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THE HINDU DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 21st JANUARY 2020

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Q.1 Consider the following statements:
1. The Antyodaya Express is a fully unreserved, super-fast train service for the common man.
2. UDAY is an air conditioned double decker train for yatris.
3. Tejas is the India’s first private train.
Which of the above statements are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Q.2 Which of the following statement(s) is/ are correct about Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)?
1. It is a comprehensive package which aims to create modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management
from farm gate to retail outlet.
2. PMKSY is implemented by Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI).
Select the correct option using the code given
below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3 In the context of ancient India, Kaniyan Pungundranar was
(a) An influential Tamil philosopher from the Sangam age.
(b) A painter in the court of Chandragupta II.

(c) One of the ruler of the Lichhavi’s of Vaishali.
(d) A famous physician in the court of Pallava king Narsimha Varman I.

ANSWER: D,C,A

ELECTORAL BOND SCHEME

NEWS:

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde on Monday orally made it clear that if the Supreme Court had found it unnecessary to stay the electoral bonds scheme earlier, it might not stay the scheme even now.

The comments came on a fervent plea by advocates Prashant Bhushan and Shadan Farasat that new facts had come up indicating that the scheme was being frequently opened to allow funds to fill the coffers of the ruling party.

Both the Election Commission (EC) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had strongly objected to the scheme and raised the red flag against it.

ABOUT ELECTORAL BOND SCHEME

Electoral bonds will allow donors to pay political parties using banks as an intermediary.

Key features: Although called a bond, the banking instrument resembling promissory notes will not carry any interest. The electoral bond, which will be a bearer instrument, will not carry the name of the payee and can be bought for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 crore.

Eligibility: As per provisions of the Scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a citizen of India, or entities incorporated or established in India. A person being an individual can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals. Only the registered Political Parties which have secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last Lok Sabha elections or the State Legislative Assembly are eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.

Concerns expressed:

The move could be misused, given the lack of disclosure requirements for individuals purchasing electoral bonds.

Electoral bonds make electoral funding even more opaque. It will bring more and more black money into the political system.

With electoral bonds there can be a legal channel for companies to round-trip their tax haven cash to a political party. If this could be arranged, then a businessman could lobby for a change in policy, and legally funnel a part of the profits accruing from this policy change to the politician or party that brought it about.

Electoral bonds eliminate the 7.5% cap on company donations which means even loss-making companies can make unlimited donations.

Companies no longer need to declare the names of the parties to which they have donated so shareholders won’t know where their money has gone.

They have potential to load the dice heavily in favour of the ruling party as the donor bank and the receiver bank know the identity of the person. But both the banks report to the RBI which, in turn, is subject to the Central government’s will to know.

GOVERNMENT’S OVERTAKING OF UNITECH

NEWS:

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the government’s proposal to take over the management of the embattled real estate major Unitech Ltd. and appointed a new board of directors to steer the completion of pending projects and provide homes for over 12,000 investors in dire straits.

A Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah appointed former IAS officer Yudvir Singh Malik as the chairman and managing director of the new board, while refusing to give a berth on the board to Unitech Group founder Ramesh Chandra at this stage.

“Unitech promoters Sanjay Chandra and his brother Ajay Chandra are currently lodged in Tihar jail for allegedly siphoning off homebuyers’ money. The court said the probe into irregularities in the company would continue and said the work of a panel appointed to sell the company’s assets and use the money in completion of pending projects, would continue till the new board comes up with a resolution framework.

NIA AMENDMENT ACT

NEWS:

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the government to respond to a petition challenging the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Act of 2019, saying the law concentrated police powers in one centralised agency, which would act on the “whims and fancies” of the Central government.

A Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman issued the notice to the government on a writ petition filed by Umar M., secretary of the Solidarity Youth Movement based at Kozhikode.

The NIA amendment Act has enlarged the Jurisdiction of NIA:-

Scheduled offences: The schedule to the Act specifies a list of offences which are to be investigated and prosecuted by the NIA.  These include offences under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.  The Bill seeks to allow the NIA to investigate the following offences, in addition: (i) human trafficking, (ii) offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes, (iii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, (iv) cyber-terrorism, and (v) offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
Jurisdiction of the NIA: The Act provides for the creation of the NIA to investigate and prosecute offences specified in the schedule.  The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to investigation of such offences, across India.  The Bill states that in addition, officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.  The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offence has been committed in India.  The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.

Special Courts: The Act allows the central government to constitute Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.  The Bill amends this to state that the central government may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.  The central government is required to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court under which the Sessions Court is functioning, before designating it as a Special Court.

ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE

NEWS: 

NRI businessman C.C. Thampi has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a London property that was earlier bought by defence dealer Sanjay Bhandari. The accused is currently in the agency’s custody.

It is alleged that Sky Lite Investment FZE, a Dubai-based company through which the property was acquired, was controlled by Mr. Thampi.

About Enforcement Directorate

Directorate of Enforcement is a specialized financial investigation agency under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

On 1 May 1956, an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed, in Department of Economic Affairs, for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947.

In the year 1957, this Unit was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’.

ED enforces the following laws:

Foreign Exchange Management Act,1999 (FEMA)

Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA)

How does Money Laundering take place?

Money laundering is a three-stage process :

Placement: The first stage is when the crime money is injected into the formal financial system.

Layering: In the second stage, money injected into the system is layered and spread over various transactions with a view to obfuscate the tainted origin of the money.

Integration: In the third and the final stage, money enters the financial system in such a way that original association with the crime is sought to be wiped out and the money can then be used by the offender as clean money.

ALLAHABAD NAME CHANGE ISSUE

NEWS: 

The Supreme Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to explain its decision to rename Allahabad as Prayagraj.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde issued notice to the State government on Monday on an appeal filed by the Allahabad Heritage Society and others, all represented by advocates Prashant Bhushan and Shadan Farasat.

The petition stated that the State only had power of administration and revenue over land areas under Schedule VII of the Constitution. It could not change the names of the areas for “non-administrative reasons”.

FIRST EDITORIAL: DANGEROUS TREKS

WHY IN NEWS?

In the latest incident, on Sunday, a 40-year-old woman, who reportedly went trekking in a reserve forest in Coimbatore, with her husband and friends, was trampled by an elephant.

In 2018, 23 people, most of them youngsters, perished in a forest fire while on an unauthorised expedition in south Tamil Nadu’s Kurangani hills.

The hike was organised by a private trekking club without Forest Department permission.

EDITORIAL’S VIEW

Venturing into forests for a trek without certified guides is akin to walking into a death trap with one’s eyes closed.

Far from being sensitised by these tragedies about the dangers of unfamiliar terrain and wild animals, trekkers continue to put themselves in harm’s way.

Private adventure clubs, most of them online entities, continue to entice youngsters by promising an adventurous experience in the wild. They conceal information on whether they are authorised to conduct such expeditions.

WHAT COULD BE DONE?

Increase awareness about forest laws.

Conduct organised treks along safe designated routes and escorted by persons familiar with the terrain.

Using technology, the Forest Department must strengthen its surveillance mechanism to prevent the illegal entry of trekkers.

As the Atulya Misra Committee, which probed the Kurangani fire tragedy, recommended, the government must fund acquisition of more unmanned, high-technology aerial vehicles, which would aid the Forest Department that is short on manpower.

Laws need to be tightened to deal with violators, who are now merely fined for trespassing into reserve forests.

The authorities must also monitor advertisements by private adventure clubs, both offline and online, to ensure they do not conduct unauthorised treks.

LEAD ARTICLE: REDESIGINIING INDIA’S AILING DATA SYSTEM

WHY IN NEWS?

The new series of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures with 2011-12 as base, released in 2015, has not gone well with analysts; the withholding of employment-unemployment data for some time and consumer expenditure data, which is not released, added to this unease.

WHY DATA PUBLICATION SHOULD BE INDEPENDENCE?

As official statistics is a public good, giving information about the state of the economy and success of governance, it needs to be independent to be impartial.

GDP data influence markets, signalling investment sentiments, flow of funds and balance of payments. The input-output relations impact productivity and allocation of resources; demand and supply influences prices, exchange rates, wage rates, employment and standard of living, affecting all walks of life.

Along with GDP, we need data to assess competitiveness, inclusive growth, fourth-generation Industrial Revolution riding on the Internet of things, biotechnology, robotics-influencing employment and productivity, environmental protection, sustainable development and social welfare.

To pursue the goal of a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25, harnessing demographic dividend, we must tap underused resources for demand creating investment, which require data to pursue policy right from a district and evaluate performance for efficiency including governance.

WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM WITH THE GDP SERIES OF 2011-12?

The present series encountered serious problems for price adjustment, specifically for the services sector contributing about 60% of GDP, in the absence of appropriate price indices for most service sectors. The deflators used in the new series could not effectively separate out price effect from the current value to arrive at a real volume estimate at constant price. Price indices going into a low and negative zone in 2014-17 distorted real growth.

The shift from establishment to enterprise approach, replacing Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) with Ministry of Corporate Affairs MCA21 posed serious data and methodological issues. The use of MCA21 data and blow up factors thereof without weeding out defunct enterprises, and then insufficient work on mapping of comparable ASI data, followed by similar survey on services sector enterprises were another major lacunae.

AUTHOR’S VIEW

The present national accounting and analytical framework misses out on many important dimensions of the economy and its complex character as an evolving economy that is constantly experiencing technological and institutional transitions and power plays in a market economy.

We need a new framework for analysis for such a complex system and evolutionary process.

We need to find alternative avenues for the unemployed and jobs lost. In order to inject efficiency and stability, we need to have detailed data on how: markets clear, prices are formed, risks build up, institutions function and, in turn, influence the lifestyle of various sections of the people.

CONCLUSION

Data is the new oil in the modern networked economy in pursuit of socio-economic development. The economics now is deeply rooted in data, measuring and impacting competitiveness, risks, opportunities and social welfare in an integrated manner, going much beyond macroeconomics.

As these statistics reflect on the performance of the government, it is necessary that its independence is maintained scrupulously.

SECOND ARTICLE: CHANGES IN RUSSIA’S GOVERNMENT

WHY CHANGES ARE BEING MADE?

Vladimir Putin’s presidential term is ending in 2024.

WHAT ARE THE AREAS WHERE CHANGES ARE BEING MADE?

Vladimir Putin has announced major changes in three directions: constitutional changes; reshuffling his close aides and policy makers; a slew of economic and social measures that will impact Russian economy and society.

The powerful Russian security council has been given a new deputy chairmanship — the chair is the president.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Mr. Putin’s closest aide has been shifted to this newly created post. This constitutional change has to be introduced into the Duma and signed by the President. It is clear this will be done post-facto and seamlessly since the Duma is under Mr. Putin’s control and his party has the majority.

Clearly, the constitutional change to the Security Council has been made to accommodate Mr. Medvedev, who has, since the early 1990s, worked as a close aide to Mr. Putin. In fact since the Russian Constitution had stipulated that the Russian President could serve only two consecutive terms, Mr. Medvedev was installed as President between 2008-2012 and Mr. Putin became Prime Minister. It was more than evident that not only did Mr. Medvedev keep the seat warm till he was replaced by Mr. Putin in 2012, he also did not take any decision himself, ruling by proxy for Mr. Putin. Then Mr. Medvedev again became the Prime Minister from 2012 until last week.

The other constitutional changes are also significant. Mr. Putin has proposed that the Russian legislature, the Duma, actually get more powers. For example, the Duma will now approve the appointment of the Prime Minister, and the President’s Deputies and cabinet Ministers.

In the original Constitution the President alone nominated them. Now the Duma will have the power to endorse or reject the President’s choice. However the President retains the right to suggest the names and dismiss them.

Further, the newly proposed changes also empower the State Council. The State Council worked as an assembly of Governors from federal states which met irregularly with primarily consultative powers. State Council now gets constitutional status. Even as Mr. Putin announced a non-binding plebiscite on these changes, the Russian political system remains a highly centralised presidential one.

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHANGES

To address demographic decline but also the stagnating Russian economy, Mr. Putin announced measures that include: All low income families with children under age seven will receive monthly cash handouts. All children till grade four in all Russian schools will get free lunch. All mothers after the birth of their first or second child will receive benefits and payments.

Besides these handouts, he announced public spending and infrastructure projects to address poverty, decrease social tensions, reduce income gaps, improve health. This will add up to 450 billion rubles ($7.5 billion) per year in terms of public spending in Russia’s yearly budget. This could stimulate the economy, address the demographic crises and kickstart the stagnation in the economy. At a time of worldwide austerity and cut in social expenditures, Mr. Putin is going against the tide. The Russian people support these measures.

CONCLUSION

The truth is that while opposition and criticism has demonised Mr. Putin, he remains in control and has popular support. At a time of right-wing populisms holding power and increasing control of institutions the world over, and at a time of declining multilateralism and new threats, Mr. Putin and Russia refuse to lie down and be walked over. The word for describing Mr. Putin could be populist authoritarian.

 

OP-ED PAGE

FIRST ARTICLE: CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT

WHY IN NEWS?

On January 22, the Supreme Court will hear 60-plus petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

As a matter of fact, it is the apex court that is largely responsible for the current mess.

WHY?  Its Sarbananda Sonowal judgment (2005), which struck down the Assam-specific Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act (IMDT), was the turning point of the debate on ‘illegal migrants’.

In the Sonowal judgment (2005), the Supreme Court struck down the Assam-specific Act that had put the burden of proof on the state rather than on the person alleged to be a foreigner.

Without providing any evidence, the court went on to say that “unabated influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh into Assam [had] led to a perceptible change in the demographic pattern of the State and reduced the Assamese people to a minority in their own State.”

The National Register of Citizens (NRC), monitored by the Supreme Court itself, has proved these fears to be exaggerated. Even if all the 19 lakh excluded people are considered ‘illegal migrants’, their composition as a proportion of Assam’s population is just 4%.

Citizenship Models- by birth and descent

Citizenship by birth, or jus soli, embraces all those who identify with a country. In contrast, jus sanguinis, citizenship based solely on descent, recognises that some races or ethnicities as ‘national’ and others are ‘outsiders’.

While discussing citizenship in the Constituent Assembly (CA), the drafters were very conscious of how they wanted to build the India of their dreams. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel rejected citizenship based on racial principle.

His enlightened views, and those of the other CA members, were reflected in the Citizenship Act of 1955 which provided for citizenship by birth.

This changed in 1987 when, for the first time, India made jus sanguinis applicable after the then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi buckled under pressure from Assamese nationalists and signed the Assam Accord.

PROBLEMS WITH THE CAA-WHY IT IS NOT VALID?

In the case of the CAA , the geographic differentiation — exclusion of Inner Line Permit States/areas from its ambit — has no nexus with the overall objective of the Act, i.e., helping persecuted people. This makes the Act fall short of the criterion laid down in the Sonowal case.

The CAA, in essence, not only violates the constitutional values of secularism and freedom of religion, but also negates the principle of equal protection and non-discrimination.

Finally, if the purpose of the CAA is to preserve the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (‘The world is one family’), why does the government not enact a comprehensive refugee law that would provide for a fair and objective procedure to determine ‘persecution’ and allow eligible refugees to seek asylum? By conflating asylum with citizenship, the CAA sadly prioritises politics over persecuted people.

 

SECOND ARTICLE: GUARANTEEING HEALTHCARE THROUGH BRAZILIAN MODEL

WHY BRAZILIAN MODEL?

Brazil, is the only country where more than 100 million inhabitants have a universal health system, is worth studying.

Following the end of military rule, the Brazilian society decided to achieve universal coverage by establishing a government-funded system. The Unified Health System (SUS), which guaranteed free health coverage that included pharmaceutical services, was written into the new Constitution in 1988.

Progress over 30 years

In the last 30 years, Brazilians have experienced a drastic increase in health coverage as well as outcomes: life expectancy has increased from 64 years to almost 76 years, while Infant Mortality Rate has declined from 53 to 14 per 1,000 live births. In terms of service provision, polio vaccination has reached 98% of the population. A 2015 report said that 95% of those that seek care in the SUS are able to receive treatment. Every year, the SUS covers more than two million births, 10 million hospital admissions, and nearly one billion ambulatory procedures.

FOR INDIA

Achieving universal coverage in India, a country with a population of 1.3 billion, is a challenge of epic proportions. Hence, the advances in this field should be seen not in binaries but judged by its steady growth and improvement. For instance, India must record details of improvement in terms of access, production and population health on a year-by-year basis. A starting point for this daunting task is funding. Public health expenditure is still very low in India, at around 1.3% of GDP in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Establishing wellness centres

The Brazilian experience can also inform the design of the expansion of primary care that underlies Ayushman Bharat, that is, the creation of 1,50,000 wellness centre by 2022. The Family Health Programme (Programa Saúde da Família), which relies on a community-based healthcare network, is the backbone of the rapid expansion of coverage in Brazil. The strategy is based on an extensive work of community health agents who perform monthly visits to every family enrolled in the programme.

Both Brazil and India are composed of large States with a reasonable degree of administrative autonomy. This fact implies great challenges and opportunities. The major challenge is that a one-size-fits-all approach for such heterogeneous regional realities is inconceivable: Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, and Bihar differ in so many ways and this diversity must be met by an intricate combination of standardised programmes and autonomy to adopt policies according to their characteristics. Moreover, regional disparities in terms of resources and institutional capabilities must be addressed. This diversity, nevertheless, can be a powerful source of policy innovation and creativity.

CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT

NEWS:

Students of several faculties of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), including those of Science and Life Sciences, took out a protest march on Monday and decided to boycott classes and exams. The university reopened after the extended winter vacation in accordance with the schedule released by its administration.

In a press statement, the students demanded an immediate roll-back of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. “This Act shakes the pluralistic foundations of India and tarnishes the principle of equality in the country,” the statement said.

WHAT DOES THE ACT CONTAINS?

The ACT seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 by seeking to grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

The ACT says the six non-Muslim communities “shall not be treated as illegal migrant” for violating provisions under Passport Act, 1920 or the Foreigners Act, 1946 that pertains to foreigners entering and staying in India illegally.

The ACT shall not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the sixth schedule of the Constitution and States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

ACT has reduce the time period required for naturalization from 11 years to 5 years for members of these communities.

NUCLEAR NON PROLIFERATION TREATY

NEWS:

Iran said on Monday it will consider withdrawing from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if a dispute over its atomic programme goes before the UN Security Council.

Britain, France and Germany launched a process last week charging Iran with failing to observe the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, a move that could eventually see the Security Council reimpose international sanctions on the country.

ABOUT NPT

Treaty aims to:

  • Prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.
  • Promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Nuclear disarmament.
  • The three objectives viz. non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use of nuclear technology, are sometimes called three pillars of NPT.

 

Parties

  • The treaty entered into force in 1970 and in 1995 it was extended indefinitely. It has 190 parties.
  • All the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are among its members.
  • India, Pakistan & Israel have not signed the treaty.
  • North Korea acceded to the NPT in 1985, then withdrew in 2003.

FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE

NEWS: 

Pakistan has urged the U.S. to support its bid to exit from the grey list of the FATF ahead of a key meeting of the international terror financing watchdog in Beijing, in which it will scrutinise Islamabad’s efforts to adopt stricter laws against terror financing and money laundering.

The FATF in October decided to keep Pakistan on its ‘Grey’ list for failure to curb funnelling of funds to terror groups LeT, JeM and others. If not removed off the list by April, Pakistan may move to a blacklist of countries that face severe economic sanctions, such as Iran.

ABOUT FATF

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7. 

It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.

The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

The FATF is an inter-governmental body that works to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

A country is put on the grey list when it fails to curb terrorism financing and money laundering.

Putting a country on the blacklist means shutting all doors to international finance for that country.

ADJUSTED GROSS REVENUE ISSUE OF TELECOM COMPANIES

NEWS:

Telecom majors Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel moved the Supreme Court on Monday for modification of its October 24, 2019 order for payment of dues to the government within three months, saying the direction would have huge ramifications on the telecom industry and “severely hamper” programmes like Digital India, Make in India and Skill India.

The pleas come after a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Arun Mishra, on January 16 dismissed petitions filed by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, among others, 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 (AGR) 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

NCLT

NEWS:

The Ahmedabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has admitted an application against Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited (R-Naval) for insolvency.

“The application by IDBI Bank Ltd. for a claim of ₹1,159.43 crore before the NCLT Ahmedabad bench has been admitted,” R-Naval said in a filing with the exchanges.

ABOUT NCLT

Central government has constituted NCLT under section 408 of the companies Act 2013 w.e.f 1st June 2016.

NCLT is a QUASI JUDICIAL body in India that has the power under Companies Act to adjudicate on

proceedings Initiated before the COMPANY LAW BOARD under the previous Companies Act of 1956,

Cases pending before BOARD FOR INDUSTRIAL AND FINANCIAL RECONSTRUCTION including those pending under the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act 1985, and

Case pertaining to claims of OPPRESSION AND MISMANAGEMENT OF COMPANY, winding up of companies and

all other powers prescribed under the Companies Act.

NCLT was set up on the recommendation of JUSTICE ERADI COMMITTEE on law relating to insolvency and winding up of companies.

NCLT is adjudicating authority under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016.

The Act provides for appointment of a President and such number of Members as the Government may deem necessary. As on date there are 17 Judicial Members and 10 Technical Members

Presently, 16 numbers of NCLT Benches have been established, including the Principal Bench in New Delhi, and three recently set up benches at Jaipur, Kochi and Cuttack.

Justice MM Kumar is the current President of NCLT.

OXFAM INEQUALITY REPORT: TIME TO CARE

These are five of the most shocking facts featured in the report:

1. The richest 1% in the world have more than double the wealth of 6.9 billion people

Global wealth distribution
Image: Oxfam

Among that 1% are the world’s 2,153 billionaires, who in 2019 had more wealth than 4.6 billion people.

Oxfam has calculated that to amass even a fifth of the average fortune of the world’s five richest billionaires, you would need to have saved $10,000 a day since the building of the pyramids in Egypt.

In reality, almost half the world’s population lives on less than $5.50 a day, according to World Bank estimates.

2. The world’s richest 22 men have more money than all the women in Africa

How Africa’s wealth compares
Image: Oxfam

And Africa is a big continent.

Oxfam has worked out that if the world’s two richest men sat on their wealth piled up in $100 bills, they’d be in outer space.

Compare that to middle-class people in rich countries, who would be sitting at chair height. The vast majority of people would be sitting on the floor.

The gender gap.
Image: Oxfam.

3. Women and girls put in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid work every day

From fetching firewood and water, so they can clean and cook for the male breadwinner, to looking after children and the elderly, women often bear the burden of essential unpaid work, says Oxfam.

Every day, women and girls around the world work for a combined 12.5 billion hours for free, according to the International Labour Organization.

Oxfam found women in the poorest households in low-income countries were the hardest hit, with women in Uganda, Zimbabwe, India, the Philippines and Kenya spending 40 minutes more each day on activities like collecting water and fuel than those who were better off.

With an ageing population, the world is facing a care crisis and the burden on care workers will only grow. Alongside this, the climate crisis will disproportionately affect women, as they’ll have to walk further to find water and spend more time coping with sickness, says Oxfam.

FACTUAL NEWS

PARIKSHA PE CHARCHA:  an annual event organised by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry on the issue of examination stress.

J P NADDA: 11th president of the BJP.

Mr. Nadda, born to Krishna and Narain Lall Nadda, on December 2, 1960, did his schooling at St. Xavier’s, Patna, and graduated from Patna College, Patna University.

He joined the ABVP in Patna and continued the association when he and his family moved back to their native Himachal Pradesh after his father retired from Patna University.

For Mr. Nadda, not only is the role of the third wheel in the Modi-Shah equation going to be a tightrope walk but will also be tough to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Shah, whose control over the organisation and meticulous electoral planning have acquired legendary proportions.

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