24th December – Prelims Booster

Railway unveils new signalling system

The Railways will roll out its new signalling system from April 2020 onwards. This is expected to be a pilot project for pan-India implementation of the nearly ₹78,000 crore project to modernise the signalling system, which was included in the works programme of 2018-19.

Details –

  • The modernisation of the signalling system will include implementation of technologies such as the automatic train protection system that helps in adhering to permissible speed limits without driver intervention and the 4G-based mobile train radio communication system, which can be used for emergency communications.
  • Besides a centralised traffic control system similar to the air traffic control system, a remote diagnostic and predictive maintenance system will be implemented.

Arunachal to mark schools as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’

Arunachal Pradesh will soon have schools marked ‘hard’, ‘soft’ and ‘medium’.

Details –

  • Recently, the state government approved the Arunachal Pradesh Teachers’ Transfer & Posting Policy, 2020, for ensuring “need-based distribution of teachers to protect the academic interest of students and optimise job satisfaction among the teachers in a free and transparent manner.
  • Geography, lack of infrastructure and reluctance of teachers to work beyond their comfort zones are the reasons for this categorisation.
  • Under the new policy, all government schools will be divided into three categories — hard, medium and soft — based on topography, accessibility and degrees of difficulty in staying at the place of posting. “All new recruits will be given a hard posting for a mandatory three years, inclusive of their probation period.

India, Iran agree to accelerate Chabahar port development

During the 19th India-Iran Joint Commission, India and Iran has agreed to accelerate Chabahar port development project.

Why India is interested in this port?

  • India believes the port is critical to its interests and wants to develop it as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar port which was built with Chinese assistance.
  • The port will allow India to bypass Pakistan to transport goods to Afghanistan and Central Asia using a sea-land route.
  • Chabahar Port lies outside the Persian Gulf in Iran and will help India in expanding its maritime commerce in the region.
  • It also provides opportunities to Indian companies to penetrate and enhance their footprint in the region.

Background –

  • An MoU was signed between India and Iran in May 2015. As per the MoU, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of USD 85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of USD 22.95 million on a ten year lease.
  • Ownership of equipment will be transferred to Iranian side on completion of 10 year period or for an extended period, based on mutual agreement. 
  • The Iranian side had requested for provision of a credit of USD 150 million in accordance with the MoU. 
  • As per the MoU, operation of two berths will commence within a period of maximum 18 months after the signing of the Contract.
  • The two berths will be operated by the India Ports Global Private Limited, a Company promoted by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Kandla Port Trust – two major ports working under the Ministry of Shipping.
  • Indian ships will get direct access to the Iranian coast; a rail line to the Afghan border town of Zaranj will allow us a route around Pakistan. 
  • Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009 can give access to GARLAND HIGHWAY, setting up access to 4 major cities in Afghanistan – HERAT, KANDAHAR, KABUL and MAZAR-E-SHARIF

OIC voices ‘concern’

The 57-member Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a statement of “concern” criticising the government over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, and the Babri Masjid verdict of the Supreme Court.

About OIC –

  • OIC is the 2nd largest intergovernmental organisation in the world after the United Nations, with 57 member states spread over four continents.
  • It envisages safeguarding and protecting the interests of the Muslims from all around the world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.
  • The OIC is represented by permanent delegations in the United Nations and the European Union.
  • India is not a member of the OIC, but was invited to the recently concluded Abu Dhabi meeting as the guest of honour.
  • In 1969, the invite to then union minister was withdrawn at Pakistan’s insistence.

FATF puts 150 questions to Pakistan

A global watchdog for terror financing has sought more clarifications and data from Pakistan on actions taken by it against madrasas belonging to the banned outfits.

About FATF –

  • FATF set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat terror financing, money laundering, human trafficking and other related threats to the integrity of the International Financial System.
  • It is founded in 1989 on the initiatives of the G7 countries to develop policies to combat money laundering.
  • In 2001, its mandate was expanded to include terrorism financing.
  • It is headquartered at the OECD Headquarters in Paris.

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