National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 10th January 2019

The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill

Topic: Polity and Governance

IN NEWS: The Lok Sabha has passed the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill to set up a revamped International Arbitration Centre at New Delhi with an aim to make India the hub of arbitration.

More on the Topic:

  • The Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of the NDIAC to conduct arbitration, mediation, and conciliation proceedings. The Bill declares the NDIAC as an institution of national importance.
  • The proposed New Delhi International Arbitration Centre will be a statutory body, consisting of a Chairperson, two eminent persons having substantial knowledge in international and domestic arbitration, one representative of a recognized body of commerce, Secretary to the Ministry of Law & Justice, Finance Advisor and a Chief Executive Office
  • The Chairperson should have been a judge of the Supreme Court or High Court, or an eminent person having special knowledge and experience in the conduct or administration of arbitration, appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. The two eminent persons and the representative of commerce body are to be appointed by the Central Government.
  • The Bill aims for creating an independent and autonomous regime for institutionalised arbitration and the better management of arbitration so as to make it a hub for institutional arbitration.

International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR):

  • The ICADR is a registered society to promote the resolution of disputes through alternative dispute resolution methods (such as arbitration and mediation). The Bill seeks to transfer the existing ICADR to the central government.

Objectives and functions of the NDIAC:

  • The key objectives of the NDIAC include (i) promoting research, providing training and organising conferences and seminars in alternative dispute resolution matters; (ii) providing facilities and administrative assistance for the conduct of arbitration, mediation and conciliation proceedings; (iii) maintaining a panel of accredited professionals to conduct arbitration, mediation and conciliation proceedings.

Key functions of the NDIAC will include:

  • (i) facilitating conduct of arbitration and conciliation in a professional, timely and cost-effective manner; and (ii) promoting studies in the field of alternative dispute resolution.

Model Mains Question: Analyse the importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution centres in  ease of doing business ?

Source:Hindu and PRS

Sabarimala Environmental Concerns


Topic: Environment and Ecology

IN NEWS:  Amidst debates on fundamental rights and the need to preserve tradition, what is being ignored is the important fact that Sabarimala falls in a fragile region of the Western Ghats.

More on the Topic:

  • A portion of forest land in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, a hotspot of biodiversity, was allotted to the Travancore Devaswom Board in 2012 so that the Board could implement its Sabarimala development plan.
  • The Board, on the pretext of meeting the needs of the pilgrims, has been pushing for urban development in the core of the tiger reserve, paying little attention to environmental regulations. Land has been auctioned to hotels, shops and guesthouses. This violates not only the Kerala Forest Act of 1961, the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, and the Forest Conservation Act of 1980, but also a series of verdicts, including by the Supreme Court.

About Periyar National Park:

  • Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (PNP) is a protected area in Idukki, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta in Kerala,
  • It is notable as an elephant reserve and a tiger reserve. The protected area covers an area of the core zone which was declared as the Periyar National Park in 1982. The park is a repository of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers of Kerala, the Periyar and the Pamba.
  • It is located high in the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of the south Western Ghats along the border with Tamil Nadu.

Source:The Hindu

Google Assistant breaks language barriers

Topic: Science and Technology

In news: At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 currently on in Las Vegas, Google has unveiled a new feature: the ‘interpreter mode’ in Google Assistant, its voice-based Artificial Intelligence (AI). This would enable Google’s virtual assistant to serve as a real-time language translator between two people.

More on the Topic:

  • With this feature, which will be rolled out over the next few weeks on Google Home devices and Smart Displays, one can just tell the Google Assistant “Hey Google, be my Japanese interpreter”, and it would function as one. Currently, this feature supports 27 languages, including English, Hindi, Polish, Indonesian, Swedish, Thai, German and Korean.
  • Google, which has to contend with Amazon’s Alexa as it strives to position Google Assistant as the consumer’s preferred voice-based assistant, also unveiled Google Assistant Connect, a platform that will enable third party device manufacturers to bring Google Assistant into their products.

Model Mains Question:  Discuss how technology can bring accountability in governance.

Source: The Hindu

e-NAM has achieved another milestone


Topic: e-Governance

In news:  e-NAM has achieved another milestone by commencing inter-State trade between mandis using e-payments.

More on the Topic:

  • With the start of New Year 2019, the Prime Minister’s flagship program e-NAM has achieved another milestone by commencing inter-State trade between mandis of two different State
  • Earlier trade used to happen either within the APMC or between two APMCs situated within same state. The very first Inter State transaction in tomatoes has been carried out between trader of Bareilly e-NAM APMC of Uttar Pradesh and farmer of Haldwani e-NAM APMC of Uttarakhand. Similarly, the inter -State transactions in potatoes, brinjal & cauliflower have been carried out between the e-NAM mandis.
  • In all the cases, e-payments have been made through e-NAM portal. This will helps farmers get better market access, more buyers/ traders & realise better prices for their produce.

About e-NAM

  • National Agriculture Market or eNAM is an online trading platform for agricultural commodities in India.
  • The market facilitate farmers, traders and buyers with online trading in commodities.The market is helping in better price discovery and provide facilities for smooth marketing of their produce.
  • The eNAM markets are proving popular as the crops are weighed immediately and the stock is lifted on the same day and the payments are cleared online.
  • Some attractive features like MIS dashboard, BHIM and other mobile payments, enhanced features on the mobile app such as gate entry and payment through mobile phones and farmers database is helping adoption even more.
  • The present trading is done mostly for intra-market, but in phases, it will be rolled out to trade in inter-market, inter-state, creating a unified national market for agricultural commodities.

Source: The Hindu

Web wonder women Campaign


Topic: Government Initiatives

In News: The government launched Web- Wonder Women Campaign to celebrate the exceptional achievements of women who have influenced and impacted society through social media.

More on the Topic:

  • The Campaign aims to recognize the fortitude of Indian women stalwarts from across the globe who have used the power of social media to run positive campaigns to steer a change in society.
  • The campaign is to specially honour and encourage such voices that have in their own capacity driven a positive impact on social media platforms.
  • Women and Child Development Ministry in collaboration with Breakthrough and Twitter India has started this campaign.
  • The Campaign invites entries from across the world. Indian-origin women, working or settled anywhere in the world, are eligible for nomination.
  • The shortlisted entries will be open for public voting on Twitter and the finalists will be selected by a specialized panel of judges.

Source: The Hindu

Sikkim aims to implement Universal Basic Income

Topic: Social Justice

In news: A Sikkim could become the first Indian state to implement Universal Basic Income (UBI) as it aims to implement the scheme by 2022.

 More on the Topic:

  • The scheme would benefit the complete population of the state which is around 7 lakh. Sikkim Democratic Party, Sikkim’s ruling party-led by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, has decided to include UBI in its poll manifesto for the forthcoming Assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

About Universal Basic Income:

  • It is a periodic cash payment delivered to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement.
  • The Economic Survey, which was tabled in the Parliament by Union Minister Arun Jaitley in the financial year 2016-17, had suggested the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as an alternative to various welfare schemes in an effort to reduce poverty in the country. The survey had said that implementation of UBI across the country would cost between 4-5 per cent of GDP.

Source: The Hindu


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