Daily News Analysis (Hindu, Economic Times, Times of India : 20-01-2014)



CIC :  Spouses have right to know partner's salary

  • The Information Commission said that salary details should also be made public by their offices as mandated under suo-moto disclosure clause of RTI Act.
  • Information Commission also added that every spouse has a Right to Information with regard to salary details of their partner, especially for the purpose of maintenance. This becomes even more important if he is a government employee, as it is sourced from the tax paid by the public and it has to be disclosed mandatorily under the RTI section.  Salary information of an employee cannot be considered as a third party information and the application can't be rejected.
  • This came in context of an application filed by Jyoti Seherawat, she had applied for salary slips of her husband, a central government employee. The information was denied as her husband had written to his superiors against such disclosure.

Agni-IV missile test fire successful

  • The nuclear-capable missile Agni-IV was successfully test fired, off the Odisha coast. It has a strike range of about 4,000 km.
  • The missile is undergoing developmental trials by the DRDO and has two stage solid propulsion. The missile is lighter in weight and has a payload with reentry heat shield.

Home Ministry issues advisory over oil installations

  • The home ministry has extended its advisory to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry against giving contracts of oil and gas blocks to Chinese companies. It has warned over the possibility of terrorists and sea pirates attack on oil installations in the Kerala-Konkan region. This response had come from the Home Ministry to an interministerial note from Petroleum Ministry seeking clearances for 60 blocks, which will be on offer to domestic and international players.
  • Home Ministry has advised against auction of Mahanadi basin in Odisha, as they are near DRDO installations. It prefers explorations to be done by any of the Indian PSU's. It wants restrictions to be followed with regard to sub-contracts, leasing the work, consultancy, procurement of equipment.
  • The government would come out with New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) this month.


Assad remains firm on his stand ahead of the meet

  • Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad has said he has no plans to step down. However the opposition forces have decided to attend the dialogue meet at Geneva-2. The rebel forces are of the view that this move would help to remove Assad from his seat.
  • The President has challenged the opposition to put a right candidate to show the opposition’s popularity among the masses. The elections could be held later as an outcome of the meet.
  • Bashar government is backed by Iran (also Russia) as both belong to the Shia sect. The opposition forces are backed by the western powers and also by the Al-Qaeda (Sunni). The situation in Syria has become very tense because of external funding to the rebel forces. It has turned out to be a playground for every foreign power to establish its place in the global power structure.  The main sufferers have been the Syrian civilians who have fled from their homes and are staying as refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
  • But chances of Iran attending the meet is slim, as it does not want any preconditions attached to it for its presence. Russia and UN support Iran’s participation whereas the US objects it saying Iran should agree for political transition in Syria as decided in the earlier meet. Iran rejects any move which calls for Assad to step down as a precondition for dialogue.

Al Qaeda finds a new refuge in Libya

  • The Al Qaeda is regrouping and getting ready to strike back from southwestern Libya. Last year they were driven out of Mali by French and West African forces. This is similar to the scenario in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan; when driven out they rebuild their forces to bounce back.
  • After the revolution war in Libya the weapons of the Armed forces fell into the hands of the rebels which is now being sold all over Northern Africa and mainly bought by the radical Islamist forces.


Government thinking of block deal on BHEL disinvestment

  • The finance ministry is thinking of block deal method for BHEL, as in the case of Indian Oil Corp Ltd. This comes in the wake of opposition from heavy industry ministry regarding the divestment. The heavy industry ministry is in charge  of BHEL and is interested in cross-holding in the company as was done in case of Indian Oil Corp Ltd and is reluctant to sell shares in the market.
  • The government owns 67.7% stake in BHEL and had decided to let go 5% stake to the market, last year. The finance ministry is under pressure to raise money, to reach disinvestment target of Rs 40,000 crore from PSU's in this financial year.
  • A block deal is deal is one in which not less than five lakh shares or shares with a minimum worth of Rs 5 crore are sold in a single transaction at the stock exchange.