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Note:  The following Current affairs has been selected from AIR, PIB, PRS, BBC, The Hindu, IDSA (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses), Live mint, Indian Express, Quora.com, Hindustan Times, Telegraph, The Times , WTO, New Indian express , The Guardian and is highly recommended for UPSC Prelims and Mains Examination


News Analysis: 11-07-2018

National News

General Studies-II : Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.


‘Choosing a partner is a person’s fundamental right’

  • Choice of a partner is a person’s fundamental right, and it can be a same-sex partner, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said on Tuesday.

  • The observation came on the first day of hearing by a Constitution Bench of petitions challenging the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era provision that criminalises private consensual sex between adults.

  • He drew his observations from the March 2018 judgment in the Hadiya case, which held that neither the state nor one’s parents could influence an adult’s choice of partner. That would be a violation of the fundamental right to privacy.

Source: The Hindu


General Studies-II : Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.


Poll position

  • There are meaningful electoral reforms beyond simultaneous elections

  • It is perhaps no surprise that political parties are deeply divided over the idea of holding simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies.

  • During consultations initiated by the Law Commission of India, nine parties opposed it, arguing that it went against the constitutional fabric and that it would be impractical. Four parties backed the concept.

  • The BJP has sought time for a detailed response, though it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has been advocating the idea. The Congress has now spoken out against the proposal.

  • In principle, there are obvious advantages to the ‘one nation, one election’ idea — election expenditure will be drastically cut and ruling dispensations will be able to focus on legislation and governance rather than having to be in campaign mode forever.

  • However, as many of the naysayers have pointed out, the idea is fraught with practical difficulties.

  • Also, some parties fear that a simultaneous poll, particularly in this era where news is easily and widely disseminated, will privilege national issues over regional ones even if, arguably, the reverse may happen too.

  • The issue is that synchronisation would involve curtailment or extension of the tenure of a House — the legal propriety of which is questionable.

  • The key proposal is that Assemblies be bunched into two categories based on whether their terms end close to the 2019 or the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

  • Elections could be held for one group in 2019, and for another in 2024 so that subsequent elections could be synchronised.

  • Or, polls could be held for one group along with the 2019 election, and for the rest 30 months later, so that there is a round of elections every two and a half years.

  • An attempt at solving the problem of regimes falling due to lack of majority is the proposal for a ‘constructive vote of no-confidence’. This means that when passing a motion expressing lack of trust in a regime, legislators must necessarily propose an alternative.

  • If a mid-term election has to be held, the term of such a House would only be for the remainder of its tenure.

  • These two recommendations may partially address the question raised by the DMK on whether all Assemblies would be dissolved too if the Lok Sabha has to be prematurely dissolved.

  • However, it is unclear if it will be palatable for all parties to invest their time and resources in an election that would win them only a curtailed term.

  • Allowing a one-time waiver of the anti-defection law to enable the House to elect a leader in the event of a hung House is another proposal.

  • However, these reforms can be adopted even without simultaneous elections.

  • Also, there are many pressing reforms needed in the electoral space including curbing the use of black money to fund elections and tackling the staggered manner in which elections are held in many States.

Source: The Hindu


General Studies-III : Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.


Farmers hit by slump in pepper prices

  • A sharp fall in the price of black pepper, coupled with low production of the spice, has put farmers in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — the three major pepper producing States in the country — in a fix.

  • Black pepper prices crashed from ₹760 a kg in 2017 to ₹600 a kg and then to ₹500 a kg. The spot price of pepper in Wayanad, a major pepper-producing region in Kerala, on Tuesday, was ₹300-₹310 as against ₹500 during the corresponding period last year

  • The cheaper pepper from Vietnam continues to flood the market through Sri Lanka, aided by a low-duty structure under South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) pact and Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA).

  • Under ISFTA, India could import 2,500 tonnes of pepper a year from Sri Lanka without duty, and above the quota, a duty of 8% would be imposed as per the SAFTA, Mr. Abdu said. But direct pepper imports from Vietnam attract a duty of 52% under the ASEAN trade agreement.

  • More than 6,000 tonnes of pepper were imported this year for domestic and re-export purposes even after the amendment.

  • Flooding of ‘smuggled’ pepper in Indian markets from Vietnam via Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal is the other threat to industry

  • The Ministry of Commerce had fixed a minimum import price (MIP) of ₹500 a kg of pepper in December 2017 to curb the imports. When import continued with the aid of loopholes in the order, the ministry further amended the restrictions for import a few months ago. But that too has failed to generate any positive results

Source: The Hindu


International News:


General Studies-II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


‘India a stakeholder in Korean peace’

  • Praising South Korean President Moon Jae-in for his role in talks with North Korea, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is also a stakeholder and beneficiary of the Korean peninsula peace process.

  • India has been worried about its trade deficit with South Korea that stood at $12 billion last year, while Korean businessmen have complained about problems in the “ease of doing business”.

  • In addition to the agreements on upgrading their economic partnership CEPA, trade remedies, railway safety research, cyber strategy, and cultural exchanges, India and South Korea signed a joint vision statement on strategic ties in the region.

  • RoK and India will enhance military exchanges, training and experience-sharing, and research and development including innovative technologies for mutual benefit.

  • The bilateral vision document also committed to building a “peaceful, stable, secure, free, open, inclusive and rules-based region,” incorporating President Moon slogan of “3Ps: People, Prosperity and Peace”.

  • India and South Korea signed a joint statement agreeing to discuss an ‘early harvest’ package for the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) aimed at identifying key areas for enhanced trade between the two countries.

Source: The Hindu


General Studies-II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


Iran will end special privileges to India: diplomat

  • Iran will end “special privileges” to India if Delhi tried to replace Iranian crude with supplies from Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States

  • The response comes days after India was asked by the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump to drastically cut down crude supply from Iran.

  • India has not spelt out how it would address the concerns of the U.S. government. The Ministry of External Affairs has maintained that Delhi would consult “all stakeholders” in ensuring energy security.

  • The official said Iran remains an open market for Indian requirements like petroleum, urea and LNG and Iran understands India’s energy requirement.

Source: The Hindu


Other Issues in News:


‘Eat Right Movement’ off to a healthy start

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Tuesday unveiled ‘The Eat Right Movement’, built on two broad pillars of ‘Eat Healthy’ and ‘Eat Safe’.

  • The programme aims to engage and enable citizens to improve their health and well-being by making the right food choices.

  • Stating that its aim was to cut down salt/sugar and oil consumption by 30% in three years Mr. Aggarwal said that 15 major food manufactures have already joined the programme.


Source: The Hindu


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