Here is todayâ€™s digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
Maharashtra cabinet approves law to regulate pulses
With all attempts to control the prices of pulses going in vain the Maharashtra government has decided to bring in an act whereby it will directly control the prices of all pulses. Maharashtra Pulses Price Control Act Â will be taken up for the purpose.
Pulses do not come under the Public Distribution System(PDS). They will be directly controlled under the state after passage of this bill. It will bring relief to consumers, and check the malpractices that have been going on for long.
According to the draft of the Act, which will be sent to the President for approval, the controlled prices of all the pulses – processed or not – will not be uniform throughout the state. Factors that will be taken into consideration before announcing the State prices are costs of production, transport, processing, and also the profit of traders. State-controlled prices will not be rigid, and will undergo changes every year according to the prevailing circumstances.
What is the need for such a law? – The need for such a law is questionable considering that the state government can control the distribution, licensing of pulses through the Essential Commodities Act(ECA). The government can also initiate action against hoarders under the ECA Act.
The need to control prices would skew the supply-demand dynamics of pulses and may send wrong signal to producers. In the absence of lucrative prices for pulses there would be lesser incentive for farmers to grow pulses.
Why are the prices of pulses fluctuating? – India has the distinction of being the largest producer, consumer and importer of pulses. The lack of supply of pulses coupled with constant demand leads to fluctuating prices in the market. One of the prime reasons for the failure of the country’s pulses production to keep pace with the rise in demand is the lack of adequate returns to producers. Though the government routinely announces MSPs for all major pulses, these are of little value to the growers in the absence of adequate arrangements for procurement at the recommended prices. Distress sales of pulses immediately after the harvest at prices lower than the MSP are quite common.
Source: The Hindu, Business Standard
Mahadayi River Dispute
The Karnataka Chief Minister has written to the Prime Minister for his intervention in settling the Mahadayi river water sharing issue amicably. The State had also urged the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of Chief Ministers of the three States â€” Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra â€” to seek an out-of-court settlement.
Which states Mahadayi flows through? – The Mahadayi originates in the Western Ghats and flows 35 km in Karnataka and 52 km in Goa. The downstream state constitutes a large part of the riverâ€™s catchment (78 per cent), which also includes runoff from Maharashtra, although the main stem of the river does not flow through that state. Maharashtra, as a result, is also party to the water-sharing dispute.
What is the dispute? – Goa claims the transfer of water violates the National Water Policy, which does not allow transfer of water from a deficient basin. A 1989 estimate by the National Water Development Agency, set up to conduct water balance studies shows the annual usable yield of the Mahadayi is 1,517 million cubic metre (mcm). Goa has made a similar estimate. In their correspondence with the Union water resources ministry, Goa said its annual demand for water in 2050 would be 2,674 mcm, which is much more than the riverâ€™s usable yield.
Karnataka officials said the Mahadayi river is not water deficient and blamed Goa for not fully using its water before it flows into the Arabian sea. Â Â Â But Goa authorities insist that the water needs of Hubli-Dharwad can be met by curtailing irrigation or diverting water from other rivers in Karnataka. The quantum of diversion, 214 mcm, is much more than what the two towns need.
Source: TheHindu, DownToEarth
Naval detachment setup at Lakshadweep
The Navy established a new naval detachment at Androth islands of Lakshadweep. It is part of measures to enhance surveillance of crucial shipping lanes.
Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands occupy a strategic location in the Arabian Sea. A number of shipping lanes pass close to these islands. Setting up of a Naval Detachment at Androth Island will enhance the Navyâ€™s reach and surveillance, and contribute significantly to strengthen maritime security and stability.
The detachment would extend the naval presence at Androth Island, part of the Lakshadweep & Minicoy group of islands in the Arabian Sea, provide communication network connectivity with mainland, enable sea lanes of communication monitoring and function as an observance and reporting post, besides radar surveillance.
What are the recent attempts to strengthen naval security architecture? – India has recently signed an MoU for the â€œimprovement in sea and air transportation facilitiesâ€ at Agalega island. This pact provides for â€œsetting up and upgradation of infrastructure for improving sea and air connectivity at the Outer Island of Mauritius which will go a long way in ameliorating the condition of the inhabitants of this remote Island. These facilities will enhance the capabilities of the Mauritian Defence Forces in safeguarding their interests in the Outer Island.
In Seychelles, India inked a pact to develop the infrastructure of Assumption island, one of the 115 islands that constitute the country. Spread over 11 sq km, it is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar.
â€œIsland developmentâ€ is an internationally accepted euphemism for developing strategic assets. US and China are known to be developing infrastructure in islands all over the world.
Source: TheHindu, Indian Express
HC allows women to wear hijab for AIPMT
The Kerala High Court ordered that Muslim women candidates be allowed to appear for the All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Test (AIPMT)-2016 wearing hijab (headscarf) and full-sleeve dress, a dress code prescribed by their religion.
The court observed that the right of women to have the choice of dress based on religious injunctions is a fundamental right protected under Article 25(1), when such prescription of dress is an essential part of the religion. Â The court found that covering the head and wearing long-sleeve dress by Muslim women had been treated as an essential part of the Islamic religion. Article 25(1) protected such prescription of dress code.
The court added that the rationale for prescribing a dress code by the Board was to avoid malpractices in the examination. The interest of the Board could be safeguarded by allowing the invigilator to frisk such candidates, including by removing the scarf. However, the safeguard had to be ensured that this must be done honouring the religious sentiments of the candidates. Therefore, women invigilators could be permitted to frisk such candidates
What is Article 25? – Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.
(2) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law-
(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice;
(b) providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.
Source: TheHindu, Constitution.org
Take the Quiz below to know your preparation Level!