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14th October Current Affairs

River Boards

In News:

The Centre recently said that it will determine the jurisdictions of the Krishna and Godavari river management boards (KRMB and GRMB).

Details:

It was announced during the meeting of the apex council involving the Centre, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The meeting was held primarily to resolve the conflict between the two States over executing irrigation projects and sharing water from the Krishna and Godavari rivers.

Background:

The apex council has been constituted by the Central Government under the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act (APRA), 2014.

It supervises the functioning of the Godavari River Management Board and Krishna River Management Board.

It comprises the Union Jal Shakti Minister and the Chief Ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Outcomes of the meeting:

The two states would submit Detailed Project Reports (DPR) of new irrigation projects for appraisal and sanction by the apex council.

The apex council would work towards establishing a mechanism to determine the share of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the Krishna and Godavari waters. The centre is expected to refer water sharing issues to the Krishna Godavari tribunal.

The headquarters of the KRMB would be located in Andhra Pradesh.

Telangana Chief Minister agreed to withdraw the case filed in Supreme Court, to allow the Centre to refer water sharing issues to the Krishna Godavari tribunal.

Inter-State River Water Disputes:

Article 262 of the Constitution provides for the adjudication of inter-state water disputes.

Under this, Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution and control of waters of any inter-state river and river valley.

Parliament may also provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.

The Parliament has enacted the two laws:

The River Boards Act (1956).

The Inter-State Water Disputes Act (1956).

The River Boards Act:

It provides for the establishment of river boards by the Central government for the regulation and development of inter-state river and river valleys.

A River Board is established on the request of state governments concerned to advise them.

The Inter-State Water Disputes Act:

It empowers the Central government to set up an ad hoc tribunal for the adjudication of a dispute between two or more states in relation to the waters of an inter-state river or river valley.

The decision of the tribunal is final and binding on the parties to the dispute.

Neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to have jurisdiction in respect of any water dispute which may be referred to such a tribunal under this Act.

Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report

In News:

It is a biennial report of the World Bank.

Details:

It provides a global audience with the latest and most accurate estimates on trends in global poverty and shared prosperity.

Key findings in the latest report:

Overall scenario:

Global extreme poverty is expected to rise for the first time in 20 years because of the disruption caused by COVID-19.

This will exacerbate the impact of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing down poverty reduction.

The pandemic may push another 88 million to 115 million into extreme poverty or having to live on less than $1.50 per day, resulting in a total of 150 million such individuals.

Worst affected regions:

Many of the newly poor individuals will be from countries that already have high poverty rates while many in middle income countries (MICs) will slip below the poverty line.

Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, will be badly hit as per the Bank’s projections.

What needs to be done now?

In order to reverse this serious setback to development progress and poverty reduction, countries will need to:

Prepare for a different economy post-COVID, by allowing capital, labour, skills, and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors.

New H-1B curbs

In News:

The United States has issued new rules that make it harder for US companies to employ people on H-1B non-immigrant visas.

The Interim Final Rules change:

The definitions of specialty occupation, employer and employee-employer relationship.

Limit visa validity to one year for a worker at a third-party work site.

Increases enforcement and investigations for these visas.

Concerns for India:

The new rules will impact Indian services and staffing firms who often place workers on projects at third-party locations.

Indian nationals have received over 70% of the H-1B visas issued over the last few years, even as the share of Indian tech companies in the top 10 visa recipients has been dropping steadily in favour of American tech companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon.

Why should the US be worried about these changes?

The changes will restrict access to talent and harm the American economy.

They would also endanger U.S. jobs, put U.S. interests at risk and slow down R&D into solutions for COVID-19 crisis.

What are H-1B, H-2B, L and other work visas?

In order to fill a vacuum of highly-skilled low-cost employees in IT and other related domains, the US administration issues a certain number of visas each year which allows companies from outside the US to send employees to work on client sites.

H-1B: Person is Specialty Occupation: To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a higher education degree of its equivalent.

L1 visas allows companies to transfer highly skilled workers to US for a period of up to seven years.

H-2B visas allow food and agricultural workers to seek employment in the US.

J-1 Visas: It is for students on work-study summer programmes.