FINS Bulletin – June 1, 2017

Climate-threatened Bangladesh to impose carbon tax in June

Bangladesh is set to impose its own carbon tax on fuel next month – despite the hugely climate-vulnerable country producing relatively tiny per capita emissions.

The tax is expected to be put in place on June 1 as part of the country’s annual budget and will be part of a larger bundle of “green” measures, said Nojibur Rahman, chair of the National Board of Revenue.

The new tax may not make any significant contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping average global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, they said.

But “when a country pollutes, the other countries are also affected. So, we need to reduce carbon emission as much as possible and imposing a tax is only way to do it,” said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, outgoing president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

He said the tax would not only raise the price of using fossil fuels but the added income could help push more use of renewable energy.

“If the government wants to cut the import duty on environment-friendly renewable energy products, it needs to charge taxes on polluters,” he said.

Bangladesh produces about 0.44 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person, much lower than the United States’ 16.4 tonnes, Australia’s 16.3 tonnes and Qatar’s whopping 40.5 tonnes, according to World Bank figures.

Source: Reuters, May 22, 2017


Taliban attack on Afghan army base kills 10 soldiers

At least 10 Afghan soldiers were killed when Taliban militants stormed their army base in the southern province of Kandahar, officials said today, in the latest attack on Afghan forces.

The assault in Shah Wali Kot district late yesterday came just a day after 20 Afghan policemen were killed when Taliban fighters stormed their outposts in the neighbouring province of Zabul.

Source: Business Standard, May 23, 2017


Anti-Naxal operations now based on real-time info on Naxals

The anti-Naxal operations are now based on real-time information provided by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) so that the “traps” planted by the extremists could be avoided, Home Ministry officials said.

According to officials, the UAV receiver station called as joint command and control centre, based at Jagadalpur in Chhattisgarh has been upgraded and it is now capable of providing information on movement of Naxals to security forces engaged in anti-Naxal operations.

The analysis centre for the pictures taken by UAVs was first set up in Delhi and later in Raipur which delayed passing on information to the security forces.

Since the the UAV receiver station has been upgraded now, it can pass on the information about movement of Naxals on real-time to those engaged in anti-Naxal operations and avoid “traps” planted by the Maoists, an official said.

The home ministry is also in the process of procuring advanced aerial surveillance equipment, including foliage penetration radar, to monitor the activities of Naxals.

Security forces often face difficulties in gathering intelligence through UAVs which could not penetrate upto ground level in forest area where the Maoists operate. However, a foliage penetration radar could get ground movements of the Naxals as the machine can click pictures even through densely forested areas.

At a meeting held on May 8, after killing of 25 CRPF jawans were killed by Naxals in Chhattisgarh, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said trackers in weapons and biometrics in smart guns are some of the new technology that the security forces fighting the Naxals may adopt soon to check use of looted arms by the guerrillas.

“We know that left wing extremists mostly use looted weapons. In order to prevent this, it would be advisable to have trackers in weapons, bio-metrics in smart gun triggers,” he had said at the meeting attended by chief ministers of Naxal-affected states. A tracker can locate a looted weapon wherever it is taken or used while biometrics can make a smart gun useless for anyone else except the authorised user. Singh had said trackers should also be embedded in shoes, bullet-proof jackets besides others. In addition, unique identification numbers are also expected to be used in gelatin and other explosive materials.

Source: Deccan Herald, May 22, 2017


Infiltration along Indo-Bangladesh border has come down, says Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal

Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday claimed that in last one year of BJP-led government infiltration along Indo-Bangladesh has come down. He said there is drop in cattle and arm smuggling. Sonowal while detailing the achievement of one year old government said, Indo-Bangladesh will be sealed within a short time.

“The process of updation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) is on and draft NRC roll will be published by December 31, 2017.” Sonowal also added, “I have visited border areas twice to a send message that security of border is not only the job of security forces but people must also get involved in protecting borders.”

The chief minister said that indigenous people will be provided land right. A committee has been constituted under chairmanship of former Chief Election Commissioner of India HS Brahma to study the land issue of Assam to formulate a land policy. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently held tripartite talks with All Assam Students’ Union (Aasu) and assured that the spirit of Assam Accord would not be allowed to be diluted at any cost. Assam accord was signed after six years of anti-foreigners’ movement (1979-1985).

Sonowal said, “The tripartite talks discussed clause-wise, time bound implementation of Assam Accord particularly Clauses 6 and 7 of accord pertaining to Constitutional safeguards to indigenous people and economic safeguards. Two separate expert committees are constituted for the purpose.” Sonowal assured that fight against corruption will continue and no one will be spared be it be minister or MLA.

“The government’s “zero tolerance” of corruption has unleashed an “uncompromising war” to root out social evils from the administrative machinery of Assam.” He said it had resulted in the arrest of the chairman and two other members of Assam Public Service Commission on corruption charges, besides three Assam Civil Service officers in connection with the ‘cash for job’ scam in the APSC and 21 government officials of various departments while taking bribes. The government drive had also yielded Rs 52.15 lakh of bribe money, Rs 3.37 crore in cash and gold ornaments valued at Rs 1.75 lakh.

Source: Economic Times, May 24, 2017


India, Japan JV to set up LNG import terminal in Sri Lanka

India and Japan will join hands to set up a $ 250 million LNG import terminal in Sri Lanka, the first collaboration between the two to counter China’s growing influence in the Island nation. Petronet LNG Ltd, India’s biggest gas importer, last year proposed to set up an up to 2 million tonne (MT) liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility on the coast of Sri Lanka to meet its energy needs.

Sri Lanka, however, wanted Japan also to have a role in it. “An agreement has been reached between the governments of India, Sri Lanka and Japan to set up the LNG terminal as a 50:50 joint venture by Petronet and a Japanese company,” Petronet Managing Director and CEO Prabhat Singh said here. 

Japan is yet to identify the company which will form an equal joint venture with Petronet for setting up the terminal.

Source: Hindustan Times, May 24, 2017


IB chief meets Chhattisgarh CM

Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Jain today met Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh here and the two discussed a host of issues related to the state security, including the menace of naxal violence and ways to tackle it.

Jain, an IPS officer, who was on his maiden visit to the Naxal-affected state, paid a courtesy visit to Singh at his official residence.

During an hour-long meeting between the CM and Jain, the discussion was mainly about coordination between the central and state forces and optimum usage of intelligence outputs forwarded by the agency, he said.

There was discussion on imparting pace to the socio-economic development of the area including the infrastructural growth like road building and setting up telecommunication facilities, he said.

Recruitment of youths from Bastar region in police and central forces was also another issue discussed at the meeting, he added. Jain was on a two-day visit of the state since yesterday.

His visit is considered as crucial as it comes at a time when the security agencies are on high alert following the deadly attack on CRPF personnel last month in Sukma. Jain also visited Sukma yesterday to take stock of the security situation there.

Subsequently, he held a meeting with senior state and paramilitary officials at Jagdalpur (Bastar district headquarter) to review the ongoing counter-insurgency operations, the official said. During the meeting at Jagdalpur, detailed information was exchanged on recent attacks that had taken place in Bhejji and Burkapal area of Sukma, he added.

On April 24, Naxalites had ambushed a CRPF patrol party in the Burkapal area under Chintagufa police station, in which 25 security personnel were killed. Earlier on March 11, twelve CRPF personnel were killed in a Naxal attack in Bhejji area.

Source: Outlook India, May 21, 2017


India to connect Ganga with NE states through Bangladesh

India has taken a plan to connect river Ganga with its northeastern states through Bangladesh, an Indian official said Tuesday.

For this India and Bangladesh have initiated a process to improve navigability of inland water transit protocol route between the two countries, according to a report by www.business-standard.com.

The two countries had agreed on the extension of Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT), signed in 1972. 

“The river Ganga through National Waterway one (NW -1) is going to be connected with the northeast through India-Bangladesh protocol route. We are in an advanced stage,” Inland Waterways Authority of India’s (IWAI) Member (Technical), Sanjay Kumar Gangwar said.

He said dredging would be required in some part of the route.

“In the protocol route, there should not be any problem up to Dhaka…but at the upstreams of the river Brahmaputra, dredging will be required for improving its navigability,” he said at an event “India’s maritime Connectivity: Importance of the Bay of Bengal” organised by Observer Research Foundation in Kolkata.

Gangwar said India and Bangladesh have already taken up the issue.

“We have sent the draft tender document to Bangladesh. Our neighbouring country is in process of finalising the tender document for the dredging in the protocol route. The tender will be floated by the Bangladesh government,” he said.

Gangwar added that India will bear 80 per cent of the dredging cost and the rest by Bangladesh.

Source: The Financial Express, May 16, 2017


 

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