The HINDU Notes – 25th October 2019 - VISION {.breadcrumb{display:none !important;}

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Friday, October 25, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 25th October 2019

📰 A judge cannot be suspected of bias: Mishra

•A judge need not recuse himself from a larger Bench scrutinising the correctness of his own past judgment, a Constitution Bench held in a verdict published on Thursday.

•“No litigant can choose who should be on the Bench. He cannot say that a judge who might have decided a case on a particular issue, which may go against his interest, should not hear his case as part of a larger Bench,” Justice Arun Mishra wrote in the leading judgment for the Bench.

📰 India, Pak. sign Kartarpur pact

It will facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib

•India and Pakistan on Thursday signed an agreement to operationalise the Kartarpur corridor that will facilitate pilgrims from India to visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.

•The agreement is valid initially for five years. India will hand over the list of pilgrims to Pakistan 10 days in advance and those granted permission to go may be informed only four days before the proposed date of travel.

•S.C.L Das, Joint Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, signed the pact with Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal at the Kartarpur zero point along the border.

•The corridor is being built to connect Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak, to commemorate his 550th birth anniversary celebrations on November 12.

•The agreement said pilgrims would be allowed to carry a maximum of Rs. 11,000 and a 7-kg bag that could contain drinking water, and they would not be allowed to venture beyond the shrine. They would travel in the morning and return the same day.

“Do's and don’ts”

•According to the “do's and don'ts” issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), children below 13 years and persons of about 75 years and above will have to travel in groups.

•“Eco-friendly material, preferably cloth bags, should be used during the pilgrimage and the surroundings should be kept clean,” the agreement said.

•“All pilgrims who propose to visit Sri Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan, will have to necessarily register online at in advance and the applicant is required to register himself/herself in advance of proposed date of travel. Registration does not confer a right to travel.”

•“An Electronic Travel Authorization will also be generated that pilgrims need to carry along with their passport, when they arrive at the passenger terminal building [PTB],” the MHA said.

•Pilgrims would be allowed to carry kirpans (dagger), one of the five articles of faith worn by Sikhs. Smoking, drinking and use of tobacco are not allowed inside the PTB complex at Dera Baba Nanak.

•Pilgrims have been advised not to touch any unattended article and inform about anything suspicious to the authorities. Playing loud music and taking photographs without permission would also be not allowed.

📰 India climbs 14 notches in ease of doing business ranking

Moves to 63rd slot from 77 last year, among 190 nations, in World Bank survey

•In the latest ranking for countries in ease of doing business, the World Bank has placed India 63rd out of 190 countries — an improvement of 14 places from its 77th position last year. The country’s score improved from 67.3 last year to 71.0 this year, as per The Doing Business 2020 study, released on Thursday.

•The indicator measures the performance of countries across 10 different dimensions in the 12-month period ending May 1, 2019.

•The 10 areas of study are: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

•An 11th area – employing workers – is measured, but not factored into the score. A total of 294 reforms had been enacted by 115 countries, the bank said. The indicator, however, is not necessarily representative of each country. For 11 countries, two cities were selected to construct the indicator – Delhi and Mumbai in the case of India. India also featured, for the third consecutive year, in the list of 10 economies where business climates had improved the most.

•This list comprises Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, India and Nigeria. The report called India’s reform efforts “particularly commendable” given the country’s size. The country’s improved ranking was on the back of four reforms: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, trading across borders and resolving insolvency.

•As a case in point, the report said there were improvements in the efficiency of acquiring building permits. Building a warehouse, for example, cost 4% of the warehouse value compared to 5.7% in the preceding year. Imports and exports became easier with a single electronic platform for trade stakeholders, improved electronic submission methods for documents and upgrades to port infrastructure. The ‘resolving insolvency’ indicator, however, was mixed: the report noted that reorganisation proceedings had been promoted in practice, a positive for the indicator, but resolving insolvency had also been made harder because dissenting creditors would receive less under reorganisation than under liquidation.

•Delhi and Mumbai showed improvements in the ‘starting a business’, ‘trading across borders’ and ‘resolving insolvency’ dimensions. On the ‘dealing with construction permits’ front, both cities streamlined and made less expensive the process of getting a permit but Delhi also improved professional certification requirements for constructing buildings.

•Additionally, the report noted that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme and the government’s attention to the Ease of Doing Business indicator were a means to demonstrate ‘tangible progress’. The report also noted the government’s goal of making it to the top 50 list by 2020. (India ranked 130 in 2016). Delhi and Mumbai showed improvements in the ‘starting a business’, ‘trading across borders’ and ‘resolving insolvency’ dimensions. On the ‘dealing with construction permits’ front, both cities streamlined and made less expensive the process of getting a permit but Delhi also improved professional certification requirements for constructing buildings.

•“Governments can foster market-oriented development and broad-based growth by creating rules that help businesses launch, hire, and expand,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said in a statement released on Wednesday.

•“Removing barriers facing entrepreneurs generates better jobs, more tax revenues, and higher incomes, all of which are necessary to reduce poverty and raise living standards.” However, 26 economies also took steps that made business activity more challenging, as per the report.

•The 10 top ranking countries with respect to the indicator were: New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR China, Denmark, Republic of Korea, United States, Georgia, United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden. Each country is scored and also ranked ( a comparison ). The 0-100 score measures any given country’s performance

•with respect to the best practice across the entire set of countries. A score of zero signifies worst regulatory performance and 100, the best.

•China (rank 31, score 77.9) made it to the top 10 list for the second such year. New Zealand and Somalia retained their 1st and 190th spot respectively.

•The commonalities among economies that ranked highest included the “widespread” use of electronic systems and online platforms for facilitating regulatory requirements. On the other hand, resolving insolvency was the least reformed area, as per the report. On average, it takes six times as long to start a business in countries ranked in the bottom 50 than it does in the top 20 countries.

•As far as India’s neighbourhood is concerned, Pakistan carried out the most reforms in the South Asia, a press release from the Bank said. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Afghanistan made zero regulatory changes. South Asian region generally underperforms with regard to enforcing contracts and registering property, as per the Bank. For instance, it takes 108 days for a business to register a property transfer in South Asia, compared to the 24 days it takes in OECD high-income countries. Resolving a commercial dispute, the Bank said, takes three years in South Asia – twice as long as the OECD high-income country statistic.

📰 Good report card: On ease of doing business

The States must do their bit in improving the ease of doing business in India

•For an economy starved of good news, the news of a rise in India’s ranking by 14 places to 63 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2020 survey is a positive development. India also figures in the top ten most improved countries in the world for the third consecutive year. From being ranked 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2020, it has been a significant upward journey for the country in a rank list that is an important input in the plans of global investors. The latest improvement has come on the back of the implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). India’s rank has improved from 108 to 52 in the “resolving insolvency” category with the overall recovery rate for lenders moving up from 26.5 cents to 71.6 cents to the dollar according to the World Bank. This is despite the IBC process being bogged down in courts as interested parties attempt to delay eventual resolution that may work against their interests. The reforms in trade procedures and paperwork as a result of India signing the Trade Facilitation Agreement at the World Trade Organisation are beginning to show. The country’s ranking in the “Trading across borders” category jumped 12 places from 80 to 68 signifying the abatement of paperwork in favour of electronic filing of documents and single-window customs procedures. Interestingly, there has been improvement in a parameter that most industrialists would consider as a problem even now: “Dealing with construction permits”. The country’s ranking has improved by 25 places from 52 to 27.

•While the improvements are impressive and the rise in overall rankings in the last few years is noteworthy, the fact is that India is still below its competitors for global capital, particularly China, which at rank 31 is one level above France. The country lags in key metrics such as “Starting a business’, “Enforcing contracts” and “Registering property”. It should also be borne in mind that the rankings are based on samples and audits done in Mumbai and Delhi only (the World Bank has said it would be covering Bengaluru and Kolkata too from next year). Starting, running or shutting down a business may be easier in Delhi and Mumbai compared to Coimbatore or Hyderabad where it is probably more difficult. Admittedly, it is not easy to streamline processes across the country given India's federal set up where States have a big say in several parameters that go into the ranking such as securing building permits, land approvals, electricity connections, registering assets etc. Yet, this is the ideal that the country should be striving for. The easier part is now done and rise in rankings from hereon will depend on how much the Centre is able to convince the States to reform their systems.

📰 Air quality dips to ‘very poor’ mark with fall in wind speed

AQI of city increases to 311, Mundka and Anand Vihar record above 400

•The air quality of Delhi worsened on Thursday and dropped to “very poor” category, mainly due to fall in surface wind speed.

•The Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city on Thursday was 311, up from 242 on Wednesday. It dropped to ‘severe’ category at Mundka and Anand Vihar where the AQI was recorded above 400 at 8 p.m., according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

•“The decrease in wind speed started to negatively influence Delhi’s air quality by drastically decreasing ventilation coefficients and thereby effecting dispersion,” said government-run monitoring agency, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research.

•The dominating factor for the next two days is going to be the calm surface wind speed, which will result in accumulation of pollutants. “Mostly easterly winds are expected to turn north westerly from October 27, 2019. Fog is also expected on October 28,” SAFAR said.

Action against DDA

•Meanwhile, Environment Minister Kailah Gahlot on Thursday directed the Delhi Pollution Control Commission (DPCC) to take action against Delhi Development Authority if they failed to remove construction and demolition waste from a 10-acre land near Karkardooma metro station by October 25.

•The Delhi government said that the DDA was fined ₹1 crore on October 22 after the DPCC on October 6 inspected the site where the waste was found. The DPCC had also directed DDA to remove the construction and demolition waste from the site within 72 hours.

•Mr. Gahlot on Thursday inspected the site and found that the waste was still lying there and directed the DPCC to take action against DDA if the waste is not removed within the deadline.

📰 2 out of 3 wild poliovirus strains have been eradicated, says WHO

Efforts being taken to eliminate the one type found in Afghanistan and Pakistan

•In an announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on World Polio Day (October 24), an independent commission of experts declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide.

•This follows the eradication of smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2.

•“The achievement of polio eradication will be a milestone for global health. Commitment from partners and countries, coupled with innovation, means that of the three wild polio serotypes, only type one remains,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO and Chair of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Polio Oversight Board, said on Thursday. He urged stakeholders to stay the course until final success is achieved.

•There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains: wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) and wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3). Symptomatically, all three strains are identical, in that they cause irreversible paralysis or even death. But there are genetic and virological differences, which make these three strains three separate viruses that must each be eradicated individually.

Significant milestone

•“Wild poliovirus type 3 is globally eradicated,” said Professor David Salisbury, chair of the independent Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication.

•“This is a significant achievement that should reinvigorate the eradication process and provides motivation for the final step — the eradication of wild poliovirus type 1. This virus remains in circulation in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We cannot stop our efforts now,” he added.

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