Polity & Governance
- Supreme Court strikes down Punjab law on SYL canal
Bilateral & International Relations
- India, Japan ink ten agreements
- India signs landmark civil nuclear deal with Japan
- India slams World Bank process on Indus Treaty
- High Level Meeting of Interior Ministers of the Indian Ocean Region
Science & Technology
- China launches pulsar test satellite
Key Facts for Prelims
- 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit
Polity & Governance
Supreme Court strikes down Punjab law on SYL canal
The Supreme Court, referring to its 2006 Mullaperiyar dam judgment, has scrapped Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004 which unilaterally allows Punjab to stop sharing Ravi, Beas waters with other States.
- The SC bench gave its opinion on a Presidential Reference made by then President APJ Kalam in 2004 to the apex court under Article 143 (1) of the Constitution questioning the constitutional validity of the Act.
- The law unilaterally enacted by Punjab was illegally designed to terminate a 1981 agreement entered into among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to re-allocate waters of Ravi and Beas.
- By introducing the 2004 Act, Punjab defied two back-to-back apex court verdicts, pronounced in 2002 and 2004.
- Punjab exceeded its legislative power in proceeding to nullify the decree of this court and therefore.
- State Legislative Assembly cannot through legislation do an act in conflict with the judgment of the highest court which has attained finality.
Controversy over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal:
The Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement is among Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.
- The history of this dispute dates back to Partition. After the formation of India and Pakistan, both the countries signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 hence, settling for the unrestricted use of three rivers —Beas, Ravi and Sutlej.
- After the creation of Haryana from the old (undivided) Punjab in 1966, problems began to soar up as Punjab opposed to sharing the waters of the Ravi and Beas with Haryana, citing riparian principles, and arguing that it had no water to spare.
- The creation of Haryana from the old (undivided) Punjab in 1966 threw up the problem of giving Haryana its share of river waters.
- Punjab was opposed to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas with Haryana, citing riparian principles, and arguing that it had no water to spare.
- At an inter-state meeting convened by the central government in 1955, the total calculated flow (read water) of the Ravi and Beas — 15.85 million acre feet (MAF) — had been divided among Rajasthan (8 MAF), undivided Punjab (7.20 MAF) and Jammu and Kashmir (0.65 MAF)
- In March 1976, a decade after the Punjab Reorganisation Act was implemented, and even as Punjab continued to protest, the Centre issued a notification allocating to Haryana 3.5 MAF out of undivided Punjab’s 7.2 MAF.
- On December 31, 1981, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan entered into an agreement to share between them the waters of the Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj.
- The agreement also said the waters would be shared with Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir. It was agreed that Punjab would construct the Satluj-Yamuna Link canal in its state within two years.
- On April 6, 1982, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had made the first dig of SYL canal at Kapori village. Major portions of the SYL canal were even completed in the 1990s at a cost of over Rs 750 crore. However, the project never got completed.
- With the rise of terrorism in Punjab, the SYL canal became a sensitive issue and politicians started squabbling about water-sharing.
- However, the Supreme Court, in January 2002, directed Punjab to continue digging for the SYL canal and ordered it to make the canal functional within a year. Punjab sought a review of this order. The SC dismissed the review in March 2002.
Bilateral & International Relations
India, Japan ink ten agreements
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest visit to Japan, India and Japan signed have ten agreements to boost the bilateral cooperation between the two nations.
Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy: It provides for bilateral cooperation in the field of Nuclear Energy.
- It will help to strengthen of energy security of India, by facilitating development of nuclear power projects in India.
- It will also open up the door for collaboration between Indian and Japanese industries in our Civil Nuclear programme.
Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on the Manufacturing Skill Transfer Promotion Program:
- It envisages training 30,000 Indian youth in the Japanese styled manufacturing in the next 10 years.
- It will be achieved through programmes of Japan-India Institute for Manufacturing (JIM) and the Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) in select Engineering colleges.
- It will contribute to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’.
MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Outer Space:
- Signed between ISRO and JAXA. It provides for cooperation in planetary exploration, satellite navigation and space industry promotion, joint use of ground systems, joint missions and studies for mutual support and personnel exchange.
MoU on Mutual Collaboration in Marine and Earth Science and Technology:
- Signed between Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).
MoC in the Field of Agriculture and Food Related Industry:
- It seeks to deepen the bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture and food industries.
- It includes industries related to food value chain networking and protecting Geographical Indication (GI) of agriculture products.
MoU for Transport and Urban Development:
- It was signed between National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Limited and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation (JICA).
- It will enable cooperation for promoting investment in infrastructure projects in transportation and railways, port terminals, toll roads, logistics, airport terminals, urban development and any supporting industries for these sectors.
MoU in the Field of Textiles:
- It aims to improve quality of Indian Textiles for conformity assessment for Japanese market.
MOC in the Field of Cultural Exchange:
- It seeks to promote bilateral cooperation in the field of art & culture between both countries.
- It includes exchange of exhibitions & personnel in performing and visual arts, exchange of exhibitions and experts from museums, cooperation in preserving the cultural heritage and to promote people-to-people exchanges.
MoC on Cooperation in Sports:
- It seeks to provide a framework for bilateral cooperation in the field of Sports ahead of the forthcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
MOU between Gujarat and Hyogo Prefectural Government:
- It seeks to promote mutual cooperation between Hyogo and Gujarat in the fields of business, academics, cultural cooperation, disaster management and environmental protection.
India signs landmark civil nuclear deal with Japan
In a historic move, India and Japan have signed a bilateral Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement after years of negotiations.
- With this, India has become the first non-NPT country with which Japan has signed a Civil Nuclear Agreement.
- The civil nuclear agreement between the two countries was not realized so far manly because India did not fit into Japan’s ‘Hikaku San Gensoku’ or three non-nuclear principles.
- These principles adopted in a resolution by Japanese parliament provide that Japan would neither possess nor manufacture nuclear weapons, nor shall it permit their introduction into Japanese territory.
- Till now, India has also signed civil nuclear deal with 10 other countries viz. United States, Russia, South Korea, Mongolia, France, Namibia, Argentina, Canada, Kazakhstan, and Australia.
The talks for Civil Nuclear Agreement between the two countries had started when a joint statement in 2006 with joint statement by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
However, the discussions took five years to move to negotiation stage in 2010. The cause of delay was political opposition within Japan from anti-nuclear lobbies and media.
Significance of this agreement:
- The completion of the nuclear deal comes as the NSG is meeting in Vienna to discuss, among other issues, if non-NPT (nuclear non-proliferation Treaty) countries like India can enter this exclusive grouping. The India-Japan deal, according to experts, will have an impact.
India slams World Bank process on Indus Treaty
India has taken strong exception to what it calls the World Bank’s “inexplicable” decision to set up a Court of Arbitration.
- India has also denied to appoint a neutral expert to examine Pakistan’s complaint on two hydroelectric projects as part of a larger row over the Indus Waters Treaty.
What’s the issue?
- Under the Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan and also the World Bank in 1960, the World Bank has a specified role in the process of resolution of differences and disputes.
- While India had asked for a neutral expert to be appointed over Pakistan’s objections to the Kishenganga and Ratle dam projects first, Pakistan appealed directly for a Court of Arbitration (CoA) to be set up as it claims India has violated the 1960 Indus Water treaty.
- Kishenganga is a tributary of the river Jhelum and the project is coming up in Bandipora.
- Pakistan argues that the project cannot be built in a way that will divert the river tributary. Its case was rejected by a Court of Arbitration in 2013.
- The project is almost complete and was to be commissioned this month.
- Pakistan also has objections on the Ratle project on the river Chenab in Doda district; it wants the water storage capacity to be reduced drastically, saying that the project will reduce the river flow into Pakistan.
- As per the Indian government, both steps together are “legally untenable”.
- India has made it clear that it cannot be party to actions which are not in accordance with the Indus Waters Treaty. The government has said that it will examine further options and take steps accordingly.
High Level Meeting of Interior Ministers of the Indian Ocean Region
High Level Meeting of Interior Ministers of the Indian Ocean Region to Counter Drug Trafficking was recently held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- The high-level meeting in Colombo was attended by 18 littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region which included seven Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Interior/Home Affairs.
- The meeting was also attended by seven international organizations/partner agencies and UN agencies engaged in counter-narcotics initiatives in the region.
- The delegates resolved to work towards making the Indian Ocean a “Drug Free Zone”.
- The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Colombo declaration.
Highlights of the Colombo declaration:
- The declaration states that narcotic drug trafficking in the Indian Ocean poses a threat to peace and security in the region and its possible link to organized crime and funding of terrorism.
- It stresses upon the need for coastal states to cooperate more closely on enforcing maritime law, sharing information, and providing mutual legal assistance, including the expansion and development of communication through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC’s) Indian Ocean Prosecutors Network.
- The declaration also called on the littoral states of the Indian Ocean to meet on an annual basis within the framework of the Southern Route Partnership (SRP) of Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime (IOFMC) to assess and report on the drug trafficking threat in the Indian Ocean and develop a coordinated approach to counter such threats.
Science & Technology
China launches pulsar test satellite
China has launched a pulsar test satellite XPNAV-1 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.
- The satellite was carried by a Long March-11 rocket.
- It was the 239th flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket.
- The satellite and the rocket were designed by academies affiliated with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.
Highlights of the pulsar test satellite XPNAV-1:
- This X-ray pulsar navigation satellite weighs more than 200 kilogrammes.
- It operates in a Sun-synchronous orbit and will conduct in-orbit experiments using pulsar detectors to demonstrate new technologies.
- While in orbit, the satellite will undergo tests on its detector functions and space environment adaptability.
- The periodic X-ray signals emitted from pulsars will be used to determine the location of a spacecraft in deep space.
- The X-ray pulsar navigation will help reduce the spacecraft’s reliance on ground-based navigation methods and is expected to lead to autonomous spacecraft navigation in the future.
Key Facts for Prelims
2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit
- The 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum’s Leaders Summit will be held in Lima, Peru from November 19 to 20, 2016.
- The theme of the summit is “Quality Growth and Human Development”.
- The official logo is the architecture of the ancient city of Caral.
- It will be the second time Peru hosting to the APEC Summit, previously it had hosted the event in 2008.
- The 2016 summit will gather leaders from the world’s 21 most important member economies, as well as over 1,500 investors and entrepreneurs.