Current Affairs Analysis

17th September 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill 2020; Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Phytoplankton; Commission on the Status of Women; UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC); Commission on Population and Development (CPD); Article 239; Article 239AA; Sputnik V vaccine; Global Initiative to reduce Land Degradation; Adjournment motion; Committee for Rakhigarhi excavation; Mount Everest; Survey of India; Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana; Abraham Accord; Israel; UAE; Bahrain; Rajesh Pant Committee; Kosi Rail Mahasetu; Ranbir Singh Committee; etc.
By IASToppers
September 17, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Congress moves adjournment motion

Government Schemes & Policies

  • National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2020
  • Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020
  • Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill 2020
  • Telangana opposes amendments to Electricity Act
  • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana

Economy

  • Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill passed

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Global Initiative to reduce Land Degradation and Coral Reef program launched
  • Nepal and China are measuring the height of Mt Everest again
  • Monitoring trends in phytoplankton biomass in Bay of Bengal

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India wins three elections to key UN bodies
  • Abraham Accord

Indian History

  • re-ups panel to study ‘Indian culture’

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Sputnik V vaccine
  • Rajesh Pant Committee
  • Kosi Rail Mahasetu
  • Ranbir Singh Committee

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Polity & Governance

Congress moves adjournment motion

The Congress moved an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha over the “surveillance” of key Indian personalities, including the President and Prime Minister, by a firm linked to the Chinese government.

Adjournment motion

  • It is introduced in the Parliament to draw attention of the House to a definite matter of urgent public importance and needs the support of 50 members to be admitted.
  • As it interrupts the normal business of the House, it is regarded as an extraordinary device. It involves an element of censure against the government and hence Rajya Sabha is not permitted to make use of this device.
  • The discussion on an adjournment motion should last for not less than two hours and thirty minutes.
  • The right to move a motion for an adjournment of the business of the House is subject to the following restrictions:
    • It should raise a matter which is definite, factual, urgent and of public importance.
    • It should not cover more than one matter.
    • It should be restricted to a specific matter of recent occurrence and should not be framed in general terms.
    • It should not raise a question of privilege.
    • It should not revive discussion on a matter that has been discussed in the same session.
    • It should not deal with any matter that is under adjudication by court.
    • It should not raise any question that can be raised on a distinct motion.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Government Schemes & Policies

National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The Ministry of Home Affairs is likely to introduce a legislation in Parliament to amend a 1991 Act pertaining to the powers and function of the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor.

About the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • The Bill proposes to clearly spell out the functions of the Council of Ministers and the Lieutenant-Governor by giving more discretionary powers to the L-G.
  • L-G could act in his discretion in any matter that is beyond the purview of the powers of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi in matters related to the All India (Civil) Services and the Anti-Corruption Branch.
  • It will give the validity of any decision taken as per such discretion shall not be questioned to the L-G.

What is the 1991 Act?

  • The Union Territory of Delhi with a Legislative Assembly came into being in 1991 under Article 239AA of the Constitution inserted by 69th Amendment Act.
  • It said that the UT of Delhi shall be called the National Capital Territory of Delhi, and the administrator thereof appointed under Article 239 shall be designated as the Lieutenant-Governor.
  • According to Act, the Legislative Assembly of Delhi has the power to make laws in all matters except public order, police, and land.

Article 239- Administration of Union Territories:

  • Save as otherwise provided by Parliament by law, every Union territory shall be administered by the President acting, to such extent as he thinks fit, through an administrator to be appointed by him with such designation as he may specify.
  • Notwithstanding anything contained in Part VI of the constitution, the President may appoint the Governor of a State as the administrator of an adjoining Union territory, and where a Governor is so appointed, he shall exercise his functions as such administrator independently of his Council of Ministers.

Key fact:

  • In 2018, the Supreme Court had unanimously held that the L-G was bound by the “aid and advice” of the Delhi government and both had to work harmoniously with each other.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 passed in Lok Sabha

The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was among the three Bills the Centre moved in the Lok Sabha for consideration and passage on the second day of the Monsoon Session. It was meant to replace an ordinance issued by the government on the matter.

Key Features of the Bill

  • It amends:
    • the Salary, Allowances, and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 to reduce the salaries of MPs by 30%, and
    • the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Act, 1952, to reduce the sumptuary allowance of Ministers by 30%. 
  • The government also amended Rules notified under the 1954 Act to reduce certain allowances of MPs for one year.  These include constituency allowance and office expenses allowance.  
  • These changes have been made for a period of one year effective from April 1, 2020.  
  • These reductions are being made to supplement the financial resources of the centre to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Key Issues and Analysis

  • The Constitution empowers MPs to determine their salaries and allowances by passing a law.
  • Allowances of Indian MPs differs from that of national legislators in countries such as the UK and the US.  Indian MPs are provided housing, whereas British MPs are provided an allowance to rent a house and there is no such allowance in the US.  These countries provide office space which Indian MPs don’t get.  The allowance for hiring legislative assistants is significantly lower in India. 
  • The proposed reduction to MP salaries and allowances is likely to have a negligible impact on the financial resources needed to fight COVID-19.  
  • The reduction in salaries amounts to Rs 54 crore which is less than 0.001% of the special economic package (Rs 20 lakh crore) announced by the centre to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
[Ref: PRSIndia]

Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill 2020

The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill 2020 has been passed by Rajya Sabha recently.

Major Highlights:

  • This paves the way to establish a state-of-the-art Ayurvedic institution called the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA) at Jamnagar, Gujarat.
  • It will confer the status of Institution of National Importance (INI) to it.
  • The ITRA is sought to be established by conglomerating the presently existing Ayurveda institutes at Gujarat Ayurveda University campus Jamnagar.
  • This is a cluster of highly reputed institutions: (a) Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (b) Shree Gulab Kunverba Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya and (c) Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical sciences (d) Maharshi Patanjali Institute for Yoga Naturopathy Education & Research.

Significance:

  • It will provide autonomy to the institute to develop patterns of teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate education in Ayurveda and Pharmacy.
  • The synergies among different constituent institutions will help ITRA to demonstrate high standards of such education and to emerge as a lighthouse institution to the entire AYUSH Sector.
  • It is expected to provide the highest level of training of personnel in all important branches of Ayurveda including Pharmacy, and to take up in-depth study and research in the field of Ayurveda.
  • ITRA will be the first institution with INI status in the AYUSH Sector, and this will enable the institution to be independent and innovative in the matter deciding course content and pedagogy.
  • ITRA is poised to take Ayurveda education to new vistas.
[Ref: PIB]

Telangana opposes amendments to Electricity Act

The Telangana State Legislative Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 stating it is detrimental to State and farmers’ interests.

Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • The Central government has introduced the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 to amend various provisions in the Electricity Act 2003.
  • The amendment aims to address critical issues weakening the commercial and investment activities in the electricity sector of the country.

Key Objectives of the Bill:

  • Ensure consumer centricity
  • Promote Ease of Doing Business
  • Enhance sustainability of the power sector
  • Promote green power
  • Provide Central government more power to determine tariff and regulations.

Key Amendments in the Bill:

National Selection Committee:

  • Instead of separate Selection Committee (for the appointment of Chairperson and members of State Electricity Regulatory Commissions-SERCs), the bill proposed to set up a National Selection Committee.

Direct Benefit Transfer:

  • The bill proposed Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) which will be beneficial for both the State Governments and as well as Distribution Companies.

National Renewable Energy Policy:

  • India is a signatory to Paris Climate Agreement.
  • It is therefore proposed to have a separate policy for development and promotion of generation of electricity from renewable sources of energy.
  • The policy in the Bill prescribes a minimum percentage of purchase of electricity from renewable sources of production.
  • It also seeks to give special attention to hydro power.

Sustainability:

  • In the past, there have been issues of lazy attempts from the commissions in adopting the tariffs determined, causing cost escalation problem.
  • To address this problem, the Amendment prescribes a period of 60 days to adopt the determined tariffs.
  • Failing to do so would result in the tariff being deemed to be accepted.

Payment Security:

  • The Bill also proposes to empower Load Dispatch Centres to oversee the establishment of adequate payment security mechanisms before dispatch of electricity, as per contracts.
  • This has been proposed keeping in view the case of late payment of dues of generating and transmission companies which have reached unsustainable levels as they not only impair the finances of the Gencos and Transcos but also increase the Non-Performing Assets of the Banks.

Ease of Doing Business:

  • The Bill also proposed the establishment of Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority (ECEA), an Authority headed by a retired Judge of the High Court with powers to execute their orders as decree of a civil court.
  • The Authority will enforce performance of contracts related to purchase or sale or transmission of power between a generating company, distribution licensee or transmission licensee.

Subsidy:

  • The Bill proposes for the SERCs to reduce cross subsidies as per the provisions of the Tariff Policy.
  • It also proposed strengthening of the Appellate Tribunal by increasing the strength to at least seven to facilitate quick disposal of cases.

Objections:

  • The cost-reflective tariff has been a concern for states like Telangana which provide free electricity to the farming sector.
  • Formation of Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority (ECEA) has also been criticized as a move towards centralization of power.
  • It is feared that recognition of franchisees and sub-licensees might open the sector to private players.
[Ref: The Hindu; Times Now]

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana

The Union Cabinet approved the establishment of a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Darbhanga in Bihar under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana.

About Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana

The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003

Objectives:

  • Correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare
  • Augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.

PMSSY has two components: –

  • Setting up of AIIMS like Institutions
  • Upgradation of Government Medical College (GMC)/ Institutions.

The scheme is implemented in phases. And currently is the Phase V of implementation.

[Ref: Vikaspedia, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare]

Economy

Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill passed

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed in the Lok Sabha. The bill, moved by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, seeks to bring cooperative banks under the supervision of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Key Provisions of the Bill

  • The Bill amends the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.  The Act regulates the functioning of banks and provides details on various aspects such as licensing, management, and operations of banks.
  • The Bill replaces the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated on June 26, 2020. 
  • The Bill amends that the Act will not apply to:
  • (i) Primary agricultural credit societies and
  • (ii) Co-operative societies whose principal business is long term financing for agricultural development.  Further, these societies must not use the words ‘bank’, ‘banker’ or ‘banking’ in their name or in connection with their business, or act as an entity that clears cheques.
  • The Bill allows RBI to initiate a scheme for reconstruction or amalgamation without imposing a moratorium.  If a moratorium is imposed, in addition to the existing restrictions, the Bill adds that banks cannot grant any loans or make investments in any credit instruments during the moratorium.
  • The Bill states that no person will be entitled to demand payment towards surrender of shares issued to him by a co-operative bank.  Further a co-operative bank cannot withdraw or reduce its share capital, except as specified by the RBI.
  • the Board of Directors must have at least 51% of members with special knowledge or experience in areas such as accountancy, banking, economics or law.
  • The co-operative banks cannot employ as Chairman, someone who is insolvent or has been convicted of a crime.  
  • The Bill states that RBI may exempt a cooperative bank or a class of cooperative banks from certain provisions of the Act through notification. 
  • The Bill adds that in case of a co-operative bank registered with the Registrar of Co-operative Societies of a state, RBI may supersede the Board of Directors after consultation with the concerned state government.
  • The Bill omits certain provisions from the Act. One of them relates to a restriction on a co-operative bank from making loans or advances on the security of its own shares.
[Ref: The Indian Express]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Global Initiative to reduce Land Degradation and Coral Reef program launched

The Environment Ministerial Meeting (EMM) of the G20 countries took place on 16th September through video conferencing. The EMM G20 meet was chaired by Saudi Arabia

Key Highlights

  • The Minister highlighted the efforts made by National Coastal Mission Programme.
  • The Union Environment, Climate Change and Forest Minister launched Global Initiative to reduce Land Degradation and Coral Reef program on this occasion.
  • The Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation aims to strengthen the implementation of existing frameworks to prevent, halt, and reverse land degradation within G20 member.
  • The Global Coral Reef R&D Accelerator Platform is an innovative action-oriented initiative aimed at creating a global research and development (R&D) program to advance research, innovation and capacity building in all facets of coral reef conservation, restoration, and adaptation, and strengthen ongoing efforts.

Group of 20 towards climate change

  • G20 consists of 19 individual countries, including the US, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, Saudi, plus the European Union.
  • The Paris accord was adopted by 195 parties at the UN climate conference “COP 21” held in the French capital in 2015 with an aim to reduce the hazardous greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Nineteen members of the G20, except the US, have voiced their commitment to the full implementation of the deal.
  • The objective of the Paris Agreement is to prevent an increase in global average temperature and keep it well below 2 degrees Celsius.

National Coastal Mission Programme

  • The Government has envisaged establishing a National Coastal Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change.
  • NAPCC is a comprehensive action plan which outlines measures on climate change-related adaptation and mitigation while simultaneously advancing development.

Objectives

  • The Mission aims to address impact of climate change on coastal and marine ecosystems, infrastructure and communities in coastal areas through a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures.
  • Strengthening natural shields against extreme weather conditions to protect shorelines, adaptation, improved employment generation opportunities for coastal communities to reduce pressure on coastal and marine ecosystems.

Activities under the programme

  • Mangrove plantation
  • Shelter-belt plantation
  • Coral transplantation
  • Enhancement of livelihood security of the coastal communities
  • Pollution abatement in coastal areas
  • Capacity building
  • This project has been implemented in identified coastal stretches in Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal.

Key Facts

  • The government had launched Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project in 2010 to conserve, protect and manage coastal and marine ecosystems, pollution abatement and livelihood security of the coastal communities with the assistance of the World Bank
[Ref: PIB]

Nepal and China are measuring the height of Mt Everest again

Almost a year after China and Nepal together decided to re-measure the elevation of the world’s highest mountain, the two countries are soon expected to announce its latest official height.

About Mount Everest

  • Mount Everest  is Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas(between China and Nepal).
  • The China–Nepal border runs across its summit point.
  • Its current official elevation – 8,848m – places it more than 200m above the world’s second-highest mountain, K2, which is 8,611m tall and located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
  • The mountain gets its English name from Sir George Everest, a colonial-era geographer who served as the Surveyor General of India in the mid-19th century.
  • Everest was first scaled in 1953 by the Indian-Nepalese Tenzing Norgay and New Zealander Edmund Hillary.

About Survey of India

  • Survey of India is the National Survey and Mapping Organization of the India.
  • It isunder the Department of Science & Technology.
  • It the OLDEST SCIENTIFIC DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVT. OF INDIA.
  • It was set up in 1767.

Role of Survey of India

  • Survey of India has assigned role as the nation’s Principal Mapping Agency.
  • It bears a special responsibility to ensure that the country’s domain is explored and mapped suitably
  • Provide base maps for expeditious and integrated development.
  • Ensure that all resources contribute with their full measure to the progress, prosperity and security of our country now and for generations to come.

Its Vision

  • Survey of India takes a leadership role in providing user focused, cost effective, reliable and quality geospatial data, information and intelligence for meeting the needs of national security, sustainable national development, and new information markets.

 [Ref: The Indian Express]

Monitoring trends in phytoplankton biomass in Bay of Bengal

Researchers have discovered way to measure the quantity of chlorophyll-a in the Bay of Bengal in real-time.

  • The research was carried out by a team of scientists from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).
  • Chlorophyll-a is a dominant pigment found in phytoplankton cell and present in a few areas of the ocean.

What are Phytoplankton?

  • Derived from the Greek words phyto (plant) and plankton (made to wander or drift), phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that live in watery environments, both salty and fresh.
  • Some phytoplankton are bacteria and most are single-celled plants.
  • Phytoplankton contribute to more than half of the oxygen that we breathe.

Key Features:

  • Phytoplankton, aka microalgae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they contain chlorophyll and require sunlight in order to live and grow.
  • They are important ecological indicators that regulate life in ocean.
  • They have chlorophyll to capture sunlight, and use photosynthesis to turn it into chemical energy. They consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
  • Most phytoplankton are buoyant and float in the upper part of the ocean, where sunlight penetrates the water.
  • Phytoplankton also require inorganic nutrients such as nitrates, phosphates, and sulphur which they convert into proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
  • Some phytoplankton can fix nitrogen and can grow in areas where nitrate concentrations are low.
  • Ocean acidification is having a dangerous effect on phytoplankton, the largest source of the planet’s oxygen and the cornerstone of the marine food chain.

Bloom:

  • When conditions are right, phytoplankton populations can grow explosively, a phenomenon known as a bloom.
  • Blooms in the ocean may cover hundreds of square kilometers and are easily visible in satellite images.
  • A bloom may last several weeks, but the life span of any individual phytoplankton is rarely more than a few days.
  • In the aftermath of a massive bloom, dead phytoplankton sink to the ocean or lake floor.
  • The bacteria that decompose the phytoplankton deplete the oxygen in the water, suffocating animal life; the result is a dead zone.

Significance:

  • Phytoplankton are the foundation of the aquatic food web, the primary producers, feeding everything from microscopic, animal-like zooplankton to multi-ton whales.
  • Through photosynthesis, phytoplankton consume carbon dioxide on a scale equivalent to forests and other land plants.

Distribution:

  • While plankton are most abundant in surface waters, they live throughout the water column.
  • Oceanic areas adjacent to unproductive, arid land thus typically have abundant phytoplankton (e.g. eastern Atlantic Ocean, where trade winds bring dust from Sahara Desert in North Africa).
  • Phytoplankton thrive along coastlines and continental shelves, along the equator in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and in high-latitude areas.
  • Phytoplankton are abundant along upwelling zones along the equator and near coastlines.
  • They are scarce in remote oceans, where nutrient levels are low.
[Ref: Down To Earth]

Indian History

Govt re-ups panel to study ‘Indian culture’

A committee has been set up by the Ministry of Culture for conducting a holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12,000 years before present and its interface with other cultures of the world.

  • The committee is aimed to achieve the task in light of the findings of the Rakhigarhi, Haryana, excavations.
  • The committee consisting of 16-members chaired by K N Dikshit.
  • Earlier given the same mandate in 2016, the panel had failed to submit a report within its one-year deadline.

Key Facts on Rakhigarhi

  • Rakhigarhi is a village in Hisar District in Haryana.
  • It is located in the Ghaggar-Hakra river plain.
  • It is the largest city of Harappan civilisation in the Indian sub-continent.
  • Five interconnected mounds spread in a huge area form the Rakhigarhi’s unique site.
  • This site was excavated by Shri Amarendra Nath of Archeological Survey of India.
  • Objectives behind the excavation were to trace its beginnings and to study its gradual evolution from 6000 BCE to 2500 BCE.
  • In May 2012, the Global Heritage Fund declared Rakhigarhi one of the 10 most endangered heritage sites in Asia.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Bilateral & International Relations

India wins three elections to key UN bodies

India defeated China to enter the prestigious Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), a body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

  • India will be a member of the commission for four years from 2021.
  • India also won a seat each, through endorsements, to two other ECOSOC bodies — the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) and the Commission on Population and Development (CPD).

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW):

  • The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
  • A functional commission of the ECOSOC, it was established by the ECOSOC resolution 11(II) of June 21, 1946.
  • CSW has been described as the UN organ promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.
  • It evaluates progress towards gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.

Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC):

  • CPC is the main subsidiary organ of the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly for planning, programming and coordination.

Commission on Population and Development (CPD):

  • CPD is one of the ten Functional Commissions of the ECOSOC.
  • The Commission monitors, reviews and assesses the implementation of the Programme of Action at the regional, national and international levels.
  • It advises the Economic and Social Council on issues such as populations issues and trends, integrating population and development strategies, and on population and related development policies and programmes.

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC):

  • ECOSOC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.
  • It is responsible for coordinating the economic and social fields of the organization, specifically regarding the 15 specialised agencies, the eight functional commissions and the five regional commissions under its jurisdiction.
  • The Council serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system.
  • The Council consists of 54 Members States, which are elected yearly by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms.
  • Seats on the Council are allocated ensuring equitable geographic rotation among the United Nations regional groups.
  • The President of the Council is elected for a one-year term and chosen from the small- or mid-sized powers represented on the Council at the beginning of each new session.
  • The first president of ECOSOC was an Indian.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Abraham Accord

  • Recently, Israel, UAE and Bahrain have signed the Abraham Accord. The Abraham accord is the first Arab- Israeli peace deal in 26 years.

Background:

  • Israel had signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. But the UAE, along with most other Arab nations, did not recognise Israel. Thus, UAE which was formed in 1971 had no formal diplomatic or economic relations with Israel.
  • Under this peace agreement, Israel confirmed that it would not annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.
  • The UAE relied on white-collar Palestinians in creating its nation. Over time, it maintained its stance that Israel should allow the creation of a Palestinian state on land it seized in the 1967 war.
  • Israel and the Gulf Arab states began establishing tentative links after the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993.

Significance:

  • The accord seeks to normalize ties between the three countries. As per the accord, UAE and Bahrain will establish embassies, exchange ambassadors with Israel. Additionally, the two countries will also cooperate and work together with Israel across a range of sectors including tourism, trade, healthcare and security.
  • Muslims can visit theAl-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, considered to be the third holiest site in Islam.
  • The agreement is expected to lay a foundation for peace in the region. It would pave way for many countries like Oman, Sudan etc. to recognize Israel.

Reasons:

  • Israel and the two Arab states share common opposition against Iran, due to its aggressive policies in the region. 
  • The Gulf States see Israel as a rich trading partner with a high tech economy. Moreover, with the declining role of the United States in the region, Israel is seen as a hedge in the region.
  • Israel seeks to normalize its relations with countries in the region.  The deal will also help in countering pressure for the long-felt demand for a Palestinian state.

Benefits for India:

  • The deal is a step forward in ensuring the Gulf region remains a vital link to maintain India`s energy security.
  • The deal will help India improve defence and security relations with the UAE.
  • India is one of the few countries in the world to have good relations with almost all the countries in the Gulf Region. Since India also has good relations with Iran, India can play a role in the evolution of a regional security framework to ensure long-lasting peace in the region.
  • By choosing the right steps, the deal will help India gain greater influence in the region.

For more information, refer to IASToppers.com, 14th August 2020, Current Affairs Analysis.

[Ref: The Hindu, The Economic Times, IASToppers.com]

Key Facts for Prelims

Sputnik V vaccine

Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is piloting Russia’s Sputnik V candidate vaccine has partnered with the Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories to test and subject to regulatory approvals in India.

  • This agreement constitutes the second major international deal for supplying a potential vaccine after the agreement between British company AstraZeneca and the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII). 

About Sputnik V vaccine:

  • Russia becomes the first in the world to register a vaccine dubbed ‘Sputnik V’ against the novel coronavirus.
  • It has been developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
  • The Sputnik V vaccine became the world’s first registered vaccine against COVID-19 based on the human adenoviral vectors platform. 
[Ref: The Hindu]

Rajesh Pant Committee

  • The Government of India has set up an expert committee under by Lt Gen (retd) Rajesh Pant, the National Cyber Security Coordinator to evaluate the implications of the digital surveillance by Data Information Technology Co. Limited.
  • The committee is to submit its report in 30 days.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Kosi Rail Mahasetu

  • The Prime Minister dedicated to the nation the historic Kosi Rail Mahasetu (mega-bridge).
  • The Kosi Mega Bridge line project (1.9 km) was sanctioned by Government of India during 2003-04.
  • It will connect the region to the North East.
  • This bridge is of strategic importance along the India-Nepal border.

Ranbir Singh Committee:

  • A Committee has been constituted under the Chairpersonship of the Vice-Chancellor, National Law University, Ranbir Singh, to suggest reforms in the Criminal laws.
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