Current Affairs Analysis

10th January 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Curative Petition; Green Credit Scheme; Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020; Pravasi Bharatiya Divas; MoU between Andhra Pradesh and German firm on ZBNF; Nepalese language Seke on the verge of extinction; Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties; Sea Guardian 2020; International Naval event ‘MILAN’; Operation Sankalp; etc.
By IASToppers
January 24, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Curative Petition

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020

Economy

  • MoU between Andhra Pradesh and German firm on ZBNF

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Green Credit Scheme

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Nepalese language Seke on the verge of extinction
  • Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties

Defence & Security Issues

  • Sea Guardian 2020
  • International Naval event ‘MILAN’
  • Operation Sankalp

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

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Polity & Governance

Curative Petition

A five-judge Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana will examine (decide to either accept or reject) the curative petitions filed by two Nirbhaya gang-rape case convicts on Jan 14, 2020.

curative petition requirement

  • The petition comes on the ground that court has scheduled the execution of all the four convicts for January 22, at Tihar Jail.

What is Curative Petition?

  • It is guaranteed under Article 137 of Constitution of India i.e. powers of the Supreme Court to review of its own judgements and orders.
  • Such a petition needs to be filed within 30 days from the date of judgement or order.
  • Curative Plea is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court after the dismissal of a review petition.
  • It is generally decided in chamber and only in rare cases that such petitions are given an open-court hearing.

Origin:

  • The concept of Curative petition was evolved by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Rupa Ashok Hurra Case (2002) where the question was whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against the final judgement/order of the Supreme Court, after dismissal of a review petition.

curative-petition-1.jpg

  • The Supreme Court in the said case held that in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice, it may reconsider its judgements in exercise of its inherent powers. For this purpose, the Court has devised what has been termed as a “curative” petition.
  • It can be submitted under two grounds: one, that he was not heard by the court before the adverse judgment was passed, and two, that the judge was biased.
  • Its objective is to prevent violation of the principles of natural justice.

Conditions:

To entertain the curative petitions, the Supreme Court has laid down certain specific conditions:

  • The petitioner will have to establish that there was a genuine violation of principles of natural justice and fear of the bias of the judge and judgement that adversely affected him.
  • The petition shall state specifically that the grounds mentioned had been taken in the review petition and that it was dismissed by circulation.
  • The petition is to be sent to the three senior most judges and judges of the bench who passed the judgement affecting the petition, if available.
  • If the majority of the judges on the above bench agree that the matter needs hearing, then it would be sent to the same bench (as far as possible) and the court could impose “exemplary costs” to the petitioner if his plea lacks merit.

Key facts:

  • Article- 137 of the Constitution subjects to the provisions of the guidelines made under Article 145, by which it is clear that the Supreme Court has the ability to review any judgment declared by it.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020

The Union Cabinet has approved promulgation of Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 to amend the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 as well as the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

coal mining sector

  • The amendments are intended to open up new areas of growth in the coal & mining sector.

The amendments in the Acts would enable:

  • Enhancing the ease of doing business.
  • Democratization of coal mining sector by opening it up to anyone willing to invest.
  • Offering of unexplored and partially explored coal blocks for mining through prospecting license-cum-mining Lease (PL- cum-ML).
  • Promoting Foreign Direct Investment in the coal mining sector by removing the restrictions and eligibility criteria for participation.
  • Allowing of successful bidder/allottee to utilise mined coal in any of the plant of its subsidiary or holding company.
  • Attracting large investment in coal mining sector as restrictions of end use has been dropped.

Who regulates mining?

  • In India, the state (provincial) governments are the owners of minerals located within the boundary of the state concerned and the central government is the owner of the minerals under the ocean within the territorial waters or the exclusive economic zone of India.

mineral concessions

  • The state governments grant permission for mining, known as mineral concessions, for all the minerals located within the boundary of the state, under the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules, 1960.
  • For minerals specified in the First Schedule to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, Central government approval is necessary before granting the mineral concession.
  • To obtain mining license, an application has to be provided accompanied with the prescribed fee to the State Government concerned. It is the discretion of the concerned State Government either to grant or refuse to grant license or lease on the basis of grounds mentioned in the Act.
[Ref: Economic Times]

 

Economy

MoU between Andhra Pradesh and German firm on ZBNF

The Andhra Pradesh Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the representatives of a German firm, KFW, in Amaravati on Zero Budget Natural Farming.

Andhra Pradesh Government signs MoU with German firm KFW

  • The state government will spend Rs 304 crore on the project, which is aimed to cover 2.39 lakh farmers in around 600 village panchayats and promote natural farming with the assistance from the German firm.

What is Zero Budget Natural Farming?

  • Zero Budget Natural Farming is a method of farming where the cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero. This means that farmers need not purchase fertilizers and pesticides in order to ensure the healthy growth of crops.
  • It was originally promoted by agriculturist Subhash Palekar, who is promoting it since the mid-1990s as an alternative to the Green Revolution’s methods.

Pillars of ZBNF:

Zero Budget Natural Farming 2

  • Jeevamrutha: It is a mixture of fresh cow dung and aged cow urine (from indigenous cow breed of India), jaggery, pulse flour, water and soil; to be applied on farmland.
  • Bijamrita: It is a mixture of neem leaves & pulp, tobacco and green chilies prepared for insect and pest management and can be used to treat seeds.
  • Acchadana (Mulching): It is a method to protect topsoil from deep ploughing and not to destroy it by tilling.
  • Whapasa: The presence of both water and air molecules in soil reduces the need for irrigation and this condition is called Whapasa (moisture).

Key learnings from the ZBNF:

  • As plants only receive 1.5% to 2% of their nutrient requirements from soil; the remaining is absorbed through water and air. Given that 98% of the nutrients do not come from soil, using fertilizers is not necessary.

Zero-Budget-Natural-Farming-5

  • The micro-organisms that convert raw nutrients into easy-to-digest form have been destroyed by the use of poisonous chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides. They can be restored by conducting ZBNF.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY):

  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana is an elaborated component of Soil Health Management (SHM) of major project National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana

  • Government of India has been promoting organic farming in the country through the dedicated schemes of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) since 2015-16 and also through Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
  • In the revised guidelines of PKVY scheme during the year 2018, various organic farming models like Natural Farming, Rishi Farming, Vedic Farming, Cow Farming, Homa Farming, Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) have been included wherein flexibility is given to states to adopt any model of Organic Farming including ZBNF depending on farmer’s choice.
  • Under the RKVY scheme, organic farming/ natural farming project components are considered by the respective State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) according to their priority/ choice.
[Ref: The Hindu, Better India]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Green Credit Scheme

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has approved a Green Credit Scheme that allows “forests” to be traded as a commodity.

Forest Committee approves scheme to ‘trade’ in forests

Background:

  • This is not the first time that such a scheme has been mooted. In 2015, a ‘Green Credit Scheme’ for degraded forest land with public-private participation was recommended, but it was not approved by the Union Environment Minister, the final authority.

Provisions:

  • The scheme allows agencies like private companies, village forest communities etc. to identify land and begin growing plantations which after three years will be eligible to be considered as compensatory forest land if they met the Forest Department’s criteria.
  • An industry that needs forest land could approach these agencies and pay them for such forested land. This land will then be transferred to the forest department & recorded as the forest land.

Why this move?

  • In the current system an industry which wishes forest land for industrial purposes should find appropriate non forest land, equal to that which would be razed (cleared).
  • It also must pay the State Forest Department the current economic equivalent — called Net Present Value — of the forest land.
  • It’s then the Forest Department’s responsibility to grow appropriate vegetation on that, which over time would grow into forests.
  • If the scheme is implemented, the forest department will be allowed to outsource its responsibilities of reforesting to non-government agencies.
  • The move came as a relief to Industries, who have often complained that they find it hard to acquire appropriate non-forest land.
  • Also, nearly ₹50,000 crore had been collected by the Centre over decades, but the funds were unspent because states did not regrow forests.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations 

Nepalese language Seke on the verge of extinction

As reported the “near-extinct” Nepalese language Seke has just 700 speakers around the world and is on the verge of extinction.

Nepal’s Seke ‘near-extinct’ The six degrees of endangerment of a language

Seke Language:

  • According to the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA), Seke is one of the over 100 indigenous languages of Nepal and is mainly spoken in the five villages of Chuksang, Chaile, Gyakar, Tangbe and Tetang in the Upper Mustang district, Nepal.
  • The dominance of Nepali language in education and employment and migration of people from Seke speaking areas has reduced the intergenerational transmission of the language.

UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger:

  • It is intended to raise awareness about language endangerment and the need to safeguard the world’s linguistic diversity among policy-makers, speaker communities and the general public.

UNESCO-Atlas-of-the-Worlds-Languages-in-Danger.jpg

  • It is a tool to monitor the status of endangered languages and the trends in linguistic diversity at the global level.

UNESCO has six degrees of endangerment.

Nepal’s-Seke-‘near-extinct’-The-six-degrees-of-endangerment-of-a-language-1

  1. Safe: Languages spoken by all generations and their intergenerational transmission is uninterrupted.
  2. Vulnerable: Languages which are spoken by most children but may be restricted to certain domains.
  3. Definitely endangered: Languages which are no longer being learnt by children as their mother tongue.
  4. Severely endangered: Languages spoken by grandparents and older generations, and while the parent generation may understand it, they may not speak it with the children or among themselves.
  5. Critically endangered: Languages are those of which the youngest speakers are the grandparents or older family members who may speak the language partially or infrequently.
  6. Extinct: Languages which have no speakers left.

Stats by UNESCO:

  • Roughly 57 % of the world’s estimated 6,000 languages are safe, about 10 % are vulnerable, 10.7 % are definitely endangered, about 9 % are severely endangered, 9.6 % are critically endangered and about 3.8 % of all languages are extinct since 1950.
  • As per the Endangered Languages Project (ELP), there are roughly 201 endangered languages in India and about 70 in Nepal.
[Ref: Indian Express, The Hindu]

 

Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties

India has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) with 42 countries for cooperation in criminal matters.

MHA issues revised norms for mutual legal assistance treaties

Key facts:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is the nodal Ministry and the designated central authority for seeking and providing mutual legal assistance in criminal law matters.

Mutual-Legal-Assistance-Treaties-(MLAT)s

  • It is an agreement between two or more countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public or criminal laws.
  • Under the MLAT, a country can request for obtaining evidence for criminal investigations and prosecutions. The evidence includes witness statements or the service of documents among others.
  • The home ministry has taken steps to enhance and streamline the process of international mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and issued revised guidelines for the purpose.
  • The revised guidelines provide step-by-step guidance to the investigation agencies for drafting and processing letters or mutual legal assistance requests and service of summons, notices and other judicial documents.
  • The revised norms have come in the backdrop of recently tabled Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in the Parliament.
[Ref: Economic Times]

 

Defence & Security Issues

Sea Guardian 2020

Sea Guardians 2020 is the sixth edition of the bilateral naval exercise between China and Pakistan.

Pakistan and China launch joint naval drills. Should India be concerned

  • The nine-day exercise commenced on 6th January and being held in the Arabian Sea.
  • It will focus on “augmenting interoperability and strategic cooperation.”

Exercises between China and Pakistan:

  • Warrior: Series of joint land exercises
  • Shaheen: Series of joint air exercises.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

International Naval event ‘MILAN’

  • MILAN series is a biennial multilateral naval exercise which commenced in 1995.

MILAN stands for Multilateral Naval Exercise.

  • The City of Visakhapatnam is gearing up to host International Naval event ‘MILAN’ in March 2020.
  • MILAN 2020 is a multilateral naval exercise aimed to enhance professional interaction between friendly foreign navies and learn from each other’s strengths and best practices in the maritime domain.
  • The theme of the event is ‘Synergy across the Seas’.
  • As of now, of the 41 navies invited, confirmations from over 30 navies from South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe have been received towards their participation in MILAN 2020.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Operation Sankalp

In wake of the rising security concerns in the Middle East, Indian Navy is well prepared for maritime security and respond to any emergency situations for Indian sea vessels through its Operation Sankalp.

Operation Sankalpv Indian Navy commences maritime security operations for merchant vessels in Strait of Hormuz

  • On account of the deteriorating security situation in the Gulf region, post attacks on merchant ships in the Gulf of Oman in June, the Indian Navy had commenced maritime security operations, code named ‘Operation Sankalp’, in the Gulf Region on 19 June 2019 to ensure safe passage of Indian Flag Vessels transiting through the Strait of Hormuz.

Necessity:

  • Tensions in the Middle East are on the rise after the US killed Iran’s major general Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike on January 3.
  • The Strait of Hormuz is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean.

Operation Sankalp

  • The Traders fear Iran could disrupt cargo movements through the Strait of Hormuz, one of the three main chokepoints for Middle East oil shipments, which accounts for nearly one fifth of the world’s oil trade.
[Ref: Times Now]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

The 16th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas or NRI day was celebrated on 9th January 2020.

Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas 2020 1

About the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD):

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9th January every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India.
  • January 9 was chosen to celebrate PBD since on this day Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa in 1915.

Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas 2020 2

  • PBD is held every year since 2003 to provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government, Indian people and their roots for mutually beneficial activities.
  • These conventions are very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.
  • The individuals of exceptional merit are honoured with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award to appreciate their role in India’s growth. The event also provides a forum for discussing key issues concerning the Indian Diaspora.
[Ref: The Hindu, MEA]
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