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Current Events 5 January 2017

 

NEWS 

5 JANUARY 2017

 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

 GS II: POLITY- ELECTIONS

 7-phase poll in U.P. from February 11 to March 8

2.

 GS III: ECONOMY

 GST: No accord on dual control

3.

 GS II: SOCIAL- HEALTH

 Birds culled in Gujarat over fears of avian flu

4.

 GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE RIVERS

 Ken-Betwa river-linking project faces new hurdle

5.

 GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE RIVERS

 SC schedules day-to-day hearings on Cauvery appeals from Feb 7

6.

 GS III: ECONOMY

 State media cautions China over India’s labour cost

7.

 GS III: ECONOMY

 Ministry seeks duty cut for leased planes

8.

 GS III: S&T

 A new human organ discovered

 

GS II: POLITY- ELECTIONS

7-phase poll in U.P. from February 11 to March 8

  • Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will be held between February 4 and March 8, the Election Commission announced.
  • The Model Code of Conduct for the Centre, the State governments, political parties and their candidates comes into immediate effect, it said.
  • Polls will be held in a total of 690 Assembly constituencies. In the 403 constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, the elections will be conducted in seven phases from February 11 to March 8.
  • Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said all candidates have been directed to open bank accounts, and pay for all expenses above 20,000 through cheques.
  • Also, each candidate would have to file a separate affidavit in the form of a “no-demand certificate” declaring that there are no dues on account of water, electricity, rent for government accommodation in the past decade or any other such services.
  • The maximum limit for expenses for each candidate in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand is 28 lakh. In Goa and Manipur, the limit is 20 lakh, he said.
  • The EC has issued Standard Operating Procedures for the first and the last 72 hours of the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct to ensure a smooth election process.

 

 

 

GS III: ECONOMY

GST: No accord on dual control

  • The eighth meeting of the Goods and Services Tax Council failed yet again to reach a consensus on the critical issue of dual control and cross empowerment, a major roadblock in the finalisation of the draft GST laws, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
  • The other concern is the definition of the word ‘territory.
  • “The territory issue is a complex one. The area of 12 nautical miles from the India coast is Indian territory,” he explained.
  • Service tax in this area has been levied by the Government of India. But fishing in these areas has been taxed by the States.”
  • “The answer to this is not political, it is purely a constitutional issue,” Mr. Jaitley said.
  • One other issue raised by the States was the compensation, and how this amount should be increased due to the hit to State revenues caused by the demonetisation of high value currency notes. The Centre has assured the states that it will look into the matter.
  • The Council will meet again on January 16.

 

 

 

 

GS II: SOCIAL- HEALTH

Birds culled in Gujarat over fears of avian flu

  • The Gujarat health authorities have culled more than 2,000 birds after the detection of the dreaded avian flu or bird flu at a poultry farm near Ahmedabad.
  • The report by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Institute of High Security Animal Disease confirmed the deaths of the birds due to avian influenza.
  • The State authorities have sounded a high alert and placed restrictions on the movement of birds and eggs, and on chicken shops in the area.

 

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE RIVERS

Ken-Betwa river-linking project faces new hurdle

  • A new hurdle has come in the way of the marquee Ken-Betwa river interlink project in its terms of financing.
  • The NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) has recommended that Madhya Pradesh contribute 40 per cent of the project cost, with the Centre contributing 60 per cent.
  • The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) has opposed this and requested that 90 per cent of the funds be routed through the Centre.
  • A lack of clarity on the funding pattern could mean more delays to the Rs. 10,000-crore project that would be the first ever inter-State river interlinking project.
  • The project was given a go-ahead by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) at a meeting chaired by Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Anil Madhav Dave, in August 2016.
  • An environment clearance panel has, according to officials in the water ministry, also cleared the project on 30th December.
  • A separate committee that determines forest clearance to such projects, is yet to take a call.
  • The toughest bit was the wildlife clearance...once the funding mechanism is clear, it would take seven years for the project to be ready,” said Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti.
  • This will be the first time that a river project will be located within a tiger reserve.
  • The Rs. 10,000-crore Ken-Betwa project will irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region but, in the process, also submerge about 10 per cent of the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, feted as a model tiger conservation reserve.
  • The main feature of the project is a 230-km long canal and a series of barrages and dams connecting the Ken and Betwa rivers that will irrigate 3.5 lakh hectares in Madhya Pradesh and 14,000 hectares of Uttar Pradesh in Bundelkhand.
  • The key projects are the Makodia and Dhaudhan dams, the latter expected to be 77 metres high and responsible for submerging 5,803 hectares of tiger habitat in the Panna Tiger Reserve.
  • When, and if, the proposed reservoir is filled to the brim, 6,221 hectares will be inundated — of this, 4,141 hectares is core forest and located inside the reserve.
  • A key point of contention between wildlife experts associated with the impact assessment and dam proponents in the MoWR was whether the height of the Daudhan dam could be reduced to limit the water overflow.
  • The MoWR had refused to agree to this, saying it would compromise the economic viability of the project. The records of the August 2016 meeting suggest wildlife experts were convinced.


 

 

 

 

 

 

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE RIVERS

SC schedules day-to-day hearings on Cauvery appeals from Feb 7

  • The Supreme Court asked Karnataka to continue releasing 2000 cusecs of Cauvery water to neighbouring State of Tamil Nadu while posting appeals filed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala against the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal's decision on water-sharing for day-to-day hearing.
  • Stressing the urgency to resolve the prolonged water dispute at the earliest, the Supreme Court Bench scheduled back-to-back hearings from February 7 for a period of three weeks.
  • Tamil Nadu submitted that the north-east monsoon had failed completely and it was suffering from a 67 per cent deficit of water. However, the Bench refused to deliberate this issue, saying it has already spent “considerable time” on it.
  • On December 9, the Supreme Court, in a judgment, had refused the Centre's stand that the apex court lacked jurisdiction to hear the Cauvery river dispute. It had upheld the constitutional power of the court to hear the appeals filed by the three States against the tribunal award.
  • The Centre had argued that the parliamentary law of Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956 coupled with Article 262 (2) of the Indian Constitution excluded the Supreme Court from hearing or deciding any appeals against the Cauvery Tribunal's decision. The Centre had claimed the tribunal award was final.
  • The Bench however held that the remedy under Article 136 was a constitutional right and it cannot be taken away by a legislation much less by invoking the principle of election or estoppel (a principle used in certain situations to prevent a person from relying upon certain rights, or upon a set of facts (e.g. words said or actions performed) which is different from an earlier set of facts).
  • “The jurisdiction exercised by this court under Article 136 is an extraordinary jurisdiction which empowers this court to grant leave to appeal from any judgment, decree or determination in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal and the scope of this Article has been settled in numerous decisions,” the Supreme Court observed.
  • Further, the Bench had held that it was settled law that the Supreme Court could not take cognisance of an original inter-State water dispute, and this alone was the original intent of the Constitution under Article 262. The court held that once a water dispute, as defined under Article 262(1) read with provisions of the 1956 Act, is adjudicated by the tribunal, it loses the nature of 'original dispute'.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article 262 - Adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter State rivers or river valleys

(1)   Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-state river or river valley.

(2)   Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as is referred to in clause (1)

 

Article 136 - Special leave to appeal by the Supreme Court

(1)   Notwithstanding anything in this Chapter, the Supreme Court may, in its discretion, grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India

(2)   Nothing in clause (1) shall apply to any judgment, determination, sentence or order passed or made by any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the Armed Forces.

 

 

 

 

GS III: ECONOMY

State media cautions China over India’s labour cost

  • Anticipating India’s rise as the next workshop-of-the world, a leading Chinese daily affiliated with the Communist Party of China (CPC) is strongly advocating that Beijing should rapidly shift to high-end manufacturing, and take advantage of the low labour costs that are still available in its less developed zones.
  • IT highlighted the likelihood of Apple shifting manufacturing to India—as well as its larger implications for China.
  • “If Apple expands in India, more global tech giants may follow suit and China is likely to see a further transfer of the supply chain given India's abundant supply of working-age labour and low labor costs.”
  • It added: “Industrial competition between China and India comes down to the labour force, where costs and the level of skills are two major factors that influence business decisions. Although China has an edge having nurtured skilled workers over past decades, a majority of Indian states have an absolute labour cost advantage over China. Today, labour cost is still a significant part of the complicated equation for business success.”

 

GS III: ECONOMY

Ministry seeks duty cut for leased planes

  • The Union civil aviation ministry has proposed the lowering of customs duty for aircraft imported by leasing companies set up in India.
  • The ministry has asked the finance ministry to consider reducing customs duty for lessors from 21 per cent to the prevalent rates of zero per cent for scheduled and 2.5 per cent for non-scheduled operations.
  • Aircraft imported by non-scheduled operators, such as Alchemist Airways and Air Odisha, face a 2.5 per cent import duty whereas planes imported by scheduled operators, such as IndiGo and SpiceJet, are exempt from tax at present. Aircraft imported for any other purposes, including private use, attract 21 per cent customs duty.
  • Leasing companies fall under the third category.
  • If the proposal is accepted, then, if a leasing company imports planes for leasing it to non-scheduled operators, import duty of 2.5 per cent may be levied instead of 21 per cent.


GS III: S&T

A new human organ discovered

  • Irish scientists have recently identified a new human organ that has existed in the digestive system for hundreds of years.
  • Named as the mesentery, the organ connects the intestine to the abdomen and had for hundreds of years been considered a fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts.
  • Mesentery is a fold of the peritoneum which attaches the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen, and other organs to the posterior wall of the abdomen.
  • Better understanding and further scientific study of the mesentery could lead to less invasive surgeries, fewer complications, faster patient recovery and lower overall costs.

 

 

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