7, December 2016

1.MPs submit plea to remove Hyderabad High Court judge

Source: The Hindu

Sixty-one Members of Parliament have submitted a petition to initiate removal proceedings against Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy of the Hyderabad High Court, to Rajya Sabha chairperson, Hamid Ansari. Mr. Ansari is yet to give any ruling on it.

Background:

There is an allegation made by a Mr. Rama Krishna, formerly principal junior civil judge, Rayachoty, Kadapa district, currently under suspension, that he was forced by Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy to remove the name of a Mr. Pavan Kumar Reddy, who happens to be the brother of Justice Reddy, from a declaration recorded by Mr. Rama Krishna when he was posted as magistrate at Rayachoty. Mr. Pavan Kumar Reddy is the additional public prosecutor of Rayachoty courts.

Removal of Judges:

    • Article 124(4) and the Judges Inquiry Act 1968 determine the procedure of removal of the judges
    • A motion of impeachment addressed to the President is to be signed by at least 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 members of the Rajya Sabha and then delivered to the Speaker of Lok Sabha or the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
    • The motion is to be investigated by a Committee of 3 judges of the Supreme Court and a distinguished jurist.
    • If the Committee finds the judge guilty of misbehavior or that he suffers from incapacity, the motion along with the report of the committee is taken up for consideration in the House where motion was moved.

 

  • The judge is then removed by the requisite majority, i.e. majority of total and 2/3 of its members present and voting.

 

President assent:

  • Member  of the higher judiciary, which means the Judges and Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of India and the state High Courts, can be removed from service only through the process of impeachment under Article 124 (4) of the Constitution.
  • A judge is removable from his office, only on the grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity.
  • Parliament is empowered to regulate the procedure for the investigation and proof of such misbehavior or incapacity.
  • A judge may be removed from his office only by an order of the president.

2.Justice JS Khehar appointed as 44th Chief Justice of India

Source: The Hindu

  • Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar (64) will be the next Chief Justice of India (CJI). He will be the 44th CJI and shall succeed Chief Justice TS Thakur who retires on January 3, 2017.
  • Justice Khehar will be sworn in as the CJI by President Pranab Mukherjee on January 4, 2017. With this, he will be the first Sikh to become the CJI.
  • Justice Khehar’s name for appointment as the next CJI was recommended by SC collegium headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur. He would remain in office from January 4, 2017 till August 4, 2017 i.e. till he attains the age of 65.

3.Winter Fog Experiment (WIFEX 2016-17)- Ministry of Earth Science

Source: PIB

The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has launched Winter Fog Experiment (WIFEX 2016-17) to study presence of extended periods of fog in northern parts of the country.

It is an intensive ground-based measurement to understand different physical and chemical features of Fog will be conducted at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), Delhi.

Issues

  • Fog is a visible mass consisting of cloud water droplets suspended in the air or near the Earth’s surface.
  • The presence of heavy and extended period fog in the northern regions of India is one of the major weather hazards, impacting aviation, road transportation, economy and public life in the world’s most densely populated region.
  • Maximum fog occurrence over the Northwest India is about 48 days (visibility < 1000m) per year, and occurs mostly during the December-February time period.
  • All India annual morning poor visibility days (PVD <4 km) has increased from 6.7 to 27.3 % days.
  • Recent studies on fog in India during the past 10-15 years have prompted significant socio-economic concern due to increase in frequency, persistence and intensity of fog occurrence over the northern parts of the country.
  • Land use changes and increasing pollution in the region are responsible for growing Fog occurrence.

The objectives of the Winter Fog Experiment (WIFEX)

  • Winter Fog Experiment (WIFEX) are to develop better now-casting (next 6 hours) and forecasting of winter fog on various time and spatial scales, and help reduce its adverse impact on aviation, transportation and economy, and loss of human life due to accidents.
  • To study physical and chemical characteristics of fog, meteorological factors responsible for its genesis, sustenance, intensity and dissipation are poorly understood.
  • Similarly, meteorological conditions like humidity, wind and synoptic conditions are also not well studied.

4.BRICS Heads of Revenue and Experts on Tax Matters: initiatives towards reaching a globally fair and universally transparent tax system

Source: PIB

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries have agreed  to  share tax information automatically as per their commitment to ensure the fairness of the international tax system.

Decion in this regard was taken at the meeting of Heads of Revenue of BRICS Countries in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Keyfacts:

  • They have reaffirmed their commitment to prevent of base erosion and shifting of profits (BEPS), exchange of tax information and capacity building of developing countries.
  • The OECD/G20 project on BEPS provides governments with solutions for closing the gaps in existing international rules that allow corporate profits to artificially shift to low or no-tax environments, where little or no economic activity takes place.
  • To eliminate BEPS all member countries agreed to tax profits in those jurisdictions where the activities deriving those profits are performed and where value is created.
  • BRICS members will exchange tax information, both on request and on automatic basis, and to adopt global standards on tax transparency
  • They also reiterated their endorsement for global Common Reporting Standard for Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) on a reciprocal basis to prevent cross-border tax evasion.
  • Expressed “deep concern” with the process of erosion of the tax base by aggressive tax practices including incomplete disclosure of information by MNCs.
  • The  importance of the exchange of information between competent authorities in preventing cross-border tax evasion and resolve to exchange information, both on request and on automatic basis and to adopt global standards on tax transparency.

5.IIIDEM Conducts Training for Saarc Nations on Election Management

Source: PIB

  • The India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) has conducted training on Election Management of SAARC Countries.
  • It was conducted by Election Commission of India (ECI) and sponsored by the Union Ministry of External Affairs with aim of promoting free, fair, peaceful and inclusive elections.

Highlights:

    • The training course is attended by delegates consisting of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan and Afghanistan.
    • The 11 day (5th to 15th December 2016) course encapsulates several sessions on principles and practices for election management.

 

  • During the program, the 28 participants from these 6 SAARC countries will share their experiences on election situation in their respective countries.

 

  • Additionally, it aims to train officials on various aspects of election management like capacity building of stakeholders, code of conduct, voter inclusion and registration etc.
  • It will have participatory sessions on ‘Free, Fair Elections and International Standards,’ ‘Principles of Voter Registration and Type of Voter Registers’ and ‘Electoral Systems and Practices’.

India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM)

    • IIDEM is an advanced resource centre of learning, research, training and extension for participatory democracy and election management.
    • It has been developed in collaboration with the Union Government, United Nations, Commonwealth and inter-governmental organisations like Sweden based International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

 

  • It is a national and international hub for exchange of good practices in election management.

 

  • It has four components (i) Training and Capacity Development, (ii) Voter Education and Civic Participation, (iii) Research, Innovation and Documentation and (iv) International Projects and Technical Collaboration.

6.TIFR discovery challenges theory of superconductivity

Source: The Hindu

Researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, have made a landmark discovery that challenges the conventional understanding of superconductivity.

Researchers have discovered bismuth semi-metal in bulk form becoming a superconductor when the temperature is lowered to 530 microKelvin (about -273 degree C), which is three orders of magnitude higher than the theoretical prediction.

Significance

  • This landmark discovery challenges the conventional understanding of superconductivity based on Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory.
  • It cannot explain the superconductivity seen in bismuth as it only explains superconductivity in most low Tc (critical temperature) superconductors.
  • The discovery demands a new theory and a new mechanism to understand superconductivity in bismuth.
  • It provides an alternative path for discovering new superconducting materials which are very different from the conventional superconductors.

Superconductors

 

  • Superconductors are materials that conduct electricity with no resistance whatsoever.

 

  • In order to achieve superconducting state, the element should have mobile electrons, and these electrons should come together to form pairs, known as Cooper pairs.

About Bismuth

 

  • Bismuth is a chemical element with the symbol Bi and the atomic number 83.

 

  • Unlike other elements in the periodic table, bismuth has unusual phenomenon.
  • Bismuth has only one mobile electron per 100,000 atoms. Whereas, the metallic superconductors have one mobile electron per atom.
  • Since carrier density of bismuth is so small, it was believed that bismuth will superconduct.

7.Pradhan moots Asian buyers forum to counter OPEC clout

Source: The Hindu

Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas of a large Asian LNG buyers  forum to negotiate more equitable trade deals and balance the influence of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

  • This assumes significance in light of the ongoing increase in oil prices resulting in an adverse impact on the Indian exchequer and the government’s commitment to move towards a gas-based economy.
  • A number of large Asian LNG buyers, including India, could benefit by joining hands and thereby, possibly, bring in more equitable trade deals.

OPEC

 

  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization, created at the Baghdad Conference on September 10–14, 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
  • OPEC had its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in the first five years of its existence. This was moved to Vienna, Austria, on September 1, 1965

 

  • OPEC is one of the most powerful international organizations in the world and was a major player in the shift towards state control over natural resources.
  • Before OPEC was formed, the oil market was dominated by a group of multinational companies. The formation of OPEC was a major act of sovereignty by the founding nations, and it helped ensure that private companies could not unilaterally cut prices throughout the world.
  • OPEC is comprised of 13 members and still has a massive impact on oil production and price around the world.

8.Environment Ministry issues final notification on Eco-Sensitive Zone in Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai

Source:  PIB

The Government issued the Final Notification for an Eco-Sensitive Zone area of 59.46 sq kms of which 19.25 sq km is forest land and 40.21 sq km is non-forest land in Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai suburb. 

Announcing the decision, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

ESZ:

The extent (of ESZ) varies at different places taking into consideration its geographical area. No construction will take place in this (ESZ) area”.  The Minister added that the step has been taken with a view to avoid man-animal conflict.

  • Minimum  extent of 100 metres and maximum extent of up to 4 km from the Park boundary.  
  • The objective of notifying Eco-Sensitive Zones is to create a buffer as further protection around Protected Areas (PAs) such as National Parks and Wildlife sanctuaries. 

The Notification also provides that in areas around Housing Societies and with high human habitation, and in view of the fact that the National Park has a large population of leopards, a high wall with fencing may be erected to ensure that man-animal conflict is avoided. 

Sanjay Gandhi National Park 

  • Sanjay Gandhi National Park is spread over three districts – Palgar, Thane and Mumbai Suburb and falls within the Tehsils of Kurla, Borivalli and Thane.
  • The National Park is home to a number of endangered species of flora and fauna and harbours approximately 800 species of flowering plants, 45 species of mammals, 43 species of reptiles, 38 species of snakes, 12 species of amphibians, 300 species of birds, 150 species of butterflies.
  • Large  mammalian species such as leopard, wild boar, four-horned antelope, black-naped hare, wild cat, jackal and porcupine and many bird species such as Lesser grebe, Purple Heron, Smaller Egret, Lesser Whistling Teal, Pariah Kite.
  • Many reptiles, including snakes as Indian Cobra and Viper are also found in the National Park. 

9.Dr. Ambedkar’s birth day to be celebrated as Water Day

Source: PIB

Lauding the contribution of Dr. B R Ambedkar in water resources management of the country Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti has announced that his birth day 14th April will be celebrated as “Water Day”.

Need  to reform the water resources management in the country

  • Referring to the 99 Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) schemes undertaken by her Ministry the Minister said on the completion of these projects  would be able to irrigate 80 Lakh hact. additional land.
  • To  complete these project by the year 2020 CWC has sent teams of it young scientist to various parts of the country who will submit their reports very soon.


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