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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

26 Jul, 2021

65 Min Read

China and Pakistan strategy on Afghanistan

GS-II : International Relations Afghanistan

China and Pakistan's strategy on Afghanistan

  • China and Pakistan said they would more closely cooperate and work together in Afghanistan amid the changing situation in the country, as their Foreign Ministers proposed building the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into “a hub of regional connectivity”.
  • Meeting in the Chinese city of Chengdu at the third strategic dialogue, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi outlined a five-point joint plan on working in Afghanistan.
  • Mr. Wang described the current situation as arriving “at an important juncture” as he criticised “the hasty U.S. withdrawal of troops” for having “neither fulfilled the purpose of fighting terrorism nor brought peace to Afghanistan but created a new security black hole,”.
  • He said “both China and Pakistan are most directly affected by the situation in Afghanistan” as its neighbours and it was “necessary for both sides to strengthen cooperation to cope with the change”, which he described as one of the focuses of the dialogue.
  • Mr. Wang outlined “joint actions” in five areas, starting with “the immediate priority of avoiding the expansion of war and preventing Afghanistan from falling into a full-scale civil war.” The second focus would be to promote the intra-Afghan negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban and establish “a broad and inclusive political structure”.
  • He said the third joint action would be “to resolutely combat terrorist forces”. Mr. Wang only named the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which China has blamed for attacks in its western Xinjiang region, underlining China’s concern that instability in Afghanistan could spill over into Xinjiang.
  • There do, however, appear to be stark differences in how both countries appear to view the terror issue and the role of other outfits in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, Mr. Wang said in a meeting with his Afghan counterpart Mohammed Haneef Atmar in Dushanbe that the “Taliban should stand clear of any and all terrorist forces.” At the same summit on connectivity, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani publicly slammed Pakistan for failing to take actions to stop foreign terrorists from entering the country amid “an influx of over 10,000 jihadi fighters”.
  • The fourth joint action would be to “promote cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighbours” and “explore the construction of a platform for cooperation among them”. Both would also more closely work on international fora on the Afghan issue, Mr. Wang said.

Terror attack in Pakistan

  • Both sides, in a “joint press release” issued after the talks that were put out by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “reaffirmed their commitment to facilitate and support ‘Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process” and “their support for the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan”.
  • Both also “vehemently condemned” the recent terrorist attack in Pakistan in which nine Chinese engineers working on the Dasu hydropower plant were killed, along with four Pakistani nationals. Both sides “expressed their firm resolve to expose the culprits and their reprehensible designs through the ongoing joint investigation, give exemplary punishment to the perpetrators, ensure comprehensive safety and security of the Chinese projects, nationals and institutions, and prevent recurrence of such incidents”, the statement said.
  • The joint release also carried the now customary reference to Kashmir, saying the Pakistani side “briefed the Chinese side on the deteriorating situation in Jammu & Kashmir” while China “reiterated” its stand that it “opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation”, a position it has repeated in the wake of India’s 2019 reorganisation.
  • The Chinese side “reiterated its firm support to Pakistan in safeguarding its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence” and “striving for a better external security environment,” the joint release said, adding that both sides had agreed to push forward the CPEC “with the aim to continuously unleash the great potential of CPEC to make it a hub of regional connectivity.”

On CPEC

  • China’s Foreign Ministry said in May both countries had been in communication with Afghanistan over extending the corridor. “Afghanistan has imported and exported related goods through the Gwadar Port and Karachi Port. China, Pakistan and Afghanistan are discussing issues related to extending roads and expressways in Pakistan to Afghanistan,” spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, adding that “the CPEC is an economic initiative that is not aimed at third parties, and has nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes… and won’t affect our principled position on the Kashmir issue.”
  • India has opposed the CPEC, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, although China has pushed ahead with projects and stepped up its investments in PoK.

Source: TH

PM's Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC)

GS-III : S&T S&T

PM's Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC)

  • Govt scraps Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and replace it with PM's Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC)
  • It has 2 functions
    1. Act as a high-level advisory body to several ministries.
    2. Execute Mission-oriented programmes.
  • It has 9 members. Unlike the earlier SACs, Secretaries of various scientific ministries like Education, Environment and Health would be special invitees to PM STIAC meetings.
  • PM-STIAC identified 9 National S&T Missions

National Language Translation

  • By MEITy, MHRD and DST.
  • It combines machine and human translation, which will eventually enable access to teaching and research material bilingually i.e. in English and one's native language.
  • It removes the English barrier.

National Mission on Quantum Frontier

  • By DST, Dept of Space, DAE, DRDO, MEITy.
  • To initiate work in the control of quantum mechanical systems.
  • It will also be helpful for national security and in the development of quantum computers, quantum chemistry, quantum sensors, quantum communication and quantum cryptography.

National Mission on Artificial Intelligence

  • By NITI Aayog, DST, MEITy, DBT.
  • It will address societal needs like healthcare, education, agriculture, smart cities and infrastructure, including smart mobility and transportation.

National Biodiversity Mission

  • By MoEFCC, DBT.
  • It includes documentation of India’s biodiversity (cataloguing) and mapping all lifeforms in India including associated cultural and traditional practices.
  • Assessment of the distribution and conservation status of India’s biodiversity.
  • Development of a cadre of professionals.
  • Establishment of a vibrant biodiversity-based economy.
  • Engagement with the public
  • Enhanced options for agricultural production and livelihood security.

National Mission on Electric Vehicles

  • By DST, Dept of Heavy Industries, MNRE, Ministry of Power, NITI.
  • Academia-Industry collaboration to develop vehicle subsystems and components including rare earth based 4 electric motors, Li-ion batteries, power electronics etc.
  • To reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate emissions.
  • Make EVs economically viable and scalable and build indigenous capability.

National Mission on Bioscience for Human Health

  • By DST, DBT, Dept of Health Research, DAE and Dept of Health.
  • Construct comprehensive reference maps of genomes and their study to identify the prevalence of rare and inherited diseases.
  • The outcome will stimulate better diagnosis and treatment.

National Mission on Waste to Health

  • DST, DBT, MoEFCC, SBA and Ministry of Urban Development.
  • It aims to identify, develop and deploy technologies to treat waste to generate energy, recycle materials and extract worth.
  • It will identify and support new technologies in creating a clean and green environment.
  • The mission will assist and augment the Swachh Bharat and Smart Cities project.

Deep Ocean Exploration

  • By Ministry of Earth Sciences, DBT, Dept of Space, MNRE, ONGC, DRDO, Geological Survey of India, National Hydrographic Office, National Biodiversity Authority.
  • It aims to scientifically explore the deep oceans towards improving India’s understanding of the blue frontier.
  • It will address issues arising from long-term changes in the ocean due to climate change.
  • It includes exploration of resources and life; development of underwater vehicles and robotics; desalination techniques etc.

AGNI (Accelerating Growth of New India's Innovations)

  • By Invest India.
  • It supports the innovation ecosystem in India by connecting innovators across industry, individuals and the grassroots by commercially innovative solutions.
  • It will provide a platform for innovators to bring their technology-ready products.
  • It includes techno commercialization, working with Govt R&D labs, training and capacity building.

For complete news on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, 2013: click here

Source: Sanjeevani Notes

I-STEM Web Portal: Phase II

GS-III : S&T S&T

I-STEM Web Portal: Phase II

  • The Indian Science Technology and Engineering facilities Map (I-STEM), the national web portal for sharing R&D facilities was formally launched in January 2020.
  • I-STEM (www.istem.gov.in) is an initiative of the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India (PSA, GOI) under the aegis of the Prime Minister Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) mission.
  • I-STEM project has been accorded extension for five years, until 2026 and enters its second phase with added features.
  • The goal of I-STEM is
  1. To strengthen the R&D ecosystem of the country by connecting researchers with resources, in part by promoting technologies and scientific equipment development indigenously, and
  2. Providing necessary supplies and support to researchers by enabling them access to existing publicly funded R&D facilities in the country through the I-STEM web portal.
  • In the first phase, the portal is listed with more than 20,000 pieces of equipment from 1050 institutions across the country and has more than 20,000 Indian researchers.
  • I-STEM portal facilitates researchers to access slots for the use of equipment, as well as to share the details of the outcomes, such as patents, publications and technologies.
  • Under Phase II, the portal will host indigenous technology products listed through a digital catalogue.
  • The portal will also provide a platform for the various City Knowledge and Innovation Clusters supported by the Office of PSA to enhance the effective use of R&D infrastructure through leveraging collaboration and partnership built on a shared STI ecosystem.
  • It will also host and provide access to selected R&D software required to undertake research projects by students and scientists.
  • The I-STEM portal in its new phase will be designed as a dynamic digital platform that will provide a boost to research and innovation, especially for 2-tier and 3-tier cities and also for the emerging start-up ecosystem.

Source: PIB

Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy, 2013

GS-III : S&T S&T

Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy, 2013

  • The policy seeks to focus on both STIs for people and people for STIs.
  • It aims to bring all the benefits of STI to national development and sustainable and more inclusive growth.
  • It seeks the right sizing of gross expenditure on R&D by encouraging private sector participation in R&D, Technology and Innovation.
  • It also wants to bring gender parity in STI activities and gaining global competitiveness in select technological areas through International collaboration and alliances.
  • A Strong and viable Science, Research and Innovation system for High Technology led path for India (SRISHTI) is the goal for the STI policy.
  • Key Features of the STI policy 2013
    • Promoting the spread of scientific temper amongst all sections of society.
    • Enhancing skills for applications of science among the young from all social sectors.
    • Making careers in science, research and innovation attractive enough for talented and bright minds.
    • Establishing the world-class infrastructure for R&D for gaining global leadership in some select frontier areas of science.
    • Positioning India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020 (by increasing the share of global scientific publications from 3.5% to over 7% and quadrupling the number of papers in the top 1% journals from the current levels).
    • Creating an environment for enhanced private sector participation in R &D.
    • Enabling conversion of R & D output with societal and commercial applications by replicating hitherto successful models, as well as establishing new PPP structures.
    • Creating a robust national innovation system.
    • Sharing of IPRs between inventors and investors.
    • Modifying IPR policy to provide for marching rights for social good when supported by public funds and for co-sharing, IPRs generated under PPP.

For complete news on PM Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC): click here

Source: Sanjeevani Notes

National IPR Policy, 2016 (1st IPR Policy)

GS-III : S&T S&T

National IPR Policy, 2016 (1st IPR Policy)

  • It came in the backdrop of the USTR Special 301 Report (on Global State of IPR Protection and Enforcement) retaining India on the 'Priority Watch List.
  • ‘Creative India, Innovative India’ is the tagline of the policy.
  • This is to incentivize entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation and curb the manufacturing and sale of counterfeits.
  • Objectives: IPR Awareness, outreach and promotion; Create an atmosphere of innovation; replace outdated laws; HRD in IPR; Commercialization of IPR; Administration and management of innovation; combat IPR infringements etc.
  • Features
    • It aims to realise IPRs as a marketable financial asset, and promote innovation and entrepreneurship while protecting the public interest.
    • Every five years policy will be reviewed.
    • The policy is in consonance with the WTO’s agreement on TRIPS.
    • Special focus on awareness generation and effective enforcement of IPRs, also the encouragement of IP commercialization through incentives.
    • India will engage in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders.
    • It recommends making the DPIIT the nodal agency for all IPR issues.
    • Copyrights-related issues will also come under DPIIT. Things like Films, music, and industrial drawings will also be all covered by copyright.
    • Trademark offices to reduce the time taken for examination and registration to just a month by 2017.
    • It seeks to facilitate domestic IPR filings, for the entire value chain from IPR generation to commercialization.
    • It aims to promote research and development through tax benefits.
    • To encourage start-ups, there is a proposal to create an effective loan guarantee scheme.
    • The policy allows legislative flexibilities to GOI in the international treaties and TRIPS agreement using provisions such as Section 3(d) and compulsory licensing (CLs) for ensuring the availability of essential and life-saving drugs at affordable prices.
    • The government will examine accession to some multilateral treaties which are in India’s interest; and, become a signatory to those treaties which India has de facto implemented to enable it to participate in their decision-making process.

Source: Sanjeevani Notes

PM CARES for Children scheme

GS-III : S&T COVID-19

PM CARES for Children scheme

  • Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched the web-based portal pmcares for children.in to facilitate submission of applications, identification of children eligible to receive support under the 'PM CARES for Children' scheme and processing of applications for securing benefits for them.
  • 'PM CARES for Children scheme was announced by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for supporting children who have lost both parents or surviving parent or legal guardians or adoptive parents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The scheme aims to ensure comprehensive care and protection of children who have lost their parents to the COVID pandemic, in a sustained manner.
  • It enables their well-being through health insurance, empowers them through education and equips them for self-sufficient existence with the financial support of Rs. 10 lakh, upon reaching 23 years of age.

Eligibility:

  • All children who have lost
  • Both parents or
  • Surviving parent or
  • legal guardian/adoptive parents due to COVID 19 pandemic, starting from 11.03.2020 till the end of the pandemic, shall be entitled to benefits under this scheme.

Process:

  • The District Magistrate to conduct a drive for identification of these children, with the assistance of Police, DCPU, Childline & Civil society Organisations.
  • Gram Panchayats, Anganwadi & ASHA network may be sensitized to report such children to the CWC.
  • Sufficient publicity about the identification drive may be made in a local language, to inform the general public in this regard and to encourage them to produce such children before CWC or report their whereabouts through Childline (1098) or DCPU.
  • Children who have lost both their parents to COVID, requiring support under the scheme, may be produced before CWC by Childline (1098), District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) or any other agency or individual, within 24 hours of noticing the Child, excluding journey time.
  • The application form for seeking support under the scheme may be filled up by the child or caregiver or any other agency producing the child before CWC
  • CWC with the help of DCPU shall gather the facts regarding the Child who has lost both parents, including details of deceased parents, home address, school, contact details, credentials and annual income of extended family members, relatives or kith and kin. CWC shall verify the cause of death of the parents by way of their death certificate or by field enquiry. The information may be uploaded by the CWC on PM CARES for children portal, while submitting it for DM's consideration.
  • CWC may upload details of all children produced or reported to them by other agencies on the portal.
  • After ascertaining the facts of each case, CWC may make its recommendations to the DM regarding the child,
  • In case the CWC does not recommend a particular child, reasons should be recorded in the given space, for DM to take a view.
  • The principle of 'First in First out' may be followed while processing the applications.
  • DM may accept the recommendations of CWC or seek a review through CWC or DCPU. DM may make an independent assessment about every child recommended or not recommended by the CWC. The DM may be assisted by the Child Protection staff, Police, Childline or any other agency deemed fit for the purpose.
  • After satisfying herself, DM may confirm the eligibility of the Child on the portal for the scheme. The decision taken by DM regarding the eligibility of a child under the scheme shall be final.

Source: PIB

Landslides in Himachal Pradesh

GS-III : Disaster and Disaster management Natural disaster

Landslides in Himachal Pradesh

  • Landslides are simply defined as the mass movement of rock, debris or earth down a slope. They often take place in conjunction with earthquakes, floods and volcanoes.
  • A prolonged spell of rainfall can cause a heavy landslides that can block the flow of the river for quite some time.
  • The formation of river blocks can cause havoc to the settlements downstream on its bursting.
  • In the hilly terrain, landslides have been a major and widely spread natural disaster that often strike life and property and occupy a position of major concern.
  • Disasters due to landslides are in general, far less dramatic than due to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and cyclones but their impact on the natural environment and national economy are in no way less severe.
  • Unlike other disasters that are sudden, unpredictable and largely controlled by macro or regional factors, landslides are largely controlled by highly localised factors.

  • Hence, gathering information and monitoring the possibilities of landslides is not only difficult but also immensely cost-intensive.
  • It is always difficult to define in a precise statement and generalise the occurrence and behaviour of a landslide.
  • However, on the basis of past experiences, frequency and certain causal relationships with the controlling factors like geology, geomorphic agents, slope, land use, vegetation cover and human activities, India has been divided into a number of zones.

Landslide Zones

  1. Landslide Vulnerability Zones Very High Vulnerability Zone : Highly unstable, relatively young mountainous areas in the Himalayas and Andaman and Nicobar, high rainfall regions with steep slopes in the Western Ghats and Nilgiris, the north-eastern regions, along with areas that experience frequent ground-shaking due to earthquakes, etc. and areas of intense human activities, particularly those related to construction of roads, dams, etc. are included in this zone.
  2. High Vulnerability Zone: Areas that have almost similar conditions to those included in the very high vulnerability zone are also included in this category. The only difference between these two is the combination, intensity and frequency of the controlling factors. All the Himalayan states and the states from the northeastern regions except the plains of Assam are included in the high vulnerability zones.
  3. Moderate to Low Vulnerability Zone: Areas that receive less precipitation such as TransHimalayan areas of Ladakh and Spiti (Himachal Pradesh), undulated yet stable relief and low precipitation areas in the Aravali, rain shadow areas in the Western and Eastern Ghats and Deccan plateau also experience occasional landslides. Landslides due to mining and subsidence are most common in states like Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Kerala.
  4. Other Areas: The remaining parts of India, particularly states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal (except district Darjiling), Assam (except district Karbi Anglong) and Coastal regions of the southern States are safe as far as landslides are concerned.

Consequences of Landslides

  • Landslides have a relatively small and localised area of direct influence, but roadblocks, destruction of railway lines and channel blocking due to rock falls have far-reaching consequences.
  • Diversion of river courses due to landslides can also lead to floods and loss of life and property.
  • It also makes spatial interaction difficult, risky as well as a costly affair, which, in turn, adversely affects the developmental activities in these areas.

Mitigation Mechanism

Advancement in scientific techniques has empowered us to understand what factors cause landslides and how to manage them. Some broad mitigation techniques for landslides are as follows:

  • It is always advisable to adopt area-specific measures to deal with landslides.
  • Hazard mapping to locate areas prone to landslides. Hence, such areas can be avoided for building settlements.
  • Construction of retention wall to stop land from slipping.
  • Increase in the vegetation cover to arrest landslide.
  • The surface drainage control works to control the movement of landslide along with rain water and spring flows.
  • Restriction on the construction and other developmental activities such as roads and dams, limiting agriculture to valleys and areas with moderate slopes, and control on the development of large settlements in the high vulnerability zones, should be enforced.
  • This should be supplemented by some positive actions like promoting large-scale afforestation programmes and the construction of bunds to reduce the flow of water.
  • Terrace farming should be encouraged in the northeastern hill states where Jhumming (Slash and Burn/Shifting Cultivation) is still prevalent.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above discussion, it can be concluded that disasters can be natural or the results of human activities, and all hazards need not turn into disasters since it is difficult to eliminate disasters, particularly natural disasters. Then the next best option is mitigation and preparedness. There are three stages involved in disaster mitigation and management:

  1. Pre-disaster management involves generating data and information about the disasters, preparing vulnerability zoning maps and spreading awareness among the people about these. Apart from these, disaster planning, preparedness and preventive measures are other steps that need to be taken in the vulnerable areas.
  2. During disasters, rescue and relief operations such as evacuation, construction of shelters and relief camps, supplying of water, food, clothing and medical aids etc. should be done on an emergency basis.
  3. Post-disaster operations should involve rehabilitation and recovery of victims. It should also concentrate on capacity building in order to cope up with future disasters if any.

These measures have special significance to a country like India, which has about two-thirds of its geographical area and an equal proportion of its population, vulnerable to disasters. The introduction of the Disaster Management Bill, 2005 and the establishment of the National Institute of Disaster Management are some examples of the positive steps taken by the Government of India.

What is the news?

  • Nine tourists were killed after heavy boulders fell on their van following a landslip near Basteri in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday.
  • Multiple landslips triggered by recent rain occurred near Basteri on the Sangla-Chitkul road at 1.25 p.m., resulting in a bridge collapse and damage to some vehicles, the police said. A video of the incident, which has gone viral on social media, shows several boulders rolling downhill and smashing into the bridge, causing it to collapse.
  • According to the police, nine persons died and two were injured after heavy boulders fell on the van. The passengers were going to Sangla from Chitkul.
  • In a similar incident, a pedestrian was injured in another landslip in the Kinnaur district.
  • Mr. Modi said all arrangements were being made for the treatment of those injured and announced an ex gratia of 2 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased and 50,000 to the injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

Click here to read everything about Disaster Management in India.

Source: TH

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