Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - July 21, 2018

Amendments/Bills

Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 Passed by Rajya Sabha

Why it was needed

  • To amend various provisions o Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), 1988.
  • To bring it in line with United Nation Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) as agreed b India.

Enlighten about The amendments to PCA, 1988

  • It was first brought by UPA government 2013.
  • The Bill was then referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee, Law Commission of India (LCI) and then in December 2015 to select committee
  • The report of select committee was submitted in 2016 and again it was move in August 2017, but was not be taken up.

Enlighten about the features of the Bill

  • The Bill introduces offence of ‘giving bribe’ as direct offence.
  • Person who is compelled to give bribe who report matter to law enforcement authorities within seven days will not be charge with this offence.
  • The bill redefines provisions related to criminal misconduct to only cover two types of offences viz. illicit enrichment (such as amassing of assets disproportionate to one’s known income source and fraudulent misappropriation of property.
  • It makes mandatory for taking prior approval of relevant Government or competent authority to conduct any investigation into offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant
  • Such approval will be not necessary in cases that involve arrest of person on spot on charges of taking a bribe.
  • The bill set trail time period within two months if it is handled by special judge.
  • In case of delays, reasons for it must be recorded for ever extension of six months obtained.
  • However, total period for completion of tri may not exceed four years

Bilateral Relations

India to host U.S. for 2+2 talks

  • India will host the inaugural round of the two-plus-two dialogue with the U.S. on September 6.
  • The ministerial-level meeting will cover bilateral, regional and global issues, the External Affairs Ministry
  • The dialogue will be led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman from the Indian side and Secretary of State Mike R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis from the U.S.

Enlighten about it

  • ISROis gearing up for full-fledged commercial launches from September onwards. A PSLV rocket will be launched in that month solely for foreign satellites.
  • The first launch will be of a PSLV rocket in September that will solely be for commercial purpose.
  • Two UK satellites weighing 450 kg each will be the main payload.
  • UK will use these satellites for earth observation. There will not be any Indian satellite.”

Enlighten about the meeting

  • This new dialogue format is in pursuit of agreement reached between India and the U.S. during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington D.C. on June 25-26 2017.
  • The 2+2 meeting will cover a broad range of bilateral, regional and global issues of shared interest, with a view to strengthening strategic and security ties between the two countries
  • The announcement of the meeting, which was postponed twice before, comes in the middle of growing concern that anti-Iran sanctions from the U.S. might affect the energy scenario of India.
  • The dialogue, which was scheduled for July 6, was postponed after Mr. Pompeo called up Ms. Swaraj seeking a “mutually convenient time”.
  • The talks were cancelled earlier in March due to uncertainties
  • The context for the September 6 talks will be set by the sanctions against Iran, some of which are likely to be activated on August 6.
  • This will also be the first round of high-level interaction between the two sides following the elections in Pakistan that will conclude in the last week of July.

Sanctions against Iran

  • Persons engaging in activity undertaken pursuant to the U.S. sanctions relief provided for in the JCPOA should take the steps necessary to wind down those activities by either August 6, 2018, or November 4, 2018, as applicable, to avoid exposure to sanctions or an enforcement action under U.S. law

Enlighten about The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

  • Known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany),[a] and the European Union.
  • Formal negotiations toward the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran's nuclear program began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in November 2013.
  • For the next twenty months, Iran and the P5+1 countries engaged in negotiations, and in April 2015 agreed on an Iran nuclear deal framework for the final agreement.
  • In July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 confirmed agreement on the plan along with the "Roadmap Agreement" made between Iran and the IAEA.
  • Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years.
  • For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%.
  • Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time.
  • To monitor and verify Iran's compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities.
  • In return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related economic sanctions.
  • On 13 October 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would not make the certification provided for under U.S. domestic law, but stopped short of terminating the deal.
  • On 30 April 2018, the United States and Israel stated that Iran did not disclose a past covert nuclear weapons program to the IAEA, which was required in the 2015 deal.

International Organisations

10th edition of Delhi Dialogue

Where

  • New Delhi

Organising agency

  • Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in partnership wit the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).

Theme

  • Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation

Enlighten about Delhi Dialogue

  • This was the first major event organised after ASEAN-Ind Commemorative Summit, which was held in New Delhi January 2018.
  • It is a participation of political leadership, policy makers, senior officials, diplomat business leaders, think-tanks and academicians from India and ASEA member states.
  • Chief ministers from North-Eastern states were also invited to participate in the event.
  • Delhi Dialogue is premier annual event to discuss politico-security, economic and socio-cultural engagement between India and the Association Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • It has been held annually since 2009 an political leaders, policy makers, senior officials, diplomats, think tanks an academicians from both sides participate in the discussions pertaining t ASEAN-India relations.
  • Expanding the scope of cooperation between India and ASEAN nations.
  • The theme of ninth edition of dialogue was “ASEAN-India Relations: Charting the Course for the Next 25 Years”.
  • It had marked the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-Ind Partnership.

Government Schemes

Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan

Organising agency

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

Where

  • In main Ganga based states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand an West Bengal.
  • The drive was launched on 9th July 2018 for a week upto 15 July 2018 which was observed a ‘Shubharambh Saptah’.

Enlighten about Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan

  • The campaign was initiated as part of Forest Interventions in Ganga (FIG component of Namami Gange programme.
  • It aimed to bring greater awareness among people and other stakeholders regarding importance of afforestation for task of Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • The state forest departments of these five states were nodal agencies for the smooth and effective execution of the campaign.
  • Under this campaign, number of schools, colleges and departments were requested to “Adopt a Plant” for making it people’s movement.
  • Dehradun based Forest Research Institute (FRI) had prepared Detailed Project Report (DPR) to implement the afforestation project in a scientific manner.

Benefits

  • Importance of Afforestation in Ganga Basin Forests cause higher rainfall and raise water level in the river basins.
  • Through their foliage, abundant leaf litter and craggy bark, trees and forests decreases speed of water dispersion.
  • Healthy forest cover along river provides self-cleaning ability to river.
  • Thus, afforestation and augmentation of existing forest cove along Ganga River holds promise to strengthen riparian ecosystem thereby contributing to overarching cause of Ganga Rejuvenation.

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

  • NMCG is implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation Protection and Management of River Ganga (also referred as National Gang Council).
  • It was established in 2011 as registered society under Society Registration Act, 1860.
  • It has a two tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee.
  • Both of them are headed by Director General (DG NMCG. Executive Committee is authorized to approve projects under mission up to Rs.1000 crore.

NATIONAL

The BJP-led NDA government defeated the no-confidence motion

Enlighten about the No Confidence Motion

  • A no-confidence motion can be moved by any member of the House.
  • It can be moved only in the Lok Sabha and not Rajya Sabha.
  • Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure and conduct of Lok Sabha specifies the procedure for moving a no-confidence motion.
  • Neither a confidence motion nor a no-confidence motion is mentioned in the Constitution.
  • But Article 75 spells it out that “the council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People”.
  • This implies that the majority of Lok Sabha members must support the prime minister and his cabinet.
  • A no-confidence motion is an attempt, usually by an Opposition party, to get the government of the day to prove its majority on the floor of the House.
  • The motion can only be moved by a member in the Lok Sabha, and, once moved, offers MPs an opportunity to discuss the government’s performance, before voting on whether the ruling party has the “confidence” of the House.
  • A no-confidence motion is slightly different from a motion of confidence, or trust vote, which is moved by the government, as an ordinary motion under Rule 184.
  • A government can prove its majority by moving a confidence motion as a counter to the opposition parties.

What happens when the Speaker receives a no-confidence motion?

  • Once the notice is received and considered to be in order, the Speaker reads out the motion.
  • If more than 50 members of Parliament are in favour of it, the Speaker will allot a date and time to discuss the motion.
  • The Speaker has to put forth every question necessary that will help the House in determining its decision and may also allot a time limit for speeches.
  • In this case, Mahajan accepted a notice to move the motion on July 18.
  • The notice was submitted by several Opposition members but the Speaker only accepted the one from Telugu Desam Party’s MP Kesineni Srinivas, on grounds that his was the first.

What happens next?

  • On the day of the motion being taken up, members of the Lok Sabha have an opportunity to present their views on the performance of the government.
  • Once that is concluded, the members vote on the motion.
  • For it to remain in power, the ruling government will have to prove its majority on the floor, meaning it will need at least 273 votes if all members are present.
  • The Prime Minister and Council of Ministers can only hold office if they have the confidence of the Lok Sabha.
  • If they fail to do so, then they are obliged to resign. The Prime Minister may also suggest dissolving the House before the vote on either a confidence or a no-confidence motion.
  • The last prime minister to face a no-confidence motion was Vajpayee in 2003. That motion was moved by Sonia Gandhi.
  • The one today is thus the first no-confidence motion in 15 years and also a first for the Narendra Modi government.

Sources – The Hindu , IndianExpress , Livemint