GS Paper I- Geography of the World and society.

China Flies 6 Heavy Long-Range Bombers Near Japan

China Flew The Bombers Through The Miyako Strait. Japan Scrambled Its Fighter Jets In Response.

Background

  • The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) flew six Xian H-6K long-range bombers through the strategically important Miyako Strait on July 13,2017, according to  Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD).
  • The Miyako Strait is located between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa. Consisting of a small passageway with international waters and airspace, the strait is one of the principal gateways for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to the Pacific Ocean.
  • In response to the PLAAF patrol, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) dispatched an unknown number of fighter jets.  According to the Japanese MoD, the Chinese bombers did not violate Japanese airspace.

Key Things To Look Out For-

  • The Chinese Ministry of Defense said in a statement that it was “legal and proper” for the PLAAF to operate in the airspace and that it was a routine exercise and there was no cause for alarm or speculation.
  • Furthermore, the ministry said in statement that Japan should not make a fuss about nothing or over-interpret, it will be fine once they get used to it. In March 2013, Japan scrambled fighter jets in response to a Chinese military exercise involving 13 aircraft flying through the Miyako Strait.
  • The PLAAF carried out similar drills in the Miyako Strait in September, November, and December 2017 respectively. In all three instances the JASDF dispatched fighter jets.  According to the Japanese MOD, the JASDF scrambled its fighter jets 1,168 times in fiscal year 2016, up from 873 in 2015.
  • The JASDF has doubled the number of fighter jets dispatched to intercept foreign military aircraft approaching Japanese airspace from two to four in 2016.
  • The JASDF stood up a new air wing consisting of Mitsubishi F-15J all-weather air superiority fighters in Okinawa in 2016, which doubled the number of fighter jets there from 20 to 40.
  • The doubling of aircraft used for scrambles against foreign military aircraft will put additional pressure on an already overstretched JASDF. Unless Japan steps up its procurement process and accelerates the introduction of new aircraft (e.g. the F-35), the JASDF will likely face a shortage of fighter aircraft in the 2020s.
  • The H-6K long-range bomber is a derivative of the Soviet-era Tupolov Tu-16 twin-engined jet strategic bomber.
  • In 2007, the PLAAF introduced the bomber’s latest variant fitted with a more powerful and fuel-efficient engines and modern electronics.
  • The bomber can carry a payload of up to 12 tons. The H-6K, which lacks stealth capacity, can carry up to seven YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missiles (six on wing pylons plus one in the bomb bay) or CJ-20 subsonic land-attack cruise missiles with an estimated range of 250 and 1,500 miles respectively.

Sources- The Diplomat.

 

GS Paper II-Governance, Social Justice.

Maharashtra Enacts Law Against Discrimination By Caste Panchayats.

Background

  • Maharashtra has become the first State in the country to enact a law against social boycott from caste panchayats. President Pranab Mukherjee has given his nod to implement the Prohibition of Social Boycott Bill in the State.
  • The bill had been cleared in last year’s (2016) Budget Session with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claiming that it would deal with the scourge of social boycott with an ‘iron hand’. As per the procedure, the bill was forwarded by the Central government to the President for his assent.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • The State Home Department said Maharashtra has received approval from the Centre to implement the Act all over the State. Despite repeated reminders from the State to the Centre, the clearance of the Bill was inordinately delayed.
  • The State answered questions raised by the Scheduled Tribes development department regarding overlapping of certain conditions in the bill with existing laws. With growing instances of boycotts of individuals or families by caste panchayats, the need to enact a special law was echoed in the State in 2010.
  • The bill makes provision for punishment of up to three years in jail and/or a fine up to ₹1 lakh. The case has to be fast tracked within six months from the date of filing the charge sheet. The fine charged from accused will be partially or fully handed over to the victim.
  • The Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS), which led the movement demanding the law, expressed satisfaction over the enactment of the bill. Krushna Chandgude, an activist with MANS, said that years of struggle have finally been paid off. They campaigned for the Act and were successful in convincing the political class that the issue of social boycott by caste panchayats was not only a matter of law and order but also social justice.
  • Slain rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar has also campaigned against social boycott by caste panchayats in Maharashtra and the bill turning in to an Act was a tribute to the fighting spirit of Dr. Dabholkar.
  • Avinash Patil, executive president, MANS, said that now that the Act has been cleared by the President, MANS will run a special campaign for the implementation of it at the district level.

Sources- The Hindu.

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

DIPP Inks Pact With A Punjab Institute To Set Up TISC.

Background

  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on 13th July, 2017 signed a pact with a Punjab state council to set up Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC).
  • At present, 500 TISCs operate worldwide and establishing such centre in India will give the host institutions an access to the global network, the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement.
  • The agreement was signed with Punjab State Council of Science and Technology.
  • The centre would be established at Punjab’s Patent Information Centre under a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) programme.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The objective of the TISC is to stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced intellectual property rights (IPRs) system in India to foster creativity and innovation, according to the official statement.
  • It would help promote entrepreneurship and enhance social, economic and cultural development by establishing a network of TISCs in India.
  • The Technology and Innovation Support Centre programme of WIPO provides innovators in developing countries with access to high quality technology information and related services.
  • The TISC offers several services such as access to online patent and non-patent resources; assistance in searching and retrieving technology information; training in database search; on-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement) and monitoring technology and competitors.
  • The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) is designated as the national focal point for the TISCs national network.
  • The CIPAM would identify potential host institutions, assess their capacities and support them in joining the TISC programme.
  • In upcoming years, CIPAM is planning to establish TISCs in universities, state science councils, R&D institutions.

Sources- Indiatoday..