Highlights of 29th March 2018
(1) India, Pakistan to hold Permanent Indus Commission meet
• India and Pakistan will hold a two-day meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission to discuss various issues under the Indus Waters Treaty.
• This will be the 114th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), which should meet at least once a year as per the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)
Potential issues to discuss
• The issues relating to India's Ratle hydroelectricity, Pakul Dul, and Lower Kalnai projects, located in Jammu and Kashmir, may come up for discussion during the meeting.
• Pakistan contends that Ratle (850 MW), Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) projects located in the Chenab basin were violating the IWT, signed in 1960.
• But India is very clear that designs of the projects are in accordance with the treaty
About Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)
• The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, signed in 1960.
• The IWT covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers -- Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum.
• The treaty specifies that waters from the three western rivers -- Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab -- are reserved for Pakistan, while waters from eastern rivers -- Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas -- are for reserved for India.
• The treaty allowed India to use western rivers water for limited irrigation use and unrestricted use for power generation, domestic, industrial and non-consumptive uses such as navigation, floating of property, fish culture, etc. while laying down precise regulations for India to build projects.
• As per the provisions of the treaty, India can use only 20% of the total water carried by the Indus
(2) Khaps cannot interfere in the marriage of consenting adults, rules Supreme Court
• The Supreme Court ruled that interference, harm or insult caused to consenting adults who fall in love and choose to marry is absolutely illegal.
• With this judgment, the court has filled the vacuum caused by the lack of a specific penal law against honor killings.
• The court said the fundamental right of two people who wish to get married to each other and live peacefully is absolute.
Objection of khaps
• The objection of khaps about marriages between people from the same gotra is upheld in Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.
• The section said the “sapinda should be removed by five degrees from the father’s side and by three degrees from the mother’s side.”
Proposed law against honor killing
• The proposed law against honor killing — The Prohibition of Interference with Freedom of Matrimonial Alliance Bill — is still under circulation among the States.
• The Centre recommended that the State governments should take responsibility for the lives of couples who fear retaliation. They should be housed in special protection homes, away from danger.
• The government said special cells should be formed in every district to receive complaints from couples who feared for their lives.
• The government had acknowledged that “honor killing was neither separately defined or classified as an offense under the prevailing laws. But honor killing is treated as murder.
(3) UP passes stringent crime control bill
• The Uttar Pradesh Assembly has passed a stringent bill to curb organised crime and deal strictly with terrorism.
• The UPCOC Bill seeks to act against those using explosives or firearms or any other violent means or damaging life and property or involved in anti-national or destructive activities.
• Kidnapping, illegal mining, manufacturing and sale of illicit liquor, acquiring contracts on the basis of muscle power, organised exploitation of forest produce, trade in wildlife and fake medicines, grabbing of government and private properties and extortion will come under the ambit of the new law.
• The bill provides for punishments from minimum 3 years’ imprisonment to capital punishment. The draft Bill also provides for fines ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.
• The state government will also establish a special force and UPCOCA courts to expedite the hearing of cases filed under the provisions of the new law.
• The state home secretary will personally monitor cases lodged under UPCOCA.
• To prevent possible misuse of the law, the bill says UPCOCA can be slapped only after the recommendation of the commissioner or IG-rank officials.
• To check the misuse of the law, cases under it will be filed only on the recommendations of the committee of the divisional commissioner and range DIG.
(4) Talks revived to consider impeachment of CJI
• Some Opposition parties have revived the process of discussing the moving of an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
• To move an impeachment motion in the Rajya Sabha, the petition has to be signed by 50 MPs.
• If an impeachment motion is brought about, then there will be an inquiry with two sitting Supreme Court judges and a jurist.
• And until then, convention says a judge has to recuse from taking up cases
• After the motion is passed by each House of the Parliament by special majority, an address is presented to the President for removal of the judge
Impeachment of SC judges
• The procedure relating to the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court is regulated by the Judges Inquiry Act,1968, by the process of impeachment.
• There are two grounds for removal – proved misbehavior or incapacity.
• A judge of the Supreme Court can be removed from his office by an order of the President.
• The President can issue the removal order after an address by the Parliament.
• This address should be supported by a special majority of each House of Parliament (that is, a majority of the total membership of that House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that house present and voting).
• This address has to be presented to the President in the same session of Parliament for such a removal
(5) China’s space lab expected to fall to earth this week
• China’s first experimental space lab is expected to fall back to Earth between March 31 and April 4.
• The announcement noted but did not disclose any re-entry location. It is impossible to name the exact re-entry location at this stage
• Launched in September 2011, Tiangong-1 an experimental had a design life of two years.
• Tiangong-1 has officially stopped sending data and entered its final phase of life on March 16.
• The Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, is orbiting at an average height of about 216.2 km
• During its extended flight, Tiangong-1 conducted experiments in space technology, space-earth remote sensing, and space environment exploration
(6) Ministry of Power joins hands with Skill India to support electrification scheme ‘Saubhagya’
• A special project under the PMKVY (Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) launched in Six States - Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
• Under it, technical Helpers will be trained to meet the requirement of the power sector.
'Power for all' (SAUBHAGYA) scheme
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 'Power for all' scheme to mark the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya on September 25, 2017.
• The scheme is named as ‘Saubhagya’ and provide subsidy on equipment like transformers, meters, and wires.
• The scheme also promises on-the-spot registration of applicants.
• Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) is the nodal agency for coordinating the implementation of the scheme.
• The prospective beneficiary households for free electricity connections under the scheme identify using Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011 data.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)
• It is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
• The objective of this Skill Certification Scheme is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.
National Skill Development Mission (Skill India Mission)
• The National Skill Development Mission was launched by Prime Minister on 15 July 2015 on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day.
• Key institutional mechanisms for achieving the objectives of the Mission have been divided into three tiers-
(a) Governing Council for policy guidance at the apex level
(b) A Steering Committee and
(c) A Mission Directorate (along with an Executive Committee) as the executive arm of the Mission.
• Mission Directorate will be supported by three other institutions: National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), and Directorate General of Training (DGT).
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