DAILY HINDU CURRENT AFFAIRS 9TH JANUARY 2020

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Q.1 Consider the following statements about
Inner Line Permit:
1. It is an official travel document granted
to Indian citizen to travel in protected
area for a limited period.
2. It is issued by the respective state
governments.
3. Currently, it is operational in Arunachal
Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Q.2Consider the following statements about
Meitei community that was in the news
recently:
1. Meiteis are inhabitants of Manipur and
have been protesting for granting them
the Scheduled Tribe status.
2. Meiteis want strict imposition of ILP
in Manipur to protect their culture and
identity.
Which of the following statement(s) given
above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3Consider the following statements about
Market Intervention Scheme that was in the
news recently:
1. It was introduced for the procurement
and transportation of apples in Jammu
and Kashmir.
2. Under the Scheme the apples will be
procured and transported by National
Agricultural Cooperative Marketing
Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED).
3. It would help stablise the price of apples
and maintain a uniform rate in the open
market across the country.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 2 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

ANSWER: C,C,D

FDI IN COAL MINING

NEWS:

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance to amend two laws to ease mining rules, enabling foreign direct investment in coal mining.

At a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ordinance to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, and Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, was approved, Parliamentary Affairs and Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said at a press conference.

Mr. Joshi said the “historic” decision would boost the ease of doing business and increase growth avenues for coal mining.

Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the steel industry would get cheaper inputs, leading to an increase in “competitiveness”.

ABOUT FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is the investment through capital instruments by a person resident outside India (a) in an unlisted Indian company; or (b) in 10 percent or more of the post issue paid-up equity capital on a fully diluted basis of a listed Indian company.

‘Capital Instruments’ means equity shares, debentures, preference shares and share warrants issued by the Indian company.

Foreign Portfolio Investment is any investment made by a person resident outside India in capital instruments where such investment is (a) less than 10 percent of the post issue paid-up equity capital on a fully diluted basis of a listed Indian company or (b) less than 10 percent of the paid up value of each series of capital instruments of a listed Indian company.

ABOUT ORDINANCE 

Ordinances are the temporary laws having the effect of an act.

Article 123 of the Constitution empowers the President to promulgate ordinances during the recess of the Parliament. Similar power is given to Governor under Article 213 of the Constitution.

Limitations on Ordinance Making Power of President

  1. It can be issued only when one House is not in session or during recess of Parliament.
  2. An ordinance may be made under circumstances that require immediate action.
  3. An ordinance can be made on only those subjects on which Parliament can make laws and subject to same limitations to which a Parliamentary law is subjected.
  4. An ordinance needs to be presented before the Parliament when it reassembles. It ceases to operate on the expiry of six weeks from the reassembly of Parliament.
  5. Without being approved by the Parliament ordinance can last six months and six weeks.
  6. President can withdraw ordinance at any time. However President exercises the power on the advice of Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister.
  7. Ordinance cannot be used to amend the Constitution.
  8. In D C Wadhwa versus State of Bihar case (1987) Supreme Court ruled that it can strike down re promulgated ordinances.

 

GULAWAT LAKE

Gulawat is a beautiful lotus valley located about 30 kms away from city of Indore. Gulawat village is located in Hatod tehsil of Indore district.

Gulawat Lotus Lake offers breathtaking views of the lotus valley and is therefore a place of great interest for photographers too.

Located at one end of Yashwant Sagar in Indore the valley is very beautiful and attracts various migrating birds.

RE-GRASSING

NEWS:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that mining lease holders should be held responsible for re-grassing mined areas, so that biodiversity gets a second chance in these scarred landscapes.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde ordered the government to include re-grassing of mined areas as a mandatory condition in every mining lease, environmental clearance and mining plan across the country.

CENTRAL RESERVE POLICE FORCE

NEWS: A CRPF officer, Deputy Inspector-General D.K. Tripathi, allegedly threw hot water on the face of constable Amol Kharat, after the former got enraged at having burnt his mouth upon drinking the water served by Mr. Kharat. The force has ordered an inquiry into the incident, officials said on Wednesday.

ABOUT CRPF

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is the largest of India’s Central Armed Police Forces.

It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India.

The CRPF’s primary role lies in assisting the State/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and counter insurgency.

It came into existence as the Crown Representative’s Police on 27 July 1939.

After Indian Independence, it became the Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28 December 1949.

INCREASING GLOBAL TEMPERATURE

NEWS:

Though the rise in average temperatures over India in 2019 was the lowest since 2016, according to a report from the India Meteorological Department (IMD, the year that went by was the 7th warmest, since record-keeping commenced in 1901.

During the year, the annual mean surface air temperature was +0.36C above average (defined as the mean temperature from 1980-2010).

The highest warming observed over India was during 2016, 0.71C above the mean. While 2018 was the 6th warmest in India with 0.41C above the mean, 2017 was 0.55C warmer.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation, the rise in global mean surface temperature during 2019 (January to October) was +1.10C.

The main contributors to the warming this year were temperatures in the pre-monsoon (March-May) and monsoon seasons (June-September), said the IMD report titled ‘Climate Summary’.

FIRST EDITORIAL: US IRAN CONFLICT

WHY IN NEWS?

In its first direct attack on U.S. forces, Iran targeted Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan in the north, and Al-Asad in the west, which is some 400 km away from the Iranian border. The attacks were both an act of retaliation and a show of its capability.

Attacks were in retaliation for the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani by US drone attacks.

WHAT DOES INTERNATIONAL LAW SAY ON THIS?

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif invoked Article 51 of the UN Charter, which allows member-states to take military actions in self defence if they come under attack. He said Iran has taken and concluded “proportionate measures in self-defence”, which can be interpreted that Iran is now ready for de-escalation.

HOW AMERICA RESPONDED?

The Pentagon’s assessments suggested there were no American casualties and only minimal damage in the attacks. Mr. Trump, in his response later on Wednesday, has signalled that he was backing away from further conflicts with Iran.

NEGATIVES OF FURTHER ESCALATION

A direct shooting match between the U.S. and Iran would have been disastrous for the whole of West Asia.

Further attacks could also have disrupted global oil supply by attacking the Gulf waterways. By any assessment, a direct war would have been catastrophic.

EDITORIAL’S VIEW

Mr. Trump did well to step back and not push the Gulf region into a disastrous cycle of violence and destruction. The international community should now push for a diplomatic settlement of the crisis and find ways to revive the nuclear deal which could bring long-term peace to the Gulf. And Iran should seize this opportunity for de-escalation.

LEAD ARTICLE: MULTILATERAL ALTERNATIVE BY INDIA AND CHINA IN WORLD AFFAIRS

WHY IT IS BEING SAID THAT ASIAN POWERS CAN PROVIDE ALTERNATIVE?

After a gap of 200 years, Asian economies are again larger than the rest of the world’s combined. As India and China resolve their border dispute, Asia is providing the multilateral alternative to a world divided by values, and no longer by ideology.

MEANING OF THE ASIAN CENTURY

The phrase ‘Asian Century’ is said to have arisen in the 1988 meeting between Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, re-establishing relations after the India-China border conflict in 1962.

It responds to the re-emergence of the two countries, leveraging size and technological competence to shape a new order that reflects their civilisational values which are distinct from those of the West.

China, in 2013, after attaining 15% of global wealth, announced the multilateral Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and in 2014, launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, challenging the global governance paradigm.

In 2015, emerging India established the International Solar Alliance, laying out a distinct global sustainable development framework, and seeking a triumvirate.

POTENTIAL OF BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE FOR CHINA

BRI — covers the territories of 72 countries and 70% of the world population.

The BRI provides a strategic framework for new global institution building as its scope is as wide as multilateral treaties. For example, state-owned enterprises in infrastructure sectors in the BRI, with backing from national banks, are contributing to internationalisation of the Renminbi, enhancing China’s role in global economic governance.

CONCLUSION

Clearly, the U.S., China and India will retain their civilisational models into the future. In Asia, differences will centre on overlapping priorities — security (the U.S.’s efforts to maintain hegemony), economic (China’s emphasis on connectivity, markets and growth) and equitable sustainable development (India-led framework of digital infrastructure designed as a public good). By 2030, there is every possibility of a triumvirate.

 

SECOND EDITORIAL: ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN

WHY IN NEWS?

The National Statistical Office (NSO) has estimated that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will expand by 5% in the 12-month period, in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s sharp downward revision last month in its full-year growth forecast — from 6.1% projected earlier, to 5%.

EVEN THIS GROWTH RATE OF 5% IS BASED ON OPTIMISM

However, disconcertingly, even the latest growth assumption appears grounded more on optimism than on real hard data. Given that the pace of growth slumped to a six-and-a-half year low of 4.5% in the second quarter, thus dragging the first half’s expansion to 4.8%, the statistics office’s projection for the full year assumes that the economy will expand by a healthier 5.2% pace in the October-March six-month period.

EDITORIAL’S VIEW

With private investment activity still becalmed — full-year growth in Gross Fixed Capital Formation is estimated at just about 1% compared with 10% in the last fiscal — and a significant shortfall in revenue receipts leaving the government little room to bump up its own spending within the constraints of the budgeted fiscal deficit target, it may be time for radical solutions.

And with the clouds of conflict darkening over the crucial energy supplying West Asian region, India’s economy will be even more vulnerable now to another oil price shock. Clearly, it is time to expedite tangible policy interventions.

 

OP-ED PAGE

LEAD ARTICLE: UNITARY NATURE OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION

WHY IN NEWS?

The recent political developments around the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) .  The Legislative Assembly of Kerala has passed a resolution, stating that the law “contradicts the basic values and principles of the Constitution”.

Indeed, the resolution is only symbolic, and has no legal ramifications. And, though the passage of any such resolution is not constitutionally barred, it may not be in tune with the federal scheme under the Constitution.

Another controversy arose in West Bengal, where the State government put anti-CAA advertisements on its websites. In an interim order, the Calcutta High Court directed the State government to remove those advertisements.

WHY SUCH A RESOLUTION NOT IN TUNE WITH CONSTITUTION?

Article 256 of the Constitution obligates the State government to ensure implementation of the laws made by Parliament. If the State government fails to do so, the Government of India is empowered to give “such directions to a State as may appear… to be necessary”.

The refusal to enforce the law even after the Centre issues directions would empower the President to impose President’s Rule in those States under Articles 356 and 365. The Supreme Court of India has also confirmed this reading of the law in S.R. Bommai v. Union of India — arguably the most significant case on Indian federalism.

WHY SUCH A SITUATION?

Parliament, the avowed “temple of democracy”, has been reduced to a site for procedural formalities. At least the Lok Sabha appears to be an extension of the executive, rather than a mechanism for its accountability.

The brute dominance of the ruling persuasion has dwarfed any semblance of Opposition politics at the Centre. This is manifested through the absence of the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha for six years in a row (a consequence of an archaic and arguably unlawful practice requiring a party to secure at least 10% of total seats to occupy the position of Leader of Opposition), the denial of an Opposition vote in the appointments to various anti-corruption bodies, etc. Further, with the Opposition failing to show any signs of resilience, national politics seems to be operating in the absence of any credible political check.

NEW CHALLENGE TO FEDERALISM?

With this shift of Opposition politics from New Delhi to State capitals, the politics of Opposition is likely to become the politics over federalism.

 

ISSUE: NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY

HOW THIS WILL HELP?

This will allow Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals from “being in charge” on the battlefield, to “combat enablers and policy advisers”.

National Defense University will help in sub-conventional and limited war domains. It is these domains that demand high levels of proficiency and autonomous leadership qualities at the unit, battalion, squadron and brigade levels, with the senior leadership playing primarily a facilitating role.

This will help the senior leaders to move away from rigid chains of command, and learn to “respectfully disagree, balance multiple viewpoints and opinions, and present complex arguments” to diverse audiences.

CONCLUSION

The pace at which the building blocks of the NDU have been erected is much like India’s growth rate in the 1970s. Though conceived earlier, it gained momentum in the aftermath of the Kargil conflict and was given form over a decade later when it was inaugurated in 2013 with a stone-laying ceremony in Binola, near Delhi.

There are some who believe that the envisaged four-pronged structure of the NDU with security studies, technology, leadership and management and distance learning is far too ambitious. Others argue that it is important to think big if India is to emerge as a leading power.

The bottom line is that the desired outcomes and the quality of human resources must dictate the trajectory of how the NDU comes up. It must be the prime mover of intellectual capital in a reformed Indian military.

WEST ASIA

NEWS: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday the ballistic missiles strikes Iran launched at U.S. troops in Iraq earlier in the day was a “slap in the face” of America.

Iran launched over a dozen missiles at al-Asad and Erbil military bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops in retaliation for the killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by the U.S.

ABOUT WEST ASIA

Western Asia, West Asia, Southwestern Asia, or Southwest Asia is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It includes Anatolia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, the Levant, Mesopotamia, the Sinai Peninsula, and Transcaucasia

West Asia includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Importance of west Asia for India

India has huge stakes involved in the region such as energy, trade and safety of Indian community in the region.

  • Energy security: 70 per cent of India’s imported energy needs come from West Asia and this dependence will only increase as the Indian economy continues to grow at 8 per cent or more.
  • Security of Indian community :
  •  India is the largest recipient of foreign remittances from west Asia.
  •  11 million Indians working in West Asia. Therefore, stability in the region is high on India’s core agenda.
  • To counter radicalization: close cooperation is essential to counter radicalization in India.
  • Gate way to central Asia : West Asia is gate way to land locked and energy rich central Asia .
  • Geostrategic importance: To reduce the influence of china in west Asia and in Arabian Sea. China is continuously making in road to west Asia through OBOR initiative.

Challenges in west Asia

Political instability

The security situation in West Asia has been continuously deteriorating ever since the onset of the Arab Spring in December 2010.

  • The internal security situation in Syria, Iraq and Yemen has gone from bad to worse. The regional powers continue to fight proxy wars on sectarian lines, pumping huge amount of money and weapons to bolster their favoured groups.
  • The involvement of extra-regional players such as the USA and Russia in the internal conflicts in West Asia has further aggravated the situation.
  • The GCC-Iran rivalry, Shia-Sunni conflict, external intervention in the region, the fear of rise of religious radicalism etc have further contributed to instability in West Asia .
  • Terrorism: Terrorism has emerged as the biggest security threat to the region. The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is the most disturbing trend.
  • Saudi-Iran rivalry: destabilizing West Asia and influencing West Asian geopolitics.
  • Pakistan factor : Pakistan is very close ally of many west Asian countries especially with GCC.
  • Shia- Sunni divide may impact internal security of India.

India’s close relation with Israel is another sore point with west Asia.

  • India’s close relation with Iran may antagonize Saudi Arabia. India has to balance its ties with all three regional power in west Asia-Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

 

WHAT NEXT IN US IRAN CONFLICT?

Five days after Major General Qassem Soleimani, the Qods Force chief, was killed in a U.S. air strike outside Baghdad airport, Iran on Wednesday launched ballistic missile attacks at American troops in two military bases in Iraq.

Practically, these are acts of war. First, the U.S. took out an Iranian military leader in a third country and now Iran has struck U.S. troops.

By hitting the U.S. base in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran may also be sending a message to Washington. Erbil houses not just American soldiers but also a large American consulate.

President Trump has already indicated that he’s backing away from further conflicts with Iran.

But despite his message of de-escalation, the risks of further conflicts still remain. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has hinted that more actions will follow to force the U.S. to retreat from West Asia (read Iraq and Syria).

The Revolutionary Guard’s commander Hossein Salami threatened on Wednesday before a mourning crowd in Kerman, Solaimani’s hometown, that Iran would set ablaze “the place the U.S. loves”, in a reference to Israel.

Iran could target U.S. troops inside Iraq through its proxies such as the Badr Brigade and Kataib Hezbollah, like it did before the killing of Soleimani. That could drag the U.S. into a deeper conflict. Also, the Shia militias in the region operate with relative autonomy. Infuriated by the loss of their commander, they could act without authorisation from Tehran against U.S. troops in Iraq, which could trigger a harsher response from the U.S. against Iran, dragging both countries into war.

All these suggest that West Asia remains on the brink.

IMPACT OF US-IRAN ATTACK ON IT SECTOR

NEWS:

The U.S.’ latest attack on Iran could have ‘huge’ ramifications on the global economy and therefore, business and growth expectations of the tech industry may have to be tempered, said Phil Fersht, chief tech analyst & CEO of U.K.-based HFS Research.

All kinds of geopolitical events would have a huge impact on the global business landscape and in turn, it would affect IT budgets of enterprises, he pointed out

Echoing similar sentiments, Prashant Shukla, director at U.S.-based Everest Group, said the U.S.-Iran tension was yet to unfold in terms of impact, but it has ‘surely brought in negative sentiment’ to the tech sector at the beginning of 2020.

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