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: 29-01-2019
General Studies-II : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
SC to hear petition on Bhopal gas leak payout
The Supreme Court on Monday decided to examine in April a curative petition by the government for more compensation to the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, over and above the $470 million paid by Union Carbide.
The petition, which came up before a Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, said the compensation, determined in 1989, was based on the assumptions of truth unrelated to realities.
The tragedy unfolded in Bhopal on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984, when the highly dangerous and toxic gas, Methyl Isocyanate, escaped from the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL).
It resulted in the death of 5,295 humans and injuries to 5,68,292 persons, besides a loss of livestock and property of 5,478 persons.
Dismissing the curative plea in 2011, the court held that “no satisfactory explanation has been given to file such curative petitions after about 14 years from the 1996 judgment.”
As a Bhopal court order sentencing Union Carbide executives to two years in jail sparked public outcry, the CBI moved the Supreme Court and wanted it to “restore” the criminal charge under Section 304 Part II of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against the accused.
Those convicted included former Union Carbide India chairman Keshub Mahindra.
Source: The Hindu
General Studies-III : Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Shot in the arm
The Supreme Court’s ruling eases the implementation of the IBC in knotty cases
Last week’s Supreme Court judgment upholding the validity of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 (IBC) in its “entirety” could have a major impact on the country’s economic landscape.
The fledgling IBC has been severely tested in the two years since its enactment, with the Centre being forced to amend a couple of its provisions in order to plug some loopholes that enabled defaulting borrowers to challenge the legislation.
Any law of this nature that takes over businesses and assets from defaulters and empowers lenders to change the management is bound to face legal challenges.
Borrowers were never going to take the IBC lying down, and that is exactly what happened; over the last two years, they have challenged various aspects of the law in tribunals and courts.
In the event, the apex court’s stamp of approval on the entire Code is a strong signal to borrowers and banks even as it brings a sense of relief to the Centre, which has been watching one of its better economic initiatives being stifled by vested interests.
One of the major challenges mounted against the IBC was by operational creditors, who are owed money by the company in the normal course of operations for supply of goods and services.
In the payment waterfall prescribed under Section 53 of the IBC in the event of liquidation of the company or its sale to another entity, their dues rank below those of financial creditors, workmen and employees.
This was challenged by the operational creditors, who wanted equal treatment with financial creditors in the waterfall mechanism.
Several landmark cases that were referred to the National Company Law Tribunal under the IBC remain stuck there, including that of the high-profile Essar Steel, as a result of its operational creditors seeking equal treatment.
With the Supreme Court now ruling that there are “intelligible differentia” between operational and financial creditors, an avenue that defaulters used to stymie proceedings has been closed.
Repayment of financial debt by borrowers infuses capital into the economy as lenders can on-lend the money that has been repaid to other entrepreneurs, thus aiding economic activity, the judges observed.
The apex court has also clarified that a mere relationship with an ineligible person cannot disqualify someone from becoming a bidder for a troubled asset. It has to be proved that such a person is “connected” with the business activity of the resolution applicant.
The court used strong words: “…[T]he experiment conducted in enacting the Code is proving to be largely successful. The defaulter’s paradise is lost.”
This constitutes a clear signal of its backing for the IBC which, despite all the challenges that it has faced, has been successful in sending a message to recalcitrant defaulters that there can be no more business-as-usual when they default.
Source: The Hindu
General Studies-II : India and its neighborhood- relations.
U.S. declares it has agreed upon peace framework with Taliban
American and Taliban officials have agreed to the framework of a peace deal in which the insurgents guarantee to prevent Afghanistan from being used by terrorists, and that could lead to a full pull-out of U.S. troops in return for a ceasefire and Taliban talks with the Afghan government
After nine years of halting efforts to reach a peace deal with the Taliban, the draft framework, though preliminary, is the biggest tangible step toward ending the two-decade war.
A senior American official said that the Taliban delegation had asked for time to confer with their leadership about the U.S. insistence that the insurgents talk with the Afghan government and agree to a ceasefire as part of any finalised deal.
The official said they had made it clear to the Taliban that all the issues discussed were “interconnected” as part of a “package deal”. The official’s account was supported by details that have been leaked by some Taliban and Western officials in recent days.
Although other Taliban sources said that more concrete details of a U.S. troop withdrawal had already been agreed upon, American officials said on Monday that those details had not yet been hashed out.
President Ashraf Ghani expressed concern that a peace deal would be rushed. He highlighted previous settlements that ended in bloodshed, including when the Soviet Union withdrew from the country in the late 1980s. Despite a promise of a peace deal at the time, Afghanistan broke into anarchy.
As the first step in the framework, Mr. Khalilzad said that the Taliban was firm about agreeing to keep Afghan territory from being used as a staging ground for terrorism by groups like al-Qaeda, and had agreed to provide guarantees and an enforcement mechanism. That had long been a primary demand by American officials.
The next set of contingencies would see the U.S. agreeing to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan, but only in return for the Taliban’s entering talks with the Afghan government and agreeing to a lasting ceasefire.
Those last two points have long been resisted by Taliban officials, and could still provide trouble with the process, officials said.
But the agreement in principle to discussing them at all was seen as a breakthrough after years of failed attempts, American and Afghan officials said.
Source: The Hindu
Other Issues in News:
‘A.P. Buddhist remains date back to Satavahana period’
The Department of Archaeology and Museums has found Buddhist remains under the ‘garbhagriha’ (sanctum sanctorum) of Sivalayam at Kondaveedu fort. The remains date back to later Satavahana period — 1st to 2nd century A.D.
One small fragment of Brahmi Inscription was found in the stupa remains. Based on this inscriptional evidence, it emphasises that Buddhism existed on Kondaveedu fort from Satavahana period. It has eight letters i.e.. ‘gha ra kha tha sa a thae vaa.’
Source: The Hindu
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