Current Affairs Current Affairs - 25 August 2018 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 25 August 2018

General Affairs 

142 Terrorists Killed In Anti-Terror Operations In 2018
  • As many as 142 terrorists have been eliminated in anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir this year, the Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), R R Bhatnagar, said today.
    There are approximately 200-250 terrorists still operating in Kashmir Valley, he told reporters.

    The DG asserted that the law and order situation is "better" in Kashmir compared to 2016-17 and the number of injured personnel has decreased.

    As part of efforts to discourage youths from joining terrorists, he said a helpline called Madadgar was started by the force which received 2.5 lakh calls during last one year .

    He sad the terrorists were targeting unarmed security personnel and their families as they were frustrated.

    "Our force is better protected and there is a better security situation on the law and order front (in Kashmir). In days to come, forces will perform even better."

    Mr Bhatnagar said, "In this year alone till now, 142 terrorists have been neutralized and last year also there were good results."

    Asked about the security situation, the DG said terrorism and law and order issues, which include stone pelting, shutdowns and strikes, are the "two big challenges" in Kashmir and they have been dealing with them sternly.

    "We are dealing with these challenges effectively .We have very good coordination with our sister security agencies and security forces are successful in dealing with the situation as per their objectives", Mr Bhatnagar said.

    Replying to another question on unarmed police personnel being targeted by terrorists in the Kashmir Valley, he said that this is due to the frustration of terrorists. 

    "They are engaged in such cowardice, by targeting (unarmed) police forces in their homes and also the CRPF, to create an environment of fear and terror", he added.

    He said that with every sacrifice, the forces become more determined to stamp out terrorism and "our force will strongly deal with them".

    Asked about terrorists increasingly recruiting youths from the Kashmir valley, the DG said the ratio of foreign and local terrorists keeps changing.

    "Security forces have an upper hand as no major suicide attack has been successful. There is an effect of security operations on the ground and recruitments (of youth in Kashmir by terrorists) are taking place and we are dealing with it effectively," he said.

    Replying to another question on militants believed to be active in the Valley, he said "different agencies have different figures. But approximately 200-250 is the figure (of terrorists operating in Kashmir Valley)".

    Asked about CRPF casualties due to stone pelting attacks in Kashmir Valley, he said that from 2016-17 the injuries have decreased because of body protectors. 

    "Our safety gear has improved. Less lethal weapons are being used. Several things including tear and smoke shells, plastic bullets, pellet guns and a spectrum of less lethal weapons are now in use to ensure that collateral damage does not take place," he said.

    He said that suicide attacks by terrorists on camps of the paramilitary force, whether it was in Srinagar or in North Kashmir, have been well defended and foiled.

    "At one camp, they were able to come inside but it was an under-construction camp and there also we have neutralized them," he said. "Many steps are being taken for the security of camps including use of technology and surveillance equipments.

    Asked about the security for panchayat polls, he said the notification has not come as yet for panchayat polls. "Security establishment will make a good arrangements for the poll security," he said. 

    Asked about steps being taken by the CRPF to de-radicalise youth joining terrorism in Kashmir Valley, he said a helpline called Madadgar was started by the force.

    "During last one year, we have received two and a half lakh calls on that number and there were 2,500 such calls in which we have reached with various types of assistance to the locals of Kashmir Valley," he added.

    The DG CRPF said that were trying to ensure that the misguided youth rejoin the national mainstream.

    "We are carrying out several programmes including that of sports. We have got a good response in these initiatives of sports and Bharat Darshan programmes," he added. 

    "Our country is providing opportunities to the youth who are being radicalized in Kashmir valley and these initiatives not only continue in Kashmir valley but in the Naxal areas as well," he said.

    The DG said that there is a very good response in recruitment drives by security forces in Kashmir and youths in thousands come out to join security forces.

    "We have ensured that every martyr of CRPF gets Rs. one crore as compensation apart from their service dues and in this regard we have tried to ensure since January this year", he said.  Mr Bhatnagar said that CRPF has a long tradition of valour and sacrifice. CRPF is on forefront of internal security challenges whether it is Jammu and Kashmir or in naxal areas or in north east, he added.

    "Apart from this, we are also engaged in relief work during various natural calamities", he said adding that on Independence  Day, the CRPF was awarded with a record of 96 gallantry awards, which included five Shourya Chakras. 

    "The endeavour of our force is to work in professional manner within the ambit of law," he added.

Case Filed Against Lalu Yadav In IRCTC Hotels Money Laundering Case
  • The Enforcement Directorate today filed its first charge sheet against RJD chief Lalu Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi and others in connection with the IRCTC hotels allotment money laundering case, officials said.
    The agency has also named Laly Yadav's son and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, his party colleague PC Gupta and his wife Sarla Gupta, a firm Lara Projects and 10 others in the prosecution complaint (charge sheet) filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before a special court in Delhi.

    The agency said Lalu Yadav and IRCTC officials allegedly misused their position for granting sub-lease of the rights of two railway hotels at Puri and Ranchi to Ms Sujata Hotel Pvt. Ltd. owned by Kochhars.

    In lieu of the hotels sub-lease, 358 decimal of prime plot of land in Patna was transferred to Ms Delight Marketing Company Pvt Ltd (a company owned by family of P C Gupta who is a close associate of Lalu Yadav and an MP from RJD) in February 2005 at a rate which was much less than the then prevailing circle rates.

    "The said company possessing valuable chunk of land gradually got transferred to Rabri Devi and her son Tejashwi by way of share purchase at nominal prices," the Enforcement Directorate said. 

    "The funds used to acquire the land had dubious origin and had been laundered through 151 group of companies belonging to P C Gupta by using an NBFC named Ms Abhishek Finance Company Limited," the agency charged. 

    Subsequently, the shares of Ms Delight Marketing Company Private Limited, it said, were acquired by Rabri Devi and Tejashwi at less than fair market value. 

    "It is noteworthy that the funds used for acquisition of shares by Rabri Devi are questionable and individuals from whom Tejashwi had purchased shares denied any knowledge of holding them," it said.

    The ED said it has attached assets worth over Rs. 44 crore in this case till now.

    The CBI too had filed a charge sheet in this case sometime back.

    The CBI FIR had alleged that Lalu Prasad, during his tenure as the railway minister in UPA-I government, handed over the maintenance of two IRCTC hotels to a company in 2004 after receiving a bribe in the form of prime land in Patna through a 'benami' company owned by Sarla Gupta, the wife of Prem Chand Gupta, who was also a former union minister.

    The ED registered the criminal case against his family members and others under the PMLA, based on this CBI FIR. 

    The ED is investigating the alleged "proceeds of crime" generated by the accused, purportedly through shell companies, according to the officials.

    Others named in the CBI FIR include Vijay Kochhar, Vinay Kochhar (both directors of Sujata Hotels), Delight Marketing company, now known as Lara Projects, and the then IRCTC managing director P.K. Goel.

    The CBI FIR was registered on July 5 in connection with favours allegedly extended to Sujata Hotels in awarding a contract for the upkeep of the hotels in Ranchi and Puri and receiving premium land as "quid pro quo".

India's First Cruise Line Service From Mumbai-Goa To Begin From October 1
  • After much delay, the maiden sail of the country's first luxury cruise line service between Mumbai and Goa will begin on October 1, Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari today said.

    The ministry is investing Rs. 1,000 crore to build a cruise terminal in the Mumbai port area on the east coastline of the financial capital.

    "The first cruise line will set sail from Mumbai on October 1 to Goa," Mr Gadkari told reporters at the JNPT port.

    Earlier the minister had said the cruise line services between Mumbai and Goa will begin by August which was then delayed to December.

    Mr Gadkari had said earlier, the country receives around 80 cruise liners now but the government want to attract more than times of that at 950 over next five years. To achieve this he is planning to build a cruise terminal along the eastern water front of the megapolis at an investment of around Rs. 1,000 crore.

    He had also said that as part of developing cruise tourism, two floating restaurants will come up in Mumbai.

    "The first cruise between Mumbai and Goa having capacity of 500 people would start from August 1," he had said last month, adding the ministry had asked all ports to set up cruise terminal.

    The government would provide Rs. 800 crore to Shipping Corporation of India to purchasing boats, he had said.

128 Private Schools Roll Back Fee Hike, Notice Given To 67 Others
  • Around 128 schools in the national capital have rolled back their "arbitrary" fee hikes following complaints from parents, a government official said.
    Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had issued directions to the schools to roll back their "arbitrary" fee hike after receiving several complaints from parents.

    The Directorate of Education (DoE) had in April sent notices to 195 private schools of the city and asked the school heads to roll back their fee hike.

    Last month, Mr Kejriwal had asked DoE to submit a compliance report on whether the private schools had rolled back their fee hike as ordered by the government.

    "Out of 195 private schools, 128 have informed us that they are rolling back their hiked fees. Remaining 67 private schools will soon be served show-cause notices for not complying with the orders," a DoE official said.

    Education Minister Manish Sisodia would be meeting the representatives of all the 128 schools who had complied with the government's directive.

On Home Turf, PM Modi Coins New Slogan ''Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas''
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday set rolling a new slogan, ''Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas'', about his government as he gave away over 1 lakh houses to women under the flagship Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (rural) scheme, calling it a Raksha bandhan gift.

    The Modi government''s oft-mentioned slogan has been ''Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'' right from the BJP''s election campaign ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

    The Prime Minister was speaking at an event in Jujwa village in the tribal-dominated regions of Valsad district in South Gujarat after he ushered in ''e-Gruh Pravesh'' in the houses to women. Over 1.15 lakh residential units have been built at a cost of Rs. 1,727 crore under the scheme. 

    PM Modi also spoke on video to women across 26 districts who are the beneficiaries of these houses.

    "Our government is marching ahead on the commitment of ''Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas'' and this is why I can ask you all here in everyone''s presence if anyone has cheated you," the Prime Minister said.

    PM Modi went on: "I got an opportunity to talk to women across the state today who got their homes under the PM Awas Yojana. It''s a Rakshabandhan gift to my sisters in Gujarat.

    "Providing over 1 lakh houses to them before the occasion of Rakshabandhan is really a satisfying moment for me," he said. The houses were "wonderful" because no middlemen were involved in there allotment, he added. 

    The Prime Minister said: "It is my dream, it is our endeavour to ensure that every Indian has his own house by 2022."

    PM Modi even took a jibe at Congress by indirectly retorting a statement of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had said that only a fraction of a rupee sent by Delhi reaches beneficiaries.

    "Now, for every rupee we send from Delhi, 100 paise reaches the beneficiaries directly," he said.

    PM Modi also laid the foundation stone of Rs. 586 crore Astol group water supply scheme for the benefit of tribal villages tucked away deep into forests of Dharampur and Kaprada talukas in Valsad district.

    "There might have been several Adivasi Chief Ministers in the country in the past but it is our government that is working to reach water to every nook and cranny in the tribal areas."

    He said the Astol Group Water Supply Scheme, of which he laid the foundation stone, was "glaring evidence of our commitment to provide drinking water to smallest villages with 200 to 300 houses in the tribal regions".

    Under the scheme, water would be lifted from the Damanganga dam and supplied to these villages through a pipeline network.

    Meanwhile, addressing students graduating from the Gujarat Forensic Science University in Gandhinagar at its fourth convocation function, the Prime Minister said the role of forensic science assumed significance as fear of detection and prosecution in courts helps contain crime in a big way.

    Referring to the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2018, Modi spoke about the need to use latest technology to detect and solve crime. 

    He dedicated a newly built Civil Hospital and inaugurated a slew of projects in Junagadh district in Saurashtra region, where he stressed on the need for good doctors and paramedical staff. 

    "We also want medical instruments to be made in India. The sector must also keep pace with the technological advancements globally."

    Before leaving for New Delhi later in the evening, PM Modi attended the meeting of Somnath Trust in Gandhinagar. The meeting, among others, was attended by former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, the Chairman of the Trust, and BJP President Amit Shah.

Business Affairs

Why only telcos were asked to offer Aadhaar-based face authentication
  • Aadhaar card enrolling agency Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has added a face recognition feature as an additional way of authentication. "All telecom service providers (TSPs) that use Aadhaar as an identification tool to issue new sim cards should use face recognition feature as an additional safety measure over and above the existing means of finger print identification and one time password,"informed UIDAI in a circular issued on August 17. The new feature becomes mandatory from September 15.

    Why only Telecom Service Providers?

    The UIDAI had in fact asked all authentication user agencies (AUA) - banks, telecom companies, public distribution channels, income tax authorities, etc - to add facial recognition as an additional feature in their authentication devices by July 2018. However, the AUAs failed to meet the deadline. Since telcos are the ones that use outside agents and distributors to carry out the authentication most, UIDAI has decided to begin with them, and move towards others in a phased manner.

    Is it a new technology?

    According to UIDAI, it always had the ability to leverage the photograph taken during Aadhaar enrolment to verify the identity of the Aadhaar number holder. The inbuilt cameras on laptops and mobiles are good enough for this purpose and do not require any change in hardware, it says.

    Is matching Aadhaar photos foolproof?

    This will not be the only way to authenticate one's identity. UIDAI wants this to be a part of a two-level or three-level mode of identification. For instance, if fingerprint doesn't work, one can use facial recognition plus OTP.

    Why were other AUAs not ready with the service?

    For logistical reasons. For enabling this technology, UIDAI will have to work with all biometric device providers to integrate face modality into the certified registered devices and also provide standalone registered device as and when required. UIDAI also provides software development kits and registered device services in various operating systems, which will have the ability to capture face image, check liveness, and create digitally signed and encrypted authentication input as required.

Moody's growth prediction a boost for Modi but sectoral concerns remain
  • Moody's is making headlines for its global macro outlook, which says that Indian economy is largely resilient to external pressures like those of higher oil prices, and could grow by around 7.5 per cent in 2018-19.

    This may seem a piece of good news for the Narendra Modi government. But according to the analysts and other experts, concerns still remain.

    Take the two crucial sectors that are the face of India in the global markets - IT and pharma. The Indian GDP hardly has any implication on the Indian IT industry, from a business and growth perspective, since it is an export-led sector.

    Analysts are certain that a double digit growth for the IT industry in 2018-19 is far-fetched as the budgeting has already been done for the year. This is despite factoring in tax regulation changes in the US, which has put more disposable money in the hands of their (IT sector) clients.

    Also, it is too early to talk about the growth potential in 2019-20, because the budgeting has not even started in the US and Europe and is expected to start around November. Much of the fate of the export-led sector is linked to the performance and growth in the markets they are present. Here, news reports point out that Moody's Investors Service sees advanced economies growing at around 2 per cent in 2018 and 2019.

    Now, consider the pharma industry, where most of the growth, at least for the leading Indian pharmaceutical companies, comes from exports. The growth challenges that the Indian pharma industry has been facing, for the last three years, has largely been on the account of the developments in their key market US. The companies are getting slow approvals for marketing their drugs in the US and also many of them are still reeling under the regulatory glare of the drug regulator US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

    Some such as Sun Pharma and to some extent Dr Reddy's are seeing relief, with their plants getting cleared by the USFDA. But even if some of them begin to show good growth this year, as could be expected from Sun Pharma, it needs to be noted that their performance in the previous year has been far from comforting.

    Last year, plants of many Indian pharma companies received warning letter from the USFDA. Many of the major pharma players, analysts feel, would not be able to immediately show strong growth. In the domestic market, too, the growth of Indian pharma this year is against a low base of the growth in the previous year, when at certain points it touched negative. Even if it were to grow at around 10 per cent in the domestic market, it will still be some distance from the 12 to 15 per cent range it could reach at best in recent years.

    The Moody's prediction of 7.5 per cent growth has also to be seen in the backdrop of rupee's depreciation in comparison to the US dollar.

Ruchi Soya's lenders approve Adani Wilmar's Rs 6,000 crore bid over Patanjali's offer
  • The long-drawn battle for Ruchi cvSoya finally has a victor, and it's Adani Wilmar. Billionaire Gautam Adani's group company's Rs 6,000 crore bid has been approved by the beleaguered edible oil firm's committee of creditors. With about 96% of the lenders voting in its favour, contender Patanjali, with a Rs 5,700 crore bid, did not stand a chance.

    In the first round of bidding, Baba Ramdev's company had emerged as the highest bidder with an offer of around Rs 4,300 crore. Adani Wilmar, which sells cooking oil under Fortune brand, had made a much lower bid of Rs 3,300 crore. Ruchi Soya owes a total debt of about Rs 12,000 crore to a consortium of 16 lenders.

    However, the CoC was not happy with these initial bids so it had subsequently set the stage for an aggressive bidding war between the two competitors - opting for the Swiss challenge method to maximise the value of the asset. In June, the CoC had opened the fresh bids and declared Adani Wilmar as H1 (highest) bidder, while Patanjali stood as H2 (second highest).
    Following this, Patanjali Ayurved was asked to submit a revised bid by June 16 to match or better the highest offer. However, the Haridwar-based company wrote to Ruchi Soya's resolution professional (RP) seeking clarifications regarding the parameters adopted to choose the highest bidder instead of submitting a bid.

    The company had also questioned the eligibility of the Adani Group to participate in the bidding process under Section 29A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code as well as the appointment of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas as the RP's legal advisor as the said law firm was already advising Adani Group.

    Clearly, the RP has found no issues with Adani Wilmar and the next step in the resolution process is to seek approval from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

    Reacting to the news, the stock of the Indore-based hit the upper circuit limit of 5% on the BSE and is at the Rs 9.42 level currently. Similar movement was seen on NSE as well, where the stock opened at Rs 9.45 and hit its upper circuit limit.

    Given that Ruchi Soya boasts several manufacturing plants and its leading brands include Nutrela, Mahakosh, Sunrich, Ruchi Star and Ruchi Gold, Adani Wilmar has much to cheer.

Resolution soon on 7-8 stressed power assets worth Rs 17,000 crore, says SBI MD
  • State Bank of India managing director Arijit Basu said today that about 7-8 power sector projects worth Rs 17,000 crore are expected to be resolved soon as lenders are nearing consensus on these.

    There are about 34 stressed power projects and the combined value of their outstanding loans is about Rs 1.74 lakh crore. "We have looked at 13-14 accounts which would entail changes in management, investment etc. Out of these, 7-8 accounts we are looking at very closely, to get some consensus among the banks," Basu said on the sidelines of an event here.

    "There are investors who have expressed interest and we are in very very advanced stage as far as these accounts are concerned. Some of these we should be able to conclude very soon," he said.

    When asked how many cases are being referred to NCLT by the end of the August 27 deadline, he said: "We don't see major spurt in accounts being referred to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). We have been bringing out the stress in the system...we have worked at resolution. We have not waited for deadline."

    Banks have already referred many cases to NCLT, he said. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a circular in February, mandated banks to identify projects with even a day's default as stressed asset and conclude the resolution proceedings in 180 days. The circular came into effect on March 1 and the 180-day deadline concludes on August 27.

    On provisions against non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans, Basu said that some guidance has been given and the bank has already provided for them significantly in the first quarter and will continue to provide as per the norms.

    "As far as recoveries are concerned this particular financial year has been significantly better than what we were doing in 2017-18. It is almost 80-90 per cent more than what we were doing in 2017-18," he said. Asked about talks of public sector banks being given more autonomy, Basu said SBI is a well governed bank with a very strong board.

    "The board has not only strong internal directors but strong external directors. So all decisions are board driven. Corporate governance in SBI is strong and regulator is also very clear on how bank should be regulated," he said.

Railways to complete projects worth Rs 50,000 crore ahead of 2019 elections
  • One of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's key electoral promises was a high speed rail network. And this is a promise he intends to keep. The buzz is that the Indian Railways is moving full throttle to complete several projects - including the much-awaited semi-high speed 'Train 18' that will eventually replace the Shatabdi Express trains - ahead of the coming general elections.

    A top government official in the know told The Economic Times, that the Railways is trying to deliver projects worth at least Rs 50,000 crore in the next eight months. "We're working on the list of deliverables before April 2019, and there would be a visible difference in Indian Railways," the source added.

    The list also includes opening up of several stretches of the 3,300-km dedicated freight corridor projects, refurbishment and upgradation of around 70 railway stations, and installation of CCTV systems at all major stations and on-board 168 premium trains.

    The report added that the tender to install around 5 lakh CCTV systems is likely to be floated by the end of this month, and the work is expected to conclude within the next six months.

    The much-talked about 'Train 18', which will run at the top speed of 160 kmph on select routes, is reportedly ready for testing on tracks by September and is expected to be rolled out following a thorough trial. The buzz is that this indigenously-built train set, packing world-class amenities, is likely to start replacing the Shatabdi trains by the start of next calendar year. Initially, six such trains will be built, but the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory could subsequently scale up, depending on the requirement.

    Then there's Railway Minister Piyush Goyal's ambitious target of doubling the national transporter's revenue to Rs 4 lakh crore by 2025. One of the ways he hopes to achieve this is by enhancing freight capacity since it already accounts for 65 per cent of its total revenues and hence, a lot is riding on the 3,300 km long dedicated freight corridors project.

    According to the daily, the Railways expects to complete construction of the first phase of the project - 432 km of the western corridor and 343 km of the eastern one - by year-end.  To remind you, the eastern one runs from Ludhiana, Punjab, to West Bengal's Dankuni, totalling 1,856 km. Meanwhile, the western corridor links Dadri, near Delhi, to Jawahar Lal Nehru Port, Mumbai (1,504 km).

    A source in the railway ministry had told PTI after a review meeting in May that the entire project, being constructed at the cost of a whopping Rs 81,000 crore, would be completed by March 31, 2020. Incidentally, this is India's first mega railway project since Independence.

    When ready, these dedicated corridors would ease the burden of the existing railway network and strengthen the economic backbone of the country. Freight trains on these corridors will run at 100 kmph as against the current maximum speed of 75 kmph on Indian railway tracks. The average speed of freight trains will also increase from existing 26 kmph to 70 kmph. This will not only significantly reduce the travel time between Delhi and Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah, the country's most congested rail routes, but also allow the Railways to run more trains. Moreover, the national transporter's freight carrying capacity will shoot up 66 per cent to around 2,000 million tonnes.

    In addition, the railway ministry is also hoping to start construction of the India's first bullet train project - the 534-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor - by January 2019. But a lot depends on whether the government manages to end the land acquisition protests that have beset the $17 billion project.

    Things are looking much more optimistic for the government's plans to give railway stations a facelift. According to the daily, the stations that would be upgraded by March 2019 include Pune, Bengaluru, Delhi, Shimla, Mathura, Valsad, Ambala, Varanasi, Dehradun and other major junctions across the country.

    The railway ministry's proposal to extend the lease period of private contractors willing to invest in the station redevelopment projects is likely to come up for clearance in the cabinet soon. "We have prepared a cabinet note that proposes extending lease period for concessionaires to 99 years from existing 45. They will also be allowed to sublease the land," ministry official told the daily. The railway zones have taken on the upgradation drive themselves under the engineering, procurement and construction model.

    If things go to plan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team will have plenty to showcase during the upcoming elections, at least on the railways front.

General Awareness

    Article 35A
    • What to study?

      For Prelims: Features of Article 35A.
      For Mains: Controversies and issues associated, is it discriminatory in nature? do we need to scrap Article 35A? other alternatives.

      Context: Article 35A of the Constitution is now being vigorously contested with its constitutional validity being challenged before the Supreme Court. It has managed to create widespread legal and political controversy, despite it not even finding a mention in the regular sequential text of the Constitution.

      What is Article 35A?

      Article 35A is a provision incorporated in the Constitution giving the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature a carte blanche to decide who all are ‘permanent residents’ of the State and confer on them special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare.

      The provision mandates that no act of the legislature coming under it can be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other law of the land.

      How did it come about?

      Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.

      The controversial Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order of 1954 followed the 1952 Delhi Agreement entered into between Nehru and the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah, which extended Indian citizenship to the ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
      The Presidential Order was issued under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution. This provision allows the President to make certain “exceptions and modifications” to the Constitution for the benefit of ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
      So Article 35A was added to the Constitution as a testimony of the special consideration the Indian government accorded to the ‘permanent residents’ f Jammu and Kashmir.

      Need for review:

      The ‘classification’ created by Article 35A has to be tested on the principle of equality as it treats non-permanent residents of J&K as ‘second-class’ citizens. Such persons are not eligible for employment under the State government and are also debarred from contesting elections. Meritorious students are denied scholarships and they cannot even seek redress in any court of law.

      The major sufferers are women who marry outside J&K. Though they retain their Permanent Resident Certificate, their children cannot be permanent residents. This restricts their basic right of inheritance. Further, the issues of refugees who migrated to J&K during Partition are still not treated as ‘State subjects’ under the J&K Constitution.

      Way ahead:

      This matter requires the active participation of all stakeholders. It is necessary to give confidence to the residents of J&K that any alteration in status quo will not take away their rights but will boost J&K’s prosperity as it will open doors for more investment, resulting in new opportunities. Article 35A, which was incorporated about six decades ago, now requires a relook, especially given that J&K is now a well-established democratic State.

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