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Current Affairs Analysis

11th July 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC); Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuel (IROAF); Golden Peacock Awards; Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA); Separate State flag; Bottom-Trawling; UNESCO World Heritage Site; 2017 Malabar Exercise; Aaykar Setu
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
July 11, 2017

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Committee formed to study legalities for separate State flag
  • IROAF wins Golden Peacock Award for Eco Innovation for the year 2017
  • Ministries of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Merged

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India to join new global foreign exchange committee
  • Sri Lanka bans bottom-trawling
  • New sites get UNESCO heritage tag

Defence & Security Issues

  • 2017 Malabar Exercise

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Aaykar Setu

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Polity & Governance

Committee formed to study legalities for separate State flag

The Karnataka State government has constituted a nine-member committee headed by Principal Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture, to study and submit a report to the government on the possibility of “designing a separate flag for Karnataka and providing it a statutory standing.”

ias toppers separate State flag

Why this committee?

  • Recently, some activists had urged the government to design a separate flag for Kannada ‘naadu’ and accord statutory standing for that.

Are states permitted to have their own flags?

In S.R. Bommai v/s Union of India (Supreme Court 1994) case, the Supreme Court has declared that federalism is a basic feature of the Constitution and States are supreme in their sphere.

  • This being the Constitutional position, there is no prohibition in the Constitution for the State to have its own flag.
  • However, the manner in which the State flag is hoisted should not dishonour the national flag. It has to be always below the national flag.
  • The national flag code specifically authorises use of other flags subject to the regulation by the court. So, State flag is not unauthorised.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

IROAF wins Golden Peacock Award for Eco Innovation for the year 2017

Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuel (IROAF) has won the Golden Peacock Award for Eco Innovation for the year 2017.

ias toppers IROAF wins Golden Peacock Award

  • It was awarded for Eco-Innovation for substitution of fossil fuels (Diesel) by environment friendly CNG in DEMU passenger train services. Use of CNG in Train Sets for passenger transportation has been done for the first time in the world.

About IROAF:

ias toppers Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuel

  • IROAF is a unique organization in the Government space which was established by Ministry of Railways to explore new environment friendly fuels/ renewable energy and eco- friendly technologies like substitution of diesel with CNG/LNG in train sets, replacing acetylene/LPG by CNG/LNG for metal cutting in Railway Workshops, proliferating and promoting use of Bio-Diesel in Railway Locomotives etc.
  • The organization is a premier single window agency of Indian Railways to work as a knowledge base and explore and prove out new fuels and technologies for Indian Railways with a view to being down Indian Railways fuel bill and at the same time achieve a shift towards greener fuels / renewable energy sources for a sustainable future.

About the Golden Peacock Awards:

  • Golden Peacock Awards, instituted by the Institute Of Directors (IOD), India in 1991, are now regarded as a benchmark of Corporate Excellence worldwide.
  • Golden Peacock awards have become a hallmark of excellence, both locally & globally.
  • Based on internationally recognised criteria, the credibility of these awards lies in the transparency depth & impartiality of the assessment process.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Ministries of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Merged

The government has merged the ministries of urban development, and housing and urban poverty alleviation — involved in policy making in urban areas — to form the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).

  • With this merger, the government now has 51 ministries. In 2004, the number was 42.
  • The first government in independent India had just 17 ministries.

Significance:

  • The merger would help ensure cohesiveness in formulating policies related to urban issues and cut the flab in bureaucracy.

Background:

  • A panel of secretaries in February this year had recommended the merger of the two ministries to increase efficiency in governance.
  • It had recommended that the ministries of housing and urban poverty alleviation, and urban development be merged and that the pharmaceuticals and AYUSH ministries be brought under the health ministry.
[Ref: Times of India]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

India to join new global foreign exchange committee

India will soon join Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC), a newly-constituted forum of central bankers and experts working towards promotion of a robust and transparent foreign exchange (Forex) market.

ias-toppers-world-money

About the GFXC:

The Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC) was established in May 2017 as a forum bringing together central banks and private sector participants.

  • It was established with the aim to promote a robust, liquid, open, and appropriately transparent FX market in which a diverse set of participants, supported by resilient infrastructure, are able to confidently and effectively transact at competitive prices that reflect available information and in a manner that conforms to acceptable standards of behaviour.
  • The committee has been set up under guidance of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), an international financial organisation.
  • The newly expanded and formalised GFXC, replaces a similar but more informal organisation of eight FXCs from Australia, Euro area, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, UK and US.
  • It will now also include representatives from existing, or soon to be established FXCs or similar structures in China, India, Brazil, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland.

The objectives of the GFXC are:

  • To promote collaboration and communication among the local foreign exchange committees (FXCs) and non-GFXC jurisdictions with significant FX markets;
  • To exchange views on trends and developments in global FX markets, including on the structure and functioning of those markets, drawing on information gathered at the various FXCs; and
  • To promote, maintain and update on a regular basis the FX Global Code (the Code) and to consider good practices regarding effective mechanisms to support adherence.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Sri Lanka bans bottom-trawling

Sri Lanka has banned the destructive fishing practice of bottom-trawling in their waters, making violators liable for a fine of LKR 50,000 (approximately ₹20,000) and face two years imprisonment.

ias toppers bottom-trawling

  • In this regard, an Amendment to the country’s Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act was passed unanimously, in effect declaring the fishing method an offence.

Why the bottom trawling is banned?

ias-toppers-effects-of-bottom-trawling

  • Bottom trawling is a destructive fishing practice which affects the marine ecosystem.
  • The practice, which involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea floor, is known to cause great depletion of fishery resources, and curbing it is in the interest of sustainable fishing.

Background:

  • The development could directly impact a section of fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who engage in bottom-trawling and have often been found trespassing into Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

New sites get UNESCO heritage tag

The United Nations’ cultural agency has added 22 heritage treasures to its list of World Heritage sites.

ias toppers UNESCO heritage

  • The additions come as the agency meets in Poland for an 11-day session to nominate new locations in need of protection and reviews the status and well-being of existing designated sites.

New additions include:

  • Britain’s Lake District
  • The Baden-Wuerttemberg caves in Germany
  • The modernist architecture in Asmara — the capital city of Eritrea
  • The underground mines in Tarnowskie Gory in Poland,
  • The historic city of Yazd, in Iran
  • Japan’s sacred and restricted-access island of Okinoshima
  • Los Alerces National Park in Argentina
  • Turkey’s 3rd century B.C. Aphrodisias temple
  • The Valongo Wharf Archeological Site in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

About the UNESCO World Heritage Site:

  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance.
  • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.
  • Each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located and UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Defence & Security Issues

2017 Malabar Exercise

Navies of India, US and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force have begun Malabar naval exercise 2017.

ias-toppers-2017-Malabar-Exercise

  • It is the 21st edition of the Malabar exercise.

Key facts:

  • The primary aim of this multilateral exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the three navies and develop common understanding of procedures for Maritime Security Operations and deepen defence relations.
  • The exercise consists of both ashore and at-sea activities.
  • This year operations of the exercise include anti-submarine warfare, familiarization with inter-operability between maritime forces, search and rescue and seizure missions and many other drills.
  • One of the main goals of this edition of the exercise is “submarine-hunting”.
  • Malabar Exercise began as an Indo-US bilateral naval drill in 1992. Since then it is held annually. Japan had formally joined the exercise as a permanent participant in 2015.
  • In 2007, the exercise also saw participation of Australia and Singapore. All the participating nations in the exercise have clarified earlier that the Malabar series is not aimed at any specific country.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

Aaykar Setu

ias toppers Aaykar Setu

  • The Union Finance Ministry has launched Aaykar Setu, a new tax payer service module.
  • The new e-initiative literally means taxpayer’s bridge and will be available in android phones.
  • This e-initiative aims provide better taxpayer services and also help in reducing the direct physical interface between assesses and tax assessing authorities.
  • It will also help people link their 12-digit biometric identifier Aadhaar with PAN card.

 

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