News: The Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Wednesday issued orders permitting schools to reopen, after a gap of 19 months, for students from nursery to Class XII from November 1. Schools will function with a maximum capacity of 50% of students with classes continuing in a blended mode.
About National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA):
National Disaster Management Authority, abbreviated as NDMA, is an apex Body of Government of India, with a mandate to lay down policies for disaster management.
NDMA was established through the Disaster Management Act enacted by the Government of India on 23 December 2005.
NDMA is responsible for framing policies, laying down guidelines and best-practices for coordinating with the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) to ensure a holistic and distributed approach to disaster management.
It is headed by the Prime Minister of India and can have up to nine other members. Since 2020, there have been five other members. There is a provision to have a Vice Chair-person if needed.
NDMA has a vision to “build a safer and disaster resilient India by a holistic, pro-active, technology-driven and sustainable development strategy that involves all stakeholders and fosters a culture of prevention, preparedness and mitigation”.
NDMA, as the apex body, is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management to ensure timely and effective response to disasters. Towards this, it has the following responsibilities:
Lay down policies on disaster management;
Approves the National Plan;
Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan;
Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan;
Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects;
Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plans for disaster management;
Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation;
Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government;
Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary;
Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management.
NDMA also equips and trains other Government officials, institutions and the community in mitigation for and response during a crisis situation or a disaster. It works closely with the National Institute of Disaster Management for capacity building. It develops practices, delivers hands-on training and organizes drills for disaster management. It also equips and trains disaster management cells at the state and local levels.
NDMA, under the Ministry of Home Affairs can also be assigned with the responsibility for protection of cyber critical infrastructure. As a result NDMA has overlapping responsibilities with CERT-IN of MeitY and NCIIPC of the NTRO when it comes to securing critical/non-critical infrastructure.
2. CENTRE WANTS BIRTH AND DEATH DATABASE
News: The Centre has proposed amendments to a 1969 law that will enable it to “maintain the database of registered births and deaths at the national level”.
The database may be used to update the Population Register and the electoral register, and Aadhaar, ration card, passport and driving licence databases, says the proposed amendment to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act (RBD), 1969.
Presently, the registration of births and deaths is done by the local registrar appointed by the States.
It is proposed that the Chief Registrar (appointed by the States) would maintain a unified database at the State level and integrate it with the data at the “national level,” maintained by the Registrar General of India (RGI).
The amendments will imply that the Centre will be a parallel repository of data
States send annual statistical reports to the RGI.
About Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India:
Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, founded in 1961 by Government of India Ministry of Home Affairs, for arranging, conducting and analysing the results of the demographic surveys of India including Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India.
The position of Registrar is usually held by a civil servant holding the rank of Joint Secretary.
The Indian Census is the largest single source of a variety of statistical information on different characteristics of the people of India.
The first census of India was conducted in the 1870s and attempted to collect data across as much of the country as was feasible. The first of the decennial censuses took place in 1881.
Until 1961, responsibility for arranging, conducting and analysing the results of the census was exercised by a temporary administrative structure that was put in place for each census and then dismantled.
From that time on, the office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India has existed as a permanent department of central government; each state and union territory has a supervisory Directorate of Census Operations.
3. ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK AND ASIAN INFRASTRCTURE INVESTMENT BANK
News: The Government of India has applied for loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to procure as many as 667 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
About Asian Development Bank:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in the Ortigas Center located in the city of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines.
The company also maintains 31 field offices around the world to promote social and economic development in Asia.
The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East or ECAFE) and non-regional developed countries.
From 31 members at its establishment, ADB now has 68 members.
The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.
ADB releases an annual report that summarizes its operations, budget and other materials for review by the public.
The ADB-Japan Scholarship Program (ADB-JSP) enrolls about 300 students annually in academic institutions located in 10 countries within the Region. Upon completion of their study programs, scholars are expected to contribute to the economic and social development of their home countries.
ADB is an official United Nations Observer.
As of 31 December 2020, Japan and the United States each holds the largest proportion of shares at 15.571%. China holds 6.429%, India holds 6.317%, and Australia holds 5.773%.
About Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank:
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank that aims to improve economic and social outcomes in Asia.
The bank currently has 103 members, including 16 prospective members from around the world.
The bank started operation after the agreement entered into force on 25 December 2015, after ratifications were received from 10 member states holding a total number of 50% of the initial subscriptions of the Authorized Capital Stock.
The starting capital of the bank was US$100 billion, equivalent to 2⁄3 of the capital of the Asian Development Bank and about half that of the World Bank.
The bank was proposed by China in 2013 and the initiative was launched at a ceremony in Beijing in October 2014.
It received the highest credit ratings from the three biggest rating agencies in the world, and is seen as a potential rival to the World Bank and IMF.
4. UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA
News: India is committed to respecting the rights of all nations as laid down in the UN Convention on the Law of Seas (UNCLOS), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday, while reiterating that India is determined to protect its legitimate maritime rights and interests.
About United Nations Convention On The Law Of The Sea:
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea Treaty, is an international agreement that establishes a legal framework for all marine and maritime activities. As of June 2016, 167 countries and the European Union are parties.
The Convention resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982.
UNCLOS replaced the four treaties of the 1958 Convention on the High Seas.
UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty.
It is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.
While the Secretary-General of the United Nations receives instruments of ratification and accession and the UN provides support for meetings of states party to the Convention, the United Nations Secretariat has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention.
A UN specialized agency, the International Maritime Organization, does play a role, however, as well as other bodies such as the International Whaling Commission and the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which was established by the Convention itself.
The convention set the limit of various areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline. (Normally, a sea baseline follows the low-water line, but when the coastline is deeply indented, has fringing islands or is highly unstable, straight baselines may be used.) The areas are as follows:
Covers all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline.
The coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters.
A vessel in the high seas assumes jurisdiction under the internal laws of its flag State.
Out to 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres; 14 miles) from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Vessels were given the right of innocent passage through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as transit passage, in that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters.
“Innocent passage” is defined by the convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not “prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security” of the coastal state.
Fishing, polluting, weapons practice, and spying are not “innocent”, and submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag.
Nations can also temporarily suspend innocent passage in specific areas of their territorial seas, if doing so is essential for the protection of their security.
The convention set the definition of “Archipelagic States” in Part IV, which also defines how the state can draw its territorial borders.
A baseline is drawn between the outermost points of the outermost islands, subject to these points being sufficiently close to one another.
All waters inside this baseline are designated “Archipelagic Waters”.
The state has sovereignty over these waters (like internal waters), but subject to existing rights including traditional fishing rights of immediately adjacent states. Foreign vessels have right of innocent passage through archipelagic waters (like territorial waters).
Beyond the 12-nautical-mile (22 km) limit, there is a further 12 nautical miles (22 km) from the territorial sea baseline limit, the contiguous zone.
Here a state can continue to enforce laws in four specific areas (customs, taxation, immigration, and pollution) if the infringement started or is about to occur within the state’s territory or territorial waters. This makes the contiguous zone a hot pursuit area.
Exclusive economic zones (EEZs):
These extend 200 nmi (370 km; 230 mi) from the baseline.
Within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources. In casual use, the term may include the territorial sea and even the continental shelf.
The EEZs were introduced to halt the increasingly heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important.
The success of an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 1947 was soon repeated elsewhere in the world, and by 1970 it was technically feasible to operate in waters 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) deep.
Foreign nations have the freedom of navigation and overflight, subject to the regulation of the coastal states. Foreign states may also lay submarine pipes and cables.
The continental shelf is defined as the natural prolongation of the land territory to the continental margin’s outer edge, or 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastal state’s baseline, whichever is greater.
A state’s continental shelf may exceed 200 nautical miles (370 km) until the natural prolongation ends. However, it may never exceed 350 nmi (650 km; 400 mi) from the baseline; nor may it exceed 100 nmi (190 km; 120 mi) beyond the 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) isobath (the line connecting the depth of 2 500 m).
Coastal states have the right to harvest mineral and non-living material in the subsoil of its continental shelf, to the exclusion of others. Coastal states also have exclusive control over living resources “attached” to the continental shelf, but not to creatures living in the water column beyond the exclusive economic zone.