Daily Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the best and most relevant editorials of the day from the best dailies known for civil services preparation.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS, 19th April 2019

External Affairs Ministry sets up Indo-Pacific Wing

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India.

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Why in News?

  • India has just set up an Indo-Pacific division in the foreign office.
  • MEA’s territorial divisions are crucial for policy making, so the creation of an Indo- Pacific division is a big step by the government.

About Indo-Pacific wing

  • The brainchild of foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, the new division is intended to give a coherent architecture to the policy, which was articulated in the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018.
  • The division will integrate the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the Quad to the Indo-Pacific table.
  • It is not clear whether the different trilateral groupings in the Indo-Pacific theatre, like the India-Japan-US, India-Australia-Indonesia and India-Australia-Japan would be part of this division’s responsibility.
  • The division will be headed for the moment by joint secretary for whom it will be an additional charge apart from Bangladesh and Myanmar. 

Need for the move

  • The brainchild of foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, the new division is intended to give a coherent architecture to the policy, which was articulated in the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018.
  • The division will integrate the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the Quad to the Indo-Pacific table.
  • It is not clear whether the different trilateral groupings in the Indo-Pacific theatre, like the India-Japan-US, India-Australia-Indonesia and India-Australia-Japan would be part of this division’s responsibility.
  • The division will be headed for the moment by joint secretary for whom it will be an additional charge apart from Bangladesh and Myanmar. 

Rationale behind

  • India is planning to put greater energy to the IORA because the heart of its Indo-Pacific policy is rooted in the Indian Ocean.
  • This integrates the blue economy part of the Indian policy with the security part — a trilateral security mechanism between India, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
  • In its Indo-Pacific diplomacy, India has repeatedly placed Asean at the centre of its policy.
  • Singapore, Vietnam and now Indonesia are key partners in the region for India.
  • This will also involve the Quad and taking this new grouping to the region.

Source: The Hindu.

Proposed amendment to Indian Forest Act would deepen injustice

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections.

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Context

  • Recently the Supreme Court, hearing a petition filed by wildlife conservationists and former forest department officials, directed state governments to evict “encroachers” or the “illegal” forest dwellers.
  • India’s forest dwellers were left undefended as the threat of an eviction from their habitation hovered over them.

Salient features of Indian Forest Act, 1927 (IFA)

  • The Indian Forest Act, 1927 was largely based on the British made Indian Forest Act of 1878.
  • Both the 1878 act and the 1927 one sought to consolidate and reserve the areas having forest cover, or significant wildlife, to regulate movement and transit of forest produce, and duty leviable on timber and other forest produce.
  • It also defines the procedure to be followed for declaring an area to be a Reserved Forest, a Protected Forest or a Village Forest.
  • It defines what is a forest offence, what are the acts prohibited inside a Reserved Forest, and penalties leviable on violation of the provisions of the Act.
  • Reserved Forest is an area mass of land duly notified under the provisions of India Forest Act or the State Forest Acts having full degree of protection.
  • In Reserved Forests, all activities are prohibited unless permitted.

Ambiguity over encroachment

  • As per the new draft, forest officials have been given the absolute authority to shoot tribals for “violation of laws”.
  • If a forest guard kills an “offender”, the move will invite no prosecution by the state governments without first initiating an inquiry into the matter under an executive magistrate.
  • Under the new amendment, forest departments can also declare any forest as reserved and alienate the forest-dwelling communities from their ancestral lands.
  • This will have a terrible effect on the tribal population, who are struggling to make both ends meet.

Democracy in governance of forest lands 

  • During the 1980s and 1990s, at least the Centre showed some kind of sympathy for the tribals, as a result of which important legislations like FRA and the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, or PESA, were enacted.
  • In India, forest governance has turned significantly democratic in the past few years.
  • Back in 1976, the National Commission on Agriculture recommended that the tribals should be chased out.
  • On the basis of that, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 came into being.
  • However, through the National Forest Policy of 1988, the Centre recognised the symbiotic relationship between tribals and forests for the first time.
  • This was then consolidated with the passage of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, when the Centre agreed that historical injustice had been committed and tried to undo the wrong.
  • But with the proposed amendment, the injustice will be deeper.

Source: The Hindu.

Navy’s MiG-29K to take on France’s Rafale-M off Goa

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

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Why in News?

  • India and France will hold their largest ever naval exercise called ‘Varuna’. 
  • The exercise will take place at Goa from 1 May 2019. 

Expectations from this exercise 

  • The exercise is expected to involve aircraft carriers, destroyer ships, submarines and fighter planes which will make it a mega event to happen in the history of the relationship between the two nations.
  • The two countries will be deploying their aircraft carriers with India deploying its INS Vikramaditya and Mig- 29K.
  • On the other hand, France will be deploying its Charles de gaulle and Rafale-M naval fighter jet.
  • The two countries have also operationalized their reciprocal military logistics support agreement, which saw French anti-aircraft destroyer FNS Cassard docking at the Mumbai naval port in January.
  • Under the agreement, Indian warships can access French bases like the Reunion Islands near Madagascar and Djibouti on the Horn of Africa in the Indian Ocean.

Source: The Hindu.

The fox ushers in fortune

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

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Context

  • The Chenchu tribal families have succeeded in domesticating the fox.
  • They believe that the fox ushers in fortune. 

Hurdles

The conservation of fox falls under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972, according to which hunting or domesticating it is an offence.

About Chenchus

  • Chenchus are a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group(PVTGs). 
  • They are forest dwellers whose home is the Nallamala forest range.
  •  It spreads across four to five districts in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states.
  • Chenchus are an aboriginal tribe whose traditional way of life has been based on hunting and gathering.
  • The Chenchus speak the Chenchu language, a member of the Dravidian language family.

About PVTGs

  • The PVTGs are the marginalized section of the Scheduled tribes of India.
  • They are a section who are relatively isolated, educationally and socio-economically backward, living in a habitat far away from amenities.
  • PVTG is not a Constitutional category, nor are these constitutionally recognized communities.
  • It is a government of India classification created with the purpose of enabling improvement in the conditions of certain communities with particularly low development.
  • The criteria followed for determination of PVTGs are as under 

(a)pre-agriculture level of technology

(b)stagnant or declining population 

(c)Extremely low literacy and 

(d)subsistence level of economy.

Source: The Hindu.

India, Vietnam hold naval exercise

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

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Why in News?

  • The second edition of Indian Navy-Vietnam People Navy Bilateral Exercise (IN – VPN BILAT EX) was concluded. 
  • The four-day maritime exercise was held at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam with an aim to boost operational cooperation. 

Highlights

  • The exercise involved a composite training programme in the fields of submarine, aviation and dockyard training.
  • This exercise was undertaken as part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment of Eastern Fleet ships to South East Asian countries.
  • This exercise is a significant step in strengthening mutual confidence and interoperability as well as sharing best practices between the Indian and the Vietnam People Navies.
  • In 2016, during the visit of Indian Prime Minister to Vietnam, the relations between the two countries were elevated to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Source: The Hindu.

Map of the Day – Vietnam

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Quote for the Day

“All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop” – Kabir

Mains Answer Writing

1.Critically analyse the significance of Indo-Pacific region for India.
2.Discuss why the proposed amendment to Indian Forest Act would deepen injustice.
3.Explain the problems associated with PVTGs and the steps taken by the government for their development.

Test your Knowledge

1. Consider the following statements 

1) Chenchus are a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTGs).

2) They are forest dwellers whose home is the Nallamala forest range.

3) It spreads across four to five districts in TamilNadu.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 

2. Consider the following statements 

1) Directorate General of Civil Aviation is an independent body.

2) It is the regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation primarily dealing with safety issues.

3) International Civil Aviation organisation is an independent body and not associated with UN. 

Which of the statements given above is/are incorrect?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 

3. Consider the following statements: 

1) EPCH is an apex body of handicrafts exporters for promotion of exports of Handicrafts from the country. 

2) It is a non-profit organization which was established under the Companies Act in the year 1986-87.

3) The objective of EPCH is to promote, support, protect, maintain and increase the export of handicrafts. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 

4.Great Indian Bustards are

a) Endangered

b) Vulnerable

c) Critically endangered

d) Extinct 

5.Sea Vigil exercise is held between 

a.India and Vietnam
b.India and Australia
c.maritime stakeholders at the Centre and all the 13 Coastal States and Union Territories.
d.India and Bangladesh

 

Answers

  1. A 2.C 3.D 4.C 5.C