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The Hindu Newspaper 09th June 2020

1)“Himansh” sometimes seen in the news recently is a/an?

  • a.  Nuclear powered submarine
  • b.  High altitude research station
  • c.  Wild life conservation centre
  • d.  None of the above

Answer : b

  • Six Himalayan glaciers monitored by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) have been retreating in the range of 13 to 33 millimetres per year.
  • The NCPOR has established a high altitude research station named ‘Himansh’ in Himalaya at 4,000 metres altitude at Sutri Dhaka, a remote location in Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.

2)Consider the following statements with respect to the territory of Hong Kong

  1. It is a former British colony located in the Pacific Ocean.
  2. It is being governed by China under the principle of Two State Solution.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  • a.  1 only
  • b.  2 only
  • c.  Both 1 and 2
  • d.  Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : d

  • Hong Kong is a former British colony became a special administrative region of China in 1997.
  • It is governed under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, under which China has agreed to give the region a high degree of autonomy and to preserve its economic and social systems for 50 years from the date of the handover.
  • Hong Kong is located in China’s southern coast and is surrounded by the South China Sea on all sides except the north.
  • Recently, protesters in Hong Kong have broken into the LegCo (Legislative Council), the Parliament building of Hong Kong and vandalised it.
  • This was in protest against the now-suspended Extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party.

3)Consider the following statements with respect to Article 341 of the Indian Constitution

  1. President, in consultation with the governor of a state concerned may notify a caste as a Scheduled Caste.
  2. Under the Article, the power to make changes in the Scheduled Caste list lies only with the Parliament.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  • a.  1 only
  • b.  2 only
  • c.  Both 1 and 2
  • d.  Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : c

Under Article 341:

  • The President may with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a State after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify a caste as a Scheduled Caste.
  • Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Castes specified in a notification issued under 341 (1).

4)Which one of the following is not a criterion for declaring a language as a classical language?

  • a.  High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1,500-2,000 years
  • b.  A body of ancient literature/texts which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers
  • c.  Should be speak at least by a population not less than 2 lakhs and have minimum two generational speakers
  • d.  A literary tradition that is original and not borrowed from another speech community

Answer : c

The criteria for declaring a language as classical mandates:

  1. High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1,500-2,000 years.
  2. A body of ancient literature/texts which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers.
  3. A literary tradition that is original and not borrowed from another speech community.
  4. Since the classical language and literature is distinct from the modern, there can also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.
  • A proposal for granting Marathi the status of a classical language was under “active consideration” and the proposal is placed before a committee of linguistic experts for consideration

News:- Role of microRNA in growth and spread of tongue cancer cells:- Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras have identified a  specific microRNA (miRNAs) called ‘miR155’ that is  overexpressed in tongue cancer. The research team has shown that knocking out miR155 causes death of  cancer cells, arrests the cell cycle and regresses tumour size in animal models and reduces cell viability and colony  formation in bench top assays. The finding could help develop molecular strategies to manipulate miR155 expression to develop therapeutics for tongue cancer.

The miRNAs associated with cancer are called ‘Oncomirs’.”

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs containing 20–24 nucleotides that participate in virtually all biological pathways in animals.

News:- Stimulus has not helped MSMEs: AIMO survey

What has been found:- Over 78% of the 60 million MSMEs and 83% of selfemployed have expressed unhappiness over the  financial stimulus announced by the Centre recently as they have not seen the direct benefits of it over the last three weeks, according to a survey conducted by the All India Manufacturers Organisation (AIMO).

What is AIMO :- AIMO was founded by Bharat Ratna Sir. M. Visvesvaraya over 75 years ago. The Organisation has established itself as a body committed to Industrial progress with the motto “Prosperity through Industry”. It has been recognized by Government as an apex Organisation of industry and given representation on most of the policy making bodies of the Central and State Governments.

News:- Economy to contract 3.2% in FY21: World Bank

World Bank said in its Global Economic Prospects (GEP) June 2020 report released on Monday. Growth is forecast at 3.1% next year. The world economy, as a whole, is set to witness its deepest recession since World War II, with a forecasted contraction of 5.2%  this year — some 60 million could be pushed into  extreme poverty, World Bank Group President David Malpass hadwarned last week.

News:- Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process:- The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process was established to provide a platform to discuss regional issues, particularly encouraging security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbors. This region-led dialogue was launched in November 2011 to expand practical coordination between Afghanistan and its neighbors and regional partners in facing common threats, including counterterrorism, counternarcotics, poverty, and extremism.

The process has 3 pillars, namely, Political Consultation, Confidence Building Measures(CBM), and cooperation with regional organizations. India is the lead country for trade, commerce and investment CBM. 

Track 2 dialogues are intra Afghan talks between the Afghan govt. And taliban.

News:- Winds of southern Hemisphere :- The Roaring 40s, Furious 50s and Screaming 60s are winds that batter the Southern Ocean, on the fringes of Antarctica. Their names are nods to the latitudes at which they occur in the Southern Hemisphere, and are terrifying in the intensity they evoke. And with just cause: long feared for the devastation they could wreak, their very existence shaped the shipping routes used by the boats that sailed these waters.

Reason of these winds:- These westerly winds have less land mass to slow them down, as beyond a certain point, dry land becomes a rarity. The difference in temperature between the Antarctic ice and water creates turbulence, which in turn results in intense depressions. The winds range from 15 to 25 knots, reaching speeds that can be dangerous for skippers.

News:- Operation Samudra Setu and Various Naval Ships:- Mission to bring stranded Indians from nations where they have been trapped.

By Indian Navy.

INS JALASHWA : From Male

INS Shardul : From bandar Abbas port, Iran

INS MAGAR : From Sri Lanka.

Editorial of the Day :- The e-diplomacy experiment

India recently concluded First Virtual Conference with Australia.

This e-Summit is a good move in the times of pandemic.

Advantages of e-Summits:-

  • Time Saving
  • Cost saving
  • Risk free (risk of infection is less)
  • Quick, fast and less cumbersome

Some Concerns of e-Summits:-

  • Less actual deliverables ( Since many issues require more discussion and more one to one contact.)
  • Less actual signed agreements
  • Threat of Cyber Security , since content can be hacked.
  • Technical Glitches are always a possibility.

Way Forward:- Having e-Summits is better than having nothing at all. In person summits will restart one day. But the online interlude has to go on because diplomacy has to goon.

Editorial 2 :- The critical role of decentralised responses

Central Theme:- Strategies in tackling the COVID19 crisis must include local governments  being equipped and fiscally empowered .

COVID-19 has raised home four major challenges

economic, health, welfare/livelihood and resource mobilisation.

These challenges have to be addressed by all tiers of government in the federal polity, jointly and severally. 

Several Lacunae of the Local Govt. :-

  • One, the new normal demands a paradigm shift in the delivery of health care at the cutting edge level. 
  • Two, the parallel bodies that have come up after the 73rd/74th Constitutional Amendments have considerably distorted the functions fund flow matrix atthe lower level of governance.
  • Three, there is yet no clarity in the assignment of  functions, functionaries and financial responsibilities to local governments. Functional mapping and responsibilities  continue to be ambiguous in many States.

Author has given A few suggestions for resource mobilisation are given under three heads: local finance, Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme, or MPLADs, and the Fifteenth Finance  Commission (FFC).

Local Finance :- Property tax collection with appropriate exemptions should be a compulsory levy and preferably must cover land. 

The Economic Survey 2017-18 points out that urban local  governments, or ULGs, generate about 44% of their revenue  from own sources as against only 5% by rural local governments,  or RLGs. Per capita own revenue collected by ULGs is about 3% of urban per capita income while the corresponding figure is only 0.1% for RLGs. There is a yawning gap between tax potential  and actual collection, resulting in colossal underperformance.

Land monetisation and betterment levy may be tried in the context of  COVID-19 in India. 

To be sure, land values have to be unbundled for socially  relevant purposes. 

Municipalities and even suburban panchayats can issue a coronacontainment bond for a period of say 10 years,  on a coupon rate below market rate but significantly above the reverse repo rate to attract banks

MP fund scheme:- The suspension of MPLADS by the Union government for two years is a welcome measure. The annual budget was around ₹4,000 crore. The Union government has appropriated the entire allocation along with the huge non lapseable arrears.  MPLADs, which was a vowedly earmarked for local area development, must be assigned to local governments, preferably to panchayats on the basis of well defined criteria. 

Fourteenth Finance Commission Grant:- A special COVID-19 containment grant  to the LGs by the FFC to be distributed on the basis of SFC laid criteria is the need of the hour.

NEWS:– All about ED :-

It is a Multi Disciplinary Organization mandated with the task of enforcing the provisions of two special fiscal laws – Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). 

Historical background:

The origin of this Directorate goes back to 1st May, 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed, in Department of Economic Affairs, for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 (FERA ’47).

In the year 1957, this Unit was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’. The administrative control of the Directorate was transferred from Department of Economic Affairs to Department of Revenue in 1960.

For a short period of 04 years (1973 – 1977), the Directorate also remained under the administrative jurisdiction of Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms. 

Powers:

The Directorate enforces two laws;

  1. FEMA, a Civil Law having quasi judicial powers, for investigating suspected contraventions of the Exchange Control Laws and Regulations with the powers to impose penalties on those adjudged guilty.
  2. PMLA, a Criminal Law, whereby the Officers are empowered to conduct enquiries to locate, provisionally attach/confiscate assets derived from acts of Schedules Offences besides arresting and prosecuting the Money Launderers.

Composition:

Besides directly recruiting personnel, the Directorate also draws officers from different Investigating Agencies, viz., Customs & Central Excise, Income Tax, Police, etc. on deputation.

Other functions:

  • Processing cases of fugitive/s from India under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
  • Sponsor cases of preventive detention under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974(COFEPOSA) in regard to contraventions of FEMA.

Special courts:

For the trial of an offence punishable under section 4 of PMLA, the Central Government (in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court), designates one or more Sessions Court as Special Court(s). The court is also called “PMLA Court”.

Any appeal against any order passed by PMLA court can directly be filed in the High Court for that jurisdiction.

News:- LG overrules Delhi govt. order to restrict COVID-19 treatment

What were the Orders of Delhi Govt. :-

  • to restrict COVID19 treatment and admission at both private and State run city hospitals to those bearing documented proof of residence in Delhi. 
  • COVID-19 test only for symptomatic patients.

How can LG overturn the order:- LG is the chairperson of Delhi Disaster management Authority and thus u der DM Act 2005 , it can overturn the order.

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