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Home » THE HINDU , PIB CURRENT NEWS ANALYSIS 24 JAN 2019.

THE HINDU , PIB CURRENT NEWS ANALYSIS 24 JAN 2019.

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: 24-01-2019

National News

General Studies-II : Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

Cabinet decides to strengthen northeast autonomous councils

  • The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 autonomous councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the northeast.

  • The amendment would impact a population of about 1 crore tribals living in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to the Centre.

  • The Finance Commission would be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to the councils, the government said in an official statement.

  • Till now, the autonomous councils have depended on grants from Central Ministries and the State governments for specific projects.

  • As per the proposed amendment, at least one third of the seats would be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.

  • The amendment also provides for transfer of additional 30 subjects, including the departments of Public Works, Forests, Public Health Engineering, Health and Family Welfare, Urban Development and Food and Civil Supply to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council in Assam.

  • The Cabinet approves the landmark amendment to Article 280 and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

  • The most important part of these amendments is that these will significantly improve the financial resources and powers of the autonomous districts councils in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, fulfilling long-standing aspirations of the tribal population in these northeastern States,” the government said.

  • A Bill in this regard is expected to be introduced in the upcoming session of Parliament

  • The proposed amendments provide for elected village municipal councils, ensuring democracy at the grass-roots level.

  • The State Election Commissions would hold elections to the autonomous councils, village and municipal councils in the areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.

 

Source: The Hindu

 

General Studies-III : Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Cabinet approves creation of the National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the creation of National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT).

  • The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal shall be situated at New Delhi. GSTAT shall be presided over by its President and shall consist of one Technical Member (Centre) and one Technical Member (State).

  • The creation of the National Bench of the GSTAT would amount to one time expenditure of Rs.92.50 lakh while the recurring expenditure would be Rs.6.86 crore per annum.

Details:

  • Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal is the forum of second appeal in GST laws and the first common forum of dispute resolution between Centre and States.

  • The appeals against the orders in first appeals issued by the Appellate Authorities under the Central and State GST Acts lie before the GST Appellate Tribunal, which is common under the Central as well as State GST Acts.

  • Being a common forum, GST Appellate Tribunal will ensure that there is uniformity in redressal of disputes arising under GST, and therefore, in implementation of GST across the country

Source: PIB

 

General Studies-III : Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

The gap within

  • We need to address the issue of slower growth in our poorer States

  • India, as the world’s fastest-growing major economy, may well be catching up with the richer economies in terms of absolute size.

  • But economic convergence within the country remains a distant dream as poorer States continue to lag behind the richer ones in economic growth.

  • A report from the rating agency Crisil found that the inter-State disparities have widened in recent years even as the larger economy grows in size and influence on the global stage.

  • Many low-income States have experienced isolated years of strong economic growth above the national average. Bihar, in fact, was the fastest-growing State this year among the 17 non-special category States evaluated by the report.

  • But they have still failed to bridge their widening gap with the richer States since they have simply not been able to maintain a healthy growth rate over a sustained period of time.

  • Richer States like Gujarat, for instance, have been able to achieve sustained economic growth and increase their gap over other States.

  • The report found that there was a slight, albeit weak, convergence in the per capita income levels of the poorer and richer States between fiscal years 2008 and 2013, but the trend was reversed in the subsequent years.

  • Between fiscal years 2013 and 2018, there has been a significant divergence rather than convergence in the economic fortunes of the poorer and richer States.

  • This was the result of richer States continuing to show strong growth while the poorer States fell behind.

  • In fact, only two of the eight low-income States in 2013 had growth rates above the national average over the next five years.

  • On the other hand, six out of the nine high-income States recorded rates higher than the national average during 2013-18.

  • What explains the divergence in the economic fortunes of States? The report suggests that, at least during fiscal year 2018, government spending may be what boosted gross domestic product growth in the top-performing States, particularly in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh whose double-digit growth rates have come along with a burgeoning fiscal deficit.

  • The impact of greater spending was that 10 of the 17 States breached the 3% fiscal deficit limit set by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.

  • Many other big-spending States, however, have not managed to achieve growth above the national average.

  • Punjab and Kerala, which are at the bottom of the growth table, are ranked as profligates by the report.

  • This suggests that the size of public spending is probably not what differentiates the richer States from the poorer ones.

  • Other variables like the strength of State-level institutions, as gauged by their ability to uphold the rule of law and create a free, competitive marketplace for businesses to thrive, and the quality of public spending could be crucial determinants of the long-run growth prospects of States.

 

Source: The Hindu

 

General Studies-III : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

A reckless experiment

  • Editing the ‘human germline’ is an exercise fraught with unknown risks

  • The saga of the Chinese scientist who created the world’s first gene-edited babies last November has forced researchers everywhere to take a hard look at the ethics of gene-editing.

  • Chinese authorities have since condemned the researcher, He Jiankui, with a government report this week saying he violated both ethics and laws.

  • But though Mr. He’s actions drew international outrage, they weren’t revolutionary in technological terms.

  • Editing DNA to correct disease mutations has been possible for a while now, which means others can also do what Mr. He did.

  • The promises of such gene-editing are boundless; over a dozen clinical trials are currently on to treat diseases like HIV, multiple myeloma and other forms of cancer, using the Crispr-Cas9 editing system. But none of them involve editing the so-called human germ-line; instead, they have restricted themselves to fixing genetic flaws in sick adults.

  • In contrast, Mr. He deactivated a gene in two human embryos, which means that the changes he made could be inherited by the next generation.

  • In doing so, he violated the widely held ethical consensus that it is too early for germline editing, for we simply don’t know enough yet about the risks of such fiddling.

  • One pitfall of embryo gene-editing is that it is not as precise as we need it to be today. Studies have shown that the technology can result in unintended mutations, which in turn can cause cancers.

  • Then there is the danger of mosaicism, in which some cells inherit the target mutation, while others don’t. To be sure, the error-rates of Crispr are falling with each passing year. But we aren’t in the clear yet.

  • What is more, even when gene-editing becomes fool-proof, the decision to edit embryos will still be a weighty one.

  • This is because, today, scientists are far from understanding how exactly individual genes influence phenotypes, or the visible traits of people.

  • Every gene likely influences multiple traits, depending on the environment it interacts with. This makes it hard to predict the ultimate outcome of an embryo-editing exercise without decades of follow-up.

  • This uncertainty became evident in Mr. He’s experiment, in which he sought to immunise a pair of twins from HIV by tinkering with a gene called CCR5.

  • The problem is that while protecting against HIV, a deactivated CCR5 gene can also make people more susceptible to West-Nile Fever.

  • Every gene influences such trade-offs, which scientists barely understand today. This is why several scientific societies have advised abundant caution while fiddling with the human germline.

  • In a 2017 report, the U.S.’s National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said such an intervention would be defensible only in very rare situations, where no alternative exists.

  • The He Jiankui incident shows it is time to translate these advisories into regulations. Unless this happens, the Crispr revolution could well go awry.

 

Source: The Hindu


 

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