Daily GS Mains Notes or Mains Content Enrichment for Civil Services
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- Iran drops India from Chabahar rail project, cites funding delay
Why in news
The Iranian Government has decided to proceed with the construction of the Chabahar rail project on its own, citing delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project.
- Iranian Railways will proceed without India’s assistance, using approximately $400 million from the Iranian National Development Fund.
- The two sides had reached an agreement to construct the 628 km rail line along the Iran-Afghanistan border from Chabahar port to Zahedan.
- The line will eventually reach Zaranj in Afghanistan and is supposed to be completed by March 2022.
Reason for delay
Despite several site visits by IRCON (Indian Railways Construction Ltd) engineers, and preparations by Iranian railways, India never began the work, ostensibly due to worries that these could attract
- Iran’s decision to cancel India’s participation in the project, coming in the backdrop of a fast-moving strategic deal with China, is a matter of concern for India.
- China has finalised a massive 25-year, $400 billion strategic partnership deal with Iran. Iran had proposed a tie-up between the Chinese-run Pakistani port at Gwadar and Chabahar in 2019.
- Iran has offered interests to China in the Bandar-e-Jask port 350km away from Chabahar, as well as in the Chabahar duty-free zone. China deal could impinge on India’s strategic ties with Iran and the use of Chabahar port.
The Chabahar port is located in the Sistan-Baluchestan province on Iran’s south-eastern coast.
- Iran, China set to clinch 25-year deal
Why in news
Iran and China are close to finalising a 25-year Strategic Partnership deal worth $400 billion.
- The Comprehensive Plan for Cooperation between Iran and China is being finalised by officials in Tehran and Beijing. According to the plan, the cooperation will extend from investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and upgrading energy and transport facilities, to refurbishing ports, refineries and other installations, and will commit Iranian oil and gas supplies to China during that period.
Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- SC gives ex-royals right to manage deity’s property
Why in news
The Supreme Court has held that the erstwhile Travancore royal family is the “human ministrant” or the shebait (manager) of the properties belonging to Sree Padmanabha, the chief deity of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala.
- The recent judgement is over a dispute of over a decade on whether the temple and its considerable assets should devolve to the Kerala Government following the death of the Travancore ruler Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma in July 1991.
- Arguments were raised on whether the 26th Constitutional Amendment, which put an end to privy purses enjoyed by erstwhile rulers, would nudge the temple and properties into the hands of the State.
- The Kerala High Court, in 2011, directed the State to take over the temple and exhibit its treasures for public viewing in a museum.
- The Privy Purse was a payment made to the ruling families of erstwhile princely states as a part of their agreement to integrate with India in 1947.
- The 26th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1971 brought an end to this privilege of princely states.
Supreme Court Judgement:
- The recent judgement was given by a division bench comprising of Justices U.U. Lalit and Indu Malhotra.
- According to the judgement, shebaitship does not lapse in favour of the State by the principle of escheat (reversion of property to the State).
- The court defined ‘shebait’ as the “custodian of the idol, its earthly spokesman, its authorised representative entitled to deal with all its temporal affairs and to manage its property”. The court traced how the shebaitship descended from King Marthanda Varma.
- King Marthanda Varma rebuilt the temple and installed a new idol after a fire destroyed the temple in 1686.
- Accepting the royals’ submission that the temple is a public temple, the court issued a slew of directions for its transparent administration in the future.
- It directed the setting up of an administrative committee, with the Thiruvananthapuram district judge as its chairperson. The panel would take care of the daily administration of the temple.
- Nod for Karnataka-T.N. economic corridor
Why in news
The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Environment Ministry has recommended the grant of Environmental Clearance for the development of an economic corridor between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
- The Satellite Town Ring Road (STRR) – greenfield highway is part of the Bharatmala Pariyojana and will be implemented by the National Highways Authority of India.
- The project will start in Dabaspet in Karnataka and end near Devarapalli village on the Tamil Nadu- Karnataka border.
- The new road would provide better, fast, safe and smooth connectivity for commuters between the two States as well as in the region. Accident rates are also expected to be under control due to enhanced road safety measures.
- The Government of India launched “Bharatmala Pariyojana”, an umbrella program for the highways sector that focuses on optimizing the efficiency of road traffic movement across the country by bridging critical infrastructure gaps.
- Retail Inflation Growth at 6.09%
Why in News
Recently, the National Statistical Office (NSO) released the retail inflation data, which rose to 6.09% in the month of June, 2020. Retail inflation is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
- The retail inflation growth was mainly due to a rise in pulses and products prices that saw a 68% on-year rise in June. Apart from pulses and products segment, the meat and fish segment saw a rise of 16.22%, while that of oils and fats rose 12.27% and spices prices gained 11.74%.
- The retail inflation has grown beyond the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) upper margin of 6%.
- The Central government has mandated the RBI to keep inflation within the range of 4±2%. This inflation range (4% within a band of +/- 2%) was recommended by the committee headed by Urjit Patel in 2014.
- The NSO also released the Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) data which measures the inflation in the food basket.
- Inflation refers to the rise in the prices of most goods and services of daily or common use, such as food, clothing, housing, recreation, transport, consumer staples, etc. Inflation measures the average price change in a basket of commodities and services over time.
- Inflation is indicative of the decrease in the purchasing power of a unit of a country’s currency. This could ultimately lead to a deceleration in economic growth.
- However, a moderate level of inflation is required in the economy to ensure that production is promoted. The NSO under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation measures inflation.
- In India, inflation is primarily measured by two main indices — WPI (Wholesale Price Index) and CPI (Consumer Price Index) which measure wholesale and retail-level price changes, respectively.
Consumer Price Index
- It measures price changes from the perspective of a retail buyer. The CPI calculates the difference in the price of commodities and services such as food, medical care, education, electronics etc, which Indian consumers buy for use.
- The CPI has several sub-groups including food and beverages, fuel and light, housing and clothing, bedding and footwear.
- Four types of CPI are as follows:
- CPI for Industrial Workers (IW).
- CPI for Agricultural Labourer (AL).
- CPI for Rural Labourer (RL).
- CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined).
- Of these, the first three are compiled by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Fourth is compiled by the National Statistical Office (NSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Base Year for CPI is The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) uses CPI data to control inflation.
- Warning of Higher NPAs
Why in News
- Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor has warned that the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic would lead to higher Non-performing Assets and capital erosion of banks.
- Just in a span of decade, Indian economy has been hit by the global financial crisis of 2008-09 and the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The current crisis may leave a longer impact on Indian economy, which is predicted to contract in the Financial Year (FY) 2020-21 for the first time in the past four decades.
- Uncertainty about :
- Full restoration of supply chains.
- Normalisation of demand conditions.
- Long term impact of the pandemic on India’s potential growth.
- Banks have poor asset quality, lack of profitability, loss of capital, excessive risk exposure, poor conduct, and liquidity concerns.
- There is also a lack of a mechanism to address bank failures. Stress on Non-banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) and mutual funds are emerging as crucial stress points in the financial system.
Category: Environmental Science
- India’s Second Voluntary Review of SDGs
Why in News
- Recently, India has represented the second voluntary national review of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) report titled as ‘Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local’ to the United Nations High-level Political Forum.
- The report, presented by NITI Aayog, discusses SDGs related policy, means of implementation and situation of Covid-19 in India. It presented the first voluntary national review of SDGs in 2017.
- Localizing SDGs: The account of the progress on SDGs has been represented with examples of a range of diverse practices and success stories of interventions from the States, specifically Aspirational Districts.
- Financial Assistance: India has called on developed countries to provide financial assistance to the developing countries, especially for global public good such as climate change mitigation and control of
- Curbing Illicit Financial Flows: Deliberating on the “SDG-17” that is about “partnerships for the goals”, the report highlighted the need for international cooperation for curbing illicit financial flows.
- Efforts to curb the Covid-19: It mentioned the vulnerabilities faced by the migrants and the urban poor in the wake of the pandemic. Government has announced economic relief packages for them.