23, September 2016

1.Swachh Bharat Week across the country ahead of 2nd anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission

Source: PIB

INDOSAN- 2016 Conference (Ministry of Urban Development)

  • The goal of Swachh Bharat is to provide access for every person.
  • Sanitation facilities including Toilets, Solid and Liquid Waste Disposal Systems, and clean surroundings.
  • To achieve this by 2019 as a befitting tribute to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th Birth Anniversary.
  • Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA), the Goal is now to make India Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2019 by construction of individual, cluster & community toilets; and villages will be kept clean, including through solid and liquid waste management through Gram Panchayats.

Andhra Pradesh first state in the country to become Open Defecation Free in urban areas

2.Union Cabinet approves Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016

 SOURCE: PIB

 The Union Cabinet has given its approval to enact Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill 2016. The proposal to enact to this bill was forwarded by Union Ministry of Shipping to repeal five archaic admiralty statutes. Admiralty jurisdiction is related to the powers of the High Courts in respect of claims associated with transport by sea and navigable waterways.

Key Facts:

  1. The Bill consolidates the existing laws relating to admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, admiralty jurisdiction of courts, arrest of vessels and related issues.
  2. This legislative proposal will also fulfil a long-standing demand of the maritime legal fraternity.
  3. It also repeals five obsolete British statues on admiralty jurisdiction in civil matters. They are (i) Admiralty Court Act, 1840 (ii) Admiralty Court Act, 1861, (iii) Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890, (iv) Colonial Courts of Admiralty (India) Act, 1891, and (v) Provisions of the Letters Patent, 1865

Salient Features of Admirability Bill, 2016:

  1. Confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India, thus extending their upto territorial waters.
  2. The jurisdiction will be extendable by the Union Government notification upto exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or any other maritime zone or islands constituting part of India.
  3. It applies to every vessel irrespective of place of domicile or residence of owner.
  4. It does not apply to naval auxiliary, warships and vessels used for non-commercial purposes.
  5. Inland vessels and vessels under construction are excluded from its application. But it empowers Union Government to make it applicable to these vessels also by a notification.
  6. It lists the jurisdiction for adjudicating on a set of maritime claims. A vessel can be arrested in certain circumstances in order to ensure security against a maritime claim.

 Background

  1. India is a leading maritime nation and maritime transportation caters to about 95% of its merchandise trade volume.
  2. However, the admiralty jurisdiction of Indian courts under the present statutory framework flow from laws enacted in the British era.
  3. The repealing of five archaic admiralty statutes is in line with the Union Government’s commitment to do away with archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.

3.Union Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Samoa for exchange of information with respect to Taxes

SOURCE: PIB

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing and ratification of Agreement between India and Samoa for the exchange of information with respect to Taxes. It will help to stimulate the flow of exchange of information between India and Samoa for tax purposes which will help curb tax avoidance and tax evasion.

4.Government announces enhanced support under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) of the Foreign Trade Policy

 Source: PIB and The Hindu

     In the backdrop of the continued challenging global environment being faced by Indian exporters, Department of Commerce has extended support to certain new products and enhanced the rate of incentives for certain other specified products under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS).

There are 2,901 additional products falling under different categories, which include processed goods, marine products, sea feed items, onion dried, industrial products such as engineering goods, fabrics, garments and chemicals, among others.

The rate of incentives under the scheme for 575 products has also been increased. These include iron and steel, ceramic, glass, industrial machinery, machine tools and rubber products, among other

What is Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)?

MEIS was launched under Foreign Trade Policy of India (FTP) 2015-20. It is one of the two schemes introduced in FP 2015-20, as a part of Exports from India Scheme. The other scheme is Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS).

Objective of MEIS is to offset infrastructural inefficiencies and associated costs involved in export of goods and products, which are produced and manufactured in India. It seeks to enhance India’s export competitiveness of these goods and products having high export intensity, employment potential.

5.India, France ink 7.8 bn euro deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets

Source: The Hindu

India on signed a 7.8 billion Euro deal with France to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets, which come equipped with cutting edge long-range missiles such as ‘Meteor’ and ‘Scalp’.

The features that make the Rafale a strategic weapon in the hands of IAF is its Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile with a range in excess of 150 km. Its integration on the Rafale jets will mean IAF can hit targets inside both Pakistan and across the northern and eastern borders while staying within India’s territorial boundary.

6.Sugarcane waste yields carbon for use in batteries

Source: The Hindu

Researchers from Pune’s National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) have used a simple, cost-effective and quick process to convert sugarcane bagasse into anode-grade porous, conducting, activated carbon material for use in Li-ion batteries.

7.India, US, Afghanistan reaffirm shared interest in combating terrorism  

SOURCE: Business standard

India, United States and Afghanistan have reaffirmed their shared interests in combating terrorism and advancing peace and security in the region.

 In this regard, a trilateral statement was issued after meeting of their delegates in New York on the sidelines of the 71st session of UN General Assembly.

Features of TRILATERAL statement:

  • Three countries reaffirm their shared interests in advancing peace and security in the region, as well as countering terrorism. They have exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan and on regional issues of mutual interest.
  • The meeting provided a forum for the governments of India and the US to explore ways to coordinate and align their assistance with the priorities of the Afghanistan government.
  • They welcomed the discussions focused on political, economic, and development goals in Afghanistan including the regional dimension.

8.Centre names economists to monetary policy committee

SOURCE: The Hindu

The Centre on Thursday named three academics trained in economics as the external appointees on the monetary policy committee (MPC) that will work with the Reserve Bank of India’s three members to decide interest rates and who are expected to help provide independent external economic inputs for policy formulation.

The three external members — Pami Dua, Chetan Ghate and Ravindra Dholakia — will have a fixed four year term, which is non-renewable.

The RBI will set interest rates according to the majority view of the six-member MPC, with the Governor having the casting vote in case of a tie.

MPC:

The MPC will be responsible for ensuring inflation based on the Consumer Price Index is contained within a range of 2 per cent to 6 per cent, a target announced as part of the new monetary policy framework agreed to by the Centre and the RBI.

Previously, decisions were taken by the RBI Governor. The move to inflation targeting and committee based rate-setting were part of changes recommended by former Governor and then Deputy Governor.



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