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Indian Navy new Air Base at Andaman & Nicobar Island

Know about Indian Navy new Air Base at Andaman & Nicobar Island

The Indian Navy recently commissioned the new air base INS Kohassa in the Andaman and Nicobar islands as part of efforts to expand operational presence in the Indian Ocean where China has been increasing its military presence.

INS Kohassa is named after White-Bellied Sea Eagle, which is a large bird of prey endemic to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.The Indian Navy has been bolstering its presence in the Indian Ocean in view of China regularly sending warships and submarines to the region.

Also the Indian Navy decided to set-up a full-fledged naval airbase in this region because all the three existing airbases are far away from the North Andaman Islands.

Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba commissioned INS Kohassa (Indian Naval Station) at Diglipur on North Andaman. Its strip of runway has been upgraded and converted into a full-fledged airbase in the northern part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands .As Indian Navy will have full command over the new airbase, which will play an important role in strengthening the monitoring capabilities of Indian Navy in the part of the Indian Ocean. Important that is to be noted is that this region of Indian Ocean is very critical because it has been witnessing a lot of muscle-flexing by China. Also the location had earlier been the site of NAS (Naval Air Station)  Shibpur established in year 2001, which had been used as a station for Dornier aircraft and Chetak helicopters.

The Indian Navy decided to set-up a full-fledged naval airbase in this region because all the three existing airbases are far away from the North Andaman Islands. The new and extended runway will also help play an important role in improving domestic air connectivity under the Udaan (Udey Desh Ka Aam Nagrik)scheme launched by current central government led by PM Narendra Modi.

What is Most Favoured Nation Status?

India withdrew the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status accorded to Pakistan, in the wake of the terror attack in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pulwama, that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.

 What is MFN status?

The MFN status is governed by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Countries signatory to the agreement commit against discriminating each other and the rest of the WTO member countries.

Most Favoured Nation (MFN) is a status granted by a trading partner to the other country giving –

an equal treatment in terms of trading prices or tariffs,

market access without discrimination in imports and exports.

MFN at the same time allows some exemptions as well:

Right to engage in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs): This means members can participate in regional trade agreements or free trade agreements where there is discrimination between member countries and non-member countries.

Special and differential treatment like greater market access: This special concession to developing countries are in different forms like reduced tariff rates from developing country imports, concessions that allows developing countries to give subsidies to their production sectors etc.

All these exceptions are subjected to strict conditions.

When did India grant MFN status to Pakistan?

Due to the disturbances between India & Pakistan most of us are seeing and also trying to know about a term that is being used as MFN – Most Favoured Nation well to know more about it we must know that India granted status of MFN to Pakistan in the year 1996,  after the formation of WTO.But, Pakistan still hasn’t granted India with MFN status.

While the term suggests special preference for the country given MFN status, it actually means it would be treated equally as all others. According to the World Trade Organisation rules, countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners. If one country is granted a trade concession such as, for example, lower import duties, then all WTO members must be extended the same concessions. This principle is known as the Most Favoured Nation treatment. Despite repeated promises, Pakistan has never granted MFN status to India.

What is revoking in  MFN

The term Revoking means India can levy whatever import tariffs it wants. India can now make it very expensive for Pakistan to export its goods to India. Pakistan has always retained this right. Moreover India can levy any import tariffs whatever they think.

The decision by India to withdraw MFN status to Pakistan is intended to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and squeeze the country’s industry.Withdrawal of MFN status is more symbolic and is unlikely to impact Pakistan’s trade unless India stop bilateral trade, which is difficult under WTO rules but it can, however, impose customs duties on it and restrict certain items.

Also know about General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is an agreement between many countries, whose main purpose was to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers such as tariffs or quotas. According to its preamble, its purpose was the “substantial reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and the elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis.” It was first discussed during the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment and was the outcome of the failure of negotiating governments to create the International Trade Organization (ITO).

GATT was signed by 23 nations in Geneva on 30 October 1947, and took effect on 1 January 1948. It remained in effect until the signature by 123 nations in Marrakesh on 14 April 1994, of the Uruguay Round Agreements, which established the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 1 January 1995. The WTO is a successor to GATT.

GATT’s most important principle was that of trade without discrimination, in which each member nation opened its markets equally to every other. As embodied in unconditional most-favoured nation clauses, this meant that once a country and its largest trading partners had agreed to reduce a tariff, that tariff cut was automatically extended to every other GATT member.

Another fundamental principle was that of protection through tariffs rather than through import quotas or other quantitative trade restrictions; GATT systematically sought to eliminate the latter.

First Lokapal Of India- Justice Pinaki Sharma

Finally Lok Sabha passed “The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill,2013” after the campaign and hunger strikes launched by ‘Anna Hazare” which rocked the nation and made entry of famous CM Kejriwal in between the people. Though the government version of the Bill was not approved by Anna Hazare, the move  was in the right direction, as an effective weapon to fight corruption in public life. Even after the Lokpal Bill was enacted in 2013,the Centre and States were not enthusiastic to construct the regulatory apparatus in place, for obvious reasons. In few states reluctantly, after reminders from Supreme Court Lokayuktas were constituted. However Lokpal remained a toothless lion since it was meant to check corruption among ‘Public Servants’.

Justice Pinaki Ghose was sworn in as first Lokpal of India, national anti-corruption ombudsman of the country. Justice Pinaki Ghose  was oath to office by President Ram Nath Kovind and his appointment was approved by President on recommendation of Lokpal selection panel whose chairman is Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprised of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, eminent jurist Mukul Rohtagi. In the panel there is a leader of Opposition but Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was not present in meeting of selection panel. President Ram NAth Kovind also has appointed four judicial and four non-judicial members of the Lokpal.

They are Judicial Members:

Dilip B. Bhosale (Former Chief Justice), Pradip Kumar Mohanty (Former Chief Justice), Abhilasha Kumari (Former Chief Justice), Ajay Kumar Tripathi (sitting Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh).

Non-Judicial Members:

Archana Ramasundaram (First woman Chief of Sashastra Seema Bal), Dinesh Kumar Jain (Former Chief Secretary, Maharashtra), Mahender Singh (Former IRS officer), Indrajeet Prasad Gautam (Former IAS officer).

Who is Lokpal

Lokpal is an anti-corruption national authority with jurisdiction over central government to inquire into allegations of corruption against its public functionaries and for matters connected to corruption. The institution of ombudsman or Lokpal was originated in Scandinavian (referred to Norway, Denmark and Sweden) countries. It first came into being in Sweden in 1713 named as “chancellor of justice” who was appointed by the King for looking into functioning of a wartime government. Lokpal the word is taken from Sanskrit word “Loka” which means people and “Pala” means one who protects or who takes care. Together we can say it as “One who protects people or protector of people”.

Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provides for establishment of Lokpal for Centre and Lokayukta for States to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters. It also extends to whole of India, including Jammu & Kashmir.

It is applicable to “public servants” within and outside India. It mandates for creation of Lokpal for Union and Lokayukta for states.

Lokpal is statutory body without any constitutional backing. It is a body, made up of one chairperson and maximum of 8 members. A person to be appointed as chairperson of Lokpal should be either the former Chief Justice of India or former Judge of Supreme Court or eminent person. Special knowledge and expertise of minimum 25 years in matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, law and management. Out of maximum eight members, four are judicial members and four are non judicial.

Minimum 50% of members must be from SC/ST/OBC/minorities and women. Judicial members should be either a former Judge of Supreme Court or former Chief Justice of High Court.

Lokpal has Superintendence over CBI and give direction to CBI. Investigating officer of case transferred to CBI by Lokpal cannot be transferred without its approval. He can authorise CBI for search and seizure operations connected to such case. Its Inquiry Wing is vested with the powers of a civil court. It can confiscate assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits arisen or procured by means of corruption in special circumstances .He can recommend transfer or suspension of public servant connected with allegation of corruption. It can give directions to prevent destruction of records during preliminary inquiry.

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