KVs unlikely to change medium of instruction

Paper:

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news:

The Union Cabinet has approved the new National Education Policy.

Key Details:

  • One of the recommendations of the New Education Policy is that the medium of instruction will be in Home Language/Mother tongue/Regional Language till at least Grade 5, and preferably till Grade 8 and beyond.
  • The RTE Act 2009 also states that the medium of instruction, as far as practicable, shall be the mother tongue.
  • The Centre is unlikely to implement the recommendations regarding the medium of instruction in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) or in schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education.
  • KVs are directly controlled by the Education Ministry.
  • It is because the KVs and CBSE schools cater to the needs of people in transferable jobs and hence, it would not be practical to use students’ mother tongues or regional languages as the medium of instruction.
  • It is up to the State governments to decide on how this would be implemented in schools under their jurisdiction.
  • Education is a Concurrent Subject.
  • In private unaided schools, parents’ choice with regard to the medium of instruction would prevail.

Is Trump empowered to delay the election?

Paper:

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news:

  • The U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested, the November elections be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Trump has displayed resistance for mail-in voting, making claims of a rigged election. He has implied that mail-in voting would allow election fraud to occur on a more widespread scale across the US, without offering any evidence.

Does the President of the U.S. have the powers to do so?

  • According to the U.S. Constitution, it is Congress, not the President, that decides the timing of the elections.
  • A federal law approved on January 25, 1845, has unambiguously set the election timing.
  • It can only be changed by passing a new law. Such law would need the approval of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and would be subject to legal challenges.
  • Senior leaders have dismissed Mr. Trump’s suggestion to postpone the election.

What’s next?

  • President Trump’s first term is set to expire at noon on January 20, 2021.
  • The 20th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution moved the beginning and ending of the terms of the President and the Vice-President from March 4 to January 20. These dates cannot be changed.
  • Ordinarily, if the presidency is vacant, the Vice-President assumes charge.
  • But here, the terms of both President Trump and the Vice-President will expire on January 20.
  • The House Speaker is the next in the line of succession.
  • But the two-year term of the current House expires on January 3, 2021. So, Speaker cannot assume the presidency.
  • The next in line is the ‘president pro tempore’ of the Senate, largely a ceremonial position.
  • According to Article 1, Section Three of the Constitution, the Vice-President is the president of the Senate, and the Senate should choose a president pro tem to act in the absence of the Vice-President.
  • If elections are not held in November (for 23 Republican Senate seats and 12 Democrat seats), the current equation of the Senate would change.
  • The Democrats would have a majority and they could elect a new president pro tem.

1947 pact on Gurkha soldiers redundant: Nepal Minister

Paper:

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news:

Foreign Minister of Nepal has said that the 1947 agreement among India, Nepal and the United Kingdom that deals with the military service of Gurkha soldiers has become redundant.

Background:

  • Impressed by the discipline and ferocity of the Gurkha soldiers, following the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-16, the British decided to recruit Gurkha soldiers in 1815.
  • Ever since, the Gurkhas have fought on the side of the British Empire in almost every war, including both World Wars.
  • The Gurkhas are recruited every year at the British Gurkha camp at Pokhara in Nepal.
  • After India’s Independence in 1947, the question of allotting the 10 regiments of Gurkha soldiers was settled by the Britain-India-Nepal Tripartite Agreement.
  • In 1948, the 11th Gurkha Rifles regiment was created in India in order to accommodate the Gurkhas who refused to depart with the now-British regiments.

Key Details:

  • Nepal has proposed to the UK to review the 73-year-old tripartite agreement with India and Britain over the recruitment and deployment of Gurkha soldiers and their perks and facilities.
  • Gurkha veterans have been alleging that the U.K. has been discriminating against them.
  • A possible bilateral arrangement with India regarding the Gurkha soldiers has been indicated by the minister.

Core sector output shrinks 15% in June, fertilizers buck trend.

Paper:

Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news:

As per official data, the Centre’s fiscal deficit for the first three months of fiscal 2020-21 is ₹6.62 lakh crore (83% of the budgeted target for the year).

What is Fiscal Deficit?

  • It is the difference between the government’s expenditure requirements and its receipts.
  • It is the money that the government needs to borrow during the year. A surplus arises if receipts are more than expenditure.
  • It indicates the total borrowing requirements of the government from all sources.
  • In India, the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act suggests bringing the fiscal deficit down to about 3% of the GDP as the ideal target.

Concerns:

  • Economists opine that, given the government’s additional borrowing plans, both to meet stimulus spending and bridge the revenue shortfall as a result of the pandemic, the fiscal deficit may end up as high as 8% of GDP (exceeding the budget’s goal).
  • As per the budget 2020-21, the fiscal deficit is targeted at 3.5% of GDP.
  • The Union Government has received ₹1.53 lakh crore (in terms of tax, non-tax revenue and loan recoveries) from April to June 2020. This is less than 7% of budget estimates for the full year.
  • The Centre has already announced plans for additional borrowing that amounts to about 5.7% of GDP, and then on top of that, some more stimulus spending may be undertaken in the latter part of the fiscal year.