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NITI Aayog

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in the news?

The Fifth meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog concluded recently.

What were the deliberations and discussions of the meeting?

On the Agenda before the Fifth Council Meeting were the following items:

  1. Rain-Water Harvesting
  2. Drought Situation and Relief Measures
  3. Aspirational Districts Programme – Achievements And Challenges
  4. Transforming Agriculture: Need For Structural Reforms With Special Emphasis On:
    1. Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act
    2. Essential Commodities Act (ECA)  
  5. Security Related Issues with Specific Focus On LWE Districts

 

  • There was broad consensus on reducing water wastage, promoting efficient water conservation practices across States, with rain-water harvesting to be undertaken at the household and community level with proactive policy and investment support.
  • The Governing Council also reviewed the implementation of the Aspirational Districts Programme, which has emerged as a major policy innovation in driving inclusive growth. Rapid progress has been achieved across all Aspirational Districts that have participated in this programme in 49 key performance indicators of human and social development.
  • The Prime Minister announced the creation of a high-powered committee on structural reforms in agriculture.

 

What is the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog?

The Governing Council of NITI Aayog comprises:

  • Prime Minister of India,
  • Chief Ministers of all the States and Union Territories with Legislatures and
  • Lt. Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and
  • Four Union Ministers as ex-officio members and
  • Three Union Ministers as Special Invitees.

 

It is the premier body tasked with evolving a shared vision of national development priorities, sectors and strategies with the active involvement of States in shaping the development narrative.

 

Doklam

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in the news?

Prime Minister of Bhutan has called China to maintain status quo in the Doklam region saying that no side should do anything near the trijunction unilaterally.

 

What is the Doklam issue?

  • The trijunction is the point where the borders of India (Sikkim), Bhutan and China (Tibet) meet. The trijunction is disputed — India claims it is at Batang La, while China claims it is around 6.5 km to the south, at Gymochen. Both claims are based on competing interpretations of the 1890 Calcutta Convention between Britain and China.
  • As per the agreement between the Special Representatives of India and China in 2012, the two sides have to maintain the status quo until their competing claims are resolved in consultation with the third party, Bhutan. Gymochen is 20 km as the crow flies from the West Bengal border.
  • The Doklam or Donglang area is close to the northern end of a funnel-shaped valley, called the Chumbi Valley. The valley opens out in the Tibet region of China. At its base (in Tibet), the Chumbi ‘funnel’ is 54 km wide. At its tip, the ‘funnel’ is just 11 km wide. This is Batang La, which lies to the east of Gangtok. The Chumbi ‘funnel’ measures 70 km from its tip in the south to its base in the north.

 

What was the Doklam faceoff?

  • This area saw a face off between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China in June 2017 when there was significant military build up on both sides and tensions were only diffused after 73 days.
  • The faceoff on Dolam plateau in Doklam area of Bhutan between Indian and Chinese soldiers started on June 16, 2017, when a large construction party of the Chinese Army entered the area with road construction equipment and tried to build a road in Southern Doklam region to Jampheri ridge.
  • The Bhutanese patrol initially confronted them but they turned the patrol away. Indian soldiers from Doka La, an Army post overlooking the area, sought to dissuade the Chinese personnel from their attempt to alter the status quo. The Chinese did not agree, leading to a face-off between soldiers of the two sides deployed in the close vicinity, as Indians physically stopped any Chinese construction attempt.
  • Road construction would have brought the Chinese military close to the India border in West Bengal and exposed the Jampheri ridge to the possibility of Chinese presence, creating serious security vulnerability for the Siliguri Corridor. This became a red line for New Delhi.

 

Hong Kong Protests

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in the news?

Hong Kong protestors continued their protests even as the Government suspended the controversial extradition bill calling for the removal of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong

What are the protests all about?

  • The Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 was proposed by the Hong Kong government in February to allow the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions with which Hong Kong lacks an extradition deal, including the mainland, Taiwan and Macau.
  • Opposition to the extradition agreement has been snowballing ever since it was announced in February. Domestic and international concerns have been expressed about the possibility of politically motivated persecution and unfair trials on the mainland.
  • People have taken to the streets in huge numbers to protest the bill, including last Sunday, when, according to organisers, 1.03 million people marched. Police put the figure at 240,000.
  • It is also seen threatening the one country – two systems framework that describes the Hong Kong – China relationship. Under the “one country, two systems” principle, Beijing guaranteed Hong Kong “a high degree of autonomy”, to last until 2047.

 

G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in the news?

  • The G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth was held at Karuizawa, Japan
  • The members agreed to create an international framework that aims at establishing voluntary measures to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.
  • Under the framework, each G20 member will need to report progress on its voluntary measures to address the issue of marine plastic waste.

 

Convention on International Civil Aviation

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in the news?

  • The Enforcement Directorate has said that substantial jump in seat entitlements and Indian points-of-call for the operation of foreign airlines due to bilateral agreements struck with the UAE and Qatar between 2005 and 2009 has resulted in huge losses to the national carriers.
  • Being a signatory to the Convention of Civil Aviation, India has to comply with its principles. Under this Convention two countries can decide on routes and allocation of seats on the basis of equality and reciprocity.

 

What is the Convention of International Civil Aviation?

  • The Convention establishes rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety, and details the rights of the signatories in relation to air travel. The Convention also exempts air fuels in transit from (double) taxation.
  • It is also known as the Chicago Convention and was signed in 1944 and came into force in 1947.
  • It is administered by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which is a specialized agency of the UN.