International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Why in News: ICJ ruled that Pakistan should “review and reconsider” Kulbushan Jadhav’s conviction and death sentence.
- ICI held that denial of consular access to India by Pakistan in Kulbushan Jadhav Case, constituted a “breach” of article 36 para 1 (b) of Vienna Convention (1963).
- Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963): This is an International treaty by UN that defined a framework for consular relations between Independent states.
- It is the principal judicial organ of UN, established in June 1945.
- It is the only principal organ of UN, which is not located in New York.
- Head Quarters : Hague (Netherlands)
- The Court’s role is to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by UN organs and agencies.
- The court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for a term of 9 years by UN General Assembly and Security Council.
Dalveer Bhandari : Indian member in ICJ since 2012, and was reelected in February 2018.
World Press Freedom Index 2019
Why in News: Criticism against Finance Minister’s recent order barring credentialed reporters from the Ministry’s premises.
About Press Freedom Index
- It is published every year since 2002 by Reporters without Borders (RSF), a non profit organisation based in Paris.
- The Index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists.
- Evaluation is based on Pluralism, Independence of Media, Quality of legislative framework and Safety of Journalists
- It does not rank public policies even though government obviously have major impact on their country’s ranking.
- World Press Freedom Index 2019 topped by Norway finds an increased sense of hostility towards journalist across the world, with violent attacks in India leading to at least six journalist being killed last year.
- India has dropped two places in 2019 Index, to be ranked 140 out of 180 countries.
Why in News: Loksabha passed Appropriation (No.2) Bill 2019, by applying guillotine
News In Detail
- As per Article 114 of constitution, no amount can be withdrawn from Consolidated Fund of India or state, without the authorisation from the parliament of India or legislature of states.
- Appropriation Bill gives power to withdraw fund from the Consolidated Fund of India for meeting the Expenditure during Financial Year.
- Government Introduces the bill in Lok Sabha, after discussion on Budget proposals and voting on demand for grants.
- Guillotine refers to the exercise in which speaker on the last day allotted for discussions on the Demand for Grants, puts to vote all outstanding demand for grants at a time specified in advance.
- This is done to conclude discussions on financial proposals within the time specified.
Bimal Jalan Committee on Economic Capital Framework
Why in news: The committee recommended that surplus reserves held by the RBI be transferred to government in tranches over 3-5 years.
News in Detail
- The six member committee headed by former RBI governor Bimal Jalan was tasked with examining the Central bank’s requirement of provisions, reserves and buffers & also review the global best practices followed by Central Bank.
- This would determine the amount of reserves to be transferred to the government.
- The Buffer of 2% of gross assets maintained by RBI is well above the global norm of around 14%.
- Government has been seeking transfer of RBI’s `9.6 lakh crore reserves, built up over the years.
- Any extra capital including increase in transfer of RBI’s surplus will help the government meet the fiscal deficit target of 3.30% of GDP, set for the current year.
Three committees which examined ideal level of RBI’s reserves earlier,
- Subrahmanyam Committee (1997)
- Usha Thorat Committee (2004)
- Y.M. Malegam Committee (2013)
Insolvency and Bankruptcy code (IBC)
Why in News: Union Cabinet approved proposed to carry out amendments to IBC 2016, through IBC (Amendment) Bill 2019.
- Mandates a Deadline for the completion of the resolution process within 330 days, including all litigations and judicial processes.
- Votes of Financial Creditors to be as per decision of highest voting share of financial creditors.
- Dissenting creditors will get a minium liquidation value retrospectively.
- Resolution plan will be binding on all stakeholders, including governments, to whom a debt is owed.
- It is the bankruptcy law of India which provides for a time bound process to resolve insolvency and creates various Institutions like Insolvency Professionals for its resolution.
- It applies to both companies & Individuals.
- When a default in repayment occurs, creditors gain control over debtors asset and must take decision within 180 day period.
Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold Awards 2019
Why in News: Incredible India 2.0 Campaign wins PATA Gold Award 2019 in “Marketing – Primary Government Destination” Category.
News in Detail
- The awards are given to tourism industry organizations and individuals making outstanding contribution towards the successful promotion of travel industry throughout Asia Pacific Region.
- “Incredible India 2.0” launched in September 2017 marked a shift from generic promotions undertaken across the world.
- It focussed on digital & social media and promotion of Niche Tourism products of the country.
Dibang Multipurpose Project, Arunachal Pradesh
Why in News: Cabinet approves Rs. 1,600 crore for Dibang Multipurpose Project (Dibang MPP)
News in Detail
- The dam is 278 meters high and will be the highest dam in India once completed.
- The project is envisaged as a storage based hydro electric project with flood moderation as the key objective.
- The project is the largest ever Hydro Electric Project to be constructed in India and is one of key component of master plan of Brahmaputra Board for Flood Moderation.
New Technology for Mosquito Eradication (#Science and Technology)
Why in News : A breakthrough technique which target disease carrying mosquitoes, was tested successfully in China.
News in Detail
- The mosquitoes targeted are a type, that is particularly difficult to control called Aedes albopictus.
- They are a major vector for diseases including Zika and Denque.
- Researchers harnessed two population control methods.
- Use of Radiation – This effectively sterilizes mosquitoes
- Use of a strain of bacteria called Wolbacteria
- This leaves the mosquito eggs dead on arrival.
“Algo – bat”
Why in News: Scientists have developed a novel algorithm that optimises the geometry of the cricket bat.
News in Detail
- A high performing ‘Algo-bat’, uses computer modelling and optimisation algorithm and helps it hit the ball harder and further.
- According to researchers, the idea was to optimise the geometry of the bat, specifically the back profile in order to minimise the vibration caused by ball’s impact.
- Therefore more energy would transfer to the ball and the ball would fly further.
Why in News: Banning of Crypto Currency and Regulation of Official Digitals Currency Bill, 2019 has proposed stringent penalties for holding, selling or dealing in crypto currencies such as Bitcoin.
News in Detail
- There are high chances of crypto currencies being misused in activities like Money laundering.
- But a blanket ban on all types of crypto currency transactions will result in India missing out one of the biggest technology revolutions since the Internet.
- Blockchain is a way for people to share extra space and computational power in their computers to create a global super computer that is accessible to everyone.
- It has the capacity to facilitate nano payments proportionate to an individual’s contribution and value creation in the market.
- Big technology companies like Facebook, recently announced its own crypto currency to facilitate payments globally with minimal fee and no dependency on a central bank.
- AMLD 5 is an anti – money laundering directive by European Parliament and European Council.
- The directive mandates all crypto exchanges and wallet custodians operating in Europe to implement strict KYC procedures and to register with local authorities.