Current Affairs 8th jan 2016

  • India-France military exercise Shakti-2016 begins

India and France have started their eight-day counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency bilateral military exercise Shakti-2016 in Rajasthan.
In this bilateral exercise, French contingent comprising 56 personnel of 35th Infantry Regiment of 7th Armoured Brigade are participating. Indian side is being represented by the 2nd Battalion of Garhwal Rifles which is part of the Sapta Shakti Command.
Key facts
  • Shakti-2016 joint exercise aims at conducting infantry tactical operations, combating conditioning in a counter-terrorism environment under the United Nations mandate.
  • It will culminate the tactical exercise encompassing clearing of pockets of terrorists in rural and urban environment.
  • The exercise will include firing, tactical operations, combat conditioning, heli-borne operations among others.
  • This military exercise is an important step for both the armies to train together and gain from each other’s rich operational experience.
  • It will also facilitate sharing of each other’s military experiences as both countries have deployed troops in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations.
  • India to grow at 7.8% in year 2016: World Bank Report

The Global Economic Prospect report published recently by the World Bank (WB) has projected a robust 7.8 per cent growth for the Indian economy in the year 2016.
In its report bank also has cited strong investor sentiment in India and the positive effect on real incomes of the recent fall in oil prices.
Key highlights from report
  • Forecasted growth for India: It will grow at a 7.9 per cent growth in the next two years 2017 and 2018.
  • India’s stock markets and currency have been largely resilient during bouts of volatility in global financial markets over the past year.
  • However, there are some downside risks to India’s growth that are mostly domestic. The progress on land reforms can lead to investment delays.
  • Failure to pass the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill by Parliament may hamper the Indian government’s ability to increase the infrastructure spending.
  • Among BRICS nations: China will grow at 6.7 per cent in the year 2016 and 6.5 per cent each in next two years 2017 and 2018.
  • Brazil and Russia are expected to remain in recession during the year 2016 among the major developing economies.
  • South Asia Region: It has been projected to be a bright spot in the emerging and developing economies, with growth rate up to 7.3 per cent in 2016.
  • This region would not be affected by slowdown in China as it has smaller trade links with China than other regions. Being net importer of oil it will be also benefited from lower global energy (oil) price

  • ASW corvette INS Kadmatt commissioned in Visakhapatnam

Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette INS Kadmatt has been commission in the Indian Navy by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan at naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam
It is the second ship of Project 28 (P28) class ASW corvettes and is the latest ship after Shivalik class, Kolkata class and INS Kamorta.

About INS Kadmatt

  • It is about 90 per cent indigenously designed by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and constructed by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd.
  • The stealth anti-submarine warfare has been named after one of the large islands amongst the group of islands inLakshadweep off the west coast of India.
  • Dimensions: It spans 109 meters in length and 14 meters at the beam.
  • Speed: It is propelled by 4 diesel engines to achieve speeds of 25 knots with an endurance of 3450 nautical and with a displacement of 3500 tonnes.
  • Multitude of networks: It provides a contemporary and process oriented System of Systems for optimal functioning of the warship.
  • It comprises Total Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Atmospheric Control System (TACS), Battle Damage Control System (BDCS), Personnel Locator System (PLS) and Integrated Bridge System (IBS).
  • Stealth Technology: It has a low radio, magnetic, acoustic and Infra-red (IR) signature owing to a ‘X’ shaped hull form.
  • It also has an IR suppression system which reduces the heat emitted by the ship reducing the infrared signature thereby defending the ship from heat seeking missiles.
  • Union Government launches River Information System
India’s first River Information System (RIS) was launched by Union Government facilitate safe and accurate inland waterway navigation.
It has been launched in phases and the first phase will cover 145-km stretch of National Waterways 1 (Phase I- Haldia to Farakka) on the Ganges River.
Inland Waterway Authority of India (IWAI), a statutory body under the aegis of Union Ministry of Shipping is implementing the RIS in India.
About River Information Services (RIS)
  • RIS are combination of modern tracking equipment comprising of hardware and software designed to optimize transport and traffic processes in inland water navigation.
  • The system has capability to enhance swift electronic data transfer between mobile vessels and Base stations (on shore) through advance and real-time exchange of information.
  • The main aim of the system is to streamline the exchange of information via Very high frequency (VHF) wireless communication between waterway operators and users.
  • This system would facilitate: (i) Enhancement of inland navigation safety in ports and rivers.  (ii) Better use of the inland waterways.  (iii) Environmental protection.
  • It enables safe and efficient inland water transport by avoiding risks such as (i) Ship-to-Ship collisions. (ii) Ship-Bridge collisions. (iii) Groundings.
  • This system has been successfully implemented and is in operation in countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, China and US.
The RIS system will be later extended upto Varanasi in two more phases and in Phase-II, it will cover stretch from Farakka to Patna (410 Km.)

  • Government decides to merge Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs with MEA

Union Government has decided to merge Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
This decision has been taken to avoid duplication of work and to improve efficiency in line with Union Government’s broad principle of minimum government, maximum governance.
The merger was announced by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and proposal in this regard was cleared byPrime Minister Narendra Modi.
Key facts
  • MOIA was established in May 2004 as the Ministry of Non-Resident Indians’ Affairs (MNRIA). However it was renamed Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in September 2004.
  • The primary task of the MOIA was to connect the Indian diaspora with its motherland by initiating various programmes.
  • It also focused on developing networks with and amongst the overseas Indians with the intent of building partnership with the diaspora.
  • The merger is expected to increase efficiency in MEA’s emergency work abroad especially in various crisis-prone countries in West Asia. It would also increase MEA staff strength.