21, November 2017

India Signs Loan Agreement with World Bank for USD 100 Million for “Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project”

  • A Guarantee Agreement for IBRD/CTF loan of USD 98 million and Grant Agreement for USD 2 million for the “Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project” was signed with the World Bank.
  • The objective of the project is to increase solar generation capacity through establishment of large-scale parks in the country.
  • The project will help establish large-scale solar parks and support the government’s plan to install 100 Gigawatts (GW) of solar power out of a total renewable-energy target of 175 GW by 2022.

1.Aadhaar Data is Never Breached or Leaked: UIDAI

Source: PIB

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) appeared in certain section of media on “210 Government sites made Aadhaar info public” as if Aadhaar data is leaked or breached, has said that such report is a skewed presentation of the facts and poses as if the Aadhaar data is breached or leaked which is not the true presentation.

  • UIDAI said in a statement here that the Aadhaar data is fully safe and secure and there has been no data leak or breach at UIDAI.

Significance of this move:

  • UIDAI said that this said data on these websites was placed in public domain as a measure of proactive disclosure under RTI Act by these government and institutional websites which included beneficiaries’ name, address, bank account, and other details including Aadhaar number and was collected from the third party/users for various welfare schemes.
  • It was this collected info which had been displayed in the public domain under RTI Act.
  • There was no breach or leakage of Aadhaar data from UIDAI database or server as has been aired by the said report.
  • UIDAI reiterated that Aadhaar security systems are best of the international standards and Aadhaar data is fully secure. There has been no breach or leakage of Aadhaar data at UIDAI. Also, the Aadhaar numbers which were made public on the said websites do not pose any real threat to the people as biometric information is never shared and is fully secure with highest encryption at UIDAI and mere display of demographic information cannot be misused without biometrics.

Key facts:

  • UIDAI clarified that Aadhaar number is not a secret number.
  • It is to be shared with authorized agencies when an Aadhaarholder wishes to avail a certain service or benefit of government welfare scheme/s or other services. But that does not mean that the proper use of Aadhaar number poses a security or financial threat.
  • Also, mere availability of Aadhaar number will not be a security threat or will not lead to financial/other fraud, as for a successful authentication fingerprint or iris of individual is also required. Further all authentications happen in presence of personnel of respective service provider which further add to the security of the system.
  • Furthermore, UIDAI security system has people’s participatory security system like Biometric Lock facility available at UIDAI portal which any Aadhaarholder can use to put his/her own lock on one’s biometric by UIDAI

2.Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli & Daman & Diu sign MoU with Government of India under UDAY Scheme

Source: PIB

On the 2nd Anniversary of Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) today, the Government of India signed four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the Scheme with the State of Nagaland and with Union Territories (UTs) of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli & Daman & Diu for operational improvements.

  • These State/UTs have joined only for operational improvement and shall not undergo financial restructuring/issue of bonds under the scheme. With the above, UDAY club has now grown to 27 states and 4 UTs.

Significance:

  • Demand Side interventions in UDAY such as usage of energy-efficient LED bulbs, agricultural pumps, fans & air-conditioners and efficient industrial equipment through PAT (Perform, Achieve, Trade) would help in reducing peak load, flatten load curve and thus help in reducing energy consumption in the State/UTs.
  • Further, with improved efficiency, they would be in a better position to fund their capex at cheaper rates for Power infrastructure development/improvement in the State/UTs.

Overview:

  • Distribution is the most important link in the entire power sector value chain. As the only interface between utilities and consumers, it is the cash register for the entire sector.
  • Under the Indian Constitution, power is a Concurrent subject and the responsibility for distribution and supply of power to rural and urban consumers rests with the states.
  • Government of India provides assistance to states through various Central Sector / centrally sponsored schemes for improving the distribution sector.

The “Integrated Power Development Scheme” (IPDS) was launched by Ministry of Power, Government of India with the objectives of:

  • Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network in the urban areas;
  • Metering of distribution transformers /feeders / consumers in the urban areas.
  • IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network

Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)

Scheme approved on 20.11.2014 with a total outlay of Rs 44,033 crore which includes a budgetary support of Rs 33,453 crore from Govt. of India. The objectives of scheme are:

  • Separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeders
  • Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks in the rural areas;
  • Metering of distribution transformers / feeders / consumers in the rural area.
  • Rural Electrification

3.Logistics Sector granted Infrastructure Status

Source: PIB

The Logistics Sector has been granted Infrastructure status.

  • The government has defined “logistics infrastructure” to include a multimodal logistics Park comprising an Inland Container Depot (ICD) with a minimum investment of Rs50 crore and minimum area of 10 acre, a cold chain facility with a minimum investment of Rs15 crore and minimum area of 20,000 sq. ft and a warehousing facility with a minimum investment of Rs25 crore and a minimum area of 100,000 sq ft.

Needs:

  • Development of logistics would give a boost to both domestic and external demand thereby encouraging manufacturing and ‘job creation’.
  • This will in turn be instrumental in improving country’s GDP. Therefore, the need for integrated Logistics sector development has been felt for quite some time in view of the fact that the logistics cost in India is very high compared to developed countries. High logistics cost reduces the competitiveness of Indian goods both in domestic as well as export market.
  • Infrastructure status will enable the Logistics Sector to avail infrastructure lending at easier terms with enhanced limits, access to larger amounts of funds as External Commercial Borrowings (ECB), access to longer tenor funds from insurance companies and pension funds and be eligible to borrow from India Infrastructure Financing Company Limited (IIFCL).
  • Infrastructure status for cold chains and warehousing facilities will provide a big boost to attracting private investment in this sector.

Background:

In 2017, India’s logistics performance improved from 54 to 35 under World Bank Logistics Performance Index (LPI). The government expects the Indian logistics sector to grow to $360 billion by 2032 from the current $115 billion.

4.International Court of Justice (ICJ)- Justice Dalveen Bhandari elected to ICJ: India celebrates diplomatic win

Source: The Hindu

India’s nominee to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Dalveer Bhandari has been re-elected to the fifth and the last seat of the world court after Britain withdrew its candidate from the election.

  • This is the first time since the ICJ was established in 1945 that there will be no British judge in the ICJ. Bhandari received 183-193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all the 15 votes in the Security Council.

Background:

  • One-third of the ICJ’s 15-member bench, or five judges, is elected every three years for a nine-year term.
  • Elections are held separately but simultaneously in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Security Council in New York. To win, a candidate needs to get a majority in both chambers.

INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE:

  • 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.
  • Five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, Russia, France, China, UK

Members of the court:

  • The International Court of Justice is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
  • These organs vote simultaneously but separately.
  • In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies.
  • This sometimes makes it necessary for a number of rounds of voting to be carried out
  • In order to ensure a measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years. Judges are eligible for re-election.
  • Should a judge die or resign during his or her term of office, a special election is held as soon as possible to choose a judge to fill the unexpired part of the term.
  • The Court proceeds to elect by secret ballot a President and a Vice-President to hold office for three years.

Right to propose candidates

  • All States parties to the Statute of the Court have the right to propose candidates.
  • These proposals are made not by the government of the State concerned, but by a group consisting of the members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (see History) designated by that State, i.e. by the four jurists who can be called upon to serve as members of an arbitral tribunal under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.
  • In the case of countries not represented on the Permanent Court of Arbitration, nominations are made by a group constituted in the same way.
  • Each group can propose up to four candidates, not more than two of whom may be of its own nationality, whilst the others may be from any country whatsoever, whether a party to the Statute or not and whether or not it has declared that it accepts the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ.
  • The names of candidates must be communicated to the Secretary-General of the United Nations within a time-limit laid down by him/her.
  • Judges must be elected from among persons of high moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or are juris consults of recognized competence in international law.
  • The Court may not include more than one national of the same State. Moreover, the Court as a whole must represent the main forms of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world.



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