Polity & Governance
- ‘Carriage by Air’ amendment bill gets Rajya Sabha nod
- Government nod for UDAY bonds
- India at 90th rank in terms of energy security, access: WEF
Environment & Ecology
- New frog species found in Biligiri
Art & Culture
- Kondane cave art depicts myth and daily life
Polity & Governance
‘Carriage by Air’ amendment bill gets Rajya Sabha nod
The ‘Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill, 2015’, was passed by the Upper House i.e. Rajya Sabha.
Highlights of the Bill:
- 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.
- 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. It also provides for the central government to make rules to carry out provisions of the Act.
- The bill would enhance compensation for air travellers in case of death, injury, lost baggage or even inordinate delay in flights.
- Once the legislation is implemented, Indian airlines would be required to pay compensation amount that is equivalent to the rates paid by their global counterparts.
About Montreal Convention:
- 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. The Bill seeks to amend the Act to adhere to the revised limits of liability.
[Ref: BS, PRSIndia]
Government nod for UDAY bonds
The Finance Ministry has approved the issuance of Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) bonds by four states.
- The four states are Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh.
- Manipur and Tripura have also agreed to join UDAY. This takes the total number of states that have agreed to join UDAY to 16.
- So far, six states have signed the UDAY contract.
About the UDAY Bonds:
- State governments can take over 75 per cent of discom debt and pay back lenders by issuing bonds. The scheme provides for the remaining 25 per cent of the debt to be paid back through discom-issued bonds.
Total discom debt in the country amounts to Rs.4.3 lakh crore.
India at 90th rank in terms of energy security, access: WEF
India has been ranked at the 90th place in a list of 126 countries compiled by World Economic Forum (WEF) on the basis of their ability to deliver secure, affordable and sustainable energy.
About the index:
The latest Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report, explored the energy architecture of 126 countries based on their ability to provide energy access across three dimensions of the “energy triangle” — affordability, environmental sustainability, security and access.
- Among the BRIC nations, Brazil was the top performer as it was ranked at the 25th place, followed by Russia (52nd), India (90th), China (94).
- Meanwhile, major global economies continued to perform “less well” on the index with the exception of France which was placed at the 4th place.
- Among other major economies Germany was ranked at the 24th place, while the United States was at the 48th rank and Japan was at the 50th rank.
Key findings of the report:
- Regarding India, the report notes that India is facing a vast array of challenges in the power sector in order to meet its growth targets. Nevertheless, electrification appears to have progressed.
- The proportion of the population covered having grown over the past six years by 4 percentage points to 79 per cent. The need to become more energy-efficient, more diverse and less carbon—intensive is especially acute for major emerging economies, making it critical to progress with government responses to these pressures through energy reform.
- The report also says that large emerging economies are pressed both by the need to support economic growth and build resilient and sustainable energy architecture.
- World energy production and imports rose by 3,200 million tonnes of oil equivalent over the last decade, driven by the boom in the Asian economies and led by China and India.
- As per IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015, by 2040, China’s net oil imports will be nearly five times those of the United States, while India’s will easily exceed those of the EU.
Environment & Ecology
New frog species found in Biligiri
Scientists have found a new species of bush frog in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Tiger reserve.
- The frog is named Honnametti bush frog(scientific name: Raorchestes honnametti ).
- The species discovered is acryptic bush frog — that is, it resembles another species of Seshachar’s bush frog (Raorchestes charius ).
- The discovery makes it the first such cryptic species to be found in the Western Ghats.
- This discovery can lead scientists to understanding the evolutionary history of such species.
About Biligiri Rangaswamy Tiger reserve:
The Biligirirangana Hills commonly called B R Hills, is a hill range situated in south-eastern Karnataka, at its border with Tamil Nadu in South India.
- The area is called Biligiriranganatha Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuaryor simply BRT Wildlife Sanctuary.
- It is a protected reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
- Being at the confluence of the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, the sanctuary is home to eco-systems that are unique to both the mountain ranges.
- The site was declared a tiger reserve in January 2011 by the Karnataka government, a few months after approval from India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority.
[Ref: Hindu, Wiki]
Art & Culture
Kondane cave art depicts myth and daily life
Archaeologists have discovered around 40 rock paintings in Kondane caves in Raigarh district in Maharashtra.
- These paintings include a hunter standing with a bow and arrow, a Barasingh, footprints, palm impressions and some trees.
- The images were found in both natural caverns and man-made caves.
- The man-made caves also feature Buddhist architecture such as a ‘chaitya’ and a monastery. [A chaitya is a Buddhist prayer hall with a stupa at one end. A vihara is a monastery.]
- The Buddhist rock-cut architecture found in these caves belongs to the Hinayana phase of Buddhism.
- A striking image found was that of a mythical figure, perhaps a demon. Other paintings reflected everyday life and occupations such as hunting deer.