strategic decision.
- Thus, deep state is where military, bureaucracy, intelligence community and sometimes even judiciary undermine the writ of an elected government.
- It’s like having a ‘State within a State’ whose influence is hard to overlook.
- The attack was planned strategically and in advance by the deep state of Pakistan involving the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Pakistani armed forces and involvement of the Pakistani Special Forces in preparing the 10-member fidayeen group who carried out the attack.
Steps taken by India
- In the wake of the terror attack, several steps were initiated to streamline the security set-up.
- Coastal security was given high priority, and it is with the Navy/Coast Guard/marine police.
- National Investigation Agency (NIA) – a specialised agency to deal with terrorist offences was set up and has been functioning from January 2009.
- The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has been constituted to create an appropriate database of security related information.
- Four new operational hubs for the National Security Guard (NSG) have been created to ensure rapid response to any future terror attacks.
- The Multi Agency Centre, which functions under the Intelligence Bureau, was further strengthened and its activities expanded.
- The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), created in 2002 mandated to collect, collate and evaluate intelligence from other service agencies.
- The Navy constituted a Joint Operations Centre to keep vigil over India’s extended coastline.
New terror threats in the modern world driven by technology
- Despite streamlining of counter-terrorism measures, it is important to remain vigilant from the terrorist groups.
- These terrorist groups have resorted to use better and sophisticated technologies, have adopted newer and bolder methodologies and ensure execution of their deeply laid plans with the aid of state-of-the-art weapons and communication system which is difficult to trace.
- Use of ‘enabled terror’ or ‘remote controlled terror’, where violence can be unleashed guided by a controller thousands of miles away poses a much dangerous world.
- Thus, internet-enabled terrorism and resort to remote plotting is the new threat.
- As of now, there are no ready-made answers to this new threat operating behind a wall of anonymity and secrecy which is difficult to trace.
- Terrorism remains a major threat and with terrorism mutating into a global franchise, the threat potential has become greater.
- Thus, vigilance is important, but remaining ahead of the curve is even more vital in this modern world driven by technology.
Connecting the dots:
New terror threats have emerged as a result of use of technology. In light of this statement examine the challenges that have emerged as a result of “enabled terror”. Also highlight the steps that should be taken to handle the new terror threats.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Which of the following state governments launched a Public Bicycle Sharing system,
- Tamil Nadu
Q.2) In the context of the Kartarpur Corridor, consider the following statements.
- The gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the Ravi.
- It was here that Guru Gobind assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.
Select the correct statements
- 1 Only
- 2 Only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.3) Which of the following statements are correct about International Telecommunication Union (ITU),
- ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies
- It allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits.
- It is an organization based on public-private partnership, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Select the correct statements
- 1 and 2 Only
- 1 and 3 Only
- 2 and 3 Only
- All of the above
Q.4) Tawang Monastery is located in which of the following states,
- Himachal Pradesh
- Arunachal Pradesh
- None of these
Q.5) Consider the following statements about External commercial borrowing (ECBs),
- External commercial borrowings (ECBs) are loans made by non-resident lenders in Indian currency to Indian borrowers.
- Public sector undertakings cannot raise loans through ECBs.
Select the correct statements
- 1 Only
- 2 Only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.6) The R.D. Pradhan Expert Committee is related to which of the following,
- Pathan Kot terror Attack 2016
- Mumbai Terror Attack 2008
- Gujarat Riots 2002
- Indian Parliament Attack 2001
Preventing another scuffle
Legacies crucial for the commons
Rules for a resolution
Following a trail of destruction
Remembering Iravatham Mahadevan
InSight on Mars: where, how and why
Margins of New India
Diplomacy and faith