News analysis and explanation of the main news reports appearing in newspapers of 11 February 2017 (this is Part 2):
TN Governor likely to await SC ruling in Sasikala case
- There are rival claims of factions of the AIADMK, led by interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala and Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam of majority support in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
- However, Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao appears to be waiting till the Supreme Court delivers its verdict on the appeals in the disproportionate assets cases against Ms. Sasikala.
- Sasikala is not a member of the Assembly, which may be considered as a “restrictive” factor in swearing her in as CM.
- Technically, there is no bar on a non-legislator to be sworn in as Minister.
- Article 164(4) of Constitution:
(4) A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister.
- R. Kapur v. State of T.N., (2001) 7 SCC 231: A non-legislator can be made a Chief Minister or Minister under Article 164 only if he has the qualifications for membership of the Legislature prescribed by Article 173 and is not disqualified from the membership thereof by reason of the disqualifications set out in Article 191.
- It was also held that Article 164 (4) is not a source of power or an enabling provision for appointment of a non-legislator as a Minister even for a short duration. It, in fact, laid down a disqualification if not elected within 6 months.
- In the backdrop of the SC indicating that it would deliver the judgement in the assets case against Ms. Sasikala soon, the Governor was wondering whether she would be able to contest an election as legislator within six months (should she be convicted). So, she may be disqualified soon due to her possible conviction.
- The Governor is bound by the Constitution to satisfy himself that a person staking claim would form a stable government. But the impending SC verdict has led to an uncertainty on whether Ms Sasikala would eventually qualify to become an MLA.
- Governor may wait for a few days so that a clear picture emerges enabling him to discharge his duties in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
- Further, Ms. Sasikala had submitted a resolution, originally proposed and signed by Mr. Panneerselvam, electing her as the AIADMK Legislature Party leader, after he submitted resignation as CM. But now, he has said that he was forced to sign the resignation letter and has requested the Governor to rescind action taken thereon.
Defence Procurement Organisation for defence acquisition
- Govt plans to set up a Defence Procurement Organisation (DPO) to integrate and streamline the long and arduous process of defence acquisitions.
- This new procurement body is aimed to simplify purchase procedure.
- The DPO will be a vertical under the Defence Ministry and the objective is to integrate the processes.
- A committee headed by ex-Director of IIM Lucknow, Dr. Pritam Singh, has submitted report to Defence Minister on modalities of setting up DPO.
- The Defence Procurement Process, which applies to all defence capital procurements, has been modified several times to bring in transparency and speed up acquisitions but it continues to be lengthy and complicated.
- Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), has delegated more financial powers to shorten the procurement cycle. Now, the financial powers to clear defence deals are as under:
|Defence Secretary||Up to ₹ 500 crore|
|Defence Minister||Up to ₹ 2,000 crore|
|Finance Minister & Defence Minister (jointly)||Up to ₹ 3,000 crore|
|Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)||Beyond ₹ 3,000 crore|
Visa ban: appeals court rules against Trump
- A U.S. federal appeals court has upheld the order of a federal court for a nationwide stay on the travel ban imposed by the Trump administration on people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
- It also asserted the judicial power to review decisions made by the executive on national security matters.
- The 3-judge panel did not rule on the merits of the executive order that imposed the travel ban. This order is only in respect of the stay.
- The onus is on the US Govt to show that its executive order is likely to stand on constitutional merits, in order to be allowed its enforcement immediately.
- The executive order had indefinitely barred admission of refugees from Syria, and banned travel from the seven countries for 90 days. It also suspended the U.S refugee admissions programme for 120 days.
- The appeals court has upheld the lower court stay on the order in its entirety, nationwide.
- President Donald Trump has indicated that the Govt may appeal to US Supreme Court against this decision.
- The US Government has the following options now:
- Appeal to the full panel of judges in the 9th Circuit Court that heard the case or
- Appeal to the US Supreme Court.
- US President also has the option of issuing a fresh executive order, accounting for the concerns raised by the judiciary.
- However, a detailed response from the US administration is awaited.
Trump recognizes One-China Policy
- US President Donald Trump has agreed to honour the ‘one-China’ policy”.
- This endorsement by U.S. President Donald Trump came during a telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
- It has cleared air for a substantive dialogue between US and China.
- China had been angered by earlier remarks by Mr. Trump, questioning Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan under the one-China principle.
What is One China Policy?
- The One-China policy refers to the policy or view that there is only one state called “China”, despite the existence of two governments that claim to be “China”.
- These two Governments that claim to be China are: (1) People’s Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China); (2) Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan)
- As a policy, One-China policy means that countries seeking diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China) must break official relations with the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) and vice versa.
SC extends ban on firecracker sale
- Supreme Court on 10 Feb 2017 extended its November 2016 ban on the sale and stockpiling of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR.
- Court rejected pleas made by traders to modify the order or to allow them to sell their existing stock outside Delhi-NCR.
- In November 2016, SC had indicated that religious and wedding celebrations took second place to the basic fundamental right to breathe clean air.
- The ban was imposed on a petition filed by three Delhi children after Diwali, namely: Arjun Gopal, Aarav Bhandari and Zoya Rao Bhasin.
- SC had said the situation was indeed “grave” for drastic action to check the rising pollution graph in Delhi choked by smog.
SAAB offers Maritime Gripen to Indian Navy
- Swedish aircraft manufacturer SAAB plans to offer the maritime variant of its Gripen single engine fighter jet in response to the Navy’s tender for 57 carrier based aircraft.
- Last month, Govt of India had issued a Request for Information (RFI) “to procure approximately 57 Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighters (MRCBF) for the aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy.”
Govt says ‘no’ to private news broadcast via FM
- Giving news broadcast rights to private FM radio operators and community radio stations run by NGOs will be an open invitation for anti-national and radical elements located “within the country” to propagate their vested interests and agenda to the masses, the Govt told the Supreme Court.
- An affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court favoured news on radio to continue to be the “exclusive preserve” of the national broadcaster Prasar Bharati’s All India Radio (AIR).
- Govt says that handing over the rights to private FM operators and community radio stations run by NGOs and “other small organisations” will pose a national security risk since there is no mechanism to monitor content put out by them.
- But, what about Article 19 of the Constitution?
- What about free channels / websites / blogs available already on Internet?
- What about Social media?
Government appoints Directors for 10 IIMs
- Of the 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in the country, 13 have been headless for several months.
- Now, the Centre has appointed directors in 10 IIMs.
- All appointments are on contractual basis for a period of five years or till the incumbents attain 65 years, whichever is earlier.
- G. Raghuram of IIM Ahmedabad has been appointed director of IIM Bangalore.
- Shailendra Singh and Dheeraj Sharma will head the IIMs in Ranchi and Rohtak, respectively.
- Bharat Bhasker has been named director of IIMRaipur. Mahadeo Prasad Jaiswal will be the head in Sambalpur, L.S. Murty in Nagpur, Prof. Ganesan Kannabiran in Bodhgaya, Prof. Neelu Rohmetra in Sirmaur (Himachal Pradesh), Chandrasekhar Mylavarapu in Vishakapatnam and Bhimaraya Metri in Tiruchirappalli.
Demonetisation hits factory output in Dec., 2016
- Industrial production contracted 0.4% year-on-year in December 2016 due to a decline in capital and consumer items output as well as impact of demonetisation.
- The manufacturing output shrank 2% while mining and electricity registered positive growth of 5.2% and 6.3% in December 2016.
- The data comes despite a low base in December 2015
Solar tariffs hit record low of ₨ 2.97 per unit in auction
- Solar tariffs hit a record low of Rs. 2.97 per unit on 10 Feb 2017 following the completion of bids for three 250 MW units of Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa Solar Power plant.
- Mahindra Renewables won Unit 1 at a price of ₨ 2.979 per unit, ACME won Unit 2 at ₨ 2.970 per unit and Solenberg Power won Unit 3 at ₨ 2.974 per unit.
- This is a record low for solar tariff.
- In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a goal to increase solar power capacity to 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2022—five times higher than the previous target.
- The utility electricity sector in India had an installed capacity of 314.64 GW as on 31 January 2017. Renewable power plants constituted 29.9% of total installed capacity. However, about half of the renewable power is through hydel power at present.
Watch the YouTube video with full explanation:
This is Part 2 video that discusses and explains the current affairs topics appearing the newspapers and media (such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Economic Times, Press Information Bureau, etc.) of 11 February 2017.
This video is useful for the aspirants of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (for IAS, IPS, IFS, and Group-A Central Services). This lecture is also useful for aspirants of other competitive examinations, such as SSC, Bank PO, LIC, RBI Assistant, RBI Grade B, State Public Service Commission examinations like RPSC, UPPSC, MPSC, MPPSC, HCS, RAS, CLAT, Hotel Management entrance, BBA and several other examinations.
This video has been prepared by Dr. Ashok Dhamija, a former IPS.
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