Myanmar Current Affairs

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Depression in Bay of Bengal named “Tropical Cyclone Maarutha”

A deep depression in Bay of Bengal has intensified into a tropical cyclone named Maarutha. This cyclone is expected to hit Myanmar on 17 April 2017 and bring heavy rains in parts of that country. Tropical Cyclone Maarutha is the first named storm of 2017 Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season.

About Tropical Cyclones

A Cyclone represents a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed low-level circulation. Most large scale cyclonic circulations are centered on areas of low atmospheric pressure.  Based on their latitude, the cyclones may be tropical cyclones or temperate cyclones (extra-tropical cyclones).

The tropical cyclones rotate anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and are classified into three types viz. Tropical Depression  maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less); Tropical Storm (maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph); hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 74 mph) and major hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 111 mph). Hurricanes are called typhoons in western North Pacific, while similar storms in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones.

Tropical Cyclones in Indian Ocean

Tropical cyclones between east of the Horn of Africa and west of the Malay Peninsula are most common from April to December, with peaks in May and November in the Indian Ocean. Vardah was the strongest cyclone of the 2016 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. The other cyclones in 2016 season included Cyclonic Storm Roanu, Cyclonic Storm Kyant and Cyclonic Storm Nada. Cyclone Maarutha is the first tropical cyclone of 2017 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. It started forming under the influence of a persistent area of convection in South Bay of Bengal on April 13, 2017 and has been recently classified as a Cyclonic storm. After giving heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, it is expected to make a landfall in Myanmar in next two three days.

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Myanmar becomes 7th member of SASEC

Myanmar became the 7th member of South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

It was officially made member at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ meeting held in New Delhi and chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Key Facts
  • Myanmar’s membership in SASEC will offer host of opportunities for realizing synergies from economic cooperation in the subregion.
  • Road corridors in Myanmar can provide key gateway between South Asia and Southeast Asia, while its ports can provide alternate routes and gateways to the landlocked northeastern region of India.
  • It has the potential to unleash significant economic potential and bring better livelihoods to millions in the region after developing multimodal connectivity between India’s northeastern region, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
  • Transport linkages between South and Southeast Asia will also become more attractive to businesses once ongoing and planned motor vehicle agreements are finalized and implemented.
Background

Prior to becoming member, Myanmar was having observer status of SASEC since 2013. Since 2014, it was participating in annual SASEC Nodal Officials’ meetings as an observer. It was invited by the participating countries of SASEC countries to become a full member in 2015.

About South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)
  • SASEC program is a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation.
  • It was established in 2001 in response to the request of the four countries of South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal – from ADB to assist in facilitating economic cooperation among them.
  • ADB is the secretariat and lead financier of the SASEC program. So far, it has supported 46 projects worth $9.17 billion in transport, trade facilitation, energy and information and communications technology (ICT).
  • Its seven members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

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India becomes net exporter of power for the first time

According to Central Electricity Authority (CEA), under Union Power Ministry, India for the first time has become a net exporter of electricity during the April-February period in fiscal 2016-17.

During this period, India exported around 5,798 million units of electricity to Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. It is 213 million units more than the import of around 5,585 million units from Bhutan.

Key Facts
  • In the last three years, India’s export to Nepal and Bangladesh has increased 2.5 and 2.8 times respectively. New transmission lines with Bangladesh and Myanmar has helped India sell more power.
  • India’s power export to Nepal: India is exporting around 190 MW power to Nepal over 12 cross border interconnections at 11kV, 33kV and 132 kV level.
  • It has further increased by around 145 MW after commissioning of Muzaffarpur (India)–Dhalkhebar (Nepal) 400kV line (being operated at 132 kV) in 2016.
  • It is further expected to increase by around 145 MW shortly over 132 kV Katiya (Bihar)– Kusaha (Nepal) and 132 kV Raxaul (Bihar)– Parwanipur (Nepal).
  • India’s power export to Bangladesh: At present, India has exported around 600 MW power to Bangladesh.
  • The export got further boost after commissioning of the first cross border interconnection between Baharampur (India) and Bheramara (Bangladesh) at 400kV in September 2013.
  • It was further augmented by commissioning of second cross border Interconnection between Surjyamaninagar (Tripura) in India and South Comilla (Bangladesh).
  • India’s power import from Bhutan: On an average, Bhutan has been supplying around 5,000-5,500 million units to India.
  • A few more cross border links are in the pipeline with neighbouring countries which would further increase India’s power export. 
Background

Ever since the cross border trade of electricity started in mid-1980s, India has been importing power from Bhutan and marginally exporting to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. India is also investing heavily on generation infrastructure over the past few years. In the past two years, a massive surge in the local supply of raw materials like coal has also helped power companies to boost output.

About Central Electricity Authority (CEA)

  • The CEA is a statutory organisation constituted under section 3(1) of Electricity Supply Act 1948. Now, it has been superseded by section 70(1) of the Electricity Act 2003.
  • It advises the government on matters relating to the National Electricity Policy (NEP) and formulates short-term and perspective plans for the development of electricity systems. It is the designated authority for cross border trade of electricity.
  • It also prescribes the standards on matters such as construction of electrical plants, electric lines and connectivity to the grid, safety and grid standards and installation and operation of meters.
  • It is also responsible for concurrence of hydro power development schemes of central, state and private sectors for efficient development of river and its tributaries for power generation.

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