Challenges in managing our western Border [Indian – Pakistan Border]
Better managed western border can reduce ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts by terror groups.
No Legal Basis for Border Management
- Absence of firm ground rules (bilateral treaty with legal basis) accepted by both the countries on border management. [India Pakistan Border Ground Rules, 1960-61, has not been signed by the two governments.]
Karachi vs. Shimla Agreements
- Karachi Agreement of 1949 è refers to the Ceasefire Line.
- Karachi Agreement stipulates that there should be no new defence construction, such as bunkers, within 500 yards of the LoC. Both sides have violated this agreement.
- Shimla Agreement of 1972 è brought the current LoC into existence.
- India has generally argued that the Shimla Agreement of 1972 made the Karachi Agreement of 1949 irrelevant, something Pakistan disagrees with.
- Disagreements between the India & Pak over the International Border & the Line of Control. International Border in J&K is itself ad hoc due to unsettled border disputes.
- Western border is a non-uniform one in terms of terrain, threat perception, illegal activities, legal basis, and the forces that manage the border.
- Personnel Committees set up to review and strengthen border management are often not represented by the most important stakeholders – BSF and the Indian Army.
The 2003 ceasefire agreement not formalized yet
- Scores of soldiers and civilians have been killed by ceasefire violations. But India & Pak have so far taken no serious steps to formalize the agreement.
- The ceasefire agreement is not a written document with properly laid-down rules, norms or principles.
Maintenance of Fence
- The fence has a number of gaps across the States it runs through.
- In Kashmir snowfall plays havoc with the fence.
- In Jammu and Punjab torrential rains and overflowing rivers create gaps in the fence.
- The fence in Thar desert gets seriously impacted by the shifting sand dunes.
- Inadequate personnel, long working hours (16-18 hour duty according to The Hindu http://goo.gl/qtRx6M) and lack of modern equipment like light weight bulletproof jackets, night vision, infrared vision etc.
- Hardships faced by troops on the ground due to treacherous terrain and extremes of climate.
- Stepmotherly treatment meted out to BSF. [they are not treated on a par with the Army when it comes to pay and facilities even though they do the same work]
- Usually IPS officers occupy the highest positions of BSF (demoralizing BSF officers). [BSF is a part of Central Armed Police Forces. BSF officers are recruited through CAPF exam. Officers recruited through CAPF occupy low and midlevel management posts.]
Source: The Hindu: http://goo.gl/qtRx6M
Portable Chromium Contamination Detector
- BARC develops portable kit for detection of Chromium contamination of water.
- BARC – Bhabha Atomic Research Centre [Department of Atomic Energy].
- Chromium is widely used in leather, steel, chrome plating, paint manufacturing, wood preservation
- Chromium in the environment primarily exists as Trivalent Chromium Cr(III) and Hexavalent Chromium Cr(VI).
- The Hexavalent Chromium Cr(VI) is highly toxic.
- It is carcinogenic & can cause stomach ulcers, severe damage to kidneys & liver.
- The maximum permissible concentration of Cr(VI) in drinking water is 50 mg/l.
- Detection of Cr(VI) at such low levels is technically challenging & expensive.
- BARC has developed quick and cost effective kit for onsite determination of Cr(VI).
- It can measure the level of Chromium contamination in tap water, ground water etc..
- The procedure involves adding a specific reagents to the water sample and identifying the developed color. Cr(VI) levels can be estimated using the intensity of color.
Recent initiatives in Power Sector
- ‘TARANG’ (Transmission App for Real Time Monitoring & Growth) Mobile App & Web Portal.
- Launched by Ministry of Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines
- Enhance accountability & transparency and boost confidence of investors in power transmission sector.
How it works?
- TARANG tracks upcoming transmission projects and monitor the progress of Inter-State & Intra-State transmission systems in the country.
- TARANG includes status of stalled/delayed transmission systems in country which would enable the stakeholders (Ministry, state governments, private sector transmission and PSUs) for expeditious completion of such projects.
- Green Energy Corridors, an important component of our renewable energy mission, would also be monitored through TARANG.
- ‘e-Trans’ web platform for e-bidding and e-reverse auction for Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB) in transmission projects.
- DEEP (Discovery of Efficient Electricity Price) e-Bidding’ portal for medium term (1-5 years) purchase of power, on the occasion.
- E-Bidding & e-reverse auction process for medium term (1-5 years), the time span of the bidding process and the cost of procurement is expected to be reduced substantially.
Osteoporosis drug trial in US shows initial success.
- Clinical trials found that the drug stimulates bone growth and prevents fractures.
What is Osteoporosis?
- Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones.
- It often leads to years of pain, disability and early death.
- Bone is naturally lost with age. But osteoporosis is an extreme, abnormal bone loss.
Picture Credits: Wikipedia
Blood banking app
- “Blood Banking app” is Indian Red Cross Society’s mobile application.
- It facilitates creating and managing a personal blood banking account for donors.
- The blood can be withdrawn whenever required. [Bank: Deposit Rs. X today and you can withdraw Rs. X whenever need arises. Blood Bank: Donate blood today and get blood easily when in need.]
- The ‘blood balance’ can also be transferred to friends in need.
- So, the app creates a human network of blood bankers.
- It enables users to make appointments round the clock.
Why such an app?
- There is an annual shortage of 3 million units of blood across India. The app can encourage more donations.
- Blood banks depend heavily on replacement donors. Finding a replacement donor is not easy during emergency situations. [The app can be of great help here. Just call a friend that has a positive balance in his blood banking account.]
Lessons to be learnt
- Government blood banks can emulate the above model and save precious lives.