GS PAPER II
Inland Vessels Bill, 2021
Why in News
The Inland Vessels Bill 2021 was recently passed in Lok Sabha.
Inland Vessels Bill 2021
- Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Union Ministry for Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
- The new bill seeks to replace the Inland Vessels Act of 1917 for the regulation of security, safety as well as registration of inland vessels.
- The registration certificate under the new law will be considered valid all over the country, and separate permissions from States shall not be required.
Key feature of the bill
- Mechanically propelled inland vessels:
- The Bill defines such vessels to include ships, boats, sailing vessels, container vessels, and ferries.
- The central government will prescribe the classification, standards of design, construction, and crew accommodation, and type and periodicity of surveys, for these vessels.
- Construction or modification of such vessels will require prior approval of a designated authority, as prescribed by the central government.
- To operate in inland waters, all such vessels must have a certificate of survey, and a certificate of registration.
- Vessels with Indian ownership must be registered with the Registrar of Inland Vessels which will be appointed by the state government.
- The registration certificate will be valid across the country. The certificate of survey will be granted by state governments, in a form as prescribed by the central government.
- This certificate will indicate the inland water zones for such vessels. The vessels must also have an insurance policy to cover liability for death, injury, or damage caused due to the usage of the vessel including accidental pollution.
- Navigation safety:
- Such vessels will be required to follow certain specifications for signals and equipment to ensure navigation safety, as specified by the central government.
- In case of a navigation hazard, the master of a vessel must immediately send a danger or distress signal to other such vessels in proximity and to the concerned state government.
- Inquiry into accidents:
- All accidents aboard such vessels must be reported to the head officer of the nearest police station, as well as to a state government appointed authority.
- It may require the District Magistrate to inquire into these matters and submit a report recommending actions to be taken.
- Manning requirements:
- The central government will prescribe the minimum number of people that vessels must have, for various roles.
- Violating these requirements will have to pay a penalty of up to Rs 10,000 for the first offence, and Rs 25,000 for subsequent offences.
- The central government will prescribe the standards for qualification, training, examination and grant of certificate of competency, which indicate the fitness of the recipients to serve in the specified roles. State governments will grant these certificates.
- Prevention of pollution:
- Vessels will discharge or dispose sewage, as per the standards specified by the central government.
- The central government will notify the list of pollutants which will be prohibited for discharge or disposal.
- State governments will grant vessels a certificate of prevention of pollution, in a form as prescribed by the central government.
- Database on inland vessels:
- The central government will maintain an electronic centralised record of data on inland vessels.
- These records will include information on registration of vessels, crew and manning, and certificates issued.
- Development fund:
- The Bill provides for a development fund which will be utilised for various purposes including: emergency preparedness, containment of pollution, and boosting inland water navigation.
- Each state will constitute such a development fund. Sources of contribution to the fund include: schemes of state governments, stakeholders, and collections from sale of wreck or cargo.
- Non-mechanically propelled inland vessels:
- The Bill empowers state governments to delegate certain functions related to non-mechanically propelled inland vessels to their local governments.
- These include collating data, and conducting advisory programmes for owners, operators, and users of such vessels.
- State governments will prescribe the criteria such as size, purpose, age, and design for the identification and categorisation of such vessels.
Significance of the bill
- The bill would lead to uniformity in the application of law relating to inland waterways and navigation.
- It would promote economical and safer navigation.
- It would also ensure the protection of life and cargo.
- Apart from these benefits, the Inland Vessels Bill would also facilitate the reduction of pollution.
- The Bill also provides for a central database for recording the details of the vessels and their crew on an electronic portal.
- The Bill seeks to incorporate unified law for the country, instead of separate rules framed by the States.
- Currently, there are 4,000 km of inland waterways operationalized in the country.
GS PAPER II
All India Quota (AIQ)
Why in News
Recently, the Union Health Ministry of India has announced landmark decision for providing 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Section in the All-India Quota Scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical/dental courses from 202122.
- This decision would benefit every year nearly 1,500 OBC students at the undergraduate level (MBBS) and 2,500 such students at the postgraduate level, and around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1,000 such students in postgraduate courses.
- The OBC students from across the country shall now be able to take the benefit of this reservation in AIQ to compete for seats in any State.
- Being a Central scheme, the Central List of OBCs shall be used for this reservation.
- Accordingly, seats in medical and dental colleges were increased over two years in 2019-20 and 2020-21 to accommodate more students so that the total number of seats available for the unreserved category do not reduce.
- In the six years to 2020, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56% to 84,649 and the number of postgraduate seats has increased by 80% to 54,275 seats.
All India Quota (AIQ)
- The AIQ was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Supreme Court to provide for domicile free merit-based opportunities to students from any State aspiring to study in a medical college located in another State.
- It comprises 15% of the UG seats and 50% of the PG seats in government medical colleges.
- Initially, there was no reservation in the AIQ. In 2007, the Supreme Court introduced reservation of 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in the scheme.
- When the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act became effective that year, providing for uniform 27% reservation to the OBCs, the same was implemented in all the Central educational institutions.
- The landmark decision for providing 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Section in the All-India Quota Scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical/dental courses will immensely help thousands of youths every year get better opportunities and create a new paradigm of social justice in country.
GS PAPER II
Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021
Why in News
On 29th July, 2021, the Lok Sabha passed the “Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021”.
- The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 24th March, 2021.
- It seeks to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.
- The Act of 2008 established the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA).
- AERA regulates tariffs and other charges, such as airport development fees, for aeronautical services rendered at major airports in India.
Key features of bill
- The bill extends the definition of ‘major airports’ which will expand the scope of determining tariffs for smaller airports, thereby encouraging further investment in them.
- The purpose of the amendment to the AERA act is to pair the smaller non-profitable airports with profitable airports as a combination/package to bidders to make it a viable combination for investment under PPP (public-private partnership) mode.
- Currently, the airport sector regulator determines tariff of a single airport and the amendment will allow for tariff fixation of more than one airport.
Significance of the bill
- Provisions under this bill will help in expanding the air connectivity to relatively remote areas and as a result, expediting the UDAN regional connectivity scheme.
- The amendment will allow AERA to regulate tariff and other charges for aeronautical services for not just major airport with annual passenger traffic of more than 3.5 million, but also a group of airports together.
- Developing a greater number of airports through public-private partnership mode would expand air connectivity to relatively remote and far-flung areas.
- Major obstacles in privatising smaller airports in the country are the level of security, interest from the private sector and accreditation from international airport regulators.
- If the government completely sells its stake in airports, it will have to set up an independent authority to enforce safety standards, particularly at smaller airports.
- Private players may also need to hire Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officials as part of their security teams to ensure high standards, which may be an added expense.
GS PAPER III
Economic Recovery of India
Why in News
Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) acknowledged that some parts of the economy may be witnessing a K-shaped recovery, and India’s overall economic rebound remains V-shaped.
- As smaller firms and urban poor had been hit harder by the pandemic, but stressed that India’s overall economic rebound remains V-shaped.
- Also, retail inflation would slip below 6% in July or in August, but would remain rangebound at 5%-6% in the near future.
- India’s growth would pick up to 8% after stabilising at 6.5%-7% over the coming years.
- There has been a V-shaped recovery in 2020.
- The CEA also projected that a third COVID-19 wave, if it occurred, may be of a low intensity with a much lower economic impact as India would get closer to herd immunity, based on the government’s target to vaccinate the entire adult population by December.
- After the time of recession, K-shaped recovery occurs when different parts of the economy recover at different rates, times, or magnitudes.
- It leads to changes in the structure of the economy or the broader society as economic outcomes and relations are fundamentally changed before and after the recession.
- This type of recovery is called K-shaped because the path of different parts of the economy when charted together may diverge, resembling the two arms of the Roman letter “K.”
- The meaning of a K-shaped recovery really depends on the choice of how to disaggregate data across the economy.
- V-shaped recovery is a type of economic recession and recovery that resembles a “V” shape in charting.
- It represents the shape of a chart of economic measures economists create when examining recessions and recoveries.
- A V-shaped recovery involves a sharp rise back to a previous peak after a sharp decline in these metrics.
- Such recoveries are generally spurred by a significant shift in economic activity caused by rapid readjustment of consumer demand and business investment spending.
- Because of the rapid adjustment of the economy and the quick recovery in major aggregate metrics of macroeconomic performance, a V-shaped recovery can be thought of as a kind of best-case scenario once an economy has hit a recession.
GS PAPER III
Why in news
According to the union Ministry of Science & Technology; Ministry of Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Geo-imaging satellite “EOS-03” is scheduled for launch in third quarter of 2021.
- The first developmental flight of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle or SSLV is scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2021 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
- SSLV is ideal for on-demand, quick turn-around launch of small satellites.
- The major technologies developed as part of realization of SSLV are flexible nozzle control with electro-mechanical actuators for all stages, miniaturized avionics and a velocity trimming module in the upper stage for precise satellite injection.
Significance of EOS-03
- Geo-imaging satellite “EOS-03” would enable near-real time monitoring of natural disasters like floods & cyclones.
- ISRO realized EOS-03 is capable of imaging the whole country 4-5 times daily.
- EOS-03 would also enable monitoring of water bodies, crops, vegetation condition, forest cover changes etc.
- India is already pursuing cooperation with Brazil in the field of space, mainly in sharing of earth observation satellite data.
- However, there is no proposal for collaboration in the procurement of materials and systems for the South American country’s launch vehicle programme.
- A few countries, including Colombia, Dominican Republic, Luxembourg and Romania, have expressed interest in space cooperation with India by entering into framework arrangements for peaceful use of outer space.
- However, no country has expressed interest in collaboration in the procurement of materials and systems for their launch vehicle programmes.
- The ‘Space Activities Bill’ is under active consideration of the government and will include aspects pertaining to regulation and promotion of private players in the space sector.