The HINDU Notes – 14th June 2020 - VISION

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

The HINDU Notes – 14th June 2020

📰 Nepal passes amendment on new map

Unanimous vote by Pratinidhi Sabha gives legal stamp to inclusion of Indian territory

•The Lower House of Nepal's Parliament on Saturday unanimously voted for the Second Constitution Amendment Bill, which guarantees legal status for the new political map of the country that includes part of Indian territory in Uttarakhand.

•The voting in the House of Representatives came after day-long discussions, which included praise from co-chair of the Nepal Communist Party Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” for the Nepalese democracy, which, he said, is reversing centuries of diplomatic humiliation.

Not tenable: India

•Responding to the development, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it had “noted” the legislative process.

•“The artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues,” said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.

•The territorial dispute stems from the fact that Nepal claims the land to the east of river Kali, which forms the country’s western border. As per Kathmandu’s understanding, the river originates from Limpiyadhura in the higher Himalayas, giving it access to a triangular-shaped land defined by Limpiyadhura-Lipulekh and Kalapani. India opposes the notion and says the origin of the river is much further down, which reduces Nepal’s territorial demand.

•Saturday’s amendment was approved through a voice vote, following which all the members of the House of Representatives (Pratinidhi Sabha) gave individual signatures to the Bill which completed the voting process.

•The voting showed that members from all the political parties of the Pratinidhi Sabha voted in favour of the motion moved by the government of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli.

•Apart from the ruling Nepal Communist Party, the amendment received support of the Nepali Congress and the newly formed Janata Samajvadi Party-Nepal.

📰 China border situation under control: Army chief

•Earlier, the Army chief responded on May 14 over two scuffles — at Pangong Tso on May 5 and Naku La on May 9 — and stated that they were a result of “aggressive behaviour on both sides” and had been resolved at the local level. Stating that it had been very fruitful dialogue and the situation would keep improving further, Gen. Naravane added, “We are hopeful that through this continued dialogue we are having, all perceived differences that we have will be set to rest.”

Month-long stand-off

•After the month-long stand-off at several locations on the border, at the Corps Commander-level talks last week, both sides mutually agreed on five locations of conflict — Patrolling Point (PP) 14, 15, 17A, North bank of Pangong Tso and Chushul — and also agreed on partial disengagement from some of these places.

•Army sources stated that at Galwan area, limited “disengagement” had begun earlier and was underway in Gogra and at PP 15 and 17A.

•Since the June 6 talks, two rounds of Major General-level talks were held to discuss further disengagement. The stand-off at Pangong Tso remains a major issue of concern and is expected to take longer to be resolved.

📰 Returning labourers may be deployed for Jal Jeevan Mission

Jal Shakti Ministry sends note to States

•The flagship programme of the Narendra Modi government in its second avatar, the Jal Jeevan Mission, or providing piped drinking water to all rural households by 2024, is also being pushed as a way to ameliorate some of the effects of the mass migration of inter-State workers back to their home States in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

•The Jal Shakti Ministry, the nodal ministry for the implementation of the scheme, has written to various States that returning labour, especially those working in the construction sector (skilled, unskilled and semi-skilled), may be deployed to expedite the completion of works under the scheme, as an arrangement that could provide employment to the currently unemployed workers.

•That a huge demand for work has been created because of returning workers is clear from the fact that allocations under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) have already been hiked by Rs. 40,000 crore over and above the Rs. 60,000 crore already allocated. While the MGNREGA is an old programme, the new Jal Jeevan Mission also has funds on its part. “Apart from the Rs. 11,000 crore in the budget, Rs. 12,000 crore has been allocated from extra budgetary allowances, not to forget that 50% of the Rs. 60,750 crore allocated by the 15th Finance Commission for rural local bodies is tied to grants for water bodies and sanitation, some of the key goals of the mission,” said a senior official in the ministry. The total allocation to the scheme is over Rs. 3 lakh crore.

•Skill mapping by various State governments has shown that a majority of inter-State workers returning home are from the construction sector. In Uttar Pradesh alone, 16 lakh out the 18 lakh migrant labour mapped till now are from this sector. The State has assured funding of Rs. 3,382 crore coming its way under the Jal Jeevan Mission, which, officials say, should be utilised in providing employment in rural areas to returning migrants. Bihar, another big receiver State, has funds Rs. 2,090 crore available under the scheme.

•“While we had tapped the National Skill Development Mission to create a pool of manpower skilled in masonry, plumbing, fitting, electricity etc, there is a growing realisation that returning inter-State labour could be deployed faster due to the prevailing situation. We would like to encourage all States to consider this,” said an official.

•As of now, a revalidation exercise of households and status of tap water found that out of 19.04 crore rural households in the country, 3.23 crore households had tap connections and 15.81 crore households had to be provided functional tap connections.

📰 Stimulus package can be fine-tuned, says EAC-PM’s Goyal

‘Centre has to kick-start demand to stimulate economy; can see a sharp recovery’

•The government’s Rs. 20.97 lakh crore rescue package for the economy is not cast in iron and there is scope to fine-tune it, the PM’s economic advisory council (EAC-PM) member Ashima Goyal said on Saturday.

•She also said Centre has to kick-start demand to stimulate the economy.

•“The package is not cast-iron... there is scope to fine-tune the economic package,” she said, while addressing a virtual seminar organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Dr. Goyal, a part-time member of the EAC-PM, added that much of the stimulus pertained to the financial sector and “sequencing of demand and supply is very important to stimulate the economy”.

•Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the package in five tranches, which included Rs. 3.7 lakh crore support for MSMEs, Rs. 75,000 crore for NBFCs and Rs. 90,000 crore for power distribution companies, free foodgrains to migrant workers, increased allocation for MGNREGS, tax relief to certain sections and Rs. 15,000 crore allocated to the healthcare sector. On revival of India’s growth, Dr. Goyal said the COVID-19 pandemic was a ‘temporary exogenous shock’ for the economy.

•“We see a whole range of economic growth forecasts... when human capital is intact then you see a sharp recovery after the real shock,” Dr. Goyal, also a professor of economics at IGIDR, said.

•The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns have severely disrupted economic activities.

•S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings have said India’s economy will shrink by 5% in the current fiscal, while Moody’s has projected a contraction of 4%.

•Commenting on India’s reserves crossing the $500 billion mark, Dr. Goyal said, “Our foreign exchange reserves are borrowed reserves. Best way to increase foreign exchange reserves is to attract investment”.