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November 6, 2018
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November 8, 2018
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07 November Current Affairs

Gujarat government wants to rename Ahmedabad as Karnavati

In News:

Gujarat government is planning to rename Ahmedabad as Karnavati.

Historical background:

Historically, the area around Ahmedabad has been inhabited since the 11th century, when it was known as Ashaval.

Chaulukya ruler Karna of Anhilwara (modern Patan) had waged a successful war against the Bhil king of Ashaval and established a city called Karnavati on the banks of the Sabarmati river.

Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411 A.D. Had laid the foundation of a new walled city near Karnavati and named it Ahmedabad after the four saints in the area by the name Ahmed.

Source: ToI

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

In News:

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has commissioned a report from the Maharashtra Forest Department on how tigress Avni (T1) was killed.

Background:

Maharashtra government had permitted a hunter to kill the tigress- Avni. This move was widely criticised by the activists. The tigress, which is said to have killed 13 people, was shot dead in Yavatmal on November 2 by civilian hunter Asgar Ali, who was with a team of Forest Department officials.

About NTCA:

The National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it under the said Act.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority has been fulfilling its mandate within the ambit of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for strengthening tiger conservation in the country by retaining an oversight through advisories/normative guidelines, based on appraisal of tiger status, ongoing conservation initiatives and recommendations of specially constituted Committees.

The functions of NTCA are as follows:

  • Ensuring normative standards in tiger reserve management
  • Preparation of reserve specific tiger conservation plan
  • Laying down annual/ audit report before Parliament
  • Instituting State level Steering Committees under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister and establishment of Tiger Conservation Foundation.
  • According approval for declaring new Tiger Reserves.

Source: The Hindu

First India-Nepal passenger train on broad gauge to make first run in December

In News:

The first passenger train to run on broad gauge between India and Nepal will run from December this year.

Key facts:

The train will run from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal, which is a 34 km stretch.

No visa will be required for Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the border through this stretch.

Significance:

After Beijing decided to extend its railway network up to Kathmandu, New Delhi proposed the construction of new railway links during Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s recent visit to India. The move is being seen as part of efforts to counter China’s plans to forge rail links with Nepal.

Source: The Hindu

Chabahar port

In News:

The United States has exempted India from imposition of certain sanctions for the development of the strategically-located Chabahar port in Iran, along with the construction of the railway line connecting it with Afghanistan.

Details:

The decision by the Trump administration is a seen as a recognition by Washington of India’s role in development of the port on the Gulf of Oman, which is of immense strategic importance for the development of war-torn Afghanistan.

Background:

The US has imposed “the toughest ever” sanctions on a defiant Iran aimed at altering the Iranian regime’s “behaviour”. The sanctions cover Iran’s banking and energy sectors and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports.

Where is Chabahar port?

Iran’s Chabahar port is located on the Gulf of Oman and is the only oceanic port of the country. The port gives access to the energy-rich Persian Gulf nations’ southern coast and India can bypass Pakistan with the Chabahar port becoming functional.

Why Chabahar port is crucial for India?

The first and foremost significance of the Chabahar port is the fact that India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan. Chabahar port will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.

Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port. Gwadar port is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea.

With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India. Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East.

With Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India. The import cost of oil to India will also see a considerable decline. India has already increased its crude purchase from Iran since the West imposed ban on Iran was lifted.

Chabahar port will ensure in the establishment of a politically sustainable connectivity between India and Afghanistan. This is will, in turn, lead to better economic ties between the two countries.

From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated.

Source: ndtv

Quad countries to focus on maritime security

In News:

The “Quad” countries, namely India, US, Japan and Australia, will hold their next meeting on the sidelines of the 13 th East Asia Summit at Singapore in mid-November, with the grouping keen to step-up maritime security and disaster relief initiatives as well as economic development projects in the critical Indo-Pacific region.

The Quad:

Regional coalition known as the ‘Quad’, the quadrilateral formation includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.

All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.

The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.

Significance Quad- grouping for the US:

The US believes the Quad, as one of the elements of its larger Indo-Pacific strategy for “a free, open and rules-based order” in face of an aggressive and expansionist China in the region, should eventually evolve into a ministerial-level dialogue imbued with a strong military dimension.

But Washington also recognizes that New Delhi for now remains opposed to any militarization of the Quad, which was revived after a decade as a joint secretary-level dialogue in November 2017, with its second meeting being held in June this year. India has also made it clear that the US should not “conflate” the Indo-Pacific with the Quad, stressing the centrality of Asean in the former.

Way ahead:

Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest. All four countries share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security.

The Quad grouping is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context. Quad should not be seen in any comparative or in an exclusive context.

Maritime security and the need for it:

With a vast coastline of about 7600 kilometres, island territories on both sides of the peninsula are sizeable Exclusive Economic Zone and sea borne trade, the greater part of which moves by ship; there are many strands to India’s composite maritime security including the safety of major ports plus aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines at strategic levels.

Source: ToI

Border Area Development Programme (BADP)

In News:

The Centre has released more than Rs. 113 crore to to Assam, Nagaland, Sikkim, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP).

Background:

The home ministry, till now, has released a total of Rs. 637.98 crore during the 2018-19 period to states having an International Border. The funds released are in addition to the Rs. 1,100-crore released in 2017-18 for the all-round development of villages located along the International Border in 17 states.

About Border Area Development Programme (BADP):

The Border Area Development Programme (BADP) has been implemented through 17 States (viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal) which constitute the International Land Borders.

The main objective of the BADP is to meet the special developmental needs and well being of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the international border and to saturate the border areas with the entire essential infrastructure through convergence of Central/ State/ BADP/ Local schemes and participatory approach.

Funding and schemes covered:

The funds under BADP are provided to the States as a 100% non-lapsable Special Central Assistance. The programme is supplemental in nature and the budget allocation for the financial year 2015-16 is Rs.990 crore.

The BADP schemes include construction of primary health centres, schools, supply of drinking water, community centres, connectivity, drainage to enable sustainable living in border areas.

It also covers schemes or activities relating to Swachhta Abhiyan, skill development programmes, promotion of sports activities in border areas, promotion of rural tourism, border tourism, protection of heritage sites, construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible hilly areas, which do not have road connectivity.

Source: PIB

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

  • India has been elected as a Member of the ITU Council for another 4-year term (2019-2022).
  • India has been a regular member of the ITU council since 1952.
  • ITU is the specialized agency of United Nation (UN) for information and communication technologies (ICTs).
  • It currently has a membership of 192 countries and more than 700 private-sector entities.
  • Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It is responsible for the allocation of radio spectrum and satellite orbits, and for the standardization and development of ICTs worldwide.
  • The work of ITU covers the whole ICT sector, from digital broadcasting to the Internet and from mobile technologies to 3D TV.
  • It is unique among UN agencies in having both public and private sector membership.
  • In its recent meeting, it was decided to set up ITU South Asia Area Office and Technology Innovation Centre in New Delhi.

GSAT – 11

  • GSAT – 11, India’s heaviest communication satellite till date, returns to Guiana after repair work in Bengaluru, for its launch in December.
  • It is going to be launched in Ariane -5 launch vehicle designed by Arianespace, ISRO’s long-time European launch services contractor.
  • It will be launched from Guiana space port in South America along with South Korea’s weather satellite GEO-Kompsat 2A.
  • It is built to provide the Indian region superior communication and 12 GBPS connectivity with its multiple spot beams in Ka and Ku bands.

VdW Materials

  • VdW materials are made of piles of ultra-thin layers that are held together by van der Waals bonds.
  • Van der Waals bonds are weak forces exist between molecules of same substance and arise when atoms are in close proximity.
  • VdW materials have the potential to replace the current hard drive assemblies in computers and become the key to quantum computing.
  • Controlling magnetism is typical of VdW materials.
  • The layers in the material can be changed, added or removed in order to introduce magnetism and other new physical properties in the material.

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