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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - December 2019

Dec 2019

Dec 31, 2019

India Links China's Sikkim Offer with Middle Sector Map

  • India linked China's "early harvest" proposal for settling the Sikkim land boundary to the simultaneous demarcation of the middle sector in Uttarakhand as a stepping stone to phased resolution of the decades-old border dispute.
  • New Delhi and Beijing exchanged maps of the middle sector as far back as March 2002, but there has been no movement since then.
  • The 22nd dialogue of the Special Representatives (SR) on the boundary issue between national security adviser Ajit Doval and state councillor Wang Yi in New Delhi earlier this month ended with both sides committed to maintaining peace and tranquility along the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC).

District Court Posts Open on All-India Basis

  • The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has invited applications from candidates from all over the country to fill 33 vacancies in districts courts of the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, triggering an opposition outcry against the opening of the state employment to all Indians in the two UTs after the nullification of Article 370.
  • The 33 vacant posts of non-gazetted officials in district courts of J&K and Ladakh that the HC has opened for eligible candidates from all over the country, include those of senior and junior scale stenographers, typists, compositors, electricians and drivers.
  • The high court's notification has triggered a vociferous protest from various opposition parties, including the National Conference, JKNPP and various Left parties, which have demanded reservation for locals in government jobs in J&K.

Ajit Pawar Back as Deputy CM

  • Thirty six ministers were inducted in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra cabinet. The ministers who took oath include Uddhav's son, Aaditya Thackeray.
  • This is the first time in Maharashtra that a father-son duo will be included in the state's Council of Ministers.
  • Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar, nephew of party Chief Sharad Pawar, took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra. This will be his second stint in over one month after an overnight coup to form government with BJP's Devendra Fadnavis lasted for just three days in November.
  • Out of the 36 ministers, 26 ministers were sworn-in as cabinet ministers and 10 ministers took oath as junior ministers. There are three women in the expanded Council of Ministers, including two of the cabinet rank - Varsha Gaikwad and Yashomati Thakur from Congress and Aditi Tatkare from NCP.
  • The new Council of Ministers now has four Muslim ministers. These are Nawab Malik and Hasan Mushariff from NCP, Aslam Shaikh from Congress and Abdul Sattar from Shiv Sena.

MHA Extends AFSPA in Nagaland

  • The ministry of home affairs declared the entire state of Nagaland a disturbed area for six more months, till June 2020, under the controversial Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA), which empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior notice.
  • In a notification, the ministry said that the central government was of the opinion that the area comprising the whole state of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary.
  • The AFSPA was imposed in Nagaland about six decades ago when there was widespread protest in the state seeking more autonomy leading to spurt in insurgency.

Five J&K Leaders Released

  • Five politicians, including a former state minister and three former legislators, were released by the Jammu & Kashmir administration, 147 days after the nullification of special status of the region and its bifurcation into two Union Territories.
  • The leaders are Ishfaq Jabbar and Ghulam Nabi of the National Conference (NC), Zahoor Mir and Bashir Ahmad Mir of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former legislative council member Yasir Reshi of the PDP. The five were housed in Srinagar's MLA hostel where at least 25 other politicians are currently under preventive detention.
  • As per reports, this was the beginning of process of the release other political leaders held in preventive detention. Since things have been peaceful, the process of release of leaders has begun. In coming days more leaders will be released.

Dec 30, 2019

MyGov Reaches 1 crore Registered Users

  • Central government's citizen engagement platform - MyGov has reached one crore registered users. Five years ago, @mygovindia began its journey with a vision to offer a platform for the voice and views of the people of India.
  • In a tweet, Prime Minister's Office said, MyGov has emerged as a vibrant centre for ideas and insights. Congrats on this milestone.
  • Earlier in the day, MyGov tweeted about the number of registered users. It said, as we welcome a new year & new decade - we resolve to make this platform bigger, bolder, better.
  • It also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inspiring and guiding it.

NITI Aayog to Launch second Edition of Sustainable Development Goals India Index

  • NITI Aayog will launch the second edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index in New Delhi. The Index documents the progress made by India's States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets.
  • NITI Aayog will also launch the Dashboard 2019-20. The SDG India Index and Dashboard track the progress of States and rank all States and Union Territories on 100 indicators drawn from Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation's National Indicator Framework, comprising 306 indicators.
  • It indicates where the country and its States and UTs currently are on SDG implementation. It also charts the distance to be travelled to reach the SDG targets.
  • The Index covers 16 out of 17 SDGs and a qualitative assessment on Goal 17.
  • This marks an improvement over the 2018 SDG Index, which covered only 13 goals.

Dec 29, 2019

Ten Rupees Food to Farmers in Haryana

  • Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar will soon introduce the scheme of providing ten rupees food to farmers in grain market. The same system will also be introduced in sugar mills where farmers will get food for ten rupees. Khattar made this declaration while he was attending meeting party volunteers.

Holiday Changes in J&K's Calendar

  • Two holidays have been dropped and a new one added to the annual calendar of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in a government move the National Conference (NC) slammed as an assault on the psyche of the people.
  • July 13 and December 5 will cease to be official holidays, according to a government order that designated October 26 -- the day the region had acceded to the Union of India in 1947--as a holiday in the Union Territory.
  • July 13 was observed as Martyr's Day in the erstwhile state of J&K in memory of 21 Kashmiris who were killed by the army of autocratic ruler Maharaja Hari Singh during an uprising in 1931 when the region was a princely state. Kashmir has observed a shutdown every year on the day until this year. December 5 is the birthday of NC founder, the late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

Dec 28, 2019

Cabinet Defers Decision on Capital, Panel to Take a Call

  • The Andhra Pradesh government tread cautiously on the proposed 'three capitals' by resolving in the Cabinet meeting to constitute a high-power committee to examine both the recommendations of a team of experts led by retired IAS officer G.N. Rao and the findings of Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which is expected to submit its report in the first week of January 2020, and pick the best of them. The members of the high-power committee have not been announced yet.
  • The government did not make the much-anticipated declaration of Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool as Legislative, Executive and Judicial capital cities.
  • The move was vehemently opposed by farmers who had parted with about 33,000 acres under the pooling scheme, and the Opposition parties, mainly the Telugu Desam Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which insisted that decentralisation of development (not administration) was the need of the hour.

Chandrababu Naidu and TDP Leaders Involved in Insider Trading

  • The Cabinet sub-committee, which probed the alleged irregularities and insider trading in the capital Amaravati, submitted its report to the State government, which will take legal opinion before referring it to the law enforcing agencies.
  • According to the report, persons privy to the likely location of capital allegedly purchased lands in the capital city/capital region area just prior to the formal official declaration.
  • The committee pointed out that irregularities took place with regard to the boundary of the capital area to benefit certain connected people, holding lands on the fringes.

Kerala to Give Nambi Narayanan Rs. 1.3crore

  • The state government of Kerala has in principle decided to give Rs. 1.3 crore as compensation to former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, who was falsely implicated in the 1994 espionage case. The amount is for settling the case filed by Naryananan against the government in a sub-court, seeking enhanced damages for his illegal arrest.

SC Judge to Head Oversight Panel

  • The government's proposed All India Judicial Services (AIJS), aimed at inducting the best talent from National Law School as judges for the subordinate judiciary, will include an oversight committee, headed by a sitting Supreme Court judge, for the overall supervision of recruitment and posting of selected candidates.
  • The thinking within the ministry is that this should address concerns raised by states and high courts (HC) that have opposed AIJS on the ground that it dilutes their constitutional authority to hire for state judiciary.
  • The law ministry, in June, wrote to all states seeking their view on AIJS, setting the ball rolling for a central exam for the lower judiciary. The government proposes to create the Indian Administrative Service (IAS)-like judicial service and wants to engage the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) as the agency to conduct the exam.
  • However, the oversight committee, which is likely to also comprise central government representatives, will finalise the syllabus, set the paper and fix the weightage of the test and interview.

Dec 27, 2019

Foundation Laid For Country's First Transit-Oriented Development Project

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 26 laid the foundation stone for the country's first transit-oriented development (TOD) project under which a state-of-the-art infrastructure zone, including the national capital's tallest tower, will be built in east Delhi. The project -- 'East Delhi Hub' at Karkardooma -- spread over 30 hectares, will come up in the next three-and-a-half years.
  • The hub will be developed around the existing two Delhi Metro stations at Karkardooma-- on the Blue and Pink Lines, and will include a massive open landscaped green area, besides a 48-storey signature tower that will come up in the first phase of the project.
  • The vision of development that Modiji has for Delhi is being implemented by the Ministry of Housing an Urban Affairs, and this project will be the country's first TOD project. Delhi will prosper after this.

VP Venkaiah Naidu To Inaugurate Lpg Bottling Plant In Odisha on Dec 27

  • A new LPG bottling plant set up for Rs 103 crore by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in Odisha's Balangir district will be inaugurated by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on December 27.
  • The plant with a capacity to produce 42 lakh cylinders per year is scheduled to be dedicated to the nation by the vice president at Barkani in Balangir district, Sanjay Sharma, BPCLs State Head, LPG - Odisha and Jharkhand. 
  • BPCL already has an LPG bottling plant at Khurda and the new plant at Balangir will be the second for the company in Odisha.

Nation Pays Homage To Shaheed Udham Singh On His 120th Birth Anniversary

  • Nation pays homage to the great revolutionary, Shaheed Udham Singh on his 120th birth anniversary.
  • He was born on this day in 1899 in Sangrur district of Punjab.
  • Udham Singh was present in the Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar on the fateful Baisakhi Day of 13 April 1919. He avenged the massacre by killing General O'Dwyer in March 1940, and was hanged by the British in London.
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