In Rajasthan, the Gujjar community is currently eligible for reservations as an OBC community. They had in the mid- and late-2000s agitated for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe category, in keeping with the way they are classified in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. This demand was denied because tribal status, as defined in the Constitution’s Fifth Schedule, involves identifiable characteristics such as lifestyle, culture, inaccessibility and backwardness, and not just economic underdevelopment. Since then, the largely pastoral community has pressed for reservations under a separate backward class category, arguing that inclusion of Jats in the OBC list has crowded Gujjars out of the benefits of reservations.
Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd. (MVPL), a Karnataka government company, has a monopoly on the manufacture of indelible ink since 1962, and is a major supplier to the Election Commission of India (ECI). It also exports the indelible ink for elections in other countries.
Aero India 2019 – 12th edition of the biennial international military and civil expo and air show took place at the Air Force Station Yelahanka Air Force Station in Karnataka. Aero India is being organised since 1996. The tagline for Aero India 2019 was “The Runway to a Billion Opportunities”. Aero India is organised by the Defence Exhibition Organisation, Ministry of Defence. Important developments at Aero India 2019 – Russian Helicopters signed Memorandum of Understandings with five Indian companies to localise components for the Kamov-226T utility helicopter; U.S. aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin unveiled an F-21 fighter, an upgraded variant of the F-16 fighter jet, at Aero India.
Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) – The Tejas LCA together with its variants, is the smallest and lightest Multi-Role Supersonic Fighter Aircraft of its class. This single engine, Compound-Delta-Wing, Tailless Aircraft is designed and developed to meet diverse needs of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy (IN).The Tejas LCA programme has achieved the rare distinction of completing over 4000 Successful Test Flights. Mark I (MkI) Tejas, overcame its last hurdle by finally bagging what is called the FOC certification. The FOC or final operational clearance, coming on the first day of Aero India 2019, certifies that the world’s lightest fighter plane is “ready for battle.”
The Home Ministry has kept in abeyance a notification that provided special powers of arrest to Assam Rifles. In an earlier notification (which has currently been kept in abeyance), Assam Rifles, deployed along the Myanmar border, had been empowered by the Centre to arrest anyone and search a place without warrant in the border districts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram. According to the earlier Home Ministry notification, “an officer of the rank corresponding to that of the lowest rank of members of the Assam Rifles” had been given these powers under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Earlier, Assam Rifles was making arrests only in areas where the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was in effect. MHA had lifted AFSPA from some areas in Arunachal Pradesh last year. The Assam Rifles, central armed police force (CAPF) came into being in 1835. It is under the administrative control of the Home Ministry and operational control of the Army.; Assam does not share its border with Myanmar.
As on January 8, 2019 – AFSPA, 1958 is operational in entire States of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (except Imphal Municipal area), three districts namely Tirap, Changlang and Longding of Arunachal Pradesh and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the eight police stations in the districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the State of Assam. The notification declaring Manipur and Assam as “Disturbed Areas’ have been issued by the State Governments. Mizoram is not covered by AFSPA.
India and Myanmar have a Free Movement Regime along the border (on the 16 km belt on either side). The Free Movement Regime was streamlined after the bilateral agreement between India and Myanmar on Land Border Crossing was finalised in 2018.
The government has decided to make the Inner Line Permit applicable throughout the State of Nagaland, including the commercial hub of Dimapur. Under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1853, non-Nagas should have ILP to visit the State, but Dimapur district was not included under the provisions.
BrahMos NG – A sleeker, more lethal version of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos is under development. The idea is to have a smaller missile with the same capabilities. So the missile will fly at 3.5 times the speed of sound instead of 2.8 Mach. The range will remain at 300 km. For this several mechanical components in the missile are being replaced with electrical components which will also reduce the size. BrahMos is a joint venture between India and Russia and named after Brahmaputra and Moscowa rivers. It is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against surface and sea-based targets. The development trials of an anti-shipping variant began in 2003 and combat trials began in 2005. The reduced weight enables the NG variant to be carried by the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). An LCA can carry two missiles while a Su-30MKI can carry five of them. The land and sea variants of BrahMos are already operational with the Army and Navy and the air-launched version is under development. The original range of the missile was 290 kms in line with the limitations of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). After India joined the grouping in June 2016, the range was extended to 450 kms and is to be further extended to 600kms.
Recently India had successfully test-fired BrahMos missile with an indigenous seeker, a critical technology, in missiles. So far the seeker, a critical technology in missiles, came from Russia. The plan is to replace all the seekers with indigenous ones. The seeker was jointly developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad and BrahMos Aerospace.