Mattis seeks waivers from Sanctions :-
- U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has sought waivers from sanctions on some countries making a transition from their military dependence on Russia.
- Mr. Mattis, has been seeking waivers for India too from the punitive Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, under which sanctions kick off on countries that purchase significant military equipment from Russia.
- Mr. Mattis recently demanded that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be empowered with the authority of issuing waivers to certain countries when it comes to the U.S. sanctions on Russia under CAATSA.
S-400 Triumf deal :-
- Though the Act targets Russia, it is having its unintended consequences on India, which is planning to buy five S-400 Triumf air defence systems for around $ 4.5 billion from Russia.
About S-400 Missile :-
- The S-400 Triumph is an air defence missile system developed by Almaz Central Design Bureau of Russia. The new system replaced the S-300P air defence systems of the Russian Army.
- The S-400 Triumph air defence system integrates a multi-function radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers, and command and control centre.
- It is capable of firing three types of missiles to create a layered defence.
- The system can engage all types of aerial targets including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and ballistic and cruise missiles within the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km.
- The fire control and target tracking radar of the S-400 is the 92N6E.
About CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) :-
- CAATSA aims to counter anti-US aggression displayed by countries like Iran, North Korea and Russia through a series of punitive measures.
- The sanctions aimed to punish Moscow for its meddling in Ukraine, Syria, the 2016 presidential elections & most recently, Russia’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of a former intelligence officer in the United Kingdom.
- Among the provisions of CAATSA is secondary sanctions on countries who are found to be dealing with the Russian defence and intelligence sectors & that could really affect India because India still import 60% of defence weapons from Russia.
WCD to move proposal to Amend POCSO Act :-
- The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry is set to move a proposal for enhanced punishment in cases of sexual assault of male children.
- The Law Ministry has cleared the proposal to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, for enhancing punishment in cases of sexual assault against young boys.
- It will be sent to the Cabinet in two-three days, the WCD Ministry official said, without elaborating on the details of the proposal.
- The move is being seen as an effort to bring in a gender-neutral law while dealing with cases of sexual assaults.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurates the (SAFAR) :-
- Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan unveiled a state-of-the-art Air Quality and Weather Forecast System– ‘SAFAR’ (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting) in New Delhi.
- The system was developed indigenously in record time by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and operationalised by India Meteorological Department (IMD).
- The giant true colour LED display will give out real-time air quality index on 24×7 basis with colour coding along with 72-hour advance weather forecast.
- Based on the air quality index on a particular day, health advisory and related precaution will be notified to prepare citizens well in advance.
- The new system would also be able to measure sun’s UV-Index and track ultrafine particles such as PM1, mercury and black carbon in real time, which have a direct relevance to human health.
- Based on the UVI, skin advisories will be issued on display.
About SAFAR :-
- The system will be an integral part of India’s first Air Quality Early Warning System operational in Delhi and will strengthen the existing air quality network of SAFAR, Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Committee.
- SAFAR will accelerate public awareness and preparedness of air pollution and weather extremes.
- It will also lead to better understanding of linkages among emissions, weather, pollution and climate.
- It will monitor all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and wind direction.
- In addition to regular air quality parameters like PM2.5, PM10, Sulfur Dioxide, Ozone, Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, the system will also monitor the existence of Benzene, Toluene and Xylene.
- SAFAR system would benefit cost savings to several other sectors like agriculture, aviation, infrastructure, disaster management skill, tourism and many others, which directly or indirectly get affected by air quality and weather.
IBC: UN model eyed for cross-border norms :-
- The government is looking at the possibility of adopting a United Nations legal model for cross-border insolvency cases as it works on strengthening the insolvency resolution framework.
- The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has sections pertaining to cross-border insolvency matters but are yet to be made operational.
Insolvency law Committee studying :-
- The Insolvency Law Committee, headed by Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas, is studying the feasibility of introducing cross-border insolvency provisions.
- The committee is looking at the adoption of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law model on dealing with cross border insolvency.
Present IBC Sections :-
- The existing Code provides for two sections — 234 and 235 — relating to cross-border insolvency, which allows the Centre to enter into an agreement with a foreign country for enforcing the provisions of the Code, which is considered insufficient and time-taking.
- In case the UN model is adopted for cross-border insolvency matters, then sections 234 and 235 could be dropped from the Code as they pertain to only bilateral pacts.
College principals to have fixed tenures :-
- College principals across the country could enjoy a minimum fixed tenure of five years, with the University Grants Commission notifying its Regulations 2018 in the gazette.
- Besides, college principals will now be designated in the rank of professors unlike the rank of associate professors that followed hitherto.
Present Situation :-
- Presently college principals do not have a fixed tenure.
What does the new regulation says ?
For Principal :-
- A college principal shall be appointed for a period of five years, extendable for another term of five years on the basis of performance assessment by a committee appointed by the (respective) university.
- The regulations have prescribed a PhD degree as a minimum qualification for a principal candidate besides mandating a total service of at least 15 years of teaching /research in universities, colleges and other institutions of higher education.
- The candidate must also have “minimum of 10 research publications in peer-reviewed or UGC-listed journals” and a minimum of 110 Research Score to be eligible for appointment as principal.
For Senior Professor :-
- An eminent scholar with good track record of high-quality research publications in peer-reviewed or UGC-listed journals, significant research contribution to the discipline, and engaged in research supervision with a minimum of 10 years of teaching/research experience as Professor or an equivalent grade in a University, College or an institute of national level would be eligible for the post of Senior Professor the regulations said.
- The selection of Senior Professors shall be based on 10 best publications in the peer-reviewed or UGC-listed journals and award of Ph.D degrees to at least two candidates under his/her supervision during the last 10 years and interaction with the Selection Committee constituted as per the UGC regulations.
These regulations would replace the UGC Regulations of 2010. All universities in the country have been mandated to amend their statutes to give effect to these amendments within six months.