'Pondicherry shark' spotted near Kakinada (GS-3) (Page-5) * Field biologists from the EGREE Foundation have spotted 'Pondicherry shark', an endangered species protected under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, near the Kumbhabhishekam landing point in the city. This is for the third time they are spotted in the East Godavari River Estuarine Ecosystem region after 2007 and 2016. Scientifically known as Carcharhinus hemiodon, it belongs to the Carcharhinidae family with a growth of 3.3 feet. Field biologists Mahesh Babu and Ganesh Palea, during their routine survey, spotted it on Saturday and Sunday and sent the details to Anil Mohapatra, scientist from the Zoological Survey of India, for confirmation. They got a positive response. Zoologists have been trying to trace it in the other parts of the country since 1979.
* Known as 'Pala Sora' in the local parlance, the Pondicherry Shark is on the verge of extinction even according to the conventional fishermen. They, however, are unaware of its conservation status which is on a par with the tiger. "The two we have found are of the length of 1.5 feet and 2.4 feet respectively and they are not fully grown. We doubt weather the fisher folks are selling the fish whenever they trap it," they say. Scientific info The only scientific information available about the species comes from 20 specimens collected from fish markets across the Indo-Pacific region. It is identified by its black tips of dorsal, pectoral and Tai fins. The front teeth are distinctly serrated at the base and smooth at the tip. Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife) Anant Shankar, also the additional CEO of the EGREE Foundation, says the department in association with the foundation is working with the fishing communities and various line departments in bringing down the trade in such species. "Conservation of such species is only possible through community mobilisation and stewardship," he says.
ABOUT PONDICHERRY SHARK The Pondicherry shark (Carcharhinus hemiodon) is an extremely rare species of requiem shark, in the family Carcharhinidae. A small and stocky gray shark, it grows not much longer than 1 m (3.3 ft), and it has a fairly long, pointed snout. This species can be identified by the shape of its upper teeth, which are strongly serrated near the base and smooth-edged near the tip, and by its first dorsal fin, which is large witha long free rear tip.
U.P. Bill to restore anticipatory bail clause referred to President (GS-2) (Page-5) * A crucial Bill that will pave the way for the re-introduction of the provision of anticipatory bail, which was revoked over 40 years ago in the State during the Emergency, has been referred for Presidential assent. . Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik has referred the Code of Criminal Procedure (Uttar Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2018, to the President, a Raj Bhavan communique said on Sunday * The State Assembly had on August 30 approved the Bill that aims at restoring the provision of anticipatory bail in the State. The proposed legislation will have to be sent to the Union government for final approval, as it proposes amendments for the State in Section 438 (anticipatory bail) of CrPC. "Under the Section 438 of the CrPC, imposing conditions or riders before such bail, has been left to the discretion of the court. However, in the U.P. amendment, we have made certain riders mandatory like the accused would have to be present for interrogation whenever required by police, the accused will not threaten anyone directly or indirectly involved with the case and that the accused will not leave the country without the permission of the court," a Home Department official said. One of the proposed amendments is that it will not be necessary for the accused to be present during the hearing for the anticipatory bail. Apart from U.P. and Uttarakhand, all other States have the provision of anticipatory bail, an official said. "There will be no anticipatory bail in cases where the punishment is death sentence and also cases under the Gangster's Act."
Another amendment * Another amendment is that the court would have to decide on the application for anticipatory bail within 30 days of filling of such an application. "West Bengal has this provision," the official pointed out. * The provision was repealed in U.P. by then Chief Minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna in 1976 during the Emergency, to rein in protests against the Congress. In 2009, the State Law Commission had also made a recommendation for re-introduction of a modified bill. The next year, a Bill in this regard was cleared by the Assembly and sent for the Centre's approval, but it was put on hold The then Mayawati government had passed a Bill that year and sent it to the President, but it was sent back a with suggestions for some modifications. In an application pending before the Supreme Court, the State government had given an assurance in July this year that the provision would be re-introduced.
377 verdict has inbuilt firewall (GS-2) (Page-10) *Within the pages of the Supreme Court judgment decriminalising homosexuality contains a safeguard against any attempts by governments, present and future, to enact laws to make homosexuals criminals again The five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of Dipak Misra has introduced the "Doctrine of Progressive Realisation of Rights" to guard against future attempts to reintroduce that part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which had made the entire LGBTQ community "unconvicted felons" without the basic rights of a citizen for over a century * Using this legal doctrine, Chief justice Misra has held that once a right is recognised and given to the public, it cannot be taken back by the state at a later date. Once a step is taken forward, there is no going back. * "In a progressive and an ever-improving society, there is no place for retreat or regression. The society has to march ahead," Chief Justice Misra held.
Modern ethos & The doctrine of progressive realisation of rights mandates that the laws of a country should * "The state has an obligation to take appropriate measures for the progressive realisation * "The 'doctrine of progressive realisation of rights', as a natural corollary, gives birth to the be in consonance with its modern ethos, it should be "sensible" and "easy to apply" of economic, social and cultural rights," Chief Justice Misra wrote. doctrine of non-retrogression. As per this doctrine, there must not be any regression of rights The doctrine of non-retrogression sets forth that the State should not take measures or steps that deliberately lead to retrogression on the enjoyment of rights either under the Constitution or otherwise," Chief Justice Misra laid down in his separate opinion shared with Justice A.M. Khanwilkar for the Bench. Chief Justice Misra notes that the Supreme Court went wrong in 2013 in the Suresh Koushal judgment, which set aside the brief reprieve offered by the historic Delhi High Court judgment on Section 377 in 2009 and placed the yoke of criminality back on the LGBTQ community.
Rajapaksa's Delhi visit hints at thaw (GS-2) (Page-10) In an indication of warming of ties, former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will , Mr. Rajapaksa, who is credited with ending the reign of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam visit New Delhi this week and hold important discussions. with the military operations from 2006 to 2009, will deliver a public lecture on "India-Sri Lanka relation: the way ahead" organised by the Virat Hindustan Sangam, led by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy. He is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The External Affairs Ministry has not spoken about the meetings so far. A source said the visit was being planned by "private parties". Mr. Rajapaksa attended the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014, He lost his President's post to Maithripala Sirisena in 2015. While he accused India of contributing to the regime change, he met Mr. Modi when the Prime Minister visited Sri Lanka in May 2017. The late-night meeting, apparently unscheduled, was organised at Mr. Rajapaksa's request.
After the war, New Delhi was disturbed by Mr. Rajapaksa's apparent tilt towards China, which brought in massive investments to Sri Lanka. He was also criticised for the alleged human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan military during the war. * The visit comes less than a week after thousands of demonstrators, led by Mr. Rajapaksa, protested in Colombo against the government's economic policies and the delay in holding provincial elections. The Rajapaksa camp is yet to name its candidate for the presidential election likely at the end of 2019. A 2015 constitutional amendment has placed a two-term limit on the presidency, thus barring the former President from contesting again, but Mr. Rajapaksa's supporters have sought the Supreme Court's clarification. "There is an opinion that I can contest again. We need to find out if I am eligible," he told presspersons recently. Political sources in Colombo point to the efforts to groom his son and Hambantota MP, Namal Rajapaksa, who is accompanying his father on the India trip. He played a role in mobilising supporters for last week's rally. Though out of power for more than three years, Mr. Rajapaksa, who represents Kurunegala district in Parliament, remains a formidable political actor in Sri Lankan politics, often
Assam parties up in arms against NRC chief (GS-2) (Page-1l) Suggestions to the Supreme Court by the officer heading the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to slash the list of "admissible documents" as citizenship proof from 15 to 10 has stirred a controversy in Assam ahead of the phase for filing of claims and objections. More than 40 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants have been left out of the complete NRC draft published on July 30. While these people await their turn to prove their citizenship with documents other than those already submitted but rejected, State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela, in his latest report to the court, sought the exclusion of five 'list A documents for re-verification of those excluded. These documents are the 1951 NRC; voters' lists and ration cards up to March 24, 1971; citizenship certificates; and refugee registration certificates. March 24, 1971, is the cut-off date for detecting and deporting illegal migrants from Assam under the Assam Accord of 1985 that ended a six-year agitation against foreigners.
Congress seeks ouster Apart from Opposition parties such as the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has found fault with Mr. Hajela's suggestion. BJP State general secretary Dilip Saikia said Mr. Hajela's report has complicated the situation, as "lakhs of Indians belonging to the Gurkha, Bengali and Hindi-speaking communities have been left out" The BJP had a few days ago written to Mr. Hajela, insisting that the migration certificate, citizenship certificate and all variants of refugee cards be accepted in the NRC updating process The Congress went to the extent of demanding Mr. Hajela's removal for "misleading the apex court". Debabrata Saikia, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, said the official had been acting whimsically and playing with the lives of people who did not possess any of the 10 documents now being preferred despite their ancestors being in the 1951 NRC and pre-1971 voters' lists. "If the 1951 NRC won't be accepted, what was the point of an exercise that cost more than Rs. 1,200 crore of the taxpayers' money,"
China denies CPEC backing as 'debt trap' for Pakistan (GS-3) (Page 12) China has rejected accusations that its financial backing for the China PakistanEconomic Corridor (CPEC) was a "debt trap" that could compromise Islamabad's sovereignty China has billed the Gwadar to Kashgar corridor as the flagship of China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) a comprehensive giant connectivity project in Eurasia Mounting a robust defence of its no-strings-attached backing for CPEC, China's visiting state Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, asserted during an Islamabad press conference on Saturday that among the 22 projects within the framework of CPEC, 18 of them are directly invested or offered aid by the Chinese side, and only four of them used China's concessional loan. 70,000 new jobs He stressed that nine of these projects have already been completed and 13 are under construction The Chinese state Councillor clarified that only $19 billion had been invested in the CPEC, which had generated 70.000 new iobs. Pakistan's arowth rate is exnected to bhe nushed bV
Finance Ministry to engage with States to shore up GST revenue (GS-3) (Page-13) * Alarmed by a nearly fourfold rise in GST compensation to States for June-July, the Finance Ministry is crafting a strategy to shore up tax revenues and engaging with States to identify issues hindering their collections. Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia has started meeting GST officers, both from Central and State tax departments, in the State capitals to understand issues plaguing GST collections. * There has been a spike in the bi-monthly GST compensation paid to the States by the Centre. The Centre paid 14,930 crore to compensate states for revenue loss incurred in June and 3,899 crore paid for the months of April and July, a nearly four-fold jump compared to the May.
'Free data flow will aid economy' (GS-3) (Page-13) Batting for free flow of data across borders, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has written to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad saying such a step will encourage global fhrms to contribute to India's digital economy as well as benefit Indian start-ups mulling global expansion. * This comes at a time when the Centre is readying a data protection framework. In July, a panel had suggested steps for safeguarding personal data. It also suggests that every data fiduciary in India shall ensure the storage of at least one copy of personal data on a server or data centre located in India.
Fiscal management Second, attribute it to deft fiscal management by the Centre or to the dividends from the soft oil price regime of the last four years , the fiscal deficit is at a very respectable level of 3.3-3.5%. In comparison, the deficit in fiscal 2013 was 4.9% and in 2014 was 4.5%. Finally, the political leadership does seem conscious of its fiscal responsibility; at least, it has been so until now. Despite calls from several quarters to loosen purse strings and cast aside the fiscal deficit marker, the Centre has refused to do so. At most, it has allowed itself the luxury of postponing the date of meeting that magic level of 3% to 2021. * The temptation to step on the expenditure pedal will undoubtedly be high in an election year but we have not seen any indications of that until now. The Centre's reaction to the twin shocks of the rupee fall and rise in oil prices are instructive. Even as the media has been going to town over new highs in petrol prices ever day and demanding a cut in excise duty, the Centre has remained unmoved and allowed the higher prices to pass through. With almost a quarter of the Centre's total revenue coming from fuel taxes, any cut will have an impact on the fiscal deficit.
Similarly, the reaction of the RBI and the Centre to the rupee's fall has been prudent. The rupee has been allowed to find its natural level and the central bank has stepped in only to smooth volatility; no reactionary measures such as forex deposits swap or restrictions on capital outflows as in 2013. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may be anxious but he has exhibited none of it in public as he held on to the refrain that the rupee is not alone in its predicament and that global factors are more responsible for the weakness than domestic ones. So, do all these mean that there's nothing to worry about? Certainly not. The biggest risks are external and how they will play out domestically. The combined impact of elevated oil prices and a weak rupee can cause serious damage to the economy. The pass-through of higher fuel prices is sure to push up retail inflation; the impact may be seen as early as in the August print expected tomorrow. This could prompt the RBI to front load its second rate hike for this fiscal as early as in October.
Private consumption spending, which rose to 8.6% in the first quarter of this fiscal giving a boost to overall growth might well suffer a reverse as consumers pull back from the twin shocks of rising fuel prices and higher interest rates. This will have adverse consequences for GDP growth especially given that private investment is still to fully recover. * Second, the RBI may have let the rupee fall until now but indications are a further fall will be defended, which means a drain on forex reserves. The Centre may also be forced to step in and cut taxes on fuels with obvious implications for the fisc. Finally, there is no saying what one Donald Trump would do next. The tariff war that he has set off has thrown challenges for India as well In sum, these are piquant times indeed for the economy
Graduate in Economics. Gold medal in Dissertation, Prepared various documents on Demonetisation and GST, Share-trading and many more