News: NITI Aayog in collaboration with International Transport Forum (ITF) will launch the “Decarbonising Transport in India”.
- Decarbonising Transport in India project: It is a tailor-made transport emissions assessment framework for India.
- It will provide the government with a detailed understanding of current and future transport activity and the related CO2 emissions as a basis for their decision-making.
- The project is a part of the Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies(DTEE).
- DTEE: It is an International Transport Forum(ITF) project in collaboration with Wuppertal Institute(WI) and supported by the International Climate Initiative(IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment,Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety(BMU).
- Aim: To help governments of emerging nations to identify ways to reduce their transport CO2 emissions and meet their climate goals.
- Participating Countries: Argentina, Azerbaijan, India and Morocco.
- International Transport Forum(ITF): It is an inter-governmental organisation within the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) system.
- It acts as a think tank for transport policy issues and organises the annual global summit of transport ministers.
- Member Countries: 60. India has been a member since 2008.
- Headquarters: Paris, France.
News: Japan’s Ishigaki city assembly has passed a bill to change the name of the Senkaku Islands from Tonoshiro to Tonoshiro Senkaku.
- Senkaku Islands: These are a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.Japan administers and controls the Senkaku islands.
- The islands are known as Diaoyu Islands in China and the Diaoyutai Islands in Taiwan.
- Countries in Dispute: Japan, China and Taiwan.
News: The Supreme Court in its recent judgement has held that secrecy of ballot is the cornerstone of free and fair elections.
- The judgment came on an appeal against the Allahabad High Court decision setting aside the voting of a no-confidence motion in a Zila panchayat in Uttar Pradesh in 2018.
- A no-confidence motion or vote of no-confidence or a no-trust vote can be sought to express that there is no longer confidence in the government.
- Allahabad High court had found that some of the panchayat members had violated the rule of secrecy of the ballot.
Key Highlights of the Judgement:
- Secrecy of ballots: It is an important part of constitutional democracy and the law must protect the right of voters to the secrecy of the ballot.
- Section 94 of Representation of People Act which upholds the privilege of the voter to maintain confidentiality about her choice of vote.
- Exception: A voter can voluntarily waive the privilege of non-disclosure. Hence,the privilege ends when the voter decides to waive it and decides voluntarily to disclose their vote.
- Secrecy of Ballot: It is also known as Australian ballot.It is a voting method in which a voter’s choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation, blackmailing and potential vote buying.
News: The Ministry of Rural Development has observed that the Model Village Scheme (Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana(SAGY)) has not been able to achieve the desired objectives and failed to make a significant impact.
- Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana(SAGY): It was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development in 2014.
- Aim: Under the Scheme, Members of Parliament (MPs) are responsible for developing the socio-economic and physical infrastructure of three villages each by 2019 and a total of eight villages each by 2024.
- Key Features:
- MPs have to select a gram panchayat (other than their own village or that of their spouse) to be developed as an Adarsh Gram(Model Village).
- Lok Sabha MP has to choose from within his/her constituency
- Rajya Sabha MP has to choose from the rural area of a district of his/her choice in the State from which he/she is elected
- Nominated MPs have to choose a Gram Panchayat from the rural area of any district in the country.
- Funding: No new funds are allocated for the scheme.Resources may be raised through existing schemes, MPLADS, CSR funds, gram panchayat’s own revenue.
News: China has decided to join the United Nations(UN) Arms Trade Treaty that has been rejected by the United States.
- History: The UN Arms Trade Treaty entered into force in 2014.
- Objective: To regulate the international trade in conventional arms (from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships).
- What does the treaty do?
- It requires member countries to keep records of international transfers of weapons and to prohibit cross-border shipments that can be used in human rights violations or attacks on civilians.
- It establishes common standards for the international trade of conventional weapons and seeks to reduce the illicit arms trade.
- What it doesn’t?
- The treaty does not regulate the domestic sale or use of weapons in any country.It also recognizes the legitimacy of the arms trade to enable states to provide for their own security.
- Present status: 105 states have ratified the treaty and a further 32 states have signed but not ratified it
- India has not signed the treaty as it has said that it has strong and effective national export controls on military hardware to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
News: The Finance Ministry has given approval to a proposal to allow individuals and institutions to contribute directly to the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).
- Background: The NDRF was set up in accordance with Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
- Purpose: It is meant to “meet the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation” for any threatening disaster situation.
- It is located in the “Public Accounts” of Government of India under “Reserve Funds not bearing interest”
- Monitoring: Department of Agriculture and Cooperation under Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) monitors relief activities for calamities associated with drought, hailstorms, pest attacks and cold wave /frost. Rest of the natural calamities are monitored by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
- Financing: It is financed through the levy of a cess on certain items, chargeable to excise and customs duty, and approved annually through the Finance Bill. Section 46 also includes a clause regarding grants made by any person or institution, however, provisions for such donations had not been made.
News: Indian officials, including representatives from enforcement agencies, attended the virtual 32nd special Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG) plenary meeting.
- The EAG is a regional body comprising nine countries: India, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Belarus.
- It is an associate member of the FATF. It was established in 2004
- Function: To assist member-states in implementing the 40 FATF anti-money laundering Recommendations and the 9 Special FATF Recommendations on combating terrorist financing.
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
- Its Secretariat is located at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.
- Objective: To set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.