Eastern Zonal Council
The 23rd meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council was held recently at Kolkata under the Chairmanship of the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh. The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, and Ministers from the States of the Council including Odisha as well as senior officers from Central and State Governments.
The Council reviewed progress of unresolved items of the last meeting relating to Phulbari Dam under the Agreement of 1978 between Bihar and West Bengal, release of central share under post-matric and pre-matric scholarship schemes for SCs/STs/OBCs, scheme for modernization of state police forces among others.
Zonal councils have been established by the Parliament to promote interstate cooperation and coordination. They are statutory bodies established under the States Reorganisation Act 1956 and not constitutional bodies. They are only deliberative and advisory bodies.
There are 5 five Zonal councils namely:
The North Eastern States i.e. (i) Assam (ii) Arunachal Pradesh (iii) Manipur (iv) Tripura (v) Mizoram (vi) Meghalaya (vii) Sikkim and (viii) Nagaland are not included in the Zonal Councils and their special problems are looked after by the North Eastern Council, set up under the North Eastern Council Act, 1972.
The main objectives of setting up of Zonal Councils are:
Karnataka Good Samaritan Bill
The president has given his asset to the Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation during Emergency Situations) Bill, 2016.
About the Bill:
The legislation aims to give protection to good samaritans and ensure immediate medical assistance for road accident victims within the ‘golden hour’ and encourage people to offer first aid to victims without fear of harassment in the hands of police and investigations.
Under the new law, the Karnataka government will provide financial help to good samaritans who help victims in a timely manner, they will be exempted from repeated attendance in courts and police stations, in case attendance is mandatory, expenses of such “running around to courts and police stations” will be taken care through the proposed ‘Good Samaritan Fund’.
After admitting the accident victim to the hospital, the good samaritan can leave immediately, all government as well as private hospitals are bound to give first aid to the accident victims.
With this, Karnataka has become the first state to give legal protection to good samaritans through a legislation amidst the rising incidents of accidental deaths in India, which saw 1,50,785 people getting killed in road accidents in 2016.
In medical terms, the ‘golden hour’ is the first hour after a traumatic injury when emergency treatment is very crucial.
Need for legal protection:
There were 4,80,652 road accidents in the country in 2016 in which 1,50,785 people were killed. In 2015, there were 5,01,423 road accidents in the country in which 1,46,133 people were killed.
There is no central law to protect the good samaritans. However, the Union Surface Transport Ministry had issued a set of guidelines in 2015 following a Supreme Court order to protect the good samaritans.
There have been many instances when people get busy in clicking photos or making videos of the victims, instead of providing the accident victims medical help. With the new law, there will be clear message that good samaritans will not be harassed in any manner.
Karnataka is one of the top five states which saw a large number of people getting killed in road accidents in 2016 and 2015.
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of lndia have signed a $150 Million Loan to finance continued improvements to road connectivity and efficiency of the International Trade Corridor in West Bengal and North-Eastern Region of lndia.
South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation Road Connectivity lnvestment Program, approved in 2014, aims to expand about 500 kilometers of roads in lndia’s North Bengal and North-Eastern Region that will enable efficient and safe transport within lndia and regionally with other SASEC member countries.
The Program is an important initiative in Regional Connectivity aimed at increasing domestic and regional trade through North Bengal-North East Region International Trade corridor by upgrading key roads.
Significance of the project:
The Project will upgrade about 65 kilometers of lmphal-Moreh Section of National Highway in Manipur, construction of about 1.5 km of an international bridge between lndia and Nepal, and completion of about 103 km of a State Highway in Manipur between lmphal and Tamenglong under Project-I.
The Project will reduce transaction costs along the targeted cross-border corridors substantially, creating economies of scale and commercial prosperity.
Manipur being a landlocked state with almost 90% of the area under difficult terrain presently has only road transport as a means of mass transport system within the state. Hence development of the road infrastructure is of paramount importance to improve connectivity and progress of the State and to ensure that the administrative set up reaches the isolated and remote habitats.
The SASEC programme of ADB was formed in 2001 in response to the request of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal to assist in facilitating economic cooperation among them. Sri Lanka and Maldives joined the sub-regional group in 2014.
As a project-based partnership, SASEC programme has been helping enhance cross-border connectivity, facilitate faster and more efficient trade and promote cross-border power trade.
The Manila, Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) serves as the Secretariat for the SASEC member countries.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY)
Gram Sabhas across the country have been asked to inform the farmers about the enrolment and benefits of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojan (PMFBY) at the beginning of the Rabi Season. The Gram Sabhas will also inform the farmers on how they can insure their crops under the Scheme.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has requested the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the State Governments to include this as an agenda in the upcoming Gram Sabhas, especially for the one scheduled on 2nd October 2018, in connection with Gandhi Jayanti.
This is as part of the awareness initiatives taken up at various levels by the Govt and Insurance Companies to create awareness about the Scheme and mobilise farmers to insure their crops.
In April, 2016, the government of India had launched Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) after rolling back the earlier insurance schemes viz. National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS), Weather-based Crop Insurance scheme and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).
Premium: It envisages a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for Kharif crops, and 1.5% for Rabi crops. The premium for annual commercial and horticultural crops will be 5%.
The scheme is mandatory for farmers who have taken institutional loans from banks. It’s optional for farmers who have not taken institutional credit.
Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP)
Government of India recently signed the contracts of the blocks awarded under the Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP) Bid Round-I with the awardees.
Initially, 110 e-bids were received for 55 blocks on offer with participation from 9 companies, singly or in consortium. Finally, contracts have been signed for all 55 blocks with 6 companies.
This will add a huge accretion of 59,282 sq.km to the exploration area. This is about 65% of the area presently under exploration in the country. This will lead to significant increase in E&P activities in India and in long run discoveries from these field may significantly boost domestic production.
The bid round-I of OALP was launched in January 2018 under the liberalized Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP). It is for the first time that bidding in the E&P sector in India was for blocks that had been selected by bidders themselves with government playing a facilitator role.
Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP):
The OALP, a part of the government’s Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), gives exploration companies the option to select the exploration blocks on their own, without having to wait for the formal bid round from the Government. The company then submits an application to the government, which puts that block up for bid. The new policy will open up 2.8 million square kilometres of sedimentary basins for exploration and eventual production.
About Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP):
The Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP) opens up India’ entire sedimentary basin for investment from domestic and foreign players under a simplified, transparent and investor -friendly fiscal and administrative regime.
The new policy aims to provide Investors a ready access to huge amount of seismic data available in National Data Repository (NDR), flexibility to carve out exploration acreages through an open acreage licensing process and increased operational autonomy through a new revenue sharing model.
The National Data Repository (NDR) manifested through an open acreage licensing (OAL) process will be a key facilitator by providing seamless access to India’s entire E&P data process through a digital medium to all investors with the objective of harnessing the potential of India’s large basinal area.
Open Acreage Licensing Policy and the National Data Repository together are a significant and welcome step towards opening up the hydrocarbon exploration and production industry in India. By placing greater discretion in the hands of explorers and operators, the Licensing Policy attempts to address a major drawback in the New Exploration Licensing Policy, which forced energy explorers to bid for blocks chosen by the government. Such initiatives help India attract enough investment to meet the government’s objective of reducing oil imports by 10% by 2022.
There’s a compelling opportunity for gas, which India must seize to reduce import dependency and shift to a lower carbon trajectory. HELP is more about gas than oil. While the overall thrust is positive, concerns regarding the contractual regime and gas pricing formula remain, and will need to be addressed.
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
Ministry of Corporate Affairs has launched a process re-engineering by making incorporation of Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) through a complete online system- titled “RUN-LLP (Reserve Unique Name – Limited Liability Partnership)”.
LLP is an alternative corporate business form that gives the benefits of limited liability of a company and the flexibility of a partnership. The LLP can continue its existence irrespective of changes in partners. It is capable of entering into contracts and holding property in its own name.
The LLP is a separate legal entity, is liable to the full extent of its assets but liability of the partners is limited to their agreed contribution in the LLP. Further, no partner is liable on account of the independent or un-authorized actions of other partners, thus individual partners are shielded from joint liability created by another partner’s wrongful business decisions or misconduct.
Mutual rights and duties of the partners within a LLP are governed by an agreement between the partners or between the partners and the LLP as the case may be. The LLP, however, is not relieved of the liability for its other obligations as a separate entity. Since LLP contains elements of both ‘a corporate structure’ as well as ‘a partnership firm structure’ LLP is called a hybrid between a company and a partnership.
LLP form is a form of business model which:
World Habitat Day
The United Nations designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. The Day is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.
2018 theme: Municipal Solid Waste Management. The focus of this year’s World Habitat Day celebrations is taking action to address the municipal solid waste management challenge. This year’s theme is Municipal Solid Waste Management with a slogan Waste-wise cities.
The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.
World Habitat Day was established in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 40/202, and was first celebrated in 1986.
Air Safety Oversight Score
U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)