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UPSC NEWS DIARY FOR TODAY (18 August, 2022) | DAY LONG CURRENT AFFAIRS DIGEST FOR UPSC

Table of Contents

 

UPSC News Diary For Today” is every day published in the evening between 6-7 PM and contains all current affairs articles from the day on a single platform. ”UPSC News Diary For Today” covers various topics from UPSC Syllabus and is very helpful and time managing for UPSC Aspirants. The framing of this daily current affairs compilation article is easy to read and understandable also.

In the ”UPSC News Diary For Today” article, we focus on both UPSC Preliminary and Mains exam-oriented current affairs & prepare a gist of daily important news articles from leading National Newspapers, PIB, and other various official sources.

 

 

Hyderabad Lac Bangles

 

Why In News?

Creasent Handicraft Artisans Welfare Association has filed an application for securing GI tag for lac bangles that are manufactured in the city.

About Hyderabad Lac Bangles

They are handcrafted in the homes by an army of workers who use molten lac and shape them into bangles and turn them into speckled shimmering wonders.

Importance of GI Tag

  • The GI tag helps in easy identification of a product based on the area of production.
  • It adds to the marketing muscle of the unique product.
  • Hyderabad Haleem, Warangal Durries, Nirmal Toys and Karimnagar filigree, Pochampally Ikat are some of the other products that have secured the GI in Telangana state.

 

‘NAMASTE’ Scheme

 

Why in News?

For the first time, 500 cities across India have declared themselves as ‘SafaiMitra Surakshit Shehar’.

The ‘SafaiMitra Surakshit Shehar’ declaration done by 500 cities aligns with Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban’s longstanding goal of promoting sustainable sanitation practices and acting as a catalyst for the transformation of every ‘manhole’ into a ‘machine hole’.

About NAMASTE Scheme

‘NAMASTE’ (National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem) is a Scheme to enhance occupational safety, improved access to safety gears and machines, provide skilled wage opportunities, and focus on continuous capacity building while breaking the intergenerationality of sanitation work.

 

 

National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE)

 

Why in News?

National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE) yesterday celebrated its 28th Foundation Day in New Delhi.

NCTE: Significance

  • The National Council for Teacher Education, in its previous status since 1973, was an advisory body for the Central and State Governments on all matters pertaining to teacher education, with its Secretariat in the Department of Teacher Education of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
  • The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 and the Programme of Action thereunder, envisaged a National Council for Teacher Education with statutory status and necessary resources as a first step for overhauling the system of teacher education.
  • The National Council for Teacher Education as a statutory body came into existence in pursuance of the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 (No. 73 of 1993) on the 17th August,1995.
  • Sone of the initiatives have been National Professional standards for Teachers, National Mission for Mentoring and 4 Year Integrated Teacher Education Programme.

 

NAMASTE Scheme

 

NAMASTE Scheme- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

UPSC NEWS DIARY FOR TODAY (18 August, 2022)_40.1

 

NAMASTE Scheme in News

  • Recently, National Action for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE) Scheme was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE).

 

NAMASTE Scheme

  • About: NAMASTE envisages safety and dignity of sanitation workers in urban India by creating an enabling ecosystem that recognizes sanitation workers as one of the key contributors in operations and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure.
  • Mandate: Ensuring safety and dignity of sanitation workers in urban India and providing sustainable livelihood and enhancing their occupational safety through capacity building and improved access to safety gear and machines.
  • Parent Ministry: National Action for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE) Scheme is a central sector scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE).
    • It is being jointly implemented by MoSJE and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
  • Coverage: Five hundred cities (converging with AMRUT cities) will be taken up under this phase of NAMASTE. The category of cities that will be eligible are given below:
    • All Cities and Towns with a population of over one lakh with notified Municipalities, including Cantonment Boards (Civilian areas),
    • All Capital Cities/Towns of States/ Union Territories (UTs), not covered in 4(i),
    • Ten Cities from hill states, islands and tourist destinations (not more than one from each State).
  • Funding: The NAMASTE Scheme has been approved with an outlay of Rs. 360 crore for four years from 2022-23 to 2025-26.

 

Key Objectives of the NAMASTE Scheme

  • NAMASTE would aim at-
    • Providing access to alternative livelihoods support and entitlements to reduce the vulnerabilities of sanitation workers and
    • Enable them to access self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities and break the intergenerationality in sanitation work.
  • In addition, NAMASTE would bring about a behavior change amongst citizens towards sanitation workers and enhance demand for safe sanitation services.

 

NAMASTE Scheme – Expected Outcomes

NAMASTE aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Zero fatalities in sanitation work in India
  • All sanitation work is performed by skilled workers
  • No sanitation workers come in direct contact with human faecal matter
  • Sanitation workers are collectivized into SHGs and are empowered to run sanitation enterprises
  • All Sewer and Septic tank  sanitation workers (SSWs) have access to alternative livelihoods
  • Strengthened supervisory and monitoring systems at national, state and ULB levels to ensure enforcement and monitoring of safe sanitation work
  • Increased awareness amongst sanitation services seekers (individuals and institutions) to seek services from registered and skilled sanitation workers

 

NAMASTE Scheme Implementation

  • National NAMASTE Management Unit: National Safai Karamchari Financial Development Corporation(NSKFDC) would be implementing  agency for NAMASTE.
    • At the apex of the structure will be the National NAMASTE Monitoring Unit (NNMU) under Managing Director, NSKFDC, which will report to concerned Division head in  the MoSJE, Government of India.
    • Maximum monitoring and reporting will be on real time basis through mobile app and dedicated website.
  • State Namaste Management Unit: The State Govt. will decide a suitable officer to be designated as  State Namaste Director to head State Namaste Management Unit (SNMU).
    • The officer may be from SBM, NULM, AMRUT or the ULB or any other relevant Department of the State.
    • He will be assisted by PMU resource (State NAMASTE Manager) to be deployed under the Scheme as per requirement.
    • At the City level, City NAMASTE Monitoring Unit (CNMU) shall consist of  NAMASTE nodal officer of the city to be designated by the concerned ULB, who will be assisted by PMU resource (City NAMASTE Manager) deployed under the Scheme.
  • City NAMASTE Monitoring Unit: PMU would be organised in clusters of municipalities  to work as City NAMASTE Monitoring Unit (CNMU) so  as to coincide with the SBM clusters.
    • City NAMASTE Monitoring Unit (CNMU) would also ensure to  cover any other urban body like sewerage board/jal board, cantonment board etc. dealing with sewerage operations in the city.
  • IEC Campaign: Campaigns would be undertaken jointly by the ULBs & NSKFDC to spread awareness about the enumeration of target sanitation workers and other interventions of NAMASTE.
    • Electronic and print media and hoardings at prominent locations shall be used for the campaign in local language and English/Hindi.

Swachh Survekshan 2023 launched under SBM (Urban) 2.0

 

The Rhine Valley

The Rhine Valley-Relevance for UPSC Exam

General Studies I- World Geography

In News

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine.

 

Rhine River

  • The Rhine flows through six countries -Switzerland, Principality of Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands before flowing into the North Sea at Rotterdam.
  • The Rhine River is known by different names depending on the country it flows through. It is called Rhein in Germany; Rhine in France and Rijn in the Netherlands.
  • The Rhine River is the second-longest river in Central and Western Europe after the Danube and originates in the Swiss Alps (in Switzerland).

Issues

  • A part of the Rhine River flowing through Germany has been experiencing its lowest water levels in two decades.
  • Germany did not receive the spring showers which led to drop in the water level dropped to around 1-meter last year which was the lowest for the time of year in at least two decades.
  • The contributions from glaciers have been disturbed in recent years due to global warming which has decreased the feeding to the river Rhine
  • A mix of glacial run-off and rain feeds the river, but Germany had experienced dropped water levels in 2018 which had disrupted industrial ships, severing downriver factories from North Sea ports.
  • The lowest water levels have prompted fears of shipping disruption on Europe’s most important inland waterway.
  • Rhine waters in Germany have dropped 40% since April 2020.

Impacts

  • The drop in the water levels in 2018 affected the German economic growth.
  • Record-breaking heat waves recorded in 2019 have reduced the groundwater levels which have consequently dried out soil and affected the vegetation from consecutive years eventually leading to a drought-prone situation.
  • The low water levels if sustained will affect the refineries as using the river’s water will have reduced output compared to 2018 which can eventually lead to an economic halt as well.

 

Regional Conference on Administrative Reforms

 

Regional Conference on Administrative Reforms- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Regional Conference on Administrative Reforms in News

  • Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh will inaugurate the two-day Regional Conference on Administrative Reforms 2022.

Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration: UDAN Scheme Selected for the Award

 

Regional Conference on Administrative Reforms

  • About: Regional Conference on Administrative Reforms is an effort to bring the Government and Citizens closer through various administrative reforms at the centre, state and district level.
  • Location: Regional Conference on Administrative Reforms is being held at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.
    • The Regional Conference on Administrative Reforms is being held in a semi-virtual mode.
  • Mandate: It is being factored by use of digital technology pursuing next generation reforms and innovations with policy objective of “Maximum Governance, Minimum Government” by entailing-
    • Government process Re-engineering,
    • Universal access to e-services,
    • Excellence in digital initiatives at district level and
    • Excellence in adopting emerging technologies and use of ICT Management.
  • Theme: Regional Conference on Administrative Reforms 2022 is being organized on the theme “Bringing Citizens and Government Closer through Administrative Reforms”.
  • Organizing Body: The Regional Conference is being organized by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in collaboration with Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Significance: Regional Administrative Conference is dedicated to the region of North Eastern States and Eastern States of India.
    • More than 300 delegates from PAN-India are expected to participate in the Conference.
  • Key Activities: The National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG), Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG).
    • NCGG shall enter into an MOU with Government of Arunachal Pradesh for conducting Mid-Career Building Programs in Governance for 500 officers of Government of Arunachal Pradesh Administrative Services over the next 5 years.

 

Regional Conference on Administrative Reforms 2022

During the 2-day event, presentations will be made in the following sessions:

  • Reforms in Governance;
  • Public Grievance Redressal and e-Office in N. E. States;
  • Good Governance Practices in North Eastern States;
  • District Good Governance Index and
  • Good Governance Practices.

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)

 

UDAN Scheme

 

UDAN Scheme- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges
    • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

UDAN Scheme in News

  • Recently, Ministry of Civil Aviation’s flagship program Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN (UdeDeshkaAamNagrik) has completed 5 years of success since the launch of it first flight by Prime Minister on 27th April 2017.

 

UDAN Scheme Performance

  • In the last five years, UDAN has significantly increased the regional air-connectivity in the country.
  • Increased Airports: There were 74 operational airports in 2014. Because of the UDAN scheme this number has increased to 141 by now.
  • Enhanced Connectivity: 68 underserved/unserved destinations which include 58 Airports, 8 Heliports & 2 Water Aerodromes have been connected under UDAN scheme.
    • With 425 new routes initiated under the scheme, UDAN has provided air connectivity to more than 29 States/ UTs across the length and breadth of the country.
  • Beneficiaries: More than one crore passengers have availed the benefits of Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN (UdeDeshkaAamNagrik) scheme as on 4th August 2022.
  • Benefits to Stakeholders: UDAN Scheme has benefitted a diverse set of stakeholders.
    • Passengers have got the benefits of air connectivity,
    • Airlines have received concessions for operating regional routes,
    • Unserved regions have received the direct and indirect benefits of air connectivity for their economic development.
  • Recognition: RCS-UDAN was awarded Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration under Innovation Category for the year 2020.
    • Republic Day Tableau for 26th January 2022 on UDAN was adjudged as the Best Tableau by the Ministry of Defence.

 

UDAN Scheme: Future Targets

  • 220 destinations (airports/heliports/water aerodromes) under UDAN are targeted to be completed by 2026 with 1000 routes to provide air connectivity to unconnected destinations in the country.
    • Under UDAN, 954 routes have already been awarded to connect 156 airports.
  • By 2026, RCS-UDAN scheme is expected to help 40 crore Indians to travel through Civil Aviation in India.

 

UDAN scheme: Key points

About UDAN

  • UDAN scheme full form: Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik is a Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) to ensure affordability, connectivity, growth and development.
  • It provides a win-win situation for all stakeholders – citizens would get the benefit of affordability, connectivity and more jobs.
  • The scheme was launched in 2016, and would be in operation for a period of 10 years.

 

The Global Tax Revolution

 

UDAN scheme benefits

  • Central Government would provide concessions in the form of reduced excise duty, service tax, and flexibility of code sharing at the RCS (UDAN) airports.
  • State governments will have to lower the GST on ATF to 1% or less, besides providing security and fire services free of cost and electricity, water and other utilities at substantially concessional rates.
  • A Regional Connectivity Fund would be created to meet the viability gap funding requirements under the scheme. The RCF levy per departure will be applied to certain domestic flights.
  • The partner State Governments (other than North Eastern States and Union Territories where contribution will be 10 %) would contribute a 20% share to this fund.

 

 UDAN Scheme- Various Formulations

  • Krishi UDAN: launched for enhancing value realization of agriculture products especially in North-eastern Region {NER} and tribal districts.
  • International UDAN routes for NER to explore International Connectivity from / to Guwahati and Imphal.
  • Lifeline UDAN: Lifeline UDAN initiative commenced in March 2020 during COVID-19 period.
    • It helped to operate 588 flights transporting almost 1000 Tonnes of voluminous cargo and essential medical services to various parts of the country.

Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration: UDAN Scheme Selected for the Award

 

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL)

 

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL)- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) in News

  • Recently, the Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the “Widening access of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) database to users, besides patent offices.

 

Significance of Widening Access to TKDL

  • The opening up of the TKDL database to users is an ambitious and forward-looking action by the Government of India.
  • The opening up of the TKDL is also envisaged to inculcate thought and knowledge leadership through Bharatiya Gnana Parampara, under the New Education Policy 2020.
  • It lays emphasis on integrating and co-opting traditional knowledge with current practices towards enhancing innovation and trade.
  • The TKDL will act as an important sources of TK information for advancing knowledge and technology frontiers.
  • The current contents of TKDL shall facilitate wider adoption of Indian traditional medicines, while also propelling new manufacturers and innovators to gainfully build enterprises based on our valuable knowledge heritage.

 

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL)

  • About: The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a prior art database of Indian traditional knowledge established in 2001.
  • Mandate: Primary mandate of TKDL is to prevent grant of wrong patents on Indian traditional knowledge.
    • The TKDL database will also push creative minds to innovate for better, safer and more effective solutions for a healthier and technology endowed population.
  • Implementing Body: Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is managed jointly by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H, now Ministry of AYUSH).
  • Accessibility: Until now, access to the complete TKDL database is restricted to 14 Patent Offices worldwide for the purposes of search and examination.
    • This defensive protection through TKDL has been effective in safeguarding Indian traditional knowledge from misappropriation, and is considered a global benchmark.
  • Accessibility Fee: The access to the TKDL database would be through a paid subscription model with a phase-wise opening to national and international users.

 

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL)- Key Features

  • The TKDL is a first of its kind globally and has been serving as an exemplary model to other nations.
  • The TKDL currently contains information from existing literature related to ISM such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Yoga.
  • The information is documented in a digitized format in five international languages which are English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish.
  • TKDL provides information in languages and format understandable by patent examiners at Patent Offices worldwide, so as to prevent the erroneous grant of patents.

WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India

 

Muted participation’ Of Female Representatives

 

Introduction

 

  • In the 30th year of Panchayati raj, India got its first woman president from the Adivasi community.
  • But the rise of Droupadi Murmu from the position of a Nagar panchayat councillor in Odisha to the Rashtrapati Bhavan does not tell the real story of women’s leadership in India’s Panchayati raj institutions (PRIs).

 

Current Status Of Female Representatives in 3 Tiers Of Government

 

  • India has 1.45 million female elected representatives in PRIs, the highest in the world.
  • This impressive representation at the grassroot level of governance does not percolate to other levels of governance. In the current Parliament, the Rajya Sabha has only 12.24 per cent of women representatives.
  • In the Lok Sabha, the representation is nominally better at 14.44 per cent.
  • Women make up an even smaller proportion of state legislative assemblies, accounting for an average of only 8 per cent of all elected members. While Nagaland and Mizoram do not have a single female member in their legislative assemblies, another 15 states/UTs have less than 8 per cent women representation.

 

How much do we gain from decentralisation?

 

  • While the 73rd Constitutional Amendment of 1992 says at least one-third of the PRIs seats must be re-served for women, over 15 states have extended women’s reservation to 50 per cent. The reservation is implemented through rotation to ensure all constituencies are covered.
  • The process of decentralisation has provided representation, but representation does not necessarily lead to participation. It alone is not sufficient for women to exercise their roles.
  • However, many women began their careers in PRIs before moving on to legislative assemblies or Parliament, but still, only a handful of them reach state and national levels.

 

The practice of proxy candidature in PRIs

 

  • The practice of proxy candidature exists across the country, though the degree differs from state to state.
  • Proxy candidature is more common in northern states, particularly Bihar, Haryana, and Rajasthan, than in southern states such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

 

Mani Shankar Aiyar Formula!

 

  • India’s first Union panchyati raj minister in 2004, offers a different way of increasing women’s participation.
  • According to him, in the next two-three years, the number of Lok Sabha seats will go from 540 to over 800. The entire increased number of seats should be reserved for women.
  • This way, without a man being disqualified because of his gender, women will be absorbed into Parliament in large numbers. The same route can be applied to state assemblies.

 

What is the Status Of Reservation in Parliament?

 

  • Given the situation, the women politicians demand reservations in Parliament and state assemblies. But the intent seems to be the problem.
  • In May 2008, the Rajya Sabha introduced a Bill to reserve 33 per cent of the seats in Parliament and state assemblies for women. The Upper House passed the Bill in 2010 and transferred it to the Lok Sabha, where it eventually lapsed in 2014 without a proper discussion.

 

Kerala’s Kudumbashree scheme!

 

  • Kerala’s Kudumbashree scheme offers some insights into how to increase women’s participation.
  • Launched for poverty alleviation in 1998, the scheme consists of a three-tier structure with neighbourhood groups as primary level units, area development societies at the ward level, and community development societies at the local government level.
  • Membership is open to all adult women and limited to a single membership per household.
  • The neighbourhood groups, consisting of around 20 members, work on a range of issues such as health, nutrition, and agriculture, besides carrying out income generation activities and seeking microcredit.
  • Most women elected to PRIs in Kerala have evolved from the Kudumbashree network.

 

What needs to be done?

 

India needs to reform Panchayati raj institutions, and reserve seats in Parliament and legislative assemblies to create more women leaders like the new President Droupadi Murmu.

 

F-INSAS, Nipun, LCA: New Defence Systems in Atmanirbhar Push

 

General Studies III- Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

 

In News

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday handed over two new weapons – the Nipun mines, the Landing Craft Assault (LCA) and the F-INSAS system – to the Army.

A day after a made-in-India howitzer gun, the ATAGS, was used for the first time in the ceremonial 21-gun salute during the Independence Day celebrations, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday handed over several new defence systems, including the F-INSAS, the Nipun mines, the Landing Craft Assault (LCA), to the Army.

What is the F-INSAS system?

  • F-INSAS stands for Future Infantry Soldier as A System, a programme for infantry modernisation aimed at increasing the operational capability of the soldier.
  • Soldiers are being equipped with modern systems that are lightweight, all-weather-all-terrain, cost-effective and low maintenance.
  • The full-gear of the F-INSAS system includes an AK-203 assault rifle, which is a Russian-origin gas-operated, magazine-fed, select-fire assault rifle.
  • It has a range of 300 metre, and is being made at Korwa near Amethi in a Russia-India joint venture.
  • A contract for over six lakh AK-203 rifles was signed in December last year between the Ministry of Defence and the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL).
  • On the weaponry front, other than the AK-203, the F-INSAS includes a multi-mode hand grenade, which can be used in defensive and offensive modes.
  • In defensive mode, the grenades are to be hurled when the thrower is in a shelter or has a cover, while the target is in the open and can be harmed by fragmentation.
  • In the offensive mode, the grenades do not fragment and the adversary is harmed by the blast or is stunned. The weapon kit also has a multi-purpose knife for close quarters combat.

 What are Nipun mines?

  • Nipun mines are indigenously designed and developed anti-personnel mines, termed by the DRDO as ‘soft target blast munition’.
  • These mines are meant to act as the first line of defence against infiltrators and enemy infantry and have been developed with the efforts of Armament Research and Development Establishment, a Pune-based DRDO facility, and Indian industry.
  • Anti-personnel mines are meant to be used against humans as against anti-tank mines that are aimed at heavy vehicles as they are smaller in size and can be deployed in large numbers.
  • The Army has said that the mine will provide protection to the troops on the borders and is more potent and effective than the existing anti-personnel mine in its arsenal.

What is the Landing Craft Assault?

  • The Landing Craft Assault (LCA) is meant to serve as a replacement for the boats with limited capabilities currently in use in the Pangong Tso lake.
  • The LCA, which has been indigenously developed by Goa-based Aquarius ShipYard Limited, is said to have better launch, speed and capacity to operate across water obstacles in eastern Ladakh.

Some other defence systems

  • Other than these systems and equipment, the Defence Minister also formally handed over to the Army a thermal imaging sight for T-90 tanks; hand held thermal imager; and frequency-hopping radio relay for tactical communication across much longer ranges.
  • Further, Downlink Equipment with Recording Facility to help helicopters in surveillance missions was also handed over. Using this system, reconnaissance data is recorded and can be accessed only when the helicopter returns to the base.
  • Some other defence systems included, Infantry Protected Mobility Vehicles; Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicles and Mini Remotely Piloted Aerial System surveillance, detection and reconnaissance at the infantry battalion and mechanised units level.

 

The Editorial Analysis- India, Bangladesh, Pakistan: What east can teach west

 

The Editorial Analysis- India, Bangladesh, Pakistan: What east can teach west- Relevance for UPSC

General Studies II- India and its neighborhood- relations.

 

India’s relations with Bangladesh and Pakistan

  • The persistence of cross-border terrorism, the conflict over Kashmir, the militarization of the frontier, little connectivity, poor trade relations and no formal inter-governmental negotiations paint a bleak picture of the India-Pak border.
  • The inability of successive generations of Indian and Pakistani leaders to bring a closure to Partition in the west makes the talk of a “100-year war” credible.
  • The only trend that can counter this pessimism is the good news from India’s eastern frontier with Bangladesh.
  • In contrast to the talk of a 100-year war between India and Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have proclaimed a “Sonali Adhyay” or “golden chapter” in bilateral relations.
  • For both Delhi and Dhaka, the reinvention of the bilateral relationship has been one of the most significant successes of their recent foreign policies.

Building Relations

  • The work on rebuilding ties began in earnest in 2010, when Sheikh Hasina came to India after taking charge of Bangladesh as prime minister for the second time in 2009.
  • Both sides embarked on an extraordinary effort to address most bilateral problems—including border settlement, river water sharing, cross-border terrorism, market access to Bangladeshi goods, and connectivity.
  • The land boundary deal got parliamentary approval in 2015 in India.
  • India also accepted the award of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on settling the maritime boundary dispute between Delhi and Dhaka. 
  • Cooperation on cross-border terrorism that began a couple of years earlier helped build much-needed political trust between the two national security establishments.
  • Connectivity: On the connectivity front, we have seen a substantive movement towards reopening the border that was largely shut down after the 1965 war between India and Pakistan.
  • Trans-boundary bus services, reopening of railway lines, and the revitalisation of waterways are restoring connectivity in the eastern subcontinent that was severed.
  • Bilateral trade volumes have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years touching nearly $16 billion last year.
  • Bangladesh is one of India’s top export markets.
  • India and Bangladesh have also developed inter-connected power grids facilitating Dhaka’s purchase of power from India.
  • It currently buys about 1200 MW of power from India and an additional 1500 MW is in the pipeline.
  • The northeastern states have realised the immense benefits of deeper economic engagement with Bangladesh — none of them more important than ending the geographic isolation of the region.
  • Assam today is at the forefront of imagining a bolder agenda for deepening economic ties with Bangladesh.
  • For India, the expansive partnership with Bangladesh has significantly eased its security challenges and laid the basis for peace and prosperity in the eastern subcontinent.
  • For Bangladesh, discarding the temptation to balance India and embark on a cooperative strategy has allowed Dhaka to focus on its economic growth and lift itself in the regional and global hierarchy.

What can be done?

  • Rather than regret the unfortunate dynamic on the western frontier and bemoan Pakistan’s reluctance to let the SAARC become a vehicle for regional cooperation, Delhi should focus on consolidating the “golden moment” in the east.
  • The issues such as protecting the rights of minorities, sharing the waters of more than 50 rivers, promoting cross-border investments, managing one of the longest borders in the world, facilitating trade and preventing illegal migration, countering forces of religious extremism, promoting maritime security in the Bay of Bengal, expanding defence cooperation, and mitigating climate change in the shared regional environment to name a few should be addressed jointly as well.
  • Solving problems and tending to the relationship must necessarily be a continuous effort rather than episodic.

 

 

 

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