Uma Bharti launches 2nd project of Swajal Yojana in Rajasthan :-
On February 27, 2018, Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Uma Bharti, launched the Swajal pilot project at Village Bhikampura, in Rajasthan.
Details about Swajal Project in Rajasthan:
- Swajal is a community owned drinking water programme for sustained drinking water supply. 90% of the project cost will be provided by Central Government while remaining 10% of the project cost will be contributed by the local community.
- Budget of Rs. 54.17 lakh has been allocated for Swajal Project at Bhikampura.
- Bhikhampura village faces scarcity of drinking water and villagers have to walk at least 3 km to collect it. Under the Swajal Project, four reservoirs will be constructed in the village and common tap connection will be given to all the households.
- This project will not only ensure round the year availability of clean drinking water to every household in Bhikampura, but will also generate employment.
Telangana CM announces five lakh rupees health-cum-life insurance scheme :-
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced five lakh rupees health-cum-life insurance scheme for farmers in the state.
Details about health-cum-life insurance scheme for farmers:
- Announcement in this regard was made by K Chandrasekhar Rao while addressing the regional conference of Farmers’ Coordination Committees in Karimnagar, Telanagana.
- Over 70 lakh farmers across Telangana will be covered under this scheme. In case of death of farmer, amount will be paid to families of farmers. Health insurance will be provided in case of hospitalisation.
- Entire premium for the insurance will be borne by the Telangana State Government. Rs. 500 crore has been allocated for implementation of this scheme.
Going Grey : On Pakistan & FATF WatchList
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that monitors countries on action taken against terror-financing and money-laundering has decided to place Pakistan back on its watch list, or “greylist”, from June.
Why Pakistan is back on “FATF Grey List” ?
- Pakistan’s continuously violation of its obligations to crack down on groups banned by the Security Council 1267 sanctions committee that monitors groups affiliated to the Taliban such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani network.
- Leaders like Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar continue to hold public rallies and freely garner support and donations.
- Even groups like LeT and JeM, which continue to praise and claim credit for terror attacks in India, have grown their bases in Pakistan, with fortress-like headquarters in Muridke and Bahawalpur.
- By doing this, successive Pakistani governments have jeopardised ties with India, and shown disregard for the outcry against terrorism worldwide.
- Pakistani court’s bail to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, LeT operational commander and a key planner of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Under the 1267 sanctions ruling, banned entities can get no funds, yet Lakhvi received the bail amount, and the authorities have since lost track of him.
How it can affect Pakistan ?
- Key economic players—potential foreign investors, banks operating in Pakistan—may think twice about engaging with a nation deemed to not be doing enough to crack down on terrorist financing.
- Even Washington working with other donors to convince the World Bank and IMF to curtail, or place more conditions on, future loans to Pakistan—a potentially damaging move as Pakistan confronts an ever-rising debt burden due to Chinese loans.
What can be expected from Grey listing by FATF ?
- If the Grey listing comes as part to hold Pakistan accountable, and pressure is ratcheted up with financial strictures on its banks and businesses and targeted sanctions imposed against specific law enforcement and intelligence officials.
- The hope is that such sanctions will persuade Pakistan to stop state support for these terror groups and become a responsible player on the global stage and a responsive neighbour.
Mains Paper 2 : IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Cornered by the Quad ?
- Last November on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Manila, the Quadrilateral arrangement involving Australia, India, Japan and the U.S. saw a revival as officials exchanged notes on regional and global security.
- In 2017 it was an assertive Beijing that brought the four Indo-Pacific powers together to manage the externalities arising out of the scale and scope of China’s rise.
Signs of Emerging Quad & Challenging China :-
- Last week it was revealed that the four countries are working to establish a joint regional infrastructure scheme as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- The Quad has expressed reservations on the BRI in its own ways. But the four countries have rightly recognised that merely opposing it will not advance their agenda given the hunger for infrastructure in large parts of the world.
- According to some estimates, developing nations in the Indo-Pacific itself need around $26 trillion through 2030 for their infrastructure needs.
Aim of China & BRI :-
- As a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the BRI is aimed at situating Beijing at the core of the global economy by building global transport links across the world.
- China’s ambitions in this regard have also kept expanding with its first official Arctic policy white paper which talks of a “Polar Silk Road.”
- BRI is that it is a means of cementing Chinese economic hegemony and in the process challenges the foundations of the extant liberal economic order.
- China with its BRI is also providing a new economic template to the world.
How Quad can counter China BRI ?
- The Quad nations will have to present their own model if only to underscore the normative differences between the Chinese and their approach.
- The scale and scope of the Chinese economic footprint can only be tackled if the Quad nations combine forces.
- Quad engagement and its members needs to undertake connectivity projects around the world. For Example :- India and Japan are working on an ambitious Asia-Africa Growth Corridor linking Southeast Asia to Africa.
Quad Nations opposing China’s BRI :-
- India’s opposition has been the strongest partly because the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a part of the BRI, passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
- Japan has laid down specific conditions for its participation in the BRI even as it is looking to use its official development assistance to promote a broader “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” including “high-quality infrastructure”.
- Australia has challenged the principles which frame the BRI.
- U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has suggested that “no one nation should put itself into a position of dictating ‘One Belt, One Road’”.
Way forward :-
- Beijing has already expressed its unhappiness at the emergence of the “Quad” and will see moves to counter the BRI as an attempt to shift the balance of power in the wider Indo-Pacific.
- China’s worries will only increase as the combined might of these four powers is quite formidable.
- The possibility of major power coordination on managing global connectivity still remains a possibility but as more and more countries recognise the limits of Chinese approach, the Quad’s attraction will get even stronger.