UPSC Current Affairs

Defence Ministry approved procurement of 5,100 crores of hardware

On January 22, 2020, the Defence Acquisition Council approved the Procurement of defence equipment that are of worth Rs 5,100 crores. The equipment are to be purchased from indigenous sources.

Highlights

The equipment to be purchased include electronic Warfare systems that are manufactured by DRDO. It also includes other equipment that are manufactured by local Indian industries.

Also, the council approved the shortlist of Indian Strategic Partners. They will collaborate with the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) to construct six submarines. According to the approval, the private firms are to be pulled in partnership with the OEMs.

The Council also approved the inclusion of iDEX (Innovations Defence Exellence) in Defence Procurement Procedure.

iDEX

Innovations for Defence Exellence was launched in April 2018 to foster technology development in Defence and Aerospace. It is being funded by Defence Innovation Organization that was formed by HAL And BEL. Apart from funding the DIO will also provide policy guidance to iDEX.

Defence Acquisition Council

The Council was formed based on recommendations made by Group of Ministers on “Reforming the National Security System”. The Group was formed after Kargil war, 2001. Defence Minister is the Chairman of the council.

The Council approves acquisition proposals, transfer of technology decisions, field trial evaluation, decisions of offset provisions that are above Rs 300 crores.

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Democracy Index released: India ranks 51; Slips 10 positions

On January 22, 2020, the Economic Intelligence Unit released Democracy Index for the year 2019. The index was topped by Norway. Norway was followed by Iceland and Sweden at second and third positions respectively. India was pushed to 51st rank slipping 10 positions as compared to its previous ranking

Highlights

According to the report, the slippage of India’s ranking was mainly due to the protests of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Report on Kashmir

With respect to the Kashmir issue of Abrogation of Article 370, the report says that certain acts of government over the issue led to the decline in the country’s ranking. It includes deployment of large troops in Jammu and Kashmir region, restricting internet access and also placing local leaders under house arrest.

Report on NRC

The report said that the citizenship registration exercise excluded 1.9 million people from the final list. Also, the majority of the population excluded were Muslims. This has enraged large Muslim population and has stoked protests in various parts of the country.

History of India’s Index

The democratic indices are awarded over a score of 10. Since the launch of the Index in 2006, India has obtained the lowest score of 6.9 this time in 2019. In 2018, India obtained 7.23. India’s highest score was 7.91 in 2014 and has declined since then. However, India’s scores have always remained above global average. This year, the global average was 5.44.

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