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When:
May 19, 2018 @ 1:00 am
2018-05-19T01:00:00+05:30
2018-05-19T01:15:00+05:30

NEWS 

19 MAY 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: POLITY – LEGISLATURE

Karnataka House to decide Yeddyurappa’s fate today

2.

GS II: POLITY – LEGISLATURE

Row over Bopaiah as pro tem Speaker

3.

GS II: INTER-STATE WATERS

Implement Cauvery draft scheme before rains: Supreme Court

4.

GS III: SECURITY

Centre halts security ops in J&K

5.

GS II: SOCIAL – EDUCATION

Online resource for academicians soon

6.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

EU moves to save Iran nuclear deal

7.

GS III: ECONOMY – TELECOM

DoT okays eSIMs, will allow machine-to-machine ‘talk’

8.

GS III : S&T – SPACE

‘India’s freshwater stocks in danger’

9.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

Protected lands under urbanisation pressure

GS II: POLITY – LEGISLATURE

Karnataka House to decide Yeddyurappa’s fate today

  • Hardly 24 hours after a pre-dawn hearing saw the Supreme Court allowing BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa to be sworn in as Karnataka Chief Minister, the court ordered a floor test to be held at 4 p.m. to decide whether he commands majority in the House.
  • Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, for Mr. Yeddyurappa and two BJP MLAs, made a statement that Mr. Yeddyurappa would not take any major policy decision till the floor test was conducted.
  • Justice Sikri said the “floor test should be tomorrow, this way nobody gets any time” amid fears expressed by the Congress-JD(S) combine of poaching.
  • The court ordered a pro tem speaker to be chosen immediately to conduct the confidence vote on May 19.
  • The court directed the Karnataka Director General of Police to ensure the safety of MLAs. “We …ask the DGP to provide security to all MLAs and videography of the floor test as we did in the Jharkhand case,” the court said.
  • The court also shot down Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal’s suggestion that the floor test be held by secret ballot.Justice Sikri said it would be the call of the pro tem speaker to decide the manner of voting.
  • “One one side, they (Congress-JD(S) combine) gave a letter showing proven majority… On the other, he (Mr. Yeddyurappa) has only claimed majority. On what ground did the Governor opt him over the alliance?” Justice Sikri noted.

GS II: POLITY – LEGISLATURE

Row over Bopaiah as pro tem Speaker

  • Criticising the choice of Mr. Bopaiah, the Congress and JD(S) cited the Supreme Court’s 2016 strong observations on his conduct of the floor test in the Assembly in October 2010.
  • The then Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, had won the trust vote after Mr. Bopaiah disqualified 17 MLAs.
  • Mr. Bopaiah’s choice of a voice vote in a chaotic Assembly was also widely criticised.
  • While the Speaker’s decision on disqualification was upheld by the Karnataka High Court, the Supreme Court had quashed the disqualification and said Mr. Bopaiah acted in “hot haste” and the proceedings he conducted on the disqualification did not meet the twin tests of natural justice and fair play.
  • Conventionally, the senior most MLA is appointed the pro tem Speaker and Mr. Bopaiah’s name was not in the list of three MLAs recommended by the Karnataka Assembly Secretariat.
  • The core constitutional issue behind the Congress’s challenge is whether the appointment of K.G. Bopaiah by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala is an “arbitrary” use of gubernatorial discretion.
  • Article 180 (1) of the Constitution gives the Governor the power to appoint a pro tem Speaker.
  • The Article says that if the chair of the Speaker falls vacant and there is no Deputy Speaker to fill the position, the duties of the office shall be performed “by such member of the Assembly as the Governor may appoint for the purpose”.
  • The BJP defends the Governor’s appointment of Mr. Bopaiah by quoting Article 163 (2) of the Constitution. The latter part of this Article mandates that “the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion”.
  • But the five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court led by then Chief Justice J.S. Khehar in the Nabam Rebia judgment of 2016 ruled that Article 163 does not give Governors a “general discretionary power” as is often misunderstood.
  • “The area for the exercise of his [Governor’s] discretion is limited. Even this limited area, his choice of action should not be arbitrary or fanciful. It must be a choice dictated by reason, actuated by good faith and tempered by caution,” the Constitution Bench, of which the current Chief Justice Dipak Misra, was a part of, held.
  • The Rebia case dealt with the problem of the Arunachal Pradesh Governor advancing the date for the sixth Assembly session.
  • An issue which may arise is whether the discretion of the Governor can be judicially reviewed by the Supreme Court. But a Constitution Bench judgment in 2006 in the Rameshwar Prasad case has held that the “immunity granted to the Governor under Article 361 (1) does not affect the power of the Court to judicially scrutinise the attack made to the proclamation under Article 361(1) of the Constitution of India on the ground of mala fides or it being ultra vires“.

 

GS II: INTER-STATE WATERS

Implement Cauvery draft scheme before rains: Supreme Court

  • The Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal re-submitted the draft Cauvery Water Management Scheme 2018 after incorporating the amendments suggested by the Supreme Court andTamil Nadu.
  • Notable among the amendments in the draft scheme is the naming of the Cauvery authority under the scheme as ‘Cauvery Water Management Authority.’
  • The headquarters of the authority has been shifted from Bengaluru to New Delhi.
  • Besides, in case of non-cooperation by the States, the authority can seek the help of the Centre, but the latter’s decision would not be final and binding on the States as mentioned in the earlier draft scheme.
  • Allaying Tamil Nadu’s fears, Mr. Venugopal submitted that the authority was possessed with the same powers as the Cauvery Management Board as far as storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery water is concerned.
  • Tamil Nadu had insisted that the authority be named a ‘board’ rather than an authority.
  • The Supreme Court upheld the Centre’s draft Cauvery Water Management Scheme and asked the government to notify and give effect to it before the “impending monsoon.”
  • The three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachudconcluded that the draft scheme was in consonance with the Cauvery Water Tribunal’s award, as modified by the court on February 16, and was also in conformity with the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act of 1956.
  • The court dismissed objections raised by Kerala and Karnataka that the scheme encroached upon the States’ authority to conserve and use the waters under the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.

GS III: SECURITY

Centre halts security ops in J&K

  • The Centre has asked the security forces not to launch operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the month ofRamzan, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
  • However, the security forces “…reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if it is essential to protect the lives of innocent people,” he said.
  • The announcement comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Srinagar to open the Kishanganga hydroelectric project at Bandipore in north Kashmir through video-conferencing.
  • Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had asked the Centre to consider a “unilateral ceasefire” in view of Ramzan and the Amarnath Yatra.
  • After a meeting of all regional parties in Srinagar, she suggested that the Centre offer the ceasefire as the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, did in [November,] 1999.
  • A senior official of the Home Ministry stressed that this was not a “ceasefire,” but only “suspension of operations” during the month of Ramzan.

GS II: SOCIAL – EDUCATION

Online resource for academicians soon

  • The National Institute of Educational Research and Planning (NIEPA) is in the process of rolling out the National Resource Centrean initiative that is part of the Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Training (PMMMNMTT).
  • It is envisaged as a one-stop point for Indian academicians to enhance their research and teaching skills
  • University and college teachers across the country will be able to connect with experts in their fields of study and also pose queries on academic questions that they wish resolved through suggestions offered by these experts or other teachers of their discipline
  • The centre will enable college and university teachers to access a detailed database of academic resources, including lists of books, top journals and subject experts in their area of interest.
  • It will also suggest a mechanism to higher education institutions to assess students’ satisfaction with teaching and research in the institutions, so that the faculty are able to figure out what students think about their college/university and make improvements.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

EU moves to save Iran nuclear deal

  • The European Union took formal steps to shield its firms from U.S. sanctions on Iran as part of efforts to save the international nuclear deal with Tehran.
  • The European Commissionthe bloc”s executive arm, said it “launched the formal process to activate the blocking statute by updating the list of U.S. sanctions on Iran falling within its scope.”
  • The blocking statute forbids EU companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions,” the commission said.
  • It also “allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions from the person causing them, and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court judgements based on them“, the executive added.
  • The commission said it hopes the statute will be in force before August 6 when the first batch of reimposed U.S. sanctions take effect.
  • The statute, which the 28 EU member states and the European Parliament must endorse, is aimed at reassuring European firms that invested in Iran after the deal.
  • Brussels took steps on three other fronts to shore up the Iran deal, signed not just by the EU but EU members Britain, France and Germany, along with China and Russia.
  • The “blocking statute” is a 1996 regulation originally created to circumvent Washington’s trade embargo on Cuba, which prohibits EU companies and courts from complying with specific foreign sanction laws.
  • However, the Cuba row was settled politically, so the blocking regulation’s effectiveness was never put to the test, and its value may lie more in becoming a bargaining chip with Washington.
  • Tehran has warned it is ready to resume no-holds-barred “industrial-scale” uranium enrichment unless Europe can provide solid guarantees to preserve Iran’s economic benefits under the deal.

GS III: ECONOMY – TELECOM

DoT okays eSIMs, will allow machine-to-machine ‘talk’

  • The Department of Telecommunications has allowed the use of eSIM or ‘Embedded-Subscriber Identity Module’.
  • The eSIM is a virtual equivalent of normal SIM cards and come embedded in the device. These cannot be removed from the device but can be updated over-the-air.
  • “To cater to the needs of modern technological developments in M2M/IoT, it has been decided to permit the use of ‘’embedded-subscriber identity module (eSIM)’ with both single and multiple profile configurations with over the air subscription update facility…,” DoT said.
  • This follows a tussle between Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel over eSIM technology that is currently being used in Apple Watch Series 3.
  • The smartwatches are sold by both the firms in India.
  • While the service can also be rolled out for smartphones – enabling users to port from one service provider to another without changing physical SIMs, the primary focus is to enable machine-to-machine communication.
  • The department also issued instructions for use of SIMs for connected devices such as cars and appliances.
  • “These mobile connections will be issued… in the name of the entity providing M2M service… SIMs will have restrictive features compared to traditional SIMs … for person-to-person communication.”

GS III : S&T – SPACE

‘India’s freshwater stocks in danger’

  • India is among the hotspots where overuse of water resources has caused a sharp decline in the availability of freshwater, according to a first-of-its-kind study using an array of NASA satellite observations of the earth.
  • The team used 14 years of observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) spacecraft mission, a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, to track global trends in freshwater in 34 regions around the world.
  • The study, published in the journal Nature, found that wetter parts of the earth’s were getting wetter and dry areas getting drier due to a variety of factors, including human water use, climate change and natural cycles.
  • Areas in northern and eastern India, West Asia, California and Australia are among the hotspots where overuse of water resources has caused a serious decline in the availability of freshwater, the study said.
  • In northern India, groundwater extraction for irrigation of wheat and rice crops has led to depletion, despite rainfall being normal throughout the period studied, it added.
  • The fact that extractions already exceed recharge during normal precipitation does not bode well for the availability of groundwater during future droughts, the researchers said.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

Protected lands under urbanisation pressure

  • They may be legally protected on paper, but one-third of the world’s protected areas are under intense pressure from human activities such as road construction, grazing for livestock and urbanisation, said a study published in Science.
  • A team of scientists used global “human footprint” maps to quantify the intensity of human pressure in 41,927 protected areas (natural spaces that are legally protected to conserve nature and biodiversity) in 213 countries.
  • Their results show that 32.8% of protected land worldwide is highly degraded.
  • 55% of protected areas created before the ratification of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD, a multilateral treaty with 196 countries as signatories) in 1992 have experienced increases in pressure from human activities.
  • The study found that 80% of protected land in India has been heavily modified by human activity.

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