IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


23rd November, 2019


GDP slump will hit $5 tn target, warns NITI Aayog

The road to a $5 trillion economy by 2025 is beset with many speed-breakers, the NITI Aayog has warned the government.

NITIAayog comment:

-       The Aayog said nominal GDP growth must be around 12.4% .

-       The current rate was a mere 8% in the first quarter of the current financial year.

-       State Bank of India recently estimated that GDP growth rate could dip to 4.2% in Q2.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/gdp-slump-will-hit-5-tn-target-warns-niti-aayog/article30057177.ece

Centre has no plans to privatise Railways: Goyal

The government does not plan to privatise the Railways, but will outsource the commercial and on-board services of a few trains to improve service delivery.

Outsourcing of services:

-       Station cleaning

-       Pay and use toilets

-       Retiring rooms

-       Parking and platforms maintenance

-       Permit to private players to induct modern rakes to run trains on select routes.

Government is developing a road map for the development of 50 stations and handing over the operation of 150 trains to private operators. It is done as per the suggestion of NITIAayog.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/centre-has-no-plans-to-privatise-railways-goyal/article30057096.ece


Aadhaar data: SC seeks govt. reply to petition

Petition says 2019 amendments to Aadhaar Act are violative of the earlier apex court judgments.

Petitioner’s arguments:

-       Recent amendments to the Aadhaar law will allow private players to have access to citizens’ personal data.

-       It violates the legality of Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the Aadhaar (Pricing of Aadhaar Authentication Services) Regulations, 2019.

-       Law and regulations are against the fundamental rights, guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution.

-       Impugned Regulations permit the commercial exploitation of personal and sensitive information, collected and stored for state purposes only.

-       These provisions had enabled the commercial exploitation of information but were declared unconstitutional in the Justice Puttuswamy case.

Amendment to Aadhar:

-       The amendments provide for use of Aadhaar number for KYC authentication on voluntary basis under the Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.It was done for the convenience of general public in opening of bank accounts.

-       It allows voluntary use of Aadhaar number for authentication and identity proof in opening of bank accounts and procuring of mobile phone connections.

-       It provided for  stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy.

-       This move is aimed at making Aadhaar people friendly.

-       It permits entities to perform authentication only when they are compliant with the standards of privacy and security specified by the UIDAI.

-       The authentication should be  permitted under any law made by Parliament or prescribed to be in the interest of state by the central government.

-       The changes proposed include a civil penalty of up to ₹1 crore on entities that violate the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, with an additional fine of up to ₹10 lakh per day in case of continuous non compliance.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/aadhaar-data-sc-seeks-govt-reply-to-petition/article30057189.ece


SPG Bill to exclude former PMs and kin

The Centre will introduce the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Parliament. The amendments if get approved by the Union Cabinet, will exclude family members of former Prime Ministers from SPG protection.

About SPG:

-       The SPG, an elite protection force, was set up in 1985 after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

-       Under the SPG Act, the force provides security to the Prime Minister and the members of his immediate family.

-       SPG protection force are provided with guards, hi-tech vehicles, jammers and an ambulance in their cavalcade.

-       After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the PV Narasimha Rao government amended the SPG Act to provide the special security to former prime ministers and immediate family for 10 years.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/spg-bill-to-exclude-former-pms-and-kin/article30057109.ece


Centre, Punjab at odds over stubble burning

With paddy harvesting at its fag end in the key grain producing State of Punjab, both the Central and State governments released data on stubble burning.

Issues with data:

Centre showed decline by 19% in this year. While, state government data shows an increase of 2.3% in the number of incidents.

-       Centre’s data come from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), which monitors stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh using satellite data.

-       It counts incidents from beginning of October.

-       Punjab data comes from Punjab Pollution Control Board (PCB).

-       PCB routinely counts stubble burning incidents from September 24, given that paddy harvesting begins in early to mid-September.

Centre’s arguments:

-       Haryana has recorded a 25.1% reduction in incidents, while Uttar Pradesh had seen a 36.8% drop.

-       This improvementis credited to the Rs. 1,151.8 crores Centrally funded scheme, under which stubble management machines were distributed to farmers. State government has also started schemes to compensate farmers.

State government views:

-       Some farmers continued to defy the ban on burning crop residue.

-       Reduction of burnt area is a positive development and gradually the problem will subside as awareness increases. Last year it had declined by 10%.

-       The burning of crop residue is regulated under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/centre-punjab-at-odds-over-stubble-burning/article30057167.ece


RCEP still on Japan’s agenda

External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar is in Nagoya for the G-20 Foreign Ministers. Japan will try to engage India on joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Area of cooperation between India-Japan:

-       Indo-Japanese maritime and military initiatives

-       The Indo-pacific policy

-       Joint projects in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and other countries

-       Conduct inaugural ‘2+2’ ministerial-level India-Japan dialogue, which will include the Foreign and Defence Ministers.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/rcep-still-on-japans-agenda/article30057124.ece