Odisha Current Affairs - 2019

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Paika rebellion to be named as 1st War of Independence: Government

The Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar has announced that Paika rebellion (Paika Bidroha) of 1817 will be named as First War of Independence against British Rule in history books from next academic session. Earlier, 1857 Sepoy Mutiny was regarded as the First War of Indian Independence, but Paika Bidroha predates it.

Paika Bidroha (rebellion)

Paiks were traditional landed militia under Gajapati rulers of Odisha. They used to perform policing functions and owned rent-free land that was given to them for their military service to Kingdom of Khurda. However they were forcefully usurped their land rendering them landless by the policies of British East India Company. They were also subjected to repressive land revenue policies and humiliation by the British.

At that critical juncture, Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar, the military chief of King of Khurda led army of Paikas forcing the East India Company (British) forces to retreat in 1817. During the rebellion, Paikas had attacked British symbols of power, setting ablaze policestations, administrative offices and treasury during their march towards Khurda, from where British fled. They were supported by local rajas of Kujang, Kanika, Nayagarh and Ghumusar and zamindars, village heads and ordinary peasants.

The British were initially taken aback and then tried to regain lost ground from the rebelling Paikas. Many a battle ensued with some victories to the rebel Paiks but the British finally managed to defeat them within three months. Widespread suppression followed with killing and imprisonment of many Paiks.

Some Paik rebels fought a guerilla war till 1819 but were captured and killed. Baxi Jagabandhu was finally arrested in 1825 and died in captivity in 1829. At present, Paika Bidroha enjoys a cult status in Odisha but unfortunately it has received less attention at the national level.

Month: Categories: International

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India gets first-ever U.S. crude shipment

India received first ever shipment of US crude oil of 1.6 million barrels, purchased by state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) at Paradip Port in Odisha. It was imported on board of MT New Prosperity, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) that had left US Gulf Coast on August 19, 2017 and arrived at Paradip port.

Key Facts

IOC will process crude at its refineries located at Paradip, Haldia (in West Bengal), Barauni (in Bihar) and Bongaigaon (in Assam). This was one of first shipments to India since United States stopped oil exports in 1975.  With this India, the world’s third-largest oil importer joins other Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, Thailand,  China and Taiwan to buy US crude oil as they seek to diversify oil imports from other regions after the OPEC production cuts raised prices of Middle East heavy-sour crude ( grades with a high sulphur content).

Background

The delivery of shipment follows recent commitments to US oil purchases by Indian state refiners. State-owned Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) also have placed orders for about 2.95 million barrels and 1 million barrels of US crude respectively for their Kochi and Vizag refineries.

Indian companies, both public and private, have invested about $5 billion in US shale assets. They have also contracted 5.8 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from US and the first shipment is expected to be delivered to India in January 2018.

India-US Energy relations

The IOC purchase comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in June 2017 when President Donald Trump had assured that US looks forward to export more energy products to India. They had committed to expand and elevate bilateral energy cooperation through strategic energy partnership.

Under this partnership, both countries are elevating cooperation in field of energy, including in cleaner fossil fuels, renewables, nuclear, and cutting edge storage and energy efficiency technologies. The first delivery of oil imports is considered as significant milestone in growing partnership between the US and India. US crude oil shipments to India have potential to boost bilateral trade between both countries by up to $2 billion.

Month: Categories: Governance & Politics

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