Many other Hong Kong landlords have announced similar measures, such as Wharf Real Estate Investment Co., New World Development, MTRCorp, Swire
What are some things to study in current affairs for the UPSC IAS?
If you have read the hindu of 2 july 2019, you must have covered the following:
We are providing the daily updates at our telegram channel: Prelims Specific Notes for IAS
The Hindu Notes 2nd July 2019
CONTEMP OF COURT
Context: The Supreme Court issued a contempt notice to West Bengal for keeping BJP youth wing leader Priyanka Sharma behind bars overnight despite its order on May 14 to release her immediately on bail.
(Pg 1, The Hindu)
Contempt of Court
Both the Supreme Court and the High Courts have the power to punish for contempt of court, either with simple imprisonment or with fine or both.
The term ‘Contempt of Court’ has not been defined by the Constitution.
However, it has been defined by the Contempt of Court Act of 1971.
The Contempt of Court can be ‘civil’ or ‘criminal’.
Civil Contempt: It is the willful disobedience of any judgement, order, writ or other process of a court or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
Criminal Contempt: It is the publication of any matter or doing an act which:
Scandalises or lowers the authority of a court; orPrejudices or interferes with the due course of a judicial proceeding; or
Interferes or obstructs the administration of justice in any other manner.
However, the following are ‘not’ considered ‘Contempt of Court’:
Innocent publication and distribution of some matter;
Fair and accurate report of judicial proceedings;
Fair and reasonable criticism of judicial acts; and
Comment on the administrative side of the judiciary.
IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL
Context: Iran acknowledged that it had broken the limit set on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by the 2015 nuclear deal, marking its first major departure from the unraveling agreement a year after the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the accord.
(Pg 1, The Hindu)
Iran nuclear deal
Also called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
It was signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers – the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.
Why this Nuclear deal?
It came after years of tension over Iran’s alleged efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.
Iran insisted that its nuclear programme was entirely peaceful, but the international community did not believe that.
What was agreed?
Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to have less than 300 kilograms of uranium enriched to a maximum of 3.67% far below the 90% needed to produce weapons for 15 years.
Why did U.S. Pull out of the Deal?
U.S. recently pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran’s energy, ship building, shipping, and banking sectors, which U.S. considers “the core areas” of its economy.
U.S. hopes to compel Iran to negotiate a “new deal” that would cover not only its nuclear activities, but also its ballistic missile programme and what U.S. officials call its “malign behaviour” across the Middle East to destablise the region.
The sanctions have led to a sharp downturn in Iran’s economy, pushing the value of its currency to record lows, quadrupling its annual inflation rate, driving away foreign investors, and triggering protests.
In keeping with its strategy of ‘maximum pressure’, the U.S. designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organisation, a move rejected by the U.K. and European allies. It is the first time that U.S. has named the military of another country ‘terrorist’.
Enriched uranium is not only used to make reactor fuel, but also nuclear weapons.
“Weapons-grade” uranium is 90% enriched.
Uranium and plutonium can be removed from the spent fuel, and reused. The plutonium can also be used to make weapons.
Low-enriched uranium, which has a 3%-4% concentration of U-235, can be used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants.
Radioisotopes produced during the process of enrichment are used in medicine, agriculture, industry and science.
PROTESTS IN HONG KONG
Context: Hundreds of demonstrators stormed into Hong Kong’s legislature after smashing their way in as the crisis that has gripped the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for weeks rapidly intensified.
Protests have raged in Hong Kong against a controversial extradition bill, which would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.
(Pg 1, The Hindu)
Hong Kong, a former British colony, was handed back to China in 1997 following a 1984 agreement between China and Britain.
China agreed to govern Hong Kong under the principle of “one country, two systems”, where the city would enjoy “a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs” for 50 years.
As a result, Hong Kong has its own legal system, and rights including freedom of assembly and free speech are protected.
Its leader, the chief executive, is currently elected by a 1,200-member election committee. A majority of the representatives are viewed as pro-Beijing.
Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, says that “the ultimate aim” is to elect the chief executive “by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures”.
SWATANTRA SAINIK SAMMAN YOJANA (SSSY)
Context: The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of Swatantra Sainik Samman Yojana (SSSY) during 2017-2020 beyond the 12th Five Year Plan which ended on 31/03/2017.
(Pg 2, The Hindu)
Swatantra Sainik Samman Yojana (SSSY)
The key objective of Swatantra Sainik Samman Pension Scheme is to provide pension to freedom fighters & their eligible dependents in India.
The SSSY implemented by the Central Government of India.
Eligibility Criteria for Samman Pension
The following categories of freedom fighters are eligible for the Samman Pension.
Dependents of martyrs are eligible for Samman Pension. A martyr is a person who was killed due to participation in the freedom struggle of India.
A person who had suffered minimum 6-month imprisonment of participation in freedom struggle is eligible to get pension. Eligibility criteria for women & SC/ST are 3 months for women.
If a person’s participation in freedom struggle remained underground for more than six months is eligible for Samman pension.
A person whose property was damaged or sold due to participation in the freedom struggle is eligible to get this pension.
If a person became permanently incapacitated during firing or lathi charge in Freedom struggle, he/she is eligible for this pension.
By participating in freedom struggle if a person lost his Government job he/she is eligible.
Any person was awarded the punishment of 10 strokes of caning/flogging/whipping due to his participation in freedom struggle. He/she is eligible to get Samman pension.
Person not eligible for Samman Pension
If the property of a person was restored, he is not eligible for Samman Pension.
Persons who were reinstated in Government service before the expiry of two years from their dismissal or removal from service and were in receipt of benefits or pay and allowances are not eligible for the pension.
Eligible Dependents for Samman Pension
Samman pension is provided to Freedom fighter family include (if the freedom fighter is not alive) mother, father, widower/widow if he/she has not since remarried, unmarried daughters.
Only one person in the family is eligible for getting Samman pension.
Sequence of eligibility
In the event of availability of more than one dependent in the family, the sequence of eligibility will be as follows.
Context: Rise in the cases of Vector-borne diseases.
(Pg 3, The Hindu)
Vectors are living organisms that can transmit infectious diseases between humans or from animals to humans.
Vectors and Vector-borne diseases Mosquitoes
Rift Valley fever
West Nile fever
Sandfly fever (phelebotomus fever)
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Relapsing fever (borreliosis)
Rickettsial diseases (spotted fever and Q fever)
Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis)
Sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis)
Plague (transmitted by fleas from rats to humans)
Onchocerciasis (river blindness)
Typhus and louse-borne relapsing fever
Context: An outbreak of desert locusts in the villages of Rajasthan’s Barmer district, adjoining the India-Pakistan border, has posed a threat to the crops.
(Pg 5, The Hindu)
The tropical grasshoppers emerged in January this year from Sudan and Eritrea on Africa’s Red Sea Coast and travelled through Saudi Arabia and Iran to enter Pakistan, where they invaded the cotton-producing belt of Sindh.
The swarms of locusts are now entering the Thar desert, threatening the crops in western Rajasthan.
FLY ASH IN INDIA
Context: NGT sought report on fly ash management. (Pg 5, The Hindu)
Fly ash is a fine powder that is a by-product of burning pulverized coal in electric generation power plants.
Fly ash is a pozzolan, a substance containing aluminous and siliceous material that forms cement in the presence of water.
When mixed with lime and water, fly ash forms a compound similar to Portland cement.
When used in concrete mixes, fly ash improves the strength and segregation of the concrete and makes it easier to pump.
Fly ash is also recognized as an environmentally friendly material because it is a by-product and has low embodied energy, the measure of how much energy is consumed in producing and shipping a building material.
Fly ash requires less water than Portland cement and is easier to use in cold weather.
Fly Ash Regulations in India
It is mandatory for power plants to give fly ash free of cost to users within 300-kilometre-radius.
It is mandatory for cement industries, within radius of 300 kilometers of a coal or lignite based thermal power plant, to use fly ash for manufacture of the cement as per the specifications of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
The cost of transportation of fly ash is to be borne collectively by the thermal power plant and the industry concerned.
Every construction agency engaged in construction of roads within a radius of 300 kilometers from a coal or lignite based thermal power plant would be bound to use fly ash in accordance with the guidelines or specifications issued by the Indian Road Congress.
Following are among the efforts made to make optimum utilization of fly ash as an environmentally sustainable and economically viable product:
GST rates on fly ash and its products have been reduced to 5%.
To facilitate 100% ash utilization by all coal based thermal power plants, a web portal for monitoring of fly ash generation and utilization data of Thermal Power Plants and a mobile based application titled “ASHTRACK” has been launched by the Ministry of Power.
Fly ash can help the agriculture in the following ways:
1. Fly-ash as pesticide
2. Saving of chemical fertilizers
3. Fly-ash for improving crop growth and yield
4. Use of fly-ash in composting
5. Managing soil pH
6. Improving water-holding capacity
More on Fly Ash
Fly-ash has been classified as a Green List waste under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
It is not considered as a waste under Basel Convention.
One of the reasons of low fly-ash utilization in India is the unavailability of appropriate cost-effective technologies.
Context: Odisha CM urges PM to stop Polavaram Project. “The submergence of tribal villages resulting in mass displacement of primitive tribals, flooding of fertile agricultural lands and submergence of large extent of forest area would be irreversible consequences,” he added.
(Pg 6, The Hindu)
Polavaram is a multi-purpose irrigation project located on river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh.
Polavaram project dam being built on River Godavari can help divert and utilise Godavari water to Krishna and other rivers.
Polavaram will be the biggest dam dedicated to nation after Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river in Gujarat.
The project has been declared a National Project.
What is a National project?
In 2008 (XI Plan), the government approved a scheme of national projects, under which it identified 16 major water resource development and irrigation projects.
These projects were previously under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme.
However, the progress of these projects had declined due to various factors.
These include land acquisition, inter-state coordination, financial constraints, and issues relating to rehabilitation and re-settlement of the affected population.
Such projects are provided financial assistance by the Government of India in the form of Central grant which will be 90% of the estimated cost of such projects for their completion in a time bound manner.
Criteria For Selection Of National Projects
The criteria for selection of National Project will be as under:
(a) International projects where usage of water in India is required by a treaty or where planning and early completion of the project is necessary in the interest of the country.
(b) Inter-State projects which are dragging on due to non-resolution of Inter-State issues relating to sharing of costs, rehabilitation, aspects of power production etc., including river interlinking projects.
(c) Intra-State projects with additional potential of more than 2,00,000 hectare (ha) and with no dispute regarding sharing of water and where hydrology is established
The projects proposed for inclusion as National Projects should fulfil all the eligibility criteria required for funding under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), including the investment clearance of the Planning Commission/NITI Aayog.
Only major irrigation/multi-purpose projects shall be eligible for inclusion as National Projects.
The progress of work of National Project is monitored by Central Water Commission (CWC).
A High Powered Steering Committee headed by Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation also reviews the implementation of National Projects.
The 16 National Projects are:
Kulsi Dam Project (Assam)
Polavaram Project (Andhra Pradesh)
Noa-Dihing Dam Project (Arunachal Pradesh)
Upper Siang Project(Arunachal Pradesh)
Renuka Dam Project(Himachal Pradesh)
Gyspa HE Project (Himachal Pradesh)
Kishau Multipurpose Project (Himachal Pradesh/ Uttarakhand)
Ujh Multipurpose project (Jammu & Kashmir)
Bursar HE Project(Jammu & Kashmir)
Gosikhurd Irrigation Project (Maharashtra)
Ken Betwa Link Project Phase-I (Madhya Pradesh & Uttar Pradesh)
Shahpurkandi Dam Project (Punjab)
2nd Ravi Vyas Link Project (Punjab)
Lakhwar Multipurpose Project (Uttarakhand)
Teesta Barrage Project (West Bengal)
SC ON EWS QUOTA
Context: SC to hear pleas for Constitution Bench on EWS quota.
(Pg 12, The Hindu)
The economic reservation violated the 50% reservation ceiling limit fixed by a nine-judge Bench in the Indra Sawhney case.
Further, the 1992 judgment had barred reservation solely on economic criterion.
In a 6:3 majority verdict, the apex court, in Indra Sawhney, had held that “a backward class cannot be determined only and exclusively with reference to economic criterion… It may be a consideration or basis along with and in addition to social backwardness, but it can never be the sole criterion”.
The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act of 2019 has provided 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the “economically backward” in the unreserved category.
The Act amends Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution by adding clauses empowering the government to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness.
This 10% economic reservation is over and above the 50% reservation cap.
JAL SHAKTI ABHIYAN
Context: Jal Shakti Abhiyan has been launched by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
(Pg 12, The Hindu)
It is a campaign for water conservation and water security.
The campaign will run through citizen participation during the monsoon season, from 1st July, 2019 to 15th September, 2019.
An additional Phase 2 will be run from 1st October, 2019 to 30th November, 2019 for States receiving the North East retreating monsoons.
The focus of the campaign will be on water stressed districts and blocks.
It is a collaborative effort of various Ministries of the Government of India and State Governments, being coordinated by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
It aims to ensure five important water conservation interventions. These will be
water conservation and rainwater harvesting,
renovation of traditional and other water bodies/tanks,
reuse bore well recharge structures,
watershed development and
There is no additional funding or specific targets for the campaign to achieve.
ARMED FORCES (SPECIAL POWERS) ACT (AFSPA)
Context: AFSPA in Nagaland extended.
(Pg 12, The Hindu)
As far as the other north-Indian States are concerned, the Act is effective in the whole of Assam, Manipur (excluding seven Assembly constituencies of Imphal) but restricted to eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh.
Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram are free from this Act.
However, Jammu and Kashmir is still under this Act.
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)
The government (either the state or centre) considers those areas to be ‘disturbed’ “by reason of differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.”
Who can declare a region to be ‘disturbed’?
the Governor of that State or
the administrator of that Union Territory or
the Central Government.
The whole or a part of a State or Union territory can be declared a disturbed area.
Once declared ‘disturbed’, the region has to maintain status quo for a minimum of three months.
What about the state government’s role?
The state governments can suggest whether the Act is required to be enforced or not. But their opinion can still be overruled by the governor or the centre.
Is the Act uniform in nature?
No, the Act may contain different sections as applicable to the situation in each state.
Is Tripura then the first state to completely do away with AFSPA?
No. It was Punjab.
Special Powers to Armed Forces:
The AFSPA gives power to the Army and Central forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to:
kill anyone acting in contravention of law,
arrest and search any premises without a warrant and
provide cover to forces from prosecution and legal suits without the Centre’s sanction.
PURCHASING MANAGERS’ INDEX
Context: Manufacturing PMI dips.
(Pg 15, The Hindu)
Purchasing Managers’ Index
‘Purchasing Managers’ index’ is considered as an indicator of the economic health and investor sentiments about the manufacturing sector (there is services PMI as well).
The PMI is constructed separately for manufacturing and services sector. But the manufacturing sector holds more importance.
In a PMI data, a reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while a reading below 50 points shows contraction of economic activities.
For India, the PMI Data is published by Japanese firm Nikkei but compiled and constructed by Markit Economics.
The variables used to construct India’s PMI are: Output, New Orders, Employment, Input Costs, Output Prices, Backlogs of Work, Export Orders, Quantity of Purchases, Suppliers’ Delivery Times, Stocks of Purchases and Stocks of Finished Goods.
How PMI is different from IIP
In contrast to volume based production indicator like the IIP, the PMI senses dynamic trends because of the variables it use for the construction of the index.
For example, new orders under PMI show growth oriented positive trends and not just volume of past production that can be traced in an ordinary Index of Industrial Production.
Hence, the PMI is more dynamic compared to a standard industrial production index.
Context: Core sector growth slows to 5.1%.
(Pg 15, The Hindu)
Index of Eight Core Industries (base: 2011-12).
The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 % of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
The data relating to core industries is released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The eight core industries are:
Petroleum Refinery Products (weight: 28.04%)
Electricity (weight: 19.85%)
Steel (weight: 17.92 %)
Coal production (weight: 10.33 %)
Crude Oil (weight: 8.98 %)
Natural Gas (weight: 6.88 %)
Cement (weight: 5.37%)
Fertilizer (weight: 2.63 %)
THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION (IWC)
Context: Japan resumed whale hunting after withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
(Pg 22, The Hindu)
The IWC is the global body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.
The IWC currently has 89 member governments from countries all over the world.
The Commission’s role has expanded since its establishment in 1946.
In addition to regulation of whaling, today’s IWC works to address a wide range of conservation issues including bycatch and entanglement, ocean noise, pollution and debris, collision between whales and ships, and sustainable whale watching.
News in Brief
A supplementary demand is an additional grant to meet government expenditure, outside the annual budget. (Pg 7, The Hindu)
Citizens’ Carbon Footprint App
Maharashtra government will now track citizens’ carbon footprint through an app and reward those who achieve an emission neutral status. (Pg 7, The Hindu)
WTO Self-Help Guidelines
Recently, the World Health Organization has released self-help guidelines for sexual and reproductive health
Pre–exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day.
It’s estimated that it takes at least seven days for PrEP to reach high levels of protection in the body.
India is yet to come up with guidelines for PrEP use and include it in the national HIV prevention programme. (Pg 10, The Hindu)
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide study that measures and compares student ability in reading, mathematics, science and global competence, with financial literacy an option. Accordingly, it ranks educational systems of countries. (Pg 10, The Hindu)