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India daily: 05/04/2018

India daily is a new series of my website on which you will find daily current affairs.

1.NCLT

Context: The government is planning to have more benches of the National Company Law Tribunal on the basis of case load, amid rising number of insolvency cases coming up before the NCLT.

Background:

Currently, there are 11 NCLT benches in different parts of the country, including two in the national capital.

About National Company Law Tribunal:

What is it? National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is a quasi-judicial body that will govern the companies in India. It was established under the Companies Act, 2013 and is a successor body of the Company Law Board.

Powers: NCLT will have the same powers as assigned to the erstwhile Company Law Board (which are mostly related to dealing with oppression and mismanagement), Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR)(revival of sick companies) and powers related to winding up of companies (which was available only with the High Courts).

Background: The setting up of NCLT as a specialized institution for corporate justice is based on the recommendations of the Justice Eradi Committee on Law Relating to Insolvency and Winding up of Companies.

 

2.Competition Commission of India

Context: The Union Cabinet has given its approval for rightsizing the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from One Chairperson and Six Members (totalling seven) to One Chairperson and Three Members (totalling four).

Section 8(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 (the Act) provides that the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson and not less than two and not more than six Members.

About Competition Commission Of India:

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009. Chairman and members are appointed by the central government.

The following are the objectives of the Commission: 

  • To prevent practices having adverse effect on competition.
  • To promote and sustain competition in markets.
  • To protect the interests of consumers.
  • To ensure freedom of trade.

Functions of the commission:

  • It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.

The Competition Act:

The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.

 

3.Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018

Context: The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 for better protection and promotion of human rights in the country.

Salient Features of the Bill:

  • It proposes to include “National Commission for Protection of Child Rights” as deemed Member of the Commission;
  • It proposes to add a woman Member in the composition of the Commission;
  • It proposes to enlarge the scope of eligibility and scope of selection of Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission as well as the State Human Rights Commission; and
  • It proposes to incorporate a mechanism to look after the cases of human rights violation in the Union Territories.
  • It proposes to amend the term of office of Chairperson and Members of National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission to make it in consonance with the terms of Chairperson and Members of other Commissions.

Benefits:

The Amendment will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India further for effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the amended Act will be in perfect sync with the agreed global standards and benchmarks towards ensuring the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual in the country.

Background:

The amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 will make National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) more compliant with the Paris Principle concerning its autonomy, independence, pluralism and wide-ranging functions in order to effectively protect and promote human rights.

 

4.Kishanganga project

Context: Pakistan has informed the World Bank about India’s completing of the Kishanganga hydropower project during the bank’s “pause” period and has urged it to “recognise its responsibility” under the Indus Waters Treaty.

 

What’s the issue?

Pakistan has approached the World Bank, the mediator between the two countries of the water distribution treaty, in the past and raised issues over Kishanganga and Ratle projects in Jammu and Kashmir.

It has been flagging concern over designs of India’s five hydroelectricity projects – Pakal Dul (1000 MW), Ratle (850 MW), Kishanganga (330 MW), Miyar (120 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) – being built/planned in the Indus river basin, contending these violate the treaty.

Background:

In December 2016, the world bank had announced that it had “paused” the process for either appointing a Court of Arbitration (COA) or a neutral expert and started mediation between the two countries on how to advance and develop consensus in the light of the treaty on the mechanism for resolution of faulty designs of the two projects. Since then, the bank has arranged two rounds of talks between the two sides.

About the projects:

The Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is an $864 million dam which is part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin. It is located 5 km north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir, India and will have an installed capacity of 330 MW. Construction on the dam was temporarily halted by the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in October 2011 due to Pakistan’s protest of its effect on the flow of the Kishanganga River (called the Neelum River in Pakistan). In February 2013, the Hague ruled that India could divert a minimum amount of water for power generation.

The Ratle Hydroelectric Plant is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power station currently under construction on the Chenab River, downstream of the village of Ratle in Doda district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The project includes a 133 m (436 ft) tall gravity dam and two power stations adjacent to one another.

 

4.UN Disarmament Commission

Context: India has voiced opposition to the “weaponization” of outer space, saying it should not become an area of conflict while calling for collective efforts to strengthen safety and security of the space-based assets. India voiced its concerns in the recently held UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) session.

About UNDC:

The United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) is a deliberative body and a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly which is mandated to consider and make recommendations on various disarmament related issues and to follow up the relevant decisions and recommendations of the special sessions devoted to disarmament held so far.

  • The Disarmament Commission was re-established at the first Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament in 1978 to succeed an earlier Disarmament Commission, which ceased to convene after 1965.
  • Since 1978, the Disarmament Commission has dealt with numerous disarmament related questions, both nuclear and conventional, and has submitted guidelines and principles on various subject items, including guidelines for appropriate types of confidence-building measures, guidelines and recommendations for regional approaches to disarmament within the context of global security, and guidelines and recommendations for objective information on military matters.

Significance of UNDC:

At a time of growing mistrust and rising international tensions as well as numerous challenges to both the disarmament agenda and the disarmament machinery, the role of the UNDC as a platform for dialogue and cooperation assumes a greater significance.

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