India wants WTO to discuss farm subsidies of the rich - (Economics)
- India has stressed the need for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) member countries to take up for discussion on a priority basis at the Nairobi meet beginning on Tuesday the issue of huge trade distorting farm subsidies of the rich countries and its consequent adverse impact on millions of resource poor and subsistence farmers in developing countries.
- Ministers from the WTO’s 162 member countries are meeting at the Kenyan capital during December 15-18 for negotiations aimed at a deal to liberalise global trade.
Don’t repay loans, Naidu tells ‘call money’ victims - (Economics)
- Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday asked the victims of call money scandal not to repay their dues. “Don’t be afraid of call money organisers. Nirbhaya Act will be slapped if they harass borrowers,” he said.
- For the record, micro-finance companies collect exorbitant interest rates, and, in some cases, it crosses even 50 per cent. “As Leader of the Opposition a few years ago, I had asked the victims of micro-finance companies not to pay dues,” Mr. Naidu recalled.
HAL should work with private sector: Parrikar - (Defence)
- Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday that India would need 4,000 to 6,000 helicopter engines in the next 15 to 20 years.
- “If you make it in the time frame allotted, it will be a big achievement,” he said. Mr. Parrikar was speaking after launching the maiden run of the core of 25 kN indigenous Aero Engine (Hindustan Turbo Fan Engine – HTFE 25) developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.
Cultivate a secular outlook, says Pranab - (Indian Polity)
- Observing that India has maintained remarkable unity through the centuries in spite of her vast size and immense diversity, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said: “We must learn to respect the rights and sensitivities of minorities, in letter and spirit.”
- The President, who was delivering Indira Gandhi Memorial Lecture of the Asiatic Society in Kolkata on ‘National Integration,’ emphasised the need to “cultivate a secular and democratic outlook, and promote a way of life that is inclusive and does not interfere with the civic duties and rights as well as responsibilities of individuals.”
New rules mandate undertaking by NGOs - (Governance)
- Continuing its hard stance against NGOs and associations that receive foreign funds, the NDA government on Monday notified new rules that require them to give an undertaking that the acceptance of foreign funds is not likely to affect the “sovereignty and integrity of India or impact friendly relations with foreign state and does not disrupt communal harmony.”
One-man commission on OROP appointed - (Governance)
- Sidestepping the demand by ex-servicemen for a five-member judicial commission with representatives from the military, the Union government on Monday appointed Justice L. Narasimha Reddy, former Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, as the one-man judicial commission to look into the implementation of the one rank one pension scheme.
- The appointment of the committee is in keeping with the points of the notification issued by the government on November 7 for implementing the scheme.
‘Inequality pulls back India’ - (Governance)
- For just four per cent of its GDP, India could provide “a basic and modest set of social security guarantees for all citizens with universal pension, basic health care, child benefits and employment schemes”, the United Nations Development Programme said in its Human Development Report, 2015, on Monday.
- The annual report looks at the role of work in improving human development.
Comprehensive talks with Pak. soon: Sushma - (International Relation)
- Expressing the hope that the renewed dialogue with Pakistan would open a new chapter of peace and development in the region, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday told both Houses of Parliament that a “comprehensive bilateral dialogue” would start and the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries would work out its modalities.
- “The new dialogue, we sincerely hope, marks a new beginning also for peace and development in the whole region,” she said. India had emphasised the need to speed up the judicial process in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack by militants from the neighbouring country killing scores of people.
SC seeks green crematorium near Taj - (Environment)
- The Supreme Court on Monday asked Uttar Pradesh to explore the possibility of introducing more electric furnaces at the crematorium next to the Taj Mahal and offer last rite services free of cost to save the historic monument. It was responding to the government’s stand that shifting the crematorium will hurt “religious sentiments.”
- The crematorium caught the Supreme Court’s attention recently when sitting apex court judge Justice Kurian Joseph wrote to the Chief Justice of India that smoke and ash emanating from funeral pyres may cause further damage to the 17th Century monument and UNESCO World Heritage site.
Get smart on diesel cars - (Environment)
- The National Green Tribunal’s decision to bar the registration of new and old diesel vehicles in Delhi till its next hearing on January 6 comes as a blow — though a temporary one for now — to passenger vehicle manufacturers.
- Automobile-makers have, in recent years, been building (from scratch, in a few cases) and scaling up their production capacities for diesel cars, driven by the surge in demand for diesel-powered vehicles as the fuel was subsidised and far cheaper than petrol.
A shift from style to substance - (International Relation)
- In the first half of his second year in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made 61 interventions on foreign policy, in the form of speeches, press releases, op-eds, media interactions, and community receptions.
- Nearly a quarter of these (14) were delivered in India, and the rest on visits abroad. During this period, Mr. Modi managed the unprecedented feat of addressing every major multilateral grouping .
A postscript on the NJAC - (Indian Polity)
- These are testing times for the Indian judiciary, as it struggles to retain governance of itself.
- The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) case brought into sharp focus the division between the legislature and executive on the one hand and the judiciary on the other over the seminal issue of how, and especially by whom, judges to the High Courts and Supreme Court are to be appointed.
As economy slows, China urges G20 to focus on domestic reforms - (Economics)
- China, the host for the 2016 G20 meet and holder of the rotating presidency, urged member countries to pursue structural reforms to spur global economic growth even as the Asian giant’s economy slows.
- Macro-economic expansionary policies such as monetary easing remain a ‘temporary response’ to the global financial crisis of 2008, it said.