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Daily News Analysis 14th February 2019 Daily News Analysis from - The Hindu " Indian Express - Tol, Livemint Presented by Jatin Verma
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Important News Articles (Taking Delhi/Noida edition as the base) Page 1 : Rafale cost is 2.86% lower, but Dassault benefited without bank guarantee: CAG Page 1 : Citizenship, triple talaq Bills lapse Page 1 : Rajasthan clears 5% quota for Gujjars Page 1: Majority govt. is a must for stability, PM tells Lok Sabha. Page 2 : Haryana Cabinet gives nod for 10% reservation to EWS Page 3: Foundation stone laid for Subarnarekha port in Odisha Page 5: Kerala takes the lead in the fight against trans fat Page 6: Shutdown over Article 35A paralyses Valley Page 7 : 99.82% projects in forests got nod Page 7 Rajya Sabha clears law removing leprosy as ground for divorce Page 7 : Only 84% rural households have electricity in four States Page 7: SC pulls up U.P. govt. for poor upkeep of Taj Page 10: MSP forjute hiked by 250/quintal
Important News Articles (Taking Delhi/Noida edition as the base) Page 10 Chit Fund Bill: govt. breaches Oppn. unity Page 10 : A warrior's memorial comes to light Page 11 : A month's gain on delivery, even that unsure Page 11 Limiting ISEs to cut outgo not a saving Page Centre to seek advice on deletion of UID data Page 11 We are always angry, says CJI Page 13 U.S. to discuss trade, e-com rules with India unsure age I: Limiting ISn
Page 13 : U.S. to discuss trade, e-com rules with India U.S. Ambassador will lead a delegation of officials to hold talks with Union Commerce Minister to resolve several sore trade points, including the concerns of American CEOs regarding doing business in India and bilateral trade imbalance The status of the review of India's eligibility for the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) is also likely to come up in the light of recent developments where the U.S. has again threatened to withdravw the export exemptions for India. Other issues that had particularly incensed American businesses are: [i] India's new data localisation rules that force foreign companies to store Indians' data within the country, and [ii rules amending FDI rules in e-commerce that had hurt American giants like Amazon and Walmart. These are likely to be high on the agenda of Indo-U.S. CEO Forum. Trade tensions between the two countries rose last March when U.S. President Donald Trump notified the imposition of higher import tariffs on steel and aluminium, which affected several countries, including India. In retaliation, India announced counter-tariffs on 29 American goods, worth about $235 million, but has delayed implementing them in the hope of resolving the matter.
GSP review President Trump's order was followed closely by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announcing that it was putting India's eligibility for GSP under which India is allowed duty-free exports to the U.S. for about 2,000 product linesunder review. GSP boosts the competitiveness of American manufacturers by lowering their costs. Approximatelytwo-thirdsof U.S. imports under GSPare raw materials,components, or consumption or for export. These benefits are real. machinery and equipment used by U.S. companies to manufacture goods in the U.S. for domestic U.S. Commerce Secretary will also try to find ways to resolve the trade imbalance between India and the U.S., a sore point raised by President Trump. . India's exports to the U.S. in 2017-18 stood at $47.9 billion and imports $26.7 billion.
Page 11: Centre to seek advice on deletion of UID data The government will seek legal counsel on whether it can delete the biometric data of young people who choose to quit Aadhaar once they turn 18. The Union Cabinet recently approved amendments to the Aadhaar Act, including a provision that givesa child, on attaining maturity (18 years), the power to withdraw his or her Aadhaar details. This entails that the Unique Authority of India remove all the details, including biometrics of such persons A child when he or she turns the age of 18 can exercise an option to opt out, and in that particular case, their Aadhaar number will be cancelled. Regarding the biometric data, that is something we will have to take a legal opinion because if you delete the biometric data, then suppose that person comes again and does enrolment, then how will that operate The Aadhaar Act was not passed during the just-concluded Budget session of the Lok Sabha, and so it will have to be reintroduced under a new government. The proposal to allow those turning 18 to withdraw from Aadhaar will not benefit those who want to file income tax returns as it is now mandatory to provide Aadhaar details while filing taxes.
The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill proposes changes irn [ilthe Aadhaar Act, [ii]Indian Telegraph Act and [iiilthe Prevention of Money Laundering Act to comply with a Supreme Court judgement pronounced on September 26 last year, in which it upheld the constitutional validity of unique identification project with certain restrictions and changes The compulsory use of Aadhaarbased KYC for mobile connections and bank accounts was prohibited by the apex court. The central government has given sufficient reasons to uphold Section 7 of Aadhaar Act which deals with grant of subsidies and welfare benefits.
Page 1 : Rafale cost is 2.86% lower, but Dassault benefited without bank guarantee: CAG In its performance audit report on Capital Acquisition of the Indian Air Force, the CAG reviewed 11 contracts signed between 2012-13 and 2017-18 with an approximate value of 95,000 crore. The contract signed in 2016 to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets from France through the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) was 2.86% lower in value than Audit's aligned price of the bid received in 2007 when the then UPA government had sought to purchase 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), the CAG said in its report. The CAG also observed that the price could have been reduced further had the benefits of waiving of the bank guarantees for the vendor (Dassault Aviation) been passed on to India. Varying claims There have been varying claims from government officials on how much cheaper the 2016 deal was, with estimates ranging from 9% to 20%. On the delivery schedule, the national auditor found that the 2016 deal's terms would ensure only a month's advantage over the timeline offered in the 2007 bid. On the Rafale's India Specific Enhancements, which cost more than 1.3 billion of the 7.87 billion deal the CAG stated that there was a saving of 17.08%. However, the audit noted that four enhancements were stated not to be required in the technical and staff evaluations and that the cost of these four items constituted about 14% of the ISE estimated cost.
The Ministry has stated that scaling down the requirement to limit cash outgo cannot be considered as saving, the CAG said. The Centre has made repeated assertions that under the IGA, better terms had been achieved in terms of better pricing, better maintenance terms and better delivery schedule. The CAG also observed that in respect of bank guarantees, the French government had not agreed to an escrow account and had contended that the guarantees already provided by the government of France were far reaching and unprecedented. The finally approved Article 5 of IGA by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), provided that the advance payments were to be made directly to the bank accounts of the French vendor that were opened in a French government controlled bank. Underscoring the importance of a sovereign guarantee to this deal, the CAG observed that in case of a breach of agreement, the Indian party would have to first settle it through arbitration directly with the French vendors. If the arbitration award were in favour of Indian party and the French party fails to honour the award, Indian party should exhaust all available legal remedies. Only then the French government would make these payments on behalf of the vendors, the CAG noted.
Page 11: A month's gain on delivery, even that unsure One of the key reasons cited by the Centre for entering into an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France for 36 Rafale fighter jets was to ensure quick availability ofaircraft to meet the IAF's critical operational needs. However, audit report of the CAG has revealed that there is an improvement of only one month when compared with the terms as per the 2007 proposal for the supply of 126 jets under the MMRCA tender. Audit noted that as against the delivery period of 72 months in the earlier offer the contracted delivery schedule for 36 Rafale aircraft was actually 71 months, the CAG said. The auditor also noted that the Indian Negotiation Team (INT) had apprehensions about the achievement of even this delivery schedule. According to the original delivery schedule offered by Dassault Aviation in 2007, first 18 flyaway aircraft were to be delivered between 37-50 months from the signing of the contract and the next 18 jet:s, licence produced in HAL, were to be delivered 49-72 months from the signing of the contract During the IGA negotiations, the INT pressed for an earlier delivery time frame but finally the delivery schedule offered by the French side was 18 aircraft by 36 to 53 months after the contract and the remaining 18 jets by 67 months. The Indian Specific Enhancements (ISEs) on the first jet would be completed 63 months from contract signing and integration on the next 35 aircraft would be completed in the next eight months, CAG noted
Background O Comptroller and Auditor General CAG of India is an authority, established by the Constitution of India under article 148. CAG audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government. The CAG is also the external auditor of Government-owned corporations and conducts supplementary audit of government companies, i.e., any non-banking non-insurance company in which the governments have an equity share of at least 51% or subsidiary companiesof existing government companies The reports of the CAG are taken into consideration by the Public Accounts Committees (PACs) and Committees on Public Undertakings (COPUs), which are special committees in the Parliament of India and the state legislatures The CAG enjoys the same status as a judge of Supreme Court of India in Indian order of precedence. Appointment CAG is appointed by the President of India following a recommendation by the Prime Minister. On appointment, he/she has to make an oath or affirmation before the President of India. Removal The CAG can be removed only on an address from both house of parliament on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity The CAG vacates the office on attaining the age of 65 years age even without completing the 6 years term
Page 1 : Rajasthan clears 5%quota for Guiiars The Rajasthan Assembly unanimously passed a Bill giving 5% reservation in governm entjobs and education to Gujjars and four other nomadic communities. Leader of the Gujjar stir and other protesters occupying the railway tracks on the Delhi-Mumbai route said they would study the Bill and discuss it with the legal experts before calling off the agitation. The Amendment Bil 2019 has sought to amend a statute of 2017 and increase the quota for backward classes from the present 21% to 26%. This will result in the reservation exceeding the 50% upper limit mandated by the Supreme Court. The 2017 legislation was enacted by the then Vasundhara Raje government, giving 5% reservation to Gujjars as a Most Backward Class. Four other nomadic communities getting the quota benefit along with Gujjars are Banjara, Gadia-Lohar, Raika and Gadariya. The Bill's statement ofobjects and reasons said the five castes were most backward and required 5% separate reservation. It also made a mention of the Constitution Amendment Bill passed by the Union government to extend quota to the poor, which had breached the 50% ceiling.
Page 1: Majority govt. is a must for stability, PM tells Lok Sabha PM Modi in his last speech to the Lok Sabha made a strong pitch for a majority government at the Centre, stating that a full majority government in the last five years had enhanced the status of the country globally PM Modi's statement is part of the BJP's move to project a decisive leadership against an agglomeration of ideologically diverse opposition parties. India today is moving ahead with self-confidence, something that is vital in nation building, Mr. Modi said. Mr. Modi also looked back on his tenure in Parliament, which he entered for the first time as MP and Prime Minister. He pointed out that while there had been 13 Prime Ministers in India so far, his seat had a plaque naming only three. Liberals should think as to why that is? he said. Mr. Modi also asked for pardon with the Jain religious invocation Micchami Dukkdam for any hurts he may have caused. He praised Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's leadership and said eight of 17 sessions of this Lok Sabha had over 100% productivity. The overall productivity was recorded at over 85%. He pointed to the fact that not only did the 16th Lok Sabha have more women MPs than ever, the presiding officer was also a woman as were two out of the four Ministers in the Cabinet Committee on Security in his government.
Page 2 : Haryana Cabinet gives nod for 10% reservation to EWS The Haryana government decided to grant 10% reservation to persons belonging to the EWS indirect recruitment to Group A, B, C and D posts in all departments, boards, corporations and local bodies of the State government, besides in admissions to all government and government-aided educational institutions Income from all sources An official statement said only those whose gross income is below 70 lakh per annum would be eligible Income will include income from all sources. That is salary, agriculture, business and profession and income for the financial year prior to the year of application. Moreover, a family will include the person who is seeking reservation-his/her parents, spouse and children and siblings below the age of 18 years. The statement added that persons whose family owns or possesses five acres of agricultural land and above; residential flat of 1,000 square feet and above; residential plot of 100 square yards and above in notified municipalities; residential plot of 200 square yards and above in areas other than the notified municipalities; and any immovable property worth more than Rl crore would be excluded from the quota irrespective of the family income. Haryana Laws (Special Provisions) Bill, 2019 The Cabinet also approved the draft of the Haryana Laws (Special Provisions) Bil1, 2019, to make special provisions for all districts of Haryana falling under the National Capital Region for a period of one yeai.
Page 3: Foundation stone laid for Subarnarekha port in Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone of the Subarnarekha port in Balasore district of Odisha The proposed port is being developed by Tata Steel and Creative Port Development Pvt. Ltd., which would own 5 1 % and 49% stakes in the project respectively. The Odisha government has already handed over 692 acres of land for the port project and the construction work would start after some more land is handed over in the near future. Economic growth Speaking on the occasion, the CM said that the port is expected to be built in four years. A sum of R5,000 crore will be spent on the construction of the port which will generate employment for 12,000 people. > The Subarnarekha port will help speed up industrialisation in Odisha and contribute to the State's economic growth, said Mr. Patnaik. The all-weather port on the Subarnarekha river mouth on the Bay of Bengal, with 12 berths, would have an initial capacity of 25 million tonnes per annum, which is to be raised to 55 MTPA in phases. Tata Steel will use the port for its steel plant at Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, apart from other steel plants in Odisha and West Bengal.
Page 5: Kerala takes the lead in the fight against trans fat Health Department has drawn up an action plan to generate public awareness on the harmful effects of trans fatty acids (TFA) in commercially available food items and to encourage the local food industry to meet the current statutory limits set for TFA. An unhealthy diet with a high TFA content is a significant factor that pushes up metabolic syndrome and the burden of its associated complications. Scientific sessions The year-long action plan has specific components on building awareness on trans fat among food business operators and giving them scientific sessions and training on how they can keep their food TFA- free. Salt being a major contributor to hypertension and stroke, the action plan also plans to address the high salt content in processed foods, pickles, papads and condiments by encouraging manufacturers to move to low sodium options The Health Department is being supported in this initiative by Vital Strategies, the nutrition wing of the World Bank; the WHO; the FSSAI; and the State Food Safety wing, which will be in charge of enforcement
Page 7 : 99.82% projects in forests got nod India's apex National Board for Wildlife(NBWL)-charged with allowing forest land in Protected Areas to be diverted for industry-cleared 682 of the 687 projects (99.82%) that came up for scrutiny, according to a response to a query in the Lok Sabha earlier this month. Only five projects were rejected since August 2014. A wildlife expert, formerly associated with the NBWL, described it as a clearance house. From 2009-2013, the UPA recommended 260 of the 328 that came into its purview-or about 80% of the projects. It had deferred nearly 243 projects after 2013, according to a 2017 analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment. The Environment Ministry has delegated all powers of the NBWL to a compliant Standing Committee which regularly meets and clears projects in Protected Areas with little due diligence, said NBWL member from 2007-2010. The NBWL, formally headed by the Prime Minister, adjudicates on industrial projects, road diversions or the like that could encroach into Protected Areas or eco-sensitive zones of forests. A smaller Standing Committee of the NBWL is charged with deliberating on the merits of projects that come to it for scrutiny; the committee comprises scientists and government officials and is chaired by Union Environment Minister.
Page 7: Raiva Sabha clears law removing leprosy as ground for divorce Parliament passed a Bill removing leprosy as a ground for divorce under five personal laws, including the Hindu Marriage Act The Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 sought to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce in five personal laws-Hindu Marriage Act, Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, Divorce Act (for Christians), Special Marriage Act and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. However, consensus eluded on the Consumer Protection Bill which the government sought to push on Wednesday. Chairman said there was a communication gap on the Consumer Protection Bill and the same would not be taken up. The Consumer Protection Bill 2018 would replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Page 7 : Only 84% rural households have electricity in four States Only 84% of rural households have electricity connection in the four States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Rajasthan, a comprehensive private sector survey of 10,000 households has found This is in contrast to the government's Saubhagya Scheme data, which shows that 100% household electrification has been achieved in U.P, Biharand Odisha; and 99.9% in Rajasthan The report said that 90% of the households surveyed had an electric connection or electric pole within 50 m distance Within this figure, 84% ofthe households were the ones with an actual electricity connection The report also found that only 75%ofall households used electricity from the grid, suggesting that there were several households that relied on off-grid sources of electricity despite having a connection Despite the increasing footprint of grid-electricity, this study finds that several non-grid sources are in use; these include, primarily, solar home systems, followed by rechargeable batteries, mini-grid electricity, and diesel generators Overall 16%ofhouseholds use non-grid-electricity sources, halfof which also have grid connections This is an important finding, as there is an assumption that non-grid sources are popular only among un- electrified households This is probably best explained by the finding that 80% of the households with electricity!nfrastructure within 50 m said they did not make use of an electricity connection because they could not afford one. Other reasons for choosing off-grid sources included unreliable supply of electricity, inadequate supply of electricity and lack of residence proof.
Page 7: SC pulls up U.P. govt. for poor upkeep of Taj The Supreme Court pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for the poor upkeep of the Taj Mahal The SC asked the State to file a fresh vision document in four weeks, detailing the manner in which the monument would be preserved and protected. Earlier, the court had said the protection of the Taj Mahal should not be restricted to the world heritage monument alone but everything around it that goes to protect the ivory-white mausoleum commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in 1632. The court had said that the Taj Mahal was only the centre-piece. The forest cover, the river Yamuna and the grounds of the Taj Mahal should also be saved from pollution. The Bench had said the Vision Document for Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) should examine and end the proliferation of hazardous industries, foundries, seepage and emissions which are slowly but steadily destroying the Taj Mahal and the protective cover around it. In its 1996 judgment, the Supreme Court had noted that the Taj Mahal was not threatened by only traditional causes of decay, but also social and economic condition:s. Industrial emissions, brick-kilns, vehicular traffic and generator-sets polluted air around TTZ. The monument itself was slowly turning yellow from the collected grime
Page 10: MSP for jute hiked by 250/quintal The government has increased the MSP for raw jute by 250 per quintal, taking the price to 3,950 per quintal for the 2019-20 season. The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs India is the world's largest producer of raw jute and West Bengal accounts for the majority of the country's production, according to the National Jute Board The hike is slightly higher than last year's 200/quintal increase
Page 10: A warrior's memorial comes to light Restoration workers at Sinhagad Fort, 35 km from Pune, have stumbled upon the original commemorative memorial of Tanaji Malusare, the brave Maratha warrior after whom Shivaji is said to have named Sinhagad Fort (Lion's fort) Malusare died in 1670 after being seriously wounded in the Sinhagad battle The stone structure, found buried under cement, concrete, and layers of oil paint, is believed to be around 350 years old Workers were restoring a more recent memorial for Malusare, erected in 1941, consisting of a bronze statue and a concrete canopy The canopy had become dilapidated. So we recently started a project to remake it in bronze, said architect, who is working on the restoration project. When the workers were removing the concrete base of the statue, they struck a stone. We removed layers of concrete and cement and found a stone platform underneath. After consultations with experts, we were able to match the structure with a 1917 picture of Malusare's samadhi, he said But they also realised that the platform was only the base of the original 7.5-feet high memorial rock. Where was the superstructure? It so happened that the canopy, in addition to the bust of Malusare, also sheltered a virgal or a hero stone which had the carvings of a soldier, Lord Hanuman, and flowers. This hero stone was covered in over 60 layers of oil paint As we peeled it off, we realised that the hero stone was actually the superstru-cture and a part of the memorial, he said, adding that it must have got detached and moved away from the original structure several years ago.
Page 11 : We are always angry, says CJI We are always angry. Our anger has no meaning because we are always angry, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said, reacting sharply to a remark by former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar that the court should not be upset. The interaction came on Mr. Kumar's PIL petition seeking the court's intervention as India, which became a signatory to the UN Convention against Torture in 1997, is stl to ratify the convention. The Bench tried to explain that the Supreme Court could not direct Parliament under Article 142 of the Constitution as Parliament is sovereign in its sphere and the Supreme Court is sovereign in its own sphere. Observing that the court cannot issue a writ to the Government of India to honour its constitutional promise to preserve human dignity, Justice Gogoi asked, How will we look in the eyes of the world if we do something like that? The Chief Justice urged Mr. Kumar to point out the specific directions he was seeking from the court. When Mr. Kumar countered that he had never been properly heard in the case, a visibly irritated Justice Gogoi remarked that the Bench would only hear Mr. Kumar's case and none other listed for the day.