Daily Current Affairs (English) - 08.03.2018

India & World


Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France

The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France. The Agreement is expected to be signed during the forthcoming State visit of the French President to India.

  • The Agreement represents a major milestone in enhancing people-to -people contacts, fostering mobility of students, academics, researchers and skilled professionals and strengthening cooperation on issues related to irregular migration and human trafficking between the two sides.
  • The Agreement is a testimony to India's rapidly expanding multi-faceted relationship with France and symbolizes the increasing trust and confidence between the two sides.
  • The Agreement is initially valid for a period of seven years, incorporates provision for automatic renewal and a monitoring mechanism through a Joint Working Group.



Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018

The Union Cabinet has approved the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018 for introduction in the Parliament. It is a part of the efforts of the Government to encourage institutional arbitration for settlement of disputes and make India a centre of robust Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.

The Amendments in the Act of 1996 will facilitate achieving the goal of improving institutional arbitration by establishing an independent body to lay down standards, make arbitration process more party friendly, cost effective and ensure timely disposal of arbitration cases. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, was amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 in order to make arbitration process user friendly, cost effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators.  However, to give a boost to institutional, arbitration vis-a-vis ad hoc arbitration and to remove some practical difficulties in applicability of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015, a High Level Committee (HLC) under the Chairmanship of Justice B. H. Srikrishna, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India, was constituted by the Central Government.

Salient Features:

  • To facilitate speedy appointment of arbitrators through designated arbitral institutions by the Supreme Court or the High Court, without having any requirement to approach the court in this regard. It is envisaged that parties may directly approach arbitral institutions designated by the Supreme Court for International Commercial arbitration and in other cases the concerned High Courts.
  • The amendment provides for creation of an independent body namely the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) which will grade arbitral institution and accredit arbitrators by laying down norms and take all such steps as may be necessary to promote and encourage arbitration, conciliation, mediation and other ADR Mechanism and for that purpose evolve policy and guidelines for the establishment., operation and maintenance of uniform professional standards in respect of all matters relating to arbitration and ADR mechanism. The Council shall also maintain an electronic depository of all arbitral awards, The ACI shall be a body corporate.
  • The Chairperson of ACI shall be a person who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice or Judge of any High Court or any eminent person. Further, the other Members would include an eminent academician etc. besides other Government nominees,
    It is proposed to amend sub section (1) of section 29A by excluding International Arbitration from the bounds of timeline and further to provide that the time limit for arbitral award in other arbitrations shall be within 12 months from the completion of the pleadings of the parties.
  • A new section 42A is proposed to be inserted to provide that the arbitrator and the arbitral institutions shall keep confidentiality of all arbitral proceedings except award. Further, a new section 42B protects an Arbitrator from suit or other legal proceedings for any action or omission done in good faith in the course of arbitration proceedings.
  • A new section 87 is proposed to be inserted to clarify that unless parties agree otherwise the Amendment Act 2015 shall not apply to (a) Arbitral proceedings .which have commenced before the commencement of the Amendment Act of 2015 (b) Court proceedings arising out of or in relation to such arbitral proceedings irrespective of whether such court proceedings are commenced prior to or after the commencement of the Amendment Act of 2015 and shall apply only to Arbitral proceedings commenced on or after the commencement of the Amendment Act of 2015 and to court proceedings arising out of or in relation to such Arbitral proceedings.


Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018

The Union has approved the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018 for introduction in the Parliament.

The Bill seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • The Bill brings down the specified value of a commercial dispute to 3 Lakhs from the present one Crore: Therefore, commercial disputes of a reasonable value can be decided by commercial courts. This would bring down the time taken (presently 1445 days) in resolution of commercial disputes of lesser value and thus further improve India's ranking in the Ease of Doing Business.
  • The amendment provides for establishment of Commercial Courts at district Judge level for the territories over which respective High Courts have ordinary original civil jurisdiction i.e in the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and State of Himachal Pradesh.
  • The State Governments, in such territories may by notification specify such pecuniary value of commercial disputes to be adjudicated at the district level, which shall 'not be less than three lakhs rupees and not more than the pecuniary jurisdiction of the district court.
  • In the jurisdiction of High Courts other than those exercising ordinary original jurisdiction a forum of Appeal in commercial dispute decided by commercial courts below the level of District judge is being provided, in the form of Commercial Appellate Courts to be at district judge level.
  • The introduction of the Pre-Institution Mediation process in cases where no urgent, interim relief is contemplated will provide an opportunity to the parties to resolve the commercial disputes outside the ambit of the courts through the authorities constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.will also help in reinforcing investor's confidence in the resolution of commercial disputes.
  • Insertion of new section of 21A which enables the Central Government to make rules and procedures for PIM.To give prospective effect to the amendment so as not to disturb the authority of the judicial forum presently adjudicating the commercial disputes as per the extant provisions of the Act.



Radiation technologies for the prevention of food loss

Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) & Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in particular is engaged in extensive research on use of radiation processing for extending shelf life of food products. Irradiation is very effective in treating agricultural produce to enhance its shelf life. Shelf life extension of agriculture produces is very much dependent on the produce, variety and storage conditions. Irradiation and proper storage substantially increases shelf life of fresh agricultural produce.

Unique advantages of radiation processing of products (including fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, spices, sea foods and meat products) are:

  • Cold (no temperature increase) and clean process (no chemical residue)
  • Effective elimination of harmful bacteria and insects/pests
  • Treatment after final packaging to avoid recontamination
  • Significant increase in shelf life.
  • Research work on radiation technology at BARC has resulted in shelf life extension of potato, onion and phytosanitary treatments of fruits (like Mango, Pomegranate, etc). In case of potato and onion, sprouting during storage results in loss of quality and nutritional values.
  • Mango irradiation was started in 2007.
  • Around 1150 tons of mangos were radiation treated in 2017 for export to USA. Recently the harmonisation of food irradiation rules with the international regulation has taken place in India. This has provided class wise clearance of irradiated food items which will enable the large scale deployment of this technology.
  • Application of nuclear techniques has helped in increasing productivity and production in agriculture. Experience gained by BARC has shown that using radiation for crop improvement is an efficient plant breeding method complementing the conventional methods.


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