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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

23 Mar, 2021

66 Min Read

Myanmar coup-The way forward

GS-II : International Relations South East Asia

Myanmar coup-The way forward

Introduction

  • The Myanmar junta should heed the people and respect the election results

Background of the coup

  • Ever since the military captured power in Myanmar seven weeks ago, the country has steadily descended into political and economic chaos.
  • When the Generals toppled the democratically elected government, detained its leaders, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, and declared a state of emergency with prohibitory orders, they may have thought that they could quickly consolidate power through force.
  • But they were proved wrong as tens of thousands of people stood up against the junta.
  • Faced with strong challenges in their path toward absolute power, the Generals responded with brutal force.
  • At least 247 people have been killed since the February 1 coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a non-profit.

History of Democracy in Myanmar

  • The military, which controlled the country through direct rule for almost 50 years until former junta ruler Than Shwe initiated the transition into partial democracy in 2010, is one of the most consistent enemies of democracy and human rights.
  • In 1988 and 2007, the Generals unleashed violence to quell protests (Saffron Revolution). But in the past, they managed to restore order quickly through fear and violence.

The public remains defiant

  • Now, neither the junta’s bloody track record nor the actual use of force is dissuading the protesters who, after experiencing limited liberties for 10 years, refuse to recognise the junta.
  • Mostly, youngsters, use VPN and encrypted messenger apps to organise protests and are joined by thousands, including bank employees, port workers and medics, bringing the battered economy to a halt.
  • As protests and violence continue, international pressure is also mounting on the Generals. In the past, the Myanmarese military paid little attention to international opinion or targeted sanctions.
  • They are unlikely to be different now. But the Generals now find it increasingly difficult to consolidate power and restore order.
  • How long will the Generals continue to kill their own people? And even if they quelled the protests through more bloodshed, what kind of a Myanmar would they be left with?

Impact on India

  • The crisis had its spillover impacts on the borders as well.
  • At least 300 Myanmarese, including police officers, are estimated to have since crossed into India.
  • Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga took up the issue with the Foreign Minister and India has shut the border for now, but it would be difficult for New Delhi to turn a blind eye to the border if the situation in Myanmar turns worse.

Way ahead

  • Surely, no one wants an extremely poor, isolated country with a broken society and a shattered economy.
  • The Myanmar Generals should, without further bloodshed, heed the public’s demands, end the coup, respect the election results and restore the country’s democracy. That is the only way forward.

Source: TH

‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP)’ 2020

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government policies and interventions

‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP)’ 2020

  • This draft policy is positioned as the Ministry of Defence’s overarching guiding document to provide a focused, structured and significant thrust to the defence production capabilities of the country for self-reliance and exports.
  • It envisions to make India amongst the top countries of the world in the Defence sector, including the Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding sectors, from design to production, with the active participation of public and private sectors.
  • This policy, inter alia, aims to create an environment that encourages R&D, rewards innovation, creates Indian Intellectual Property (IP) ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry.
  • It aims to further ‘Self Reliance’ of the country in the defence sector by promoting indigenization and bring ‘Ease of Doing Business’ with emphasis on Simplification, Delegation, Reduced Timelines and make the process as Industry friendly.

Goals and Objectives:

  • To achieve a turnover of Rs. 1,75,000 crore including export of Rs. 35,000 crore in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.
  • To develop a dynamic, robust and competitive Defence industry, including Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding industry to cater to the needs of Armed forces with quality products.
  • To reduce dependence on imports and take forward "Make in India" initiatives through domestic design and development.
  • To promote the export of defence products and become part of the global defence value chains.
  • To create an environment that encourages research and development (R&D), rewards innovation, create Indian Intellectual Property (IP) ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry.

Outlined Strategies:

Procurement Reforms:

  • A Project Management Unit (PMU) will be set up for the development and production of technologies involved, life cycle costs and maintenance requirements of platforms, equipment and weapon systems.
  • It also aims to move away from licensed production to design, develop and produce indigenously.
  • It also aims to own the design rights and IP of the systems projected in the Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) and a Technology Assessment Cell (TAC) would be created.
  • The TAC would also assess the industrial capability for design, development and production, including re-engineering for production of major systems such as armoured vehicles, submarines, fighter aircraft, helicopters and radars with the major industries in the country.

Indigenisation And Support to MSMEs/Startups:

  • The indigenisation policy aims to create an industry ecosystem to indigenise the imported components (including alloys and special materials) and sub-assemblies for defence equipment and platforms manufactured in India. 5,000 such items are proposed to be indigenised by 2025.
  • More than 50 startups are currently developing new ‘fit-for-military-use’ technologies/products.

Optimise Resource Allocation:

  • The share of domestic procurement in overall Defence procurement is about 60%.
  • To enhance procurement from the domestic industry, the procurement needs to be doubled from the current Rs. 70,000 crore to Rs. 1,40,000 crore by 2025.

Investment Promotion and Ease of Doing Business:

  • India is already a large aerospace market with rising passenger traffic and increasing military expenditure, as a result of which the demand for aircraft (fixed and rotary wings) is rising.
  • The opportunities in the aerospace industry have been identified in the following segments - aircraft build work, aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), helicopters, engine manufacturing and MRO work, line replaceable units, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and upgrades and retrofits.
  • The improvement in market size, demographic dividend and availability of diverse skill sets are evident from India's ranking in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ (EoDB) report.
  • The investments in the defence sector need to regularly sustain the steady supply of orders.

Innovation and R&D:

  • Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) has been operationalised to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the startups in the defence area.
  • iDEX would be further scaled up to engage with 300 more startups and develop 60 new technologies/products during the next five years.
  • Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti was launched to promote a greater culture of innovation and technology development and file a higher number of patents in Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). It would be scaled up for promoting the creation of Intellectual Property in the sector and its commercial utilisation.

Other Related Initiatives:

  • Recently, the Ministry of Defence has formulated a new Defense Acquisition Procedure (DAP), 2020.
  • Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) has been operationalised to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the startups in the defence area.
  • iDEX would be further scaled up to engage with 300 more startups and develop 60 new technologies/products during the next five years.
  • Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti was launched to promote a greater culture of innovation and technology development and file a higher number of patents in Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
  • It would be scaled up for promoting the creation of Intellectual Property in the sector and its commercial utilisation.

Way Forward

  • Self-reliance in defence manufacturing is a crucial component of effective defence capability and to maintain national sovereignty and achieve military superiority.
  • The attainment of this will ensure strategic independence, cost-effective defence equipment and may lead to saving on defence import bill, which can subsequently finance the physical and social infrastructure.

Source: PIB

Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government policies and interventions

Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020

  • Recently, a new Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) (erstwhile Defence Procurement Procedure or DPP), 2020 was released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020 envisages the basic tenets of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ and encourages indigenous designing and manufacturing of defence items.
  • The proposals for indigenous design and manufacturing are considered under the ‘Make’ Procedure of DAP-2020.
  • The ‘Make’ Procedure aims to achieve the objective of self-reliance by involving greater participation of Indian industries including the private sector through the following mechanisms:
    1. Make-I (Government Funded): This involves the design and development of equipment, systems, major platforms or upgrades thereof by the industry. Ministry provides financial support for up to 70% of prototype development costs or maximum of Rs. 250 crores per Development Agency (DA).
    2. Make-II (Industry Funded): This includes design & development and innovative solutions by Indian vendor, for which no Government funding is provided, but it has the assurance of procurement on successful prototype development.

Ongoing Defense Acquisition Procedures:

  • As of date, there are 4 ongoing projects under the Make-I category.
  • Further, 56 proposals have been accorded ‘Approval in Principal’ under the Make-II category out of which 23 proposals have been accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN).
  • In addition, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has also undertaken 233 projects during the past three years since 2018.
  • The projects include new defence equipment such as Cruise missile, Hypersonic missile, Anti-Ship missile, Extended Range Anti-Submarine Rocket, Mounted Gun System, Ammunitions, Electronic Warfare system, Radars, Torpedos, High Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, etc.
  • Further, in order to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ category under DAP is accorded top most priority for procurement of capital equipment.
  • Ministry of Defence has notified a ‘Negative list’ of 101 identified items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. This is a big step towards self-reliance in defence.
  • This offers a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture these items indigenously and develop capabilities to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces.
  • This list includes some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircrafts, light combat helicopters (LCHs), radars etc. to fulfil the needs of our Defence Services.
  • Further, an indigenization portal namely SRIJAN has also been launched in August, 2020 for Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs)/Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)/Services with an industry interface to provide development support to MSMEs/Startups/Industry for import substitution.

Key Points of DAP 2020

The DAP contains policies and procedures for procurement and acquisition from the capital budget of the MoD in order to modernise the Armed Forces including the Coast Guard.

Evolution of DAP

  • The first Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was promulgated in 2002.
  • A committee under the chairmanship of the Director General (Acquisition) was constituted to review the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016.
  • DPP 2016 was released replacing the DPP 2013 based on the recommendations of the Dhirendra Singh committee.
  • It focussed on indigenously designed, developed and manufactured weapon systems.
  • It was facing several issues like lack of transparency (leading to Rafale Scam), inconvenient offset regulations etc.

Objective

  • Turning India into a global manufacturing hub.
  • Aligned with the vision of the Government of Atmanirbhar Bharat and empowering Indian domestic industry through Make in India initiative.

Salient Features

For Ease of Doing Business:

  • Time Bound Defence Procurement Process and Faster Decision Making: By setting up a Project Management Unit to support contract management and to streamline the Acquisition process.
  • Revised Offset Guidelines: Preference will be given to manufacture of complete defence products over components and various multipliers have been added to give incentivisation in discharge of offsets.
  • Further, there will be no offset clause in government-to-government, single vendor and Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA).
  • Offsets are a portion of a contracted price with a foreign supplier that must be re-invested in the Indian defence sector, or against which the government can purchase technology.
  • Multipliers are credit values earned on offset transactions. A multiplier of 3 means a foreign company can claim credits upto three times of its actual offset investment.
  • The offset policy for defence deals was adopted in 2005 for all defence capital imports above Rs. 300 crore under which the foreign vendor is required to invest at least 30% of the value of the contract in India.
  • Offset clause was hindering the transfer of technology, according to a recent CAG report.
  • Rationalization of Procedures for Trials and Testing: Scope of trials will be restricted to physical evaluation of core operational parameters.

To Develop India into Global Manufacturing Hub:

  • FDI in Defence Manufacturing: Provisions have been incorporated like a new category ‘Buy (Global – Manufacture in India)’, to encourage foreign companies to set up manufacturing through its subsidiary in India.
  • To promote Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives:
  • Reservation in Categories for Indian Vendors: Some categories like Buy (Indian Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured -IDDM), Production Agency in Design & Development etc. will be exclusively reserved for Indian Vendors and FDI of more than 49% is not allowed.
  • Ban on Import of Certain Items: With a view to promote domestic and indigenous industry, the MoD will notify a list of weapons/platforms banned for import.
  • Indigenisation of Imported Spares: Steps to promote manufacturing of parts in India have been taken. This includes establishment of co-production facilities through Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA) achieving ‘Import Substitution’ and reducing Life Cycle Cost.
  • Overall Enhancement in Indigenous Content (IC): This has been done in all the categories, for products like softwares etc, as follows:

Other Features

  • Cost Cutting : Leasing has been introduced as a new category for acquisition in addition to the existing ‘Buy’ and ‘Make’ categories so that periodical rental payments are made instead of huge capital investment.
  • This will be useful for military equipment not used in actual warfare like transport fleets, trainers, simulators, among others.

Other Related Initiatives:

  • Recently, the Ministry of Defence has formulated a Draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020).
  • Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) has been operationalised to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the startups in the defence area.
  • iDEX would be further scaled up to engage with 300 more startups and develop 60 new technologies/products during the next five years.
  • Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti was launched to promote a greater culture of innovation and technology development and file a higher number of patents in Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
  • It would be scaled up for promoting the creation of Intellectual Property in the sector and its commercial utilisation.

Way Forward

  • Self-reliance in defence manufacturing is a crucial component of effective defence capability and to maintain national sovereignty and achieve military superiority. The DAP 2020 not only protects the interests of domestic manufacturers by indigenization of technology, but also provides impetus to foreign investment in the country.
  • Given the key geostrategic challenges, emanating from the threat of two-front war (against China and Pakistan combinedly), India needs to carry out much-needed defence reforms. DAP 2020 is the one of the many needed defence reforms.

Source: PIB

Russia-China relations

GS-II : International Relations China

Russia-China relations

  • Russia’s relations with China were currently at “the best in their entire history”, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said as he began a key visit to China on Monday.

  • The visit comes shortly after the China-U.S. dialogue in Alaska and follows the first leaders’ summit of the Quad — India, Australia, Japan and the U.S. — held virtually.

  • “In response, Russia and China are promoting a constructive and unifying agenda and hope that the international governance system would be fair and democratic, run smoothly and be based on extensive interaction between countries and their integration initiatives,” the official Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying, adding that the “mutually trusting and respectful dialogue should serve as an example to other countries”.
  • ‘Best in history
  • “Current Russia-China relations are assessed both by our national leaders and citizens as the best in their entire history,” he said. “This is a well-deserved and fair assessment.”
  • This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation signed in July 2001, which Mr Lavrov credited for deepening strategic relations and creating “a model of interaction between Russia and China that is absolutely free from any ideological constraints... of an intrinsic nature, not subject to any opportunistic factors nor against any third country.”
  • Both countries are expected to discuss deepening coordination against the threat of sanctions from the West.
  • Only recently, the EU imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials for human rights violations in Xinjiang, the first sanctions since the 1989 arms embargo.
  • Mr. Lavrov called on both countries — permanent members of the UN Security Council — to work “under the UN framework on the immediate end to unilateral coercive measures” and to “take the opportunity to enhance their scientific and technological innovation and improve their national strength in response to the sanctions”.
  • Trade ties are also on the agenda, with bilateral trade last year reaching $107 billion. China is Russia’s biggest trade partner.
  • Li Yonghui, a Russia expert at the official Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, wrote in an article on Monday in the Communist Party-run Global Times that the China-Russia relationship could “counterbalance” the Quad.
  • “Russia should not be ignored regarding its capabilities to offset the influence of Quad,” the commentary said, noting in particular Russia’s continuing close relations with India as a potential “destabilising factor” for the Quad’s potential. “India will not destroy its relations with Russia just because it wants to seek courtship with the U.S. to deal with China,” it said. “From this perspective, if Russia-India relations continue in a stable way, they will to some extent restrain India-US ties from further deepening.”
  • Ms. Li, in the commentary, noted that “as early as December 1998, then Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov expressed hope that Russia, China and India could establish a 'strategic triangle' that would be in the interests of peace and security”.
  • “Currently, though China and India have undergone twists and turns in their relations due to border tensions, Russia still hopes that Beijing and New Delhi won’t engage in bigger problems,” she said. “Russia has actually played an active role between China and India. In other words, Russia has maintained relatively close ties with India, which has thereupon become a counterbalance to the so-called Quad group of the US, Japan, India and Australia.”

Source: TH

Yemen Crisis: Saudi presented a peace initiative

GS-II : International Relations West Asia

Yemen Crisis: Saudi presented a peace initiative

  • In the aftermath of the Yemen crisis, now Saudi Arabia presented a new peace initiative to end the war in Yemen, which would include a nationwide ceasefire under UN supervision and the reopening of air and sea links, the kingdom’s Foreign Minister said.
  • The initiative includes the reopening of Sana'a airport and would allow fuel and food imports through Hodeidah port, both of which are controlled by Riyadh’s enemies, the Iran-aligned Houthi movement. Political negotiations between the Saudi-backed government and the Houthis would be restarted, said Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
  • “The initiative will take effect as soon as the Houthis agree to it,” Prince Faisal said, calling on the group and the government to accept the offer.
  • The Houthis have demanded the lifting of an air and sea blockade, which has contributed to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, as their main pre-condition before any deal.
  • The Saudi-led coalition has said the port and airport must be restricted to prevent weapons from reaching the Houthis, who control the capital and most populous areas.
  • The announcement did not specify which routes would be permitted for aircraft flying to Sana’a, or whether food or fuel imports through Hodeidah port would be subject to additional pre-authorisations.

Source: TH

Aluminium Air Batteries

GS-III : S&T R&D

Aluminium Air Batteries

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. has entered into a joint venture with Israel-based battery technology start-up Phinergy to develop aluminium-air technology-based battery systems.

  • These batteries utilise oxygen in the air which reacts with an aluminium hydroxide solution to oxidise the aluminium and produce electricity.
  • These batteries are said to be a lower-cost and more energy-dense alternative to lithium-ion batteries, which are currently in use in India.
  • These batteries can be used for electric vehicles and stationary storage, as well as hydrogen storage solutions.
  • The downside of aluminium-air batteries is that they cannot be recharged like lithium-ion batteries. So, large-scale use of these battery-based vehicles requires several battery swapping stations.
  • Aluminium plates in the aluminium-air battery is converted into aluminium trihydroxide over time and that aluminium can be reclaimed or even traded directly from it for industrial uses.

Source: TH

Diatom Test for Detecting Death via Drowning

GS-III : S&T Health

Diatom Test for Detecting Death via Drowning

Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) relied on a diatom test for leads in the alleged murder case of Mansukh Hiran.

About Diatom Test

  • It helps in diagnosing the death caused by drowning. It tests diatoms in the body being tested.
  • Diatoms are photosynthesizing algae found in aquatic environment including fresh and marine waters, soils, etc., (almost anywhere moist).
  • If the person is alive when he enters the water, the diatoms will enter the lungs when the person inhales water while drowning.
  • These diatoms are then carried to different body parts by blood circulation.
  • If a person is dead when is thrown in the water, then there is no circulation and there is no transport of diatom cells to various organs.
  • Diatoms extracted from the body would be correlated with the samples from the water body where the drowning took place to ascertain the place of drowning.

Cons of this Test-

  • The test will be negative if the person died instantly after falling into the water.
  • The diatom test is reliable unless the deceased person has been drinking water from the same source of water before his death.

Source: TH

Turkey Withdraws from Istanbul Convention

GS-II : International Relations West Asia

Turkey Withdraws from Istanbul Convention

Turkey withdraws from the Istanbul Convention - to combat violence against women.

About Istanbul Convention:

  • Istanbul Convention is also called the Council of Europe Convention.
  • It aims towards preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
  • The convention was adopted in 2011. It came into force in 2014.
  • Once ratified the Convention is legally binding on the country.
  • It is the first legally-binding instrument that creates a comprehensive legal framework and approach to combat violence against women.

As of March 2019, it has been signed by 45 countries and the European Union.

About Council of Europe:

  • The Council of Europe is an international organisation that aims to uphold human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Europe.
  • The council was founded in 1949. It has 47 member states.
  • That, 27 members are members of the European Union(EU).

Significance:

  • No country has ever joined the EU without first belonging to the Council of Europe.
  • The Council of Europe is the United Nations Observer.
  • Headquarters: Strasbourg, France.

Source: TH

Pabbi-Antiterror-2021 – SCO’s Joint Anti-Terrorism Exercise

GS-II : International Relations International Organizations

Pabbi-Antiterror-2021 – SCO’s Joint Anti-Terrorism Exercise

India, Pakistan, China and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will hold a joint anti-terrorism exercise called “Pabbi-Antiterror-2021”.

About Exercise Pabbi-Antiterror-2021:

  • It was announced during the 36th meeting of the Council of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  • Purpose is to improve cooperation between the competent authorities of the SCO member states.
  • Further, helping them in identifying and suppressing channels that finance terrorist activities.

About SCO:

  • Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation founded in 2001.
  • It was founded by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • Members: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • India and Pakistan were admitted to the SCO as permanent members in 2017.
  • Observer States: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.

Organisational Structure:

  • Heads of State Council is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO.
    • It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation.
    • The HGC also approves the organisation’s annual budget.

Permanent Bodies:

  • SCO Secretariat is based in Beijing, China.
  • Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) is a permanent organ of the SCO.
    • RATS serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Source: TH

United Nation's World Happiness Report 2021

GS-II : International Relations International Organizations

United Nation's World Happiness Report 2021

World Happiness Report 2021 has been released. It evaluates levels of happiness by accounting factors such as GDP, social support, personal freedom, and levels of corruption in each nation.

About World Happiness Report:

  • It is an annual report published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
  • It ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.
  • The 2021 edition focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared.
  • The survey used the Gallup World Poll that asked people to vote on three indicators:
    • Life Evaluations: Under this, people were asked to evaluate their current life using the image of a ladder. The best possible life for them is rated at 10 and the worst possible at 0.
    • Positive Emotions: Under this, respondents were asked whether they smiled or laughed a lot the previous day. An affirmative response is coded as a 1 while a negative response is coded as 0.
    • Negative Emotions: Under this, people were asked whether they experienced negative emotions such as worry, sadness, and anger a lot on the same day.

Key Findings Related to India:

  • India has been ranked 139 out of 149 countries in the World Happiness Report 2021.
  • In 2020, India was ranked 144 out of 156 countries.

Other Key Findings:

  • Finland ranked as the happiest country in the world for the fourth consecutive year.
  • It was followed by Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and Norway.
  • Afghanistan(149) is the most unhappy country. This is followed by Zimbabwe (148), Rwanda (147), Botswana (146), and Lesotho (145).

Source: TH

Sealing of India's Border with Myanmar

GS-II : International Relations India and its neighborhood

Sealing of India's Border with Myanmar

India has sealed all entry points along the India-Myanmar border to prevent any Myanmar nationals from entering the country.

  • To curb civil disobedience movements Junta ruled Myanmar following stringent methods like shooting the public, night raids on protesters' homes, etc.
  • Due to this the Myanmar nationals have crossed into India and sought refuge. Hence, to stop this illegal migration India-Myanmar border has been closed.
  • The border between India and Myanmar is unfenced, and completely blocking is not feasible due to tough terrain.

India-Myanmar Border

  • Myanmar also known as Burma is in South East Asia.
  • It shares its borders with Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, China, and India.
  • India-Myanmar shares a 1,643-km-long border with Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram
  • India – Myanmar have a free movement regime (FMR).
    • It allows people in border villages to trade and move freely up to 16 kilometres inside each other’s territory.
    • But it has been suspended since March 2020 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which has also seen an increase in smuggling across the border.

Source: TH

Helium Crisis in India

GS-III : S&T Health

Helium Crisis in India

India imports the majority of helium for its domestic needs but now the U.S appears to cut off exports of helium from 2021. Hence, the Indian industry stands to lose out heavily.

About Helium:

  • Helium is a chemical element with the symbol He and atomic number 2.
  • It is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, first in the noble gas group in the periodic table. Its boiling point is the lowest among all the elements.
  • Helium is the second lightest and second most abundant element in the observable universe
    • Hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant.
  • The liquified Helium is obtained by cooling the gas to -270 degrees Celsius.

Applications of Helium:

  • Helium is used as a super coolant for cryogenic applications. It is used in applications such as Magnet Resonance Imaging (MRI), particle accelerators, in rockets, and in nuclear reactors.
  • The density of helium is lighter than air. Therefore, helium is used as lift gas for balloons, meteorological balloons and airships.
  • Helium is used for leak detection because helium has the smallest molecular size.
    • It is a monatomic molecule, therefore, helium passes easily through the smallest leaks.
  • It's a monatomic gas meaning “Single-atom”. These gases are not bound to each other and are non-reactive in nature. Noble gases are monatomic gases.
  • Helium is used as the preferred protective gas due to its chemical inertness.
  • Helium is used as cooling gas due to its very high specific heat and thermal conductivity in semiconductor manufacturing.

Helium Production:

  • The US became the most important exporter of helium across the world.
  • Large quantities of helium were discovered under the American Great Plains.
  • Qatar is also an exporter of Helium. But acute political and diplomatic wrangles have made Qatar unreliable.

India’s Helium Imports:

  • India imports helium from the U.S. to meet its needs.
  • However, the US is now planning to switch off the export of helium from 2021 thus the Indian Industry needs to find an alternative source of Helium.
  • India’s Rajmahal volcanic basin in Jharkhand is the storehouse of helium trapped for billions of years.

Source: TH

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Water Resources About 71% of our earth is covered by water and hence our earth is called a watery planet. 97% of the earth's water is found in the oceans (Unused due to saltiness-for drinking, growing crops, and most industrial uses except for cooling). 326M cu. miles of water there

Crops

Major Crops Recent developments in Crops- Economic Survey Food Grains Among total imports of food grains, the % share of different crops shows that- cereals are highest followed by pulses>cashewnuts > edible oils. Food Grains Constitute 50.7% of agriculture production.

21 March,2021
Essential Medicines

Essential Medicines India has adopted this concept from WHO.  Essential medicines do not mean that they are only life saving drugs.  In fact, the word life saving drugs is not defined in any of the domestic legislations. These are the medicines that are required to be available

NITI Aayog vision for Great Nicobar

NITI Aayog vision for Great Nicobar Great Nicobar Island is the southernmost island in the Andaman and Nicobar group. More than 150 sq. km. of land is being made available for this. This amounts to nearly 18% of the 910 sq. km. island and will cover nearly a quarter of its

Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020

Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020 India has one of the highest growths in the number ART centres and ART cycles performed every year. India has become one of the major centres of this global fertility industry, with reproductive medical tourism becoming a significan

India-USA Artificial Intelligence Initiative

India-USA Artificial Intelligence Initiative The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) has launched the U.S. India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative. IUSSTF is a bilateral organization funded by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) and the U.S. Department of S

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Bill, 2021

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Bill, 2021 Lok Sabha has passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill,2021 which seeks to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. This act regulates the mining secto

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