Insights Daily Current Events, 09 January 2015
Commemorative Postage Stamp on 100 Years of Mahatma Gandhi’s Return
A set of two Commemorative Postage stamps on 100 YEARS OF MAHATMA GANDHI’S RETURN was released by the Prime Minister of India during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations.
- Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology has brought out this set of two stamps and a miniature sheet on 100 YEARS OF MAHATMA GANDHI’S RETURN from South Africa to commemorate an important milestone not only in the life of Mahatma Gandhi, but also in the history of India.
- Mahatma Gandhi arrived in South Africa at a young age of 24 years as the legal counsel of Indian traders based in the city of Pretoria. He spent more than two decades in South Africa, where he developed the concept of Satyagraha while fighting against the gross injustice, discrimination and racism prevailing there.
- Gandhiji returned to India with a formidable reputation to lead the Indian masses struggling for freedom from colonial domination through civil disobedience and non-violence, which proved to be highly effective moral weapon in the India’s struggle for Independence.
K.K. Paul sworn in Governor
Krishan Kant Paul was sworn in as the sixth Governor of Uttarakhand recently. Justice V.K. Bisht of the Uttarakhand High Court administered the oath of office to Dr. Paul.
In the Indian Republic, the state Governor stands at the head of the Executive
power of any state in India, just like the President who is the head of the executive power in the Union.
The Governor is the nominal head of a state, unlike the Chief Minister who is the real head of a state in India. In other words, although all executive actions of an Indian state are taken in the name of the Governor, and all executive powers are vested in the Governor, in reality, the Governor merely gives his consent to the various executive actions. He or she is devoid of taking any major decisions. The real powers needed in the executive dealings of a state lie with the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers.
- According to an amendment in the Constitution of India, brought about in 1956, the same person can be the Governor of two or more states.
- The functions of the Governor of a state are equivalent to the functions of the Lieutenant Governor in an Union Territory in India.
- Like the President of India, the Governor of any state in India is vested with certain executive, legislative and judicial powers. He or she also possesses certain discretionary or emergency powers. But one major difference in the powers enjoyed by the President and those enjoyed by the Governor is, the Governor does not have any diplomatic or military powers.
- The governors and lieutenant-governors are appointed by the president for a term of 5 years.
- Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor.
- The term of governor’s office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by: Dismissal by the president on the advice of the prime minister of the country, at whose pleasure the governor holds office or Resignation by the governor. There is no provision of impeachment, as it happens for the president.
- The first woman to become a Governor of a state in India was Sarojini Naidu. She remained the Governor of Uttar Pradesh in independent India.
For further reference:
Sources: The Hindu, elections.in.
India, South Africa discuss UNSC reforms
India and South Africa recently discussed the need for UN Security Council reforms especially when 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the international body.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
Why was it created?
- Like the UN as a whole, the Security Council was created following World War II to address the failings of another international organization, the League of Nations, in maintaining world peace.
- The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
- The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.
According to the UN Charter, the United Nations has four purposes:
- To maintain international peace and security;
- To develop friendly relations among nations;
- To cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
- To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.
When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council’s first action is usually to recommend that the parties try to reach agreement by peaceful means. If a dispute leads to hostilities, the council’s primary concern is to bring them to an end as soon as possible by issuing ceasefire directives and by deploying military observers/peace keeping force if necessary. The council may also opt for economic sanctions, blockade or even collective military action.
- Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encompasses five key issues: categories of membership, the question of the veto held by the five permanent members, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and the Security Council-General Assembly relationship.
- There is also a proposal admit more permanent members.
- Member States, regional groups and other Member State interest groupings developed different positions and proposals on how to move forward on this contested issue.
- The reform of the Security Council requires the agreement of at least two-thirds of UN member states and that of all the permanent members of the UNSC, enjoying the veto right.
India and UNSC:
- India was among the founding members of United Nations.
- It is the second largest and a one of the largest constant contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
- Today, India has over 8,500 peacekeepers in the field, more than twice as many as the UN’s five big powers combined.
India, since long time, has been demanding expansion of UNSC and its inclusion as permanent member in it. It has been a member of UNSC for 7 terms and a member of G-77 and G-4, so permanent membership is a logical extension.
Sources: The Hindu, un.org, Wiki.
SEBI proposes e-IPO norms
The Securities and Exchange Board of India has proposed e-IPO norms, where investors can bid for shares through Internet and eventually on mobiles, while already listed public sector undertakings (PSUs) will be provided a ‘fast-track’ route for share sales to meet the disinvestment targets.
- To boost fund raising from markets.
- Under the new norms, SEBI has proposed to drastically cut the timeline for listing of shares within 2-3 days of the IPO, as against 12 days currently.
- The fast-track route of raising capital has been proposed for companies having public shareholding market valuation of as low as Rs.250 crore, as against Rs.3,000 crore at present. The public sector entities can tap the ‘fast-track’ route even without complying to this minimum average market value limit, provided they meet other conditions.
- Under the ‘fast-track’ route, a listed company would not be required to file any draft offer document for its FPO or rights issue and it can proceed with the fund-raising programme without necessarily getting ‘observations’ from SEBI.
The proposed moves are part of efforts to simplify the process of IPOs, lowering their costs and helping companies reach more retail investors in small towns.
Sources: The Hindu.
Collapse of oil economies may affect India
The continued slide in Brent crude prices augurs well for the Indian economy despite the temporary setback for stock markets and oil related stocks.
- The fall in the stock markets was due to a combination of fall in crude oil prices below the $50-mark as well as the possibility of Greece being taken out of the eurozone.
How it is good for India:
- The fall in crude oil price is good for all users, including major importers like India, as it lowers their trade deficit and hence strengthens their currencies.
- With low oil price, the production cost will go down, and India will be competitive internationally. With this, exports will increase. Imports will be down and this will improve balance of payment situation. Overall it is good for economy.
- The steep fall in crude prices is defacto fiscal stimulus for India as oil accounts for 37 per cent of its imports.
- Lower oil prices will cut inflation, and will bring down our current account deficit.
- It will boost our growth prospects and overall it is good for India.
Effects on exporting countries:
- For the oil exporters, this is bad news as it lowers their export earnings, and given that most countries are dependent on oil exports, their growth would suffer.
Some analysts believe that the collapse of some oil economies could be a matter of concern for India.
- The collapse of any economy will be a concern for India as it changes economic dynamics. Today the global economy is just about in a recovery mode and the collapse of any economy, be it Greece or any oil producing country would change the policy actions of central banks which will influence the flow of funds thus impacting our external balances. Hence while India may not be affected on the trade front but, it will definitely impact country’s balance of payments.
- Default in loans given to Russia and to shale gas developers in the U.S. could affect the global banking industry which could cause imbalances.
Sources: The Hindu.
Consumer durable firms hike prices by up to 5 per cent
Few Consumer durable firms are increasing the prices of their products by up to 5 per cent following the withdrawal of excise duty sops, coupled with high input costs.
Major factors which have led to price hike:
- 2 per cent increase in excise duty.
- Weakening of the rupee against the dollar that had increased input costs.
The government had decided against extending excise duty concessions given to the consumer durables industry from December 31. The excise duty on the sector is now at 12 per cent up from 10 per cent.
- The government’s decision of not extending excise duty cut on consumer durables would hit the buyer sentiment and impact sales.
- The rollback of the excise duty has led to an increase in product prices as the burden has been passed on to the consumers
Central Excise duty is an indirect tax levied on those goods which are manufactured in India and are meant for home consumption. The taxable event is ‘manufacture’ and the liability of central excise duty arises as soon as the goods are manufactured. It is a tax on manufacturing, which is paid by a manufacturer, who passes its incidence on to the customers.
Sources: The Hindu, business.gov.in.