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CIVIL SNIPPETS

Iran says it has breached stockpile limit under nuclear deal #GS2 #IR
Iran acknowledged on Monday that it had broken the limit set on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium
by the 2015 nuclear deal, marking its first major departure from the unraveling agreement a year after
the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the accord.

Iran had been expected for days to acknowledge it broke the limit after earlier warning it would do so. It
held off on publicly making an announcement as European leaders met on June 28 in Vienna to discuss
ways to save the accord. Iran has threatened to increase its enrichment of uranium closer to weapons-
grade levels by July 7.

The announcement comes as tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S. In recent weeks, the
wider Persian Gulf has seen Iran shoot down an U.S. military surveillance drone, mysterious attacks
on oil tankers and Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen launching bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.

The State-run IRNA news agency quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as making the
uranium announcement. IRNA reported that Mr. Zarif, answering a reporter’s question whether Iran had
broken the limit, said, “Yes.”

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, declined to say on July
1 whether Iran had broken through the limit. “Our inspectors are on the ground and they will report to
headquarters as soon as the [low-enriched uranium] stockpile has been verified,” the agency said.

Breaking the stockpile limit by itself doesn’t radically change the one year experts say Iran would need
to have enough material for an atomic bomb, if it to chooses to pursue one. Iran long has insisted its
nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, despite Western fears about it.

But, by coupling an increasing stockpile with higher enrichment, it begins to close that one-year window
and hamper any diplomatic efforts at saving the accord.

Under terms of the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to have less than 300 kilograms of uranium enriched to a
maximum of 3.67%. Previously, Iran enriched as high as 20%, which is a short technical step away
from reaching weapons-grade levels. It also held up to 10,000 kg of the higher-enriched uranium.

At the time of the 2015 deal, which was agreed to by Iran, the United States, China, Russia, Germany,
France and Britain, experts believed Iran needed anywhere from several weeks to three months to
have enough material for a bomb.

Mr. Zarif was quoted as also saying that the country remained on track to raise its enrichment if Europe
did not take any additional steps toward saving the accord. “The next step is about the 3.67% limitation,
which we will implement too,” he warned.
https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/iran-says-it-has-breached-stockpile-limit-under-nuclear-
deal/article28250968.ece

GST collection dips below ₹1 lakh crore- T.C.A. Sharad Raghavan #GS3
#Economy

Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections narrowly missed crossing the ₹1 lakh-crore mark in June 2019,
coming in at ₹99,939 crore. “Total gross GST revenue collected in June 2019 is ₹99,939 crore, of which
CGST is ₹18,366 crore, SGST is ₹25,343 crore, IGST is ₹47,772 crore and Cess is ₹8,457 crore. “The total
number of GSTR 3B Returns filed for the month of May up to June 30 is ₹74.38 lakh.

While the collections in June 2019 are 4.5% higher than the collections in June 2018, they are still below
collections in the first two months (April & May) of this financial year, and in the last month (March) of
the previous financial year.

The government collected ₹1.06 lakh crore in March, ₹1.13 lakh crore in April — the highest-ever
collection — and ₹1 lakh crore in May.

“The marginal dip in collections reinforces the point there is very little headroom at present for any
further rate reductions,” M.S. Mani, partner at Deloitte India, said. “The lower-than-expected collections
would lead to more analysis of the data available with the GSTN [GST Network] to detect and plug any
leakages.”

Meanwhile, former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in a blog post to commemorate two years of GST,
wrote that a single rate under the GST system would not be possible in a country with poor people.

He added that the increasing collections have meant that 20 States currently do not need any
compensation from the Centre for any revenue loss they might have incurred due to GST. “Those who
argued for a single slab GST must realise that a single slab is possible only in extremely affluent countries
where there are no poor people. “It would be inequitable to apply a single rate in countries where there
are a large number of people below the poverty line.”

However, Mr Jaitley did note that this did not mean that rate rationalisations would not take place.

“That process is already on. Except on luxury and sin goods, the 28% slab has almost been phased out.
Zero and 5% slabs will always remain. As revenue increases further, it will give an opportunity to policy
makers to possibly merge the 12% and 18% slab into one rate, thus, effectively making the GST a two-
rate tax.”

https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/gst-collections-dip-below-1-lakh-crore-mark-in-
june/article28250362.ece

Locust outbreak in Rajasthan’s Barmer #GS2 #Governance #GS3 #Environment


An outbreak of desert locusts in the villages of Rajasthan's Barmer district, adjoining the India-
Pakistan border, has posed a threat to the crops. Swarms of locusts were detected in the villages of
Tamlor, Gadra Road, Gudamalani and Sheo regions of the district over the weekend.

The Union Agriculture Ministry’s Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), headquartered in Jodhpur, has
launched efforts on a war footing to control locusts. Teams carrying equipment have been rushed to
the villages to spray high-intensity malathion insecticide to prevent the spread of locusts to other areas.

The LWO has set up a helpline for farmers in the State. An attack of locusts, flying in from Pakistan's
Sindh province, was reported in Ramdeora-Pokhran region of Jaisalmer district during May this year. The
last major outbreak of locusts took place in Rajasthan in 1993, according to the LWO.

LWO Plant Protection Officer in Barmer, Mahesh Chandra, told The Hindu on Monday that a warning
had been issued to all areas along the international border to keep an eye on the incoming swarms.
“The spray of insecticide will prevent breeding of locusts, which is often witnessed in vegetation during
rains after the drought spell.

The tropical grasshoppers emerged in January this year from Sudan and Eritrea on Africa's Red Sea
Coast and travelled through Saudi Arabia and Iran to enter Pakistan, where they invaded the cotton-
producing belt of Sindh. The swarms of locusts are now entering the Thar desert, threatening the
crops in western Rajasthan.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned that more hatching and formation of hopper
groups were expected in the coming weeks in Rajasthan, while the swarms of adult locusts would arrive
from the “spring breeding areas”.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/locust-outbreak-in-rajasthans-
barmer/article28254369.ece

Coming soon, an app that will track your carbon footprint- Sharad Vyas #GS3
#Environment
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the State government will now track citizens’
carbon footprint through an app and reward those who achieve an emission neutral status. He said it
will be floated next month with an aim to reduce pollution and carbon emission in Maharashtra.

The State Forest Department is developing the app, which will be able to count the everyday carbon
emission of a citizens and suggest measures to reduce it depending on the count, Mr. Fadnavis said
speaking on the sidelines of an event to launch the drive to plant 33 crore saplings in the State. He said
that citizens would be awarded a certificate and tax rebate once they achieve a neutral status.

The PM had also announced India’s aim to generate 175 GW (gigawatt) of renewable energy by 2022,
of which 100 GW is to be solar. The footprints of an individual, as per the app, will include his use of
electricity, air conditioning, kitchen activities among others. India has, as part of the Paris Summit,
promised to reduce green house gas emission by 20% to 25%.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coming-soon-an-app-that-will-track-your-
carbon-footprint/article28255572.ece

Thermal plants are wasting water’- Jacob Koshy #GS3 #Environment


With the monsoon nearly a third less than what’s normaland the government on Monday launching a
massive awareness campaign exhorting people to conserve water, key thermal plants across the country
are wasting water and contravening a 2015 order by the Union environment ministry to use water
efficiently..

“Just about 51% of the plants were found to be in compliance with the regulations. Out of the total 156
plants/units, 66 claimed that they complied with the water consumption limits, while 30 admitted that
they were non-compliant.

For another 46 plants, either data was not available, or replies were ambiguous or the plants were
closed. As other 14 plants were using sea water, they are exempted from the regulations.

Thermal power plants consume, on an average, 5-7 cubic metres/MWh of water. Every reduction of 0.5
cubic metres/MWh in the specific consumption of a 1000 MW plant could save enough water in a year
to irrigate 700 ha of land; or provide drinking and domestic use water to 68,000 people for an entire
year, said a Central Electricity Authority report from 2012.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/thermal-plants-are-wasting-water/article28254005.ece

EWS quota: SC to hear pleas for Constitution Bench on July 30 #GS2


#Governance
The Supreme Court agreed to consider on July 30 a batch of petitions to have a Constitution Bench
examine the validity of a constitutional amendment providing 10% economic reservation in
government jobs and educational institutions.

A Bench led by Justice S.A. Bobde said the pleas would be taken up for hearing on July 30, a non-
miscellaneous day on which the case could be heard at length. Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan made a
strong pitch for referring the issue to a Constitution Bench.

Mr. Dhavan argued that the economic reservation violated the 50% reservation ceiling limit fixed by a
nine-judge Bench in the Indra Sawhney case. Further, the 1992 judgment had barred reservation
solely on economic criterion.

In a 6:3 majority verdict, the apex court, in Indra Sawhney, had held that “a backward class cannot be
determined only and exclusively with reference to economic criterion... It may be a consideration or
basis along with and in addition to social backwardness, but it can never be the sole criterion”.
After a gap of 27 years, the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act of 2019 has provided 10%
reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the “economically backward” in the
unreserved category.

The Act amends Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution by adding clauses empowering the government
to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness. This 10% economic reservation is over
and above the 50% reservation cap.

The court on Monday also allowed a petition filed by Kerala Munnoka Samudaya Aikya Munnani,
represented by advocate V.K. Biju, who argued against a stay of the constitutional amendment.

Mr. Biju submitted that the “real situation of the social and educationally backward general category
and their living condition in the country, especially in Kerala, is extremely poor, therefore there cannot
be any stay at this stage without hearing all the aggrieved parties”.

The court also allowed a plea by P.K. Santhosh Kumar, general secretary of the Federation of Central
Government SC & ST Employees of Kerala, represented by advocate Kaleeswaram Raj, who argued that
the amendment clearly excluded the citizens belonging to OBC/SC/ST who are economically weaker.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-to-hear-plea-against-reservations-for-
economically-weaker-sections-on-july-16/article28250030.ece

No additional budget or specific targets for Jal Shakti Abhiyan #GS2


#Governance
With rampant water scarcity in the spotlight, whether in urban centres like Chennai or as drought in
parts of central India, the Centre rolled out the Jal Shakti Abhiyan on Monday as a jan andolan or
people’s movement on water conservation.

Over the next two and a half months, the campaign will push to implement existing water conservation
schemes and increase awareness in 256 water-stressed districts. Over the next two and a half months,
the campaign will push to implement existing water conservation schemes and increase awareness in
256 water-stressed districts.

India’s annual per capita water availability has dropped from 5,177 cubic metres in 1951 to just 1,545
cubic metres in 2011. Climate change has also made the country more vulnerable to water scarcity,
said Mr. Shekhawat, adding that rainwater harvesting capacity is only 8%. Most of the 1,592 blocks
where the Jal Shakti Abhiyan is being implemented fall into the critical or over-exploited groundwater
category, where groundwater is being withdrawn faster than it can be replenished.

Asked about any budget allocation or additional funding for the scheme, the Minister said that there
was plenty of money already allocated for existing schemes under the Central and State budgets. “They
can be converged into a single scheme, with a focussed approach,” he said. Many of the check dams and
water conservation projects to be carried out fall under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act programme; however, the Minister would not commit to additional funding
for the job guarantee scheme’s labour budget either.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-additional-budget-or-specific-targets-for-jal-shakti-
abhiyan/article28253732.ece

AFSPA in Nagaland extended by six months #GS2 #Governance


THE CENTRE has once again declared the entire state of Nagaland as a “disturbed area” and extended
the imposition of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the region for six months. The order
will remain effective till December.

In a notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the Centre is of the opinion that the area
comprising the whole state of Nagaland is in such a “disturbed and dangerous condition” that the use of
armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary.

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers)
Act, 1958 (No. 28 of 1958) the central government hereby declares that whole of the said State to be a
‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from June 30, 2019 for the purpose of that Act.
The decision has been taken in view of incidents of killings, loot and extortion in various parts of the
state.

There have been demands of repealing AFSPA from various organisations in the Northeast. The Act
has been in force in Nagaland for decades. It was not withdrawn even after a framework agreement
was signed on August 3, 2015 by Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah
and government interlocutor R N Ravi in the presence of PM Narendra Modi.

https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/nagaland/afspa-in-nagaland-extended-by-six-
months-5809853/

Panel of CMs to suggest sweeping agriculture reforms #GS2 #Governance


Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will head a new high-powered committee to recommend
structural reforms in Indian agriculture, including changes to the way farmers market their produce, and
norms for contract farming and essential commodities. It will suggest measures to attract private
investment and modernise the agricultural market system.

The committee of Chief Ministers has been asked to “discuss measures for transformation of
agriculture and raising farmers’ income.” It will also suggest modalities for adoption and time bound
implementation of reforms by States and union territories.

Up for discussion are two model Acts circulated by the Centre to States: the model Agriculture Produce
and Livestock Marketing (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2017 and the model Agriculture Produce and
Livestock, Contract Farming and Services (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2018.
The panel will also examine various provisions of the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 and
suggest changes which will attract private investment in agricultural marketing and infrastructure. It
will also suggest a mechanism for linking market reforms with existing centrally-sponsored schemes
such as e-NAM.

The panel will suggest measures to boost agricultural exports, to upgrade agri-technology, and attract
investments in value chains, logistics and market infrastructure. They will also leverage farmers’
access to quality seed, plant propagation material and farm machinery from advanced countries.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/panel-of-cms-to-suggest-sweeping-agriculture-
reforms/article28254179.ece

Unemployment reports are misleading #GS3 #Economy


The unemployment rate in the past five years; cut in interest rates on small savings; illegal means
adopted by banks to recover loans; attacks on doctors — these were among the prominent issues
raised in the Lok Sabha.

During Question Hour, Union Minister for Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said that
reports on the high unemployment rate were misleading, and said job creation was a priority for the
government. He said the overwhelming mandate to the government indicated that people did not
believe such “misleading reports”.

When Opposition MPs protested, Mr. Gangwar said he was ready to have a discussion in the House on
the job situation. “Employment generation coupled with improving employability is the priority of the
government.

Mr. Gangwar assured the Lok Sabha that the government would come out with a report on job creation,
and said 18.26 crore loans had been sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana up to March
31.

The Minister’s response came after Congress member from Kerala Adoor Prakash asked if the
government had any master plan to generate more jobs in every sector of the economy.

Apart from employment data, the issue of slashing interest rates on fixed deposits and other small
savings instruments was raised by the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who
said nearly two percentage points have been slashed over the past two years. “This government talks
about securing the trust of common people but after coming to power, it has started hammering them,”
Mr. Chowdhury said during Zero Hour.

Mr. Chowdhury also reminded the Lok Sabha that July 1 was National Doctor’s Day and the occasion
should be the starting point to build a relationship of trust between doctors and patients' kin. The
comments came against the backdrop of attack on a junior doctors in Bengal.
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/unemployment-reports-are-misleading-union-minister-
santosh-kumar-gangwar/article28254245.ece

5G trials: Chinese official urges India to include Huawei- Suhasini Haidar #GS3
#Economy

Calling for India to include Huawei in its 5G trials despite the U.S. government’s opposition to the
Chinese telecommunications major, a senior Chinese official said New Delhi must not be “exclusive” in
its choice. Huawei enjoys cutting edge technologies and I think it will best facilitate India’s realisation of
its dream of building a digital economy.

The issue over whether to include Huawei in the 5G trials, which the government has promised to start
by September this year, became a centrepiece for talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and
both his Chinese and American counterparts during the recently concluded G-20 summit in Osaka.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who spoke specifically about Huawei with Mr. Modi, agreed that India and
the U.S. must cooperate on research on 5G technologies in the future. During Russia-India-China (RIC)
talks subsequently, President Xi also suggested that the three countries “expand cooperation in 5G
network, high technology, connectivity, energy and other areas.”

Shortly after being sworn-in as part of the Modi government, Minister of Communications Ravi Shankar
Prasad had said that “whether a company is allowed to participate [in the 5G trials] or not is a complex
question, including security issues,” indicating that India is yet to take a final call on whether Huawei
constituted a security threat.

Officials have been particularly worried about the potential for 5G networks to be used for mass
surveillance, as well as the potential for a foreign agency to disrupt systems run by the high-speed, next
generation telecom technology, especially from a company like Huawei, that has connections to the
Chinese government.

Reacting sharply to the U.S. allegations, Ms. Yang said the Washington “should be ashamed for trying to
exert state power to suppress a Chinese company and other companies from developing countries from
excelling in [telecommunications].

When asked about India’s continuing objections to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, primarily over the
China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) component running through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK),
Ms. Yang said India must not allow its bilateral ties with Pakistan to affect ties with China.

It is illogical to turn India’s Pakistan bilateral problems into a problem between China and India and let
this stand in the way of building better ties.

https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/5g-trials-chinese-official-urges-india-to-include-
huawei/article28251700.ece
North Korea hails ‘historic’ Kim-Trump meet #GS2 #IR
North Korea hailed the weekend meeting between leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump
in the Demilitarized Zone as “historic”, as analysts said Pyongyang was looking to shape the narrative to
its own agenda.

The two leaders agreed to “resume and push forward productive dialogues for making a new
breakthrough in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

After a Twitter invitation by the U.S. President on Saturday, the two men met a day later in the strip of
land that has divided the peninsula for 66 years since the end of the Korean War, when the two
countries and their allies fought each other to a standstill.

Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump shook hands over the concrete slabs dividing North and South before Mr. Trump
walked a few paces into Pyongyang’s territory — the first U.S. President ever to set foot on North
Korean soil.

Mr. Trump’s border-crossing, which he said was uncertain until the last moment, was an extraordinary
sequel to the scene at Mr. Kim’s first summit with Moon Jae-in last year, when the young leader invited
the South Korean President to walk over the Military Demarcation Line, as the border is officially known.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/n-korea-hails-historic-kim-trump-
meet/article28253812.ece

Core sector growth slows to 5.1% #GS3 #Economy


Growth in the core sectors of the economy slowed to 5.1% in May 2019 led by slowing growth in the
coal and refinery products sector. The Index of Eight Core Industries saw growth slowing in May from
the nine-month high of 6.3% registered in April. Nevertheless, the growth in May is the highest since
July 2018, not counting April.

The slowdown in May was led by the refinery sector, which saw a contraction of 1.5% compared with a
growth of 4.3% in the previous month. The coal sector also saw growth slowing to 1.8% from 3.2% over
the same period. The crude oil sector witnessed a continued contraction for the eighteenth consecutive
month in May, with growth contracting 6.96% in that month compared with a contraction of 6.75% in
April.

The natural gas sector remained flat in May, registering zero growth, compared with a contraction of
0.75% in April. The strongest performer of the eight sectors under consideration was the steel sector.
The sector grew 19.8% in May, up from a growth of 18.97% in the previous month. The fertilizer sector
contracted again in May, by 1.03%, compared with a contraction of 4.4% in April.

The cement sector continued to witness subdued growth, of 2.75% in May, up marginally from the
2.28% seen in April. The sector averaged a growth of 13.3% in financial year 2018-19. The electricity
sector, further buoyed by increased demand in the summer months, grew 7.23% in May, compared with
5.99% in April.

https://www.thehindu.com/business/core-sector-growth-slows-to-51/article28254181.ece

RBI likely to get more regulatory powers #GS3 #Economy


The government is looking into a proposal from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to enhance its regulatory
powers with respect to non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) through the legislative route. “The
government has received a proposal from RBI to strengthen RBI’s regulatory and supervisory powers
under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, and the same is under consideration.

The FM ruled out any possibility of the government recapitalising private NBFCs while responding to a
query on whether the government plans to recapitalise struggling NBFCs like Infrastructure Leasing &
Financial Services (IL&FS) and Dewan Housing Finance (DHFL).

NBFCs are regulated and supervised by the central bank as per powers vested in it under the
provisions contained in Chapter IIIB of the Reserve Bank of India Act. The RBI’s proposal to allow it to
wield greater regulatory and supervisory powers over non-banks is in line with its own observations in
the June 2019 edition of the Financial Stability Report (FSR), released last week.

It cautioned that any contagion arising from the insolvency of any large NBFC or housing finance
company (HFC) could result in losses comparable to those caused by the big banks.

Solvency contagion losses to the banking system due to idiosyncratic HFC/NBFC failure show that the
failure of largest of these can cause losses comparable to those caused by the big banks, underscoring
the need for greater surveillance over large HFCs/NBFCs,” RBI had said in the report.

Earlier, the central bank has taken steps to enhance its supervision of NBFCs, such as increasing the
periodicity of monitoring their books to 12 months from 18 months. NBFCs with assets over Rs 5,000
crore have been asked to appoint a chief risk officer to improve their standards of risk management.

Last year, the RBI under then governor Urjit Patel had asserted that regulation of banks must also be
ownership-neutral, stressing the need for greater power for the central bank to effectively regulate
public-sector banks. For its part, however, the finance ministry had asserted that the RBI had adequate
supervisory power over state-run banks.

In order to ease the liquidity crunch NBFCs have been facing since some IL&FS entities defaulted in mid-
2018, RBI has eased securitisation norms for NBFCs so that they can more readily liquidate their asset
pools.

It also permitted banks to provide partial credit enhancement for systemically important non-deposit
accepting NBFCs (NBFCs-ND-SI) and reduced the minimum average maturity requirement for external
commercial borrowings in the infrastructure space raised by eligible borrowers to three years from five
years earlier.
https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/banking-finance/rbi-likely-to-get-more-power-to-regulate-
nbfcs/1625204/

Finally, aircraft carrier Viraat to be scraped #GS3 #Defence


Over two years after it was decommissioned from service, aircraft carrier Viraat is going to be scrapped,
Parliament was informed on Monday. Efforts to keep it intact by converting it into a museum or other
means have not been successful.

“INS Viraat could not be handed over to any State Government because of non-receipt of a self-
sustaining financially complete proposal. Thus, in view of considerations of safety, security etc., a
decision to scrap INS Viraat has been taken in due consultation with Indian Navy.

In 2018, the Maharashtra Cabinet approved a proposal to convert the carrier into a museum and
hospitality centre on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis, but there were no takers.

Viraat, a Centaur class aircraft carrier weighing 27,800 tonnes, had served in the British Navy as HMS
Hermes for 25 years from November 1959 to April 1984 and after refurbishment was commissioned into
the Indian Navy in May 1987. It was decommissioned from the Navy in March 2017 at Naval Dockyard,
Mumbai.

Vikrant, also a Centaur class, too, was maintained by the Navy in Mumbai for 17 years as various
proposals to convert it into a museum went back and forth unsuccessfully before the ship was
eventually sent to a scrapyard in 2014.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/finally-aircraft-carrier-viraat-to-be-
scraped/article28252048.ece

What changes with J&K Reservation Bill #GS2 #Governance


Rajya Sabha passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Bill. Passed by Lok Sabha last week, the Bill
partially amends a Presidential Order of 1954 in order to amend the state’s Reservation Act. The
amendments were earlier effected through an ordinance after these had been approved by the Union
Cabinet in February this year.

The amendments

With the constitutional amendments, the benefits of reservation available to the residents along the
Line of Actual Control (LAC) have been extended to residents living along the International Border (IB).
This benefits residents in Jammu, Samba and Kathua.

Through the Presidential Order, the Cabinet applied the 77th Constitutional Amendment of 1995 to J&K,
giving benefits of reservation in promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government
service. The Cabinet also applied the 103rd Constitutional Amendment of 2019 to J&K, which gave 10%
reservation to Economically Weaker Sections among people in the general category.
The controversy

While bringing the ordinance, the Union government said the constitutional amendments were
recommended by the State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik.

While no one in J&K has opposed the decision to provide benefits to SCs, STs and EWS, there has been
opposition to the route taken by the Centre and its nominee the J&K Governor, on the ground that they
“breached” Article 370 while issuing the amendment to the 1954 Presidential Order.

The 1954 order is an executive order issued by the President under Article 370 to extend provisions of
an Act of Parliament to J&K State, which can be done only with the concurrence of the state
government.

The Constitution of India applies to Jammu & Kashmir by virtue of Article 370, which provides a
mechanism for the way it applies. Article 370 defines state government as ‘the Maharaja’ and/or the
‘Sadar-i-Riyasat’ aided by a council of ministers. At the centre of the controversy is the question
whether the Governor, in the absence of an elected government, has the authority to give consent to
extend a law of Parliament and change the constitutional arrangement between J&K and the Union.

The issue of the Governor’s powers was defined by the Supreme Court in Mohammad Maqbool Damnoo
versus State of J&K (1972). While dealing with the replacement of an elected Sadr-i-Riyasat with the
Centre-appointed Governor, the court observed that a Governor is “head of government aided by a
council of ministers”.

“It is not as if the state government, by such a change (replacing elected Sadr-i-Riyasat with Centre-
appointed Governor) is made irresponsible to the state legislature… there is no question of such a
change being one in the character of the government from a democratic to a non-democratic system”.

Three court petitions, including two fresh ones, have challenged the Centre’s ordinance issued in
February this year. One of the main regional parties, National Conference, has challenged the
amendment to the Presidential Order of 1954. Earlier, two lawyers had challenged the amendments in
the J&K High Court. A petition of similar nature has been pending since 1986.

What regional parties say

Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have termed the amendments “unconstitutional”. The regional
parties contend that “concurrence” means the concurrence of an elected government, and not that of a
nominated government, is a must for any amendment to the Presidential Order of 1954, and that this is
thus in contravention of Article 370.

They contend that the government means an elected government and that the President cannot seek
concurrence of the Governor because “the Governor is a representative of the President”.

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/what-changes-with-jk-reservation-bill-5809765/
Europe heatwave: What caused record temperatures, why it is a concern #GS3
#Environment

Last week, Europe went through a heatwave that lasted six days, smashed temperature records, left two
people dead in France and another two in Spain, and caused huge fires to break out, including one that
spanned 10,000 acres in France.

Temperatures had dipped in parts of the continent, leading to authorities calling off heatwave warnings,
although certain areas such as the south of France continued to swelter.

Gallargues-le-Montueux in southern France hit an all-time high of 45.9°C during the last week. Places in
Germany (39.3°C), Czech Republic (38.9°C) and Poland (38.2°C) experienced record highs for the month
of June.

Why it is happening

The heatwave in Europe is a result of warm air masses from Africa, the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) said. The heatwave in Europe follows extreme heat episodes in India, Pakistan,
parts of the Middle East and Australia. More events are expected to follow during this northern
hemisphere summer.

While some scientists have blamed climate change for these trends, the WMO said it is too early for
such an attribution. However, the WMO agreed that the heatwave is consistent with climate scenarios
which predict more frequent, drawn out and intense heat events as greenhouse gas concentrations lead
to a rise in global temperatures. Apart from heatwaves, various climate models have predicted
alternating periods of prolonged droughts and heavy flooding in some areas.

What is a heatwave

Classifying a heatwave varies from country to country, because what is seen as extremely hot in one
place may seem within normal range in another. In guidelines published in 2016, the WMO listed several
factors to be considered while analysing an extreme weather event such as a heatwave. These include
defining a specific threshold for variables such as temperature to be considered extreme, as well as a
human perspective of extremes.

The India Meteorological Department does not consider a heatwave unless the maximum
temperature crosses 40°C in the plains and 30°C in the hills. Where the normal maximum is 40°C or
less, the heatwave departure from normal is 5°C to 6°C and the severe heatwave departure is 7°C or
more.

Where the normal maximum is more than 40°C, the heatwave departure from normal is 4°C to 5°C while
the severe heatwave departure is 6°C or more. In places where the maximum temperature reaches 45°C
or more, the IMD declares a heatwave irrespective of the normal.

Health hazard
The heat poses a risk to people’s health, agriculture and the environment, the WMO said. It is the
departure from normal — or what people are used to — that makes heatwaves dangerous. A reading of
35°C, which many people in India would be able to cope with, can make people severely ill in Germany.

Babies and older people are particularly vulnerable because their bodies are not as well able to regulate
their own temperatures as those of young adults. High temperatures can cause exhaustion, heat stroke,
organ failure, and breathing problems.

In Europe, because people are not used to extremely high temperatures, many buildings don’t have air-
conditioning. In Germany, only 2% of homes are air-conditioned, according to the news portal vox.com.
Also, with 72% of the European Union’s population living in urban areas, a heatwave traps them in heat
islands as steel, concrete, and asphalt structures absorb heat, Vox said.

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/europe-heatwave-what-caused-record-temperatures-why-
it-is-a-concern-5809776/

Korean Demilitarized Zone #GS2 #IR


The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a region 4 km wide and 240 km long, dividing the Korean
Peninsula into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the north and Republic of Korea on the
south. The DMZ has come into the spotlight with Donald Trump becoming the first serving American
President to visit the area.

The DMZ was created after the 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement, which ended the Korean War.
The site where the Armistice was signed is called the Joint Security Area (JSA), located 53 km to the
north of Seoul. It continues to be the venue where successive peace discussions concerning the region
are conducted, including the meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on Sunday.

After it was first came into force in 1953, the DMZ has seen multiple skirmishes, but there has been a
de-escalation in recent years. In 1968, a commando team from the North crossed over in a widely
reported attempt to assassinate the then South Korean President.

Relations between the two neighbours have thawed in recent years, with peace agreements signed in
1991 and in 2018. The September 2018 agreement is the most comprehensive so far, with plans to
convert the DMZ into a peace park. The pact included an initiative to rid the DMZ of more than 20 lakh
landmines that remain embedded there.

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/this-word-means-korean-demilitarized-zone-donald-
trump-5809781/

Child labour cases: trend shows decline, govt says will eradicate it #GS2
#Governance
Instances of child labour detected during inspections have reduced successively from 2014 to 2018,
figures presented by the government in Lok Sabha show. In a written reply during the ongoing session of
Parliament, the Ministry of Labour & Employment list year-by-year figures for instances of violation of
the Child & Adolescent Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 found during inspections, along with
prosecutions started and convictions made.

Minister of State (independent charge) for Labour & Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said the
central government has taken cognisance of the practice of child labour still going on in various parts of
the country in spite of a ban.

He said it is committed to eradicating the problem from all parts of the country. The Child Labour Act
was amended in 2016 and the amendment provides for complete prohibition of work or employment of
children below age 14 in any occupation and process and prohibition of adolescents in the age group 14-
18 in hazardous occupations and processes. The Amendment Act also provides for strict punishment of
employers for violation of the Act and has made the offence cognisable.

The minister said the government is also implementing the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) since
1988 for the rehabilitation of child labour. Under the scheme, children aged 9-14 are
rescued/withdrawn from work and enrolled in NCLP Special Training Centres before being
mainstreamed into the formal education system. Children aged 5-8 are directly linked to the formal
education system through close coordination with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan,

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/child-labour-cases-trend-shows-decline-govt-says-will-
eradicate-it-5809777/

Japan resumes commercial whaling after three decades #GS2 #IR


Five small Japanese whaling ships set sail for the first time in more than three decades Monday
following that country's controversial decision to resume the hunt for the huge marine mammal.
Crew in orange life vests took positions on the decks as the blue-hulled ships sailed out of the northern
port city of Kushiro, some with red banners fluttering from their masts. The ships will spend much of the
summer hunting for minke and Baird's beaked whales, Reuters reported.

Neither species is listed as endangered or threatened in the U.S. by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration.

Japan last year announced its withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), an
international organization that deals with whale conservation and management of whaling, in a move
that sparked global condemnation.

Whale hunting was banned in 1986 by the IWC due to dwindling whale populations, with a worldwide
moratorium placed on the practice to allow the species to rebound. But Japan then began what it called
scientific whaling, which environmental groups have decried as little more than commercial whaling in
disguise.

The only difference now is that Japan withdrew from IWC last year, finally paving the way for the
commission to become focused on conservation.

Norway and Iceland also openly defy the international ban, while an exemption allows indigenous
communities in places like Greenland and Alaska to hunt whales. The World Wide Fund for Nature
estimates nearly 32,000 whales have been killed by whaling since the moratorium was imposed.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/japan-resume-commercial-whaling-n1025046

Oil prices slip as demand worries outweigh OPEC supply cuts #GS3 #Economy
Oil prices slipped on Tuesday as worries that a weakening global economy would dent demand for the
commodity outweighed OPEC’s decision to extend supply cuts until next March. Brent crude futures for
September delivery had dropped 33 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $64.73 a barrel by 0034 GMT. They
climbed more than $2 a barrel on Monday before paring gains later in the day.

US crude futures for August had fallen 48 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $58.61 a barrel, after touching their
highest in over five weeks. The trade war is not likely to get resolved any time soon and while central
banks globally are expected to deliver fresh stimulus in the coming months, economic activity is
continuing to trend lower.”

The US-China trade conflict has pressured global markets, stoking worries about demand for
commodities such as crude oil.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed on Monday to extend oil supply
cuts until March 2020 as the group’s members overcame their differences in order to try to prop up the
price of crude.
OPEC is slated to meet with Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, later on Tuesday
to discuss supply cuts amid surging US output.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday he had agreed with Saudi Arabia to extend global
output cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day, or 1.2 per cent of world demand, until December 2019 or
March 2020.

Russia reduced oil production in June by more than the amount agreed in a global deal to cut output,
the energy minister and industry sources said on Monday, as the sector still felt the impact of a
contaminated crude crisis that crippled exports.

Oil prices have also come under renewed pressure in recent months from rising US supplies.

US producers hit a monthly record of 12.16 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, the latest available
data showed, though new US shale oil production is expected to slip this year from last year, according
to a survey of major forecasters.

https://indianexpress.com/article/business/market/oil-prices-slip-as-demand-worries-outweigh-opec-
supply-cuts/

New policy to aim to bring e-tailers, brick-and-mortar businesses closer #GS3


#Economy
A national policy on retail trade, promised by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in its 2019 election
manifesto, is expected to lay down an overarching framework for the sector to cover various segments
such as physical retail, direct selling, hypermarkets and e-commerce, pointing out that the policy will
focus on spelling out regulations, improving access to funds and compliance costs, while improving the
enabling environment for the retail sector as a whole.

The retail policy will also aim to bridge the gap between various stakeholders in the retail ecosystem,
such as online commerce and traditional small retailers. In its 2019 manifesto, BJP said that for the
welfare of small traders, its government will establish a National Traders’ Welfare Board and create a
National Policy for Retail Trade for growth of retail businesses.

E-commerce firms and traditional retail traders have been at loggerheads, with the latter accusing
online retailers of distorting the level-playing field by offering deep discounts on back of foreign funding.
However, e-commerce players have pointed out that currently online retail occupies less than 5 per cent
of the total retail pie in India.

According to the official cited above, stakeholder meetings will be held over the coming week, which will
be aimed at getting e-commerce players to handhold brick-and-mortar retail firms who want to enter
the online retail space. However, for e-retailers a separate e-commerce policy is being drafted, which
would be readied over the next year.
Last week, at the first formal meet between trade associations and the Department for Promotion of
Industry and Internal Trade, representatives of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had said the
policy should include upgradation and modernisation of existing formats of retail trade. “The
government has almost moved to e-system whereas till now only 35 per cent of traders out of 7 crore
have been able to computerise their business.

https://indianexpress.com/article/business/new-policy-to-aim-to-bring-e-tailers-brick-and-mortar-
businesses-closer-5809890/

February 2019 Hindu & IE Editorial Compilation & Imp. Article for quoting as example

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December 2018 Hindu & IE Editorial Compilation & Imp. Article for quoting as example

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November 2018 Hindu & IE Editorial Compilation & Imp. Article for quoting as example

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September 2018 Hindu & IE Editorial Compilation & Imp. Article for quoting as example

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August 2018 Hindu & IE Editorial Compilation & Imp. Article for quoting as example

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June 2018 Hindu & IE Editorial Compilation & Imp. Article for quoting as example

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April 2018 Hindu & IE Editorial Compilation & Imp. Article for quoting as example

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March 2018 Hindu & IE Editorial Compilation & Imp. Article for quoting as example

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