Polity & Governance
- NFRA seeks client details from auditors
Bilateral & International Relations
- USCIRF, the Commission concerned over Citizenship Bill
- At top court, Myanmar urged to ‘stop genocide of own people’
Defence & Security Issues
- Nagaland extends Inner Line Permit to Dimapur
Science & Technology
- ISRO launches spy satellite RISAT-2BR1
- US Congress consents to designate India’s NAVIC as allied system
Key Facts for Prelims
- Odisha awarded ‘World Habitat Award’ for Jaga Mission
- International Seminar cum Exhibition on Naval weapon Systems – NAVARMS-19
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Polity & Governance
NFRA seeks client details from auditors
In an unprecedented move, the National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) has asked the country’s top audit firms to submit details of all clients and the audit findings related to them.
Why such move?
- NFRA is investigating auditing failures in some of the top companies recently.
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) used to carry out quality review of some accounts every year, but seldom was any firm slapped with a fine. NFRA in April had asked ICAI to back off from investigating auditors in the IL&FS case and took it over.
- NFRA, which has taken over all the powers from ICAI to regulate auditors, could make regulations stricter for the audit firms.
About National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA):
The National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) is a body proposed in Companies Act 2013 for the establishment and enforcement of accounting and auditing standards and oversight of the work of auditors.
- NFRA will have 15 members, including a chairperson and three full-time members. Besides, there would be a secretary.
- It would be an overarching watchdog for auditing profession and once set up, the current powers of the ICAI to act against erring chartered accountants will be vested with the new regulator.
- The NFRA will have powers to debar an erring auditor or auditing firm for up to ten years besides slapping heavy penalties.
- The jurisdiction of the NFRA will extends investigation of Chartered Accountants and their firms to all listed companies as well as large unlisted public companies. Government will prescribe thresholds in the rules.
- Government can also refer other entities for investigation where public interest is involved. However, inherent regulatory role of existing ICAI will continue in respect of its members and specifically to audits pertaining to private limited companies and public unlisted companies below threshold limit notified in rules.
- Further, ICAI will continue to play its advisory role with respect to accounting and auditing standards and policies by making its recommendations to NFRA.
NFRA and Quality Review Board (QRB):
- QRB will continue its quality audit in respect of private limited companies, public unlisted companies below prescribed threshold and also with respect to audit of companies delegated by NFRA.
Bilateral & International Relations
USCIRF, the Commission concerned over Citizenship Bill
Given the religion criterion (which specifically excludes Muslims) in Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended considering sanctions against the Home Minister and other principal leadership.
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
- The USCIRF is an advisory body, which advises the US Congress and the administration on issues pertaining to international religious freedom.
- It was created by The International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). IRFA shows US’s concern over violations of religious freedoms overseas.
- The freedom of religion or belief is an expansive right that includes the freedoms of thought and conscience, and is intertwined with the freedoms of expression, association, and assembly.
- To monitor the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad (Not in US) using international standards to do so.
- Make policy recommendations to the US President, Secretary of State, and Congress.
- Recommends countries that the Secretary of State should designate as “Countries of Particular Concern” for engaging in violations of religious freedom.
Past incidences criticized by USCIRF
- NRC in Assam: USCIRF said that National Register of Citizens (NRC) of India in Assam creates a negative and potentially dangerous climate for the Muslim community in northeastern India.
- Lynching of Tabrez Ansari: USCIRF condemned the murder of Tabrez Ansari, in which the perpetrators reportedly forced Ansari to say Hindu chants as they beat him.
- Denying Visa: In 2008, USCIRF urged the US government to deny a tourist visa to then Gujarat Chief Minister, who had been invited to attend a conference in New Jersey, due to allegations of his involvement in 2002 Gujarat riots.
At top court, Myanmar urged to ‘stop genocide of own people’
United Nations judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) must act to stop continuing genocide of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, Gambia’s justice minister said.
- The case comes after the Gambia filed an application at the ICJ, accusing Myanmar of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention over alleged mass killings of the Rohingya minority in 2017.
1948 Genocide Convention
- The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. It is in force since 1951.
- Polish-Jewish lawyer, Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term ‘genocide’, played a significant role in bringing Genocide convention.
- It was adopted in response to the atrocities committed during World War II, after which, UN recognised that genocide is an international crime.
- 152 countries have ratified or acceded to the treaty, including India.
Location of Gambia
- Located in Africa, Gambia surrounded on three sides by a nation called Senegal, and borders the Atlantic Ocean on its west.
- It is the smallest country on the African continent. It was named after Gambia River that flows through it.
About International Court of Justice:
- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).
- It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in 1946.
- The Court is located at Hague (Netherlands).
- Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).
- Its official languages are English and French.
- The President and Vice-President are elected by the Members of the Court every three years by secret ballot.
- The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ.
- The 15 judges of the Court are distributed as per the regions: three from Africa, two from Latin America and Caribbean, three from Asia, five from Western Europe and other states and two from Eastern Europe.
Role of the court:
- The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
- The Court has no jurisdiction to deal with applications from individuals, non-governmental organizations, corporations or any other private entity. It cannot provide them with legal advice or help them in their dealings with national authorities.
- ICJ is not a supreme court to which national courts can turn. It is not an appeal court for any international tribunal. It can, however, rule on the validity of arbitral awards.
Qualifications of ICJ judges:
- A judge should have a high moral character.
- A judge should fit to the qualifications of appointment of highest judicial officers as prescribed by their respective states or
- A judge should have recognized competence in international law.
- As stated in the UN Charter, all 193 UN members are automatically parties to the Court’s statute. Non-UN members may also become parties to the Court’s statute.
- Once a state is a party to the Court’s statute, it is entitled to participate in cases before the Court.
- However, being a party to the statute does not automatically give the Court jurisdiction over disputes involving those parties.
When and where are the elections held?
- Election of the judges is held in New York during the annual autumn season of the UN General Assembly.
- Judges elected after every three years start their term of office in February and the election for the President and the Vice-President takes place post-election of the one-third court.
Who nominates the ICJ judge candidates?
- Every country, party to the UN Charter, designates a group who propose candidates for the office of ICJ judges. This group includes four members/jurists of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
- Each group is limited to nominate four candidates, two of whom could be of their nationality.
How are the ICJ judges elected?
- The UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council vote at the same time separately. A judge is elected once it receives an absolute majority of the two organs due to which the voting takes place in several rounds.
Nature of judgements:
- Its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned.
What differentiates the ICJ from the International Criminal Court and the ad hoc international criminal tribunals?
- The International Court of Justice has no jurisdiction to try individuals accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity. As it is not a criminal court, it does not have a prosecutor able to initiate proceedings.
- This task of hearing proceedings of war crimes are done by national courts, the ad hoc criminal tribunals established by the United Nations (such as the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) to take over residual functions from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR)).
How does the International Court of Justice differ from other international courts?
- The ICJ differs from the Court of Justice of the European Union (based in Luxembourg), whose role is to interpret European Community legislation uniformly and also differ from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (in Costa Rica), which deal with allegations of violations of the human rights conventions under which they were set up.
- The jurisdiction of the ICJ is general and thereby differs from that of specialist international tribunals, such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
Defence & Security Issues
Nagaland extends Inner Line Permit to Dimapur
Nagaland government extended the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system to Dimapur, the commercial hub of the State. The decision makes it mandatory for “every non-indigenous person” who entered the Dimapur after November 21, 1979, to obtain an ILP within 90 days.
- Except Dimapur, the ILP has been applicable to the rest of Nagaland.
What is the Inner Line Permit (ILP)?
- The Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to grant inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period.
- Currently, the Inner Line Permit is operational in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
- It is obligatory for Indians residing outside those states to obtain permission prior to entering the protected areas.
- ILP is based on the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, which protected the British Crown’s interest in tea, oil and elephant trade. It prohibited “British subjects” or Indians from entering into these protected areas.
- It can be issued for travel purposes solely. Visitors are not allowed to purchase property in these regions. However, there might be a different set of rules for long term visitors, though they are not valid for central government employees and security forces.
- The document has been issued under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873and the conditions and restrictions vary from state to state.
Exemption from Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019
- Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, protected by the ILP requirement, have been exempted from the provisions of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act along with the Meghalaya, Mizoram and the tribal areas of Tripura and Assam as covered in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. (Except non-tribal areas in Assam and Tripura, the entire northeast has been exempted from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act).
- Residents of other States have to mandatorily obtain an ILP to visit the protected States. Key Facts
- As Dimapur district has a mixed population, it is also known as ‘Mini India’.
Science & Technology
ISRO launches spy satellite RISAT-2BR1
India launched its latest spy satellite, RISAT-2BR1, and nine foreign satellites through the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which is on its 50th mission.
- The other nine customer satellites of Israel, Italy, Japan and USA were launched under a commercial arrangement with New Space India Limited (NSIL).
- RISAT-2BR1 is a radar imaging earth observation satellite developed by ISRO.
- Apart from being used for military purposes, it has applications in fields such as agriculture and disaster management support.
- It has a mission life of five years.
- New Space India Limited (NSIL), a wholly owned Government of India undertaking/ Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), was launched in March 2019 under the Department of Space (DOS).
- It aims to commercially exploit the research and development work of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Centres and constituent units of DOS.
- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle was developed to launch Low Earth Orbit satellites into Polar and Sun Synchronous Orbit
Launchers of ISRO
- Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV)
- Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV)
- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
- Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)
- GSLV Mk III
- Sounding Rockets
- RLV-TD (Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator)
- Scramjet Engine – TD
Difference between PSLV and GSLV:
- India has two operational launchers- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
- GSLV was developed to launch the heavier INSAT class of geosynchronous satellites into orbit.
Classes of Orbit
- A geostationary orbit, often referred to as a GEO orbit, circles the Earth above the equator from west to east at a height of 36 000 km. As it follows the Earth’s rotation, GEO orbit appear to be ‘stationary’ over a fixed position.
- It is ideal orbit for telecommunications or for monitoring continent-wide weather patterns and environmental conditions.
Low Earth orbits
- A low Earth orbit is normally at an altitude of less than 1000 km and could be as low as 160 km above the Earth.
- These orbits are used for remote sensing, military purposes and for human spaceflight as they offer close proximity to the Earth’s surface for imaging and the short orbital periods allow for rapid revisits. The International Space Station is in low Earth orbit.
Medium low Earth orbit
- This orbit takes place at an altitude of around 1000 km and is particularly suited for constellations of satellites mainly used for telecommunications.
- Polar orbits pass over the Earth’s polar regions from north to south. The orbital track of the satellite does not have to cross the poles exactly for an orbit to be called polar.
- These orbits mainly take place at low altitudes of between 200 to 1000 km. Polar orbits are used for reconnaissance and Earth observation.
Sun synchronous orbits
- These are polar orbits which are synchronous with the Sun. A satellite in a sun synchronous orbit would usually be at an altitude of between 600 to 800 km.
- Generally these orbits are used for Earth observation, solar study, weather forecasting and reconnaissance, as ground observation is improved if the surface is always illuminated by the Sun at the same angle when viewed from the satellite.
US Congress consents to designate India’s NAVIC as allied system
The US Congress has consented to designate India’s NAVIC as its allied navigational satellite system along with the Galileo of the European Union and QZSS of Japan.
About Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)
- The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), with an operational name of NavIC, is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system, that provides accurate real-time positioning services.
- The system at-present consist of 7 satellites (3 in Geostationary Orbits and 4 in Geosynchronous orbit).
- It can provide accurate position information service to users in India and the region, extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary which is its Primary Service Area. It will provide a position accuracy of better than 20 m in the primary service area.
- An extended service area lies between the primary service area and a rectangle area enclosed by the 30th parallel south to the 50th parallel north and the 30th meridian east to the 130th meridian east.
- IRNSS is independent of India’s existing regional satnav system, GAGAN (GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation), built by ISRO in conjunction with the Airports Authority of India. GAGAN is primarily used by the commercial airline industry and by scientists studying the ionosphere.
- Since the average lifespan of the IRNSS satellites is 9.5 years for geostationary and 11 for geosynchronous, ISRO plans to build four more satellites as backup to be augmented to the existing constellation.
It will provide two types of services, namely,
- Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users
- Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorized users.
Important applications of NavIC (the IRNSS constellation) include:
- Terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation;
- Disaster management;
- Vehicle tracking and fleet management
- Precise timing (as for ATMs and power grids);
- Mapping and geodetic data capture
- Fisheries (fishermen can receive alerts related to bad weather and high waves)
- Resource Management (helps Government agencies to manage resources efficiently using Geo-tagging and Geo-fencing techniques. Alert messages are generated when there is a movement of object beyond permissible limits)
- Mapping and geodetic data capture (for terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers)
Is India the only country to have its positioning system?
- Several other countries have its own positions system. For example, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based radio navigation system that is owned by the United States.
- Apart from GPS, there is GLONASS of Russia, Galileo of the European Union and BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) of China.
Key Facts for Prelims
Odisha awarded ‘World Habitat Award’ for Jaga Mission
Odisha won the ‘World Habitat Award’, global recognition for its ambitious initiative — Jaga Mission.
World Habitat Award
- It is given by World Habitat, a UK-based organization, in partnership with United Nation (UN)-Habitat, every year.
- Two awards are given annually given to projects from the Global South as well as the North that provide sustainable solutions to current housing needs, which are capable of being transferred or adapted for use elsewhere.
- The World Habitat Awards were established in 1985 by the Building and Social Housing Foundation as part of its contribution to the United Nations’ International Year of Shelter for the Homeless in 1987.
United Nations Habitat/United Nations Human Settlements Programme
- The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the United Nations agency for human settlements.
- It is mandated by the UN in 1978 to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
- The main documents outlining the mandate of UN-Habitat are the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, Habitat Agenda, Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements and the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium (which recognises the circumstances of the world’s urban poor).
Initiatives of UN-Habitat
- Habitat UNI: It is the partnership between UN-Habitat and institutions of higher education, closing the gap between academia, urban practitioners and governments.
- World Urban Campaign: It is an advocacy platform for improving urban future.
- The City Prosperity Initiative: It aims to assist in the design of effective policy interventions. And helps to identify and report on the progress towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and the New Urban Agenda.
- Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission “JAGA” is a society under Housing & Urban Development Department, Government of Odisha.
- It aims at transforming the slums into liveable habitat with all necessary civic infrastructure and services at par with the better off areas within the same urban local body (ULB).
- Recently, this project was also awarded the ‘India Geospatial Excellence Award’ for technological innovation in transforming the lives of urban poor.
India Geospatial Award
- Geospatial Media and Communications, a Media company in Uttar Pradesh, has been conferring awards and recognitions for exemplary practices in the geospatial industry.
- The United Nations designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day. This year’s theme is “Frontier Technologies as an innovative tool to transform waste to wealth”.
- The United Nations has designated every 31st of October as World Cities Day. The Day is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization and addressing its challenges.
International Seminar cum Exhibition on Naval weapon Systems – NAVARMS-19
4th edition of International Seminar cum Exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems ‘NAVARMS-19’ with the theme “Make in India – Fight Category: Opportunities and Imperatives” was recently held at New Delhi.
- It was organized by the Directorate General of Naval Armament Inspection, Indian Navy in association with the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) & Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
- NAVARMS is the only international seminar and exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems conducted in India which invite all the stakeholders in life cycle management of Naval Weapons.
- In past, it was organized three times in 2007,2010 and 2013.
Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers
- The Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) is a not-for-profit association formed to be the apex body of the Indian defence industry.