Polity & Governance
- Govt. to set up sex offenders registry
- Joint parliament standing committee clears bankruptcy law
- Cabinet approves 200 mw solar project at Jetsar in Rajasthan
- MoU between IRDA of India and the Insurance Authority of United Arab Emirates
Environment & Ecology
- Study confirms existence of ancient Himalayan wolf in Nepal
- MoU between India and Papua New Guinea on cooperation in the field of health area and medical science
Defence & Security Issues
- BSF Installs Eight “Laser Walls” Along India-Pakistan Border
Science & Technology
- ‘Make in India’ not at cost of IPR: U.S.
- Saturn’s moon Titan has a methane sea
Polity & Governance
Govt. to set up sex offenders registry
In view of rising sexual crimes in the country, the government is planning to set up a sex offenders registry in the country, on the lines of those maintained in western countries including the U.S. and the U.K.
- Draft guidelines on the proposal to set up Sex Offenders Registry in India are under preparation in consultation with relevant Ministries/organisations, before they are put out for wider consultation with the State governments and the public.
What is sex offenders registry?
The sex offenders registry will be an online database of charge-sheeted sexual offenders in the entire country, which people can access through a Citizen Portal in the upcoming Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) project.
- Details of sexual offenders even below 18 years of age would be included in the database, which will be put up on the website of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Entry of details:
- The names and details of sexual offenders, both below and above 18 years of age would be put up only after they have been convicted and completed their sentence in jail. The details will not be included if the case are under trial and are in appeal in a higher court.
- According to the draft guidelines proposed, extensive information on the offender will be collected. This will include, inter-alia name and aliases, registration of primary or given name, nicknames, pseudonyms, telephone numbers, addresses including temporary lodging information, travel and immigration documents.
- Besides, the information on offenders to be collected for the Registry include those related to their jobs, professional licences, information of school, college, institute with which they have been associated, vehicle information, date of birth, criminal history, current photograph, fingerprints and palm prints, DNA sample, driver’s licence, identification card, PAN card number, Aadhaar card number and Voter ID number.
Significance of this registry:
- It would be a handy tool for the law enforcement agencies as well.
- It will instill fear in the minds of repeat sexual offenders and the public would be benefited from it.
Joint parliament standing committee clears bankruptcy law
The joint parliament standing committee has cleared the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Code and is likely to be discussed in the current budget session of parliament.
- The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2015.
- The SARFAESI (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest) Act and Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) Act have been amended to make the recovery process more efficient and expedient
The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget Speech 2015-16, had identified Bankruptcy Law Reform as a key priority for improving the ease of doing business and had announced that a comprehensive Bankruptcy Code, meeting global standards and providing necessary judicial capacity, will be brought in fiscal 2015-16.
- Accordingly, the Government had constituted the Bankruptcy Law Reform Committee to look into various Bankruptcy related issues and give its report along with a draft Bill on the subject to the Government.
About the Bankruptcy Bill:
- The proposed Bill aims for a complete renovation of the current insolvency and bankruptcy system in India, which will help streamline the procedure of revival of companies facing financial distress.
- It also aims to improve the ease of doing business and attract more investment in the country.
- The Bill proposes adherence to strict deadlines to decide whether to liquidate a sick company or not, wherein the decision to liquidate a company will have to be reached within 180 days.
- The Bill proposes the setting up of an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of Indiato regulate insolvency professionals and agencies. It also proposes the setting up of a fund dubbed the ‘Insolvency and Bankruptcy Fund of India’.
Significance of this Bill:
As of now, there is no single law that deals with insolvency and bankruptcy in India.
- The Code will help Indian firms to exit an ailing business while banks stand to gain as they can recover their dues in time.
- A number of provisions spread across various statutes have rendered the insolvency and bankruptcy-related process a legal entanglement significantly hindering the ease of doing business in the country.
The new Bill seeks to consolidate all of this into a single Code.[Ref: Hindu]
Cabinet approves 200 mw solar project at Jetsar in Rajasthan
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for utilisation of 400 hectares of un-cultivable farm land at the Central State Farm (CSF), Jetsar in Sri Ganganagar District, Rajasthan for setting up of a solar Power Plant of capacity exceeding 200 mw.
- The solar power plant will be set up by a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), which would be selected through negotiation.
- The project, by utilising un-cultivable land for a solar power project, will yield revenue for National Seeds Corporation (NSC) and will also generate clean energy for the nation.
MoU between IRDA of India and the Insurance Authority of United Arab Emirates
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the Insurance Authority of United Arab Emirates. The MoU was signed in February, 2016.
- The MoU provides for enhanced cooperation between the two authorities in the field of insurance supervisionby providing a framework for co-operation such as channels of communication.
- It will also result in increasing mutual understanding through the exchange of regulatory and relevant supervisory information including confidential information to enforce or ensure compliancewith their respective laws and regulations.
Environment & Ecology
Study confirms existence of ancient Himalayan wolf in Nepal
An international research team has now confirmed the existence of Himalayan wolf in Nepal’s largest protected area – the Annapurna Conservation Area.
- It has been listed as Critically Endangered in the National Red List.
Difference between Himalayan wolf and European wolf:
- When compared to the European wolf, Himalayan wolf stands out with its smaller size, unusually longer muzzle and stumpy legs.
- Another clearly distinctive feature is the white colouration around the throat, chest, belly and inner part of the limbs.
On the other hand, its characteristic woolly body fur has given the sub-species the common name ‘woolly wolf’.[Ref: ToI]
MoU between India and Papua New Guinea on cooperation in the field of health area and medical science
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Papua New Guinea on cooperation in the field of Healthcare and Medical Science.
- The bilateral MoU will encourage cooperation between the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of India and the Ministry of Health and HIV/AIDS of the Papua New Guinea through joint initiatives in the health sector.
- It will strengthen bilateral ties between India and Papua New Guinea.
Defence & Security Issues
BSF Installs Eight “Laser Walls” Along India-Pakistan Border
India’s Border Security Force (BSF) has announced that eight “laser walls” have been operationalized along the Punjab leg of the India-Pakistan international border.
BSF announced two years ago that it will be installing a total of 45 laser walls along the international border in the Punjab and Jammu regions.
What is laser walls?
Laser walls are infra-red and laser beam intrusion detection systems aimed at preventing cross border intrusion, specifically in areas where round the clock manned patrols or barbed wire installations are difficult to implement due to unfriendly terrain.[Ref: Hindu]
Science & Technology
‘Make in India’ not at cost of IPR: U.S.
The US Trade Representative’s annual Special 301 report, that identifies trade barriers to U.S. companies and products due to a foreign government’s intellectual property regime, has placed India on the Priority Watch List, the same as last year.
Key points of the report:
According to the report, India stays on the highest priority watch list due to lack of measurable improvements to its intellectual property legal framework, despite stepped up enforcement efforts.
- The report has identified many measures taken by the government as encouraging in terms of providing a better IP protection regime, but raised multiple concerns, particularly related to the potential erosion in IP standards due to its push for promoting domestic manufacturing.
- The U.S remains concerned particularly about actions and policies in India that appear to favour local manufacturing or Indian IPR owners.
About the Report:
- The report ranks countries depending on the inadequacy of IP protection and enforcement into two categories —
- Priority Foreign Country (PFC) and
- Priority Watch List (PWL).
- While a PFC grading obligates the US Trade Representative (USTR) to initiate unilateral measures like suspension of trade concessions in case of failure of negotiation, the PWL increases “bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.”
Overall, the agency has 11 countries on the “Priority Watch List”: Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
- The government of India, however, does not engage with this process as it considers it an infringement on the country’s sovereignty.
- India feels the categorisation is arbitrary and mostly a political decision, in order to reward or punish a target country.
Saturn’s moon Titan has a methane sea
Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft, orbiting Saturn and its moons since 2004, has confirmed that a huge sea on Saturn’s moon Titan is composed mostly of pure liquid methane.
- The sea, called Ligeia Mare, has a surface area of about 126,000 sq. kms. Cassini also found that the seabed may be covered in a sludge of carbon- and nitrogen-rich material, and its shores may be surrounded by wetlands.
- Methane, a compound made of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, exists as a gas on Earth. It becomes liquid only at -161.5 degrees Celsius.
- Saturn’s great distance from the Sun ensures that gases like methane exist as liquids there.