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March 18, 2021
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17th March Current Affairs

China plans to build downstream dams on Brahmaputra

In News:

In its new Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), China has proposed to build first dams on the lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo river, as the Brahmaputra is known in Tibet before it flows into India.

Details:

Other major projects include the construction of coastal nuclear power plants and power transmission channels.

What are India’s concerns?

China’s dam building overdrive is a concern because there are no bilateral or multilateral treaties on the water.

China believes dam building on the Brahmaputra helps it assert claim over Arunachal Pradesh.

India believes China’s projects in the Tibetan plateau threaten to reduce river flows into India.

Dams, canals, irrigation systems can turn water into a political weapon to be wielded in war, or during peace to signal annoyance with a co-riparian state.

Denial of hydrological data becomes critical when the flow in the river is very high.

China is contemplating northward re-routing of the Yarlung Zangbo.

Diversion of the Brahmaputra is an idea China does not discuss in public, because it implies devastating India’s northeastern plains and Bangladesh, either with floods or reduced water flow.

Significance of Brahmaputra river for India:

The Brahmaputra flows for over 3,000km through Tibet, India and Bangladesh.

It is crucial for India too as its basin is a critical water source for Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Nagaland and West Bengal.

The Brahmaputra valley supports the lives of several indigenous communities.

Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme

In News:

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Silk Board on a convergence model for the implementation of Agroforestry in the silk sector under the ongoing Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme.

Significance:

The signing of this MoU aims to incentivize the farmers to take up sericulture based Agroforestry models thereby contributing to the Make in India and Make for the World vision.

This linkage will add another dimension to agroforestry for faster returns to the growers as well as support the production of the range of silks that India is famous for.

About the Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF):

The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC & FW) has been implementing the Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) since 2016-17 as part of the recommendation of the National Agroforestry Policy 2014.

This sub-mission is under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).

India was the first country to have such a comprehensive policy which was launched at the World Agroforestry Congress held in Delhi in February 2014.

At present, the scheme is being implemented in 20 States and 2 UTs.

Aim of the mission:

SMAF aims to encourage farmers to plant multi-purpose trees together with the agriculture crops for climate resilience and an additional source of income to the farmers, as well as enhanced feedstock to inter alia wood-based and herbal industry.

China warns U.S. over its Taiwan stand

In News:

China recently warned the Biden administration to roll back former President Donald Trump’s “dangerous practice” of showing support for Taiwan.

China has also warned Taiwan that any attempt to seek independence “means war”.

What’s the issue?

China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state, with its own constitution, military, and elected leaders.

China- Taiwan relations- Background:

China has claimed Taiwan through its “one China” policy since the Chinese civil war forced the defeated Kuomintang, or Nationalist, to flee to the island in 1949 and has vowed to bring it under Beijing’s rule, by force if necessary.

  • China is Taiwan’s top trading partner, with trade totaling $226 billion in 2018. Taiwan runs a large trade surplus with China.
  • While Taiwan is self-governed and de facto independent, it has never formally declared independence from the mainland.
  • Under the “one country, two systems” formula, Taiwan would have the right to run its own affairs; a similar arrangement is used in Hong Kong.
  • Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Asian Development Bank under various names.

Indo- Taiwan relations:

Although they do not have formal diplomatic ties, Taiwan and India have been cooperating in various fields.

India has refused to endorse the “one-China” policy since 2010.

The Chief Minister: Appointment, Power, Function and Position

In News:

Tirath Singh Rawat is new CM of Uttarakhand.

Appointment:

The Chief Minister is appointed by the governor.

164 of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at its hand to aid and advise the governor.

Who can be a Chief Minister?

After general election to the State Legislative Assembly, the party or coalition group which secures majority in this House, elects its leader and communicates his name to the Governor. The Governor then formally appoints him as the Chief Minister and asks him to form his Council of Ministers.

When no party gets a clear majority in the State Legislative Assembly, the Governor normally asks the leader of the single largest party to form the government.

Tenure:

Theoretically, the Chief Minister holds office during the pleasure of the Governor. However, in actual practice the Chief Minister remains in office so long as he continues to be the leader of the majority in the State Legislative Assembly.

The Governor can dismiss him in case he loses his majority support.

The State Legislative Assembly can also remove him by passing a vote of no-confidence against him.

Powers and Functions of the Chief Minister:

  • To Aid and Advice the Governor.
  • The Chief Minister is at the Head of the Council of Ministers.
  • He is the Leader of the House.
  • He has to communicate to the Governor all the decisions of the council of ministers relating to the administration of the states.
  • All the policies are announced by him on the floor of the house.
  • He recommends dissolution of legislative assembly to the Governor.
  • He advises the Governor regarding summoning, proroguing the sessions of State Legislative Assembly from time to time.