News: No language is any less than Hindi or English, said Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan at a conference of Education Ministers from across the country.
About Official Language of India:
The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script.
The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.
For a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, the English language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used immediately before such commencement: Provided that the President may, during the said period, by order1 authorise the use of the Hindi language in addition to the English language and of the Devanagari form of numerals in addition to the international form of Indian numerals for any of the official purposes of the Union.
Parliament may by law provide for the use, after the said period of fifteen years, of:
The English language, or
The Devanagari form of numerals,
2. INDIA – ISRAEL RELATIONS
News: India and Israel on Thursday signed a ‘vision Statement’ to deepen the long-standing defence cooperation. The two Ministers presented a joint declaration marking 30 years of Israel-India relations and reiterated their commitment to deepening defence ties.
About India – Israel Relations:
The two countries have an extensive and comprehensive economic, military, and political relationship.
Israel is represented through an embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai and Bangalore; India is represented through an embassy in Tel Aviv.
India is the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest supplier of military equipment to India after Russia.
From 1999 to 2009, military business between the two nations was worth around US$9 billion.
Military and strategic ties between the two nations extend to intelligence-sharing on terrorist groups and joint military training.
As of 2019, India is the third-largest Asian trade partner of Israel, and its tenth-largest trade partner overall; bilateral trade, excluding military sales, stood at $5.53 billion.
On 17 September 1950, India officially recognised the State of Israel. In 1953, Israel was permitted to open a consulate in Bombay (now Mumbai). However, the Nehru government did not want to pursue full diplomatic relations with Israel as it supported the Palestinian cause, and believed that permitting Israel to open an embassy in New Delhi would damage relations with the Arab world.
After decades of non-aligned and pro-Arab policy, India formally established relations with Israel when it opened an embassy in Tel Aviv in January 1992.
3. NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL
News: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed penalty of ₹52 crore on Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. (UPCL), part of Adani Power, for violating environmental laws and polluting its surroundings at Nandikur near Padubidri in Udupi district of Karnataka.
About National Green Tribunal (NGT):
It is a specialised body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act (2010) for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
With the establishment of the NGT, India became the third country in the world to set up a specialised environmental tribunal, only after Australia and New Zealand, and the first developing country to do so.
NGT is mandated to make disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
The NGT has five places of sittings, New Delhi is the Principal place of sitting and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are the other four.
Structure of NGT
The Tribunal comprises of the Chairperson, the Judicial Members and Expert Members. They shall hold office for term of five years and are not eligible for reappointment.
The Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with Chief Justice of India (CJI).
A Selection Committee shall be formed by central government to appoint the Judicial Members and Expert Members.
There are to be least 10 and maximum 20 full time Judicial members and Expert Members in the tribunal.
Powers & Jurisdiction
The Tribunal has jurisdiction over all civil cases involving substantial question relating to environment (including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment).
Being a statutory adjudicatory body like Courts, apart from original jurisdiction side on filing of an application, NGT also has appellate jurisdiction to hear appeal as a Court (Tribunal).
The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, but shall be guided by principles of ‘natural justice’.
While passing any order/decision/ award, it shall apply the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle.
NGT by an order, can provide
relief and compensation to the victims of pollution and other environmental damage (including accident occurring while handling any hazardous substance),
for restitution of property damaged, and
for restitution of the environment for such area or areas, as the Tribunal may think fit.
An order/decision/award of Tribunal is executable as a decree of a civil court.
The NGT Act also provides a procedure for a penalty for non compliance:
Imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years,
Fine which may extend to ten crore rupees, and
Both fine and imprisonment.
An appeal against order/decision/ award of the NGT lies to the Supreme Court, generally within ninety days from the date of communication.
The NGT deals with civil cases under the seven laws related to the environment, these include:
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974,
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977,
The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980,
The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981,
The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986,
The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and
The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
Any violation pertaining to these laws or any decision taken by the Government under these laws can be challenged before the NGT.
Strengths of NGT
Over the years NGT has emerged as a critical player in environmental regulation, passing strict orders on issues ranging from pollution to deforestation to waste management.
NGT offers a path for the evolution of environmental jurisprudence by setting up an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
It helps reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts on environmental matters.
NGT is less formal, less expensive, and a faster way of resolving environment related disputes.
It plays a crucial role in curbing environment-damaging activities.
The Chairperson and members are not eligible for reappointment, hence they are likely to deliver judgements independently, without succumbing to pressure from any quarter.
The NGT has been instrumental in ensuring that the Environment Impact Assessment process is strictly observed.
4. INTERNATIONAL LIQUID MIRROR TELESCOPE
News: The four-metre International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT) saw the first light recently, gazing out from its vantage on Devasthal, a hill in Uttarakhand, into the deep sky.
India’s first liquid-mirror telescope, which will observe asteroids, supernovae, space debris and all other celestial objects from an altitude of 2,450 metres in the Himalayas, has seen its first light.
Established on the campus of the Devasthal Observatory of the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) in Nainital, the International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT) is the only liquid-mirror telescope operational anywhere in the world.
It will also hold the unique tag of being the maiden liquid-telescope globally to be designed exclusively for astronomical purposes.
The telescope has been built by a collaboration of scientists from Canada, Belgium and India.
The telescope was designed and built at the Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems Corporation and the Centre Spatial de Liege, Belgium. The major instrumentation funding was jointly provided by Canada and Belgium while India will be responsible for the operations and upkeep of the telescope.
Only a handful of liquid-mirror telescopes have been previously built but were majorly used either for tracking satellites or for military purposes.
A large pool of mercury placed in a vessel is spun around so fast that it curves into a parabolic shape. Since mercury is reflective, this shape helps in focusing the reflected light. A thin sheet of mylar protects the mercury from the wind.
The telescope, having a primary mirror that is liquid, cannot be turned and pointed in any direction. It “stares” at the zenith and watches the sky as the earth rotates, thereby giving a view of different objects.