Summary of The Hindu 16th FEBRUARY 2024

SC rules electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional

·         In a landmark and unanimous judgment of five judge bench of SC ruled the Electoral bond scheme unconstitutional .

What is an electoral bond scheme ?

·         In 2017 the government passed the Electoral bond Scheme in Parliament .

The salient features of this bill was

Ø  Political parties were allowed to issue bonds for their funding .

Ø  Any citizen of India could buy the bonds which were issued in denominations of One thousand. ten thousand , one lakh , ten lakh and one crore .

Ø  SBI was given authority to issue bonds by political parties .

Ø  The  electoral bond bears anonymity as parties were allowed not to make public buyers name and amount of the bond issued to a buyer .

Ø  Legally registered political parties which got at least 1% of its votes in the last elections could issue the bond .

Ø  The BJP government of that time had  reasoned that the Electoral Bond Scheme will  help curbing black money in financing political parties .

 SC Judgement

     5 Judge SC bench struck down the scheme , terming the mode of funding “ “ unconstitutional and manifestly arbitrary  “

     Violation of Right to Information – SC said the Act violated the right to information about political funding under 19 (1) ( a) of the constitution .

     Electoral bond promotes corruption – SC further said that compete non disclosure to the source of political funding through electoral bonds promoted corruption , and quid pro quo to the with the ruling party to introduce a policy change or bagging for a license .

     SC ordered immediate stopping of electoral bond sales .

     ECI to publish information – SBI will have to submit full details of electoral bonds  since April 12 , 2019  to the election commission of India by March 6 ,2024 . Election commission of India ( ECI ) will have to publish the entire information given by SBI on its website by March 13 .

Opinion of Political Parties :

·         The Congress  lauded SC decision telling that it it was used as ‘ Black Scheme conversion scheme by Modi govt ‘

·         BJP said that it ‘ respects ‘ SC Judgement but instead the Scheme had a ‘ laudable objective of bringing transparency to poll funding “ .

Modi visits Qatar days after release of eight naval officers

·         PM Modi visited Qatar after completing his engagements in UAE  . PM met Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Muhammad bin Abulrahman bin Jasim Al Thani .

·         PM Narendra Modi has invited the ruler of Qatar  ,the Sheikh Tamim Al Thani to visit India ., Briefing Media Personals Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said  Prime Minister Modi “ expressed his deep gratitude to his highness , the Amir , for the release of eight Indian nationals of Al Dahra company “ .

·         Qatar is an important energy supplier to India , Recently the two countries seized a deal of 78 billion dollars to supply Liquified Natural Gas to India . Qatar has around 8 lakh Indian Nationals .

·         Eight Navy Personnel who were in jail on espionage charges were released days before PM Modi’s journey started for Qatar .

India rejected FTA demand for data exclusivity , says officials

·         India has rejected the demand for “ data exclusivity “ as part of ongoing discussion with the European Free Trade Agreement  ( EFTA ) , the Commerce secretary said .

·         Data Exclusivity pertains to a clause in the agreement that puts a minimum six year embargo on clinical trial data generated during the testing and development of drugs .Thus , manufacturers interested in making a copycat product would have to generate the data on their own , which  is an expensive proposition .

·         This could also apply to drugs that are not patented in India .

·         India’s generic drug industry has over the years made affordable versions of expensive drugs and has become a large global supplier .

Global meet urges India to augment pulses production to meet nutritional needs

·         The Global Pulses Conference has been  organized in New Delhi from 15 to 16 th February .

·         The two day conference is Jointly organized by National Agricultural Cooperation for Marketing Federation ( NAFED ) and Global Pulse Confederation.  ( GPC )  .

·         Pulse Producers , Processors and traders has urged India to augment production of pulses to meet Nutritional requirements .

·         Pulse Production currently is 270 lakh tonnes . India still is not self sufficient  in pulses .In 2023 India imported about 29 lakh tonnes of Pulses .India aims to be self sufficient in pulses by 2027 .

·         Pulses are known as the ‘ Wonder Diet ‘ of India , and the aim is to make it the Wonder diet of world , said one of the participants .

Swamy seeks probe into ‘Axis Bank ‘ froud

·         BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy has moved Delhi High Court seeking investigation into alleged fraud committed by Axis Bank to make “ undue profits “  through sale and purchase of shares of MaxLife Insurance .

·         The court has listed the case for PIL for March 13 .

·         The petition alleged that the Axis Bank made undue profits totalling ₹4000 crore from sale and purchase of equity shares of Max Life .

Ajit Pawar faction the real NCP , says Maharashtra speaker ; rejects all petitions for disqualification

·         Maharashtra speaker Rahul Narwekar on Thursday denied all demands of disqualification of MLAs from Ajit Pawar group over charges of defecation .

·         Speaker ruled that the NCP group led by Ajit Pawar  was the “ legitimate Political entity “

·         Currently 53 of initial NCP  has 41 members from Ajit Pawar faction and 12  from Sharad Pawar group . If more than two third members of a political party forms a new political party then they can not be disqualified under defection .

Will contest Lok Sabha Polls independently , says Farooq

·         National Conference President Dr Farouq  Abdullah , a member of INDIA bloc has told that his party will contest LoK Sabha Polls in Jammu and Kashmir on his own. 

·         TMC  and AAP have already said that they will fight Lok Sabha Polls on their own from West Bengal and Punjab respectively


Israeli forces storm main hospital in southern Gaza

·         Israeli forces stormed the main hospitals of Southern Gaza in Khan Younis .Several got wounded in this .

Hamas vows to tetallinate as Israeli air strike kills 10 Lebanese civilians in a day

·         The civilian death toll from two Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon has reached 10 .

·         Israel said that it killed a  senior commander with Hezbollah and his deputy .Hezbillah has confirmed three of its fighters were killed .Elezbillah has vowed to retaliate on Wednesday’s strike .

Ukraine reinforces  critical ‘ frontline ‘ town in Avdiivka

·         Ukraine has sent its soldiers to the embattled town of AVdiivka , which is currently surrounded from three sides by Russian forces.

·         The Ukrainian military said the situation to be “ extremely critical “ .

·         The announcement of reinforcement came as a Ukrainian strike on Russia city Belgorod killed 6 and wounded another 17 .

·         Currently heavy fighting is going on in Avdiivka , the key city is on the verge of falling to Russian hands .

UK economy slips in technical ‘ recession ‘ in 2023 ; Sunak faces flak

·         UK’s GDP growth in the fourth quarter declined by .3% . In the third quarter GDP had declined by .1% .     In 2023 UK GDP grew by .1% over previous year . “ Growing the Economy “ was one of the five promises of Rishi Sunak . Sunak is being criticized by opposition parties over stagnant economic situation .

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