Here are today’s important headlines with key details for UPSC, SSC, IBPS and other competitive examinations.
India – Sri Lanka to form Joint Working Group to address fishermen issue
India and Sri Lanka have agreed to set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Fisheries and a hotline service between their Coast Guards to address the long-standing issue of fishermen from Tamil Nadu. JWG aims to help find a permanent solution to the fishermen issues.
- The JWG on Fisheries will meet every three months starting January 2017, while the Ministers of Fisheries on both sides would meet every six months along with Naval representatives and the Coast Guard to discuss the protracted issue.
- The problems of Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen in the Palk Bay appear everlasting. The attributable causes are the instances of Indian fishermen being prevented from fishing, facing harassment and arrest by the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN), and the nearly 200 deaths resulting from Sri Lankan Army (SLA) operations involving interdictions and firings on suspicion of Indian trawlers aiding LTTE and gun running while fishing in the area, as reported over the past decade.
- Sri Lanka’s Position: It accuses Indian fishermen of straying into its territorial waters. It wants Indian fishermen to immediately end bottom trawling, a practice that depletes the ocean’s resources. It also has refused to return more than 100 trawlers seized since 2014.
- India’s Position: Fishermen from Tamil Nadu are only fishing in their traditional areas, especially around Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974.
What will JWG do?
- Work towards ending the practice of bottom trawling at the earliest. Will come up with a legal framework for returning fishermen arrested by both sides.
- However, both sides have failed to resolve the issue of their seized boats which has been an sensitive issue in Tamil Nadu. This issue will be discussed at the first JWG meeting.
PM Modi inaugurates first International Agro-Biodiversity Congress.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first International Agro-biodiversity Congress in New Delhi. The 4-day Congress (from November 6 to 9, 2016) will be attended by 900 delegates from 60 countries to discuss conservation of genetic resources.
What is Agrobiodiversity?
- Agrobiodiversity is defined as the variety and variability of plants, animals and micro-organisms that are used directly or indirectly for food and agriculture.
- It includes all species that are closely inter-woven in an agricultural ecosystem. India is one of the most diverse countries in the world possessing unique crop and animal diversity.
- It covers only 2.4% of the world’s land area and yet it harbours 7-8% of all recorded species, including over 45,000 species of plants and 91,000 species of animals.
- The conference has been organised by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources and Biodiversity International, a Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Research Centre headquartered in Rome, Italy. It will address the threats imposed by climate change and ways to achieve sustainable agriculture production.
- It may adopt the ‘Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity management and use’.
- It will lead to discussion and knowledge sharing on issues for efficient management of gene banks, crop diversification, science-led innovations in genetic resources, issues relating to quarantine, intellectual property rights and biosafety and biosecurity.
- It will also prepare a road map to enhance food, nutrition and health security by optimal utilisation of agrobiodiversity while protecting Agro-Ecosystems.
- HCC becomes first firm to get debt recast under RBI’s S4A Scheme Construction major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) became India’s first firm to get debt recast under RBI’s new Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A). The RBI-mandated Overseeing Committee (OC) under the S4A has approved HCC’s Rs. 5,000-crore debt recast passed by an ICICI Bank-led joint lender forum in September 2016.
What is Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A)?
- The RBI had launched S4A scheme to help resolve the corporate debt problem and strengthen the lenders’ ability to deal with stressed assets. Under this scheme, a company’s debt is bifurcated into two parts – sustainable and unsustainable – based on the cash flows of the company’s project. The sustainable debt cannot be less than 50% of existing debt and must be serviced over the same terms as that of existing facilities. The unsustainable debt can be converted into equity, Optionally Convertible Debentures or Redeemable Optionally Convertible Preference Share with clearly spelt out terms. Banks can sell this stake or equity to a new owner who will have the advantage of getting to run the business with a more manageable debt.
- Banks or lenders will formulate the resolution plan and implement the same along with necessary internal approvals. RBI mandated advisory body called Overseeing Committee (OC) will be constituted, which will review the resolution plans submitted by the Banks.
Indian lawyer Aniruddha Rajput elected to International Law Commission by UNGA
- Aniruddha Rajput is among other 34 individuals elected as members of the International Law Commission. The members were elected from five geographical groupings of Asia-Pacific, African, Latin American and Caribbean, Eastern European and Western European states. They will have a term of 5 years commencing from January 2017.
- Rajput was elected from the Asia Pacific Group by gaining 160 votes.
About Aniruddha Rajput
- A Supreme Court lawyer in India, Rajput is an alumnus of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was a member of an expert group appointed by the Law Commission of India to study the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty 2015 of India.
- He drafted the Sports Bill in 2012 at the second revision stage and has advised the state governments of Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir on laws relating to industry and mining.
- He is also a member of the Governing Council of the Global Village Foundation.
- He has several publications to his name including books, articles, chapters, conference papers on legal issues.
About International Law Commission (ILC)
- The ILC was established by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1947 to undertake the mandate of UN to ensure promotion and progressive development of International law and its codification.
- It holds its annual session in Geneva, Switzerland for a period of ten to twelve weeks.
- The members of the Commission are the people who possess recognized competence and qualifications in both doctrinal and practical aspects of international law.
Here is a list of last few articles on Current Affairs and the Monthly Bullet on Current Affairs for SSC
Monthly Bullet Pdf for October 2016