India-Bangladesh Current Affairs - 2019
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Lok Sabha has passed Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to grant voting rights to people who became citizens of India following the exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.
The bill seeks to amend the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1950 and the Delimitation Act, 2002. These Acts regulate allocation of seats to the Lok Sabha and state legislatures and delimitation (fixing boundaries) of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies.
- This bill aims to empower the Election Commission of India (ECI) to carry out delimitation in areas that were affected by the enactment of the Constitution (100th Amendment) Act, 2015.
- Under the 2015 Act, enclaves were exchanged between India and Bangladesh. India received 51 enclaves from Bangladesh and transferred 111 enclaves to Bangladesh in July 2015.
- The bill empowers ECI to amend the delimitation order for (i) Include in the relevant constituencies the Bangladeshi enclaves that were transferred to India. (ii) Exclude of relevant constituencies in the Indian enclaves that were transferred to Bangladesh.
The RPA, 1950 and Delimitation Act, 2002 provide the ECI the responsibility to maintain up-to-date delimitation orders. Delimitation orders specify the boundaries of territorial constituencies.
Union Government has sanctioned about 580 crore rupees for Agartala-Akhaura railway link Project to connect Kolkata (West Bengal) with Tripura via Bangladesh.
The sanctioned fund will be used for the laying of the five km railway track up to Bangladesh border from Agartala. It is
Agartala-Akhaura Railway Link Project
- It is 15 km long strategic railway route that would connect the Indian Railways with the Bangladesh Railways. The work on this project is expected to complete by 2017.
- Of the 15 km strategic railway track, 10 km falls in the Bangladesh side and the rest 5 km falls in India.
- It was initiated after Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in January 2010 when both countries had agreed to lay the railway track.
This project will play important role in India’s ‘Act East’ Policy and is expected to improve connectivity and boost trade between the two countries. It will also reduce the current 1700 km road distance between Kolkata to Agartala via narrow Chicken Neck Siliguri corridor to just 350 km by railway.