Insights Daily Current Affairs, 05 August 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 05 August 2017


 

Paper 2:

Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

 

High Level Committee on Making India Hub of Arbitration Submits Report

 

The government had constituted a ten Member, High Level Committee under the Chairmanship of Justice B.N.Srikrishna, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India to review the institutionalization of arbitration mechanism and suggest reforms thereto. The committee has submitted its report.

 

Arbitration

Recommendations made by the committee:

APCI: Setup an Autonomous Body, styled the Arbitration Promotion Council of India (APCI), having representatives from all stakeholders for grading arbitral institutions in India. The APCI may inter alia recognize professional institutes providing for accreditation of arbitrators. The APCI may hold training workshops and interact with law firms and law schools to train advocates with interest in arbitration and with a goal to create a specialist arbitration bar comprising of advocates dedicated to the field.

Special benches: Create a specialist Arbitration Bench to deal with such Commercial disputes, in the domain of the Courts. Changes have been suggested in various provisions of the 2015 Amendments in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act with a view to make arbitration speedier and more efficacious and incorporate international best practices.

ICADR as an institution of national importance: The Committee has preferred for declaring the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution as an Institution of national importance and takeover of the Institution by a statute. The Committee are of the view that a revamped ICADR has the potential be a globally competitive institution. The Institution was set up with the objective of promoting ADR methods and providing requisite facilities for the same.

International law adviser: As regards the role of arbitrations in matters involving the Union of India, including bilateral investment treaties (BIT) arbitrations, the Committee has recommended for creation of the post of an ‘International Law Adviser’ (ILA) who shall advise the Government and coordinate dispute resolution strategy for the Government in disputes arising out of its international law obligations, particularly disputes arising out of BITs. The Committee has emphasized that ILA may be consulted by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), at the time of negotiating and entering into BITs.

 

Significance of this move:

These reforms can result in a paradigm shift from the current perception of delay in resolution of commercial disputes in India to it being viewed as an investor friendly destination. The suggested reforms will not only lessen the burden of the judiciary, but give a fillip to the development agenda of the Government and aid the financial strength of the country and serve the goal of welfare of the citizens.

These reforms aim to make India an international hub of Arbitration and a Centre of robust ADR mechanism catering to international and domestic arbitration, at par with international standards available.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

FCI let over 4 lakh tonne wheat rot away: CAG

 

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has said in an audit report on the Food Corporation of India (FCI) that more than 4.72 lakh tonnes of wheat valued at Rs700.30 crore got damaged in Punjab till March 2016 due to delay in implementation of the private entrepreneur scheme which was expected to increase the storage capacity of foodgrains in the state.

  • The damaged wheat was declared as non-issuable for public distribution as it was stored in open areas. The auditor also found that the stateowned FCI sold wheat to bulk consumers at a rate below the cost under open market sale scheme during 2013-14, leading to non-recovery of Rs38.99 crore.

 

rotted wheat

Background:

The report pertains to implementation of the Private Entrepreneur Guarantee (PEG) schemes in Punjab and the way the FCI managed its debt, labour and incentive payments during 2011-16. The PEG scheme 2008 was launched to enhance covered storage capacities as the covered and plinth (CAP)/kacha storage is prone to damage and deterioration of stock and is not an optimum storage method.

 

About the Food Corporation of India (FCI):

FCI is the main agency for procurement, storage and distribution of food grains. It was set up in 1965 under the Food Corporations Act 1964 to implement the following objectives of the National Food Policy:

  • Effective price support operations for safeguarding the interests of the farmers.
  • Distribution of foodgrains throughout the country for Public Distribution System.
  • Maintaining satisfactory level of operational and buffer stocks of foodgrains to ensure National Food Security.
  • Regulate market price to provide foodgrains to consumers at a reliable price.

 

Sources: et.


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

New Bill to allow States to drop no-detention policy

 

The Ministry of Human Resource Development is looking to introduce a Bill to amend the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, to enable States to do away with the no-detention policy if they wish. The Cabinet has cleared the introduction of the Bill.

school-children

Background:

Twenty-five States had recently agreed with the idea of doing away with or tweaking the no-detention policy — wherein a child is not detained till Class 8 — to give a boost to levels of learning. The Centre has thus decided to allow States to take the call and to tweak the RTE Act to enable them to do so. The Bill is expected to permit States to introduce exams in Classes 5 and 8.

 

What is no detention policy?

The no-detention policy was introduced as a part of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) under the Right to Education Act (RTE) in 2010. Under this policy, students up to class 8 are automatically promoted to the next class without being held back even if they do not get a passing grade. The no-detention policy under the RTE Act was to ensure that no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school until the completion of elementary education.

The policy was path-breaking but, unfortunately, it ended up being completely opposite to its original objective. There have been plenty of arguments on both sides of this policy.

 

What experts say?

The provision had attracted criticism with several states and schools complaining that it compromised on academic rigour and learning levels and quality at schools.

  • The TSR Subramanian committee for formulation of the National Policy on Education has also suggested that ‘no detention’ policy should be discontinued after Class V. It had recommended restoration of detention provision, remedial coaching and two extra chances to each student such to move to a higher class.
  • A sub-committee of the Central Advisory Board of Education also studied the issue closely and recommended a provisional detention clause at Classes V and VIII. In 2013, a parliamentary panel had also asked the ministry to ‘rethink’ on its “policy of automatic promotion up to Class VIII”.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Motor Vehicles Bill sent to RS panel

 

A Bill seeking to bring radical changes in the transport sector by amending the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, has been sent to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.

motor vehicle bill

Background:

The bill, which would amend the nearly 30-year old Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 was passed by the Lok Sabha last year but had got stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the opposition had demanded that it be sent to the Select Committee for proper scrutiny. The parliamentary standing committee had also examined it.

 

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The Bill amends the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to address issues such as third party insurance, regulation of taxi aggregators, and road safety.
  • Under the Act, the liability of the third party insurer for motor vehicle accidents is unlimited. The Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at five lakh rupees in case of grievous injury.
  • The Bill provides for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which would provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.
  • The Bill defines taxi aggregators, guidelines for which will be determined by the central government.
  • The Bill also provides for: (i) amending the existing categories of driver licensing, (ii) recall of vehicles in case of defects, (iii) protection of good samaritans from any civil or criminal action, and (iv) increase of penalties for several offences under the 1988 Act.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Cattle trade ban rules were not placed before Parliament

 

An RTI response has pointed out that rules banning sale of cattle for slaughter in livestock markets were not laid in Parliament, thus making its enforcement an illegal exercise.

 

Cattle-graphic

What the rules say?

The parliamentary procedure makes it mandatory for the government to lay any new rule it notified before Parliament. Besides, Section 38A of the Prevention of Cruelty Act of 1960 mandates that any rule made by the Centre under it ought to be laid before each House of Parliament “as soon as it is made.”

 

What next?

The Centre is re-considering the entire body of the livestock market rules. The rules, in their existing form, meanwhile, would not be implemented.

 

Background:

The centre, on May 26th, notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017. The notification banned the sale of cattle in livestock market for slaughter and religious sacrifices. This had dismayed cattle traders, butchers and beef eaters. Farmers were also hit as they were also barred from selling non-milch and ageing cattle thus being deprived of their traditional incomes. Various states too opposed the notification saying that it would impact the livelihoods of many. The validity of the rules was challenged in various high courts and the SC. The Madurai bench of Madras HC had stayed the rules.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3:

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

New Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) by the Name “BHARAT 22”

 

A new Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) by the name BHARAT 22 was recently launched.

 

 

bharat 22

What you need to know about BHARAT 22?

  • Bharat 22 consists of 22 stocks of CPSE’s, PSB’s & strategic holding of SUUTI. Bharat 22 is a well Diversified portfolio with 6 sectors (Basic Materials, Energy, Finance, FMCG, Industrials & Utilities).
  • The Bharat 22 Index will be rebalanced annually. ICICI Prudential AMC will be the ETF Manager and Asia Index Private Limited (JV BSE and S& P Global) will be the Index Provider.

 

 

 

 

Sources: pib.


 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

 

Loan agreement with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

 

The Loan and Project Agreements for Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) lending of US$ 329 million for Gujarat Rural Roads Project have been signed between the Government of India/ Government of Gujarat and the AIIB.

  • The objective of the project is to improve the rural road connectivity and accessibility (by providing all weather road connectivity) to 1,060 villages in all the 33 districts in Gujarat state benefiting about 8 million people. The project will also benefit the service providers such as public transport operators, educational institutions, hospitals, local markets and traders.

 

aiib

About AIIB:

The AIIB was established as a new multilateral financial institution aimed at providing “financial support for infrastructure development and regional connectivity in Asia.” It was founded in October, 2014, and has its headquarters in Beijing.

  • Its goals are also to boost economic development in the region, create wealth, prove infrastructure, and promote regional cooperation and partnership.
  • The value of AIIB’s authorized capital amounts to $100 billion, with almost $30 billion invested by China.

 

Sources: pib.