22nd September, 2021 Current Affairs
Research and Analysis Wing (RAW): India’s undercover operations agency completes 53 years in service to the nation
- India’s premier intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is observing its 54th foundation day. Established in 1968 to handle the nation’s international intelligence affairs, RAW came into force after the China-India War in 1962. At present, the intelligence arm operates under the aegis of the Prime Minister’s Office.
- Since its inception, RAW is credited with providing intelligence support to various significant operations on foreign soil. Working closely with India’s intelligence organizations, RAW works in cooperation with the Intelligence Bureau or other Indian intelligence agencies. This delineates RAW’s true analytic capabilities and its overall relevance to the protection of India’s interests.
Genesis of RAW
- Until 1968, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) was responsible for India’s internal intelligence, and also handled external intelligence. However, after the 1962 China-India war and Indo-Pakistani war in 1965, India established a separate and distinct external intelligence organization – the Research and Analysis Wing.
- In 1968, then India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi appointed R. N. Kao as the first director of RAW. Started with 250 employees and a budget of $405,600, RAW undertook two major missions:
- – To maintain awareness about the military and political activities in the neighboring countries, primarily China and Pakistan
- – Promote the control of military equipment supplies into Pakistan
- Under the leadership of R. N. Kao (from 1968 to 1977), RAW provided intelligence support, which resulted in India’s successful operations which included the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, the defeat of Pakistan during the Kargil conflict of 1971, the accession of Sikkim in 1975, and the increase of India’s support to Afghanistan.
- With the intelligence agency’s successes, RAW quickly grew in both personnel and financing. By the mid-1970s, as a report, RAW’s budget rose to $6.1 million and its workforce increased to several thousand.
- Furthermore, as per R. N. Kao’s suggestion, the Indian government established the Aviation Research Center (ARC) to provide aerial reconnaissance of neighboring countries. This capability allowed RAW to better prepare for impending conflict by obtaining overhead images of installations and activities along with India’s international borders.
- Many books have been written on R.N. Kao’s life and his style of work
- Several books have also been written on R. N. Kao’s life and style, including R.N. Kao: Gentleman Spymaster, The Kaoboys of R&AW, Raw-Indian Detective Saga, A Life in Secret, and Escape to nowhere.
The working mechanism of RAW
- The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) collects military, economic, scientific, and political intelligence through covert and overt operations. The agency is also charged with monitoring terrorist elements and smuggling rings that transport weapons and ammunition into India.
- RAW primarily focuses on India’s neighbors. The collected inputs by RAW also help Indian officials, which are further used in national security policy and revise the foreign policy.
Attached are Bodies or Autonomous Bodies
The Aerial Reconnaissance Centre (ARC) collects high-quality overhead imagery of activities and installations in neighboring countries.
Special Frontier Force
- The inspector general of a paramilitary force of India, the Special Frontier Force reports to the director-general of security for RAW. While the force has functions independent of RAW, it is often fielded to support covert and overt RAW missions.
Kharif Food Grain Production to touch 150.50 mn tonne in 2021
- According to Agriculture Ministry, India’s food grain production is expected to touch a record of 150.50 million tonne in the Kharif season of 2021 with a better rice output.
- In the Kharif season of 2020-21 crop year, food grain output consisting of rice, pulses & coarse cereals were at 149.56 million tonnes.
- Record production is expected in rice, sugarcane and cotton.
- However, production of coarse cereals and oilseeds is estimated to be lower during the Kharif season of 2021.
- Production of pulses is likely to reach 9.45 million tonne in 2021-22 Kharif season as compared to 8.69 million tonne in 2020-2021.
- Production of tur is estimated to reach to 4.43 million tonnes as compared to 4.28 million tonnes in 2020-2021.
- Production of coarse cereals is likely to decline at 34 million tonnes from 36.46 million tonne in last year.
- Maize output is expected to decrease at 21.24 million tonnes in 2021 as compared to 21.44 million tonnes in 2020.
- Cotton production is expected to reach at 36.22 million bales (of 170 kg each) against 35.38 million bales in 2020.
Two more Indian beaches get International Blue Flag certification
- Two more beaches in India have received the ‘Blue Flag’ certification on September 21, 2021.
- Blue flag certification is an international eco-level tag.
- With the addition of two beaches, the total number of such beaches in India has reached to 10.
- Two beaches that received the certification in 2021 are Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry.
- Blue Flag recertification was also done for eight nominated beaches namely, Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Diu, Kasarkod & Padubidri in Karnataka, Kappad-Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden in Odisha and Radhanagar in Andaman & Nicobar. All these beaches were awarded this certificate in the year 2021.
- Beaches with Blue Flag certification are considered as the cleanest beaches across the world. It is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary eco-labels that are awarded to beaches, marinas, as well as sustainable boating tourism operators.
Centre allowed IAS & IPS officers to retain gifts from Foreign Dignitaries
- The Central Government has amended a 50-year-old rule and allowed IAS, IPS and IFoS officers to retain gifts they receive from foreign dignitaries while being members of the Indian delegation.
- As per existing rules, these officers were allowed to accept gifts from their near relatives or from personal friends having no official dealings with them, on the occasions like weddings, funerals, anniversaries, and religious functions.
- However, they are required to make a report to the government if the value of such gift is more than Rs. 25,000.
- Gifts comprises of free transport, free lodging, free boarding, or any other service or pecuniary advantage provided by a person other than near relative or personal friend having no official dealings.
- It does not include any casual meal, casual lift or other social hospitality.
Project Fulwari to strengthen NCL’s fight against malnutrition in kids
Northern Coalfields Ltd (NCL), under the Ministry of Coal, is preparing to open 75 “FulwariCenters” in Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli district. Currently, 25 centers are operating well, roughly with 220 children aged 6 months to 3 years. NCL has set aside Rs.128.86 lakhs in CSR funds to ensure the success of this project.
What is project Fulwari?
- NCL management created and operationalized Project Fulwari as part of the Company’s sustainable business practices under the direction of the Ministry of Coal. For the people of the command area, the Company strives for poverty alleviation, good health, well-being, and quality education.
- NCL has signed MoU with the Area Administration to initiate Project Fulwari, based on the findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) about malnutrition in the Singrauli district. The mission’s goal is to alleviate malnutrition and related physical and mental development issues in infants.
- The identified malnourished children are given extra attention at Fulwari Centers to ensure that their weight, physical, and mental progress are up to par.
- It is also planned to keep track of their progress on a regular basis. The Center’s fight against malnutrition and dedication to Sustainable Social Development will be boosted by this effort.
September 21: International Day of Peace
- The International Day of Peace is observed by United Nations on September 21, every year.
- This day is also called as World Peace Day.
- The Day is celebrated across the world in order to strengthen the ideals of peace by observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.
- It promotes global solidarity to build a peaceful and sustainable world.
Canada resumes flights to India under bilateral Air Bubble agreement
- Air Canada has resumed operations to India after a long suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, responding to a passenger’s query on Twitter, Canada’s largest airline confirmed the development.
- Air Canada operations to India are taking place under the bilateral Air Bubble agreement that India has signed with Canada and other 27 countries. Air Canada Website reads that the Passengers who plan to travel to Canada should carry an RT-PCR test that must be taken 18 hours before departure from Testing Centre and Lounge across from Terminal 3 Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.
Bangladesh government to export 2080 MT Hilsa fish to India
- The government of Bangladesh has given permission to 52 trading organizations to export Hilsa fish to India on the occasion of the Durga Puja. The Ministry of Commerce in a circular issued allowed each organization to export a maximum of 40 tonnes of Hilsa to India. The permission will remain effective till October 10.
- The companies will have to comply with the export guidelines of the country and pass through a rigorous testing process for exporting Hilsa to India.
- The Government of Bangladesh has been giving special permission for export of Hilsa to India for the last few years as a token of friendship, though the export of Hilsa was banned in the country in 2012.
- Last year, Bangladesh exported more than 1450 MT of Hilsa to India while the quantity of export was 500 MT in 2019.
- Hilsa fish is considered a great delicacy. The demand for the fish during Durga Puja is extremely high in like West Bengal. As the quality of ‘Padmar Ilish’ or Hilsa fish from Padma river in Bangladesh is considered of superior quality. Bangladesh produces almost 75 percent of the world’s Hilsa output.