The HINDU Notes – 29th April 2017(Daily NewsPaper Analysis)
📰 THE HINDU – CURRENT NOTE 29 April
⏳ SC offers to set the stage for peace talks in Kashmir
- Even as the Supreme Court offered to set the stage for peace talks between influential voices in Kashmir and the Centre to facilitate the return of normality to the Valley, the government put its foot down, saying it will not break bread with secessionist forces and cannot brook the risk of withdrawing security forces from the sensitive border State.
- Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi said the government cannot negotiate with separatists.
- The Centre said it would “absolutely” not entertain any talks of azadi with these leaders.
- DigiYatra plan– paperless travel for air passengers, including digital boarding passes at airports .
- Government is woking on DigiYatra plan.
- Either Aadhaar or passport will be made mandatory to book air tickets so that passengers needn’t carry a printout of the ticket or document proof while entering the airport.
Other features: passengers will soon be able to book taxi, make e-payments and get digital boarding pass through mobile phones.
- The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad had started a pilot project in 2015 allowing passengers to enter Aadhaar number at kiosks set up at one of the entry gates.
The Hyderabad airport plans to implement it soon at all the entry gates
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades pitched for decisive action against states supporting, sheltering and sustaining “violence factories” in their regions.
- Detailed discussions were held on bilateral as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.
- Ways to boost trade ties and U.N. Security Council reforms.
- Four pacts signed – including one for air services and another on cooperation in merchant shipping.
- India has always stood with Cyprus on crucial issues and firmly supports its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.
Cyprus Stand on UNSC reforms:
- Cyprus’ support to India’s bid for inclusion in the world body (UNSC) as a permanent member.
⏳ Now, Karnan ‘bans’ travel of SC judges
- Calcutta High Court judge C.S. Karnan deferred the hearing of his case against seven Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice of India J. S. Kehar, who had issued a contempt order against him.
- Justice Karnan also directed the Air Control Authority, New Delhi, “not to permit the said accused” to travel abroad till the case is disposed off, since their “offence” involves caste discrimination.
- In February 2017, the Supreme Court issued a contempt of court notice against Justice Karnan for allegedly degrading the judicial institution.
- A seven-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Khehar heard Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi who said that Justice Karnan should face contempt proceedings for his “scurrilous” letters against sitting and retired High Court and Supreme Court judges.
- Justice Karnan had written to the Prime Minister and allegedly accused several retired and sitting Supreme Court and High Court judges of corruption.
⏳ Smart ‘pebbles’ to monitor air, water
- Soon, the Rs. 18,000-crore Ganga river-cleaning project may be monitored by smart pebbles, tiny low-cost, low-power sensors that assess water quality.
- Similar devices could monitor a range of variables, from bacterial levels in a river to heavy metal concentration in the atmosphere.
- Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, said that about 40 proposals to make the sensors had come in, and two would be short-listed within the next month. Intel will make the chips powering the devices.
- The sensors will need to work for at least a year, getting power from solar, wind, flowing water, wave motion and mechanical vibrations.
⏳ Ganga receives first legal notice after getting human status
- The Uttarakhand High Court had earlier this year accorded the status of “living human entities” to the Ganga and Yamuna rivers to help in their “preservation and conservation”.
- Bestowing human status on the sacred but highly polluted rivers would, according to the court’s order, amount to harming a human being.
- Officials made custodians of the Ganga when it was granted human status by the high court- the chief secretary, the advocate general and the director of Namami Gange project.
What’s in news?
- Uttarakhand High Court issued first legal notice asking it (Ganga) to explain why its land was given for construction of a trenching ground.
- Issuing notice to Ganga, the Union government, central pollution control board, state pollution control board and the Rishikesh municipality, the court directed the respondents to file a reply. Custodians of the Ganga should also respond to the legal notice served by the Court.
⏳ Security cost row hits UDAN’s flight
- The government’s low-cost regional air connectivity scheme has led to inter-ministerial tussle over the cost of the security infrastructure for the project.
- The Ministry of Civil Aviation already owes Rs. 800 crore to the Home Ministry for deploying Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and other central police forces at 59 airports.
- The addition of 43 airports under the UDAN scheme is going to add considerably to the cost.
- The Finance Ministry has suggested that the cost be borne by passengers.
- A meeting between the three ministries to discuss unified security architecture for the aviation sector and consolidation of security at airports under the CISF, failed to reach a consensus.
- The matter may now go to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
- Out of the 98 functional airports in the country, 59 are under CISF cover, while the rest are guarded by the State police or paramilitary forces.
⏳ Money laundering may be made criminal offence
- The Central government is considering a proposal to make money laundering a separate criminal offence to be investigated by the Enforcement Directorate, irrespective of a probe by other agencies.
- This will facilitate quick action against those indulging in money laundering.
- The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has also been of the view that money laundering investigations by the Enforcement Directorate should be allowed without any dependence on registration of cases by other police agencies under the legal provisions listed in the schedule of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
- Under the current arrangement in India, the fate of money laundering cases depends on that of the probe and prosecutions in predicate offences pursued by primary agencies.
- Money laundering in itself has been defined as a criminal offence in several countries including United States and U.K.
- According to experts, the government will have to bring about several amendments to the PMLA, including the current definition of the “proceeds of crime” that is right now dependent upon the predicate offences as listed in the Act’s schedule.
⏳ Internet link issues may delay GST
- Poor Internet connectivity is turning out to be a challenge for the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), particularly in the North East, as the Centre pushes for the July 1 deadline to implement the new indirect tax regime.
- Revenue Secretary red-flagging various connectivity issues, which if not addressed at the earliest, may lead to a delay in implementation of the biggest indirect tax reform.
- In his communique to the Telecom Secretary dated April 21, he had requested that a senior Department of Telecom official be entrusted the work of “supervising the connectivity in North East and have all these complaints removed.”
- The implementation of GST requires high-speed connectivity between the GST server and the State VAT data centre, and also between District VAT office and State VAT office since the processing of returns, among other processes, is done online.
- Additionally, all dealers have to upload invoice-wise details online.
⏳ India to seal pact with Russia-led grouping
- India is set to formalise a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union, clearing the decks for negotiations on deepening trade relations with the five former Soviet republics.
- The Eurasian Economic Union comprises Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
- Trade between India and the five Eurasian countries stands at about $11 billion.
- The FTA with the Eurasian countries was dictated by India’s need to diversify into new markets. We have a targeted trade of $30 billion with the five countries by 2025 and $15 billion annual investment.
Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)
⏳ A safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries
- Scientists have developed a safer alternative to fire-prone lithium-ion batteries, which are common in household devices such as smartphones and laptops.
- Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed the nickel-zinc (Ni-Zn) batteries in which a three-imensional Zn “sponge” replaces the powdered zinc anode, or positively charged electrode, traditionally used.
- With 3D Zn, the battery provides an energy content and rechargeability that rival lithium-ion batteries while avoiding the safety issues that continue to plague lithium.