Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Current Affairs of 23rd March-2021

Topics 

  • Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020
  • Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021
  • LS passes GNCTD amendment Bill
  • ‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP)’ 2020
  • Ken-Betwa interlinking work

 

Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020

Context: Recently, a new Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) (erstwhile Defence Procurement Procedure or DPP), 2020 was released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

  • Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020 envisages the basic tenets of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ and encourages indigenous designing and manufacturing of defence items. 
  • The proposals for indigenous design and manufacturing are considered under ‘Make’ Procedure of DAP-2020.
  • The ‘Make’ Procedure aims to achieve the objective of self-reliance by involving greater participation of Indian industries including private sector through following mechanisms:
    1. Make-I (Government Funded): This involves design and development of equipment, systems, major platforms or upgrades thereof by the industry.  Ministry provides financial support upto 70% of prototype development cost or maximum Rs. 250 crores per Development Agency (DA).
    2. Make-II (Industry Funded): This includes design & development and innovative solutions by Indian vendor, for which no Government funding is provided, but it has assurance of procurement on successful prototype development.

 

Background of DAP

  • The first Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was promulgated in 2002.
  • A committee under the chairmanship of Director General (Acquisition) was constituted to review the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016.
  • DPP 2016 was released replacing the DPP 2013 based on the recommendations of Dhirendra Singh committee.
  • It focussed on indigenously designed, developed and manufactured weapon systems.
  • It was facing several issues like lack of transparency (leading to Rafale Scam), inconvenient offset regulations etc.

Objective

  • Turning India into a global manufacturing hub.
  • Aligned with the vision of the Government of Atmanirbhar Bharat and empowering Indian domestic industry through Make in India initiative.

 

Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021

Context: Lok Sabha passed the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021. The Bill aims to provide for the development, maintenance and management of aids to navigation in India.

  • The Bill proposes to use the term “marine aids to navigation” instead of the existing “lighthouse” to statutorily recognise and enable further use of modern forms of aids to navigation.
  • It repeals the Lighthouse Act, 1927, which provides for the maintenance and control of lighthouses in India. Key features of the Bill include:
  • Application: The Bill applies to the whole of India including various maritime zones including territorial waters, continental shelf, and exclusive economic zone.
  • Aid to navigation: The Bill defines aid to navigation as a device, system, or service, external to the vessels designed and operated to enhance the safety and efficiency of navigation of vessels and vessel traffic.
  • Director General of Aids to Navigation: The Director General will advise the central government on matters related to aids to navigation, among others.
  • Management of General Aids to Navigation and vessel traffic services: The central government will be responsible for the development, maintenance, and management of all general aids to navigation and vessel traffic services. 
    • Its powers with regard to management of aids to navigation include: (i) establishing, maintaining, adding, altering, or removing any aid to navigation, (ii) authorising to inspect any such aid which may affect the safety of navigation, and (iii) acquiring any land as may be necessary.
  • Training and certification: The Bill provides that no person shall be allowed to operate on any aid to navigation (including any ancillary activities), or any vessel traffic service in any place unless he holds a valid training certificate.
  • Levy of marine aids to navigation dues: The Bill provides that marine aids to navigation dues will be levied and collected for every ship arriving at or departing from any port in India, at the rate specified by the central government from time to time. The central government may wholly or partially exempt certain vessels from these dues.  
  • Heritage Lighthouse: The central government may designate any aid to navigation under its control as a heritage lighthouse. In addition to their function as aids to navigation, such lighthouses will be developed for educational, cultural, and tourism purposes.

 

LS passes GNCTD amendment Bill

Context:  Recently, the Lok Sabha passed a Bill that defines that the word “government” in Delhi means the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) and makes it mandatory for the elected government in the national capital territory to take the opinion of the L-G before any executive action

  • Amid strong protests from Opposition parties, including the Congress and the AamAadmi Party (AAP), the Bill was passed by a voice vote. ‘Super Chief Minister’
  • While Union Minister of State for Home said the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill (GNCTD), 2021, was necessary to remove ambiguities and make governance in Delhi more accountable and efficient, the Opposition members accused the central government of ‘usurping’ the power of the elected government in the national capital and trying to rule Delhi through the Lieutenant-Governor by making his office a ‘super Chief Minister’.
  • The lone AAP Member of Parliament from Punjab accused the BJP of being a ‘poor loser’ and alleged that the Centre had become a specialist in taking away rights of the States.
  • Echoing other Opposition members, he also wondered why Assembly elections in Delhi should be held if all the powers were to be given to the L-G.
  • He also asked if the Centre plans to turn the national capital into a Union Territory like Jammu and Kashmir where there is an Assembly but is non-functional.
  • Initiating the debate, Congress MP said the legislation was ‘unconstitutional and mala fide’ that sought to take away the representative character of Delhi’s government.

 

‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP)’ 2020

  • This draft policy is positioned as Ministry of Defence’s overarching guiding document to provide a focused, structured and significant thrust to defence production capabilities of the country for self-reliance and exports. 
  • It envisions to make India amongst the top countries of the world in Defence sector, including Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding sectors, from design to production, with active participation of public and private sector. 
  • This policy, inter alia, aims to create an environment that encourages R&D, rewards innovation, creates Indian Intellectual Property (IP) ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry.
  • It aims to further ‘Self Reliance’ of the country in the defence sector by promoting indigenization and bring ‘Ease of Doing Business’ with emphasis on Simplification, Delegation, Reduced Timelines and make the process as Industry friendly.

Goals and Objectives:

  • To achieve a turnover of Rs. 1,75,000 crore including export of Rs. 35,000 crore in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.
  • To develop a dynamic, robust and competitive Defence industry, including Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding industry to cater to the needs of Armed forces with quality products.
  • To reduce dependence on imports and take forward “Make in India” initiatives through domestic design and development.
  • To promote the export of defence products and become part of the global defence value chains.
  • To create an environment that encourages research and development (R&D), rewards innovation, create Indian Intellectual Property (IP) ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry

Procurement Reforms:

  • A Project Management Unit (PMU) will be set up for the development and production of technologies involved, life cycle costs and maintenance requirements of platforms, equipment and weapon systems.
  • It also aims to move away from licensed production to design, develop and produce indigenously.
  • It also aims to own the design rights and IP of the systems projected in the Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) and a Technology Assessment Cell (TAC) would be created.
  • The TAC would also assess the industrial capability for design, development and production, including re-engineering for production of major systems such as armouredvehicles, submarines, fighter aircraft, helicopters and radars with the major industries in the country.

 

Ken-Betwa interlinking work

Context: Recently, the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have signed an agreement that nudges forward a long-stalled multi-crore, controversial project to link the Ken and the Betwa rivers and irrigate the water-deficient Bundelkhand region, spread over both States, and provide electricity.

  • Several obstacles have dogged the project. For one, the project will partly submerge the Panna Tiger Reserve in M.P. and affect the habitat of vultures and jackals.
  • After years of protests, however, it was finally cleared by the apex wildlife regulator, the National Board for Wildlife, in 2016.

Monsoon blues

  • Then, the States were unable to come to an agreement on how water would be shared, particularly in the non-monsoon months.
  • The project involves transferring surplus water from the Ken river in Madhya Pradesh to the Betwa in Uttar Pradesh and irrigating 3.64 lakh hectares in the Bundelkhand region of both States.
  • The project involves building a 77-metre-tall and a 2-km-wide Dhaudhan dam and a 230-km canal.
  • The original project was conceived in two distinct phases but now they are learnt to be combined. This influences how the entire scheme is funded.
  • The Centre was originally to fund 90% of the cost (₹37,611 crore in 2018) but a final decision is still outstanding.
  • However, U.P., it is learnt, wanted a greater share of the water which Madhya Pradesh was unwilling.
  • This prevented the signing of an agreement on water sharing that was ready in 2018.
  • Recent agreement was signed by both Chief Ministers in an event that Prime Minister, attended online.

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