GS PAPER 2
Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue – 2019
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
The process of engaging the global strategic community in an annual review of India’s opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, the second edition of Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) - 2019 will be held in March 2019 at the Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi.
It will build upon the foundation laid by the inaugural edition and will examine five fresh themes:
- Practical solutions for achieving cohesion in the region through maritime connectivity.
- Measures to attain and maintain a free-and-open Indo-Pacific.
- A regional approach to the region’s transition from a ‘Brown’ to a ‘Blue’ economy.
- Opportunities and challenges arising from the maritime impact of ‘Industry 4.0’.
- How the twin conceptualisations of ‘SAGAR’ and ‘SAGARMALA’ might best be made mutually-reinforcing on a regional level.
- The response to this year’s dialogue has been highly encouraging and IPRD-2019 is likely to witness active participation of globally-renowned domain experts and policy-makers from thirteen countries of the Indo-Pacific.
- The Indian Navy and the National Maritime Foundation, aim to provide a platform for substantive and insightful discussions pertaining to the geopolitical developments affecting the maritime domain of the Indo-Pacific, and provide policy-relevant inputs to the policy-makers and the public at large.
- The idea of an Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) was first conceptualised and conducted in 2018, as the apex level conference of the Indian Navy, organised by the National Maritime Foundation as the Navy’s Knowledge Partner.
- The permanent theme of this annual dialogue is a review of India’s opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The aim is to focus attention on the Indo-Pacific, as a maritime geographical-entity, while deliberating aspects of great relevance to regional geopolitics.
The 2018 edition of the IPRD sought to highlight the opportunities that lay before India’s maritime policy-shapers, policy-makers, and, the practitioners of the country’s maritime policies.
This first edition dwelt upon four basic themes:
- The growth, opportunities and vulnerabilities of maritime merchandise trade, including associated infrastructure such as ports and multi-modal connectivity, as seen from the very different perspectives of large and small littoral and island nations
- Regional connectivity-models
- Pan-regional challenges such as sustaining persistent surveillance at sea, the increasing digitisation of the maritime space, the dangers of cyber-malevolence that are already afflicting the maritime domain, etc.
- The role of Indian industry within both, the private and the public sectors, in enhancing holistic maritime-security.
The 2018 Dialogue was a resounding success, with 15 analytical papers presented by renowned strategists and analysts from across the globe, in five sessions, spread over two days.
Indo pacific region is a significant platform for multilateral trade to boost the exports of any country. How can India utilise this platform and what are the impediments?
National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) to boost Rural Incomes across 13 States in India
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
The World Bank and the Government of India signed here today in New Delhi a $250 Million Agreement for the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) which will help women in rural households shift to a new generation of economic initiatives by developing viable enterprise for farm and non-farm products.
- A Key Focus of the Project will be to promote women-owned and women-led farm and non-farm enterprises across value chains; enable them to build businesses that help them access finance, markets and networks; and generate employment.
- The NRETP is an additional financing to the $500 million National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) approved by the World Bank in July 2011.
- The NRLP which is currently being implemented across 13 states, 162 districts and 575 blocks, has so far mobilized more than 8.8 million women from poor rural households into 750,000 self-help groups (SHGs).
- These SHGs have been further federated into 48,700 Village Organizations and 2900 Cluster/Gram Panchayat-level Federations.
National Rural Livelihood Mission:
- The National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) aims to alleviate rural poverty and create sustainable livelihood opportunities in rural communities by promoting sustainable community-based institutions which will facilitate economic and financial services for the rural poor.
- The additional funding will help give impetus to the poverty alleviation measures by the Government and ensure equitable and inclusive growth in the country.
- The National Rural Livelihoods Project has mobilized close to 9 million rural women into strong self-managed institutional platforms, helping them access services, participate in Gram Sabhas and start engaging in income generating activities.
- Many of these women are now geared towards moving into higher order economic initiatives in farm and non-farm sectors. He further said that the New Project will now help them engage purposefully in an evolving rural economy.
- Since its launch in 2011, the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) has mobilized 50 million poor rural women into self-help groups and their higher-level federations.
- These groups have leveraged nearly $30 billion from commercial banks.
Key components of the project:
- The NERTP will support enterprise development programs for rural poor women and youth by creating a platform to access finance including start-up financing options to build their individual and/or collectively owned and managed enterprises.
- It includes developing financial products using digital financial services to help small producer collectives scale-up and engage with the market.
- It will also support youth skills development, in coordination with the Deen Dayal Upadyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana.
- Peer to peer learning across States and across communities was a successful strategy under the NRLP and will also continue to be used in this project.
- The Project will continue to give technical assistance, skills building and investment support to strengthen women-owned and women-led producer collectives diversify into high value farm and non-farm commodities such as commercial crops and livestock products, and fisheries.
The $250 Million Loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a final maturity of 20 years.
GS PAPER 3
“FMBAP” for Flood Management Works in entire country
Topic: Disaster and disaster management.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the "Flood Management and Border Areas Programme (FMBAP)" for Flood Management Works in entire country and River Management Activities and works related to Border Areas for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20 with a total outlay of Rs.3342.00 crores.
Salient features of the program:
- The Scheme "FMBAP" has been framed by merging the components of two continuing XII Plan schemes titled "Flood Management Programme (FMP)" and "River Management Activities and Works related to Border Areas (RMBA)".
- The aim of the Scheme is to assist the State Governments to provide reasonable degree of protection against floods in critical areas by adopting optimum combination of structural and non-structural measures and enhancing capabilities of State /Central Government officials in related fields.
- The works under the scheme will protect valuable land from erosion and flooding and help in maintaining peace along the border.
- The Scheme aims at completion of the on-going projects already approved under FMP.
- It also caters to Hydro-meteorological observations and Flood Forecasting on common rivers with the neighbouring countries.
- It also includes survey and investigations, preparation of DPR etc. of water resources projects on the common rivers with neighbouring countries like Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, Sapta Kosi-Sun Kosi Projects in Nepal which would benefit both countries.
- The FMBAP Scheme will be implemented throughout the country for effective flood management, erosion control and anti-sea erosion.
- The proposal will benefit towns, villages, industrial establishments, communication links, agricultural fields, infrastructure etc. from floods and erosion in the country.
- The catchment area treatment works will help in reduction of sediment load into rivers.
The funding pattern for FM Component for works in general category States will continue to be 50% (Centre) : 50% (State) and for projects of North Eastern States, Sikkim, J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the funding pattern will continue to be 70% (Centre) : 30% (State).
Why there is increase in urban flooding and in the Himalayan belt? Write down the steps to be taken to manage the floods in urban and border areas. (12.5 marks)
National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage
Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister has approved:
- Setting up of a National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage, to drive clean, connected, shared, sustainable and holistic mobility initiatives;
- Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP) valid for 5 years till 2024 to support setting up of a few large-scale, export-competitive integrated batteries and cell-manufacturing Giga plants in India.
- Creation of a PMP valid for 5 years till 2024 to localize production across the entire Electric Vehicles value chain.
- During the Global Mobility Summit held in September 2018, Prime Minister had outlined the vision for the future of mobility in India based on 7 C’s which are Common, Connected, Convenient, Congestion-free, Charged, Clean and Cutting-edge mobility.
- Mobility has the potential to drive the economy forward and positively impact the lives of citizens both in urban and rural areas.
- Affordable, accessible, inclusive and safe mobility solutions are primary strategic levers for rapid economic development and improving ‘Ease of Living’.
- Shared, connected and clean mobility solutions are increasingly becoming the key principles of effective mobility solutions across the world.
- Given its commitment to climate goals, India needs to adopt effective strategies to place itself as a key driver of the mobility revolution in the world.
Hence, there was a need felt to establish a dedicated multi-disciplinary Mission that will facilitate cooperative federalism, extensive stakeholder and inter-ministerial consultations and implement end-to-end policy framework for transforming the mobility landscape.
National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Storage:
- The Mission will recommend and drive the strategies for transformative mobility and Phased Manufacturing Programmes for EVs, EV Components and Batteries.
- A Phased Manufacturing Program (PMP) will be launched to localize production across the entire EV value chain. The National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage will determine the contours of PMP, and will finalise the details of such a program.
- The details of the value addition that can be achieved with each phase of localisation will be finalised by the Mission with a clear Make in India strategy for the electric vehicle components as well as battery.
- A phased roadmap to implement battery manufacturing at Giga-scale will be considered with initial focus on large-scale module and pack assembly plants by 2019-20, followed by integrated cell manufacturing by 2021-22.
- Details of the PMP for Batteries shall be formulated by the Mission.
- The Mission will ensure holistic and comprehensive growth of the battery manufacturing industry in India.
- The Mission will prepare the necessary roadmap that will enable India to leverage upon its size and scale to produce innovative, competitive multi-modal mobility solutions that can be deployed globally in diverse contexts.
- The Mission will define the roadmap for transformative mobility in “New India” by introducing a sustainable mobility ecosystem and fostering Make-in-India to boost domestic manufacturing and employment generation in the country.
What is the Impact?
- The Mission will drive mobility solutions that will bring in significant benefits to the industry, economy and country.
- These solutions will help improve air quality in cities along with reducing India’s oil import dependence and enhance the uptake of renewable energy and storage solutions.
- The Mission will lay down the strategy and roadmap which will enable India to leverage upon its size and scale to develop a competitive domestic manufacturing ecosystem for electric mobility.
- The actions in this regard will benefit all citizens as the aim is to promote ‘Ease of Living’ and enhance the quality of life of our citizens and also provide employment opportunities through ‘Make-in-India’ across a range of skill sets.
Points to be noted down for prelims
Centre for Disability Sports
- The Government has approved the proposal regarding setting up of a Centre for Disability Sports at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.
- It would be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, which is to function under the name of Centre for Disability Sports, Gwalior.
- The Centre will have an Outdoor Athletic Stadium, Indoor Sports Complex, Basement Parking Facility; Aquatic Centre having 2 Swimming Pools, High Performance Centre with classrooms; medical facilities; Sports Science Centre; hostel facilities for athletes, support facilities including accessible lockers, dining, recreational amenities.
Young Scientist Programme Launched at ISRO
- Indian Space Research Organisation has launched a special programme for School Children called “Young Scientist Programme” “YUva VIgyani KAryakram” (युविका).
- The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities.
- ISRO has chalked out this programme to “Catch them young”.
- The residential training programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays and it is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ Union Territory to participate in this programme every year covering CBSE, ICSE and State syllabus.
- Those who have finished 8th standard and currently studying in 9th standard will be eligible for the programme.
- BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) under CIBMS (Comprehensive Integrated Border Management system) on India-Bangladesh border in Dhubri District of Assam.
- Information and Technology Wing of BSF undertook the project BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) and completed it in record time with the technical support of various manufacturers and suppliers.
- It is the project to install technical systems under the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS), which enables BSF to equip Indo-Bangla borders with different kind of sensors in unfenced riverine area of Brahmaputra and its tributaries.
- The entire span of River Brahmaputra has been covered with data network generated by Microwave communication, OFC Cables, DMR Communication, day and night surveillance Cameras and intrusion detection system.
National Common Mobility Card
- Prime Minister launched One Nation, One Card for transport mobility in Ahmedabad.
- India’s First Indigenously Developed Payment Eco-system for transport consisting of NCMC Card, SWEEKAR (Swachalit Kiraya: Automatic Fare Collection System) and SWAGAT (Swachalit Gate) is ased on NCMC Standards.
- These are bank issued cards on Debit/Credit/Prepaid card product platform.
- The customer may use this single card for payments across all segments including metro, bus, suburban railways, toll, parking, smart city and retail.
- The stored value on card supports offline transaction across all travel needs with minimal financial risk to involved stakeholders.
- The service area feature of this card supports operator specific applications e.g. monthly passes, season tickets etc.
- Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs brought to the fore the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) to enable seamless travel by different metros and other transport systems across the country besides retail shopping and purchases.
Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) Yojana
- Prime Minister launched the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) Yojana at Vastral in Gujarat.
- He also distributed the PM-SYM pension cards to select beneficiaries.
- Over two crore workers at three lakh Common Service Centers across the country witnessed the launch event through video conference.
- The scheme will assure a monthly pension of Rs.3000 for the enrolled unorganized sector workers during their old age.
- The informal sector workers earning less than Rs.15000 per month to enroll as beneficiaries in the nearby Common Service Centre.
- A contribution of equal amount as that of the beneficiary will be made by the Union Government.