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CURRENT AFFAIRS 03-08-2018

Sinking Air India

Relevancy

  • GS Mains Paper-3, Economy

What is the issue?

  • The sinking Air India and the government’s attempt to privatize it is not materializing.
  • Resolving it through the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code could be a better option.

What is the current status of AI?

  • The airline is behind on its payments to several of its creditors.
  • These include both operational creditors, such as aircraft lessors, and financial creditors, such as banks.
  • Debts have been piling up for at least two months in both cases.
  • The aircraft lessors have declared that an “event of default” has occurred.
  • This may mean that they begin proceedings to take back the leased aircraft.
  • This would leave AI with a huge drawback in its schedule and place it in even more trouble.
  • On the other hand, the RBI has been quite firm on not covering up bad loans any further.
  • So if AI misses payments for 3 months, then the banks might be entitled to declare its account a non-performing asset.

What is the way forward?

  • In the last financial year (2017-18), the government committed to releasing Rs 18 billion to allow the airline to deal with its accumulated losses.
  • However only Rs 6.5 billion of that amount was released.
  • AI is assuring its creditors to pay back, but the government may not release any more of the money.
  • This is because the creditors, concerned with NPA, could possibly move the AI case to the National Company Law Tribunal.
  • The AI account might be subjected to the process and principles of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and if this happens, the privatisation of AI might move forward purely through the application of law.
  • In this case, the committee of creditors could take the decisions that the government, as primary owner, is unwilling to take.
  • This would be favourable from the taxpayer’s point of view, as it prevents the impact of the AI loss on taxpayers money by being under the government.

Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018- What & Why

 

Relevancy

  • GS Mains Paper-2, Government Policies

Why in news?

  • Lok Sabha recently passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

What is a Criminal Law (Amendment) bill?

  • The Union government in April 2018 promulgated the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance providing for the death penalty for the rape of girls below age 12.
  • Recently the Ordinance has been replaced by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 will amend relevant Sections of the IPC, CrPC and also POCSO Act.
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 enhances the minimum sentence for offence of rape against girl children of all three age categories ( 0-12, 12-16, 16-18).
  • Under new law, if the victim is under 12 years of age, the culprit faces minimum sentence of 20 years, up from 10 years previously and the maximum punishment is death penalty.

How is the Bill significant?

  • In the cases of Gang rape of child under 12, the minimum punishment is life sentence (earlier 20 years) while the maximum is death penalty.
  • POSCO was gender-neutral while the new law pertains to girls specifically.
  • Under this bill repeat offenders will be punished with life imprisonment or death.
  • The Bill provides for time-bound investigation in cases of rape of girl children. The investigation into rape of a child must be completed within two months.
  • The case is to be tried in a fast track court and any appeal against a sentence by the trial court must be disposed of within six months.
  • Accused is not entitled to anticipatory bail, under new law, in offences of rape of child less than 16 years of age.

How well is the implementation of such a bill?

  • Courts in at least two states have already sentenced four convicts to death under the provisions of the Ordinance.
  • These states are Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, both of which had also passed their own laws with the same provision.
  • Besides these, there have been four more death sentences in rape cases in Madhya Pradesh this year.

What are the state government’s take on Criminal Law?

  • The Madhya Pradesh Assembly unanimously passed its Dand Vidhi (Madhya Pradesh Sanshodhan) Vidheyak on December 2017.
  • It has proposed amendments to sections of the IPC and CrPC, and was waiting for the President’s assent when the Centre passed the Ordinance.
  • This month, courts in the state have passed two death sentences under provisions of the Ordinance.
  • The Rajasthan government had passed its Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill in March. It introduced sections 376AA (rape for girls up to age 12) and 376DD (gangrape for girls up to age 12), with both offences punishable with death.
  • Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh too had passed their Bills in March, with similar provisions.
  • After the Ordinance came, Haryana informed the Centre that the state was adopting the law.

 

 

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