IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 14 May 2019

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Collegium recommends Chief Justices to four HCs

Topic: GS –II: Constitution and Polity

The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended names of four High Court judges for appointment as chief justices of the High Courts of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana.

More in news:

  • As per the May 10 resolutions on the Supreme Court website, a three-member Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, recommended the name of Justice D.N. Patel as the chief justice of the Delhi High Court.
Collegium System for appointment of judges:

·         The collegium recommends judges for the High Courts and the Supreme Court.

·         The Collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprises of the four other senior-most judges of the Supreme Court. The decisions of the collegium are made through voting and the majority view prevails in case of difference of opinion.

Constitutional Provisions:

·         Article 124(2) provides that the Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President after consultation with such number of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the States as the President may deem necessary for the purpose.

·         Article 217 of the Indian Constitution states that the Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the State, and, in the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court.

How Collegium came into existence?

·         The system of appointment and transfer of judges by collegium has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court, and not by an act of the Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution, which are famously referred as Three-Judge Case.

·         In the First Judges Case of 1980, the Supreme Court had declared that there was no need to provide primacy for the opinion of the Chief Justice of India while recommending a candidate to the President.

·         This judgment was over-ruled in 1993 when the nine-judge bench ruled in favour of granting primacy to the Chief Justice of India in appointing the key members of the top judicial brass. This is referred to as second judge case.

·         Things were clarified in the third judge case which was the Presidential reference to the Supreme Court on what the term “consultation”, implies which the President was required to do with judges before selecting a judge, referred to in the Constitution. In reply, SC laid down guidelines for the functioning of the collegium system.

·         As a result in the process of appointment of Judges to the High Courts and Supreme Courts, the role of the President is reduced to the ceremonial participant.

The attempt by the central government to constitute the National Judicial Appointments Commission through constitutional amendment act as per the recommendations of the Justice MN Venkatachaliah Commission was also quashed by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

 CTBTO invites India to be an observer at meetings

Topic: GS –II: International relations

The executive secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Lassina Zerbo, has invited India to be an observer in the CTBT.

More in news:

  • Being an observer would give India access to data from the IMS — a network which when complete will consist of 337 facilities (321 monitoring stations and 16 radionuclide labs) located in 89 countries. This system can detect even small nuclear explosions using seismology, hydroacoustics, infrasound and radionuclide technology.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO):

·         The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is an international organization that will be established upon the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, a Convention that outlaws nuclear test explosions.

·         The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty opened for signature in 1996 by which states agree to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes.

·         It was signed by 183 states and ratified by 164 but has not entered into force as eight specific states among 44 (so-called Annex-2 states whose signatures are required for the Treaty to enter into force, namely the US, China, Iran, Egypt, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea) have not ratified the Treaty yet. Being among those 44 countries, Turkey signed the CTBT in 1996 and ratified it in 2000.

·         The CTBTO will be tasked with verifying the ban on nuclear tests and will operate therefore a worldwide monitoring system and may conduct on-site inspections.

·         The Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO, and its Provisional Technical Secretariat, were established in 1997 and are headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

China hits back, imposes tariff hike on U.S. goods worth $60 bn

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

China said on Monday it would raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods from June 1, in retaliation for the latest round of U.S. tariff hikes and Washington’s plans to target almost all Chinese imports.

More in news:

  • The announcement came after the latest round of U.S.-China trade negotiations ended on Friday without a deal, and after Washington increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
  • S. President Donald Trump had also ordered the start of a process to impose new duties on another $300 billion worth of Chinese items.

.Origin of the US-China dispute

  • The US and China have been slugging it out since Trump slapped heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items from China in March last year, and China responded by imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of American imports.
  • The dispute escalated after Washington demanded that China reduce its $375 billion trade deficit with the US, and introduce “verifiable measures” for protection of Intellectual Property Rights, technology transfer, and more access to American goods in Chinese markets.

Impact of latest move

  • The biggest Chinese import sector impacted by the fresh round of tariff hikes is the $20 billion-plus category of Internet modems, routers, and other data transmission devices segment, alongside printed circuit boards used in a number of US-made products. Furniture, lighting products, auto parts, vacuum cleaners, and building materials also face higher levies.
  • Analysts say the tariffs could hamper the rebound in the US economy, with consumption likely to be hit, as these tariffs would be paid by American consumers and businesses.
  • Also, this exacerbates the uncertainty in the global trading environment, affects global sentiment negatively, and adds to risk aversion globally.
  • The higher tariffs could lead to the repricing of risk assets globally, tighter financing conditions, and slower growth.
  • The trade tensions could result in an increasingly fragmented global trading framework, weakening the rules-based system that has underpinned global growth, particularly in Asia, over the past several decades.

While there is still hope that the two countries will ultimately sort out their issues, the risk of a complete breakdown in trade talks has increased after Saturday.

How India is impacted by US-China trade war

  • There could be a short-term impact on the stock markets. The benchmark Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange has been falling in line with global markets that have been spooked by the escalating trade war between the US and China.
  • In the longer run, while a slowdown in the US economy does not augur well for emerging markets, the trade war could have a silver lining for some countries.
  • India is among a handful of economies that stand to benefit from the trade tensions between the world’s top two economies, the United Nations has said in a report.
  • EU members are expected to benefit the most, as exports in the bloc are likely to grow by $70 billion; and Japan and Canada will see exports increase by more than $20 billion each, it said.
  • Other countries set to benefit from the trade tensions include Vietnam, with 5% export gains, Australia (4.6%), Brazil (3.8%), India (3.5%), and Philippines (3.2%), the UNCTAD study said.

Could it go to WTO?

  • While it is not clear yet whether the matter would go to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), data show that the US generally wins trade disputes, particularly against China, before the global trade arbitrator.
  • According to the Peterson Institute for International Economies, in the last 16 years, the US has challenged Chinese practices 23 times in the WTO, with a win-loss record of 19-0 — with four cases pending.
  • In the most recent decision, the WTO panel found that China’s agricultural subsidies were inconsistent with WTO rules, and upheld US claims.
  • For China, the higher tariffs will have a significant negative effect on exports, against the backdrop of a slowing economy. Further policy easing will mitigate only some of the impact, and increased uncertainty and weaker business sentiment will hinder private investment decisions.
  • According to Michael Taylor, Managing Director, Credit Strategy, Moody’s Investors Service, the Chinese advanced technology sector will also likely be adversely affected, as the US intensifies restrictions on that sector. And for the rest of Asia’s export-dependent economies, a slowdown in China will dampen growth rates.

ISRO hosts first batch of teen scientists

Topic: GS -III: Science and Technology

As many as 110 teenagers, aspiring space scientists from all States and Union Territories, on Monday began a two-week residential training programme to learn about the national space programme first hand.

More in news:

  • They are the first batch of young scientists or ‘Yuvika’ (Yuva Vigyani Karyakram) that the Indian Space Research Organisation plans to hold every year.
  • The chosen Class 9 students will spend the time visiting four centres of ISRO.
  • Inaugurating the programme remotely from Bengaluru, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said it would give them a glimpse of ISRO activities. He said science and technology is essential for the development of any country and in improving the people’s everyday life.

Scientific temper

  • Yuvika focusses on one such important area and would inculcate a scientific temper in the students apart from contributing to national integration and nation building.
  • The training announced in March as part of ISRO’s outreach activity includes invited talks by eminent scientists, visits to facilities and laboratories, training, discussions with experts and a feedback session.

Host centres

  • The host centres are Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram; U.R.Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru; the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad; and the North Eastern Space Applications Centre, Shillong.
Young Scientist Programme (Yuvika)

·         It is launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

·         The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities.

·         ISRO has chalked out this programme to “Catch them young”. The residential training programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays and it is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ Union Territory to participate in this programme covering state, CBSE, and ICSE syllabus.

·         Those who have just finished 9th standard and waiting to join 10th standard will be eligible for the programme.

·         The selection will be based on the 8th Std marks.

·         The selection is based on the academic performance and extracurricular activities. Students belonging to the rural area have been given special weightage in the selection criteria.

DNA database coming up for Indian rhino

 Topic: GS -III: Bio-diversity

 The Environment Ministry has embarked on a project to create DNA profiles of all rhinos in the country.

More in news:

  • By 2021, the Indian rhino could be the first wild animal species in India to have all its members DNA-sequenced.
  • The project’s proponents, including the World Wildlife Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) and the Centre-funded Wildlife Institute of India (WII), said the exercise would be useful in curbing poaching and gathering evidence in wildlife crimes involving rhinos.
  • There are about 2,600 rhinos in India, with over 90% of the population concentrated in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park.
  • Around 60 samples of tissue have been collected so far from some rhinos living outside Kaziranga.
More about rhino:

 ·         Javan and Sumatran rhinos are currently classified as critically endangered.

·         The Sumatran rhino, the smallest of all rhino species and the only Asian rhino with two horns, became extinct in the wild in Malaysia.

The Great One-Horned Rhinoceros(or Indian Rhino)

·         The great one-horned rhino is the largest of the rhino species found commonly in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and India.

·         In India, it is found in Assam – Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Pobitora Reserve Forest, Orang National Park, Laokhowa Reserve Forest etc.

·         It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and is protected under the Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. It is threatened by poaching, habitat destruction, flooding etc.

·         Indian Rhino Vision 2020 – It has been implemented by Assam State Government with the Bodo autonomous council as an active partner and supported by WWF- India. The aim is to increase the number of Rhinos and provide long term viability of the one-horned rhino population.

·         The government of Assam has raised the Special Rhino Protection Force from people living in the fringe areas of the Kaziranga National Park.

Editorial Section :

Redactive pricing audit and the CAG’s duties – The Hindu

Private, public and political morality – The Hindu

Living in the panopticon – The Hindu



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