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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - June 2019

Jun 2019

Jun 30, 2019

Delhi Congress Dissolves 280 Block Committees

  •  Based on a report submitted by a five-member committee formed to assess the party's performance in the recent Lok Sabha polls, Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit dissolved the party's 280 block committees.
  • The three-time former chief minister announced the dismissal of the 280 block committees with immediate effect and said that the party is also on its way to form a Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) for Delhi to strengthen operations before the upcoming assembly elections.
  • The Delhi Congress had formed the five-member committee to assess reasons for the defeat of the party in all seven parliamentary constituencies in Delhi in the Lok Sabha elections. The committee submitted its report earlier in June 2019.

India Seeks Kartarpur Talks

  •  After weeks of an impasse on the Kartarpur corridor, the government has written to Pakistan, proposing the next round of talks to be held from July 11 to 14 on the Pakistani side of the Attari-Wagah border.
  • The meeting would discuss the draft agreement on the modalities for movement of pilgrims along the Kartarpur corridor and resolve outstanding technical issues related to alignment and infrastructure along the corridor.
  • The government's decision to propose the fourth round of talks came a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan. Mr. Modi wrote that India was keen on seeing the corridor completed in time for the 550th birth anniversary of Sikh founder Guru Nanak in November 2019.
  • The talks had been put off as India had sought clarifications on several issues including whether to build a bridge or a causeway over the Ravi, proposed caps on pilgrim numbers, and the presence of Khalistani separatists in key posts of the gurdwara committee in Pakistan. 

Jun 29, 2019

Chhattisgarh Congress Chief

  •  Kondagaon MLA Mohan Markam was appointed as the president of the Congress's Chhattisgarh unit. He replaces Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who was holding the post.
  • The notification announcing Mr. Markam's appointment said that he was being appointed by the Congress president. Many are reading this as a sign that Rahul Gandhi may continue as the party chief.
  • Mr. Markam's constituency, Kondagaon, falls under the Bastar LS constituency, one of the two seats that the Congress won in the State in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Jun 28, 2019

Rename West Bengal

  •  The Trinamool reiterated the long-pending demand of the West Bengal government to rename the State as Bangla.
  • The matter has been pending with the Union government since July 2018.
  • Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Rajya Sabha member of the party, raised the issue during Zero Hour. Mr. Ray said no geographical territory known as East Bengal ever existed officially.
  • The word Bangla or the territory called Bangla is believed to have been derived from Banga, a Dravidian tribe that settled in the region in 1000 BCE.
  • In July 2018, the West Bengal Assembly passed a resolution recommending the name change. The Union Home Ministry, which is the arbitrator in this issue, has not taken any step on the issue.

Rehab Project for Manual Scavengers in City

  •  The Delhi cabinet approved a rehabilitation programme for those identified as manual scavengers. Under the programme, those identified would be provided with a one-time cash assistance of Rs. 40,000, loans of Rs. 15 lakh at concessional interest rates and credit linked back-end capital subsidy up to Rs. 3. 25 lakh.
  • The manual scavengers would also be provided skill development training for up to two years with stipend of Rs. 3,000 per month.
  • The rehabilitation programme for manual scavengers, proposed by the social welfare department was approved in the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
  • About 45 manual scavengers were identified in the three districts of Shahadra, North East Delhi and East Delhi during the state monitoring committee meeting on September 24, 2018.

Jun 27, 2019

INLD's Lone RS MP Joins BJP

  •  One more Rajya Sabha member from the Opposition joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after four did so earlier in June 2019, helping the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) steadily improve its position in the Upper House, where it is still in a minority.
  • Ram Kumar Kashyap, the lone Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MP from Haryana, became the latest to join the BJP ranks in the Rajya Sabha.
  • He and two-time former MP from Kannur in Kerala, AP Abdullakutty, who was in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress, joined the party in the presence of its working president Jagat Prakash Nadda.
  • The BJP now has 75 MPs in the Rajya Sabha, whose current strength is 235.

Jun 26, 2019

Election to Six Rajya Sabha Seats from Tamil Nadu

  •  According to the Election Commission, Elections to six Rajya Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu would be held on July 18.
  • The term of office of six members, T. Rathinavel, V. Maitreyan, K. R. Arjunan, R. Lakshmanan (all belonging to the ruling AIADMK), D. Raja (CPI) and Kanimozhi (DMK), would expire on July 24, 2019.
  • Ms. Kanimozhi has been elected to the Lok Sabha.
  • Notifications for the elections wouold be issued on July , 2019. The last date for filing nominations is July 8, 2019 and counting would be done on July 18, 2019.
  • The Tamil Nadu Assembly currently has 232 MLAs against its sanctioned strength of 234 following the death of Vikravandi MLA K. Rathamani (DMK) and the resignation of Nanguneri MLA H. Vasanthakumar (Congress), who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kanyakumari.
  • To get elected to the Rajya Sabha, a candidate needs the support of 34 MLAs. Based on the individual strength of the parties, the AIADMK (123 MLAs) and the DMK (100) are likely to send three members each to the Rajya Sabha — the latter with the support of the Congress (7) and the IUML (1). T.T.V. Dhinakaran is the lone Independent MLA.

Punjab CM Slams Canada

  •  Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh lambasted the Canadian government for its overt and covert support to the Khalistani movement, warning that Toronto's failure to check anti-India activities being carried out from its soil would be detrimental to its own security in the long run.
  • Citing the findings of the John Major Commission into the 1985 Kanishka bombing as a clear endorsement of Canada's failure to act against the Khalistanis operating from its soil, the CM said that by allowing the conspirators of the mass murder, the Canadian government had exposed its true intent.
  • It was more than apparent that Canada had been extending its support to Khalistanis despite New Delhi's protestations.
  • Mr. Singh had been raising the issue with the Canadian government, Amarinder noted that he had in fact given a list of wanted terrorists in Canada to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the latter's India visit in 2018.
  • The lack of response from their government so far has exposed their intent.

Andhra Pradesh Disallows Bauxite Ore Mining

  •  The YSR Congress party government in Andhra Pradesh decided not to allow mining of bauxite ore in the Eastern Ghats in Visakhapatnam district, in an attempt to check unrest among tribal communities that have been strongly opposing the mining.
  • Announcing this at a conference of IPS officers in Amaravati, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said that the controversial government order (GO No. 97) issued by the previous N. Chandrababu Naidu regime in November 2015 allowing the mining, would be scrapped immediately.
  • The GO had permitted AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) to take up bauxite mining in 1,212 hectares spread over 13 stretches in Chintapalli and Gudem Kotha Veedhi revenue blocks in Visakhapatnam district.
  • But the government put the order in abeyance following protests by local tribals and environmentalists.
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