Indian Express 20th December 2019

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1)Great Indian Slowdown :- The Great Slowdown stems from a balance sheet crisis that arrived in two waves.

The first wave — the Twin Balance Sheet crisis, encompassing banks and infrastructure companies — arrived after the global financial crisis, when the world economy slowed and infrastructure projects started during India’s investment boom of the mid-2000s, began to go sour. These problems were not addressed adequately, causing investment and exports, the two engines propelling rapid growth, to sputter.

The second wave came from the collapse of a credit boom, led by NBFCs, and centered on the real estate sector. The collapse owed to the recognition that the boom involved unsustainable financing of a rising inventory of unsold housing.

As a result, the economy now confronts a Four Balance Sheet (FBS) problem — the original two sectors, plus NBFCs and real estate companies.

What then can be done to address the FBS?

We propose a comprehensive plan in our paper, including a new asset quality review (AQR-2) to get a more honest recognition of the magnitude of stressed assets, and further strengthening the IBC.

Here we focus on one idea, namely the creation of special resolution mechanisms for two sectors: Real estate and power.

Case of Power Sector :- The stressed power-sector assets pose another major quandary.

Unlike most asset, private power firms cannot be easily sold, since they are incurring heavy operational losses and their prospects are highly uncertain. Even the public sector power producers have been reluctant to take them. But neither can they be liquidated.

2)Explained: How Section 144 CrPC works:- Administrations frequently cite powers under Section 144 CrPC to prohibit assemblies of five or more individuals, or to order mobile phone companies to block voice, SMS, or Internet communications in one or more small or large geographical areas.

What is Section 144?

Section 144 CrPC, a law retained from the colonial era, empowers a district magistrate, a sub-divisional magistrate or any other executive magistrate specially empowered by the state government in this behalf to issue orders to prevent and address urgent cases of apprehended danger or nuisance.

What powers does the administration have under the provision?

The magistrate can direct any person to abstain from a certain act or to take a certain order with respect to certain property in his possession or under his management. This usually includes restrictions on movement, carrying arms and from assembling unlawfully. It is generally believed that assembly of three or more people is prohibited under Section 144.

However, it can be used to restrict even a single individual. Such an order is passed when the magistrate considers that it is likely to prevent, or tends to prevent, obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed, or danger to human life, health or safety, or a disturbance of the public tranquility, or a riot, of an affray.

Why is the use of power under Section 144 criticised so often?

The criticism is that it is too broad and the words of the section are wide enough to give absolute power to a magistrate that may be exercised unjustifiably. The immediate remedy against such an order is a revision application to the magistrate himself. An aggrieved individual can approach the High Court by filing a writ petition if his fundamental rights are at stake. However, fears exist that before the High Court intervenes, the rights could already have been infringed. Imposition of Section 144 to an entire state, as in UP, has also drawn criticism since the security situation differs from area to area.

The first major challenge to the law was made in 1961 in Babulal Parate vs State of Maharashtra and Others. A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court refused to strike down the law, saying it is “not correct to say that the remedy of a person aggrieved by an order under the section was illusory”.

In another challenge in 1970 (Madhu Limaye vs Sub-Divisional Magistrate), a seven-judge Bench headed by then Chief Justice of India M Hidayatullah said the power of a magistrate under Section 144 “is not an ordinary power flowing from administration but a power used in a judicial manner and which can stand further judicial scrutiny”. The court, however, upheld the constitutionality of the law.

Under the 2017 Rules, directions to “suspend the telecom services shall not be issued except by an order made by the Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs in the case of Government of India or by the Secretary to the State Government in-charge of the Home Department in the case of a State Government (hereinafter referred to as the competent authority)…”

The Rules also say that in case the confirmation does not come from a competent authority, the orders shall cease to exist within a period of 24 hours. Clear reasons for such orders need to be given in written, and need to be forwarded to a Review Committee by the next working day.

3)India had most deaths caused by pollution in 2017: new report

The top 10 countries with the most pollution deaths include both the world’s largest and wealthiest nations, and some of its poorer ones. India is followed by China in the number of pollution deaths, with about 1.8 million.

The United States makes the top 10 list with 1,97,000 pollution-related deaths, while ranking 132nd in the number of deaths per 100,000 people.







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