The Supreme Court recently upheld the validity of Section 32 A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Under its judgement, the apex court pronounced that the successful bidders for a corporate debtor will be immune from any investigations conducted by an investigating agency (like Enforcement Directorate or other statutory bodies such as SEBI) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
The SC said that it is important for IBC to attract bidders who will offer a fair value for the corporate debtor. This is essential to ensure timely completion of corporate insolvency resolution process. The SC also said that these bidders should be provided protection from misdeeds of the past. The protections should also extend to the assets of the corporate debtor.
Under the section the corporate debtor who has committed an offence prior to the commencement of the insolvency resolution process will not be prosecuted.
The Section 32A provides immunity to the corporate debtor and its property. However, the protection is provided when there is an approval of resolution plan that leads to change of management of control.
The petitioner argued in the Supreme Court that this provision is constitutionally incorrect. This is because it provides an undeserved immunity to the property.
According to the SC, the Section 32 A is essential to avoid delay in several big-ticket cases. For instance, take the case of Bhushan Power and Steel. The company became bankrupt and admitted to insolvency in 2017. It owed more than Rs 47,000 crores to banks and Rs 780 crores to creditors. After hard prolonged battle JSW Steel won the rights to take over Bhushan Power and Steel. Meanwhile, before JSW Steel could take over, the Enforcement Directorate came in and alleged Bhushan Power with fraud of Rs 4,000 crores in a bank loan under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Ethically, the actions of ED are right! However, the company is facing bankruptcy due to such wrong deeds and cannot be sued further. Therefore, according to SC during Insolvency Resolution, focus should be on resolving the issue.
The Southern India received excessively heavy rainfall (ten times the normal) between January 1, 2021 and January 17, 2021. This winter rain, according to the scientists, is due to sudden stratospheric warming that occurred in Arctic region.
The Sudden Stratospheric Warming occurred on January 5, 2021 according to weather forecast models. The Stratosphere is the layer of the atmosphere at a height of ten to fifty kilo metres above the earth surface. During Sudden Stratospheric Warming, the polar stratospheric temperature might increase up to fifty degree Celsius. Around forty Sudden Stratospheric Warming events have occurred in the last sixty years.
Very rarely the SSW also occurs in South Pole. The last SSW in south pole occurred in 2019. During the 2019 SSW, the north pole vortex split into three smaller vortices. This released cold winds into the southern regions below it. Lake Michigan was frozen in Chicago due to this weather condition.
The 2018 Sudden Stratospheric Warming was referred to “Beast from the East” as it brought in unusually cold weather conditions in UK and also in several other parts of the world.
Usually, the Beast from the East term is used to describe cold conditions in the UK. The condition occurs due to the Easterly winds that flows from Siberia towards the UK.
The Astronomers have spotted massive hot UV-Bright stars in Milky Way Galaxy with the help of UVIT. UVIT is Ultra Violet Imaging Telescope. It is placed in Astrosat satellite. The Astrosat is the first multi wavelength space satellite of India.
A UV-Bright Star is brighter than the horizontal branch and bluer than the red giant branch. According to the astronomers, the inner core of the stars spotted are almost exposed. This is making them extremely hot. They were evolved from a solar stage called “Horizontal Branch Stars”. Such stars do not have an outer envelope. These stars are in their late stages of evolution just like the sun. Apart from UVIT, the astronomers also used Gaia telescope and space telescope to identify the stars.
The Astrosat was launched in 2015. It was the first multi wavelength space observatory of India. It was launched to observe the universe in ultraviolet, visible and low and high energy X-rays. The mission has put ISRO in an exclusive club of nations that currently own space-based observatories. They are US, Japan, European Space Agency and Russia.
The Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb recently wore “Risa” on Kokborok Day. The Chief Minister of late has made Risa, his style statement. The Government of Tripura is to promote Risa at national and international level.
Kokborok Day is celebrated in Tripura to celebrated the development of Kokborok language. Every year, the day is observed on January 19. The Kokborok is the official language of Tripura. January 19 was chosen to celebrate Kokborok Day as the language was recognized as an official language on this day in 1979.
The LongOps Project is a collaboration between UK and Japan. Under the operation, the scientists from Japan and UK will develop new and safe technologies to dismantle old nuclear facilities such as the Fukushima that were severely damaged by tsunamis and earthquakes.
ITER is International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. India is also a part of ITER. The other countries involved in ITER are China, Russia, Japan, European Union, US and South Korea.
Digital Twin Technology is a part of the LongOps Project. It will analyze data from decommissioning sites and predict operational and maintenance challenges.
The Great Green Wall for Sahel and Sahara Initiative recently received 14 billion USD funds at the recent One Planet Summit for Biodiversity. The funding is to be used to restore degraded land, strengthen resilience, create green jobs and protect biodiversity. Among the financiers, the World Bank has committed 5 billion USD, African Development Bank committed 6.5 billion USD and Government of France committed 14 billion USD.
The Great Green Wall initiative aims to transform the lives of 100 million Africans by growing 8,000 kilo metre long and fifteen kilo metre wide mosaic of trees, vegetation, grasslands, plants.
The Great Green Wall is an African-led initiative. It was started in 2007 by the African Union to combat desertification, land degradation, drought. The project aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. So far between 2007 and 2019, the Great Green Wall initiative has restored only four million hectares of land.
The initiative aims to sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon and create ten million green jobs. It will support the African communities to grow fertile land and increase economic opportunities for the youngest population. The project will help to create climate resilience in the region where temperatures are rising faster than the rest of the earth.
The Great Green Wall initiative will contribute fifteen of the seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The main objective of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is to reach Land neutrality by 2030. Thus, the Great Green Wall initiative will help achieve this.
Chad, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Mautitania, Nigeria, Sudan, Senegal, Djibouti.
NASA recently released the estimates of soil moisture in the root zone (the top 39 inches of soil) as of January 11, 2021. Accordingly, the Konya Plains had the lowest “root zone moisture”. The estimate was done based on the GRACE-FO satellite data.
The water and moisture in the soil to a depth of 39 inches is called root zone moisture. It takes a lot of time for the aquifers to recover from droughts in the absence of rain. The aquifers rely on surface moisture to percolate through soil and rocks. When there are no rains and surface moisture, the root zone moisture might vanish completely. This eventually will make the soil unfit for trees and plants.
Root Zone Irrigation is the only solution to soils that have decreased root zone moisture. Root zone irrigation is expensive than the surface drip irrigation. However, root zone irrigation is more effective than the surface drip irrigation. Currently, root zone irrigation is being used in cultivation of grapes.
The World Economic Forum recently released the sixteenth edition of the Global Risks Report, 2021. The report was released based on the Global Risks Perception Survey undertaken by more than 650 members of World Economic Forum.
According to the report, the following will be the short-term (0 to 2 years) risks:
The medium term (3 to 5 years) risks are:
The long term (5 to 10 years) risks are:
The top three risks by likelihood that are to happen in the next ten years are climate action failure, extreme weather and human environmental damage. The top three risks by impact are climate action failures, infectious diseases and weapons of mass destruction. In 2020, the Global Risks report ranked infectious diseases on tenth position in the list of most critical threats. Though the carbon emissions have declined due to COVID-19 related lock down, they are expected to increase when the economic recovery begins.
The report was released before the upcoming Davos Agenda Summit of World Economic Forum. This year, in 2021, the World Economic Forum is to launch the Great Reset Initiative alongside Davos Agenda Summit. The main aim of the report is to prepare the Government and other international communities during the times of crisis.
The report makes the following suggestions to the global communities to draw lessons from the responses to COVID-19:
Earlier in October 2020, the World Economic Forum released The Future of Jobs Report, 2020. According to the report, the COVID-19 will disrupt more than eighty-five million jobs by 2025.
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited recently test fired the SAAW (Smart Anti Airfield Weapon) from Hawk aircraft successfully. SAAW was developed by Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). SAAW is the first smart weapon fired from an Indian Hawk.
It is a tandem seat aircraft developed by HAL. The aircraft has an integrated attack system and radio and inertial navigation system. It is spin resistant.
According to SIPRI report published in 2020, India ranked 23rd in the list of major arms exporters. India ranked fourth in Defence Firepower Index, 2021.
The Indian Army is to conduct a large scale joint military exercise Kavach in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. The exercise is to be held under the aegis of Andaman and Nicobar Command.
Along with Kavach Exercise, the Joint Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) Exercise will also be held. The ISR will validate capabilities of intelligence gathering. Also, it will validate capabilities of information sharing from space, land, air and sea.
China has developed ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) and SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar). SAR cover a small area, while ELINT covers al larger area for Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Exercises.