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PIONEER CURRENT AFFAIRS

  1. International Day of Friendship 2016 observed globally.

30 July: International Day of Friendship

The International Day of Friendship was on 30 July 2016 observed across the world.

The Day is aimed at supporting the goals and objectives of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).

On this day, UN encourages governments, international organizations and civil society groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that contribute to the efforts of the international community towards promoting a dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.

Background

The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.

The resolution (A/RES/65/275) places particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.

  1. Strategic Forces Command exempted from ambit of RTI

The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) which forms part of the National Command Authority (NCA) has been added to the Second Schedule of the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005. In this regard, Union Government has issued a notification mentioning SFC has been brought under sub-section (2) of Section 24 of the RTI. The Section 24 of the RTI exempts security and intelligence establishments from its purview.

Section 24 and Second Schedule of RTI

Section 24 of the RTI Act 2005: It says that this law is not applicable to the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule. However, the only exception these organisations have is for information on allegations of corruption and human rights violations.

Second Schedule: It includes 26 intelligence and security agencies under its ambit. Some of them are (i) Intelligence Bureau (IB), (ii) Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of the Cabinet Secretariat (iii) Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), (iv) Special Frontier Force (SFF), (v) Border Security Force (BSF) (vi) National Security Guards (NSG) and (Vii) Assam Rifles.

Section 8 of the RTI: It deals with exemption from disclosure of information under this legislation. It says that there shall be no obligation on Government to provide any citizen information, disclosure which will affect (i) India’s sovereignty and integrity, (ii) security, (iii) strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state and (iv) relations with foreign States or (v) will lead to incitement of an offence.

About Strategic Forces Command (SFC)

The SFC is a tri-Service command that forms part of India’s Nuclear Command Authority (NCA).

It was created on January 4, 2003 by an executive order of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Function: It is responsible for the management and administration of the country’s tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile. It is headed by a Commander-in-Chief of the rank of Air Marshal.

The first commander-in-chief of SFC was Air Marshal Teja Mohan Asthana.

  1. Joint Indo-Thailand Military Exercise ‘Maitree’ culminates.

The Indo-Thailand Military Exercise Maitree concluded on 29 July 2016 at Krabi, Thailand. The exercise had commenced on 15 July 2016 under the aegis of the Royal Thailand Army.

The aim of the joint exercise was to train contingents of both the armies on conduct of counter terrorist operations in an urban environment.

Exercise Maitree 2016

  • 90 soldiers of Indian Army and Royal Thailand Army had participated in the two week long Exercise.
  • The exercise included combined training, familiarization with weapons & equipment used by both the countries.
  • It also included processes of analysing groupings, drills and tactics while operating in counter terrorism environment
  • The shared modalities for conduct of Area Domination operations in urban environment apart from operations like Cordon and Search, raids and Seek and Destroy Missions.
  • During the exercise both the Armies were able to evolve common tactical procedures and drills to enhance inter-operability.
  1. TVSN Prasad committee formed for exploring possible alternatives to Pellet Guns.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 26 July 2016 constituted a seven-member expert committee for exploring possible alternatives to pellet guns as non-lethal weapons.

The committee will be chaired by Joint Secretary (Police Modernisation) TVSN Prasad. It has been asked to submit its report within two months.

The committee was constituted to rethink on the use of pellet guns after its use by CRPF for crowd control in Kashmir was blamed for causing fatal injuries and blindness among protestors during the recent unrest.

Other members of the committee are

  • Atul Karwal, IG, CRPF, Srinagar
  • Rajeev Krishna, IG, BSF
  • Rajesh Kumar of J&K Police
  • Tushar Tripathy of Indian Ordnance Factory Board
  • Manjit Singh of Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, Chandigarh
  • Naresh Bhatnagar of IIT, Delhi

As per report, since killing of the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, CRPF personnel fired some 2102 pellet cartridges in the valley. The pellets were fired to disperse protesters.

Pellet guns, which are loaded with lead balls, have been categorised as a non-lethal weapon.

It is fired from an air gun. It has the capability of causing fatal injuries by penetrating deep into the skin. Generally, it is used to disperse crowds. Pellet guns are being used since 2010 in Kashmir to disperse and control crowd.

Background

Earlier, the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had announced in Parliament that a committee would be set up to review the use of pellet guns and find an alternative.

  1. Adman Srinivasan Swamy conferred with AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) conferred its Lifetime Achievement Award on famous adman Srinivasan K.Swamy. Mr. Swamy is popularly known as Sundar. He is a veteran in the advertising industry and has almost four decades of rich experience.

About Srinivasan K.Swamy

Swamy is Chairman of R.K. Swamy Hansa, a diversified marketing communications group.

He has served as the President of AAAI for three consecutive terms from 2004 to 2007.

He is also the Vice Chairman of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and a Board Member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

AAAI’s Lifetime Award:

It was instituted in 1988. It is the highest recognition bestowed on an individual in India for outstanding contribution to the advertising industry.

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