Gist of The Hindu: February 2019

Gist of The Hindu: February 2019

JPC clears report on citizenship bill

  • The Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, which proposes citizenship to persecuted minorities barring Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, is likely to table its report on January 7 on the penultimate day of the winter session of Parliament as the panel on Monday cleared the report rejecting all amendments moved by the Opposition.
  • The report will clear the decks for the legislation to become a reality. The Bill proposes citizenship to six persecuted minorities - Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2014.
  • There has been a strong resistance to the Bill in the BJP-ruled Assam as it would pave the way for giving citizenship, mostly to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who came to Assam after March 1971, in violation of the agreement in the Assam Accord of 1985. Around 40 lakh people in Assam have been excluded from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens published in July.
  • Rejected amendments include those moved by Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy to make the legislation religion- and country-neutral. Mr. Roy said the Bill should not limit itself to six religions. It should instead say that any person who leaves his country due to religious, linguistic and ethnic discrimination should be eligible for Indian citizenship.
  • The committee has cleared an amendment moved by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi seeking to drop legal proceedings against six persecuted minorities. The amendment, if accepted, could mean that Bangladeshi Hindus lodged in detention centres in Assam, facing deportation or declared illegal foreigners would get relief.

Nagaland declared disturbed area for 6 more months

  • The entire State of Nagaland has been declared ‘disturbed area’ for six more months, till June-end, under the controversial AFSPA, which empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior notice.
  • In a notification, the Home Ministry said the Central government is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of State of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of civilian power is necessary.
  • A Home Ministry official said the decision has been taken as killings, loot and extortion have been going on in various parts of the State which necessitated the action. There have bee demands from various organisations in the Northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the controversial AFSPA, which, they say, gives ‘sweeping powers’ to security forces.
  • The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades. It has not been withdrawn even after a framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015, by the Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and government interlocutor R.N. Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister NarendraModi.
  • The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland.

RBI claims NPA ratios have improved

  • The gross non-performing asset ratio (GNPA) of commercial banks improved to 10.8% in September from 11.5% in March and is set to improve further to 10.3%, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in its Financial Stability Report on Monday.
  • GNPAs of state-run banks improved to 14.8% in September 2018 from 15.2% in March 2018, while private sector banks’ gross NPAs fell to 3.8% in September 2018 from 4% in March 2018.
  • Under the baseline scenario, the GNPA ratio of all banks may come down to 10.3% by March 2019 from 10.8% in September 2018, the report said. The ratio of restructured standard advances steadily declined in September 2018 to 0.5% following the withdrawal of various restructuring schemes in February 2018.
  • The restrictions imposed on 11 public sector banks under the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework has helped in reducing contagion losses on the banking system in case these lenders fail, the report said.
  • While the Governor acknowledged that some of the cases referred for resolution under the bankruptcy framework have lagged time-lines, he said the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) will strengthen credit discipline.
  • Mr. Das said the shift in credit intermediation from banks to non-banks has given the corporate sector a diverse choice of finance instruments but added non banking finance companies need to be more prudent on risk-taking. He also underlined the need to rebalance excessive credit growth, especially the one funded by short-term liabilities.

New E-com rules a huge blow to big players

  • It was bold a step by the government and a huge blow for the big players in India’s e-commerce market. The new rules announced by the Centre last week have indeed spoilt the year-end party for the likes of Flipkart-Walmart and Amazon.
  • These big players in the e-commerce space are now forced to go into an huddle, and devise a new way out to sustain their business aspirations in India.
  • More than anybody else, these players will be hit hard as they run their enterprises in India on a marketplace model, which does allow them the luxury of having foreign direct investment (FDI).
  • These firms have been said to use a circuitous mechanism to get around the restrictions in a marketplace model. The back-door window is now effectively shut for them.
  • The rules will have immediate cost implications for Walmart-Flipkart, Amazon and the like, who have built up huge inventory (using their group firms to stock up with vendors who sell on their platforms).
  • Further, there could be considerable noise as to how these will hurt job creation in the country. Nevertheless, the fact that very many unreported job losses too have happened with the advent of these marketplace cannot also be wished away. To the extent that these rules are intended to set right a wrong, these are welcome.

Awami league gets landslide victory in Bangladesh elections

  • Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured a fourth term with a landslide victory in polls the opposition slammed as “farcical” over claims of vote-rigging, and clashes between rival supporters that killed at least 17 people.
  • Hasina's ruling Awami League party and its allies won 288 seats in the 300-seat parliament, with the main opposition securing only six seats, Election Commission secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said.
  • Hasina's government had mounted a crackdown on the opposition, an alliance led by the Bangladesh National Party, which urged the country's election commission to void the results.
  • Ms.Hasina (71), has been lauded for boosting economic growth in the poor South Asian nation during her decade in power and for welcoming Rohingya refugees fleeing a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.
  • But critics accuse her of authoritarianism and crippling the opposition -- including arch-rival and BNP leader Khaleda Zia who is serving 17 years in prison on graft charges.
  • A daughter of Bangladesh's first president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasina was gifted victory in the 2014 election when the BNP boycotted the vote claiming it was not free and fair.
  • Rights groups have since accused her administration of stifling freedom of speech by toughening a draconian anti-press law and the enforced disappearance of dissenters. Pakistan shares information about nuclear installations
  • Pakistan on Tuesday shared with India a list of its nuclear installations and facilities as per the provisions of a bilateral agreement.
  • The list was handed over in accordance with Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India, signed on December 31, 1988, the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement here.
  • Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi handed over the list of Indian Nuclear Installations and Facilities to a representative of the High Commission of Pakistan at 10:30 hrs (local time), the FO said.
  • The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988 and entered into force on January 27, 1991, provides, inter alia, that the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on the first of January of every calendar year.
  • “This has been done consecutively since January 1, 1992,” the FO said. The practice of exchanging lists of nuclear installation has endured despite many low in bilateral ties.

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Courtesy: The Hindu