HC judge wants Vande Mataram sung in Tamil Nadu


Image: HC judge wants Vande Mataram sung in Tamil Nadu
Image Source: The Hindu

A Madras HC judge on Tuesday ordered Vande Mataram to be played and sung in all schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions in TN at least once a week – preferably on Monday or Friday. Justice Muralidaran also directed that the song be played and sung in all government offices and institutions, private companies, factories and industries at least once a month.

The judge passed the order while disposing of a writ petition filed by a teacher-aspirant, K. Veeramani, who had approached the court to ascertain the language in Vande Mataram was originally written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay – Bengali or Sanskrit.

The petitioner had said in his answer to a question in the Teacher Eligibility Test, 2013, that the song was written in Bengali, while the Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) denied him one mark contending that it was written in Sanskrit.

While directing the TRB to award him one mark, Justice Muralidaran also ordered the playing and singing of the song.

About Vande Mataram song:

Image: Vande Mataram Song
Image Source: Jagaran Josh

Vande Mataram is a poem composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1870s, which he included in his 1881 novel Anandamath. The first two verses of the song were adopted as the national song of India in 1947 when India became independent though it had inspired independence movement for the past five decades.

Image: HC judge wants Vande Mataram sung in TN

It played a crucial role in the Indian independence movement, first sung in a political context by Rabindranath Tagore at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. It became a popular marching song for political activism and Indian freedom movement in 1905.



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India admitted to transgression, says China’s Foreign Minister

Image: India admitted to transgression, says China's Foreign Minister
ImageSource: DNAIndia

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has claimed that the India side admitted to entering Chinese territory, the first time a top leader of the country has weighed in on the protracted stand-off in the Sikkim area.

He claimed that senior Indian officials had openly stated that Chinese troops did not enter Indian territory. However, he didn’t say which officials had said that or where. He went on to say: “In other words, the Indian side admitted to entering Chinese territory.”

It is the first time that such a senior person in the Chinese hierarchy has commented on the dispute. Our Indian side didn’t provide any immediate reaction on this.

Also read: Don’t harbour unrealistic illusions, China tells India

Meanwhile, official sources said on Tuesday that India was well-defended in the tri-junction and China’s latest rhetoric was part of a build-up ahead of the meeting of the NSA in Beijing. China on Monday warned India to not to harbour any unrealistic illusions.

About Indo-China standoff at Doklam Plateau:

Image: Detailed explanation of India-China standoff
Image Source: IndiaToday

For detailed explanation, read this: Standoff b/w India and China: Explained

Indo-China standoff at Doklam plateau is an outcome of India obstructing Beijing’s effort to extend a border road through the Doklam Plateau.

China claims Doklam plateau, which is currently disputed b/w Beijing and Thimpu (Bhutan), to gain a strategic edge over India. The road China claims to be building in its “own territory” in Doklam plateau would give it a strategic advantage against India in a possible military conflict in future. Doklam is critical as it brings China even closer to the Indian border in a vulnerable location towards the direction of the 27-km-long Siliguri Corridor or “chicken’s neck” that links the northeastern state to the rest of India.

For India, Doklam plateau holds immense importance as Chinese control over Doklam plateau will undo the terrain and tactical advantage that India has in the region. Chinese foray into the Doklam plateau will also impact India economically as the Chumbi Valley, which is close to the plateau, has served as a trade route from Sikkim’s capital Gangtok through Yadong and Gyantse on to Dalai Lama’s court at Lhasa.



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Jaitley says military reasonably equipped

Image: Jaitley says military reasonably equipped
Image Source: RediffMail

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha that the armed forces were “reasonably and sufficiently equipped” to defend the “sovereignty of the country”, amid concerns raised by parliamentarians regarding a CAG report that the Army had critical shortage of ammunition.

Mr. Jaitley’s response came after opposition members raised the issue of defence preparedness in the wake of a CAG report tabled in the Parliament recently and called the previous Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar a “non-performer”.

The CAG stated that the Army faces a shortfall of 40% ammunition and only 61 out of 152 types of ammunition were available. The Army is supposed to hold stocks of ammunition for 40 days of an intense war.

Mr. Jaitley clarified that the CAG report had reference to the shortage of ammunition in relation to a point of time.

The Opposition, however, wasn’t satisfied with the reply and posed tough questions.

About the CAG report:

Image: CAG Report


CAG, in its report, presented a dismal picture of the Army’s War Wastage Reserve (WWR) ammunition, especially of high caliber equipment needed to wage intense war.

The report tabled on Friday is an evaluation of the availability of WWR ammunition in the Army during the period 2013-14 to 2016-17 (till September 2016).



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Opposition seeks scrutiny of Banking Regulation

Image: Arun Jaitley responding in Lok Sabha
Image Source: LSTV

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, in the Lok Sabha on Monday. The Bill seeks to authorise the RBI to resolve the problem of stressed assets, even as the Opposition demanded that it be sent to a standing committee for scrutiny.

The Bill seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated in May. It allows the RBI to open an insolvency resolution process in respect of specific stressed assets.

Some opposition member opposed the Bill and opined that giving such power to RBI will switch its attention from macro-economic issues to micro-economic issues and render the bank management useless. The opposition is demanding the Bill to be examined by the Standing Committee before being laid on the table for discussion.

What will the new Bill do?

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2017 will amend The Banking Regulation Act 1949, giving the government power to authorise the RBI to issue directions to banks in order to initiate insolvency resolution in case of a default.

Under the provisions of the Bill, the government can also authorise the RBI to issue directions to banks with regard to resolution of stressed assets and appoint authorities or committees to advise the banking companies on stressed asset resolution.

Before the Bill was introduced in the Parliament, the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance amended the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 in the same way. Ordinances, however, have to be approved by the Parliament within six weeks of session following the introduction.

Apart from empowering RBI in the above-mentioned ways, the Bill will also give RBI the authority to refer NPA cases to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board provides for a time-bound resolution of defaults and stressed assets, either by restructuring a loan or liquidating the borrower’s assets.

The RBI in June identified 12 defaulters all over the country, who accounted for 25% of all bad loans in the banking system and is currently focusing on resolving their cases. Some cases like Essar Steel and Bhushan Steel have already been referred to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board.




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SC for more data on GM mustard

Supreme Court of India image

The SC on Monday asked the government to stop itself from embarking on any project on, or commercial release of, genetically modified (GM) mustard.

A Bench of CJI J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachud said an injunction order would be passed if it was found that GM mustard affected health and life for generations. An injunction is an order issued by a court that forces the defendant––a person, corporation or government entity––to do something or stop doing something, depending on what the plaintiff is requesting.

The court agreed with Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s suggestion to get more information on GM mustard by July 28 to address the apprehensions raised by the court and petitioner Aruna Rodrigues, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, on the after-effects of GM mustard.

The court scheduled the case for hearing on July 31.

About GM-mustard and related apprehensions:

Image: SC for more data on GM mustard

Last year, a team of scientists at Delhi University led by former vice-chancellor Deepak Pental bred DMH-11, a genetically modified (GM) mustard hybrid. This GM mustard is expected to give 25-30% more yield than the best varieties such as “Varuna” currently grown in the country.

This development is crucial from India’s point of view as the country, in 2014-15, imported 14.5 million tonnes of edible oil valued at $ 10.5 billion; the import included 0.4 million tonnes of rapeseed oil, which many traders and processors are blending with indigenous mustard oil. The use of this genetically modified mustard crop is expected to boost indigenous production and hence cut down India’s reliance on imports.

The apprehensions against GM-mustard are:

·         There are no comprehensive scientific records of its safety and hazards on humans and environment and hence in the long run, the after-effects of GM mustard crops can be detrimental to human beings, environment and soil.

·         Many argue that GM in itself is a failed technology. Recently, Bihar CM told PM Narendra Modi that Bt-cotton which had been cultivated in the country for 15 years now demonstrated amply that GM was a failed technology. “Bollworm, a cotton pest for which GM technology was brought in for pest control has developed resistance against the Bt-cotton and is able to survive and has wreaked havoc on Bt-cotton crop. Thousands of farmers have incurred losses in the country due to this.

·         Regulatory framework for GM crops in India has various shortcomings. Due tests and regulations are not being properly followed while examining the reliability of any GM crops. GM mustard, allegedly, was given approval by the regulatory authority with proper field trials and other tests.




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SC ready to revisit Lodha reforms

Supreme Court of India image

Over a year after backing the reforms framed by high profile Justice Lodha Committee to usher in transparency in the cricket administration, the SC on Monday said it was ready to revisit, if not modify, some key recommendations of the panel.

Recommendations of the Lodha panel which may come under scrutiny are:

  • Policy of “One State, One Vote”; Justice Deepak, who was heading the Bench, said the policy may not be a good idea in this country and hence, he would like to revisit the policy.
  • Policy of capping the number of members in the senior selection committee at three, all of them to be former Test players.

The Bench said it would hear the BCCI, the State cricket associations and member bodies in an effort to make the game of cricket run perfectly in the country.

Meanwhile, the Bench exhorted the BCCI and its members to meet on July 26, as scheduled, and implement the Lodha reforms as regards all issues other than the ones flagged for further debate in court.

The court then recorded that it would take stock of the minutes of the July 26 meeting in a hearing on August 18 and see how much of the Lodha reforms have been agreed to by the BCCI members. The Bench would then post the case for September 5, on which date, the stage would be open for further discussion on possible modifications in the Lodha recommendations.

About Lodha Reforms:

Image: Justice Loadha
Image Source: HindustanTimes

For detailed timeline and extensive coverage of the Lodha Committee recommendations and the steps taken thereafter, click here.

The committee headed by justice (retd) RM Lodha was appointed by the apex court in 2015 in the wake of a sport-fixing scandal in IPL, the biggest crisis to hit the cash-rich sports body in the country. The three-member panel submitted its report on the functioning of the BCCI to the SC on January 4, 2016.

Key recommendations provided for separate governing body for the BCCI and the IPL, no minister or government servant should be appointed as the office bearer of the BCCI, no office bearer can continue to hold its post for consecutive terms and cannot hold two posts at the same time as well. It also provided for the policy of ‘One State, One Vote’.

On July 18, the SC upheld all the recommendations of the Lodha Committee and gave a deadline of four to six months to the SC to implement all the reforms.



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Image: Justice Loadha
Image Source: HindustanTimes

Background: The formation of the Lodha Committee

  • The committee headed by justice (retd) RM Lodha was appointed by the apex court in 2015 in the wake of a sport-fixing scandal in IPL, the biggest crisis to hit the cash-rich sports body in the country.
  • The three-member panel submitted its report on the functioning of the BCCI to the SC on January 4, 2016.

Key recommendations of the Lodha Committee:

Image: Lodha Panel recommendations to reform BCCI
Image Source: Economic Times
  1. Governing Bodies: They should be separate for IPL and BCCI, with limited autonomy for the IPL governing council.
  2. BCCI Office Bearers: No minister or government servant should become a BCCI office bearer.
  3. BCCI Office Bearer’s tenure: It should not exceed more than two consecutive terms, and he/she can’t hold two posts at the same time.
  4. Membership: Only to the team representing the respective states. Each state should have only one vote.
  5. Zones: The relevance of different zones should be for the purpose of tournaments and not for the governance of BCCI and its commitments.
  6. State Associations: There should be uniformity of structure in the organisation and functioning of the state associations on the lines of BCCI.
  7. Management: The BCCI management affairs should be done by professionals led by the CEO.
  8. Player Associations: It should be formed for the international as well as for the first class levels. It should be for both men and women teams.
  9. Betting and Match Fixing: Betting should be legalised and match-fixing should be made criminal offence.
  10. The Electoral Officer and Ombudsman: The election officer will see the election process, while the ombudsman to resolve grievances.
  11. Functioning and Transparency: All details and rules of BCCI must be uploaded on the website of BCCI for transparency and functioning process. BCCI should come under the purview of Right to Information Act, 2005.
  12. Supervision of Expenses: It should be carried out by an independent officer.

Following the submission of the report, the SC asked the BCCI members to implement all the recommendations of the Lodha panel. The SC set March 3, 2016 as the deadline for the same.

SC judgements:

Supreme Court of India image

On July 18th 2016, after several hearings and counter-affidavits filed by the BCCI, the SC upheld almost all the reforms suggested by the Lodha panel and gave a time period of 6 month to the BCCI to implement all the reforms.

Within a month, on August 16th 2016, the BCCI filed a review petition against the July 18th verdict of the SC. BCCI approached a retired senior SC judge Markandey Katju for his legal advice, who in his interim report opined the verdict to be smacked of judicial overreach. He added that the verdict amounted to “judicial legislation” and violated the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act and the Indian Constitution.
Post-this, the BCCI not only dragged its feet in implementing the reforms but also defied the Lodha panel recommendations on various occasions.

On January 2 2017, the SC stripped BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke of their posts and ordered them to “forthwith cease and desist” from associating themselves with the BCCI.

Following this, the SC, on January 30 2017, appointed a four-member Committee of Administrators (CoAs) headed by former CAG of India Vinod Rai to run the affairs of the BCCI and implement court-approved recommendations of the Lodha Committee.

                                                              Other three members of the committee of administrators are famous cricket historian Ramachandra Guha, Vikram Limaye, Managing Director of Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) and former Indian women cricket captain Diana Edulji, who would interact with Rahul Johri, CEO of BCCI, for supervision and functioning of the cricket Board.




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