02 , December 2017

1.‘India Awarded Certificate of Commendation for Its Effort to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade”
Source: PIB

India has been awarded with the Certificate of Commendation for its exemplary enforcement action in its regional and global effort to combat illegal wildlife trade. “The award was given to Wildlife Crime Control Bureau yesterday by the Secretary General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) at Geneva, Switzerland”

  • The award has been presented to WCCB for its efforts in conducting and coordinating a species specific wildlife enforcement Operation, codenamed “Operation Save Kurma”.
  • Operation Save Kurma” was conducted in the country by the WCCB to combat the proliferating illegal trade in live turtles and its parts from the country to destinations abroad.
  • ‘Operation Save Kurma’ conducted from December 15, 2016 to January 30, 2017, approximately 16, 000 live turtles/tortoises were seized and released back into the wild. He said that 55 suspects involved in the illegal trade were also arrested.

2.Launches National Strategic Plan (2017-24) and Mission “SAMPARK”: On World AIDS Day
Source: PIB

Mission “SAMPARK”:

About 11.5 lakh People Living with HIV (PLHIVs) are taking free ART through 536 ART centres in the country. She further mentioned that we still have a big challenge to trace those who are Left to Follow Up and are to be brought under ART services. With this aim, the Mission “SAMPARK” has been launched, the “Community Based Testing” to take HIV testing closer to those in need, will help in fast-tracking the identification of all who are HIV positive and subsequently linking to ART programme,

National Strategic Plan 2017-24:

The National Strategic Plan 2017-24 will pave a roadmap not only for achieving the target of 90:90:90 but also strive along with partners towards fast track strategy of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. “The next seven years are, therefore, critical and investments made now will result in substantive gains towards ‘End of AIDS’,”. One of our major focus area is the prevention of dual infection i.e. Mother to Child transmission of HIV and Mother to Child transmission of Syphilis.

The political commitment of Government for an all-inclusive AIDS response is proved by the fact that the long awaited HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, Act, 2017 has been enacted. “This landmark Act is people- centric, progressive in nature and brings in legal sanction to address the discrimination faced by People Living with HIV at various settings,”

3.BIMSTEC Member States discuss draft text of Coastal Shipping Agreement
Source: PIB

Member States of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) met this week to discuss modalities for promoting coastal shipping in the region. In this first meeting of the Working Group, member countries discussed the draft text of BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement drafted by the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India.

The objective of the above agreement is:

  • To facilitate coastal shipping in the region, thereby giving a boost to trade between the member countries
  • The agreement would apply to coastal shipping, that is shipping within 20 nautical miles of the coastline.
  • The requirements for movement of vessels in this part of the sea are different from standard requirements of deep sea shipping.
  • Coastal ship movements require smaller vessels and lesser draft, and therefore, involve lower costs.
  • Once the agreement is ratified by the member countries and becomes operational, a lot of cargo movement between the member countries can be done through the cost effective, environment friendly and faster coastal shipping route.

4.Resource Efficiency- the key to a sustainable future
Source: PIB

NITI Aayog and EU Delegation to India release the First ever Resource Efficiency (RE) Strategy for India

Using the resources efficiently to produce more while utilizing less has been one of the tested and trusted ways for a sustainable future .  It not only ensures the security of the resources but also minimizes the environment impact. In order to ensure that the two ends meet, NITI Aayog in collaboration with the European Union delegation to India and the Confederation of Indian Industries, CII has released the first ever Strategy on Resource Efficiency for India which also includes an action plan for promoting resource efficiency in India.

Highlights of the RE Strategy:

The Resource Efficiency Strategy includes the core-action plan for the period 2017-2018 and medium term action plan for 2017 – 2020 with the following key elements:

  • Institutional development including setting up an inter-departmental committee and Task force of experts,
  • Capacity development at various levels for strengthening of capacities and sharing of best practices,
  • Development of an indicator monitoring framework for baseline analysis
  • Launch of Short term course on RE under the MHRD GIAN Programme
  • Promotional and regulatory tools in selected sectors (automotive and construction) such as Ecolabeling for Secondary Raw Material (SRM) products, recycling standards, R&D and Technology Development, Sustainable Public Procurement, development of Industrial clusters and waste-exchange platform, information sharing & awareness generation along with development of sectoral action plans.

It is expected that the strategy will pave the way forward in taking the agenda towards resource security and minimizing environment impact by setting up a framework. The strategy implementation would also identify need for setting up a Bureau for Resource Efficiency (BRE) which creates a prominence and enabling platform for this topic like the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in India.

Background:  

Resource efficiency is a strategy to achieve the maximum possible benefit with least possible resource input. Fostering resource efficiency aims at governing and intensifying resource utilisation in a purposeful and effective way. Such judicious resource use brings about multiple benefits along the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.

5.India re-elected as Member of International Maritime Council for two years (2018-19)
Source: PIB

India has been re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organization [IMO] under Category “B” at the 30th session of the Assembly of the IMO.

  • The IMO Council consists of 40 member countries. In Categories “A” and “B” there are 10 members each and in Category “C” 20 members, who are elected by the IMO Assembly.
  • IMO Council plays a crucial role to play in deciding various important matters within the mandate of the IMO, in relation to the global shipping industry, including its work programme strategy and budget.
  • India has been one of the earliest members of the IMO, having ratified its Convention and joined it as a member-state in the year 1959.
  • India has had the privilege of being elected to and serving the Council of the IMO, ever since it started functioning, and till date, except for two years for the period 1983-1984.
  • India is a party to 34 IMO Conventions and protocols and is currently in the advanced stage of ratifying Ballast Water Convention and Bunker Convention.
  • India has already deposited with the ILO, instrument of ratification of the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention (revised), 2003 and Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.

6.Notice issued by SC to Election commission: on Deregistration of Political Party
Source: The Hindu

The Supreme Court agreed to examine whether the Election Commission of India should be empowered to de-register a political party on the ground that a convicted person has either formed it or is a crucial party office-bearer.

The Petition:

The petition says “If a convicted person could be banned from contesting elections, he or she should also be debarred from heading a political party and controlling other elected members of his or her party”. The petition names leaders like Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, who was convicted in the fodder scam.

Background:

  •  On 10 July 2013, the Supreme Court of India, in its judgement of the Lily Thomas Union of India case ruled that any Member of Parliament(MP), Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) or Member of a Legislative Council (MLC) who is convicted of a crime and awarded a minimum of two year imprisonment, loses membership of the House with immediate effect.
  • This is in contrast to the earlier position, wherein convicted members held on to their seats until they exhausted all judicial remedy in lower, state and supreme court of India.
  • Further, Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act, which allowed elected representatives three months to appeal their conviction, was declared unconstitutional.

7.Role of Japan in India and Asia-Pacific
Source: The Hindu

  • Japan and India have announced an Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, aimed at creating sea corridors linking the countries of the Indo-Pacific to Africa.
  • Japan is cooperating with India in third country infrastructure projects such as Iran’s Chabahar Port, Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee port, and the possible joint development of the Dawei port along the Thai-Myanmar border.
  • Japan has bagged the $17 billion contract to build India’s first high speed railway line, linking Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
  • Tokyo is also investing in development projects in the Northeast and the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
  • Japan-India civil nuclear energy deal has been approved by the Japanese Parliament earlier this year.
  • The possibility of purchasing Japanese submarines and search-and-rescue planes to help the Indian Navy is being discussed.

8.FM seeks to ally depositor’s fear, hits at review of Bill: The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill
Source: The Hindu

Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill of 2017 is a proposed new law for resolving financial entities’ bankruptcy

About Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill:

  • It also proposes scrapping the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) that guarantees repayment of all bank deposits up to Rs. 1,00,000 in case a stressed bank is liquidated.
  • Instead of the DICGC, the Bill envisages a Resolution Corporation under the Finance Ministry with representatives from the stock market and banking, insurance and pension fund regulators.
  • Lenders, which have to pay a premium to the DICGC for insuring deposits of up to Rs. 1 lakh, would have to pay a sum to the Resolution Corporation as per the proposed Bill.
  • The Corporation shall, in consultation with the appropriate regulator, specify the total amount payable by the Corporation with respect to any one depositor, as to his deposit insured under this Act, in the same capacity and in the same right
  • The Corporation will be given a year’s time to resolve problems facing firms in trouble.

9.‘Way to remove poll commissioners vague’
Source: The Hindu

The issue is about the vagueness in the procedure for of removal Election Commissioners as the Constitution only provides safeguard to CEC from the arbitrary removal.

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Attorney-General’s assistance on a PIL petition pointing out the vagueness in the procedure for removal of Election Commissioners, saying it affects the Election Commission’s autonomy.

The Petition:

  • The petition filed by Supreme Court advocate argued that though the proviso to Article 324 (5) of the Constitution safeguards the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) from arbitrary removal, the same provision is silent about the procedure for removal of the two Election Commissioners.
  • It only provides that they cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC.
  • The petition said the ambiguity about the removal procedure of the Election Commissioners may affect the functional independence of the Commission.
  • It contended that the rationale behind not affording similar protection to Election Commissioners is not explicable.
  • The element of independence sought to be achieved under the Constitution is not exclusively for an individual alone but for the institution.
  • The petition, in short, has asked the Supreme Court to provide Election Commissioners with the same protection against arbitrary removal as the Chief Election Commissioner.

Same powers:

The CEC and the Election Commissioners enjoy the same decision-making powers which are suggestive of the fact that their powers are at par with each other. However, Article 324(5) does not provide similar protection to the Election Commissioners and it merely says that they cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC.

Tenure:

The CEC and the Election Commissioners have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65, whichever is earlier. Also, they enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Supreme Court judges.

10.Goa ranks top, Bihar at bottom of Gender Vulnerability Index
Source: Indian Express

Gender Vulnerability Index (GVI) released by Child development NGO Plan India.

The composite index has been developed within research for the NGO’s Plan for Every Child campaign which is aimed at comprehensively understanding the dimensions of various problems affecting children, particularly girls, in difficult circumstances.

The multidimensional index, which provides a state wise ranking, has been calculated by analysing four issues pertinent to the situation of girls — child safety/protection, poverty, health and education. Analysing more than 170 indicators, the index has been developed to serve as measurable evidence with the aim of assisting and influencing policy makers.

In the ranking, Goa topped and followed by Kerala, Mizoram and Sikkim. Bihar ranked the lowest at 30, with Delhi faring only slightly better at 29 and Uttar Pradesh at 28. The highest ranking north Indian state is Himachal Pradesh at the sixth position.

11.Third wheel
Source: Indian Express

Free trade agreement between Maldives (SAARC nation) and China is a warning to India

  • The agreement covers both goods and services in several sectors, from legal, accounting and insurance, to health, telecommunications, education, off-shore oil exploration, and geological prospecting; in goods, the main export from the Maldives would be tuna fish.
  • The present political leadership of the Maldives seems to believe that an FTA with China is in its national interest. India clearly needs fresh ideas and must do more legwork in its neighbourhood.

Maldives is the only South Asian country that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not visited yet

 

 

 



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