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Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (15th 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. Couples in live-in relations cannot adopt, says CARA

  • The nodal body for adoption in the country has barred partners in live-in relationships from adopting a child on the ground that cohabitation without marriage is not considered a stable family in India.
  • The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) permits a single woman to adopt a child of any gender, while single men can adopt only boys.
  • In case an applicant is married, both spouses must give their consent for adoption and should be in a stable marriage for at least two years.
  • Candidates must be physically fit, financially sound, mentally alert and highly motivated to adopt a child, as per the Adoption Regulations 2017.

Central Adoption Resource Authority

  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  • It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  • CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  • CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.

Foreign agency approval

  • It has been decided that the cases of single PAP (prospective adopting parent) in a live-in relationship with a partner will not be considered eligible to adopt a child and their registration through the AFAAs (authorised foreign adoption agencies) will not be considered for approval.
  • The rationale behind the decision is that in India, a live-in relationship is not considered a stable family and the best interest of the child is to be ensured.
  • But there is no rule yet if a single parent decides to enter into a live-in relationship after adopting a child.

Supreme court

  • The Supreme Court has on several occasions said that a live-in relationship is neither a crime or a sin.
  • In the month of May, the Supreme Court had said that adult couples have the right to live together even if they were not married.
  • It said that even the legislature recognised live-in relationships through the provisions under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Domestic violence act

  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to protect women from domestic violence.
  • The Act provides for the first time in Indian law a definition of domestic violence, with this definition being broad and including not only physical violence, but also other forms of violence such as emotional/verbal, sexual, and economic abuse.
  • It is a civil law meant primarily for protection orders and not meant to penalize criminally.
  • The act does not extend to Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Under the Act, women in a live-in relationship have been accorded protection as it allows females living with a male person in a relationship in the nature of marriage to file a complaint of domestic violence.

2. India is facing its worst water crisis: NITI Aayog

India is facing its worst water crisis: NITI Aayog

Facts

  • Nearly 600 million Indians faced high-to-extreme water stress and about 2,00,000 people died every year because of inadequate access to safe water.
  • Twenty-one cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people, the study noted.
  • If matters are to continue, there will be a 6% loss in the country’s Gross Domestic Product by 2050, the report says.
  • Moreover, critical groundwater resources, which accounted for 40% of the water supply, are being depleted at unsustainable rates and up to 70% of the supply is contaminated.

Report

  • The observations are part of a study that ranked 24 States on how well they managed their water.
  • Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh took the top three spots, and Jharkhand, Bihar and Haryana came in last in the ‘Non-Himalayan States’ category.
  • Himachal Pradesh — which is facing one of its worst water crises this year — led a separate eight-member list of States clubbed together as ‘North-Eastern and Himalayan.’
  • These two categories were made to account for different hydrological conditions across the two groups. About 60% of the States were marked as low performers, and this was cause for alarm.
  • Many of the States that performed badly — Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh — accounted for 20-30% of India’s agricultural output.
  • Given the combination of rapidly declining groundwater levels and limited policy action, this is likely to be a significant food security risk for the country.

3. The acyclical inflation threat in India

The RBI may draw some comfort from the fact that the inflation-targeting framework is helping structurally to rein in inflationary pressures.

Pro-cyclical components are those that typically move with economic cycles. For instance, when growth picks up, incomes rise and drive up consumer demand. As that happens, sectors with relatively high income elasticity see greater demand. As supply takes time to catch up, prices rise. Acyclicals are mostly exogenous and do not move with the economic cycle, such as prices of food, fuel and healthcare. However, if inflationary pressures from acyclicals become persistent in an environment of strong demand, they can become generalized over time.

4. China’s growing role in Asian trade and its impact

Dependence of Asia on triad & China’s role

  1. Trade in Asia over the past 30 years has been shaped by GVCs
  2. Asia’s dependence on the triad (the US, Europe and Japan) as sources of technology, management and organization expertise—which are embodied in multinationals from these countries—as well as final export markets remains critical
  3. China has become a key assembling hub in many Asian supply chains and has played a major role in ensuring that manufactured exports from Asia have remained cost-competitive globally
  4. China has emerged as an export powerhouse and a key player in both intra-regional and extra-regional trade

China’s impact on Asian trade

  1. China has assumed an increasingly prominent role in the intra-regional trade landscape, especially after it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001
  2. China’s trade performance has had a major impact on Asia’s intra-regional trade as a whole
  3. The recent trade slowdown in Asia has been driven in part by the stagnation and contraction of rest of Asia (ROA)’s exports to China between 2012 and 2016

Backward & forward participation

  1. Backward participation is measured by the share of foreign value-added content in total gross exports
  2. East and South-East Asian economies averaged almost 30% based on the WTO’s Trade in Value-added (TiVA) database in terms of backward participation
  3. Forward participation captures the domestic value-added content embodied in the exports of other economies

Rising prospects of China

  1. With a rapid growth in per capita domestic incomes, the country is emerging as an important destination for final exports
  2. It is experiencing a transition from investment to consumption and manufacturing to services
  3. Progress in China’s technological sophistication has enabled the economy to utilize an increasing share of domestic capital and intermediate goods in export production (onshoring)

Implications for India

  1. India has not been able to fit prominently into the Asian GVCs
  2. The initial expectation was that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would be the catalyst for this to happen
  3. But it is believed that such trade agreements have been the cause of and may be part of the reason of the limited success of the much-touted “Make in India” scheme
  4. India’s anemic manufacturing performance and the inability of India to plug effectively into regional global supply chains can be attributed to the sustained supply-side distortions and rigidities as well as relatively high trade costs in India

5. Suspense continues: on TN MLAs’ disqualification case

Disqualification on Ground of Defection

Apart from article 102, the Tenth Schedule to Constitution provides for disqualification of the members on ground of defection. Defection refers to desertion of one’s party in favor of an opposing one. As per the provisions of the Tenth Schedule, a member may be disqualified if he:

  • Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party which gave him ticket to contest and win
  • Votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction issued by the political party to which he belongs, unless such voting or abstention has been condoned by the political party within fifteen days.
  • member elected as an independent candidate shall be disqualified if he joins any political party after his election.
  • However, a nominated member is allowed to join a political party provided he joins such political party of his choices within a period of six months. After that period, joining a political party would lead to defection and disqualification.
Who decides the question of disqualification?
  • The question whether a member is subject to disqualification in all other matters except under 10th schedule (disqualification) is decided by President. However, President should obtain the opinion of the election commission before taking such decision.
  • The question of disqualification under Anti-defection / Tenth Schedule is decided by the Chairman in the case of Rajya Sabha {i.e. Vice-President} and Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha.
  • The decision of Chairman / Speaker in this condition is subject to judicial review.

6. For stronger employee representation

Proposals in the note?

  • The changes include an increase in labour representatives to be appointed in the Port Authority Board, among the serving employees of the port concerned, from one to two.
  • The members representing the interests of the employees will hold office for three years and not for more than two consecutive terms.
  • The number of independent members in the Port Authority Board will be a minimum of two and a maximum of four.
  • Every person who was receiving any retirement benefit from the Board of Trustees under the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 immediately before such date will continue to receive the same benefit from the Board.

Features

  • The Board of each major port will be entitled to create a specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure established, or proposed to be established, within the port limits and the land appurtenant thereto.
  • Such a master plan will be independent of any local or State government regulations of any authority whatsoever.
  • After commencement of the Act, for private-public partnership projects, the concessionaire shall be free to fix the tariff based on market conditions.

Highlights

  • The proposed law highlights that amounts received by or on behalf of the Board under its provisions will be credited to a general account or accounts of the Ports which the Board may from time to time open with any nationalised or scheduled bank, according to the guidelines of the Finance Ministry.
  • The presiding officer and members of the adjudicatory board have to be appointed by the Centre on the recommendations of the selection committee.
  • The government will have the power to remove the presiding officer or any member of the adjudicatory board from office in accordance with procedure.
  • A saving clause has been kept under repeal and saving so that the existing benefit enjoyed by Mumbai and Kolkata Ports in respect of municipal assessment of property under the Bombay Port Trust Act, 1879 and the Calcutta Port Act, 1890 can continue.

7. The crimes of a few condemn the fate of many

  1. Amnesty International (AI) released a briefing that revealed that a Rohingya armed group had committed serious human rights abuses by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in northern Rakhine State in Myanmar.
  2. As a movement that campaigns to end human rights abuses against all people, AI aims to uncover all cases of human rights violations without bias, regardless of who the perpetrators are and where the violations are committed.
  3. The earlier briefing follows AI’s earlier reports documenting military attacks on the Rohingya that led to more than 693,000 people fleeing from their homes to other countries.

It’s about people

  1. We should be calling for better protection for survivors fleeing persecution in accordance with international human rights law. We should be calling for justice, truth and reparation for victims and their families.
  2. Nations should call for unfettered access to the northern Rakhine State for independent investigators.
  3. The debate has deteriorated to unfairly and unreasonably attributing the condemnable actions of the some to all Rohingya people.

Rohingyas in India

  1. The Rohingya have been labelled as “illegal immigrants” — even those recognised as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in India.
  2. In fact, in August last year, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs proposed return to Myanmar all the 40,000 Rohingya refugees in India. The Ministry claimed that the Rohingya are a threat to national security.

No attempt for alternatives by Myanmar

  1. There have been no attempts to consider alternative measures to distinguish people who actually pose a threat from people in dire need of protection.
  2. The mass expulsion of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar would be an abject dereliction of India’s obligations under international law.
  3. In the past, AI India has advocated that the most effective way for the Indian government to address security concerns is to conduct fair and efficient refugee determination proceedings.

A straightforward solution by Amnesty

  1. The UN Refugee Convention provides a straightforward solution to deal with the potential security concerns involving asylum seekers.
  2. Article 1F of the Convention excludes protection for those involved in serious crimes.
  3. Therefore, if India acceded to the Refugee Convention, it would be able to effectively assess Rohingya asylum applications and deny protection to those who might fall under Article 1F exceptions, such as members of ARSA who participated in the August 2017 violence.

The Way Forward

  1. Indian authorities have outsourced refugee status determination to the UNHCR, which follows a rigorous process.
  2. However, this is largely meaningless as India refuses to officially recognise Rohingya people identified as refugees by the UNHCR.
  3. These people are left in a state of limbo with neither the UNHCR nor the Indian government providing them effective protection.
  4. Even though India is not a party to the Refugee Convention, it has always had a longstanding tradition of providing shelter to those seeking protection.

8. The rising risks to financing India’s current account deficit

Higher oil prices are raising India’s CAD and FDI inflows has come down—leading to greater reliance of FPI inflows, particularly volatile debt inflows and also on short-term credit.

Higher oil prices are raising India’s CAD

  1. The higher current account deficit will put downward pressure on the rupee and it may also raise the cost of Indian borrowing abroad.
  2. The stress on BoP is already visible in Q1FY19 with the INR depreciating 4%; the RBI had to intervene to stem the depreciation.
  3. NRI flows too have proved to be volatile, especially if the rupee depreciates.
  4. The higher current account deficit will put downward pressure on the rupee and it may also raise the cost of Indian borrowing abroad.

Financing CAD is risky

  1. It’s not just that the current account deficit is widening—the means of financing it also became riskier in 2017-18.
  2. On the one hand, higher oil prices are raising the current account deficit and on the other, foreign direct investment—the most stable source of financing the deficit—has come down.
  3. This has led to greater reliance on foreign portfolio inflows, particularly volatile debt inflows and also on short-term credit.

Why such Problem?

  1. This is a problem because the US Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates and has signalled more rate hikes to come.
  2. As per RBI governor the US programme of shrinking its balance sheet, coupled with increased US T-Bill issuance to fund a larger government deficit, has already led to dollar liquidity shrinking in international markets, particularly in the debt markets.
  3. This is behind the outflows from emerging market debt.

Cost of Protectionism

  1. The rapid deterioration in the trade environment as a result of protectionist policies is also likely to affect export growth, while rising investment demand will result in more imports.
  2. The UNCTAD, had in its recent World Investment report pointed to a slowdown in global foreign direct investment flows.

Dependence on FPI is dangerous

  1. Relying on portfolio flows to finance this deficit will expose the country to the vulnerabilities of uncertain international capital flows, making funding difficult particularly during risk-off episodes.
  2. Within portfolio flows, the increased reliance on debt inflows carries more risks, as unlike equity, debt has to be repaid.
  3. Earlier this month, credit rating agency Moody’s Indian affiliate, ICRA Ltd, said high global crude oil prices are likely to widen India’s CAD and pointed to slowing foreign portfolio investments as an area of concern.

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