Current Affairs October 2014

Sri Lankan court gives death penalty to five Indian fishermen

On 30th October 2014, five Indian fishermen from Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu were sentenced to death penalty by the High court of Sri Lanka.

Case: Five fishermen from Rameswaram were arrested in November 2011 on charges of smuggling narcotics from India to Sri Lanka after they crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line.

High court of Sri Lanka sentenced three Sri Lankans and five Indian fishermen death penalty in this case.

Indian Government’s response to this decision

  • India was tracking this case since 2011 and the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka had been providing legal aid to the fishermen.
  • As per MEA, the fishermen are not guilty.
  • In order to get them back to MEA will follow the legal process.
  • Earlier, MEA had submitted background profiles of all the five fishermen with bona fides that they were genuine fishermen. India even had given details of five fishermen that had no record of involvement in drug related activities.
  • However, the Sri Lankan authorities went ahead with the conviction, which is against the established practices between India and Sri Lanka.

This decision is considered as an unpleasant development, which may in future strain India’s bilateral ties with Sri Lanka.

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Govt to launch Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

Government is set to launch a new programme, the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan to uplift rural India. This programme will be launched in collaboration with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) across the country.

The main idea for launching the programme is to provide definitive research that can be aligned with national development.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. It will be coordinated and steered by IIT Delhi.

Key Points about Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

  • The programme, with the help of IITs, NITs and other leading technical institutions will prepare a roadmap for holistic rural development.
  • It will involve engaging with communities around each institute and for their upliftment.
  • Each IIT will identify 10 villages in its neighbourhood and work out technologies to solve the most pressing issues of the region.
  • Different teams from these institutes will visit the villages, identify problems and then aim to find financially-viable schemes.
  • Once the solution is identified then they will involve the industry in this to solve the problem.
  • Along with the HRD ministry and the institutes, some other ministries such as rural development and NGOs working in villages are also likely to be involved in the programme.
  • Some of the problems that the institutes will be looking at are, supply of potable water, sanitation, energy and low cost housing.

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