Insights Daily Current Affairs, 06 November 2017
Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
UNESCO award for Srirangam temple
The Sri Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam has bagged an award of merit from Unesco for protecting and conserving cultural heritage, thus becoming the first temple from Tamil Nadu to grab the prestigious honour from the UN body.
- Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is the only religious centre in the whole of South India to bag the award in 2017.
- The famous Christ Church in Mumbai and Royal Bombay Opera House are the other historic Indian monuments that received the Award of Merit this year, in addition to the temple.
- The temple was lauded by the international body for undertaking renovation and beautification work worth over Rs 20 crore without harming its centuries-old heritage.
About the award:
Launched in 2000, Unesco Asia-Pacific awards for cultural heritage conservation programme is aimed at acknowledging the efforts taken to restore and conserve historical structures without affecting their heritage value in the region comprising 48 countries.
- The awards are classified under four categories — Award of Excellence, Awards of Distinction, Awards of Merit and Award for New Design in Heritage Context.
- They are being given to encourage the efforts of all stakeholders and the public in conserving and promoting monuments and religious institutes with rich heritage in the Asia-Pacific region.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Cauvery Tribunal Gets Six Months Extension
Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has extended the term of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal by six months upto May 02, 2018.
Why was CWDT constituted?
Cauvery is an inter‐State basin having its origin in Karnataka and flowing through Tamil Nadu and Puduchery before outfalling in Bay of Bengal. The sharing of waters of the Cauvery has been the source of a serious conflict between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The genesis of this conflict rests in two agreements in 1892 and 1924 between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and Kingdom of Mysore.
- In this regard, Government of India in June 1990 constituted the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) to adjudicate the water dispute regarding inter‐state river Cauvery and the river valley thereof among the States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.
Constitutional provisions on inter-state river water sharing:
River waters use / harnessing is included in states jurisdiction (entry 17 of state list, Schedule 7 of Indian Constitution). However, union government can make laws on regulation and development of inter-State rivers and river valleys when expedient in the public interest.
- Whenever the riparian states are not able to reach amicable agreements on their own in sharing of an interstate river waters, section 4 of The Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) provides dispute resolution process in the form of Tribunal.
- In case the constitutional rights of states are ingressed upon by the tribunal award in any manner, central government, for extending purview of its enactment to implement the tribunal order, is obliged to take the consent of all riparian states under Article 252 of the constitution before publishing the tribunal awards in the official gazette.
Powers of the tribunal:
Ambit: As per the Act, the tribunal shall not only adjudicate but also investigate the matters referred to it by the central government and forward a report setting out the facts with its decisions.
Verdict: When the tribunal final verdict issued based on the deliberations on the draft verdict is accepted by the central government and notified in the official gazette, the verdict becomes law and binding on the states for implementation. When pronounced in the ambit of IRWD Act, the tribunal’s verdict after its publication in the official gazette is equivalent to Supreme Court verdict as per section 6 of IRWD Act.
About IRWD Act:
The Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted under Article 262 of Constitution on the eve of reorganization of states on linguistic basis to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an interstate river or river valley.
- Article 262 of the Indian Constitution provides a role for the Central government in adjudicating conflicts surrounding inter-state rivers that arise among the state/regional governments.
- Recently, a permanent water dispute tribunal with its members from sitting judges of Supreme Court or High courts, is proposed to resolve the growing number of interstate river water disputes expeditiously.
Over the years, the Cauvery water dispute has influenced the politics of the region with political parties stirring emotions of people as the river has a deep cultural, economic and religious significance for them. This has now led to a situation where public opinion has become more rigid, making it difficult for political outfits to find a common ground.
Facts for Prelims:
Cauvery river originates in Talakaveri in Kodagu district of Karnataka. It flows 800 km in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and reaches the Bay of Bengal through Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery basin covers about 81155 sq km area. Out of this 43,856 sq km is in Tamil Nadu, 34,273 sq km in Karnataka, 2866 sq km in Kerala and 160 sq km in Puducherry.
Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Centre plans to set up more commercial courts
The Union government has proposed to establish commercial courts in districts to further improve the ease of doing business parameters.
Legal remedy to commercial disputes and enforcement of business contracts are parameters of the World Bank ranking. In terms of ease of enforcing contracts, India jumped from 172 to 164. Though the jump in the ranking sounds small, it is substantial given the diversities of laws in our country and the complex demography.
India’s performance has been varied within the legal framework. For example, the World Bank’s ranking marked “court system and proceedings in India” 4.5 out of a total of 5, but in management of cases, it was 1.5 out of 6. India also fared well in alternative dispute redress mechanism and scored 2.5 out of a total of 3 marks.
About commercial courts:
On January 1, 2016, the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, 2015 received Presidential assent.
It contemplates setting up commercial courts at the district level and commercial divisions and appellate divisions at the high court level. It seeks to completely transform the manner in which commercial cases are heard and tried in India.
Functions of various stakeholders: It stipulates various functions to be performed by three key players, namely state governments, chief justices of high courts and lawyers/litigants. All state governments have to ensure that adequate infrastructure is provided for commercial courts and commercial divisions so that modern methods like electronic filing and video conferencing can be implemented without delay.
Chief justices have huge responsibility in implementing this Act by setting up commercial courts in various districts and by designating or setting up commercial divisions in the high courts, which also need to issue practice directions to implement the provisions of this Act.
What is a commercial dispute?
A commercial dispute is defined to include any dispute related to transactions between merchants, bankers, financiers, traders, etc. Such transactions deal with mercantile documents, partnership agreements, intellectual property rights, insurance, etc.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: infrastructure- energy.
Postmen to collate data on homes still without electricity
The power ministry has engaged postmen for door-to-door survey to expedite the Saubhagya scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for complete household electrification by December 2018.
- India Post through its network 1.73 lakh outlets has begun collecting data on un-electrified households spread over three states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Similar initiatives are being launched in Assam and Jharkhand.
- The data for a total 1.75 lakh villages in the five states is likely to be submitted in a month. The data is being uploaded online through a web portal and a mobile application by the postmen called ‘Gram Dak Sewaks’ by the postal department.
- The web portal and the application have been created and are being monitored by staterun Rural Electrification Corp.
Why postmen have been chosen for this task?
India Post is the only organisation, which has permanent link with each and every household in the country. It has arrangements in place for delivery of mails to each of about 5.94 lakh inhabited villages in the country from the nearest post offices.
The data will help the Central government in speedy assessment of project reports that will be submitted by states seeking grant under the Saubhagya Scheme.
About Saubhagya Scheme:
The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana -Saubhagya- launched in September with over Rs 16,000 crore outlay for universal household electrification, will cover a total of 300 lakh households–250 lakh households in rural areas and 50 lakh in urban areas.
- As per scheme, the states will have to submit detailed project reports to the Centre. Projects would be sanctioned based on the detailed project reports to be submitted by the states.
Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
For year-round border security, India plans tunnels on China border
For year-round border security and ensure better connectivity along the entire Line of Actual Control, India is planning to construct tunnels on China border.
Benefits of tunnels:
- Land acquisition and forest clearance are relatively easier for tunnels.
- Tunnels reduce the operational cost of vehicles and reduce the need for deploying troops for security duties in sensitive areas.
- They help avoid situations where military posts remain cut off for six months due to snowfall or rain.
- Furthermore, the Himalayan ranges with its fragile geology has a history of earthquakes, landslides and avalanches.
Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Global watchdog FATF puts Pakistan on notice
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global anti- money laundering watchdog has put Pakistan on notice for terror financing.
- FATF has sought from Pakistan, notwithstanding opposition from China, a compliance report by February 2018 on action taken against terror groups such as LeT and JuD.
- FATF has asked Pakistan to do more to freeze assets of terror outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa.
The decision was taken at the recently held Buenos Aires plenary of the FATF, where India raised the issue of Pakistan’s support for terror group at the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) meet. Terror financing was a key theme at the FATF meet in the Argentine capital.
What is it?
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7. It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.
The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
What it does?
The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally. In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.
Facts for Prelims:
- “Quadrilateral” grouping:
Context: India has accepted an invitation to join the Japan-proposed, U.S.-endorsed plan for a “Quadrilateral” grouping including Australia.
What is it for? The quadrilateral arrangement, including US, Japan, Australia and India, aims to be a grouping of countries all looking to balance China, using an international rules-based order to counter China’s aggressive power play. The grouping also aims to provide alternative debt financing for countries in the Indo-Pacific.
- National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA):
Context: Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA) is taking steps to set up National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA).
What is it? It is an independent body to test check financial statements, prescribe accounting standards and take disciplinary action against errant professionals. The Companies Act 2013 provides for setting up a National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA).
- Paradise papers:
What are they? They are a trove of 13.4 million corporate records, primarily from Bermuda firm Appleby, as well as from Singapore-based Asiaciti Trust and corporate registries maintained by governments in 19 secrecy jurisdictions, often referred to as “tax paradises”. They reveal tracks of veiled offshore financial activities.