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07/01/2017 to 13/01/2017

1. The ambitious Ken-Betwa river linking project has received formal


environment, forest and tribal clearances. The project aims at addressing water
needs of dry swathes in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The Union
Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation is
working out the funding pattern with NITI Aayog. The Ministry is pursuing NITI
Ayog to change its funding pattern of Centre state share from 60R40 to 90R10
for the project as it is a special project. Key Facts It is Indias first river
interlinking project that will connect Ken river in Madhya Pradesh with the
Betwa in Uttar Pradesh. The project was envisaged first in 1980 to transfer
surplus river water to dry and arid areas of Bundelkhand region. It will help
irrigate an area of 6.35 lakh hectares annually in Bundelkhand region. Of this,
3.69 lakh hectares will be covered in Madhya Pradeshs Tikamgarh, Chattarpur
and Panna districts. The remaining 2.65 lakh hectares of area falls in Uttar
Pradeshs Jhansi, Mahoba and Banda districts. The project is estimated to
provide 49 million cubic metres (mcm) of drinking water to a population of
13.42 lakh in Bundelkhand region in the two states. Besides, it will also
generate 78 mega watt (MW) of power.

2. The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has called for a
review of the provisions of the Right To Education (RTE) Act that stipulate
children who do not perform well cannot be held back up to 8th Class. The RTE
Act aims to provide primary education to all children aged 6 to 14 years. It
stipulates that no child can be held back in a grade, regardless of his
performance, all the way up to the 8th grade. This means that a child is entitled
to an 8th grade diploma even if he cannot recognise a single letter or a number
if he has spent eight years in school. Key Observations The government think
tank pointed out that the purpose behind this provision in the Act was to
minimise drop-out rate as demoralisation from failing a class may result
children to withdraw from school altogether. However, despite good intention,
the provision has a detrimental effect on learning outcomes, since it takes away
the pressure to learn and to compete. So the NITI Aayog called revision of the
RTE Act. The real problem is the quality of education as measurement by
student achievements. The education quality trend between 2010 and 2014 has
been worsening instead of improving performance. The Annual Status of
Education Report (ASER) 2014 report, the proportion of children aged 6-14
years enrolled in school in rural areas has been above 96% for the past six
years but more than 50% of the 5th graders cannot read second standard level
text.
3. Indias factory output, measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
has registered 5.7% growth in November 2016 as against 1.9% in October 2016.
It is the fastest growth recorded in more than four years and is largely on
account of a low base effect. It also does not display the negative effects of
demonetisation as production cycles in manufacturing take longer to adjust to
any demand change. Key Facts Manufacturing sector grew by 5.5% in
November 2016. Mining sector output rose 3.9%. Electricity generation sector
increased 8.9%. Capital goods output surged 15%. Consumer durable output
jumped 9.8% Consumer non-durable production increased 2.9% Overall growth
in consumer goods output was 5.6%. About Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
The IIP is compiled and published every month by Central Statistics Office
(CSO) of the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. It
covers 682 items comprising Manufacturing (620 items), Mining (61 items) &
Electricity (1 item). The weights of the three sectors are 75.53%, 14.16%,
10.32% respectively and are on the basis of their share of GDP at factor cost
during 2004-05. The eight Core Industries comprise nearly 38 % of the weight
of items included in IIP. Base Effect: It is basically the consequence of
abnormally high or low levels of inflation in a previous month distorting headline
inflation numbers for the most recent month.

4. The Supreme Court has rejected a plea urging it to pass judgement on


Jallikattu before the harvest festival of Pongal. It had also dismissed the review
petition against its 2014 verdict. Earlier, the apex court had questioned the
Union Government for its January 2016 notification allowing use of bulls in
events like Jallikattu, saying that its 2014 verdict banning the use of the animals
cannot be negated.
5. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered inspection of plants which
treat waste in the hospitals of the National Capital Delhi and ensure proper
segregation, collection and disposal of such waste. The waste plants will be
inspected by joint inspection team of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). The NGT also directed the team
to submit report about manner in which bio-medical waste was being handled
by hospitals and situation prevailing in medical institutions adversely affecting
human health and environment. Earlier the tribunal had asked hospitals and
clinics to ensure proper collection, segregation and disposal of bio-medical
waste. What is Bio-medical waste? Bio-medical waste is any solid or liquid
waste including its container and any intermediate product generated during
the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or animals or
research activities. Biomedical waste poses hazard due to two principal reasons
toxicity and infectivity. Bio Medical waste consists of human anatomical waste
like organs, tissues and body parts, waste sharps like hypodermic needles,
syringes, scalpels and broken glass, discarded medicines and cytotoxic drugs,
liquid waste from any of infected areas etc. In 2016, the Union Ministry of
Environment and Forests had issued new Bio-medical Waste Management
Rules, 2016 for proper discarding of the bio-medical waste. In India, total bio-
medical waste generated is 484 tonnes per day (TPD) from 1,68,869 healthcare
facilities (HCF), out of which 447 TPD is treated.
6. National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi was declared free from bird flu
(H5N8 avian influenza) after consecutive samples collected at 15 days
intervals from the last positive results tested negative. In October 2016, cases
of mortality among the birds due to H5N8 avian influenza were reported in
National Zoological Park, Delhi NCR.
7. INS Khanderi, the second Scorpene class submarine was launched at the
Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is the
second of the six submarines being built at MDL in collaboration with Frances
DCNS as part of Project 75 of Indian Navy.
8. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully
test-fired the Pinaka Rocket converted to a Guided Pinaka from Launch
Complex-III, ITR, Chandipur (Odisha). The test-firing met all mission objectives.
The flight-path Guided Pinaka was tracked and monitored by the radars,
electro-optical and telemetry systems at Chandipur. About Guided Pinaka
Guided Pinaka is transformed version of the Pinaka Rocket Mark-II, which has
evolved from Pinaka Mark-I. It has been jointly developed by ARDE Pune, DRDL
Hyderabad and RCI Hyderabad. It is equipped with a navigation, guidance and
control kit. This conversion considerably enhances the range and accuracy of
Pinaka. About Pinaka Pinaka is an unguided rocket weapon area system (WAS)
with a range of 40 km. It meant to neutralise large areas with rapid salvos. It
can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds with 1.2 tonnes of high explosives.
The battery of six launchers can neutralise at a time a target area of 3.9 sq km.
It has capability to incorporate several types of warheads makes it deadly for
the enemy as it can even destroy solid structures and bunkers. The quick
reaction time and high rate of fire of the system gives an edge to the Army
during a low amount conflict situation. It already has been inducted into Indian
Army.
9. The Supreme Court has described side effects of Endosulfan, a highly toxic
agrochemical (pesticide) as devastating. It has directed Kerala government to
release entire Rs. 500 crore compensation to over 5,000 victims in three
months who have suffered from various deformities and health complications
due to use of Endosulfan in the state. It also asked the state to consider setting
up a centre to provide lifelong medical treatment to all the victims. The major
numbers of victims were reported to be affected in Kasargode (Kerala) after
Endosulfan was aerially sprayed by state owned company on cashew
plantations adjoining habitats where the victims are located. The apex court in
2011 had passed order to ban the production, distribution and use of
endosulfan.
10. India and Kenya signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for
cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors. India also announced
$100 million Line of Credit (LoC) to Kenya for agricultural mechanization The
agreement was signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister
Narendra Modi and Kenyian President Uhuru Kenyatta in New Delhi. It was first
official state visit of President from Kenya to India since 1981. Joint statement
released by both leaders Expansion of bilateral trade, greater flow of capital
between two countries and stronger developmental partnership is a priority.
Both sides will also explore opportunities in blue economy. They also discussed
long term arrangements for production and import of pulses. Both countries
will focus on quick operationalisation of the defence cooperation along with
hydrography, anti-piracy, communication networks, capacity building and
defence medical cooperation. They will encourage industry and business in
both countries to take lead in exploiting opportunities in healthcare, tourism, IT,
agriculture and energy. Joint Working Group (JWG) focusing on cyber security,
counter terrorism, combating narcotics trade, human trafficking and money
laundering will meet early. They also condemned terrorism in all its forms and
reiterated their commitment to work together in this regard. They also
committed to strengthen cooperation against terror threats from extremist
groups. India invited Kenya to join the framework agreement of the International
Solar Alliance (ISA) and also offering its expertise in the area of LED smart
street lighting and LED bulbs for domestic use.
11. The National Youth Day is observed every year on 12 January to mark the
birth anniversary of social reformer, philosopher and thinker Swami
Vivekananda. Observance of the day seeks to propagate the philosophy and
the ideals of Swami Vivekananda for which he lived and worked. It will also help
and act as a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth. Several functions
are being organised across the country to mark the occasion. To celebrate this
day, the 21st National Youth Festival was held in Rohtak, Haryana. The theme
this Festival was Youth for Digital India. About Swami Vivekananda Swami
Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Dutta on 12 January 1863 and died on
4 July 1902. He and was chief disciple of the 19th century saint Ramakrishna
Paramhamsa. He was one of the most prominent figures of India who
introduced Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western World.
He is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status
of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He is also considered as
the major force in the revival of Hinduism in India, and contributed to the
concept of nationalism in colonial India. He is best known for his speech which
began, Sisters and brothers of America , at the Parliament of the Worlds
Religions in Chicago in 1893 in which he introduced Hinduism. This speech was
considered as one of his most significant contributions to the world and was a
breakdown of the ancient philosophy of Hindusim, aided with logic and
impeccable scientific insight.
12. India and USA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT- In) and US
Department of Homeland Security on cooperation in field of cyber Security. The
MoU was signed by Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Union Ministry of
Electronics and Information Technology and Richard Verma, US Ambassador to
India. Key Facts The MoU has been signed for the continuation to the
cooperation in cyber security areas between both countries on the basis of
equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit. It intends to promote closer co-
operation and the exchange of information pertaining to the Cyber Security in
accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations of each economy.
Background Earlier US and India signed had inked MoU in July 2011 to promote
a closer cooperation and timely exchange of information between the
organizations of their respective Governments responsible for Cyber Security.
Since, the regular interactions between US CERT and CERT-In are taking place
to share the information and discuss cyber security related issues. About
CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) CERT-In is a
government-mandated nodal agency for information technology (IT) security
established in 2004 under the aegis of the Indian Department of Information
Technology, Ministry of Electronics and IT. According to the provisions of the IT
Amendment Act, 2008, CERT-In is responsible for overseeing administration of
the Act. Mandate of CERT-In: (i) Protect Indian cyberspace and software
infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities. (ii) Respond to
computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT
security practices throughout the country. (iii) Issue guidelines, vulnerability
notes, advisories, and whitepapers regarding to information security practices,
prevention, procedures, response and reporting of cyber security incidents.
13. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Indias first international
exchange India INX at the International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) of GIFT
(Gujarat International Financial Tech) City Gandhinagar, Gujarat. India INX is a
wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). It will enable
Indian firms to compete on equal footing with offshore firms. Key Facts India
INX will initially trade in equity derivatives, currency derivatives, commodity
derivatives including index and Stocks. Subsequently, it will offer depository
receipts and bonds once required infrastructure is ready. It will work for 22
hours in a day working from sunrise to sunset i.e. starting when Japan
exchanges begin and close when US markets end. It will have 250 trading
members including commodity and overseas brokers. India INX is one of the
most advanced technology platforms with turnaround time of 4 seconds. It will
facilitate international investors and NRIs to trade from anywhere in the world.\
It will provide benefits in terms of waiver of security transaction tax, commodity
transaction tax, dividend distribution tax, long term capital gain tax and income
tax.
14. Outgoing US President Barack Obama has selected four Indian-American
scientists among 102 researchers for the Presidential Early Career Awards for
Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). They are Pankaj Lal from Montclair State
University, Kaushik Chowdhury from Northeastern University, Manish Arora
from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Aradhna Tripati from
University of California, Los Angeles. About Awardees Pankaj Lal: He is an
associate professor in the department of earth and environmental studies at
Montclair. He has been working on environmental economics and economic
geography, natural resource conservation and policy and climate change,
human dimensions of ecosystem management. Kaushik Chowdhury: He directs
the Next Generation Networks and Systems (GENESYS) Lab. He is the winner of
the NSF CAREER award (2015) and the Office of Naval Research Director of
Research Early Career Award (2016). Manish Arora: He is an environmental
epidemiologist and exposure biologist. His research focuses on effects of
prenatal and early childhood chemical exposures on life-long health
trajectories. He is known for his work on biomarkers that utilise human
deciduous and permanent teeth to reconstruct the timing of exposure to
various harmful chemicals and essential nutrients. Aradhna Tripati: Her lab at
UCLA uses chemistry of natural compounds as well as models as tools to
understand how the Earth works. Her models focus to understand climate
change, oceans, and the transfer of carbon between the biosphere,
atmosphere and oceans.
15. Pakistan successfully test-fired its first Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile
(SLCM) Babur-3 capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. This launch gives
Pakistan a credible second-strike capability. The Babur-3 missile was fired
from an underwater mobile platform from an undisclosed location in the Indian
Ocean and hit its target with precise accuracy.
16. China successfully launched first commercial mission using an updated
version of the low-cost Kuaizhou-1A rocket. As part of the mission three
satellites JL-1, CubeSats XY-S1 and Caton-1 were launched into space. The
rocket was launched form northwestern Chinas Jiuquan Satellite Launch
Center in Gansu province. Rocket technology company under the state owned
China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (ACSIC) was responsible for
the successful launch mission.
17. Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was named the worlds best player
for the year 2016 at the inaugural Best FIFA Football Awards held in Zurich,
Switzerland. To win this title he received 34.54% of total votes. He defeated
Barcelonas Lionel Messi (26.42%), Atletico Madrids Antoine Griezmann (7.53%)
to win the coveted prize.
18. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and French Space agency
(CNES) have signed a partnership agreement in satellite launch technology. The
agreement was signed between ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar and CNES
President Jean-Yves Le Gall in the presence of visiting French Minister of
Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Key Facts Space
cooperation is one of the cornerstones of the Indo-French strategic partnership
and spans over 50 years. ISRO is the second partner of CNES, in terms of
volume, after NASA. This agreement will strengthen the CNES-ISRO
partnership. It will enable France to benefit from the Indian model of
streamlining the costs of space programmes. Besides, agreement was also
signed for equipping Axiom Research Labs lunar rover with two latest-
generation CASPEX micro-cameras, developed by CNES in partnership with
French firm 3DPlus. Axiom Research Lab: It is leading Indian NewSpace start-
up put forward TeamIndus, the only Indian team competing for the Google
Lunar XPRIZE. CNES is providing cameras to Team Indus rover that will land on
moon. XPRIZE: It is a global competition organised by Google for engineers and
entrepreneurs to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. It will
award $20 million to the first private company that successfully lands a module
on the Moon, places a robot that explores at least 500 metres and transmits HD
videos and images back to Earth.
19. The child sex ratio at birth (SRB) in Haryana for the first time has touched
900-mark in two decades. SRB in December 2016 in Haryana was 914. From
January to December 2016 out of 5,25,278 children were born in Haryana,
2,76,414 were boys and 2,48,864 were girl.
20. The 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony was organized at Beverly
Hills, California, United States (US). The Golden Globe Awards are the annual
awards that honour the best in Motion Pictures and American Television for the
previous year. This year, La La Land, a romantic musical comedy-drama film
won in all the seven categories including the top award of best musical or
comedy. Veteran actress Meryl Streep was bestowed with the Cecil B. DeMille
Lifetime Achievement Award. Winners of various awards are as follows: Best
Motion Picture Drama: Moonlight. Best Motion Picture Musical/Comedy: La La
Land. Best Director in Motion Picture-Drama: Damien Chazelle for La La Land.
Best Actor in Motion Picture-Drama: Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea.
Best Actress in Motion Picture-Drama: Isabelle Huppert for Elle. Best Actor in
Motion Picture or Musical or Comedy: Ryan Gosling for La La Land. Best
Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy: Emma Stone for La La Land. Best
Actor in a Supporting role in Motion Picture: Aaron Taylor-Johnson for
Nocturnal Animals. Best Actress in a Supporting role in Motion Picture: Viola
Davis for Fences. Best Original Score Motion Picture: Justin Hurwitz for the La
La Land. Best Original Song: City of Stars (Justin Hurwitz, Pasek & Paul) for
the La La Land. Best Animated Feature Film: Zootopia. Best Foreign Language
Film: Elle (France).
21. The Indian Army has successfully conducted user-validation trials of
indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) Dhanush in the
Himalayas. It clears the way for the induction in the Army. Earlier, proof firing
tests of Dhanushs armament systems were carried out during technical trials in
June and September 2016 and some initial integrated firing tests were
successfully carried out in December 2016. Key Facts Dhanush 155 MM/52
calibre towed artillery gun is based on the 1980s Bofors FH-77B/39 Calibre
artillery gun design. Its indegenous development is aided by the transfer of
technology (ToT) clause signed with the Swedish company. It is developed by
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with
the private sector companies. It was designed by the DRDOs Armament
Research and Development Establishment (ARDE). It boasts a range of 45 km
with accuracy and precision and provides greater fire power, depending on the
type of ammunition used. It also has night firing capability in direct fire mode. It
has several significant features such as an all-electric drive, quick deployability,
high mobility, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system, and
automated command and control system.
22. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana
(PKVY), a skill development program targeted at Indian youth seeking overseas
employment to make India the Skill Capital of the World. It was launched after
inauguration of 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention at Indias IT hub
Bengaluru, Karnataka. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa was the Chief
Guest of the event.
23. The Supreme Court has reiterated the necessity to implement the Vote
Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in electronic voting machines (EVMs) to
ensure 100% transparency in elections. This is the second time the Supreme
Court has directed Election Commission (EC) for the implementation of VVPAT
in EVMs. Earlier in 2013, SC had directed the EC to introduce VVPAT in a
phased manner for 2014 general elections. SC had observed that VVPAT will
ensure free and fair polls and help in sorting out disputes. In response the EC
had informed the apex court that the VVPAT can be introduced in a phased
manner. What is VVPAT? The VVPAT system is a new initiative of the Election
Commission to ensure free and fair elections. In the VVPAT system, when a
voter presses the button for a candidate of his choice in the electronic voting
machines (EVM), a paper ballot containing the serial number, name of the
candidate and poll symbol will be printed for the voter. It is intended as an
independent verification system for EVM designed to (i) allow voters to verify
that their votes are casted correctly, (ii) detect possible election fraud or
malfunction and (iii) Provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.
24. The 20th Edition of the National Conference for e-Governance 2016-17 has
started in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The theme of this years
conference is Internet of Things and e-Governance and will be covering newly
evolving areas of e-Governance across five plenary sessions. Key Facts The
conference has been organised by Department of Electronics and Information
Technology (DeitY) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public
Grievances (DARPG) in partnership with Information Technology, Electronics
and Communication (ITE&C) Department, Andhra Pradesh Government. It is
being held on the premise of Minimum Government, Maximum Governance. It
will provide an opportunity for the public and private sector to discuss best
practices and explore new areas of partnership in areas related to e-
Governance by leveraging various technology initiatives. It will conduct plenary
session include Cyber Security policy for the future, IoT and Data Analytics,
Digital Connectivity to the last mile and Andhra Pradesh Leading 4.0 which
refers to the 4th Industrial Revolution. The conference is aligned with the
Digital India programme of Union Government and it is the largest annual event
in the arena of Governance reforms in the country. Last year it was held in
Nagpur, Maharashtra. Note E-Governance is one of the subjects allocated to
DARPG under the II Schedule to the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961. DARPG
has been entrusted the role to promote e-Governance activities in consonance
with the overall national objectivities and priorities. Whereas, DeitYs mandate
is to encourage e-Governance to empower citizens, promote inclusive and
sustainable growth of Electronics, IT & ITeS industries.
25. The Union Government has made mandatory for workers in rural areas
enrolled under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee
Scheme (MGNREGA) to have an Aadhaar card. Those who have registered
under the scheme will be required to give furnish proof of possession of
Aadhaar card or undergo the enrolment process till March 31, 2017. Key Facts
For this purpose, government has invoked Section 7 of the Aadhaar (Targeted
Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016. This
section allows Government to ask an individual to undergo authentication or
furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar when the government gives subsidy,
benefit or service from Consolidated Fund of India (CFI). The rationale behind
making Aadhaar cards mandatory for the MGNREGA is to prevent leakages of
subsidies and ensure that the beneficiaries get their due. It will ensure effective
implementation of the Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme
aimed at checking leakages of welfare funds. Under DBT scheme, all cash
benefits are transferred to beneficiarys bank account. Union Government has
asked its departments and State governments to widen scope of DBT to
include all monetary transfers. Note: The expenditure for the MGNREGS is met
by Government from the Consolidated Fund of India.
26. India and Portugal have signed six memorandum of understandings (MoUs)
including in defence cooperation. These agreements were signed after
delegation level talks Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Portugal
counterpart Antnio Costa who is chief Guest of 2017 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
Six agreements signed are MoU on Defence. MoU on Renewable Energy. MoU
on Marine Research and Resources. MoU in the Agriculture and Allied Sectors.
MoU in the field of Information Technology and Electronics. MoU on the
establishment of an ICCR Chair of Indian Studies in University of Lisbon.
Besides, an agreement on visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports was
also signed. It allows visa free travel for diplomatic passport holders of India
and Portugal to each others countries for short term visits. The defence
agreement between both countries aims to boost joint production and
development of niche weapons systems. It was signed following Portugals
support to Indias multilateral plans in various technology regimes including
Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in which India secured membership
in 2016.
27. Pakistans former Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif (retired) was appointed
head of Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT), a Saudi Arabia-led
military coalition of 39 nations. The appointment was confirmed by Pakistans
Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif as both the government and the
Army allowed Gen. Sharif take charge of the alliance. Raheel had retired as the
Pakistan army chief in November 2016 and was succeeded by General Qamar
Javed Bajwa. What is Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT)?
IMAFT is military coalition comprising 39 nations. It was established by Saudi
Arabia in December 2015 and its command centre, headquarters is based in
Riyadh. The coalition calls for all member states to cooperate to combat
terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It is envisaged to serve as a
platform for security cooperation, including provision of training, troops and
equipment, and involvement of religious scholars for dealing with extremism. It
has been established in pursuance with objectives and principles of the charter
of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Member countries of this
alliance will coordinate and support military operations against terrorism in Iraq,
Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Egypt. The coalition includes countries like United
Arab Emirates, Turkey, Bahrain, Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Malaysia among others. Note: Saudi Arabias arch rival (for
influence in the Arab world) Iran was not named as member of the IMAFT.
Currently both regional powers are engaged proxy sectarian conflicts in Syria to
Yemen. What is Pakistans position on IMAFT? Pakistan initially had taken aback
for being part of IMAFT, after Saudi Arabia had announced Pakistan also part of
the alliance. However, Pakistan later confirmed its participation in the alliance
but has not committed itself to providing troops for any possible military
operations.
28. India asked the World Bank not to rush in brokering a deal on its dispute
with Pakistan over Ratle and Kishenganga projects coming up in Jammu and
Kashmir. India conveyed its position during a meeting with World Bank
representative in New Delhi. India asserted that the differences between India
and Pakistan can be resolved bilaterally or through a neutral expert. Key
outcomes of the meeting India also maintained its position that the designs of
the Ratle and Kishenganga projects do not violate the Indo-Pak Indus Water
Treaty (IWT). Following this, the World Bank decided to set up a Court of
Arbitration (CoA) to settle the disputes following Pakistans demand and also
agreed to appoint a neutral expert as sought by India. However, India reacted
strongly to the decision to appoint the CoA as earlier World Bank in December
2016 had announced that it will temporarily halt the two simultaneous
processes to resolve the differences. About Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) IWT is a
bilateral water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan signed in 1960. It
was brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development). The treaty deals with sharing of water of
Indus water system having six rivers Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and
Jhelum between the two countries. It gives India control over three eastern
rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej and Pakistan control over three western rivers
Indus, Jhelum and Chenab. It is most successful water treaty in world. Even, it
has survived India-Pakistan wars of 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Kargil standoff
besides Kashmir insurgency since 1990.
29. The 14th edition of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) began in the countrys IT
hub Bengaluru, Karnataka. The theme of this edition is Redefining Engagement
with the Indian Diaspora. On the first day of three day event, Youth Pravasi
Bharatiya Divas was inaugurated as part of the PBD 2017 with an aim to
connect with the youth, the new generation of Pravasis growing up all over the
world. The main convention will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and Indian-origin Portugal Prime Minister, Dr. Antonio Costa who is the
chief guest in the PBD convention

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