Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (5th March March)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. Can BIMSTEC be an alternative to SAARC?

 The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization.
 It came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
 It comprises of seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal.
 Five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.

Relevance of BIMSTEC
 Earlier also, Bay of Bengal had emerged as a vehicle for regional cooperation as BBIN grouping – Bangladesh,
Bhutan, Nepal and India after Pakistan’s reluctance to sign on to the South Asian connectivity agreements at the SAARC summit, 2014.
 Now, with the collapse of the SAARC summit in Islamabad, 2016 the Bay of Bengal has turned into a zone of regional cooperation.
 Further, with rich history of maritime commerce across the Bay of Bengal and being high-end tourist destination there exist enormous possibilities for regional economic cooperation among the members of the BIMSTEC and SAARC (minus Pakistan).

SAARC minus Pakistan’
By pulling out of the SAARC summit in Islamabad, the government is trying to achieve two ends: sending a tough
message in the wake of the Uri attack, but also that it is going ahead with its plan for ‘SAARC minus Pakistan’ instead.
 Since the previous Nepal summit, Pakistan has blocked all protocols to better link the region, while India has pursued a “SAARC minus Pakistan” plan to push through with agreements it is keen on.
 Motor vehicle movement agreement, railway linkages, and the SAARC satellite programme for which all SAARC countries apart from Pakistan have signed up.
 With Afghanistan, which cannot be accessed by land, the two governments have discussed a separate “air corridor” for cargo.
 A bigger articulation of that vision is expected in mid-October, when India hosts the BIMSTEC outreach summit on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Goa.
 Another grouping of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka met for the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme in Delhi to release the first SASEC Operational Plan 2016-2025.
 SASEC’s lead financier, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has already approved about 40 infrastructures and IT projects worth about $7.7 billion

2. Righting wrongs in land acquisition

and Ordinance 2014: Salient Features
LARR-Act 2013 Land Ordinance 2014
  • Mandatory 70% consent for PPP projects.
  • Mandatory 80% consent for private projects.
  • Mandatory Social impact assessment (SIA) for every projects.
Those “mandatory” things are no longer required for 5 types of projects:

  1. National security and Defense Production
  2. Rural infrastructure, Rural electrification
  3. Infrastructure and Social infrastructure
  4. Industrial corridors
  5. Housing for Poors.
SIA mandatory for every type of project. SIA not needed for

  1. Those five categories listed above
  2. PPP projects, IF Government owns the land.
Building private hospitals and private educational institutes will also count as “public purpose”. Means, they too can acquire land if 80% affected families agreed.

  1. 4 times the market rate in rural area.
  2. 2 times in urban area.
Remains the same.
Stringent provisions for relief and rehabilitation (R&R). remains the same
Private “companies” can acquire land for public purpose. Private “entities” can acquire. Meaning private companies, NGOs, trusts, foundations, charity bodies, proprietors etc. too can acquire land for “public purpose”.
If any mischief played on Government’s part then head of the department will be responsible.
  • Head of the department can’t be prosecuted without prior sanction of government (under CrPC Section 197).
  • This “immunity” is given to ensure bureaucrats don’t sit on the files, fearing media-trials and judicial activism.

Land ordinance: Criticism/Anti-arguments

  1. Given the “Immunity” against prosecution, Bureaucrats will play mischief in land acquisition, to help Raabert Vaadra types unabated.
  2. Those “five exempted categories” are very broad- particularly “infrastructure and social-infrastructure”. So, Pretty much all projects can be done without social impact assessment or taking consent of 70-80% of affected families. Entire LARR-2013 is made invalid through clever-wordplay.
  3. Social impact assessment (SIA) not required in five types of projects. So, local laborers, artisans, small traders will either get zero or very small relief package, even if their livelihood is lost because of industrial/infrastructure project.
  4. Private colleges and hospitals too can acquire land. BUT if they continue to charge hefty-fees then no real ‘public-purpose’ is served. Mushrooming of self-financed bogus-quality Engineering, Pharmacy and MCA colleges doesn’t help reaping India’s demographic dividend.
  5. Ordinance doesn’t specifically say that such private hospitals and school/colleges are exempt from “Social impact assessment” (SIA). But they too can dodge SIA-bullet by claiming it’s a “social-infrastructure” project.
  6. In parliamentary democracy, Ordinance should be used only for dire emergency. Modi could have waited till budget session, and get proper approval from parliament.

Q. Consider following statements about the ordinance making powers of the President of India.

  1. He can issue ordinances in retrospective manner.
  2. He can repeal any act made by parliament using an ordinance.
  3. His ordinance powers are inspired from American Constitution.

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q. The fundamental right to acquire, hold and dispose of property, was eliminated by which amendment?

  1. 41st
  2. 42nd
  3. 43rd
  4. 44th

Q. IF parliament doesn’t approve an ordinance, it’ll expire in ___.

  1. Six days
  2. Six weeks
  3. Six months
  4. Immediately when both houses are adjourned-sine-die.

Q. President of India can make ordinance on which of the following matters?

  1. Price control
  2. Lunacy
  3. Gas and gas works

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q. President’s ordinance making powers are defined in Article ___?

  1. 121
  2. 122
  3. 123
  4. 124

3. The right cost-benefit analysis for e-vehicles

70-95% of PM emissions caused by road transport are not related to tailpipe emissions but to road dust re-suspension and abrasion of brakes and tyres

India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer after the US and China, is working towards building a green economy and plans to achieve 175 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2022 as part of its commitments under the global climate change accord. Of this, 100GW is to come from solar.

The fates of solar power and electrical vehicles in India are likely to be closely interlinked, given that EVs have batteries that can offer a storage solution to India’s clean energy push.

Solar power generated during the day needs to be stored in batteries. The storage capability of EV batteries could help with grid balancing, complementing the National Democratic Alliance government’s push for solar power.

With lithium battery prices having nose dived from $600 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2012 to $250 per kWh in 2017, the solution is becoming economically viable. The EV industry is betting on a further drop to $100 per kWh by 2024.

India’s electric vehicle drive: Challenges and opportunities

4. What’s the difference between blue economy and blue-water economy with respect to maritime diplomacy?


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