SC denies Stay Order on CAA

The Supreme court on 9 January dismissed a plea that sought CAA be declared unconstitutional and it said it won’t pass any ex-parte order before hearing the Centre on staying the operation of CAA and NPR

Crux of the Matter
  • A three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna has given the government four weeks to file its reply.
  • The apex court has asked all high courts not to pass any order on CAA.
  • The court was hearing more than 140 petitions challenging CAA filed by various entities, including law students, Muslim groups, lawyers, individual politicians and political parties.
  • The court will be separately hearing the cases pertaining to Assam and Tripura challenging the validity of the Act that was notified on 10 January.
  • Senior advocate Kapil Sibal had requested the court to postpone the exercise of NPR for two months which was denied by the Attorney General K.K. Venugopal.
  • Indian Union Muslim League has moved a separate application seeking a direction to the government to clarify whether the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and NPR are linked and whether NRC would be implemented across India.

Article 131 of the Constitution of India grants original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court on all cases involving the enforcement of fundamental rights of citizens. Its original jurisdiction extends to all cases between the Government of India and the States of India or between Government of India and states on one side and one or more states on other side or cases between different states. Original jurisdiction is related to cases which are directly brought to the Supreme Court. Cases which require the interpretation of the constitution or cases relating to the denial of fundamental rights are heard In the supreme court. It is empowered to issue directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari to enforce them. More Info

Zomato acquires India's Operations of Uber Eats

Online food delivery platform Zomato acquired the Indian operations of Uber Eats, the food delivery platform run by Uber, for around $350 million (Rs 2,485 crore). The merger will consolidate the market and will give a strong competition to Swiggy.

Crux of the Matter
  • Uber Eats will cease to exist as a separate brand locally. and its users on its platform will be redirected to Zomato’s app.
  • Zomato will not absorb Uber Eats’ team in India resulting in reallocation or laying off of around 100 executives.
  • Both combined Zomato and Uber Eats India is expected to cover nearly 50-55% market share in terms of the number and value of orders.
  • Uber Eats had a stronger hold compared to Zomato in parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh, with about 30% market share.
  • Uber Eats had tried selling the business to Swiggy but the deal could not be completed.
  • Uber had projected an operating loss of Rs 2,197 crore in its food delivery business for the five months through December 2019.
  • Uber had halved its annual cash allocation to the food-delivery business in India to $90-120 million, which had a direct impact on the order numbers.
  • Uber had relied heavily on discounting to acquire and retain users. While it could only establish market leadership in some small towns and cities. 
  • Also, at the same time, Uber’s India rival Ola too had pulled its focus away from its food-delivery business, Foodpanda, and started to sell private brands on marketplaces.

Zomato is an Indian restaurant aggregator and food delivery start up founded by Deepinder Goyal in 2008. Zomato provides information, menus and user-reviews of restaurants, and also has food delivery options from partner restaurants in select cities. Zomato has acquired 12 startups globally. In July 2014, Zomato made its first acquisition by buying Menu-mania for an undisclosed sum. The company pursued other acquisitions such as and for a combined US$3.25 million. In September 2014, Zomato acquired Poland-based restaurant search service Gastronauci for an undisclosed sum. Zomato also acquired Seattle-based food portal Urbanspoon for an estimated $60 million in 2015. More Info

FDI limit raised to 100% for Bharti Airtel

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on 20th January approved the increase of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit for Bharti Airtel from 49% to 100%.

Crux of the Matter
  • RBI granted approval for FPls (Foreign Portfolio Investors)/Flls (Foreign Institutional Investors) to invest in up to 74% of the paid-up capital.
  • Currently, foreign ownership in Bharti Airtel is 44.28%
  • Bharti Airtel is seeking the government’s approval to raise ₹4,900 crores from SingTel and other overseas companies.
  • The decision comes at the time when there is a decline in promoter and promoter group holding in Airtel to 58.98% from 62.70%.
  • It is after the company raised $2 billion through a private placement of shares to investors including Citigroup, GIC, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Schroder, Warburg Pincus and Segantii Capita, reports say. 
  • Bharti Airtel has pending dues of more than Rs35,000 crores to be paid to the government before a January 23 deadline for license fees and spectrum dues.

Bharti Airtel Limited, also known as Airtel, is an Indian global telecommunications services company based in Delhi, India. It operates in 18 countries across South Asia and Africa, and also in the Channel Islands. Airtel is credited with pioneering the business strategy of outsourcing all of its business operations except marketing, sales and finance and building the ‘minutes factory’ model of low cost and high volumes. The strategy has since been adopted by several operators. It is the third-largest mobile network operator in India and the second-largest mobile network operator in the world with over 411.42 million subscribers. More Info

RBI to release Minutes of Central Board Meetings

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das decided to disclose minutes of the meeting of RBI central board directors which improve public awareness about the functioning of RBI and bring accountability to the directors.

Crux of the Matter
  • The Minutes of Meetings would be placed on the RBI’s website in terms of provisions of Section 4 of the RTI Act.
  • The step to publish minutes of the meeting may also help the government and the RBI to preempt difficult questions on various issues such as transfer of surplus RBI capital reserves to the government.
  • RBI central board meetings have been controversial in recent times, especially after the previous RBI governor Urjit Patel resigned due to alleged difference of opinions on policy matters with the government.
  • RBI routinely publishes the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee’s bi-monthly meetings on monetary and credit policy. However, now RBI will release the minutes of the meetings of the central board, which has members representing the government as well.
  • The central bank on January 19 released minutes of the meeting held between RBI central board members held in Chandigarh.
  • The Board discussed the role of Payment Banks and Small Finance Banks in enhancing financial inclusion, annual activity reports of Local Boards, the various sub-committees of the Board.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is India’s central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. RBI is the regulator of entire Banking in India. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. RBI regulates commercial banks and non-banking finance companies working in India. It serves as the leader of the banking system and the money market. The RBI carries out India’s monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. More Info

Andhra Pradesh to get three Capital cities

Amid heavy protests by opposition leaders and farmers, the Andhra Pradesh assembly passed the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill, 2020, which will make Visakhapatnam as the executive capital and Kurnool as the judicial capital.

Crux of the Matter
  • AP government believes development only in one place is leading to inequalities and emergence of backward regions.
  • 10-year annuity term which was announced for compensation of Amaravati farmers has been extended to 15 years.
  • The pension amount will be increased to Rs 5,000 from the existing Rs 2,500 for 21,000 families.
  • The CM has accused former CM Chandrababu Naidu of lying about the Sivaramakrishnan committee report wherein the committee clearly opposed the construction of super capital in Amaravati region.
  • CM Reddy said, “the 1937 Sribagh Pact clearly discussed where to place the capital, high court and accordingly Kurnool was declared the capital city in 1953. Similarly, in 2014, the Justice Srikrishna Committee recommended that the decentralisation of development is needed.”
  • The government has plans to develop Amaravati and transform it into a great city.
  • CM Reddy said, “we are not in a position to invest Rs 1 lakh crore on the construction of capital alone. There are other priorities as well wherein at least Rs 500 crore for each municipality is required.”

Amaravati is a proposed and planned Capital city as the Geographical Center of Location for the Andhra Pradesh state, India. It has been allotted space to be built on the southern banks of the Krishna river in Guntur district, within the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region. Amaravati city is being designed to have 51% of green spaces and 10% of water bodies, with a plan to house some of the most iconic buildings there. The city is being modelled on Singapore, with the master plan being prepared by two Singapore government-appointed consultants. Other international consultants and architects will then be roped in to give it an international flavour. More Info