Polity & Governance
- Air passengers to get higher compensation for delays, baggage loss
- SEBI bans wilful defaulters from tapping capital market
- India collaborates with Japan on Andamans project
Environment & Ecology
- ‘Sundarban Moitry’: India-Bangladesh drill in Sundarbans
Also in News
- Stolen Indian antiques seized in U.S.
Polity & Governance
Air passengers to get higher compensation for delays, baggage loss
The ‘Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill, 2015’, has been passed by the parliament.
- It was cleared by the Lok Sabha in December 2015 and Rajya Sabha recently.
When the bill becomes an act:
- Once this bill gets the nod of the President and becomes an act, the law would require Indian carriers to pay compensation amount that is equivalent to the rates paid by their global counterparts.
- This bill would enhance compensation for air travellers in case of death, injury, lost baggage or even inordinate delay in flights.
- The legislation would allow the government to revise the liability limits of airlines in line with the Montreal Convention, which was acceded to by India in May 2009.
The Bill amends the Carriage by Air Act, 1972. The Act regulates carriage by air and gives effect to the Warsaw Convention, 1929, the Warsaw Convention as amended by the Hague Protocol, 1955, and the Montreal Convention, 1999.
- The Act also provides for application of the international rules to domestic travel, subject to exceptions and adaptations.
Financial provisions in the bill:
- The compensation in case of death in an air accident or injury will go up to around Rs.1.05 crore, up from the present Rs. 93 lakh. This amount will be computed on the basis of SDR (Special Drawing Rights). The currency value of the SDR is based on market exchange rates of a basket of major currencies – U.S. dollar, euro, Japanese yen and pound sterling. One SDR is equivalent to Rs. 93.
- The liability for flight delays will increase to Rs. 4.36 lakh from Rs. 3.86 lakh. In case of destruction, loss or inordinate delays in case of cargo carriage, the liability amount has been raised from Rs. 1,581 to Rs. 1,767.
- For destruction, loss, damage or delay of baggage, the domestic airlines will have to pay Rs. 1.05 lakh from the present Rs. 93,000.
About Montreal Convention:
The Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty adopted by a diplomatic meeting of ICAO member states in 1999.
- It amended important provisions of the Warsaw Convention‘s regime concerning compensation for the victims of air disasters.
- The Montreal Convention establishes airline liability in the case of death, injury or delay to passengers or in cases of delay, damage or loss of baggage and cargo.
- The Convention also provides for reviewing the limits of liability of the air carriers every five years.
- India acceded to the Montreal Convention in May 2009.
[Ref: Hindu, Wiki]
SEBI bans wilful defaulters from tapping capital market
In an attempt to tighten the regulatory framework, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has barred ‘wilful defaulters’ from accessing the capital market or acquiring another listed entity.
- This decision is based on Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulations which lay down safeguards to be exercised by banks to contain the financial activities of a wilful defaulter.
- The SEBI’s move has come at a time when banks have moved the Supreme Court against industrialist Vijay Mallya, who has been declared a wilful defaulter.
Restriction imposed on willful defaulter:
- SEBI has decided that if a listed entity or its promoter has been declared a wilful defaulter, it will not be allowed to make a public issue of equity shares, debt or any other convertible securities.
Who is a willful defaulter?
- The RBI defines a wilful defaulter as “an entity that defaults on its payment obligations even if it has the capacity to pay back debts.”
India collaborates with Japan on Andamans project
The governments of India and Japan are in talks to collaborate in future about upgrading civilian infrastructure in the strategically located Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The first project being discussed is a modest one — a 15-megawatt diesel power plant on South Andaman Island. However, the development signals a policy shift on the part of the Indian government, which has so far not allowed any foreign investments in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The project is also testimony to the unfolding relationship between India and Japan, which is also funding a $744 million road building project in the north-eastern Indian border regions of Mizoram, Assam and Meghalaya.
Partnership between India and Japan has matured over the years.
- Japan has become a considerable source of foreign investment for major infrastructure initiatives in India.
- Notably, Tokyo is partly underwriting the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which is among the largest infrastructure projects in the world.
- Moreover, India continues to be a major recipient of Japanese official development assistance (ODA) loans. Since 2010, Japanese ODA loan aid to India has been increasing every year.
Interesting facts about Andaman and Nicobar Islands:
- The Andaman and Nicobar chain is made up of 572 islands, all but 34 of them uninhabited, stretching around 756km north to south.
- Used as a penal colony by the British Empire, the island chain was occupied by Japan for three years during World War II, a period that older islanders recall with dread.
- Jawaharlal Nehru, a former prime minister of India, secured the archipelago for his country in the hurried distribution of property that accompanied the British withdrawal from the subcontinent, beating out bids by Australia and Pakistan.
Importance of these islands:
- The Indian archipelago is seen as a critical asset to check the Chinese from expanding into the Indian Ocean.
- The islands in the Andaman Islands have regularly been visited by submarines belonging to the People’s Republic of China, which caused India to step up its surveillance in the region.
- The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are northwest of the Strait of Malacca, offering control of a so-called choke point that is one of China’s greatest marine vulnerabilities.
Environment & Ecology
‘Sundarban Moitry’:India-Bangladesh drill in Sundarbans
A three day long joint exercise, the first of its kind, between Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Border Security Force (BSF) of India is underway in the Sundarbans border area.
- The exercise is titled ‘Sundarban Moitry’ (Sundarbans Alliance). This is the first time such an exercise is taking place between the two border forces.
Aim of the exercise:
The exercise aimed at four aspects-
- To assess the problems at the risky areas of the Sunderbans,
- Increasing patrolling in the area by both parties,
- Raiding suspicious cargo and trawlers on the Bangladesh-India sea transportation route jointly and
- Be aware of the forest camps of the partner country.
Importance of these exercises:
The exercise is held with the aim of finding better border managerial mechanisms for the two countries.
- Such exercises would help the forces understand each other properly and maintain a healthy relation at the border. These joint activities, especially in the Sundarbans area would contribute to the prevention of cross-border crimes and expand border security activities more effectively.
- The decision to hold the exercise in Sunderbans is also crucial as the riverine terrain poses a challenge for patrolling the borders. There are three floating border outposts deployed by the BSF in the Sunderbans, to maintain a vigil in the channel of rivers Kalindi, Ichhamati, Raimangal and Hariabhanga.
Also in News
Stolen Indian antiques seized in U.S.
Two stolen Indian statues that are more than 1,000 years old dating back to as early as the 8th Century were recently seized in the U.S.
- The artefacts made from sandstonewere recovered from the auction house following an international investigation with assistance from the Indian government and the Interpol.
- The artefacts are a buff sandstone statue of Rishabhanata, believed to be from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh belonging to the 10th Century A.D.
- It depicts the first Jain Tirthankara. The second artefact is a buff sandstone panel depicting Revanta, a rare representation of an equestrian deity and dates back to the 8th Century A.D.