CURRENT AFFAIRS 25th Dec 2017

1 .  Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic) –  Mizoram government talks delayed

Resumption of peace talks between the Mizoram government and the Manipur-based Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic), proposed to be held before Christmas, has been delayed.

CAUSE  OF  DELAY

The ‘framework agreement’ drafted during the last round of official-level talks was still with the Chief Minister , as a committee has been formed to look into the political aspects of the proposed framework agreement.The Chief Minister himself is heading the committee.

ABOUT  THE  FRAMEWORK  AGREEMENT

The official-level talks, which began on August 10 last year and ended on October 22 last, were to be elevated to a political level, after points of the framework agreement were discussed in detail and a general agreement reached between the two parties.

Giving more political and financial autonomy to the Sinlung Hills Development Council (SHDC), proposed to be rechristened as ‘Sinlung Hills Council’, was among the main points of the agreement.

ABOUT  SHDC

The SHDC ( Sinlung Hills Development Council ) was created comprising areas adjoining Manipur in accordance with the accord signed in 1994 between the erstwhile underground HPC and the Mizoram government.

The HPC was demanding a separate autonomous district council under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution for the Hmar community concentrated in the northeastern part of the State adjoining Manipur, before the accord was signed.

ABOUT  HPC (D )

The HPC (D) was formed after the surrender of the HPC cadres to the authorities, by some leaders who were not satisfied with the terms of the agreement and continued to demand a separate autonomous district council under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The outfit, which had revived the demand for autonomy since 1995, had recently agreed to drop the demand paving the way for a solution to the Hmar imbroglio.

ABOUT  HMAR

Hmar is the name of one of the numerous Chin-Kuki-Mizo tribes  spread over a large area in the northeast. The Hmars belong to the Chin-Kuki-Mizo group of tribes, and are recognised as Scheduled Tribe under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of India.

They are a community of approximately 30,000 in Assam, although there are more in Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. The Hmars in olden days were known as war people.Literally, Hmar means North or Northern people, as they are living north to the Lusei people.

 

2 . Restrictive online use policies in China

China has shut down or revoked the licenses of 13,000 websites since 2015 for violating the country’s Internet rules . The news comes as the country continues to strengthen its already tight regulation of the Internet.

Platforms have also closed nearly 10 million Internet accounts for “violating service protocol”. Despite being home to the world’s largest number of Internet users, a 2015 report by U.S. think tank Freedom House found that the country had the most restrictive online use policies of 65 nations it studied, ranking below Iran and Syria. Google, Facebook, Twitter and The New York Times are all blocked in China, among countless other foreign websites.

 

3 . India to link highway corridors to international trade points for Rs 25,000 crore

To facilitate trade with bordering countries like Nepal and Bangladesh, India will link its major highway corridors to international trade points at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore. About 2,000 kms of highways will be constructed under the plan.The project is part of the Bharatmala Pariyojana.

BACKGROUND

The Cabinet on October 25 had approved a mega plan to build 83,677 kms of highways by March 2022 at a cost of about Rs 7 lakh crore, which includes the ambitious Bharatmala project at a cost of about Rs 5.35 lakh crore.The entire Rs 5.35 lakh crore for Bharatmala has been tied up as Rs 2.37 lakh crore would flow from the central road fund, Rs 2.05 lakh crore as market borrowing, Rs 34,000 crore from monetisation of highway projects and Rs 60,000 crore through budgetary allocation.

Besides project to link highway corridors with international trade points, there are several other projects under implementation which aim to facilitate India’s international connectivity with neighbouring countries in South Asia and Asean.

Earlier  India has proposed USD 1 billion line of credit to promote sea, air and road connectivity projects with Asean countries. Apart from this, India has set up a project development fund of USD 77 million to develop manufacturing hubs in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

 

4 . Odisha recognised as ‘Champion State’ 

The Centre has recognised Odisha as a ‘Champion State’ for recording the highest growth in exports during 2016-17.  The exports from the state have increased from Rs 19,082 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 40,872 crore in 2016-17 with merchandise exports from Odisha registering the highest growth rate of 114 per cent among all the states.

Between 2012-13 and 2016-17, in terms of USD, shipments from the state witnessed a positive growth of 17.60 per cent against the negative growth of 2.07 per cent in overall exports of India. During the same period, in terms of Rupee, a positive growth of 23.84 per cent was recorded by exports from Odisha against a positive growth of 3.18 per cent in overall exports of India.

The major sectors of exports in Odisha are aluminum, products of aluminum, iron ore, processed minerals, iron, steel, marine products, residual chemical and allied products, textiles and IT and ITES. Of late, engineering, handicrafts, tourism, silver filigree and rubber are emerging as new items of exports.

As per the Revealed Competitive Advantage (RCA) done by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), four categories of export items have emerged as ‘items of prime importance’ for the state having a competitive advantage vis-à-vis the other Indian states and world exports. The items are iron, mineral metals, chemicals and marine products.