National Current AFfairs – UPSC/KAS Exams – 6th November 2018
Government invites bid for Phase III of regional connectivity
The ministry of civil aviation has opened bids for the third phase of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). In the third round of bidding, the ministry of tourism has proposed 46 routes to be connected in the coming months.
- The third phase will also see the launch of seaplanes at water aerodromes. There are 10 water aerodromes, located in Gujarat, Assam, Uttrakhand, Maharashtra and Telangana, including one at the Statue of Unity near Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat.
- Under the earlier two phases of RCS, 56 unserved and 31 helipads have been awarded for connectivity, but operations at several of these airports have not yet taken off, and these airports are expected to see operation under Phase III.
- Connecting tourism spots was the main focus under Phase III of the RCS, and the list of routes proposed by the ministry of tourism included places such as Agra, Bhopal, Jhansi, Bodhgaya, Mysore, Kullu, Dharamshala and other places. In total there are 60 new routes which have been identified by the ministry of civil aviation for operation of RCS flights under Phase III. Apart from this, there are eight routes in the north-eastern region
- Under RCS, an airline can serve the destinations on offer from anywhere depending on its traffic feasibility studies.
- In this scheme, fares are capped according to the distances between the two destinations for 50 per cent of seats and the remaining seats can be sold at market rates. These seats are subsidized with the help of the viability gap funding (VGF) provided by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
- The government has collected about Rs 268 crore levy from various airlines towards the RCS scheme.
- The scheme, also known as ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’, seeks to connect unserved and under-serve airports. To fund the scheme, an amount of Rs 5,000 is collected from airlines on every flight operated on major routes.
India’s nuclear triad is complete with INS Arihant ending its first deterrence patrol
- India on 5th Nov declared that its nuclear triad, stated in its nuclear doctrine, is operational after indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarine INS Arihant achieved a milestone by conducting its first deterrence patrol.
- This means that Arihant is now prowling the deep seas carrying ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads.
- True to its name, INS Arihant will protect the 130 crore Indians from external threats and contribute to the atmosphere of peace in the region,
- Given India’s stated position of ‘No-First-Use’ (NFU) in launching nuclear weapons, the SSBN is the most dependable platform for a second-strike.
- Because they are powered by nuclear reactors, these submarines can stay underwater indefinitely without the adversary detecting it. The other two platforms — land-based and air-launched are far easier to detect.
- Arihant was quietly commissioned into service in August 2016 but its induction was never officially acknowledged. It has a displacement of 6000 tonnes and is powered by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor with enriched uranium.
- The Advanced Technology Project (ATV) project began in the 1980s and the first of them, Arihant, was launched in 2009 by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. Since then it underwent extensive sea trials and the reactor on board went critical in 2013.
- In 1998, India conducted nuclear tests under Pokhran-II and in 2003, it declared its nuclear doctrine based on credible minimum deterrence and a NFU policy while reserving the right of massive retaliation if struck with nuclear weapons first.
- Arihant is presently armed with K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km and will eventually carry the longer 3,500 km range K-4 missiles being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- The second submarine in the series, Arighat is now undergoing sea trials after which it will be inducted into service.
No first use
- No first use (NFU) refers to a pledge or a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. Earlier, the concept had also been applied to chemical and biological warfare.
- China declared its NFU policy in 1964, and has since maintained this policy
- India first adopted a “No first use” policy after its second nuclear tests, Pokhran-II, in 1998. In August 1999, the Indian government released a draft of the doctrine which asserts that nuclear weapons are solely for deterrence and that India will pursue a policy of “retaliation only”.
- The document also maintains that India “will not be the first to initiate a nuclear first strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail” and that decisions to authorise the use of nuclear weapons would be made by the Prime Minister or his ‘designated successor(s)’.
- NATO has repeatedly rejected calls for adopting NFU policy arguing that pre-emptive nuclear strike is a key option, in order to have a credible deterrent that could compensate for the overwhelming conventional weapon superiority enjoyed by the Soviet Army in the Eurasian land mass
- In 1993, Russia dropped a pledge against first use of nuclear weapons made in 1982 by Leonid Brezhnev.
- In 2000, a Russian military doctrine stated that Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons “in response to a large-scale conventional aggression
India elected as a Member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Council for another 4-year term
- India has been elected as a Member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Councilfor another 4-year term (2019-2022). The elections to the Council were held during the ongoing ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 at Dubai, UAE.
- By securing 165 votes, India ranked third among the 13 countries elected to the Council from the Asia-Australasia region, and eighth among the 48 countries elected to the Councilglobally.The ITU has 193memberstates who elect representatives to the Council.
- India has been an active member of the ITU since 1869, earnestly supporting the development and propagation of telecom in the global community of nations.
- The country has been a regular member of the ITU Council since 1952, and has played an important role in harmonizing the contributions of member States from the region, always respecting the principlesof equality andconsensus-building.
- India shares the dream and vision of ITU to realize the world as one nation and knowledge society
International Telecommunication Union
- The International Telecommunication Union (ITU; originally the International Telegraph Union, is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies.
- The ITU coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, and assists in the development and coordination of worldwide technical standards.
- The ITU is active in areas including broadband Internet, latest-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology, convergence in fixed-mobile phone, Internet access, data, voice, TV broadcasting, and next-generation networks.
- The agency also organizes worldwide and regional exhibitions and forums, such as ITU Telecom World, bringing together representatives of government and the telecommunications and ICT industry to exchange ideas, knowledge and technology.
- ITU, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a member of the United Nations Development Group, and has 12 regional and area offices in the world.
- ITU has been an intergovernmental public–private partnership organization since its inception. Its membership includes 193 Member States and around 800 public and private sector companies, and academic institutions as well as international and regional telecommunication entities, known as Sector Members and Associates, which undertake most of the work of each Sector.
- The Centre has released more than Rs. 113 crore to six border states as part of its plan to ameliorate the problems of people living in isolated locations
- The Home Ministry recently released Rs. 113.36 crore to Assam, Nagaland, Sikkim, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP).
- The home ministry, till now, has released a total of Rs. 637.98 crore during the 2018-19 period to states having an International Border, a government official said.
- The funds released are in addition to the Rs. 1,100-crore released in 2017-18 for the all-round development of villages located along the International Border in 17 states.
- The BADP schemes include construction of primary health centres, schools, supply of drinking water, community centres, connectivity, drainage to enable sustainable living in border areas.
- It also covers schemes or activities relating to Swachhta Abhiyan, skill development programmes, promotion of sports activities in border areas, promotion of rural tourism, border tourism, protection of heritage sites, construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible hilly areas, which do not have road connectivity.
- As many as 61 model villages are being developed under the BADP to improve the quality of life for people living near border areas.