Insights Daily Current Events, 03 May 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
India should send Marine to Italy, U.N. arbitration court rules
An Italian marine accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012 could return home as an international tribunal asked India and Italy to approach the Supreme Court of India to relax his bail conditions.
- In its interim ruling, the UN’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that Sergeant Salvatore Girone be allowed to return home until the dispute is resolved through arbitration.
- The verdict is the first big pronouncement of the PCA (Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague), after Italy approached it in June 2015.
Two Italian marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Mr. Girone are facing the charge of murdering two Indian fishermen in 2012 off the Kerala coast. The fishermen were killed when the marines on duty aboard MV Enrica Lexie, an Italian-flagged oil tanker, fired at them.
The order is binding for both countries as there is no appeal process in the UN tribunal. Technically, the Supreme Court has the power to keep the accused marine in India till the tribunal delivers its verdict in the jurisdiction case.
For his return to his homeland, the tribunal has suggested conditions such as Girone surrendering his passport so that he doesn’t travel abroad and reporting his presence to an Italian authority designated by the Indian top court.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an international organization based in The Hague, the Netherlands. The PCA was created in The Hague by treaty in 1899.
- It is not a court and does not have permanent judges. The PCA is a permanent bureaucracy that assists temporary tribunals to resolve disputes among states (and similar entities), intergovernmental organizations, or even private parties arising out of international agreements.
- The cases span a range of legal issues involving territorial and maritime boundaries, sovereignty, human rights, international investment, and international and regional trade.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Rajya Sabha clears mining law amendment
The Rajya Sabha has cleared the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill of 2016.
- This paves the way for merger and acquisition activity involving firms holding captive mining leases that were allotted in the past without adopting the auction route.
- The Bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 regulates the mining sector in India and specifies the requirement for obtaining and granting mining leases for mining operations.
- The Bill adds a new Fourth Schedule to the Act. It includes bauxite, iron ore, limestone and manganese ore and are defined as notified minerals. The central government may, by notification, amend this Schedule.
- The Bill creates a new category of mining license i.e. the prospecting license-cum-mining lease, which is a two stage-concession for the purpose of undertaking prospecting operations (exploring or proving mineral deposits), followed by mining operations.
- It also allows mergers and acquisitions worth billions of dollars in the domestic market as the provision of non-transfer of concessions granted through auction was coming in the way of banks and financial institutions to liquidate stressed assets where a company or its captive mining lease is mortgaged.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Non-trade issues at WTO, lack of legal experts worry India
India recently indicated that developing nations, including India, are facing a double disadvantage at the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).
These nations are challenged not only by the lack of a sufficient pool of trade law experts to represent them effectively at the DSB but also by certain efforts to bring within the body’s ambit non-trade issues such as labour and environment.
India has been advocating that certain issues, including labour and environment, must be kept out of the WTO’s purview and instead be dealt with by the global bodies concerned such as the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The developed world, however, is keen that the WTO addresses, what they call, global trade’s new challenges, including labour and environment.
The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) makes decisions on trade disputes between governments that are adjudicated by the Organization.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Supreme Court panel to monitor MCI
Endorsing a Parliamentary Standing Committee report of March 2016 that medical education and profession in the country is at its lowest ebb and suffering from total system failure due to corruption and decay, the Supreme Court has set up a three-member committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, to oversee the functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI) for at least a year.
- In doing so, the court has exercised its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution. It empowers the Supreme Court to pass such “decree or order as may be necessary for doing complete justice between the parties”.
Court was bound to take this route as the government had not acted on the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare. Its report on ‘The functioning of the Medical Council of India’ was tabled in Parliament on March 8, 2016.
- According to the court, the Justice Lodha committee will have the authority to oversee all statutory functions under the MCI Act. All policy decisions of the MCI will require approval of the Oversight Committee.
- The Committee will be free to issue appropriate remedial directions. The Committee will function till the Central Government puts in place any other appropriate mechanism after due consideration of the Expert Committee Report.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) is the statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards of medical education in India.
- The Council grants recognition of medical qualifications, gives accreditation to medical schools, grants registration to medical practitioners, and monitors medical practice in India.
- The Medical Council of India was first established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933. The Council was later reconstituted under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 that replaced the earlier Act.
Important functions performed by the council:
- Establishment and maintenance of uniform standards for undergraduate medical education.
- Regulation of postgraduate medical education in medical colleges accredited by it..
- Recognition of medical qualifications granted by medical institutions in India.
- Recognition of foreign medical qualifications in India.
- Accreditation of medical colleges.
- Registration of doctors with recognized medical qualifications.
- Keeping a directory of all registered doctors (called the Indian Medical Register).
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: conservation.
Indian Railways signed MoU with Haryana & Punjab to plant trees alongside Railway Track
Indian Railways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with forest departments of Haryana and Punjab to plant trees alongside Railway Track on Railway Land Boundary. The MoU paves way for planting 5 lakh trees during this season.
Highlights of the MoU:
- With this, Railway can contribute substantially towards the Green India Mission.
- Forest department is involved in the plantation as well as maintenance and disposal of trees, thus bringing in the much needed expertise in afforestation.
- The MoU also helps in protecting railway land from encroachment.
- Plantation along the railway track will be done by without declaring such land as protected forest with the provision for resumption of such land at any time by railways.
- All Zonal railways have been asked to execute similar agreement between their zones and concerned State Forest departments as early as possible.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Indian IT major Wipro has signed a tripartite deal to set up Saudi Arabia’s first all-women business and technology park in collaboration with Saudi Aramco and Princess Nourah University.