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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Arms Trade Treaty

15th July 2020

Why in News?

China will join a global pact to regulate arms sales that has been rejected by the United States.

Background:

China’s move comes after the USA announced to pull out of the ATT in 2019.

  • The reason given was that the treaty amounts to international gun control, and is a threat to USA’s second amendment right to bear arms.
  • The USA also held that the treaty fails to truly address the problem of irresponsible arms transfers because other top arms exporters like Russia and China were not signatories to it that time (till now, Russia has neither signed it nor made any announcement to sign it).
  • In May 2020, USA announced to exit the Open Skies Treaty (OST).

About The Open Skies Treaty (OST):

  • The Treaty on Open Skies entered into force on January 1, 2002, and currently It has 35 party states.
  • It establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants.

What is the Arms Trade Treaty?

  • The Arms Trade Treaty is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons. It entered into force on 4th December 2014.
  • The ATT is an attempt to regulate the international trade of conventional weapons for the purpose of contributing to international and regional peace; reducing human suffering; and promoting co-operation, transparency, and responsible action by and among states.
  • 105 states have ratified the treaty, and a further 32 states have signed but not ratified it.
  • India has abstained from voting for this Treaty.

What types of conventional weapons deals does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to regulate?

  • Conventional weapons covered by the UN Arms Trade Treaty include tanks and other armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, naval warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms.
  • It also establishes common international standards for the regulation of the international trade in ammunition, weapons parts, and arms components.
  • The treaty does not regulate the domestic sale or use of weapons in any country. It also recognizes the legitimacy of the arms trade to enable states to provide for their own security.

 China’s agenda at ATT:

  • Beijing saying it is committed to efforts to “enhance peace and stability” in the world.
  • It comes after the US announced plans last year to pull the United States out of the agreement which entered into force in 2014.
  • The US Senate never ratified the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty after former president Barack Obama endorsed it, and Trump has said he would revoke his predecessor’s signature.

Why has India abstained?

  • From the beginning of the ATT process, India has maintained that such a treaty should make a real impact on illicit trafficking in conventional arms and their illicit use especially by terrorists and other unauthorized and unlawful non-state actors.
  • India has also stressed consistently that the ATT should ensure a balance of obligations between exporting and importing states.
  • However, the ATT is weak on terrorism and non-state actors (undoubtedly Pakistan) and these concerns find no mention in the specific prohibitions of the Treaty.
  • Further, India cannot accept that the Treaty is used as an instrument in the hands of exporting states to take unilateral force measures against importing states parties without consequence.

Model Land Leasing Act

Why in News?

Currently, states impose varying degrees of restrictions on leasing of farm land. While Kerala prohibits leasing altogether, states such as Bihar allow leasing by certain categories of landowners—those who are disabled, widows or are in the armed forces.

  • In UP only disabled owners were allowed to lease land. In Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra, tenants have the right to purchase land from the owner after a period of tenancy-a rule that discourages leasing or prompts owners to frequently change tenants.
  • The idea behind the model law is to allow owners to lease out agricultural land to tenant farmers without any fear of losing it.
  • This would allow unused land to be used productively, and enable tenant farmers to invest in the land and access credit and insurance. As per estimates, about 20% of land holdings are managed by tenant farmers, with the figure in states like Andhra Pradesh going up to 60%.

Important features of the model Act:

  • The model law enables tenant farmers and share croppers to avail bank credit, crop insurance and disaster relief benefits.
  • The model law will allow consolidation of farm land so that small plots of land that are economically unviable can be leased out (using tractors and farm equipment is not economically viable for small plots of 2-3 acres).
  • Large operational holdings will reduce the cost of cultivation and increase profitability of farming.
  • There will be no ceiling on the amount of land that can be leased out or consolidated as the state wants market forces to determine the size of operational holdings. The duration of the lease and the consideration amount will also be decided mutually by the owner and the tenant.
  • Under the new law, land can also be leased out for allied activities like livestock or animal husbandry for a maximum period of five years.
  • The Model Act proposes quicker litigation process in case of disputes, by suggesting recourse through criminal proceedings and special tribunal. The dispute settlement will be taken up at the level of the Gram Sabha, Panchayat and Tehsildar and are kept outside the jurisdiction of courts.

Facts for Prelims

Market Intervention Scheme:

Government is planning to procure almost 12 lakh metric tonnes of apple from Kashmir under the Market Intervention Price Scheme.

What is the Market Intervention Price Scheme?

  • Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) is a price support mechanism implemented on the request of State Governments.
  • The scheme aims for procurement of perishable and horticultural commodities in the event of a fall in market prices.
  • MIS is implemented by the Department of Agriculture &Cooperation, Government of India.
  • The Scheme is implementedwhen there is at least 10% increase in production or 10% decrease in the ruling rates over the previous normal year.
  • The objective of MIS is to protect the growers of these horticultural or agricultural commodities from making distress sale in the event of bumper crop during the peak arrival period when prices fall to a very low level.

 

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