Historical background: Historically, the area around Ahmedabad has been inhabited since the 11th century, when it was known as Ashaval.
Chaulukya ruler Karna of Anhilwara (modern Patan) had waged a successful war against the Bhil king of Ashaval and established a city called Karnavati on the banks of the Sabarmati river.
Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411 A.D. Had laid the foundation of a new walled city near Karnavati and named it Ahmedabad after the four saints in the area by the name Ahmed.
Background: Maharashtra government had permitted a hunter to kill the tigress- Avni. This move was widely criticised by the activists. The tigress, which is said to have killed 13 people, was shot dead in Yavatmal on November 2 by civilian hunter Asgar Ali, who was with a team of Forest Department officials.
About NTCA: The National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it under the said Act.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority has been fulfilling its mandate within the ambit of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for strengthening tiger conservation in the country by retaining an oversight through advisories/normative guidelines, based on appraisal of tiger status, ongoing conservation initiatives and recommendations of specially constituted Committees.
The functions of NTCA are as follows: Ensuring normative standards in tiger reserve management Preparation of reserve specific tiger conservation plan Laying down annual/ audit report before Parliament Instituting State level Steering Committees under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister and establishment of Tiger Conservation Foundation. According approval for declaring new Tiger Reserves.
Key facts: The train will run from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal, which is a 34 km stretch. No visa will be required for Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the border through this stretch.
Significance: After Beijing decided to extend its railway network up to Kathmandu, New Delhi proposed the construction of new railway links during Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s recent visit to India. The move is being seen as part of efforts to counter China’s plans to forge rail links with Nepal.
The decision by the Trump administration is a seen as a recognition by Washington of India’s role in development of the port on the Gulf of Oman, which is of immense strategic importance for the development of war-torn Afghanistan.
Background: The US has imposed “the toughest ever” sanctions on a defiant Iran aimed at altering the Iranian regime’s “behaviour”. The sanctions cover Iran’s banking and energy sectors and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports.
Where is Chabahar port? Iran’s Chabahar port is located on the Gulf of Oman and is the only oceanic port of the country. The port gives access to the energy-rich Persian Gulf nations’ southern coast and India can bypass Pakistan with the Chabahar port becoming functional.
Why Chabahar port is crucial for India? The first and foremost significance of the Chabahar port is the fact that India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan. Chabahar port will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port. Gwadar port is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea.
With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India. Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East.
With Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India. The import cost of oil to India will also see a considerable decline. India has already increased its crude purchase from Iran since the West imposed ban on Iran was lifted.
Chabahar port will ensure in the establishment of a politically sustainable connectivity between India and Afghanistan. This is will, in turn, lead to better economic ties between the two countries.
From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated.
The Quad: Regional coalition known as the ‘Quad’, the quadrilateral formation includes Japan, India, United States and Australia. All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security. The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.
Significance Quad- grouping for the US: The US believes the Quad, as one of the elements of its larger Indo-Pacific strategy for “a free, open and rules-based order” in face of an aggressive and expansionist China in the region, should eventually evolve into a ministerial-level dialogue imbued with a strong military dimension.
But Washington also recognizes that New Delhi for now remains opposed to any militarization of the Quad, which was revived after a decade as a joint secretary-level dialogue in November 2017, with its second meeting being held in June this year. India has also made it clear that the US should not “conflate” the Indo-Pacific with the Quad, stressing the centrality of Asean in the former.
Way ahead: Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest. All four countries share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security. The Quad grouping is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context. Quad should not be seen in any comparative or in an exclusive context.
Maritime security and the need for it: With a vast coastline of about 7600 kilometres, island territories on both sides of the peninsula are sizeable Exclusive Economic Zone and sea borne trade, the greater part of which moves by ship; there are many strands to India’s composite maritime security including the safety of major ports plus aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines at strategic levels.
Background: The home ministry, till now, has released a total of Rs. 637.98 crore during the 2018-19 period to states having an International Border. The funds released are in addition to the Rs. 1,100-crore released in 2017-18 for the all-round development of villages located along the International Border in 17 states.
About Border Area Development Programme (BADP): The Border Area Development Programme (BADP) has been implemented through 17 States (viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal) which constitute the International Land Borders.
The main objective of the BADP is to meet the special developmental needs and well being of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the international border and to saturate the border areas with the entire essential infrastructure through convergence of Central/ State/ BADP/ Local schemes and participatory approach.
Funding and schemes covered: The funds under BADP are provided to the States as a 100% non-lapsable Special Central Assistance. The programme is supplemental in nature and the budget allocation for the financial year 2015-16 is Rs.990 crore. The BADP schemes include construction of primary health centres, schools, supply of drinking water, community centres, connectivity, drainage to enable sustainable living in border areas.
It also covers schemes or activities relating to Swachhta Abhiyan, skill development programmes, promotion of sports activities in border areas, promotion of rural tourism, border tourism, protection of heritage sites, construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible hilly areas, which do not have road connectivity.
Office of Coal Controller (earlier Coal Commissioner), established in 1916, is one of the oldest offices in Indian Coal sector. Main aim behind setting up this office was to have Government control to adequately meet the coal requirement during First World War. Acute scarcity of coal necessitated promulgation of Colliery Control Order, 1944 for effective control on production, distribution and pricing of coal. Subsequently, it was revised by a more comprehensive order in 1945. Later in 1996, distribution and pricing of coal was deregulated. Thereafter, Colliery Control Order, 2000 superseded the previous order. Finally, the Colliery Control Rules, 2004, was published by Government of India in August, 2004.
Functions and Responsibilities Functions of Coal Controller’s Organisation are listed as below- Under Colliery Control Rules, 2004 – To lay down procedure and standard for sampling of coal. Inspection of collieries so as to ensure the correctness of the class, grade or size of coal. To issue directives for the purpose of declaration and maintenance of grades of coal of a seam mined in a colliery.
To act as the appellate authority in case of dispute between consumers and owner arising out of declaration of grade and size of coal. To regulate disposal of stock of coal or the expected output of coal in the colliery.
Quality surveillance with respect to maintenance of grade, loading of coal in wagons/ trucks according to laid down procedures regarding grades and sizes. To grant opening / re-opening permission of coal mine, seam or a section of seam or to subdivide a mine.
Under Coal Mines (Conservation & Development) Act, 1974 and Coal Mines (Conservation and Development) Amendment Rules, 2011- Assessment and collection of excise duty levied on all raw coal raised and dispatched.
Providing financial support to the coal operators for- - Ensuring the conservation of coal resources: Stowing in UG mines. - Undertaking the development of coal mines in a scientific manner. - Undertaking research in relation to conservation of coal, development of coal mines and utilization of coal. - Protective works including blanketing with incombustible material, N2 & CO2 flushing, filling up of subsided areas, cutting of trenches etc. - Infrastructure development such as Road / Rail infrastructures in coalfields. Under Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 -
Coal Controller has been made the statistical authority with respect to coal and lignite statistics. Entrusted the responsibility of carrying out Annual Coal & Lignite survey and publishing of Provisional Coal Statistics and Coal Directory of India. Submission of monthly coal data to different ministries of central and state Govt., national and international organization. Collection of Statistics relating to coal washeries. Under Coal Bearing Area (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957-
Coal Controller is the competent authority under this act to hear any objection to the Central Government’s Notification relating to acquisition of coal bearing land and to furnish his reports to Central Govt.
Under the Coking Coal Mines (Nationalisation) act, 1972, the Non-coking Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 and the Coal Mines (Special Provision) Act, 2015 Coal Controller also functions as the Commissioner of Payment to settle the claim cases of colliery owners of pre-nationalisation period under the above acts.
Commissioner of Payments Coal Controller functions as the Commissioner of Payment to settle the claim cases of colliery owners of pre-nationalisation period under the Coking Coal Mines (Nationalisation) act, 1972, the Non-coking Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 and also for the Schedule-I Coal Mines as per the Coal Mines (Special Provision) Act, 2015