GIST

Newspaper GIST

Summary

Page no. 1

Will turn J&K into heaven:Rajnath

Home Minister, former PM Manmohan Singh lead separate outreach efforts in the state
Page no. 1

Dhaka plea made MEA shift stand

Delhi broke silence on Rohingya issue
Page no. 1

Centre will respect J&K’s special status, says Rajnath

: tress of peace have not dried up, says Home Minister visit on a visit to the State
Page no. 1

Aviation, Home Ministries spar over regulating drones

Tussle between aircraft safety versus security and privacy
Page no. 1

Parties called for Hybrid poll system

Page no. 2

Uttarakhand to bring special heritage law

Bid to conserve landmarks including Almora Jail, Raj Bhawan
Page no. 2

Deogarh named Odisha’s first open defection free district

Authorities to give compliant villages priority in govt. schemes
Page no. 3

Plantation drive bring extra money for panchayats in Rajasthan

Also help resolve encroachment issues on pasture land
Page no. 6

Data base soon on Bonda migration

In search of livelihood, they migrate to other states where their women are often sexually exploited
Page no. 7

Around the world in seven months

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman flags of all women Indian Navy crew
Page no. 10

New observers for Ayodhya site

Sc directs chief justice of Allahabad high court to name two persons for job
Page no. 11

India, U.S. in talks for C-17 deal

The aircraft will be handed over within a month of signing the contract
Page no. 11

No plan yet to deport Rohingya, says Rijiju

Responding to UN official’s statement, Minister says States have been asked only to identify ‘illegal’ immigrants and act as per procedure
Page no. 11

SC to hear Blue Whale ban plea

Govt. failed to take steps: petitioner
Page no. 11

India to further aid Afghan troops

Afghanistan suggest larger regional role for India: Sushma says united in overcoming terror
Page no. 11

2,000 researchers to get fellowship

IIT and IISc students scoring high CGPAs eligible for Rs. 70,000 a month
Page no. 12

Hungry and traumatised, Rohingya are living in fear

Many of the refuses on the border are trying to cross the mountains, dense bush and rice fields to reach Bangladesh, some got shot on the way
Page no. 12

Rohingya militants declare ceasefire

Page no. 13

Fall in GDP figures structural, not transient, says SBI report

‘Govt. must not cut spending as growth drivers are missing’
Page no. 14

‘NPAs: challenge is to avoid delays’

Bankers worry that appeals to other courts and the workload at NCLT may push deadlines out further
Page no. 14

GST: efficiencies have risen in manufacturing

Page no. 14

Bitcoin: Blockchain eyes India

post demonetization, country has seen a surge in digital currency demand: Cary

Editorial

Page no. 8

A forest policy on today’s term

The National Forest Policy must be refreshed as it contains concepts that have been long discardedThe Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as well as all State Forest Departments are guided by the National Forest Policy, 1988. However, what is the forest? Interestingly, there is no official definition for the term ‘forest’ yet. Commonly, a forest is ‘a self-sown and self-regenerating community of plants that supports a community of creatures dependent on those plants, and on each other, for food and shelter’.The basic objectives of National Forest Policy, 1988: Maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and, where necessary, restoration of the ecological balance that has been adversely disturbed by serious depletion of the forests of the country.‘Ecological balance’ and ‘environmental stability’ are only jargon. There are no such thing like ecological balance and environmental stability in the natural process as nature is never stable or stagnant but are always in the process of change and succession. New perspective on Forest Policy:In forest policy, the ‘self-sown’ is important in the Indian context, since the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as well as all State Forest Departments spent a huge sum of money on ‘planting forests’. When land has been thoroughly degraded, the usual succession is grasses, shrubs, bushes and, finally, trees. By planting trees directly in such areas, the build-up of top soil and soil microorganisms that proceeds from a succession is missing, hence the large-scale failure of such plantations. Naturally there are no results of these ‘planted forests’.The National Forest Policy, 1988 has laudable point with invalid reference terms. It should probably stated as : “The principal aim of Forest Policy must be to ensure a healthy natural environment and the maintenance and healthy functioning of life-support systems, including the water cycle and nutrient cycle, by protecting natural forest and other ecosystems native to the area. The derivation of direct economic benefit must be subordinated to this principal aim since the indirect economic benefit of healthy life-support systems is incalculable.”Based on these terms, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change have great responsibilities towards restoring and maintaining the health of India’s surface and sub-surface water systems, since both are largely governed by forests and other natural ecosystems. The protection of healthy natural ecosystems in catchment areas should be a vital national goal, given the challenges of failing freshwater systems facing the nation at present. The State Forest Departments have to use money in sensible ways to directly and indirectly protect natural ecosystems in sensitive areas like watersheds, catchment areas, and coasts, as has already been envisaged in the National Forest Policy, 1988.
Page no. 8

Search for quality:

SEBI’s proposed rule may not necessarily improve the quality of credit rating services. SEBI proposed new rules on credit rating agencies of India to improve “market efficiency” and enhance “the governance, accountability and functioning of credit rating agencies.” SEBI’s major concern, apart from improving the information available to investors, seems to be to prevent rating agencies from resorting to collusion in reaching decisions. The proposed new rules includes provisions to restrict cross-shareholding between rating agencies without regulatory approval to 10%, increase the minimum net worth requirement for existing and new agencies from Rs. 5 crore to Rs.50 crore and at least five years’ experience for promoters of rating agencies. SEBI has proposed disclosure norms to improve investor awareness about the operations of rating agencies.The present business model of rating agencies helps the borrowers more than the creditors by allowing considerable room for issuers of securities to shop for a favourable rating or avoid negative ratings by severing their ties with these agencies. Repeated failures have not affected the business of rating agencies, primarily due to the lack of alternative service providers who can help out investors. Hence, the individual creditors have no choice other than to trust the ratings of the existing rating agencies even after repeated crises. Prudential regulation is thus justified to tackle this problem. SEBI should make it easier for new players to enter the credit rating space and compete against incumbents.
Page no. 8

Uttarakhand to bring special heritage law

The Uttarakhand Government is planning to bring a special heritage law to cover unprotected heritage in the state. The aim of this proposed law is to preserve and restore buildings and sites of historic, aesthetic, cultural and environmental value, which are not protected by the central law of the Archaeological Survey of India or any other existing government policies. Uttarakhand has a number of ancient temples and British-era buildings. It is also one of the few States in the country which can boast of two Raj Bhawans; one in Dehradun and one in Nainital. Around 71 monuments in Uttarakhand are protected by the State government under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, while another 40 archaeological sites are covered by the Central government, through the ASI, under the same actWhat the law covered?The State Directorate of Culture has formulated the draft of the special heritage law. The Uttarakhand Heritage Act seeks to conserve landmarks such as the Almora Jail, where Pt Jawaharlal Nehru was imprisoned, the colonial-era Raj Bhawan in Nainital, historic precincts and trees, groves and natural fields of environmental significance. The legislation will also cover streetscapes and artefacts, besides protecting the sacred groves, mountains, traditional bridle paths, wetlands and wooded areas. The statute would also cover natural features of environmental significance and sites of scenic beauty and provide for conservation and protection of areas which are environmentally sensitiveThe heritage authority would have the State Chief Secretary as its chairman and experts like an architect, a structural engineer, a historian and an environmentalist as members.
Page no. 8

Data base soon on Bonda migration

: In search of livelihood, they migrate to other states where their women are often sexually exploitedWho are Bonda:Bondas are considered to be one of most primitive tribes in the world. As per an official survey in 2015, around 8,000 Bonda tribals live in 32 villages of four panchayats under Khairaput block of Odisha. Their villages are located in remote and isolated hilly region north-west of the Machhkund River. Their habitat in Khairaput block is called the Bonda valley. They have a special development agency, called as the Bonda Development Agency (BDA).The issue:The Bonda Development Agency (BDA) has started an inquiry and survey in the remote Bonda-inhabited villages in Malkangiri district of Odisha following reports that these primitive tribals are migrating to other States in search of employment and that some of their women are being sexually exploited. Some Bondas undertake seasonal migration to Andhra Pradesh after the end of the kharif season and return by Durga Puja to start agricultural work. Officials of the BDA have started an on-the-spot inquiry and survey relating to migration and alleged sexual harassment of Bonda women outside the State. Through the on-the-spot inquiry and enumeration, the BDA plans to prepare a proper data base about Bonda migration and realise the reasons behind it.
Page no. 8

NIA seeks details on ‘forced conversion’

Kozhikode based Therbiyathul Islam Sabha In a status report filed before the Supreme Court the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said that it had sought detail information from the Kerala Police on the activities of the Therbiyathul Islam Sabha, regarding “alleged forced conversions.” It is a Kozhikode based religious centre, authorised by the Kerala government.The background:In Therbiyathul Islam Sabha, Akhila Asokan alias Hadiya, a 25-year-old Hindu girl, converted to Islam and later married a Muslim man. Akhila is a homeopath. Her parents moved the Kerala High Court alleging that she was radicalised and converted to Islam and forcibly married to a Muslim. The court annulled the marriage and Akhila’s husband Shafin Jahan moved the SC, which asked the NIA to investigate the ‘love jihad’ case.Another Hindu woman Athira Nambiar also converted to Islam at the same Kozhikode centre. Athira’s parents had moved a habeas corpus petition in the Kerala High Court against the conversion and the court had asked the NIA to probe the matter. The woman returned to her parentsThe Report:The NIA had examined several records of the Kerala police and there seemed to be an “organised effort” in the conversion. The NIA has seen similarities between Akhila’s and Athira’s case. In both the cases the NIA has named a woman named Sainaba, an activist of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political arm of the Popular Front of India (PFI).Shafin Jahan’s father Shah Jahan had converted from Hinduism to Islam and his mother Rejula was Muslim. The parents separated in 2014. A graduate in Islamic history, Jahan was working as an administrative secretary at a pharmaceutical firm in Oman. He came back to India on November 22, 2016 to get married and was planning to return to Muscat on a fresh visa to take up the job of an administrator at a construction firm. The NIA claimed that Jahan has four criminal cases registered against him but all of them were of a “political nature” as he was an active member of SDPI.
Page no. 8

Parties called for Hybrid poll system

The Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice is deliberating on electoral reforms. The Committee sought the views of all political parties in the backdrop of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections held in March this year where the BJP which got 39 per cent of the vote share but won 312 seats, while the Samajwadi Party with 21.8 per cent votes got 47 seats and the Bahujan Samaj Party with 22.2 per cent got 19 seats. As per sources, in 2009 elections BJP had 18.1% vote but 116 seats in the Lok Sabha. While, in the last general elections the Congress got 19.35% votes but only 44 seats. An interesting fact is that no ruling party had ever got 51 per cent of the votes polled since independence.The Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India have told the Parliamentary panel that the existing first-past-the-post-system needs to be replaced with a hybrid format where elections for a small number of seats are through proportional representation. According to them, the existing first-past-the-post-system does not represent “majority aspirations” and the “actual will of the people.”The first-past-the-post system had worked well during the early years of India after independence, because there was only one party and the voting percentage was also very high. But now because of a division of votes, a party with even 20% share does not get a single seat, while a party with 28% can get disproportionately large number of seats. Instead of it, a dual system with separate votes for a candidate and a party could be considered as an alternative. This system is followed by various European countries. Experiences of other countries which have been following the system of proportional representation in addition to direct election should be studied to devise an effective system.Recommendations of the Law Commission’s 170th and 255th report should be implemented, which have suggested that 25% or 136 more seats should be added to the present Lok Sabha and be filled by Proportional Representation. A mix of both first-past-the-post and proportional representation should be tried. A hybrid system having both proportional representation and first-past-the-post will also ensure that more women find place in state assemblies and Lok Sabha.
Page no. 8

In the air

The no-fly list is a welcome innovation to keep unruly passengers in check The no-fly list system, which has been already adopted by other countries, is a relatively new development in civil aviation. In this system, unruly air passengers are barred to fly in the complainant airlines from a specific period to lifetime. Now, the Union Government of India also take decision to put unruly air passengers on a no-fly list ranging from three months to a lifetime, depending upon the gravity of the offence. Existing guidelines and rules on unruly behaviour did not have provisions for a no-fly ban, necessitating these rules.The list will be maintained by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, and be put in the public domain. The punishment is to be decided by an internal committee of the airline in question based on evidence produced by both the airline and the passenger within 30 days. In this period the passenger would not be allowed to fly. No compensation will be offered to the passenger in case the allegations of the airline are proven wrong. Aggrieved passengers can appeal within 60 days to an appellate committee. However, other airlines will not bound by one airline’s no-fly ban.This is a necessary step in India because of a widespread notion of privileged attitude and growing incidents of air rage. However, by imposing such rule, it also has to remember that passenger anger has also been a consequence of airline inefficiencies and preventive measures like no-fly list should be enforced only as the last resort.
Page no. 8

The track to success

Successful and timely completion of the bullet train project will be a game changer The Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) project or the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train is going to start soon. Investment in infrastructure development has always acted as a catalyst in the economic growth of India. This project is also expected as one of those catalysts that will transform India.There are three advantages from the MAHSR project: economic benefits, including infrastructure development and job creation; technological development, in which Indian companies imbibe the new technologies and potentially also become suppliers to HSR contracts worldwide; and cultural transformation through a demonstrated ability to implement large projects and improve safety.In addition to creating demand for local industry, the project would also generate significant employment for a large number of skilled and unskilled workers. A dedicated High Speed Rail training institute is being developed at Vadodara. This institute will be used to train about 4,000 staff in the next three years, who will then be responsible for the operations and maintenance of MAHSR, and also provide a foundation for the future development of other high-speed corridors in India.Studies show that HSR systems are around three times more fuel-efficient than aeroplanes and five times more fuel-efficient than cars. Given the traffic density in this corridor, this project could lead to a significant reduction in India’s carbon footprint.Bullet train is the symbol of Japan’s engineering skill and expertise and its success transformed the way Japan was viewed by the rest of the world. By successful implementation of MAHSR project, India will also earn this status.
Page no. 8

Plantation drive bring extra money for panchayats in Rajasthan

Also help resolve encroachment issues on pasture landA tree plantation drive launched under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on the pasture land, situated outside the villages in Rajasthan, and has become a source of additional revenue for local panchayats. This is a State government’s scheme, called as ‘Panchphal Yojana.’ In the Naiwada village of Bharatpur district, the plantation of 3,000 fruit-bearing and 1,000 other trees has created a permanent source of revenue for the panchayats. The trees would generate revenue worth Rs. 50,000 this year, while the village panchayat was likely to earn an annual income of Rs. 5 lakh after two years, when it gets fruits from the trees.The plantation task under the MGNREGA for 50 bighas of the pasture land not only provide the villagers jobs but also helped to resolve encroachment issues on the land. The drive has also brought awareness among the villagers about tree plantation on the vacant plots of land and makes the region green.
Page no. 8

India to further aid Afghan troops

Afghanistan suggest larger regional role for India: Sushma says united in overcoming terrorIndia agreed to enhance existing assistance to Afghan security forces, including in capacity building and training of Afghan soldiers in India during a Partnership Council meeting with Afghanistan. India announced 500 new scholarships for children and kin of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) to honour their sacrifices “for the cause of entire humanity” and ensuring the safety of Indians working in Afghanistan.This is a second partnership meeting since the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) was signed in 2011 between India and Afghanistan. The meeting was the first high-level engagement between India and Afghanistan since the announcement of a new ‘South Asia policy for Afghanistan’ by U.S. President Donald Trump, where he vowed to take tough action against Pakistan if it fails to crackdown on terror groups, a policy that was welcomed in both Kabul and New Delhi. What is the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between India and Afghanistan?The strategic partnership between India and Afghanistan was signed on October 4, 2011 during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to India. By this agreement, India agreed to assist Afghanistan in the “training, equipping and capacity building programmes for Afghan national security forces.” Going beyond the security dimension, the partnership arrangement also dwells on trade and economic cooperation, capacity development and education, social cultural & civil society and people to people relations.

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