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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - June 2019

Jun 2019

Jun 15, 2019

NRDC Inks MoA with IIPE Vishakhapatnam

  •  National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), New Delhi, under the Ministry of Science & Technology, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE), Visakhapatnam under Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Govt of India at Visakhapatnam during the Industry-Academy Interaction meet, which was inaugurated by Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu.
  • The MoA assures that NRDC assists IIPE in filing their patents and commercialising their IPs/technologies to industry and promoting incubation and start-ups.

Karnataka Cabinet Inducts 2 Independents

  •   Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy expanded his cabinet  by inducting two independent MLAs in an apparent move to give stability to his 13-month-old wobbly government.
  • R Shankar and H Nagesh were sworn in as cabinet ministers, months after they withdrew support to the government and sided with the BJP before making a U-turn to move close to the ruling coalition.
  • Shankar was inducted from the Congress' share and Nagesh from the JD(S) quota in the ministry. Under the coalition arrangement, of the total 34 ministerial positions, the Congress and JD(S) have shared 22 and 12 berths respectively.
  • With the two independents in the government, the coalition strength in the 224-member assembly stands at 118 (Cong-78, JD(S)-37, BSP-1 and Independents-2), besides the Speaker. The BJP has 105 MLAs.

Channels Get Advisory on Credit Language

  •  The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has issued an advisory to all private television channels to carry credits at the end of programmes in the language in which the programmes are telecast for the benefit of viewers who cannot read English.
  • The channels will be free to also carry the credits in English.
  • Union MIB minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted that this was being done to promote Indian languages. He said the government was not "restricting" the channels to use only Hindi or regional languages, but "adding" more languages.
  • A similar order will be issued to cinemas as well. 
  • It came to the notice of ministry of information and broadcasting that several Hindi and Regional Language TV channels display the castings/credits/ titles of Hindi and Regional language TV serials only in English.
  • This practice tends to deprive people versed with Hindi and Regional languages of the valuable information about casting of TV serials/programmes.
  • The ministry had underlined that since these films were made in Hindi, people not familiar with English should not be deprived of information about actors and crew and other production details.

Cong Makes First Major Appointment After LS Polls in Maharashtra

  •  Senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat was named Congress Legislature Party leader in Maharashtra, the first appointment in the grand old party after its drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections.
  • This was also a rare occasion when the name was cleared by the All India Congress Committee, and not the party chief.
  • Thorat replaced arch-rival Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who quit the CLP leader's post days after his son Sujay joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and successfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Ahmednagar.
  • The Congress also appointed Vijay Namdeorao Waddetiwar, currently its deputy leader in the assembly, as the floor leader and Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan will be his deputy.

Jun 14, 2019

Assam Looks to Form 300 more Tribunals

  •  The Assam government has set in motion the process of increasing the number of foreigners' tribunals (FTs) to 400 from the current 100 in the next six months (till December 2019) as the deadline for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC), aimed at weeding out illegal immigrants, comes to a close.
  • The additional FTs, which are quasi-judicial bodies, will exclusively deal with NRC appeals and references.
  • The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the NRC update exercise, has set the July 31 deadline to complete the list of citizens in Assam.

LJP Faces Split

  •  A group of disgruntled leaders of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which was founded by Ram Vilas Paswan in 2000, announced their decision to form a new outfit by the name of LJP (Secular) while accusing the union minister of running his party as a private limited company.
  • The breakaway group was led by LJP's national general secretary Satyanand Sharma and treasurer Ramesh Chandra Kapoor.
  • The disgruntled leaders, numbering over a dozen, also levelled serious allegations of corruption against the party's leadership and demanded a CBI probe into the same.

National Convener of BJP

  •  Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was named the National Convener of Bharatiya Janata Party's membership drive.
  • The decision was taken at BJP president Amit Shah's meeting with party national office bearers and state heads.
  • Chouhan, who has served three successive terms as Madhya Pradesh CM, was expected to be given a more national role in the party after BJP's rather narrow loss to Congress in the state election held in December 2018.
  • As National Convener of the newly-launched membership drive, Chouhan is expected to spearhead BJP's push towards reaching out to even more people - especially in states which are scheduled to hold Assembly elections in the months to come.

Jun 13, 2019

Shiv Sena to Pitch Aaditya Thackeray

  •  Shiv Sena is likely to make a strong case for Aaditya Thackeray to be made the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra and may have already begun talks with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in this regard.
  • As per reports, Sena has set its eyes on a proposed cabinet expansion which is scheduled in a day or so, and has backed the Thackeray scion for the Deputy CM's post.
  • While the party previously maintained it won't make a case for an official post, Aaditya is now being projected as an ideal candidate to be second-in-command to Fadnavis.
  • If the reported proposal is approved by the BJP, it would be the first political post for 29-year-old Aaditya.

Indian Medical Council Amendment Bill Cleared

  •  The Cabinet approved the Indian Medical Council (Amendment Bill), 2019 and the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment Bill), 2019 – both of which had lapsed in the 16th Lok Sabha session. The Bills will be re-introduced in the next Parliament session.
  • The Medical Council Bill is aimed at bringing in transparency and quality in the governance of medical education.
  • Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment Bill), 2019, meanwhile, seeks to extend the period for reconstitution of the Central Council from existing period of one year to two years so that the tenure of the Board of Governors may be extended for a further period of one year with effect from May 17, 2019.
  • Cabinet  also approved the introduction of a Bill to amend the Dentists Act, 1948.

Anticipatory Bail Provision Back

  •  The provision of anticipatory bail was restored in Uttar Pradesh after 43 years, paving the way for the accused to get advance bail in non-bailable offences.
  • The provision was revoked in the state during the Emergency in1976.
  • Principal Secretary, Home, Arvind Kumar, said that Section 438 (anticipatory bail) was removed from the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 through the Code of Criminal Procedure (Uttar Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 1976.
  • There was a demand for restoration of anticipatory bail in the state and writ petitions were also filed in courts for this purpose.

President's Rule in J&K Extended

  •  President's rule in J&K was extended for six more months beginning July 3.
  • A meeting of the Cabinet, chaired by PM Narendra Modi, gave its approval to the extension.
  • Central rule has been in force since June 20, 2018.

Cabinet Approves Aadhaar Bill

  •  The Cabinet approved the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which establishes that no individual can be compelled to provide proof of Aadhaar number unless provided by law, and the Aadhaar number on voluntary basis shall be accepted as KYC document.
  • The Bill replaces Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, and it will be introduced in the scheduled Parliament session in June.
  • Claiming the Bill people-friendly and citizen-centric, the government said it will enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve public interest and act as a deterrent against the misuse of Aadhaar.

Air Terminal at Halwara

  •  The Punjab state government and the Airport Authority of India signed an agreement for setting up the New Civil International Air Terminal at IAF Station, Halwara, Ludhiana.
  • Earlier, the state government had signed an MoU with the MoCA and Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the same.
  • The project would be implemented through a Joint Venture Company (JVC) is formed with the majority stake of 51 per cent of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and 49 per cent stake of the state government through the Greater Ludhiana Development Authority (GLADA).
  • As per the agreement, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will bear all capital expenditure of development of the new airport; while the state government will provide 135.54 acres free of cost and free of all encumbrances for the project and the JVC shall bear all expenditure on operation, management and maintenance, including repairs.

BJP Rejigs Parliamentary Panel

  •  The BJP reconstituted its parliamentary party executive committee, which is the nodal committee for co-ordination of the legislative party while Parliament is in sessions, marking a generational shift in the party as perhaps for the first time L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are not part of it. Neither of the party veterans are MPs now.
  • Prime Minister Modi would be the Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha as well as of the BJP's parliamentary party; Defence Minister Rajnath Singh would be deputy leader of the parliamentary party in the Lok Sabha.
  • Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot would be the leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal as deputy leader.
  • Lok Sabha MP from Bihar Sanjay Jaiswal would be the chief whip of the party in the Lok Sabha, with Narayan Panchariya as his Rajya Sabha counterpart.
  • Mr. Gehlot replaces former Union minister Arun Jaitley in the post after the latter requested the leadership of relieving him from key posts due to health issues.

Jun 12, 2019

India Backs Israel

  •  India voted in favour of a resolution moved by Israel at a UN body to bar a Palestinian rights organisation called Shahed being given observer status at UN institutions, with Israeli diplomats describing the move as a significant development.
  • According to the Israeli foreign ministry, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) overwhelmingly rejected Shahed's request to obtain observer status at UN institutions.
  • The resolution initiated by the Israeli delegation to the UN was passed in a 28-14 vote on June 6.
  • India, the US, the UK, France, Germany and Japan were among the 28 countries that voted in favour of the resolution, which was opposed by China, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco and Russia.

Congress to Focus on Leadership Crisis

  •  Amidst continuing uncertainty over Congress leadership, the Congress core group would meet in New Delhi to deliberate on an institutional mechanism for collective decision making.
  • As per reports, the party could look at a body of 11-15 members that could be made in charge of collective decision making along with the party president.

Chhattisgarh Halts Mining

  • Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel ordered an immediate stay on all work related to iron ore mining in Dantewada's Bailadila hills after a meeting with tribal leaders and the MP from Bastar.
  • The move comes four days after nearly 10,000 tribals staged an indefinite protest under the banner of Sanyukt Panchayat Samiti and demanded that all mining-related activities in iron-ore deposit number 13, be stopped. Locals said that they would not allow mining as the hill where the mine is located houses their deity.
  • The CM instructed (officials) to immediately halt the deforestation of the affected area and illegal felling of trees.
  • The CM also ordered an investigation into the complaint against a Gram Sabha, which was set up in the year 2014 for giving approval to the project.

Wreckage of Missing IAF AN-32 Found

  •  The wreckage of the Indian Air Force AN-32 which went missing on June 3, was found north of Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • With eight crew members and five armed forces personnel on board, the IAF aircraft had lost contact with the ground control before it went off radar on June 3. 

Top PMO Officials' Terms Extended

  •  The government announced that principal secretary Nripendra Misra and additional principal secretary Pramod Kumar Misra will continue in their positions in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), which sees no major administrative change at the top-most administrative level.
  • The two officers have been given Cabinet ranks, similar to the other top adviser to Prime Minister Narendra Modi — National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
  • Nripendra Misra's expertise in economy and delivery, PK Misra's management of key bureaucratic appointments, and Doval's handling of national security are expected to be the core strengths of the PMO. 

Jun 11, 2019

Shiromani Akali Dal Seeks Alliance with BJP

  •  The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is seeking to contest 15 of the 90 assembly seats in Haryana in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the coming state elections.
  • The assembly polls are due in Haryana in October 2019.
  • The SAD and the BJP have been in alliance in Punjab since the days of the Jan Sangh, the saffron party's parent outfit.
  • However, it would be for the first time that the two parties will be joining hands in Haryana, if the alliance works out.

Delhi Govt. Appoints 69 Lawyers

  •  The Delhi government appointed a panel of 69 advocates for appearance in cases on its behalf before the district courts in Delhi.
  • A notification with regard to the appointment was issued by the government in May 2019.
  • There are seven district court complexes in Delhi.
  • These appointments shall be subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed from time to time. 
  • This notification comes around a year after Lieutenant Governor had declared invalid a panel of 14 lawyers appointed by the government to represent it cases before Delhi High Court, citing procedural lapses.

Top Tax Officials Told to Retire

  •  The Union government forced 12 senior tax officials to retire from their jobs over allegations of misconduct such as fraud, extortion and sexual harassment, launching an unprecedented clean-up in the bureaucracy that, according to officials familiar with the matter, is likely to be extended to other departments.
  • The 12, all from the Indian Revenue Services (IRS), included seven commissioners – one of the topmost ranks in the Income Tax department; one joint commissioner, three additional commissioners, and an assistant commissioner.

No Plan for President's Rule

  •  West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who met Home Minister Amit Shah, said that no discussion was held to impose President's Rule in the State.
  • Mr. Tripathi also apprised the prevailing situation in the State to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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