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Current Events 14 February 2017

 

NEWS 

14 FEBRUARY 2017

 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II : POLITY JUDICIARY

SC to hear challenge on Aadhaar Bill′s passage

2.

GS II : POLITY JUDICIARY

Justice Karnan fails to show up in SC

3.

GS III : SECURITY

Tripartite talks to end Manipur blockade fail

4.

GS II:  POLITY BILL

Karnataka amends law to allow kambala

5.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-USA

Anil Ambani firm to service over 100 U.S. Navy ships

6.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT NGT

Rehabilitation: NGT slaps cost on Uttarakhand for delayed response

7.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT NGT

NGT orders inspection of sugarcane crushing units in UP

8.

GS III : CORRUPTION

Mass fraud in Vyapam exam: SC

9.

GS III : SECURITY

24 Maoist cadre lay down arms in Bihar after SSB persuasion

10.

GS II:   E- GOVERNANCE

J&K govt launches e-Prison project

11.

GS II : POLITY JUDICIARY

SC hints at end to impasse over judicial selection

12.

GS III : ENERGY

‘Renewables obviate need for new coal capacity’

13.

GS II : POLITY BILL/ACT

Centre puts onus on States to set factories’ threshold limit

14.

GS II :INTERNATIONAL - ASIA

UN calls for urgent meet over North Korea’s ballistic missile test

15.

GS III : ECONOMY

RBI tells banks to treat banned notes as ‘soiled’

16.

GS III : ECONOMY

Retail inflation slows to 3.17% in January

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS II : POLITY JUDICIARY

SC to hear challenge on Aadhaar Bill′s passage

  • The Supreme Court agreed to hear in detail a challenge by Jairam Ramesh, MP, to the passing of the Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill even as the Union government said the judiciary had no jurisdiction to encroach on legislative procedure in Parliament, where the Speaker was the final authority.
  • “If the Speaker says blue is green, we will tell her that blue is blue and not green,” Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar shot back.
  • Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi said the government saved Rs.30,000 crore to Rs. 50,000 crore by linking thousands of subsidies to Aadhaar verification.
  • “Your object may be good but whether it is a Money Bill or not is the question,” Chief Justice Khehar observed.
  • The Bench, which included Justice N.V. Ramana, asked why the Rajya Sabha had suggested amendments to the Aadhaar Bill when it was referred to it as a Money Bill.
  • Mr. Chidambaram submitted that Article 110 of the Constitution specified the grounds on which a Bill could be declared a Money Bill. One of these grounds included withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Mr. Rohatgi said the Aadhaar Bill concerned the linkage of Aadhaar facility to various welfare schemes for which money was withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund.
  • At one point, Justice Ramana referred to a 2014 judgment passed by the Supreme Court which had held that courts had no jurisdiction over procedural matters of the legislature.
  • “This petition is not about a procedural matter. There has been a substantive infraction,” Mr. Chidambaram responded.
  • Mr. Rohatgi questioned Mr. Ramesh′s locus standi in filing the writ petition under Article 21, saying no fundamental right of the petitioner had been violated.
  • “The time has come to relook Article 21 ... every petition is coming straight to the Supreme Court now,” Mr. Rohatgi said.
  • Noting that the Bench may be prima facie in favour of the government side, Chief Justice Khehar said the issue presented in the petition was of ‘vital importance’ and needed to be heard in detail.
  • The court has scheduled the case for final hearing after four weeks.

 

 

 

 

GS II – POLITY JUDICIARY

Justice Karnan fails to show up in SC

  •  After briefly toying with options like issuing a bailable warrant, the seven-judge Supreme Court Bench decided to wait another three weeks for sitting Calcutta High Court judge, C.S. Karnan, to explain his defiance of a judicial direction to be present in court.
  • A-G Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi advised the Bench to formally frame criminal contempt charge against Justice Karnan.

 

GS III : SECURITY

Tripartite talks to end Manipur blockade fail

  • The economic blockade in Manipur since 1 November 2016, that has led to the shortage of essential commodities in the State is likely to continue as the talks among the Centre, the Naga groups and the Manipur government failed. A senior official in New Delhi said the talks were “sabotaged.”
  • The economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC), a conglomerate of Naga bodies against the State government’s decision to carve out seven new districts, has been on for over four months now.
  • The UNC operates under the patronage of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), with which the Government of India signed a framework agreement in 2015 to find a solution to the decades-old Naga issue.
  • Manipur goes to the polls on March 4 and 8 and due to the ongoing blockade, it has been kept in the most sensitive category.


GS II:  POLITY BILL

Karnataka amends law to allow kambala

  • Paving the way for the conduct of kambala, the traditional buffalo race, the Karnataka Assembly passed a Bill to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • Kambala is currently stayed by the High Court following a petition by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
  • Thousands in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, where kambala is widely held, had protested the ban.
  • They argued that the annual kambala races in paddy fields were part of their tradition.
  • The sport did not torture animals, they said.
  • The movement gathered momentum after the jallikattu agitation in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
  • Governor Vajubhai R. Vala is likely to refer the Bill to the President for his assent.

 

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-USA

Anil Ambani firm to service over 100 U.S. Navy ships

  • Anil Ambani group’s Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra)-led Reliance Defence and Engineering (RDEL) has signed a Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA) with the U.S. Navy to provide repair and alteration services for ships of the Seventh Fleet involving 100 vessels operating in the Indian Ocean.
  • Currently, these vessels visit Singapore or Japan for such works.
  • The U.S. Seventh Fleet looks after the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.
  • The vessels will be serviced and repaired from the Reliance Defence owned private shipyard in Pipavav in Gujarat.
  • This would be the first instance of an Indian company, either public or private, providing logistical support to the U.S. military within Indian territory.
  • The signing of a MSRA agreement is a follow-up to the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed between New Delhi and Washington in August 2016.

Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)

  • LEMOA is an India-specific version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), which the U.S. has with several countries it has close military to military cooperation.
  • It is also one of the three foundational agreementsas referred to by the U.S. which it signs with countries with which it has close military ties.
  • These are:

1.     Logistics Support Agreement (LSA),

2.     Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and

3.     Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA)

  • Their purpose:

1.     They are meant to build basic ground work and promote interoperability between militaries by creating common standards and systems.

They also guide sale and transfer of high-end technologies.

What does signing LEMOA mean?

               LEMOA gives access, to both countries, to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment.

               India and the U.S. already hold large number of joint exercises during which payments are done each time, which is a long and tedious process.

               Under the new agreement, a mechanism will be instituted for book-keeping and payments and officials, who will act as nodal points of contact, will be designated on both sides.

What areas does the agreement cover?

               The agreement will primarily cover four areas —

1.     port calls,

2.     joint exercises,

3.     training and Humanitarian Assistance and

4.     Disaster Relief.

               Any other requirement has to be agreed upon by both sides on a case-by-case basis.

Will this mean stationing of U.S. troops in India?

               No, this is not a basing agreement. There will be no basing of the U.S. troops or assets on Indian soil. This is purely a logistical agreement.

               India can access the string of U.S. facilities across the globe for logistical support and the U.S., which operates in a big way in Asia-Pacific, will benefit from Indian facilities.

 

 

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT NGT

Rehabilitation: NGT slaps cost on Uttarakhand for delayed response

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped fines on the Uttarakhand government and its agencies for not filing responses on a plea highlighting human–wildlife conflict and seeking rehabilitation of villagers living inside Rajaji National Park in the State.
  • The green panel was hearing a plea filed by Uttarakhand resident Madan Singh Bisht seeking setting up of a committee to look into the issue of rehabilitation of the revenue village ‘chaks’ (estates) which lie within the boundaries of the national park, known for tigers, panthers, elephants and other animals.
  • A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar slammed the authorities for not filing their replies and slapped a fine of Rs.20,000 each on the Uttarakhand government, State Forest Department, Rural Development Ministry, Chief Conservator of Forests and SSP of Pauri Garhwal district.
  • The NGT passed the order noting that on the last date of hearing, the State government had sought a week’s time for filing replies but had failed to do so.

 

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT NGT

NGT orders inspection of sugarcane crushing units in UP

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the inspection of ‘kolhus’ used for crushing sugarcane in Uttar Pradesh after a plea alleged that these “unregulated” units were major contributors to air and water pollution, emitting toxic gases like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
  • Sugarcane is processed in bullock-driven ‘kolhus’ for crushing cane for manufacturing sugar.
  • The green panel directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State pollution control board to conduct a joint inspection of these units and inform it whether any pollution is being caused in the nature of pollutants these release and adverse impact, if any, caused to the environment and suggest remedial action.

 

GS III : SECURITY

24 Maoist cadre lay down arms in Bihar after SSB persuasion

  • Twenty-four Maoists surrendered in Bihar after the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) persuaded them to do so, an official said.
  • The SSB, whose prime duty is to guard the Nepal border, is also deployed in various areas afected by left wing extremism (LWE).

 

GS II:   E-GOVERNANCE

J&K govt launches e-Prison project

  •  The Jammu and Kashmir government launched the e- Prison project to enumerate jail inmates in the State, where numbers of detainees keep swelling during unrest.
  • The information about jail inmates is currently being maintained manually.
  • To avoid delays in processing the information and manage all the jails efficiently, the automation of prison department has been started.
  • The project will digitise 25 district jails, two Central jails and one sub-jail in the State.
  • The second phase of the project will focus on videoconferencing between jails and prison headquarters, e-court, telemedication in jails.

 

GS III : CORRUPTION

Mass fraud in Vyapam exam: SC

  • Terming their conduct an “act of deceit,” the Supreme Court confirmed the cancellation of the admission of 634 students to the MBBS course made through Vyapam test in Madhya Pradesh between 2008 and 2012.
  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justices Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra held in an 87-page judgment that the action of the students was “unacceptable behaviour” and did not warrant any interference under Article 142 of the Constitution.
  • Article 142 of Constitution of India deals with Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc.

 

GS II : POLITY JUDICIARY

SC hints at end to impasse over judicial selection

  • The Supreme Court hinted that the frost between the highest judiciary and the Centre over the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) is thawing and differences would be settled by February-end.
  • “We will finalise the MoP maybe within this month,” Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar said.
  • A reason for the rift between the government and the judiciary is the clause in the draft MoP that the government would have the authority to reject a candidate recommended by the Supreme Court collegium.

 

 

GS II: POLITY BILL/ACT

Centre puts onus on States to set factories′ threshold limit

  • With labour law reforms back on the Centre′s agenda, fresh discussions begin with trade unions to push through a long pending overhaul of the Factories Act of 1948.
  • However, the Labour Ministry has tweaked its draft amendments to put the ball on contentious issues in the domain of State governments.
  • Instead of increasing the threshold limit set for the number of workers in an industrial unit to be statutorily covered by the factories law, the Centre is now proposing an enabling provision that lets State governments decide the threshold over which a unit will be considered a factory for the purpose of the law.
  • “The definition of factory is proposed to be modified as in the original Bill by giving powers to the State governments to increase the threshold limit of workers up to 20 and 40 for factories working with and without the aid of power respectively,” the Labour Ministry said in a note sent to central trade unions.
  • Earlier, the Centre had proposed that the Factories Law be applicable to all factories that employ at least 40 workers – a move that was strongly opposed by the central trade unions.
  • The present Factories Act 1948 applies to establishments with 10 or more workers, if the premise is using power and to establishments with 20 or more workers, without electricity connection.
  • According to the previous proposal, Factories with less than 40 workers were to be covered under a new law for small factories.
  • However, the fate of the proposed Small Factories Bill, 2015 is unclear as the Labour Ministry note has no mention about the proposed law


GS III: ENERGY

 ‘Renewables obviate need for new coal capacity’

  • The energy that would be available from renewable sources, storage hydro, nuclear and gas plants, both existing and planned, would be enough to meet India′s energy demand for the next 7-8 years, which means no new investment in coal is needed at least till then, as per a report by TERI.
  • Under the report’s ‘high renewables scenario’, the country’s renewable energy capacity is set to increase to the targeted 175 GW level by 2021-22 and further grow to 275 GW by 2025-26.
  • “The increasing penetration of solar and wind (which have inherent high intermittency and variability) would no doubt present a number of challenges in respect to planning and operation,” it said.


GS II :INTERNATIONAL ASIA

UN calls for urgent meet over North Korea′s ballistic missile test

  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned nuclear-armed North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test and called for a united international response to the “further troubling violation” of UN resolutions.
  • Mr. Guterres appealed “to the international community to continue to address this situation in a united manner”, in an apparent reference to the United States and China, Pyongyang’s ally.
  • The council was to meet following a request by the United States, Japan and South Korea.
  • Permanent UN Security Council members China and Russia joined a chorus of international criticism of the launch near the western city of Kusong.

 

 

 

GS III : ECONOMY

RBI tells banks to treat banned notes as ‘soiled’

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) asked banks to treat the withdrawn currencies in their currency chests deposited since November 9, as ‘soiled.’
  • The regulator said the old Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes will not be reckoned for calculating chest balance limit or cash holding limit.

 

GS III : ECONOMY

Retail inflation slows to 3.17% in January

  • Retail inflation eased in January to 3.17% on the back of a sharp slowdown in food price inflation.
  • Growth in the consumer price index (CPI) slowed from the 3.4% seen in December 2016, extending the streak of easing retail inflation to six months.
  • The food and beverages category registered an inflation rate of 1.3% in January, down from the 2% witnessed in December 2016.
  • Food price gains have also been easing for six consecutive months.
  • “The curious part of this inflation rate is that the nonfood components have shown higher price increases such as pan, intoxicants (6.4%), clothing and footwear (4.7%), housing (5.0%), fuel and light (3.4%), and miscellaneous items (5.1%),” Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at Care Ratings said.
  • The stickiness in core inflation despite continued decline in other parts of the index is a worry since wageprice negotiations based on a sticky core can potentially lift overall inflation.”

 

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