10, March 2017

1.INS Tillanchang commissioned at Karwar
Source: PIB

INS Tillanchang, a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC) was commissioned into the Indian Navy at Karwar.

INS Tillanchang is the third ship of four follow-on WJFAC built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Kolkata.

The first two ships of the class, IN ships Tarmugli and Tihayu were commissioned in 2016 and are based at Visakhapatnam.

About INS Tillanchang:

  • The ship has been indigenously designed and built and is an upgrade from the Chetlat class of Fast Attack Craft that the Indian Navy possesses.
  • It is about 50 m long and powered by three waterjet propulsion system, which give it speeds of over 35 knots.
  • It is armed with a 30 mm main gun and a number of light, medium and heavy machine guns to undertake operations at sea.
  • It will be used for missions like Coastal and Off-shore Surveillance, Law Enforcement, EEZ Control as well as non-military missions such as Search and Rescue, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
  • INS Tillanchang will be based at Karwar under the operational control of the Flag Officer Commanding, Karnataka Naval Area. It is manned by 50 personnel.

—-

2.India-Belgium Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and Protocol
Source: PIB

India and Belgium have signed a Protocol amending the existing Agreement and Protocol between the two countries for Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income

  • The Protocol will broaden the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information.
  • This in turn will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries and will also enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes.
  • Fighting the menace of Black Money stashed in offshore accounts has been a key priority area for the Government.

To further this goal, India has either signed or amended international agreements, declarations or conventions for the Avoidance of Double Taxation & Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and for the Exchange of Information with Switzerland, Mauritius, Cyprus, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan, Singapore and Austria during the financial year 2016-17.

3.Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016
Source: PIB

The Bill seeks to amend the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 to provide for the following: –

  • Maternity leave available to the working women to be increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children.
  • Maternity leave for children beyond the first two will continue to be 12 weeks.
  • Maternity leave of 12 weeks to be available to mothers adopting a child below the age of three months as well as to the “commissioning mothers”. The commissioning mother has been defined as biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo planted in any other woman.
  • Every establishment with more than 50 employees to provide for crèche facilities for working mothers and such mothers will be permitted to make four visits during working hours to look after and feed the child in the crèche.
  • The employer may permit a woman to work from home if it is possible to do so.
  • Every establishment will be required to make these benefits available to the women from the time of her appointment.

—-

4.IORA Leaders Summit held in Jakarta
Source: The Hindu

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Leaders’ Summit was recently held in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia from March 5 to 7, 2017.

The theme of the summit was ‘Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean’. It was attended by leaders from 21 member states of IORA. From India, Vice President Hamid Ansari attended the two-day summit.

  • It drew attention on issues of regional interest such as maritime security, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, fisheries management, people-to-people exchanges, trade and investment and tourism.
  • 21 member states issued a strategic vision document known as the Jakarta Concord. It sets out a vision strengthening the regional architecture to face its challenges.
  • It also issued Joint Declaration of the IORA business Community to build partnership for a sustainable and equitable economic growth.
  • It also adopted IORA Action Plan, a document containing the implementation actions of the Jakarta Concord to strengthen the implementation of priority areas and cross-sectorial commitments.
  • The Declaration on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was also adopted, stating importance of countering terrorism.
  • The member nations stressed on the need to work together in order to eliminate the growth and spread of terrorism and violent extremism.

About IORA:                                                                                                                                                index

  • IORA is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean, established in 1997 to promote IORA cooperation in the IOR.
  • IORA comprises 21 member states (Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalai, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE and Yemen.) and 7 dialogue partners.
  • Observer status: Indian Ocean Research Group and the Indian Ocean Tourism Organisation
  • It is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Academia and Business for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them.
  • It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.

—-

5.India launches Stage II of HCFC Phase Out Management Plan
Source: The Hindu

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched Stage II of HCFCs Phase Out Management Plan (HPMP) for the 2017-23 period.

It aims to phase out use of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), harmful ozone-depleting substances (ODS) by switching over to non-ozone depleting and low global warming potential technologies.

Steps taken:

  • India has secured $44.1 million from Multilateral Fund for implementation of Montreal Protocol for phasing out 8,190 MT of HCFC consumption between 2017 to 2023 to meet targets under the protocol for 2020.
  • More than 400 enterprises, including MSMEs in foam manufacturing sector and 6 large air-conditioning manufacturing enterprises will be supported for conversion to non-HCFC technologies from HCFCs.
  • Energy efficiency, development building codes, cold chain development with non-HCFC alternatives and development of standards for new non-ODS and low GWP alternatives will be promoted.
  • Adequate attention to synergize the Refrigeration and Servicing (RAC) servicing sector trainings will be given with the Skill India Mission, in order to multiply the impact of skilling and training.
  • Nearly, 16, 000 service technicians will be trained under HPMP-II. It will result in net direct CO2-equivalent emission reductions of about 8.5 million metric tonne annually from 2023.

Montreal Protocol:

  • It seeks to cut the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances (ODS) in order to protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer. It also aims at phase out HCFCs by 2030.
  • It came into force in 1989 and has been ratified by 197 parties making it universally ratified protocol in UN history.
  • It is also highly successful international arrangement, as it has phased-out more than 95% of the ODS so far as per its main mandate in less than 30 years of its existence.

At present, HCFCs are used in various sectors like refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC), polyurethane foam manufacturing and cold chains sectors etc. These sectors are directly related to urban development, agriculture through cold chain, and industrial development.

India is undertaking phase-out of HCFCs through the implementation of HPMP. The Stage-I of HPMP has been already implemented in the country and has successfully met all the ODS phase-out targets, including those of HPMP Stage-I.

—-

6.Remove the words ‘as far as possible’ from HIV Bill: patients
Source: The Hindu

Members of the People Living with HIV group protested demanding the deletion of the term ‘as far as possible’ from the HIV/AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill.

Background:

The crucial public health legislation, aimed to guarantee rights to India’s 2.4 million strong HIV community, was approved by the Cabinet in October.

However, it was immediately rejected by the HIV networks, as the phrase ‘as far as possible’ left it entirely open to interpretation.

Since 2006, when the Bill was drafted, India’s People Living with HIV (PLHIV) community has been demanding right to complete treatment.

The current bill protects the community from bias. But the bone of contention is Section 14 (1) which asks State governments to provide Anti Retroviral Treatment (ART) and diagnostics services for Opportunistic Infections like tuberculosis for free, as far as possible.

Criticism:

The government’s constant refusal to delete the phrase ‘as far as possible’ from the chapter of treatment shows their lack of commitment towards the lives of HIV positive people.This Bill without free and complete treatment is merely a piece of paper.

—-

7.New canyon system found near Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh
Source: The Hindu

Scientists for the first time have discovered three new canyons close to Kovvada in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.

This discovery was made by team of scientists from CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Visakhapatnam. These three canyons together form a major canyon system in the depths of the Bay of Bengal.

  • This discovery was made by clearly mapping the ocean floor between Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam by sending over 32 high density beams to the depths of the sea.
  • Canyon systems are generally formed by the flow of river water into the sea and they could be as old as the river system, which is close to 23 million years.
  • The new canyon system was probably formed by river Kandivalasa.
  • It is very huge and its depth varies from about 90 metres at the starting point to about 2,500 metres at the deepest point. It extends to about 50 to 70 km deep into the sea.
  • The last canyon systems off the Visakhapatnam coast were discovered in 1963 by American geologist E.C. LaFond of the US Navy Electronics Laboratory. The data was collected on board research ship Anton Bruun.
  • Most of the canyons in the ocean system across the world act as channels for depositing sediments from the river in the shelf region. There are more chances of finding hydro-carbons if the deposits are more.

8.Konkani Writer Mahabaleshwar Sail selected for Saraswati Samman 2016
Source: PIB

Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail (74) was selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2016 for his novel Hawthan. His novel was shortlisted out of 22 books written in as many languages. He will receive cash prize of Rs 15 lakh and a citation.

About Saraswati Samman :

  • Saraswati Samman is an annual award bestowed upon Indian citizen for his outstanding literary work written in any Indian language mentioned in Schedule VIII of Constitution and published during last 10 years.
  • The award has been named after an Indian goddess of learning and is considered to be among the highest literary awards in India.
  • It was established in 1991 by the K. K. Birla Foundation. It carries cash prize of 15 lakh rupees, a citation and a plaque of goddess Saraswati.
  • Eminent Hindi author Harivansh Rai Bachchan was the first recipient of this award for his autobiography in four volumes.

—-

9.Punjab Agricultural University develops genetically-modified cotton varieties
Source: The Hindu

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana has claimed developing country’s first genetically-modified (GM) varieties of cotton – PAU Bt 1 and F1861.

Cotton is the only GM crop allowed to be cultivated in India. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) also has identified three Bt cotton varieties –F1861, PAU Bt 1 and RS2013 for cultivation in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

  • The genetic modification of cotton involves introduction of the Bt bacterial gene that codes for a protein which kills the bollworm cotton pest.
  • All three varieties carry the Cry1Ac gene obtained from Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) bacteria. It imparts resistance against bollworm cotton pest.
  • Besides, seeds of these three genetically-modified varieties can be reused by farmers with no commercial restrictions. It will aid in savings on repeat seed purchases every season.
  • The PAU Bt 1 variety was completely developed at PAU, whereas the F1861 and RS2013 were converted to Bt version by Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur.

—-

10.Centre issues draft rules on e-wallet payments
Source: The Hindu

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has issued draft Information Technology (Security of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Rules 2017 for Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) company or e wallet firms.

The draft rules seek to ensure integrity, security and confidentiality of electronic payments made through PPIs. It covers an entire spectrum for protecting consumer information, especially financial data.

  • Definition of e-PPI issuer: Person operating a payment system issuing prepaid payment instruments to individuals or organisations under the aegis of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Information security policy: Mandatory for e-PPI issuers to develop an information security policy that ensures that the systems operated by them are secure.
  • Privacy policy and terms: Mandatory for e-PPIs to publish on their websites and mobile applications both their ‘privacy policy’ and terms for use of their payment systems.
  • Risk assessment: Mandatory for e-PPI to carry out risk assessment to spot security risks and also ensure adequate due diligence is done before issuing PPIs.
  • Chief grievance officer: e-PPIs should appoint a chief grievance officer with his contact details prominently displayed on website. The officer must act upon any complaint within 36 hours and close it in a month’s time.
  • End-to-end encryption e-PPIs shall ensure that end-to-end encryption is applied to safeguard the data exchanged. It shall retain data relating to electronic payments only till necessary.
  • CERT-In’s responsibility: CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) shall notify the categories of incidents and breaches that are required to be reported to it mandatorily.

—-



Leave a Reply