IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


10th August, 2019


President Kovind gives assent to UAPA Bill

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to legislation under which individuals can be declared terrorists and their properties will be seized.
  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 also provides for putting a travel ban on such individuals once they are declared terrorists.
  • Lashkar-e-Taliban founder Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar are likely to be the first two to be designated as terrorists under the legislation.

UAPA 2019:

  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 amended the Unlawful Activities ( Prevention) act,1967 to provide more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations, and for dealing with terrorist activities.
  • It allows National Investigation Agency (NIA) to designate an individual suspected as terrorist. Earlier, only groups can be designated as a “terrorist organizations”.
  • It empowers the Director General of NIA to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property during investigation.
  • It empowers an officer of the rank of inspector of National Investigation Agency to investigate the offence.
  • It empowers the Central Government to add to or remove from the proposed Fourth Schedule, the name of individual terrorist.



China opposes unilateral action in Jammu and Kashmir

  • China backed the resolution of the Kashmir issue on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions as well bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan — a veiled reference to the Shimla accord of 1972.
  • China believes that unilateral actions that will complicate the situation should not be taken. The Kashmir issue is a dispute left from colonial history. It should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry in a written response criticized India for its “unilateral” action to change the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir. “China noted the relevant statement by Pakistan. The pressing priority is that the relevant party should stop unilaterally changing the status quo and avoid escalation of tension.”
  • It called on “the two sides to bear in mind their national development and peace in South Asia, properly resolve historical grievances, get rid of the zero-sum mindset, avoid unilateral action and seek a path to peaceful coexistence.”



India to request Bangladesh for land for Agartala airport expansion

  • India is likely to request Bangladesh to negotiate a land deal to facilitate an expansion of a runway at the World War II-famed airport at Agartala.
  • Bangladesh government would be approached for the 52-acre land necessary for the runway expansion at the Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport (MBB), named after a dynamic ruler of erstwhile princely state.
  • The two-and-a-half kilometer runway of the airport is situated at the edge of the border with Bangladesh. The extension of the runway with a proper approach passage and lighting facilities is necessary as work is underway to convert the MBB Airport into an international airport.
  • Sources said India might try to work out a land deal through a ‘give and take’ formula.



Parties should have a code of conduct for MPs’, says VenkaiahNaidu

  • Political parties should have a code of conduct for their MPs in Parliament to monitor their behavior and  should include such a code in their election manifestos.
  • Code of conduct should include stipulations that the members would not enter the well of the House, nor resort to sloganeering and disruptions or any other unruly behavior such as tearing papers and throwing them in the House.
  • Key components of the federalism should also be followed to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament.
  • Political parties are only rivals and not enemies, ruling and the opposition parties should interact more frequently to ensure smooth conduct of both Parliament and legislatures.

Code of conduct

  • A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the social norms, religious rules and responsibilities of, and or proper practices for, an individual.
  • It includes principles, values, standards, or rules of behavior that guide the decisions, procedures and systems of an organization in a way that
  • contributes to the welfare of its key stakeholders,
  • respects the rights of all constituents affected by its operations.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parties-should-have-a-code-of-conduct-for-mps-says-venkaiahnaidu/article28969462.ece


President Kovind gives assent to Jammu and Kashmir bifurcation, two UTs to come into existence on October 31

President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to a legislation for bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmirand two Union Territories (UT) - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh - will come into existence on October 31.

Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019

  • The Parliament had earlier this week given its nod to the legislation for bifurcating the State, a bold and far-reaching decision that seeks to redraw the map and future of a region at the centre of a protracted militancy movement.
  • In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (a) of section 2 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 (34 of 2019), the Central Government hereby appoints the 31st day of October, 2019, as the appointed day for the purposes.
  • According to the legislation, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Puducherry and Ladakh will be a UT like Chandigarh, without legislature.
  • In both the Union Territories, key subjects such as law and order will be with the Centre.
  • The UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have a Lieutenant Governor and the maximum strength of its Assembly will be 107, which will be enhanced to 114 after a delimitation exercise. Twenty-four seats of the Assembly will continue to remain vacant as they fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • The current effective strength of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly is 87, including four seats falling in Ladakh region, which will now be a separate UT without a legislature.
  • The UT of Ladakh will have Kargil and Leh districts.
  • The Act said Jammu and Kashmir UT will have reservation in the Assembly seats.
  • The Lieutenant Governor of the successor UT of J&K may nominate two members to the Legislative Assembly to give representation to women, if in his opinion, women are “not adequately” represented in the Legislative Assembly.
  • The Lok Sabha will have five seats from the UT of J&K, while from Ladakh the Lower House of Parliament will have one seat.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/president-kovind-gives-assent-to-jammu-and-kashmir-reorganisation-legislation/article28966608.ece



Newly-discovered lake in Nepal likely to become world’s highest

A newly-discovered lake in Nepal is likely to set a new record of being the world’s highest lake replacing Tilicho, which is situated at an altitude of 4,919 meters in the Himalayan nation and currently holding the title.

Kajin Sara lake

  • It is located in Manang district of Nepal, was discovered about a few months ago by a team of mountaineers.
  • It is located at an altitude of 5,200 metres, which is yet to be officially verified.
  • It is estimated to be 1,500-metre-long and 600-metre-wide.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/newly-discovered-lake-in-nepal-likely-to-become-worlds-highest/article28973715.ece


U.N. chief invokes Shimla Agreement, calls for ‘maximum restraint’ on Kashmir

U.N. chief urged India and Pakistan to exercise “maximum restraint” and refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmiras the Shimla Agreement rejects any third-party mediation on the issue.

  • Pakistan termed the Indian action as “unilateral and illegal”, and said it will take the matter to the U.N. Security Council.
  • The 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, also known as the Shimla Agreement, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means” in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • The position of the United Nations on the region was governed by the Charter of the United Nations and is applicable to Security Council resolutions.

Shimla Agreement/Simla peace Treaty

  • It was signed between India and Pakistan on 2 July 1972 in Shimla, the capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
  • It emphasizes on respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; respect for each others unity, political independence; sovereign equality; and abjuring hostile propaganda.
  • A mutual commitment to the peaceful resolution of all issues through direct bilateral approaches.
  • To build the foundations of a cooperative relationship with special focus on people to people contacts.
  • To uphold the inviolability of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a most important CBM between India and Pakistan, and a key to durable peace.





No policy change on Kashmir, says U.S.

The United States said that there is no change in its policy on Kashmir and called on India and Pakistan to maintain calm and restraint.

  • The U.S. policy has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and it is up to the two countries to decide on the pace and scope of the talks on the issue.
  • The United States, asks for people to observe the rule of law, respect for human rights, respect for international norms.
  • The US was not consulted and informed by India about its decision on scrapping articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution.
  • It insisted that Pakistan to create conducive conditions for talks by taking irreversible and decisive actions against terrorist and militant groups operating from its soil.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/no-policy-change-on-kashmir-says-us/article28921458.ece



FPI tax issues put divestment at risk

  • The government could risk missing its record ₹1.05 lakh crore divestment target that has been set for the current financial year as foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) could stay away from such share sales if the ongoing tax concerns are not resolved soon.
  • The liquidity concerns of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) — especially those focused on consumer spending need to be resolved before the festive season begins, in order to spur overall consumption growth in the country.
  • In the Union Budget 2019-20, the Finance Minister introduced a surcharge for individuals earning more than ₹2 crore. However, FPIs became the collateral damage of the proposal as bulk of such investors structure themselves as trusts or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) that are not recognised as a corporate entity by the Income Tax Act and hence are taxed as per the individual tax slabs based on their earnings.
  • FPIs, often looked upon as prime drivers of any bull run in the Indian stock market, ended July as net sellers at ₹12,419 crore. This was the first time since January 2019 when foreign investors ended a month as net sellers.

Foreign portfolio investment (FPI)

  • It consists of securities and other financial assets held by investors in another country. It does not provide the investor with direct ownership of a company's assets and is relatively liquid depending on the volatility of the market.
  • FPI holdings can include stocks, ADRs, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds.
  • The 2019-20 Budget tabled in Parliament, has proposed to increase surcharge from 15 per cent to 25 per cent on taxable income between Rs 2-5 crore, and from 15 per cent to 37 per cent for income above Rs 5 crore. However, the increase in surcharge will also apply to a large number of foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), which has led to panic in the investors, leading to fall in the stock markets.



Finance Ministry mulls tweaks to FPI surcharge up to Budget

Under the proposal, FPIs that are so far structured as trusts will not have to pay the increased surcharge. But if they don’t change their structure, they will have to pay the surcharge from the set date.

  • In a bid to ease the concerns of foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) over the increased surcharge announced in the Budget, the Finance Ministry is considering “grandfathering” the income earned by them up to the Budget (July).
  • Budget 2019-2020 had announced an increase in the surcharge levied on individuals earning more than ₹2 crore a year. This increased surcharge would be applicable on FPIs that are structured as trusts, since those are treated similarly to individuals for income tax purposes.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/finance-ministry-mulls-tweaks-to-fpi-surcharge-up-to-budget/article28918964.ece



Industrial production growth slips to 2% in June

Industrial production growth dropped to 2% in June, mainly on account of poor show by mining and manufacturing sectors, according to official data released on August 9.

  • Factory output, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), had expanded by 7% in June 2018.
  • There was a slowdown in the manufacturing sector, which grew at 1.2% in June as compared to 6.9% a year ago. The expansion in power generation sector stood at 8.2%, compared to 8.5% earlier.
  • Mining growth dropped to 1.6% in June from 6.5% in the corresponding month of the last fiscal.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index for India which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity and manufacturing.
  • The all India IIP is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by the central statistical organisation (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation six weeks after the reference month ends.
  • The Eight Core Industries comprise nearly 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). These are Electricity , steel, refinery products, crude oil, coal, cement, natural gas and fertilisers.
  • IIP’s current base year is 2011-12 since May 2017.




Science and Technology

IIT-M student designs system to recycle urine

Environmental engineering students at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras has come up with a method to recycle human urine.

Project Water Chakra

  • It won the Indian Innovation Growth Programme 2.0 award in July.
  • It is retrofitted with urinals on the campus to collect urine, that is then processed into several useful materials for use in manufacturing.
  • The concentrated urine is stored for three days to allow the urea to get converted to ammonia. By a process of steam distillation, the ammonia is segregated and this commercial grade liquid can be used to make cleaning products, such as detergents or in rubber manufacturing.
  • Through the electrochemical process 90% of water can be recovered and can be used for gardening purposes and flushing.

India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP) 2.0

  • It is a unique tripartite initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, Lockheed Martin and Tata Trusts.
  • Its supporting Government of India’s missions of “Start-up India” and “Make in India”.
  • It enhances the Indian innovation ecosystem by enabling innovators and entrepreneurs through the stages of ideation, innovation and acceleration, to develop technology-based solutions for tomorrow.



Indian soil may have reached Moon on crashed Israeli lander

An Israeli lunar lander called Beresheet (Hebrew for ‘the beginning’) began its journey to the Moon aboard a SpaceX rocket in its quest to be the first privately-funded spacecraft to land on the Moon.

  • Beresheet had crash-landed and broken except, payload called the Lunar Library.
  • The Lunar Library is a 30 million page archive of human history and civilization, covering all subjects, cultures, nations, languages, genres, and time periods. In the event of human extinction, it’s meant to be a ‘backup ‘ of earth-life.
  • Lunar Library contained a small sample from the Bodhi tree in India, along with material on learning Hindi, Urdu and information on music.
  • The management of Mahabodhi stupa (Bihar) privately gave a leaf from the Bodhi tree and some soil from under the Bodhi seat.
  • Relics from saints and yogis, as well as earth from sacred caves and tiny bits of relics from India, China, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal and Tibet were included.
  • Lunar library also contained thousands of tardigrades — small, multicellular animals, first found by scientists in Antarctica, and known to be extremely resilient in hostile environments. They can survive without food and water for decades. Assuming that the Lunar library has survived they could be the first living organisms splashed across the surface of the moon.
  • The first microbes on the Moon are those left behind in the human faeces from the astronauts aboard the Apollo missions of 1968-1972.

The Outer Space Treaty

  • It is a United Nations-backed global treaty that bars countries from pursuing actions that could “harmfully contaminate” outer space including the Moon.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/indian-soil-may-have-reached-moon-on-crashed-israeli-lander/article28917326.ece     


Every child to get Rotavirus vaccine by September

The Health Ministry has drawn an ambitious plan under the 100 days agenda of the newly elected government, where in it has been decided to provide Rotavirus vaccine to every child across all State and Union Territories by September, 2019.

  • In India, every year, 37 out of every 1,000 children born are unable to celebrate their 5th birthday, and one of the major reasons for this is diarrheal deaths. Rotavirus is of the most common causes of severe diarrhea in children less than 2 years of age.
  • Rotavirus diarrhea can be prevented through vaccination. Other diarrhea can be prevented through general measures like good hygiene, frequent hand washing, safe water and safe food consumption, exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin A supplementation.
  • Rotavirus vaccine along with proper sanitation, hand washing practices, Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and zinc supplementation can reduce the mortality and morbidity due to diarrhea in children.


  • The Rotavirus is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae.
  • The virus spreads from person to person due to bacterial and parasiting agents that are primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water.


  • Rotavac became first Indigenously developed vaccine from India to be pre-qualified by World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • Bharat Biotech produces Rotavac. It was developed under public-private partnership (PPP) model that involved Ministry of Science and Technology, institutions of the US Government and NGOs in India supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rotavirus vaccine was introduced in 2016 in a phased manner, beginning with 4 States initially and later expanded to 7 more States. The vaccine is now available in 28 States/Union Territories. It is expected to be available in all 36 States/Union Territories by September 2019.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/every-child-to-get-rotavirus-vaccine-by-september/article28969337.ece