Assam Current Affairs - 2020

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India-World Bank sign 88 million USD to implement Assam Inland Water Transport Project

On January 16, 2020, the Government of Assam, Government of India and World Bank signed 88 million USD agreement. The agreement aims to modernize Assam’s Ferry transport service on the Brahmaputra river.

Highlights

There are over 361 ferry routes across Brahmaputra river in Assam. These routes act as a crucial means of transport to 1000s of commuters in both rural and urban areas of the valley.

The aim of Assam Inland Water Transport Project (AIWTP) is to help Assam improve its ferry infrastructure and strengthen institutions operating inland water transport. It also aims at introducing new and energy efficient vessels with least disturbance to nature. The project also includes cargo transport vessels in the route.

The inland water transport is the most sustainable water transport for Assam. This is mainly because it provides low-cost and low-carbon options.

The project will adopt “Working with Nature” principles to design new infrastructure.

Inland Waterways

Around 15 waterways are operating in Assam. They operate on rivers such as Barak, Beki, Lohit, Doyang, Kopili, Subansiri, Aai, Dihing, Dikihow, Puthimari, Gangadhar, Jinjiram and Tiwang. It is important to develop these water ways as they are connected to Bay of Bengal through the Brahmaputra and will help increase exports of locally produced goods of north east. The IBP (India-Bangladesh Protocol), National Waterway-2 that was recently launched in November 2019 makes this possible. Assam Inland Water Transport Development is the implementing authority of these routes.

 

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Assam Cabinet nod to make Assamese the state language

On December 23, 2019, the Assam Cabinet nodded to make Assamese language the state language of Assam. This will exclude BTAD (Bodoland Territorial Administrative Districts), Barak Valley and Hill districts of Assam.

Highlights

The cabinet has also suggested that Assamese will be made compulsory in all schools of Assam. The move comes in the wake of rising insecurities among Assamese population in the state. After the passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill, there has been an increased wave of insecurity in the Brahmaputra Valley.

In order make the move successful, the Central Government will now have to amend Article 345. If amended the article will remove fears of people fighting for their rights to culture and language in the region.

Current Scenario

Currently Assamese and Bodo are the official languages in Assam. However, certain districts of Assam in Barak valley use Bengali as official language

Article 345

Article 345 says that subject to provisions of Article 346 and 347, the state legislature might adopt one or more languages to be used as official languages.

  • Article 346 states that the states are authorized to decide on the language of communications amongst them and with the centre. However, such a language should have been authorized by the centre
  • Article 347 provides special provisions to language spoken to a section of a population. The President if satisfied shall assent on usage of the language.

The factor of amendment comes in as the Assam Government intends to exclude a section of the state which is against the current constitutional provisions.

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