Insights Daily Current Events, 01 December 2014
Inauguration of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Rama Devi Women’s Autonomous College
The President of India, recently, inaugurated the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Rama Devi College in Orissa.
Who is Rama Devi?
- She was one of the most committed workers in India’s national movement and a devoted disciple of Mahatma Gandhi.
Her contributions to the Indian National Movement:
- At the launch of the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1931, mass public meetings were organised by Smt. Rama Devi, Gopabandhu Choudhury and Acharya Harihar Das in Odisha.
- When the Dandi March took place on the West Coast of India, Inchudi on the Balasore Coast and Kujanga in Cuttack were selected by the Utkal Provincial Congress Committee to break the Salt Law. This was led by Smt. Rama Devi and other leaders in Odisha.
- She was an organiser, speaker, campaigner and inspirer of ordinary men and women.
- She worked hard to root out untouchability and communalism.
- She organised a pada yatra to support Vinobha Bhave’s Bhoodan Movement and gave utmost emphasis to education, emancipation and empowerment of women.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project
China and Pakistan have kicked off their multi-billion dollar ‘Economic Corridor’ project.
About the Project:
- It is a project to connect Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang with Pakistan’s Gwadar Port in Balochistan province via highways, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas.
- The corridor is expected to serve as a terminal for China to pump oil procurement from Persian Gulf.
- It is also being seen as a project to strengthen China’s connectivity with neighbouring countries and an initiative set to aid strategic framework for pragmatic cooperation between the two nations.
Opposition by India:
- India has expressed its reservations to China over the project as it is laid through the PoK. But, China defended the project saying it will help regional development.
Sceptics in both Pak and China, however, point to the rising tide of extremism in Pakistan which makes its construction extremely difficult.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
High-level panel counsels caution
The government-appointed High-Level Committee to review environmental laws, while proposing a near complete overhaul of the regulatory system, has sounded a note of caution on genetically modified (GM) food crops.
The Committee was headed by Shri TSR Subramanian.
Why was it constituted?
- It was constituted to review the processes, laws and Acts of the Environment Ministry.
The committee was asked to:
- To assess the status of implementation of each of the existing Acts vis-a-vis the objectives;
- To examine and take into account various court orders and judicial pronouncements relating to these Acts;
- To recommend specific amendments needed in each of these Acts so as to bring them in line with current requirements to meet objectives; and
- To draft proposed amendments in each of the above Acts to give effect to the proposed recommendations.
Recommendations and observations made by the Committee:
- While other Ministries naturally would aggressively push for early field trials and induction, the role of the Environment Ministry may have to be one of a Devil’s Advocate to advise due caution.
- It noted that Europe does not permit field trials and that the average Indian farm is of very small size (which could lead to severe adverse impact on biodiversity through gene-flow). Since there are no independent expert agencies in the country, perhaps the Environment Ministry may ask for greater assurance in respect of potential adverse effects in the medium and long run.
- The committee has suggested setting up of special environment courts presided over by a sessions judge and higher penalties.
- It proposes to create new agencies, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) at the national level and the State Environment Management Authority (SEMA) as the pivotal authorities to process applications for a one-window composite environmental clearance. The NEMA and SEMA will replace the Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Boards.
- The panel also takes away the role of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which, under the proposed ELMA, will only be able to judicially review the decisions of the Appellate Boards.
- The special environment courts shall dispose of cases expeditiously within six months. The aggrieved parties may approach an appellate board presided over by a retired High Court judge.
The proposed new law will have an overriding effect on all other relevant laws.
Sources: The Hindu.