GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

Burundi Becomes First Nation To Leave International Criminal Court.

Background-

  • Burundi on 27th October, 2017, became the first nation ever to leave the international criminal court, set up 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the world’s worst atrocities.
  • The government on 27th, hailed it a “historic” day and called on people to demonstrate across the country on the next day in celebration.
  • An ICC spokesperson said that Burundi’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute will take effect on Friday, 27 October 2017.
  • The move comes a year to the day after Bujumbura officially notified the United Nations that it was quitting the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal.

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • ICC officials said a preliminary investigation launched by the prosecutor in April 2016 into possible crimes against humanity in the central African nation would continue. Burundi’s withdrawal does not affect the jurisdiction of the court with respect to crimes alleged to have been committed during the time it was a state party, namely up until 27 October 2017, the spokesperson said.
  • The initial investigation was started by ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda following reports of “killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as cases of enforced disappearances”.
  • The reports came amid a violent political crisis triggered when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term in office, winning elections in July 2015 that were boycotted by the opposition.
  • UN investigators last month (Sep, 2017) urged the ICC to move forwards and open a full-scale investigation saying they had reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in “a systematic attack against the civilian population”.
  • Overall, the violence in Burundi has claimed between 500 and 2,000 lives, according to differing tolls provided by the UN or NGOs, and more than 400,000 Burundians have fled abroad.
  • Set up in 2002, the ICC based in the Hague has often come under fire from some countries who claim it is unfairly targeting African nations.
  • The ICC now has 123 member states who have ratified the 1998 Rome Statute, the guidelines which underpin the work of the tribunal.
  • But Burundi’s snub triggered a wave of copy-cat moves from other African countries. South Africa and Gambia said they would both follow suit, but later reversed their decisions. And Kenya and Uganda have also threatened to leave, but not acted on it yet.
  • Zambia meanwhile has held public consultations, with an overwhelming 93% of those who participated opting to stay within the court.

Sources- The Guardian.

 

S Paper II- Governance.

Piyush Goyal Launches Railways’ First Set Of Solar Plants In Delhi.

Background

  • Railway Minister Piyush Goyal launched the railways’ first set of solar plants with a total capacity of 5 megawatt peak (MWp) On 27th October, 2017, an ambitious project aimed at reducing the national transporter’s carbon footprint.
  • The project is part of the government’s National Solar Mission in which Indian Railways plans to commission 1,000 MWp solar plants across its network.
  • The minister launched the plants at the inauguration of the ‘International Conference on Green Initiatives and Railway Electrification’.

 

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The plants on the roof tops of Hazrat Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Anand Vihar and Delhi railway stations will generate 76.5 lakh units of solar power cumulatively per year, and shall meet about 30 per cent of the energy requirement of these stations.
  • Through the project, the railways will save Rs 421.4 lakh annually and will reduce 6,082 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
  • The project was awarded in December 2016. The cost of the project is Rs.37.45 crore and has been bought in by the developer under the PPP model.
  • The developer will also maintain it for 25 years and the Railways will only pay energy consumed at Rs 4.14 per unit, officials said.
  • Goyal added that the railways has targeted 10 per cent reduction in energy consumption in non-traction operations, thereby saving about Rs 250 crore annually.
  • The two-day International Conference on Green Initiatives and Railway Electrification deliberated on finding new ways to increase the use of renewable energy by the national transporter.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

RIL Becomes First Indian Company To Cross Rs6 Trillion Market Cap.

Background

  • Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) became the first Indian company to cross Rs6 trillion market capitalisation after its shares surged over 75% so far this year (2017) and hit a fresh lifetime high on 23rd October, 2017.
  • The stock closed 0.78% up at Rs947.25 on BSE. It rose as much as 1.94% to hit an all-time high of Rs958.20. Currently, its market cap is at Rs6.02 trillion.
  • The recent rally in the stock was due to tariff hike by its telecom arm Reliance Jio which, analysts expect, will improve the company’s profitability.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • On 13 October, 2017 Reliance Jio reported a profit at earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) level even though it ended up with a net loss of Rs271 crore. The telecom unit reported revenue of Rs6,147 crore and Ebit of Rs260 crore.
  • The stock added nearly Rs3 trillion market cap since April, 2017 after its telecom arm Reliance Jio started charging its customers.
  • Analysts believe that tariff hike is positive for rivals like Bharti, Vodafone and Idea as they may be able to raise prices as well which may help reduce losses. The Indian telecom industry is under pressure due to huge competition after Reliance Jio’s entry in the market.
  • The Indian telecom industry is seeing huge amount of consolidation and with decreasing choices for the subscribers the operators will compete on quality of service over the medium to long term. This could mean sustained increase in ARPU over the medium to long term.
  • Bharti Airtel Ltd closed 0.96% down to Rs510.55, while Idea Cellular Ltd declined 2.27% to settle at Rs96.80. Both the stocks surged nearly 32% so far this month. The BSE Sensex ended 0.14% higher to 33,147.13 points.

Sources- Livemint.