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Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (5th June)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. India flouting laws by taxing global air tickets: IATA chief

  1. he International Civil Aviation Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations
  2. It codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth
  3. Its headquarters are located in the Montreal, Canada
  4. ICAO defines the protocols for air accident investigation followed by transport safety authorities in countries signatory to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation
  5. ICAO is distinct from other international air transport organizations, like the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade association representing airlines; the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), an organization for Air navigation service providers (ANSPs); and the Airports Council International, a trade association of airport authorities
  6. The Council of ICAO is elected by the Assembly every 3 years and consists of 36 members elected in 3 categories: PART I – (States of chief importance in air transport), PART II – (States which make the largest contribution to the provision of facilities for international civil air navigation), PART III– (States ensuring geographic representation)

2. Farm friction: on the malaise in agriculture

What are the Farmers’ Demands?

  • Enhancement of the minimum support price regime for crops in line with the M.S. Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, higher prices for milk procurement and loan waivers to offset low or negative returns on investment.
  • This stir, which ends with a Bharat Bandh call on June 10, is not about the immediate crisis faced by specific sections of farmers (such as the cash-strapped sugarcane-growers for whom a cess is being considered under the GST regime). It is a culmination of multiple attempts made over a year to red-flag the systemic malaise in agriculture.
  • The current stir also derives from lack of tangible action on assurances made earlier and imperceptible movement on the Centre’s grand promises such as doubling farm incomes and raising MSPs.

Triggering Point

  • On June 6, 2017, some farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, during an agitation for better crop prices.
  • There have been agitations across the country since then, including in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra (where thousands of farmers walked nearly 200 km to the State capital in March).

Way Forward

  • The government must move purposefully to address the systemic malaise in agriculture
  • The minister in charge had promised this over a year ago, but nothing happened. Blaming the agitators is easy; policy responses are where the heavy lifting is needed.

3. Governance and the Governor

Role of Governor in Governance

  • Under the constitutional scheme, the Governor’s mandate is substantial. From being tasked with overseeing government formation, to reporting on the breakdown of constitutional machinery in a State, to maintaining the chain of command between the Centre and the State, he can also reserve his assent to Bills passed by the State Legislature and promulgate ordinances if the need arises.
  • Further, under Article 355, the Governor, being the Central authority in a State, acts as an overseer in this regard.
  • Undoubtedly, the most crucial issue relates to the exercise of gubernatorial (relating to or connected with the post of governor) discretion. The Governor has the task of inviting the leader of the largest party/alliance, post-election, to form the government; overseeing the dismissal of the government in case of a breakdown of the Constitution in the State; and, through his report, recommending the imposition of President’s rule.
  • In India, the balance in power is tilted towards the Union. The importance of the Governor’s position arises not from the exceptional circumstances that necessitate the use of his discretion, but as a crucial link within this federal structure in maintaining effective communication between the Centre and a State.
  • As a figurehead who ensures the continuance of governance in the State, even in times of constitutional crises, his role is often that of a neutral arbiter in disputes settled informally within the various strata of government, and as the conscience keeper of the community.

Why the abuse of power?

  • There are numerous examples of the Governor’s position being abused, usually at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre.
  • The root lies in the process of appointment itself. The post has been reduced to becoming a retirement package for politicians for being politically faithful to the government of the day.
  • Consequently, a candidate wedded to a political ideology could find it difficult to adjust to the requirements of a constitutionally mandated neutral seat. This could result in bias, as appears to have happened in Karnataka.

Nonpartisan Politicians

  • On the other hand, there are instances of politicians who have risen above partisan politics, and performed their role with dignity and without fear or favour.
  • In this one can think of former President Pranab Mukherjee, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, and former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Way forward

  • A possible solution would be not to nominate career politicians and choose “eminent persons” from other walks of life. Both the Sarkaria and M.M. Punchhi Commissions seem to hint at this. But this could also lead to the creation of sycophants within the intelligentsia, an equally worrisome prospect.
  • One has to consider the verdict of the Supreme Court in B.P. Singhal v. Union of India, on interpreting Article 156 of the Constitution and the arbitrary removal of Governors before the expiration of their tenure. This judgment is crucial since a fixed tenure for Governors could go quite far in encouraging neutrality and fairness in the discharge of their duties, unmindful of the dispensation at the Centre.
  • Since the Bommai verdict allows the Supreme Court to investigate claims of mala fide in the Governor’s report, a similar extension to cover mala fide in the invitation process could be a potential solution.

Conclusion

  • Misuse of a position of power should not serve as a justification for removing the office altogether, unless such a position has totally lost its relevance.
  • Rather, these debates on limitations on the power of constitutional functionaries should be allowed unimpeded to ensure the organic development of our polity

4. Oil price falls as U.S. supply grows

  • Oil prices fell as U.S. production hit a record high and OPEC members considered boosting supply.
  • The benchmark Brent crude oil lost $1.26 a barrel.
  • A sea of red is washing over the energy complex as rising U.S. production coupled with a looming relaxation in OPEC-led cuts sends bulls scurrying for the exits.

Image result for opec countries

OPEC

  • Arab oil ministers agreed on the need for continued cooperation between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other big producers to balance global supply.
  • OPEC will meet formally on June 22 to set oil policy.
  • It is expected to agree to raise output to cool the market amid worries over Iranian and Venezuelan supply and after Washington raised concerns that the oil rally was going too far.
  • Saudi Arabia, the effective OPEC leader, and Russia have discussed boosting output to compensate for supply losses from Venezuela and to address concerns about the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iranian output.

5. Centre to start measuring ‘green GDP’ of States

  • Starting this year, the government will begin a five-year exercise to compute district-level data of the country’s environmental wealth.
  • The numbers will eventually be used to calculate every State’s ‘green’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • The metric will help with a range of policy decisions, such as compensation to be paid during land acquisition, calculation of funds required for climate mitigation, and so on.
  • This is the first time such a national environment survey is being undertaken. India’s environmental diversity and riches are universally recognised but have never been quantified.

Pilot project

  • A pilot project is set to begin this September in 54 districts.
  • Land will be demarcated into grids with about 15-20 grids per district.
  • These will capture the diversity in the State’s geography, farmland, wildlife, and emissions pattern, and will be used to compute a value.
  • The funds for the pilot project are already available. But the budget has not been specified.
  • Much of the data required for the inventory would be sourced from datasets that already exist with other government ministries.

Green skilling programme

  • The government has also launched a ‘green skilling’ programme under which youth, particularly school dropouts, would be trained in a range of ‘green jobs’.
  • Some of the labour required for the survey would also be sourced from the green-skilled workforce.

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