CURRENT AFFAIRS CAPSULE – JULY 31, 2020
- August 1, 2020
- Posted by: Team CP
- Category: Current Affairs Capsule
China conducts drills in South China Sea
News: Beijing recently conducted “high-intensity” naval exercises “high-intensity” naval exercises in the South China Sea.
- Military training involved Chinese H-6G and H-6J jet bombers, under PLA’s naval aviation unit of the Southern Theatre Command, completing day-and-night training exercises.
About South China Sea (SCS) dispute
- China is in disputes with neighbours including India, Japan and Vietnam over islands in the South China Sea.
- Moreover, it has infuriated other nations as well, by building artificial islands in the region with military installations.
- China’s expanding military presence in the region has worried countries around South China sea.
- China has created an artificial island for military and economic purposes in South China sea.
- On the other hand, US has vowed to stand up against China’s territorial claims, including the contested Paracel Islands.
Image Source – Wikipedia
Paracel Island dispute
- Paracel archipelago is a collection of coral reefs and 130 islands. Major point of contention is these islands are located almost equidistant from China and Vietnam, thus both laid claims to island.
- Whereas China’s claim is based on 14th century writings from the Song Dynasty, Vietnam provide reference of historical texts from at least the 15th century for claims.
- China took control of island in January 1974, after a brief war between China and Vietnam fought over their territorial disputes.
- In 1999, Taiwan jumped into the fray laying its claim over the entire archipelago.
- Very recently, China unilaterally announced that it has renamed several islands and reefs with Chinese names.
- Renaming was followed by the entry of US assault ship and a guided missile cruiser into the waters near Spratly and Paracel Islands, off the coast of Malaysia.
- After that, Chinese and Australian warships also entered the fray.
Gandhi-King initiative passes U.S. House committee
News: key congressional committee of the United States passed a bill aims at promoting the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
About the act
- John Lewis, the civil rights leader Democratic member of the House, authored the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act.
- Act seeks to set up an exchange programme for Indian and American students to study Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
- It also seeks the development of a professional development training initiative on conflict resolution based on the principles of non-violence, and the establishment of a foundation to address social, environmental, and health priorities in India.
- John Lewis in October 2009, led a congressional delegation to India to commemorate the 50th anniversary of King’s 1959 visit to India.
- 2 years later in October 2011, John Lewis introduced the bill.
BJP accounts for 54% of U.P. Lok Sabha poll expenses
News: Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) released a report on expenditure incurred by political parties in 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.
The report analysed the expenditure statements submitted to the Election Commission of India (ECI) by 5 national parties (BJP, Congress, BSP, NCP, CPI) and 5 regional parties (AAP, All-India Forward Bloc, JD-U, Shiv Sena and Samajwadi Party.
The highest expenditure was incurred by the BJP that is 54.27% or ₹763.31 crore of the total spending by the parties analysed. It was followed by expenditure of Congress at ₹489.97 crore or 34.83%.
Central headquarters of the political parties spent more than 99% of the political parties’ total expenditure.
Publicity expense at ₹813.13 crore constituted most of the expense by the political parties. It was followed by travel expenses (₹341.68 crore). The Congress spent the most on publicity (₹402.91 crore), followed by the BJP (₹376.62 crore).
|The contesting political parties are required to file their expenditure statements to the Election Commission of India in the format specified by the Commission within 75 days of Assembly elections and 90 days of Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission, thereafter, makes these statements available in the public domain|
As per the declaration, national parties collected a total of ₹4,529.56 crore. during the parliamentary elections 2019, BJP collected the highest funds of Rs 3,682.06 crore or 78.62%, followed by the Congress, which collected Rs. 843.92 crore or 18.02%.
As per the findings of ADR, political parties required to submit their expenses to ECI within 90 days of completion of the Lok Sabha poll, but submitted after a delay of 85 days by the BJP and 66 days by the Congress.
Report has recommended that the parties should be penalised for not submitting the documents on time.
About Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)
ADR was established in 1999 by a group of professors from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad. It conducts multiple projects aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in the political and electoral system of the country.
ADR has chosen to concentrate its efforts in the following areas pertaining to the political system of the country:
- Corruption and criminalization in the political process.
- Empowerment of the electorate through greater dissemination of information relating to the candidates and the parties, for a better and informed choice.
- Need for greater accountability of Political Parties.
- Need for inner-party democracy and transparency in party-functioning.
Parliamentary panel to discuss draft EIA
News: Parliamentary Committee of Science and Technology headed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has called on a meeting scheduled for August 7 for discussion on draft EIA.
Meeting has been scheduled after a flurry of letters between Congress leader Jairam Ramesh and Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on the implications of the Draft EIA, 2020.
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change representatives have been called upon to explain the draft.
Although recommendations of committee are not binding upon the government, but any critical report of the EIA 2020 can be construed as institutional disapproval.
Jairam Ramesh raised 5 objections to draft EIA in his last letter to environment minister, i.e.
- Draft allowed post-facto approvals which go against the very principle of assessment and public participation prior to environmental clearance.
- The notification reduces public participation in all steps of the environment clearance process.
- It does away with the environmental impact assessment altogether in many cases of expansion and modernisation.
- it increases the validity of environment clearances allowing projects to “secure” land for long durations even when they are not constructed.
- It gives the Union government full powers to appoint State environmental impact assessment authorities.
By their nature, Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds: Standing Committees and Ad hoc Committees. Standing Committees are permanent and regular committees which are constituted from time to time in pursuance of the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. The work of these Committees is of continuous nature.
About EIA in India
- EIA the study to predict the effect of a proposed activity/project on the environment and examines both beneficial and adverse consequences of the project.
- Properly conducted EIA also lessens conflicts by promoting community participation.
- Environmental protection act was enacted in 1986 as an umbrella act, after Bhopal gas leak disaster in 1984.
- First EIA norms were notified in 1994, under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for regulating activities that access, utilise, and affect (pollute) natural resources.
- Since then, every development project required to go through the EIA process for obtaining prior environmental clearance. The 1994 EIA notification was replaced with 2006 notification.
- 2006 notification makes environment clearance mandatory for various projects such as thermal power plants, river valley, mining, infrastructure (road, highway, ports, harbours and airports) and industries including very small electroplating or foundry units.
- Under EIA, 2006, industries were divided into 2 categories:
- Category A projects require mandatory environmental clearance and thus they do not undergo the screening process.
- Category B projects undergoes screening process and they are classified into two types.
- Category B1 projects (Mandatorily requires EIA).
- Category B2 projects (Do not require EIA).
- In the 2006 EIA notification, category ‘B’ project was treated as category ‘A’ project if the project fulfilled the ‘general conditions’, like if they were located (in whole or in part) within 10 km from the boundaries of protected areas, critically polluted areas, eco-sensitive zones, or inter-State and international boundaries.
- Earlier this year (2020) EIA was redrafted again to incorporate the amendments to make it more transparent and expedient.
India vows to protect Jadhav
India has reiterated that legal and diplomatic process made available to Mr. Jadhav by Pakistan is nonsensical and vowed to protect the life of Kulbhushan Jadhav.
India has complained that Mr. Jadhav was not allowed to get the legal support of his choice as the Indian diplomats who went to meet him on July 16, were not allowed to discuss the case with him in an “unimpeded” manner.
Indian officials were prevented from obtaining the written consent of Jadhav for arranging his legal representation, the consent is necessary for filing a review plea against the death sentence.
A brief on the case of Kulbhusan Jadhav
As per Pakistan, Kulbhusan Jadhav was arrested in Baluchistan, whereas India has maintained that he was a prematurely retired Indian Navy officer kidnapped from Iran, where he was running a business in the port city of Chabahar.
|International Court of Justice
Pakistani military court sentenced him to death on the charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
India challenged this order in the International Court of Justice on May 18, 2017.
on July 17, 2019, although ICJ rejected India’s appeal for Jadhav’s release, it ruled that Pakistan will have to review the entire process of trial and conviction of Jadhav and provide India with consular access.
1st consular access was provided to India by Pakistan on September 2, 2019.
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR)
The applicable treaty in this case is the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963. India and Pakistan are parties to the VCCR and its Optional Protocol.
Article 36(1) of the VCCR, provides for the right of detained foreign national to have his consulate notified and the right to regular consultation with consular officials during detention and any trial, if a national of a foreign country is arrested or detained.
The Optional Protocol to the VCCR gives the International Court of Justice compulsory jurisdiction to try disputes that arise out of the interpretation or application of the treaty.
81st martyrdom day
News: On 81st martyrdom day, Punjab, Haryana CMs pay tribute to freedom fighter Udham Singh.
About Udham Singh
Source – India Today
Shaheed Udham Singh was born in Sher Singh in Sangrur, Punjab, on December 26, 1899.
- Revolutionary Udham Singh, who considered Shaheed Bhagat Singh as his role model, was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London on July 31, 1940 for killing Michael O’Dwyer to avenge the massacre of hundreds of Indians at Jallianwala Bagh.
- After General Dwyer was shot dead by him, he waited for the cops to arrest him and did not run away from the spot.
- During his time spent in custody, he used to call himself Ram Mohammad Singh Azad.
- The weapons he used in killing General Dwyer have been kept in a Black Museum, Scotland Yard.
- His remains are till date preserved at the Jallianwala Bagh.
- In 1952, he was honoured with the title of Shaheed-e-Azam.
- Panjab government is planning to construct a museum to showcase the articles of the legendary revolutionary.
Hardik Shah to be Private Secretary to PM
Source – Times of India
News: Hardik Shah, a 2010-batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer, has been appointed as a private secretary to PM Modi.
On August, 2019, he was appointed as deputy secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Prior to Shah, another Gujarat cadre IAS officer, Rajeev Topno served as private secretary to the PM.
In June, Rajeev Topno was appointed as senior advisor to the World Bank Executive Director and will move to Washington after August 15.
He is a 2010-batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre. Appointment has been approved by Appointment Committee of the Cabinet.
Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC)
ACC decides appointments to several top posts under the Government of India. It is composed of the Prime Minister of India (who is the Chairman), the Minister of Home Affairs.