November 15, 2017 @ 3:00 am


15th NOVEMBER 2017

  1. Doklam area(or Doko la; referred to as Donglang in China)
  • Region north of the tri-junction between Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan.
  • A disputed area between China and Bhutan.
  • has huge strategic significance for both India and China.
  • For Chinese to reach the China-Bhutan border posts, Doklam provides an easy way to construct their road, and they have been trying to do so and India has consistently objected to it.
  • Not very far from Doklam is the strategically important Chumbi Valley in the Tibetan region, to which Chinese are now planning to expand their rail connectivity.
  • The disputed area also provides, according to India perspective, a bigger buffer to its sensitive Chicken’s Neck, or the Siliguri Corridor, which is an extremely narrow stretch of land that connects the north-eastern region to the rest of India.
  1. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
  • It is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982.
  • It defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.
  • UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty.
  • UN has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention. There is, however, a role played by organizations such as the International Maritime Organization, the International Whaling Commission, and the International Seabed Authority (ISA). (The ISA was established by the UNCLOS.)
  • UNCLOS replaces the older ‘freedom of the seas’ concept, dating from the 17th century: national rights were limited to a specified belt of water extending from a nation’s coastlines, usually 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) (Three-mile limit).
  • The convention set the limit of various areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline.

1)     Internal waters: Covers all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline. The coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters.

2)     Territorial waters: Out to 12 nautical miles from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Vessels were given the right of innocent passage through any territorial waters. Nations can also temporarily suspend innocent passage in specific areas of their territorial seas, if doing so is essential for the protection of its security.

3)     Contiguous zone: Beyond the 12-nautical-mile limit, there is a further 12 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline limit, the contiguous zone, in which a state can continue to enforce laws in four specific areas: customs, taxation, immigration and pollution, if the infringement started within the state’s territory or territorial waters, or if this infringement is about to occur within the state’s territory or territorial waters.

4)     Exclusive economic zones (EEZs): These extend 200 nautical miles from the baseline. Within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources. In casual use, the term may include the territorial sea and even the continental shelf. Foreign nations have the freedom of navigation and overflight, subject to the regulation of the coastal states. Foreign states may also lay submarine pipes and cables.

5)     Continental shelf: It is defined as the natural prolongation of the land territory to the continental margin’s outer edge, or 200 nautical miles from the coastal state’s baseline, whichever is greater. A state’s continental shelf may exceed 200 nautical miles until the natural prolongation ends. However, it may never exceed 350 nautical miles. Coastal states have the right to harvest mineral and non-living material in the subsoil of its continental shelf, to the exclusion of others. Coastal states also have exclusive control over living resources “attached” to the continental shelf, but not to creatures living in the water column beyond the exclusive economic zone.

  • Also, UNCLOS creates an innovative legal regime for controlling mineral resource exploitation in deep seabed areas beyond national jurisdiction, through an International Seabed Authority and the Common heritage of mankind principle.
  1. Empowered Action Group (EAG) States
  • The government had constituted an Empowered Action Group (EAG) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare following 2001 census to stabilise population in eight states (called EAG states) that were lagging in containing population.
  •  As per the latest census, EAG states Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha have shown little improvement.
  • They cover over 45 per cent of India’s population.
  • They lag behind in the demographic transition and have the highest infant mortality rates in the country.
  • Neonatal mortality constitutes about 60% of the total infant mortality in India and is highest in the EAG states.
  1. Dengue
  • Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus.
  • Dengue is spread by several species of mosquito of the Aedes type, principally Aedes aegypti.
  • The virus has five different types; infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others.
  • Symptoms typically begin three to fourteen days after infection. This may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash.
  • Recovery generally takes two to seven days.
  • In a small proportion of cases, the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.
  1. Chilika lake
  • It is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India, at the mouth of the Daya Riverflowing into the Bay of Bengal.
  • Covering an area of over 1,100 km2, it is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia.
  • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent.
  • The lake is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals.
  • The lake is an ecosystem with large fishery resources. It sustains more than 1,50,000 fisher–folk living in 132 villages on the shore and islands.
  • In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
  • Around 152 rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins have also been reported.
  1. National Green Tribunal (NGT)
  • National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.
  • The Act provide for the establishment of a National Green Tribunal for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
  • The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
  • The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
  • The tribunal is mandated to make an endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
  • The tribunal shall consist of a full time chairperson, judicial members and expert members.
  • A judge of the Supreme Court of India or Chief Justice of High Court are eligible to be Chairperson or judicial member of the Tribunal. Even existing or retired judge of High Court is qualified to be appointed as a Judicial Member.
  • The Tribunal has Original Jurisdiction on matters of “substantial question relating to environment” (i.e. a community at large is affected, damage to public health at broader level) & “damage to environment due to specific activity” (such as pollution).
  • The Bill specifies that an application for dispute related to environment can be filed within six months only when first time dispute arose (provide tribunal can accept application after 60 days if it is satisfied that appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filling the application).
  1. Kamov-226T utility helicopters
  • India and Russia are in the final stages of concluding the deal to build Kamov-226T utility helicopters in India.
  • India and Russia have concluded an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 200 helicopters estimated to cost over $1 billion.
  • As per the deal, 60 helicopters will be imported from Russia and at least another 140 built in India by the HAL with technology transfer.
  • A Russian team is in India for technical discussions on the joint venture with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).
  • The India-Russia JV is between the HAL and Russia’s Rostec-JSC Rosoboronexport and Russian Helicopters.
  • The Kamov-226T helicopters are meant to replace the ageing and obsolete Cheetah and Chetak fleets of the Indian armed forces.
  • India and Russia intend to export the Kamov-226T to third countries after meeting the domestic requirement.
  1. M. Nagarajjudgment of 2006
  • A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the M. Nagaraj judgment of 2006 had decided that creamy layer should be excluded from the reservations for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs.
  1. UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik)
  • It is the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)
  • component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), 2016
  • to stimulate regional connectivity with flights covering distances up to 800 km through a market-based mechanism.
  • caps fares at Rs. 2500 per seat per hour.
  • 43 cities are expected to be mainstreamed on India’s flight connectivity grid.
  • Viability Gap Funding is provided by the government to bridge the gap between the cost of airline operations and expected revenue.
  • Five airlines – Alliance Air, SpiceJet, Turbo Megha, Air Odisha and Air Deccan – were awarded 128 routes under the scheme after a bidding process.
  • Air India’s subsidiary Alliance Air will be the first airline to start operating flights between Delhi and Shimla
  1. WPI
  • Wholesale Price Index (WPI) measures the average change in the prices of commodities for bulk sale at the level of early stage of transactions.
  • Office of Economic Advisor (OEA), Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry calculates the WPI.
  • The index basket of the WPI covers commodities falling under the three major groups namely Primary Articles, Fuel and Power and Manufactured products.
  • The prices tracked are ex- factory price for manufactured products, mandi price for agricultural commodities and ex-mines prices for minerals.
  • Weights given to each commodity covered in the WPI basket is based on the value of production adjusted for net imports.
  • WPI basket does not cover services.
  • The index basket has base year 2011-12 and has a total of 697 items. (new series)
  • In the new series of WPI, prices used for compilation do not include indirect taxes in order to remove impact of fiscal policy. This is in consonance with international practices and will make the new WPI conceptually closer to ‘Producer Price Index‘. A Producer Price Index reflects the change in average prices that producers get.
  • The exclusion of indirect taxes would also ensure the continuity and compatibility of new WPI series with Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • In India WPI is also known as the headline inflation rate.
  1. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016
  • It is bankruptcy law of India passed by Parliament which seeks to consolidate the existing framework by creating a single law for insolvency and bankruptcy resolution in a time bound manner for maximisation of value of assets.
  • The Act has come into force in August 2016
  • The Code seeks to repeal the Presidency Towns Insolvency Act, 19 Act, 1993 and Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Repeal Act, 2003, among others.
  • The Code outlines separate insolvency resolution processes for individuals, companies and partnership firms.
  • The process may be initiated by either the debtor or the creditors.
  • For companies, the completion of the insolvency resolution process will have to be completed in 180 days, which may be extended by 90 days, if a majority of the creditors agree.
  • The Code establishes the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, to oversee the insolvency proceedings in the country and regulate the entities registered under it.
  • The Board will have 10 members, including representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Law, and the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The insolvency process will be managed by licensed professionals. These professionals will also control the assets of the debtor during the insolvency process.
  • The Code proposes two separate tribunals to oversee the process of insolvency resolution, for individuals and companies:

(i)   The National Company Law Tribunal for Companies and Limited Liability Partnership firms; and

(ii)  The Debt Recovery Tribunal for individuals and partnerships.

  1. National E-Governance Services Ltd. (NeSL)
  • National E–Governance Services Limited (NeSL) has been registered by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) as an Information Utility (IU) as per the IBBI (Information Utilities) Regulations, 2017.
  • The registration will remain valid for a period of five years.
  • As an Information Utility, NeSL will be the repository of all lending and borrowing transactions of financial institutions in the country and will be accessible to registered users, which will be a big help for the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to make decisions in cases under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  1. WTO
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates international trade.
  • The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994,replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments.
  • The WTO is attempting to complete negotiations on the Doha Development Round, which was launched in 2001 with an explicit focus on developing countries.
  • The conflict between free trade on industrial goods and services but retention of protectionism on farm subsidies to domestic agricultural sector (requested by developed countries) and the substantiation of fair trade on agricultural products (requested by developing countries) remain the major obstacles.
  • This impasse has made it impossible to launch new WTO negotiations beyond the Doha Development Round. As a result, there have been an increasing number of bilateral free trade agreements between governments.
  • trade facilitation agreement, part of the Bali Package of decisions, was agreed by all members on 7 December 2013, the first comprehensive agreement in the organization’s history.
  • On 23 January 2017, the amendment to the WTO Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement marks the first time since the organization opened its doors in 1995 that WTO accords have been amended, and this change should secure for developing countries a legal pathway to access affordable medicines under WTO rules.
  1. Banglar Rasogolla
  • The Geographical Indication (GI) Registry and Intellectual Property India presented the Geographical Indication Tag status to Banglar Rasogolla of West Bengal
  • West Bengal was involved in a lengthy battle with Odisha, which too had claimed Rasogolla as its invention.
  • While West Bengal believes that the Rasogolla was invented in Calcutta by confectioner Nabin Chandra Das, Odisha says it was invented in the holy city of Puri in the 13th century.
  • West Bengal in its application had provided proof of origin — historical records dating back to 1896.
  1. Group of monuments at Mahabalipuram
  • It is a collection of 7th and 8th century religious monuments in the coastal beach resort town of Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • It is on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, about 60 kilometres south of Chennai.
  • The site has 40 ancient monuments and Hindu temples, including one of the largest open-air rock reliefs in the world, theDescent of the Ganges or Arjuna’s Penance.
  • The site includes several categories of monuments: ratha temples with an architecture of monolith processional chariots built between 630 and 668 CE; the mandapa viharas also called cave temples with narratives from the Mahabharata, Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism with inscriptions in multiple Indian languages and scripts; rock reliefs particularly bas-reliefsstone cut structural temples like the Shore Temple built between 695 and 722 CE; and, archaeological excavations some dated to 6th century and earlier.
  • The monuments were built during the Pallava Period.
  • They were referred to as Seven Pagodas in many colonial era publications, are also called the Mamallapuram temples or Mahabalipuram temples in contemporary literature.
  • The site was restored after 1960, and has been managed by the Archaeological Survey of India.
  1. Geographical Indication (GI)
  • A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country).
  • India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003.
  • GIs have been defined under Article 22(1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights(TRIPS) Agreement as: “Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.”
  • The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.
  • Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged product in India, in 2004-05, since then by May 2017, 295 had been added to the list.

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