October 2019

Daily Current Affairs (08-10-19)


Related Topics: International Relations, Land Boundary Agreement (LBA)


India and Bangladesh hailed bilateral ties as “model good neighbourliness” as the two sides signed seven agreements and the Prime Ministers of the two countries inaugurated three projects to deepen their partnership.

Key Highlights

Following Bilateral documents were signed, exchanged, adopted and handed over during the visit:

  • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh for Movement of goods to and from India.
  • MoU for providing a Coastal Surveillance System.
  • MoU on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from Feni River by India for drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town, Tripura, India
  • Agreement concerning Implementation of the Lines of Credit (LoCs) committed by India to Bangladesh.
  • MoU between University of Hyderabad and University of Dhaka
  • Renewal of Cultural Exchange Programme
  • MoU on Co-operation in Youth Affairs

Following Bilateral development partnership projects were launched:

  • Import of Bulk LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) from Bangladesh for distribution in the North Eastern states.
  • Inauguration of Vivekananda Bhaban (students hostel) at Ramakrishna Mission, Dhaka
  • Inauguration of Bangladesh-India Professional Skill Development Institute (BIPSDI) at the Institution of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh (IDEB), Khulna

India – Bangladesh Relationship

  • India was the first country to recognize Bangladesh as a separate and independent state and established diplomatic relations with the country immediately after its independence in December 1971.
  • India and Bangladesh enjoy one of the best periods of their relationship, with positive development in the areas of diplomatic, political, economic and security relations.

Security & Border Management

  • India and Bangladesh share 4096.7 km. of border, which is the longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbours.
  • The Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) signed in 2011 aims to synergize the efforts of both the border guarding forces for checking cross border illegal activities and crimes as well as for maintenance of peace and tranquility along the India-Bangladesh border.
  • The longstanding maritime boundary dispute between India and Bangladesh was settled as per arbitration award of 7th July 2014.
  • The India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) came into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification in June 2015, where the two neighbours amicably resolved a long-outstanding issue.
  • On July 31, 2015, the enclaves of India and Bangladesh in each other’s countries were exchanged and strip maps were signed.

Defence Cooperation

  • Various Joint exercises of Army (Exercise Sampriti) and Navy (Exercise Milan) take place between two countries.
  • Scholarships are given to heirs of Muktijoddhas (Bangladesh War Veterans) for Higher Secondary & Undergraduate students every year by the Government of India.

Sharing of River Waters

  • India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers.
  • A bilateral Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) is working since June 1972 to maintain liaison between the two countries to maximize benefits from common river systems.

Bilateral Trade and Investment

  • Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia.
  • India’s exports to Bangladesh for the financial year 2018-19 (April-March) stood at US $ 9.21 bn.
  • Imports from Bangladesh for the same period stood at US $ 1.22 bn.
  • India and Bangladesh are members of various regional trade agreements including the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), SAARC Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) and the Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) which govern the tariff regimes for trade.
  • Four Border Haats, two each in Tripura and Meghalaya, have been established for the benefit of bordering communities.
  • Cumulative Foreign Direct Investment from India to Bangladesh has more than doubled from USD 243.91 mn in 2014 to USD 570.11 mn in December 2018.

Development Partnership

  • India has extended 3 Lines of Credits (LOCs) to Bangladesh in the last 8 years amounting to US$ 8 billion.
  • In addition to LOCs, the Government of India has also been providing grant assistance to Bangladesh for various infrastructure projects such as the Agartala- Akhaura rail link, dredging of inland waterways, India Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, and high impact community development projects (HICDPs).

Power and Energy Sector Cooperation

  • Bangladesh is currently importing 1160 MW of power from India.
  • 1320 MW coalfired Maitree thermal power plant, a 50:50 JV between National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), is being constructed at Rampal.
  • Indian Government is also extending financial assistance for construction of 130 Km India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline for supply of diesel from Siliguri to Parbatipur in Bangladesh.


  • India and Bangladesh have a Protocol on Inland Waterways Trade and Transit (PIWTT), to facilitate trade and transit between the countries, since 1972.
  • India and Bangladesh signed an agreement in October 2018 on the use of Chittagong and Mongla Ports for transshipment of goods to and from India.
  • Various additional services on railway sector co-operation were introduced including launching of Kolkata- Khulna ‘Bandhan Express’ train services in November 2017 and introduction of end-to-end immigration and customs clearance for travelers in the ‘Maitree Express’ between Kolkata and Dhaka.

Cultural Exchanges

  • The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) in Dhaka regularly organizes cultural programmes and also conducts classes in various Indian cultural elements including Hindi, yoga, Hindustani music and Manipuri and Kathak dances etc.
  • The ICCR has initiated a Tagore Chair in the University of Dhaka since 2011.


  • Bangladeshi tourists accounted for 21.6% of the total percentage of tourists visiting India in 2018 (83.7% tourists and 10.28% medical patients).
  • At present, Bangladesh contributes 50% of India’s health tourism

Areas of Concern

Teesta Water Sharing Agreement

  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s refusal to endorse water-sharing terms agreed upon by Prime Minister Modi in 2015 has resulted in the current impasse.
  • A lack of water has affected 100,000 hectares of land, with contamination affecting the soil; the increased cost of pesticides and irrigation has made farming less profitable.

National Register of Citizens (NRC)

  • NRC has left out 1.9 million Assamese from the list with a group labelled as “illegal immigrants from Bangladesh” living in Assam post-1971.
  • Bangladesh remains firm in its stance that no migrants travelled to Assam illegally during the 1971 war of independence and the controversial NRC risks hurting relations.

Rohingya Issue

The Rohingya issue and India’s remarks in 2017 on the issue have been upsetting for Bangladesh which has been facing the challenge of providing shelter to more than a million Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution by one of the world’s most brutal military regimes.

Way Forward

  • India-Bangladesh relations have matured in the last decade with development in many areas of cooperation.
  • In a neighbourhood where distrust and cynicism prevail over friendship and hope, the relationship between the two countries has given hope for optimism.
  • Removal of non-tariff barriers will help Bangladeshi exports such as harmonising the standards for goods accepted by India.
  • Both countries must try to reach consensus on the issues like NRC, Rohingya and Teesta rivers.
  • The shared colonial legacy, history and socio-cultural bonds demand that the political leadership of the two countries should try to inject momentum into India-Bangladesh relations.

[Source: The Hindu, mea.gov.in]



Related Topics: Awards & Honours, Science & Technology


  • The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 2019 has been awarded to three scientists for discovery of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.
  • The three scientists will share the Nobel Prize sum of nine million Swedish kronor or about 9 Lakh 14 thousand US dollars.

The Nobel Winners

  • William Kaelin of Harvard University
  • Peter Ratcliffe of Oxford University
  • Gregg Semenza of Johns Hopkins University

Award Winning Discovery

  • They have been jointly awarded the Nobel for their work of identifying molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen.
  • The fundamental importance of oxygen has been understood for centuries, but how cells adapt to changes in oxygen levels has long been unknown.
  • The scientists discovered the molecular switch that controls how our cells respond to varying levels of oxygen in the surroundings.
  • Cells need oxygen to survive, but they don’t have a steady supply – levels vary at different altitudes, but also during exercise.
  • Oxygen supply is also disrupted when the blood supply is cut off in diseases like cancer and stroke.
  • To understand how cells respond to these variations, Gregg Semenza studied the gene for Erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone that produces more red blood cells when oxygen levels are running low.
  • Semenza found that the increase in EPO was due to a specific region of the gene and identified two proteins that essentially control how the gene works.
  • One of these was found to respond to oxygen levels – it is present when levels are low, but disappears when there is plenty of oxygen around.
  • Ratcliffe and Kaelins identified another protein, called VHL that is responsible for destroying that protein when oxygen levels are high.
  • Together, the work of the three scientists reveals a molecular switch for responding to oxygen levels.


  • The molecular switch is important in understanding and treating disorders like anaemia, which results in low oxygen levels, and diseases like stroke, heart attack and cancer, which can also shut off the blood oxygen supply to cells.
  • The discoveries made by the three scientists “have fundamental importance for physiology and have paved the way for promising new strategies to fight anemia, cancer and many other diseases.”
[Source: The Hindu, New Scientist]



Related Topics: Government Schemes & Intiatives, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)


Union Jal Shakti Minister has launched the ‘Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan’.

About Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan

  • The ‘Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan’ is a pioneering and historic exploratory open-water rafting and kayaking expedition on the Ganga River.
  • The expedition will commence on 10th October 2019, at Devprayag, where Bhagirathi and Alaknanda merge and the Ganga begins.
  • The expedition will continue for 33 days, through Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and culminate on 11th November 2019.
  • Starting at Devprayag and culminating at Ganga Sagar, the expedition will cover the entire stretch of over 2500 kms of the Ganga River.
  • This is the first ever effort by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to raft across the entire stretch of the river.
  • It is also the longest ever social campaign undertaken through an adventure sporting activity to spread the message of River Rejuvenation and Water Conservation on a massive scale.
  • The expedition will draw attention to the ecological challenges being faced by Ganga.
  • The expedition will encompass the five Ganga basin states including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal with stops at Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Sonepur and Kolkata.

Key Features of Expedition

  • The expedition is led by Wing Commander Paramvir Singh from Indian Air Force, who is the only person to have swum the entire length of Ganga from Devprayag to Gangasagar in 2015.
  • The team, during the expedition will take up public awareness campaign on the locations at which they will stop.
  • They will organise mass cleaning drives, interact with students of the village/city and will further the message of river conservation.
  • Apart from the awareness campaign, the team from CSIR–Indian Institute of Toxicology Research will collect water samples from across diverse ranges of the river for the purpose of water testing.
  • Members of the Wildlife Institute of India will undertake flora and fauna census for the year 2019.
[Source: PIB]




Senior Indian Forest Service officer Ramesh Pandey has been selected for the prestigious Asia Environmental Enforcement Award by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The purpose of the Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards is to publicly recognise outstanding achievements by public organisations and individuals in Asia to combat transboundary environmental crime. During his tenure at the Centre, Pandey has busted several tiger poaching gangs and ensured a strict vigil on the airport to restrict wildlife smuggling. He busted infamous tiger poaching gang of Lambu Fariyad, who was flagged by Interpol as well. He also introduced M-Stripes (Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection & Ecological Status), a novel software-based patrolling in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve on the recommendation of National Tiger Conservation Authority.


Union Minister of Textiles has announced that India will cover five more African countries in the second phase of its Cotton Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for the region. India implemented a technical assistance programme (TAP) for cotton in six African countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda, from 2012 to 2018. In the five year long second phase, the programme will be scaled up in size and coverage and will be introduced in five additional countries, namely Mali, Ghana, Togo, Zambia and Tanzania. The Cotton TAP programme will now cover 11 African countries including the C4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali).


Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has launched the e-Dantseva website and mobile application, the first ever national digital platform on oral health information and knowledge dissemination. This initiative of the Ministry with AIIMS and other stakeholders aims to sensitize the public about the significance of maintaining optimum oral health and equips them with the tools and knowledge to do so, including awareness on the nearest oral health service facility. The website and mobile application provide oral health information gathered from authentic scientific resources and connects the public to timely advice for managing any dental emergency or oral health problem. It contains information about the National Oral Health Program, detailed list of all the dental facility and colleges, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material and a unique feature called the ‘Symptom Checker’, which provides information on symptoms of dental/oral health problems, ways to prevent these, the treatment modes, and also directs the user to find their nearest available dental facility (public and private sectors both).

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