Current Affairs Analysis

29th March 2016 Current Affairs Analysis

By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
March 29, 2016



  • Telecom panel clears entry of virtual operators

Defence & Security Issues

  • Indian Air Force facing capacity crisis: U.S. expert
  • Government Unveils New Defence Procurement Policy
  • DefExpo 2016
  • INS Beas visits Doha, Qatar for International Maritime Defence Exhibition (DIMDEX)

Also in News

  • 112 to become India’s new emergency number
  • Gujarat named most film-friendly state


Telecom panel clears entry of virtual operators

In order to allow telecom service providers to improve utilisation of their networks, the Telecom Commission has cleared a proposal to allow licensing of virtual network operators (VNOs).

  • These VNOs, after getting a licence for operations, will be able to buy minutes and bytes to offer voice and data services, respectively.

About virtual network operators (VNOs):

  • A virtual network operator is akin to a retailer selling products and services of various companies under one roof, and a customer has to pay a single bill for all items purchased.
  • Such an operator will primarily provide various services to end consumers by using the underlying network of a network service operator.
  • VNOs do not have spectrum of their ownfor access service, but can provide access services to its own customers through an agreement with the licensed access provider.
  • A VNO leases bandwidth from various telecom operators to provide voice and data services to customers.
  • They cannot participate in spectrum auctionfor access services in their service areas, as they cannot have their own spectrum.

Implications of this move:

  • Now, VNO will be able to invest in setting up mobile towers and other elements in network required for providing services. However, it will not be able to sign deal directly to interconnect infrastructure laid by it with other telecom operator.
  • VNO will be able to integrate service and offer it to customer as it wants. There will be no limit on integration and offeringof services from licence or government that will be available shortly.
  • In case a VNO has partnered with multiple service providers, then it can offer voice call service of one and data service of other player.
  • The VNO, after obtaining licence from the government for its operations, can function under its own brand offering a plethora of services such as mobile telephony, broadband, wireless hotspots, etc. at the last mile and in areas where stressed balance sheets of large telecom companies do not allow them to invest for rolling out infrastructure.
  • This would also allow telecom companies to leverage network and spectrum investment made by them, as this move will allow the virtual network operators to invest in setting up almost 70% to 80% of the equipment required to offer communication services. And hence, VNOs would contribute to the efficient use of existing telecommunication infrastructure.
  • VNOs may also offer some relief to telecom PSUs, BSNL and MTNL, which have already adopted a revenue-sharing model focusing on reducing capital expenditure.

[Ref: IE]

Defence & Security Issues

Indian Air Force facing capacity crisis: U.S. expert

A U.S. expert, in his report, has said that India’s aerial fighting force is inadequate on a number of parameters.

  • The report, titled “Troubles, they come in Battalions: The Manifest Travails of the Indian Air Force”, is a sharp analysis of the current state of the IAF’s preparedness to face down threats from potentially troublesome neighbours.

Key points of the report:

  • The report notes, “Falling end strength and problematic force structure, combined with its troubled acquisition and development programs, threaten India’s air superiority over its rapidly modernising rivals, China and Pakistan.”
  • The report has noted that as of early 2016, the IAF was very weak and at nominally 36.5 squadrons, it is well short of its sanctioned strength, and many of its frontline aircraft are obsolete.”

China & Pakistan:

  • According to the report, China and Pakistan have apparently fielded close to 750 advanced air defence or multirole fighters against the IAF’s 450-odd equivalents, and by 2025, China may well be in a position to deploy anywhere between 300 and 400 sophisticated air craft against India, in addition to likely 100 to 200 advanced fighters by Pakistan.

Impediments India faces:

According to the report, the main barriers to embarking on a successful acquisition and modernisation drive are:

  • Serious constraints on India’s defence budget.
  • The impediments imposed by the acquisition process.
  • The meagre achievements of the country’s domestic development organisations.
  • The weaknesses of the higher defence management system.
  • India’s inability to reconcile the need for self-sufficiency in defence production with the necessity of maintaining technological superiority over rivals.

Suggestions given by the report:

  • Air dominance is vital for India if it were to have deterrence stability in southern Asia and for preserving the strategic balance in the wider Indo-Pacific region.
  • Be cautious about expanding the Tejas acquisition beyond six squadrons and consider enlarging the MMRCA component with the cheapest fourth-generation-plus Western fighter available.
  • Expand investments in advanced munitions, combat support aircraft, electronic warfare, physical infrastructure, and pilot proficiency while being realistic about domestic capacity to produce sophisticated combat aircraft.

 [Ref: Hindu]

Government Unveils New Defence Procurement Policy

The much-awaited new defence procurement policy was recently unveiled by the government with an aim to ensure transparency, fast track acquisition process and give a push to ‘Make in India’ initiative.

Key facts:

  • To be applicable from April, the procurement policy lays the roadmap on how India, the world’s largest arms importer, will acquire defence equipment in the future.
  • The new DPP has included a new category to acquire weapons–IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured). The IDDM will be the first preferred category of preference.
  • The new policy also allows the Defence Acquisition Council to take a “fast-track” route to acquire weapons, something which was limited to only the armed forces till now.
  • In a bid to cut down on the time taken for acquisition process, it mandates that all AONs (Acceptance of Necessity) of a particular platform will be valid for only six months as against the 12-month deadline now.
  • Also, no AON will be notified until it is accompanied by a finalised RFP (Request for Proposal or tender). This means that the time taken for an RFP is cut down drastically.
  • Defence export clearances will now be granted online. The policy will also include ‘Start-up India’ initiative.
  • A review of the new DPP will be undertaken after six months.

Sources: the hindu.

DefExpo 2016

India’s biggest ever land, naval and homeland security exhibition Defence Expo 2016 began in Goa.

  • Defence Expo 2016 is the 9th edition of the series of biennial land, naval and internal homeland security systems exhibitions.
  • The 2016 theme is “Rise of Futurism” and its vision is to make India prosperous by establishing world class science and technology base in defence sector.
  • This for the first time, the Expo is being held outside the national capital New Delhi.

[Ref: IE]

INS Beas visits Doha, Qatar for International Maritime Defence Exhibition (DIMDEX)

Indian Naval ship Beas is on an official visit to Doha, Qatar to participate in the fifth edition of Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition (DIMDEX).


  • DIMDEX is held biennially at Doha and provides an ideal platform for showcasing our indigenous shipbuilding capability and technological prowess as well as innovation in Naval systems.
  • INS Beas, an indigenous Brahmaputra Class frigate commissioned on 11 Jul 05 will represent the Indian Navy at DIMDEX 16.
[Ref: PIB]

Also in News

112 to become India’s new emergency number

India has decided to adopt ‘112’ as the national emergency number, similar to ‘911’ in the US and ‘999’ in the UK, with the inter-ministerial telecom commission giving a go-ahead to the move.

  • The roll-out of ‘112’ may see a gradual phase-out of existing emergency numbers like 100 (for police), 101 (fire), 102 (ambulance) and 108 (disaster management), though they will continue to be in operation for at least a year.


Telecom regulator TRAI had suggested the adoption of 112 as the national emergency number in its recommendations submitted to the telecom department last year.

[Ref: Hindu]

Gujarat named most film-friendly state

Gujarat was named the most film-friendly state at the 63rd National Film Awards, for its effort to ease the shooting of films.

  • The ‘Most Film-Friendly State’ award was introduced this year.
  • According to rough estimates, more than 100 non-Gujarati feature films have been shot in the state in the last three years including films in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bhojpuri and Bengali.

Reasons for selection:

  • The National Film Awards jury in its citation said, “Gujarat’s single window clearance facility, presence of a dedicated web portal, international promotions, database of pro-duct facilities and hotels and emergency services as well as the friendly approach of the state government were among the reasons responsible for its win.”

[Ref: ToI]


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