Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 10, 2018

National Green Tribunal

Vedanta given access to administrative section at the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi by the National Green Tribunal

WHAT

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) granted permission to Vedanta to access the administrative section at the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi (TN)
  • The tribunal stated that the production unit will continue to remain shut.

Role of TNPCB

  • The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has been asked to submit the data within 10 days.
  • The board informed the tribunal that a committee that also included a representative of Vedanta had been set up to maintain the plant and to prevent leakages and other environmental damages.
  • Alleging environmental damage due to the operation of the plant, residents of the town staged a major protest in May this year, prompting the TNPCB to issue the closure order.

Enlighten about National Green Tribunal

  • National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues
  • It draws inspiration from the India's constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment

Origin

  • During the Rio de Janeiro summit of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in June 1992, India vowed the participating states to provide judicial and administrative remedies for the victims of the pollutants and other environmental damage.
  • There lie many reasons behind the setting up of this tribunal.
  • After India's move with Carbon credits, such tribunal may play a vital role in ensuring the control of emissions and maintaining the desired levels.
  • This is the first body of its kind that is required by its parent statute to apply the "polluter pays" principle and the principle of sustainable development.
  • This court can rightly be called ‘special’ because India is the third country following Australia and New Zealand to have such a system.

Working of NGT

  • It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.
  • The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
  • The Tribunal's dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
  • The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
  • Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible.
  • New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four place of sitting of the Tribunal.

Constitution of NGT

  • The tribunal shall consist of a full time chairperson, judicial members and expert members.
  • The minimum number of judicial and expert member prescribed is ten in each category and maximum number is twenty in each category.
  • Another important provision included in the law is that the chairperson, if find necessary, may invite any person or more person having specialized knowledge and experience in a particular case before the tribunal to assist the same in that case.
  • A judge of the Supreme Court of India or Chief Justice of High Court are eligible to be Chairperson or judicial member of the Tribunal.
  • Even existing or retired judge of High Court is qualified to be appointed as a Judicial Member.
  • The current chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, retired Supreme Court Judge

Economy

UAE top source of inward remittances in 2016-17 Maximum funds sent to Kerala, mostly for family expenses

What

  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as the top source of inward remittances, while Kerala has received the maximum funds sent from abroad, according to the Reserve Bank of India’s survey of inward remittances for 2016-17.
  • UAE’s share in total remittances was 26.9%, followed by the United States (22.9%), Saudi Arabia (11.6%), Qatar (6.5%) and Kuwait (5.5%).

Enlighten about the survey

  • According to the survey, 82% of the total remittances received by India originated from eight countries — UAE, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the United Kingdom and Malaysia.
  • Among destinations, Kerala has the highest share with 19%, followed by Maharashtra (16.7%), Karnataka (15%), Tamil Nadu (8%) and Delhi (5.9%).
  • Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu together received 58.7% of total remittances.
  • More than half of remittances received by Indian residents were used for family maintenance, i.e., consumption (59.2%), followed by deposits in banks (20%) and investments in landed property and shares (8.3%)

RDA most popular

  • The rupee drawing arrangement (RDA) is the most popular channel of remittances which accounts for 75.2% of remittances, followed by SWIFT (19.5%), direct transfers (3.4%) and cheques and drafts (1.9%).
  • Private banks got the lions share in total remittances with 74.1%, while public sector banks share was 17.3% and the remaining with foreign banks.

Enlighten about Rupee Drawing Arrangement (RDA)

  • It is a channel to receive cross-border remittances from overseas jurisdictions.
  • Under this arrangement, the Authorised Category I banks enter into tie-ups with the non-resident Exchange Houses in the FATF compliant countries to open and maintain their Vostro Account.
  • Non-resident Exchange Houses are companies and financial institutions which are licenced and regulated by the competent authority in the sending country for sourcing the funds from the remitters.
  • Only for the first arrangement which the AD Category–I bank enters into with the non–resident Exchange Houses for RDA requires RBI permission.
  • Subsequently, AD Category- I banks may enter into RDAs, subject to the prescribed guidelines and inform the Reserve Bank (immediately).
  • The cross- border inward remittances into India under RDA is primarily on private account.
  • The remitter and the beneficiary should be individuals barring a few exceptions.
  • Remittances through Exchange Houses for financing of trade transactions are also permitted up to certain limit. This scheme is not used for cross-border outward remittances from India.
  • There is no limit on the remittance amount as well as on the number of remittances. However, there is an upper cap of Rs.15.00 lakh for trade related transactions.
  • No cash disbursement of remittances is allowed under RDA. The remittances have to be credited to the bank account of the beneficiary.
  • Foreign inward remittances received by the AD Category-I Bank having RDA with a Non Resident Exchange House may be credited directly to the account of the beneficiary held with a bank other than the AD Category-I Bank through electronic mode, such as, NEFT, IMPS, etc.

Enlighten about Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS)

  • It is a way of transferring personal remittances from abroad to beneficiaries in India.
  • Only inward personal remittances into India such as remittances towards family maintenance and remittances favouring foreign tourists visiting India are permissible.
  • Under the scheme there is a tie-up between reputed money transfer companies abroad known as Overseas Principals and agents in India known as Indian Agents who would disburse funds to beneficiaries in India at ongoing exchange rates.

Science & Technology

Indian telescope spots distant galaxy

What

  • Astronomers have used an Indian telescope to discover the most distant radio galaxy ever known, located at a distance of 12 billion light-years.
  • The galaxy, from a time when the universe was only 7% of its current age was found using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune.

Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT)

  • GMRT is an array of thirty fully steerable parabolic radio telescopes of 45-metre diameter.
  • It is operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics.
  • The distance to this galaxy was determined using the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii and the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona.
  • The galaxy is perceived as it looked when the universe was only a billion years old, according to the study appearing in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
  • This also means that the light from this galaxy is almost 12 billion years old.

Radio galaxies

  • Bright radio galaxies harbour supermassive black holes. It is amazing to find such objects as early in the history of the universe; the time for these supermassive black holes to form and grow must have been very short
  • Radio galaxies are very rare objects in the universe. They are colossal galaxies with a supermassive black hole in their centre.

Agreements/ MoU

3 year Partnership between NITI Aayog and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) MoU signed at the Government and Business Partnership Conclave

What

  • The NITI Aayog and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Enlighten about the partnership

  • This partnership focuses on specific activities that seek to develop vision and action agenda for businesses and industries contribute to SDGs

Enlighten about Government and Business Partnership Conclave

  • It was jointly organised by NITI Aayog, CII and United Nations.
  • It witnesses participation from senior officials from Ministry of Housing and Urban Affair Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Power and Ministry o Drinking Water and Sanitation.
  • CII also launched report—Indian Solutions for the World to Achieve SDGs.
  • The report deep-dives into each of SDGs, targets an business implications thereof.
  • It also cites examples that illustrate how companies have incorporated SDGs framework into their business strategy and gone about achieving them.

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

  • CII is an association of Indian businesses which works to create environment conducive to growth of industry in India.

Commerce and Industry

Niryat Mitra mobile application

  • Launched by Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry
  • For exporters and importers of the country.
  • The app developed by Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the largest exporters organisation of the country.
  • It available both on Android and on IOS platforms.

Enlighten about Niryat Mitra app

  • The app provides wide range of information required to undertake international trade right from policy provisions for export and import applicable GST rate, available export incentives, tariff, preferential tariff market access requirements – SPS and TBT measures.
  • It provides all the information at tariff line.
  • The app works internally to map Indian Trad Clarification (ITC) Harmonized Item Description and Coding System (HS) cod of other countries with that of India.
  • It also provides all the required data without users bothering about HS code of any country. Presently, app has data of 87 countries. It also provides notifications of export promotion programme organised by FIEO to provide opportunity to industry to participate in them.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) / HQ – New Delhi

  • It is apex and largest trade promotion organisation in India.
  • It was joint established in 1965 by Ministry of Commerce and private trade and industry
  • It is responsible for representing and assisting Indian entrepreneurs an exporters in foreign markets.

Banking Reforms

Multi Option Payment Acceptance Device (MOPAD)

Launched by SBI

  • SBI has launched its Multi Option Payment Acceptance Device (MOPAD for digital payments convenience of merchants and consumers.

Objective

  • To provide digital convenience to customers and ease of doing business for merchants at the same time.
  • SBI will roll-out this new initiative on a SBI PoS terminals in a phased manner.
  • Multi Option Payment Acceptance Device (MOPAD) MOPAD also aims at providing convenience to merchants by eliminating multiple machines that they keep in order to facilitate transaction from different sources.
  • It will allow customers to make payments through card Bharat QR, UPI and SBI Buddy (e-wallet) on single Point–of–Sale (Po terminal.
  • It will help merchants to integrate different kinds of transaction through on PoS machine, which will help in eliminate their operational inconvenience and streamline cash flow.

Energy Security

World Biofuel Day – 10 August

What

  • The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is organising the programme to mark the importance of biofuels and to highlight the various efforts made by the Government in the biofuel sector.

Organising Ministry

  • The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is organising the programme to mark the importance of biofuels and to highlight the various efforts made by the Government in the biofuel sector.
  • The ministry has been observing the World Biofuel Day for the last three years on August 10.

Government initiatives

  • Biofuels have synergies with various Government initiatives, including enhancing farmers’ incomes, and Swachh Bharat, the statement read.
  • It further said that as a result of the efforts of the Centre, ethanol blending in petrol has increased to 141 crore litres in financial year 2017-18, as compared to 38 crore litres in 2013-14.
  • The Government also approved the National Policy on Biofuels in June.
  • Biofuels help reduce import dependency on crude oil, the statement said, adding, it can also contribute to a cleaner environment, generate additional income for farmers, and generate employment in rural areas.

Sources – PIB , The Hindu , Indian Express