Contents

  1. PM Gati Shakti national master plan
  2. India, Iran discussion on Afghan drug trafficking
  3. Telecom secretary asks C-DoT to work on 6G
  4. Indian Space Association (ISpA) launched
  5. China opposes VP visit to Arunachal Pradesh

PM Gati Shakti national master plan

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched PM Gati Shakti, a national master plan for synchronising connectivity infrastructure projects across modes of transport.

Relevance:

GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure (Industrial Policy, Government Policies and Initiatives), GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About PM Gati Shakti Yojana 2021
  2. Significance of PM Gati Shakti

About PM Gati Shakti Yojana 2021

  • PM Gati Shakti Yojana 2021 is a 100 lakh crore national infrastructure master plan that would provide a leap to Atmnirbhar Bharat and provide multimodal connectivity to boost the infrastructure development of the country.
  • This Masterplan will bring together 16 Ministries and seven core infrastructure sectors, on a single platform in order to synergise project planning across stakeholder ministries for avoiding duplication, plug gaps and expedite clearances at the right time.
  • Gati Shakti Scheme was launched with the aim of achieving three basic goals namely:
    1. Seamless multimodal connectivity for facilitating easy movement of goods & people,
    2. Improved prioritisation, optimal usage of resources, timely creation of capacities, and
    3. Resolution of issues like disjointed planning, standardisation & clearances. This project would help in the improvement of National Infrastructure by lending them more money and providing them with more speed.
  • It seeks to attract investment from worldwide to improve the infrastructure in India and will provide new direction & fresh momentum for overall infrastructure development in India and the scheme will also create employment opportunities for the youth.
  • The projects under the $1.5 Trillion National Infrastructure Pipeline would be included under PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan.
  • Private players would also get a boost to invest in National infrastructure as easy clearances and monetary help would be available to them.
  • This project would also provide last-mile connectivity to economic zones in a definite timeframe.

Significance of PM Gati Shakti

  • India’s projects were earlier a victim of interministerial delays, multiple stakeholders and a culture to work in silos. This led to cost overruns and hampered decision making, in turn, delaying the projects and development for good. The Gati Shakti Master Plan would cut down such loopholes and consolidate the infrastructure projects in some specific corridors without getting into various long timed approval processes.
  • There would also be a geographic information system (GIS) enabled digital platform under Gati Shakti that would be useful for gathering relevant information on any regions topography, satellite images and physical features. This would help the ministries to save funds and approve projects timely as well.

-Source: The Hindu


India, Iran discussion on Afghan drug trafficking

Context:

Indian and Iranian officials held a virtual meeting following the largest seizure of heroin at the Mundra port in Gujarat – after which the Embassy of Iran has said that illegal production of drugs in Afghanistan has impacted Iran severely for several decades.

Relevance:

GS-III: Internal Security Challenges, GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About India-Iran discussions on drug trafficking from Afghanistan
  2. India’s Vulnerability to the Drug Problem (Golden Crescent & Triangle)
  3. India’s International Coordination to fight Drug Abuse
  4. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, (NDPS)
  5. India’s Anti-Drug Action Plan for 2020-21
  6. Other Steps Taken in India

About India-Iran discussions on drug trafficking from Afghanistan

  • India and Iran discussed and examined ways and means of mutual cooperation in fighting drug trafficking which accordingly resulted in some positive outcomes. As an immediate neighbour to Afghanistan, Iran has also been significantly impacted by other developments in Afghanistan.
  • The discussion is important because of the seizure of around 3,000 kg heroin in the Mundra port (largest drug haul in the history of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)).
  • It is yet to be investigated if the discovered drugs in the Mundra port were part of such a consignment that was sent out by active Afghan syndicates to prevent the Taliban from gaining access to them.
  • The drug haul also impacted Iran’s trade as the Adani Group declared that containers from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan will not be handled at the port from November 2021.

India’s Vulnerability to the Drug Problem (Golden Crescent & Triangle)

Golden crescent

  • The Golden Crescent is the name given to one of Asia’s two principal areas of illicit Opium production, located at the crossroads of central, south and western Asia.
  • This space overlaps three nations, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan whose mountainous peripheries define the crescent.

Golden triangle

  • The Golden Triangle is located in the area where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong Rivers.
  • Along with the Golden Crescent, it is regarded as one of the largest producers of opium in the world since the 1950s until it was overtaken by the Golden Crescent in the early 21st century.

India’s International Coordination to fight Drug Abuse

  • The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) coordinated with various international organisations for sharing information and intelligence to combat transnational drug trafficking.
  • The Various International Organizations that the NCB works with include:
    1. The SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS);
    2. Colombo Plan: A regional organisation of 27 countries designed to strengthen economic and social development of member countries in the Asia-Pacific region;
    3. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD);
    4. Bay of Bengal Initiative For Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-Operation (BIMSTEC);
    5. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC);
    6. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
  • For coordination among various Central and State agencies, the Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) mechanism was set up by the MHA in year 2016 for effective drug law enforcement. This NCORD system has been restructured into a four-tier scheme up to district level on July 29, 2019, for better coordination.

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, (NDPS)

  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, commonly referred to as the NDPS Act prohibits a person the production/manufacturing/cultivation, possession, sale, purchasing, transport, storage, and/or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
  • India had no legislation regarding narcotics until 1985.
  • The Act is designed to fulfill India’s treaty obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau is a statutory body that was set up under the act with effect from 1986.

India’s Anti-Drug Action Plan for 2020-21

  • The annual Anti-Drug Action Plan for 2020-21 for 272 districts was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in June 2020.
  • The action plan for 2020-21 included awareness generation programmes, identification of drug-dependent population, focus on treatment facilities and capacity-building for service-providers to curb drug abuse and alcoholism.
  • De-addiction Facilities would be set up in the “most affected” 272 districts identified by the Narcotics Control Bureau focussing on building up treatment and de-addiction facilities and giving emphasis on reaching the youth and high-risk population.
  • Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts (IRCAs) funded by the Ministry would reach out to communities to help those affected by drug addiction.

Other Steps Taken in India

  1. Narco-Coordination Centre (NCORD): Government had constituted Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD), the mechanism under Director General (DG), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), in order to have effective coordination among all the drug law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders, and also to provide a common platform for discussions on drug-trafficking related issues.
  2. National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse: The government has constituted a fund called “National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse” to meet the expenditure incurred in connection with combating illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs; rehabilitating addicts, and educating the public against drug abuse, etc.
  3. Seizure Information Management System (SIMS): SIMS is a step taken towards digitization of pan-India drug seizure data in 2019 for all the drug law enforcement agencies under the mandate of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS). Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) was provided with the funds for developing SIMS which will create a complete online database of drug offences and offenders.

-Source: The Hindu


Telecom secretary asks C-DoT to work on 6G

Context:

The government has asked the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) to begin developing 6G and other futuristic technologies to catch up with the global market in time.

Relevance:

GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure, GS-III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. 6G Technology
  2. What is the significance of 6G technology?
  3. Challenges in 6G implementation
  4. Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT)

6G Technology

  • 6G (sixth-generation wireless) is the successor to 5G cellular technology and is said to be 50 times faster than 5G and is expected to be commercially launched between 2028-2030.
  • 6G will be able to use higher frequencies than 5G networks and provide substantially higher capacity and much lower latency (delay).
  • One of the goals of 6G internet will be to support one microsecond-latency communication (delay of one-microsecond in communication).
  • It seeks to utilize the terahertz band of frequency which is currently unutilized. These waves are extremely tiny and fragile, but there’s a huge amount of free spectrum up there that would allow for spectacular data rates.
  • The 6G technology market is expected to facilitate large improvements in imaging, presence technology and location awareness.
  • 6G’s higher frequencies will enable much faster sampling rates, in addition to providing significantly better throughput and higher data rates.

What is the significance of 6G technology?

  • The combination of sub-mm waves (e.g., wavelengths smaller than one millimeter) and frequency selectivity to determine relative electromagnetic absorption rates could potentially lead to significant advances in wireless sensing technology.
  • It will see the emergence of simple, easy-to-wear-and-carry devices with a huge set of digital capabilities. This will help the paramedics, educators and agro-technicians to jumpstart the village ecosystems with little or limited need for on-site presence of doctors, professors and agro-experts.
  • For India, such an enabling set of technologies will bring manifold utilisation of scarce rail, air and road networks and make mass transportation far more efficient; Artificial Intelligence (AI) and massively parallel computing architectures will help solve transportation and scheduling operations research problems.

Challenges in 6G implementation

  • The key technical challenges are energy efficiency, avoiding signal attenuation due to obstructions and water droplets in the air, and, of course, maintaining end-to-end trust through robust cyber security and data protection mechanisms.
  • Need innovations in antenna design, miniaturisation, edge cloud and distributed AI models. In addition, we need to ensure end-to-end security and privacy by design, instead of as an afterthought.
  • We don’t have semiconducting materials that can use multi-THz frequencies. Getting any kind of range out of those frequencies may require enormous arrays of extremely tiny antennas.
  • Water vapor in the atmosphere blocks and reflects THz waves, so mathematicians will have to design models that allow data to take very complex routes to its destination.

Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT)

  • The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) is an Indian Government owned telecommunications technology development centre established in 1984 as an autonomous body.
  • C-DOT was established with the initial mandate of designing and developing digital exchanges and has now expanded to develop intelligent computer software applications.
  • Presently CDOT is implementing Common Alert Protocol (CAP) for India by developing Location based Integrated Disaster Early Warning System for National Disaster Management Authority. (In this project, Forecasting agencies like IMD, CWC, INCOIS, GSI, SASE and national to state level disaster management authorities in a common platform for dissemination of early warnings for cyclone, flood, thunderstorms, sandstorm, tsunami, landslides and Avalanche to public over multiple media like mobile, internet, TV, radio, social media etc.)
  • Beginning with digital switching systems, C-DOT developed products for optical, satellite and wireless communication from circuit switching technology, ATM and next generation networks.

-Source: Livemint


Indian Space Association (ISpA) launched

Context:

The Prime Minister has launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA) via video conferencing. ISpA will act as a single-window and independent agency on matters related to space technology.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy, Industry and Infrastructure, GS-III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Indian Space Association (ISpA)
  2. Why is the formation of ISpA significant?
  3. Significance of ISpA
  4. Four Pillars of Space Reforms

Indian Space Association (ISpA)

  • Indian Space Association (ISpA) is an industry body consisting of various stakeholders of the Indian space domain.
  • ISpA aspires to be the collective voice of the Indian Space industry.
  • ISpA will be represented by leading domestic and global corporations that have advanced capabilities in space and satellite technologies. The members of the organisation include government bodies such as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and private telecom companies such as Bharti Airtel’s One Web, Tata Group’s Nelcom, L&T, MapMyIndia, and others.
  • ISpA will undertake Policy Advocacy and engage with all stakeholders in the Indian Space domain, including the Government and its Agencies, to make India self-reliant, technologically advanced and a leading player in the space arena.
  • ISpA will also work towards building global linkages for the Indian space industry to bring in critical technology and investments into the country to create more high skill jobs.

Why is the formation of ISpA significant?

  • Ever since the race to reach the space and then land on the Moon began between the US and the erstwhile USSR, governments across the world have poured millions of dollars to push the envelope in term of exploring the edges of the space. With time, governments and government agencies collaborated to explore newer planets and galaxies in search of life forms that exist outside Earth.
  • In the recent past, private sector companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have taken the lead in spaceflight, promising to start tourist flights to space.
  • Though India too has made significant strides in space exploration over time, state-run ISRO has been at the centre and front of this progress. Several private sector companies, however, have shown an interest in India’s space domain, with space-based communication networks coming to the fore.

Significance of ISpA

  • One of the main goals of the organisation is to supplement the government’s efforts towards making India a global leader in commercial space-based excursions.
  • Of late, ISRO’s rockets have been carrying the payload and communication satellites of various countries; now, private players will also look to touch on this space with the new organisation.
  • Several private sector companies have shown an interest in India’s space domain, with space-based communication networks coming to the fore.

Four Pillars of Space Reforms

  1. Allowing the private sector freedom of innovation.
  2. Government playing the enabler’s role.
  3. Preparing youngsters for the future.
  4. Treating the space sector as a resource for the progress of the common man.

Examples of these reforms:

  • ATL Space Challenge 2021 has been launched to ensure that students of classes 6 to 12 are given an open platform where they can innovate and enable themselves to solve digital age space technology problems.
  • Development projects are being monitored by satellite imaging, space technology is being used in settlement of Fasal Bima Yojna claims and disaster management planning, and the NAVIC system is helping fishermen.

-Source: Indian Express


China opposes VP visit to Arunachal Pradesh

Context:

Amid continuing tensions between them in Ladakh, India and China exchanged sharp statements on the Vice President’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. India “rejected” the Chinese statement “firmly opposing” the visit.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests), GS-I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the exchange of words between India and China
  2. About the border dispute in the Arunachal region (Eastern Sector)
  3. About McMahon line

About the exchange of words between India and China

China’s opposition

  • The Chinese government never recognises the so-called Arunachal Pradesh established unilaterally and illegally by the Indian side, and is firmly opposed to the Indian leaders’ visits to the area concerned.
  • China urged the Indian side to earnestly respect China’s major concerns, stop taking any action that would complicate and expand the boundary issue, and refrain from undermining mutual trust and bilateral relations.

India’s Response

  • India asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India and Indian leaders routinely travel to the state of Arunachal Pradesh as they do to any other state of India.
  • China’s objection to the visit of Indian leaders to a state of India does not stand to reason and understanding of Indian people.
  • China issuing a statement on an Indian leader visiting Arunachal and India responding to it are usual occurrences. However, the current state of ties between India and China are at the lowest point since 1988, hence, there is an increased sharpness in the exchange of words.

About the border dispute in the Arunachal region (Eastern Sector)

  • The Arunachal Pradesh border (of the Eastern Sector of India-China border disputes), that China still claims to be its own territory is the largest disputed area between India and China.
  • China claims up to 90,000 sq km in Arunachal in the eastern sector, while India sees China as illegally occupying 38,000 sq km in Aksai Chin in the western sector.
  • It was formally called North East Frontier Agency and during the 1962 war, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) occupied it but they announced a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew respecting the international boundary (Mcmahon Line).
  • However, it has continued to assert its claim over the territory. Nowadays, almost the whole of Arunachal is claimed by China.

About McMahon line

  • The McMahon Line is the demarcation line agreed between Tibet and British Raj as part of the 1914 Simla Convention, separating their respective spheres of influence in the eastern Himalayan region along northeast India and northern Burma (Myanmar). The Republic of China was not a party to the agreement, but its representative had agreed the overall boundary of Tibet, which included the McMahon Line.

History

  • British India annexed Assam in north-eastern India in 1826, by Treaty of Yandabo at the conclusion of the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826).
  • After subsequent Anglo-Burmese Wars, the whole of Burma was annexed giving the British a border with China’s Yunan province.
  • In 1913–14, representatives of Britain, China, and Tibet attended a conference in Simla, India and drew up an agreement concerning Tibet’s status and borders (McMahon Line).

-Source: The Hindu

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