Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - November 11, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Context

  • The Central government brought an ordinance to amend the arbitration law and ensure that stakeholder parties can seek an unconditional stay on enforcement of arbitral awards.
  • This will apply to cases where the ‘arbitration agreement or contract is induced by fraud or corruption’.

Background

  • The need is to address the concerns raised by stakeholders after the enactment of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2019.
  • Until recently, an arbitration award was enforceable even if an appeal was filed against it in the court under Section 36 of the law.
  • However, the court could grant a stay on the award on conditions as it deemed fit.

About the key features

  • The Act seeks to establish an independent body called the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the promotion of arbitration, mediation, conciliation and other alternative dispute redressal mechanisms.  
  • The ACI will consist of a Chairperson who is either:
    • A Judge of the Supreme Court; or
    • A Judge of a High Court; or
    • Chief Justice of a High Court; or
    • An eminent person with expert knowledge in conduct of arbitration
  • Other members will include an eminent arbitration practitioner, an academician with experience in arbitration, and government appointees.
  • Under the act, the Supreme Court and High Courts may designate arbitral institutions, which parties can approach for the appointment of arbitrators.
  • For international commercial arbitration, appointments will be made by the institution designated by the Supreme Court. 
  • For domestic arbitration, appointments will be made by the institution designated by the concerned High Court.  
  • In case there are no arbitral institutions available, the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court may maintain a panel of arbitrators to perform the functions of the arbitral institutions.
  • An application for appointment of an arbitrator is required to be disposed of within 30 days.
  • Further, arbitral awards, other than in international commercial arbitration, will need to be made within a period of 12 months from the date of completion of pleadings.
  • The Act requires that the written claim and the defence to the claim in an arbitration proceeding should be completed within six months of the appointment of the arbitrators.
  • The act provides that all details of arbitration proceedings will be kept confidential except for the details of the arbitral award in certain circumstances. 
  • Disclosure of the arbitral award will only be made where it is necessary for implementing or enforcing the award.

Source: The Hindu.

Gujarat’s Ghogha-Hazira ferry service

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Context

  • The Union Ministry of Shipping is being renamed as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, in line with how it functions in most of the developed nations.
  • With more clarity in name, there will be more clarity in the work, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
  • The Prime Minister was virtually inaugurating Ro-Pax terminal at Hazira and flagging off the Ro-Pax ferry service between Hazira and Ghogha in Gujarat.

About Ghogha-Hazira RoPax ferry service

  • The ferry between Ghogha — a fishing hamlet and an old port — and Hazira — a commercial greenfield port — which will be virtually inaugurated by PM Modi, is about 60 km-long and provides easier access to the city of Surat. Via land, the route is about 400 km.
  • In comparison, the first ferry route inaugurated by PM Modi in October 2017, connects Ghogha to Dahej which lies near the mouth of Narmada river, north to Hazira.
  • This route is about 32 kilometers and connects the Dahej PCPIR and Bharuch town.
  • Over Rs 650 crore has been spent in building the connectivity for RoPax ferry between Ghogha and Dahej.
  • For the second route, the terminal at Hazira has been given on lease for 11 months by Adani Hazira Port Pvt Ltd for Re 1 per month.

Source: AIR News.

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Rohingya Citizenship issue matter of domestic law of 1982: Myanmar Army Chief

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


Context

The Myanmar Army Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has said that the issue of the citizenship of Rohingya is solely a matter of domestic law. 

Highlights

  • He said that the citizenship process in Myanmar is subject to the 1982 citizenship law which identifies only 135 indigenous ethnic groups and Bengalis or Rohingya are not among these.
  • He further said that Myanmar does not object to the Rohingya living inside the Myanmar territory.
  • However, the issue of citizenship, definition of indigenous people and their rights are matters of domestic law.
  • Refusing to accept international intervention, he said Myanmar is proceeding according to its own domestic law on this issue.

Source: AIR News.

IIT-Kharagpur to set up Centre of Excellence for Indian knowledge system, says education minister

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


Context

The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, will set up a Centre of Excellence for the Indian knowledge system, the Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank announced while inaugurating the international webinar called ‘Bharata Tirtha’ organised by the institute.

Background

  • “IIT-Kharagpur has attempted to introspect on the spirit of India, her challenges in the present times, and taken the right measures through an initiative like Bharata Tirtha and research,” the minister said in a virtual address.
  • IIT Kharagpur has attempted to introspect on the spirit of India, her challenges in the present times and taken the right measures through an initiative like Bharata Tirtha and research.

Source: Indian Express.

India-Italy Virtual Bilateral Summit 2020

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests.


Context

  • The Bilateral Summit between India and Italy was held virtually.
  • The Summit was attended by the Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Italy Prof. Giuseppe Conte.

Background

  • The two leaders reviewed the broad framework of the bilateral relationship and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation against common global challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • A wide range of issues was discussed including political, economic, scientific & technological, space and defence cooperation. 
  • 15 MoUs/Agreements were signed during the Summit in various sectors such as energy, fisheries, shipbuilding, design etc.

Highlights

  • On regional and international issues, both sides agreed to coordinate closely at multilateral fora especially G-20.
  • Italy will assume the Presidency of G-20 in December 2021 followed by India in 2022.
  • Together, India and Italy will be part of the G20 Troika from December, 2020.
  • India welcomed Italy’s decision to join ISA as soon as the ratification process is completed.
  • Both countries are keen to firmly put behind the 2012 killing of two Indian crew members of a fishing boat off the coast of Kerala by Italian marines guarding an oil tanker Enrica Lexie, an incident that took bilateral ties to an all-time low.
  • Italy is currently India’s fifth largest trading partner in the EU, and bilateral trade was worth 9.52 billion Euros in 2019.
  • India, however, ranks 16th as country of origin for Italian imports, and experts believe there is potential for considerable growth.

Source: Hindustan Times.

Gov-Tech-Thon 2020

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.



Context

Gov-Tech-Thon 2020, 36 hours, pan-India virtual hackathon organized by IEEE, National Informatics Centre (NIC) and Oracle, under the aegis of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, witnessed a successful conclusion on 1st November, 2020.

Background

Shortlisted 447 enthusiasts from 100 teams participated in the Hackathon on the five problem statements provided by 3 central Government Ministries – Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Ministry of Road Transport and Highway and Ministry of Education.

Highlights

  • National Informatics Centre (NIC) is attached office of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • NIC was established in 1976.
  • IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.
  • The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for Sales, Service, Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Supply Chain etc.

Source: PIB.

2nd National Water Awards 2020

Focus: GS2.                                

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Context

  • Second National Water Awards to be conferred to commend efforts of those working in the field of water resources conservation and management.
  • The awards are given to motivate the individuals/organizations who are doing commendable work in the field of water resources conservation and management.

About the awards

  • It strives to create awareness among the people about importance of water and motivate them to adopt the best water usage practices.
  • The event is an occasion for all people and organisations to further cement a strong partnership in water resources conservation and management activities.
  • The NWAs focuses on the good work and efforts made by individual and organisations across the country, and the government’s vision for the path to a ‘JalSamridh Bharat’.
  • The event provides a good opportunity to start-ups as well as leading organisations to engage and deliberate with senior policymakers.
  • The event also presents an opportunity to discuss on how to further accelerate the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’ in India.

Source: AIR News.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following sentences wrt Body Mass Index:
  • India ranks third and fifth from the bottom respectively among countries where 19-year-old girls and boys have a low Body Mass Index (BMI), according to a study in The Lancet to be published.
  • BMI is measured as the weight in kg divided by the square of the height in metres. 
  • World Health Organization guidelines define a normal BMI range as 18.5 to 24.9, overweight as 25 or higher, and obesity as 50 or higher.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

    A. 1 and 2 only
    B. 2 and 3 only
    C. 1 and 3 only
    D. AOTA

Solution: A

  • World Health Organization guidelines define a normal BMI range as 18.5 to 24.9, overweight as 25 or higher, and obesity as 30 or higher.

  1. Consider the following sentences wrt fast radio burst (FRB):
  • FRBs are bright bursts of radio waves (radio waves can be produced by astronomical objects with changing magnetic fields) whose durations lie in the millisecond-scale, because of which it is difficult to detect them and determine their position in the sky.
  • The source of the FRB detected in April in the Milky Way is a very powerful magnetic neutron star, referred to as a magnetar, called SGR 1935+2154 or SGR 1935, which is located in the constellation Vulpecula and is estimated to be between 14,000-41,000 light-years away.
  • As per NASA, a magnetar is a neutron star, “the crushed, city-size remains of a star many times more massive than our Sun.”

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

    A. 1 and 2 only
    B. 2 and 3 only
    C. 1 and 3 only
    D. AOTA

Solution: D

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