Q.1 Clearing-House Mechanism’ is associated with
a) Convention on Biological Diversity
c) International Solar Alliance
d) Brasilia Declaration
2)Government announces minimum support prices (MSPs) for
1. Copra 2. Groundnut 3. Jute 4. Wheat
Select the correct code:
a) 1, 2 and 3
b) 2, 3 and 4
c) 1, 3 and 4
d) All of the above
3)World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report’ is published by
a) World Economic Forum
b) World Bank
c) World Trade Organisation
d) United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
NRC AND NPR
NEWS: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday equated the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) with the demonetisation of November 2016.
He said both the exercises taxed the poor and if the NRC was implemented across India, the poor would suffer the most as they would have to pay bribes to correct any mistakes made during the enumeration.
About National Population Register
- It is a list of “usual residents of the country”.
- A “usual resident of the country” is one who has been residing in a local area for at least the last six months, or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.
- Legal Provisions:
- The NPR is being prepared under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
- It is mandatory for every “usual resident of India” to register in the NPR.
- The data for the NPR was first collected in 2010 along with the house listing phase of Census 2011.
- In 2015, this data was further updated by conducting a door-to-door survey.
What is National Register of Citizens (NRC)?
- National Register of Citizens, 1951 is a register prepared after the conduct of the Census of 1951 in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in a serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of persons staying therein.
- The NRC was published only once in 1951.
Salman Rushdie is the author of thirteen novels: Grimus, Midnight’s Children (which was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, The Enchantress of Florence, Luka and the Fire of Life, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, and The Golden House. His fourteenth novel, Quichotte, is forthcoming from Random House in the Fall of 2019.
NEWS: A new LPG bottling plant of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited was inaugurated by Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal in Bolangir district on Friday.
Prof. Lal inaugurated the plant as Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, who was scheduled to inaugurate the facility, could not reach Bolangir due to inclement weather.
Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said providing clean cooking fuel to the people was the main objective of the Centre.
Mr. Pradhan said there were only 13.20 crore LPG consumers in the country till 2014 and now it has crossed 27 crore.
LPG is the abbreviated form of liquified petroleum gas.
LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) the main sources of energy for domestic fuels.
The smell that we notice when there is a leak is beacuse of Ethyl Mercaptan.
MAHADAYI RIVER DISPUTE
NEWS: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday said his government, “if required”, would go against the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in the Mahadayi river issue.
The belligerence comes after the Union ministry on December 24 wrote to Karnataka stating environment clearance (EC) was not required for its Kalsa-Bhanduri drinking water project on the river.
Goa and Karnataka are embroiled in a dispute on sharing of the Mahadayi water, and the former has been opposing the Kalsa-Bhanduri project.
ABOUT MAHADAYI RIVER
- Mahadayi or Mhadei, the west-flowing river, originates in Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary (Western Ghats), Belagavi district of Karnataka.
- It is essentially a rain-fed river also called Mandovi in Goa.
- It is joined by a number of streams to form the Mandovi which is one of two major rivers (the other one is Zuari river) that flows through Goa.
- The river travels 35 km in Karnataka; 82 km in Goa before joining the Arabian Sea.
Kalasa-Banduri Nala Project
- It is undertaken by the Government of Karnataka to improve drinking water supply to the three districts of Belagavi, Dharwad, and Gadag.
- It involves building across Kalasa and Banduri, two tributaries of the Mahadayi river to divert water to the Malaprabha river.
- Malaprabha river supplies the drinking water to Dharwad, Belgaum, and Gadag districts.
- Kalasa-Banduri project was planned in 1989; Goa raised an objection to it.
- The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was set up in 2010. Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are parties to the tribunal.
ARCHAELOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA
NEWS: The wood and silver casket containing relics of Goa’s patron saint Francis Xavier will undergo restoration in 2020 at the hands of -based science branch of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the work requires immense precision, a senior official said on Friday.
- The ASI is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the country.
- The prime objection of ASI is to maintain the archaeological sites, ancient monuments and remains of national importance.
- Headquarters: New Delhi.
- Established: 1861 by Alexander Cunningham.
- It regulates all archaeological activities as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
- It functions under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Culture.
- It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.
Pulicat Lagoon is the second largest brackish water lagoon in India, after Chilika Lake.
It is present in the Coromondal Region i.e. Andhra Pradesh–Tamil Nadu Border.
The barrier island of Sriharikota separates the lake from the Bay of Bengal and is home to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
The primary inflows to the Pulicat Lake are Arani, Kalangi and Swarnamukhi.
About 96% of the Pulicat Lake is present in Andhra Pradesh while only 3% is present in Tamil Nadu.
FIRST EDITORIAL: NATIONAL POPULATION REGISTER
The Union Cabinet announcement on Tuesday that the National Population Register (NPR) would be updated across the country, barring Assam, at an expense of over ₹3,941.35 crore,
The announcement on the NPR came amid continuing protests against the recent Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, in many parts of the country and lingering uncertainty regarding the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC), on which senior government functionaries have given conflicting statements.
This puts the burden of proof on citizens to establish that they are indeed citizens.
The undocumented and the poor will bear the brunt of this approach.
The proposed format for enumerating the NPR only exacerbates this concern and adds a third axis to the ongoing confusion and turmoil.
It is correct that the NPR is not about citizenship but only about residency.
However, when additional questions such as “place of birth of father and mother”, etc are being proposed for the forthcoming exercise, the concern that this may be a prelude to the NRIC is logical.
Never in the past, including when a part of India broke away as Pakistan on the basis of religion, did the prospects of a religious test for citizenship appear even remotely in this country.
With the passage of the CAA, and the announcement of the NRIC, there is enough factual basis for doubting the government’s claim that the NPR has nothing to do with the NRIC.
Editorial highlights that this may yield political dividends for the government but at a very high cost to the nation. This is the time to douse the fire, not add fuel to it.
SECOND EDITORIAL: CHIEF OF DEFENSE STAFF
Government has decided to create the post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), who will head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA).
Post of Chief of Defense Staff was recommended in the aftermath of Kargil war.
WHY SO MUCH DELAY?
The delay has been more a result of fears in the minds of the three services — the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force — of how such a development could impact on the role and functioning of the three arms of the armed forces, in terms of curtailing or inflating their importance. There must have been a parallel thought in the bureaucracy how such a shift would affect them too.
The job of the CDS will be exceedingly challenging. The job calls for total transformation of traditional military mindset.
The CDS has to restructure the military commands into appropriate theatre or joint commands for which a critical prerequisite is ‘jointness’ — a term that envisions the various arms of the armed forces working in unison towards a goal. This is a very tall order, considering India’s experience.
Since Independence, the armed forces have been working separately, with no concept of jointness. The only jointness that comes into play effectively is when officers of the various services go to courses in, say, Wellington, at the Defence Services Staff College, or at the National Defence College, Delhi.
All that will have to change, and change quickly, for a variety of reasons, not least the security environment in the region, with the Americans preparing to move out of Afghanistan and the restiveness consequent to the dilution of Article 370.
The job is strategic, requires personal supervision, and cannot be left unfinished for the successor to finish. Given the challenges and the limited time-frame within which to accomplish it, allowances will have to be made for attendant hiccups.
LEAD ARTICLE: ROLE OF JUDICIARY IN CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT 2019
Author highlights that Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 and NRC are highly problematic.
Even though NRC in Assam was conducted under the aegis of court it was a disastrous exercise with terrifying consequences.
The reaction of the law and order machinery to what were essentially student-led peaceful protests has led to incidents of violence and loss of property across the country, which is terribly unfortunate.
The primary, and arguably, the most important view is that the legislation is unconstitutional. It is so for many reasons, not least that it is arbitrary and violates the right to equality before the law enshrined in Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
It deliberately marginalises Muslims as a minority community, and uses religious identity as the basis for granting citizenship.
In doing so, it erodes the spirit of the Constitution. There is no legislative basis for singling out persecution of religious minorities as the basis for granting Indian citizenship, just as there is no logic in restricting “fast track” naturalisation to persons from three countries alone.
Surely, persecution of any kind ought to be the sole criterion for granting citizenship to immigrants. Restricting the definition of persecution in this manner erodes the premise on the basis of which the republic of India was constructed, and ignores the historical realities of the freedom struggle (founded on principles of equality and diversity) which brought us Independence.
The voice of the judiciary in this narrative is either almost entirely absent or has been overwhelmed by a strong executive.
In the wake of the CAA protests, the Chief Justice of India reportedly said that if people/protesters wanted to “take to the streets”, then they need not approach the courts. Some could read this statement as a sort of warning that good behaviour was a prerequisite for obtaining justice.
In any event, in a democracy, protest and a recourse to the judiciary are options that are legitimately available to the people. Indeed, to dissent or protest is the lifeline of a democracy.
But, what is the judiciary supposed to do when society as a whole is protesting? In such a scenario, as is playing out now, there is no clear line that can be drawn between declaring protesters as good or bad.
This is a watershed moment for this generation of judges to undo the wrongs done by their predecessors 40 years ago to the people of India. We eagerly await these reparations.
SECOND ARTICLE: HOW NOT TO COUNTER ECONOMIC STAGNATION
PROBLEMS OF THE INDIAN ECONOMY
- Rising fiscal deficit
- Structural problems
- RBI report suggests that business confidence, consumer confidence and capacity utilisation are down.
- The government calculated tax revenues on the assumption of a 12% nominal growth. But, it has been around 9%, both last and this year. So, in 2018-19, tax revenue was short by about ₹1.5 lakh crore.
- Given that the base for calculating tax revenue this year was wrong and the rate of growth is incorrect, the revenue shortfall for the Centre will be even larger than last year — around ₹2 lakh crore.
- The States have also been complaining that they are not getting the funds that are due to them from the Centre. The Centre has partly responded to this by transferring more, but that raises its deficit.
- The Centre is apparently holding back the States’ share of IGST and arguing that the cess collection is inadequate to compensate the States for their shortfall.
If the fiscal deficit is allowed to rise further, extra resources can be used to boost incomes in the unorganised sectors through greater public investments. In the 150th year of Gandhiji, his talisman, “last person first” is the need of the hour.
NEWS: At least 15 natural disasters linked to climate change this year caused damage of over $1 billion each and seven of them cost at least $10 billion, British charity Christian Aid said on Friday.
This year is set to be the second hottest year in history and each of the disasters in the report has a link with climate change, Christian Aid said. “From Southern Africa to North America and from Australia and Asia to Europe, floods, storms and fires brought chaos and destruction,” it said.
These included the floods that ravaged north India, typhoon Lekima in China, Hurricane Dorian in the U.S., floods in China, floods in the Midwest and southern U.S., typhoon Hagibis in Japan and the California wildfires, the costliest tragedy at $25 billion.
The charity said the majority of deaths were caused by just two events, in India and southern Africa, which called it “a reflection of how the world’s poorest people pay the heaviest price for the consequences of climate change.
NON PERFORMING ASSETS
NEWS: The gross non-performing asset (GNPA) ratio of banks may increase to 9.9% by September 2020 from 9.3% in September 2019, according to an RBI report.
WHAT ARE NPAS?
Generally speaking, NPA is any asset of a bank which is not producing any income.
In other words, a loan or lease that is not meeting its stated principal and interest payments.
On a bank’s balance sheet, loans made to customers are listed as assets. The biggest risk to a bank is when customers who take out loans stop making their payments, causing the value of the loan assets to decline.
Loans don’t go bad right away. Most loans allow customers a certain grace period. Then they are marked overdue. After a certain number of days, the loan is classified as a nonperforming loan.
Banks usually classify as nonperforming assets any commercial loans which are more than 90 days overdue and any consumer loans which are more than 180 days overdue.
For agricultural loans, if the interest and/or the installment or principal remains overdue for two harvest seasons; it is declared as NPAs. But, this period should not exceed two years. After two years any unpaid loan/installment will be classified as NPA.
1. Sub-standard: When the NPAs have aged <= 12 months.
2. Doubtful: When the NPAs have aged > 12 months.
3. Loss assets: When the bank or its auditors have identified the loss, but it has not been written off.