Polity & Governance
- SC nod to laws of Bihar & Odisha to seize assets of bureaucrats
- Construction of TAPI gas pipeline project begins
- Give atomic regulator legal teeth: IAEA
Environment & Ecology
- RCE-Tirupati to focus on Eastern Ghats
Polity & Governance
SC nod to laws of Bihar & Odisha to seize assets of bureaucrats
The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of two laws of Bihar and Odisha which allow confiscation of properties of the accused in corruption cases, including those occupying high public or political office.
- Odisha Special Courts Act, 2006 and Bihar Special Courts Act, 2009, passed by the two state assemblies,
- Which allow setting up of special courts and confiscation of properties, saying the laws do not violate constitutional provisions?
- The establishment of Special Courts under these Acts were “not violative of Article 247 of the Constitution.
[Article 247 empowers the Parliament to provide for the establishment of any additional courts for the better administration of laws made by Parliament or of any existing laws with respect to a matter enumerated in the Union List.]
- The Chapter III of the both the Acts providing for confiscation of property or money or both, neither violates Article 14 nor Article 20(1) nor Article 21 of the Constitution.
- The provisions target the persons who have assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, which is conceptually a period offence and not incident specific where proof of corruption is required.
- SC has upheld these acts by saying that corruption becomes a national economic terror and this social calamity warrants a different control and hence, the legislature comes up with special legislation with stringent provisions.
[Courtesy: Business Standard]
Construction of TAPI gas pipeline project begins
The ground-breaking ceremony of the 1800-kilometre-long TAPI gas pipeline project was held in the ancient city of Mary, Turkmenistan. The function was attended by Vice President Hamid Anasri, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and leaders from Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
About TAPI project:
- The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI), also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline project.
- It is being developed by the Asian Development Bank.
- This 1800-kilometre-long pipeline will transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.
- The TAPI pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) gas for a 30-year period.
- India and Pakistan will get 38 mmscmd each, while the remaining 14 mmscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan.
- The project will be operational by December 2019.
[Courtesy: Business Standard, Wiki]
Give atomic regulator legal teeth: IAEA
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has suggested the government embed in law the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) as an independent regulatory body.
- IAEA team has recently visited India to review the country’s regulatory framework for nuclear safety.
- The agency recommended that the AERB review the implementation of its policies and existing arrangements to ensure its independence as a regulator.
- The IAEA report acknowledges that the AERB has functional independence as a regulator.
- The IAEA did not find any instances where de facto independence was compromised and it has suggested legal status be accorded to the AERB.
About International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
- The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957.
- Though established independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute, the IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
- It has currently 167 member states.
- The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
- The IAEA has two “Regional Safeguards Offices” which are located in Toronto, Canada, and in Tokyo, Japan.
- The IAEA and its former Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 7 October 2005.
- The IAEA’s current Director General is Yukiya Amano.
About Atomic Energy Regulatory Board:
- The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was constituted in 1983 by the President of India by exercising the powers conferred by the Atomic Energy Act to carry out certain regulatory and safety functions under the Act.
- The regulatory authority of AERB is derived from the rules and notifications promulgated under the Atomic Energy Act and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.The headquarters is in Mumbai.
- The Mission of the AERB is to ensure the use of ionising radiation and nuclear energy in India does not cause undue risk to the health of people and the environment.
[Courtesy: Business Standard, Wiki, AERB.gov.in]
Environment & Ecology
RCE-Tirupati to focus on Eastern Ghats
In a major boost to the sustainable development of the Eastern Ghats, with special focus on its fragile environment, the United Nations University has sanctioned a Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) to Tirupati.
- The RCE-Tirupati will be part of the Foundation for Environmentally Sustainable Development with Focus on health, education, awareness and livelihoods.
- The project was cleared by Ubuntu Alliance of twelve agencies, including the UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations University and the World Conservation Union (WCU).
- Ramamurthi Rallapalli, formerly Vice-Chancellor of Sri Venkateswara University, will be its Chairman.
- Out of the 127 RCEs spread across the globe, there are only five in India viz.,
- The RCE-Srinagar, working on western Himalayas,
- The RCE-Guwahati on Eastern Himalayas,
- The RCE-Chandigarh on wetland ecosystems,
- The RCE-TERI (Goa) on Youth empowerment and energy and
- The RCE-Kodagu (Karnataka) on traditional knowledge and tribal communities of Western Ghats.
- The RCE-Tirupati will work on a mix of features like Eastern Ghats, coastal communities, marine ecosystem and biodiversity.
- The RCE-Tirupati might in future cater to the extended region of central and northern Andhra Pradesh, besides Odisha.
RCE-Tirupati is special because of
- The influx of 50,000 people a day to Tirupati,
- The rich cultural diversity comprising artisans and artists,
- The presence of tribal communities,
- Marine biodiversity prone to storm surges and tidal waves,
- The Ramsar lake of Pulicat and the presence of Tsunami-hit region.
About Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE):
- In 2002, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution announcing the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD 2005-2014), based on the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
- In response to the UNDESD 2005-2014, the United Nations University (UNU) called for the development of regional networks for the promotion of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
- These networks address local sustainable development challenges through research and capacity development.
- This was the birth of Regional Centres of Expertise on ESD (RCEs).
- RCEs are acknowledged by the UNU based on recommendations of the Ubuntu Committee of Peers for the RCEs, which consists of signatories of the Ubuntu Declaration signed in 2002.
[Courtesy: The Hindu, Wiki]