N. Korea: Japan draws in India
- Displaying strategic convergence, India and Japan on Thursday asked North Korea to shut down its nuclear and missile programmes.
- Both sides also hinted at Pakistan’s past involvement with North Korean nuclear and missile programmes
- Sought accountability of “all parties” who helped Pyongyang acquire nuclear technology even as Japan promised to help India deal with cross-border terrorism.
- It highlights entry of India into the escalating crisis over North Korean nuclear tests, reflects India’s growing “aspiration” to play a role befitting New Delhi’s rising status.
- Both sides also pledged to mount pressure on North Korea.
- A joint statement issued after the summit sought the implementation of Resolution 1267 of the UN Security Council to counter cross-border terrorism.
CBSE issues new safety guidelines
After two incidents of gruesome crimes against children were reported in the National Capital Region last week, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued new safety and security guidelines for all schools.
- On September 8, a seven-year-old boy was found murdered inside a school in Gurugram
- The next day a five-year-old girl was raped in a school in east Delhi.
Instructions by CBSC:
- Safety audits of schools must be done by their respective local police stations,
- installation of CCTV cameras at all vulnerable areas inside schools
- limiting the entry of outsiders.
- Ensure that support staff was employed only from authorised agencies and proper records are maintained.
- Schools msut constitute separate committees for redressal of grievances of the public, staff, parents and students.
- Schools needs to constitute an internal complaints committee for complaints regarding sexual harassment and committees under Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012.
The schools will face de-recognition if they don’t follow the guidelines.
Japan calls for ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’
- Japan’s diplomacy with India during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s latest visit, highlighted the country’s intensifying focus on the Indo-Pacific region and Tokyo’s evolving foreign policy.
- “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” that aims to prepare Japan to deal with the fast changing global and regional order and threats from China and North Korea.
- The strategy aims to create a “free and open” Asia-Pacific region which connects parts of eastern Africa, south Asia and southeast Asia with the western Pacific Ocean region and Japan.
- Connectivity between Asia and Africa through a free and open Indo-Pacific, is expected to support stability and prosperity of the region as a whole.
- Interestingly, a joint statement issued at the end of the visit did not mention ‘South China Sea’.
[Op-Ed]Creating corridors of certainty
- India has more than 60% of the global wild tiger population.
Rathanbore tiger reserve
- Ranthambore in Rajasthan is arguably India’s most well-known tiger reserve, aglow with bold tigers posing for the camera.
- It has a fierce conservation ethic, a success story with few parallels.
- It is estimated that there are over 60 tigers in this relatively small tiger reserve.
- A genetic study suggests that Ranthambore’s tigers suffer from low genetic diversity and isolation.
- The Ranthambore population has the least genetic diversity and may suffer from isolation.
Mains issues in Rathambore:
- There are two issues here: populations require genetic flow to remain robust; securing healthy tiger numbers are not enough for tiger health. Second, we are in an age of active management. When tigers go extinct in an area, they are flown in or carried in from other areas — as was done in the case of Panna (Madhya Pradesh) and Sariska (Rajasthan).
- It appears, prima facie, that the problem is solved.
Tigers in india:
- Based on a study of samples from tiger post-mortems and collection from live tigers, a new study, has found that India has three distinct and genetically connected tiger populations.
- These are in: south India; central India, the Terai and north-east India; and in Ranthambore.
- Rajasthan recently created the Mukundra tiger reserve for Ranthambore’s ‘spillover’ tigers.
- Apart from moving tigers with human intervention, the corridor between the two reserves should be strengthened too.
- Other States need to start restoring corridors or stepping stones between forests.
The new highways
- As acquisition of land for national and State highways becomes scarce and the cost of construction of roads, flyovers and bridges goes up, the government is now exploring using water as a means of public transportation.
- With the enactment of the National Waterways Act, 2016, the total number of national waterways is now 111.
- But providing infrastructure such as jetties, terminals, and navigational channels continues to pose a challenge.
Amendments as a Solution:
- The government has proposed an amendment to the Central Road Fund Act, 2000.
- The Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017 implants ‘national waterways’ into the 2000 Act.
- The Bill proposes using a part of the cess collected on high-speed diesel and petrol for the upkeep of the national and State highways for maintaining the infrastructure of the national waterways.
- It has proposed to provide 2.5% of the cess on high-speed diesel and petrol for the development and maintenance of national waterways.
- This would accelerate the development of national waterways by utilizing the funds generated by way of cess.
- It also offers incentives and certainty for the private sector to invest in the inland waterways transport sector.