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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 29-May-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Don’t charge migrants bus or train fare, says SC

  2. China passes controversial Hong Kong law 

  3. U.S. House passes Uighur rights Bill

  4. India and EU hold talks on pandemic

  5. Aggressive infra spending key to reversing Covid impact: CARE


Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday forbade the Railways and the State governments from exacting train or bus fares from stranded migrant workers waiting to return home amid the national lockdown.


  • The court directed that the State from where workers started their journey and the State where they were headed should pool their travel expenses between them.

  • Workers waiting for transport should be provided shelter, food and water by the State responsible.

  • During train journey, Railways would be in charge of providing drinking water and meals.

  • In case of bus journey, the State where they started from had to take care of their food and water.

  • The court said that those found walking should be escorted to the nearest camps where they should be looked after. 

  • States should simplify and speed up the process of registration of migrant workers. After registration, they should be allowed to board buses or trains at the earliest. 

  • The receiving State, after the workers reached their native place, shall provide transport, health screening and other facilities free of cost.

  • The court ordered States to set up help kiosks at places where migrant workers were stranded.

Source : Hindu ( )


Why in news?

  • China’s Parliament on Thursday passed new legislation for Hong Kong that will for the first time empower Beijing to draft national security laws for the Special Administrative Region (SAR).


  • The law, called the “NPC Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Safeguard National Security”, essentially empowers the NPC to draft new national security laws for Hong Kong.

  • The draft legislation said the scope of the laws could cover any activity that “seriously endangers national security”.

  • It said it was aimed at enabling “measures to counter, lawfully prevent, stop and punish foreign and overseas forces’ use of Hong Kong to carry out separatist, subversive, infiltrative, or destructive activities”.

  • The NPC decision has been criticised by pro-democracy parties and some in the legal community in Hong Kong as undermining the “one country, two systems” model. 

  • Since 1997, Hong Kong has been governed by the Basic Law, which gives the SAR “executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication”. Only matters of defence and foreign affairs are handled by the central government.

  • The law could also block foreign judges from sitting on national security cases, following the example of Macau. Hong Kong’s court of final appeal has 15 foreign judges, under a system aimed to ensure judicial independence for a global financial centre.

Source : Hindu ( )


Why in news?

  • The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Wednesday calling for sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for oppression of Uighur Muslims, sending the Bill to the White House for President Donald Trump to veto or sign into law.


  • The Bill calls for sanctions against those responsible for repression of Uighurs and other Muslim groups in China’s Xinjiang province, where the United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps.

  • It singles out the region’s Communist Party secretary, Chen Quanguo, as responsible for “gross human rights violations” against them.

  • The Bill also calls on U.S. firms operating in Xinjiang region to ensure their products do not include parts using forced labour.

  • It still requires President’s assent.

Source : NY Times ( )


Why in news?

  • Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell discussed the need to ensure flow of medical supplies and keep trade open in the context of the Covid-19 outbreak.


  • The two leaders also talked about preparations for the fifteenth EU-India Summit, which was postponed in March due to the pandemic, foreign policy matters including Iran, Afghanistan and China, in a video conference on Thursday.

  • Borrell and Jaishankar confirmed the commitment of both the EU and India to work together to overcome the global pandemic and stressed the importance of an effective global socio-economic recovery.

  • They also agreed that the current pandemic made the EU-India Strategic Partnership even more relevant.

  • The leaders looked forward to the Summit as an important opportunity to advance on all aspects of the EU-India relationship.

Source : Business Line ( )


Why in news?

  • There could be a strong case for the government announcing an aggressive infrastructure spending plan of 1-2 per cent of the GDP to boost investment and employment to begin with to reverse the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, according to CARE Ratings.


  • The credit rating agency, in a report, said the prospects for FY21 in terms of consumption, investment and growth would depend on how soon the nation eases the lockdown and permits economic activity to commence. 

  • Second, the response of individuals would be critical to the resumption of this consumption cycle. The reverse migration and unemployment would be major pain points here.

  • Third, industry would invest more depending on demand conditions and it is here that the infra push of the government can make a difference

  • The problem of domestic fixed capital formation, which is the investment rate, is likely to persist in in FY21 too unless there is a fresh round of government stimulus, said the report. 

  • It added that there has been limited private investment in the last couple of years with the bad loans issue surfacing.

  • So far most of the measures have been in the form of supply side incentives. On the demand side it has been restricted more to relief operations which are current in nature and not in the form of capex. This is something which may be taken up by the government during the year.

Source : Business Line ( )

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