Narendra Modi Current Affairs - 2020

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PM Modi launches Atal Bhujal Yojana

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY), a scheme for sustainable management of ground water resources, in New Delhi. The scheme was launched on the occasion of 95th birth anniversary former Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. On the occasion, the 8.8-kilometre long Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass was also named after late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY): Key Features

Objective: Since, groundwater contributes nearly 65% of India’s total irrigated area, with ABY, the Central Government seeks to promote Panchayat led ground water management and behavioural change with primary focus on demand side management. The scheme will also help in supplying water to every house hold by 2024.

Nodal Agency: Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti.

Implementation: The scheme will be implemented in identified areas covering 8,350 villages in 78 districts of 7 states- Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The implementation period for plan is over a period of five years from 2020 to 2025.

Two major components of Atal Jal Yojana:          

(1) Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building Component- for strengthening institutional arrangements for sustainable ground water management in States. It envisages active participation of communities in various activities such as-

  • Water budgeting- water management tool that assists communities for the proper management of water resources, by estimating the amount of water a landscape will require.
  • Monitoring and disseminating ground water data
  • Formation of Water User Associations
  • Preparation/ implementation of gram panchayat-wise water security plans
  • Information, Education and communication (IEC) activities, relating to sustainable ground water management.

(2) Incentive Component for incentivising the States– for achievements in improved groundwater management practices such as implementation of management interventions through convergence of ongoing schemes, adopting demand side management practices among others.

Funding: Union Cabinet had recently approved Rs.6,000 crore rupees for Atal Bhujal Yojana. Out of total outlay of Rs.6000 crore, 50% shall be in form of World Bank loan (will be repaid by Government of India) and remaining 50% shall be through Central Assistance from regular budgetary support. The entire funding component including World Bank’s loan and Central Assistance shall be passed on to States as Grants.

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India to get its First Chief of Defence Staff

The Cabinet Committee On Security (CCS) chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) post that will function as a single point of contact for different branches of armed forces. CCS also approved the report of a high-level committee headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, which finalised responsibilities and framework for operation of CDS.

In the present structure, the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CSC) is Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Bipin Rawat. However, he does not function in capacity of a CDS.

About Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

A CDS would be a four-star general- from either of the Indian Armed Forces- the Army, the Air Force or the Navy and will be payable to a salary equal to a service chief. The CDS post will have a fixed term, that is yet to be determined. [All five permanent members (P-5 nations) of United Nations Security Council (UNSC)- have equivalent posts].

Role of CDS: Chief of Defence Staff, described as ‘first among equals’ among service chiefs, will be tasked with trimming weapons procurement procedures and integrating operation of Indian armed forces- Army, Air Force, Navy. CDA will act as a military adviser to Government of India and will also head Department of Military Affairs. CDS would also be a single-point military advisor whose advice would be binding on service chiefs of Army, Air Force, Navy and who would have authority to direct them, along with authority to create theatre commands as and when needed.

Background

To further sharpen coordination between forces and to make forces even more effective, the Chief of Defence Staff – CDS position was announced by PM Modi during his Independence Day speech on 15 August 2019 year. The concept was also strongly backed by late Manohar Parrikar, who was Defence Minister for two years during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term. However, a CDS to oversee military was first recommended by the Kargil Review Committee– a committee set up after Kargil War (1999), to examine lapses in security after war, in which Pakistani soldiers infiltrated into India, occupied key positions in Kargil mountains and triggered the war.

Other Committees: Government’s approval to CDS post that will strengthen India’s collective defence capabilities, also comes after considering-

  • Naresh Chandra Committee Report– ‘Report of Task Force on National Security’
  • General Shekatkar Committee Report– ‘Committee of Experts on Enhancing Capability and Rebalance Defence Expenditure’, chalked out a strategy for higher defence management.

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