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Jun 2019

Jun 20, 2019

Cong Dissolves Its Karnataka Unit

  •  The AICC [All India Congress Committee] decided to dissolve the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. Its president and working president remain unchanged.
  • The KPCC had 290 office-bearers, including former Central and state ministers, MPs and the state legislature and presidents of its district committees.
  • The KPCC had been dissolved for restructuring in the aftermath of the party's poor performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
  • The Congress managed to win just one of the 21 Lok Sabha (LS) seats it contested in Karnataka, where it retained power in May last year (2018) after forming an uneasy coalition with the Janata Dal (Secular). Together, the two partners ended up with only two of the 28 seats Karnataka fills in the LS.

IB to Report Directly to Amit Shah

  •  Almost a fortnight after Home Minister Amit Shah took charge, he allocated work to the two junior Ministers in North Block.
  • While the management of other departments was distributed among the two Ministers of State, Mr. Shah would hold charge of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) himself.
  • Former Home Minister Rajnath Singh also had IB report directly to him.
  • The distribution of work came at a time when Mr. Shah is expected to undertake his first official visit as a Home Minister to Jammu and Kashmir to oversee the preparations and security arrangements for the Amarnath Yatra that commences on July 1.
  • The two Ministers of State, Nityanand Rai and G. Kishan Reddy, did not have defined roles till now.
  • As per the new set of responsibilities, Mr. Rai would look after the Left-wing Extremism division, Centre-State relations, border management, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and the Foreigners Division.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir desk and Northeast was allocated to Mr. Reddy. This is the first time that J&K and Northeast divisions have been allocated to the same Minister. In the previous Cabinet, the Northeast division was handled by Kiren Rijiju and Kashmir desk was with Hansraj Gangaram Ahir.
  • Both Mr. Rai and Mr. Reddy were State presidents of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in Bihar and Telangana, respectively.

YSRCP Refuses Post of Deputy Speaker

  •  The YSR Congress Party made it clear that it would not take the post of Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha even if it is offered till the government grants special status to Andhra Pradesh.
  • As per reports, the BJP sent feelers to the YSCRP and it rejected them. The YSCRP does not want to align with the ruling dispensation unless and until they accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Jun 19, 2019

More Finance Ministry Officials into Compulsory Retirement

  •  In another action aimed at cleaning up government service, the Union government sent 15 senior Finance Ministry officials into compulsory retirement.
  • This comes a week after President Ram Nath Kovind issued orders for the retirement of 12 senior officials of the Ministry for alleged corruption, extortion and sexual harassment.
  • While last week's action was against officers of the Income Tax Department, this time, senior officers of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) faced action.
  • In exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (J) of Rule 56 of the Fundamental Rules, the President of India had retired 15 officers of Indian Revenue Service (C&CE) in public interest with immediate effect on completing 50 years of age.
  • The 15 officers, of the ranks of Assistant Commissioner, Principal Commissioner or Commissioner , are to be paid a sum equivalent to the amount of pay and allowances for a period of three months at the same rate at which they would have received immediately before their retirement.

NDA's Choice for Speaker's Post

  •  Two-term BJP MP from Rajasthan, Om Birla, would be the new Speaker of the Lok Sabha, after he was nominated by the ruling NDA for the post.
  • Mr. Birla has been a three-term MLA in the Rajasthan Assembly and represents the Kota constituency in the Lok Sabha. He would assume office after being elected by the House MPs.
  • Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Roads and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari were the proposers of Mr. Birla's name.
  • Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Shiv Sena, National People's Party, Mizo National Front, Akali Dal, Lok Janshakti Party, YSRCP, Janata Dal (U), AIADMK and Apna Dal have signed the proposal.
  • The newly appointed leader of the Congress legislature party in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Choudhary, said that his party too would be supporting Mr. Birla's candidature.

TMC MLA and 12 Councillors Join BJP

  •  In yet another blow for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, TMC MLA from Bongaon, Biswajit Das and 12 councillors of the ruling party joined BJP in presence of senior BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy.
  • Congress spokesperson Prasanjeet Ghosh also joined the saffron party.
  • The West Bengal CM and TMC supremo said that the councillors and MLAs who are quitting will not be accepted back in the party.

Jun 18, 2019

Home ministry to Rank Police Stations

  •  The home ministry has kicked off an exercise to rank the country's best police stations based on various parameters, setting the stage for a competition for better governance at the grassroot level.
  • A similar exercise had been undertaken in 2017 but this time the exercise is expected to be more comprehensive and comes after ranking of states on various parameters as well as a race among 115 of the country's most backward or aspirational districts to improve their performance.
  • While the consultants have been asked to plan a comprehensive evaluation approach, the home ministry has suggested at least seven dimensions for assessment.
  • Each police station will be assessed on crime prevention, including economic offences, and the proactive measures adopted by it.
  • The evaluation will also look at the Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems and other technology, including forensic systems.
  • But one of the most important parameters will be citizen perception and feedback, as the common man has often been wary of dealing with the police force and is usually reluctant to visit the police station.
  • Last time, citizen feedback and infrastructure accounted for only 20% weight in the scoring matrix with 80% on other aspects such as crime prevention.
  • The evaluation itself will be a two-stage process with the first one focused on objective short-listing of police stations using the crime data available with the National Crime Record Bureau.

Jun 17, 2019

20,000 Govt Hospital Doctors to go on Strike 

  •  Around 20,000 resident doctors from government hospitals in the national capital will go on strike on 17 June 2019 demanding a central law to protect those in the medical profession.
  • The call for the strike was given by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), a representative body for doctors. Private hospital doctors are yet to confirm participation. Doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said that while services won't be affected, they will take out a protest march.
  • The strike is likely to hit outpatient clinics and other routine services (like diagnostics). Emergency services, however, won't be affected, doctors assured.
  • The strike is a fallout of an assault by relatives of a patient on doctors at a government hospital in West Bengal after the patient died during treatment on 10 June 2019 .
  • The incident sparked protests from doctors across the country. While Kolkata doctors went on strike from 11 June 2019, resident doctors from AIIMS and Safdarjung worked with a bandage on head and wearing helmets as part of the protest
  • The doctors are demanding a central law to protect doctors, along with immediate provisions for safety for doctors in West Bengal as well as other parts of the country.
  • Members of FORDA had gone on a strike on 15 June 2019 and decided to continue the protest on 17 June 2019 after the Indian Medical Association (IMA) gave a call for nationwide strike.
  • The IMA called for a withdrawal of non-essential services across the country on June 17 demanding a comprehensive law for dealing with violence against doctors and other healthcare workers.
  • Doctors from AIIMS and Safdarjung, who had gone on a strike earlier, had given a 48-hour deadline to the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to meet the demands of the striking doctors from the state.
  • Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had written to the chief ministers of all the states requesting them to enact specific legislations for protecting doctors and medical professionals and forwarded a draft act prepared by the IMA.

First Session of 17th Lok Sabha

  •  The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha will begin on 17 June 2019 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi  pitching for consensus among all political parties to push crucial legislations, including a bill that seeks to criminalise the practice of instant divorce among Muslims.
  • The session, which will conclude on July 26, will see the tabling of the triple talaq bill and a legislation to allow the voluntary use of Aadhaar as an identity proof for opening bank accounts and getting mobile phone connections.
  • The Union Budget will be presented on July 5.
  • The fresh bill to ban instant triple talaq will be introduced in Parliament to replace an ordinance issued in February. Under the proposed law, instant triple talaq will be illegal and attract a jail term of three years.
  • The previous bill lapsed as it was passed in the Lower House but could not be cleared in the Rajya Sabha.
  • The first two days of the Budget session will be devoted to oath-taking by members of the 17th Lok Sabha, administered by pro tem speaker Virendra Kumar.
  • The election for the Speaker of the Lok Sabha will be held on June 19 followed by a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on June 20, when President Ram Nath Kovind will deliver an address.
  • The BJP has not yet announced the name of its candidate for the Speaker's post, but people aware of the developments said that pro tem Speaker Kumar could be among the probables.
  • Among other names that the party is understood to have considered are former Union ministers Radha Mohan Singh and SS Ahluwalia, Lok Sabha MPs from Bihar and West Bengal, respectively. Another name doing the rounds is that of former Union minister Maneka Gandhi.
  • The other legislations to be tabled include the Indian Medical Council (Amendment Bill), 2019 and the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill.
  • The government is expected to push laws to replace about 10 ordinances or executive orders during the session.
  • The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has a majority of 353 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha. But the government is dependent on the Opposition for legislative support in the Rajya Sabha, where it lacks a majority.
  • However, there was no word on whether the government will table the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
  • The bill seeks to make it easier for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to get Indian citizenship.
  • It triggered protests in the north-east ahead of the April-May Lok Sabha elections, with indigenous groups saying the bill will encourage more migrations from Bangladesh while an exercise is underway to identify and deport undocumented Bangladeshi immigrants.
  • The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in January, but it lapsed as the government was unable to push it through the Upper House.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to the bill during campaigning in the region and said the BJP was committed to passing it once the NDA returned to power.

Jun 16, 2019

Aurangabad cops adopt villages to make them water sufficient

  •  Due to severe drought, the residents of modest Kasrwadi village of Ambad tehsil in neighbouring Jalna district are forced to rely on water tankers for drinking and irrigation purposes. 
  • The hopes of the villagers rose after the Jalna police dug a 1,200 metre long trench in the river subsidiary passing from the village.
  • The initiative is part of Aurangabad range police's first of its kind of move to adopt villages and make them water sufficient.
  • As part of the initiative, four police units of Aurangabad rural, Jalna, Beed, and Osmanabad have been tasked to adopt at least one village and undertake initiatives, including water harvesting, digging trench in existing water bodies, reviving wells, and other scientifically proven methods.
  • As part of the plan, a series of initiatives like starting of libraries, providing books, bags and uniforms to the students, reviving the village wells, imparting skill development courses to village youths and also training the farmers in doing farming in scientific manner are on the police's priority to-do list. 

Bypolls for Six RS Seats to be Held on July 5

  •  The Election Commission announced bypolls for six Rajya Sabha seats on July 5, including the one vacated by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah following his election to the Lok Sabha.
  • Notifications will be issued on June 18 and elections and counting of votes will be held on July 5.
  • The Congress had demanded that the bypolls to the two vacant seats in Gujarat be held together as it felt that it could win one of the two Rajya Sabha seats vacated by Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani.

Multi-Agency Body to Track All Terrorism Cases in J&K

  •  A multi-disciplinary terror monitoring group, which is led by the Jammu and Kashmir Police and includes representatives from the Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency and the income tax department, will now expand its ambit to monitor the progress of all terror-related cases in the Valley.
  • The group was initially set up to evaluate evidence when the Centre had decided to declare Jammat-e-Islami (Jammu and Kashmir) and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) as banned organisations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
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