Centre may scrap UGC proposes HECI :-
For major reforms in higher education, the Centre has placed in the public domain a draft Bill for a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) – aimed at replacing the University Grants Commission – for eliciting suggestions from educationists.
Draft Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Act, 2018 :-
- HECI will be tasked with the mandate of improving academic standards with specific focus on learning outcomes, evaluation of academic performance by institutions, mentoring of institutions, training of teachers, promote use of educational technology, among other functions.
- It will lay down standards for opening and closure of institutions, and also for appointments to critical leadership positions at all universities, even if they are established under state law.
- Another key feature of the draft legislation is that the Regulator will have powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standards and will have the power to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions.
- All institutions approved by the UGC will have to comply with the academic standards laid down by HECI within three years after the new law is passed by Parliament and notified by the union government. If an institution fails to do so, its approval will be revoked.
The new regime separates the academic and funding aspects of higher education. While HECI will be in charge of ensuring academic quality in universities and colleges, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) – or another mechanism that will be put in place later – will be responsible for funding universities and colleges.
Stakeholders in the higher education sector can mail their suggestions at email@example.com by 5 pm on July 7, 2018.
Polish Law on Holocaust Amended :-
Poland on Wednesday amended a controversial Holocaust law that sparked outrage in Israel by imposing jail terms on anyone claiming that the government was responsible for Nazi German war crimes. The lower house of Parliament voted voted 388-25 in favour of the amendment.
- The amendment removes fines or criminal penalties of up to three years in prison for anyone found guilty of ascribing Nazi crimes to the Polish nation.
- The main aim of the legislation was to prevent people from describing Nazi German death camps in Poland, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, as Polish.
Cabinet okays Rs. 2,000-cr. capital infusion for export guarantor across FY2017-20 :-
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved a capital infusion of Rs. 2,000 crore into the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) to be infused over the three financial years 2017-20.
Benefits of Infusion :-
- The infusion would enhance insurance coverage to MSME exports and strengthen India’s exports to emerging and challenging markets like Africa, CIS and Latin American countries.
- With enhanced capital, ECGC’s underwriting capacity and risk to capital ratio will improve considerably.
- With a stronger underwriting capacity, ECGC will be in a better position to support Indian exporters to tap new and unexplored markets.
- The increased capital infusion would also help ECGC to diversify its product portfolio and provide cost-effective credit insurance to exporters.
ECGC’s (Export Credit Guarantee Corporation) :-
- More than 85% of customers benefited by ECGC’s covers are MSMEs.
- ECGC covers exports to around 200 countries in the world.”
Separately, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also approved the contribution of grant-in-aid of Rs. 1,040 crore to the National Export Insurance Account Trust (NEIA). The corpus would strengthen NEIA to support project exports from the country that are of strategic and national importance.
Ujjwala Revolution :-
Last month, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) completed two years of operation. During this time the number of LPG connections has crossed 4 crore, and LPG penetration in India has risen from 56% in 2014 to 80% but the greater challenge for the mission lies in refills.
Under PMUY :-
- Usage pattern of PMUY customers who have been in the system for a year or more and have been buying four or more cylinders a year.
- The programme has also witnessed the emergence of a peer learning platform – the Pradhan Mantri LPG Panchayat. The LPG Panchayats being held at village levels across India are helping more and more people appreciate the advantages of clean fuel.
- The adoption of LPG has received a boost with supplies ramping up and service improving. In April 2014, there were 13,896 LPG distributors across India. This number is now 20,227. Another 3,750 distributorships will be commissioned in 2018-19.
- The loan deferment policy, which has allowed the recovery of loan amounts from Ujjwala customers, has been postponed for their next six refills starting April 1, 2018. This allows customers to avail of the subsidy during this period.
PMUY Success based on data :-
Data from the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), which has given out almost half of the Ujjwala connections, suggest that
- Between May 2016 and April 2017, IOCL enrolled 85.47 lakh Ujjwala customers.
- From May 2016 to April 2018, the average cylinder consumption of these customers was 4.4 per year, including the installation cylinder.
- One in five Ujjwala customers who enrolled in May 2016 is using seven cylinders annually, thus matching the national per capita consumption of 6.8 cylinders in 2017-18.
- A total of 60% of those enrolled in May 2016 are on their eighth cylinder at present, implying an annual usage of four cylinders.
- A similar trend is also seen for those enrolled in March 2017 – 20% using seven or more cylinders annually, and 56% on to their fourth cylinder.
Encouraging mediation to settle disputes :-
Beginning this week, India will participate in deliberations at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in New York on an important issue concerning resolution of commercial disputes.
Commercial disputes are resolved not only through courts and arbitration but also through mediation. The deliberations will consider how these settlement agreements in disputes in international commercial transactions will be implemented by courts in different countries.
An important draft :-
- Mandatory pre-litigation mediation has been introduced in commercial disputes. The adoption of the convention will address a policy gap on outcomes from the mediation process involving cross-border disputes.
- The draft convention that is now under consideration relates to the enforcement of settlement agreements arising from disputes in international commercial contracts.
- The draft convention defines mediation as a “process whereby parties attempt to reach an amicable settlement of their dispute with the assistance of a third person (the mediator). The mediator lacks the authority to impose a solution upon the parties to the dispute.”
- Courts of a country before which a mediated settlement agreement is brought must ensure implementation of the terms of settlement. The courts will allow a party to a settlement agreement to rely on this agreement as a defence in cases filed on the basis of disputes already settled by the agreement.
- With a definitive legal framework recognising and enforcing mediated settlement agreements, businesses will be encouraged to consider mediation in managing and resolving disputes that arise in their commercial transactions.
- The convention will link laws adopted by countries to recognise domestic mediation and extend them beyond their boundaries.
- Once formalised, countries will have a consistent framework for enforcing mediation agreements made in other countries.
Enforcement of settlement agreement :-
- When the settlement agreement comes up before the court for implementation or enforcement, the court will review it on the basis of certain conditions.
- These include the capacity of the parties to enter into the agreement, the question whether the subject matter of the agreement is one that can be settled through mediation in terms of its domestic laws, and so on.
- Once the agreement has been reviewed, the court must enforce the agreement on the terms agreed. Courts can decline enforcement only on these conditions.
Mediated Settlement Agreements :-
- Mediated settlement agreements typically don’t need court assistance for enforcement since the terms of settlement have been chosen and determined by the parties.
- However, with this convention comes the certainty that settlement agreements through mediation will be acknowledged as a resolution of the dispute, and will be respected and enforced.
- Further, if the court were to decline enforcement, this will be done on grounds that are known to international parties.
World-wide perspective :-
- 174 countries recognise mediation and conciliation as a method of resolving disputes, and as an alternative to going to courts.
- International business and dispute resolution institutions such as the International Chamber of Commerce, the Singapore International Mediation Centre and the World Intellectual Property Organisation all have established rules and assist businesses in resolving disputes through mediation.
- Businesses, in turn, have turned to mediation as the first step in resolving differences that arise in their international disputes.
The convention is opportune and will facilitate legal reform to ease dispute resolution.