Supreme court quizzes centre over immigrants issue
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Centre on
a fresh plea seeking to quash a series of subordinate laws which allows the
naturalisation of illegal immigrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains,
Parsis and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Bangladesh,
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The petitioners have urged the court to declare the amendments
made through the Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015; the
Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015 and the order issued by the Ministry of
Home Affairs on December 26, 2016 under the Citizenship Act, allowing the
naturalisation of illegal immigrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains,
Parsis and Christians, as “illegal and invalid”.
They have contended that the leeway offered by the subordinate
laws would further multiply the “uncontrolled influx of illegal migrants
from Bangladesh to Assam”. The illegal immigration has caused huge
demographic changes in the northeastern State, the petitioners claimed.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill proposed to amend the original
Citizenship Act of 1955 vintage. It mandated that those who crossed the
border to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and belong to
“minority communities”, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and
Christians would not be treated as illegal immigrants despite having entered
India without valid travel documents.
If the Bill is implemented, the immigrants from the minority
communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan would not face
Indian states amongst top polluters of the world
Fifteen of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world are
located in India, according to an analysis of air quality in several cities
around the world.
Gurugram, in Haryana, topped the list with an average annual
particulate matter (PM 2.5) quality of 135 micrograms/cubic metre, in 2018.
Delhi a frequent fixture on global pollution hotspots was only the 11th most
noxious city behind Lahore, Pakistan (10th) and Hotan, China (8th).
The other cities in India that made the list of 20 were Ghaziabad,
Faridabad, Bhiwadi, Noida, Patna, Lucknow, Jodhpur, Muzaffarpur, Varanasi,
Moradabad, Agra, Gaya and Jind.
When ranked by country, Bangladesh emerged as the most polluted
followed by Pakistan and India respectively.
Of the cities analysed, 64% exceeded the WHO’s annual exposure
guideline (10 micrograms/cubic metre) for fine particulate matter, also
known as PM2.5. India’s annual guidelines range from 40-60 g/m3, depending
on whether they are residential or industrial areas.
Every single one of measured cities with data in the Middle East
and Africa exceeded the WHO guideline, while 99% of cities in South Asia,
95% of cities in Southeast Asia and 89% of cities in East Asia breached this
The ranking a one of its kind study that relies on ground-based
sensors located in 3,000 cities from 73 countries was compiled by IQAir
Group, a manufacturer of air-monitoring sensors as well as purifiers and
environmentalist group Greenpeace.
Beijing ranks now as the 122nd most polluted city in the world in
2018 and China, the 12th most polluted country in the world. Of the
countries analysed, Iceland emerged as the one with the cleanest air.
U.S withdraws GSP preference to India
U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that he intends to end
preferential trade terms for India under the U.S.’s Generalized System of
Preferences (GSP) programme. His intent was conveyed in a letter sent to the
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and President of the Senate.
The GSP programme, which sets zero tariffs for certain goods from
a set of 121 developing countries to foster their trade and economic
development, accounts for some $5.6 billion of India’s exports to the U.S.,
making India the largest GSP beneficiary.
Chemicals, gems and jewellery, engineering and textiles are among
the Indian industrial sectors that benefit from GSP.
While The Indian government on Tuesday downplayed the effect of
the U.S. decision to withdraw trade concessions granted to India under the
Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), with Commerce Secretary
AnupWadhawan saying that the impact would amount to only $190 million on the
value of $5.6 billion in exports to the U.S. that fall under the GSP
Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs, however, said that
the government would continue to talk to the U.S. during the 60-day period
after which the GSP withdrawal would come into effect, in an effort to work
out a deal.
The government had, in the middle of last year, decided the list
of items on which it would impose retaliatory tariffs but has since then
postponed the deadline of implementation six times. The latest deadline is
April 1, 2019. “The U.S. needs to keep in mind that for the second
consecutive year, their exports to India have climbed by 30% in the past
year,” the MEA official said.
Handloom Haat initiative along with 3 other projects launched by ministry Of
Union Textiles Minister, SmritiZubinIrani, inaugurated the
renovated Handloom Haat in New Delhi today. She also launched three projects
of NIFT - VisionNXT – Trend Forecasting Initiative, Indian Textiles and
Craft Repository and Design Innovation and Incubation.
The Haat at Janpath in New Delhi has been set up by Ministry of
Textiles to provide marketing opportunities to authentic handloom products
from various States, PSUs and cooperative societies.
Its main objective is to provide infrastructure support to
handloom agencies to augment their sales of handloom products and to
showcase the exquisite variety of handloom products produced all over the
Project related to trend innovation lab ‘VisionNxt’
initiativebeing set up by NIFT in the building will create an indigenous
fashion forecasting service that endeavours to design seasonal directions
for our country.
The trend forecasting service would be aligned to our national and
sub-national socio-cultural constructs and market requirements. The proposed
service is based on the premise that fashion is a dynamic industry,
depending on seasonal trends and forecast to predict its future direction.
The project of Indian Textiles and Craft Repository Initiative of
NIFT is supported by the DC Handlooms and the DC Handicrafts, Ministry of
The body of textile and craft knowledge generated through the
Craft Cluster Initiative will be channelled into a national knowledge portal
titled Indian Textile & Craft Repository.
This repository will also house the virtual registers of the
textiles and crafts resources, which are available in the Weaver Service
Centres, the Crafts Museums, similar institutions and private collections.
The repository will develop a virtual museum of textiles, and textile
crafts, a designer archive, indigenous case studies, and also act as
aggregator of online information on related research.
CHINA releases economic growth estimates amid U.S trade war
China on Tuesday set an economic growth target of 6%-6.5% for
2019, after factoring in a slew of headwinds, including the trade war with
the U.S., and financial bottlenecks for its private enterprises.
The growth rate estimate, which was lower than last year’s
projection of “about 6.5%“, was revealed in the government work report,
which was delivered by Prime Minister Li Keqiang during the opening session
of the National People’s Congress (NPC) — China’s Parliament.
China’s GDP growth target will be tested when the full impact of
the trade war with the U.S. is felt in the first half of this year. The
Chinese government hopes to counter the downward pressure on the economy by
shoring up domestic demand, using monetary and fiscal instruments at its
Beijing has targeted creation of 11 million new urban jobs this
year, compared to the actual 13.6 million jobs that were generated last
year. China has already stepped up lending to stimulate domestic growth.
The work report called upon commercial banks to increase loans to
small- and medium-sized companies by 30% this year a potential high growth
A separate budget report released at the start of the NPC session
said China’s 2019 defence spending will rise 7.5% from 2018.
Compared to China’s military spending, U.S. President Donald Trump
has backed plans to request $750 billion from the Congress for defence
spending in 2019.
Srilankan President confirms sending representatives to UNHRC meeting
Sri Lankan President MaithripalaSirisena today said he will send
his own representatives to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
session currently underway in Geneva.
Addressing a media briefing in Colombo this morning, Mr.Sirisena
said these representatives are to appeal to the UNHRC that Sri Lanka should
be allowed to handle its own issues. Sri Lankan government had co-sponsored
a resolution in 2015 to address war crimes and bring accountability while
its progress is to come up for discussion during ongoing session.
The government has been slow to act on its promises and there are
demands to withdraw the resolution. However, the President sending his own
representatives also underlineongoing tensions with the government led by
Prime Minister RanilWickremsinghe.
President also harped on the poor economic situation of the
country and called upon all political parties to work unitedly for
upliftment of economy.
He said that though Presidential elections are scheduled later
this year, parliamentary elections are a possibility before that given the
unstable nature of parliament. President Sirisena had removed Wickremsinghe
as Prime Minister last year and replaced him with former President
MahindaRajapaksa but had to reinstate the former in wake of court ruling.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
As countries expand arctic footprint ,Polar bears face threat
Last month’s visit by roaming polar bears that put a Russian
village on lockdown may be just the beginning.As Moscow steps up its
activity in the warming Arctic, conflict with the rare species is likely to
More than 50 bears approached BelyushyaGuba, a village on the far
northern Novaya Zemlya archipelago, in February. As many as 10 of them
explored the streets and entered buildings.Local authorities declared a
state of emergency for a week.
But polar bear experts say the main reason the Arctic predators
came so close to humans was the late freezing of the sea. It was this that
kept them from hunting seals and sent them looking for alternate food
And as Russia increases its Arctic footprint, pursuing energy
projects, Northern Passage navigation and strategic military interests,
experts expect more clashes between humans and bears.
“Development in the Arctic will definitely increase conflict with
humans, especially now that the polar bear is losing its life platform in
several regions and coming ashore,” said biologist Anatoly Kochnev.
Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago of two islands between the Kara and
Barents seas, is an example of Moscow’s new frontier that falls inside the
polar bear habitat.
Bears in the Barents Sea are seeing the fastest ice reduction of
the species’ range, having lost 20 weeks of ice a year over the last few
decades, according to Polar Bears International.
“Ice monitoring shows that previously, ice near BelushyaGuba
formed in December,” said IlyaMordvintsev, Severtsov Institute, Moscow.“For
thousands of years, they migrated this time of year to hunt seals. This year
they came to the shore and there was no ice.”
Yonex England championship to begin today
Badminton's greatest show, the Yonex All England Championships
2019, returns to Arena Birmingham from today. A challenging draw stands in
the way of India.
But top shuttlers PV Sindhu and SainaNehwal will fancy their
chances of ending a nearly two-decade-old title jinx at the tournament. Only
the top 32 in the Badminton World Federation(BWF) rankings qualify for the
Out of them, only three Indians have been seeded the third being
KidambiSrikanth (seeded seventh) in the men's event. In women's doubles, the
pair of AshwiniPonnapa& N Sikki Reddy and the duo of MeghanaJakkampudi and
Poorvisha S Ram are in the fray. In men's doubles, former National champion
Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will play in the first round.