IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


24th February, 2020


Explained: How to unify defence resources

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said his office is working on a tentative timeline for the establishment of joint commands among the three defence services — Army, Navy and Air Force — beginning with an Air Defence Command.

About Joint Commands:

-       It is a unified command in which the resources of all the services are unified under a single commander looking at a geographical theatre.

-       It means that a single military commander, as per the requirements, will have the resources of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force to manage a security threat.

-       The commander of a joint command will have the freedom to train and equip his command as per the objective and will have logistics of all the services at his beckoning.

-       The joint command at the moment, the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), is a theatre command, which is headed by the chiefs of the three services in rotation.

-       The Strategic Forces Command was established in 2006 and is a functional tri-services command.

Existing Structure of Joint Command:

-       The Army and the Air Force have seven commands each, while the Navy has three commands.

-       These commands report to their respective services, and are headed by three-star officers.

-       However, these commands are in the same regions, but they are not located together.

Benefits of Joint Command:

-       The leader of a unified command has control over more varied resources, compared to the heads of the commands under the services now.

-       The Peninsula Command would give the Navy Chief freedom to look at the larger perspective in the entire Indian Ocean Region in which China’s presence is steadily increasing.

-       Through such integration and jointness, the three forces will be able to avoid duplication of resources. The resources available under each service will be available to other services too.

-       It will strengthen cohesion in the defence establishment.

Timing of the new commands:

-       A study for a proposed Air Defence Command has already been initiated and a report on the details of the command is expected by end of March.

-       CDS said the Air Defence Command should start becoming operational by the end of this year and the Peninsula Command by the end of 2021.

Total no of expected commands:

-       The CDS has envisaged that there could be between six to nine commands.

-       It is not certain how many land-based theatre commands on the borders will come up.

-       One possibility is to have single commands looking at the China and Pakistan borders respectively, as they are the two major threats.

-       The other option is to have a separate command for the border in the Jammu & Kashmir region and another command looking at the rest of the western border.

-       A proposed Logistics Command will bring the logistics of all the service under one person.

-       The CDS is also looking at a Training and Doctrine Command, so that all services work under a common doctrine and have some basic common training.

International experience of such commands:

-       China’s People’s Liberation Army has five theatre commands: Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central.

-       Its Western Theatre Command is responsible for India.

-       The US Armed Forces has 11 unified commands, of which seven are geographic and four functional commands.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-how-to-unify-defence-resources-indian-army-air-force-navy-6282960/


Regional integration pegged to SAARC revival, says Ranil Wickremesinghe

Mr. Wickremesinghe comment:

-       The postponement of the Kathmandu SAARC Summit in 2017 due to heightened tensions between India and Pakistan had brought the regional grouping “to a standstill”.

-       SAARC is deadlocked. While BIMSTEC is not a substitute for SAARC, it is, nevertheless a starting point for integration.

-       It was important to conceptualise a “sub-region”, consisting of the five southern states of India, and Sri Lanka, to tap the total population of 300 million people and a combined GDP of over $500 billion.

-       Tapping e-commerce and enhancing tourism were crucial to such a road map.

-       Economic Integration Road Map (EIRM) must not only be market-driven and but also be able to provide a deeper integration than the ASEAN-led RCEP ((Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) agreement.

About SAARC:

-       The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia.

-       Its member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

-       Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

-       The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration.

-       It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006.

-       The SAARC summit could not be held in Islamabad in 2016 after India faced terror strikes blamed on elements in Pakistan.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/the-huddle/the-huddle-2020-regional-integration-pegged-to-saarc-revival-says-ranil-wickremesinghe/article30895693.ece


Goa plans to revive inland waterway passenger ship service

Inland Waterway services:

Inland Water Transport (IWT) mode is widely recognized as environment friendly and cost effective mode of transport.  As per RITES Report of 2014 on Integrated National Waterways Transportation Grid, some of the important benefits of  IWT mode compared to rail and road transportation are fuel efficiency and cost savings as given below:

-       1 Litre of fuel moves 24 tonne - km on road, 95 tonne-km on rail and 215 tonne-km on IWT.

-       It is cost effective.

-       Inland waterways require little land acquisition thus allowing transport facility without indulging into administrative hurdles.

-       It will create logistics and support players leading to growth of employment.

-       Inland waterways connect to the most hinterland areas of India thus providing development of the backward regions.

-       Government has already recognized its utility and created Inland waterways authority to develop the inland waterways.

-       Government has passed national waterways act to provide legal backing for the development of 111 waterways in India. It will completely transform the logistics sector in India.

National Waterways Act, 2016:

-       The Act merges 5 existing Acts, which have declared the 5 National Waterways, and proposes 101 additional National Waterways.

-       Under Entry 24 of the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the central government can make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways, which are classified, as national waterways by Parliament by law.

-       The Bill identifies additional 106 waterways as national waterways. The Schedule of the Bill also specifies the extent of development to be undertaken on each waterway.

Reference: https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/goa-plans-to-revive-inland-waterway-passenger-ship-service-120022300115_1.html


Parties got proportional share of time to raise issues in Rajya Sabha

A performance report detailing participation of all members has been released by the Rajya Sabha.

Performances by the party:

-       Each political party got proportional share of time, with the Opposition getting a little more.

Challenges to the report:

-       Parliament as a house belongs to the opposition to represent its views. It should get more than proportionate share.

-       The issues related with discussion are quality not the quantity. Quality of the debates is continuously degrading.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parties-got-proportional-share-of-time-to-raise-issues-in-rajya-sabha/article30897317.ece


4,000-year-old crafts village unearthed near Varanasi

Finding of the surveyors:

-       A nearly 4,000-year-old urban settlement has been unearthed by a team of surveyors from the Banaras Hindu University.

-       It found remnants of one of the settlements mentioned in ancient literature about the holy city.

-       It found a temple dating back to the 5th century through 8th century, potteries which are 4,000-year-old and walls which are 2,000-year-old.

-       Based on the surface materials we can say the structure is anywhere between 3,500 to 4,000 year old.

-       Also, found a pillar with a two-line text in Kushan-Brahmi script, which makes the findings at least 3,500-4,000 years old.

Reference:  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/4000-year-old-crafts-village-unearthed/article30900983.ece


Highway threatens tiger territory in Arunachal Pradesh

A 692-km road through the Pakke Reserve has been cleared.

RTI revelation:

-       Government in the State plans to build a 692.7 km highway through the 862 sq km Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR) in East Kameng district.

-       Named the East-West Industrial Corridor, the highway aims to connect Bhairabhunda in West Kameng district and Manmao in Changlang district along Arunachal Pradesh’s border with Assam.

Challenges with the Project:

-       Elevation is no guarantee against felling of trees and disturbing wildlife in the sensitive PTR.

-       This corridor will be a threat to the adjoining Nameri Tiger Reserve in Assam too.

-       Proposed highway had been realigned to bisect PTR after the NHPC turned down the original proposal to let the corridor pass near its hydroelectric project on the Subansiri River, east of Seijosa.

Indian Policy for Highway through Forest:

-       the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), the apex advisory body to the central government on all wildlife-related matters, said no to new roads through protected forests, but was open to the widening of existing roads with adequate mitigation measures irrespective of the cost, only if alternative alignments were not available.

-       The NBWL made it mandatory for every road/rail project proposal to include a wildlife passage plan as per guidelines framed by Wildlife Institute of India, an autonomous wildlife research body under the Environment Ministry.

Impacts of Highway through Forest area:

-       Highway stretches passing through forests cause severe fragmentation of habitats. This disruption of ecological connectivity curtails or restricts gene flow that is crucial for sustaining healthy wildlife populations and ecosystems.

-       Highways create new edges that are highly vulnerable to fire and incursion by pernicious weeds.

-       They attract ancillary developmental activities.

-       They provide easy access to the forest for poachers and timber smugglers.

Future Planning:

-       The apex court held that our approach to development should be eco-centric, rather than focussing only on what is good for humans.

-       As for existing highways through forests, particularly those for which bypasses are not feasible, we need to retrofit them with state-of-the-art; science-based solutions for minimising road kill.

-       Carefully conceived underpasses, overpasses, flyovers and canopy bridges, which take animal behaviour and traditional wildlife movement patterns into consideration, can help provide a safe passage for animals.

-       Exemplary work done on the Trans-Canada Highway passing through Banff National Park, where an 80 per cent reduction in large mammal deaths has reportedly been achieved, thanks to an extensive system of wildlife underpasses and overpasses can act as guide.

-       We need to plan Smart Highways that will traverse the country with the least disturbance to our last remaining natural habitats.

-       By making use of all the sophisticated mapping technology at our disposal today, it is possible to ensure that roads steer clear of wildlife areas.

About Namdapha National Park:

-       Namdapha National Park is a 1,985 km2 (766 sq mi) large protected area in Arunachal Pradesh of Northeast India.

-       With more than 1,000 floral and about 1,400 faunal species, it is a biodiversity hotspot in the Eastern Himalayas.

-       The national park harbours the northernmost lowland evergreen rainforests in the world at 27°N latitude.

-       It also harbours extensive dipterocarp forests, comprising the northwestern parts of the Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin rain forests eco-region.

About Pakke Tiger Reserve:

-       Pakke Tiger Reserve, also known as Pakhui Tiger Reserve, is a Project Tiger reserve in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India.

-       The 862-sq km Pakke Reserve home to many rare and endangered wildlife species, such as leopard, wild dog, Himalayan black bear and elephant.

-       Contiguous with the Nameri Tiger Reserve of Assam, it is also an important habitat for the big cat’s big cats, one of the most endangered species in the world.

-       Pakke is also the only Hornbill sanctuary in India.

-       The forest around this reserve harbours four hornbills species - great hornbills, wreathed, oriental pied and the rufous-necked.

-       The Pakke River lies to the east and the Bhareli River to the west and the north.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/highway-threatens-tiger-territory-in-arunachal-pradesh/article30896798.ece

Rushikulya rookery all set to welcome olive ridleys

Preparations are almost done at the Rushikulya rookery on the Odisha coast to welcome and protect olive ridley turtles during mass nesting.

Government preparation for mass nesting:

-       The forest department is erecting an over 5-km-long fence of metal net from Gokharkuda to Bateswar.

-       The forest officials have already completed two to three rounds of awareness drive at all villages near the rookery.

-       Fishing in mechanised boats, including trawlers, has been banned.

-       The forest department officials are also patrolling the region in two trawlers, two speedboats and a country boat.

-       The whole stretch of the nesting beach has been cleaned four times in February.

-       Debris and plastic waste, like pieces of fishing net, are being removed with the help of locals.

About Olive Ridleys:

-       The name for this sea turtle is tied to the colour of its shell—an olive green hue.

-       They are currently the most abundant of all sea turtles.

-       Their vulnerable status comes from the fact that they nest in a very small number of places, and therefore any disturbance to even one nest beach could have huge repercussions on the entire population.

Mass nesting of turtles:

-       Orissa State, in the north east of India, hosts one of the world's major annual mass-nesting events of marine turtles.

-       Hundreds of thousands of olive ridley turtles come ashore to nest each year in a spectacular "arribada" (mass arrival).

About Garihmatha Marine Sanctuary:

-       Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary is the biggest breeding home of the sea turtles.

-       Gahirmatha is located in Orissa’s Kendrapara District.

-       Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is world famous for Olive Ridley sea turtles.

-       The entrance of the River Dhamra is truly the breeding place of the olive Ridley sea turtles. It has been confirmed as a world heritage site.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/rushikulya-rookery-all-set-to-welcome-olive-ridleys/article30898766.ece


No country is doing enough to protect children's health and wellbeing

Findings of the new report issued by a panel of child and adolescent health experts. Convened by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and The Lancet medical journal:

Challenges to children:

-       Climate change: If global warming exceeds 4°C by the year 2100 in line with current projections, this would lead to devastating health consequences for children, due to rising ocean levels, heat waves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition.

-       Predatory commercial exploitation: Children and teens are exposed to an endless barrage of TV commercials and online ads (one estimate says 30,000 TV ads per year) for junk food, sugary beverages, e-cigarettes, and alcohol. Exposure is associated with increased purchasing, which leads to weight gain and obesity

Indicators of well being of children:

-       Education,

-       Health care,

-       Nutrition,

-       Greenhouse gas emissions

-       Income gaps.



Way Forward:

-       Stopping CO2 emissions as soon as possible

-       Creating new policies to work toward child health and rights

-       Tightening regulation of commercial marketing

Reference: https://www.treehugger.com/family/no-country-doing-enough-protect-childrens-health-and-wellbeing.html