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Daily NEWS Analysis | 14th February | UPSC 2020

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UPSC & State PSC 2021 Published on 06 March 2020

Publish criminal history of candidates: Sc orders parties


The Supreme court has now made it mandatory for all political parties to publish all pending cases against their elected candidates not only in the local newspaper but also on the party websites and social media handles. The parties are also expected to explain on their website the reason why they decided to opt for a candidate with a criminal record.

Context:


The Supreme Court has cracked down on netas with criminal records and has asked parties to inform the Election commission details (and the general public) about candidates with a criminal background.


The court’s move came after it observed an alarming rise in the number of elected persons with criminal backgrounds in the parliament and state legislative assemblies. The Apex court has directed parties to explain why they gave party tickets to such candidates. They need to highlight their reasons in terms of the candidates’ qualifications, achievements and merit and not mere ‘win’ ability at the polls.


They will need to publish details for candidates with criminal backgrounds in one local newspaper and one national newspaper. Over the last four general elections, there has been an alarming increase in incidences of criminals in the politics. In 2004, 24% members of the parliament had pending criminal cases against them. In 2009 it went up to 30%.


If any party fails to do so, the Election commission can drag the netas to the court.


Cloud over trade talks as US officials put off the trip


US trade representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer has put off his trip to India which was scheduled this week. This has already set a rough patch ahead of President Trump's visit to India where the two countries are going to sign a trade deal. Trump's visit has raised hopes that both the countries will work out a trade deal that will lessen India's trade surplus with the US.

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Lighthizer, the US Trade representative to India has not shared any reasons why he has cancelled his visit, scheduled for February 13. There is still a possibility that he may join Trump’s entourage in the American President’s visit later in the month.


The upcoming Presidential visit may see the trade representative onboard to finalise a mini trade deal with his Indian counterpart, the Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal. The two sides have been negotiating on the matter for quite a long time (more than 2 years).


The talks so far have brought agreement on some contentious issues including the medical device price caps that India levies on imported items.


In case this does not happen, it will be a missed opportunity for the two countries. The duo would fail to ink this modest agreement, which could help foster stronger economic ties.


US President Donald Trump and his wife First Lady Melania Trump will come to India on February 24 and 25. They are expected to visit Delhi, Ahmedabad and Agra during these two days.




Coronavirus deaths spike in china


Authorities in the central Chinese province of Hubei have reported a sharp spike in new Coronavirus deaths, with a confirmed 254 more death cases. Till now 1,367 death cases have been reported throughout China since the spread of nCOV mid-January 2020.


Context:


There has been a sharp increase in the death toll of people infected with nCOV from the Hubei province in Central China. These new death cases were reported just a day after China had confirmed that the number of new cases have dropped on the second consecutive day.


Chinese health officials have changed their detection methods from laboratory tests to computerised body scans. This change in detection methods, has lead to a hike in the number of infected cases (currently at 60,000) with an additional 15,000 cases added to the previous total of 48,000 in Hubei province.

The Hubei province has alone reported 254 more cases of death. With such a sharp increase in cases, global authorities are now reflecting on a broader definition of Coronavirus. The WHO wants China to provide further clarity about the new technology being used for the diagnosis.


The virus is believed to have emerged late last year at a seafood market in Wuhan, which was illegally selling wild life for consumption. Wuhan is the capital city of Hubei.


The Vietnamese government has also ordered a lock down on a village of 10,000 people, making it the first country after China to impose mass quarantine. In Japan too, a cruise ship docked off the Japanese coast has tested 44 people positive.


Time running out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Report


The newly released ‘Future of Earth, 2020’ report by the South Asia Future Earth Regional Office at the Indian Institute of Science has said that there are 5 global risks, which can cascade into a global systemic crisis - failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, extreme weather events, major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, food crisis and water crisis.

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The international report was compiled by research and surveys from 222 leading scientists in 52 countries. It’s aimed at reducing the carbon footprint and halting global warming to below 2 degree Celsius by 2050. It has been simultaneously launched in multiple parts of the world between Feb 13 to Feb 21 - K Kasturirangan, former ISRO chairman, launched the report in India.


Scientists in the report have said extreme heat waves can accelerate global warming by releasing massive amounts of carbons from affected ecosystems. They will also intensify water crises and/ or food scarcity. Humans have significantly altered 75% of the earth, which has impacted nature’s ability to cope with climate extremes and food crises.


By 2019, the concentration of carbon dioxide has reached more than 415 ppm. Even as many countries have agreed that a climate emergency is in place, the report said right wing populism is still playing on people’s fears in denying the situation. That’s impacting nearly everything else - disinformation, national and international destability, health issues, education issues and multiple other problems.


USTR takes India off developing country list


The United States Trade Representative (USTR) office have removed India from a list of developing nations who got preferential treatment as far as countervailing duties (CVDs) on goods were concerned. Goods traded from India will no longer get a preferential treatment as far as CVD investigations are concerned.

Context:


The USTR developing countries list began in 1998 and was an attempt to harmonise US law with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement. The new notice has called this list rule obsolete.


The list allowed countries to get relaxation from CVD investigations, if the offending subsidy was too small to warrant concern (less than 3% of all imports of that good to US) or the imported volume too negligible.


India was on the developing countries list till February 10 and eligible for relaxed norms till then. The new list removed India and other nations like Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam off the list. The reason cited is that these countries all have at least a 0.5% share in global trade, though they still earn considerably less than the World Bank threshold for high income countries. The notice held that G20 membership (which these countries have) indicates they are developed.


The new list includes 36 developing nations and 44 least developed nations.


PIB - Finance Commission constitutes Group on Defence and Internal Security


The 15th Finance Commission has constituted a Group on Defence and Internal Security - with NKSingh, Chairman of the Commission as the Chairman of the group. He will be joined by secretaries from Home, Defence and Finance ministries here to examine whether a separate funding mechanism for defence and internal security is required.


PIB - Indo-UK Joint military exercise Ajeya Warrior 2020 begins from Thursday


An opening ceremony for the Ajeya Warrior 2020, a 72-hour joint military exercise between India and the United Kingdom army was held at Salisbury plains in UK. This is the fifth such exercise, aiming to train troops in handling counter insurgency and counter-terror operations in urban and semi-urban areas.

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The opening ceremony saw Brigadier Tom Bewick, Commander of the host UK 7 Infantry Bridge welcome the Indian contingent.

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The joint military exercise will see both sides train together and gain from each other’s operational experiences. They will attend lectures, demonstrations and drills on counter-insurgency and counter-terror operations. They would also come up with refined drills and procedures for joint operations.


PIB - I-T raids on 6Feb have led to detection of Rs 2k crore


The Income tax department announced that it had detected an unaccounted income of more than Rs 2000 crore in its recent searches on Feb 6. These raids occurred simultaneously at more than 40 premises in Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Cuddapah, Vishakhapatnam, Delhi and Pune.

Context:


The search actions (raids) were concentrated around three infrastructure groups in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, on suspicions of cash generation through over-invoicing, bogus bills and bogus sub-contractors. The I-T department seized several incriminating documents and loose papers, alongside emails, Whatsapp messages and records of unexplained foreign transactions.


Preliminary investigation has revealed that Rs 2000 crore was siphoned in these transactions.


They also seized an unexplained cash of Rs 85 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 71 lakh. 25 bank lockers were also restrained in the exercise.




All The Best To All The UPSC 2020 Aspirants !

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