Delhi government’s power over administration to be discussed by a larger
A Supreme Court Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan on
Thursday gave a split opinion on whether the Delhi government has control
over the administration’s services and decided to refer the question to a
Ruling that files on the transfers and postings of officers in the
rank of secretary, head of department and joint secretary could be directly
submitted to the Lieutenant Governor (LG), Justice Sikri said that as far as
the DANICS (Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands Civil Service) cadre is
concerned, the files could be processed through the Council of Ministers led
by the Chief Minister before being sent to the LG.
Justice Sikri also proposed the setting up of Civil Service Boards
to take care of service matters in case of grade one, two, three and four
officers. The Boards regarding grade four and three officers could be led by
the Services Secretary and the other by the Chief Secretary.
The court upheld as “legal” the Ministry of Home Affairs’
notifications of May 21, 2015, and July 23, 2015, authorising the LG to
exercise powers in relation to services and directing the Anti-Corruption
Branch (ACB) police not to take cognisance of offences against Central
The court said the notifications were limited to the officials of
the Central Government under the Prevention of Corruption Act and were
“perfectly in order”. Thus, the apex court confirmed the Delhi High Court’s
finding that the ACB’s jurisdiction is confined to Delhi officials and
statutory bodies and does not extend to Central government officials.
The Supreme Court also confirmed the Delhi HC’s finding that the
“appropriate government” under the Commission of Inquiry Act of 1952 is the
Centre and not the Delhi government.
CAG now pulls up IAF over helicopter deal
The Comptroller and Auditor General in its report has pulled up
the Indian Air Force (IAF) for framing its service specifications in the
tenders for heavy lift and attack helicopters to suit “products of a
particular vendor.” The IAF had chosen Chinook and Apache helicopters of
Boeing from an evaluation process. The deliveries will begin this year.
The CAG also found in the audit that for the Apache attack
helicopters, the United States government was supplying missiles from their
stock whose “normal life of 10 years has expired.”
“Audit noted that in case of acquisition of Apache Attack
Helicopters and Chinook Heavy Lift Helicopters, the Air Staff Qualitative
Requirements (ASQR) were aligned to products of a particular vendor,” the
federal auditor said in the report tabled in the Parliament on Wednesday.
The report noted that IAF drafted the ASQR by copying the
technical specifications of products available in the market and also based
on inputs provided by vendors in response to Request for Information issued
Under the $3 bn deal in September 2015, India had contracted 22
AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift
helicopters from Boeing through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales programme.
Deliveries are set to commence later this year and completed by mid-2020.
As per specifications, the rockets and missiles for the Apache
helicopters should have a minimum life of 10 years extendable to 20 years.
The missiles were to be delivered in 2018. “Thus Ministry had procured
missiles which were 14 to 16-year-old at the time of delivery,” the report
SBI report suggests currency in circulation still short of target
While the currency in circulation has surpassed what it was in the
pre-demonetisation days, it is still short of what it should have been and
the lower velocity of circulation in larger States points to sluggish
economic activity, says a report by the State Bank of India.
Currency in circulation has gone up to Rs. 20.6 lakh crore as on
February 1. It was Rs. 17.97 lakh crore a week before 86% of the currency
was rendered invalid on November 9, 2016. “Our current estimates suggest
that CIC [currency in circulation] is still short of trend by at least Rs.
1.5 lakh crore.
Thus, any argument of cash coming back aggressively into the
system and financing informal activities is not entirely correct,” said the
report authored by SoumyaKantiGhosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, SBI.
It added that in larger States like Maharashtra, U.P., and
Karnataka, income velocity is far lesser than the national average, while in
States like Chhattisgarh, M.P., A.P. and J&K, the velocity is much higher
than the average.
“A declining income velocity of money clearly suggests that a
pick-up in economic activity remains elusive. Rural economy still remains
depressed, with latest inflation numbers suggesting any meaningful pick-up
in food inflation is still at a distance,” it added.
Banks to acquire majority stake in Jet airways
A consortium of commercial banks led by State Bank of India (SBI)
will acquire a majority stake in Jet Airways (India) Ltd. by converting part
of their debt into equity for a consideration of Rs. 1 and advancing more
capital to give the airline a lifeline to enable it to achieve a turnaround.
Jet Airways’ board, on Thursday, considered and approved a
bank-led provisional resolution plan (BLPRP) that proposes restructuring
under the provisions of the ‘RBI Circular’ to meet a funding gap of nearly
Rs. 8,500 crore, including proposed repayment of aircraft debt of Rs. 1,700
Jet Airways said the conversion of lenders’ debt into equity
shares would result in the lenders becoming the largest shareholders in the
company and they would appoint nominees to the board.
Post availability of interim credit facilities by domestic
lenders, an appropriate governance structure including the board composition
would be put in place.
The airline did not announce the quantum of stake the banks would
pick up. However, Mr.Goyal’s stake is likely to be reduced substantially to
about 20%, post debt recast from 51%.
During the quarter, the airline restructured its network, moving capacity
away from unviable routes to profitable ones.As part of its strategy to
enhance efficiencies and reduce costs, the airline announced strategic
changes to its current distribution process, which will be effective from
April 1, 2019.
India signs defence cooperation agreements with Germany and Sweden
India concluded defence cooperation and security protection
agreements with Germany and Sweden during the ongoing visit of Defence
Minister NirmalaSitharaman there.
“The agreement that NirmalaSitharaman and I signed today is an
important step in implementing the action plan on deeper cooperation with
India,” Peter Hultqvist, Swedish Minister for Defence said after signing the
security protection agreement between the two countries.
India and Sweden have had a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in
the area of defence since 2009.
Earlier in Germany on February 12 to 13, Ms.Sitharaman met her
counterpart Dr. Ursula von der Leyen and signed an implementing arrangement
on enhanced defence and defence industry cooperation to strengthen military
to military engagement as well as defence industry and research and
Both Germany and Sweden are important suppliers of defence
equipment to India and their companies are currently in the race for
multi-billion tenders to supply submarines and fighter aircraft.
ICJ rules in favour of Iran over frozen assets
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that it has the
jurisdiction to hear part of a case brought by Iran against the US, to
unfreeze Iranian assets of nearly 2 billion dollars held in the US.
The ruling opens the way for the court to hear Iran's case on its merits.
Iran filed the case in 2016, based on the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the
two nations, from which the US unilaterally withdrew last year.
The case revolves around assets seized from the Iranian national
bank, Bank Markazi, which were taken by the US to compensate victims of a
1983 suicide bombing of a Marine Corps base in Beirut, Lebanon.
Iran denies involvement in the attack which killed more than 300
and injured many more, most of whom being US military personnel.
The US has argued that Iran's claims to retrieving its assets
based on the Treaty of Amity, were now void, following the US's
withdrawal.The judges unanimously rejected the US claim that the case was an
abuse of process, and that it should be thrown out due to Tehran's unclean
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Study says majority of India’s waste to energy plants defunct
Nearly half of India’s waste-to-energy (WTE) plants, meant to
convert non-biodegradable waste, are defunct. Further, the country’s
inability to segregate waste has resulted in even the existing plants
working below capacity, says an analysis by the Centre for Science and
Since 1987, 15 WTE plants have been set up across the country.
However, seven of these plants have shut down.
The key reasons for closure are the plants’ inability to handle
mixed solid waste and the high cost of electricity generated by them that
renders it unattractive to power companies.
The NITI Aayog, as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, envisages
800 megawatt from WTE plants by 2018-19, which is 10 times the capacity of
all the existing WTE plants put together.
It also proposes setting up a Waste-to-Energy Corporation of
India, which would construct incineration plants through PPP models.
Currently, there are 40-odd WTE plants at various stages of construction.
In addition, India generates close to 25,940 TPD of plastic waste
of which 15,342 remains uncollected, according to the Central Pollution
As per the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, MSW
generation will reach 4.5 lakh TPD by 2031 and 11.9 lakh TPD by 2050
The WTEs have also triggered widespread opprobrium among citizens.
For instance, there has been a continuous protest against the Okhla WTE
plant for polluting the environment.
Myanmar beats India in Women’s Gold cup
Myanmar and Nepal will meet in the summit clash of the Women's
Hero Gold Cup 2019 Football tournament at Bhubaneswar on Friday.
This became evident after Myanmar defeated India 2-0 in the last
Round Robin match and Nepal beat Iran 3-0 in the other match on Wednesday to
enter the finals.
Nepal was drubbed 3-0 earlier in the tournament by Myanmar but won
against India 2-1.