News: Members of the J&K Delimitation Commission faced protests in Jammu on Monday as they embarked on a two-day visit to hold consul- tations with citizens, civil society groups and parties before making public the final draft of the redrawing of constituencies.
About Delimitation Commission:
The Delimitation commission or Boundary commission of India is a commission established by the Government of India under the provisions of the Delimitation Commission Act.
The main task of the commission is redrawing the boundaries of the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies based on a recent census.
The representation from each State is not changed during this exercise.
However, the number of SC and ST seats in a state are changed in accordance with the census.
The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.
The Commission is a powerful and independent body whose orders cannot be challenged in any court of law.
The orders are laid before the Lok Sabha and the respective State Legislative Assemblies. However, modifications are not permitted.
2. INTERGOVERMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE
News: Limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector and this will mean drastically reducing fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and the use of alternative fuels, a consortium of scientists that is part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
About Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC):
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations responsible for advancing knowledge on human-induced climate change.
It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later endorsed by United Nations General Assembly.
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, it is composed of 195 member states.
The IPCC provides objective and comprehensive scientific information on anthropogenic climate change, including the natural, political, and economic impacts and risks, and possible response options.
It does not conduct original research nor monitor climate change, but rather undertakes a periodic, systematic review of all relevant published literature.
The IPCC is an internationally accepted authority on climate change, and its work is widely agreed upon by leading climate scientists as well as governments.
Its reports play a key role in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the Fifth Assessment Report heavily informing the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015.
The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for contributions to the human understanding of climate change.
The IPCC is governed by its member states, which elect a bureau of scientists to serve for the duration of an assessment cycle (usually six to seven years); the bureau selects experts nominated by governments and observer organisations to prepare IPCC reports.
3. JAGANNATH TEMPLE
News: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has asked the Odisha government to tweak its much vaunted Shree Mandira Parikrama Project (SMPP) — a massive beautification project around the 12th-century Jagannath temple in Puri — which has already run into a controversy.
About Jagannath Temple:
The Jagannath Temple is an important Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath, a form of Krishna, in Puri in the state of Odisha on the eastern coast of India.
The present temple was rebuilt from the 10th century onwards, on the site of an earlier temple, and begun by Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, the first king of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
The Puri temple is famous for its annual Ratha Yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three principal deities are pulled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars.
Unlike the stone and metal icons found in most Hindu temples, the image of Jagannath (which gave its name to the English term ‘juggernaut’) is made of wood and is ceremoniously replaced every twelve or 19 years by an exact replica.
It is one of the Char Dham pilgrimage sites.
The temple is sacred to all Hindus, and especially in those of the Vaishnava traditions.
Many great Vaishnava saints, such as Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, Nimbarkacharya, Vallabhacharya and Ramananda were closely associated with the temple.
Ramanuja established the Emar Mutt near the temple and Adi Shankaracharya established the Govardhan Math, which is the seat of one of the four Shankaracharyas.
4. INDIA – AUSTRALIA ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND TRADE AGREEMENT
News: On April 2, India and Australia signed an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA).
India and Australia signed an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA).
The landmark bilateral trade pact is the second trade agreement India has signed this year after inking a similar deal with the United Arab Emirates in February.
The ECTA is expected to increase trade between the two sides to $45-50 billion over five years, from the current estimate of $27 billion, and create over 10 lakh additional job opportunities.
Under this agreement, India will give 85% of Australia’s exports zero-duty access to its domestic market.
India is expected to get zero-duty access to Australia for its goods over five years.
The ECTA is guided by a Preamble and is divided into multiple sections that will govern what is hoped to be the most expansive bilateral trade since the two countries established diplomatic ties before India attained independence.
It has a section on goods exports, and lays out clearly “Rules of Origin” that are aimed at creating anti-dumping measures.
There are also sections that are aimed at providing remedies and mechanisms for resolving trade disputes.
The Commerce Ministry underlined that this is the first trade deal signed by India that has a compulsory review mechanism after 15 years of implementation.
Under this agreement, Australia will get the opportunity to export certain varieties of agricultural produce like potatoes, lentils, and meat products with some caveats. However, bovine meat is not part of the agreement.
Australia may also send machineries that are required for food processing under this agreement. In a historic first, India may open up to a wide-range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks including Australian beer.
Australian wines costing over $5 may face lower import duties in the Indian market.
A Joint Dialogue for Wine may be created with participation from industry players and government representatives to ensure cooperation and benefits for both countries.
Australia will provide ‘preferential access’ to “all the labour-intensive sectors” of export items from India such as gems and jewellery, textiles, leather, footwear, furniture, food, engineering products, medical devices and automobiles. India will also allow Australia to export raw materials under preferential terms like coal and mineral ores.
The Government of India has said that Australia has “offered wide ranging commitments” in around 135 sub-sectors and Most Favoured Nation in 120 sub-sectors which cover key areas of the Indian services sector like IT, ITES, business services, health, education and audio-visual services.
Indian chefs and yoga teachers will get specific entry quotas into Australia, while Indian students in Australia will be able to secure work visas for periods ranging from 18 months to four years on a ‘reciprocal’ basis.
As per the rules framed under the pact, students completing a diploma Down Under will be considered for an 18-month work visa; and those completing their undergraduation may get two years and those with a Ph.D. may be considered for a four-year visa.
India and Australia have agreed to enable fast track approval for patented, generic and biosimilar medicines. Therapeutic Goods Regulators of both sides will have a role to play in monitoring and ensuring smooth trade in pharma products between the two sides.
Both sides have agreed to audits of imports that require sanitary and phytosanitary inspection as per the law of the land.
The importing side will ensure that plants and plant products, animal products and other goods, and their packaging are inspected through recognised methodologies.
If either party finds examples of non-compliance, remedial measures will be taken by both sides.