Current Affairs 4th January, 2019

PAPER – 2

Topics Covered

1. International relations

2. India’s foreign policy

India rejects Trump’s remark on Afghanistan

What to read?

Prelims – India’s Development plans in Afghanistan, Afghanistan – bordering countries

Mains –India – Afghan relationship, Difference of U.S and India in the area of interest in Afghanistan

India has rejected US President Donald Trump's comments mocking Prime Minister for funding a library in Afghanistan, saying New Delhi has provided $3bn in development assistance to the war-torn country.

On-going Developmental Projects undertaken by India in Afghanistan

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  • Shahtoot Dam and drinking water project for Kabul that would facilitate irrigation, water supply for Charikar City

  • Road connectivity to Band-e-Amir in Bamyan Province that would promote tourism,

  • low cost housing for returning Afghan refugees in Nangarhar Province to promote their resettlement,

  • a gypsum board manufacturing plant in Kabul to promote value added local industry and for import substitution, and

  • a polyclinic in Mazar-e-Sharif.

In addition, India will also take up 116 High Impact Community Development Projects in 31 provinces of Afghanistan.

Note – Chabahar port in Iran is developed by India outside Afghanistan to reach it without crossing Pakistan.

India – Afghanistan Relationship

India and Afghanistan have a strong relationship based on historical and cultural links. In recent past, India-Afghanistan relations have been further strengthened by the Strategic Partnership Agreement, which was signed between the two countries in October 2011.

Friendship Dam

On 4 June 2016, Indian Prime Minister visited Herat in western Afghanistan and he along with President Ghani jointly inaugurated the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, earlier known as Salma Dam. The completion of the dam project represents culmination of years of hard work by about 1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers and other professionals in very difficult conditions. It also highlights India's continued commitment to Afghanistan's reconstruction and development.

U.S policy on Afghanistan

  • The Obama approach of announcing timelines for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan was replaced by a conditions-based approach

  • Pakistan was put on notice and US President Trump was critical about Pakistan’s duplicity in being “a non-NATO ally” and providing safe haven to insurgent groups

  • Earlier, the U.S. announced that it was cancelling $300 million in military aid to Pakistan

  • The new strategy will employ in Afghanistan all aspects of American power, diplomacy, economic might, intelligence and military power in order to advance American interests.

U.S Talks with Taliban

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  • The U.S. opened direct talks with the Taliban

  • In the past, the U.S. had refrained from doing so, maintaining that this would undermine the legitimacy of the Kabul government.

Way forward

For a successful reconstruction and development U.S needs to understand that not only military alliance of U.S but also soft power diplomacy of India is needed to combat the terrorism and prevail peace in the region.

Probable Mains Question

India plays a significant role as a development partner, in Afghanistan, with projects aimed at achieving "a tangible improvement in the lives of its people”. Substantiate


PAPER – 2

Topics Covered

1. International Organisation

U.N Peace Keeping Force

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What to read?

Prelims – UNPKF

Mains – India’s role and contribution to UNPKF

India in its reply to Trump said India does not send its army abroad expect specific mandate like United Nations Peace Keeping Operations

UNPKF

  • United Nations Peacekeeping was created in 1948.

  • Its first mission involved the establishment of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), which served to observe and maintain ceasefire during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

UN Peacekeeping maintains three basic principles:

  • Consent of the parties,

  • Impartiality and

  • Non-use of Force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.


  • The UN Peacekeepers are led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DKPO).

  • There are currently 17 UN peace operations deployed on four continents.

  • UN Peacekeepers are from diverse backgrounds, from areas all around the world. They include police, military and civilian personnel. They are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets.

  • The UN Peacekeeping Force won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.

  • The United Nations Charter gives the United Nations Security Council the power and responsibility to take collective action to maintain international peace and security. For this reason, the international community usually looks to the Security Council to authorize peacekeeping operations.

India and UN Peacekeeping

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  • The Indian Army is the largest cumulative troop contributor to United Nations Peacekeeping Missions mandated to maintain stability and negotiate a peace settlement in turbulent regions of the world.

  • In 2017, The Indian Army contingent was awarded United Nations Medal for “selfless service”. The contingent is part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in South Sudan.

  • So far India has provided almost 2,00,000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions over the past six decades, including 13 of the current 16 missions.

  • Last year, 7,606 Indian peacekeepers were deployed in UN missions.  

  • Moreover, India has suffered 163 fatalities since the peacekeeping operations began in 1948, the most by any country.

Probable Mains Question

India is a key player in United Nations Peace keeping Force. Substantiate.


PAPER – 3

Topics Covered

1. Defence

Tejas (Improved LCA) gets green nod for production

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What to read?

Prelims – CEMILAC, About Tejas aircraft; its improved version

Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’ quietly progressed towards manufacture in an enhanced, battle standard format.

CEMILAC

The Center for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) is a laboratory of the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Located in Bangalore, its primary function is certification and qualification of military aircraft and airborne systems. Some of its achievements are Issuance of IOC for LCA, ALH. It is having 14 Regional Centers located across the country.

TEJAS

  • Made in India, Single-seat, Single-jet engine

  • Multi-role light fighter.

  • It has been pegged as world’s smallest and lightest supersonic fighter

  • LCA Tejas is not the first indigenous fighter to be inducted into the IAF. In April 1967, IAF had formed the first operational squadron with the indigenous HF-24 Marut fighter

  • Designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

  • Made under Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters.

  • It is equipped with satellite-aided Inertial Navigation System. It has digital computer-based attack system and autopilot mode.

  • It has limited reach of a little over 400-km. It will be mainly used for close air-to-ground operations.

Significance of Improved Version of Tejas Mk II

An improved version of the fighter that meets air force requirements would also have a good export potential. The numbers could go up significantly if India promotes it in and around the region as an affordable fighter

PAPER – 3

Topics Covered

1. Indian Economy

Rs. 70,000 Crore recovery likely from 12 big IBC cases


What to read?

Prelims – About IBC

Mains – Significance of IBC in capital recovery

The government expects a recovery of about Rs. 70,000 crore from the 12 big companies that were identified for bankruptcy proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, by March 31, 2019

IBC  - Significance

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  • The Code outlines separate insolvency resolution processes for individuals, companies and partnership firms.

  • The process may be initiated by either the debtor or the creditors.

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) envisions a 180-day period in which bids are invited for a defaulted firm.

  • If 75 per cent of the debt votes in favour of a bid, that bid is accepted.

  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India has been appointed as a regulator and it can oversee these proceedings. 

  • IBBI has 10 members from Finance Ministry and Law Ministry the Reserve Bank of India.

  • IBC permits hiring services of licensed professionals who have total control over assets of debtor while the proceedings are going on at a tribunal.

  • Two tribunals have been authorised to resolve insolvency issues and pronounce their judgement on them.

  • One is National Company Law Tribunal for companies and the other Debt Recovery Tribunal for individuals

What areas IBC was expected to address?

  • Bankrupt firms – If a company goes bankrupt the creditors of the companies where in a distressing situation due to the uncertainty in recovering the debts.

  • In the bankruptcy process, there is an open opportunity for many people to bid for the firm so that recovery of debts is guaranteed.

  • Real estate firms – Bankrupted real estate companies delayed payments, and took capital from buyers and they became unsecured creditors.

  • The IBC will be triggered quickly when a real estate company gets into trouble and problems of buyers will be addressed.

  • Defaulters – Earlier the information about defaulters was keep secret and their trading continued in the stock markets.

  • IBC has made, default by a company as a mandatory information which must be disclosed immediately.

What are the practical constrains in IBC framework?

  • Open and transparent process results in the promoter regaining control of the firm, who is likely responsible for running the company aground.

  • Recovery rates for10 or 15 year old cases are abysmal even after the procedural problems of the IBC are fixed.

  • In one recent case, a bid was accepted to give lenders 6 per cent of the value of their debt of a defaulted firm.

  • There is much concern about some developments in bankruptcy reform as the lenders gets low recovery rate.

  • Home buyers who have paid large advances to real estate companies are worried about their losses.

What measures can be taken in IBC?

  • An amendment is required to fix the mistakes in the 2016 IBC law.

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has to achieve the scale required for a high-performance regulator.

  • An array of well-drafted regulations has to be issued by the IBBI, for a robust regulation-making process.

  • A competitive industries of private Information Utilities (IUs), Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPAs), and Insolvency Professionals (IPs) has to arise.

  • The bankruptcy process must commence immediately after the first default, and the new arrangement must be quickly put in place.

  • To ensure an optimal restructuring plan, collectively financial firms need to build capacity on insolvency resolution process

Probable Mains Question

Explain in detail about the IBC as a solution for mounting NPA and health restricting of Capitals.