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News Analysis

  • 03 Jan 2022
  • 47 min read
International Relations

China’s New Border Law

For Prelims: Location of China and its surrounding countries, Brahmaputra River, Arunachal Pradesh and its border countries

For Mains: Impact of China’s New Border Law on India-China Relations

Why in News

China’s new law on land borders came into effect from 1st January, 2022.

  • It comes at a time when border standoff in eastern Ladakh remains unresolved and several places in Arunachal Pradesh have been renamed recently by China as part of its claim on the Indian state.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Delimitation and Survey of Land Borders:
      • The new law lays down that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) shall set up boundary markers on all its land borders to clearly mark the border.
    • Management and Defence of Border Areas:
      • The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Chinese People’s Armed Police Force are assigned with the responsibility of maintaining security along the border.
        • This responsibility includes cooperating with local authorities in combating illegal border crossings.
        • The law prohibits any party from indulging in any activity in the border area which would “endanger national security or affect China’s friendly relations with neighbouring countries”.
        • Even citizens and local organisations are mandated to protect and defend the border infrastructure.
        • Finally, the law provides for the border to be sealed in the event of a war, armed conflict, incidents which threaten the security of border residents such as biological and chemical accidents, natural disasters, and public health incidents.
    • International Cooperation:
      • On the topic of its border-sharing countries, the law lays down that the relations with these countries is to be based on principles of “equality and mutual benefit”.
      • Further, the law provides for provisions for formation of joint committees, both civil and military, with the said countries to negotiate land border management and resolve border-related issues.
      • The law also stipulates that PRC should abide by the treaties on land borders that it has signed with the respective countries and all border issues are to be settled through negotiations.
  • Concerns:
    • Formalise the Chinese Military’s Transgressions:
      • The broader aim of the land border law is to give legal cover and formalise the Chinese military’s transgressions across the LAC (Line of Actual Control) in 2020.
    • Fresh Impetus to Civilian Agencies:
      • The law calls for increased settlement of the civilian population and improved infrastructure along the border area.
        • China has previously used the strategy of moving its “civil” population along the contested part of the LAC on the basis of which it claims rightful ownership.
      • The new law might increase such instances and create further problems between the two countries.
    • Limiting the Water Flow:
      • There is also the possibility of limiting the water flow in the Brahmaputra or Yarlung Zangbo river which flows from China into India as the law calls for “measures to protect the stability of cross-border rivers and lakes”.
      • China might cite this provision in case of hydropower projects which may cause ecological disaster in India and call it a lawful action on its part.
  • China's Border Disputes:
    • China has a 22,100-kilometer land border with 14 countries.
    • It has resolved the boundary disputes with 12 neighbours.
    • India and Bhutan are the two countries with which China is yet to finalise the border agreements.
    • China and Bhutan signed an MOU firming up a three-step roadmap for expediting the boundary negotiations.
    • India-China border disputes cover 3,488-km along the Line of Actual Control, China-Bhutan dispute covers about 400 km.

Way Forward

  • The naming of 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh as its own territory by China came as India and China remain engaged at both diplomatic and military levels to complete the stalled disengagement process along the LAC.
  • Restoring relations, as well as the status quo along the borders, will require mutual sensitivity and an adherence to past agreements that helped keep the peace, rather than needless provocations that expand an already long list of differences.

Source: IE


International Relations

Dalai Lama

For Prelims: Tibetan Government in Exile, Buddhism, Line of Actual Control, McMahon line.

For Mains: Impact of Dalai Lama and Tibet on India-China Relations.

Why in News

Recently, the last surviving member of a small troop of Indian soldiers who escorted the Dalai Lama as he fled from Tibet in 1959 has died.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The Dalai Lama belongs to the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which is the largest and most influential tradition in Tibet.
    • There have been only 14 Dalai Lamas in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, and the first and second Dalai Lamas were given the title posthumously.
      • The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.
    • The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet.
      • Bodhisattvas are realized beings inspired by a wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, who have vowed to be reborn in the world to help humanity.
  • Dalai Lama’s Escort:
    • The political landscape of China started changing in the 1950s.
    • Plans were made to bring Tibet officially under Chinese control. But in March 1959, Tibetans took to the streets demanding an end to Chinese rule. Chinese People’s Republic troops crushed the revolt and thousands were killed.
    • The Dalai Lama fled from Tibet to India with thousands of followers during the 1959 Tibetan uprising, where he was welcomed by former Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru who gave him permission to form the 'Tibetan government in exile' in Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh).
  • Process to Choose Dalai Lama:
    • Following the Buddhist belief in the principle of reincarnation, the current Dalai Lama is believed by Buddhists to be able to choose the body into which he is reincarnated.
    • That person, when found, will then become the next Dalai Lama.
    • According to Buddhist scholars it is the responsibility of the High Lamas of the Gelugpa tradition and the Tibetan government to seek out and find the next Dalai Lama following the death of the incumbent.
    • If more than one candidate is identified, the true successor is found by officials and monks drawing lots in a public ceremony.
    • Once identified, the successful candidate and his family are taken to Lhasa (or Dharamsala) where the child studies the Buddhist scriptures in order to prepare for spiritual leadership.
    • This process can take several years: it took four years to find the 14th (current) Dalai Lama.
    • The search is generally limited to Tibet, although the current Dalai Lama has said that there is a chance that he will not be reborn, and that if he is, it will not be in a country under Chinese rule.

Tibet and Dalai Lama: Impact on India-China Relations

  • Background:
    • For centuries, Tibet was India’s actual neighbour, as most of India’s boundaries and the 3500km LAC (Line of Actual Control) is with the Tibetan Autonomous Region, and not the rest of China.
    • In 1914, it was Tibetan representatives, along with the Chinese that signed the Simla convention with British India that delineated boundaries.
    • However, after China’s full accession of Tibet in 1950, that China repudiated the convention and the McMahon line that divided the two countries.
    • Further, in 1954, India signed an agreement with China, agreeing to recognize Tibet as “Tibet region of China”.
  • Current:
    • The Dalai Lama and Tibet is one of the major irritants between India and China relations.
    • China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist, who has great influence over Tibetans.
    • India seeks to use the Tibetan card in order to counter China’s continuing aggression at the Line of Actual Control.
    • In the event of increasing tensions between India and China, there has been a shift in India’s Tibet Policy. This shift in the policy, earmarks the Indian government actively managing with the Dalai Lama in public forums.
    • The shift in India’s Tibet policy is majorly focused on symbolic aspects, but there are many challenges pertaining to India’s Approach to Tibet Policy.

Way Forward

  • India currently has an executive policy (not a law) on Tibetans in India.
  • While the current policy was a significant development for Tibetans' welfare in India, it is devoid of legal backing on core issues of Tibet. For example, destructive Tibetans' demand for freedom in Tibet.
  • Therefore, it is high time now that India should also adopt a more assertive stand on the Tibet issue in dealing with China.
  • Further, India should avoid a situation where it has a young and restive Tibetan population that resides in India, but looks outside of India for its leadership and command structure after the Dalai Lama has passed.

Source: ToI


International Relations

Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities: India-Pakistan

For Prelims: Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities

For Mains: The Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities, its significance and the need and India- Pakistan Relations.

Why in News

Recently, India and Pakistan have exchanged a list of their nuclear installations.

  • The exchange was in accordance with the Article-II of Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India.
  • The two countries also exchanged lists of prisoners held in each other’s prisons under the provisions of the Agreement on Consular Access signed in May 2008.
    • Under this pact, the two countries should exchange comprehensive lists on 1st January and 1st July every year.

Key Points

  • Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities:
    • About:
      • According to this agreement, both countries have to inform each other of the nuclear facilities.
      • The agreement was signed in 1988 and ratified in 1991.
      • This was the 31st consecutive exchange of the list between the two neighboring countries.
    • Coverage:
      • Nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, isotopes separation and reprocessing facilities, as well as any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form and establishments storing significant quantities of radioactive materials, are all included under the umbrella term “nuclear installations and facilities”.
  • Significance of the Agreement:
    • The need for the agreement had been felt against the backdrop of Israel’s 1981 bombing of Iraq’s Osirak reactor near Baghdad. The strike, carried out by Israeli fighter jets over hostile airspace, had set Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme significantly.
    • The agreement had also come at a time of deep anxiety for Pakistan.
      • Islamabad had been rattled by the memory of the 1972 defeat which dismembered the country, and military developments in India, such as Operation Brasstacks in 1987, which was a wargame exercise to prepare for deep strike offensive capabilities. Pakistan had at the time responded by putting its nuclear installations and assets on ‘high alert’.

Current Issues in India-Pakistan Relations

  • Cross Border Terrorism:
    • Terrorism emanating from territories under Pakistan's control remains a core concern in bilateral relations.
    • India has consistently stressed the need for Pakistan to take credible, irreversible and verifiable action to end cross border terrorism against India.
  • Indus Water Treaty:
    • Every now and then, there is an uproar in India for abrogating the Indus Water Treaty as a response to Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism and tenacity.
      • It is a treaty brokered by the World Bank, which administers how the waters of the Indus and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be utilised.
  • Siachen Glacier:
    • Siachen is regarded as the world’s highest, deadliest and costliest battlefield.
    • Decades of military operations have damaged the glacier and the surrounding environment.
    • But due to the complex nature of Indo-Pak relations and the distrust between the two countries, there has been no decision on the matter yet.
  • Sir Creek:
    • It is a 96 km long strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands.
    • The dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh.
      • Pakistan claims the line to follow the eastern shore of the estuary while India claims a centerline (differing interpretations of paragraphs 9 and 10 of the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914 signed between the then Government of Sindh and Rao Maharaj of Kutch).
  • Reorganization of Jammu & Kashmir:
    • It also created a crisis in Kashmir-centric Pakistan as at one go, the large territory of Ladakh was disassociated from the Kashmir dispute.
      • Pakistan’s frustration showed in its desperate attempts to push terrorism and failed effort to gather international support against this move by India.

Way Forward

  • The two countries agreed to the strict observance of all agreements, understandings and ceasefire along the LoC (Line of Control) and all other sectors with effect in February 2021.
  • But unless there is a mutual desire, political will and the two sides must have courage to take decisive difficult decisions, there is no hope for the countries future engagement.
  • Pakistan’s never ending struggle to prove itself equal to or better than India has never let the relations get normal between the two countries.
  • The lack of true democracy and the successive toothless civilian governments have proved that bilateral engagement with the civilian government would be rendered fruitless by the machinations of the Pak military.

Source: IE


Science & Technology

Solid-State Batteries

For Prelims: Solid-state batteries, difference between solid-state and Li-ion battery, types of batteries.

For Mains: Solid-state batteries, difference between solid-state and Li-ion battery, advantages of Solid-state batteries, role of modern Batteries in fighting climate change, how can modern batteries revolutionise the automobile industry.

Why in News

Car manufacturer Volkswagen plans to have production running for solid-state batteries by 2025 via the partnership with QuantumScape.

  • QuantumScape’s solid-state battery — lithium metal with a solid electrolyte separating the two electrodes — is seen as an exceptionally bright prospect in an increasingly crowded space.

Key Points

  • About:
    • A solid-state battery has higher energy density than a Lithium-ion battery that uses liquid electrolyte solution. It doesn’t have a risk of explosion or fire, so there is no need to have components for safety, thus saving more space. Then we have more space to put more active materials which increase battery capacity in the battery.
    • A solid-state battery can increase energy density per unit area since only a small number of batteries are needed. For that reason, a solid-state battery is perfect to make an Electric Vehicle (EV) battery system of module and pack, which needs high capacity.
    • The energy density of lithium-ion cells used in today’s mobile phones and electric vehicles is nearly four times higher than that of older-generation nickel-cadmium batteries.
    • Despite improvements in technology over the last decade, issues such as long charging times and weak energy density persist. While lithium-ion batteries are seen as sufficiently efficient for phones and laptops, they still lack the range that would make EVs a viable alternative to internal combustion engines.

Lithium-ion Batteries

  • About:
    • It uses an intercalated (Intercalation is the reversible inclusion or insertion of a molecule into materials with layered structures) lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery.
    • The battery consists of electrolyte, which allows for ionic movement, and the two electrodes are the constituent components of a lithium-ion battery cell.
    • Lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging.
  • Lithium-ion Battery Applications:
    • Electronic gadgets, Tele-communication, Aerospace, Industrial applications.
    • Lithium-ion battery technology has made it the favourite power source for electric and hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Disadvantages of Li-ion Batteries:
    • Long charging times.
    • One major problem is that lithium metal is extremely reactive. Safety issues as instances of batteries catching fires have been there.
    • Expensive to manufacture.
    • While the Li-ion batteries are seen as sufficiently efficient for applications such as phones and laptops, in case of EVs, these cells still lack the range that would make them a viable alternative to internal combustion engines.
  • Advantages Over Li-ion:
    • Higher Cell Energy Density:
      • The advantages of the solid-state battery technology include higher cell energy density (by eliminating the carbon anode), lower charge time (by eliminating the need to have lithium diffuse into the carbon particles in conventional lithium-ion cells), ability to undertake more charging cycles and thereby a longer life, and improved safety.
    • Cost Effective:
      • Lower cost could be a game-changer, given that at 30% of the total cost, battery expenses are a key driver of the vehicle costs.
      • QuantumScape claims it is targeting to lower battery cost by 15-20% relative to the cost of lithium-ion batteries in several years.
  • Other Potential Alternatives to Solid-state Batteries:
    • Graphene Batteries: Graphene batteries may be an important alternative to lithium-ion batteries, with the latter having limitations due to the frequency with which lithium requires charging. Graphene is a newly stabilised and isolated material.
    • Fluoride Batteries: Fluoride Batteries have the potential to last eight times longer than lithium batteries.
    • Sand Battery: This alternative type of lithium-ion battery uses silicon to achieve three times better performance than current graphite Li-ion batteries. The battery is still lithium-ion like the one found in a smartphone, but it uses silicon instead of graphite in the anodes.
    • Ammonia-powered Batteries: Ammonia-powered batteries may not be coming any time soon, but the chemical commonly known as a household cleaner is still an alternative to lithium in the way it can power fuel cells in vehicles and other equipment.
      • If scientists can figure out a way to produce ammonia without creating the greenhouse gas emissions that result right now, they can ship it anywhere in the world to be converted into hydrogen to power those fuel cells.
    • Lithium-Sulphur Batteries: Researchers in Australia say they have developed the world’s most powerful rechargeable battery using lithium-sulphur, said to perform four times better than the strongest batteries currently available.
    • Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotube Electrode: These are good candidates for lithium-ion battery electrodes which require high rate capability and capacity.

Source: IE


Indian Economy

Semiconductor Shortage

For Prelims: Conductors, Semiconductors, Insulators, use of semiconductors, examples of semiconductors.

For Mains: Reason for the semiconductor crisis, It's impact and possible solutions.

Why in News

Recently, there has been an abrupt and cascading shortage of semiconductors worldwide.

Key Points

  • About Semiconductors:
    • Semiconductors are materials which have a conductivity between conductors (generally metals) and nonconductors or insulators (such as most ceramics). Semiconductors can be pure elements, such as silicon or germanium, or compounds such as gallium arsenide or cadmium selenide.
      • Conductivity is the measure of the ease at which an electric charge or heat can pass through a material.
    • They are also known as integrated circuits or more commonly just chips, they may be the tiniest yet most exacting product ever manufactured on a global scale. 
    • It's an electric circuit with many components such as transistors and wiring formed on a semiconductor wafer. An electronic device comprising numerous of these components is called Integrated Circuit (IC), and can be found in electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, appliances, gaming hardware and medical equipment.
      • These devices find widespread use in almost all industries, especially in the automobile industry.
    • Electronic parts and components today account for 40% of the cost of a new internal combustion engine car, up from less than 20% two decades ago.
      • Semiconductor Chips account for a bulk of this increase.
  • Reasons for the Shortage:
    • Work from Home due to Covid: Lockdowns increased the growth in sales of laptops to the highest in a decade.
      • Home networking gear, webcams and monitors were snapped up as office work moved out of the office, and laptops were in demand for a while as schools shut.
    • False Forecasts: Automakers that cut back drastically early in the pandemic underestimated how quickly car sales would rebound. They rushed to re-up orders late in 2020, only to get turned away because chipmakers were stretched supplying computing and smartphone giants.
    • Stockpiling: Computer makers began warning about tight supplies early in 2020. Then around the middle of that year, Huawei Technologies Co. — the Chinese smartphone maker that also dominates the global market for 5G networking gear — began building up inventory to ensure it could survive US sanctions that were set to cut it off from its primary suppliers.
      • Other companies followed suit, hoping to grab share from Huawei, and China’s chip imports climbed to almost USD 380 billion in 2020, up from about USD 330 billion the previous year.
    • Disasters: Production plants in the US were affected by the cold and in japan by wildfire.
    • Difficult Production: Manufacturing advanced logic chips requires extraordinary precision, along with huge long-term bets in a field subject to rapid change.
      • Plants cost billions of dollars to build and equip, and they have to run flat-out 24/7 to recoup the investment.
  • Impact:
    • Countless industries have been affected as global demand for semiconductor chips continues to outstrip supply.
    • Chip shortages are expected to wipe out USD 210 billion of sales for carmakers this year, with production of 7.7 million vehicles lost.
    • The semiconductor shortage will severely disrupt the supply chain and will constrain the production of many electronic equipment types.
    • The chip shortage directly impacts consumers as prices of everyday appliances and electronic goods — from TV to smartphones — have increased due to the global supply chain disruption.

Way Forward

  • Emerging technologies, especially, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, augmented and extended reality and blockchain are gaining prominence across industries. With these applications gaining traction across sectors, the need for specialised sensors, integrated circuits, improved memory, and enhanced processors is increasing.
  • India is finalising plans to manufacture semiconductor chips in a big way, as a part of its ‘Make in India’ initiative. The nation is offering more than USD 1 billion in cash to each semiconductor company that sets up manufacturing units in the country.
    • Chips made locally will be designated as “trusted sources” and can be used in products ranging from CCTV cameras to 5G equipment.
    • In December 2021, India invited an “expression of interest” from chipmakers for setting up fabrication units in the country or for the acquisition of such manufacturing units.
  • This is all being done to achieve self-sufficiency in the manufacturing of semiconductors, to ensure better control over data security and prevent countries in the world from being held to ransom by specific members of the existing semiconductor supply chain.
  • It is clear that semiconductors are changing the game in our modern, fast-moving world. Therefore India should give semiconductors the status of “critical infrastructure'' in most countries, in the near future.

Source: IE


Indian Economy

Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill

For Prelims: FRDI Bill, Insolvency and Bankruptcy, Prompt Corrective Action.

For Mains: Significance of FRDI Bill and issues related with it.

Why in News

Recently, the Finance Ministry has sought views of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on drafting a modified version of the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill in order to deal with Insolvency of Firms in the financial sector.

Key Points

  • Background:
    • The FRDI Bill, 2017 was meant to address the issue of insolvency of firms in the financial sector.
    • If a bank, NBFC, an insurance company, a pension fund or a mutual fund-run by an asset management company fails, a quick solution is available to either sell that firm, merge it with another firm, or close it down, with the least disruption to the system and other stakeholders.
    • It aimed to limit the fallout of the failure of institutions like banks, insurance companies, non-banking financial companies, pension funds and stock exchanges.
    • The Bill was withdrawn due to concerns among the public over safety of deposits despite assurances by the Central government.
    • A key point of criticism was the so-called bail-in clause in the Bill that said in case of insolvency in a bank, the depositors will have to bear a part of the cost of the resolution by a corresponding reduction in their claims.
  • About the New Bill:
    • The bill will provide for establishing a resolution authority, which would have powers to undertake prompt resolution for banks, insurance companies and systemically important financial firms.
    • The legislation will also provide for an insurance of up to Rs 5 lakh for bank depositors, which already has a legal backing.
  • Need for legislative backing:
    • Even as the RBI has come out with a Prompt Corrective Action framework for NBFCs (Non Banking Financial Companies), a need is being felt for a legislative backing for the entire financial sector.
    • The current resolution regime is especially inappropriate for private sector financial firms in the light of significant expansion and many of these acquiring systemically important status in India.
    • The provision of a single agency for resolution of financial firms is in line with the recommendations made by the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC), 2011 headed by Justice B N Srikrishna.
    • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2021 along with the FRDI bill would have streamlined the procedure for the winding up or revival of an ailing financial sector firm.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

  • It is a reform enacted in 2016. It amalgamates various laws relating to the insolvency resolution of business firms.
  • It lays down clear-cut and faster insolvency proceedings to help creditors, such as banks, recover dues and prevent bad loans, a key drag on the economy.

Key Words

  • Insolvency: It is a situation where individuals or companies are unable to repay their outstanding debt.
  • Bankruptcy: It is a situation whereby a court of competent jurisdiction has declared a person or other entity insolvent, having passed appropriate orders to resolve it and protect the rights of the creditors. It is a legal declaration of one’s inability to pay off debts.

Source: IE


Governance

Draft National Air Sports Policy

For Prelims: Initiatives related to Sports in India, About ASFI and FAI.

For Mains: Sports Development Policies in India, Significance of National Air Sports Policy.

Why in News

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has released a draft National Air Sports Policy (NASP) that will require entities providing these services and their equipment to be registered, as well as be liable for penalties.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The policy proposes a two-tier governance structure for air sports in the country, which will include an apex governing body called the Air Sports Federation of India (ASFI) and associations for each air sport.
      • The ASFI will be an autonomous body under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and will represent India at the Lausanne (Switzerland)-headquartered Fédération Aéronaautique Internationale (FAI) and other global platforms related to air sports.
      • It will provide governance over various aspects of air sports, including regulation, certification, competitions, awards and penalties, etc.
    • Each air sports association will lay down its safety standards for equipment, infrastructure, personnel and training, and specify the disciplinary actions to be taken in case of non-compliance. Inability to do so may lead to penal action by the ASFI.
    • It is proposed that popular air sports attractions in the country such as Bir Billing in Himachal Pradesh, Gangtok in Sikkim, Hadapsar in Maharashtra and Vagamon in Kerala can be declared as a “control zone” for air sports in order to ensure the safety of other manned aircraft.
  • Activities Covered:
    • It will cover activities like aerobatics, aeromodelling, amateur-built and experimental aircraft, ballooning, drones, gliding, hang gliding, paragliding, microlighting, paramotoring, skydiving, and vintage aircraft.
  • Objectives:
    • The vision of the policy is to make India one of the top air sports nations by 2030.
    • It envisages to promote the country's air sports sector, by way of making it safe, affordable, accessible, enjoyable and sustainable.
    • The policy seeks to leverage India's potential for air sports and places a strong focus on ensuring international best practices in safety.
    • It aims to promote domestic design, development and manufacturing of air sports equipment under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan; waive import duty on equipment for a few years; as well as request the GST Council to consider rationalising the GST rate on air sports equipment to 5% or less.
  • Significance:
    • Schools and colleges will be encouraged to include air sports in their curriculum and their students will have the opportunity to participate in the FAI’s international competitions.
    • India has the potential to be among the leading nations in the world of air sports. It has a large geographical expanse, diverse topography and fair weather conditions.
    • It has a large population, especially the youth. It has a growing culture for adventure sports and aviation.
    • Other than the direct revenue from air sports activities, the multiplier benefits in terms of growth of travel, tourism, infrastructure and local employment, especially in hilly areas of the country, are several times greater.
    • Creation of air sports hubs across the country will also bring in air sports professionals and tourists from across the world.

Government Initiatives for Sports Development

Source: TH


Governance

Jal Jeevan Mission

For Prelims: Jal Jeevan Mission (Rural and Urban)

For Mains: Significance of Jal Jeevan Mission in development of Rural India.

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Jal Shakti has approved Drinking Water Supply schemes of Rs. 15,381.72 Crore for Madhya Pradesh under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).

  • JJM aims to ensure assured tap water supply or ‘Har Ghar Jal’ to all rural households by 2024.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Launched in 2019, it envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
    • JJM looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.
    • It comes under Jal Shakti Ministry.
  • Aims:
    • The mission ensures functionality of existing water supply systems and water connections, water quality monitoring and testing as well as sustainable agriculture.
    • It also ensures conjunctive use of conserved water; drinking water source augmentation, drinking water supply system, grey water treatment and its reuse.
  • Features:
    • JJM focuses on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at the local level.
    • Creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse, is undertaken in convergence with other government programmes/schemes.
    • The Mission is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.
  • Implementation:
    • Paani Samitis plan, implement, manage, operate and maintain village water supply systems.
    • The committees prepare a one-time village action plan, merging all available village resources. The plan is approved in a Gram Sabha before implementation.
  • Funding Pattern:
    • The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.
  • Progress So Far:
    • When the mission was launched, only 17% (32.3 million) of the country’s rural households had a tap water supply.
    • Today, 7.80 Crore (41.14%) households have tap water supply. Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry have achieved 100% household connection in rural areas and have become ‘Har Ghar Jal’.

Source: PIB


Important Facts For Prelims

Padhe Bharat Campaign

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Education has launched a 100 days reading campaign 'Padhe Bharat' (1st January to 10th April 2022).

  • 21st February, which is celebrated as International Mother Tongue Day, has also been integrated with this campaign in a view to promote the local language and culture of our society.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The Campaign is in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which emphasises on promotion of joyful reading culture for children by ensuring availability of age appropriate reading books for children in local/mother tongue/regional/tribal Language.
      • The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”.
      • The NEP is only the third major revamp of the framework of education in India since independence. The two earlier education policies were brought in 1968 and 1986.
    • It will focus on children studying in Balvatika to Grade 8.
    • This campaign has also been aligned with the vision and goals of the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission.
    • It aims to have the participation of all stakeholders at the national and state level including children, teachers, parents, community, educational administrators etc.
  • International Mother Tongue Day:
    • UNESCO declared 21st February as International Mother Language Day in 1999 and the World has been celebrating the same since 2000. The day also commemorates a long struggle by Bangladesh to protect its mother language Bangla.
    • The resolution to mark 21st February as the International Mother Language Day was suggested by Rafiqul Islam, a Bangladeshi living in Canada. He proposed the said date to commemorate the 1952 killings in Dhaka during the Bangla Language Movement.
    • The initiative is aimed at preserving and promoting mother languages. The aim is to protect the diverse culture and intellectual heritage of different regions of the world.

Education in India

Source: PIB


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