10, May 2017

Indian Navy ships; INS Karwar and Kakinada decommissioned

Source: Indian Express

  • INS Karwar (M67), was the first of the ‘Natya’ class minesweepers acquired from the erstwhile USSR. She was commissioned on 14 July 1986 at Riga (Russia) under the command of commander R K Sinha. The ship operated from Vishakhapatnam till 2013 after which, the ship was based at Mumbai. Manned by a crew of six officers and 90 sailors, INS Karwar had her motto ‘Hamesha Tayyar’.
  • INS Kakinada (M70), was the second of the same class and also commissioned at Riga on 23 December 1986. Like her sister ship, Kakinada also operated from Vishakhapatnam till 2013 before shifting base port to Mumbai.
  • Both ships have rendered over 30 years of stellar service to the nation. The ships have undertaken countless mine-sweeping missions using both, the older mechanical sweeps as well as the modern Side-scan SONARS, stated an official release from the Indian Navy.
  • With the decommissioning of the two minesweepers, the Navy is now left with a fleet of four Soviet-origin minesweeping ships will also be decommissioned by the end of 2018.

1.India to invest Rs 10,000 crore in Deep Sea Mission

Source: Indian Express

Ministry of Earth Sciences secretary: The mission intended to harness the ocean’s resources in a ‘responsible way’ and could turn out to be a transformative step.

Ministry of Earth Sciences secretary said that the Rs 10,000-crore project was an interministerial and interdisciplinarity project. It is expected to begin from end of the year year.

Key facts:

  • The mission intended to harness the ocean’s resources in a ‘responsible way’ and could turn out to be a transformative step for the prosperity and security of the nation.
  • The project would have a huge impact for the benefit of the country’s deep ocean energy, deep sea fishing and minerals among others.
  • The sea water desalination project of Rs 2,000 crore at Chennai coast is also taken up under the mission that aims to eliminate potable water problem for the city. The Exclusive Economic Zone allotted to India in the international waters will be covered under the Deep Ocean Mission.
  • The oceans that surround the Indian peninsula have over 1,300 islands. They give us seven and a half thousand kilometres of coastline and 2.4 million square km of Exclusive Economic Zone. They contain enormous opportunities in energy, food, medicine and a host of other natural resources. China is also working on deep sea mission for mining mineral deposits in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Exclusive Economic Zone:

  • An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a concept adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1982), whereby a coastal State assumes jurisdiction over the exploration and exploitation of marine resources in its adjacent section of the continental shelf, taken to be a band extending 200 miles from the shore.
  • The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) comprises an area which extends either from the coast, or in federal systems from the seaward boundaries of the constituent states (3 to 12 nautical miles, in most cases) to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) off the coast. Within this area, nations claim and exercise sovereign rights and exclusive fishery management authority over all fish and all Continental Shelf fishery resources.
  • The exclusive economic zone is the zone where the U.S. and other coastal nations have jurisdiction over natural resources

2.International Court of Justice stays Kulbhushan Jadhav hanging

Source: Indian Express

ACTING on an Indian petition, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague has written to the Pakistan government to, effectively, put on hold the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the retired Indian Navy officer who was convicted of espionage charges by a Pakistan military court.

  • ICJ President Ronny Abraham wrote to the Pakistan government: “In my capacity as President of the court, and exercising the powers conferred upon me under Article 74, paragraph 4 of the Rules of Court, I call upon your excellency’s government, pending the court’s decision on the request for the indication of provisional measures, to act in such a way as will enable any order the Court may make on this request to have its appropriate effects.


  • In its petition, India had listed out the details of the Jadhav case and the “egregious violations” of the Geneva convention that deals with Consular relations, including Pakistan’s refusal to give any details of Mr. Jadhav’s arrest and trial until after the death sentence was passed, failure to provide consular access to India despite 15 attempts, and suggesting access would be given only in exchange for information about Mr. Jadhav from India.

Statement by ICJ:

According to the statement released by the ICJ, India has sought “relief by way of immediate suspension of the sentence of death awarded to the accused”, “relief by way of restitution in interregnum by declaring that the sentence of the military court arrived at, (is) in brazen defiance of the Vienna Convention rights under Article 36a nd in defiance of elementary human rights of an accused which are also to be given effect as mandated under Article 14 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

India Approach ICJ:

India approaching the ICJ is a tactical shift since it refrained from doing so on the Saurabh Kalia case saying that the ICJ had no jurisdiction over disputes between India and Pakistan.

  • India had approached ICJ and asked it to intervene. It had accused Islamabad of violating the Vienna Convention on consular relations and not giving Jadhav his right to defend himself.
  • This came exactly a month after Jadhav, 46, was sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan for “espionage and subversive activities”, triggering a sharp reaction from India which said that if he was executed, it would be “premeditated murder”.
  • The application states that Jadhav “will be subjected to execution unless the Court indicates provisional measures directing the Government of Pakistan to take all measures necessary to ensure that he is not executed until the Court’s decision on the merits” of the case. India points out that Jadhav’s execution “would cause irreparable prejudice to the rights claimed by India”,” the ICJ said.
  • India further indicates, the ICJ said, that the protection of its rights is a matter of urgency as “without the provisional measures requested, Pakistan will execute Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav before the Court can consider the merits of India’s claims and India will forever be deprived of the opportunity to vindicate its rights.

What you need to know about ICJ?

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
  • The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
  • Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).
  • The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
  • The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ. Its official languages are English and French.
  • Its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned.

As stated in the UN Charter, all 193 UN members are automatically parties to the Court’s statute. Non-UN members may also become parties to the Court’s statute. Once a state is a party to the Court’s statute, it is entitled to participate in cases before the Court. However, being a party to the statute does not automatically give the Court jurisdiction over disputes involving those parties.

3.29th India- Indonesia Co-Ordinated Patrol (Corpat) Commences

Source: PIB

The 29th series of India–Indonesia CORPAT has begun at Port Blair under the aegis of Andaman and Nicobar Command.


  • The Indonesian Navy and the Indian Navy have been participating in coordinated patrol (CORPAT) twice a year since 2002 to keep this vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.
  • Apart from securing the trade sea route, the coordinated patrol also serves to enhance mutual understanding and inter-operability between the two navies. The CORPAT thus reflects the shared concern between the two countries for a peaceful Indian ocean for the benefit of international community.

4.Measurement of Liveability Index

Source: PIB

Ministry of Urban Development is planning to launch measuring of Liveability Index of cities based on indigenously evolved Index. The Ministry has already invited bids for selecting the agency for carrying out the assessment based on the parameters evolved by the Ministry.

To start with, Liveability Standards of 140 cities including 53 cities with population of one million and above and Smart Cities will be assessed.

Key facts:

  • The Ministry of Urban Development has come out with a detailed document on “Methodology for Collection and Computation of Liveability Standards in Cities” for the benefit of States and Cities.
  • Cities will be assessed on 15 core parameters relating to Governance, social infrastructure pertaining to education, health and safety and security, economic aspects and physical infrastructure like housing, open spaces, land use, energy and water availability, solid waste management, pollution etc.
  • Cities will be ranked based on Liveability Index that would cover a total of 79 aspects.
  • This promotes a sense of healthy competition among cities and towns in the country to focus their attention on improving governance and infrastructure availability.

5.Project “LOcal Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse- LOTUS- Ministry of Science & Technology

Source: PIB

Work Starts on Cleaning the Barapullah Drain under the Project “LOcal Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse.

The on-site laboratory and pilot plant and the start of the cleaning and beautification of the Barapullah Drain with unveiling of an art work. The art work represents Indo – Dutch collaboration for the LOTUS HR project in form of two flowers – ‘lotus’ and ‘tulip’, depicting the union of Indian and Dutch strengths.

Key facts:

  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and NWO, the Netherlands Science Agency announced a joint call for proposals for cleaning the Barapullah drain. DBT in consultation with DDA has identified the Barapullah drain, Sarai Kale Khan, in the state of Delhi for setting up on-site experimental testing lab and for the establishment of a pilot plant. DDA has leased to DBT, a land measuring 200 Sq meters for a period of 5years adjacent to the Sun Dial Park for this purpose.
  • The project LOcal Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS HR) is an Indo-Netherlands joint project funded by Department of Biotechnology(DBT), Govt of india and NWO/STW, The Govt of Netherlands.

Project Stakeholders:

  • The project has stakeholders from both Academia and Industry from India and Netherlands. It is coordinated by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi with participation of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi and National Environment Research Institute, Nagpur from India while Technical University Delft is coordinating it from The Netherlands, with participation of Environmental Engineering and Water Technology Department, UNESCO, Wageningen University and its Aquatic Ecology Department. There is also commitment from industry, especially from The Netherlands, in terms of both cash and kind towards the project.

Significance of this move:

  • The project aims to demonstrate a novel holistic (waste-) water management approach, that will produce clean water that can be reused for various proposes (e.g. industry, agriculture, construction etc.), while simultaneously recovering nutrients and energy from the urban waste water, thus converting drain into profitable mines. Special attention will be paid to pathogen removal and removing conventional and emerging pollutants.
  • The project will develop an innovative pilot scale plant, suitable to cope with Indian conditions in a location specific manner. The final design of the pilot plant will be scalable and modular, to fit into the highly populated urban terrain.

6.How do you arrest a judge?

Source: The Hindu

The Supreme Court on May 9, 2017 sentenced Justice C.S. Karnan of the Calcutta High Court to six months in jail for contempt.

The order has triggered questions such as why it could not have waited for his imminent retirement, due in a month (June 12, 2017) so that the country is spared the unseemly event of a High Court judge being arrested while in office.

Can a judge be arrested while in office?

  • Any judicial officer can be arrested as “no person whatever his rank, or designation may be, is, above law”, the Supreme Court says in its order in a 1991 case of the Delhi Judicial Service vs State Of Gujarat and others.
  • But the court also spells out guidelines “in view of the paramount necessity of preserving the independence of judiciary and at the same time ensuring that infractions of law are properly investigated”.

What are the guidelines for a serving judge’s arrest?

  • The guidelines include intimation to the district judge or the High Court as the case may be;
  • A technical or formal arrest if situations warrant immediate arrest of a judicial officer of the subordinate judiciary;
  • Immediate communication of the arrest to the district and sessions judge of the district concerned and the Chief Justice of the High Court;
  • Not taking the arrested to a police station without prior order; and
  • No registration of the judicial officer’s statement nor any medical test except in the presence of a legal adviser or another judicial officer of equal or higher rank.
  • Besides, the officer should not be handcuffed except in the event of resistance to arrest. However the onus on physical arrest or handcuffing is on the police official making the arrest.

Can Justice Karnan resist his arrest by his powers as High Court judge?

Unlikely, as the Supreme Court has restrained him from performing any judicial duty. With his orders shorn of authority, the judge can be arrested if police choose to.

Can Justice Karnan be removed from his post?

No, A High Court judge is appointed by the President of India. Such an appointment can only be undone by an impeachment process in Parliament.

7.Tax processed foods: FSSAI panel

Source: The Hindu

An expert panel set up by food regulator FSSAI recently submitted its report to the government.

The FSSAI had constituted the panel consisting of experts from different fields like medicine, nutrition and dietetics from well-known medical research and academic institutions.

  • The report by the 11-member panel on ‘Consumption of Fat, Sugar and Salt (FSS) and its health effects on Indian population’ suggests ways to cut consumption of unhealthy food products and reduce rising burden of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes.
  • This report will serve as a guideline document for all the stakeholders, including the industry, the FSSAI and consumers, in reducing consumption of fat, sugar and salt through processed food products.

Important recommendations made by the committee:

  • Additional tax on highly processed commodities and sugar sweetened beverages.
  • Imposing additional tax on the purchase of commodities such as pre-packaged foods with high salt and fat content, sugar sweetened beverages, etc can be a pragmatic approach to reduce their intake.
  • Imposition of excise tax on unhealthy eating products would lead to positive health effects among population.
  • The nutrition-related programmes of the government can be supported through profit from taxing unhealthy food products.
  • Advertisement ban for foods high in FSS during children TV shows or kids TV channels is urged. In fact, the country should progress towards a total ban law as being done in a few other countries like Chile.
  • Celebrity endorsements of such foods need to be discouraged, adding that online social media websites should also comply with advertising ban for unhealthy foods.
  • Reliable monitoring systems should be there to examine FSS intake periodically at the national level. The industry should be encouraged for “voluntary reformulation” of food products to cut down FSS intake in packaged food items.
  • Like total calories, amount of carbohydrates, sugar, fat, protein, sodium, dietary fibre, amount of trans-fat added in food should be mandatory for labelling in food products.
  • On nutrient-specific recommendations, the panel said fats should be largely consumed in the unsaturated form. The consumption of unsaturated fatty acids, especially the long chain mono- and poly unsaturated-fatty acids, should be encouraged in everyday diets.

Taxation is not within the remit of FSSAI,” Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, “but several of these recommendations are being put in place.”

The FSSAI is yet to enforce a long standing order that requires food companies to ensure no more than 5% of the daily calorie requirement of their products derives from fats.

Significance of the move:

  • In India, the rising burden of mortality and morbidity due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancers is alarming. In the next 25 years, the burden of chronic diseases will tend to increase continuously as a ramification of the rapidly transitioning food intakes, changing dietary patterns and other lifestyle factors.
  • A salient finding was that Low Income Groups (LIG) reportedly consumed more fried snacks and sweets than High Income Groups (HIG) and, the highest consumption of bakery items was in slums, said a study on urban populations.

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