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Insights Daily Current Events, 27 May 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 27 May 2015


Supreme Court to hear plea on A-G’s selection

The Supreme Court recently decided to hear a petition questioning the “unaccountable and non-transparent” manner of appointment of the government’s top law officer, the Attorney-General of India.

  • The petition was filed last year by a law student.

What the petition says?

  • The petition, which makes Attorney-General (A-G) Mukul Rohatgi a party along with the Union of India, contends that the appointment of the top law officer has been based on a “pick-and-choose policy at the behest of political masters.
  • The petition says only a person who has all the qualifications to be a Supreme Court judge can be considered for appointment as A-G.
  • It says that the qualifications required for appointment of a Supreme Court judge and the Attorney-General of India are the same, but the procedure for appointment adopted is completely different.
  • It further says that the office of a Supreme Court judge is fully accountable, transparent, with oath, under public scrutiny and with an age bar, whereas the office of the Attorney-General is completely unaccountable, non-transparent, without oath, without any age bar.

Attorney General- Facts:

  • The Attorney General for India is the central government’s chief legal advisor, and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.
  • He is appointed by the President of India under Article 76(1) of the Constitution and holds office during the pleasure of the President.
  • He must be a person qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
  • The Attorney General is necessary for giving advice to the Government of India in legal matters referred to him. He also performs other legal duties assigned to him by the President.
  • The Attorney General has the right of audience in all Courts in India as well as the right to participate in the proceedings of the Parliament, though not to vote.
  • The Attorney General appears on behalf of Government of India in all cases (including suits, appeals and other proceedings) in the Supreme Court in which Government of India is concerned.
  • He also represents the Government of India in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution.
  • Unlike the Attorney General of the United States, the Attorney General of India does not have any executive authority. Those functions are performed by the Law Minister of India.
  • The Attorney General can accept briefs but cannot appear against the Government. He cannot defend an accused in the criminal proceedings and accept the directorship of a company without the permission of the Government.
  • The Attorney General is assisted by two Solicitor General and four Additional Solicitor Generals.

Sources: The hindu, Wiki.


Ganga-Brahmaputra basin mapped

Researchers, in a first first-of-its-kind study after mapping the rivers, have claimed that Ganga-Bramhaputra Basin together store around 960 cubic km of water. They have also said that it will help understand droughts and floods to better manage water resources in the region.

  • Scientists from India, the U.K., France and Bangladesh undertook mapping of the two rivers during 2003 to 2007 from the basins with the help of satellite images.
  • The researchers believe that these new datasets will provide an opportunity to study the signatures of droughts and floods, and ultimately to help better manage water resources in the region.

Details of the research:

  • Researchers found that both surface and sub-surface water storage in the basin show strong year-to-year variability. During the monsoon of 2006, which can be considered as a drought year, there was a 30% deficit in water storage in the basin when compared to that of the other years.
  • The research was carried out using the satellites Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and Envisat.
  • The study also used in situ (field) observations, which were acquired from Bangladesh. However, with in situ observations, it is difficult to study large areas as measurements are done at single points. Hence, a multi-satellite approach, which gives a better understanding of the spatial variation of water-related observables, was necessary.

Ganga Brahmaputra Meghna Basin

Ganges-Brahmaputra basin:

  • The Ganges-Brahmaputra basin covers a large area, extending over India, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Bangladesh. The basin houses rivers, floodplains, lakes, wetlands and the largest delta in world, all of which contribute significantly to the regional climate; groundwater, surface water and rainfall form an interconnected cycle and are constantly affecting each other.
  • The study was aimed at understanding the relationship between these elements by quantifying water storage at different levels, and variations across years.
  • The Ganga-Brahmaputra basin constitutes the second largest hydrologic region in the world.
  • The basin is nestled amidst the natural watersheds of Himalayas in the north, Vindhayas in the south, the Aravalis in the west, Patkai, Naga and Lushai hills in the east.
  • The Ganga-Brahmaputra basin is a single, sprawling, integrated, transboundary drainage system with a common terminus.
  • The basin consists of two major river systems of the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and one relatively smaller river system of the Barak, which becomes the Meghna in Bangladesh.
  • About 63% of the basin is in India, 7% in Bangladesh, 8% in Nepal, and 2.5% in Bhutan. Almost 10% of the world’s humanity lives in this region, which contains only 1.2% of the landmass.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.



China doesn’t recognise ‘illegal’ McMahon Line

China has again termed the McMahon Line on the India-China boundary as illegal and has said that it was ready to work with India to resolve the vexed border issue at an early date through friendly consultations to create more favourable conditions for bilateral ties.

  • With this, China has reaffirmed its claims on Arunachal Pradesh, which, it says, is a part of Southern Tibet.

McMahon Line:

The McMahon Line is a line agreed to by Britain and Tibet as part of the Simla Accord, a treaty signed in 1914.

  • It is the effective boundary between China and India, although its legal status is disputed by the Chinese government.
  • The line is named after Sir Henry McMahon, who was foreign secretary of the British-run Government of India and the chief negotiator of the convention at Simla.
  • It extends for 890 km from Bhutan in the west to 260 km east of the great bend of the Brahmaputra River in the east, largely along the crest of the Himalayas.
  • China rejects the Simla Accord, contending that the Tibetan government was not sovereign and therefore did not have the power to conclude treaties. The Simla Accord, or the Convention between Great Britain, China, and Tibet, in Simla, was an unequal treaty concerning the status of Tibet negotiated by representatives of the Republic of China, Tibet and the United Kingdom in Simla in 1913 and 1914. The Accord provided that Tibet would be divided into “Outer Tibet” and “Inner Tibet”.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


Curiosity on new journey on Mars

Unable to reach a comparable geological contact farther south on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover has now approached an alternative site for investigating a geological boundary. Curiosity has been exploring on Mars since 2012.

Curiosity Rover:NASA’s-Curiosity-Rover-

  • Curiosity is a car-sized robotic rover exploring Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL).
  • The rover’s goals include: investigation of the Martian climate and geology; assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, including investigation of the role of water; and planetary habitability studies in preparation for future human exploration.
  • On June 24, 2014, Curiosity completed a Martian year—687 Earth days—after finding that Mars once had environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.



Four Indians among world’s 100 most powerful women

According to the Forbes’ 12th annual list, four Indians are among the world’s 100 most powerful women who are “transforming the world”.

  • The list is topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The top 10 include:

  1. German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  2. S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
  3. Philanthriopist Melinda Gates.
  4. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
  5. GM CEO Mary Barra.
  6. IMF Chief Christine Lagarde.
  7. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
  8. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
  9. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
  10. S. First Lady Michelle Obama.

Indians in the list:

  • SBI Chief Arundhati Bhattacharya.
  • ICICI bank head Chanda Kochhar.
  • Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
  • HT Media Chair Shobhana Bhartia.

Merkel has made it to the list 10 times over the past 12 years — nine times as No 1.

Sources: The Hindu.


DD Kisan – India’s first television channel dedicated to farmers

Prime Minister Modi recently launched DD Kisan Channel, which would provide information about best agricultural practices and related content. It is Doordarshan’s channel dedicated exclusively to farmers.

About the Channel:

  • Kisan Channel would facilitate the farmers in providing information regarding the policy initiatives undertaken in the Agriculture sector. It is the first such initiative of a Public Broadcaster to start a 24 hour channel exclusively dedicated to the farmers.
  • The platform would enable the benefits of technology accruing to the farmers. This channel would inform, educate and update the farmers with the latest developments in the area of farming on a 24×7 basis.
  • The non-Hindi speaking farming community would also be benefitted by the launch of Kisan channel as the various programmes would also be available in other regional languages.
  • Advice of IMD Scientists and Agricultural Scientists would be broadcast periodically for the farmers so that they may know about the crop diseases, ways to protect crops from various diseases and on how to increase the crop yield.
  • The Channel will give information on newer ways of agricultural practices being followed world over and the R&D in the agri sector across the world.
  • The Channel has tie up with IMD, IARI, Agricultural Universities, Krish Vigyan Kendras etc.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB.


India and Vietnam Sign a Joint Vision Statement on Defence Cooperation

India and Vietnam recently signed a Joint Vision Statement on Defence Cooperation for the period 2015-2020.

  • Along with this, MoU on cooperation between the coast guards of the two countries was also signed.

The Vietnamese Defence Minister is on a 3-day official visit to India. Both sides have reiterated their commitment to further enhancing the ongoing defence engagements between the two sides for mutual benefit.

Sources: PIB.

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