Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 24 December 2022

The J&K Land Grants Rules 2022

GS Paper -2 (Policy Making)

The J&K Lieutenant Governor’s administration notified fresh land rules under J&K Land Grant Rules-2022 and replaced the J&K Land Grants Rules-1960, which dealt with the special rules to grant government land on lease in erstwhile State of J&K.

More about the Rule:

1.Under the previous rules, prime locations such as SrinagarJammuGulmarg and Pahalgam were opened up for construction of hotels, commercial structures and residential buildings in the past. 

2.These land laws were considered as the backbone of J&K’s upper middle class and allowed a new chain of hotels and commercial structures to come up in prime locations, including places like Pahalgam and Gulmarg over the years. 

3.J&K L-G argued that amendments were needed because the previous land laws were “regressive”. He also targeted the present land holders as one “who just paid ₹5 to enjoy profit from ₹100 crore property.

  1. The local land holders see the move as one which has opened the gateway “to outsiders to buy prime properties in J&K.

About new land laws

1.According to the new land laws, the leases of current land owners will not be extended in case of their lease expiry. Unlike the previous,upto 99 years of lease, the lease period has been reduced to 40 years.

2.The government has asked the outgoing lease holders to evict properties or else face evictions under the new rules.

3.The current land holders termed these rulesexclusive to J&K where the first right to lease-holders has not been granted and revised rates negotiated.

The L-G administration’s plan for lease:

1.An expert committee will enlist all properties where lease had ended. It will be e-auctioned afresh.

2.The rules open bidding to “any person legally competent under Section 11 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.”

3.These rules deem a person or an entity in default of Government Revenue accrued to the government under J&K Land Grant Act, 1960 or Government convicted under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 shall not be eligible for participation in the auction.

4.According to now-repealed land laws, no such land shall be granted on lease to the person, who is not a permanent residence of the State; except where the Government, for the reasons to be recorded, relax this restriction in the interest of industrial or commercial development or in the favour of a registered charitable society.

Impact of the amendments:

1.The new rules have hundreds of properties open for fresh auction, where outsiders could also participate.

2.The government has not yet released the list of properties where lease has ended. The impact will be of great significance in tourist hotspot Gulmarg, where 56 hotels out of 59 have their leases expired already. Similarly, properties in Pahalgam, Srinagar and Jammu’s Patnitop will go up for auction.


Amendments to the Co-operative Societies Act

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

The Lok Sabha referred the Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill 2022 to a joint committee of Parliament. The Bill was introduced, when Opposition members argued that it seeks to “take away” state governments’ rights, and demanded that it be sent to the standing committee. The Bill is aimed at overhauling the existing law, which was enacted 20 years ago.

What is a cooperative society and who governs them presently?

  1. Cooperatives are organisations formed at the grassroots level by people to harness the power of collective bargaining in the marketplace.
  2. This can mean different kinds of arrangements, such as using a common resource or sharing capital, to derive a common gain that would otherwise be difficult for an individual producer to get.
  3. In agriculturecooperative dairies, sugar mills, spinning mills etc. are formed with the pooled resources of farmers who wish to process their produce.
  4. Amul is perhaps the best-known cooperative society in India, but the numbers show their prevalence: there are nearly 2 lakh cooperative dairy societies and 330 cooperative sugar mill operations across the country.
  5. Cooperatives are a state subject under the Constitution, meaning they come under the state governments’ jurisdiction, but there are many societies whose members and areas of operation are spread across more than one state.
  6. For example, most sugar mills along the districts on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border procure cane from both states.
  7. The existing law — the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act (MSCS) of 2002 — was enacted by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government for managing them. Cooperatives of more than one state are registered under the MSCS Act.
  8. Their board of directors has representation from all states they operate in. Administrative and financial control of these societies is with the central registrar, with the law making it clear that no state government official can wield any control over them.

New rules for merger

  1. The Bill provides for the merger of “any co-operative society” into an existing multi-state co-operative society.
  2. Any co-operative society may, by a resolution passed by majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting at a general meeting of such society, decide to merge into an existing multi-State co-operative society.
  3. At present, only multi-state cooperative societies can amalgamate themselves and form a new multi-state co-operative society.
  4. Co-operative Election Authority
  5. Also, the Bill seeks to establish a “Co-operative Election Authority”, with a view to bring “electoral reforms” in the co-operative sector.
  6. As per the proposed amendment, the authority shall consist of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and members not exceeding three to be appointed by the Centre.


India navigating difficult external environment

GS Paper -3 (Economy)    

Projecting a growth rate of 6.8% and 6.1% in the current and the next fiscal respectively, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that India is navigating a "very difficult" external environment. It reiterated that India continues to be the bright spot in an otherwise gloomy global economic scenario.

More about the news:

  1. The economy continues to grow pretty robustly this fiscal year, the international financial body released the report of its annual consultations with India.
  2. The growth is expected to moderate, reflecting the less favourable outlook and tighter financial conditions.
  3. The real GDP is projected to grow at 6.8% and 6.1% in FY2022/23 and FY2023/24 respectively.
  4. India is contributing half a per cent to global growth this year and next,the risks are mostly on the downside and mostly coming from external factors. Perhaps the most important risk is sharper than anticipated global slowdown. This will affect India through trade and financial channels.
  5. The IMF also continues to see the war in Ukraine unresolved and could intensify and have an effect on trade and on prices of commodities. The advances in inflation could be reversed and this is an important risk as well.
  6. India is navigating a very difficult external environment. In this respect, there is a requirement to carefully calibrate macroeconomic policies on the fiscal side that additional support for the vulnerable groups that we have seen this year was warranted.
  7. Fiscal policy has to prioritise medium term consolidation while in the overall envelope, ensuring that there is continued high quality spending on education, on health and on infrastructure.
  8. This should be anchored on strong revenue mobilisation and additional expenditure efficiency.
  9. The report notes the strength of soundness and credit indicators with the economy coming out of the pandemic crisis.It documents the risks from tighter financial conditions that the financial sector is facing.
  10. It further progress on structural reforms in the financial sector, such as the implementation of the insolvency and bankruptcy code, the operationalizing of the national assets restructuring company, and further progress on bank privatisations.


Polar Bears dying in 'Bear Capital'

GS Paper - 3 (Environment and Ecology)

Polar bears in Canada's Western Hudson Bay on the southern edge of the Arctic are continuing to die in high numbers, the land carnivore has found. Females and bear cubs are having an especially hard time. Western Hudson Bay, the town called ‘the Polar Bear Capital of the WorldIn 2021 and estimated there were 618 bears, compared to the 842 in 2016, when they were last surveyed.

Climate Change

  1. Since the 1980s, the number of bears in the region has fallen by nearly 50%, found. The ice essential to their survival is disappearing.
  2. Polar bears rely on arctic sea ice frozen ocean water that shrinks in the summer with warmer temperatures and forms again in the long winter.
  3. They use it to hunt, perching near holes in the thick ice to spot seals, their favorite food, coming up for air.
  4. But as the Arctic has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the world because of climate change,sea ice is cracking earlier in the year and taking longer to freeze in the fall.
  5. It has left many polar bears that live across the Arctic with less ice on which to live, hunt and reproduce.
  6. Polar bears are not only critical predators in the Arctic. For years, before climate change began affecting people around the globe, they were also the best-known face of climate change.

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