Current Affairs – August, 2018

IAF launches Speedex Contract

Indian Airforce has formally launched The Stores, Proactive, Efficient and Expeditious Despatch of Extra Size/ Wt Consignment (SPEEDEX) contract. It was concluded in June 2018 between with Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd and Ashok Travel and Tours for air and surface component respectively.

SPEEDEX contract

The contract aims to overcome delay in piecemeal dispatch of consignment and to move operationally urgent stores by air and normal consignments by surface mode. This will facilitate door to door pickup and delivery facility with fixed timelines, lesser than speed post. It will help to enhance IAF’s support maintenance activities and improve operational preparedness.

Background

The ability to lift, shift and move is essence of sound transportation management. It has profound impact on all principles of military logistics. In the past, IAF had been using hired transport for movement of cargo to various IAF bases, which resulted in delay in dispatch of critically required stores. Therefore, overcome this delay and reduce time taken for transportation of items and ensure early availability of stores to the field units this contract was formulated.

Month: Categories: Defence Current Affairs 2018

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NITI Aayog launches 5 Thematic Reports on Sustainable Development in Himalayan Region

NITI Aayog has released five Thematic Reports on Sustainable Development in Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) recognizing uniqueness of Himalayas and challenges for sustainable development. These reports list challenges in all defined five thematic areas and discuss significance, challenges, ongoing actions and future roadmap.

Background

These reports were prepared by five working groups which were set up by NITI Aayog in June 2017 to prepare roadmap for actions in five thematic areas that are quite significant for the Himalayas. These areas were Inventory and Revival of Springs in Himalayas for Water Security, Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region, Transformative Approach to Shifting Cultivation, Strengthening Skill & Entrepreneurship Landscape in Himalayas and Data and Information for Informed Decision Making. These working groups were constituted after NITI Aayog recognised that Himalayan mountains require specific solutions for resilience building that address socio-economic and environmental challenges in the mountain setting.

Key Features of five Thematic reports

Inventory and Revival of springs in Himalayas for Water Security: Nearly 30% of springs, crucial to water security of people in Himalayas are drying and 50% have reported reduced discharge. There is need for spring mapping and revival by using eight steps protocol that must be taken up across Himalayan States in phased manner. It calls for setting up of Mission on Spring Water Management in Himalayas.

Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region: Himalayan Tourism is growing annually at 6.8% and has created huge challenge related to solid waste, water, traffic, loss of bio-cultural diversity etc. Projected arrival of tourists will be more than double by 2025. Urgent actions are needed to address issues of waste management and water crisis. The concept of carrying capacity must be applied to all major tourist destinations. Besides tourism sector standards must be implemented and monitored. Performance based incentives must be approved for states. Himalayan Authority must be launched for coordinated and holistic development of entire Himalayan region. “Himalaya Calling: An Awareness to Action Campaign” must be launched as people’s movement.

Transformative approach to shifting cultivation: Thousands of households in north eastern states, continue to practice shifting cultivation i.e. slash and burn (Jhum cultivation) which needs to be addressed in view of ecological, food and nutritional security. There is urgent need for assessment of nature and extent of shifting cultivation area. Moreover there is need for improved policy coherence, strengthened tenurial security and improved access to related programs for transform shifting cultivation. National Mission/Program on Transforming Shifting Cultivation in North Eastern States must be set up.

Strengthening Skill and Entrepreneurship Landscape in Himalayas: The Himalayan states face severe challenge of unskilled workforce and migration of youths. There is urgent need to strengthen skill and entrepreneurship workforce in Himalayan region with required focus on identified priority sectors where mountains have advantage, along with investment in trainers, assessors and setting up training centers with industry partnership. There is need to set up demand driven network of skill and entrepreneurship development Centers in Himalayan States along with consortium of institutions of high learning for mountain specific research and technology.

Data/Information for Informed Decision Making: Himalayan states face challenges related to data availability, data authenticity, compatibility, data quality, validation, user charges. It needs to be addressed for informed decision making at different levels of governance. Central Data Management Agency for Himalayas must be set up to provide data with high fidelity scenario. It will help in addressing data sharing, access, authenticity and comparability issues. It should be linked with Hindukush Himalaya Monitoring and Assessment program (HIMAP). Central Data Management Agency for Himalayan Database must be set up at GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development.

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018

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