Gujarat’s controversial Labour Laws Bill gets Presidential assent  –   (Indian Polity)

  • President Pranab Mukherjee has given assent to the contentious Labour Laws Bill of Gujarat, which has provisions to ban strikes in public utility services for up to one year.
  • The Bill was sent for the President’s approval along with the controversial Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, 2015, which is yet to be given the green light.


Amid beef row, buffalo tallow export booms  –    (Economics)

  • Regardless of the raging controversy over beef and the BJP adopting it as a major political issue, the Narendra Modi government quietly eased restrictions on the export of buffalo tallow, according to official documents accessed by The Hindu . Tallow export has since been booming month on month.
  • According to sources, this is the first formal decision by the Central government on buffalo tallow trade since the country was shaken by a controversy over the alleged adulteration of vanaspati (vegetable cooking oil) with beef tallow 32 years ago.


India’s real dirt lies not in streets but in our minds’  –    (Indian Polity)

  • In yet another strong call for harmony and tolerance amid the raging debate on intolerance, President Pranab Mukherjee called for freeing “our public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal.”
  • “Real dirt of India lies not in our streets but in our minds and in our unwillingness to let go of views that divide society into ‘them’ and ‘us,’ ‘pure’ and ‘impure,’ he said, stressing Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of India as an inclusive nation with everyone being equal.


Lok Sabha’s will must prevail: Modi  –    (Indian Polity)

  • Asserting that the main job of Parliament is to make laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday cited Constituent Assembly member Gopalaswami Ayyangar’s statement in the Assembly that the will of the Lok Sabha should prevail in financial matters when a conflict arose between the two Houses.
  • Mr. Modi said this just before the Rajya Sabha recalled the founding fathers of the Republic, ranging from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to Jawaharlal Nehru, and resolved to protect the unity, plurality and the secular character of the constitution.


I answered only to my conscience, says CJI  –    (Indian Polity)

  • While fending off allegations that he granted bail to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa bail in the disproportionate assets case without even first hearing the prosecution, outgoing Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu on Tuesday said that as a judge he only has to answer his conscience.
  • “I have no answer [to this allegation],” Chief Justice Dattu said in a media interaction at his residence on the eve of his last day as Chief Justice of India.


India wants funding, tech in Paris text  –   (Environment)

  • As talks on the text of the Paris agreement began on Tuesday, Indian negotiators said they were introducing provisions in it for a technology and financial mechanism that will make it possible to raise low-cost capital and widely deploy renewable technologies.
  • On Tuesday, the focus was on making technological collaboration written into the Paris deal, Ajay Mathur, Director-General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, told the media.


Medicated mosquito nets to fight malaria in Tripura  –   (Governance)

  • The Tripura government has procured nearly nine lakh medicated mosquito nets from the UNICEF and the Union government for free distribution in malaria-prone areas. Health officials said the long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN) are helpful to contain the disease that often erupts in hills and interior locations of the State, claiming several lives.
  • “The Government of India has contributed 8 lakh LLIN. On the other hand, the Tripura government purchased 50,000 LLIN from the UNICEF,” Dr. Sandeep Mahatme, State Project Director of the National Health Mission (NHM), told The Hinduon Tuesday.


No diplomacy by stealth  –    (International Relation)

  • The Paris handshake between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is indeed a welcome, and unexpected, moment that could ‘change the climate’ of the relationship. They had last spoken in Ufa in July — though they shared the same stage at the UN in September, they only managed a wave across the room.
  • This is far from the vision that Mr. Modi had himself laid out at the start of his tenure, one where neighbours would try to meet without occasion, and engage to sort out bilateral issues, when possible.


Time to abolish criminal defamation  –   (Indian Polity)

  • The observation by the Supreme Court that political leaders should not take criticism as a personal insult highlights a particular kind of intolerance that is rarely referred to in the ongoing debate on the subject: the inability of public figures to tolerate criticism and their repeated resort to criminal defamation proceedings to stifle adverse comment.
  • Nothing exemplifies this as much as the 100-odd prosecutions launched by the government of Tamil Nadu against politicians and the media.


Towards an ambitious and fair deal  –    (Environment)

  • Just as the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gets under way in Paris, a growing campaign by policy influencers and opinion-makers in parts of Europe and the U.S. is putting pressure on India to dilute or abandon Article 3 of the Convention, which refers to common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR).
  • Along with other developing countries, India has historically given voice to the philosophy of CBDR, which states that Parties should “protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.


Climate action an economic and security imperative: Obama  –    (International Relation)

  • U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday global warming posed economic and security risks that had to be tackled immediately, but insisted the climate problem could be solved.
  • If global warming continues, “then before long we are going to have to devote more and more of our economic and military resources not to growing opportunity for our people but to adapting to the various consequences of a changing planet,” Mr. Obama said.


Rajan keeps repo rate unchanged, stresses ‘accommodative stance’ to continue  –   (Economics)

  • Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday left the benchmark interest rate, the repo rate, unchanged at 6.75 per cent as expected, and stressed the central bank’s policy stance remained “accommodative”.
  • The comment signalled that the RBI was prepared to continue with more monetary easing, if needed, to support an economic recovery.


Manufacturing sector growth drops to 25-month low  –   (Economics)

  • India’s manufacturing sector grew at its slowest pace in 25 months in November on sluggish pace of new business orders, data from a monthly survey showed, strengthening the case for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to keep the interest rates low.
  • This also marks the fourth consecutive month of decline in the rate of Indian manufacturing output growth, as per the monthly Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey conducted by Markit and Nikkei India.


IMF gives China’s currency prized reserve asset status  –   (Economics)

  • The International Monetary Fund admitted China’s yuan into its benchmark currency basket on Monday, in a victory for Beijing’s campaign for recognition as a global economic power.
  • The decision to add the yuan, also known as the renminbi, to the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket alongside the dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen, is an important milestone in China’s integration into global finances and a nod to the progress it has made with reforms.
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