10 MAY 2016
GS II: POLITY
Advantage Rawat as SC bars Congress rebels from voting
The Uttarakhand High Court and the Supreme Court , refused any relief to the nine disqualified Congress MLAs of Uttarakhand, raising hopes in the Congress that the numbers in the apex court-monitored floor test will swing in favour of deposed Chief Minister Harish Rawat and mark the end of President’s rule in the State.
The vote of confidence will now involve 27 Congress MLAs, 28 BJP MLAs, six PDF members and one nominated member. The total members to vote being 62, Mr. Rawat will need 32 votes to be reinstated as the Chief Minister.
The nine MLAs, who were disqualified by the Speaker under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution over allegations of ‘horse-trading’, reached the Supreme Court for an interim stay soon after Justice U.C. Dhyani of the High Court refused them any relief. The judge had advised them to “approach Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal and file a review application.”
‘Not a unilateral decision’
Justice Singh, however, intervened to note that the lifting of President’s rule and the floor test was ordered only because both parties – the Centre and Mr. Rawat – had given their consent. It was not a unilateral decision of the apex court.
SC appoints official for floor test
The Supreme Court appointed the Principal Secretary, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, Uttarakhand, to conduct the trust vote in an objective and neutral manner.
GS II: POLITY-JUDICARY
NEET will be the only test, affirms SC
After weeks of uncertainty, the Supreme Court finally “clarified” that National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is indeed the only way for students to get admission to undergraduate medical and dental courses across the country.
The court gave authorities a free hand to reschedule NEET-II, currently scheduled on July 24.
Worry for States
The apex court’s order strikes a death blow to States’ entrance exams, some of which have already been held or are in the offing. All private medical and dental colleges, deemed universities, associations will have to go by NEET results. In Tamil Nadu, students would have to take NEET despite a 2007 law in existence banning entrance exams in the State.
The Supreme Court is yet to sit in judicial review of the constitutionality of NEET.
This decision has come despite pleas by the Centre and Medical Council of India to allow States’ exams alongside NEET for this year alone.
GS III: SECURITY
Muslim leaders wage theological battle against IS
As the military and political battle against the Islamic State escalates, Muslim imams and scholars in the West are fighting on another front — through theology.
Imam Suhaib Webb, a Muslim leader in the District of Columbia, has held live monthly video chats to refute the religious claims of IS. In a dig at the extremists, he broadcast from ice cream parlours and called his talks “ISIS and ice cream”.
It is a religious rumble that barely makes headlines in the secular West since it is carried out at mosques and Islamic conferences and over social media.
These scholars ridicule the IS’s claim to have created a “caliphate”. Instead, in a highly effective bit of rebranding, they call the IS Kharijites, a reviled group of Muslims who killed women and children and rebelled against the caliphs in the seventh century.
GS III: ECONOMY
Annual core sector growth at decade low as steel drags
India’s annual core sector growth slowed to a decade low of 2.7 per cent in 2015-16, slower than the 4.5 per cent pace in the previous financial year, according to government statistics.
The growth was pulled down by steel and crude oil, both of which saw output contracting by 1.4 per cent and natural gas that dropped 4.2 per cent.
This contrasts with the data showing robust core sector growth in March, when the infrastructure sectors expanded 6.4 per cent, the fastest pace in 16 months.
Significantly, the eight core industries which include crude oil, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity account for 38 per cent of India’s industrial output. The index for industrial production has grown at 2.7 per cent in the first 11 months of 2015-16, lower than the 2.8 per cent recorded in the previous year.
The March and April infrastructure output numbers may seem a little exaggerated owing to the base effect, as the same months had clocked negative growth last year.
The big disappointment is steel that has been hit by the low global prices and competition from China.
The steel industry employs six million people directly and generates associated employment for more than 2.5 million.
Rajiv Kumar, Senior Fellow and Economist at the Centre for Policy Research, said this should serve as a wake-up call for the government to move away from incremental reforms to relieve the distress in the steel sector and push construction and real estate sectors.
Steel is a mother industry and could be in a comatose position despite import price and anti-dumping curbs to restrict the influx of cheaper Chinese steel.
Emergent ‘out of the box’ actions are called for as the real estate industry is also not showing any recovery and would continue to impact cement and steel
GS III: ECONOMY-TRADE DEFICIT
India has trade deficit with 27 countries for last 3 years
India has a trade deficit with as many as 27 major countries, including China, Australia, Iraq and Iran, during the last three years.
With these countries, India has trade deficit continuously during the last three years, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
She said India generally runs a deficit with those countries from which high-demand commodities are sourced.
These include items like crude oil, gold, diamond and fertiliser. In 2015—16, India’s trade deficit fell 14 per cent to $118.35 billion.
Other countries with which India has a trade gap include Indonesia, Korea, Germany, Canada, Taiwan, Russia and Ukraine.
In a separate reply, she said India’s exports have been adversely affected by recessionary trends across the globe, including in the EU and the U.S. — PTI