GS II: India and its neighborhood relations.
Exim Bank to provide $15 bn credit to Asian countries
- Exim Bank (Export – Import Bank) of India will be providing Lines of Credit worth
more than $15 billion to Asian countries over the next three to four years.
- Bangladesh: $9.5 billion
- $1.6 billion for setting up a super-critical ultra thermal power plant.
- $ 2 billion for supply of buses and railway wagons.
- Sri Lanka: $3 billion
- Develop railways and water projects.
- Nepal: $1.5 billion
- Develop its transportation system.
- Myanmar: $1.5 billion
- Also plans to extend finance to Cambodia and Vietnam.
Analysis & Conclusion
It works in India’s interest to involve herself in developmental projects of its neighbors. Not only does it help increase her cross border presence but also increases her footing on international platforms. More such actions on the country’s part would help her gain support to vie for the permanent seat in the UN Security Council. More than boosting the country’s ‘Act East’ policy, this would also place her in the forefront against China’s growing geopolitical dominance in these countries.
Source: The Hindu
GS II: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
SC seeks Khurshid’s advice in talaq case.
Asks him to appear as amicas curae
Background: Union Govt has asked Supreme Court to determine:
- whether personal laws can be brought under the ambit of Article 13 (laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights) of the Constitution.
- whether triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy are protected under the freedom of religion under Article 25, and whether this Article is subject to fundamental rights, especially the right to life and freedom of speech and expression.
A case for Uniform Civil Code
Is it mentioned in the Constitution?
Yes. Under Article 44 of the Directive Principles of State Policy, the State shall endeavour to enact a Uniform Civil Code for citizens throughout the country. The civil code if enacted will deal with the personal laws of all religious communities relating to marriage, divorce, adoption, custody of children inheritance, succession to property etc. which are all secular in character of Indian state and to enhance fraternity of unity among citizens, by providing them with a set of personal laws which incorporates the basic values of humanism.
The objectives of UCC :
- To enhance fraternity of unity among citizens by providing them with a set of personal laws which incorporates basic values of humanism.
- Bring social reform and upliftment in the status of women.
- Its absence will lead to unwarranted and ugly situations.
- Eg: Since monogamy is the law in Hindu marriage and Muslim law permits as many as four wives in India, an errant Hindu husband embraces Islam to escape the responsibilities and penal consequences under the Hindu law.
- In Christianity, as per the Indian Succession Act, 1925,if the deceased has left behind both a widow and lineal descendants (children, grandchildren etc) with no will, the widow will get one-third share in his estate while the remaining two-thirds will go to the latter. One can see that inheritance rights of a woman are unfair and discriminatory.
Has it been incorporated?
No. Many consider it to be a dead letter (Mohd Ahmed Khan v/s Shah Bano Begum).
Why? (Issues with implementation of Uniform Civil Code)
- For each caste, their customs and traditions supersede the law of the country. Be it the Sati practised by Rajputs or the practice by the Muslim community.
- It is a part of the Directive Principles of State Policy and hence not mandatory to be enforced.
- The executive nor the legislature will go ahead with it for fear of losing their vote bank among the minorities in the elections.
- Fear of social tensions and communal clashes once enacted.
- Also while Part IV of the Constitution, Article 44, states that the “State shall endeavor to enact a Uniform Civil Code for citizens throughout the country”, on the other hand, Part III of the Constitution, Article 25 provides “Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propogation of religion”. The tussle is mainly between these two articles.
A slow, steady, persuasive approach is required by the government to implement the Uniform Civil Code. No matter how difficult the task, the legislature should leave no stone unturned to achieving this constitutional ideal since justice delayed is justice denied.
Image Source: Livemint, Times Of India
Source: The Hindu, Indian Journal of Political Science 2006
GS III: Achievements of Indians in Science and Technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
BrahMos Missile Achieves rare feat.
The missile is capable of being launched from land,sea, sub sea, and air.
- Brahmos Aerospace was developed as a joint venture between India’s DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroyenia in 1998.
- Brahmos – the name represents the fury of Brahmaputra and the grace of Moskva rivers.
- It is an initiative under Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme headed by eminent scientist and former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
- What is a supersonic cruise missile?
- Travels at a speed of around 2 -3 Mach i.e. approximately a kilometre in a second.
- Mach is the ratio of the speed of a body to the speed of sound in the surrounding medium. It is often used with a numeral (as Mach 1, Mach 2, etc.) to indicate the speed of sound, twice the speed of sound, etc.
- Its flexible design enables it to be launched from warships, submarines, different types of air crafts, mobile autonomous launchers, silos (towers) etc.
- Brahmos is the only supersonic cruise missile in service.
- Travels at a speed of around 2 -3 Mach i.e. approximately a kilometre in a second.
In news because:
- The BrahMos Block III Land Attack Cruise Missile (LACM) was launched in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- Was carried out by the Army’s South Western Command-based 1 strike corps.
- The range of the supersonic missile was initially capped at 290 km as per the obligations of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Since India’s entry into the club, the range has been extended to 450 km and the plan is to increase it to 600km.
- Testing BrahMos in the Andaman and Nicobar islands is a symbolic statement, as it brings the strategic Malacca straits under its range.
Why is the strait strategic?
The 900-km long (550 miles) Malacca Strait links Asia with the Middle East and Europe, carrying about 40 percent of the world’s trade. More than 50,000 merchant ships ply the waterway every year.
About 3.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of Middle East crude passed through the strait and to Japan last year. Middle East crude accounts for 90 percent of Japan’s total imports.
– The route has also become a major concern in recent years for China as the regional power widens its search for energy resources to feed a growing economy.
– The narrow and congested waterway is becoming increasingly important strategically to Beijing, with nearly 80 percent of China’s crude oil imports passing through it from the Middle East and Africa.
– At least 15 million bpd of oil flow through the Malacca Strait from the Middle East Gulf and West Africa, comparable to the 17 million bpd that flow via the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S.
In short the Strait is a lifeline for South East Asian countries.
From Indian perspective:
- India’s natural maritime outpost Andaman and Nicobar plays a vital role in monitoring the world’s most strategic and trafficked Malacca Strait.
- It is the shortest sea route between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.
- Memorandum of Understanding between India and Malacca Strait littorals helps to deepen relations to defend all sorts of threat in the region.
- India being technically sound in this region, through several defence technology productions and satellite launches, empowers the region by sharing both technical and satellite information for different operations.
- India’s capability in surveillance and monitoring the Malacca Strait has been increased by infrastructural development of the tri-command in Andaman and Nicobar Command.
- Precise capabilities of BrahMos missile for quick sea access and denial in the event of a conflict, and its testing in the Andaman Sea is a reflection of the changing dynamics in the Indian Ocean.
Source: The Hindu, Brahmos.com, C3sindia.org, reuters.com
National Film Awards List
- Dadasaheb Phalke Award: K. Viswanath
- Best Actress: Surabhi C.M. for ‘Minnuminungu- The Firefly’ (Malayalam)
- Best Actor: Akshay Kumar for ‘Rustom’ (Hindi)
- Best Supporting Actress: Zaira Wasim for ‘Dangal’ (Hindi)
- Best supporting Actor: Manoj Joshi for Dashakriya (Marathi)
- Best Direction: Rajesh Mapuskar ‘Ventilator’ (Marathi)
- Best Feature Film: Kasaav (Marathi)
- Best Hindi Film: Neerja
- Best Film for Social Issues: Pink
- Best Children’s Film: Dhanak
- Best Female Playback Singer: Iman Chakraborty for ‘Tumi Jaake Bhalo Bhaasho’ from film ‘Praktan’.
- Best Male Playback Singer: Sundharayyar for ‘Jasmine E’ from film ‘Joker’.