Insights Daily Current Affairs, 16 October 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 16 October 2017


 

Paper 2:

 

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

Karnataka needs its own flag

 

Karnataka needs its own flag

Chief minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah has once again invoked Kannada pride, saying the government is firm on Karnataka having a state flag.

 

Background:

Some activists had urged the government to design a separate flag for Karnataka and accord statutory standing for that. Following this, the Karnataka State government had constituted a nine-member committee headed by Principal Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture, to study and submit a report to the government on the possibility of “designing a separate flag for Karnataka and providing it a statutory standing.”

 

Are states permitted to have their own flags?

In S.R. Bommai v/s Union of India (Supreme Court 1994) case, the Supreme Court has declared that federalism is a basic feature of the Constitution and States are supreme in their sphere. This being the Constitutional position, there is no prohibition in the Constitution for the State to have its own flag. However, the manner in which the State flag is hoisted should not dishonour the national flag. It has to be always below the national flag. The national flag code specifically authorises use of other flags subject to the regulation by the court. So, State flag is not unauthorised.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

India acts against bottom trawling

India acts against bottom trawling

During the recently held meeting of the Joint Working Group, India informed Sri Lanka that it has taken measures to stop bottom trawling by its fishermen in the waters near the Sri Lankan coastline.

 

Background:

Bottom trawling by Indian fishermen had emerged as a major issue because of the disruptive impact it left on the coastal communities of Sri Lanka. Earlier in July, Sri Lanka banned bottom trawling, increasing the chances of interception of more Indian bottom trawlers.

 

Measures taken by India:

  • The launch of a programme on diversification of bottom trawlers into deep-sea fishing vessels for tuna long lining under the Blue Revolution Scheme.
  • Construction of Mookaiyur and Poompuhar fishing harbours, and capacity-building programmes for fishermen of the Palk Bay area in deep sea tuna long lining.
  • Fresh registration for bottom trawlers in the Palk Bay area has been banned by the Government of Tamil Nadu.

 

What is bottom trawling?

Bottom trawling is a destructive fishing practice which affects the marine ecosystem. The practice, which involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea floor, is known to cause great depletion of fishery resources, and curbing it is in the interest of sustainable fishing.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

India starts on implementation of motor pact

 

India has embarked on the implementation of the BBIN motor pact with Bangladesh and Nepal.

 

Background:

India in June 2015 had signed the major sub-regional transport project, Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA), for the seamless transit of passenger and cargo vehicles among them. However, Bhutan could not get public and parliamentary support for it. However, Bhutan has suggested that Bangladesh, India and Nepal may consider the implementation of the MVA.

 

About BBIN MVA:

The four SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries had in June 2015 signed the Motor Vehicle Agreement.

  • The pact aims at allowing motor vehicles of all categories registered in three countries to move freely in the region.
  • The pact aims to realise the ultimate objective of free movement of people and goods in the region and said that this would be supplemented through the building and upgrading roads, railways and waterways infrastructure.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3:

 

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

 

A plan to stamp out animal TB

 

The first-ever road map to combat animal tuberculosis (bovine TB) and its transmission to humans, referred to as zoonotic TB, was recently launched at the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Guadalajara, Mexico. The roadmap has been built on a ‘One Health Approach’, addressing health risks across sectors for the animal tuberculosis known as bovine TB and its transmission to humans.

Four partners in health, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) have joined forces to develop the road map and, address the major health and economic impact of this disease.

 

Concerns:

  • New data released by the WHO estimates that over 140,000 people fall ill and more than 12,000 people lose their lives each year to zoonotic TB – mostly in the African and the South-East Asian regions.
  • In India, consumption of raw milk and living in close proximity to cattle has been attributed to high incidence rates of bovine TB in the central Indian populations.
  • There is no cure for bovine TB and it threatens animal welfare and those with livelihoods based on livestock.

 

About Zoonotic TB:

It is a type of TB in people caused by mycobacterium bovis. The disease can affect many other species surrounding cattle and become established in wildlife reservoirs.

  • Spread: Bovine TB is most often communicated to humans through food consumption, usually non-heat-treated dairy products or raw, or improperly cooked meat from diseased animals. Direct transmission from infected animals or animal products to people can also occur.
  • There is no cure for bovine TB and it threatens animal welfare and those with livelihoods based on livestock.

 

Way ahead:

Preventing and controlling bovine TB at its animal source is crucial to avoid its transmission to humans, improve food safety and protect the livelihood of many rural communities. To this aim, the implementation of strategies based on international standards and a cross-sectoral approach will enable improved surveillance and diagnosis of the disease in animals and consequently reduce the risks for humans.

For countries to achieve the global TB elimination targets, interventions addressing zoonotic TB must be introduced in the national programmes.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 brought into force

 

A new Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 which was notified on 22nd March, 2016, has been brought into force with effect from 12th October, 2017. Parliament had in March 2016 passed the law to replace the BIS Act of 1986.

 

Highlights of the act:

National standards body: The Act establishes the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the National Standards Body of India.

Compulsory certification: The Act has enabling provisions for the Government to bring under compulsory certification regime any goods or article of any scheduled industry, process, system or service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health, safety of the environment, or prevention of unfair trade practices, or national security.

Hallmarking: Enabling provisions have also been made for making hallmarking of the precious metal articles mandatory.

Simplified conformity: The new Act also allows multiple type of simplified conformity assessment schemes including self-declaration of conformity against a standard which will give simplified options to manufacturers to adhere to the standards and get certificate of conformity.

Authority for verification: The Act enables the Central Government to appoint any authority/agency, in addition to the BIS, to verify the conformity of products and services to a standard and issue certificate of conformity.

Repair or recall: There is also a provision for repair or recall, including product liability of the products bearing Standard Mark but not conforming to the relevant Indian Standard.

 

Significance of the new law:

The new Act will further help in ease of doing business in the country, give fillip to Make In India campaign and ensure availability of quality products and services to the consumers.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Topic: cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

 

Information utility under the IBC

Information utility under the IBC

National e-Governance Services Ltd (NeSL) has become India’s first information utility (IU) for bankruptcy cases under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016. NeSL is owned by State Bank of India and Life Insurance Corporation Ltd., among others. Recently, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) eased ownership norms for setting up such utilities.

 

What is an information utility?

Information utility is an information network which would store financial data like borrowings, default and security interests among others of firms. The utility would specialise in procuring, maintaining and providing/supplying financial information to businesses, financial institutions, adjudicating authority, insolvency professionals and other relevant stake holders.

 

Why is it important? How useful is it?

The objective behind information utilities is to provide high-quality, authenticated information about debts and defaults. Information utilities are expected to play a key role as they allow storage of financial information of registered users and expeditiously process and verify information received.

Moreover, the database and records maintained by them would help lenders in taking informed decisions about credit transactions. It would also make debtors cautious as credit information is available with the utility. More importantly, information available with the utility can be used as evidence in bankruptcy cases before the National Company Law Tribunal.

 

What are the rules governing these utilities?

Information utilities are governed by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code 2016 and IBBI (Information Utilities) Regulations 2017. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) oversees aspects such as registration and cancellation of these entities, their shareholding and governance among others. Recently, IBBI eased norms for information utilities, allowing Indian firms listed on stock exchanges to hold 100% in such firms. It also allowed individuals to hold 51% in the utility for a period of three years.

 

How will the utilities help stakeholders in the insolvency process?

It is mandatory for financial creditors to provide financial information to the information utility. When they initiate insolvency proceedings against the defaulting firm (known as corporate debtor), the utilities may help as they would act as a centralised platform for accessing data. Unlike financial creditors, it is optional for the operational creditor to provide financial information to the utility.

 

What are the key challenges for these utilities?

While the onus is on financial creditors, operational creditors and corporate debtors to provide the required information, procuring authentic information might be a challenge due to the sensitivity involved. There may also, be resistance in sharing information. Since it is a digital database, there is the risk of exposure to data piracy and data theft.

 

Sources: the hindu.