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Supreme Court restrains Puducherry Government

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • A vacation bench of the Supreme Court has restrained the elected government from implementing any decision involving financial implications or transfer of officials.
  • The Bench has further issued notice to the elected government and said that decisions that entailed serious financial implications and those on transfers could not be implemented till the next hearing scheduled for June 20


What is the issue in Puducherry?

A plea had been filed by the office of the Lieutenant Governor for clarity on the issue of control over bureaucrats in the wake of a turf war between the LG and the elected government.

What is the position of the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry?

Article 239A of the Constitution of India specifies the relationship between the Lieutenant Governor and the elected government.

It states that:

  1. Parliament may by law create for the Union territory of Pondicherry –
    1. a body, whether elected or partly nominated and partly elected, to function as a Legislature for the Union territory, or
    2. a Council of Ministers, or both with such constitution, powers and functions, in each case, as may be specified in the law.
  2. Any such law as is referred to in clause (1) shall not be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purposes of article 368 notwithstanding that it contains any provision which amends or has the effect of amending this Constitution.

Article 239AB

  1. If at any time, except when the Legislature of the Union territory of Pondicherry is in session, the administrator thereof is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require: Provided that no such Ordinance shall be promulgated by the administrator except after obtaining instructions from the President in that behalf: Provided further that whenever the said Legislature is dissolved, or its functioning remains suspended on account of any action taken under any such law as is referred to in clause (1) of article 239A, the administrator shall not promulgate any Ordinance during the period of such dissolution or suspension.
  2. An Ordinance promulgated under this article in pursuance of instructions from the President shall be deemed to be an Act of the Legislature of the Union territory which has been duly enacted after complying with the provisions in that behalf contained in any such law as is referred to in clause (1) of article 239A, but every such Ordinance –
    1. shall be laid before the Legislature of the Union territory and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of the Legislature or if, before the expiration of that period, a resolution disapproving it is passed by the Legislature, upon the passing of the resolution; and
    2. may be withdrawn at any time by the administrator after obtaining instructions from the President in that behalf.
  3. If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision which would not be valid if enacted in an Act of the Legislature of the Union territory made after complying with the provisions in that behalf contained in any such law as is referred to in clause(1) of article 239A, it shall be void.


Thus, the provisions are not as extensive or exclusive as those for NCT of Delhi under Article 239AA.


Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Programme

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • The Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) and the World Bank today signed a $287 million loan agreement for the Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Programme.
  • The programme aims to improve the quality of health care, reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and fill equity gaps in reproductive and child health services in Tamil Nadu.


What is the Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Programme?

The Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Program will support the state government to:

  • develop clinical protocols and guidelines;
  • achieve national accreditation for primary, secondary, and tertiary-level health facilities in the public sector;
  • strengthen physicians, nurses and paramedics through continuous medical education;
  • strengthen the feedback loop between citizens and the state by making quality and other data accessible to the public.


The programme will promote population-based screening, treatment and follow-up for NCDs, and improve monitoring and evaluation. Patients will be equipped with knowledge and skills to self-manage their conditions. Lab services and health provider capacity will also be strengthened to address mental health. To tackle road injuries, the programme will improve in- hospital care, strengthen protocols, strengthen the 24×7 trauma care services and establish a trauma registry.

Another key aim of this programme is to reduce the equity gaps in reproductive and child health. Special focus will be given to nine priority districts, which constitute the bottom quintile of the RCH indicators in the state and have a relatively large proportion of tribal populations.


Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Paper : Prelims Specific, General Studies 2

About the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.
  • The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world. It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
  • The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (25 September 1969) following the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
  • In 1970 the first ever meeting of Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held in Jeddah which decided to establish a permanent secretariat in Jeddah headed by the organization’s secretary general. Dr. Yousef Ahmed Al-Othaimeen is the 11th Secretary General who assumed the office in November 2016.
  • Among the OIC’s key bodies: the Islamic Summit, the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), the General Secretariat, in addition to the Al-Quds Committee and three permanent committees concerned with science and technology, economy and trade, and information and culture. There are also specialized organs under the banner of the OIC including the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, as well as subsidiary and affiliate organs that play a vital role in boosting cooperation in various fields among the OIC member states.
  • India is yet to be granted membership of the organization.


Growth Forecasts by World Bank

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • The World Bank Group (WBG) has downgraded global real GDP growth to 2.6% for 2019, down by 0.3% points from its previous forecasts in January. Growth is expected to increase marginally to 2.7% in 2020.
  • Advanced economies as a group are expected to slow down in 2019, particularly in the Euro area, due to weaker investments and exports.
  • India’s forecasts are projected to be 7.5% per annum in 2019, 2020 and 2021 not having been downgraded from their January estimates.
  • This was released in the WB report called Global Economic Prospects titled Heightened Tensions, Subdued Investment.


What are the risks to global growth?

  • Rising trade barriers
  • Build-up of government debt and slowdowns that were deeper-than-expected in several major economies.
  • Sluggishness of investment in Emerging Markets Developing Economies (EMDEs)


Benchmarking India’s Payment Systems : RBI

Paper : Prelims Specific, General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • RBI released the findings of a study titled Benchmarking India’s Payments systems.
  • The central bank had undertaken the exercise of benchmarking India’s payment systems vis-à-vis payment systems in a mix of advanced economies, Asian economies and the BRICS nations.


What are the findings and recommendations?

  • The study found that India has a strong regulatory system and robust large value and retail payment systems, which have contributed to the rapid growth in the volume of transactions in these payment systems,
  • The report, however, notes that India is required to take further efforts to bring down the volume of paper-clearing and increase acceptance infrastructure to enhance digital payments
  • There is an increase in Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, including mobile terminals, which, however, may not be enough to cater to the large population,
  • The report observed low digital payment of utility bills, despite the existence of the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)
  • The report also said digital communications infrastructure in the form of a robust mobile network is growing strongly, though broadband infrastructure “lags behind.”
  • The report highlighted that the last few years since demonetisation have witnessed a sea change in the payments landscape, with large growth in digital payments.
  • In 2018-19, the volume growth of retail electronic transactions was 95%, compared to 51% in the previous year, mainly due to to the steep growth in the use of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the report said.
  • The report also said that the level of credit card penetration in India was low when compared to advanced countries, where it was a preferred option for making payments.
  • To encourage usage of cards, card infrastructure is required to be robust, strong and secure. Further, the last-mile availability of PoS terminals is relatively lower in India and much needs to be done in this regard.


World Environment Day – June 5

Theme : Beat Air Pollution

Host : China