Quit-India-movement-paintings-iastoppers-2020
Current Affair Analysis

8th August 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

77th anniversary of Quit India movement; Contributions of Vikram Sarabhai; Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award in Space Science, Technology and Research; United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019; United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); Difference Between UNRWA and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements (UNISA); Procedure of an appointment of Supreme Court judges; Draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF); Amendment in Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934; Monetary Policy Framework; Instruments of Monetary Policy; International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
August 08, 2019

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Rajya Sabha approves increasing strength of Supreme Court judges

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Parliament passes bill for speedy eviction from govt accommodations

Social Issues              

  • Four in 10 indigenous languages at risk of disappearing, warn UN human rights

Economy

  • Why RBI’s monetary policy matters

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Centre unveils plan for coastal zone management

Bilateral & International Relations

  • UNIDO and National Institute of Solar Energy to partner for skill development program
  • India pledges to contribute USD 5 million in 2019 to UN Palestine refugee agency
  • Cabinet approves signing of the UNISA

Indian History

  • Nation observes 77th anniversary of Quit India movement

Science & Technology

  • ISRO announces Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award in Space Science, Technology and Research

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Polity & Governance

Rajya Sabha approves increasing strength of Supreme Court judges

Rajya Sabha approves increasing strength of Supreme Court judges from 31 to 34.

Rajya-Sabha-approves-increasing-strength-of-Supreme-Court-judges-IASToppers

  • At present, the sanctioned strength of the apex court is 31.

Need:

  • Due to the scarcity of judges, the required number of Constitution Benches to decide important cases involving questions of law were not being formed.
  • The move also comes against the backdrop of rising cases in the supreme court which stand at nearly 60,000.

Background:

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  • The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956 originally provided for a maximum of 10 judges (excluding the CJI). This number was increased to 13 by the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 1960 to 17 in 1977.
  • The working strength of the Supreme court was, however, restricted to 15 judges by the Cabinet (excluding the chief Justice of India) till the end of 1979. But the restriction was withdrawn at the request of the Chief Justice of India.
  • In 1986, the strength of the top court was increased to 25, excluding the CJI.
  • It was last amended in 2009 to increase the judges’ strength from 25 to 30 (excluding the CJI).

The procedure of an appointment:

  • The Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the other judges of the highest judiciary are appointed by the President of India under the Article 124 (2) of the Constitution.

Eligibility to become a Supreme Court judge

  • Should be an Indian citizen.
  • Should not exceed 65 years of age
  • Should serve as a judge of one high court or more (continuously), for at least five years or the person should be an advocate in the High court or the Supreme court for at least 10 years or a distinguished jurist.

Selection procedure of Chief Justice of India

  • The senior-most judge of the Supreme court is generally considered for holding the office of the Chief Justice of India.
  • When the incumbent CJI is about to retire, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company affairs use to seek the recommendation of the CJI to appoint the next CJI.
  • After receiving the recommendation of the CJI, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company affairs forward the issue to the Prime Minister who will further move the proposal to the President of India for the final approval.

Selection procedure of other judges in SC

  • The selection of the other judges in the top court comes when there is any vacancy.
  • If a judge is about to retire or retires, then the CJI initiates the proposal and sends the recommendation to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company affairs to fill up the seat.
  • The recommendation of the CJI for the appointment of a Judge of the Apex Court should be formed in consultation with a collegium of the four senior most Judges of the Supreme Court.
  • After acknowledging the views of the four judges, the CJI sends the proposal for appointment to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company affairs, which forwards it to the Prime Minister who further moves the proposal to the President of India for the final approval.
  • After the assent of the President, the Secretary to the Department of Justice is set to announce the appointment and issue the circular in the Gazette of India.

Role and composition of the collegium:

  • The collegium system was commissioned by two judgments of the Supreme Court in the 1990s. It has no mention in the original Constitution of India or its successive amendments.
  • The Supreme Court collegium consists of the four senior-most judges and the Chief Justice.
  • The collegium of the five judges is responsible for a major role in the Indian judiciary which includes the appointment and transfer of the judges of the High Court and the appointment of the Supreme Court judges.
  • The collegium sends its final recommendation to the President of India for approval.
  • The President can either accept it or reject it. In the case it is rejected, the recommendation comes back to the collegium. If the collegium reiterates its recommendation to the President, then he/she is bound by that recommendation.
[Ref: The Hindu, Scroll, Economic Times]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Parliament passes bill for speedy eviction from govt accommodations

Parliament passed a bill for speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants from government residential accommodations.

Public-Premises-Amendment-Bill,-2019-1-IASToppers

About the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019

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  • The Bill amends the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.
  • The Act provides for the eviction of unauthorised occupants from public premises in certain cases.

Residential accommodation:

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  • The Bill defines ‘residential accommodation occupation’ as the occupation of public premises by a person on the grant of a license for such occupation. The license must be given for a fixed tenure, or for the period the person holds office. 
  • Further, the occupation must be allowed under the rules made by the central, state or union territory government or a statutory authority.

Notice for eviction:

  • The Bill adds a provision laying down the procedure for eviction from residential accommodation.
  • It requires an estate officer (an officer of the central government) to issue a written notice to a person if he is in unauthorised occupation of a residential accommodation.
  • The notice will require the person to show cause of why an eviction order should not be made against him, within three working days.

Order of eviction:

  • After considering the cause shown, the estate officer will make an order for eviction.
  • If the person fails to comply with the order, the estate officer may evict such person from the residential accommodation, and take possession of it. For this purpose, the estate officer may also use such force as necessary.

Payment of damages:

  • If the person in unauthorised occupation of the residential accommodation challenges the eviction order passed by the estate officer in court, he will be required to pay damages for every month of such occupation.

Need of the bill:

  • The Centre has the responsibility to evict unauthorised occupants from government accommodations under the provisions of the PPE Act, 1971. However, the eviction proceedings take unusually long time, thereby reducing the availability of government accommodations to new incumbents.
  • Under the existing PPE Act,1971 as amended by PPE Amendment Bill, 2015, the eviction proceeding take around 5 to 7 weeks’ time. However, it takes much longer, even years, to evict unauthorized occupants.
  • Under the proposed bill, the state officer will not have to follow elaborate proceedings like serving notice, show cause, inquiry, rather he or she can initiate summary eviction proceedings.
  • There are over 3,000 unauthorised occupants of government accommodations (government property allotted to members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and government officials).

Impact:

  • The amendments will facilitate smooth and speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants from Government residences.
  • This will decrease the waiting time for availing the facility of residential accommodation.
[Ref: The Hindu, Money control, PIB]

 

Social Issues              

Four in 10 indigenous languages at risk of disappearing, warn UN human rights

In an appeal to mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August, UN-appointed experts said that nation-building had been largely responsible for ongoing discrimination against native speakers.

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International Year of Indigenous Languages

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  • 2019 is the United Nation’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.
  • It aims to promote native tongues in five key areas, including creation of favorable conditions for knowledge-sharing and dissemination of good practices with regards to indigenous languages.

World Scenario on Indigenous language

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  • The Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea has the highest number of ‘living’ indigenous languages in the world (840).
  • India has fourth highest number of indigenous languages with 453.
  • Of 7,000 indigenous languages spoken today, four in 10 are in danger of disappearing.
  • In 2016, the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues pointed out that 40% of the languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing.
  • Several languages are now “endangered” and in the case of languages like Tiniguan (Colombian origin), there is just a single native speaker left.
  • Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi and Arabic are the most widely spoken languages worldwide when only first-languages are considered. These five languages account for what is spoken by over 40% of people worldwide.
  • The U.S. (335 languages) and Australia (319), widely English-speaking nations, are among the countries where the highest number of languages are spoken.
  • Among regions, Asia and Africa account for the highest number of indigenous languages (over 70% of the total).
  • Ethnologue, a directory of languages, lists 7,111 living languages worldwide (languages that are still being used and spoken by people). According to Ethnologue, there are 3,741 languages (over half the total) which have fewer than 1,000 speakers.
  • Certain language families are very diverse and have several languages under them, but are spoken by only a small percentage of the population. For example, the Trans-New Guinea family, which has 478 languages, accounts for just 0.05% of the total language speakers
  • Indo-European family, which has 445 languages including Spanish, English, German, Punjabi and Bengali, has the highest percentage of speakers (46.31%).
  • Most Indian languages are derivatives of languages that are spoken in other parts of Asia as well. For instance, the Sino-Tibetan languages are spoken across Northeast India, China, Bhutan, Nepal and other South East Asian countries. One of the outliers to this trend is the Andamanese language family, which is confined to India alone.

Greenberg’s diversity index

Greenberg's diversity index IASToppers

  • The Greenberg’s (language) Diversity Index or Linguistic diversity index (LDI) measures changes in the underlying LDI over time.
  • It is the probability that two people selected from the population at random will have different mother tongues; it therefore ranges from 0 (everyone has the same mother tongue) to 1 (no two people have the same mother tongue).

Languages in decline

  • According to UNESCO’s ‘Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger’, 228 languages have become extinct since 1950.
  • About 10% of the languages are classified ‘vulnerable’, while another 10% are ‘critically endangered’.
  • In India, five languages have become extinct since 1950, while 42 are critically endangered.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Economy

Why RBI’s monetary policy matters

In its recent monetary policy review, the Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI decided to cut the repo rate by 35 basis points (bps).

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What is Repo rate?

  • The repo rate is the interest rate that the RBI charges a commercial bank when it borrows money from the RBI.
  • If the repo falls, all interest rates in the economy will fall. Hence, Repo rate changes influences aggregate demand which is a key determinant of inflation and growth.
  • Repo and Reverse repo are short for repurchase agreements between the RBI and the commercial banks in the economy.

Why does monetary policy matter?

In any economy, economic activity happens by one of below four ways.

  1. Private individuals and households spend money on consumption.
  2. The government spends on its agenda.
  3. Private sector businesses invest in their productive capacity.
  4. The net exports
  • Monetary policy essentially decides the cost of the money (interest rates), which is decided by the central bank.

How does RBI decide the interest rate?

How does RBI decide the interest rate IASToppers

  • The RBI continuously maps prices, inflation (which is the rate of increase in prices), and expectations of inflation (of households) to decide if it should increase or decrease interest rates.

To control inflation:

  • For instance, some years ago, the RBI set the goal of inflation rate to be 4%. Hence, every time the retail inflation rate rises above the 4% mark, RBI increases the interest rate.
  • By this way, most of the people would not take loan due to high interest which reduces the circulation of money in economy and reduces inflation.

To control economic growth

  • RBI controls the interest rate to maintain economic growth.
  • For instance, economic growth is stagnant at present. Therefore, RBI is cutting interest rates to incentivise people to consume more and businesses to invest more.

The goal of monetary policy

  • The primary objective of monetary policy is to maintain price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth.

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Amendment in Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934

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  • In May 2016, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934 was amended to provide a statutory basis for the implementation of the flexible inflation targeting framework.
  • Prior to the amendment in the RBI Act in May 2016, the flexible inflation targeting framework was governed by an Agreement on Monetary Policy Framework between the Government and the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The amended RBI Act also provides for the inflation target to be set by the Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank, once in every five years.
  • Accordingly, the Central Government has notified in the 4 per cent Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation as the target till March 31, 2021 with the upper tolerance limit of 6 per cent and the lower tolerance limit of 2 per cent.
  • The Central Government will consider the failure to achieve the inflation target if (a) the average inflation is more than the upper tolerance level of the inflation target for any three consecutive quarters; or (b) the average inflation is less than the lower tolerance level for any three consecutive quarters.

The Monetary Policy Framework

  • The framework aims at setting the policy (repo) rate based on an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation.
  • Once the repo rate is announced, the framework envisages liquidity management on a day-to-day basis through appropriate actions, which aim at anchoring the operating target, the weighted average call rate (WACR), around the repo rate.
  • The framework is revised depending on the evolving financial market and monetary conditions.

The Monetary Policy Process

  • Section 45ZB of the amended RBI Act, 1934 also provides for an empowered six-member monetary policy committee (MPC) to be constituted by the Central Government.
  • The committee constitutes RBI chairman as head of committee, along with Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (ex-officio), one officer of the Reserve Bank of India to be nominated by the Central Board (ex-officio) and other three members.
  • The MPC determines the policy interest rate required to achieve the inflation target.
  • The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Department (MPD) assists the MPC in formulating the monetary policy.
  • The Financial Markets Operations Department (FMOD) operationalises the monetary policy, mainly through day-to-day liquidity management operations.
  • The Financial Markets Committee (FMC) meets daily to review the liquidity conditions so as to ensure that the operating target of the weighted average call money rate (WACR).
  • Before the constitution of the MPC, a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on monetary policy with experts from monetary economics, central banking, financial markets and public finance advised the Reserve Bank on the stance of monetary policy. With the formation of MPC, the TAC on Monetary Policy ceased to exist.

Instruments of Monetary Policy

There are several direct and indirect instruments that are used for implementing monetary policy.

  • Repo Rate: The (fixed) interest rate at which the Reserve Bank provides overnight liquidity to banks against the collateral of government and other approved securities under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF).
  • Reverse Repo Rate: The (fixed) interest rate at which the Reserve Bank absorbs liquidity, on an overnight basis, from banks against the collateral of eligible government securities under the LAF.
  • Marginal Standing Facility (MSF): A facility under which scheduled commercial banks can borrow additional amount of overnight money from the Reserve Bank by dipping into their Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) portfolio up to a limit at a penal rate of interest. This provides a safety valve against unanticipated liquidity shocks to the banking system.
  • Corridor: The MSF rate and reverse repo rate determine the corridor for the daily movement in the weighted average call money rate.
  • Bank Rate: It is the rate at which the Reserve Bank is ready to buy or rediscount bills of exchange or other commercial papers. The Bank Rate is published under Section 49 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. This rate has been aligned to the MSF rate and, therefore, changes automatically as and when the MSF rate changes alongside policy repo rate changes.
  • Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR): The average daily balance that a bank is required to maintain with the Reserve Bank as a share of such per cent of its Net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) that the Reserve Bank may notify from time to time in the Gazette of India.
  • Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR): The share of NDTL that a bank is required to maintain in safe and liquid assets, such as, unencumbered government securities, cash and gold. Changes in SLR often influence the availability of resources in the banking system for lending to the private sector.
  • Open Market Operations (OMOs): These include both, outright purchase and sale of government securities, for injection and absorption of durable liquidity, respectively.
  • Market Stabilisation Scheme (MSS): This instrument for monetary management was introduced in 2004. Surplus liquidity of a more enduring nature arising from large capital inflows is absorbed through sale of short-dated government securities and treasury bills. The cash so mobilised is held in a separate government account with the Reserve Bank.

Open and Transparent Monetary Policy Making

Under the amended RBI Act, the monetary policy making is as under:

  • The MPC is required to meet at least four times in a year.
  • The quorum for the meeting of the MPC is four members.
  • Each member of the MPC has one vote, and in the event of an equality of votes, the Governor has a second or casting vote.
  • The resolution adopted by the MPC is published after conclusion of every meeting of the MPC in accordance with the provisions of Chapter III F of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.

On the 14th day, the minutes of the proceedings of the MPC are published which include:

  1. the resolution adopted by the MPC;
  2. the vote of each member on the resolution, ascribed to such member; and
  3. the statement of each member on the resolution adopted.

Once in every six months, the Reserve Bank is required to publish a document called the Monetary Policy Report to explain:

  1. the sources of inflation; and
  2. the forecast of inflation for 6-18 months ahead.
[Ref: Indian Express]            

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Centre unveils plan for coastal zone management

The Environment Ministry has unveiled a draft plan of ESMF that will dictate how prospective infrastructure projects situated along the coast ought to be assessed before they can apply for clearance.

Environmental-and-Social-Management-Framework-ESMF-1 IASToppers

About the draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF)

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  • The draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) is part of a World Bank-funded project.
  • It provides guidelines for coastal States to adopt when they approve and regulate projects in coastal zones.
  • The project seeks to assist the central government in enhancing coastal resource efficiency by building collective capacity (including communities and decentralized governance) for implementing integrated coastal management approaches.
  • So far three coastal States, namely Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal, have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank.

Key activities proposed under ESMF:

  • Mangrove afforestation/shelter beds
  • Habitat conservation activities such as restoration of sea-grass meadows, eco-restoration of sacred groves, development of hatcheries, rearing/rescue centres for turtles and other marine animals
  • Creation of infrastructure for tourism
  • Restoration and recharge of water bodies
  • Beach cleaning and development, and other small infrastructure facilities
  • Demonstration of climate resilient or salinity resistant agriculture, water harvesting and recharge/storage,
  • Community-based small-scale mariculture, seaweed cultivation, aquaponics.

Need:

  • Inadequate planning has often obstructed coastal zone development projects.
  • Recently, the Bombay high court struck down the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for its ₹14,000-crore Coastal Road, which is part of the Eastern Freeway to be constructed to provide an alternate speedy connect between South Mumbai and Western suburbs.
  • This was on the grounds of an inadequate scientific study by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management and lapses by the Union environment ministry which had overlooked these lacunae.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

UNIDO and National Institute of Solar Energy to partner for skill development program

An agreement was signed between the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to initiate a skill development programme for different levels of beneficiaries in the solar thermal energy sector.

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About the Agreement:

  • The agreement is part of the ongoing MNRE-GEF-UNIDO project implemented jointly by UNIDO.
  • It is aimed at supporting skill development of technical manpower in the Concentrated Solar Thermal Energy Technologies (CST) which are being used to replace conventional fossil fuels e.g. coal, diesel, furnace oil etc. and save costs and emissions in the industrial process heat applications.

About United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO):

UNIDO-IASToppers

  • UNIDO is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.
  • The United Nations General Assembly established the UNIDO as an autonomous body within the United Nations in 1956.
  • The mission of UNIDO, as described in the Lima Declaration adopted at the UNIDO General Conference in 2013, is to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in Member States.
  • It has 170 members including India.
  • It has offices in Brussels (European Union), Geneva (United Nations) and New York (United Nations).
  • The Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS) is the joint initiative of the UNIDO and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The GMIS 2020 will be held in
  • UNIDO’s mandate is fully recognized in SDG-9, which calls to “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”.
  • The Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) is UNIDO’s innovative programme which supports a country in achieving its industrial development goals.
  • In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the 2016-2025 as the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III). UNIDO was tasked with leading the implementation of the Decade.

Strategic priorities of UNIDO:

  • Creating shared prosperity.
  • Advancing economic competitiveness.
  • Safeguarding the environment.
  • Strengthening knowledge and institutions.
[Ref: PIB]

 

India pledges to contribute USD 5 million in 2019 to UN Palestine refugee agency

India has pledged to contribute USD 5 million in 2019 to the UN Palestine refugee agency, even as it voiced concern over the agency’s difficult financial situation due to voluntary contributions from a limited donor base.

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Shortfall in UNEWA funding:

  • India has increased its annual financial contribution fourfold to the UNRWA core budget, from USD 1.25 million in 2016 to USD 5 million in 2018.
  • However, there is still projected shortfall of more than USD 200 million for UNRWA in 2019 as almost all of the UNRWA’s resources come from voluntarily contributions with a limited donor base.
  • These causes concern among the agency about its ability to provide essential services to the Palestine refugees.

India-Palestine relationship:

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  • As part of the Government of India’s ongoing assistance programmes in Palestine to strengthen institutions, services and training personnel, India is providing 150 places for Palestinian professionals every year under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme.
  • In addition, during the last five years, under an India-Palestine development partnership, 17 agreements have been signed in the fields of agriculture, health care, information technology, youth affairs, consular affairs, women’s empowerment and media.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

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  • Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly in 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees.
  • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States.
  • The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.
  • In recent times, this agency is facing financial crisis due to less donor contribution.

Who is a Palestine Refugee?

  • The Palestine refugee is any person whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.

What is the Difference Between UNRWA and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)?

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  • UNRWA deals specifically with Palestine refugees in its five areas of operation in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Its role encompasses assistance, protection and global advocacy for Palestine refugees.
  • UNHCR’s mandate is to provide international protection to refugees worldwide whenever political conditions allow. UNHCR is responsible for Palestine refugees outside UNRWA’s areas of operation.
  • As UNRWA was set up in 1949, Palestine refugees were specifically and intentionally excluded from the international refugee law regime established in 1951.

 [Ref: Business standard]

 

Cabinet approves signing of the UNISA

The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements (UNISA) resulting from mediation by the Republic of India scheduled to be held at Singapore on 7th August, 2019, or at United Nations Headquarters.

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Significance:

  • Signing of the Convention will boost the confidence of the investors and shall provide a positive signal to foreign investors about India’s commitment to adhere to international practice on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Initiatives to promote ADR Mechanisms:

Initiatives to promote ADR Mechanisms IASToppers

  • In order to encourage international commercial arbitration in India, the Government is establishing the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) as a statutory body.
  • These initiatives are being taken with a view to encourage the settlement of commercial disputes, domestic and international, in India through ADR Mechanism of Arbitration, Conciliation and Mediation.
  • For this, the amendments in the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 (addition of mandatory pre-institution mediation and settlement in certain category of cases) and Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 is currently underway.

About United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements (UNISA)

  • The United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation in 2018.
  • The General Assembly authorized that the Convention will open for signature at a signing ceremony to be held in August 2019 in Singapore and will be known as the “Singapore Convention on Mediation” (the Convention).
  • The Convention provides a uniform framework for the enforcement of international settlement agreements resulting from mediation and for allowing parties to invoke such agreements, similar to the framework that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention, 1958) provides for arbitral awards.
  • The Convention defines two additional grounds upon which a court may, on its own motion, refuse to grant relief. Those grounds relate to the fact that a dispute would not be capable of settlement by mediation or would be contrary to public policy.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Indian History           

Nation observes 77th anniversary of Quit India movement

The 77th anniversary of the August Kranti Din, which is considered as one of the important milestones in the history of freedom struggle of our country, is being observed on 8th August.

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About Quit India Movement:

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  • The Indian National Congress launched the ‘Quit India Movement’ in August 1942, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Bombay session of Congress Committee.
  • The aim of the movement was to force the British to withdraw from India.

What led to the Quit India Movement?

  • During the Second World War, Indian soldiers were sent to fight for the British against the German troops.
  • In 1939, the Congress passed a resolution, which stated that Indian soldiers should not be sent to the war without people’s consultation.
  • In response, the Britishers promised that they would make Indian-friendly modifications to the ‘Government Act of 1935’ once the war comes to an end. However, this proposal was rejected by India. Again in 1940, same demand was proposed by Britishers and rejected by Congress.
  • In March 1942, the British sent a delegation to India named ‘Cripps mission’ which was led by Stafford Cripps.
  • The sole purpose of mission was to convince the ‘Indian National Congress’ to support the Britain in its war campaign. In return, the mission promised distribution of power from the Britain administration to an elected Indian legislature.
  • However, the talks failed as the mission failed to address the key demands of the Indians, including their right to form self-government.
  • The failure of ‘Cripps mission’ was one of the key factors contributing towards Gandhi’s decision to call for ‘Bharat Chhodo Andolan’ (Quit India Movement).
  • In July 1942, the Congress Working Committee met at Wardha and resolved that it would authorise Gandhi to take charge of the non-violent mass movement.
  • Another cause of the movement was Gandhi’s fear of a possible Japanese invasion of India and the inability of Britishers to defend the India during such a situation.

What happened During Quit India Movement?

  • On 8th August 1942, the All India Congress Committee met in Bombay and ratified the ‘Quit India’ resolution.
  • Mahatma Gandhi made a ‘Do or Die’ call in his Quit India speech which was delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan (August Kranti Maidan).
  • However, Gandhi along with other Congress leaders were arrested by the British Government under the Defence of India Rules next day.
  • The Working Committee, the All India Congress Committee and the four Provincial Congress Committees were declared unlawful associations under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908.
  • The assembly of public meetings were prohibited and thousands were killed and injured. Strikes were called in many places.
  • The first half of the movement was peaceful with demonstrations and processions. The peaceful protest was carried till Mahatma Gandhi’s release.
  • The second half of the movement was violent with raids and setting fire at post offices, government buildings and railway stations. Lord Linlithgow adopted the policy of violence.
  • The Viceroy’s Council of Muslims, Communist Party and Americans supported Britishers.

Opposition

  • Chakravarti Rajgopalachari, Allama Mashriqi opposed the movement while leaders like Maulana Azad and Jawaharlal Nehru supported the movement.
  • Several political groups, such as the ‘Muslim League,’ ‘Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS),’ ‘Hindu Mahasabha,’ and the ‘Communist Party of India’ did not support the movement.
  • The ‘All-India Muslim League’ feared the Muslims will be oppressed by the Hindus if the British decided to leave India without creating a separate state for the Muslims. Hence, it did not support the movement, which worked in favor of the British.
  • RSS failed to join the movement as it did not want to go against the ruling government.
  • Many Indian businessmen and students also did not support the movement.
  • The businessmen supported the war as they were enjoying huge profits through heavy wartime spending, while many students simply ignored the movement as they were focused on the progression of Subhas Chandra Bose in his effort to free India.

Suppression of the Movement

  • By 1944, almost all demonstrations as part of the movement had been suppressed as the British imprisoned Gandhi as well as all the members of ‘Congress Working Committee.’
  • Since many demonstrations were violent in nature, the British had responded with mass detentions as more than 100,000 people were arrested, which led to the suppression of the movement.

Impact of the Quit India Movement

  • It played a crucial role in India’s independence.
  • It kept the Congress Party united through their difficult times.
  • The movement conveyed to the British that India had the support of global leaders, as the then American President Franklin Roosevelt had urged the British administration to consider at least some of the demands put forth by the Indian leaders.
  • Since the movement was responsible in the destruction of many edifices and facilities, the British had to reconstruct many facilities if they were to rule India for a longer period of time, which was too difficult for them due to the heavy losses incurred in world war.
[Ref: Indian Express, Financial Express]

 

Science & Technology

ISRO announces Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award in Space Science, Technology and Research

As part of centenary year celebrations of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, ISRO institutes two categories of awards in journalism.

isro IASToppers

About the Awards:

ISRO 1 IASToppers

  • ISRO has announced its “Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award in Space Science, Technology and Research” to recognize and reward journalists who have actively contributed towards the field of space science, applications, and research.
  • The candidates are judged on the basis of the articles published in Hindi, English, or Regional languages during the year 2019 to 2020.

About Vikram Sarabhai:

contributions-of-sarabhai-IASToppers

  • He was considered as the Father of the Indian space program.
  • After India gained independence, he sought a charitable trust set up by his family for the research work in the field of Science. This resulted in creation of Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad.
  • Based on his persuasion, the Indian government agreed to set up the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962. He was the first chairman of the committee. The INCOSPAR was restructured and renamed as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1969.
  • He founded the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad in the year 1947. The laboratory started its operation from RETREAT, Sarabhai’s residence in Ahmedabad. Its first topic of research was cosmic rays.
  • His consistent communication with NASA formed the base for Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) in 1975. This further steered the coming in of cable television in India.
  • He is considered as the brainchild of India’s first satellite,
  • The establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was one of his greatest achievements.
  • He set up the Operations Research Group (ORG) which was the first market research organization in India.
  • He was also Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
  • He was one of the founding members of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA).
  • He completed his PhD in ‘Cosmic ray investigations in tropical latitudes’ under the Doctoral Advisory of Sir C. V. Raman.
  • He was the vice president for the fourth UN peace conference organized in 1971. The topic of concern in this issue was ‘Peaceful uses of atomic energy.’
  • He set up the first rocket launching station at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram on the coast of the Arabian Sea.

Awards:

  • In 1962, he received the ‘Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Medal’.
  • In 1966, he awarded the Padma Bhushan award.
  • In 1972, he was honored with the Padma Vibhushan award.

Some of the most well-known institutions established by Dr. Sarabhai are:

  • Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad
  • Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad (This institution came into existence after merging six institutions/centres established by Sarabhai)
  • Faster Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR), Kalpakkam
  • Varaiable Energy Cyclotron Project, Calcutta
  • Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad
  • Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), Jaduguda, Bihar
  • Ahmedabad Textiles Industrial Research Association (ATIRA)
  • Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad
  • Blind Men Association (BMA)
[Ref: PIB]

 

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