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THE HINDU DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 17 TH JANUARY 2020

Q.1 Consider the following statements regarding Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
(AMOC):
1. It is a large system of ocean currents that carry cold water from the North Atlantic towards tropics.
2. It is like a conveyor belt which is driven by differences in temperature, salt content and the water density.
3. Warming of Indian Ocean will lead to higher salinity in the waters of the tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: C

Q.2 Which of the following statements regarding Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) is/
are correct?
1. It is an organization committed to improving air quality and protecting the climate by reducing super pollutants.
2. Its activities are financed through a multidonor Trust Fund which is administered through UN Environment.
3. India joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and became 65th country in the partnership.
Select the correct answer using the code given
below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: D

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding
Pandit Deendayal Upadhayaya:
1. He started the monthly “Rashtra Dharma” meant for spreading the ideology of Hindutva nationalism.
2. He wrote a Hindi drama on Chandragupta Maurya and a biography of Shankaracharya.
3. He was elected for Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh.
Which of the above statements are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 2 and 3 only

Answer: B

SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION

NEWS: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will be invited to participate in the Heads of Government Council meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) that will be hosted in India this year, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. The invite move came hours after the UN Security Council discussed the situation in Kashmir.

Since becoming full-time member of the SCO in 2017, both India and Pakistan have participated in multiple meetings of SCO and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) despite hostilities and tension in Kashmir. The Heads of Government Council meeting is attended by the Prime Minister-level leaders of the member states that deliberate on the regional body’s economic and other pressing issues. The meeting also firms up SCO’s annual budget.

ABOUT SHANGAHI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION

SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organisation, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai, China by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The original six nations, with the exception of Uzbekistan, were previously members of the Shanghai Five group, founded on 26 April 1996 in Shanghai.

India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members on 9 June 2017 at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Currently SCO comprises eight member states, namely India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

 Observer states include Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.

SCO has six dialogue partners, namely Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka.

SCO has two permanent bodies — the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent

 RATS SCO:-The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism. The Head of RATS is elected to a three-year term.

ADJUSTED GROSS REVENUE ISSUE OF TELECOM COMPANIES

NEWS:

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Arun Mishra, on Thursday, dismissed petitions filed by telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, for a review of its October 2019 judgment upholding the recovery of past dues amounting to ₹1.47 lakh crore from them.

The recovery by the government was based on adjusted gross revenue of about ₹92,000 crore.

STORY SO FAR

A Bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, said the sector had long reaped the fruits of the Centre’s liberalised mode of payment by the revenue sharing regime. “It has benefited immensely under the scheme as apparent from the gross revenue trend from 2004 to 2015,” he said.

WHAT IS AGR?

Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) is the usage and licensing fee that telecom operators are charged by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

As per DoT, the charges are calculated based on all revenues earned by a telco – including non-telecom related sources such as deposit interests and asset sales. Telcos, on their part, insist that AGR should comprise only the revenues generated from telecom services.

WHY TUSSLE?

In 2005 Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has challenged the government’s definition for AGR calculation.

Later in 2015, the TDSAT said AGR included all receipts except capital receipts and revenue from non-core sources such as rent, profit on the sale of fixed assets, dividend, interest and miscellaneous income, etc

 

NATIONAL POPULATION REGISTER AND CENSUS

NEWS:

The Union Home Ministry has convened a meeting on Friday to discuss the modalities for the 2020 Census and the National Population Register (NPR), officials said. Except West Bengal, the representatives of all other States have agreed to attend the meeting.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai will chair the meeting.

About National Population Register

  • Definition:
    • 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.
  • Background:
    • 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.

ABOUT CENSUS

  • The census provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population.
  • ‘Rig-Veda’ reveals that some kind of population count was maintained during 800-600 BC in India.
  • Arthashastr by ‘Kautilya’ written in the 3rd Century BC prescribed the collection of population statistics as a measure of state policy for taxation.
  • During the regime of the Mughal king Akbar, the administrative report ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics.
  • A systematic and modern population census, in its present form was conducted non synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country.
  • However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
  • The last caste-based census was conducted by the British in 1931.
  • India’s last census was carried out in 2011 when the country’s population stood at 121 crore. The Indian Census is one of the largest administrative exercises undertaken in the world.

BRUS

NEWS:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday presided over the signing of a quadripartite pact of the MHA with the State governments of Tripura, Mizoram and leaders of Bru community to permanently settle around 34,000 internally displaced Bru people in Tripura.

Reangs or Brus are the second largest ethnic group in Mizoram. Their exodus in 1997 was spurred by violent clashes in Mamith subdivision, a Reang-dominated area, when they demanded creation of an autonomous council that was vehemently opposed by Mizo groups.

ABOUT BRUS 

  • Riang or Bru  are one of the 21 scheduled tribes of the Indian state of Tripura.
  • The Bru are the second most populous tribe of Tripura after the Tripuris.
  • The correct nomenclature for this ethnic group is actually Bru although the name Reang was accidentally incorporated by the Indian government during a census count.
  • The Bru can be found all over the Tripura state in India.
  • However, they may also be found in Mizoram, Assam, Manipur and Bangladesh.

SMOG TOWER

NEWS:

The Supreme Court agreed with the Delhi government’s proposal to install a smog tower at Connaught Place within three months even as it passed several directions to reduce air pollution.

“As proposed in the reply of the Delhi government, let the smog tower at Connaught Place be completed by Delhi government as proposed in their reply affidavit,” a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta ordered on January 13.

The Bench also ordered a smog tower to be installed in Anand Vihar as pointed out by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The court ordered the Delhi government to provide 30 x 30 meters for installation of an experimental tower there within seven days. It said this project would be funded by the Centre even as the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change would monitor it. The court directed the project to be completed in three months.

ABOUT SMOG TOWER

What is Smog Tower?

It is a structure of concrete that has multiple layers of filters. The size of this structure would be 40 feet in height and 20 feet on each side. In total it requires a compound of around 30×30 metres.

The device will be able to take in air from all 360-degree angles and generate 1,300,000 cubic metres of clean air per hour.

Although its capacity would have the capacity to clean 32 million cubic metres of air per day.
This giant purifier will have 48 fans to keep the flow of clean air going. The manufacturer of this device claims that it could provide clean air to 75,000 people living in the 3 kilometre radius around it.

How does it filter the air?

The smog tower sucks the polluted air, which is purified by the multiple layers before re-circulated into the atmosphere.

To purify the air; the highly effective H14 grade Highly Effective Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filter would be used.

This filter can clean up to 99.99% Particulate Matter (PM) present in the air with the help of pre-filter and activated carbon.

Cost of the Smog Tower

The cost of each smog tower is to be around Rs. 10 to 12 crore which includes filtering equipment, monitoring system and construction of the tower.

The supporters of this device say that it’s a good technology to get some relief from severe air quality, on the other hand, the antagonists of this device say that it is too costly and there is no authentic data available to know its effectiveness.

ARTICLE 167

NEWS: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has indicated that the State government has crossed the line by keeping him in the dark about its decision to appeal against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the Supreme Court.

Upping the ante in his politically volatile dispute with the government over the passage of a resolution in the Assembly opposing the CAA, Mr. Khan said he would examine whether a State could move the apex court against a Central law without the approval of the Governor.

ABOUT ARTICLE 167

Duties of Chief Minister as respects the furnishing of information to Governor, etc It shall be the duty of the Chief Minister of each State

(a) to communicate to the Governor of the State all decisions of the council of Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation;
(b) to furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation as the Governor may call for; and
(c) if the Governor so requires, to submit for the consideration of the Council of Ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a Minister but which has not been considered by the Council CHAPTER III THE STATE LEGISLATURE General

TIPU SULTAN

NEWS:

Even though the Karnataka government is yet to officially announce its decision on whether lessons pertaining to Mysuru king Tipu Sultan should be dropped or retained, it is clear that the lessons will be retained for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The Karnataka Textbook Society (KTBS) will complete issuing of work orders for textbooks in the next three or four days. The KTBS is in the process of issuing work orders for over 8 crore textbooks and workbooks. These books will be distributed to students from Classes one to II PU. A total of 549 titles will have to be printed.

ABOUT TIPU SULTAN

  1. Became the ruler of Mysore in 1782 after death of his father Haider Ali in Second Anglo Mysore War.
  2. He introduced new calendar, a new system of coinage and news scales of weights and measures.
  3. He showed a keen interest in the French Revolution. He planted a Tree of Liberty at Srirangapatnam and became member of the Jacobin club.
  4. His organizational skills were excellent
  5. His infantry was armed with the muskets and bayonets in the European fashion which were manufactured in Mysore.
  6. HE also made an attempt to build modern navy after 1796. For this purpose he built two dockyards the models of the ships were supplied by Sultan himself.
  7. He more than anyother 18th century Indian ruler recognizws to the full extent the threat that Englsh posed to the South India as well as to other Indian powers.
  8. He tried to set up a trading company on the pattern of European companies.

DATA PROTECTION BILL

NEWS:

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Personal Data Protection Bill will throw open its doors for all stakeholders to express objections and point out loopholes in the proposed legislation, the panel decided at its first meeting held on Thursday. IT Secretary Anshu Prakash gave a presentation giving details of the Bill.

The panel will issue an advertisement inviting the public and the stakeholders to send in their suggestions.

ABOUT DATA PROTECTION BILL

The draft bill, the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, was prepared by a high-level expert committee headed by former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna.

The Bill deals with the broad guidelines on the collection, storage, and processing of personal data, the consent of individuals, penalties and compensation, and a code of conduct.

The draft Bill classifies ‘sensitive personal data’ as including passwords, financial data, health data, sex life, sexual orientation, biometric data, genetic data, transgender status, intersex status, caste or tribe, and religious or political belief or affiliation.

The draft Bill says that such sensitive personal data can be processed only with the explicit consent of the person, and this consent needs to be informed, clear, and specific, as defined by the Bill itself.

The draft bill also has a provision for the right to be forgotten, where the person “shall have the right to restrict or prevent continuing disclosure of personal data”.

Personal data is to be stored in India, but can be processed outside with the consent of the person.

The draft Bill also specifies penalties for not following its provisions, including a penalty of ₹5 crore or 2% of turnover, whichever is higher, if no action is taken on a data leak.

 

FIRST EDITORIAL: RAISING OF KASHMIR ISSUE BY CHINA

WHY IN NEWS?

For the second time since the government’s decision on Article 370 in August last year, China raised the issue of Kashmir at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday, prompting a protest from New Delhi.

HOW INDIAN GOVERNMENT HAS RESPONDED?

In its response, the government said that Beijing should “refrain” from bringing a bilateral issue into the UNSC, and accused China of working at Pakistan’s behest.

New Delhi’s response also pointed to the “overwhelming majority” of Security Council members being opposed to the Chinese reference on conditions in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), which resulted in a lack of consensus for any kind of statement at the end of the meeting.

MAIN AGREEMENT THAT INDIAN GOVERNMENT IS USING?

SHIMLA ACCORD: India’s case rests on the 1972 Shimla accord, where India and Pakistan agreed to resolve the Kashmir issue bilaterally.

EDITORIAL’S VIEW

Given that New Delhi has refrained from raising similar issues over Tibet, Xinjiang or Hong Kong, it is unfair on the part of Beijing to take its concerns to the international stage, especially since President Xi Jinping didn’t officially raise such concerns while visiting India in October.

Prior to August, the last time Kashmir was raised at the UNSC format was in 1971; it has since been raised twice within a period of five months.

China may have found no takers for a statement, but the fact that it was allowed to raise the issue at the UNSC cannot be brushed away.

Nor can India maintain the duality of insisting, on the one hand, that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and, on the other hand, rejecting all bilateral talks with Pakistan.

At some point, the government must push for normalisation of ties with Pakistan as well as for the lifting of restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.

CONCLUSION

Only when all communications are restored, all political prisoners freed and added security restrictions removed can the real task of healing in J&K even begin.

LEAD ARTICLE: NEGATIVE IMPACT OF RBI’S OVER FOCUS ON INFLATION

WHY IN NEWS?

Infaltion has crossed the mark of 7% in December.

Author’s central argument in this article is that by focusing excessively on inflation targeting RBI is failing in its other duties and also not able to maintain inflation under the prescribed range.

Author begins by highlighting why Central Banks are established. Reasons given by the author for establishment of Central Banks are

  1. For maintaining financial stability.
  2.  Lender of last resort
  3. Regulator of other banks: this role has declined after neo liberalization
  4. Inflation Control: this role has increased in the recent years.

WHAT IS THE SITUATION IN INDIA?

In India, the RBI had earlier pursued a ‘multiple indicators approach’, implying concern for outcomes other than inflation, including even the balance of payments.

But, not to be left behind in the race to adopt the architecture of the West, the Indian government also instituted inflation targeting as the sole objective of monetary policy. The RBI was permitted to exceed or fall short of a targeted inflation rate of 4% by a margin of 2 percentage points. This was hailed by the government as the adoption of the ‘modern monetary policy framework’ by India, and came into effect from the year 2016-17.

RBI’S FAILURE IN REGULATING THE BANKING SECTOR

Author has highlighted three examples where RBI has failed mierably

  1. IL&FS, a non-banking financial company in the infrastructure space, defaulted on several of its obligations, including repayment of bank loans and the redemption of commercial paper. The IL&FS was not just another ‘shadow bank’; it operated over 100 subsidiaries and was sitting on debt of ₹94,000 crore.
  2. In 2019, a run on the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank had to be averted by imposing withdrawal limits.
  3.  And now, in early 2020, curbs have had to be placed on withdrawals from the Bengaluru-based Sri Guru Raghavendra Sahakara Bank.

RBI’S FAILURE IN PROVIDING THE BANK NOTES

The central bank has the monopoly on the issue of notes. Why then is there is an absolute shortage of small denomination notes in the bazaars of India? ‘Bazaar’ is here only a word for a site of commerce; from the north to the south of the country, from airports to village stores, trade and production is held up due to the absence of notes and coins of the denomination appropriate to the transaction.

The RBI and the government showed themselves to be entirely out of touch with reality when, in 2016, the 1,000-rupee note was replaced with a 2,000-rupee note. It is anybody’s guess whether the daily wage for a labourer is more than ₹500 in much of India. Small denomination notes are mostly unavailable, or, if available at all, are of so shabby an appearance that it makes you wonder whether those responsible for the management of our economy take any pride in discharging their tasks. In this department, India’s central bank has failed substantially.

SECOND ARTICLE: TAIWAN AND HONG KONG 

WHY IN NEWS?

Both Hong Kong and Taiwan are claimed by China as its own and in both these places pro-democracy parties have swept the elections in past months.

Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) of Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan has won in Taiwan.

In late-November, pro-democratic political parties swept the local district council elections in Hong Kong, which were widely seen as a referendum on the protests that have roiled the Special Administrative Region since June.

WHAT IS PRESENT SITUATION OF HONG KONG AND TAIWAN?

On the surface, Taiwan and Hong Kong may seem to have little in common. Unlike Hong Kong, which returned to China’s fold in 1997, Taiwan has been entirely self-ruled since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island to set up the ‘Republic of China’.

Also, unlike Hong Kong, Taiwan has a thriving democracy and has held direct elections to choose its leaders since 1996 — incidentally, one of the five demands voiced by the tens of thousands who have taken to Hong Kong’s streets in recent months.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE CHINESE STRATEGY ON HONG KONG AND TAIWAN?

With Taiwan China has followed the strategy of isolating Taiwan. By the end of 2019, Taiwan was left with only 14 UN member states that maintain diplomatic relations, after losing the Solomon Islands and Kiribati which both shifted to recognising Beijing. With every year, the list grows shorter.

The problem for Beijing is that fewer and fewer people, both in Taiwan and Hong Kong, appear to share this view that elevates “one country” over the “two systems” part of the formula. The recent election results in both territories make that clear, as do polling data that show delicate shifts in how Taiwanese and Hongkongers view their relationship with the mainland.

CONCLUSION

China’s leaders believe that the country’s “great rejuvenation”, which Mr. Xi has declared as the “China dream”, will not be complete without Taiwan’s return, for long the holy grail for the Communist Party. They believe the tide of history is on their side, and that the island of 23 million people (roughly the population of Beijing) will inevitably return to the fold.

They may be right, and perceptions can, no doubt, change. Yet, if Beijing wants them to move in a favourable direction, the results have shown it will probably need to offer more than the stability, security, and economic growth that its model promises, when issues of identity and values are involved.

FRIDAY DISCUSSION: SHOULD CELEBRITIES AVOID POLITICAL ACTIVISM

WHY IN NEWS?

Over the past few weeks, several actors have spoken out against the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Population Register-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NPR-NRC) as well as the attack on students and faculty in Jawaharlal Nehru University.

WHY SO MANY CELEBRITIES ARE SPEAKING THIS TIME?

Because issues are getting more relevant for all of us. What started out as small issues have become issues that fundamentally affect everybody. The reason more people — whether actors, students, or doctors — are stepping out of their comfort zones is that the issues are more visceral.

SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE: Social media audiences are talking back to celebrities and they are able to listen to these voices, not just the coins of the box office. Malayalam cinema has always been hyperconnected to reality, but Bollywood is now feeling the change.

MORE SUPPORT: some years ago if an actor was critical, he or she would stand out like a sore thumb. Today they find many voices joining them. Whether it’s Swara Bhaskar or Richa Chadha, there are people at the forefront.

WOMEN’S ARE RAISING THE ISSUE: For the first time since independence there is serious agitation in the country which is being led by women. The voices of women are not going to shut up whether it’s in Shaheen Bagh or elsewhere. They are making a big difference.

SECOND ARTICLE: PREVENTING MOB LYNCHING

WHY IN NEWS?

The spate of incidents of lynching over the past few years has led to a heightened sense of insecurity among the marginalised communities.

Though no data has been compiled by the NCRB of the number of cases of lynching in the country since 2015 for reasons unknown, the figures reported by various sections of the media are troubling.

In 2018, the Supreme Court described lynching as a “horrendous act of mobocracy”. The Court exhorted the Centre and State governments to frame laws specifically to deal with the crime of lynching and laid down certain guidelines to be incorporated in these laws including fast-track trials, compensation to victims, and disciplinary action against lax law-enforcers.

In this backdrop, the Manipur government came up first with its Bill against lynching in 2018, incorporating some logical and relevant clauses. The Bill specified that there would be nodal officers in each district to control such crimes. Police officers who fail to prevent the crime of lynching in their jurisdiction are liable to be imprisoned for a term that may extend from one to three years with a fine limit of ₹50,000. Additionally, no concurrence of the State government is required to prosecute them for dereliction of duty.

The Rajasthan government passed a bill against lynching in August 2019, not a moment too soon, given that according to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal, “After 2014, 86% cases of mob lynching reported in the country happened in Rajasthan.” However, not only has the government accepted only a few guidelines issued by the apex court, it is also silent on any action to be initiated against police officers who may be accused of dereliction of duty.

WHAT CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CAN DO?

PUNISH THE DOCTORS: While adopting the guidelines, the Centre would do well to incorporate sections in the law for penal action against doctors who stand accused of dereliction of duty, for delay in attending to victims of mob violence, or submitting false reports without carrying out a proper and thorough medical examination of the victims, either under coercion by the police or due to their own prejudice against the community or religion of the victims.

COMPENSATION: Under the compensation scheme for the victims, the amount to be paid to the victims should be recovered from the perpetrators of the crime or collective fines be imposed on the villagers where the lynching takes place.

PUNISH THE POLITICAL LEADERS: While framing the laws, the Centre could even provide for punitive action against political leaders found guilty of inciting mobs.

PUNISH THE GUILTY POLICE OFFICERS: Punitive action to be taken against police officers accused of dereliction of duty, as incorporated in the law enacted by the Manipur government, could be replicated in the Central law too as it would deter police officials acting in a partisan manner in favour of the lynch mob.

Until a zero-tolerance attitude is adopted in dealing with mob lynching, this crime will continue to show a rising trend.

SESSIONS OF PARLIAMENT

NEWS:President Ram Nath Kovind will address the joint sitting of Parliament on January 31 as the Budget session gets under way. The Lok Sabha secretariat notified the Presidential order of January 15 in the official Government of India gazette. The first part of the session will end on February 11.

ABOUT SESSIONS OF PARLIAMENT

The president from time to time summons each House of Parliament to meet. But, the maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament cannot be more than six months. In other words, the Parliament should meet at least twice a year.

There are usually three sessions in a year, viz,

  1. Budget Session (February to May);
  2. Monsoon Session (July to September); and
  3. Winter Session (November to December).

A ‘session’ of Parliament is the period spanning between the first sitting of a House and its prorogation (or dissolution in the case of the Lok Sabha). During a session, the House meets everyday to transact business.

The period spanning between the prorogation of a House and its reassembly in a new session is called ‘recess’.

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER

NEWS:

Russia’s lawmakers approved Mikhail Mishustin as Prime Minister on Thursday in a lower house vote, less than 24 hours after President Vladimir Putin nominated him for the role.

His elevation is part of a sweeping shake-up of the political system announced by Putin on Wednesday, which led to the resignation of Dmitry Medvedev as Prime Minister along with his government.

Mr. Mishustin received 383 votes of 424 cast, with no votes against and 41 abstentions in a victory that had been all but assured when he won the unanimous backing of his party, United Russia, which has a strong majority in the chamber.

Mr. Putin has been in power longer than any other Russian or Soviet leader since Josef Stalin, who led from 1924 until his death in 1953. Under the current law, Mr. Putin must step down when his current term ends.

Critics have long accused Mr. Putin, a former KGB officer, of plotting to stay on in some capacity after his term ends and continue to wield power over the world’s largest nation, which is also one of its two leading nuclear powers.

The constitutional reform proposals, which he set out on Wednesday and suggested should be put to a referendum, would give him the option of taking an enhanced role as Prime Minister after 2024 or a new role as head of the State Council, an official body he said he was keen to build up.

Mr. Putin could even become speaker of a new, supercharged Parliament.

Mr. Putin suggested amending the Constitution to allow lawmakers to name Prime Ministers and Cabinet members. The President currently holds the authority to make those appointments.

At the same time, Mr. Putin argued that Russia would not remain stable if it were governed under a parliamentary system. The President should retain the right to dismiss the PM and Cabinet Ministers, to name top defence and security officials, and to be in charge of the Russian military and law enforcement agencies, he said.

 

TELECOM REGUALTORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA

NEWS: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday said telecom service providers will need to deposit all unclaimed money of consumers, including excess charges and security deposit, in the Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF).

ABOUT TRAI

  • Established in 1997
  • Established by an Act of Parliament, called the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997
  • TRAI is an independent regulator of Telecom Business in India.
  • Aims to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.
  • Its mission is to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in India to enable country to have leading role in emerging global information society.
  • It also provides fair and transparent environment that promotes level playing field and facilitates fair competition in the market.
  • It also regularly issues orders and directions on various subjects such as tariffs, quality of service, interconnections, Direct To Home (DTH) services and mobile number portability.
  • TRAI also fixes or revises the tariffs for telecom services in India.

SPORTS

 

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