CIC directs govt.to divulge names of those seeking
confidentiality in electoral bond scheme
In a landmark decision on the electoral bond scheme, the
Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the government to divulge
the names of individuals and entities who requested maintenance of
confidentiality of donors’ identities and provide copies of representations
Taking a serious note of how an application under Right to
Information (RTI) Act was handled, CIC has issued showcause notices to
department of economic affairs, department of financial services, department of
revenue and Election Commission and sought explanation on why maximum penalty
should not be imposed for giving incomplete, misleading and vague replies to the
Information Commissioner Suresh Chandra gave the decision in a
two-year-old RTI application filed by activist VenkateshNayak who had sought
information from department of economic affairs (DEA) in July 2017 about total
number of representations or petitions from donors requesting their identity
remain confidential, copies of representations and the draft electoral bond
In its final decision, CIC took a serious note of how no
department had addressed the application properly. Information Commissioner
Suresh Chandra noted, “Reply given by RBI is incomplete. The public information
officer of RBI is directed to be more cautious while giving information to RTIs.
He is directed to revisit the RTI application and give a self-explanatory reply
to the applicant.”
Supreme court to examine conflict between laws and gender
Beginning January 13, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme
Court will examine a host of petitions challenging the validity of several
practices across religions which are in conflict with gender justice in
The bench, led by CJI SA Bobde, is expected to junk the
traditional essentiality doctrine which has in recent years tied the court in
knots in cases with a religious connotation.
The constitutional courts have traditionally examined if a
practice was essential to a religion and whether it could be protected as a
practice of a separate sect. This has landed the courts in trouble as it
warrants an enquiry into theological aspects of religions.
The top court has been wanting to junk this essentiality test
for years now and instead switch to a more practical method which would involve
assuming that every practice was essential to a religion but test it against the
values mandated by the Constitution and see if they were still valid.
The bench’s verdict will not only impact a review filed in the
Sabarimala case against a top court ruling permitting women of all ages to enter
the Lord Ayappa temple in Kerala, but also others such as the entry of women
into mosques, female genital mutilation among DawoodiVohras and allowing women
into fire temples among the Parsis.
Former CJI RanjanGogoi had referred all these broad issues to a
larger bench while dealing with multiple reviews filed in the Sabarimala case.
The reference will be crucial as it would impact the manner in which the state
is required to ensure gender justice across religions.
Centre and states agree to streamline GST system
Centre and States have come together to take necessary
action to streamline the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system and plug
revenue leakage. Several measures were discussed in this regard during the
Second National GST Conference of the Commissioners of State Tax and Chief
Commissioners of Central Tax in New Delhi yesterday.
They include curbing fraudulent refund claims, linking foreign
exchange remittances with IGST refund, investigation of fraudulent Input Tax
Credit (ITC) cases by the IT Department and a single bank account for foreign
The meeting was chaired by Revenue Secretary Dr Ajay
BhushanPandey. It decided to constitute a Committee of Centre and State officers
to examine and implement quick measures to curb fraudulent refund claims.
The committee will come out with detailed Standard Operating
Procedure within a week, which may be implemented across the country by January
AIR correspondent reports that A Memorandum of Understanding
will be signed among the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Central Board
of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the GST Network to exchange data
through application program interface, from CBDT to GSTN and CBIC and
Centre asks states to lift imported onions
The Government has asked states to lift the imported onion
which they had demanded from the Centre. Briefing reporters in New Delhi
today, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said, states had
demanded over 33 thousand tonnes of imported onion. He said, more than 12
thousand tonnes of Onion have already arrived in different ports.
Mr Paswan said, some states have withdrawn their demand and the
Ministry has written a letter to these states to lift the demanded onion. He
said, government will provide the imported onion at the rate of 49 to 58 rupees
Mr Paswan said, One Nation One Ration Card initiative has been
implemented in 12 states.
The system will largely benefit numerous migratory beneficiaries
such as labourers, daily wagers and other workers who frequently change their
place of dwelling in search of employment or for other reasons, across the
Mr Paswan said, government is serious on the rise of edible oil
prices in a few months and necessary action will be taken if hoarders are
creating artificial scarcity. He said, oil seeds and quantity of imported edible
oil in the current year is more than the previous year.
Iran designates U.S armed forces as terrorist entities
The Iranian parliament today approved a triple-urgency bill
which designates the US army and the Pentagon as a terrorist entity. The
Bill further requires the government to allocate 200 million euro to the
Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force to take revenge for the US
killing of Lieutenant General QassemSoleimani.
Iran's IRGC's Quds Force Commander General Soleimani and Iraq's
Popular Forces Commander Abu Mahdi al-Modandis, as well as eight other military
men, were killed by the US Army.
233 MPs repeated the words of the speaker, Ali Larijani, warning
US President Donald Trump to await the consequences of his actions. Majlis also
discussed the bill about taking an action against US attack.
The Supreme Leader has called for proportionate military action
against the US interests in response to the killing of Iranian Commander in
India is the top sourcing market for Srilankan tourism
India continued to be the top sourcing market for Sri Lankan
tourism with Indian tourists constituting maximum 19 per cent of total
tourist arrivals to the island nation in 2019.
The latest data released by Sri Lankan Tourism revealed that
3,55,002 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka last year against total arrival of
around 1.91 million. Over 48 thousand Indians visited Sri Lanka during last
month of December alone including over thousand by sea route.
The tourism sector in Sri Lanka suffered a setback following
Easter Sunday attacks last April and the annual tourist arrival dropped by 18
per cent since 2018 figures.
India, United Kingdom, China, Germany and Australia were Sri
Lanka's top five international tourist generating markets last year. Sea beaches
and religious places connected to Ramayana circuit remain the top attractions
for Indian tourists.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
ISRO unveils IDRS system to track satellites in low earth
The Indian Data Relay Satellite System (IDRSS) will track
Indian satellites in low-earth orbits. It is a new satellite series that
plans to set up a communication system between the space assets of India.
The system is aimed to play vital role in India’s space station
and space docking. It will also assist distant expeditions of India to Mars,
moon and Venus.
The system will help in monitoring launches. The IRDSS is to
play a major role in India’s Human Space Flight Programme, Gaganyaan. It will
help India to cover the entire mission right from its launch.
The IDRSS satellites are to be launched on GSLV launcher. They
will approximately weigh 2,000 kg. These satellites are to be placed at an orbit
of 36,000 km away from earth’s orbit.
The mission consists of more than 2 satellites. The first two
IRDSS satellites are to be sent in the end of 2020. These satellites will
precede the experimental mission of Gaganyaan that will carry humanoid dummies.
The first of this kind is to be launched in 2020 and the second satellite is to
be launched in 2021.
This technology was launched by the space majors such as Russia
and US in 1970-80s. They were used to monitor their respective space station.
India beat Srilanka at the Indore T20 match
In Cricket, India secured a massive seven-wicket victory
over Sri Lanka in the second T20 International match at the Holkar Stadium
in Indore last night. With this victory, the host team has taken a 1-0 lead
over Sri Lanka in the three-match T20 International series. The first match
was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain.
Chasing a target of 143 runs, India got off to a flying start as
ShikharDhawan and K L Rahul consolidated the Indian innings with remarkable
K L Rahul put up 45 runs and ShikharDhawan scored 32. Skipper
ViratKohli played an unbeaten knock of 30 runs from 17 balls in the match.