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26 Aug, 2019

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Under the cover of President’s Rule.


GS-II: Under the cover of President’s Rule

Abrogation of Article 370

  • Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 superseded the Order of 1954.
  • Passage of a statutory resolution in Parliament recommending the declaration of Article 370 as inoperative.
  • Adoption of a resolution accepting the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019
  • Issuance of a notification by the President declaring Article 370 inoperative.

Problem with president rule

  • He also suspends portions of the Constitution such as Article 3. J&K constitution has an additional proviso which says J&K’s legislature has to give its consent to any altering of its boundaries or size or name. But the Presidential proclamation suspended this.
  • During the period, decisions that a popular regime would never make may become possible.
  • Even suits instituted by the State against other States or the Centre under Article 131 may be withdrawn or claims against it conceded.
  • The power of a State Assembly to ratify Constitution amendments may be exercised by Parliament.

Constitution and Judiciary

  • A presidential proclamation is subject to judicial review after the Supreme Court verdict in S.R. Bommai vs. Union of India (1994).
  • The scope for judicial intervention is limited to the adequacy and relevance of the material on the basis of which the President believes that governance of a State cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution.
  • It said the initial exercise of the power is limited to taking over the executive and legislative functions without dissolving the Assembly. Once Parliament approves the proclamation, the Assembly may be dissolved.
  • Courts have always emphasised that States remain ‘supreme’. They are not “mere appendages of the Centre”. There are certain functions that the States alone can do.

Source: The Hindu

Nirmala Sitharaman’s stimulus plan falls short on vision

GS-III : Economic Issues Terminology

GS-III: Nirmala Sitharaman’s stimulus plan falls short of vision


Indian economy is slowing down. In this context, the Finance Minister offered a stimulus package.

What does it offer?

  • It rolled back the tax surcharge on overseas investors imposed in the budget.
  • The angel tax on startups has been removed.
  • The government will buy more cars for its fleet.
  • Injection of 700 billion rupees of additional capital into state-run banks.Analysis
  • It gives global banks a break on derivatives they trade in India while denying the same tax benefit to local hedge funds. This can be called unfair discrimination against a nascent industry in domestic alternative assets in India.
  • Govt buying cars may arrest the slide in the industry, where July sales slumped 36%. Vehicles purchased now won’t become illegal when stricter pollution standards kick in next year. This can help deal with inventory build up.
  • Banks are yet to absorb the 2.4 trillion rupees of bad debt accumulated in just 16 companies.
  • Half of that reflects loans to troubled shadow banks, according to Credit Suisse Group AG.
  • A parallel move by RBI to link loan rates to its policy benchmark is laudable.


Allowing larger firms to flourish, enabling smaller firms to secure cheap financing and forcing the state to retreat from the business will benefit the private sector in the long run.

Source: Live Mint

Gravitational Licensing


GS-III: Gravitational Licensing


  • Using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope as a sort of time machine, researchers plan to investigate how new stars are born.
  • For this, they will take the help of a natural phenomenon called “gravitational lensing”.

How it Works?

  • The phenomenon occurs when a huge amount of matter, such as a massive galaxy or cluster of galaxies, creates a gravitational field that distorts and magnifies the light from objects behind it, but in the same line of sight, NASA explained on its website.
  • In effect, these are natural, cosmic telescopes they are called gravitational lenses. These large celestial objects will magnify the light from distant galaxies that are at or near the peak of star formation. The effect allows researchers to study the details of early galaxies too far away to be seen otherwise with even the most powerful space telescopes

Targeting Extremely Magnified Panchromatic Lensed Arcs and Their Extended Star Formation:

  • The Milky Way today forms the equivalent of one Sun every year, but in the past, that rate was up to 100 times greater.
  • NASA now plans to look billions of years into the past in order to understand how our Sun formed.
  • The programme is called Targeting Extremely Magnified Panchromatic Lensed Arcs and Their Extended Star Formation, or TEMPLATES.

Source: Indian Express

Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS) of IMF.

GS-III : Economic Issues Terminology

GS-III: Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS) of IMF


India failed to comply with multiple requirements prescribed in the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) mandatory for all IMF members.

Special Data Dissemination Standard

  • The Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) was established by the IMF for member countries that have or that might seek access to international capital markets, to guide them in providing their economic and financial data to the public.
  • Although subscription is voluntary, the subscribing member needs to be committed to observing the standard and provide information about its data and data dissemination practices (metadata).
  • The metadata are posted on the IMF's Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board. The SDDS is expected to enhance the availability of timely and comprehensive data and improve the functioning of financial markets.
  • India subscribed to the SDDS on December 27, 1996.

Indian datasets are not updated

  • India failed to comply with multiple requirements prescribed in the SDDS a practice mandatory for all IMF members.
  • Whereas comparable economies comprising the BRICS grouping of Brazil, China, South Africa and Russia, have maintained a nearly impeccable record in the same period.
  • Also, India’s non-compliance in multiple categories in 2018 and to an extent in 2017 breaks with an otherwise near-perfect dissemination record.
  • When contacted, the IMF acknowledged India’s deviations but termed them “non-serious”.
  • However, independent observers see these deficiencies as a result of indifference to data dissemination procedures.

A recent phenomenon

  • India’s non-compliance with IMF standards is a recent phenomenon.
  • When asked for the reason for the delays in 2018, Deputy Director in the Department of Economic Affairs termed it as a “one off event due to technical glitches”.
  • They were made available on other (Indian) government websites on a timely basis through links on the NSDP to these websites”.

Implications of non-compliance

  • The IMF document states that monitoring observance of the SDDS is central to maintaining the credibility of the IMF’s data standards initiatives and its usefulness to policymakers.
  • It further states that if the IMF staff considers a non-observance as a “serious deviation” then procedures would be initiated against the member country.
  • When the IMF was asked to explain why India’s non-observance was deemed as non-serious, their statistical department persisted that this was due to “information availability in other government websites.

Source: The Hindu

Special Protection Group


GS-III: Special Protection Group


The government is likely to withdraw the Special Protection Group (SPG) from a former Prime Minister’s security detail.

Special Protection Group

  • The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of PM Indira Gandhi, and Parliament passed the SPG Act in 1988 dedicating the group to protecting the Prime Ministers of India.
  • At the time, the Act did not include former Prime Ministers, and when V.P. Singh came to power in 1989 his government withdrew SPG protection to the outgoing PM Rajiv Gandhi.
  • After Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 the SPG Act was amended, offering SPG protection to all former Prime Ministers and their families for a period of at least 10 years.
  • The SPG cover would only be reduced on the basis of threat levels as defined in the SPG Act of 1988.

What is it?

  • It is an armed force of the Union for providing proximate security to the following Prime Minister (PM) of India.
  • Former PM of India and
  • Members of their immediate families wherever they are.


It was formed in 1985 after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as an executive body on the recommendation of the Birbal Nath committee. Later on it became a statutory body under Special Protection Group Act, 1988.


  • It is governed by the Cabinet secretariat of India.
  • SPG chief is an officer of the rank of inspector-general.

Tenure of security cover to former PM:

SPG Security is provided to the former PM and the members of his immediate family for a period of one year from the date on which the former PM ceased to hold office and beyond one year based on the level of threat as decided by the Central Government. However, their security to them can be extended in case the threat is of the grave and continuing nature.

Source: The Hindu

India’s Deep Ocean Mission


GS-III: India’s Deep Ocean Mission


Ministry Of Earth Sciences Plans Rs 8000 Crore ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ To Boost India’s Sea Exploration Capabilities.

Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)

  • The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO.
  • Underwater robotics and ‘manned’ submersibles are key components of the Mission which will help India harness various living and non-living (water, mineral and energy) resources from the seabed and deep water.
  • The tasks that will be undertaken over this period include deep-sea mining, survey, energy exploration and the offshore-based desalination.
  • These technological developments are funded under an umbrella scheme of the government called Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART).

What will be mined from the deep ocean?

  • One of the main aims of the mission is to explore and extract polymetallic nodules. These are small potato-like rounded accretions composed of minerals such as manganese, nickel, cobalt, copper and iron hydroxide.
  • They lie scattered on the Indian Ocean floor at depths of about 6,000 m and the size can vary from a few millimetres to centimetres. These metals can be extracted and used in electronic devices, smartphones, batteries and even for solar panels.

How is it regulated?

  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA), an autonomous international organisation established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, allots the ‘area’ for deep-sea mining.
  • India was the first country to receive the status of a ‘Pioneer Investor ‘ in 1987 and was given an area of about 1.5 lakh sq km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) for nodule exploration. In 2002, India signed a contract with the ISA and after complete resource analysis of the seabed 50% was surrendered and the country retained an area of 75,000 sq km.

Which are the other countries that are in the race to mine the deep sea?

  • Apart from the CIOB, polymetallic nodules have been identified from the central Pacific Ocean. It is known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.
  • China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Russia and also some small islands such as the Cook Islands, Kiribati have joined the race for deep sea mining. Most of the countries have tested their technologies in shallow waters and are yet to start deep-sea extraction.

What will be the environmental impact?

  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these deep remote locations can be home to unique species that have adapted themselves to conditions such as poor oxygen and sunlight, high pressure and extremely low temperatures.
  • Such mining expeditions can make them go extinct even before they are known to science. The deep sea’s biodiversity and ecology remain poorly understood, making it difficult to assess the environmental impact and frame adequate guidelines.
  • Environmentalists are also worried about the sediment plumes that will be generated as the suspended particles can rise to the surface harming the filter feeders in the upper ocean layers. Additional concerns have been raised about the noise and light pollution from the mining vehicles and oil spills from the operating vessels.

Is deep sea mining economically viable?

The latest estimate from the ISA says it will be commercially viable only if about three million tonnes are mined per year. More studies are being carried out to understand how the technology can be scaled up and used efficiently.

Source: The hindu

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