Insights Daily Current Events, 14 June 2016
Insights Daily Current Events, 14 June 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
President declines assent to Delhi govt’s bill on appointment of parliamentary secretaries
President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected a bill passed by the Delhi assembly last year seeking to exempt 21 AAP MLAs appointed as parliamentary secretaries from the purview of `office of profit’ criteria.
Through the bill, the Delhi government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997. The bill, passed in June last year by the state assembly, aims to exclude the post of parliamentary secretary from the office of profit and exempt the post from disqualification provisions. The bill was forwarded by lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung to the centre, which in turn was sent to the President with its comments.
- The government had in March last year appointed 21 of its MLAs as parliamentary secretaries in various ministries to speed up public work. The move was criticized by members of the opposition, who called it unconstitutional.
- The bill was passed by the Delhi assembly after questions were raised over the legality of the appointment. The bill was also intended to provide security cover for those legislators appointed as parliamentary secretaries.
- At the time of their appointment, the government had said that parliamentary secretaries will not receive any remuneration or perks from the government. But later on, they were allowed use of government transport for official purposes and space in minister’s office.
The President’s decision is a major setback to the Kejriwal government and leaves the AAP MLAs a few steps from possible disqualification. Section 15 of the government of NCT of Delhi Act, 1991 says a person shall not remain an MLA if he or she holds any office of profit under the Centre or government of a state or UT.
In the event of disqualification of the AAP MLAs, by-election to nearly one–third of the seats currently held by the ruling party will be necessitated. Such a development will follow only after the EC completes its proceedings on a petition seeking the disqualification of the MLAs.
What can be done now?
The legislator can escape disqualification only if the office is declared -by law made by Parliament, state legislature or UT -as a post that does not attract loss of membership. The fate of the MLAs will now be decided by the Election Commission that is considering a petition seeking their disqualification.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Chinese scholars may soon get India visa easily
India is planning to remove China from the prior referral category (PRC) for issuing of research visas. This will follow a similar concession announced recently for conference visas sought by Chinese citizens. However, PRC restrictions will still apply to Chinese citizens seeking business or employment visas, apart from certain categories of even conference and research visas.
By removing China from the list of PRC countries as regards research visa, India seeks to facilitate research projects/assignments of Chinese scholars on Indian soil as their applications will no longer be subjected to elaborate scrutiny by the security establishment prior to clearance.
Research visas are given to research professors or scholars and participants attending research conferences/seminars/workshops.
China has seen major relaxations in its visa regime with India under the new government. The government had last year announced launch of e-tourist visa facility for Chinese citizens. Around a fortnight ago, India took off China from the list of PRC country as regards conference visa.
What is prior referral category?
Prior referral category (PRC) country means visas are issued by the respective Indian missions and consulates after running a thorough background check on individual applicants.
Countries in PRC:
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, foreigners of Pakistani origin and stateless persons come under the restricted category, requiring prior security clearance from the intelligence agencies for obtaining a visa.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
RBI revises debt recast norms
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has revised the norms for banks to undertake debt restructuring if they feel the project is viable in the long run.
- Under the scheme titled ‘Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A),’ at least 50% of the debt should be serviced in the same period as that of the existing loan. The balance can be converted into equity or quasi-equity instruments.
- Once the unsustainable debt is converted to equity, banks can sell this stake to a new owner who will have the advantage of getting to run the business with a more manageable debt.
- Where malfeasance on the part of the promoter has been established, through a forensic audit or otherwise, this scheme shall not be applicable if there is no change in promoter or the management is vested in the delinquent promoter.
- According to the norms, an advisory body called Overseeing Committee (OC) will be constituted by the Indian Banks Association (IBA) in consultation with the RBI. The members of OC cannot be changed without the prior approval of RBI.
- Banks have to submit the resolution plan to the OC. The OC will review the processes involved in preparation of the plan, etc. for reasonableness and adherence to the guidelines and give an opinion.
- The scheme is applicable to projects that have commenced commercial operation and where the banks’ exposure is over Rs.500 crore.
- This move is expected to give an impetus, especially for projects that are viable in the long term but strapped for cash and/or good management.
- The new restructuring scheme will help public sector banks in cleaning up large chunks of their bad loans, which amount to Rs 4.76 lakh crore.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
New elements on the periodic table are named
Names for four new elements, formerly known by their respective atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118, have been proposed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
- The proposed names are- nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts) and oganesson (Og).
- The names are on a five-month probation before things are made official.
The elements were recognized by IUPAC on December 30, 2015. Their addition completed the seventh row of the periodic table.
The discoverers of the elements were invited to propose the names. IUPAC provided the discoverers with guidelines to assist them in creating the names. These names keep with the longstanding tradition of being named after a mythological concept or character (including an astronomical object), a mineral or similar substance, a place or geographical region, a property of the element or a scientist. Also, they must end in “-ium,” “-ine,” or “-on” depending on the grouping of elements they belong to. IUPAC also prefers the names translate easily across major languages.
- All four elements are not found in nature, and were synthetically created in laboratories. They are super-heavy elements.
- Tennessee is the second US state to be recognized with an element; California was the first.
- oganesson, symbol Og, for element 118. The name honors Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian.
- nihonium, symbol Nh, for element 113. The element was discovered in Japan, and Nihon is one way to say the country’s name in Japanese. It’s the first element to be discovered in an Asian country.
- Moscovium has been named after Russia’s capital Mosow.
There are seven rows, called periods, and 18 columns, called groups, in the table.
- Elements in the same group share similar properties. Those in the same period have the same number of atomic orbitals (the wave-like behaviour of either one or a pair of electrons in an atom) – for instance, the first period only has two elements, hydrogen and helium, with only a single orbital.
- Most elements on the table are metals divided into six broad categories – alkali metals, alkaline earths, basic metals, transition metals, lanthanides and actinides. They are located on the left, separated from the non-metals on the right by a zig-zag line.
- Lanthanides and actinides, often called “inner transition metals”, are commonly hived off as a separate section under the main table as including all 30 – including Uranium – would make the table too wide.
- The table is a useful tool for people to derive relationships between the different properties of the elements. It can also help predict the properties of new elements that have yet to be discovered or created.
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations that represents chemists in individual countries. It is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU).
- The international headquarters of IUPAC is in Zürich, Switzerland.
- The IUPAC was established in 1919 as the successor of the International Congress of Applied Chemistry for the advancement of chemistry.
- Its members, the National Adhering Organizations, can be national chemistry societies, national academies of sciences, or other bodies representing chemists.
- There are fifty-four National Adhering Organizations and three Associate National Adhering Organizations.
- The IUPAC’s Inter-divisional Committee on Nomenclature and Symbols (IUPAC nomenclature) is the recognized world authority in developing standards for the naming of the chemical elements and compounds.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- India’s solar dome project has been nominated for display in the Astana Expo 2017 that will be held in Kazakhstan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced India’s participation in ‘Expo 2017 Astana’ during his visit to Kazakhstan. The main Theme of the Expo is to showcase cutting edge technologies. The subtitle for the Exhibition is ‘Reducing Co2 emission‘.
- India and Ghana have signed three bilateral agreements to strengthen co-operation in varied fields. The three agreements signed with Ghana include one for visa waivers for holders of diplomatic and official passports and one for setting up a Joint Commission. The commission will periodically review various aspects of the multi-dimensional relationship between the two countries. India is the largest foreign investor in Ghana today, with more than 700 projects. More than 222 of these projects are in the manufacturing sector. Bilateral trade between India and Ghana has increased to $1.2 billion from $538 million in 2010.
- Norwegian Parliament has pledged to make government’s public procurement policy deforestation-free. With this, Norway has become the first country in the world to prohibit deforestation.