Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 October 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
Inter-State Council reconstituted with PM as head
The Inter-State Council, a constitutional body to facilitate coordination between states and the centre, has been reconstituted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the head.
- Besides chief ministers of all states and Union Territories, the Council has six Union Ministers as its members including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
- Few Ministers have been appointed as permanent invitees.
- Administrators of Union Territories which do not have legislative Assembly will also be on the Council.
What is the inter-state council?
The Council is a recommendatory body to investigate and discuss subjects, in which some or all of the states or the union government have a common interest.
- Article 263 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of an Inter-State Council.
- It considers recommendations for the better coordination of policy and action, and also matters of general interest to the states.
- The inter-state council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the states and union government. It can be established ‘at any time’ if it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a council.
What is the composition of the inter-state council?
The inter-state council was established under Article 263 of the Constitution of India through a Presidential Order dated 28 May 1990. The Council shall consist of prime minister who is the chairman, chief ministers of all states who are members, chief ministers of union territories and administrators of UTs as members, and six union ministers of cabinet rank in the union council of ministers nominated by the prime minister are also members.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
Range of BrahMos to be doubled
India and Russia have agreed to double the range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile that the two produce together. This follows India’s recent accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
Earlier, India was denied access to the missile technology with range over 300 km as it was not a member state.
Significance of this move:
Extending the range will significantly enhance the stand-off capability and the operational radius in striking targets. Combined with its speed and accuracy it will be a major force multiplier.
- It is a two stage missile, jointly developed by India and Russia.
- The missile can fly at a supersonic speed of 2.8 Mach and at a height of ten metres during the final stages of its flight.
- It carries conventional warheads.
- It can be launched from ships, land and submarines.
The Missile Technology Control Regime is an informal understanding between member countries to limit the proliferation of missiles, rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for systems that can carry a 500 kilogramme payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as those systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
- It was established in April 1987 by the G-7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States).
- It is not an official treaty with legally binding obligations. It is only an informal political understanding.
- The items included under MTCR guidelines are divided into Category I (complete rocket and unmanned aerial vehicle systems) and Category II (dual use missile related components and systems).
- India became the 35th country to join the regime.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Arrest of staffer violates Vienna Convention, says Pakistan
Pakistan has accused India of violating the international convention for protection of diplomats after New Delhi briefly detained a staffer of the Pakistan High Commission.
Indian security agencies recently arrested a Pakistani High Commission staffer on allegations of espionage. The charges are that he was found to be in possession of defence-related documents. Soon after the arrest, however, he was released, declared persona non grata, and informed that he must leave India within 48 hours.
What is the Vienna Convention?
It’s a treaty that came into force in 1964, which lays out the rules and regulations for diplomatic relations between countries as well as the various privileges that diplomats and diplomatic missions enjoy. One of these privileges is legal immunity for diplomats so that they don’t have to face prosecution as per their host country’s laws.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims
- The State of Himachal Pradesh has been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). HP is the second State in the country (after Sikkim) to achieve the feat. With this, Himachal Pradesh has successfully achieved a total rural sanitation coverage of 100% in the State, with all 12 out of 12 districts in the State being both, declared as well as verified, as ODF.
- Twenty-four nations and the European Union have agreed unanimously to declare the Ross Sea in Antarctica an official Marine Protected Area after negotiations brokered by the UN’s Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. With this, some 1.57m sq km (600,000 sq miles) of the Southern Ocean will gain protection from commercial fishing for 35 years. The Ross Sea is one of the last intact marine ecosystems in the world, home to penguins, seals, Antarctic toothfish, and whales. It is seen as critical for scientists to study how marine ecosystems function and to understand the impacts of climate change on the ocean.