News (Text)


When:
October 20, 2016 @ 1:00 am
2016-10-20T01:00:00+05:30
2016-10-20T01:15:00+05:30

NEWS

20 October 2016

1.       

GS III: ECONOMY

No decision yet on GST rates as States oppose cess

2.

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE WATERS

SC reserves order on Cauvery appeals

3.

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE WATERS

Krishna Tribunal confines water reallocation to A.P., Telangana

4.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

Compulsory voting not practical: CEC

5.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Odisha hospital fire due to lapses

6.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-RUSSIA

Goa periscope: A Russian sub leased

7.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT

Sea erosion a threat to nesting sites of Olive ridley turtles

8.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-MYANMAR

India, Myanmar to ‘stay connected’

9.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-CHINA

India, China conduct first military exercise in J&K

10.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-ALGERIA

India, Algeria mull fertilizer JV

11.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA -SRI LANKA

India offers solar plant in Trincomalee

GS III: ECONOMY

No decision yet on GST rates as States oppose cess

  • The third round of deliberations in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council ended, a day ahead of schedule, without a decision on rates structure.
  • participant of the meeting said the Council decided to discuss the rates structure in the next two meetings.
  • These, it was decided, will take place on November 3 and 4, and on November 9.
  • The Council, which was meeting for the second day as part of a three-day meeting, cut it short as the States failed to come to a consensus on the rates.
  • A Council member said that the States could not agree on the Centre’s proposal for imposing a cess over and above the GST on ultra-luxury items such as big cars.
  • Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said the States could not agree on the four-slab structure proposed by the Centre. He added that it was still possible, in his view, to meet the April 1, 2017 deadline for the rollout of the GST.
  • The Centre has proposed the imposition of a cess over and above the GST on ultra luxuries to fund the compensations to the States, but the suggestion did not go down well with the States.
  • The issue would be discussed afresh in the next meeting.

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE WATERS

SC reserves order on Cauvery appeals

  • Parliament cannot put shackles on the Supreme Court’s constitutional powers to hear the appeals of States against the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s final award in 2007the Tamil Nadu government urged the Supreme Court.
  • Tamil Nadu joined counterparts Karnataka and Kerala to oppose the Centre’s stand that the Supreme Court is barred from entertaining the appeals as the tribunal’s award is final and binding on the three neighbour States as per the parliamentary law of Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.
  • No ordinary parliamentary law can stop the Supreme Court from exercising its constitutional power to hear appeals. Judicial review is part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution,” senior advocate Shekhar Naphade argued.
  • A three-judge Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra reserved the case for judgment on whether the States’ appeals are maintainable and if the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate on them. If so, the Bench may refer the appeals to a larger Bench of at least five judges of the Supreme Court.
  • The Bench further reiterated its order to Karnataka to release 2000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu till further orders.
  • On focus during the hearing were several provisions of the 1956 Act, most prominently Section 6 (2), which mandates the Centre to frame a scheme for implementation of the tribunal award. The scheme, once prepared, would be placed before both Houses of the Parliament for approval.
  • Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi, for the Centre, submitted that the provisions of the 1956 Act coupled with Article 262 (2)(Adjudication of inter-state water disputes) of the Indian Constitution excluded the Supreme Court from hearing or deciding any appeals against the Cauvery Tribunal’s decision.
  • He submitted that no writ petitions in the name of enforcement of fundamental rights under Article 32 could be filed nor could original suits invoking the Supreme Court’s exclusive jurisdiction to try inter-State disputes be filed.
  • If Article 131 (Original jurisdiction of Supreme Court) and Article 32 (Right to constitutional remedies), which is the heart and soul of the Constitution, cannot be invoked to move the Supreme Court against the tribunal award, then there is an automatic bar on filing appeals under Article 136 of the Constitution,” Mr. Rohatgi argued.
  • Mr. Naphade submitted that Section 6 (2) of the 1956 Act only provided for the procedure to be followed by the Centre post the tribunal award. It is not that mere procedure in a statute can negate the Constitution-given powers of the Supreme Court to entertain appeals.
  • Karnataka, represented by senior advocate Fali Nariman, had submitted that the parliament cannot restrict the Supreme Court.
  • Suppose, the tribunal award is flawed in the principles of natural justice or suppose it was given when a tribunal member was absent, making it a coram non judice… does it become final?
  • Article 136 – the appellate powers of the Supreme Court is a discretionary power…. Parliament cannot curtail the Supreme Court’s powers to render justice,” Mr. Nariman countered.

 

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE WATERS

No relook into allocation of Krishna water: Tribunal

  • In a major set back to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh States, the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal on sharing of Krishna waters (Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II) has made it clear that it would not take a relook into allocation of water among the riparian States afresh but would take up distribution of water allocation to combined AP to Telangana and residuary AP States.
  • The tribunal pronounced its judgement on the litigation prompted by AP and TS arguing that Section 89 in the AP Reorganisation Act meant redistribution of Krishna water among all the four riparian States not just between them.
  • In its verdict, the tribunal said Section 89 was not applicable to all four States but meant only for TS and AP.
  • stay has been issued by the Supreme Court on publication of the award in the gazette.
  • Maharashtra and Karnataka States strongly opposed redistribution of water based on Section 89 of the bifurcation act as argued for by TS and AP during the arguments held before the tribunal for over a year.
  • Even the Centre has also taken similar view and submitted to the tribunal that Section 89 was meant for distribution of water only between TS and AP.
  • Irrigation experts have suggested that the State Government must approach the Supreme Court against the tribunal verdict on Section 89 as Krishna Basin was one large unit and any redistribution of water should take place among all the riparian States instead of just TS, AP as felt fit by the tribunal.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

Compulsory voting is not practical in India, says Zaidi

  • Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi said the idea of compulsory voting has not been found so practical in India, but comparative benefits of compulsory voting and education-led mobilisation of voters will be worth examining again.
  • “The issue of compulsory voting as prevalent in some countries has been a matter of discussion earlier. But we will like to hear others,” said Dr. Zaidi, on the first day of a three-day global conference on “Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation.”
  • In response to a private member’s Bill on compulsory votingintroduced in the Lok Sabha, the government had also said it would not be possible to bring in such a law that punishes those who do not vote.
  • Dr. Zaidi said many democracies around the world are facing declining voter turnout and increasing apathy to vote among specific groups of people.
  • The CEC said the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation project has over the years given creditable gains in a relatively short period of time.
  • “In the areas of enrolment, turnout, women’s voting and youth participation, the achievements have been praiseworthy. However, the jewel in the crown was the 66.4 per cent voter turnout in an electorate of 834 million in the national elections held in 2014, which is the highest voter participation in the last six decades,” he said.
  • Most significantly, women’s participation was at a record high of 65.6 per cent, Mr. Zaidi added.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Odisha hospital fire due to lapses

  • After finding serious lapses in the fire safety measures in SUM Hospital in Bhubhaneshwar that led to loss of 21 lives, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J. P. Nadda announced that fresh advisories on issue of safety would be circulated among all States.
  • It is for the State government to take appropriate action so that people will repose faith in healthcare system,” he pointed out,assuring all support to the State government.
  • The Union Government would revisit all guidelines pertaining to the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010which was passed by Parliament was a model Act, which should be adopted by all State governments. The State governments have the freedom to add necessary provisions that suit them.
  • Mr. Nadda said, “The said hospital [SUM Hospital] does not have clearances with regards to fire safety. In spite of this, the hospital was operating. Another issue which is interlinked to the incident is that it is an empanelled hospital. So, in a way, the State government is recommending for medical treatment by taking the service of this hospital. These are the issues which I am worried about.”

 

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-RUSSIA

Goa periscope: A Russian sub leased

  • The long-discussed lease to transfer a multipurpose Project 971 nuclear submarine to India from the Russian Navy was signed in Goa, on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit. The deal is believed to be worth about $2 billion.
  • India had earlier leased an Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine (SSN) for a period of 10 years. The vessel was inducted into service as INS Chakra in April 2012.
  • Since then, the government had expressed interest in leasing at least one more submarine to train Navy crew in the complex submarine operations as the nation prepares to have a large fleet of nuclear submarines.
  • India quietly inducted its first indigenously built nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN),Arihant, into service in August 2016completing its nuclear triad. Follow-on submarines are planned and at least two are in various stages of construction.
  • Submarines of Project 971 (NATO name Akula-II) weighing 8,140 tonnes are considered one of the most silent SSNs in service.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT

Sea erosion a threat to nesting sites of Olive ridley turtles

  • Sea erosion on Ganjam district coast of Odisha, including at mass nesting site of endangered Olive ridley turtles near Rushikulya rookery, has started to worry the inhabitants of the coast and environmental activists.
  • Demands are on for proper geomorphologic study of the sea erosion phenomenon as the impact of erosion is on the rise every year.
  • Portions of a road and some houses have been washed away by the sea waves at Rameyapatna.
  • But threat of sea erosion to the coastline near Rushikulya river mouth, where Olive ridley turtles come to nest every year, is a worry for wildlife and environmental activists.
  • More than 2.5 kilometre stretch of beach adjacent to north of Rushikulya rookery is a major nesting site of these endangered marine turtles on Indian coastline.

 GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-MYANMAR

India, Myanmar to ‘stay connected’

  • As Myanmar embarks on a journey of democracy and development, India assured it of unstinted support as the two traditionally close neighbours agreed to enhance ties in a range of areas, including security and trade, during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar’s top leader Aung Sung Suu Kyi.
  • The two sides signed three agreements to boost cooperation in power, banking and insurance sectors, besides deciding to step up ties in areas of oil and gas, agriculture, renewable energy and health care..
  • “We have offered to scale up power supply from Moreh in Manipur to Tamu in Myanmar. We will also partner in a pilot LED electrification project in a site designated by the government of Myanmar,” Mr. Modi said.
  • Myanmar’s western province of Rakhine has been facing unrest since October 9, 2016 when a major terror strike killed several security personnel. Subsequently a major military campaign has begun to deal with the militants.
  • Mr. Modi’s comment on security cooperation between two countries came more than a year after India carried out military operation against militants along the Myanmar border.
  • It is Ms. Suu Kyi’s first visit to India after her National League for Democracy wrested power from the military junta in a landmark election earlier in 2016.
  • Ms. Suu Kyi, who could not become Myanmar’s President due to a constitutional provision but has full control over the government, holds the position of State Councillor and Foreign Minister.
  • Ms. Suu Kyi had done her graduation from the Delhi University.
  • In her comments, the Myanmar leader invoked Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, saying Myanmar drew huge inspiration from the two Indian leaders in its struggle for democracy.
  • Myanmar, considered one of India’s strategic neighbours, shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern States, including the militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-CHINA

India, China conduct first military exercise in J&K

  • India and China for the first time conducted military exercises in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in Eastern Ladakh amidst the growing uneasiness in the bilateral relationship.
  • The exercise comes in the backdrop of stalemate over India’s multilateral disagreements with China over blacklisting of terrorists at the United Nations and membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
  • In 2010, China had refused to issue a visa to the Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal as part of a high-level exchange saying he “controlled” a disputed area.
  • This is the second joint tactical exercise under the “China-India Cooperation 2016” and was held in the Chushul area, where the two countries fought a brief but intense war in 1962.
  • The first exercise was held on the Chinese side in February 2016.
  • The Army in a statement said that this is part of the ongoing initiative to enhance interaction and cooperation between India and China, under the provisions of Border Defence Cooperation Agreement 2013.
  • During the day-long exercise on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) a fictitious situation of earthquake striking an Indian border village was painted. “Thereafter joint teams carried out rescue operations, evacuation and rendering of medical assistance,” the statement said.
  • The joint exercise, complements the Hand-in-Hand series of the India-China joint exercises, and the earlier HADR exercise in Sikkim as well as the effort of both the nations to enhance cooperation and maintain peace and tranquillity along the border areas.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-ALGERIA

India, Algeria mull fertilizer JV

  • India’s keen desire to initiate a joint venture arrangement with Algeria for a multi-billion dollar fertilizer plant located in the North African country seemed to have moved to the front burner.
  • India, which has up to 96 per cent phosphate dependency, with the volumes running to some six million tonnes a year, is seeking a 49 per cent share in an Algerian block that has a capacity of six billion tonnes with 26 per cent to 50 per cent phosphate content.
  • India has ongoing arrangements and cooperative ventures in this field with neighbouring Morocco but on a much smaller scale than what is in prospect in Algeria.
  • For India, such a project will have major favourable food security implications and could ease the fertilizer subsidy burden as well.
  • India currently imports raw phosphate resources from a number of African countries including Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt and Syria, as also from Russia, Canada and Israel among others.
  • No specific agreements were signed at the end of Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s three-day visit to Algeria, but the process of giving a governmental push to the project had truly started.
  • India’s aspirations in Algeria also span the information technology, pharma and space sectors.
  • India’s bilateral trade with Algeria currently stands at $1.5 billion a year with the trade balance in Algeria’s favour given India’s import of oil and gas.
  • The major item of exports from India has been automobiles, although qualitative restrictions have now kicked in. Algeria instead seeks assembly on its shores.
  • Saris constitute another interesting item of Indian export to Algeria. They are today an essential part of the trousseau for a typical Algerian bride.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA -SRI LANKA

India offers solar plant in Trincomalee

  • A month after Sri Lanka decided to scrap a coal power project involving the NTPC, in Trincomalee, India has offered to build a solar power plant in the port town.
  • In September, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Power and Energy told the country’s Supreme Court that it had decided to drop the plan to build a coal power plant in Sampur, Trincomalee, due to “serious environmental concerns“.
  • The Sri Lankan government said it was instead considering options such as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), solar and wind power.

 

 

Leave a comment