Shamsher Singh v. State of Punjab:
- The position and power of the Governor vis-à-vis the Council of Ministers has always been an area of dispute in determining the extent of the discretion of the Governor.
- This question has been dealt extensively in the landmark case of Shamsher Singh v. State of Punjab.
- “In Shamsher Singh v. State of Punjab, the Supreme Court quoted the opinion of the first Attorney General of India, M.C. Setalvad, that the principle that the President (or the Governor) is guided by the aid and advice of the Cabinet covered every function ‘whether it relates to addressing the House or returning a Bill for reconsideration, or assenting or withholding assent’..”
High Level Global Conference on Road Safety:
- Hosted by the Government of Brazil in 2015 in Brasilia, and co-sponsored by WHO, the 2nd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety represented a historic opportunity to chart progress at the mid-point of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
- At the close of the Conference, the delegates adopted the “Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety” through which they agreed ways to halve road traffic deaths by the end of this decade – a key milestone within the new Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.6.
About the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety:
- It is a call to rethink transport policies in order to favour more sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling and using public transport.
- It highlights strategies to ensure the safety of all road users, particularly by improving laws and enforcement; making roads safer through infrastructural modifications; ensuring that vehicles are equipped with life-saving technologies; and enhancing emergency trauma care systems.
- It encourages WHO and partners to facilitate the development of targets to reduce road traffic crashes and fatalities, and support the definition and use of indicators linked to the SDG targets related to road safety.
Steps needed to amend the Constitution to facilitate simultaneous elections:
- A constitutional amendment would have to be cleared by both Houses of Parliament.
- It would have to be ratified by the Assemblies of half of the States.
- The other way was for all Assemblies and the Union government to agree to the plan voluntarily.
- Such a bill (to facilitate simultaneous elections) would have to be cleared by both Houses of Parliament by special majority followed by ratification of half of the state legislatures.
Connectivity, Commerce and Culture:
- The Act-East Policy emphasizes Connectivity, Commerce and Culture as the focus areas of action for a greater ASEAN-India integration.
- Maritime security, terrorism and cyber-security will be highlighted in the joint statement, along with the “3 C’s” of Commerce, Connectivity and Culture.
- An ASEAN-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo brought Trade and Economy Ministers along with business delegations from ASEAN including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines. Several officials will also travel to Assam and other northeastern States to inspect the possibilities for industry and trade, which would connect to South East Asia through projects in the pipeline like the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and the Kaladan multi-modal transport corridor expected to be completed in the next few years.
- However, Mr. Gongsakdi warned that unless India and ASEAN work out their reservations on free trade, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, they wont benefit from the infrastructure.
Environmental Performance Index:
- It is released by WEF along with Yale university.
- Index is topped by Switzerland, which is a landlocked country.
- Another index called, Environmental Sustainability Index wasalso released by WEF and Yale till 2005.
- Environmental Vulnerability Index– UNEP
EASE – Enhanced Access and Service Excellence:
- The recently unveiled bank recapitalisation plan includes a reforms package across six themes.
- The Government of India today unveiled details of the re-capitalisation of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) announced in October, 2017.
- The recap would be accompanied by a strong reforms package across six themes incorporating 30 action points. The reforms agenda is based on the recommendations made at the PSB Manthan held in November, 2017 involving senior management of PSBs and representatives from Government.
- The reform agenda is aimed at EASE – Enhanced Access and Service Excellence, focusing on six themes of customer responsiveness, responsible banking, credit off take, PSBs as Udyami Mitra, deepening financial inclusion & digitalisation and developing personnel for brand PSB. The overarching framework for the reforms agenda is “Responsive and Responsible PSBs”.
South Asia and South East Asia:
- ‘Act East’ policy is aimed at enhancing India’s strategic profile in East and Southeast Asia, New Delhi’s main focus remains on South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. There has been a shift in emphasis, of course, with India moving away from SAARC to BIMSTEC.
- South Asia as a geographical region comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Myanmar too is included sometimes.
- The sub-regional organization BIMSTEC came into being in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration. It constitutes seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand. The regional group constitutes a bridge between South and South East Asia and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries.
- BIMSTEC has also established a platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members.
- BIMSTEC is a sector-driven cooperative organization (it presently has 9-focus sectors).
Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources:
- The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was established by international convention in 1982 with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life.
- This was in response to increasing commercial interest in Antarctic krill resources, a keystone component of the Antarctic ecosystem and a history of over-exploitation of several other marine resources in the Southern Ocean.
- In the Southern Ocean, one species, the Antarctic krill, makes up an estimated biomass more than that of the global population of humans.
- Of this, over half is eaten by whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish each year, and is replaced through reproduction and subsequent growth of the krill population.
- They are important in the food chain because they feed on phytoplankton, and to a lesser extent zooplankton, making nutrients available to other animals for which krill make up the largest part of their diet.
- For this reason krill are considered a keystone species in the Southern Ocean ecosystem.
- The Weddell Sea is part of the Southern Ocean and contains the Weddell Gyre. Its land boundaries are defined by the bay formed from the coasts of Coats Land and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Battle of Marawi:
- Marawi, situated on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines, was the site of a bloody urban battle between ISIL fighters and government forces.
- Officially known as the Islamic City of Marawi, it is the largest Muslim city in the predominantly Catholic nation.
- ISIL fighters laid siege to the city in May, prompting months of heavy combat that prompted hundreds of thousands to flee and left more than 1,000 dead.
- The ‘Bharat Parv’ event is being organized by the Government of India at the Red Fort, Delhi from 26th to 31st January, 2018 as part of the Republic Day 2018 celebrations.
- The prime objective of organizing the event is to generate a patriotic mood, promote the rich cultural diversity of the country and to ensure wider participation of the general public.
- The Ministry of Tourism has been designated as the nodal Ministry for the event, the highlights of which include among others, display of Republic Day Parade Tableaux, performances by the Armed Forces Bands.
Effective revenue deficit:
- While revenue deficit is the difference between revenue receipts and revenue expenditure, the present accounting system includes all grants from the Union Government to the state governments/Union territories/other bodies as revenue expenditure, even if they are used to create assets.
- Such assets created by the sub-national governments/bodies are owned by them and not by the Union Government. Nevertheless they do result in the creation of durable assets.
- According to the Finance Ministry, such revenue expenditures contribute to the growth in the economy and therefore, should not be treated as unproductive in nature.
- Grants for creation of capital assets, as a concept, was introduced in the FRBM Act through the amendment in 2012.
- The Act defines grants for creation of capital assets as grants-in-aid given by the Central Government to sub-national governments for creation of capital assets (productive assets) which are owned by them.
- In short, Effective Revenue Deficit is the difference between revenue deficit and grants for creation of capital assets.
The first global register of alien species:
- The first global register of alien species shows that a fifth of 6,400 plants and animals catalogued are causing harm.
- Some of the biggest factors in their spread are ballast water in ships for marine species and trade in ornamental plants on land, say scientists.
- They released data for 20 countries this week, with the aim of completing the register by the end of the year.
- Invasive species are living things that are not native to an ecosystem.
- They can harm the environment, the economy, or human health. For instance, rats can cause bird extinctions on islands, while the crown-of-thorns star fish is smothering parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
- The Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species (GRIIS) provides the first country-wide checklists of introduced and invasive species.
- The GRIIS is not about any single one of these, but about all of them and about the many thousands of species that have become naturalised outside of their historical ranges across the world as a result of human activity.
Global Talent Competitiveness Index:
- The 5th edition of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index has been released by INSEAD in partnership with The Adecco Group and Tata communications.
- The index that measures how countries grow, attract and retain talent. With this fifth edition, GTCI addresses the theme of Diversity for Competitiveness.
- India has moved up to the 81st position, but remains a laggard among the BRICS nations. India was at the 92nd position last year and at the 89th place in 2016.
- Switzerland has topped the list. It is followed by Singapore and the US. European countries dominate the top ranks, with 15 out of the top 25 places.
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana:
- PMKSY has been conceived amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC).
- The scheme will be implemented by Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development.
- The major objective of PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water and enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop).
- The Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) was launched during 1996- 1997 to give loan assistance to the States to help them complete some of the incomplete major/medium irrigation projects which were at an advanced stage of completion and to create additional irrigation potential in the country.
- Grant component has been introduced in the programme from April 2004 like other Central Sector Schemes.
Inclusive Development Index:
- Inclusive Development Index has been released by the World Economic Forum.
- This Inclusive Development Index has been developed as a new metric of national economic performance as an alternative to GDP.
- The index takes into account the living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness.
- India is placed at the 62nd place among emerging economies much below China’s 26th position and Pakistan’s 47th. India was ranked 60th among 79 developing economies last year, as against China’s 15th and Pakistan’s 52nd position.
- Norway remains the world’s most inclusive advanced economy. Among advanced economies, Norway is followed by Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Denmark in the top five.
- Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies. It is followed by Hungary, Azerbaijan, Latvia and Poland.