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Why it is in news?
Article-35A constitutional validity has been challenged in Supreme Court on the basis of two reasons:-
It is against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it creates a “class within a class of Indian citizens.”
It is protecting certain provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, which restrict the basic right to property if a native woman marries a man not holding a permanent resident certificate.
Article35A was incorporated into the constitution by a presidential order on the advice of the cabinet in 1954, following the 1952 Delhi agreement between Jawaharlal Nehru and the then Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah, which extended Indian citizenship to the ‘state subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir, in accordance with the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
Article35A of the Indian Constitution empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents. Thus it grants a special status to Jammu and Kashmir. They are:-
It bars a non J&k resident from buying immovable property in the state.
It ensures job reservation in employment for permanent residents.
It bars settlements other than permanent residents in the State.
It provides Right to scholarships and such other forms of aid as provided by the State Government.
Permanent Resident (PR) of the Jammu and Kashmir state can be defined as a person who was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or who has been a resident of the state for 10 years, and has “lawfully acquired immovable property in the state”. The Jammu and Kashmir state legislature can alter the definition of PR through a law passed with two-thirds majority.
Privileges enjoyed by J&k permanent resident:-
A permanent resident can contest to fill a seat in the Legislature.
He can vote during the elections to J&k’s state legislative assembly if he attains more than eighteen years of age.
He can own property in Jammu and Kashmir.
He can obtain job within Jammu and Kashmir Government.
He can join any professional college run by government of Jammu and Kashmir or get any form of government aid out of government funds.
Legality issues pointed in the constitution are:-
Article 35A was not added to the Constitution by following the procedure prescribed for amendment of the Constitution of India under Article 368.
Article 370 does not anywhere confer on the President legislative or executive powers so vast that he can amend the Constitution or perform the function of Parliament. It has been brought about by the executive organ when actually the right of amendment of the Constitution lies with the legislative organ. Therefore, it is, allegedly, ultra vires the basic structure of the Constitution since it violates the Constitutional procedures established by law.
Besides carrying out many modifications and changes, this order ‘added’ a new “Article 35A” to the Constitution of India. Addition or deletion of an Article amounted to an amendment to the Constitution which could be done only by Parliament as per procedure laid down in Article 368. But, Article 35A was never presented before Parliament. This meant the President had bypassed Parliament in this order to add Article 35A.
The Permanent Resident Certificate classification created by Article 35A suffers from the violation of Article 14, Equality before the Law. The non-resident Indian citizens cannot have the rights and privileges, same as permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
Concerns raised due to Article-35A:-
It facilitates the violation of the right of women to ‘marry a man of their choice’ by not giving the heirs any right to property, if the woman marries a man not holding PRC. Therefore, her children are not given Permanent Resident Certificate and thereby considering them unfit for inheritance – not given any right to such a woman’s property even if she is a permanent resident.
It violates the fundamental rights of the workers and settlers like Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe people who have lived there for generations. For example, The Valmikis who were brought to the state during 1957 were given Permanent Resident Certificates on the condition that they and their future generations could stay in the state only if they continued to be safai-karmacharis (scavengers) and even after six decades of service in the state, their children are safai-karmacharis and they have been denied the right to quit scavenging and choose any other profession.
The industrial sector & whole private sector suffers due to the property ownership restrictions. Good doctors don’t come to the state for the same reason.
Children of non-state subjects do not get admission to state colleges.
Support to Article-35A:-
In defense of Article 35-A, the Jammu and Kashmir state Government prepared a report which read, “though Article 368 has been applied to State of Jammu and Kashmir, that would not curtail power of President under Article 370 to amend any provision of Constitution of India in its application to Jammu and Kashmir”. It termed the PIL against the article as “legally misconceived, untenable and meritless”.
The safeguard duty is tariff barrier imposed by government on the commodities to ensure that imports in excessive quantities do not harm the domestic industry.
When imports of a particular product, as a result of tariff concessions or other WTO obligations undertaken by the importing country, increase unexpectedly to a point that they cause or threaten to cause serious injury to domestic producers of like or directly competitive products, a safeguard which is a form of temporary relief is used. Safeguards give domestic producers a period of grace to become more competitive vis-à-vis imports.
If this happens, the government of the importing country may suspend the concession or obligation, but will be expected to provide compensation by offering some other concession. Otherwise, the affected WTO member(s) can retaliate by withdrawing equivalent concessions. Industries or companies often request safeguard action by their governments.
Safeguards usually take the form of increased duties to higher than bound rate or standard rates or quantitative restrictions on imports.
SAFEGUARD DUTY IN INDIA:
The Central Government after conducting an enquiry is satisfied that any article is imported into the country in such increased quantities and under such conditions so as to cause or threatening to cause serious injury to domestic industry, then it may by notification impose a safeguard duty on that article.
Provided that no such duty shall be imposed on an article originating from a developing country so long as the share of imports of that article from that country does not exceed 3% or where the article is originating from more than one developing countries then so long as the aggregate of the imports from all such countries taken together does not exceed 9% of the total imports of that article into India.
WHY SAFEGUARD DUTY IS IMPOSED:
Safeguards can be seen as the brakes on the trade liberalization car. By offering a temporary escape route, safeguards give WTO members, confidence to offer each other greater liberalization measures in trade negotiations than they might otherwise do.
HISTORY OF SAFEGUARDS:
The roots of this trade remedy lie in Article XIX of GATT, 1994 (and its pre-WTO version). This provision allows a WTO member to restrict temporarily imports of a product (known as ‘safeguards’ action) if its domestic industry is affected by a surge in imports.
Safeguards were rarely used before the Uruguay Round. Some governments preferred to protect their domestic industries by persuading exporting countries to restrain exports “voluntarily” or to agree to other means of sharing markets. “Grey area measures” of this kind, circumventing the GATT were negotiated bilaterally for a wide range of products including motor vehicles, steel and semi-conductors. These measures were not subject to multilateral discipline through the GATT and their legality was doubtful. Some safeguard actions actually taken under Article XIX were left in place indefinitely, providing a permanent level of protection.
AGREEMENT ON SAFEGUARDS:
The Agreement on Safeguards sets out the rules for application of safeguard measures and requirements for safeguard investigations by national authorities. The Agreement emphasizes transparency and avoidance of arbitrariness through laying down rules. The goal of the Agreement is to encourage structural adjustment on the part of the industries adversely affected by increased imports, thereby enhancing competition in international markets.
The agreement also aims to cure the problems caused by grey area measures, permanent safeguard actions, Voluntary Export Restrains and orderly marketing arrangement. The Agreement prohibits the future use of grey area measures for the purpose of trading multilateral control. The Agreement on Safeguards requires the existing ‘grey area measures’ to be phased out and to be brought in conformity into the Agreement on Safeguards by the end of December, 1998.
3. Special economic zones:-
A special economic zone is an area in a country that is subject to unique economic regulations that differ from other areas in the same country. The SEZ regulations tend to be conducive to foreign direct investment. Conducting business in an SEZ typically implies that the company will receive tax incentives and the opportunity to pay lower tariffs.
India was one of the first in Asia to recognize the effectiveness of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) model in promoting exports, with Asia’s first EPZ set up in Kandla in 1965. With a view to overcome the shortcomings experienced on account of the multiplicity of controls and clearances; absence of world-class infrastructure, and an unstable fiscal regime and with a view to attract larger foreign investments in India, the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) Policy was announced in April 2000.
This policy intended to make SEZs an engine for economic growth supported by quality infrastructure complemented by an attractive fiscal package, both at the Centre and the State level, with the minimum possible regulations. SEZs in India functioned from 1.11.2000 to 09.02.2006 under the provisions of the Foreign Trade Policy and fiscal incentives were made effective through the provisions of relevant statutes.
To instill confidence in investors and signal the Government’s commitment to a stable SEZ policy regime and with a view to impart stability to the SEZ regime thereby generating greater economic activity and employment through the establishment of SEZs, a comprehensive draft SEZ Bill prepared after extensive discussions with the stakeholders. A number of meetings were held in various parts of the country both by the Minister for Commerce and Industry as well as senior officials for this purpose. The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, was passed by Parliament in May, 2005 which received Presidential assent on the 23rd of June, 2005. The draft SEZ Rules were widely discussed and put on the website of the Department of Commerce offering suggestions/comments. Around 800 suggestions were received on the draft rules. After extensive consultations, the SEZ Act, 2005, supported by SEZ Rules, came into effect on 10th February, 2006, providing for drastic simplification of procedures and for single window clearance on matters relating to central as well as state governments. The main objectives of the SEZ Act are:
· generation of additional economic activity
· promotion of exports of goods and services
· promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources
· creation of employment opportunities
· development of infrastructure facilities
It is expected that this will trigger a large flow of foreign and domestic investment in SEZs, in infrastructure and productive capacity, leading to generation of additional economic activity and creation of employment opportunities.
The SEZ Act 2005 envisages key role for the State Governments in Export Promotion and creation of related infrastructure. A Single Window SEZ approval mechanism has been provided through a 19 member inter-ministerial SEZ Board of Approval (BoA). The applications duly recommended by the respective State Governments/UT Administration are considered by this BoA periodically. All decisions of the Board of approvals are with consensus.
The SEZ Rules provide for different minimum land requirement for different class of SEZs. Every SEZ is divided into a processing area where alone the SEZ units would come up and the non-processing area where the supporting infrastructure is to be created.
The SEZ Rules provide for:
· Simplified procedures for development, operation, and maintenance of the Special Economic Zones and for setting up units and conducting business in SEZs;
· Single window clearance for setting up of an SEZ;
· Single window clearance for setting up a unit in a Special Economic Zone;
· Single Window clearance on matters relating to Central as well as State Governments;
· Simplified compliance procedures and documentation with an emphasis on self certification
The developer submits the proposal for establishment of SEZ to the concerned State Government. The State Government has to forward the proposal with its recommendation within 45 days from the date of receipt of such proposal to the Board of Approval. The applicant also has the option to submit the proposal directly to the Board of Approval.
The Board of Approval has been constituted by the Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred under the SEZ Act. All the decisions are taken in the Board of Approval by consensus. The Board of Approval has 19 Members
The functioning of the SEZs is governed by a three tier administrative set up. The Board of Approval is the apex body and is headed by the Secretary, Department of Commerce. The Approval Committee at the Zone level deals with approval of units in the SEZs and other related issues. Each Zone is headed by a Development Commissioner, who is ex-officio chairperson of the Approval Committee.
4. GSLV-F10/Chandrayaan-2 Mission:-
Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover. After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover.
The mission will carry a six-wheeled Rover which will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands. The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.
The Chandrayaan-2 weighing around 3290 kg and would orbit around the moon and perform the objectives of remote sensing the moon. The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.
5. Ebola virus:-
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by ebola viruses. It was first identified in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a village near the Ebola River, from which it takes its name.
Transmission: The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Fruit bats are natural host of this virus. It spreads through contact with body fluids of inflected persons such as blood, urine and saliva. It also spreads through sexual transmission.
Symptoms: High fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage. The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. However, in past outbreaks case fatality rates is around 50%. However, in past outbreaks case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90%.
Treatment: There is as yet no proven treatment available for EVD. However, a range of potential treatments including immune therapies, blood products and drug therapies are currently being evaluated. An experimental Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV is proved to highly protective against the deadly virus in a major trial in Guinea conductedin2015