Polity & Governance
- Expert Committee Setup to Review the Specific Relief Act, 1963
- Cabinet approves raising of 17 Indian Reserve Battalions by J&K and LWE States
- Centre forms group to monitor spread of Zika virus
- India gets more voting rights as IMF implements quota reforms
- Agartala, Aizawl get $80 mn ADB loan
- Train to Tehran winds along Silk Road into West Asia
Science & Technology
- India test fires Akash missiles
Polity & Governance
Expert Committee Setup to Review the Specific Relief Act, 1963
The Legislative Department in the Ministry of Law & Justice has constituted an expert committee to review the Specific Relief Act, 1963.
- The Specific Relief Act, 1963 provides for the law relating to certain kind of specific relief.
- The review of the Act will also ensure ease of doing business.
- The Specific Relief Act has not been amended since its inception.
- The Committee will have 05 members besides the Chairman. It will examine the Act and submit its report within three months.
The decision has been taken in view of tremendous developments that have taken place after 1963 and also in the context of present scenario involving contract based infrastructure development, public private partnerships and other public projects involving huge investments and enforceability of the contracts thereof.
About Specific Relief Act, 1963:
- The ‘Specific Relief Act 1963’ is an Act of the Parliament of India large number of remedial aspects of law. It came in the replacement of the earlier Act of 1877.
- Protection of life and property cannot be assured by a simple declaration of rights and duties. The enumeration of rights and duties must be supplemented by legal devices which help the individual to enforce his rights.
- The mission of the Specific Act is to assure that whenever there is a wrong there must be a remedy.
- The Act does not confer any Rights on itself. Specific relief is only provided for the violation of a legal right.
[Ref: BS, Wiki]
Cabinet approves raising of 17 Indian Reserve Battalions by J&K and LWE States
The Union Cabinet has approved the raising of 17 India Reserve Battalions (IR Bns) by Jammu & Kashmir and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected States.
- It includes five IR Bns in the state of J&K, four IR Bns in Chhattisgarh, three IR Bns in Jharkhand, three IR Bns in Odisha and two IR Bns in Maharashtra.
The major thrust in raising these 17 Bns. is as follows:
- Local youths will be recruited. To achieve this, the States will relax the age and educational criteria, if required.
- In respect of the 05 IR Bns to be raised by J&K, 60% of the vacancies will be filled from the border districts of J&K for the posts of constables and class IV.
- For LWE states, 75% of the vacancies of constables will be filled up from 27 core districts under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme.
About Indian Reserve Battalions:
- IRB or India Reserve Battalion are elite units sanctioned to States and union Territories which are equipped and trained to deal with specific situation and used in exceptional situation.
- The Government of India introduced the scheme of Indian Reserve Battalions in 1971.
- IRB recruitment is modelled on Central Police Force however states may conduct regional Recruitment.
- The Government of India has so far, sanctioned 153 IR Bns to various States.
- Main Tasks of IRB are:
- Cordoning and search operations
- Raid on a hostile hideouts
- Combing operations
- Reinforcing a patrol
- Counter ambush operations
- VIP/VVIP Security
- Training of State Police
Centre forms group to monitor spread of Zika virus
The Union government has set up a Technical Expert Group to suggest measures to deal with Zika virus.
- The government note emphasised an increased focus on prevention to control the spread of the Aedes mosquito that breeds in clean water.
- The Technical Expert Group has been set up in view of the recent outbreak of Zika Virus reported from Latin American countries.
- So far not a single case of the virus has been reported in India but government has strengthened its surveillance system and focusing on its preventives and preparedness strategies to tackle the spread of virus in the country.
About Zika virus:
- The Zika virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes. Aedes mosquito which transmits dengue also transmits Zika virus.
- It also transmit 3 other vector-borne diseases Chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever.
- It has been linked to brain defects in babies i.e. they born with abnormal condition called microcephaly which can cause brain damage.
- The Zika virus has been associated with inexplicable spike in Brazil, of babies being born with unusually-small heads.
- The virus has been detected in some people in the U.S. and the U.K. who have said they had travelled to South America.
- World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted that three to four million people may be infected with Zika virus in the Americas (South and North America). The outbreak has gone from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions.
India gets more voting rights as IMF implements quota reforms
International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) long-pending 2010 Quota and Governance Reforms have finally become effective.
- These proposed reforms are the biggest change in the governance of the IMF (lender of last resort) since it was established after World War II in 1945 after the Bretton Woods Conference.
- The proposed reforms gives boost the representation of emerging economies like India, China, Brazil, Russia and increases their power and greater say in IMF.
- India’s voting rights increased by 0.3% from the current 2.3% to 2.6%.
- China’s voting rights increased by 2.2% from current 3.8% to 6 %.
- These reforms shifted more than 6% of the quota shares to emerging and developing countries from the US and European countries. Russia and Brazil also have gained from the reforms.
- China will have the 3rd largest IMF quota and voting share after the US and Japan. While, India, Russia and Brazil will also be among the top 10 members of the IMF.
- The voting power and quota shares of the IMF’s poorest member countries will be protected.
- Under the reform, for the first time IMF’s Executive Board will consist entirely of elected Executive Directors and it ends the category of appointed Executive Directors.
- The combined quotas or the capital resources of IMF also have doubled due to reforms to $659 billion from current $329 billion.
- The doubling of quotas means that the shares (roles) of advanced European and Gulf countries have been reduced and that of emerging nations particularly China has been increased.
- The reforms were agreed upon by the 188 members of the IMF in 2010 in the aftermath of the global financial meltdown.
- However, there implementations were delayed due to the time taken by the US Congress to approve the changes. But, were finally approved by the US Congress in December 2015.
Agartala, Aizawl get $80 mn ADB loan
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed an $80 million loan agreement to continue improving infrastructure in two North Eastern State Capital cities i.e. Agartala and Aizwal.
- The loan is the third tranche of a $200 million financing facility under the North Eastern Region Capital cities Development Investment Program.
- The loan will be used for investments in water supply, solid waste management and sanitation in Agartala and Aizwal.
- The third tranche loan from ADB’s ordinary capital resources has a 20-year term.
- The Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the tranche 3 activities and overall program, which are both due for completion by June 2019.
- Previous program tranches have provided assistance to five other cities in the Northeast—Shillong (Meghalaya), Aizawl (Mizoram), Kohima (Nagaland), Gangtok (Sikkim) and Agartala (Tripura).
- Urban infrastructure and services in the northeast of the country are grossly inadequate and this third tranche loan will help Agartala and Aizwal improve and expand services, as well as strengthening the institutional, managerial, and financial capacity of service institutions.
- The loan will also support urban reforms, benefiting nearly a million people in the two cities.
- The loan will support further investments to increase access to sustainable and improved urban services.
- Aizawl and Agartala were selected for the third tranche based on their progress on reforms and implementation performance under earlier tranches.
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB), based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.
- Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.
Train to Tehran winds along Silk Road into West Asia
China has recently flagged of its first direct freight train to Iran from its trading hub of Yiwu, in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang.
- The new train is part of China’s ‘Silk Road’ plan to increase its influence in Eurasia through infrastructure development and economic exchanges with the countries in the region that are lacking in development but rich in natural resources and geopolitical importance.
- It will exit China through Alataw Pass in western China’s Xinjiang province, and then pass through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan before heading for the Iranian capital.
- The container train will cover a journey of 10,399 km in its maiden journey to West Asia in 14 days.
- Yiwu is already connected by trains that head for Duisburg in Germany and Madrid.
Science & Technology
India test fires Akash missiles
India test fired its indigenously-developed surface-to-air Akash missile as part of a user trial from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur.
- The missiles, with a strike range of 25 km and capability to carry warhead of 60 kg, were test fired.
- Akash is a medium range surface-to-air anti-aircraft defence system.
- It is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
- Akash is powered by Ramjet-rocket propulsion system which renders thrust for the missile to intercept the target at supersonic speed without any retardation.
- It can fly at supersonic speed ranging from Mach 2.8 to 3.5 and can engage aerial targets upto a range of approximately 25 km.
- Compared with the American MIM-104 Patriot, the surface-to-air missile system, Akash has the capability to neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles.