Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Indian Railways draft policy aims at boosting tourism

About policy:

  • The Indian Railways (IR) plans to introduce dedicated train services for domestic and international tourists, catering to customers at all income levels.
  • The proposal is part of the draft tourism policy which IR is bringing out to increase private partnership in running tourist trains.
  • A concept of tourist train with differential tariff will be worked out. The train will comprise different classes of accommodation like Sleeper 3A, 2A and 1A coaches, as per demand.
  • Railways plans to rope in several service providers, including Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), to manage other services such as hotel accommodation and sightseeing for domestic and international tourists.
  • The Railways also proposes to reserve special coaches for tourists on trains running through tourist spots across the country.
  • It will auction such dedicated tourist coaches to tour operators “at a premium based on which the tour operator may carry the passengers/tourists to be booked by it,” according to IR’s draft Tourism Policy 2017.
  • An effort will be made to involve private participation in operating more (hill tourist) trains and also to improve the financial conditions in hill railways in general through Public Private Partnership.
  • It plans to unveil ‘Bharat Darshan Trains’ catering “for the masses” with sleeper class coaches. The fare for this train will be fixed broadly on the basis of normal fare of mail or express trains with telescopic benefit for the entire trip. Such tourist trains will be at affordable rates so that ordinary citizens can use it.
  • For promoting religious tourism, the IR proposed introducing Astha Circuit Trains and State Tirth Trains.
  • While the former will be operated by the IR at its own expense, the latter will be run on request from state governments at their cost.

Source: Indian Express

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs

Centre links two NGOs to Maoists

Important to note:

  • The Home Ministry has said in its annual report that at least two civil rights groups working for tribal people in Odisha and Jharkhand were allegedly acting as a front organisation for the Maoists and were using “displacement of local communities” as their main plank.
  • The Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (NSS) in Odisha and the Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) in Jharkhand are the organisations.
  • The samiti has actively campaigned against mining activity by the Odisha Mining Corporation atop the Niyamgiri hills in south-western Odisha, which would have given U.K.-based Vedanta Group access to natural resources.
  • In 2013, as many as 12 gram sabhas of Dongaria Kondh and Kutia Kandha spread across Rayagada and Kalahandi districts voted against any mining activity in the area.
  • The Supreme Court quashed a petition by the corporation to hold fresh gram sabha consultations to allow bauxite mining on Nyamgiri hills.
  • Last year, the VVJVA vehemently opposed the Jharkhand government’s decision to amend two tenancy laws to allow use of agricultural land of tribal people for non-agricultural purposes.
  • The Chotanagpur Tenancy Act of 1908 restricts the sale of tribal land to non-tribals in 16 districts of Jharkhand.
  • The Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act of 1876 also prohibited sale of tribal land to non-tribals in the Santhal Pargana region.

Maoists involvement:

  • The Maoists tried to strengthen coordination between its mass organisations and other like-minded organizations.
  • In 2016, the issue of displacement of local communities remained the main plank of mobilisation by the mass organizations.
  • In Jharkhand, the VVJVA, a front of CPI(Maoist) tried to rake up the pro-tribal issues and opposed amendments to the Chotanagpur and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Acts, modifications in Domicile policy, etc.
  • Maoist affiliates also undertook protest programmes and resorted to anti-government propaganda over alleged atrocities by security forces.
  • As per Home Ministry data, at least 323 incidents of violence related to left-wing extremism were reported in Jharkhand, in Chattisgarh incidents recorded were 395 and Odisha recorded 86 incidents in 2016.

Source: Times of India

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

China-Nepal exercises don’t worry us: India

Government says:

  • The relationship between Kathmandu and New Delhi has its own logic. The enduring ties between the two sides are not concerned with the ongoing military exercises between China and Nepal.
  • Nepal’s pending constitutional amendments were likely to be discussed during this week’s visit of President Bidya Devi Bhandari to Delhi.

First-ever joint exercise:

  • The issue of China’s first-ever military exercise with Nepal forms the backdrop of the state visit of Ms. Bhandari between April 17 and 21.
  • The China-Nepal exercise, “Sagarmatha Friendship – 2017” began on 16th April 2017, Sunday in Nepal Army’s paratraining school in Maharajganj and will continue for 10 days.

Statement of Nepal:

  • India has an abiding interest in the stability and development of Nepal. The Government of India has been very supportive of efforts for building an inclusive agenda in its widest possible definition which will consolidate democracy in Nepal.
  • The presidential visit is also important in view of the election process that has begun in Nepal with the announcement of local-level polls in March.
  • The local-level elections to be held on May 14 will begin a year-long process which will culminate in the election of Parliament of Nepal.

Source: The Hindu