We cannot kill jobs in cracker industry: Supreme Court
- The Supreme Court cannot kill the jobs of thousands of poor people working in the firecracker industry, driving them to starvation, Justice S.A. Bobde observed.
- The Bench, led by Justice Bobde, was hearing the case for the first time as the matter was previously heard by another Bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri, who retired recently.
- The court had on October 23, 2018 banned the manufacture, sale and use of loud and toxic firecrackers.
- The court, while allowing only green and improved crackers, asked how it could possibly feel empowered to bring the shutters down on an occupation which was both legal and licensed.
- The ban was based on petitions filed by a six-month-old and a 14-month-old, through their fathers in 2015.
- The petitioners said the air pollution caused by various factors, especially firecrackers, had made Delhi a gas chamber and pleaded for their right to life.
- Cracker manufacturers, strongly backed by the Tamil Nadu government, have argued that there was no definite study to show that use of firecrackers made the air quality worse during festivals like Diwali.
- The fundamental right to occupation of those working in the cracker industry could not be put in peril on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations that crackers pollute, they have contended.
- The industry has argued that the revenue generated from the manufacturing and sale of fireworks is to the tune of Rs. 6,000 crore p.a. and that the industry supported five lakh families.
India, US to set up six nuclear power plants in India:
- India and the US have agreed to build six American nuclear power plants in India, in an effort to boost bilateral civil nuclear energy cooperation.
- The two nations made the announcement through a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the 9th round of India-US Strategic Security Dialogue, held in Washington DC on March 13, 2019.
- The dialogue was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, who had led the Indian delegation and Andrea Thompson, the US under secretary of state for arms control and international security.
- New Delhi and the Washington had signed a historic agreement to cooperate in the civil nuclear energy sector in October 2008. The deal gave a boost to bilateral ties, which have been on an upswing since.
- A major aspect of the deal was the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that gave a special waiver to India enabling it to sign civil nuclear cooperation agreements with a dozen countries.
- Following the waiver, India signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with the US, UK, France, Russia, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Sri Lanka, Japan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and South Korea.
India-US Strategic Security Dialogue:
- During the key strategic dialogue, the two sides exchanged views on a wide range of global security and non-proliferation challenges and reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons to terrorists and non-state actors.
- The two nations further agreed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India.
- The United States also reaffirmed its strong support of India’s early membership in the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group.
- Notably, China has blocked India's pending membership to the elite grouping that seeks to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons.
US Senate votes to end support for Yemen war:
- The US Senate rebuking Donald Trump's foreign policy and his alliance with Riyadh has voted to end support for the bloody Saudi-led war effort in Yemen.
- The Senate's bipartisan vote was 54 to 46, with seven Republicans defying the President and aligning with Democrats.
- Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled chamber approved a historic curtailment of the Presidential war powers. It directs Mr Trump to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen within 30 days.
- The text will now move to the Democrat-led House of Representatives which is likely to pass the latest effort.However, the White House has threatened a veto, calling the measure "flawed" and saying it would harm bilateral relationships in the region and hurt Washington's ability to fight extremism.
- But its full passage would set a historic marker as it would be the first measure passed by Congress to invoke the 1973 War Powers Resolution to directly curtail a president's use of military powers.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has assured the Supreme Court that names have not been deleted from the Assam electoral roll on the basis of their exclusion from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was published in July last year.
- A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court alleging that that several categories of persons were deprived of voting rights ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
- One category included persons whose names figured in the draft NRC but not in the voter list.
- Second category included persons whose names were deleted from the voter list appeared in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018. The petition claimed these people had voted in the last Lok Sabha election in 2014.
- The third category of people was those declared foreigners by the foreigners’ tribunal as well as by the Guwahati High Court; the court order was stayed by the Supreme Court.
- The fourth category comprised those already declared foreigners by the tribunal; this was set aside by the Supreme Court. However, their names had been deleted from the voters list pursuant to the order of the tribunal.
- In the fifth category were those whose names had not been included in the draft NRC, but their family members were included; these had filed a claim for the inclusion of their names.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is the list of Indian citizens of Assam. It was prepared in 1951, following the census of 1951.