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When:
November 29, 2018 @ 11:30 am
2018-11-29T11:30:00+05:30
2018-11-29T11:45:00+05:30

NEWS

29 NOVEMBER 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-ASIA

Kashmir the single issue, says Imran

2.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

‘India never hit 9% phase under UPA’

3.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

Voting for Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram State Legislative Assembly

4.

GS I: HISTORY

HC upholds conviction of 70 in anti-Sikh riots case

5.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

Criminal law ill-equipped to deal with cases of riots : HC

6.

GS II: POLITY – JUDICIARY

‘Death penalty freakishly imposed’

7.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

SC stays NGT order on illegal structures in Kasauli

8.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

SC bars T.N. from transferring Nilgiris Collector

9.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – CLIMATE CHANGE

Lancet urges response to heatwave exposure surge

10.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – TRADE WAR

Protectionism in U.S., Europe may hit engineering exports

 

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-ASIA

Kashmir the single issue, says Imran

  • Pakistan’s Army and political leadership are on “one page” to take dialogue with India forward, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Kartarpur corridor.
  • Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa was also present.
  • The four-kilometre corridor from the border with India will allow pilgrims easy access and will be ready in time for Sikh founder Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary on November 23, 2019.
  • Khan also struck a discordant note on Kashmir, referring to the dispute as the “single issue” between India and Pakistan.
  • India has maintained that terrorism sponsored by Pakistan is holding back the dialogue process.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

‘India never hit 9% phase under UPA’

  • India never hit the 9% ‘high-growth’ phase in the years of UPA I and II as was earlier believed, according to new back series GDP data released by the government.
  • The data also show that India’s recovery from the global financial crisis took longer than previously thought.
  • The government in 2015 changed the methodology to Gross Value Added (GVA) from the earlier GDP and brought forward the base year for computation to 2011-12 from 2004-05.
  • The back series release provides the growth estimates for previous years using the new methodology.
  • The new data release shows that GDP growth during the UPA years averaged 6.7% during both UPA-I and UPA-II.
  • The old series had pegged these at about 8.1% and 7.46% respectively.
  • In comparison, the current government has witnessed an average GDP growth rate of 7.35% during the first four years of its term
  • The new back series data diverges significantly from a draft report released by the National Statistical Commission earlier in 2018, which showed that growth during the UPA years crossed 9% on at least three occasions, and even hit 10.23% in 2007-08.
  • Former Chief Statistician of India Pronab Sen pointed towards how the manner in which the data has been released has dented the credibility of both the methodology used and of the Central Statistics Office.
  • “My concern comes out from the fact that this back series was essentially released by Niti Aayog, which is a political institution,” Mr. Sen said. “This has never happened. When a political institution releases national statistical data, it puts a huge question mark on the credibility of the data and the political independence of the statistical agencies. The credibility of CSO has been badly dented, not because of the data but because of the manner in which the release has been done.”
  • “The statistical methods on the face of it are fine,” he added. “The point is, it’s almost impossible to replicate what they have done. They will tell you which method was used for which sector, but there are several different methods you can use, so the question is what were the results given by the other methods and why did they apply this particular method to this specific sector.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

Voting for Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram State Legislative Assembly

GS I: HISTORY

HC upholds conviction of 70 in anti-Sikh riots case

  • Noting that the 1984 anti-Sikh riots were a “dark chapter in the history of independent India,” the Delhi High Court upheld the conviction of 70 persons on the charges of rioting, burning houses and violating curfew in the Trilokpuri area in the national capita
  • The riots took place after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
  • Justice R.K. Gauba dismissed the appeals of the convicts against the August 27, 1996, judgment of a sessions court, sending 89 persons to jail for five years.
  • The judge said: “Thirty-four years have passed, yet the victims await justice and closure.”
  • Of the 89, 16 died during the pendency of the trial before the High Court, which dragged on for 22 years. The court dismissed the appeal of three more convicts who absconded during the trial.
  • “The manner of prosecution of the case at hand would undoubtedly go down in the judicial history of this country as an example of criminal law process that must never be emulated,” the High Court said.
  • Justice Gauba pointed out that there was “no clarity” in the proceedings of the trial court as to why no case under Section 302 (murder) or 397 (robbery or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code was made out against the convicts.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

Criminal law ill-equipped to deal with cases of riots : HC

  • Noting that the general criminal law is provenly ill-equipped to deal with communal riots cases, the Delhi High Court suggested several reforms, including possibility of entrusting investigative and prosecution process in such cases to authorities other than normal agencies of the State.
  • Political influence
  • Justice R.K. Gauba remarked that after each event of communal riots, allegations of political influence have worked as the root cause or for protection of those responsible.
  • To inject a sense of neutrality in the investigative and prosecution process, Justice Gauba said the possibility of entrusting such tasks to authorities other than normal agencies of the State needs to be explored.
  • The Court suggested amendments to the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 and the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to entrust the responsibility of investigation in communal riots through SITs specially constituted under their respective control.
  • With the technological advancements that have been made and the rise of media — print and electronic — as an effective fourth pillar of democracy, the HC said there was a strong case for utilising as evidence the press reports, supported by photographic material or video footages in trials of criminal cases arising out of communal riots.

GS II: POLITY – JUDICIARY

‘Death penalty freakishly imposed’

  • Justice Kurian Joseph, one of the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, said the courts had been imposing the death penalty “arbitrarily and freakishly”.
  • Justice Kurian, in his judgment while heading a three-judge Bench hearing the appeal of a man sentenced to death, said the test of “rarest of rare” had been “inconsistently applied” by courts.
  • The other two judges, Justices Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta, disagreed that death penalty was “freakishly” imposed.
  • The dissent from within the very corridors of the Supreme Court comes almost four decades after a Constitution Bench upheld capital sentencing as a punishment under the law.
  • A Constitution Bench in the Bachan Singh case in 1980, however, added a rider that judges should award the punishment only in the “rarest of rare category” of cases.
  • The judge, third in seniority in the Supreme Court, quoted from the 262nd Law Commission report to conclude that the so-called rider of “rarest of rare” had failed to prevent judges from arbitrarily sending the guilty to the hangman.
  • Without the assistance of a psychological/psychiatric assessment and evaluation, it would not be proper to hold that there is no possibility or probability of reform,” Justice Kurian wrote.
  • Justice Kurian expressed anguish at how public opinion against an undertrial sways the trial and ultimately the sentence of punishment.
  • He said capital punishment has failed to achieve “any constitutionally valid penological goals”.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

SC stays NGT order on illegal structures in Kasauli

  • The Supreme Court stayed a National Green Tribunal (NGT) direction allowing regularisation of unauthorised structures in Kasauli, a popular tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh, after paying environmental compensation.
  • The green panel had said that the compensation amount collected should be utilised for development of environment of the area and should be kept in a separate account.
  • At the outset, senior advocate P.S. Patwalia, appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter, said that the direction of the NGT virtually nullifies the decision of the apex court by regularizing unauthorised construction.
  • He also said that the said direction has wide ramifications as it also nullifies the judgment of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

SC bars T.N. from transferring Nilgiris Collector

  • The Supreme Court barred the Tamil Nadu government from transferring the Nilgiris District Collector without the court’s prior permission.
  • A Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur passed the order to protect the District Collector from any backlash in the wake of a particularly bold report and subsequent initiative to seal illegal resorts in the ecologically fragile elephant corridor in the Masinagudi area near the Mudumalai National Park (near the Sigur plateau) in the Nilgiris.
  • The area is on the route from Ooty to Mysuru.
  • In August 2018, the Supreme Court had ordered the Tamil Nadu government to seal or close 27 illegal resorts operating in the corridor, after making an observation that “elephants are our heritage.”
  • The report submitted by the Nilgiris District Collector contained detailed information on a total of 39 resorts operating in the area.
  • The warning bells that the District Collector, J. Innocent Divya, a 2009 batch IAS officer, may face a backlash in the form of a transfer was sounded by advocate A.D.N. Rao, representing the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee.
  • Since the assistance of Collector would be required in deciding the case, the officer shall not be transferred without leave [permission] from the court,” Justice Lokur directed.
  • The Bench also allowed the State to file a report on the removal of electrified fencing around the resorts.
  • The elephant corridor in the Nilgiris is 22.6 km long and 1.5 km wide. It is the vital link for about 900 elephants to move between the Eastern and the Western Ghats.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – CLIMATE CHANGE

Lancet urges response to heatwave exposure surge

  • Indian policy makers must take a series of initiatives to mitigate the increased risks to health, and the loss of labour hours due to a surge in exposure to heatwave events in the country over the 2012-2016 period, the Lancet Countdown 2018 report recommends.
  • From 2014-2017, the average length of heatwaves in India ranged from 3-4 days compared to the global average of 0.8-1.8 days.
  • Indians were exposed to almost 60 million heatwave exposure events in 2016, a jump of about 40 million from 2012, the report released showed.
  • Heatwaves are associated with increased rates of heat stress and heat stroke, worsening heart failure and acute kidney injury from dehydration.
  • Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing morbidities are particularly vulnerable.
  • Almost 153 billion hours of labour were lost globally in 2017 due to heat, an increase of 62 billion hours from the year 2000.Overall, across sectors India lost almost 75,000 million hours of labour in 2017, from about 43,000 million hours in 2000.
  • For the agriculture sector in India, hours of labour lost arose to about 60,000 million hours in 2017, from about 40,000 million hours in 2000.
  • The agriculture sector was more vulnerable compared to the industrial and service sectors because workers there were more likely to be exposed to heat.
  • The findings are significant for India as agriculture makes up 18% of the country’s GDP and employs almost half the population.
  • A recent World Bank report on South Asia’s hotspots predicted a 2.8% erosion of the country’s GDP by 2050, accompanied by a fall in living standards due to changes in temperature, rainfall and precipitation patterns.
  • The India Meteorological Department had reported that from 1901 to 2007, there was an increase of more than 0.5°C in mean temperature, with considerable geographic variation, and climate forecasts by research groups project a 2.2-5.5°C rise in temperatures in northern, central and western India by the end of the 21st century.
  • The study makes several recommendations including identifying “heat hot-spots” through appropriate tracking of meteorological data and promoting “timely development and implementation of local Heat Action Plans with strategic inter-agency co-ordination, and a response which targets the most vulnerable groups.”

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – TRADE WAR

Protectionism in U.S., Europe may hit engineering exports

  • Engineering exports may slip by about $5 billion from the $90 billion target set for this fiscal due to increased protectionism in the U.S. and Europe, officials at the erstwhile Engineering Export Promotion Council (now EEPC India) said.
  • “Yes, there are issues and ambiguity on the continuation of U.S. GSP (generalised system of preferences) benefit scheme for India and rise of protectionism in the developed countries .. which are likely to impact overseas shipment from India adversely going forward,” he said.
  • Tariff war between the U.S. and China and possible phasing out of India’s export promotion schemes were also notable challenges.
  • Enquiries revealed that with the imposition of additional dumping duty by the U.S. on India, certain categories of engineering goods would face an import tariff of about 30% against an average of 6% earlier.
  • Steel exports, accounting for about 15% of India’s engineering exports, may be affected it was learnt.
  • The GSP issue helps foundry industries in Mexico, Canada, Vietnam and Cambodia but they lack the capability to match India’s capacity, exporters said.
  • An EEPC official explained that although India argued its case well in Europe and faced lower ADD (anti-dumping duty) than China, there were efforts to protect domestic industry among European countries too.

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