The HINDU Notes – 25th May 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)
- Impeachment proceedings have been initiated against Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy of the High Court for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
- 60 members of the Rajya Sabha have submitted a motion seeking initiation of impeachment proceedings.
- Second attempt to impeach Justice Nagarjuna Reddy.
Allegations against Justice:
- Interfering in the judicial process.
- Caste slurs including death threats against a Dalit Junior Civil Judge Sanku Rama Krishna at the courts in Rayachoti, a town in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district
- Vice President to constitute a three-member committee under the 1968 Judges (Inquiry) Act, which generally consists of a sitting Supreme Court judge and two High Court Chief Justices.
- This is done in consultation with the CJI.
- The Committee will function like a trial court, examining the accusations against Justice Reddy and ruling whether they are well-founded. Thereafter it will advise in favour, or against the judge’s removal.
- The Committee’s decision will then be placed in both houses of Parliament for a vote, and would require a two-third majority of MPs present voting in favour of the motion in the same session, or an absolute majority of a joint session, for the judge to be removed.
- Article 124 (4) of the Constitution stipulates that a minimum of 50 Rajya Sabha MPs or double that number from the Lok Sabha are required as signatories to initiate impeachment, the only means to remove judges from office in the country’s higher judiciary.
- The Indian and Japanese governments unveiled a vision document for the Asia Africa Growth Corridor, proposed by the two countries’ Prime Ministers last November, and more details are likely to be firmed up by September in time for Japan PM Shinzo Abe’s visit to New Delhi.
- Unlike China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, about which India has raised several concerns, the Asia Africa Growth Corridor is conceived as a more open and inclusive programme that will be based on more consultations and keep people as the centre piece rather than just trade and economic ties.
- Four key elements:
- Enhancing capacity and skills;
- Building quality infrastructure and connecting institutions;
- Development and cooperation projects in health, farming, manufacturing and disaster management; and
- People-to-people partnerships.
- Greater cooperation between Indian and Japanese firms in furthering Africa’s development and Indian investors to participate in the new economic zone coming up around Kenya’s Mombasa port with Japan’s assistance.
Cabinet nod for phasing out FIPB
- The Union Cabinet on 24 May 2017 approved the phasing out of the 25-year-old Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
- The decision is aimed at making India more attractive for foreign direct investment (FDI) by improving ease of doing business and promoting the ‘Maximum Governance, Minimum Government’ principle.
- “Work relating to processing of applications for FDI and approval of the government” would now be handled by the concerned ministries/departments in consultation with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Ministry of Commerce, the government said.
Govt. orders to favour local suppliers
- The Union Cabinet on 24 May 2017 approved a policy that provides preference to local suppliers in Government procurement.
- The new policy – aimed at pushing the ‘Make in India’ initiative – is to boost domestic manufacturing and services, thereby creating employment and enhancing income.
- It will also stimulate the flow of capital and technology into domestic manufacturing and services, according to an official statement.
- The policy, approved by the cabinet will be implemented through an order pursuant to the General Financial Rules, 2017 to provide purchase preference (linked with local content) in Government procurement.
- The order also covers autonomous bodies, government companies/entities under the government’s control.
- Under the new policy, local suppliers are those whose goods or services meet prescribed minimum thresholds (ordinarily 50%) for local content.
- Local content is essentially domestic value-addition, according to the statement, which added that local content could be increased through partnerships, among others.
- A Standing Committee in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion will oversee the implementation of this order and issues arising out of them, and make recommendations to nodal ministries and procuring entities.
- In the procurement of goods for Rs. 50 lakh and less, and where the nodal ministry determines that there is sufficient local capacity and local competition, only local suppliers will be eligible.
- The new policy also requires that specifications in tenders must not be restrictive – that is, it should not require proof of supply in other countries or proof of exports in respect of previous experience.
Centre may expand UDAN’s wingspan
- The Centre has proposed widening the scope of its UDAN scheme for regional connectivity by making more flight operations eligible for a host of concessions, including viability gap funding.
- All routes which do not have flight services at present may become part of the Scheme.
- “If there is no flight between two destinations even though both the airports have flight operations on separate routes, then it will be anunserved route falling under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS),” Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey said, while announcing proposals that may be incorporated in its UDAN scheme ahead of the second round of bidding that may take place in July.
- The Centre has invited stakeholders’ comments on its proposal and will finalise the RCS by June 30.
- For instance, airlines operating on Lucknow-Varanasi route may be eligible for concessions under the UDAN scheme as there are no flights on the route at present although there are flights operating out of these airports to other destinations.
- However, to be eligible, airlines need to participate in the bidding process.
- At present, only airports that are either categorised as unserved or underserved fall under the Scheme.
- The Civil Aviation Ministry has further proposed decreasing the exclusivity on flight operations under the RCS from three years to one year.
- However, the subsidy to airlines will continue for three years.
- At present, no other airline, except the one which has won the bid, is allowed to operate on routes awarded under the Scheme.
- The Government may also allow flights between airports less than 150 kilometres of distance from each other, for instance, Bengaluru-Mysuru route, to be eligible to fall under the UDAN scheme.
Moody’s downgrades China as financial power may ‘erode’
- Moody’s Investors Service downgraded China’s credit ratings on 24 May 2017 for the first time in nearly 30 years, saying it expects the financial strength of the economy will erode in coming years as growth slows and debt continues to rise.
- The one-notch downgrade in long-term local and foreign currency issuer ratings, to A1 from Aa3, comes as the Chinese government grapples with the challenges of rising financial risks stemming from years of credit-fuelled stimulus.
- China’s Finance Ministry said the downgrade, Moody’s first for the country since 1989, overestimated the risks to the economy and was based on “inappropriate methodology.”
- Moody’s views that China’s non-financial debt will rise rapidly and the government would continue to maintain growth via stimulus measures are exaggerating difficulties facing the Chinese economy, and underestimating the Chinese governments ability to deepen supply-side structural reform and appropriately expand aggregate demand, the Ministry said.
- China’s leaders have identified the containment of financial risks and asset bubbles as a top priority this year.
- While the downgrade is likely to modestly increase the cost of borrowing for the Chinese government and its state-owned enterprises (SOEs), it remains comfortably within the investment grade rating range.
- In March 2016, Moody’s cut its outlook on China’s ratings to negative from stable, citing rising debt and uncertainty about authorities’ ability to carry out reforms.