Insights Daily Current Affairs, 05 October 2017
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Cabinet approves the Extradition Treaty between India and Lithuania
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the signing and ratification of the Extradition Treaty between India and Lithuania.
Benefits of this treaty:
- The Treaty would provide a legal framework for seeking extradition of terrorists, economic offenders and other criminals from and to Lithuania.
- The Treaty would help in extradition of fugitive criminals including terrorists for criminal prosecutions from Lithuania who may have committed crimes against India.
- It will bring the criminals to justice, with a view to ensure peace and tranquility to public at large.
What is extradition?
Extradition is the surrender of a criminal to one country by another. It also helps in maintaining the territoriality of the penal code which says that a country should not apply its criminal law to a person who committed an offence outside its territories except when the crime is related the countries national interest. The process is regulated by treaties between the two countries.
What are the internationally accepted conditions for extradition?
There is a general consensus about few conditions of extradition. The crime should fulfill the criterion of dual criminality, i.e. it is a punishable offence in both the countries. For instance homosexuality might be a crime in country A while it is accepted in B. The country A can not request B to extradite a person who is charged with a homosexuality related offence.
Persons charged for political reasons are generally not extradited. Some countries refuse to extradite if the kind of expected punishment is abolished or is not administered in their own territories. For instance Australia, Canada, Macao, Mexico, and most of the European nations refuse to extradite a criminal if the person in question might get capital punishment after his extradition.
What are the extradition laws of India?
In India the Extradition Act, 1962 regulates the surrender of a person to another country or the request for arrest of a person in a foreign land. The act specifies that any conduct of a person in India or in a foreign state that is mentioned in the list of extradition offence and is punishable with minimum one year of imprisonment qualifies for extradition request. The process has to be initiated by the central government.
- In the case of countries with which India does not have such a treaty, the central government can by notified order treat any convention to which India and the foreign country is a party as the extradition treaty providing for extradition with respect to the offences specified in that convention.
- If the extradition request has come from two or more countries then the government has the rights to decide which of them is the fittest for the request.
In what conditions can the government deny extradition?
- If the government finds the case trivial and if it thinks that the surrendering of the person is not being made in good faith or in the interests of justice or for political reasons, it can deny the request.
- If the surrender according to the requesting countrys own law is barred by time then also the person cannot be extradited from India. If the government can also stop the process if it feels that the person will be charged with an offence not mentioned in the extradition treaty.
- The government can put the extradition on hold if it feels that the person will be charged for a lesser offence, which is disclosed by the requesting authorities so that they can have the possession of the person.
- Apart from this, if the person is serving a jail term or he/she is accused of an offence in Indian soil, which is different from the offence for which the person is wanted abroad, then also the extradition process can be stopped.
- Similarly if a fugitive criminal has committed an offence which is punishable with death in India while the laws of foreign state do not provide death for the same offence then criminal will get life imprisonment in India also.
Topic: inclusive growth.
Inheritance tax on HNIs likely to be reintroduced
The government is considering the levy of an inheritance tax on high net worth individuals, some of whom are already preparing to insulate themselves from such a liability by forming family trusts. The tax could range from 5% to 10% and would apply only to families with a certain net worth.
- The government has sought feedback, including recommendations, on the proposed re-introduction of inheritance tax, also known as estate duty.
Also popularly known as estate tax or estate duty, Inheritance tax was a tax that was levied against a particular asset during the time of its inheritance. For example, the inheritance of ancestral land. Inheritance tax is no longer levied in India and was abolished during the time of the Rajiv Gandhi Government in 1985.
- Though its intentions were noble, the then finance minister, V.P. Singh was of the opinion that it had failed to bring about an equilibrium in society and reduce the wealth gap. During its stay, inheritance tax or estate duty was levied from the period between 1953 and 1985.
- There are certain countries that practice this form of taxation. Countries like USA, UK, Netherlands, Spain and Belgium all follow inheritance tax and China had gone to the extent of introducing rules for inheritance tax back in 2002 but was met with heavy opposition to the idea and were not able to implement it.
Sources: the hindu.
Turtle Sanctuary to be set up in Allahabad
In order to protect the rich aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga from escalating anthropogenic pressures, development of a Turtle sanctuary in Allahabad along with a River Biodiversity Park at Sangam have been approved under Namami Gange programme.
- The project at an estimated cost of Rs 1.34 crore would include development of River Biodiversity Park at Sangam (confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati), establishment of a Turtle Rearing Centre (Permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp and makeshift annual hatcheries) and awareness about the importance of river Ganga and imperativeness of its conservation has been approved.
- This project will provide much needed platform to make the visitors aware of their place in the ecosystem, their roles and responsibilities, improve their understanding of the complexity of co-existence with the environment and help generate awareness for reducing the impact of human activities on critical natural resources.
- The task of dissipating knowledge about river Ganga will be taken up ardently in this project, which is 100% centrally funded.
Rivers Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad are home to some of the most endangered fauna like turtles (Batagur kachuga, Batagur dhongoka, Nilssonia gangetica, Chitra indica, Hardella thurjii etc.), the National Aquatic Animal – Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and numerous migratory and resident birds. The sustenance of more than 2000 aquatic species including threatened gharials, dolphins and turtles in river Ganga exemplifies the rich biodiversity of this lifeline to over 40% of the country’s population.
Committee for proper management of water resources in North Eastern Region
The Government has constituted a high-level committee for proper management of the water resources in the North Eastern Region (NER) under the Chairmanship of Vice-Chairman, Niti Aayog.
- The Committee would facilitate optimising benefits of appropriate water management in the form of hydro-electric power, agriculture, bio-diversity conservation, reduced flood damage erosion, inland water transport, forestry, fishery and eco-tourism.
- Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) will serve as the coordinating point. The Committee will submit its report, including Plan of Action, by June, 2018.
The terms of reference of the Committee include:
- Appraisal of existing mechanism/institutional arrangements for management of water resources of the North Eastern Region.
- Identification of gaps in the existing mechanism/institutional arrangements for optimal management of water resources of the NER.
- Suggest policy interventions required for optimally harnessing the water resources for accelerating development in the NER
- Spelling out of actionable measures required for optimizing the management of water resources in the North-East.
- Chalking out a Plan of Action for dovetailing of the schemes/programmes of concerned Union Ministries, their attached offices and autonomous bodies as well as the schemes of the respective North-Eastern State Governments.
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.
2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The 2017 Nobel prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Jacques Dubochet (University of Lausanne, Switzerland) Joachim Frank (Columbia University, New York) and Richard Henderson (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, U.K.) “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution“.
What is cryo-electron microscopy?
“Cryo”, short for cryogenic refers to very low temperatures. Though the actual temperature is not well defined, it is below minus 150°C. In the context of electron microscopy, it refers to the fact that the object to be imaged is frozen to such low temperatures to facilitate being studied under the beam of the electron microscope.
This method is so effective that even in recent times, it has been used to image the elusive Zika virus: When researchers began to suspect that the Zika virus was causing the epidemic of brain-damaged newborns in Brazil, they turned to cryo-EM to visualise the virus. Over a few months, three dimensional (3D) images of the virus at atomic resolution were generated and researchers could start searching for potential targets for pharmaceuticals.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Infrastructure- waterways.
Vice president Venkaiah Naidu recently laid the foundation stone for the first phase of the 2,890-km National Waterway-4 (NW-4) at Amravati in Andhra Pradesh. The first phase involves development of a water channel from Muktyala to Vijayawada on Krishna river along with four floating terminals and three fixed terminals to handle cargo operations.
About National Waterway 4:
The inland waterway was declared National Waterway-4 in November, 2008 with a total length of 1,078 km. Under the National Waterway Act, 2016, this was increased to 2,890 km.
The NW-4 would be developed in three phases. In the first phase, the 82 km stretch from Muktyala to Vijayawada will be developed. This would be followed by the second phase where 233 km will be developed from Vijayawada to Kakinada and Rajahmundry to Polavaram on Godavari river. The third phase will connect Commamur canal, Buckingham canal and the balance stretches of river Krishna and Godavari across 573 km.
Importance of National Waterway 4:
The project will provide an efficient logistics solution to boost the economic growth of the region and facilitate the development of Amravati during its early development stage as substantial construction material is expected to be transported on this stretch. It will also improve connectivity to important tourist and pilgrimage spots.
Sources: the hindu.