Given below are the daily current affairs for 24th March 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.
- POLITY & GOVERNANCE
- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
POLITY & GOVERNANCE
Sixth Schedule areas
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed the Lok Sabha that “presently, there is no proposal to implement panchayat system in Sixth Schedule areas of Assam”.
Efforts in this regard- Constitution (125th Amendment) Bill, 2019:
- Introduced in the Rajya Sabha on February 6, 2019, the Bill provides for elected village municipal councils.
- The Bill that is still active proposes that the State Election Commissions would hold elections to the autonomous councils, village and municipal councils.
About the Sixth Schedule:
- It protects tribal populations and provides autonomy to the communities through creation of autonomous development councils that can frame laws on land, public health, agriculture and others.
- As of now, 10 autonomous councils exist in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
- This special provision is provided under Article 244(2) and Article 275(1) of the Constitution.
- The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts.
- If there are different tribes in an autonomous district, the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.
- Composition: Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
- Term: The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
- Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.
- Powers of councils: The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction. They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on. But all such laws require the assent of the governor.
- Village councils: The district and regional councils within their territorial jurisdictions can constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits and cases between the tribes. They hear appeals from them. The jurisdiction of high court over these suits and cases is specified by the governor.
States to get Rs 3,000 crore in GST dues
What’s in News?
The Finance Minister informed the Lok Sabha that the Centre will release Rs 30,000 crore as GST compensation to States from the compensation cess collections during the year.
- The GST Compensation Act, 2017 guaranteed States that they would be compensated for any loss of revenue in the first five years of GST implementation, until 2022, using a cess levied on sin and luxury goods.
- A compensation cess fund was created from which States would be paid for any shortfall.
- An additional cess would be imposed on certain items and this cess would be used to pay compensation.
- The GST Act states that the cess collected and “such other amounts as may be recommended by the [GST] Council” would be credited to the fund.
- Any unused money from the compensation fund at the end of the transition period shall be distributed between the states and the centre as per any applicable formula.
India abstains in UNHRC vote on Sri Lanka
India abstained from a crucial vote on Sri Lanka’s rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
- The resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ was adopted after 22 states of the 47-member Council voted in its favour.
- While 14 countries, including India, Japan and Nepal, abstained from voting, 11 countries, including China, Pakistan, Russia and Bangladesh voted against the resolution, and in support of the Sri Lankan government.
- Sri Lanka is resisting the process envisaged in the resolution to prosecute war criminals through an international evidence gathering and investigation mechanism.
- The Sri Lankan administration was counting on India’s support and had even expressed its confidence in obtaining India’s support at the Human Rights Council voting.
- On the other hand, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) sought the exact opposite outcomes on the resolution.
The Sri Lanka resolution was the first to be voted on using the extraordinary e-voting procedures established for the UNHRC’s 46th Session, which was held virtually.
China, Russia propose new security dialogue platform
China and Russia proposed the establishment of a regional security dialogue platform to converge a new consensus on resolving the security concerns of countries in the region.
- The proposal has been made to address security concerns of countries in the region, as their Foreign Ministers hit out at the United States for forming small circles to seek bloc confrontation.
- The proposal comes in the backdrop of the U.S.-China summit in Alaska and the leaders’ summit of the Quad (India, Australia, Japan and the U.S.), grouping.
- The countries hit out at attempts by the West to interfere in both countries’ internal affairs. They criticised the U.S. and the EU for their recent sanctions on Russia and China.
- Also, China and Russia have rejected U.S. calls for a rules-based order (a call endorsed by the Quad summit).
- Both the countries instead said that all countries must follow the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and uphold true multilateralism, make international relations more democratic, and accept and promote peaceful coexistence and common development of countries with different social systems and development paths.
China and Russia are already part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) security grouping, which includes India.
Indus water panel holds meeting
After a gap of more than two and a half years, Indian and Pakistani delegations have begun the 116th Meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission.
- The meeting is being viewed as part of the broader process of normalisation of bilateral ties between the two neighbours.
- The meeting is being led by the Indus Water Commissioners of both countries.
- The positive backdrop of the talks between the two delegations has indicated that the interaction is likely supported by the reported back-channel talks that are taking place between India and Pakistan.
Permanent Indus Commission:
- The Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) is a bilateral commission comprising officials from both India and Pakistan.
- It was formed to implement the goals and objectives outlined in the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).
- IWT was signed in 1960 with the World Bank standing guarantee for any dispute resolution. The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers.
- Under the treaty, India has control over the water flowing in the eastern rivers– Beas, Ravi and Sutlej.
- Pakistan has control over the western rivers– Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
- As per the treaty, the water commissioners of Pakistan and India are required to meet twice a year and arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works
Sri Lanka secures $1.5 bn Chinese loan
What’s in News?
Sri Lanka and China have signed a $1.5 billion currency swap deal, as the island nation struggles with a major foreign exchange crisis and debt repayments.
- The Central Bank of Sri Lanka said that the three-year swap arrangement for 10 billion yuan with the People’s Bank of China was with a view to promoting bilateral trade and direct investment for the economic development of the two countries.
- Chinese influence in the South Asian nation has been growing in recent years, through loans and projects under its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.
- China’s growing influence is raising concerns among regional powers and Western nations.
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