Beijing think-tank links scrapping of Article 370 to LAC tensions

Paper: II

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

Why in News: 

  • The report released by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).
  • CICIR is a Beijing-based think-tank that is affiliated to the Ministry of State Security, China’s top intelligence body.

Key Details:

  • The report authored by a senior figure of CICIR has linked the current tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to India’s move to dilute Article 370 and change the status of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The article, for the first time, described the move as a joint challenge to China and Pakistan, saying the move had “posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China”.
  • The author claims that India’s moves to incorporate part of the areas under the local jurisdiction of Xinjiang and Tibet into its Ladakh union territory, forced China into the Kashmir dispute.
  • China had opposed the Ladakh map for including Aksai Chin. The author claims that this has dramatically increased the difficulty in resolving the border issue between China and India.

Background:

  • Article 370 was abrogated and two new UT’s of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were created.
  • The Union Home Minister had spoken in Parliament about India taking back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin

Lockdown wages: Supreme Court allows firms to negotiate with staff

Paper: II

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

Why in News:

  • Supreme Court directions on the issue of lockdown wages.

Both stakeholders equally affected:

  • Various Industries, establishments were not allowed to function during the lockdown period and those allowed to function also could not function to their full capacity, which has led to the deterioration of its financial position.
  • The workers and employees, although ready to work, could not due to closure of industries.
  • Lockdown had an equally adverse effect on the employers as well as on employees.

Need for negotiations:

  • The Supreme Court has asked factory owners and other private industrial establishments to negotiate terms and enter into settlements with their workers on the payment of wages during the lockdown period.
  • The court urged employers and employees to sort out their differences and resume work in a congenial atmosphere.
  • Employers and workers could seek the help of Labour Department authorities and trade unions to reach a settlement.
  • The court highlighted that the government, too, had an obligation to ensure conciliation between private employers and their workers for the smooth running of industrial establishments.

 

No coercive action:

  • Some industries would be able to bear the financial burden of payment of full or substantial wages for lockdown period, others may not be able to.
  • The SC has held that no coercive action should be taken against private factory/industry owners who were unable to pay wages to workers during the lockdown.

Background:

  • A batch of petitions was filed by industry owners in the Supreme Court against the government notification compelling the industry owners to pay full wages to workers.
  • The notification has been revoked by the government in May 2020.

Government puts off decision on States’ GST dues till July

Paper: II

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

Key Details:

  • GST collections in the past two months have only reached 45% of the target amount, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Friday. She was speaking after a GST Council meeting where State Finance Ministers were given a presentation on the issue.

Details:

  • Recently, the Centre has paid pending compensation dues for December 2019 to February 2020 period. However, with revenues crashing since the lockdown, alternative options may need to be explored for the payment of remaining compensation to states.
  • The council will meet again in July to discuss the issue of compensation cess and dues to the States, and the possibility of borrowing money from the market to meet these dues.
  • The Council approved a slew of measures to ease tax compliance, including reduction in late fees for past returns, and COVID-19 related relief for small tax payers for the period between February and July 2020 provided returns are filed by September.
  • The late fee waivers and an additional moratorium for smaller businesses is a welcome move since with the current financial situation, smaller businesses have been aggressively seeking stimulus.
  • A one-time extension is also being granted to those seeking to revoke cancelled GST registrations.

Inversion of duties:

  • The GST Council also agreed that there is a need to correct the inversion of duties, but postponed a decision on when to do so.
  • Inverted duty structure refers to the taxation of inputs at higher rates than finished products which result in a build-up of credits and cascading costs for the producers.

Background:

  • GST collections in the past two months have only reached 45% of the target amount.

Under GST law, the Centre must pay the States full compensation for any shortfall in revenue collections until 2022.


CM unveils Mumbai’s new flood warning system, calls it a boon

Paper:  III

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

Why in News:

  • Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday inaugurated IFLOWS-Mumbai, a state-of-the-art flood warning system developed for the city. “The flood management system is a boon for the city and it will be helpful in saving Mumbai,”

Details:

  • IFLOWS-Mumbai is a state-of-the-art flood warning system developed for Mumbai.
  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has developed the system with in-house expertise and coordination with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
  • IFLOWS-Mumbai will enhance the resilience of the city by providing early warning for flooding, especially during high rainfall events and cyclones. Using this, it will be possible to have an estimate of the flood inundation three days in advance, along with immediate weather updates.
  • The system will help predict floods before they occur, therefore enabling Mumbaikars to take due precautions in advance.

Background:

  • Mumbai has been experiencing floods with increasing periodicity. The floods of 2005 and 2017 had wreaked havoc on Mumbai.
  • The fact that some areas in Mumbai are below the sea level increases the risk of flooding. Such areas get flooded even during the high tide.
  • A similar flood warning system developed by the MoES is in operation in Chennai.

Significance of early warning systems:

  • The 2004 tsunami resulted in loss of many lives in the absence of an early warning system. Currently, India has developed an early tsunami warning system which will considerably reduce loss of human life in case of another tsunami.
  • The Maharashtra State government was able to shift people to safer locations when Cyclone Nisarga made landfall near Alibaug in Raigad district recently as Maharashtra had received warnings about the cyclonic storm two to three days in advance. This resulted in minimal loss of human life.

Doppler radars:

  • A Doppler radar is a specialized radar that uses the Doppler effect to produce velocity data about objects at a distance. It does this by bouncing a microwave signal off a desired target and analyzing how the object’s motion has altered the frequency of the returned signal.

Leptospirosis:

  • Leptospirosis is a relatively rare bacterial infection that affects people and animals. It can pass from animals to humans when an unhealed break in the skin comes in contact with water or soil where animal urine is present.
  • It’s most common in warm climates.
  • Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney and liver damage and even death. Antibiotics are available for its treatment.