Philippines-withdraws-from-ICC-ias
Current Affairs Analysis

14th March 2018 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Philippines withdraws from ICC; What is 80:20 gold scheme? International Criminal Court (ICC); What is the Rome Statute? The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018; Newton Bhabha Fund; Arsenic Contamination; 2017 Kochon Prize; Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR); The Delhi End TB Summit; World Hindi Secretariat (WHS); C-17 Globemaster; International Air Transport Association (IATA); Wings India 2018; Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Police Investigation; Tel Aviv; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
May 12, 2018

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Foreign law firms can’t practise in India, rules Supreme Court
  • Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Police Investigation instituted

Government Schemes & Policies

  • The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018
  • 80:20 gold scheme

Issues related to Health & Education

  • ICMR wins the 2017 Kochon Prize for TB research

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Newton-Bhabha Fund for arsenic research in Ganga basin

Bilateral & International Relations

  • IATA partners with Civil Aviation Ministry and National Aviation University
  • President Kovind inaugurates World Hindi Secretariat building in Mauritius
  • Philippines withdraws from ICC

Defence & Security Issues

  • C-17 Globemaster makes historic landing in Arunachal

Key Facts for Prelims

  • The Delhi End TB Summit
  • Location of Tel Aviv
  • Wings India 2018

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Polity & Governance

Foreign law firms can’t practise in India, rules Supreme Court

The Supreme court said that foreign law firms cannot set up offices in India but their lawyers could give legal advise on foreign laws.

Foreign-law-firms-can’t-practise-in-India-ias23

  • The ruling does not permit globalization of the legal sector as of now but it shifts the onus on Central Government to do so.

Foreign-law-firms-can’t-practise-in-India-ias

What is the SC Ruling?

  • The SC Ruling allowed casual visits by foreign lawyers on fly in and fly out (FIFO) basis for rendering legal advice to clients in India.
  • In this case, expression FIFO will only cover casual visit not amounting to ‘practice’ or for purpose of giving legal advice to clients in India regarding foreign law or their own system of law and on diverse international legal issues.
  • BCI or Central Government can make appropriate rules in this regard including extending the code of ethics being applicable to foreign lawyers and entities.
  • It also modified provisions of Advocates Act, 1961 for debarring foreign lawyers completely from conducting international commercial arbitration in country.
  • Similarly, it held that BPO companies providing services like word processing, transcription services, secretarial support and proof-reading services do not come within purview of Advocates Act, so are allowed to function from India.
[Ref: Live Mint, Business Standard]

 

Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Police Investigation instituted

The Union Government has approved proposal to institute Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Police Investigation.

Union-Home-Minister’s-Medal-for-Excellence-in-Police-Investigation-instituted-ias

Aim of the award:

  • The award aims to promote high professional standards of Investigation of Crime in State/UT Police and Central Investigating Agencies (CIAs) in the country.

About the award:

  • The names of awardees will be declared every year on 15th August. The awardees will get certificate signed by Union Home Minister along with medal and their names will be published in Gazette of India.

Eligibility:

  • Officers from rank of Sub-Inspector to Superintendent of Police will be eligible for this honour.

How will the awards be given?

  • Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) will invite nominations from States/UTs/CIAs based on recommendations from State-level Committee headed by ADG rank officer. These nominations will be processed by screening committee in BPR&D and approved by sanctioning committee in Home Ministry.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018

The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 ias

  • The Bill is based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and the Advisory Groups on Chit Funds set up by the central government.

The-Chit-Funds-(Amendment)-Bill,-2018

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The bill aims to streamline and strengthen the chit fund sector.
  • The Amendment Bill provides for allowing the mandatory presence of two subscribers, as required either in person or through video conferencing duly recorded by the foreman, while the bids are being opened.
  • It mandates video conferencing while the opening of bids and seeks to hike commission of foremen from 5% to 7%.

The Chit Funds Act, 1982:

  • The Chit Funds Act, 1982 was enacted to provide for the regulation of chit funds which are indigenous business in India and have conventionally satisfied the financial needs of low income households.
[Ref: PIB, The Hindu]

 

80:20 gold scheme

What is 80:20 gold scheme?

8020-gold-scheme-iastoppers

  • The 80:20 gold scheme was introduced in in August 2013 with the aim of curbing gold imports.
  • Under the scheme, up to 80% of gold imports could be sold in the country and while at least 20% of imports had to be exported before bringing in new consignments of the yellow metal.
  • Further, the permission to import the next lot given only upon fulfilment of the export mandate. The policy was aimed at tackling the widening fiscal deficit.
  • Later, the RBI relaxed the rules with the aim to facilitate gem and jewellery export, which had declined due to the import curbs. Following relaxation of the rules, private firms were allowed to import gold under the scheme.
  • In May 2014, the RBI had allowed certain premier export houses to import the gold subject to some restrictions. Under the earlier scheme, only state-owned entities were allowed to initially import the yellow metal. Later, the scheme was scrapped.

Why in news?

  • The government has announced that it will review the circumstances under which Premier Trading Houses (PTH) and Star Trading Houses (STH) allegedly earned windfall gains under the 20:80 gold import scheme implemented by the previous government.

What’s the issue?

  • The previous government had, in May 2014, allowed PTHs and STHs to import gold under the 20:80 scheme, which was earlier restricted only to banks and public sector enterprises. This, the government has said, resulted in these PTHs and STHs earning a ‘windfall gain’.
  • A CAG report published in 2016 found that the 80:20 scheme had resulted in a loss of Rs 1 lakh crore to the exchequer.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

ICMR wins the 2017 Kochon Prize for TB research

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was awarded 2017 Kochon Prize for building tradition of excellence in Tuberculosis (TB) research and development.

Kochon-Prize-2017-ias

About Kochon Prize:

  • The Kochon Prize is awarded annually by Stop TB Partnership to individuals and organizations that have made significant contribution to combating the disease.
  • The prize is endowed by Kochon Foundation, a non-profit foundation registered in South Korea. It consists of prize of US $65,000 award.

About Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR):

iastoppers Indian Council of Medical Research

  • The ICMR is India’s apex scientific body for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.
  • It was established in 1911 as Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA) making it one of the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world.
  • The ICMR functions under the Department of Health Research, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Newton-Bhabha Fund for arsenic research in Ganga basin

An India-UK Joint Team has won the Newton-Bhabha Fund for a project on Groundwater Arsenic Research in Ganga River Basin.

Newton-Bhabha-Fund

  • The team members involved with the project will try to assess how the problem of arsenic poisoning can get aggravated in the next 25 to 30 years and influence groundwater management practices and suggest water remedial technologies accordingly.

About the Newton Bhabha Fund:

  • The Newton Bhabha Fund, provided by the British Council, aims to bring together the UK and Indian scientific research and innovation sectors to find joint solutions to the challenges facing India in economic development and social welfare.

Arsenic Contamination:

arsenic-Ganges-Delta

  • Arsenic is natural component in the earth’s crust. It is widely distributed throughout the environment in the air, water and land. It is highly toxic in its inorganic form. Arsenic contaminated water used for drinking, irrigation of food crops and food preparation poses the greatest threat to public health from arsenic.
  • Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking-water and food can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning. It can cause cancer, skin lesions, developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes.
  • Arsenic Contamination is a high-profile problem in the Ganges Delta, due to the use of deep tubewells for water supply. The groundwater in these tube wells have high concentrations of arsenic in deeper levels.

Arsenic Contamination effects on human body

Remedies:

Technological options to combat arsenic menace, in groundwater, to ensure supply of arsenic free water, in the affected areas can be

  • In-situ remediation of arsenic from aquifer system,
  • Ex-situ remediation of arsenic from tapped groundwater by arsenic removal technologies,
  • Use of surface water source as an alternative to the contaminated groundwater source,
  • Tapping alternate safe aquifers for supply of arsenic free groundwater or combination of above techniques.
[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times, Business Standard]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

IATA partners with Civil Aviation Ministry and National Aviation University

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the National Aviation University to enhance human resource availability in India’s aviation industry.

International Air Transport Association ias

  • Under the agreement, the signatory institutions would also leverage “the existing infrastructure for training in India to expand the reach of vocational training in aviation disciplines”.

Background:

  • India is expected to be the third largest aviation market in the world behind China and the US by 2024, and is forecast to grow to a market size of 480 million passengers in 2036.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

  • IATA is trade association of the world’s airlines. It was established in April 1945 and is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with Executive Offices in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards. Its mission is to represent, lead and serve the airline industry.
  • It comprises 278 airlines, primarily major carriers, representing 117 countries under its ambit. IATA’s member airlines account for carrying approximately 83% of total aviation traffic across the world.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

President Kovind inaugurates World Hindi Secretariat building in Mauritius

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated World Hindi Secretariat building in Port Louis, Mauritius.

World-Hindi-Secretariat-iastoppers

About World Hindi Secretariat (WHS):

  • It is an international organisation representing countries and regions where Hindi is the first or customary language, where a significant proportion of the population consists of Hindi speakers or where there is a notable affiliation with North Indian culture.
  • The organisation was set up by the governments of India and Mauritius to promote Hindi across the world.
  • The main objective of the WHS is to promote Hindi as an international language and further its cause for recognition at the United Nations as an Official Language.

Location of Mauritius:

Mauritius ias map

  • Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent.
  • The country includes the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, 560 kilometres (350 mi) east of Mauritius, and the outer islands (Agaléga, St. Brandon and two disputed territories).
  • The islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues form part of the Mascarene Islands, along with nearby Réunion, a French overseas department.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Philippines withdraws from ICC

The Philippines is pulling out its support from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in protest against the “baseless” and “outrageous” attacks against the administration as well as violations of due process.

Philippines-withdraws-from-ICC-ias

  • The decision comes after the ICC said it could investigate Philippines President Duterte for alleged crimes against humanity involving extrajudicial killings resulting from his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Background:

  • The Hague-based ICC announced last month it was launching a “preliminary examination” of Duterte’s bloody anti-drug crackdown that has drawn international concern. Police say they have killed nearly 4,000 drug suspects as part of the campaign, while rights groups claim the toll is around three times the numbers given by authorities.

About the International Criminal Court (ICC):

ias-toppers-rome-statute

  • The ICC, set up in July 2002, is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands.
  • The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
  • Rome Statute, also called the ICC charter, is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).

What is the Rome Statute?

  • The Rome Statute is a founding document that establishes the rules of criminal proceedings in relation to matters that fall under the ICC’s competence.
  • The Rome Statute established four core international crimes:
  1. Genocide,
  2. Crimes against humanity,
  3. War crimes, and
  4. The crime of aggression.
  • Under the Rome Statute, the ICC can only investigate and prosecute the four core international crimes in situations where states are “unable” or “unwilling” to do so themselves.
  • The court has jurisdiction over crimes only if they are committed in the territory of a state party or if they are committed by a national of a state party; an exception to this rule is that the ICC may also have jurisdiction over crimes if its jurisdiction is authorized by the United Nations Security Council.

Location of Philippines:

Philippines-map-location

  • Philippines is a unitary sovereign and archipelagic country in Southeast Asia.
  • Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
  • Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.
  • The Philippines’ location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world’s greatest biodiversity.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Defence & Security Issues

C-17 Globemaster makes historic landing in Arunachal

The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) largest transport aircraft – C-17 Globemaster – has made a historic landing at Arunachal Pradesh’s Tuting Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) near the Chinese border.

C-17-Globemaster-India-ias

Background:

  • The landing of the aircraft is seen as part of the IAF’s move to strengthen its overall operations in the strategically important border state.

About C-17 Globemaster:

  • It is a US-manufactured aircraft named after two previous piston-engined military cargo aircraft, the Douglas C-74 Globemaster and the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II.
  • It is commonly used to perform strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world; additional roles include medical evacuation and airdrop duties.
  • They are operated in diverse terrain – from Himalayan air bases in North India at 13,000 ft to Indian Ocean bases in South India.
[Ref: The Hindu, Indian Express]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

The Delhi End TB Summit

Delhi End TB Summit 2018 ias

  • The Delhi End TB Summit was recently held in the national capital.
  • The Summit was co-hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, WHO South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) and Stop TB Partnership.
  • The Summit will continue the high-level dialogue that was started in Moscow last year during the Global Ministerial Conference to End TB.
  • It will set the stage for the September 2018 United Nations High-Level Meeting (HLM) on TB, where Heads of State are expected to commit to an ambitious plan of action to put the world on track to ending TB.

 

Location of Tel Aviv

Map-Israel-Tel-Aviv-ias

  • Tel Aviv is a city on Israel’s Mediterranean coast.
  • It is the second most populous city in Israel – after Jerusalem.
  • Tel Aviv’s White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world’s largest concentration of International Style buildings, including Bauhaus and other related modernist architectural styles.

Why in news?

  • Recently, Air India has launched New Delhi to Tel Aviv direct flight seeing growth in Indian travellers.

 

Wings India 2018

Wings-India-2018-iastoppers

  • It was international exhibition and conference on civil aviation sector recently hosted at the Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.
  • Its theme was ‘India – Global Aviation Hub’.
  • It was jointly organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India (AAI).
  • It hosted numerous conferences focusing on aviation policy issues and business aspects with eminent speakers, policy makers and experts.

 

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