14, September 2016

Government plans 27,000km economic corridors

Source: Times of India

The government will make 44 highway stretching 27,000 km to be developed as “economic corridors” for seamless movement of cargo vehicles, cut delays, deepen economic activities and create jobs.

The new plan is expected to be completed in six years.

Rebranding National Highways:

The government will also rebrand national highways as national corridors, economic corridors and feeder roads, a move aimed at helping in navigation and identifying the roads. The corridors have been identified using satellite imagery.

Significance:

  • This will be the biggest highway expansion plan since the rolling out of Golden Quadrilateral and North South East West Corridor, totaling 13,000 km during the Vajpayee regime.
  • It will help in decongesting 30 top cities in the country by building ring roads and logistics hubs along these corridors.
  • It will provide wider roads for cargo vehicles and necessary facilities and also to equip them with 100% electronic tolling system.
  • These stretches pass through and connect major hubs of economic activities such as manufacturing clusters and ports, and have been identified as “economic corridors”.

Under Bharat Mala:

Expanding these stretches will be carried out under the ‘ Bharat Mala ‘ programme, a highway project that will link ports, logistic hubs, and border areas to boost cargo movement, exports and their overall growth.

Chinese daily warns of setbacks to China-Pakistan economic corridor

Source: Times of India

  • China may slow down implementation of the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) because of security concerns.
  • It is reported that the two countries should be prepared for “potential setbacks” in what is China’s most ambitious overseas project.
  • The corridor linking China’s northwest Xinjiang province to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port “passes through some turbulent regions, Kashmir included.

Why this move now?

  • It is alleged thatChina wants to shift its attention to funding infrastructure in Vietnam and other South East Asian countries in order to soften their stance on the South China Sea dispute.
  • Besides, Beijing wants to extend its One Belt, One Road program to other countries instead of depending on Pakistan.
  • Besides security challenges, there is serious concern about the economic value of the investments because the Pakistani economy is unlikely to provide a proper rate of return on investments.

What is CPEC?

  • CPEC is a collection of projects currently under construction at a cost of $46 billion.
  • It is intended to rapidly expand and upgrade Pakistani infrastructure as well as deepen and broaden economic links between Pakistan and China.
  • It is an extension of China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative.
  • China has included this project as part of China’s 13th five-year development plan.

Why India is objecting CPEC?

The India, which shares tense relations with Pakistan, regards portions of the CPEC project negatively as they pass through the Pakistani-administered side of Kashmir; territory that India disputes.

Infra pool to have separate funds for roads, clean energy:

Source: Times of India

The government has altered the structure of the National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), which will now have two dedicated fundsOne for roads and another for clean energy — as it looks to get long-term funds into two crucial sectors of the economy.

Significance of the project:

  • To provide long-term funding and reduce pressure on banks
  • It is a primary source of finance for long-term infrastructure projects.
  • The government is banking on rapid infrastructure development through this fund and has identified several projects in which investments could flow into.
  • The NIIF, announced in the budget, is expected to ease pressure on banks, which are facing severe stress from bad loans.

Approved strength of judges enough to end backlog: Law panel head

Source: The Hindu

Background:

Recently, Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur has called for over 70,000 more judges to be appointed to courts all over the country to clear the backlog.

This is when the present vacancies in the High Courts number over 480 when the sanctioned strength is 1079. The Supreme Court has itself three vacancies in a total sanctioned strength of 31 judges.

Justice Chauhan view comes at a time when the Supreme Court has directed the Law Commission to file a report within a year on whether it is permissible to rid the apex court of routine appeals crowding the court, to help it focus on cases of national and public interest.

What did Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan said?

Increasing the sanctioned strength of judges will not solve the problem. We need working judges. Liberty has become more important. Workload has increased because of an increase in awareness among the public and education. There has been an expansion of liberty and courts are bound by the public’s faith in the judiciary.

In short, Justice Chauhan said steps should be taken to fill the sanctioned strength rather than increase the number of judges over and above the current sanctioned strength to solve pendency.

Who is Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan?

Justice Chauhan is the Chairman of the 21st Law Commission.

Two Day Rabi Conference begins in New Delhi tomorrow 

Source: PIB

The National Conference on Agriculture for Rabi Campaign 2016 will be held on 15th-16th September 2016 at New Delhi. Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare will inaugurate the conference.

Agenda:

The will look at the implementation progress of important schemes related to Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare announced by the Centre in the last two years.

India Declares itself Free from Avian Influenza (H5N1) 

Source: PIB

The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare has declared India free from Avian Influenza (H5N1).

India had notified outbreak of Avian Influenza (H5N1) on 09.05.2016 at Humnabad, Bidar district, Karnataka. There has been no further outbreak reported in the country thereafter. 

How was this achieved?

The control measures adopted in the radius of one Km around outbreak location included following: 

1- Stamping out of entire poultry population including destruction of eggs, feed, litter and other infected materials, restriction on movement of poultry and poultry products to and from the area of outbreak, disinfection and cleaning up of infected premises and the Post Operation Surveillance Plan (POSP) from 6th June, 2016.

2- Surveillance was carried out throughout the country. Surveillance around the areas of the outbreaks since completion of the operation (including culling, disinfection and clean -up) 

 What is Avian Influenza (H5N1)?

Influenza H5N1 is a subtype of the influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species.

A bird-adapted strain of H5N1 is the highly pathogenic causative agent of H5N1 flu, commonly known as avian influenza (“bird flu”).

It is enzootic (maintained in the population) in many bird populations, especially in Southeast Asia.

GSAT-11 to be launched in early 2017

Source: The Hindu

GSAT-11, India’s advanced and heaviest communication spacecraft to date at 5,700 kg is to be launched early next year on the European Ariane launch vehicle.

The high-throughput satellite with its multi-spot beam coverage of the country will be far superior to the older generation three-tonne INSAT/GSAT spacecraft.

What is the Purpose of GSAT-11?

GSAT-11 is designed to generate a bandwidth of more than 12 gbps primarily for users of Internet driven services, VSAT operations and rural connectivity



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