Today Current Affairs English 3 February 2022

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The India-Israel Relationship

Why in news?

India and Israel celebrated 30 years of full diplomatic relations on January 30.

How has the India-Israel Relationship evolved over the years?

India recognised Israel in 1950, and full diplomatic ties were established in 1992 after the opening of embassies.In 2017, Prime Minister Modi made the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel, during which the relationship was elevated to a strategic level and seven agreements/memorandums of understanding were inked.In 2018-19, bilateral merchandise trade was valued at 5.65 billion dollars (excluding defence), with the trade balance favouring India.

 

Diamond trade accounts for about 40% of all bilateral trade. Potash is a major export from Israel to India.In 2017, the inaugural meeting of the newly formed India-Israel CEOs Forum took place, with Indian software businesses continuing to increase their footprint in the Israeli market.In horticulture mechanisation, protected cultivation, orchard and canopy management, nursery management, micro-irrigation, and post-harvest management, India has profited from Israeli experience and technologies.

 

Drip irrigation technology and products developed in Israel are now widely employed in India.In 2006, a detailed Work Plan for agricultural cooperation was signed.Agricultural cooperation between the two countries is formalised by 3-year Work plans, which are followed by 3-year Action plans.

In India, state-level centres of excellence have been established.India buys important defence technologies from Israel in the area of defence and security.On security matters, there is cooperation, notably a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.

 

Every year since 2015, IPS officer trainees have spent a week at the Israel National Police Academy for foreign exposure training. S&T and Space Collaboration- The Joint Committee on S&T, created under the S&T Cooperation Agreement signed in 1993, oversees India-Israel S&T cooperation.An MoU was inked in 2017 to establish the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Innovation Fund (I4F).Three space cooperation agreements were signed in 2017 by ISRO and Israel Space Agency. India is known in Israel as an ancient country with significant cultural traditions, as well as an attractive, alternative tourism destination.

What issues are hampering the bilateral relations?

India continues to walk a tightrope between its historical ties to Palestine and its newfound love for Israel on the Palestinian issue. When the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) declared an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem in 1988, India quickly recognised it.

In 2011, India voted for Palestine to join UNESCO as a full member, and a year later, it co-sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution that allowed Palestine to join the UN as a “non-member” observer state with no voting rights.In September 2015, India also backed the installation of the Palestinian flag on UN grounds. In the UN Security Council on the Israel-Palestine hostilities in 2021, India endorsed the just Palestinian cause and the two-state solution.

The first major shift in India’s policy occurred in 2017, when the country issued a declaration abandoning its long-held position in favour of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. India voted in favour of a resolution in the General Assembly rejecting the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but abstaining at UNESCO in December 2017. India voted against Israel on three resolutions and abstained in a fourth, which requested a UNHRC report on the human rights situation in Palestine, including East Jerusalem, at the UNHRC’s 46th session in Geneva earlier in 2021.

According to reports, the Indian government utilised it to breach over 1000 phone lines.

The government has been accused of indiscriminate spying, according to a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court. The company claims it only sells the licence to governments and only after receiving approval from Israel’s Defense Export Control Agency. According to the New York Times, India purchased Israeli Pegasus spyware as part of a weapons deal in 2017.

The Tussle between Governor and Chief Minister

What is the Issue?

The function of the Governor in connection to the elected government and legislature has once again been highlighted by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s outburst against Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

How is the Governor related to the States?

The governor serves as a ceremonial leader, while the state’s Chief Minister wields real power. While India’s President is “elected,” the incumbent national government “selects” the governor. The Governor is the state’s constitutional head and the key link between the federal and state governments.

What are the discretionary powers of the Governor?

Except for the discretion allowed by the Constitution, there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at its head to assist and advise the Governor in the execution of his powers. If there is any doubt as to whether or not an issue is within the Governor’s discretion, the Governor’s judgement is definitive. The Governor’s discretionary power is greater than that of the President since he has both constitutional and situational discretion, whereas the President merely has situational discretion.

Discretionary powers under the Constitution

Article 167- The Governor has the authority to request information from the state’s chief minister on administrative and legislative affairs. Article 200- The Governor has the authority to reserve a bill for consideration by the President.

Article 356- In the event that the constitutional machinery fails, the Governor may recommend to the President that he impose President’s rule.While performing his duties as the administrator of a neighbouring union territory, the Governor is not obligated to act on the assistance and advice of the CM and council of ministers (in case of additional charge).

Sixth Schedule– The Governor has the authority to decide the amount of royalty payable to an autonomous Tribal District Council from mineral exploration licences issued by governments in Sixth Schedule territories (Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram)

Discretionary powers in specific situations

When neither party has a clear majority in the Hung Assembly, the Governor can designate a chief minister. When the governor cannot demonstrate the confidence of the state legislative assembly, the governor can dismiss the council of ministers.

When the council of ministers loses its majority, the Governor has the authority to dissolve the state legislative assembly. Caretaker government appointment- The Governor can appoint a caretaker government for a limited time until a permanent administration is elected or formed.

 

States are subject to special provisions. As per Article 371, the President may delegate special authority to the Governor to constitute independent development boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada, Saurashtra, and Kutch.

What are the current tussles between the Governor and Chief Minister?

Governor Dhankhar of West Bengal is accused of summoning the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police on a frequent basis. When they don’t show up, he tweets about it, frequently tagging the Chief Minister. Mr. Dhankhar recently had a run-in with Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee on the State Assembly grounds. He has refused to sign the Howrah Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2021, causing the civic body’s elections to be postponed. He has accused the government of impropriety in assistance schemes and questioned the government’s assertions about state investments.

 

Maharashtra‘s Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has put a hold on the Speaker election when it became vacant in February 2021.The ruling coalition rejects the Governor’s assertion that the State Assembly cannot make its own regulations. Until the dispute reached the High Court, he had refused to accept the Council of Ministers’ recommendation for the nomination of 12 members to the Legislative Council.

 

The T.N. Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill, which was passed by the Assembly in September 2021, has remained unacted upon by Governor R.N. Ravi.The Governor must either send it to the President of India for approval or return it to the Assembly for reconsideration, but the legislature is being undermined by the interminable delay in making a decision.

Has any efforts been taken to solve the tussle game?

The Commission on Administrative Reform (1968)

President’s rule—The governor’s report on the President’s rule should be impartial, and the governor should use his own judgement in this regard, according to the report.

Rajamannar Committee (Rajamannar Committee) (1971) The Rajamannar Committee emphasised that the state’s governor should not see himself as an agent of the central government, but rather as the state’s constitutional head.

 

Recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission, 1983

In such a circumstance, the Governor should appoint a CM in the order of preference established by the Hung parliament.Prior to the elections, a coalition of parties was formed.With the assistance of others, including independents, the single largest party stakes a claim to form the government.A post-election alliance of parties in which all coalition partners join the government.A post-election coalition of parties, with some of the alliance’s members establishing a government and the rest parties, including independents, providing outside support to the administration.

 

Governor’s appointment- The CM should be consulted during the Governor’s appointment.

Dismissal of the Council of Ministers- When the Council of Ministers has a majority, the Governor cannot remove it.

 

S.R. Bommai’s Decision (1994)

Rule of the President- Political crises, internal subversion, physical breakdown, and non-compliance with constitutional orders of the Union Executive are the four categories in which the Supreme Court has categorised instances of constitutional machinery failure.

 

The decision gives the Supreme Court the authority to look into allegations of malfeasance in the Governor’s report.

The recommendations of the Punchhi Commission (2007)

In the event that no party or pre-poll coalition has a clear majority, the governor should invite the head of “a pre-poll alliance commanding the biggest number” or the “largest single party” to form the government, according to the Punchhi Commission on Centre-State Relations.

Digital currency vs. virtual digital assets

What in News?

In her Budget 2022 speech, the Finance Minister imposed a 30% tax on revenue from virtual digital assets.

What are virtual digital assets and how are they different from digital currency?

Only if a medium of exchange is issued by the central bank can it be classified as currency.As a result, a crypto is only a currency if it is issued by a central bank.In the coming fiscal year, commencing April 1, the Reserve Bank will issue a digital currency known as the “digital rupee.”Anything that isn’t a currency isn’t a currency. Individuals have built virtual digital assets.These digital assets are commonly referred to as crypto currency, however they are not. Take Bitcoin, for example.

Because there is no issuer, these private virtual currencies do not represent any person’s debt or liabilities. They aren’t money, and they aren’t even close to becoming currency.Profits produced during trades of such privately developed assets will be taxed at 30% by the government.

How does the government define virtual digital assets?

A new clause (47A) is proposed to be put into section 2 of the Finance Act to define the phrase “virtual digital asset.”

 

“Virtual digital asset” means “any information, code, number, or token (not being Indian currency or foreign currency), generated through cryptographic means or otherwise, by whatever name called, providing a digital representation of value exchanged with or without consideration, with the promise or representation of having inherent value, or functions as a store of value or a unit of account, including its use in any financial transaction or in any financial transaction or in any financial transaction or in any financial transaction or in any financial transaction or in any financial transaction or in The term includes non-fungible tokens as well as other tokens of a similar sort.

What is a digital rupee?

Crypto currencies, often known as digital currencies, are the latest craze all around the world. The ‘Digital Rupee‘ would simply be a digital version of the widely used real currency. The Reserve Bank will issue it, and it will be fungible with physical currency. The rules governing this Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) are still being worked out.

What are the recent regulations regarding virtual digital assets?

During the 2022 budget, the administration noticed a massive increase in virtual digital asset transactions.

As a result, in the budget for 2022, the government imposed a 30% tax on “revenue from virtual digital assets.” This is true regardless of whether the investor holds the stock for a long or short period of time.

 

Except for the cost of purchase, no deduction on expenditures or allowances shall be allowed while computing such income. Losses incurred by a virtual digital asset investor during the transaction cannot be offset against other income.It has also been recommended that gifting of virtual digital assets be taxed in the recipient’s hands.

 

This change will become effective on April 1, 2023, and will apply to the assessment year 2023-24 and following assessment years. For transactions beyond a specific level, TDS will be charged at a rate of 1% on payments for the transfer of crypto assets.

What the regulations signify?

The Reserve Bank of India has been a vocal opponent of private crypto currencies, claiming that they could jeopardise national security and financial stability. However, the new policy recognises cryptocurrency as a valid asset class and crypto currency trading as a legitimate activity. The RBI, on the other hand, seeks to limit the appeal of this virtual digital asset. This is demonstrated by a higher tax rate of 30%, which reduces the net gain in the hands of investors. There is no way to offset losses from transfers because there isn’t a mechanism to do so. By virtue of this declaration, the confusion and concerns about the legal, regulatory, and taxing status of crypto currencies are addressed to a reasonable extent. The ideal environment for creativity will be created by a well-regulated crypto eco-system.

Issues with open cast mines

What is the issue?

In Jharkhand, open cast mines continue to be a death trap.

What are open cast mines?

Open-pit mining, also known as opencast mining, is a type of surface mining in which minerals are extracted from an open pit in the earth.It is the most frequent technique of mineral mining in the world, and it does not necessitate the use of extractive methods or tunnels.


In most cases, a typical ‘cone-shaped’ excavation is carried out.When mineral or ore reserves are found relatively close to the earth’s surface, this technique is used.When producing building materials and dimension stone, open-pits are sometimes referred to as quarries.Dhanbad has a total of 105 mining leases, which include underground, open-cast, and exhausted mining zones. Due to a lack of legislative approvals, several leases are not operative.

How the mining is done?

The removal of massive amounts of overburden, dumping, and backfilling of the excavated area are all part of opencast mining operations. Overburden removal is the process of removing topsoil to expose coal seams and prepare them for mining.

Mining waste is known as tailings. The waste stream that results from the processing of ore is referred to as “tailings.” These tailings are usually found in backfill.

What are the advantages of Open cast mining?

Full visibility of the exposed orebody with minimal ore loss Greater operational concentration, improved grade control and blending, and no need for artificial lighting because natural ventilation is available 24 hours a day.Greater safety, less mining risks such as gasification, and better roof and wall support.

Pumping of subsurface water is simple.Working with large, cumbersome machines is not restricted. Minimal mining development work, lower capital and operating expenses Early production and a rapid return on investment.

What are the impacts of such mining?

Damage to the ecosystem – The ecosystem that existed before to mining activity has been essentially destroyed. Soil degradation – Various mining activities, especially open pit, have a significant impact on the topsoil and subsoil by altering natural soil characteristics such as texture, grain size, moisture, pH, organic matter, nutrients, and so on. Overburden is very different from prior local soils, and some of it may be hazardous to plants.

Agricultural and forestland loss – In the case of open cast mining, there will be no agricultural land left and deforestation will occur in and around the pit. Water pollution – Water pumped into mines can change local water table depths, causing corrosive mining water to be released into surface waters.

Damage to natural drains and trash dumps may operate as a stumbling block to rainfall flow.Water logging and flash floods – This will cause water logging and flash floods, causing damage to crops and downstream properties. Seasonal reservoir filling and groundwater recharge in the area will be impacted. Landslides – Opencast mining on hill slopes, especially in locations where there is a lot of rain, is prone to landslides, which can result in loss of life, property, and forestry. This can be controlled by a mine slope that is geo technically built and has a suitable support system. Landowners, tribal populations, and contractual farmers living in the Mining Lease region are all affected.

How to overcome these issues?

Agriculture is lost as new agricultural land is developed and a forestation is carried out as part of a larger land-use plan. Soil decomposition – Topsoil and subsoil must be taken separately and stored in a convenient location. These soils can be re-laid on a case-by-case basis to restore degraded land for agricultural use. Water logging and flash flooding – The estimated post-mining surface contours can be used to predict changes in the drainage pattern. A surface drainage pattern action plan can be prepared appropriately. Landslides – This can be controlled by a mine slope that is geotechnically constructed and has an adequate support system. People who have been rehabilitated must be compensated in the form of cash, separate housing, job, health care, education, and other services.

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