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GS Paper I- History of the World and Society.

Marking World Humanitarian Day On 19th August, UN Urges Protection For Civilians And Aid Workers In Armed Conflict.

 

Background-

  • Joining Mr. Guterres to mark World Humanitarian Day, which is officially commemorated on 19 August, 2017, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien spoke of the challenges faced by aid workers around the world.
  • Standing at Headquarters in New York alongside UN aid workers and staff who lost colleagues in war zones, the Secretary-General lent his support to the #NotATarget, campaign, which highlights the need to protect civilians caught in conflict, including humanitarian and medical workers.
  • Last year (2016), 288 aid workers were targeted in 158 attacks. In the past three months alone, relief workers have been shelled and shot at, kidnapped and killed in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • Civilians in conflict are not a target, top United Nations officials stressed at a special event on 18th August, 2017 marking the World Humanitarian Day, which honours aid workers and pays homage to those killed in service, while also drawing attention to the millions of people today living in war zones.
  • Secretary-General António Guterres urged each person and country to stand in solidarity with civilians in conflict.
  • Earlier in the week (August, 2017), the UN and partners launched the #NotATarget petition urging global leaders do more to ensure the rules of war are upheld and civilians are protected in armed conflicts.
  • With more than 10,500 signatures, the petitioners demand that world leaders do more to protect people trapped in conflicts, with a particular focus on those living in urban areas, children, targets of sexual violence, forcibly displaced people, humanitarian workers and health workers.
  • The petition will be presented to the Secretary-General during the high-level General Assembly, which opens on 12 September, 2017.
  • The UN General Assembly designated 19 August as World Humanitarian Day in 2008, selecting the date to coincide with the anniversary of the deadly 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.
  • Originally coined by Médecins Sans Frontières in 2015, the #NotATarget hashtag is being used in the World Humanitarian Day digital campaign this year to call for action on behalf of all civilians trapped in conflicts.

Sources- UN News Centre.

 

GS Paper II- Governance.

Karnataka Launches ‘Indira Canteen’ In Bengaluru.

 

Background

  • ‘Indira Canteen’, aimed at serving the poor at subsidised rates, was inaugurated in Bengaluru on 16th August, 2017 by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
  • Mr. Gandhi, who had the first breakfast at the canteen in Jayanagar, said ‘Indira Canteens’ would serve the migrants who came to Bengaluru with a dream to build something, asking the government to give much attention to cleanliness and taste.
  • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Indira Canteens was a continuation of the Congress’s commitment to a hunger-free Karnataka.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday, 16th August inaugurated first Indira Canteen at Kanakanapalya of Jayanagar in South Bengaluru, which doles out food to masses at concessional rates.
  • It is one of the 198 canteens that will be opened in all wards of Bengaluru. In the first phase, 101 canteens are made open to public on 16th August, 2017.
  • Speaking at the inaugural event of Indira Canteen in Jayanagar, Rahul Gandhi said these canteens will ensure that no person with poor or weaker background goes hungry in Bengaluru.
  • He asked the Karnataka government to ensure safe and tasty food is offered to people to make canteen project a success. “Eradicating poverty and filling hungry stomachs was also a dream of Amma Indira Gandhi,” he added.
  • At these canteens, breakfast will be served at Rs 5 per plate and Rs 10 for meals during afternoon and night.
  • Chief minister Siddaramaiah says Indira Canteen project will be extended to other districts of Karnataka soon.
  • Responding to criticism on naming the canteens after Indira Gandhi, he said the canteens were aptly named after the leader who gave a rousing call to the nation in 1971 to eradicate poverty: “garibi hathao.” That was her response to her opponents calling for “Indira hathao.”

Sources- The Hindu, The Times Of India.

 

GS Paper III- Security.

Israel Fence Systems, Quick Response Team At Pakistan, Bangladesh Borders: BSF DG.

 

Background

  • India is deploying along its volatile border with Pakistan a smart Israel-developed fencing system having a ‘quick response team’ mechanism which strikes when the CCTV-powered control room detects an infiltration attempt.
  • The BSF is implementing an ambitious project called the comprehensive integrated border management system (CIBMS) as part of the Narendra Modi government’s plan to completely seal the Indo-Pak and India-Bangladesh borders in the next few years.
  • The BSF is tasked with guarding the over 6,300-km-long two borders and its chief, in an interview, said the new frontier guarding systems will bring a “sea change”, for the first time, in this domain.

Key Points Of The Development-

  • The DG said the new system will see that instead of his troops patrolling day-in-and-day-out along the border, they will be sitting in the border outpost ready to move if there is any threat. He said that this will be a sea change. They have leap frogged in terms of gaining technology. From the patrolling mode to the QRT mode. This is a paradigm shift in what they are going to do now, adding however, the patrolling will not be totally done away with.
  • Sharma, who took BSF’s charge in February 2016, said the “human intervention (armed troops) will come to neutralise (terrorists) only. The technology will guard the borders for us. The technology will not have the weakness or frailties that humans have”.
  • He said the systems of smart fences and surveillance methods, is from the state-of-the-art technologies being used in Israel. India will have the latest versions of all those things that are being used in Israel.
  • The DG said it was his firm belief that the future of border guarding lies in technology and not in increasing the manpower.
  • The government has given BSF the mandate of sealing the borders with the help of technology where there are gaps initially and then increasingly deploy this by gauging the vulnerability at the border. According to Sharma, who has spent about five years in the BSF, the new border fencing and surveillance system will be a multi-tier protocol.

Sources- The Indian Express.