Contents

  1. Assam-Mizoram Boundary Issue
  2. China opposes India-Taiwan trade ties
  3. Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP)
  4. Punjab passes its own three agriculture Bills
  5. Hybrid model of ‘smart’ fence for LOC

ASSAM-MIZORAM BOUNDARY ISSUE

Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

  • Territory dispute between residents of border districts in Assam and Mizoram snowballed into violence recently.
  • Both the states of Mizoram and Assam had approached the Centre regarding the issue.

Background to the Assam – Mizoram Border Dispute

  • Mizoram borders Assam’s Barak Valley and the boundary between present-day Assam and Mizoram is 165 km long. Both states border Bangladesh.
  • The boundary issue between present-day Assam and Mizoram dates back to the colonial era when inner lines were demarcated according to the administrative needs of British Raj.
  • Assam became a constituent state of India in 1950 and lost much of its territory to new states that emerged from within its borders between the early 1960s and the early 1970s.
  • Mizoram was granted statehood in 1987 by the State of Mizoram Act, 1986.
  • The Assam-Mizoram dispute stems from a notification of 1875 that differentiated Lushai Hills (During colonial times, Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills) from the plains of Cachar, and another of 1933 that demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
  • Mizoram believes the boundary should be demarcated on the basis of the 1875 notification, which is derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873.
  • According to an agreement between the governments of Assam and Mizoram, the status quo should be maintained in no man’s land in the border area.
  • In the Northeast’s complex boundary equations, clashes between Assam and Mizoram residents are less frequent than they are between other neighbouring states of Assam, like with Nagaland.

-Source: Indian Express


CHINA OPPOSES INDIA-TAIWAN TRADE TIES

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

China asked India to approach ties with Taiwan “prudently and properly” and said it would “firmly oppose” any official exchanges between New Delhi and Taipei.

Details

  • The statement from China’s Foreign Ministry came in response to reports that India and Taiwan were considering going forward with talks on a trade deal.
  • India and Taiwan in 2018 already signed a bilateral investment agreement. India-Taiwan trade ties have expanded since and Taiwanese firms are prominent investors in India, although India and Taiwan do not maintain formal diplomatic relations.

China’s Position on Taiwan – “One China” Principle

  • China has also stepped up warnings on any attempt to include or support Taiwan’s role at the WHA.
  • Chine referred to the “One-China” principle as “a widely accepted universal consensus of the international community including the Indian government.”
  • China asserts that there is only “One China” and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of it.
  • China put forward a formula, known as “one country, two systems”, under which both Beijing and Taipei agree that Taiwan belongs to China, while the two still disagree on which entity is China’s legitimate governing body.
  • China also stated its right to use “non-peaceful means” against Taiwan if it tried to secede from China.

India’s Position on Taiwan

  • India recognises only the People’s Republic of China (in mainland China) and not the Republic of China’s claims of being the legitimate government of Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau – a conflict that emerged after the Chinese Civil War (1945–49).
  • The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan and Japan have formally adopted the One China policy, under which the People’s Republic of China is theoretically the sole legitimate government of China.

Taiwan

  • Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia.
  • The island of Taiwan has the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the north-west, Japan to the north-east, and the Philippines to the south.
  • Taipei is the capital of Taiwan.

India–Taiwan relations

  • The bilateral relations between India and Taiwan have improved since the 1990s despite both nations not maintaining official diplomatic relations.
  • Although, India recognises only the People’s Republic of China (in mainland China) – India’s economic and commercial links as well as people-to-people contacts with Taiwan have expanded in recent years.
  • Even as India’s own relations with the PRC have developed substantially in recent years, India has sought to gradually develop better commercial, cultural and scientific co-operation with Taiwan, albeit whilst ruling out the possibility of establishing formal diplomatic relations Taiwan has also viewed India’s rising geopolitical standing as a counterbalance to the PRC’s dominance in the region.

-Source: The Hindu


KALESHWARAM LIFT IRRIGATION PROJECT (KLIP)

Focus: GS-I Geography

Why in news?

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has held that environmental clearance (EC) to Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) was granted ex post facto, after completion of substantial work, by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) “in violation of law”.

Details

  • The NGT has also observed that accountability needs to be fixed and remedial measures be taken. For that purpose, it has directed the MoEF&CC to constitute expert committee to go into the matter in light of the observations in the present case.
  • The NGT Principal Bench suggested that the expert committee could assess the extent of damage caused in going ahead with the project without EC – the period from 2008 to 2017 — and identify the necessary restoration measures.
  • Further, it could look into relief and rehabilitation measures adopted and required to be further adopted, examine effective implementation of environmental management plan (EMP) submitted by the project proponent as also compliance of EC conditions.

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

  • The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project is a multi-purpose irrigation project on the Godavari River in Kaleshwaram, Bhoopalpally, Telangana, India.
  • Currently the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project, its farthest upstream influence is at the confluence of the Pranhita and Godavari rivers.
  • The Pranahita River is itself a confluence of various smaller tributaries including the Wardha, Painganga, and Wainganga rivers which combine to form the seventh-largest drainage basin on the subcontinent.
  • It remains untapped as its course is principally through dense forests and other ecologically sensitive zones such as wildlife sanctuaries.

Lift irrigation

  • Lift irrigation is a method of irrigation in which water is not transported by natural flow, (as in gravity-fed canal) but is lifted with pumps or surge pools etc.
  • Lift irrigation schemes must accomplish two main tasks: first, to carry water by means of pumps or other way, from the water source to the main delivery chamber, which is situated at the top most point in the command area.
  • Second. they must distribute this water to the field of the beneficiary farmers by means of a suitable and proper distribution.
  • So that in Lift Irrigation system, the gravity flow of water by canals or river is not available or used.

-Source: The Hindu


PUNJAB PASSES ITS OWN THREE AGRICULTURE BILLS

Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

Punjab became the first State in the country to formally reject the Central government’s three agriculture sector legislations, with its Legislative Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passing three Bills to negate the Union laws.

Details

  • The Assembly passed a resolution rejecting the Central legislations and the proposed Electricity Amendment Bill and demanding their immediate annulment.
  • It also sought an ordinance to protect the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and ensure the continuance of procurement by the Centre.

Can States challenge the validity of central laws?

  • States can approach the Supreme Court and file suit against the Centre invoking Article 131, which confers exclusive jurisdiction on the top court to adjudicate disputes between two or more States, or between States and the Centre.
  • The Article allows it to directly take cognisance of such a dispute.

Recent Example: Kerala Government challenges Centre’s CAA in SC

  • The Kerala Government challenged Centre in Supreme after the State Assembly unanimously requested the Centre to abrogate the law on December 31, 2019.
  • States might claim that they would be “compelled” under Article 256 to comply with the Central Laws as seen in the case of Kerala.

Article 131

  • The Article vests the Supreme Court with original jurisdiction over disputes occurring between states or between states and the Centre.
  • The original jurisdiction of a court means the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, in which the court reviews the decision of a lower court.
  • Unlike the original jurisdiction under Article 32 (which gives the top court the power to issue writs, etc.), the jurisdiction in Article 131 is exclusive, meaning it is only the Supreme Court which has this authority. Under Article 226, the High Courts too have the power to issue writs, directions etc.

Article 256

According to article 256: The executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a State as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.

What kinds of disputes are covered under Article 131?

  • In ‘State of Rajasthan vs Union of India’, 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that the existence or extent of a legal right is a precursor before a suit under Article 131 is entertained, and that “mere wrangles between governments have no place in the scheme of that Article”, and upheld its jurisdiction in that case.
  • Similarly, in the 1978 case, ‘State of Karnataka vs Union of India’, which involved the Centre’s authority to order an inquiry into a state Chief Minister’s conduct, jurisdiction under Article 131 was held valid.

-Source: The Hindu


HYBRID MODEL OF ‘SMART’ FENCE FOR LOC

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

  • The Army has significantly improved its electronic surveillance along the Line of Control (LoC) to check infiltration, and work on converting the existing border fence into a smart fence integrated with several sensors is under way.
  • However, since the cost of converting the entire fence over a 700 km stretch into a smart one will be too high, a hybrid model is now being adopted.
  • The fence will be integrated with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors, infrared sensors and cameras among others.

Why is it necessary?

  • The existing fence called the Anti-Infiltration Obstacle System (AIOS) is located about 700 m from the LoC.
  • The double row fence consisting of concertina wire was constructed between 2003 and 2005.
  • With its high rate of degradation every year due to snow, the Army came up with a proposal to install a smart fence with various sensors integrated into it and a pilot project was subsequently taken up.

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)

  • LIDAR is a method for measuring distances (ranging) by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor.
  • Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3-D representations of the target. It has terrestrial, airborne, and mobile applications.
  • Lidar is commonly used to make high-resolution maps, with applications in surveying, geodesy, geomatics, archaeology, geography, geology, geomorphology, seismology, forestry, atmospheric physics, laser guidance, airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM), and laser altimetry.
  • Lidar uses ultraviolet, visible, or near infrared light to image objects.
  • It can target a wide range of materials, including non-metallic objects, rocks, rain, chemical compounds, aerosols, clouds and even single molecules.

-Source: The Hindu

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