Current Affairs 18th July 2017

 

1.CENTRE   ASKS   SUPREME   COURT   TO   DEBATE   ON   SPECIAL   STATUS   OF   JAMMU   AND   KASHMIR.

  • The Centre has asked the Supreme Court to debate on the special status   of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, saying it was both a sensitive and constitutional matter.
  • This was in the response of a PIL filed in SC contending that the J&K government, given the State’s special autonomous status under Articles 35A and 370, was discriminatory against non-residents as far as government jobs and real estate purchases were concerned.
  •  However the State government argued that its special status was sourced from the 1954 Presidential Order, which gave special rights to the State’s permanent residents.
  • The hearing comes in the backdrop of an earlier Jammu and Kashmir High Court, which ruled that Article 370assumed a place of permanence in the Constitution and the feature was beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation.

KNOW   ABOUT   ARTICLE 370

1. According to the Constitution of India, Article 370 provides temporary provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy.

2. The article says that the provisions of Article 238, which was omitted from the Constitution in 1956 when Indian states were reorganised, shall not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

3. Dr BR Ambedkar, the principal drafter of the Indian Constitution, had refused to draft Article 370.

4. In 1949, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had directed Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah to consult Ambedkar (then law minister) to prepare the draft of a suitable article to be included in the Constitution.

5. Article 370 was eventually drafted by Gopalaswami Ayyangar

6. Ayyangar was a minister without portfolio in the first Union Cabinet of India. He was also a former Diwan to Maharajah Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir

7. Article 370 is drafted in Amendment of the Constitution section, in Part XXI, under Temporary and Transitional Provisions.

8. The original draft explained “the Government of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers for the time being in office under the Maharaja’s Proclamation dated the fifth day of March, 1948.”

9. On November 15, 1952, it was changed to “the Government of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly of the State as the Sadr-i-Riyasat (now Governor) of Jammu and Kashmir, acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers of the State for the time being in office.”

10. Under Article 370 the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state

 

2.CENTRE   ASKS   STATES   TO   ENACT   THEIR   OWN   AADHAAR   ACTS.

  • Central government has proposed to the state governments to enact their own “State Aadhaar Act”, on the lines of the central Act .
  • The central Act makes Aadhaar mandatory for any “subsidy, benefit or service” for which the expenditure is borne fully or shared partially by the Consolidated Fund of India.

BENEFIT OF STATE AADHAAR ACTS-

  • Several state governments have their own subsidies or benefit schemes, where the burden is defrayed out of their Consolidated Fund however, the central Aadhaar Act cannot provide legal basis for making Aadhaar mandatory for such schemes.
  • However, a State Aadhaar Act, as suggested by the Cabinet Secretariat, could provide legal basis for making it mandatory for state-funded welfare schemes.

 

3.GM   MUSTARD   POLICY – YET   TO   BE   FINALISED.

  • Centre has informed the Supreme Court that a policy decision on the commercial release of the Genetically Modified (GM) mustard crop is yet to be finalised.
  • The court had on October 17, 2016, extended the stay on the commercial release of the GM mustard until further orders.

WHAT   ARE   GENETICALLY   MODIFIED   CROPS ?

  • Genetically modified crops (GMCsGM crops, or biotech crops) are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering methods.
  •  In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species. Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, or environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, or resistance to chemical treatments (e.g. resistance to a herbicide), or improving the nutrient profile of the crop.

   REGULATORY    BODY   FOR   GM   CROPS   IN   INDIA  

  • The top biotech regulator in India is Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
  • The committee functions as a statutory body under the Environment Protection Act 1986 of the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF). It was earlier known as Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.
  •  GEAC is responsible for granting permits to conduct experimental and large-scale open field trials and also grant approval for commercial release of biotech crops.

GM   CROPS   IN   INDIA

  • The country has yet to approve commercial cultivation of a GM food crop. The only genetically modified cash crop under commercial cultivation in India is cotton.

1) Bt Cotton – For the time being, the only genetically modified crop that is under cultivation in India is Bt cotton which is grown over 10.8 million hectares. Bt cotton was first used in India in 2002.

2) Bt Brinjal – The GEAC in 2007, recommended the commercial release of Bt Brinjal, which was developed by Mahyco (Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company) in collaboration with the Dharward University of Agricultural sciences and the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. But the initiative was blocked in 2010.

3) GM Mustard – GEAC has recently given a go ahead for tests of GM mustard before taking a decision on commercialization.