Given below are the daily current affairs for 27th Jan 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.
- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Cairn Energy wins arbitration award
Recently, a three-member tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague ruled in favour of Cairn Energy PLC of the U.K and awarded $1.2 billion in damages against India in the retrospective taxation case.
- In the latest development, Cairn Energy Plc has threatened that, unless the government resolves the issue, it may be forced to begin attaching Indian assets including bank accounts in different world capitals.
- In a letter to the Indian High Commission in London Cairn’s top leadership has said that the necessary preparations have been made for the verdict to be enforced against Indian assets in jurisdictions around the world if India failed to discuss paying the amount awarded.
- The assets already under consideration could include Embassy bank accounts, non-diplomatic premises, Air India planes and state-owned ships in several places including the U.K., Holland, France, Canada and the U.S.
- The move would be similar to the action against a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane that was seized in Malaysia over a dispute with an Irish company, or the seizure of a Venezuelan ship ordered by a court in favour of U.S. company ConocoPhillips in 2018.
- Cairn has stressed in the letter that it would only consider this extreme option if the Indian government did not respond.
- It has cited clauses in the U.K.-India Bilateral Investment Treaty, the UNCITRAL arbitration rules, and the New York Convention to which India is a signatory, that would be breached if India fails to pay the dues.
- The dues include about $220 million in accrued interest in addition to the $1.2 billion award.
In a similar arbitration case, India lost against Vodafone, the government has filed an appeal in a Singapore court to defend the retrospective tax demand on the telecom firm. The officials have stressed that the government’s sovereign right to levy taxes cannot be questioned under bilateral pacts.
Gehlot government brings M-sand policy for construction works
The Rajasthan government brought the much-awaited policy on manufactured sand (M-sand).
- The Supreme Court had banned illegal mining on riverbeds in 2017.
- Due to the fast-growing construction industry, the demand for sand has increased tremendously, leading to a shortage of suitable river sand in most parts of the world.
- The demand for sand in the state in the construction sector had touched 70 million tonnes.
- Sufficient quantity of sand [for construction] is not available in Rajasthan in the wake of judicial orders and environment-related procedures.
- The new policy will ensure availability of M-sand as a long-term alternative to bajri.
- The policy gives industry status to the units producing it for construction work and reducing the dependence on bajri (riverbed sand).
- It would help create employment opportunities through new units and resolve the issue of huge quantities of waste generated in the mining areas
- It will enable investors to set up M-sand units by utilizing the incentives offered by the State government.
- It will also help in environmental protection and generate faith among the public in the efficacy of M-sand for construction works.
- Manufactured sand (M-sand) is a substitute for river sand in the construction industry.
- It is produced from hard granite stone by crushing.
- Due to the depletion of good quality river sand for the use of construction, the use of manufactured sand has been increasing.
- M-sand will reduce over-exploitation of river beds, it can be dust-free, etc.
- Another reason for use of M-Sand is its availability and transportation cost.
The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has approved the following proposals:
- To levy a “Green Tax” on old vehicles which are polluting the environment.
- The policy of deregistration and scrapping of vehicles owned by Government department and PSU, which are above 15 years in age.
- Revenue collected from the Green Tax to be kept in a separate account and used for tackling pollution, and for States to set up state of-art facilities for emission monitoring.
Applicability of green tax:
- Transport vehicles older than 8 years could be charged Green Tax at the time of renewal of fitness certificate, at the rate of 10 to 25 % of road tax;
- Personal vehicles to be charged Green Tax at the time of renewal of Registration Certification after 15 years.
- Public transport vehicles, such as city buses, to be charged lower Green tax.
- Higher Green tax (50% of Road Tax) for vehicles being registered in highly polluted cities.
- Differential tax, depending on fuel (petrol/diesel) and type of vehicle.
- Vehicles like strong hybrids, electric vehicles and alternate fuels like CNG, ethanol, LPG etc.
- Vehicles used in farming, such as tractor, harvester, tiller etc.
The benefits of the “Green Tax” could be:
- To dissuade people from using vehicles which damage the environment.
- To motivate people to switch to newer, less polluting vehicles.
- Reduce the pollution level, and make the polluter pay for pollution.
- It is estimated that commercial vehicles, which constitute about 5% of the total vehicle fleet, contribute about 65-70% of total vehicular pollution.
- The older fleet, typically manufactured before the year 2000 constitute less that 1 % of the total fleet but contributes around 15% of total vehicular pollution. These older vehicles pollute 10-25 times more than modern vehicles.
In the footsteps of the legendary Muktijoddhas
A 122-member tri-service contingent of Bangladesh marched on Rajpath at the Republic Day parade in India as both the countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Liberation War.
- India is currently celebrating the Swarnim Vijay Varsh — the Golden Jubilee year — commemorating the country’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
- It is these fraternal ties between the two countries that make the relations transcend even a strategic partnership.
Bangladesh in 1971 Liberation War:
- The Bangladesh Navy had successfully conducted “Operation Jackpot” during the war, destroying 26 enemy ships in seaports and river ports.
- The Bangladesh Air Force conducted 50 successful strikes on the enemy targets as part of “Kilo Flight” from the base in Dimapur, India.
- The legendary Muktijoddhas of Bangladesh, fought against oppression, mass atrocities by tyrannical forces and for the freedom of Bangladesh.
- “Muktijoddhas” are freedom fighters of Bangladesh.
U.S. announces restoration of relations with Palestinians
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has announced that it is restoring relations with the Palestinians and renewing aid to Palestinian refugees.
- This is a reversal of the Donald Trump administration’s cutoff and a key element of its new support for a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict agreed to by Israelis and Palestinians.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, primarily as a conflict over territory.
- After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the Holy Land was divided into three parts: The State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River), and the Gaza Strip.
- The 1993 Oslo Accords mediated the conflict, to set up a framework for two state solution. It recognized the Palestinian Authority tasked with limited self-governance of parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
West Asia peace plan:
- Unveiled by former U.S. President Trump.
- It plans to revive the stalled two-state talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
- It seeks to give the Israelis an expansive state with Jerusalem as its “undivided capital” and tight security control over a future Palestinian state.
Padma Awards 2021
7 personalities have been awarded the Padma Vibhushan, 10 named for the Padma Bhushan and 102 named for Padma Shri.
About Padma Awards:
- The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.
- The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
- The Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.
The Awards are given in three categories:
- Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service).
- Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order).
- Padma Shri (distinguished service).
Bharat Parv 2021
Bharat Parv 2021 inaugurated.
About Bharat Parv 2021:
- It is a virtual national festival showcasing the country’s diverse culture, cuisines and handicrafts.
- It is being organised for about six days in January 2021 by the Tourism Ministry in collaboration with other ministries.
- The Programme showcases the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’.
- Various Central Ministries and other organizations such as Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Ayush, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Development Commissioner Handlooms, Development Commissioner Handicrafts, Lalit Kala Academy, Archaeological Survey of India, National Museum, National Gallery of Modern Arts, media units of I&B Ministry , Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC), etc. display handicrafts, handlooms, music, dance, paintings , literary material and other features from all over India during the celebration.
- This virtual Bharat Parv 2021 will showcase multiple videos/films, images, brochures and other information of various organizations.
- DRDO conducted the successful maiden launch of Akash-NG (New Generation) Missile from Integrated Test Range off the coast of Odisha.
- Akash-NG is a new generation Surface to Air Missile meant for use by Indian Air Force with an aim of intercepting high maneuvering low RCS aerial threats.
Climate Adaptation Summit 2021
- The climate adaptation summit was hosted by the Netherlands government on January 25, 2021.
- The summit was held online and it is being called “CAS Online”.
- The summit was built on the advances of the UN Climate Action Summit.
- The summit also showcased the pioneering solutions of the climate emergency and sustaining momentum through UNFCCC’s COP26.
- CAS will help in delivering the action and inspire the change to help the societies build back better.
- The summit was organized with the aim of realizing the transitions which is required for a climate-resilient world.
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