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25th Feb Current Affairs

ICC ruling says it has jurisdiction in Palestinian Territories

In News:

The International Criminal Court (ICC) recently ruled that it has jurisdiction over war crimes or atrocities committed in the Palestinian territories, paving the way for a criminal investigation over Israeli actions.

Details:

Judges said their decision was based on jurisdictional rules in its founding documents and does not imply any attempt to determine statehood or legal borders.

What has the ICC said?

It ruled that Palestine is a state party to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC.

It ruled that Palestine qualifies as the state on the territory in which the “conduct in question” occurred and that the court’s jurisdiction extends to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Response by Israel:

Israel is not a member of the ICC. As a non-member, it cannot appeal the recent ruling but its attorney general has argued all along that only a sovereign state can delegate authority to the ICC and that the areas in question were not a Palestinian sovereign state.

About ICC:

The International Criminal Court (ICC), located in The Hague, is the court of last resort for prosecution of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

It is the first permanent, treaty based, international court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

Its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002.

Funding: Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

Composition and voting power:

  • The Court’s management oversight and legislative body, the Assembly of States Parties, consists of one representative from each state party.
  • Each state party has one vote and “every effort” has to be made to reach decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by vote.
  • The Assembly is presided over by a president and two vice-presidents, who are elected by the members to three-year terms.

What is net neutrality?

In News:

Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged the government to bring over-the-top (OTT) service providers like WhatsApp, Google Duo etc under licensing regime and defer net neutrality rules on telecom operators till the time ‘same service same rules’ are applied on the apps.

What’s the issue?

Telecom operators have been demanding that the government should impose ‘same service, same rules’ to provide a level playing field in the sector.

But, recently Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended that no regulations should be imposed on the calling and messaging apps till the time clarity emerges in the international jurisdictions.

What has the COAI said?

Till the time any decision is taken regarding licensing of OTT communication providers, the un-equitability between TSPs (telecom service providers) and OTTs should not be increased further in any manner.

Therefore, till such time, no new licensing conditions, including that of traffic management practices for net neutrality etc., should be imposed on TSPs.

What is Net Neutrality?

It means that governments and internet service providers treat all data on the internet equally and does not differentially charge consumers for higher-quality delivery or giving preferential treatment to certain websites.

Network neutrality requires all Internet service providers (ISPs) to provide the same level of data access and speed to all traffic, and that traffic to one service or website cannot be blocked or degraded.

How net neutrality is treated/regulated in India?

The net neutrality principles, approved by the telecom department in 2018, prohibit service providers from discriminating against internet content and services by blocking, throttling or according preferential higher speeds.

Pey Jal Survekshan

In News:

It is a drinking water survey launched in 10 cities under Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban).

Details:

Launched by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.

As part of the survey, data will also be collected on wastewater management and condition of water bodies in the cities.

The mission will be monitored through a technology-based platform on which beneficiary response will be monitored.

Initially, the survey is being launched as a pilot in ten cities namely, Agra, Badlapur, Bhubaneswar, Churu, Kochi, Madurai, Patiala, Rohtak, Surat and Tumkur.

Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban):

  • The Jal Jeevan Mission-Urban aims to create universal coverage of water supply in all 4,378 statutory towns as well as sewage management in 500 AMRUT cities.
  • The scheme will be implemented first through signing of MoUs between the Centre, states, and the urban local bodies.
  • The cities will then prepare city water balance plans, recycle/reuse plans and aquifer management plans.
  • The state will vet and approve the development of the project with a baseline assessment.

Funding:

For Union Territories, there will be 100% central funding. For North Eastern and Hill States, central funding for projects will be 90%. Central funding will be 50% for cities will less than 1 lakh population, one third for cities with 1 lakh to 10 lakh population and 25% for cities with million plus population.

Why prices of Petrol and Diesel are rising?

In News:

Retail prices of automobile fuels have reached record highs across the country.

How retail prices are linked to crude oil prices?

Retail petrol and diesel prices are in theory decontrolled or linked to global crude oil prices. Which means that if crude prices fall, as has largely been the trend since February, retails prices should come down too, and vice versa.

But, why is it not happening so?

By sharply hiking excise duty as global oil prices fell, the government has practically controlled the price of the auto fuels, mopping up any savings that may have accrued to consumers owing to low global prices.

The government does this to boost revenues.

Implications for OmCs and consumers:

Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are free to set prices for petrol and diesel based on international prices on paper. Increase in central levies has meant that the consumer hasn’t benefited from low international prices and has ended up bearing the cost of rising crude oil prices.

The urban population would be more impacted by rising fuel prices than the rural population however, a weak monsoon may lead to rural India being hit as farmers are forced to rely more on diesel-powered irrigation.

Why crude oil prices are rising now?

Prices collapsed in April 2020 after the pandemic spread around the world, and demand fell away. But as economies have reduced travel restrictions and factory output has picked up, global demand has improved, and prices have been recovering.

The controlled production of crude amid rising demand has been another key factor in boosting oil prices, with Saudi Arabia voluntarily cutting its daily output by 1 million barrels per day to 8.125 million barrels per day through February and March.