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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - June 2019

Jun 2019

Jun 10, 2019

India Flags Issue of Taxing Digital Firms at G20

  •  India called on G-20 countries to adopt a principle of 'significant economic presence' while addressing challenges on taxing profits by digital companies.
  • Addressing the two-day G-20 meeting of finance ministers in Fukuoka, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman noted the urgency to fix the issue of determining right nexus and profit allocation solution for taxing the profits made by digital economy companies.
  • Ms. Sitharaman expressed confidence that a consensus-based equitable and simple global solution would be reached by 2020.

All States Can Constitute Foreigners Tribunals

  •  With Assam's National Register of Citizens as the backdrop, the Ministry of Home Affairs laid out specific guidelines to detect, detain and deport foreign nationals staying illegally across the country.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.
  • Earlier, such powers to constitute tribunals vested with the Centre only.

Congress Looks for Lok Sabha Floor Leader

  •  The Congress, which has 52 members in the Lok Sabha, may have to look for a floor leader other than Rahul Gandhi after indications that the Congress president, who is persisting with his decision to relinquish the organisational post in light of the election results, is also unwilling to lead the party in the Lower House.
  • Two senior leaders said that Rahul Gandhi wants to work for the party in Parliament and outside it, without assuming a formal role or office.
  • This scenario throws open the question whether Sonia Gandhi, who has been re-elected chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP), will take up that role, or name someone else to replace Mallikarjun Kharge, who led the Congress in the 16th Lok Sabha.

JD(U) to Go Alone Outside Bihar

  •  At its national executive meeting the Janata Dal(U) announced that it would not be part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance outside Bihar and would contest the upcoming Assembly elections in Delhi, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Haryana on its own.
  • The party, however, would contest the Bihar Assembly election due in 2020 in alliance with the BJP.

Jun 09, 2019

MMRDA Sets Up 24x7 Control Room

  •  With the monsoon round the corner, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has set up a centralised 24x7 control room with helplines to enable residents to alert the authority in case mishaps occur near its project sites.
  • MMRDA engineers and officials will be manning the control room round the clock and working in tandem with civic agencies such as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the Traffic Police, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport undertaking and the Mumbai Fire Brigade.

PDA Constituents to Merge

  • Punjab Ekta Party chief Sukhpal Khaira said that a unity committee would be formed under which three constituents of the PDA, Nava Punjab Party, Lok Insaf Party and Punjab Ekta Party, would be merged.
  • Alleging that Navjot Singh Sidhu was being victimised by the Congress, Khaira today said he was welcome to join the alliance.
  • Khaira said that supporters have been demanding merger of three parties under one banner. So our call is for 'Ik nishan, ik vaidhan, ik pardhan (one symbol, one principle, one leader)." 

Jagan Team Sworn In

  •  The new State Cabinet consisting of 25 members, including three women, was sworn in at Velagapudi in the Amaravati area.
  • Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan administered the oath to them in the presence of Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
  • All the candidates except Mekapati Gowtham Reddy (Atukur, Nellore district) and Adimulapu Suresh (Yerragondapalem, Prakasam district) took the oath in Telugu.
  • The duo took the oath in English.

Govt. Defends Appointment of R. S. Jha

  •  A day after the government appointed justice R. S. Jha as acting Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court overlooking the Supreme Court Collegium's recommendation to appoint justice A. A. Kureshi as Chief Justice of the High Court, the law ministry defended its decision and said that there is nothing unusual about the appointment.
  • A senior law ministry official clarified on condition of anonymity that the Collegium's recommendation on justice Kureshi was still under consideration by the government. The appointment of an acting chief justice in no way meant that the recommendation has not been accepted.
  • The Collegium had made the recommendation in May 2019, foreseeing a vacancy in the High Court.

Punjab CM's New Consultative Groups

  •  Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh constituted eight dedicated consultative groups to accelerate the pace of implementation of the State government's flagship programmes.
  • Conspicuously absent from the names of members of the eight groups was Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is yet to take charge of his newly allotted Power Ministry after having been divested of the key Local Government portfolio.
  • Apart from Mr. Sidhu, Medical Education Minister Om Prakash Soni was also not nominated to any of the groups.
  • The groups have been mandated to review and assess the performance of the programmes/schemes so far and give their respective recommendations for further improvements.

Jun 08, 2019

NPP Gets National Party Status

  •  The ruling National People's Party (NPP), which is in an alliance with the BJP in Meghalaya, was granted recognition as a national party by the Election Commission.
  • The NPP becomes the first party from the region to get the status.
  • It is a recognised party in four states of the region.

Deve Gowda Vows to Rebuild JD(S)

  •  According to former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal (Secular), those who expected him to sit at home after his electoral loss in the recent Lok Sabha elections were mistaken as he was scripting a comeback.
  • This was Deve Gowda's first speech after his loss in the Tumakuru constituency in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
  • The JDS fought the general elections in alliance with Congress, its ruling coalition partner in the state, but won only one of the seven seats it contested.
  • Deve Gowda told workers that his was not a dynastic party, and those who were not committed to its cause could quit. He vowed to rebuild the party with the help of supporters.

India Slams Secrecy in UN Panel

  •  India strongly criticised the lack of transparency in the functioning of the UN Security Council's Sanctions Committee which took over a decade to blacklist Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. India's criticism of the UN's top organ came a month after getting Azhar blacklisted as a global terrorist by the the world body.
  • According to India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador K. Nagaraj Naidu, India has seen several such bodies being created and tasked with crucial responsibilities such as taking decisions on listing and delisting individuals and entities from the various sanctions regimes of the Council. 
  • Naidu said that not only do these subsidiary bodies have varied and custom-made working methods, but they also follow obscure practices which do not find any legal basis.

INLD MLA Joins BJP

  •  In a fresh setback to the Opposition Indian National Lok Dal in Haryana, its sitting MLA from Fatehabad constituency Balwan Singh Daulatpuria joined the BJP.
  • Mr. Daulatpuria announced his decision to quit the INLD at a meeting of BJP workers in Fatehabad.
  • He was welcomed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Jun 07, 2019

Reconstitution of NITI Ayog

  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the reconstitution of the policy think tank of the government, NITI Aayog, ahead of its first meeting in the National Democratic Alliance's second term on June 15.
  • In a statement issued by the cabinet secretariat, Rajiv Kumar continues as vice chairman in the reconstituted body, and VK Saraswat, Ramesh Chand and VK Paul as full-time members.
  • The name of economist, Bibek Debroy, was dropped in the statement.
  • Mr Bibek Debroy will continue to work in his capacity as chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).
  • Modi had revived the EAC-PM in September 2017 with Debroy as the chairman.
  • Debroy was also chairman of the high-powered committee set up by the railway ministry in 2014 to restructure the Indian Railways and was instrumental in proposing radical reforms.
  • The names of ex-officio members in the reconstituted Niti Aayog were also changed on the Niti Aayog website.
  • PM Modi, who is also the chairperson of the policy think tank, appointed home minister Amit Shah, defence minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar as ex-officio members.
  • The prime minister also appointed road transport minister Nitin Gadkari, commerce & industry and railway minister Piyush Goyal, social justice minister Thawar Chand Gehlot and statistics & programme implementation minister Rao Inderjit Singh as special invitees to the panel, as per the earlier statement.
  • Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, who was given an extension till June 30, 2019, will continue in his role till the end of his tenure.
  • Kant is a 1980-batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre. He was appointed CEO of the policy think tank on February 17, 2016, for a two-year term.

Rajasthan Plans Dept of 'Peace and Non-Violence'

  •  The Rajasthan government is planning to form a 'peace and non-violence' department, to mark Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary year. The department would function under the department of arts and culture.
  • It is touted to be the first of its kind in the country. Officials said that the department would also ensure better coordination with district peace committees.

Tamil Nadu Allows Shops, Malls to Function Round-the-Clock

  •  The Tamil Nadu government has passed an order allowing all commercial establishments such as shops and malls to function 24 hours a day.
  • The decision to allow commercial establishments to remain open round-the-clock was taken to boost employment levels and increase revenues.
  • The order, however, listed a set of rules that all commercial establishments should follow.
  • "No employee should be forced to work more than eight hours per day. The shops and establishments should give one holiday in a week to their employees"
  • "No woman employee should be forced to work in the night hours unless they are submitting a written letter accepting the night shift."
  • "It is essential for [that] the business establishments should constitute an internal sexual harassment prevention committee to protect the women employees."
  • "Transportation facilities should also be made for the women employees."
  • Presently, commercial establishments in the state are allowed to remain open till 10pm.

Swachhata rankings to be done quarterly

  •  Now Swachhata ranking of cities will no more be just one survey at the end of the year. The urban affairs ministry  launched quarterly ranking of cities —Swachh Surveksha (League) for the current year, which is expected to reflect ground level realities far better than annual evaluation.
  • Union urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri said citizens feedback will act as a deterrence against municipalities making false claims as there will be negative marking, which will impact overall annual ranking of cities.
  • Urban affairs secretary Durga Shankar Mishra said the survey will involve assessing the cities in three quarters till December 2019 and the weightage will be 2000 marks for each quarter. 
  • This will be evaluated on the basis of monthly updation of an online system city authorities and even the citizen's validation will be captured. 
  • The citizens validation will be done through outbound calls and there will be no spot visit.

12 Telangana MLAs join TRS

  •  In a huge setback to the Congress, which thought it was on the comeback trail in Telangana after winning three of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state, 12 of its MLAs were recognised as members of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) by speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy , after they met him and submitted a letter seeking merger of their group with the ruling party.
  • This leaves the Congress with just six MLAs in the 119-member House.
  • The Congress is set to lose the status of the second largest party in the assembly as that honour will now go to the seven-member AIMIM.
  • TRS numbers have now gone up from 90 to 102 in the assembly.

Jun 06, 2019

Haryana Cabinet Relaxes Recruitment Conditions

  •  With state assembly elections barely four months away, the council of ministers in Haryana, relaxed the recruitment conditions in Group B, C and D jobs by the Haryana Staff Selection Commission.
  • The state government is looking to step up its recruitment drive before the model code of conduct is imposed.
  • As per the amendment, the selection and recommendation of candidates for group B posts such as teachers and educational supervisors, in school education department, and Group C and D posts in all departments will be done on the basis of written exam, socio-economic criteria and experience.
  • The scheme of marks in respect of selection to the post will comprise of 100 marks, including 90 for written exam and 10 for socio-economic criteria and experience.

 UP's First Cyber Forensic Lab and Training Centre

  •  DGP OP Singh inaugurated the state's first cyber forensic laboratory and training centre at UP-100 headquarters.
  • Initially the centre has a capacity of training 25 police personnel at a time which would be increased gradually.
  • The DGP said that the police officers and personnel would be trained about speedy and effective investigation of incidents related to cyber stalking, cyber harassment and other crimes carried out through the internet and mobile phone communication especially against women and minors.

Centre Wants All States to Join PMJAY

  •  Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan urged the Chief Ministers of Delhi, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal to join the Centre's flagship health protection scheme, Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).
  • Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that financial resources would be made available to the states with adequate flexibility in the spirit of cooperative federalism.
  • The States would gain from the nationwide network of hospitals and would also help provide services in their own State to those from outside their states.

RLD to Fight UP By-polls Alone

  •  A day after the SP and the BSP decided to contest alone all 11 seats in the upcoming assembly by-polls, their third alliance partner in the recent Lok Sabha elections, RLD, announced it too will go solo.
  • Rashtriya Lok Dal UP president Masood Ahmad, however, expressed hope that the gathbandhan remains intact.
  • The UP assembly bypolls will be important for the RLD as it has no representation in the UP Legislative Assembly.
  • In the just concluded Lok Sabha elections, the RLD had contested from three constituencies, but faced defeat on all.
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