Jatin Verma is teaching live on Unacademy Plus
Important News Articles (Taking Delhi/Noida edition as the base) Page CJI pulls out of CBI case hearing Page 1: Centre proposes to hike pensions Page 2 : Protest against proposed bird sanctuary in Manipur Page 3 : Rajasthan tribal meet stresses on preserving indigenous practices Page 5: Steel pipes will link Godavari and Cauvery, says Gadkari Page 7: Plastic waste imports to India go up Page 7 : Quota for poor not aimed at forward castes: Centre to HC Page 7: Affidavit in SC on CIC appointment Page 10: Pak. shares draft pact on Kartarpur Corridor Page 10 CBI officer moves SC against transfer back to Port Blair Page 1: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam CMs defend Citizenship Bill Page 1 EC mulls legal action on anti-EVM campaign Page Controversy continues over Justice Khanna's elevation
Important News Articles (Taking Delhi/Noida edition as the base) Page 13 China's 2018 growth slows to 28-year low Page 13 IRDAI working group moots payment of claims in instalments Page 13 Bihar outgrew others in FY18 GDP Page 13 : Weak Europe prompts IMF to cut forecast Page 13 Growth may pick up in India in 2019 Page 14 BHEL, Libcoin consortium to build lithium-ion gigafactory Page 18 19 amphibian species are critically endangered: ZSI list Page 18 Climate time bomb' for groundwater is ticking
Page 13: China's 2018 growth slows to 28-year low China's economy cooled in the fourth quarter under pressure from faltering domestic demand and bruising U.S. tariffs, dragging 2018 growth to the lowest in nearly three decades and pressuring Beijing to roll out more stimulus to avert a sharper slowdowrn. Growing signs of weakness in China are fuelling anxiety about risks to the world economy and are weighing on profits for firms ranging from Apple to big carmakers. Policymakers have pledged more support this year to reduce the risk of massive job losses, but have ruled out a flood of stimulus like that which Beijing has relied on in the past, which quickly juiced growth rates but left a mountain of debt. The problem lies in consumption. As the U.S. and China clash on many fronts, consumer sentiment appears to have been hurt. Until now, solid wage growth has been supporting consumption but now there appears to be a sense of vague anxiety about the future. Fourth-quarter GDP grew at the slowest pace since the global financial crisis, easing to 6.4% on-year as expected from 6.5% in the third quarter. That pulled full-year growth down to 6.6%, the slowest annual pace since 1900, GDP in 2017 grew a revised 6.8%. With support measures expected to take some time to kick in, most analysts believe conditions are likely to get worse before they get better, and see a further slowing to 6.3% this year.
Page 13 : IRDAI working group moots payment of claims in instalments A working group of the insurance regulator IRDAI has recommended payment in instalments of personal accident and benefit-based health insurance claims. Not a default option Payment of claim amount in instalments should not be a default option. It should be in addition to the lump sum option and allowed based on the option exercised by the policyholder. The group said while the premium rate ought to be same for both the options, the total claim payment under instalment option should always be higher than the lump sum option as the benefit is delayed in case of instalment option, an additional benefit must flow in such cases. In doing so, the insurers should avoid linking the incremental payout, under instalment option, to interest rate. Instead, a fixed payout structure, which is part of the claim instalments schedule, must be explained upfront to the policyholder A combination of both the options may also be a good, the group said, explaining how a portion of the sum assured could be a lump sum payment at the time of claim and the remaining proceeds as periodic payments for a definite period. Calling for demarcation of benefits under both options when the policy is sold, the group said instalment option may be offered for products with higher sum insured limit The policyholder will have the option of altering the mode of receipt of payment of claim from lump sum to instalments and vice-versa during the policy duration any number of times.
Contingent event General and health insurance companies may also be allowed to offer the option of payment of claims in instalments upon happening of a contingent event in cases of indemnity products that have a fixed benefit component, as well. The group was constituted in the backdrop various general and health insurance companies proposing an instalment option for payment of claim benefits in respect of personal accident and benefit-based health nsurance policies This concept may be altogether new to the general/ health insurance industry, but it is in vogue since long in the life insurance industry.
Page 13 : Bihar outgrew others in FY18 GDP Bihar and Andhra Pradesh led the pack among States in terms of GDP growth in financial year 2017-18, clocking 1 1 .300 and i 1 .2% growth, respectively, compared with the national GDP growth of 6.7% for the year, according to a report by Crisil. According to the report, 12 of the 17 general category States grew faster than the national growth rate It noted that this growth was not equitable, with the gap between the per capita incomes in low-income and high-income States widening over the last five years. In fiscal 2018, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat were top-rankers in terms of GSDP growth among the 17 non-special States. Jharkhand, Kerala, and Punjab were at the bottom. Between the financial years 2012-13 and 2016-17, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka were the fastest growing states, on average. While all three managed to maintain their GSDP growth higher than the all-India GDP growth in 2018, only Gujarat remained in the top three. Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka both saw their rankings slip to 9 and 4, respectively The States at the bottom, similarly, saw a reversal of fortunes. West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar had ranked at the bottom in the past five years. In financial year 2017-18, however, Bihar rose to the top spot and West Bengal rose to the sixth rank, with a growth of 9.1 %, significantly stronger than the national GDP growth rate. Jharkhand, however, remained at the bottom.
In Gujarat and Karnataka, manufacturing was the main driver, while in Madhya Pradesh, agriculture and allied activities drove growth on average. Among the laggards, West Bengal was dragged down by mining, Jharkhand by electricity and other utilities On the fiscal front, most veered off the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM) line of maintaining their fiscal deficits at 3% of their respective state GDPs. > With little fiscal legroom for the Centre, States are now the new engines of government spending over 65% in total government spending, the Crisil report said. Capex in State spending Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh topped the tally in proportion of capex in state spending in the past three years. But most states are not spending as they ought to, in areas such as health, irrigation, and education. States must also be wary of their debt profiles. While the FRBM Act had helped states recover their fiscal health considerably, recent trends show they are slipping. Debt ratios have risen in many States-with the assimilation of Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), farm loan waivers, and Pay Commission hikes. The combined fiscal deficit of States crossed the 3% of GSDP threshold, ln both fiscals 2016 and 2017 This improved in fiscal 2018 to 3.1%, but this was still higher than the FRBM limit, and also the 2.7% of GSDP budgeted for the year.
India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra)'s report India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) said that it expected the aggregate fiscal deficit of the States to come in at 3.2% in financial year 2019-20, which is higher than what it forecast in its FY19 Mid-Year Outlook Although this is higher than the fiscally prudent level of3% of the GDP, Ind-Ra believes thiswill not pose a significant upside risk to States' aggregate debt burden in FY20 India Ratings added that the competitive populism in the form of farm loan waivers and other financial support schemes would likely take centre stage in the run-up to the general elections in May 2019 A larger impact is expected on fiscal and revenue deficit to gross state domestic product ratios for Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan, among non-special category States, in FY20
Page 13 :Weak Europe prompts IMF to cut forecast The IMF cut its world economic growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020 due to weakness in Europe and some emerging markets, and said failure to resolve trade tensions could further destabilise a slowing global economy. In its second downgrade in three months, the IMF cited a bigger-than-expected slowdown in China's economy and a possible No Deal Brexit as risks to its outlook, saying these could worsen market turbulence in financial markets The IMF predicted the global economy to grow at 3.5% in 2019 and 3.6% in 2020, down 0.2 and 0.1 percentage point respectively from last October's forecasts After two years of solid expansion, the world economy is growing more slowly than expected and risks are rising, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Does that mean a global recession is around the corner? No. But the risk of a sharper decline in lobal growth has certainly increased, she said, urging policy-makers to be ready for a serious slowdown by boosting their economies' resilience to risks Signs of weakness The downgrades reflected signs of weakness in Europe, with its export powerhouse Germany hurt by new fuel emission standards for cars and with Italy under market pressure due to Rome's recent budget standoff with the European Union Growth in the eurozone is set to moderate from 1.8% in 2018 to 1.6% in 2019, 0.3 percentage point lower than projected three months ago The IMF also cut its 201 9 growth forecast for developing countries to 4.5%, down 0.2 percentage point from the previous projection and a slowdown from 4.7% in 2018
Page 13:Growth may pick up in India in 2019 India is projected to grow at 7.5% in 2019 and 7.7% in 2020, an impressive over one percentage point ahead of China's estimated growth of 6.2% in these two years, the IMF said, attributing the pick-up to lower oil prices and a slower pace of monetary tightening. The IMF, in its January World Economy Outlook update, said India would remain the fastest growing major economies of the world. Despite fiscal stimulus, China's economy will slow down due to the combined influence of needed financial regulatory tightening and trade tensions with the U.S. Growth in emerging and developing Asia will dip from 6.5% in 2018 to 6.3% in 2019 and 6.4% in 2020. China, which grew at 6.9% in 2017, compared with 6.7% by India, had a growth rate of6.6% in2018. In the next two years-2019 and 2020-it is projected to grow at 6.2% each, the IMF said.
Page 14: BHEL, Libcoin consortium to build lithium-ion gigafactory State-owned BHEL, one of India's largest power generation equipment manufacturers, is in talks with Libcoin consortium to build Indian government's first lithium-ion gigafactory as part of PM Modi's Make in India, for India programme Commenting on the development, Libcoin chairman said: Our plan is to be the largest lithium-ion battery manufacturer in India, and we aim to be the first mover in one of the world's largest markets The interest this project is generating, especially in the Indian automobile sector, is very exciting Development of the gigafactory would initially start with the construction of a 1 gigawatt hour lithium- ion battery plant, which would be scaled up to 30 GWh in due course. Impact > With this, India has finally taken steps into its energy security and clean energy commitment to the world. Various Indian cities including Delhi have been struggling to cut down their pollution level for last several years and electric transportation has been considered as one of the viable approaches to cut down emission The number of electric cars in the world already hit million-mark last year and the International Energy Agency has projected almost 140 million electric cars globally by 2030, if countries meet Paris climat<e d targets, in which India has already committed to actively participate.
Page 1: CJI pulls out of CBI case hearing CJI Ranjan Gogoi recused himself from hearing a petition challenging the appointment of M. Nageswara Rao as interim CBI Director and ordered the plea to be placed before a Bench led by the number two Supreme Court judge, Justice A.K. Sikri, on January 24. Justice Sikri himself was part of the high-power committee chaired by PM Modi, which ousted Alok Verma as CBI Director and paved the way for the appointment of Mr. Rao as interim Director Chief Justice explained that it would not be possible for him to hear the case as there is a meeting of the high-power committee scheduled for January 24. This committee would recommend a name for CBI Director from a panel. The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, mandates that the Centre appoint the CBI Director on the recommendation of a committee chaired by the PM and comprising the LoP, the CJI or his nominee Supreme Court judge Chief Justice Gogoi, however, had heard a petition filed by Mr. Verma against the latter's overnight divestment from office on October 23-24 last year even though the CJI was a member of the high-power committee Chief Justice Gogoi had authored the judgment for the Bench allowing Mr. Verma to return to office and directed the competent authority to organise a meeting of the committee within a week to decide Mr. Verma's divestment. It was in this meeting that Justice Sikri had represented Chief Justice Gogoi.
Page 1 : Centre proposes to hike pensions Ahead of the 2019 election, the Rural Development Ministry has proposed that the monthly pensions of the elderly poor, disabled and widows be increased from the current 200 to 800. For those above the age of 80, the proposal is to increase the pension from #500 to 1,200 a month. The Ministry has submitted the proposal, which would have an additional annual cost implication of 18,000 crore, to the Finance Ministry to be considered for inclusion in the interim Budget to be presented on February 1. The proposal is being scrutinised for the possibility of inclusion in the Budget speech, said a senior official, which administers the National Social Assistance Programme(NSAP Separately, a study has been launched to consider doubling the number of people covered by the scheme, a promise originally made in last year's Budget. Discussions are also being held with the State governments on a proposal to merge the Central and State pension schemes The BJP's defeat in the recent Assembly elections has forced the Centre to consider sops for rural India. Senior government officials have mentioned income support, interest waivers and increased access to credit as some of the other measures being considered
Brow-antlered deer Some decades ago, the villagers of the lake islets had agitated against setting up of the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the natural habitat of the endangered brow-antlered deer (Name?) They wanted the land demarcated for the park to be made available to them for cultivating paddy. Now the latest census suggests that there are only 260 brow-antlered deer in the Keibul Lamjao national park.
Page 3 : Rajasthan tribal meet stresses on preserving indigenous practices Farmers from the tribal belt of southern Rajasthan laid emphasis on re-establishing their links with the livestock, local herbs, traditional foodgrain and indigenous agricultural practices as a safeguard for protecting their culture. The conference was organised last week on the conclusion of a fortnight-long farmers' sovereignty march through 190 village spread across Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, which brought all stakeholders together for development of tribal areas. Ith care and democracy were brought up for discussion at th tribal farmers took a pledge to preserve the fertile soil in their areas for ensuring food security. Modern technology should be used in balance with the traditional methods of farming with a scientific approach for better results. Food processing, value addition to agriculture and farming of cash crops would raise the tribal region's living standards. Child protection It warned against excessive use of chemical fertilisers. There was an urgent need to protect the children of tribal communities against child labour.
Page 5 : Steel pipes will link Godavari and Cauvery, says Gadkari Union Minister for Water Resources has revealed plans to take the backwaters of the Godavari up to the Cauvery river in Tamil Nadu through Krishna and Penna using steel pipes instead of developing canals en route. By doing so, wastage of water from canals could be prevented and the overall cost reduced. Minister said the DPR for the river inter-linking project has already been prepared and is in the process of being submitted to the Cabinet. It is estimated to cost 60,000 crore. Claiming that the Central government was spending 100% of the funds for the Polavaram project and 62% physical progress had been achieved with the cooperation of the State government, he said it was his personal responsibility to ensure its completion as per schedule. Minister said 1,100 tmcft of the backwater of Godavari river was going into the sea and there was a dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over 45 tmcft of it To solve the crisis, the Centre has decided to link up the above rivers and once the Cabinet gives its nod, funds will be raised from the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank. It will mitigate the scarcity of water in A.P., Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee who, as Prime Minister, had conceived the idea of linking rivers
Page 7 : Plastic waste imports to India go up In spite of a ban on the import of plastic waste into India, the influx of PET bottles has quadrupled from 2017 to 2018 thanks to legal loophole, says a Delhi-based environmentalist organisation. Indian firms are importing plastic scraps from China, Italy, Japan and Malawi for recycling and the imports of PET bottle scrap & flakes has increased from 12,000 tonnes in FY 16-17 to 48,000 tonnes in FY 17-18 growing @ 290% India has already imported 25,000 MT in the first 3 months of FY 18-19. Wide gap Government and industry estimates suggest that India consumes about 13 million tonnes of plastic and recycles only about 4 million tonnes. A lack of an efficient waste segregation system and inadequate collection is the root cause for much of the plastic not making its way to recycling centres To incentivise domestic plastic recycling units, the government had banned the import of plastic waste, particularly PET bottles in 201:5 In 2016, an amendment allowed such imports as long as they were carried out by agencies situated in Special Economic Zones. It's this loophole that's been exploited. Director of Toxics Link, an organisation that works on plastic waste management, said that figures were plausible as China, once a major global importer of plastic waste for recycling, had banned such imports It's possible that some of that is making its way to India but I can't be sure of these numbers, he said.
Page 7 : Quota for poor not aimed at forward castes: Centre to HC The Centre contended before the Madras High Court that a recent amendment to the Constitution providing i 0% reservation in jobs and higher education to EWS in the open competition category, was not a communal reservation aimed at the so called forward castes. Additional Solicitor General said the intent of the constitutional amendment was to provide reservations n the basis of economic criteria to all communities other than those already benefiting from reservations Tussle over terms When the senior judge pointed out that providing reservations for people except those who were socially and educationally backward as well as those belonging to SC and STs would naturally refer to forward caste, the ASG said, the right term that could be used was other communities and not forward caste. He also contended that what had been intended for the EWS was vertical and not horizontal reservation. Recording his strong objection to such submissions, senior counsel, representing the writ petitioner, said providing reservations based on economic criteria would amount to altering the basic structure of the Constitution. Asserting that the intention of framers of the Constitution was to provide reservations to undo historic wrongs against the oppressed and backward classes, he said, unlike caste, which gets attached to a person by birth and remains until death, economic status of a person was a fluctuating factor
Page 7: Affidavit in SC on CIC appointment RTI activists filedan affidavit in the Supreme Court alleging that the appointment of former Law Secretary Suresh Chandra as a member of the CIC was done in complete violation of the prescribed process, as he had not applied for the post. Mr. Chandra's name was not on the list of 280 applicants for the vacant positions, according to data made public by the DoPT. The Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition by Anjali Bhardwaj, co-convenor of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information, and others, on vacancies in State and Central Information Commissions The additional affidavit said the appointment of Mr. Chandra was in violation of the DoPT's own affidavit to the SC on the appointment procedure to be followed. The search committee acted beyond its mandate and undermined the selection process, said the affidavit. The Congress accused the Centre of subterfuge and trying to keep the Opposition out while making key appointments to statutory bodies
In a previous draft, Pakistan had proposed a 14-point agreement, which included visa free travel for the pilgrims who would be processed at checkpoints on both the Indian and Pakistani side. The agreement included setting up a database of all pilgrims visiting, with a suggested cap of 500 pilgrims per day. Earlier, the MEA had said there should be no restriction on the number of pilgrims or visiting hours. However, given security protocols, the MHA concluded that a cap would be necessary. Work on the infrastructure for the corridor, which was started at ceremonies held in Dera Baba Nanak in India and Kartarpur in Pakistan in November 2018, has also begun
Page 11 : Arunachal Pradesh, Assam CMs defend Citizenship Bill Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu has joined his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal in defending the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and said people with vested interests have been misinterpreting it to create confusion Mr. Khandu heads a Bharatiya Janata Party government in Arunachal Pradesh, while Mr. Sonowal leads a coalition government with the BJP being the major player. Mr. Khandu said Citizenship Bill will not harm us as we are safe from any kind of infiltrators due to the Inner Line Permit (ILP) mechanism Anyone entering Arunachal Pradesh from elsewhere in India requires an ILP as mandated by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873 Various organisations, including the All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union, have been protesting the Bill. They say it would make thousands of Chakma and Hajong refugees displaced from Bangladesh and Tibetans from China eligible for citizenship in the frontier State. Clause 6 key Mr. Sonowal said: The Bill will only allow the people who have entered India before December 31, 2014 to apply for citizenship after a seven-year-long stay in India. And mere application won't grant them citizenship They have to prove they have lived for seven years in India and they were persecuted in those countries. Mr. Sonowal also said no government at the Centre before the one led by PM Modi made any tangible effort to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985 for safeguarding constitutional, legislative, and administrative interests of the indigenous people of the State.
Page 11: EC mulls legal action on anti-EVM campaign The Election Commission said it was examining the option of taking legal action on the claims made ata press conference in London that EVMs used by the electoral body could be hacked and that the 2014 Lok Sabha polls were rigged. A U.S.-based cyberexpert levelled the allegations at an event hosted by the Indian Journalist Association and the Foreign Press Association in London He alleged that the individuals who were meant to bring an EVM to the venue for him to be able to demonstrate alleged tampering had been offered a great deal of money and decided not to show up It has come to the notice of the Election Commission of India that an event claiming to demonstrate EVMs used by ECI can be tampered with, has been organised in Londor. Whereas the ECI has been wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest, ECI firmly stands by the empirical facts about the foolproof nature of ECI-EVMs deployed in elections in India. It needs to be reiterated that these EVMs are manufactured in Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited under very strict supervisory and security conditions and there are rigorous standard operating procedures meticulously observed at all stages under the supervision of a committee of eminent technical experts constituted way back in 2010 It is being separately examined as to what legal action can and should be taken in the matter, the EC said Congress leader said: We cannot deny it, we cannot affirm it. But, it is clear that it adds to the significant body of thoughts which has grave doubts about the authenticity, objectivity and correctness of these machines.
ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES EVMs are electronic voting machines which provide the voter with a button for each choice and it is connected by a cable to an electronic ballot box. The EVM runs on a 6-volt single alkaline battery fitted in the control unit, and can even be used in areas that have no electricity The control unit is with the Election Commission appointed polling officer and the Balloting Unit is in the voting compartment into which the voter enters to cast his/her vote in secret by pressing the button against the name and symbol of the candidate of his/her choice. It consists of two units control unit and balloting unit- which are connected by a 5-metre cable.
Page 11 : Controversy continues over Justice Khanna's elevation In the backdrop of the controversy over the appointment of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, a 1998 opinion by the Supreme Court may shed light on the questions raised by the episode. The objections against are not merely over seniority, but extends to questions about the Collegium dropping the names of two judges considered earlier and the reasons given for changing its decision. As Justice Khanna shared the Bench with the CJI Ranjan Gogoi, a section of legal experts condemned the controversy as a selective outcry. They cited the recent example of the Collegium recommending Justice K.M. Joseph for appointment to the Supreme Court over many other judges senior to him. Why cannot the same happen to Justice Khanna, who was ranked 33 in the all-India high court judges' seniority list. Outstanding merit A nine-judge Bench in the Special Reference Case of 1998 had ruled that merit is the pre-dominant consideration for the purposes of appointment to the Supreme Court. Where there is outstanding merit, the possessor thereof deserves to be appointed regardless of the fact that he may not stand high in the all-India seniority list or in his own High Court, the court had held in its opinion on the 1998 Presidential Reference on the intricacies of the Collegium system. However, objections voiced by the likes of former CJI R. . Lodha and K.G. Balakrishnan are not confined to supersession alone.
Strong reasons Further, the Second Judges Case judgment in October 1993, and later the court's opinion in the 1998 Special Reference, confirm that strong cogent reasons should be the basis for appointing a judge to the Supreme Court by superseding others senior to him. Finally, both the 1993 judgment and 1998 opinion have held that the CJI's final opinion is not merely his individual opinion. The CJI's opinion must necessarily have the element of plurality in its formation. The CJI's view on a prospective judicial appointment has primacy because it symbolises the opinion of the judiciary itself. View of the CJI is to be expressed in the consultative process as truly reflective of the opinion of the judiciary, the 1993 judgment observed.
Page 18 : 19 amphibian species are critically endangered: ZSI list An updated list of Indian amphibians was released on the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) website, with 19 species being treated as critically endangered and 33 species as endangered Since 2009, the scientists of the ZSI in collaboration with other institutes have been updating the Indian amphibian checklist periodically In 2009, the total number of species listed was 284. In 2010 it was 311, in 2011 it was 314, in 2012 and 2013 it was 342, in 2015 it was 384 and in 2017 it was 405 species. The list also notes if the species are in danger, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). IUCN status The current list bears the names of 432 amphibian species from India, the year of discovery and their IUCN 'red list' conservation status. List describes 19% of amphibians as data deficient species and 39% as not assessed by the IUCN. It is high time that we assess the IUCN status for the Indian not assessed amphibians (169 species) based on species-specific field exploration