SC recalls notice to Governor
A few days after ordering Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.P. Rajkhowa to respond why he recommended Presidentâ€™s rule in the sensitive border State, the Supreme Court recalled the order on Monday, saying it made a â€œmistakeâ€ by not realising that Governors have â€œcomplete immunityâ€ and are not answerable to courts for acts done in their official capacity.
A five-judge Bench, led by Justice J.S. Khehar, graciously accepted its slip-up, saying it would be only â€œjust and appropriateâ€ to take back the notice issued to Mr. Rajkhowa on January 27.
Why court cannot issue notice to Governor? Â – Â According to Article 361(1) the President, or the Governor or Rajpramukh of a State, shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties: Provided that the conduct of the President may be brought under review by any court, tribunal or body appointed or designated by either House of Parliament for the investigation of a charge under Article 61.
Article 356 and Judicial Review – Following its landmark judgement in the 1994 Bommai case, the Supreme Court of India has clamped down on arbitrary impositions of President’s rule by central governments.The Presidentâ€™s rule came under judicial review of the Supreme Court.
Judicial Review will involve three questions only and will focus on the process rather than merits of the decision. :
- Is there any material behind the proclamation
- Is the material relevant.
- Was there any mala fide use of power.
Source: TheHindu, Wikipedia
WHO declares Zika a global emergency
The World Health Organisation has declared that the clusters of brain-damaged babies born in Brazil â€“ linked to but not proven to be caused by the Zika virus â€“ constitute a public health emergency of international concern.
The declaration, made by the WHO director Margaret Chan, will trigger funding for research to try to establish whether the Zika virus, spread by mosquitoes, is responsible for the large numbers of babies born with abnormally small heads in Brazil. It will also put resources behind a massive effort to prevent pregnant women becoming infected and, through mosquito control, stop the virus spreading.
The last time WHO declared Ebola as a public health emergency but was criticized for taking too long to make the declaration.
What is Zika virus? – Â The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile virus. Although it was discovered in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947 and is common in Africa and Asia, it did not begin spreading widely in the Western Hemisphere until last year, when an outbreak occurred in Brazil.
How is it spread? – Zika is spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, which can breed in a pool of water as small as a bottle cap and usually bite during the day.
What does it cause? – The Zika virus causes microcephaly â€“ unusually small heads and damaged brains. It came to notice when doctors in northern Brazil noticed a surge in babies with the condition.
Babies with microcephaly have unusually small heads. In roughly 15 percent of cases, a small head is just a small head, and there is no effect on the infant. But in the remainder of cases, the infantâ€™s brain may not have developed properly during pregnancy or may have stopped growing in the first years of life. These children may experience a range of problems, like developmental delays, intellectual deficits or hearing loss.
Trans-Pacific Partnership and Indiaâ€™s exports
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or the mega-regional free trade pact led by the U.S. and including 11 other Asia-Pacific countries, is likely to indirectly impact Indiaâ€™s exports in several industrial sectors such as textiles, plastics, leather, clothing, cotton and yarn, besides the countryâ€™s regime on investment, labour standards, intellectual property rights (IPR), government procurement and State-owned enterprises (SOE), according to Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The TPP agreement (which India is not a part of) was reached in October 2015 and the member countries have two years to ratify the pact.
How does TPP affect India?
1) TPP has zero tariff or no tariff on goods of members, making them mutually more competitive than India.
2) The Yarn Forward Rule in TPP requires that the fabric or yarn to make apparels for export should also be sourced from TPP members, thus dealing a blow to textile industry in India.
3) The US is hoping to bring the labour and environment regulations closer to its own standard, which will be difficult for India to match, thus reducing its bargaining power with US vis a vis other TPP members from South Asia.
4) The IPR regulations under TPP are more demanding than those of WTO even, so India might have to make compromises for its agri and MSME sectors to compete.
5) Brookings Institute has estimated that the TPP and its exclusion of India can cost around $2.7bn annually in lost trade for India. This number can grow up to $6bn if new members are included in the pact, like China.
6) TPP standards will apply along supply chains, so that products tested in one TPP country need not be tested again at another TPP country. If India cannot meet these tough standards, it will be difficult for her to enter at any point in the global supply chains.
7) Some of India’s largest exports are in the service sector, and reduction in service trade barriers with TPP members can deal a major blow to India.
India Likely to become CFO of AIIB
India is likely to bag the post of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in the newly launched Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) is reporting that the VIce-Presidents working alongside Chinaâ€™s Jin Liqun â€” the newly appointed President of the AIIB â€” will be from Germany, India, South Korea, Britain and Indonesia. The Vice-President from Germany would serve as the Chief Operating Officer, while his peer from India would become the bankâ€™s first CFO.
The Chief Administrative Officer would be from Indonesia, while the South Korean Vice-President would be handle risk affairs. The British Vice-President is expected to head the communications department.
AIIB and Chinaâ€™s Expansion – The AIIB along with the upcoming New Development Bank (NDB) of the Brazil-Russian-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are likely to anchor funding for the Eurasian Land Corridor or the China-proposed Belt and Road connectivity initiative, along with opening up a new channel of financial flows for the Global South. The three institutions have been established outside the framework of the Bretton Woods Charter, which led to the post-war emergence of the western-back International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Despite U.S. objections, European countries including Britain, France and Germany joined the AIIB. Australia and South Korea – top U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific – also decided to participate in the development bank as its founding members.
TRAI proposes PPP for Bharat Net Project
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday recommended public private partnership (PPP) model for the roll out of the Bharat Net project that has been marred by delays.
A PPP model that aligns private incentives with long-term service delivery in the vein of the Build-Own-OperateTransfer/Build-Operate-Transfer models of implementation be the preferred means of implementation, TRAI said.
The concessionaireâ€™s should be handed over task of deployment and implementation of the optical fibre cable and other network infrastructure as well as operating the network during the period of contract, it said. â€œConcessionaires shall be entitled to proceeds of revenue from dark fibre and/or bandwidth,â€ the regulator said.
The regulator has also suggested that contract period should be of 25 years, which can be further extended in block of 10, 20 or 30 years.
What is Bharat Net Project? – The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) is a project initiated in 2011 and funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh (250,000) Gram panchayats of India at a cost of Rs.20,000 crore ($3 billion).Government of India has given approval of the project on 25-10-2011. The project provides internet access using existing optical fiber and extending it to the Gram panchayats. The project was intended to enable the government of India to provide e-services and e-applications nationally. A special purpose vehicle Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) was created as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Companies Act of 1956 for the execution of the project.
The NOFN project has been revamped as Bharat Net Project with greater participation of private sector. It is part of the Digital India Mission.
Questions for UPSC Prelims
Q1) Â Which of the following countries is not a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ans) D. China is not part of TPP.
Q2) Which of the following statements is correct regarding BharatNet project?
- 2.5 Lakh villages will be connected through optical fibres
- A special purpose vehicle Bharat Broadband network Ltd established as a public-private company will implement the project
A) 1 only
B) 2 only
Ans) A. A special purpose vehicle Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) was created as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Companies Act of 1956 for the execution of the project.
Q3) The Zika virus recently in news is spreading mainly by which of the following?
A) Blood Transfusion
D) Personal Contact
Ans) B. Zika is maily spreading through Aedes mosquitoes.
Q4) Consider the following statements regarding Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB)?
- It has its headquarters in Shanghai
- Japan is a member of AIIB
A) 1 only
B) 2 only
Ans) D. Headquarters of AIIB is in Beijing, China. Japan, USA are not members of AIIB.
Q5) Which of the following is not true regarding National Wetland Conservation Program?
A) It proposes close collaboration with state governments
B) It provides for financial assistance under Management Action Plan
C) It provides for financial assistance for Research Â Projects
D) None of the above
Ans) D. None of the above.