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Current events of importance 

Current events of importance 
Highlights

the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), has laid-out syllabus; the questions that appear in the Prelims as well as Mains examination are more from ...

Although, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), has laid-out syllabus; the questions that appear in the Prelims as well as Mains examination are more from the current happenings of national and international importance. Here are few institutions and organisations have been in news. There is a great chance that the UPSC might ask a question from these.

Tenth World Trade Organisation ministerial conference

The WTO's 10th Ministerial Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 to 19 December 2015. It culminated in the adoption of the "Nairobi Package", a series of six Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries (LDCs). The highest decision-making body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which usually meets every two years. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.

Export Competition:
The Tenth Ministerial Conference of WTO clearly mentioned about elimination of agricultural export subsidies new rules for export credits.

Special Safeguard Mechanism:
The Special Safeguard Mechanism is important for developing countries to address import surges and price dips due to heavily subsidised imports of agricultural products from developed countries.

Public stockholding
Public stockholding programmes are used by some developing countries to purchase food at administered prices and distribute it to poor people. While food security is a legitimate policy objective, the public stockholding programmes are considered to distort trade when they involve purchases at prices fixed by the governments, known as “supported” or “administered” prices.

Cotton negotiations
Duty-free and quota-free access is a proposal for Least Developing countries. From 1 January 2016. The scheme would allow LDCs to export cotton to developed countries and some developing countries with no trade barrier.

NSG
The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.

The NSG Guidelines also contain the so-called “Non-Proliferation Principle,” adopted in 1994, whereby a supplier, notwithstanding other provisions in the NSG Guidelines, authorises a transfer only when satisfied that the transfer would not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Non-Proliferation Principle seeks to cover the rare but important cases where adherence to the NPT or to a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty may not by itself be a guarantee that a State will consistently share the objectives of the Treaty or that it will remain in compliance with its Treaty obligations.

The NSG Guidelines are consistent with, and complement, the various international, legally binding instruments in the field of nuclear non-proliferation. These include the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelolco), the South Pacific Nuclear-Free-Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga), the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba), the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Treaty of Bangkok), and the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Semipalatinsk).

The NSG Guidelines are implemented by each Participating Government (PG) in accordance with its national laws and practices. Decisions on export applications are taken at the national level in accordance with national export licensing requirements.

The Indian Science Congress Association
103rd Indian Science Congress 2016 was held at Mysore in Karnataka state, hosted by the University of Mysore. The focal theme of this session is “Science & Technology for Indigenous Development in India,”

ISCA (Indian Science Congress Association) was established in the year 1914 with the sole motto of illuminating the path of science and technology in our country. Present General President of ISCA is Ashok Kumar Saxena.

Prime Minister of India, D Narendra Modi calling on Indian scientists to keep the economy, environment, energy, empathy and equity at the heart of their endeavours in the interest of impactful science.

Thousands of year before Christ, man lighted fire for the first time, and since then the progress of human civilisation started. The prosperity and progress of a civilisation is always dependent on its unending quest for discovery and innovations.

India was the cradle of two marvellous ancient civilisations of Harappa and Mohen-jo-Daro whose Science and Technology still fascinates the modern world. The civilisation that is built upon the foundation of science and technology will progress, prosper and reach the zenith.

Today, India is emerging strongly as a developing country, its economy is getting stronger, it should not be forgotten that the contribution of Science and Technology has helped India immensely to achieve this feat. 102nd ISCA session was at Mumbai in the year 2015 with the theme of Science and Technology for Human Development.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental organisation founded in Shanghai on 15 June 2001 by six countries, People's Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The SCO is a political, economic and military alliance composed of six member states, including Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The decision to be commence the process of inclusion of India and Pakistan as member states in the organisation in 2016 that is (Acceding States) 24 June 2016 Sputnik
Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation countries adopted memorandums that to admitting India and Pakistan as full members

The North Eastern Council
The North Eastern Council is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region which consists of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The North Eastern Council was constituted in 1971 by an Act of Parliament. The constitution of the Council has marked the beginning of a new chapter of concerted and planned endeavour for the rapid development of the Region. Over the last thirty five years, NEC has been instrumental in setting in motion a new economic endeavour aimed at removing the basic handicaps that stood in the way of normal development of the region and has ushered in an era of new hope in this backward area full of great potentialities.

Functions
To discuss any matter in which some or all of the States represented in the Council have common interest and advise the Central Government and the Governments of the States concerned as to the action to be taken on any such matter, particularly with regard to:
(i) any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning
(ii) any matter concerning inter-State Transport and Communications
(iii) any matter relating to Power or Flood-control projects of common interest

To formulate and forward proposals for securing the balanced development of the North Eastern Areas particularly with regard to
(i) a unified and coordinated Regional Plan, which will be in addition to the State Plan, in regard to matters of common importance to that area;
(ii) prioritising the projects and schemes included in the Regional Plan and recommend stages in which the Regional Plan may be implemented; and
(iii) regarding location of the projects and schemes included in the Regional Plan to the Central Government for its consideration.

Where a project or a scheme is intended to benefit two or more States, to recommend the manner in which such project or scheme may be executed/implemented and managed, the benefits therefrom may be shared, and the expenditure thereon may be incurred. To review, from time to time, the implementation of the projects and schemes included in the Regional Plan and recommend measures for effecting coordination among the Governments of the concerned States in the matter of implementations.

To review progress of expenditure and recommend to the Central Government the quantum of financial assistance to be given to the States entrusted with implementation of any project included in the Regional Plan. To recommend to the Governments of the States concerned or to the Central Government the undertaking of necessary Surveys and Investigations of projects to facilitate inclusion of new projects in the Regional Plan for consideration. To review, from time to time, the measures taken by the States represented in the Council for the maintenance of security and public order and recommend to the concerned State Governments further measures necessary in this regard.

The Right to Information Act, 2005

The right to information act, 2005 (15th June, 2005) the act came in to force on October 12 2005. The act replaces the erstwhile freedom of information act, 2002). It enacted by parliament in the fifty-sixth year of the republic of India (it extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.)

An act to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, the constitution of a central information commission and state information commissions and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto "information" means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force

The central information commission
The central information commission shall consist of-
(a) The chief information commissioner; and
(b) Such number of central information commissioners, not exceeding ten, as may be deemed necessary.
(c) the chief information commissioner and information commissioners

Shall be appointed by the president on the recommendation of a Committee consisting of-
(i) The prime minister, who shall be the chairperson of the committee;
(ii) The leader of opposition in the lok sabha; and
(iii) A union cabinet minister to be nominated by the prime minister.

The state information commission
(a) The state chief information commissioner, and
(b) Such number of state information commissioners, not exceeding ten, as may be deemed necessary.
(c) the state chief information commissioner and the state information

Commissioners shall be appointed by the governor on the recommendation Of a committee consisting of-
(i) The chief minister, who shall be the chairperson of the committee;
(ii) The leader of opposition in the legislative assembly; and
(iii) A cabinet minister to be nominated by the chief minister.

Intelligence and security organisation established by the central government
1. Intelligence Bureau
2. Research and Analysis wing of the Cabinet Secretariat
3. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence
4. Central Economic Intelligence Bureau
5. Directorate of Enforcement
6. Narcotics Control Bureau
7. Aviation Research Centre
8. Special Frontier Force
9. Border Security Force
10. Central Reserve Police Force
11. Indo-Tibetan Border Police
12. Central Industrial Security Force
13. National Security Guards
14. Assam Rifles
15. Special Service Bureau
16. Special Branch (CID), Andaman and Nicobar.
17. The crime branch-CID.-CB, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
18. Special branch, Lakshadweep police.
- The writer is an IAS mentor

By T ANAND

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