Current Affairs 2017 - March

El Salvador becomes world’s first country to ban metal mining

Central America’s smallest nation El Salvador became first country in the world to ban metal mining nationwide. In this regard, it has passed a law that bans all mining for gold and other metals.

The law imposes broad prohibition on the extraction of minerals to protect the nation’s allegedly quite fragile environment, water reservoirs and reduce social tensions.

Key Facts

  • The new law bans all exploration, extraction and processing of metals both in open pits and mines
  • It bans the use of cyanide and mercury for mining.
  • It does not apply to quarrying or the mining of coal, salt and other non-metallic resources.
Background

According to UN, El Salvador is one of the most densely populated countries and second-most environmentally degraded in America afterEl Salvador Haiti, making it sensitive to potential impact of large mining projects. The new mining ban law comes after a long-dragged dispute over a proposed gold mine by Pac Rim Cayman, a unit of Canadian-Australian company OceanaGold Corp over the environmental issue. In October 2016, El Salvador Government had won an international arbitration case filed by Pac Rim over a rejected licence to build gold mine in the country’s north. The international arbitration panel had rejected the company’s claim for compensation.

 

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Government unveils online vigilance clearance system, e-service book

The Union Government has launched the Online Vigilance Clearance System and e-Service Book in New Delhi. It was launched by Union Minister Jitendra Singh in New Delhi.

The online system aims to fast track process of cases of vigilance clearance for senior-level appointments in central government.

Key Facts
  • Initially, the system will be made available for board-level appointments done by Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) for Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).
  • Later it will be extended for senior appointments in banks and in government departments. It will reduce time taken for vigilance clearance from three months to a day or two.
  • All Central Government Ministries have been asked to regularly update database of officers on the system which will act as computerized database and provide the details of officers clearly.
e-Service Book
  • It will electronically maintain service records, including leave, history of work done by employees at various departments, house building allowance and other relevant details.
  • It will help in maintaining the employee’s service related records online that will result in quick processing of cases of salary (in cases of inter-departmental or inter-state transfers) or pension (in case of retirement).
  • It has been started on pilot-project mode for the employees of Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and soon it will be extended to other departments as well.

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