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20th January Current Affairs

India-Maldives relation: Maldives polls, India’s concerns

(GS-II: International Relations)

In News:

The External Affairs Minister (EAM) of India visited Maldives when the presidential election in Maldives is around the corner.

Background:

The incumbent president’s (Solih) announcement to run for a second term, has been opposed within his party by former president and leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Mohamed Nasheed.

Though Solih’s foreign policy expressly roots for “India First”, he is also careful about not alienating China.

Yameen had a pro-China tilt and has run an anti-India campaign(‘India Out’ campaign recently) alleging that the MDP government has sold out to India and permitted Indian troops to be based on Maldivian soil.

What happened during the EAM’s visit?

Inaugurated an international airport developed by India ($ 136.6-million) at Hanimadhoo in Haaa Dahaalu atoll.

This is India’s second largest infrastructure project after the ($500 million) Greater Male Connectivity project, which aims to connect the Maldives capital to three neighbouring highlands.

Both are prestige projects for Delhi that compete in scale with the Chinese-built Male-Hulumale-Hulhule bridge and the Hulumale airport.

Inaugurated an India-funded community centre In the Foakaidhoo island in the nearby Shaviyani atoll.

Handed over two sea ambulances to the Maldives Defence Ministry.

In the Manadhoo island of Noonu atoll, the two sides signed three MoUs, including –

A proposed collaboration between Cochin University and the Maldives National University, and

A $100 million grant for “high impact community development” projects.

The focus of the discussion was on development cooperation, capacity building and people-to-people ties.

Significance of Maldives for India:

A country crucial to India’s interests in the Indian Ocean.

In the past five years, Delhi’s Neighbourhood First and SAGAR(Security and Growth for All in the Region) policies have found expression in the improvement of ties.

Maldives is part of the India-driven Colombo Security Conclave.

India’s message to Maldives:

India is a committed partner in the Maldives’s journey of progress and transformation.

The “new disruptions” in the current geopolitics has made the collaboration even more important.

Conclusion:

Maldives is an important player of India’s Indian Ocean diplomacy. As a result, India cannot take the Maldives’ anti-India campaign for granted.

India should use its goodwill to persuade both citizens and leaders of Maldives of the importance of India in Maldives’ development.

Etalin hydroelectric project (EHEP)

In News:

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has asked the Arunachal Pradesh government to file a fresh proposal for forest diversion and the construction of the EHEP.

Background:

The FAC (under the MoEF&CC) order came amid reports of noncompliance with its conditions and widespread opposition to the project in the region.

The HEP will necessitate the diversion of 1,165.66 hectares of forest land and the felling of more than 280,000 trees in the area, which is one of the world’s mega biodiversity hotspots.

About the EHEP:

The contentious 3,097-megawatt project is located in the Dibang Valley (a biodiversity hotspot), Arunachal Pradesh.

It was proposed (in 2008) to be developed as a joint venture between Jindal Power Ltd and the Hydropower Development Corporation of Arunachal Pradesh Ltd.

The plan combined two run-of-the-river schemes with limited storage requiring concrete gravity dams on rivers Tangon and Dri – tributaries of Dibang river.

It ran into several controversies over concerns of ecological damage, forest invasion and tribal displacement (Idu-Mishmi tribes).

NCERT notifies India’s first national assessment regulator

In News:

National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) has notified India’s first national assessment regulator, PARAKH

About PARAKH:

PARAKH has been launched as part of the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 that envisaged a standard-setting body:

To advise school boards regarding new assessment patterns and the latest research, and promote collaborations between them

To facilitate students for self-assessment of learning outcomes

To remove disparities in the score of students enrolled with different boards

About NEP 2020:

The NEP 2020 intends to boost spending on education by enhancing the education budget to a level of 6% of the GDP. It has emphasised the use of the mother tongue or local language as the medium of instruction till Class 5 while recommending its continuance till Class 8 and beyond.

Grameen Udyami Scheme

In News:

MoS Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar to attend the felicitation programme of 200 tribal women under the Grameen Udyami Scheme.

Details:

Under the programme, the endeavour is to multi-skill India’s youth and impart functional skills to them for enabling livelihoods

Launched by: National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)

About NSDC:

NSDC is a non-profit public limited company established in 2008, under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956. The Ministry of Finance established NSDC as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

The Government of India, through the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), owns 49% of NSDC, while the private sector owns the remaining 51%.

The project is being implemented in six states— Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Gujarat.

NSDC under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development and Enterprises (MSDE) has supported the setting up of labs and classrooms through Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) in Seva Bharti Kendra Skill Development Center.