Current Affairs September 18


  • The Supreme Court Collegium, led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, is proceeding with staggering speed to fill vacancies and strengthen the judiciary as seen in the latest slew of recommendations.
  • The Collegium began its work on a historic note with the successful recommendation of nine new judges to the Supreme Court that were quickly approved by the government


GST Council

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has decided to keep petroleum products out of the GST regime, while consumers will have to keep paying the Compensation Cess levied on products like automobiles till March 2026.
  • As per Article 279A (1) of the amended Constitution, the GST Council has to be constituted by the President within 60 days of the commencement of Article 279A. The notification for bringing into force Article 279A with effect from 12th September, 2016 was issued on 10th September, 2016.
  • As per Article 279A of the amended Constitution, the GST Council which will be a joint forum of the Centre and the States, shall consist of the following members: –
  1. Union Finance Minister – Chairperson
  2. The Union Minister of State, in-charge of Revenue of finance – Member
  3. The Minister In-charge of finance or taxation or any other Minister nominated by each State Government – Members
  • As per Article 279A (4), the Council will make recommendations to the Union and the States on important issues related to GST, like the goods and services that may be subjected or exempted from GST, model GST Laws, principles that govern Place of Supply, threshold limits, GST rates including the floor rates with bands, special rates for raising additional resources during natural calamities/disasters, special provisions for certain States, etc.
  • The Union Cabinet approved setting up of GST Council on 12th September, 2016



Tribunal ( Executive vs Judiciary)


  • Supreme Court on the unusual delay in filling up vacancies among judicial and administrative members, it released a set of appointments this week.
  • The Court found that there was cherry-picking among the names chosen by the various Selection Committees.
  • Instead of exhausting the selection list put together by panels of judges and officials,
  • The issue of tribunals has been a source of considerable friction between the Government and the Court.
  • They have often disagreed on the eligibility criteria and conditions of service and a series of judgments have gone against the Government.
  • Clauses introducing changes to the conditions of service of members of the various Tribunals have often been subjected to judicial view.
  • Courts want to ensure that a reasonable tenure was available to the appointees, and do not allow criteria related to age and experience to be used to undermine their independence.
  • Tribunals have always been seen as institutions that were a rung lower in independence as regular courts, even though there is wide agreement that administrative tribunals are required for quicker and more focused adjudication of cases that required specialisation and domain expertise.
  • As several laws now provide for such adjudicative bodies, the executive does have an interest in retaining some leverage over their members.
  • The Supreme Court has repeatedly called for the establishment of a national tribunals commission to make suitable appointments and evaluate the functioning of tribunals.


Australia on AUKUS


  • Australia had informed India about the new enhanced trilateral security partnership with the U.S. and the U.K. — AUKUS — before it was formally announced.
  • The decision for the partnership reflected a much more “challenging strategic environment”, which they shared with India, where “great power competition is intensifying”, and territorial tensions in the South China Sea, Taiwan and elsewhere were becoming “more challenging
  • Indo-Pacific investment in military capability is proceeding in an unprecedented rate and it is being driven by China, which has the largest military modernisation programme under way in the world.
  • AUKUS would help improve Australia’s defence capabilities in line with the country’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update and would not affect the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which is more of a diplomatic forum.
  • the Australian leader said his government was reacting to changing dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region where territory is increasingly contested and competition is rising.
  • Australia is “very aware” of China’s nuclear submarine capabilities and growing military investment


Restructuring of Indian railway


  • The Indian Railways, the country’s largest employer and transporter, is heading for a major restructuring plan that could lead to the closure of key establishments, merger of decades old organisations and private participation in running of its schools and hospitals.
  • The recommendations of the Principal Economic Adviser Sanjeev Sanyal for Rationalisation of Government Bodies and Proposal for the Ministry of Railways calls for winding up the Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), the Central Organisation for Modernisation Of Workshops (COFMOW), the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) and the Indian Railways Organisation for Alternative Fuel.
  • The panel recommended winding up of the CRIS, an autonomous society that develops software capacity in the railways that includes passenger ticketing, freight invoicing, passenger train operations, management of train crew and management of fixed/rolling assets, and handing over all its work to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
  • Going by the plan, RailTel, one of the largest telecom infrastructure providers in the country that focuses on modernising operations and safety systems through optic fibre networks that exist along railway tracks, would be merged with the IRCTC.
  • It has been proposed for the Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) that exports rolling stock to take over Braithwaite & Co Ltd., (BCL) which turned sick in 1992, the sources said.
  • Among other recommendations were the merger of the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL), which implements projects relating to creation and augmentation of railway infrastructure, with the Indian Railway Construction Limited (IRCON), a specialised infrastructure construction organisation
  • The Principal Economic Adviser recommended merger of railway schools with Kendriya Vidyalayas or handing them over to the respective State governments since “operating the railway schools takes up a large amount of time of the railway management, whose core competence is in running and maintaining the railway service.
  • Another major reform recommended was to establish Central Public Sector Enterprises to bring eight production units under its fold
  • Merger of the Central Training Institutes with the National Rail and Transportation Institute after upgrading the latter into a Central University and an Institute of National Importance,
  • roping in private participation for investments to enhance healthcare facilities open to all in the 125 railway hospitals and 586 health units/polyclinics was also proposed, the sources added.





  • The G33 (or the Friends of Special Products in agriculture) is a coalition of developing countries, established prior to the 2003 Cancun ministerial conference, that have coordinated during the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, specifically in regard to agriculture.
  • Dominated by India, the group has “defensive” concerns regarding agriculture in relation to World Trade Organization negotiations, and seeks to limit the degree of market opening required of developing countries.
  • When rich governments can afford to heavily subsidize their agriculture, predatory dumping can undermine a poorer country’s agricultural economy.
  • Developing countries aim to balance power through tariffs, in order to manage their own food security, stabilize of the livelihoods of their farming populations, and strengthen rural development.
  • The group has advocated the creation of a “special products” exemption, which would allow developing countries to exempt certain products from tariff reductions, and also a “special safeguard mechanism” which would permit tariff increases in response to import surges


US Methane emission plan


  • S. President Joe Biden announced the Global Methane Pledge, a U.S.–EU led effort to cut methane emissions by a third by the end of this decade
  • This will not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, but it will also produce a very valuable side benefit, like improving public health and agricultural output,”
  • Methane, a greenhouse gas, is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of its global warming capacity.
  • Approximately 40% of methane emitted is from natural sources and about 60% comes from human-influenced sources, including livestock farming, rice agriculture, biomass burning and so forth
  • The world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7 degrees Celsius heating


  • India has announced a renewable energy capacity goal of 450 GW by 2030 and Indian Railways has committed to achieving ‘net zero’ emissions by that year, but India as a whole has not committed to a time frame for reaching that target.
  • Some 130 countries are considering a net zero emissions target by 2050.


Person in News


  • Thanu Padmanabhan, eminent theoretical physicist and cosmologist, passed away .
  • The Padma Shri awardee collapsed after suffering a massive heart attack at his residence in the morning