[Current Affairs] 2016-April/P1: Polity, Diplomacy, Simultaneous elections, Cheraman Juma Masjid, Kohinoor

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  1. Polity & Appointment related
    1. New nominated Rajya Sabha members
    2. What if there is tie in municipal election?
    3. Polity Reform: Simultaneous Elections
  2. International Summits/ Appointments
    1. India-US & LEMA Dev
    2. India-Saudi & Cheraman Juma Masjid

Polity & Appointment related

Ashok Lahiri Committee Ex-Chief economic advisor- will look into the demands of jewelers after government’s decision to impose 1% excise duty on non-silver jewelry in budget-2016
CJI T.S.Thakur Cried on public stage after he became emotional about the issue of judicial vacancies.
Jammu & Kashmir PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti become first woman CM of Jammu & Kashmir under PDP-BJP coalition. Earlier worked in Bombay Mercantile Bank and East West Airlines for one year each. Has no experience in holding any political office in government.
Kohinoor
  • 1813: Shah Shuja of Afghanistan gave Kohinoor to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1813.
  • His child-successor Duleep Singh gave it to the British, as a compensation for the Anglo-Sikh War (1848-49)
  • 1849: The East India Company gave it to Queen Victoria in 1849.
  • 2016: An NGO files PIL, Government tells SC that Kohinoor was a “gift” by Punjab rulers to East India company, but all efforts will be made to get it returns in amicable manner.
NEET
  • National eligibility entrance test. SC made it compulsory for admission in MBBS and BDS. Exam on 1st May, 2016 and Admission process must be finished by September 2016.
  • Non-CBSE/Vernacular medium Parents and students angry over CBSE level and out of syllabus questions.
Right to contest panchayat Elections
  • Leader of Oppn. In Rajya Sabha – Gulam Nabi Azad brought private members’ bill for constitutional amendment. He wants right to contest PRI election as a fundamental right, because states like Haryana and Rajasthan brought minimum education qualification norms thereby depriving many candidates from contesting.
Riya Sarkar
  • She’s India’s first transgendered polling officer. Served in W.Bengal assembly election. Originally a government teacher.
Shushila Karki First female chief justice of Nepal.

New nominated Rajya Sabha members

nominated members of Rajya Sabha

  • On advice of Government, President nominates 12 persons associated with literature, science, sports, films, media, art and social service to the Upper House. (Art.80/1)
  • They need not declare assets under RPA act. (unlike the elected members, who have to declare within 90 days of taking oath).
  • They can vote in Vice President election but not in President election.
  • Within 6 months of taking oath, they can join any political party, if they wish. If they join a party, they’ve to follow its whip, and get more time to speak during debates.
  • Usually, they don’t become ministers, but in ’68 Indira Gandhi had given minister of state post to one of the nominated member- Nurul Hasan.
  • In 2016, there were a total of seven vacancies, but the government filled six of them. names disclosed by Home Ministry-
SIX New Nominated Members in Rajya Sabha, 2016-April
Person Why NDA Government chose him?
Subramanian Swamy he had worked relentlessly in the National Herald case against Rahul and Sonia Gandhi.
Ex-Cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu He had to vacate his Amritsar Lok Sabha seat for Jaitley (who did not win). To prevent him from switching over to AAP, he’s given Rajya sabha seat.
Boxing star MC Mary Kom
  • as a representative of the Christian community in the Northeast, and also because she is an accomplished sportswoman.
  • Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom belongs to the Sino-Tibetan speaking Kom tribe of Manipur. A five-time World Amateur Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships
  • first Indian woman boxer to get a gold medal in the Asian Games in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea.
Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi (Nair) In Kerala, BJP has sympathizers in Ezhava community, but not among Nair, So, this actor chosen to compete against Congi Shashi Tharoor (Nair)
Journalist Swapan Dasgupta For defending BJP in print and television shows for a long time.
Narendra Jadhav Dalit from Maharashtra. Ex-planning commission, Ex-NAC member.

What if there is tie in municipal election?

  • April-2016: Gandhinagar Municipal election in Gujarat. Tie between Cong. And BJP as both won 16 seats each.
  • Now how to elect mayor? As per Gujarat state act- corporators will be invited for voting to choose Mayor- if tie again, then drawing of chits to select winner.
  • Rotational quota system in Mayor seat- This time Gandhinagar Mayor seat belongs to General category male.

Polity Reform: Simultaneous Elections

Modi suggests that national, state and local elections should be held simultaneously, like Sweden and South Africa are doing- for national and provincial elections.

Pro: we should do it? Cons- why we shouldn’t do it?
  • Frequent elections bring to a standstill normal functioning of the government and life of the citizens and bring a heavy recurring cost.
  • 2.5 months: model code of conduct (MCC) comes into operation. This means that the government cannot announce any new schemes, make any new appointments, transfers or postings without EC approval. Ministers get busy in the election campaign; the district administration machinery gets totally focused on elections.
  • Cost: ~Rs 4,500 crore. (Government and candidates)
  • some environmental benefits such as less defacement of private and public property, noise and air pollution, etc.
  • frequent elections catalyses communalism, casteism, corruption (vote-buying and fund-raising) and crony capitalism. If the country is perpetually in election mode, there is no respite from these evils.
  • Will require amending Art.83(2) for Lok Sabha term and Art.172 for Vidhan Sabha term; what if government losses majority in the mid-term?
  • when the Lok Sabha gets dissolved (in 13 days, as actually happened in 1998), and for the sake of simultaneity all state assemblies with full or thin majority are also dissolved= heavy cost
  • if only one election in five years then politicians tend to forget voters = less accountability.
  • Multiple elections round the year= boost to the economy at the grassroots level, creating work opportunities for lakhs of people in election campaign.
  • local and national issues do not get mixed up to distort priorities. In voters’ minds, local issues overtake wider state and national issues.
  • Instead of 700-800 companies, the EC will then need 3,500 companies. Of CAPF

International Summits/ Appointments

India-US & LEMA Dev

  • LEMA: logistics exchange memorandum of agreement- to provide fuel, supplies to each other’s armed forces from their bases. But American troops can’t be stationed in Indian soil.
  • Earlier DTTI: Defense Trade and technology initiative- for co-development and co-production.
  • Visa issue: US government increased the fees for H1B and L1 visas, hence India Upset. Additionally, USA doesn’t have localization agreement with India hence, Indian workers are charged social security tax in USA but if they return to India within short term, they get no benefit of it.
  • Modi to address Joint US Congress in June 2016.

India-Saudi & Cheraman Juma Masjid

Cheraman Juma Masjid

  • Modi gifted him a gold plated replica of Cheraman Juma Masjid- the oldest mosque in India- located in Thissur district of Kerala, built in 629AD during the time of Chera King Cherman Perumal- who travelled to Arabia.
  • Modi given highest civilian award “The Order of Abdullah” by King Salman.
  • Pact for Indian Blue workers’ protection.
  • Decline in the oil prices has affected Saudi Economy, therefore they are keen to increase the trade ties with India.
China
  • 11th Xi-Jinping declared himself the commander in chief of China’s military.
Christine Lagarde 2nd term as IMF chief, will begin from July 2016 for next five years. Although India supported her candidacy, they’ve have asked next IMF chief should be from emerging economy country.
G20 leaders’ summit To be held in China in September.
GCC Gulf cooperation council’s ministerial meeting held at Manama, Bahrain.
Global Tiger forum
  • New report says tiger population across world has increased to 3890, but critiques say just better surveillance systems therefore able to detect more tigers than earlier survey methods, otherwise as such population is declining.
India EU Summit Held at Brussels, Belgium
India Maldives
  • President Abdulla Gayoom visits India, signed Action plan on defence cooperation and promised “India first” foreign policy.
India Pak
  • Pak Minorities staying in India, may be given PAN, Aadhar and permission to open bank accounts.
Judges 3-day retreat
  • Seminar organized at National Judicial Academy, Bhopal. NSA Doval briefed SC judges on internal-external security issues and need for faster and more cooperation in speeding up cases. Critiques outraged – saying women, tribal and minorities should also be given opportunity to brief SC judges just like NSA did.
Myanmar
  • Suu Kyi- foreign minister, energy minister, edu. minister and so on
  • Plus, becoming State counsellor to oversee other ministers and executives. Military members of parliament unhappy.
  • Ex-President Thein sein become temporary monk.
Nuclear Security Summit
  • Held at Washington, USA
  • Canadian PM Justine Trudeau met Modi here for the first time.
OIC Organization of Islamic countries- in the latest summit they expressed concerns over human rights violation in Jammu & Kashmir; India maintains OIC has no local standi to say anything over this issue.
UNGA
  • Upcoming election to replace Ban-ki-Moon; New secretary General will take charge from 1/1/2017.

Upcoming second Part: Books, Movies, Sports and Science-innovation in news

Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

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