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Daily News Analysis 17th January 2019 Daily News Analysis from - The Hindu " Indian Express - Tol, Livemint Presented by Jatin Verma
Important News Articles (Taking Delhi/Noida edition as the base) Page Justices Maheshwari and Khanna made SC judges Page 1 : Panel to meet on Jan. 24 to pick new CBI chief Page 1 : 10% reservation in all admissions for 2019-20 Page 1 : Theresa May survives no-trust vote by a narrow margin Page 9 Slump in numeracy skills of rural Class VIII students Page 9 : Tobacco companies are targeting children: study Page 12: This time,the Centre has no misgivings Page 12 States cannot pick police chiefs on their own: SC Page 13 : Cut red meat, sugar by 50%; Lancet's diet plan for the world Page 13: NREGA gets additional 56,084 cr. Page 14 The risk of a no-deal Brexit looms large Page 15 : RBI eases norms for external commercial borrowing Page 15 SEBI moots creating commodity indices
Important News Articles (Taking Delhi/Noida edition as the base) Page 15: Just a day to process I-T returns Page 15 Numaligarh refinery capacity to be tripled Page 16 Investors in start-ups may get special rights Page 16 Don't dilute e-commerce FDI rules, traders' body tells government
Page 1: Justices Maheshwari and Khanna made SC judges The government notified the appointment of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Delhi High Court judge Sanjiv Khanna, as Supreme Court judges. Their swearing-in ceremony is likely to take place by the end of this week, even as controversy swirled around the Supreme Court Collegium's recommendation of Justice Khanna on January 10,2019 The Collegium, led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, unanimously recommended Justice Khanna's name along with Justice Maheshwari's on January 10, despite objections raised by sitting SC judge, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul Justice Kaul had complained about how Justice Khanna's elevation would be at the cost of overlooking the seniority of other High Court Chief Justices and judges. Justice Khanna was ranked 33 in the High Court judges' seniority list. It was reported that the Collegium had at first decided to recommend Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court Pradeep Nandrajog and Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajendra Menon to the Supreme Court on December 12 In its resolution dated January 10, the Collegium said certain decisions were indeed taken on December 2. However, it said, there was no time for the required consultation on the decisions taken on December 12 due to the intervening winter vacations for the court and retirement of Justice Madan Lokur.
Page 15: RBI eases norms for external commercial borrowing In a bid to improve ease of doing business, the RBI has decided to liberalise ECB norms, allowing all companies that are eligible for receiving foreign direct investment, to raise funds through the ECB route It has now been decided to rationalise the extant framework for ECB and Rupee denominated bonds to further improve the ease of doing business. 3-year maturity The RBI has decided to keep the minimum average maturity period at 3 years for all ECBs, irrespective of the amount of borrowing, except for borrowers specifically permitted to borrow for a shorter period. Earlier, the minimum average maturity period was five years. The ceiling for borrowing remains at $750 million All eligible borrowers can now raise ECBs up to S750 million or equivalent per financial year under the automatic route replacing the existing sector-wise limits. Any entity who is a resident of a country which is financial action task force(FATF) compliant, will be treated as a recognised lender. This change increases lending options and allows various new lenders in ECB space while strengthening the anti money laundering/ combating the financing of terrorism framework. RBI had capped funds raised via ECBs at 6.5% of GDP, at current market prices. Based on GDP figures for March 31, 2018, the soft limit works out to S160 billion.
Page 16: Don't dilute e-commerce FDI rules, traders' body tells government The Confederation of Indian Traders urged the government not to heed to the demands by e-commerce companies and agencies from the U.S. to water down or delay the implementation of the recently announced FDI rules in e-commerce. As a body that represents seven crore small businesses and 40,000 trade federation, we strongly oppose any changes, national general secretary of CAIT said. To accede to their demand is not good for the trading community This comes against the background of reports of intense lobbying by the e-commerce companies to ensure that the FDI rules are amended. The rules mandate that no entity in which an e-commerce company has stake can sell its wares on that e-commerce company's portal Any vendor who receives 25% or more of its inputs from an e-commerce group company cannot sell on that e-commerce portal. These rules, which are to be implemented from February 1, are expected to adversely impact Flipkart and Amazon, who have considerable stake in vendors operating on their respective platforms We want the government to institute a thorough probe into the business activities of these players in the last 2-3 years, he added. They should be strictly penalised if any violation found. The CAIT also called for the implementation of these FDI norms to apply to domestic players as well in order to ensure a level-playing field and promote competition.
Page 15 : SEBI moots creating commodity indices The SEBI has proposed allowing commodity exchanges to create indices on which futures contracts can be introduced. Such indices can be based on the most liquid contracts traded on the bourses and have to be diversified with the weightage of a single constituent capped at 20%. Advantage: Index-based products will also encourage the participation of institutions such as mutual funds, insurance companies etc., in the commodity derivatives market. Trading in derivatives products on commodity indices may also increase liquidity in underlying commodity derivatives products futures and options as entities would like to carry out arbitrage trades across index products and constituents or may use one product to hedge their positions in other. Incidentally, the Commodity Derivatives Advisory Committee (CDAC) has recommended that to begin with, futures contracts on commodity indices may be launched by exchanges. Time frame SEBI has proposed that the indices can include as constituents only those commodity contracts that have been in existence on the respective exchange for at least the previous 12 months, or the previous calendar year, or the previous financial year, and traded for at least 90% of the trading days in the stipulated period.
Average daily turnover of the constituent futures contracts during the period under consideration has to be at least R75 crore for agricultural and agri-processed commodities. For all other commodities, it has been pegged at R500 crore. The maximum weightage for any index constituent in a composite index will be at most 20% and minimum weightage will be at least 1%. Meanwhile, the minimum lot size of a futures contract introduced on such indices has been proposed at 5 lakh.
Page 15 : Just a day to process I-T returns The processing time for your income tax returns could well take only a day, as compared to 63 days now, if a proposal approved by the Cabinet. The proposal is for the development of an upgraded e-filing portal that would ease ITR filing and reduce the processing time for returns. Live in 21 months The Integrated E-filing & Centralized Processing Center 2.0 is expected to take 18 months to develop and three months to be tested before it is implemented, and an amount of 4,241.97 crore has been set aside for it The portal will be operational for eight years, and the project has been awarded to Infosys, which emerged as the lowest bidder. The Income Tax Department currently takes about 63 days to process an income tax return. Using the new system, this would go down to just one day Rectification requests, which are currently in 2% of the returns, our estimate is that this will go down to Just O. 1 %, Minister added. That is, of the number of rectification requests today,just 5% will remain. The remaining 95% will not need rectification. This approval has significant benefits for the Department and taxpayers through various functionalities such as pre-filling of ITR and acceptance by taxpayer as a means to improve accuracy and to reduce refund/processing turnaround time drastically, and facilitation to taxpayers in resolving outstanding tax demands
Page 15 : Numaligarh refinery capacity to be tripled The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved tripling the capacity of the Numaligarh Refinery in Assam to 9 million metric tonnes per annum (mm tpa) at a cost of 22,594 crore. The Cabinet also approved the setting up of a crude oil pipeline from Paradip to Numaligarh and a product pipeline from Numaligarh to Siliguri. The project is to be completed within 48 months, after approval and receipt of the statutory clearances. The total project cost of 22,594 crore will be financed by a mix of debt, equity and viability gap funding (VGF), the government said The Centre will provide the project ,020 crore of the VGE Impact The expansion of the refinery will meet the deficit of petroleum products in the northeast. It will also sustain the operations of all northeast refineries by augmenting their crude availability. It will generate direct and indirect employment in Assam.
Pipelines Route Map onGC Crude Oil P/L Paradip-Siliguri-Bongaigaon-Numaligarh Ph- Gas P/L Duliajan-Numaligarh-Bongaigaon Ph-il Agarta la-Silchar-Shillong-Guwahat i-Bongaigaon Ph-Ill Barauni-Siliguri-Bongaigaon Sitwe-Aizaw-Silchar ILI Product P/L (POL) Siliguri . Parba tipur (Post NRL expansion) Guwahati-Lumbding-Silchar-Imphal (Further to Aizawl/Agartala) Numaligarh-Dimapur-Imphal-Moreh Numaligarh-Itanagar (Future Plan) LPG P/L Numaligarh-Dimapur-Imphal Chittagong-sabrum-Agartala (Further extension to Aizawl/Silchar) Durgapur-Siliguri-Guwahati (Further extension to Imphal, if NRL expansion doesn't happen) (alternative to Chittagong-Agartala pipe line) 42
O EASTERN FRONTIER PIPE LINE NETWORK OFO OIL INDIA LIMITED TIBET ARUNACHAL PRADESH I BHUTAN SIKKIM NEPAL A-S NAGALAND MEGHALAYA MYANMAR HARKHAND MANIPUR REPEATER STATION SECTONAL VALVE LEGENDS MOput REFNERY UMP STATION INTERWEDIATE PIGGING STATION
It recorded that it found Justices Maheshwari and Khanna more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne judges of the high courts A former Delhi High Court judge has written to the President, saying the earth-shattering decision to recommend Justice Khanna by superseding 32 senior judges amounts to casting aspersions on their intellect, merit and integrity. Former CJI R.M. Lodha has raised questions over the Collegium reconsidering its earlier decision. Justice Lodha said a Collegium decision is an institutional decision and cannot be changed because one member retired in the short interval between December 12 and January 10 one 12 and January
Page 1: Panel to meet on Jan. 24 to pick new CBI chief The PM Modi-led selection panel to appoint a new CBI director is likely to meet on January 24. The move comes a day after Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, wrote to the PM calling the appointment of interim CBI Director M. Nageshwar Rao illegal. He had said the government should establish its bonafides in fighting corruption and ensuring the integrity of the premier investigative agency by convening an immediate meeting of the Selection Committee Any delay would further erode the faith the public has placed in this institution and the credibility of this institution, the Congress leader said. The PM heads the high-power Selection Committee. The other two members are the CJI and the Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha. The former CBI chief, Alok Verma, who was transferred out by the government by a 2:1 decision of the Selection Panel last week, would have completed his two-year tenure as CBI chief n January 31, The Congress had asked the Modi government to extend Mr. Verma's tenure by 77 daysthe period when he was on forced leave as the Supreme Court had restored his post and noted that the government's decision to send him on leave was procedurally wrong.
Page 1: Theresa May survives no-trust vote by a narrow margin The British government led by Theresa May survived a vote of no-confidence by a narrow margin of 19. The vote came at the end of a five-hour debate on a motion tabled by Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who accused the government of failing the country and turning a deal that had been touted as the easiest in history into a national embarrassment. PM May had been expected to win the vote as both her ally the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland and party MPs promised to back her; 306 MPs voted with Mr. Corbyn and 325 voted against him The vote followed the huge defeat suffered by the government on Tuesday night, when MPs rejected the government's Brexit withdrawal deal by a margin of 230. The margin was considerably larger than the 166 votes by which the minority government of Ramsay Macdonald lost a vote in 1924, which Mr. Corbyn said would have led any other leader to do the right thing and resign. Mr. Corbyn too is under pressure from within his own party with 71 signing a letter calling on him to back a second referendum
Page 14: The risk of a no-deal Brexit looms large A victory for the government in the vote won't put an end to the crisis engulfing it. After MPs rejected her withdrawal deal, she must return to the House of Commons with a plan B, though this is not expected to represent a major change from what was put to MPs before Ms. May had been hoping that she could go back to Brussels to ask for changes that could then be put to Parliament again in a vote but given the scale of the defeat, EU leaders are likely to see little point in making efforts on this Some hard Brexiteers hope the lack of any alternative on which people will agree on could mean that, with the clock ticking down, Britain will have to crash out of the EU without a deal, and resort to WTO rules. This remains a highly likely scenario as the default situation- if nothing were agreed further- would mean Britain leaving without a deal on March 29 Ms. May told MPs that she had wanted the U.K. to leave the EU in an orderly way with a good deal and called on MPs to clarify what they supported if it wasn't her deal. Wild card The real wild card in all of this is Mr. Corbyn. He's so far insisted his party will also abide by the result of the referendum though the party had previously conceded that they could back a second referendum if their attempt to get a general election failed However, recent comments have suggested he may instead push for more revisions to Ms. May's deal, in particular remaining in the customs union and securing more workers' rights-as well as a delay to Brexit
> He has, however, ruled out supporting a no-deal exit, which he says would be disastrous for the country. He declined to say whether any future Labour manifesto would include a commitment to delivering Brexit, insisting that all options remained on the table in discussions with Europe were Labour to win a general election. No consensus Many are now pressing for Britain to request a delay to Brexit, which Ms. May has so far been reluctant to do. In addition, with no political consensus in the U.K. in sight, it is unclear whether European leaders would agree to this. Politicians in Europe have expressed their frustration at recent developments, and in particular the perception that Britain was running down the clock in an attempt to exact further concessions from them French President Emmanuel Macron warned that Britain would be the biggest loser from a no-deal crash out. European Council President Donald Tusk asked: If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is,-which many have taken as a suggestion that the U.K. should remain in the EU.
Page 9 : Slump in numeracyv skills of rural Class VIII students > While there has been some improvement in the reading and arithmetic skills of lower primary students in rural India over the last decade, the skills of Class VIII students have actually seen a decline >The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018, the results of a yearly survey that NGO Pratham has been carrying out since 2006, shows that more than half of Class VIII students cannot correctly solve a numerical division problem and more than a quarter of them cannot read a primary level text Those figures are worse than they were a decade ago. In 2008, 84.8% ofClass VIII students could read a text meant for Class II; by 2014, only 74.6% could do so, and by 2018, that percentage had fallen further to 72.8% Four years ago, 44.1% of students in Class VIII could correctlydivide a three digit number by a single digit number: in 2018, that figure had fallen slightly to 43.9% Noting that the additional value added in terms of math skills for each year of schooling is low, Pratham researchers concluded that without strong foundational skills, it is difficult for children to cope with what is expected of them in the upper primary grades The picture is slightly more encouraging at the Class III level, where there has been gradual improvement since 201 4. However, even in 20 18, less than 30% of students in Class III are actually at their grade level, that is, able to read a Class II text and do double digit subtraction. This means that a majority of children need immediate help in acquiring foundational skills in literacy and numeracy. These overall percentages also camouflage wide differences in skill level between States, or even between students in a single classroom
For example, Pratham found that almost half of Class III students in government schools in Himachal Pradesh can read a Class II level text, while another quarter can read a Class I level text. This allows the teacher to use grade level textbooks for most of the class, although the rest will need ongoing support for basic skills. In government schools in Uttar Pradesh, however, a quarter of students cannot recognise letters yet, while another 37% can recognise letters, but not read words. Urgent and immediate help is needed if these students are not to be left behind. The ASER survey covered almost 5.5 lakh children between the ages of 3 and 16 in 596 rural districts across the country. In an encouraging trend, it found that enrolment is increasing and the percentage of children under 14 who are out of school is less than 4% The gender gap is also shrinking, even within the older cohort of 15-and-16-year-olds. Only 13.6% of girls of that age are out of school, the first time that the figure has dropped below the 1 500 mark.
Page 9 : Tobacco companies are targeting children: study A report said that tobacco companies in India are systematically targeting children as young as eight by selling tobacco products and placing tobacco advertisements near schools. These tactics, happening all over the country, clearly violate the Section 5 and 6 of Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act. TOgather evidence regarding tobacco products being sold around educational institutions in violation of the law, two groups working in the area of tobacco control - Consumer Voice and Voluntary Health Association of India -- undertook a study in 20 cities across six states in India. Titled 'Tiny Targets', the study was conducted to determine the extent of tobacco products being marketed and sold around schools in India Despite the prohibition on sales of tobacco products near educational institutions, numerous shops/vendors/points of sale sell and advertise tobacco products around schools, the study said Action sought The tobacco industry must be held accountable for their aggressive advertising efforts around schools.
Page 13 : Cut red meat, sugar by 50%: Lancet's diet plan for the world With the ideal diet, your life would be less sweet but your lifespan would be longer. Cut consumption of sugar and red meat by 50%, and increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, and nuts-that is the top recommendation of a worldwide diet plan according to the Lancet report. Such a diet would not only be healthier but also more environment-friendly. Report recommended that the average adult, whose daily requirement is about 2,500 calories, must strive to source around 800 calories from whole grain (rice, wheat or corn), 204 calories from fruits and vegetables, and not more than 30 calories from red meat (beef, lamb or pork) It also suggested that the ideal diet should have no added sugar or added fat. Unhealthy diets are the leading cause of ill-health worldwide, and following this healthy diet could avoid approximately 11 million premature deaths a year UN goals These global targets define a safe operating space for food systems that allow us to assess which diets and food production practices will help ensure that the UN SDGs and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change are achieved. Though the report's recommendations for a healthy diet do include red meat, it emphasises that global targets ought to be applied locally and must keep in mind cultural sensitivities. That means the protein requirement from meat can be substituted, with, say, legumes or equivalent substitutes People in North American countries eat almost 6.5 times the recommended amount of red meat, while those in South Asia eat only half the recommended amount.
All countries are eating more starchy vegetables (potatoes and cassava) than recommended, with intakes ranging from between 1.5 times above the recommendation in South Asia to 7.5 times the optimum level in sub-Saharan Africa. Dramatic change The world's diets must change dramatically. More than 800 million people have insufficient food, while many more consume an unhealthy diet that contributes to premature death and disease. To be healthy, diets must have an appropriate calorie intake and consist of a variety of plant-based foods, low amounts of animal-based foods, unsaturated rather than saturated fats, and few refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugars. The researchers also modelled the effects of a global adoption of such a diet on deaths from diet-related diseases. Three models each showed major health benefits, suggesting that the new diet could globally avert 10.9- 11.6 million premature deaths a year. The report shared a road map to help global populations move towards such a diet by 2050. These include re-orienting the focus of agriculture from large-scale production of a few crops to a diverse range of nutritious foods from biodiversity-enhancing food production systems.
What constitutes Macronutrient Caloric intake intake (gm/day) (kcal/day) Food a healthy diet Whole grains Tubers All vegetables Fruits Dairy foods Beef, lamb, pork Chicken Eggs Fish Legumes All sugars 232 50 300 200 250 14 29 13 28 75 31 811 39 78 126 153 30 62 19 40 284 120 Scientific targets for a planetary health diet for an intake of 2,500 Kcal/day Image Credit-The Hindu
Page 13: NEGA gets additional 6.084 cr. After exhausting 99% of its annual allocation three months ahead oftime, the NREGA scheme has been given an additional allocation of 6,084 crore to tide over the next three months. This lifts the total allocation to MGNREGA for 2018-19 to 61,084 crore, which is the highest ever allocation However, the fine print of the balance sheet paints a less buoyant picture As on January 16, the scheme's financial statement shows that 15 States have a total negative net balance of 4,064 crore, which includes payments due for unskilled wages for work that has already been done. If this additional allocation is used to pay off these pending payments, there will be much less money left for fresh employment generation over the next three months, said a member of the People's Action for Employment Guarantee If this money is not used to pay off these committed liabilities, it will delay wage payments beyond the stipulated 15-day period, and further disincentivise people from seeking employment under the scheme, she added Serious consequences The funds crunch being faced by States has serious consequences for employment provision. We are already seeing that when workers come looking for work, they are not being registered in many districts, simply because there is no money to pay them Study analysing government data in 3,500 panchayats found that the employment provided during 2017- 18 was 32% lower than the work demanded in that year.