•Recently, a draft legislation on national security has been tabled before China’s Parliament
•It will make changes in the Basic Law, the mini-constitution which defines ties between Hong Kong and Beijing
[Basic law makes it clear that only Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) can make and repeal laws]
•Beijing wants LegCo to pass the new legislation as soon as possible because it is afraid that if LegCo comes under the control of democrats after elections later in 2020, it will be hard to implement the legislation.
•Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong aims at preserving national security but it will also allow China’s national security organs to formally operate and set up institutions in Hong Kong.
Do you know?
•Hong Kong was formerly a British colony and was handed over to mainland China in 1997, becoming one of its Special Administrative Regions (SAR).
[It is governed by a mini-constitution called the Basic Law, which affirms the principle of “one country, two systems”.]
【China seeks India’s support for its new law!】
ReStart Programme for MSMEs
•Recently the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has launched a new programme ‘ReStart’ to support the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector in the State
•The government will spend ₹1,100 crore on revival of the sector which is expected to benefit 98,000 units that provide employment to more than 10 lakh people.
Revised definition for MSMEs
•Under the new MSME Classification MSMEs will now be defined in a composite manner, taking both investments as well as turnover into account.
1. Micro: Any firm with investment up to Rs 1 crore and turnover under Rs 5 crore.
2. Small: Any firm with investment up to Rs 10 crore and turnover upto Rs 50 crore.
3. Medium: Any firm with investment up to Rs 20 crore and turnover under Rs 100 crore.
USA to exit from Open Skies Treaty
•Open Skies Treaty is an agreement that allows its 34 signatories countries to monitor arm development by conducting surveillance flights (unarmed) over each other’s territories.[India is not a member of this treaty.]
•It was signed in 1992 and came into effect in 2002.
•Therefore, the treaty established an aerial surveillance system for its participants.
Both US and Russia are signatories of the treaty.
•Recently, the United States of America (USA) has announced that it will exit the Open Skies Treaty (OST) due to continuous violation of the treaty by Russia and changes in the security environment.
[It is expected to formally pull out of Open Skies in six months.]
•Russia’s Stand: Russia has denied the allegations and warned that the withdrawal will affect the interests of all of 35 participating countries.
•This move by the USA has further deepened doubts on extension of the New START treaty, which expires in February, 2021. [In 2019, the U.S. and Russia walked away from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.]
The report on Trends in World Military Expenditure
•Released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
•According to the report, global military expenditure stood at around $1,917 billion in 2019 – the highest in over three decades.
•The US topped the list of military spenders with $732 billion in 2019 accounting for 38% of the total global defence expenditure [The five top spenders in 2019 accounted for 62% of the global expenditure]
•This is the first time that India and China have featured among the top three military spenders.
•New Delhi’s defence spending grew 6.8% to reach $71.1 billion in 2019.
India’s military expenditure grew 259% over the 30-year period (1990-2019) and by 37% over the decade (2010–19).
•However, its (India’s) military burden fell from 2.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 to 2.4% in 2019.
Global Terrorism Index of 2019.
•The GTI report issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)[An Australian institute]
•The index provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism since 2000.
•It produces a composite score in order to provide an ordinal ranking of countries on the impact of terrorism.
•NITI Aayog has questioned Australian institute’s terror ranking of India in its Global Terrorism Index of 2019.
•It has questioned the methodology adopted to rank India as the seventh worst terrorism affected country ahead of conflict-ridden countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Palestine and Lebanon.