CHINA TO REQUIRE FOREIGN VESSELS TO REPORT IN
In a move that could have ramifications for the free passage of both military and commercial vessels in the South China Sea, Chinese authorities said that they will require a range of vessels “to report their information” when passing through what China sees as its “territorial waters”, starting from September 1.
About The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
• The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is an international treaty which was adopted and signed in 1982.
• UNCLOS is the only international convention which stipulates a framework for state jurisdiction in maritime spaces. It provides a different legal status to different maritime zones.
• It replaced the four Geneva Conventions of April, 1958, which respectively concerned the territorial sea and the contiguous zone, the continental shelf, the high seas, fishing and conservation of living resources on the high seas.
• The Convention has created three new institutions on the international scene:
• the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
• the International Seabed Authority
• the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf
• UNCLOS as the currently prevailing law of the sea is binding completely.
• There are 17 parts, 320 articles and nine annexes to UNCLOS
• The law of the sea provides for full rights to nations for a 200-mile zone from their shoreline. The sea and oceanic bed extending this area is regarded to be Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and any country can use these waters for their economic utilization.
RESTING ON CLIMATE ACTION A $11 TRILLION OPPURTUNITY FOR INDIA
India must act now to prevent the country losing USD 35 trillion in economic potential over the next 50 years due to unmitigated climate change, a new report from the Deloitte Economics Institute
• The report, ‘India’s Turning Point: How Climate Action Can Drive Our Economic Future’, also reveals how the country could gain $11 trillion in economic value instead over the same period, by limiting rising global temperatures and realising its potential to ‘export decarbonisation’ to the world.
• With no action taken on climate change, average global temperatures could rise by 3 degrees Celsius or more by the end of this century. This will make it harder for people to live and work, as sea levels rise, crop yields fall, infrastructure is damaged, and other challenges emerge, threatening the progress and prosperity that the nation has enjoyed in recent decades, said the report.
NITI AAYOG BATS FOR TAX BREAKS TO ACHIEVE MONETISATION GOAL
To make the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) a success, the government should give Income tax breaks to attract retail investors into instruments like Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs), the NITI Aayog has recommended
The Centre’s think tank driving the NMP, estimated to raise almost ₹6 lakh crore for the exchequer over four years, has also called for bringing such Trusts under the ambit of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to provide greater comfort to investors.
About Insolvency And Bankruptcy Code
• It is a reform enacted in 2016. It amalgamates various laws relating to the insolvency resolution of business firms.
• It lays down clear-cut and faster insolvency proceedings to help creditors, such as banks, recover dues and prevent bad loans, a key drag on the economy.
• Under IBC, either the creditor (banks) or the loaner (defaulter) can initiate insolvency proceedings.
• It is done by submitting a plea to the adjudicating authority, the National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT).
• According to IBC, a financial creditor holds an important role in the corporate insolvency process.
• The Committee of Creditors (CoC) under IBC includes all financial creditors of a corporate debtor.ab
• The CoC will appoint and supervise the Insolvency Professional.
• It has the power to either approve or reject the resolution plan to revive the debtor, or to proceed to liquidate the debtor.
The insolvency and bankruptcy code (amendment) bill, 2019
• The Bill amends the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. The Code provides a time-bound process for resolving insolvency in companies and among individuals.
• Under the Code, a financial creditor may file an application before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for initiating the insolvency resolution process. The NCLT must find the existence of default within 14 days. Thereafter, a Committee of Creditors (CoC) consisting of financial creditors will be constituted for taking decisions regarding insolvency resolution. The CoC may either decide to restructure the debtor’s debt by preparing a resolution plan or liquidate the debtor’s assets.
• The CoC will appoint a resolution professional who will present a resolution plan to the CoC. The CoC must approve a resolution plan, and the resolution process must be completed within 180 days. This may be extended by a period of up to 90 days if the extension is approved by NCLT.
• If the resolution plan is rejected by the CoC, the debtor will go into liquidation. The Code provides an order of priority for the distribution of assets in case of liquidation of the debtor. This order places financial creditors ahead of operational creditors (e.g., suppliers). In a 2018 Amendment, home-buyers who paid advances to a developer were to be considered as financial creditors. They would be represented by an insolvency professional appointed by NCLT.
• The Bill addresses three issues. First, it strengthens provisions related to time-limits. Second, it specifies the minimum payouts to operational creditors in any resolution plan. Third, it specifies the manner in which the representative of a group of financial creditors (such as home-buyers) should vote.
• Resolution plan: The Code provides that the resolution plan must ensure that the operational creditors receive an amount which should not be lesser than the amount they would receive in case of liquidation. The Bill amends this to provide that the amounts to be paid to the operational creditor should be the higher of: (i) amounts receivable under liquidation, and (ii) the amount receivable under a resolution plan, if such amounts were distributed under the same order of priority (as for liquidation). For example, if the default were for Rs 1,000 crore and the resolution professional recovered Rs 800 crore, the operational creditor must at least get an amount which they would have received if Rs 800 crore have been obtained through liquidation proceeds.
• Further, the Bill states that this provision would also apply to insolvency processes: (i) that have not been approved or rejected by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), (ii) that have been appealed to the National Company Appellate Tribunal or Supreme Court, and (iii) where legal proceedings have been initiated in any court against the decision of the NCLT.
• Initiation of resolution process: As per the Code, the NCLT must determine the existence of default within 14 days of receiving a resolution application. Based on its finding, NCLT may accept or reject the application. The Bill states that in case the NCLT does not find the existence of default and has not passed an order within 14 days, it must record its reasons in writing.
• Time-limit for resolution process: The Code states that the insolvency resolution process must be completed within 180 days, extendable by a period of up to 90 days. The Bill adds that the resolution process must be completed within 330 days. This includes time for any extension granted and the time taken in legal proceedings in relation to the process. On the enactment of the Bill, if any case is pending for over 330 days, the Bill states it must be resolved within 90 days.
• Representative of financial creditors: The Code specifies that, in certain cases, such as when the debt is owed to a class of creditors beyond a specified number, the financial creditors will be represented on the committee of creditors by an authorized representative. These representatives will vote on behalf of the financial creditors as per instructions received from them. The Bill states that such representative will vote on the basis of the decision taken by a majority of the voting share of the creditors that they represent.
About Tax Breaks:
A tax break is a reduction of a taxpayer’s total liability. The term is also used to refer to the favorable tax treatment of any class of people in the United States.
If the government gives a tax break to a particular group of people or type of organization, then it reduces the amount of tax that they otherwise would have to pay or changes the tax system in a way that benefits them.
Types of Tax Breaks
Tax deductions are expenses that can be subtracted from gross income to reduce taxable income
The reduction of taxable income is a tax break for the taxpayer, who ends up paying less to the government.
A tax credit reduces a taxpayer’s tax liability dollar-for-dollar. That has a greater impact than a deduction, which merely reduces the amount of income subject to taxes.
In effect, a tax credit is applied to the amount of tax owed by the taxpayer after all deductions are made from the person’s taxable income.
If an individual owes $3,000 to the government and is eligible for a $1,100 tax credit, then the amount owed will be reduced to $1,900 after the tax break is applied.
An exemption screens a certain portion of income or type of income from taxation.
For example, an expatriate who earns income in a foreign country is eligible for a tax break of $107,600 as of the 2020 tax year. This is applied through the foreign earned income exclusion (FEIE).
An ex-pat who earns $180,000 for a job in a foreign country, for example, will be taxed only on the amount that exceeds $107,600, or $72,400.
Charitable organizations and religious institutions are generally tax-exempt. That is, they are not required to pay federal income taxes.
INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AND ECO-CONSERVATION SHOULD GO HAND-IN-HAND
The need for infrastructure development in the Himalayan region rubs up against the environmental and ecological challenges that they pose.
• The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was implemented by the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga also known as the National Ganga Council (set in 2016; which replaced the National Ganga River Basin Authority – NGRBA).
• This mission was established in 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act,1860 as a registered society.
• It has a two-tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee.
• The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under National Ganga Council is supported by the State level Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.
• It is an initiative taken by the Government of India to address the pollution of the river Ganga by providing financial and technical assistance.
SOME OF THE MAJOR OBJECTIVES OF THE NATION MISSION FOR CLEAN GANGA ARE:
• The mission incorporates rehabilitating and boosting the existing STPs and instant short-term steps to curb pollution at exit points on the riverfront in order to check the inflow of sewage.
• To maintain the continuity of the water flow without changing the natural season variations.
• To restore and maintain the surface flow and groundwater.
• To regenerate and maintain the natural vegetation of the area.
• To conserve and regenerate the aquatic biodiversity as well as the riparian biodiversity of the river Ganga basin.
• To allow participation of the public in the process of protection, rejuvenation and management of the river.
INITIATIVES TO PREVENT GANGA POLLUTION
• Ganga Action Plan: It was the first River Action Plan that was taken up by the Ministry of Environment & Forests in 1985, to improve the water quality by the treatment of domestic sewage. It also aimed to prevent toxic and industrial chemical wastes (from identified polluting units) from entering the river.
• National River Conservation Plan was an extension to the Ganga Action Plan, so as to cover all the major rivers of the country.
• ‘National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA)’ was formed by the Central Government of India in the year 2009 under Section-3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. It is chaired by the Prime Minister of India.
• It declared the Ganga as the ‘National River’ of India.
• In 2010, ‘Government clean-up campaign’ was started to ensure that by 2020 no untreated municipal sewage or industrial runoff enters river.
• In 2014, ‘Namami Gange Programme’ was launched as an Integrated Conservation Mission, to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation, and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
• The program is being implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organization viz., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
• Ganga Manthan– It was a national conference that was held in 2014 to discuss issues and possible solutions for cleaning the river. The event was organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga.
• In 2014, Clean Ganga Fund was also formed for cleaning up of the Ganga, setting up of waste treatment plants. This fund will also be used to finance National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
• In 2017, the National Green Tribunal banned the disposal of any waste in the Ganga.
NAMAMI GANGE PROGRAMME:
• Namami Ganga Programme is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as a ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014 to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution and conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
• It is being operated under the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti.
• The program is being implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG),and its state counterpart organizations i.e State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
• NMCG is the implementation wing of National Ganga Council (set in 2016; which replaced the National Ganga River Basin Authority – NGRBA).
• It has a Rs. 20,000-crore, centrally-funded, non-lapsable corpus and consists of nearly 288 projects.
• The main pillars of the programme are:
Sewage Treatment Infrastructure
Industrial Effluent Monitoring
THE GANGA RIVER SYSTEM:
• The Ganga is formed from the 6 headstreams and their five confluences.
• The headwaters of the Ganga called the ‘Bhagirathi’ are fed by the Gangotri Glacier and joined by the Alaknanda at Devprayag in Uttarakhand.
• At Haridwar, Ganga emerges from the mountains to the plains.
• The Ganga is joined by many tributaries from the Himalayas, a few of them being major rivers such as the Yamuna, the Ghaghara, the Gandak and the Kosi.
• Before entering the Bay of Bengal, the Ganga, along with the Brahmaputra, forms the largest delta of the world between the Bhagirathi/Hugli and the Padma/Meghna covering an area of 58,752 sq km.
NANOTECH OPENS UP JOB OPTIONS IN VARIETY OF INDUSTRIES
• The scope and application of nanotechnology is tremendous. Indian engineering and science graduates are increasingly opting for nanotechnology.
• Right from medicine, pharmaceuticals, information technology, electronic, opto-electronics, energy, chemicals, advanced materials to textiles, nanotechnology has its applications. Nanotechnology provides job opportunities in health industry; pharmaceutical industry; agriculture industry; environment industry; food and beverage industry as well in government and private research institutes.
• Nanotechnology primarily refers to the use and creation of particles that are smaller than 100 nanometre.
• The Government of India launched the Nano Mission in 2007 as an umbrella capacity-building programme.
• As a result of the efforts led by the Nano Mission, today, India is amongst the top five nations in the world in terms of scientific publications in nanoscience and technology.
• Agriculture: Nanotechnology can be used in agriculture and food production in the form of Nano sensors for monitoring crop growth and pest control by early identification of plant diseases.
• Medical applications: Development of newer drug delivery systems based on nanotechnology methods is being tried for conditions like cancer, diabetes, fungal infections, and viral infections and in gene therapy. Nanotechnology has also found its use in diagnostic medicine as contrast agents, fluorescent dyes and magnetic nanoparticles.
• Electronics: The semiconductor industry has been able to improve the performance of electronic systems for more than four decades by downscaling silicon-based devices.
• Textiles and Clothing: Nanotechnology has shown a huge potential in the textile and clothing industry which is normally very traditional. Coating is a common technique used to apply Nano-particles onto textiles. The success of nanotechnology in textile applications lies in areas of durability, flexibility, wash ability and softness.
• Energy equipment: Nanoscales and nanoporous membranes are being used to facilitate production of biomass fuel. Energy transmission could potentially be made much more efficient by using engineered nanomaterials.