Technology
Skyscanner: Get the Cheapest International Flight Tickets
If you are flying internationally, it might be worth looking up the best prices from all international airlines. Skyscanner.co.in looks up all the possible airlines and gets you options for best prices between any two airports. If you are not sure where you wish to go, you can just mention the country and it will show you all the options!  Additionally, it will also suggest the websites where you could book the tickets online.
 
Be careful when you look at the bare prices, though. Many a traveller gets attracted by low prices and, when he actually books, the taxes may be additional. Besides, check out the baggage constraints for each of the flights, since paying for an extra bag will more than make up for the cheap ticket. You may also be paying lower for a flight with multiple stops compared to a non-stop flight. Proceed with caution; but you have a starting point with this app.

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Need for Speed: Judiciary on Amphetamines?
Just about everybody has an opinion on legal delays. Some, obviously exaggerated, comments put the backlog clearing schedule at a couple of hundred years. Nice after-dinner banter, but way off the mark. Last year, Indian courts cleared two crore cases. So, how come there is still a huge pending docket? Simply because another couple of crore fresh cases were added. In short, if no new case is added for two or three years, there would be no work for judges, lawyers or the staff.
 
But, Nirvana is not in sight.
 
If it is any consolation, other countries have the same problem. Besides those that know of no rule of law, civilised nations, ones that believe in sensible justice, have many pending matters. This phenomenon is not new. Charles Dickens, writing over a hundred years ago, lampooned the system by saying that the present litigating generation did not even know each other! The sins of the ancestors were visiting on their descendants.
 
A train-driver is manhandled for a signal failure; a bus-driver abused for delay due to a traffic jam. So it is with the judicial system—where judges are the visible face. The truth, however, is a bit different. The men in black robes are fully aware of the problem and many do their best to make amends; often to the annoyance of the lawyers and their clients.
 
Canada has a system akin to ours and it has similar problems. Here, we need to differentiate between the two types of cases, civil and criminal. While most of us are more in touch with the former, it is really the latter, criminal matters, that need urgent attention. Those involved are invariable poor. They lack representation and proper assistance. They cannot afford bail; nor can they provide sound sureties. Many are devoid of sharp reasoning. They have been nabbed for an assortment of minor crimes; drunkenness, drugs, pick-pocketing, ticketless travel, vagrancy, loitering.
 
While in custody, they are transported at regular intervals in the black marias, only to be herded back at the end of the day; where they are prey to craven cops. No one counts the days, not even the accused. They simply linger.
 
This was a point of discussion in a Canadian case. All countries have provisions for speedy trials in criminal cases. One cannot be incarcerated indefinitely, without determination. In actual practice, it is a rule only on paper. In one case, a preliminary hearing was scheduled after three years! The accused were out, but the time-table was horrendous. Most guilty persons, out on bail, look forward to the ‘tareek-pe-tareek’ progression. Delay in the day of reckoning is big comfort. But Damocles should know that it only one hair away.
 
In Canada, the arguments for unreasonable delay were for the accused to prove. Conditions to be met, to prove delay, were so dicey that the Supreme Court remarked that “…. it was a throw of the dice.” In effect, though the law existed, its implementation was extremely tenuous. So when one Barret Johnson, charged with drug-trafficking, sought relief for delay, the Bench scratched its collective head to find a solution.
 
Readers will remember our old friend, the reasonable man. We ask that they now decide on the length of the ‘reasonable delay’. What should it be?
 
You be the judge and answer this conundrum.
 
What should the time be? A month, a year, three years, five or ten? Each answer will be the outcome of personal experiences. So, how did the judges decide? They concluded that the outer limit should be 30 months for the superior courts; 18 months for an inferior one. It was a majority decision and at least four judges had reservations about such a fixation. We sympathise with them. 
 
And this is what, in law, is called a legal fiction.

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COMMENTS

MG Warrier

6 months ago

In my article posted @moneylife.in on February 5, 2013, I had observed in a different context asunsder:
“There is urgency to fast-track justice not only when sensational issues come up and media/ popular protests highlight them. The immediate measures could include:

• Segregating cases which need to be decided within a year and taking them on a priority basis by the courts now in position.

• Leaving the remaining cases to new Special Courts to be put in place at all levels depending on the number of pending cases.

• Ensuring vacancies of judges are filled in time
• Making it compulsory for government and public sector organizations to expedite procedures where they are on either side of matters before courts. This is necessary as there is laxity on their side as cost and delay seldom affects the individuals who handle cases in government and public sector. This position is slowly creeping into big corporates also.

• Making necessary legislative changes to reduce procedural delays
• Simultaneous efforts to encourage concerned parties to settle issues out of court. This method would bear fruit where party on one side of the dispute is government or quasi-government organizations.
It seems, these observations hold good even today. As new vacancies are sanctioned in government and public sector after due deliberations and most of the time a year or two later from the initiating of processes, the large number of vacancies at various levels directly mean heavy pendency of work. Judiciary’s case is not different. Government and public sector should move forward to a ‘zero-vacancy’ concept sooner than latter.
This wasquoted again in my article posted @moneylife.in during April 2016!

manoharlalsharma

6 months ago

But no one to speak for TIME-PASS cases,the merit less cases pending for years,one like 8508/2003 at Bombay high court,despite application No-WP-1756/2013 and order of the court? whom to make responsible as contempting the order.

Burjor Bharucha

7 months ago

Very well said Mr. Malcolm. Fully agree with you. Judiciary in India are amongst the slowest in the world. This "Tareek pe tareek" system has to change to reduce the magnitude of cases piling up making it impossible to see the result in majority cases

during ones life. Some solution has to be made and that only the learned Judges could do.

Achieving solar targets while complying with WTO norms
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) recently ruled against India's Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) for setting up solar power plants. Yet, there are ways to meet DCR in a way that it does not violate the multilateral trading norms.
 
To backtrack a bit, the national solar target was revised to an ambitious 100 GW in 2015, with a focus on indigenous manufacturing of solar cells, modules and other associated components of solar power plants.
 
Currently, India has 5.62 GW and 1.21 GW of PV (photovoltiacs) module- and cell-manufacturing capacities. However, the industry is operating at only 30 per cent capacity because of lack of demand as imported modules are cheaper.
 
Although 3.33 GW was installed in India over the past two years, more than 75 per cent of the capacity employs modules imported from China and other competitive countries.
 
Indian modules and cells become expensive because of complicated mechanisms to avail of subsidies like the MSIPS (Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme) and a lack of vertical integration, economies of scale, low-cost finance and, finally, adequate dedicated infrastructure such as silicon-processing plants and stable power supply.
 
Without a strong manufacturing base, India will end up spending $3 billion on imported PV modules to reach the ambitious 100 GW target. Energy security, which is another objective in JNNSM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission), will not be achieved. There are various policy instruments that the government can engage to boost domestic manufacturing like tax exemptions, soft loans and the DCR.
 
The DCR clause mandates a part of solar installations to use indigenously sourced or manufactured components. It incentivises nascent domestic manufacturers by providing them a secure market for a stipulated period. In principle, it should be phased out when indigenous manufacture becomes competitive with its international counterparts. The Indian government had stipulated DCR in some projects of JNNSM Phase 1 and Phase 2.
 
In February 2013, the US filed a dispute against India at the WTO claiming bias against imported cells and modules through this DCR. The US claimed that this clause was inconsistent with the General Agreement on Trade and Treaty (GATT) Article III:4, which demands equal treatment for domestic and foreign products.
 
India defended its case by seeking an exemption under GATT Article III:8(a), which says that GATT Article III:4 shall not apply to laws and regulations governing the procurement of products by governmental agencies for governmental purposes and not for commercial resale.
 
The WTO rightly ruled against India on grounds of discrimination against solar panels while procuring electricity. This essentially means that the government was purchasing the electricity that was generated from the panels under the DCR clause.
 
According to WTO norms, the goods being discriminated against and the goods being procured should be either similar or have a competitive relationship, which was not the case in this dispute. India is now planning to appeal against the decision at WTO's highest court, the Appellate Body.
 
This decision of the WTO leaves no elbow room for India to implement DCR in its current form. However, DCR can be employed in another way. A majority of the government entities planning to install rooftop photovoltaic (RTPV) systems can use domestically manufactured modules. In this case, India will be able to support the DCR clause for government usage as India is not a signatory to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), which enforces otherwise.
 
The argument because of which India lost the case will not hold good since the government is no longer procuring electricity, but only consuming whatever is generated with no associated monetary value or transaction. The only condition should be that these RTPV systems do not generate more than the consumption in each building.
Indian Railways alone consumes 17.5 billion units of electricity (1.8 per cent of the country's total electricity demand) with an annual expenditure of over Rs 11,000 crore ($1.6 billion). If 10 per cent of this demand is met by DCR, this would add 1 GW capacity. Similarly, there are a large number of government entities such as hospitals, schools and institutions that consume a large amount of electricity. These buildings typically have large rooftop areas suitable for RTPV installations.
 
Further research using tools such as Geographical Information System (GIS) can be used to estimate the suitable rooftop area available to such government entities.
 
Once the potential assessment exercise is completed, India can decide the magnitude of DCR it wants to implement within the WTO norms. This will allow domestic manufacturers to operate within a niche space till they achieve cost competitiveness and strengthen the indigenous manufacturing base.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
  

 

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COMMENTS

Sap Ghosh

6 months ago

This is the author of the article, Saptak Ghosh.
I would like to bring to the reader's attention that the line should read India will end up spending $30 billion on imported PV modules and not $3 billion.
We apologize for the typo.
Regards.

B S Bhupal

6 months ago

It is nice to have good articles to remain up to date .

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