10, December 2016

1.SC says it will continue to hear Cauvery case

Source :The Hindu

Rejecting the Centre’s stand that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to hear the Cauvery river dispute, the Supreme Court  upheld its constitutional power to hear the appeals filed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala against the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal final award in 2007.

the interim order to Karnataka to release 2000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu would continue till further orders.

Issue:

The Centre had argued that the parliamentary law of Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956 coupled with Article 262 (2) of the Indian Constitution excluded the Supreme Court from hearing or deciding any appeals against the Cauvery Tribunal’s decision. It had claimed the tribunal award was final.

Supreme court view :

“A person aggrieved can always have his remedy invoking the jurisdiction under Article 136 (appeal to the Supreme Court) of the Constitution of India. We have no scintilla of doubt in our mind that the founding fathers did not want the award or the final order passed by the tribunal to remain immune from challenge”.

“The jurisdiction exercised by this court under Article 136 is an extraordinary jurisdiction which empowers this court to grant leave to appeal from any judgment, decree or determination in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal and the scope of this Article has been settled in numerous decisions”.

Bench View :

The Bench said it was settled law that the Supreme Court could not take cognisance of an original inter-State water dispute, and this alone was the original intent of the Constitution under Article 262. Again, that once a water dispute, as defined under Article 262(1) read with provisions of the 1956 Act, is adjudicated by the tribunal, it loses the nature of ‘original dispute’.

Quoting Section 6 (2) of the 1956 Act, the Centre had said it was left to the government to frame a scheme for implementation of the tribunal award, and the scheme, once prepared, would be placed before both Houses of the Parliament for approval.


2.World’s second biggest sitting statue- Tribute to Ramanujacharya at the start of 1000th birth anniversary celebrations

Source: The Hindu

A complex with 108 temples and a towering 216-feet-high sitting statue of 10th century Bhakti saint Ramanuja is taking shape on the outskirts in Muchintal village of  Hyderabad.

Called the “Statue of Equality” as a tribute to Ramanujacharya’s philosophy and teachings, the gigantic structure will mark the beginning of the 1000th birth anniversary celebrations of the religious guru, planned by Chinna Jeeyar Swamy and his religious trust.

The first tallest being The Great Buddha in Thailand at 302ft.

3.India reports fishery subsidies; aims to protect ‘poor’ fisherfolk

Source :The Hindu

‘Friends of Fish’is seeking a ban on subsidies for IUU fishing

India has notified the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the subsidies it pays fisherfolk amid demands from a U.S.-led group of nations for a ban on subsidies given for illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

The move comes even as India has expressed concern over committing to norms at the multilateral level that will impact the livelihood of its subsistence fisherfolk.

‘Unsustainable’ fishing:

The U.S.-led group, ‘Friends of Fish’, is seeking a ban on subsidies given for IUU fishing, citing the rising global demand for fish and the consequent increase in ‘unsustainable’ fishing.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s ‘State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture,’ almost a third of commercial fish stocks are now fished at biologically unsustainable levels, triple the level of 1974.

Issue raised by India and other developing nations  :

India, among others, has expressed apprehensions that the demand for a ban on subsidies for IUU fishing could lead to prohibition even on fishing that could be termed non-IUU.

This could, in turn, harm the interests of lakhs of subsistence fisherfolk in poor and developing nation.This is because currently there is no unanimity among WTO members on what constitutes IUU fishing.

How will it affect INDIA  ?

India will be one of the countries that will be impacted by such a ban as, out of its Rs.284 crore worth fishery scheme subsidies in 2014-15, about Rs.172 crore is on account of reimbursement of central excise duty on High Speed Diesel (HSD), exemption of sales tax on HSD oil for mechanised boats, Value Added Tax rebate on HSD oil and subsidies to purchase fuel (kerosene/petrol for Out Board Motors – OBM).

The subsidies were also for purchase of inboard machine/OBM for non-mechanised boats, for providing insurance cover to fishermen for accident due to cyclone/mishap/calamities, for purchasing nets, accessories, life-saving jackets and advance technique equipment.

It was also applicable to the supply of deep freezers and ice boxes, for building port infrastructure, for purchasing safety and communication equipment, and for repairing and renovating fishing boats.

The subsidies were provided to fishermen who were either homeless or poor boat owners, those with registered craft and members of fishermen cooperative societies.


4.Organic farming on the Banks of Ganga River

Source:PIB

A MOU has been signed between Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation  and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfares to promote organic clusters on the banks of Ganga in 5 Ganga basin States namely Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.  It is proposed to cover 136 gram panchayats/villages under the programme.

  1. The Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) programme components will be converged with Namami Ganga programme to implement the organic cluster in these Ganga basin States.  
  2. A financial assistance of 14.95 lakhs for 3 years shall provided per cluster towards organic farming practices and Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) of Certification.  

The components for which funding is made available is detailed is given below:

  • Mobilization, PGS certification and training of farmers
  • Quality control:  soil sample analysis, process documentation, inspection of fields of cluster members, residue analysis, PGS certification charges
  • Conversion practices: transition from current practices to organic farming, which includes procurement of organic inputs, organic seeds and traditional organic input production units and biological nitrogen harvest planting etc.
  • Integrated manure management: procurement of Liquid Bio fertilizer consortia/Bio pesticides, Neem cake, Phosphate Rich Organic Manure and Vermicompost.
  • Custom hiring: to hire agricultural implements as per Sub Mission of Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) guidelines.
  • Labeling and Packaging Assistance.
  • Transport assistance and marketing through organic fairs.


5.Measures To Prevent Railway Accidents

Source: PIB

            The measures announced to prevent accidents and ensure safety in the  last two Railway Budgets were, Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) on High Density Network, elimination of unmanned level crossings in a phased manner and review the recommendations of High-Level Safety Review Committee headed by Dr. Kakodkar.

           Following steps have been taken to avoid collisions due to Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) or over speeding and ensure safety:

           Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) is a radio communication based system with continuous update of movement authority. This system is aimed at providing capability of preventing train accidents caused due to Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) or non observance of speed restrictions by train drivers.  Signal aspect is also displayed on DMI (Driver Machine Interface) screen inside the Locomotive in train system.

           Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) is a proven Automatic Train Protection System to avoid train accidents on account of human error of Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) or over-speeding.

           Elimination of Unmanned Level Crossings through various means –

  1. closing unmanned crossings having NIL/negligible Train Vehicle Units (TVUs)
  2. merger of unmanned level crossing with nearby unmanned/manned gates or Road Under Bridge or Road Over Bridge or Subway by construction of diversion road
  3. provision of Subways/Road Under Bridges. The Unmanned Level Crossings which cannot be eliminated by the above means will be progressively manned based on the volume of rail road traffic (TVU) and visibility conditions.


6.Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to Launch 1000 MW Rooftop Solar PV Scheme for Government Sector

Source: PIB

As a step towards fulfilment of the Government of India’s target for installation of 40 GW rooftop solar power plants by the year 2022, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) is launching today a tender of 1000 MW capacity for development of grid-connected rooftop solar capacity for Central Government Ministries/Departments. This would be the largest rooftop tender to be launched by SECI, and is expected to give a big boost to the hugely potent rooftop solar power generation segment.

The highlight of this tender is its innovative ‘Achievement-Linked Incentives scheme’ wherein the incentives in terms of capital subsidy shall be provided on the basis of performance achieved by designated Ministries/departments against their committed targets in the given timespan.

SECI is carrying out a potential assessment which shall be provided to the solar PV developers (SPD).The SPDs will be selected state-wise through national competitive bidding process and provision of one Rate / state shall be kept in the scheme. The 1000MW capacity will be distributed between CAPEX and RESCO modes of implementation in the ratio 30/70.

In this scheme, SECI in consultation with MNRE, is also introducing a Payment Security Mechanism which is apparently a first in the history of the rooftop programme, with the assurance of all rightful payments to the SPDs under RESCO model. SECI has also tied up with Financial institutes (FIs) Banks such as IREDA and SBI for disbursement of loans with Special Discount Packages to be offered by these institutions to the developers.

7.The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan

Source : PIB

The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan has been launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India to provide fixed-day, assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care universally to all pregnant women on the 9th of every month.

As part of the campaign, a package of antenatal care services are to be provided to pregnant women in their 2nd / 3rd trimesters, by OBGY specialists/ Radiologist/ Physicians at government health facilities, with support from private sector doctors to supplement the efforts of the government.

One of the critical components of the Abhiyan is identification and follow-up of high risk pregnancies. These services will be provided in addition to the routine ANC at the health facility/ outreach at identified public health facilities in both urban and rural areas.

OBGY specialists / Radiologist/ Physicians working in the private sector are encouraged to volunteer for the campaign and various mechanisms have been developed to facilitate participation of private doctors.

8.Public Finance Management System (PFMS) for the monitoring of the Central Government Schemes

Source: PIB

The Government has approved the rollout of the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) for the monitoring of the Central Government Schemes. To implement Just-In-Time release of funds and monitor the end usage of funds, it has been decided to universalize the use of PFMS to cover all transaction/payments under the Central Sector Schemes. Necessary instructions for implementation have been conveyed to administrative Ministries/ Departments.

The system has been developed after holding extensive consultation with State Governments and pilot studies of system for schemes such as SSA, NRHM, MGNREGS and PMGSY etc. in some States.

The scheme has twin objectives of

  • Just-In-Time release of funds
  • Complete monitoring of usage of funds upto the end beneficiaries including information on end use of funds.

After implementation of the scheme, monitoring of utilization of funds under various schemes will improve significantly.



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