News Wrap


Nearly two years after India's Supreme Court set aside the centuries old practice of instant triple talaq or talaq -e-biddat calling it un-Islamic, arbitrary and not an integral part of religious practice, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 got the stamp of Parliament, when it was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on 30 July 2019, five days after it got the nod from Lok Sabha. Pronouncement of instant triple talaq by Muslim husband, either spoken or written, or in electronic form shall be void and illegal. The Muslim husband who pronounces Talaq will get jail term of up to 3 years, shall also be liable to fine. Offence punishable under this act shall be cognizable. The offence shall be compoundable, at the instance of the married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced, with permission of magistrate. No person accused of a punishable offence shall get bail, unless the magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds. The magistrate will determine the amount of subsistence allowance to be received by the married Muslim woman upon whom Talaq is pronounced, from her husband. Married Muslim woman shall be entitled to custody of her minor kids, in event of pronouncement of Talaq by her husband, as determined by the magistrate.

GST System
An audit of the Goods and Services Tax, by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, has revealed that the union government of India had failed to try out the system, before its roll-out, leading to inadequate compliance mechanisms, and lower tax revenues. The keystone of the tax system, the invoice matching system, had not yet been put in place, even two years after the GST rollout. The compliance in terms of the number of returns filed had been falling month after month. The union government had not been following the rules set out regarding the transfer of revenue to the states. Even after two years of rollout of GST, system validated Input Tax Credit through invoice matching is not in place, and non-intrusive e-Tax system still remains elusive. The complexity of the return mechanism and the technical glitches resulted in rollback of invoice matching, rendering the system prone to Input Tax Credit frauds. Without invoice matching and auto generation of refunds, assessments, etc. on the whole, the envisaged GST Tax compliance system is non-functional. There was inadequate co-ordination between the central Department of Revenue, the central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, and the GST network.

End Of Cold War Missile Treaty
On 02 Aug 2019, United States of America terminated a major Treaty of the cold war, the Intermediate Range Nuclear Fore's Agreement (1987) Later in Summer 2019, USA will start testing a new class of missiles. USA claims that Russia for years, was in violation of the accord/ treaty of 32 years. The first US deployment of missiles is intended to counter China, which has amassed an imposing missile arsenal. China is now seen as a far more formidable long-term strategic rival than Russia. Hundreds of missiles in southeast China are within range of Taiwan. Missile at other sites can hit Japan and India, and there are Chinese missile that can strike the US Territory of Guam, and other potential targets of the second island chain. Russian 9M729 missiles are a threat to NATO allied security. The potential for Nuclear confrontations with USA and North Korea, and Iran, is also rising.

Ethiopia's Unity And Ethinic Separatists
Ethiopia's constitution created nine ethnically based semi-autonomous states. It also gave each of Ethiopia's more than 80 ethnic groups the right to form its own state or secede. The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front prevented any group from actually exercising that right. Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia's prime minister came to power in 2018 promising greater freedoms. Ethnic elites, under the new dispensation, have revived their demands for more autonomy. The central government deferred the promised referendum by five months, in respect for Sidama, Ethiopia's fifth- biggest ethnic group, demanding state hood. From the third week of July 2019, Sidama protesters burned vehicles, looted businesses and attacked government buildings. Angry mobs set upon members of other ethnic groups. The internet remained switched off, and the army was deployed. Security forces killed more than 40 people in clashes, and arrested more than 150 people. The Sidama, number around 5 million, and are the biggest group in the state called Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region (SNNPR) which is a messy hotch potch of more than 45 different ethnic groups. The Ethiopia state government is weak and fractious. Parliament has failed to pass a budget in 2019. In 2018, inter-communal fighting forced almost 3 million people from their homes. Minority groups fear being persecuted.

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Vol. 52, No. 9, Sep 1 - 7, 2019