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GS Paper I- Geography of the World/ India.

India Permitted To Construct Kishanganga, Ratle Projects: World Bank.

Background-

  • The World Bank has said that India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).
  • The World Bank’s comments came as officials from India Pakistan concluded the secretary-level talks over the IWT.
  • Pakistan opposes the construction of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants being built by India in Jammu and Kashmir.

What is Important –

  • In the lengthy fact sheet, the World Bank said Pakistan asked it to facilitate the setting up of a Court of Arbitration to look into its concerns about the designs of the two hydroelectric power projects.
  • On the other hand, India had asked for the appointment of a neutral expert to look into the issues, contending the concerns Pakistan raised were “technical” ones.
  • The IWT was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory.
  • The World Bank’s role in relation to “differences” and “disputes” is limited to the designation of people to fulfil certain roles when requested by either or both of the parties.
  • Earlier, in a letter dated July 25, 2017 the World Bank had assured Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna its continued neutrality and impartiality in helping the parties to find and amicable way forward.
  • The two countries last held talks over the two projects in March 2017 during the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) in Pakistan.
  • Pakistan had approached the World Bank last year (2016), raising concerns over the designs of two hydroelectricity projects located in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • It had demanded that the World Bank, which is the mediator between the two countries under the 57-year-old water distribution pact, set up a court of arbitration to look into its concerns.
  • The international lender had in November 2016 initiated two simultaneous processes for appointing neutral expert and establishing of a court of arbitration to look into technical differences between the two countries in connection with the projects.
  • The simultaneous processes, however, were halted after India objected to it.

Sources- NDTV.

 

GS Paper II- Governance, Polity.

Coconut Palm Declared State Tree Of Goa.

Background

  • The Goa Cabinet on 2nd August, 2017, approved an amendment to re-classify coconut as a tree.
  • Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai said the Cabinet also resolved to declare coconut as the state tree.
  • The amendment to the Trees Act was approved at the state cabinet meeting held in the evening in Panaji.

Key Points Of The Development-

  • Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party, who had taken the initiative in this regard, said the new amendment would be ratified in the State Legislative assembly during the ongoing monsoon session.
  • The Opposition as well as civil society had questioned the previous BJP-led coalition government for amending the Goa Daman and Diu (Preservation of) Trees act 1984 in 2016 to drop the tree status accorded to the coconut tree.
  • Opponents of the government, which then included Goa Forward Party led by Mr. Sardesai, had accused the government of unfairly hastening real estate and industrial development at the cost of environment by selectively allowing mass removal of coconut plantations.
  • The Goa Forward Party (GFP), an alliance partner in the government, had included reclassifying coconut as a tree as a part of the Common Minimum Program adopted by the coalition government.
  • The then Laxmikant parsekar-led government had classified Coconut as a palm due to which it was prone to indiscriminate felling.

Sources- The Hindu, PTI.

 

GS Paper III- Technology, Security.

Indian Army Develops Humraaz App For Soldiers To Track Promotions And Postings.

Background

  • The Indian Army has developed a mobile application through which serving soldiers can track details like postings and promotions, an army official said on 2nd August, 2017.
  • Through the ‘Humraaz‘ app, soldiers can also view their monthly salary slips and the Form 16 and also download them.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The mobile app has been developed in-house by the Army and will be launched in the second week of August, 2017 for prompt communication of information to junior commissioner officers and other personnels.
  • For security reasons, the installation of the application has been linked to verification of Aadhaar details.
  • The Aadhaar details will be verified with the Army database over (National Information Centre) NIC cloud and he will get a one-time-password on his registered mobile number.
  • Hence, to enable usage of this mobile application, the latest mobile number of individuals should be linked to his Aadhaar number.

Sources- The Times Of India.