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The Hindu 14 August 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

 

SL. NO.

TOPICS   

THE HINDU

PAGE NO.

1

Saudi intervention in Yemen (Editorial) 

10

2

EC kicks off delimitation process in J&K 

12

3

The contours of the Kashmir move (Article)

11

4

RBI issues final norms for regulatory sandbox

16

5

CSR expenditure may be made tax deductible, Committee

16

6

Writing out a clean Bill on Health (Article)  

10



 

Title

1.  Saudi intervention in Yemen (Editorial) (The Hindu Page 10)

Syllabus

Prelims: General issues of international importance 

Mains: GS Paper II

Theme

Ongoing Yemen Conflict involving Saudi and UAE 

Highlights

 

Image result for yemen map

Context: 

  • The editorial highlights Saudi Intervention in Yemen and its consequences so far in the last four years. 

  • Saudi has not able to push back the Shia Houthis rebel from capital of Yemen (Sana) and restore the ousted government which is now temporarily headquartered in the southern city of Aden.

  • The war has pushed Yemen into a severe humanitarian crisis as per UN including food crisis as about two thirds of the country’s 28 million people do not have enough to eat. 

Southern Transitional Council

  • Another point of concern is that there is rebellion within the coalition. 

  • The Southern Transitional Council (STC), a militia group that was fighting the Houthis as part of the Saudi-led coalition, turned against their masters and captured the presidential palace in Aden as well as the city’s main port. 

  • Saudi retaliated by sending fighter jets but had to settle for cease fire with STC. 

Three Way Conflict   

  • So, now it looks like a three way conflict between Saudi – Houthis Rebels (backed by Iran as claimed by Saudi) and STC. 

  • Yemen’s internationally-backed government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the Saudi ally, is controlling the south (although from Saudi Arabia). 

  • The STC wants the south of Yemen to be an independent entity, like it was till the Yemeni unification in 1990. 

  • STC’s rebellion also signals the growing friction in the multi-national coalition Saudi Arabia has stitched together to fight the Houthis. 

 

UAE’s frustration with Saudi Arabia   

  • Further, STC is backed by UAE which is a crucial partner of Saudi Arabia in its foreign policy issues. 

  • Both Saudi and UAE have supported ousting the military dictatorship of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt, in countering the spread and influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world, in opposing the Iran nuclear deal and on blockading Qatar.

  •  However, on the issue of Yemen, both UAE and Saudi sees things differently. As per Saudi, the Hadi government and Sunni Islamic parties, including the Islah, as allies can stabilise and rebuild Yemen after Houthis are defeated. 

  • Whereas, the UAE so far is frustrated by the coalition’s failure to defeat the rebels and counts on the STC. Further, UAE staunchly opposed to the Islah party, which has ties to the Brotherhood.    

  • Thus, UAE has already pulled out of the Yemen war and now is rather focussed on maintaining their influence in southern Yemen.    

Way Forward – It is time for a nationwide ceasefire and talks with all stakeholders under the mediation of a willing United Nation to find a political settlement to the crisis.   


 

 

Title

2. EC kicks off delimitation process in J&K (The Hindu Page 12)   

Syllabus 

Prelims: Polity & Governance      

Mains: GS Paper II - Polity & Governance        

Theme

Delimitation process in J&K 

Highlights

  • The Election Commission held internal discussions on the delimitation of constituencies ahead of elections to the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. 

  • As per former Chief Election Commissioner and ex-officio member of the Delimitation Commission N. Gopalaswami, increase in the number of seats was “an issue which is a political decision of Parliament”.

  • After that the Delimitation Commission would start the process as per the law. The total population would be divided over the 114 seats to get an average number of electors per constituency. 

THE JAMMU AND KASHMIR REORGANISATION ACT, 2019 

  • It provides for delimitation of Parliamentary constituencies of the two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. 

  • As per the Reorganisation Act, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the UT of J&K would be increased from 107 to 114 and delimitation of the constituencies may be determined by the Election Commission in the following manner:

  • Number of seats to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly.

  • The assembly constituencies into which the Union territory shall be divided, the extent of each of such constituencies and in which of them seats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes or for the Scheduled Tribe. 

  • The adjustments in the boundaries and description of the extent of the parliamentary constituencies in each Union territory that may be necessary

  • The Act also specifies that delimitation will be based on the 2011 census till 2026.   

 

Purpose of Delimitation

  • Delimitation is commonly used in the context of drawing boundaries for Assembly and Lok Sabha Constituencies based on the recent census. 

  • As per Article 82, Parliament by law enacts a Delimitation Act after every census. Once the Act comes into force, the Central Government constitutes a Delimitation Commission. 

  • The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census and has been in use since the 2009 Lok Sabha Elections. 

  • According to a 2002 Constitution Amendment, there will be no further delimitation of constituencies till the first census after 2026. 

Article 82 

  • Article 82 of Indian Constitution provides for delimitation and it says: Upon the completion of each census, the allocation of seats in the House of the people to the States and the division of each State into territorial constituencies shall be readjusted by such authority and in such manner as Parliament may by law determine. 

Delimitation Commission

  • Delimitation means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body. In India, the job of delimitation has been assigned to a high power body known as Delimitation Commission or Boundary Commission.

  • For this, Delimitation Commission have been constituted four times since independence: 

  • In 1952 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1952 

  • In 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962

  • In 1973 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1972

  • In 2002 under Delimitation Commission Act, 2002

  • Orders of Delimitation Commission cannot be called in question before any Court of law. The copies of its orders are laid before the House of People and the State Legislative Assembly concerned, but no modifications are permissible therein by them.

Delimitation Act, 2002 provides for the following: 

  • Readjustment of the allocation of seats in the House of the People to the States, 

  • Total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of each State, 

  • Division of each State and each Union territory having a Legislative Assembly into territorial constituencies for elections to the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of the States and Union territories. 

Important Facts for Prelims

  • Justice Kuldeep Singh was the Chairperson of Delimitation Commission, 2002. The delimitation has been done on the basis of 2001 Census.

  • Section 8 of Delimitation Act, 2002 provides for readjustment of number of seats.

  • Section 9 of Delimitation Act 2002 provides for distribution of seats. 

  • Sec 9 - Commission shall distribute the seats in the House of the People allocated to each State and the seats assigned to the Legislative Assembly of each State as readjusted on the basis of 1971 census to single-member territorial constituencies and delimit them on the basis of the census figures as ascertained, at the census held in the year 2001.      

  • Section 9(c) and 9(d) provides for delimitation of constituencies in which seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively.                

 

Title

3. The contours of the Kashmir move (Article) (The Hindu Page 10)  

Syllabus 

Mains: GS Paper II – International Relations   

Theme

Kashmir issue in global context 

Highlights

Broader global context on Indian Decision:
 

U.S. is withdrawing from Afghanistan and Taliban is expected to form a part of the new government in Afghanistan. The current democratic leaders of Afghanistan have been supportive of India and have maintained a balance between India and Pakistan on Kashmir issue. While the Taliban had been supportive of Pakistan on the Kashmir issue and even supported anti-India activities in J&K. It is therefore yet to be seen on how the response of Afghan politics to Kashmir would change once Taliban enters it. Apart from this, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is being helped by Pakistan and moreover it also likely that U.S. would keep few bases in Afghanistan and therefore its reliance on Pakistan for movement of supplies would still continue. In addition, U.S. and Afghan political parties would require the help of Pakistan to control the Taliban in Afghan politics. Pakistan is trying to use this as a leverage with U.S. to ensure U.S. involvement in Kashmir issue. This was seen recently when U.S. President Donald Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir issue. 

India and several other countries have said that Kashmir issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan based on the Simla Agreement. Now under the Simla agreement of 1972, both India and Pakistan agrred that neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation in Kashmir. However both countries have made several political changes to the status of Jammu and Kashmir within their countries. 

The UN Security Council is most likely to not take any actions on Kashmir issue, either in favour of India or against India. Actually, UNSC not taking action on Kashmir issue is in favour of India, since India has always said that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal issue of India and Kashmir dispute should be resolved biltaerally between only between India and Pakistan. While Pakistan is in favour of involving other countries and organisations on Kashmir issue. Therefore it actually suits India's national interest that UNSC stays away from any action on Kashmir. 

India’s actions of changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir will not have any major international repurcassion, and that is because the current global politics functions on basis of  unilateralism rather than multilateralism. This basically means that each country forms its reactions to international events based on their own national interest rather than a collective interest of a group or organisation.

So therefore the broader global context on Kashmir is based on realpolitik, wherein countries take decisions based on practical realities rather than moral or ideological considerations. An example of this is that OIC raised concerns to India's change in status of J&K in favour of Pakistan, but individual members of OIC like UAE, Bangladesh, and several other countries have said that it is an internal matter of India.    

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Title

4. RBI issues final norms for regulatory sandbox (The Hindu Page 16)      

Syllabus 

Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS Paper III – Economic Issues    

Theme

Sandbox Policy  

Highlights

Context:

The RBI has recently issued the final framework for the regulatory sandbox in order to enable innovations in the financial technology space. In this regard, let us discuss various aspects of Fintech companies and need for Sandbox Policy for their development.   

 

What are Fintech Companies?

The term “FinTech” is a combination of the words “finance” and “technology”. It refers to the technological start-ups that are emerging to challenge traditional banking and financial players. Some of the major FinTech products and services are Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms, crowd funding,  E-Aggregators, block chain technology, distributed ledgers technology, Big Data etc.

 

What is Sandbox Policy?

The Sandbox policy is designed to encourage innovation by the Fintech companies within a well-defined space and duration where regulators would provide the requisite regulatory support.

The Sandbox policy allows companies to test products in a closed environment i.e. within a particular geography or among a set of users, before they are allowed roll out commercially.As part of this policy, the regulator provides the appropriate regulatory support by relaxing specific legal and regulatory requirements for specified time duration.

The idea behind the Sandbox policy is to enable them to test their new products without any regulatory hassles.

 

 Benefits of Sandbox Policy

Users of a sandbox can test the product’s viability without the need for a larger and more expensive roll out. If the product appears to have the potential to be successful, the product might then be authorized and brought to the broader market more quickly.  However, if concerns are unearthed while the product is in the sandbox, appropriate modifications can be made before the product is launched more broadly.

 

Title

5. CSR expenditure may be made tax deductible, Committee (The Hindu Page  16)

Syllabus 

Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS Paper III – Economic Issues    

Theme

CSR expense may be tax deductible 

Highlights

Context

The High level committee on Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) headed by Injeti Srinivas (Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs) has recently submitted its recommendations to the Finance Ministry.  

 

Background

India has become the first country to introduce the legal requirement for the companies to comply with the Corporate Social responsibility. The Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 mandates that every company, private limited or public limited, which either has a net worth of Rs 500 crore or a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or net profit of Rs 5 crore, needs to spend at least 2% of its average net profit for the immediately preceding three financial years on Corporate social responsibility activities. 

The corporations are required to setup a CSR committee which designs a CSR policy which is approved by the board and encompasses the CSR activities the corporation is willing to undertake.

 

Recent changes to CSR under the Companies Amendment Bill 2019

Provision for Unspent CSR Funds: Any unspent annual CSR funds must be transferred to one of the funds under Schedule 7 of the Act (e.g., PM Relief Fund, Swachch Bharat Kosh, the Clean Ganga Fund) within six months of the financial year. However, if the CSR funds are committed to certain on going projects, then the unspent funds will have to be transferred to an Unspent CSR Account within 30 days of the end of the financial year, and spent within three years. Any funds remaining unspent after three years will have to be transferred to one of the funds under Schedule 7 of the Act. 

Violation of CSR Norms: Any violation may attract a fine between Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,00,000 and every defaulting officer may be punished with imprisonment of up to three years or fine between Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,00,000, or both. 

 

Important recommendations

Expanding the Coverage of CSR: The Committee has highlighted that the provisions of the CSR should be extended to Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) and Banks which presently do not come under its purview.

Constitution of CSR Committee: Companies having prescribed CSR amount below Rs 50 Lakhs be exempt from forming a separate CSR Committee. The Board itself would carry out the functions of CSR Committee.

Violation of CSR Norms: There is a need to sensitive the companies on the importance of CSR and violation of CSR norms should be decriminalized and made a civil offence.

Investment in Capital Assets: Regulatory oversight should be exercised through enhanced reporting wherever CSR funds are used for creation of Capital Assets. Companies should be encouraged to forge partnerships when creating assets for public purpose.

Schedule VII of Act: The Contribution of CSR Funds to Central Government Funds as specified under Schedule VII be discontinued. However, a designated fund may be created for the transfer of unspent fund lying with the company beyond the proposed 3-5 year time limit.

Deepening CSR Impact: The Companies having CSR amount of more than Rs 5 crores should undertake impact assessment studies for their CSR programmes.

Reporting of CSR: The reporting of CSR should be strengthened with enhanced disclosures for better information dissemination with respect to selection of projects, locations etc.

CSR Audit: The CSR should be brought within the purview of statutory financial audit by making details of CSR spending as part of Financial statement of the company.

Tax Benefits for CSR Activities: The CSR expenditure has to be made deductible from the income earned for the purpose of taxation.

CSR Exchange Portal: There is a need to set up interactive platform for the CSR activities. Such a platform would bring various stakeholders such as Implementation agencies, companies etc together and enable the demand and supply side actors to interact with each other.

Social Impact Companies: The CSR contribution to social impact bonds raised by social impact companies should be considered on a pilot basis.

Engaging International Organisations: International Organisations such as USAID, UNICEF etc  may be engaged as partners for designing CSR projects.

Third Party assessment: The Government through an independent third party may undertake an assessment of the CSR projects to identify the best practices and showcase them as role models for the benefit of all.

Title

6. Writing out a clean Bill on Health (Article) (The Hindu Page  10)    

Syllabus 

Prelims: Polity, Social Justice

Mains: GS Paper II – Polity & Governance, Social Issues 

Theme

 

Highlights

This article highlights that Medical education needs continuous reforms and The National Medical Commission Bill can be the first step towards such reform. This article has refuted recent concerns raised regarding The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 with respect to:

  • the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)/National Exit Test, 

  • Empowering of community health providers for limited practice, 

  • Regulating fees for only 50% seats in private colleges, 

  • Reducing the number of elected representatives in the Commission, and 

  • The overriding powers of the Centre     

 

Consolidation of Exams 

  • This Act consolidates multiple exams at the undergraduate level with a single NEET and in turn avoids multiple counselling processes. 

  • National Exit Test (NEXT) will act as the final year MBBS examination across India, an entrance test to the postgraduate level, and as a licentiate exam before doctors can practise. 

  • It aims to reduce disparities in the skill sets of doctors graduating from different institutions. It would also be a single licentiate exam for graduates across the world. 

  • Thus, the government has in effect implemented a ‘One-Nation-One-Exam’ in medical education.

Limited licence to practise

  • Concerns have been expressed over the limited licence to practise for community health providers. Article highlights that even now 70% of India’s population residing in the rural areas, the present ratio of doctors in urban and rural areas is 3.8:1; 27,000 doctors serve about 650,000 villages of the country. 

  • A recent study by the World Health Organisation shows that nearly 80% of allopathic doctors in the rural areas are without a medical qualification. The NMC Act attempts to address this gap by effectively utilising modern medicine professionals, other than doctors in enabling primary and preventive health care.  

Capping of Fees

  • Private medical colleges are capitation fee driven and Medical Council Act, 1956 did not provide for its regulation. 

  • The present Act provides for a transparent fee structure empowers the NMC to frame guidelines for determination of not only fees but all other charges in 50% of seats in private colleges to support poor and meritorious students. 

  • An exit test along with rating of medical colleges will overall benefit students as they would be able to make an informed decision before seeking admission. 

Attracting talent& Autonomy of Council 

  • The Act provides for a transparent search and selection process with an eclectic mix of elected and nominated representatives, both in the search committee and the commission itself. 

  • The government has further addressed the concern of preponderance of selected members in the commission by adding members from State medical councils and universities.   

  • The Act establishes the Diplomate of National Board’s equivalence to NMC-recognised degrees — a long-pending demand. It also promotes medical pluralism. 

  • Autonomy to boards and segregation of their functions will avoid a conflict of interest and reduce rent-seeking opportunities. 

  • Thus, The NMC Act is a serious attempt to meet the primary need of more medical professionals in India.

 

The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 provides for the following: 

  • To supersede the existing Medical Council of India and vest its powers in a Board of Governors until the said Council is reconstituted.

  • To provide for the reconstitution of the Council within a period of two years.

  • To add proven administrative capacity and experience also as a qualification for nomination of members for the Board of Governors and to increase the number of members of the Board of Governors to twelve. 

  • To provide that the Board of Governors shall be assisted by a Secretary General who shall be appointed by the Central Government on deputation or contract basis and shall be the head of the secretariat in the Council.     

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