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Parliamentary Standing Committee asks Government to bring Bill on Indo- Bangla LBA

A Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs has asked the government to present Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 without any delay to give effect to the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA).

This Standing Committee was headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

The committee in its report has mentioned

  • Passage of this Bill is a national interest and will pave way for broader ties with the neighbouring country.
  • Coming into force of the pact may result in a “modest” demographic change in bordering areas and help to resolve the difficulties being faced by the people living in the “enclaves” of both the countries once the pact comes into force.
  • Security dimension due to influx of population should be considered seriously by the government.
  • After the enclaves are handed over to India by Bangladesh, government must keep ready a blueprint for development so that development work can be started immediately after the pact is ratified.

Background

The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 aims to ratify the LBA between India and Bangladesh under the Indira-Mujib pact of 1974 to exchange areas and people on either side of the border.

As per the provision of pact, India will exchange 111 enclaves measuring 17,160 acres with Bangladesh and receive 51 enclaves covering 7,110 acres. Almost 51,000 people reside in these enclaves. The territories involved in the exchange are in Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Tripura.

On 16th May 1974, soon after the independence of Bangladesh the LBA was signed between India and Bangladesh in order to find a solution to the complex nature of border demarcation. This pact was ratified by Bangladesh government in 1974.

In 1974, in India Cabinet had granted approval to this pact but was not ratified as it involved cession of territory.

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India and Mozambique sign MoU for cooperation in oil & gas sector

India and Mozambique have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the oil and gas sector for a period of five years.

This MoU seeks cooperation in oil and gas in both upstream and downstream sectors in the areas of enhancing capacity-building, forging closer cooperation between research and training centres and intensifying technology transfer, among others.

The MoU was signed at a meeting held at New Delhi between Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Mozambique’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Oldemiro Julio Marques Baloi.

Background

Earlier, Union cabinet had given their nod on 29th October 2014 for the MoU between both countries.

Mozambique is strategically located near India and is ideally suited for bringing Liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India at market-determined price. Participation of Indian energy companies in the project will facilitate access to LNG for the growing Indian gas market. This project plans to produce 34 million tonnes of LNG annually from its biggest gas field – the Rovuma Area 1 offshore block of Mozambique.

State-run ONGC Videsh Ltd, Oil India and Bharat Petroleum Corp already have bought 30 percent stake and will also participate in the LNG project.

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India and Nepal sign USD 1 billion Power Deal

India and Nepal signed an agreement to construct a USD one billion hydropower plant on Arun River.  It aims to generate 900-megawatt of electricity.

Key facts

  • India’s state-owned Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam will construct the mega power plant.
  • It will start generation of power by 2021.
  • Nepal will receive around 22 per cent of the power generated from the plant free.
  • This project will help to meet some part of Nepal’s power demand as it is grappling with severe power shortage.

Thus by signing this agreement shows that India is has great interest in exploiting the abundant untapped hydropower resources of Nepal as it has vast network of fast-flowing rivers.

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