PIB – 18th Dec 2020


  • The 35th edition of India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy is being conducted. 
  • Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kulish, an indigenously built missile corvette along with P8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) will undertake coordinated patrol with Indonesian Naval Ship KRI Cut Nyak Dien, a Kapitan Pattimura (Parchim I) class corvette and a MPA of the Indonesian Navy. 
  • As part of Government of India’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has been proactively engaging with countries in the Indian Ocean Region for Coordinated Patrols, cooperation in EEZ Surveillance, Passage exercises and Bilateral/ Multi-lateral exercises, towards enhancing regional maritime security. 
  • India and Indonesia have especially enjoyed a close and friendly relationship covering a wide spectrum of activities and interactions, which have strengthened over the years. 
  • To reinforce maritime links, the two navies have been carrying out CORPAT along their International Maritime Boundary Line since 2002, with the aim of ensuring safety and security of shipping and international trade in the region. CORPATs build up understanding and interoperability between navies and facilitate institution of measures to prevent and suppress Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy. 

Haldibari – Chilahati rail link jointly inaugurated by the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh during India-Bangladesh virtual bilateral summit

  • The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Bangladesh jointly inaugurated a railway link between Haldibari in India and Chilahati in Bangladesh during the PM level virtual bilateral summit. 
  • Later on the day, a goods train was flagged off by the Railway Minister of Bangladesh from Chilahati station which entered India passing through the international border thus heralding a new era for the people living in both the countries.
  • The railway network of India and Bangladesh are mostly inherited from British Era Indian Railways. After partition in 1947, 7 rail links were operational between India and the then East Pakistan (up to 1965). 
  • Presently, there are 4 operational rail links between India and Bangladesh. They are, Petrapole (India) – Benapole (Bangladesh),  Gede (India) – Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India)-Rohanpur (Bangladesh),  Radhikapur (India)–Birol (Bangladesh). The Haldibari – Chilahati rail link being made functional from 17.12.2020 is the 5th rail link between India and Bangladesh.
  • The Haldibari – Chilahati rail link was operational till 1965. This was part of the Broad Gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri during partition.  Trains traveling to Assam and North Bengal continued to travel through the then East Pakistan territory even after partition. 
  • For example, a train from Sealdah to Siliguri used to enter East Pakistan territory from Darshana and exit using the Haldibari – Chilahati link.  However, the war of 1965 effectively cut off all the railway links between India and the then East Pakistan. So on the Eastern Sector of India partition of the railways this happened in 1965.  So the importance of the reopening of this rail link can be well imagined. 

GPS-based toll collection system cleared

  • Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs has said that the Government has finalised GPS-based(Global Positioning System) technology toll collection to ensure seamless movement of vehicles across the country. He said this will ensure India becomes ‘toll booth free’ in the next two years.
  • Addressing the ASSOCHAM Foundation Week Programme he explained that the toll amount will be deducted directly from the bank account based on the movement of vehicles. While now all commercial vehicles are coming with vehicle tracking systems, the Government will come up with some plan to install GPS technology in old vehicles.
  • The Minister expressed hope that the toll collections may reach Rs 34,000 crore by coming March. He informed, by using GPS technology for toll collection,the toll income in next five years will be Rs 1,34,000 crore.

ARCI and IIT-H Scientists develop high-performance hybrid supercapacitors with novel electrode material

  • Scientists have developed a low-cost supercapacitor device with excellent capacitive retention with a novel electrode material they have synthesized, which can pave the way for the next generation high power-high energy storage devices.
  • Supercapacitors have gained considerable attention due to their high power density, long cycle life, and excellent capacity retention compared to their battery counterparts. Supercapacitors with high capacitance and excellent capacitive retention developed from low-cost fabrication techniques are the need of the hour, considering their potential utility in the commercial market. 
  • Scientists at the International Advanced Research Center for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India in collaboration with IIT Hyderabad have developed a facile, scalable, and cost-effective electrochemical route to synthesize electrodes made of Nickel cobaltite (NiCo2O4) containing nanosheet structures with incorporated oxygen vacancies as an active material, for hybrid supercapacitors. These electrodes have been found to have excellent electrochemical performance.
  • Research reveals that Disturbance from North Atlantic could be possible reason why  Indian monsoon derails in August;  needs to be factored in to improve monsoon predictability 
  • A planetary wave from the North Atlantic is capable of derailing the Indian monsoon on which the Indian economy is heavily dependent, suggests a study published in the journal Science.
  • The findings suggest that modelling efforts ought to focus on including the influence of mid-latitudes, in addition to the Pacific and Indian oceans, for getting a better handle on predictability of the monsoon, its variability as well as droughts.
  • A team from the Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (CAOS), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), who carried out the research, supported in part by DST under their climate change programme, showed that, in the past century, Indian monsoon droughts that occurred in non-El Niño years were sub-seasonal, as against El Niño droughts, where the deficit persists throughout the season.
  • The research team analysed daily rainfall during the two categories of droughts from 1900 to 2015 and noticed dramatic differences in the evolution of rainfall deficit. Rainfall deficit in El Niño droughts sets in early around mid-June and becomes progressively worse. By mid-August, the deficit is very high and spread across the country, with no sign of recovery. 
  • During non-El Niño droughts there is a moderate decrease in June rainfall, followed by signs of recovery during mid-July to mid-August ‒ the peak of the season.  However, in late August, there is an abrupt and steep fall in rainfall, resulting in drought conditions.