Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 December 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 December 2019


Centre denies plans to extend article 371 to Jammu

  • The Central government does not intend to extend Article 371 of the Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said.

  • Article 371, which has special provisions and is applicable in some states especially in the Northeast, safeguards the rights of native people with regard to religious or social practices, customary laws and procedures, ownership and transfer of land and resources, and employment and education.

  • Reiterating that Article 370 is "gone forever as a whole", he said there is a basic difference between the essence and spirit of Article 370 which has been revoked from Jammu and Kashmir and Article 371 which is applicable in certain areas of the Northeast.

  • Singh said the vested interests will have to "swallow a bitter pill" whether they like it or not. However, the minister said it is the duty of "all patriotic, nationalistic and right-thinking citizens" to cooperate in smooth implementation of the same laws and rules which are applicable in the rest of India.

  • He said that while in case of states, there may be some leverage for the respective state governments, in the case of a Union territory the Centre's laws are applicable.

Home ministry plans to set up high security prisons in each state

  • The Union home ministry has directed the states and Union territories to set up “a high security prison” in each state to check radicalisation of inmates.The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in a recent report on prisons, said jails in several states are overcrowded.

  • The advisory to chief secretaries also expresses concern over secure custody of inmates. Last month, the clash between Delhi police and lawyers could have led to escape of hundreds of hardened criminals.

  • “One important aspect which has been engaging the attention of the government is the secure custody of inmates which is the primary responsibility of prisons,” the home ministry letter states.

  • It further said, “The first requisite of a progressive prison is the scientific classification of prisoners. The reformation of prisoners cannot be if all types of prisoners are lodged together. Different types of criminals need individual treatment. Unless a well planned classification of inmates is made and habitual and hardened criminals who have adopted crime as a way of life are separated from the rest, it would be difficult to save the first offenders from the crime infection.”

  • The home ministry has suggested setting up of counter radicalisation divisions to carefully select preachers visiting prisons for prayers/ festivals and keeping a close watch on their conduct, ensuring no pamphlets with radical content are circulated among the inmates and deny any special privilege to radical elements in violation of prescribed rules.


NITI Aayog to begin improvement of data quality

  • NitiAayog, India’s key policy think tank, has begun work on a roadmap that will suggest steps to swiftly tackle quality issues confronting official data.

  • The move comes close on the heels of a controversy over the consumption survey that was subsequently junked by the government on data quality concerns.

  • It also comes amid a move by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) to address data quality issues of various surveys, introducing checks for data collection apart from increasing the sample size of surveys to improve accuracy.

  • Statistics is no longer the old system, but has a huge technology component as well, the source added. “It is a challenge to obtain, store and maintain data and so is data governance, especially who has access to data,” the source said.

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi is the chairman of the Aayog and officials believe that it has the authority to drive the turnaround of India’s data system.

  • The credibility of India’s official data has come under strain following last month’s leak of the draft Household Consumer Expenditure report, which showed a decline in spending in rural India in financial year 2018, and was later shelved.

  • However, experts like economist PronabSen have questioned the competence of the Aayog in such matters. Former members of the National Statistical Commission had accused the government of sidelining the commission and interfering with its working.

Govt.plans to impose anti-dumping duty on chemical imports

  • The government may impose anti dumping duty on a chemical used in polyester fibres and films, imported from five countries as the commerce ministry has launched an investigation for the same.

  • According to a notification of the Directorate general of Trade Remedies (DGTR), the company has requested for imposition of anti-dumping duties on the imports.India Glycols Limited has also supported the application.

  • It said that the authority has prima facie found that there is sufficient evidence of dumping of the chemical from thesecountries.In the probe it would determine the existence, degree and effect of alleged dumping, and consequent injury to the domestic industry.

  • If established that dumping has caused material injury to domestic industry, the directorate would recommend the amount of anti-dumping duty.

  • Countries carry out anti-dumping probe to determine whether their domestic industries have been hurt because of a surge in cheap imports.

  • As a counter measure, they impose duties under the multilateral regime of the World Trade Organization.The duty is aimed at ensuring fair trade practices and creating a level-playing field for domestic producers.

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Bangladesh seeks report from India on number of illegal Bangladeshi occupants in the country.

  • Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen on Sunday said his country has requested India to provide a list of any Bangladesh nationals living illegally in the country and it will allow them to return.

  • Responding to a question on India's National Register of Citizenship (NRC), Momen, who cancelled his visit to India on Thursday citing his busy schedule, said Bangladesh-India relations are normal and "very sweet" and they will not be affected. He said India has termed the NRC process as its internal matter and assured Dhaka that it would not affect Bangladesh.

  • He rejected speculation of "pushback" attempts by India, saying some Indian nationals are illegally entering Bangladesh through middlemen due to economic reasons.

  • Asked why he cancelled his India visit, the minister said his busy schedule coinciding with the Martyred Intellectuals Day and Victory Day and also the absence of the state minister for foreign affairs ShahriarAlam and the ministry's secretary in the country made him defer his tour.

  • Diplomatic sources in New Delhi had said that Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan cancelled their visits to India over the situation arising out of the passage of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament.


Around 73 countries join climate ambition alliance at COP 25

  • Around 73 countries have joined the Climate Ambition Alliance (CAA) at the COP25. The alliance is led by Chile and was launched at the Climate Action Summit, New York in 2019.

  • Both Chile and UK will work together to mobilize additional actors to join the alliance. They will also work towards COP26 that is to be held in November 2020 at Glasgow, UK.

  • The CAA will focus on Nationally Determined Contributions in order to achieve Net Zero by 2050. It will focus in resilience in infrastructure, management of water and sustainability of cities. The main purpose of the alliance is to upscale 2020 targets of members of UN and to achieve Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050.

  • The alliance is important to enhance the Nationally Determined Contributions of countries all over the world. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its Emissions Gap Report, 2019 warned that in order to achieve the goal of 1.5°C increase in temperatures over pre-industrial levels, it is essential to reduce the emissions by 7.6% between 2020 and 2030.

  • The Emissions Gap Report that was released by the UNEP in December 2019, measures the gap between measures being done and measures to be done to tackle climate change.


India lose to West Indies in first ODI

  • In Cricket, Shai Hope and ShimronHetmyer guided West Indies to a comfortable eight-wicket win over India in the first ODI at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai last night. ShimronHetmyer who smashed a career-best 139 in 106 balls is declared Man of the Match.

  • With this win, the Carribean side have a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. Chasing a target of 288 runs, West Indies made 291 for the loss of 2 wickets. Hope scored unbeaten 102 runs while Nicholas Pooran played a knock of 29 runs not out.

  • Earlier, the visitors won the toss and asked India to bat first. Batting first, the hosts scored 287 for in 50 overs. Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant scored his maiden ODI half-century. Pant, while playing in his 13th 50-over game, played a knock of 71 runs off 69 balls. For Windies, Cottrell, Keemo Paul and Joseph scalped two wickets each.

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