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bharat ias - Lok Sabha Passes the Admiralty Bill,2016

Lok Sabha Passes the Admiralty Bill,2016

Lok Sabha Passes the Admiralty Bill,2016    The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016 was passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday. The Bill aims to establish a legal framework to consolidate the existing laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction of courts, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, arrest of vessels and related issues. It also aims to replace archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance. The Bill confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India and this jurisdiction extends upto territorial waters. 

Introduced during the winter session of Parliament, the Bill came up for discussion in the Lok Sabha yesterday. The Minister of State ( RT&H, S, C&F), Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, presented an overview of the Bill in the House, highlighting the need for repealing five obsolete British statutes on admiralty jurisdiction in civil matters, which are 126 to 177 years old. The Bill provides for prioritization of maritime claims and maritime liens while providing protection to owners, charterers, operators, crew members and seafarers at the same time. During the course of discussion, thirteen members presented their views and raised various questions which were replied to by Shri Mandaviya. The Bill was then passed by the House. ...

Publishes on : 15-Mar-2017 08:36 AM
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bharat ias - Price control is a blunt instrument in healthcare

Price control is a blunt instrument in healthcare

Price control is a blunt instrument in healthcare  Context There must be a comprehensive regulatory framework that looks beyond price caps to ensure quality healthcare coverage for all citizens  A policy mismatch Feb 14th decision by NPPA (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority) wherein prices of stents (a medical device) were reduced significantly to the benefit of the patients. while India already has some of the lowest drug prices in the world, yet the average Indian’s out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare is as high as 61%, not to mention the millions who are routinely deprived of life-saving drugs.  Clearly, there is a mismatch in the policy framework. contention There is a need for a more comprehensive regulatory framework that looks beyond price caps to ensure quality healthcare coverage for all citizens  Dependence on Chinese imports Presently, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in many commonly used drugs and front-line medications come from China. A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group and the Confederation of Indian Industry has flagged the risks of such dependence on Chinese imports and noted that any threat to the supply chain in China, as evidenced before the Beijing Olympics, could affect the manufacture of critical drugs  Is India repeating its drug-manufacturing mistakes with medical-device manufacturing? Struggling for balance with the focus of the current government on ‘Make in India” it has sought to achieve a balance between providing reasonably priced medicines to the general public &having a business- and innovation-friendly environment for the healthcare industry but like previous regimes, it has also struggled so far  Suggestions   Government look at other key elements of the healthcare system, such as extending the insurance coverage (currently at 25%) and increasing healthcare infrastructure Industry transparency: Manufacturing industry should also reach out to the public and explain how there is more to its pricing strategy than just profits ...

Publishes on : 15-Mar-2017 08:33 AM
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bharat ias - How to tame our forest fires

How to tame our forest fires

How to tame our forest fires  Context The roots of the crisis lie in the implementation of India’s no-fire forest policy  What has happened? A forest guard in Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve died due to a forest fire  Tropical dry forests The bulk of forest fires in India occurs in the tropical dry forests of our country, an umbrella category encompassing scrub, Savanna grassland, dry and moist-deciduous forests. Almost 70% of forests in India are composed of these types  Important factors that maintain ecosystem Fire occurrence Light availability  contention many tree species distinct to dry forests have co-evolved with fires and have developed fire-resistance features like thick, spongy bark, and can re-sprout from rootstock in response to fire but forest management still believes in keeping forest production systems free from fire The roots of our current fire crisis lie squarely in the blanket implementation of a no-fire forest policy  Why a blanket implementation of no-fire policy is wrong? This approach is incompatible with the ecology of India’s tropical dry forests. For example, the fires in Bandipur Tiger Reserve were immensely difficult to control because of ample fuel supplied by the alien invasive species Lantana camara. Recent research from the neighboring BiligiriRangaswamy Tiger Reserve indicates that a no-fire policy was likely responsible for the spread of Lantana in the first place frequent, low-intensity forest fires possibly prevented the proliferation of Lantana in the past  Are frequent, small forest fires preferable to infrequent, catastrophic fires? Forest-dwellers seem to favor small frequent fires.  Scientific view Early dry season fires burn less hot, and are far less detrimental to vegetation than peak dry season fires which burn much hotter.  Who sets the fires? Forest dwellers: Forest dwellers set fire to forests to clear walking paths, to collect non-timber forest products like gooseberry and mahua flowers, and to encourage the fresh growth of grass for their livestock, and sometimes as a part of ritual practice Agriculturists: They set fire to hill forests so that the fertilizing ash from fire washes down to their fields with the monsoon rains  Role of forest department The forest department, on the other hand, has historically prevented fire in order to protect timber stocks, and constructed a system of fire-lines around valuable timber ‘compartments’ or coupes. By burning the fire-lines (so that no vegetation is left on them to burn) before the onset of summer, forest fires, if they occurred, could be confined to a few compartments. More recently however, fire has been used as a management tool to increase the density of herbivores in tropical dry forests Fresh grass: The logic for this kind of burning is also related to the creation of fresh grass, but this time for consumption by wild herbivores rather than by cattle.  Conclusion instead of viewing forest fires as being purely destructive in nature, forest managers should perhaps expand their world view and be more inclusive to information from ecological and local knowledge systems that view fires as being both rejuvenating and revitalizing    ...

Publishes on : 15-Mar-2017 08:31 AM
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bharat ias - Fewer migratory water birds sighted at Ropar

Fewer migratory water birds sighted at Ropar

 Fewer migratory water birds sighted at Ropar  Context Due to threat and unavailability of food, the number of some species has dwindled  What Has Happened? Fewer winter migratory water birds from central and north Asia were sighted at the Ropar Wetland in Punjab this season, apparently because of increasing human interference  The Asian Waterbird Census 2017 Asian Waterbird Census 2017, conducted by Wetlands International, South Asia, and Punjab’s Wildlife Preservation Department on January 16 this year, revealed that the number of water birds this season stood at 2,302 as against 3,114 last year The census revealed that while the number of Eurasian coot, bar-headed geese, ruddy shelduck, oriental darter and river lapwing dwindled this year, that of graylag goose and red-crested pochard increased. Among India’s resident water birds, spot-billed duck rose in number to 130 against 56 last year.  Reasons forthe decrease Due to local disturbance such as threat and unavailability of food, the number of certain species decreases on many wetlands. At Ropar, boating, fishing and human disturbances along the riverbanks seem to drive away the water birds Some vegetarian ducks or geese preferred certain safe wetlands for their stay but moved during daytime to nearby grasslands or farmlands for feeding But farmers try to keep them away from their land  Fact Check Ropar is a riverine wetland with hardly any vegetation; but there are farmlands along the riverbanks where geese and ducks go for feeding. Ropar has been declared a wetland by the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands. Asian Waterbird Census is part of the International Waterbird Census of Wetlands International, South Asia, which conducts the exercise every January across Asia and Australia      ...

Publishes on : 15-Mar-2017 08:29 AM
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bharat ias - Staying cool

Staying cool

Staying cool  Context It’s time for energy-efficient temperature limits for air-conditioning units in public facilities  Issue: Elimination of HCFCs by 2030  Montreal Protocol Created in 1987 Came into force in 1989 Treaty was conceived after the detection of a large hole in earth’s ozone layer over Antarctica Aim: The main aim of this treaty was the elimination of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and HCFCs. As a replacement HFCswere proposed CFCs are used in refrigeration and air conditioning. They impact the ozone layer and result in harmful UV rays penetrating through the atmosphere  Problem with HFCs HFCs are even more potent in trapping heat in comparison to GHGs like Carbon dioxide so the need was felt to eliminate HFCs  Kigali agreement 28th meeting of parties to Montreal Protocol was held in Kigali, Rwanda It was agreed at Kigali to reduce the HFCs by around 85% of their baselines by 2045 thereby amending the Montreal Protocol Proposed replacement: HydrofluoroOlefins (HFOs)/Hydrocarbons  Usage of HCFCs These are used mainly in the air-conditioning, refrigeration, polyurethane foam manufacturing and cold chain sectors  Use of HCFCs highest in developing world The data for refrigerant consumption during 2015 compiled by the European Union show that in the developing world, split air-conditioning units, car ACs and commercial refrigeration record the highest use of these chemicals.  Measures Relevant policy changes: Modernizing the current technology used by 400 small and medium industrial units has to be complemented with a simultaneous policy change that encourages adoption by consumers Systemic changes: Active participation of state governments is required to effect systemic changes like enacting and enforcing new building codes and purchase regulations Continued research: Newer refrigerants with lower global warming potential are already available but the research on chemicals with greater energy reduction and very low contribution to global warming has to continue Incentivizing consumers:It is important to make consumers aware of green options among products in terms of the underlying technologies, and incentivize adoption through tax structures Audit of public buildings: The Centre should conduct audit of public buildings to determine whether they are suitably designed, as climate control relies as much on passive influences such as insulation, green roofing and the nature of materials used in construction  Welcome steps Certified training of service technicians in the newer technologies is welcome as it will bring about change of refrigerants used in the repair and replacement market and create additional employment The Environment Ministry’s proposal to prescribe energy-efficient temperature limits for air-conditioning units in public facilities is promising  Way forward Reducing the acquisition cost: The continued success of the Montreal Protocol in its goal to eliminate HCFCs by 2030 will depend on reducing the acquisition costs of cleaner technologies. The greater affordability of solar photovoltaic power and its rapid adoption at various scales is a clear indicator here.  Conclusion in the near future more people will have access to air-conditioning and refrigeration, and the focus of government policy must be to make them energy-efficient and eco-friendly.    ...

Publishes on : 15-Mar-2017 08:26 AM
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