Government’s Rajya Sabha test today for General Category Quota Bill

  • The bill to provide 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education to economically backward sections of the society will be introduced in Rajya Sabha today.
  • The 10 per cent reservation will be over and above the 50 per cent reservation stipulated by the Supreme Court. Any reservation above the cap invites judicial scrutiny.    

Northeast shuts down over Citizenship Bill

  • The north-eastern States shut down on Tuesday against the “anti-indigenous people” Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that the Union Cabinet cleared on Monday for approval by Parliament.
  • The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) had first announced a 11-hour shutdown against the Bill, its first such call in more than a decade.
  • The shutdown that began at 5 a.m. was total across much of the region with vehicles, both private and commercial being off the roads.

Supreme Court clears reopening of Sterlite plant in Tamil Nadu

  • The Supreme Court has cleared the way for Vedanta to reopen its copper smelter in Tamil Nadu by refusing to stay an order from the environmental court, the company’s lawyer said.
  • The smelter was ordered shut by Tamil Nadu over alleged pollution that led to violent protests in May, culminating in police opening fire on demonstrators and killing 13.

PM Modi discusses trade deficit, Afghanistan with US president over phone

  • “The leaders agreed to strengthen the U.S.-India strategic partnership in 2019 and exchanged perspectives on how to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with India, expand security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and increase cooperation in Afghanistan,” the White House said in a statement.

Theresa May defeated in UK parliament, new obstacles to no-deal Brexit

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government suffered a defeat in parliament on Tuesday when lawmakers who oppose leaving the European Union without an accord won a vote that created a new obstacle to a no-deal Brexit.
  • The 303 to 296 defeat means that the government needs explicit parliamentary approval to leave the EU without a deal before it can use certain powers relating to taxation law.

Indian-American Gita Gopinath joins IMF as its first female chief economist

  • Gopinath, 47, joined last week at a time, when she believes the world is experiencing a retreat from globalisation, posing challenges to multilateral institutions.
  • The John Zwaanstra professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University, Gopinath, a US citizen, succeeds Maurice (Maury) Obstfeld as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department. Obstfeld retired December 31.