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January 11, 2019 @ 11:30 am
2019-01-11T11:30:00+05:30
2019-01-11T11:45:00+05:30

NEWS

11 JANUARY 2019


Daily Current Affairs based on ‘The Hindu’ newspaper as per the syllabus of UPSC Civil Services Examination (Prelims and Mains) Complied by Mrs. Bilquees Khatri.


 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: POLITY – CBI

PM-led panel moves Alok Verma out of CBI, Rao back in charge

2.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

New Bench to hear Ayodhya case as Justice Lalit opts out

3.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Ayodhya dispute: SC asks Registry to vet records

4.

GS II: POLITY – JUDICIARY

CJI reaffirms his role as ‘master of roster’

5.

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

Tax, compliance burden eased for small businesses

6.

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

GST burden on small businesses eased

7.

GS III: DEFENCE

‘Adultery, homosexuality not acceptable in Army’

8.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Centre aims for 20% cut in air pollution by 2024

9.

GS II: SOCIAL – RESERVATION

10% economic quota Bill challenged

10.

GS II: SOCIAL – RESERVATION

States’ approval not needed for quota Bill

11.

GS II: POLITY – STATES

Four Assam Accord panel members decline MHA offer

12.

GS II: POLITY – STATES

Now, Assam shutdown against ST status for 6 groups

13.

GS III: CORRUPTION

Fodder scam: no relief for Lalu

14.

GS II: SOCIAL – EDUCATION

Cabinet approves 3 new AIIMS in J&K, Gujarat

15.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

RBI notifies deferment of capital buffer norms as per board’s call

 

GS II: POLITY – CBI

PM-led panel moves Alok Verma out of CBI, Rao back in charge

  • The high-power committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, removed Alok Verma as CBI Director, a day after he resumed office following the Supreme Court order that restored his position.
  • Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who represents the Opposition in the three-member Selection Panel, submitted a six-page dissent note. Mr. Kharge argued that Mr. Verma should be “allowed to explain himself before this committee, along with the charges made against him, prior to any decision being taken.”
  • The decision to remove Mr. Verma was taken by a 2:1 majority in the three-member committee. Justice A.K. Sikri, a nominee of the Chief Justice of India, was the third member.
  • The CVC had found evidence of influencing of investigation in the Moin Qureshi case. Further, a government source claimed, there was also evidence of a Rs. 2-crore bribe and in the IRCTC case pertaining to the tenure of former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, a key name was left out of the FIR, as alleged.
  • The CVC’s report against Mr. Verma was the basis for the government to send him on forced leave two-and-a-half months ago, following which he approached the Supreme Court.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

New Bench to hear Ayodhya case as Justice Lalit opts out

  • The appeals in the Ayodhya title suits remained a non-starter, with one of the five judges on the Constitution Bench opting to quit the case.
  • Justice U.U. Lalit chose to bow out after senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh Central Sunni Waqf Board, pointed out that the judge had appeared for the Kalyan Singh government in 1997 in connection with a criminal contempt case linked to the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.
  • With this unexpected development, the Bench adjourned the case to January 29 to fix the time and schedule for future hearings.
  • Meanwhile, the Bench gave the Supreme Court Registry the herculean task to “physically examine” the entire case records — lying inside 15 sealed trunks in a sealed room of the court for the past several years — and report back to the new Constitution Bench on January 29.
  • The court said the entire gamut of four separate suits in the title dispute involves 120 issues which were framed for trial, and the case records span the depositions of 88 witnesses running into 13,886 pages and 257 documents.
  • Both the depositions and the documents are in various languages, including Persian, Sanskrit, Arabic, Gurmukhi, Urdu and Hindi.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Ayodhya dispute: SC asks Registry to vet records

  • The Supreme Court ordered the Court Registry to make sure the translations of the case records pertaining to the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute are accurate.
  • A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, said there was lack of clarity on whether the translations of documents and depositions, which are in various languages, including Persian, Sanskrit, Arabic, Gurumukhi, Urdu and Hindi, were correct.
  • In the judicial order issued, Chief Justice Gogoi specifically tackled the brewing “speculations” on why he had chosen to set up a five-judge Constitution Bench though there was no judicial order to do so.
  • The CJI observed that Order 6, Rule 1 of Supreme Court Rules of 2013, only mandates that a minimum number of two judges should hear cases in the Supreme Court.
  • There is no ceiling limit on the maximum number of judges on a Bench. The CJI can use his discretion to decide the strength of a Bench on the basis of the facts and circumstances of each case.
  • The Supreme Court had on the basis of an administrative order by Chief Justice Gogoi said that a five-judge Bench consisting of incumbent Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and the next four future Chief Justices of India in line of seniority will hear the Ayodhya title dispute appeals on January 10.
  • Justice Gogoi has reaffirmed the Chief Justice of India’s role as the unchallenged ‘master of roster’ of the Supreme Court.

GS II: POLITY – JUDICIARY

CJI reaffirms his role as ‘master of roster’

  • Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, by constituting a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the Ayodhya appeals, has reaffirmed the Chief Justice of India’s role as the unchallenged ‘master of roster’ of the Supreme Court.
  • Usually, Constitution Benches are constituted to answer substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution or in case of a reference from the President. Constitution Benches are also formed in the Supreme Court on judicial references made by smaller Benches of the court.
  • However, the Ayodhya appeals are basically appeals arising out of title suits.
  • Also, a September 27 SC judgment in the Ayodhya case had directed the further hearing of the appeals by a three-judge Bench and not by a larger Bench.
  • On November 10, 2017, it was a five-judge Constitution Bench led by the then CJI Justice Misra, which first declared the Chief Justice of India as “the master of the roster who alone has the prerogative to constitute the Benches of the Court and allocate cases”.

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

Tax, compliance burden eased for small businesses

  • The GST Council, in its 32nd meeting, decided on a series of measures that will ease the tax and compliance burden for small businesses.
  • Henceforth, companies with annual turnover up to Rs. 40 lakh will stay out of the GST net (Rs. 20 lakh earlier).
  • In the case of companies in the northeastern and hill States, the limit has been doubled to Rs. 20 lakh.
  • The annual turnover limit for eligibility for the Composition Scheme has also been raised to Rs. 1.5 crore from Rs. 1 crore.
  • From that date, companies eligible for the Composition Scheme can file annual returns and pay taxes quarterly at a nominal rate of 1%.
  • So far, only manufacturers and traders were eligible for this scheme.
  • The Council had decided to extend the Composition Scheme to small service providers with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 50 lakh, at a tax rate of 6%.
  • The GST Council also decided to allow Kerala to levy a disaster cess of up to 1% for up to two years on intra-State supplies to help finance the disaster relief efforts following the recent floods in the state..
  • As there were diverse and differing opinions on the issues of taxing real estate and lotteries, the GST Council decided to set up to separate Groups of Ministers to look into the issue and present their assessments to the Council, Mr. Jaitley said.

GS III: DEFENCE

‘Adultery, homosexuality not acceptable in Army’

  • Adultery and homosexuality have been decriminalised in the country by the Supreme Court, but the Army is “conservative” and they will not be allowed to “perpetuate into the Army,” Army chief General Bipin Rawat said.
  • In 2018, the court decriminalised adultery as well as homosexuality.
  • It asked the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community to forgive history for their brutal suppression. However, there has been no clarity on how it would affect the Army, which punishes adultery for “stealing the affection of brother officer’s wife” and has a strict ‘no’ policy on homosexuality.
  • Another issue is the disparity in the disability allowance between jawans and officers, or based on kinds of disabilities which he said has to be addressed.
  • For this, the Army is looking at formulating a new disability policy, which Gen. Rawat said should be ready by mid-next year, after which it would be sent to the Defence Ministry for approval.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Centre aims for 20% cut in air pollution by 2024

  • The Centre has launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20-30% in at least 102 cities by 2024.
  • It is envisaged as a Rs. 300-crore scheme to provide the States and the Centre with a framework to combat air pollution.
  • “The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan, with 2019 as the first year. This is not a pan-India, but a city-specific programme,” said C.K. Mishra, Secretary, Union Environment Ministry.
  • In 2018, the 102 cities, identified as hotspots of pollution, were asked to submit a plan for addressing the problem.
  • Broadly, the plans include increasing the number of monitoring stations, providing technology support, conducting source apportionment studies, and strengthening enforcement.
  • For achieving the NCAP targets, the cities will have to calculate the reduction in pollution, keeping 2017’s average annual PM levels as the base year.
  • The World Health Organisation’s database on air pollution over the years has listed Tier I and Tier II Indian cities as some of the most polluted places in the world.
  • In 2018, 14 of the world’s 15 most polluted cities were in India.
  • A study in the journal Lancet ranked India as No.1 on premature mortality and deaths from air pollution.
  • As part of the NCAP, cities have been given a specified number of days to implement specific measures such as “ensuring roads are pothole-free to improve traffic flow and thereby reduce dust” (within 60 days) or “ensuring strict action against unauthorised brick kilns” (within 30 days). It doesn’t specify an exact date for when these obligations kick in.
  • Experts rue the lack of mandatory targets and the challenge of inadequate enforcement by cities.

 

GS II: SOCIAL – RESERVATION

10% economic quota Bill challenged

  • The 10% economic reservation Bill was challenged in the Supreme Court, just 24 hours after it was swiftly piloted through both Houses of Parliament.
  • The petition, filed by Youth For Equality, contended that the Bill violates the basic features of the Constitution and contradicts several Supreme Court judgments protecting the fundamental rights.
  • The petition contended that the court, in a nine-judge Bench judgment in the Indira Sawhney case, had settled the law that economic backwardness could not be the sole basis for reservation.
  • The petition pointed out that the 50% ceiling limit of quota has been “engrafted as a part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution’s equality code” by the Supreme Court.
  • The petition contended that the amendment excludes the OBCs and the SC/ST communities from the scope of the economic reservation. This, it said, “essentially implies that only those who are poor from the general categories would avail the benefits of the quotas”.
  • It said the high creamy layer limit of Rs. 8 lakh per annum ensures that the elite capture the reservation benefits.

GS II: SOCIAL – RESERVATION

States’ approval not needed for quota Bill

  • The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill of 2019 providing up to 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of society may be notified as the law of the land sooner than expected.
  • The proviso to Article 368 (power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure thereof) holds that an amendment to a fundamental right coming under Part III of the Constitution need not be ratified by the Legislatures of one half of the States.
  • Only Constitution amendments which affect the Centre-State relations or division of powers in a federal structure require subsequent ratification by the States’ Legislatures before the Presidential assent.
  • So, this Bill may be notified by the Central government as soon as it gets the assent from the President.
  • The Bill, passed by both the Houses of Parliament, adds new clauses to Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution. Both the Articles come under the ‘right to equality’ section of the fundamental rights envisaged in the Constitution.
  • The new clause (6) to Article 15 allows the government to carve reservation for the economically weaker sections of society in higher educational institutions, including private ones, whether they are aided or not by the State. Minority educational institutions are exempted. Likewise, the new clause (6) to Article 16 provides for quota for economically deprived sections in the initial appointment in government services.

GS II: POLITY – STATES

Four Assam Accord panel members decline MHA offer

  • Days after the Union Home Ministry set up a high-level committee to ensure implementation of clause 6 of the Assam Accord, four of those named have refused to join the nine-member panel.
  • Eminent literary figures Nagen Saikia and Rong Bong Terang, former Editor Dhirendra Nath Bezbaruah and the All Assam Students’ Union have declined to be part of the committee.
  • The refusal of the four took place at a time when Assam has been witnessing major protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, which seeks to give Indian citizenship to six minority groups from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • “The clause 6 committee is a Cabinet-constituted committee and not a Bill. So, once the government changes at the Centre, the recommendation of the committee will not mean anything.” said Mr. Saikia.
  • “I think by keeping this committee in front, the government wants the Citizenship Bill to be passed,” said Mr. Saikia, a former president of the Asom Sahitya Sabha, the apex literary body of Assam.

GS II: POLITY – STATES

Now, Assam shutdown against ST status for 6 groups

  • A second shutdown has been called in Assam in less than two days.
  • A forum of tribal organisations has announced a 24-hour Assam bandh against the Centre’s move to grant Scheduled Tribe status to six “advanced” communities — Chutia, Motok, Moran, Koch-Rajbongshi, Tai-Ahom and Tea Tribes/Adivasis — which are currently categorised as Other Backward Classes.
  • This follows the 11-hour shutdown enforced by the All Assam Students’ Union and other organisation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
  • Leaders of the six communities, too, were sceptical of the Bill since the Centre plans to make them ‘other ST’, a category not included in the Constitution.

GS III: CORRUPTION

Fodder scam: no relief for Lalu

  • The Jharkhand High Court rejected the bail petition of Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad in connection with three fodder scam cases.
  • Imprisoned, Mr. Prasad is currently admitted to a government hospital in Ranchi.
  • In December 2018, Mr. Prasad had filed a petition in the High Court requesting bail in three fodder scam cases related with fraudulent withdrawal of money from Dumka, Chaibasa and Deoghar district treasuries in which he had been convicted.

GS II: SOCIAL – EDUCATION

Cabinet approves 3 new AIIMS in J&K, Gujarat

  • The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of three All India Institutes of Medical Sciences in Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat.
  • These will be in Samba in Jammu at a cost of Rs. 1,661 crore, in Pulwama in Kashmir at a cost of Rs. 1,828 crore, and in Rajkot, Gujarat, at a cost of Rs. 1,195 crore.
  • The institutes will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana.
  • The Cabinet approval also involves the creation of a post of director with a basic pay of Rs. 2,25,000 for each of the three AIIMS.
  • The cost of construction, operation and maintenance of the three AIIMS will be fully borne by the Central government.
  • “The objective is to establish the new AIIMS as Institutions of National Importance for providing quality tertiary healthcare, medical education, nursing education and research in the region,” the government said.
  • Each AIIMS will add 100 undergraduate (MBBS) seats and 60 B.Sc. (nursing) seats and will have 15-20 super-speciality departments.
  • Each AIIMS will also add 750 hospital beds which will include emergency/trauma beds, AYUSH beds, private beds, and ICU speciality and super-speciality beds.
  • “It is expected that each AIIMS would cater to around 1,500 OPD patients per day and around 1,000 IPD patients per month,” the government said.
  • “Setting up new AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat will lead to employment generation for nearly 3,000 people in various faculty and non-faculty posts in each of the AIIMS.”

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

RBI notifies deferment of capital buffer norms as per board’s call

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deferred the implementation of the last tranche of Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB) by a year, a move that would leave about an estimated Rs. 37,000 crore capital in the hands of banks.
  • This would help banks increase lending by over Rs. 3.5 lakh crore by leveraging ten times the capital.
  • “It has been decided to defer the implementation of the last tranche of 0.625% of CCB from March 31, 2019 to March 31, 2020,” the RBI said in a notification.
  • Accordingly, minimum capital conservation ratios of 2.5% would be applicable from March 31, 2020.
  • Currently, the CCB of banks stands at 1.875% of the core capital.
  • The CCB is the capital buffer that banks have to accumulate in normal times to be used for offsetting losses during periods of stress.
  • It was introduced after the 2008 global financial crisis to improve the ability of banks to withstand adverse economic conditions.
  • The decision to defer CCB was taken at the November 19 meeting of the central board of directors.

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