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

World

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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