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10th March 2023

Shifting Capital from Jakarta to Borneo

Context

Recently, Indonesian government authorities unveiled the site of the country’s new capital, from Jakarta to Borneo.

Key-highlights

  • The city is expected to be inaugurated on August 17 next year to coincide with Indonesia’s Independence Day. 
  • The final stages of the city, however, likely won’t be completed until 2045, marking the nation’s hundredth anniversary.
  • Borneo is a large island in Southeast Asia that is divided among three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.
  • Borneo is the third largest island in the world, after Greenland and New Guinea. 

About Jakarta (the Indonesian Island)

  • Jakarta is the largest city and capital of Indonesia
  • The city lies on the northwest coast of Java at the mouth of the Ciliwung (Liwung River), on Jakarta Bay (an embayment of the Java Sea). 
  • It is coextensive with the metropolitan district of Greater Jakarta (Jakarta Raya).
  • Jakarta is home to about 10 million people and three times that number in the greater metropolitan area.

Problems surrounding the city:

  • Jakarta lies on a low, flat alluvial plain with historically extensive swampy areas.
  • It is easily flooded during the rainy season. 
  • The draining of swamps for building purposes and the continuous decrease of upland forest vegetation have increased the danger of floods. 
  • With such an excess of water in the soil, Jakarta has a shortage of clean drinking water, for which there is increasing demand. 

The area is quite fertile for fruit and other horticulture, as most of the soil is of old volcanic origin.

Why is the government planning to change the capital?

  • Sinking land: Jakarta is congested, polluted, prone to earthquakes, and rapidly sinking into the Java Sea.
    • It has been described as the world’s most rapidly sinking city and it is estimated that one-third of the city could be submerged by 2050. 
  • Causes: The main cause is uncontrolled groundwater extraction, but it has been exacerbated by the rising Java Sea due to climate change.

Issues in shifting the location:

  • local habitat loss: 
  • It has been reported that the new capital region is home to orangutans, leopards, and a wide array of other wildlife, which will be affected by deforestation or any changes in their habitat.
  • Also Forest Watch Indonesia, an Indonesian non-governmental organisation that monitors forestry issues that most of the forested areas in the new capital are “production forests” meaning permits could be granted for forestry and extractive activities that would lead to further deforestation. 

Until now, there has been no certainty regarding the protection status of the remaining natural forests in the new capital city area.

  • Affect livelihood of indigenous communities: 

At least five villages with more than 100 Indigenous Balik people are relocated, with more villages expected to be uprooted to expand the capital region area.

UK’s new immigration law

Context

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK) has mentioned the launch of new legislation on migrant channel crossings at Downing Street. 

  • The new plan will ban refugees arriving in the UK by small boats from claiming asylum.

About Britain’s Migration policy:

  • The 2022 Nationality and Borders Act barred people from claiming asylum in Britain if they had passed through a safe country such as France
  • But in practice, people fleeing war and persecution can’t be sent home, and no countries — other than Rwanda and Albania have agreed to take deportees. 
  • This week Britain unveiled the Illegal Migration Bill, which calls for people arriving by unauthorized routes to be detained, deported to their homeland or “a safe third country” and banned from ever re-entering the U.K.

The migrant population in Britain:

  • The British government has noted that the people migrating to the UK are economic migrants rather than refugees and points to an upswing last year in arrivals from Albania, a European country that the U.K. considers safe.
  • The other main countries of origin last year were Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria
  • Of those whose applications have been processed, a large majority were granted asylum in the U.K.

Why do people want to migrate to Britain?

  • Most of the migration to the UK has been observed from France, in view of Cultural ties and native links.

France and England under the Channel opened in 1994, have agreed to share the migrated people namely as refugees and migrants.

Does the bill affect India?

  • Indians are the third-largest group of migrants crossing into the UK over the English Channel on risky small boats so far this year, according to the UK Home Office. 
  • Indians now account for about a fifth of 1,180 migrants who have attempted the perilous crossing this year. Afghans were the most numerous, followed by Syrians.
  • The arrangement of permitting Indians to enter Serbia without a visa ended on January 1 as part of Serbia’s efforts to comply with EU visa requirements, resulting in some Indians travelling in small boats into the EU and then to the UK.

Serbia is the only country in Europe that allowed Indians without any entry permits.

  • So, definitely, the new illegal immigration bill will impact the Indians who were entering the UK from sea routes, without any permits for taking asylum.

India-UK mobility agreement:

  • Migration and mobility partnership: It will include “covering the movement of students and professionals as well as irregular migration keeping in view the UK’s new skills-based immigration policy”. 
  • The agreement included a young professionals scheme to allow 3,000 young Indian professionals to come to the UK each year. 
  • The scheme was confirmed in November 2022 and India and the UK exchanged letters formalising the scheme in January 2023, with an implementation date to be announced.

Government notifies PMLA Amendment Rules, 2023

Context

The Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue, Government of India notified the 2023 Amendment to the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005.

Key points:

  • The amendment was done in line with the recommendations of FATF.

There are 40 FATF recommendations that cover seven areas and provide a framework of measures to help countries tackle illicit financial flows through laws, regulations and operational measures to ensure authorities can take action to detect and disrupt financial flows that fuel crime and terrorism.

  • Disclosure of beneficial owners: The new rules prescribe disclosures of beneficial owners beyond the current requirement of KYC norms through documents such as registration certificates and PAN by reporting entities such as financial institutions, banking companies or intermediaries.
  • Lowering the threshold for identifying beneficial owners: In line with existing provisions of The Income-Tax Act and The Companies Act, the amended rules have now lowered the threshold for identifying beneficial owners by reporting entities, where the client is acting on behalf of its beneficial owner.
    • Lowering of the threshold for beneficial ownership has been done to bring PMLA in line with the Companies Act and Income-tax Act.
    • Reporting entities are also required to register details of the client if it’s a non-profit organisation on the DARPAN portal of NITI Aayog.
  • Meaning of non-profit organization: The definition of a non-profit organisation has been amended and linked to the definition of charitable purpose provided under Section 2(15) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. 
  • Definition of Politically Exposed Persons (PEP): PEP is referred to individuals who have been entrusted with prominent public functions by a foreign country.
    • They include the heads of States or Governments, senior politicians, senior government or judicial or military officers, senior executives of state-owned corporations and important political party officials.
    • The move to define PEPs under PMLA is to bring uniformity with a 2008 circular of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for KYC norms/anti-money laundering standards for banks and financial institutions, which had defined PEPs in line with FATF norms.

The Financial Action Taskforce (FATF):

  • The FATF is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.
  • FATF members include 39 countries, including the United States, India, China, and Saudi Arabia as well as European countries such as Britain, Germany and France and the EU as such.
  • It was established in July 1989 by a Group of Seven (G-7) Summit in Paris, initially to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.
  • In October 2001, the FATF expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, in addition to money laundering.
  • Since its inception, the FATF has operated under a fixed life span, requiring a specific decision by its Ministers to continue.
  • Its secretariat is housed administratively at the OECD.

Significance

  • The amendments assume significance ahead of the proposed FATF assessment of India, which is expected to be undertaken later this year.

What is the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)?

  • The prevention of Money Laundering Act is a criminal law of the Parliament of India passed in 2002 to prevent money laundering and confiscate property derived from the laundered money. 
  • PMLA became law and came into force on July 1, 2005.
  • Core objectives:
    • Prevention and controlling money laundering
    • Confiscation and seizing of property involved in or derived from money laundering
    • Providing punishment to offenders
    • Appointment of adjudicating authority and appellate tribunal concerning money laundering matters
    • Maintaining records and putting obligations on financial institutions, banking companies and institutions
    • Dealing with every issue related to money laundering

Money Laundering

  • People do crimes for money, and the money created by crimes gets converted into white money, this whole process or system is called money laundering. In simpler language, money laundering is a process of converting illegally earned money into legitimate money.

The UN High Seas Treaty drafted

Context

Recently a draft international agreement referred to as the ‘UN High Seas Treaty’ was finalised to govern the conduct of governments in ‘open seas’.

Background:
  • The UN general assembly decided to convene an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in December 2017 to elaborate on the text of the legal instrument for protecting biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).
  • The IGC held four formal sessions in September 2018, March 2019, August 2019 and March 2022.
  • The ambition of the treaty is to reverse the current downward trend in biodiversity and protect marine life, while also guaranteeing safe access to international waters.
  • The treaty will help conserve biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) that lie outside countries’ 322-kilometre exclusive economic zones.

Need for a universal Law:

  • The draft treaty was negotiated under the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982 which governs the rights of countries regarding marine resources
  • Till now, there was no treaty for conserving the open earth’s oceans.
  • The proposed treaty concerns the ocean existing beyond the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) that lie from the coast of a country to about 200 nautical miles (or 370 km into the sea).
  • Waters beyond that are known as ‘open seas ‘or ‘high seas’.

Currently, it is estimated that high or open seas constitute two-thirds of the world’s oceans, and only one per cent of them are legally protected.

About the draft treaty:

  • The 54-page draft, when it is ratified by countries (requiring them to also pass it in their own Parliaments), will become legally binding
  • Also referred to as the ‘Paris Agreement for the Ocean’, the treaty to deal with Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction.
  • Objective: To ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction through the Convention and to further international cooperation.
  • Agreements on the actions of parties are to be taken based on consensus.
  • The draft often mentions a clearing-house mechanism that will be a centralised platform to enable parties to access, provide and give information on activities taking place in relation to the agreement. 

Key highlights of the Treaty:

  • The polluter-pays principle; is an important concept in environmental laws. It means those causing pollution in a particular region are responsible for its reduction, such as a factory owner having to compensate for air pollution.
  • Building ecosystems’ resilience against adverse effects of climate change and ocean acidification, and also maintaining and restoring ecosystem integrity.
  • Parties should take legislative, administrative or policy measures with the aim of ensuring that traditional knowledge associated with marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction held by Indigenous Peoples and local communities shall only be accessed with their free, prior and informed consent.
  • Full recognition of the special circumstances of Small Island Developing States and of least developed countries; Acknowledgement of the special interests and needs of landlocked developing countries.
  • Parties are to promote international cooperation in marine scientific research and in the development and transfer of marine technology.

Who governs the High seas currently?

  • At present, every country has the right to access open seas, resulting in large-scale drilling and trawling operations for catching fish and other animals for commercial purposes. 
  • A High Ambition Coalition, which now has more than 100 countries including India, the US, and the UK, came about and put the focus on ‘30×30’ goals – protecting 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030.

30 by 30 goals:

  • This round of treaty negotiations comes on the heels of the adoption, by the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, of a target to protect 30% of Earth’s land and coastal and marine areas by 2030.
  • This agreement, known as 30 by 30, is intended to halt and reverse biodiversity loss to help put nature on a path to recovery.
  • The new high seas treaty would enable protections that would contribute greatly to the 30 by 30 goal.

Short Article News

Polity and Governance

PAN card-Aadhaar linking









The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has asked all taxpayers to link their permanent account number (PAN) with their Aadhaar by March 31, 2023. 

About: 

  • The Income-tax Department announced the linking of PAN with Aadhaar after it came across instances where multiple permanent account numbers (PANs) were allotted to one person, or where one PAN was allotted to more than one person.
  • To have a robust way of de-duplication of the PAN database, it was made mandatory for a taxpayer who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar, to quote his Aadhaar in the application form for PAN and return of income.

Who needs to link PAN with Aadhaar?

  • The Income-tax Act makes it mandatory for every person who has been allotted a PAN as on July 1, 2017, to intimate his/her Aadhaar number so that Aadhaar and PAN can be linked. 
  • This is required to be done on or before March 31, 2023, failing which the PAN shall become inoperative.

There are a few categories of individuals for whom this linkage is not compulsory.

  • Any person of age 80 years and above
  • A non-resident as per the Income-tax Act
  • A person who is not a citizen of India

Environment 

Moth Mimeusemia ceylonica

Two researchers from Tamil Nadu have spotted a rare moth species for the first time in India in the buffer zone of Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) after it was last sighted 127 years ago.

About the species:

  • Mimeusemia ceylonica is a moth species belonging to the subfamily Agaristinae and family Noctuidae. 
  • It was first illustrated and described by English entomologist George Hampson in 1893.
  • The species has been photographed for the first time, before that only illustration of the species was available in the literature. 
  • This is the first record of the species from Tamil Nadu, India.
  • The species was rediscovered during a moth survey conducted on October 11, 2020 at the Agasthyamalai Community-based Conservation Centre (ACCC) situated in the buffer zone of KMTR, Tirunelveli district.

Science and Technology 

Kodaikanal Solar Observatory

The Kodaikanal Solar Observatory (KoSO) has been observing the Sun, capturing images of sunspots, and recording changes in its behaviour since last 100 years now.

About:

  • KoSO is one of the world’s oldest observatories studying the Sun. 
  • Owned and operated by: Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA)
  • The idea of taking pictures of the Sun using a 20-inch telescope was first proposed by the astronomer Norman Pogson, who was appointed Government Astronomer of the Madras Observatory in 1861
    • The Madras Observatory was set up as the private effort of an official of the British East India Company in 1786, and came to be managed subsequently by the company.
  • KoSO is the only observatory which provides high-resolution digitised images for such a long period (with coverage of more than 75 per cent). 

How sun’s images have been taken?

  • White light images of the Sun (similar to viewing it with the naked eye using solar filters) have been captured every day, using a 6-inch telescope.
  • Visible light images are taken because they reveal sunspots on the surface of the Sun.
  • Solar magnetic plages (a bright region on the Sun’s chromosphere) are best captured in the strong chromospheric absorption lines, like the Ca II (called Ca II K). 
  • H-alpha observations and prominences, also recorded since 1911, taken on photographic films and plates, are available.
  • A new telescope mounted with CCD cameras has taken over and, since 2017, continued to observe the Sun.

Science and Technology

Exercise TROPEX

The Indian Navy’s major Operational level exercise TROPEX for the year 2023, culminated this week in the Arabian Sea.

About the exercise:

  • It was conducted across the expanse of the Indian Ocean, over duration of four months from November 2022 to March 2023.
  • The overall exercise construct included coastal defence exercise Sea Vigil and the amphibious exercise AMPHEX, which also saw significant participation from the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Coast Guard.
  • The exercise took place in Indian Ocean including the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

Science and Technology 

Coronary artery disease (CAD)

In a recent study published in JAMA, researchers investigated whether treat-to-target (TTT) low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) therapy was useful to treat coronary artery disease (CAD) patients.

About the disease:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. It is sometimes called coronary heart disease or ischemic heart disease.
  • CAD is caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart (called coronary arteries) and other parts of the body.
  • Plaque is made up of deposits of cholesterol and other substances in the artery.
    • Plaque buildup causes the inside of the arteries to narrow over time, which can partially or totally block the blood flow. This process is called atherosclerosis.
  • Symptoms: Angina, or chest pain and discomfort. Angina can happen when too much plaque builds up inside arteries, causing them to narrow. 
  • Factors: Overweight, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, and smoking tobacco are risk factors for CAD.

Editorial

Making of a Destination

Context:

As one of the fastest-emerging tourist destinations in the world, India’s travel and tourism sector will be the key axis of development in the coming years.

Growing Tourism sector in India:

  • Budgetary allocations: Budget 2023, at the beginning of Amrit Kaal or the period of intense robust growth, has outlined the path to developing tourism in mission mode.
  • Expanding its scope worldwide: India’s G20 presidency together with Prime Minister Modi’s vision to develop 50 destinations across the country has provided the right fillip to the tourism sector.
  • Improved performance indicators: India’s global ranking on the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Development Index.

Major initiatives:

  • Addressing Unemployment:  Growth of Tourism sector is a collective action by industry stakeholders and the government to shape an ever-brighter future for the sector, accounting for 10 per cent of the total employment directly, and providing 8 per cent of the overall GDP.
  • Strategic planning: The Union budget has listed six themes for the development of the sector — convergence, public-private participation, creativity, innovation, digitisation and development of destinations.
  • Collaborating Public, private and community participation: It stimulates creativity, enhances competitiveness and achieves visionary results, which may be difficult if all parties were to operate in isolation.
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