DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 31, 2018

Top Court Declines Centre’s Offer To File Panel Report On Data Protection

The Supreme Court today declined the Centre’s offer to place on record the report of Justice BN Srikrishna committee on “data protection” for perusal of the five-judge Constitution bench, which had reserved the verdict on pleas challenging the validity of Aadhaar.

A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, on May 10, had reserved the verdict on the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme and its enabling 2016 law after a hearing that gone on for 38 days.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, today told the bench comprising CJI Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud that the Justice Srikrishna committee has recently submitted the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 and its report and the Centre can submit it, if the court wishes so.

“I do not think that it is required,” the CJI said after consulting justices Khanwilkar and Chandrachud who were also part of the Constitution bench that had heard the pleas against Aadhaar.

The Personal Data Protection Bill and the report have been submitted by the Justice Srikrishna panel recently to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

The committee has suggested measures to be taken when it comes to protecting personal information of citizens, the role and duties of data processors and the rights of individuals.

The report also talked about the penalties that may be imposed for violation of these data protection measures.

Justice KM Joseph’s Elevation To Top Court Can’t Be Stopped, Say Source

The elevation of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph as a Supreme Court judge cannot he stopped and it is bound to take place, top government sources indicated today.  The government’s questioning of Justice Joseph’s elevation — citing inadequate representation in the top court from other states — had set the stage for its face-off with the country’s highest court.

The Supreme Court collegium had reiterated its choice of Justice Joseph for a second time. The court’s decision, made last month before one of its members, Justice Jasti Chelameshwar, retired, has been conveyed to the government.

Sources said the second recommendation from the collegium is a reiteration of its choice. Rules say if the collegium recommends a name a second time, the centre has no choice but to accept it.

It is also unusual for the government to return a recommendation for elevation to the Supreme Court from the court’s Collegium. In recent years, it happened only once when the NDA government blocked elevation of senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium in 2014.

The opposition has alleged that it was an attempt to undermine the judiciary and victmise Justice Joseph, who had delivered the verdict that cancelled President’s Rule in Uttarakhand in 2016. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had denied the allegations.

The government has said one of the reasons it questioned the appointment was that Justice Joseph’s elevation would increase the number of judges from the Kerala High Court to two, though there were many high courts which didn’t have a single judge in the top court.

The Supreme Court, which should have 31 judges on its rolls currently has only 23 judges. Four more judges are slated to retire this year.

From 2015 To 2018, Ceasefire Violations Increased Six-Fold: Government

The ceasefire violations (CFVs) along the Line of Control have increased six fold from 2015 to 2018, the government informed the Rajya Sabha today.
Replying to a question in the Upper House, Minister of State in the Defence Ministry Subhash Bhamre said there were 152 cases of CFVs in 2015.

It increased to 228 in 2016, 860 in 2017 and 2018 (until July 23) in 942, Mr. Bhamre said in a written response.

Cross-border firing along the India-Pakistan international border increased by nearly two times from 2015 to 2018, he said.

In 2015, there were 253 instances of cross-border firing, 221 in 2016, 111 in 2017 and 490 cases in 2018.

From 2015 to 2018, the Army has lost 44 personnel due to ceasefire violations while 25 Border Security Force (BSF) personnel died in cross-border firing, he added.

As many as 69 civilians have been killed in these firings, Mr Bhamre said.

Mamata Banerjee To Meet Sonia Gandhi, Opposition Leaders In Delhi

Stepping up efforts to forge a non-BJP front, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee is likely to meet Congress leader Sonia Gandhi to invite her for a planned ‘federal-front’ rally in Kolkata on Januray 19.

She is likely to meet Mrs. Gandhi, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and other opposition leaders during her three-day visit to the national capital, according to TMC sources,

Ms. Banerjee, who was earlier seen as wary of involving the Congress in any federal coalition to take on the BJP, has in recent weeks appeared to be more open to joining hands with the national party to consolidate the opposition forces.

Though the meeting with Mrs. Gandhi has not been scheduled, but Ms. Banerjee would try to meet her and all other prominent leaders from opposition parties during her visit.

“There could be certain circumstantial meetings with leaders of opposition parties when Mamata Banerjee would visit Parliament on August 1. She may meet Sonia Gandhi, and also RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav as he will be in Delhi during Banerjee’s visit,” said a senior TMC leader.

The West Bengal chief minister, who would be visiting the Central Hall of Parliament, is expected to personally invite opposition party leaders for her rally of “federal forces” in Kolkata on January 19.

The rally will help catapult Ms. Banerjee to the centre stage of national politics and also show her capacity to unite all opposition parties to take on the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections, according to another TMC leader.

TMC leader Derek O’Brien said that apart from opposition leaders, Ms. Banerjee will also meet Ram Jethmalani, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and disgruntled BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha during her visit.

Arun Shourie, a bitter critic of the Modi government, would meet Ms. Banerjee later in Kolkata as he would not be present in Delhi during TMC chief’s visit, Mr. O’Brien said.

Ms. Banerjee had recently met National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on the issue of cobbling an alliance of opposition parties to take on the BJP. Mr. Abdullah has maintained that the Congress has to be the “backbone” of the opposition unity with its chief Rahul Gandhi at the forefront of the campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Ms. Banerjee, who will be delivering a lecture at the conclave organized by Catholic Bishops Conference of India on July 31, is expected to attack the BJP on incidents of violence against members of minority communities.

The West Bengal chief minister, who has strongly criticised National Register of Citizens draft for Assam, has also sought an appointment with the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the issue.

Congress, Samajwadis, Mayawati And Ajit Singh Reach Mega UP Deal: Sources

A broad agreement has been worked out between the Congress, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, Dalit powerhouse Mayawati and RLD leader Ajit Singh to take on the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the state that sends the maximum number of parliamentarians to the Lok Sabha. Sources said the parties have decided to work out the details of sharing the state’s 80 seats later.

The understanding between the parties in the nation’s largest state is crucial to the building of an opposition front to take on the BJP in next year’s general elections. The idea of a common front in Uttar Pradesh has already paid dividends in the by-elections held in the state earlier this year – delivering to the opposition the high profile seats of Gorakhpur and Phulpur, and later Kairana and Noorpur.

Last week, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar – one of the key interlocutors for an opposition front – met Ms. Mayawati. The meeting, sources said, was an exploratory session regarding the Bahujan Samaj Party’s plans for seat adjustment, especially for the three key states going to polls at the end of this year – Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

The seat sharing between Mayawati and the Congress hit a roadblock in Madhya Pradesh after the BSP chief demanded 50 of the state’s 230 seats. Sources in the Congress say the party offered her 22 and refuses to go beyond 30.

“It has to be a formidable alliance to take on the BJP and not one that would ensure a revolt in both parties and help the BJP,” a leader said.

Regarding the alliance in Uttar Pradesh, Congress sources say the party is yet to broach the issue of seat sharing and is yet to be looped into the formula arrived at by the rest of the allies.

The BSP and the Samajwadi Party have a broad adjustment, under which Ajit Singh’s party will be given seats from the SP quota.

Sources said they are ready to give the Congress eight seats. “Unless there are tough negotiations, we will not agree to more than 10. The BSP will be given the maximum seats and the SP will be contesting approximately on 32 seats. Three seats will go to the RLD,” a leader said.

The Congress has already finalized its alliances for Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

For Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu, it has worked out a seat-sharing formula with local heavyweights JMM and M Karunanidhi’s DMK. The loose alliance in Tamil Nadu also includes the Left, which has agreed to work with the Congress inside and out of parliament.

In Bihar, its Grand Alliance with Lalu Yadav stands, strengthened by the defection of Nitish Kumar to the BJP.

In Maharashtra, the Congress has already worked out a seat-sharing formula with Sharad Pawar. Several smaller parties are also expected to be part of the alliance.

SBI hikes FD rates on deposits by 5-10 basis points; bulk deposits by 15-60 basis points

The country’s largest lender, the State Bank of India (SBI), has hiked interest rates on fixed deposits of various tenures with effect from today. To begin with, the bank has made its retail deposits – those below Rs 1 crore – across longer maturity baskets more attractive by 5-10 basis points (see table). While interest rates on deposits of tenures longer than two years have gone up by 0.1 percent, the hike on tenures of 1 year to less than 2 years stands at 0.05 percent. Senior citizens, of course, earn 50 basis points more across all the revised brackets.

On the other hand, bulk deposits of over Rs 1 crore for tenures of under two years will now earn less interest – rates have been slashed by 30-45 basis points. For instance, the interest rate on such deposits for 46 days to 179 days has been slashed by 45 basis points, or 0.45 percent.

However, bulk deposits of Rs 1-10 crore as well as over Rs 10 crore will now earn 6.85 percent, as much as 60 basis points higher, on the 5-10 years tenure.

SBI had last revised interest rates two months ago. The bank’s website clarifies that “The proposed rates of interest shall be made applicable to fresh deposits and renewals of maturing deposits”. Furthermore, the interest rate payable to SBI Staff and SBI pensioners will be 1 percent above the applicable rate.

With bank credit now outpacing deposits, it is only a matter of time before other banks follow SBI’s lead. According to the RBI’s latest data, banks’ credit grew by 12.8 percent year-on-year to Rs 86.60 lakh crore as on July 6. But bank deposits are growing much slower at 8.3 percent so they now need money for lending, and hence they are making fixed deposits more attractive.

Reacting positively to this development, SBI’s stock was trading 4 percent higher intraday at Rs 299.55 apiece earlier this afternoon.

Dabba trading sees an upsurge in wake of RBI’s cryptocurrency ban

Ever since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banned banks from dealing with digital currencies, other ways of trading in major virtual currencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum have emerged, one of which is Dabba trading. Dabba trading is a process used by brokers to use a client’s trade outside the official platforms. The illegal method, mostly used for trading in stocks, has seen an upsurge as traditional Dabba operators are accepting bets on Bitcoin too, giving a boost to their overall earning. The recent positive fluctuation in Bitcoin, which saw its price plunge from $20,000 in December 2017 to $5,800 in June end and then $8,000 in July, has also led to a flurry of activity in its trading, a Business Standard report said.

For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘Dabba trading’ is a process by which a broker does not execute trade on its system connected with commodity or stock exchange and carries out trade using an overseas bank trading account by transferring money through hawala network. These accounts are mostly based in Europe, especially the UK, and Dubai.

Ever since the banks were stopped from providing financial services to digital exchanges, the trade of Bitcoin through Dabba trading has increased manifold, and the whole purpose of stopping the flow of illicit money seems to have been defeated, say experts.

How do these Bitcoin ‘Dabba traders’ work? Such traders are based out of Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Kolkata and Mumbai. They work as a bridge between a customer and foreign trading company. The broker accepts money in cash, buys Bitcoins using an overseas trading account and sells them when the bet placed in India is settled. The difference is paid in cash to the customer. Margins are settled the same day, usually by 8 pm, or, in some cases, in a week.

Also, conversation mainly happens via messaging app Telegram, cloud-based instant messaging service with end-to-end encryption and the money in cash is routed through the hawala channels.

Such deals are also happening through official channels like brokers who maintain bank accounts in India as well as overseas. The customer deposits money in a bank account in India. The money is then routed through official or unofficial channels to the foreign account where Bitcoins are bought and sold. The money is usually paid in cash or cheque to the investor following the deduction of commission or any loss. Interestingly, the RBI’s guideline on maximum $250,000 per annum overseas remittance window is being misused by many using the ‘Dabba trading’.

The cash market existed way before the RBI diktat on cryptocurrencies but it has now flourished as people with illicit cash are using it to earn more money. Ever since the ban, many online exchanges are working on a peer-to-peer model to facilitate virtual currency trade without using normal banking channels. The P2P model is based on escrow – a contractual arrangement in which a third party keeps the financial instruments on behalf of two primary transacting parties.

RBI cancels licences of 35 NBFCs; over 100 companies blacklisted in July alone

The Reserve Bank of India cancelled the licences of as many as 35 Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) on Monday. In a statement issued by the RBI, the central bank said these companies will not be able to do the business of a non-banking financial institution from now on. The central bank has cancelled the licences of over 100 NBFCs this month alone. Some of them were either blacklisted or they stopped doing operations and surrendered their certificates to the RBI.

Before this, the RBI had cancelled the licences of as many as 25 NBFCs on July 25; 45 on July 19; 12 on July 20; and eight on July 23. Over 1,200 NBFCs flagged as “high risk” prone for not complying with a provision of the anti-money laundering law had submitted their records to the government in April to be identified as legally compliant.

Under the PMLA, the NBFCs, which include cooperative banks, are required to furnish details about the identity of their clients, maintain records and furnish the information to the Financial Intelligence Unit.  Several NBFCs are facing closure for violation of these rules, but despite that these non-banking financial institutions are expected to grow at 19-21 percent in the current financial year, while SME credit could see over 25 percent growth, an ICRA report said.

Recently, the government MP Narender Jadhav told the Rajya Sabha that Chinese giant Alibaba had applied for NBFC licence in India through Paytm. There is a buzz that Flipkart is also looking to enter the financial services space to offer its customers as well as sellers a plethora of credit and insurance products. The Bengaluru-headquartered firm has started the process of applying for an NBFC licence, which will allow it to open lines of credit to its customers numbering around 10 crores and over 1 lakh sellers.

The NBFCs lend and make investments and, hence, their activities are akin to that of the banks. However, they can’t accept demand deposits and do not form part of the payment and settlement system and cannot issue cheques drawn on themselves.

Sensex hits all-time high of 37,533, Nifty crosses 11,300 for first time; ICICI Bank, SBI, Bharti Airtel top gainers

  • Extending their rally for the sixth consecutive session, the Sensex and Nifty hit their all-time highs today amid rise in banking and auto stocks.  While the Sensex touched 37,533, a fresh intraday high level, the Nifty breached the 11,300 level for the first time ever to reach an intraday high of 11,328.

    Later, the Sensex closed 0.42% or 157 points higher at 37,494, an all-time closing high level.

    Nifty too rose 41.20 points or 0.37% to end at 11,319 level.

    Banking rally was led by Bank of Baroda whose stock hit a fresh 17-week high level of 152.70 after the public sector lender reported a more than two fold rise in Q1 net profit to Rs 528.26 crore. The stock closed 9.92% or 13 points higher at 151.75 on the BSE.

    Top Sensex gainers were Bharti Airtel (5.13%), ICICI Bank (4.76%), SBI (3.75%), Axis Bank (2.67%), Mahindra and Mahindra (2.52%), Vedanta Ltd (2.25%) and HUL (1.90%).

    Top Sensex losers were Infosys (1.56%), HDFC Bank (1.41%) and L&T 1.19%.

    On the Nifty, top gainers were Bharti Airtel (5.68%), ICICI Bank (4.88%, SBI (3.40%) and Axis Bank (2.85%).

    Top Nifty losers were HDFC Bank (1.70%), Infosys (1.63%), HCL Technologies (1.61%) , HDFC (1.53%) and Bajaj Finance (1.46%).

    The ICICI Bank stock rose over 4.5 percent today even as the lender posted its maiden quarterly loss in more than a decade for the quarter ended June. Posting its maiden quarterly loss in more than a decade, ICICI Bank reported a net loss of Rs 119.5 crore on higher provisioning for bad loans.

    However, on a consolidated basis, ICICI Group posted a meager profit of Rs 4.93 crore, compared to Rs 2,604.73 crore a year ago.

    VK Sharma, head Private Client Group and Capital Market Strategy at HDFC Securities said, “The Nifty scaled yet another new high as short covering continued this week as well with the benchmark adding 41 points or 0.37% at 11,320. The street ramped up PSU Bank stocks and the industry facing private sector banks after results from Bank of Baroda and ICICI bank enthused investors.

    With the central banks meeting lined up this week including the RBI , the Nifty is likely to consolidate. The Bank Nifty did better than the broader benchmark. The most positive development, however, was the advances outnumbering declines for the sixth day on the trot, a phenomenon, which the markets have not seen earlier in 2018.”

    Banking stocks led the rally with the BSE bankex rising to 31177 level intraday.

    The index closed 401 points or 1.30% higher at 31144 level.

    Bank Nifty too rose 0.75% or 208 points to 27,842 level. It hit a high of 27,873 intraday.

    The auto sector also contributed to the rally with BSE auto rising 0.49% or 119 points to 24,388 level. The index hit an intraday high of 24,433.

    The Reliance Industries stock hit a fresh all-time high after the conglomerate announced its record Q1 earnings. The stock closed 1.78% or 20 points higher at 1,149 level on BSE. The stock hit an intraday high of 1,157.55 after opening at 1,136 level on the BSE. The stock has gained 2.26% during the last two sessions.

    Market breadth was positive with 1615 stocks closing higher compared with 1038 stocks falling on the BSE. 193 stocks were unchanged.

    Last week, the Sensex recorded a significant rise of 840.48 points, or 2.30 percent while the Nifty gained 268.15 points, or 2.44 percent.

    On July 27, FIIs pumped in Rs 738.05 crore into Indian markets. DIIs infused Rs 406.12 crore into Indian market.

    Global markets

    World markets slipped on Monday as steep losses by US technology stocks and a weakening Chinese Yuan shook confidence in overall growth.

    Germany’s DAX fell 0.3 percent in early trading to 12,824.32 while France’s CAC 40 was down 0.4 percent at 5,490.90. Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.2 percent to 7,683.99. Futures pointed to small losses on Wall Street, with the contract for Dow futures down 0.1 percent at 25,400.00 and S&P 500 futures also 0.1 percent lower at 2,813.90.

    Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.7 percent to 22,544.84 and South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1 percent lower to 2,293.51. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2 percent to 2,869.05 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.3 percent to 28,733.13. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gave up 0.4 percent to 6,278.40. Shares gained in Indonesia but were lower in Taiwan and Singapore.

IndiGo Q1 profit falls 97% YoY to Rs 28 crore on rising fuel costs, forex woes

Budget carrier IndiGo’s parent InterGlobe Aviation on Monday reported a 96.6 percent decline in net profit at Rs 27.80 crore for June quarter. India’s largest airline by market share had reported Rs 811.10 crore profit in the year-ago quarter. The aviation company cited adverse impact of foreign exchange, high fuel prices and the competitive fare environment for fall fall in profitability.

Aircraft fuel costs rose 54.4 percent YoY during the quarter to Rs 2,715.60 crore compared with Rs 1759.2 crore in the year-ago quarter. However, sales from operations rose 13.2 percent to Rs 651.20 crore in the quarter, compared with Rs 575.29 crore in the year-ago period, it said in a regulatory filing.

“While we faced headwinds during the quarter, we remain focused on executing our long-term plan. We added capacity into new routes and destinations domestically and also continued to connect international destinations to various cities in India,” IndiGo co-founder and interim CEO Rahul Bhatia said in a statement.

The passenger ticket revenues for the quarter rose 13.6 percent to Rs 5,769.40 crore while ancillary revenues were up 16 percent at Rs 682.70 crore.

As of June 2018, the Gurugram-based company had a fleet of 169 aircraft including 124 A320ceos, 36 A320neos and 9 ATRs; a net increase of 10 aircraft during the quarter. The low-cost carrier, which flies 4 out of 10 Indians, operated a peak of 1,157 daily flights including international operations during the quarter

Total expenses for the quarter jumped by 40.5 percent year-on-year to Rs 678.70 crore, while fuel cost shot up by 54.5 percent to 271.56 crores, from Rs 175.92 crore in the year-ago period.

Besides, yield or average ticket price dropped to Rs 3.62 per km in the June quarter, against Rs 3.83 per km in the same period last year.

The company’s stock ended 0.23 percent lower at Rs 1,004.25 apiece on the BSE today, against 0.42 percent jump in the benchmark.

 

Question of the Day | Legal Terms List 31-July-2018

Question of the day

Question: The concept of judicial review has been borrowed from the Constitution of-

(a) U.S.S.R.

(b) U.K.

(c) U.S.A.

(d) Switzerland

Legal terms of the day

1. Actionable per se – The very act is punishable and no proof of damage is required.

2. Ad hoc – For the particular end or case at hand.

3. Alibi – At another place, elsewhere.

4. Audi alteram partem – No man shall be condemned unheard.

5. Amicus Curiae – A friend of court or member of the Bar who is appointed to assist the Court.

 

Today’s answer of the question: C

Question of the Day | Legal Terms List 30-July-2018

Question of the day

Principle:  No Person shall be prosecuted for the same offence twice.

Facts: Rajiv Chanda was driving his BMW when he drove the car on the pathway and crushed three people to death. Due to lack of evidence he is acquitted, now the prosecution finds eye witness and evidence against him. They want to prosecute him again.

(a) Rajiv Chanda cannot be prosecuted again.

(b) He can be prosecuted since there is fresh evidence against him.

(c) He cannot be prosecuted as his grandfather was the chief of Army.

(d) He can be prosecutes again as he was not punished at all.

Legal terms of the day

1. Writ – an order issued by a court telling someone to do something or not to do something. (This has been known as a ‘claim form’ since April 1999).

2. Writ of execution – a type of writ (‘claim form’ since April 1999) used when a court judgment needs enforcing.

3. Writ of summons – a type of writ (‘claim form’ since April 1999) used to start a civil case in the High Court. (This has been known as a ‘claim form’ since April 1999).

4. Wrongful dismissal – ending an employee’s contract without following the contract’s terms.

5. Wrongful trading – continuing to trade while knowing that there is little prospect of the company being able to pay its debts.

 

Today’s answer of the question: A

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 28, 2018

SC for panels to examine dowry cases

dowry

Sources: the hindu

In a landmark judgment, aimed at putting an end to misuse of section 498A of the IPC that is dowry-related offences, the Supreme Court has proposed a slew of measures. They aim to put an end to the automatic arrest of the husband and his family members.

Proposed measures:

Special committees:Every complaint under Section 498A should henceforth will have to be referred to Family Welfare Committees – to be constituted at every district. No arrest shall be effected till report of such committee is received.

Enquiry: The committee would interact with the parties personally or by means of telephonic or electronic communication and give a report within a month to the authority which referred the complaint to it. There will be no routine impounding of passports or issuance of Red Corner Notice for NRI accused. Personal appearance of all family members and particularly outstation members may not be required. However, these directions will not apply to the offences involving tangible physical injuries.

Report: The report would be on “the factual aspects and its opinion” in the matter. Till report of the committee is received, no arrest should normally be effected. The report may be then considered by the investigating officer or the magistrate on its own merit.

Investigating officers: Complaints under Section 498A and other connected offences may be investigated only by a designated investigating officer of the area. Such designations should be made within one month. Such designated officers may be given training for not less than a week or as may be considered appropriate. The training has to be completed within four months.

Bail: If a bail application is filed with at least one clear day’s notice to the Public Prosecutor/complainant, it should be decided as far as possible on the same day.

 

What necessitated the court’s intervention?

The anti-dowry law was enacted with the laudable object of punishing cruelty at the hands of husband or his relatives – particularly when such cruelty drives the wife to suicide. However, complaints are mounting up over the years alleging misuse of the anti-dowry harassment law – framed in 1983 following a spate of dowry-related deaths – by disgruntled wives. The law is also being misused.

  • A growing trend is being observed among women involved in marital discord to abuse Section 498A of IPC to rope in their husbands’ relatives — including parents, minor children, siblings and grandparents — in criminal cases.
  • Therefore, it is high time such frivolous cases which violate the human rights of innocent is checked.

 

Significance of this move:

This is a shift from the dominant judicial conception of women as victims who would silently suffer injustice rather than bring disrepute to their family by taking domestic conflict outside the four walls of the home. Going by the popular portrait, it is only the worst victim of abuse among women who approach the court for redress. With its latest observations, the court broke away from the reigning perception to rule that in dowry cases, the account of the alleged victim need not be taken at face value.

Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles Installed in Bengaluru

Under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India [FAME-India] Scheme of the Government, 25 Charging Stations have been installed at 6 different locations in Bengaluru by M/s. Mahindra REVA Electric Vehicles Pvt. Ltd, as a pilot project.

  • Based on the proposals received under FAME Scheme, charging infrastructure in selected cities/ locations were sanctioned by the Department of Heavy Industries.

charging vehicles

About FAME India scheme

The FAME-India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (hybrid &) Electric vehicles in India) scheme is proposed to be implemented over a period of 6 years, till 2020, wherein it is intended to support the hybrid/electric vehicles market development and its manufacturing eco-system to achieve self-sustenance at the end of the stipulated period.

  • The scheme has four focus areas, technology development, demand creation, pilot projects and charging infrastructure.
  • FAME India – Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India – is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan.
  • The scheme envisages Rs 795 crore support in the first two fiscals starting with the current year.
  • It is being administered by the Heavy Industries Ministry.

NABARD takes first step to access Green Climate Fund

India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has signed an Accreditation Master Agreement (AMA) with the Green Climate Fund. With the signing of the AMA, NABARD becomes the first Indian organisation to get Direct Access Entity status and is the first step for the body to access GCF resources.

gcf

Sources: pib

About GCF:

The GCF was set up in 2010 under the UNFCCC’s financial mechanism to channel funding from developed countries to developing countries to allow them to mitigate climate change and also adapt to disruptions arising from a changing climate. It was central to the Paris climate agreement signed in 2015, that the world’s largest historical emitter.

 

How it helps?

  • The Green Climate Fund will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties using thematic funding windows.
  • It is intended to be the centrepiece of efforts to raise Climate Finance of $100 billion a year by 2020.
  • The Fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, taking into account the needs of those developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • The Fund will strive to maximize the impact of its funding for adaptation and mitigation, and seek a balance between the two, while promoting environmental, social, economic and development co-benefits and taking a gender-sensitive approach.

 

Who will govern the Fund?

The Fund is governed and supervised by a Board that will have full responsibility for funding decisions and that receives the guidance of the COP. The Fund is accountable to, and functions under the guidance of, the COP.

BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers’ Meet in China

China is the chair for the BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers’ Meet for the year 2017. This year’s meeting was held in Chonqging, China. The meeting concluded with the adoption of the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Declaration by the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers.

 

About the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Declaration:

  • The Declaration covered a variety of areas that are of critical importance to all BRICS countries including India and called upon strengthening collaboration and cooperation on these through appropriate institutionalisation.
  • These areas consisted of: “Governance in the Future of Work”, “Skills for development in BRICS”, “Universal and sustainable social security systems”, “BRICS Network of Labour Research Institutions”, “BRICS Social Security Cooperation Framework” and “BRICS entrepreneurship research”.

 

Background:

The BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are home to 42% of the world’s population. Their total share in the global economy has risen from 12% to 23% in the past decade, while contributing more than half of global growth.

Sagar Vani

“Sagar Vani”, a mobile app, was launched recently on the occasion of Foundation Day of Ministry of Earth Sciences.

sagar-vani

Sources: pib.

About Sagar Vani:

The ‘Sagar Vani’ is a software platform where various dissemination modes will be integrated on a single central server. The ‘Sagar Vani’ includes Multi Lingual SMS, Voice Call / Audio Advisory, Mobile Apps (User / Admin modules), Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), Email, GTS, Fax, Digital Display Boards, Radio / Television broadcast units, IVRS, Cloud Channels, etc.

  • The system also has facility to provide access to various stakeholders (NGOs, State Fishery Departments, Disaster Management Authorities, etc.) so that they too will be able to further disseminate these ocean information and alerts to the user community.
  • This ‘Sagar Vani’ system compares with the most advanced countries’ services in terms of speed of delivery, omni channel capabilities and diverseness of services. With this system, the services will be disseminated in local languages using advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.
  • For the first time in India, the power of television and cable network mediums for topical and alert dissemination services is being used.
  • The ‘Sagar Vani’ will now serve the coastal community, especially the fishermen community with the advisories and alerts towards their livelihood as well as their safety at Sea.

India Quake

india-quake

Sources: pib

“India Quake” is a mobile app launched recently on the occasion of Foundation Day of Ministry of Earth Sciences.

About India Quake:

To overcome the delay in dissemination of the information during earthquakes, India Quake Mobile App has been developed by the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) for automatic dissemination of earthquake parameter (location, time and magnitude) after the occurrence of earthquakes.

  • The App will make information dissemination faster with no restrictions on the number of recipients. Any citizen can download this App and get the real time earthquake location information on his/her mobile.
  • Other than scientific and administrative benefits of the App, it will help in reducing panic amongst people during an earthquake. For example, if an earthquake occurs in Hindukush region, Afghanistan and is strongly felt in Delhi, then people in Delhi will know in less than 2 minutes that the earthquake has actually occurred in Afghanistan and not in Delhi.

 

Question of the Day | Legal Terms List 28-July-2018

Question of the day

Question: Public holidays are declared under-

(a) Criminal Procedure Code

(b) Civil Procedure Code

(c) Constitution of India

(d) Negotiable Instruments Act.

Legal terms of the day

1. Voluntary manslaughter – Murder and voluntary manslaughter have the same meaning in law. But there are four deference that can reduce the crime in seriousness to manslaughter

2. Ward of court – a person who is protected by the High Court, such as a minor.

3. Warrant – is:

  • a certificate which gives the person holding it the right to buy shares at a given price;
  • a magistrate’s written instruction to arrest someone;

4. Warranty – a term in a contract. If the term is not complied with damages can be claimed by the injured party.

5. Way leave – a right of way through or over a piece of land often for a particular purpose, such as for a pipeline to go through a piece of land or for goods to be carried over it.

 

Today’s answer of the day: D

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 27, 2018

States can’t enact law on parliamentary secretaries: SC

supremecourt

Sources: the hindu

The Supreme Court has ruled that state assemblies hold no power to enact a law that enables them to appoint parliamentary secretaries.

Background:

The ruling came on a plea challenging the appointment of 13 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries by the Assam government in 2015. The verdict would also have an impact on the Aam Aadmi Party government’s decision to appoint 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries. The Delhi High Court too had quashed their appointments, saying ‘it lacked the approval of the lieutenant governor’.

 

What’s the issue?

The question posed before the court was whether Article 194(3) and Entry 39 of List II of the 7th Schedule authorised the state legislature to make the impugned Act. Entry 39 indicates the field of legislation regarding the powers, privileges, and immunities of the house of legislatures.

 

Who is a parliamentary secretary?

A Parliament Secretary is similar to a Minister of State who assists a Minister in his or her duties.

What is the controversy over the 21 AAP MLAs who were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries to Ministers of the Delhi government?

It raises two issues.

  • Office of profit: First, the Constitution specifies conditions which disqualify MPs, MLAs, Municipality and Panchayat members from membership of their respective institutions. The first is holding an “Office of Profit” under the state or central government. The essence of this disqualification is that there should be no conflict between the duties and interests of an elected member. MPs and MLAs hold the government accountable for its work, and if they held an “Office of Profit” under the government, they might be susceptible to government influence and might not discharge their constitutional mandate fully.
  • Cap: Second, the Constitution caps the number of members in the union and state cabinet. Article 164(1A) specifies that the number of ministers including the Chief Minister has to be within 15% of the total number of members of the Assembly. (10% in the case of Delhi, which is not a ‘full’ state) Over the last few years, courts across the country have struck down the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries for violating the Constitution.

Union Cabinet clears minimum wage code bill

minimum wage

Sources: et.

The Union Cabinet has approved the new wage code bill which will ensure a minimum wage across all sectors by integrating four labour related laws. The proposed legislation is expected to benefit over 4 crore employees across the country. Labour is on the concurrent list.

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The Labour Code on Wages Bill will consolidate the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Payment of Wages Act, 1936; the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965; and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
  • The bill seeks to empower the Centre to set a minimum wage across all sectors in the country and states will have to maintain that. However, states will be able to provide for higher minimum wage in their jurisdiction than fixed by the central government.
  • The new minimum wage norms would be applicable for all workers irrespective of their pay. At present, the minimum wages fixed by the Centre and states are applicable to workers getting up to Rs 18,000 pay monthly. This would ensure a universal minimum wage for all industries and workers, including those getting monthly pay higher than Rs 18,000.
  • The minimum wage would be applicable on all classes of workers. At present, it is applicable for scheduled industries or establishments in the law.
  • The wage code will empower the Centre to notify a ‘national minimum wage’ (below which no state can fix their minimum wages) and this will be revised every two years (five years if the dearness allowance becomes part of the minimum wages).

Policy boosts care for blood disorders

blood disorders

Sources: pib.

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry’s recently released a policy on the Prevention and Control of haemoglobinopathies in India. With this, people living with thalassaemia, sickle cell anaemia and other haemoglobin disorders can now look forward to better screening and treatment.

Highlights of the policy:

  • The policy aims at creating treatment protocol benchmarks, to improve the quality of life of patients.
  • It is also a guide on prevention and control, which includes antenatal and prenatal testing to reduce the incidence of live haemoglobin disorder births.
  • Using public health awareness programmes and education, it highlights various haemoglobinopathies.
  • The guidelines include the creation of a national registry to plan future patient services. The registry will also collect useful data, such as the location of patients to identify areas of high concentration, ethnicity or other characteristics, age distribution, records of deaths and their cause.
  • Supported by the National Health Mission, Blood Cell and the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram, the guidelines provide for screening of pregnant women during antenatal check-up, pre-marital counselling at college level and one-time screening for variant anaemia in children.

 

Background:

Thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia are the most frequently encountered ‘rare blood disorders’ in the country and impose a significant economic burden on families. They are caused by errors in the genes responsible for the production of hemoglobin, a substance composed of a protein (globin) plus an iron molecule (heme) that is responsible for carrying oxygen within the red blood cell. These disorders can cause fatigue, jaundice, and episodes of pain ranging from mild to very severe. They are inherited, and usually both parents must pass on an abnormal gene in order for a child to have the disease. When this happens, the resulting diseases are serious and, at times, fatal.

India’s Alternate Governor on the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB)

subhash-chandra-garg

Sources: pib.

Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance, Government of India has been appointed as India’s Alternate Governor on the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Manila, Philippines

About ADB:

It is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 and is headquartered in Philippines. It aims to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia. It also aims for an Asia and Pacific free from poverty.

 

Membership:

The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly known as the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East) and non-regional developed countries.

Currently, it has 67 members – of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.

 

Voting:

ADB was modelled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with member’s capital subscriptions.

 

Funding:

ADB raises funds through bond issues on the world’s capital markets.

  • ADB also rely on its members’ contributions, retained earnings from its lending operations, and the repayment of loans.
  • Japan holds the largest proportions of shares at 15.67%. The United States holds 15.56%, China holds 6.47%, India holds 6.36%, and Australia holds 5.81%.

 

Board of Governors:

  • It is the highest policy-making body of the bank.
  • It is composed of one representative from each member state.
  • The Board of Governors also elect the bank’s President who is the chairperson of the Board of Directors and manages ADB.
  • The Alternate Board of Governors are nominated by Board of Governors of ADB’s 67 to represent them at the Annual Meeting that meets formally once year to be held in a member country.

 

Loans:

It offers both Hard Loans and Soft loans. The ADB offers “hard” loans from ordinary capital resources (OCR) on commercial terms, and the Asian Development Fund (ADF) affiliated with the ADB extends “soft” loans from special fund resources with concessional conditions.

Codex standards for pepper, cumin and thyme

In a major recognition of India’s efforts to benchmark global spices trade, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) has adopted three Codex standards for black, white and green pepper, cumin and thyme, paving the way for universal agreement on identifying quality spices in various countries. This would facilitate evolving a common standardization process for their global trade and availability.

 

Significance of this move:

The Codex standards were adopted in the wake of India conducting three sessions of Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) at Kochi (2014), Goa (2015) and Chennai (2017). The Chennai session succeeded in achieving this consensus. Subsequently, these drafts were placed before the CAC, and it was adopted by consensus with an overwhelming support from the member-countries.

 

Significance of this move:

With the adoption of the Codex standards on pepper, cumin and thyme, spices have been included for the first time as commodities that will have such universal standards. The adoption of the Codex standards would imply that there are now reference points and benchmarks for the member-countries to align their national standards for spices with Codex.

It will bring harmony to the global spice trade and ensure availability of high quality, clean and safe spices to the world. She said It will also benefit the trade from universal agreement to identify good quality spices.

 

Need for standards:

Historically, the developed countries, being the major importers of spices, have always insisted on unreasonably strict standards, which have had adverse effects on spice trade. This is an issue that the Codex, jointly formed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), seeks to address.

Codex Alimentarius Commission:

The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is an intergovernmental body with over 180 members, within the framework of the Joint Food Standards Programme.

codex-alimentarius

  • It was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), with the purpose of protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair practices in the food trade.
  • The Commission also promotes coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non governmental organizations

Niti Aayog clears six proposals for high-tech public transport

niti proposes

Niti Aayog has cleared proposals of the transport ministry exploring options to improve public transport. These proposals include mass rapid transportation technologies such as hyperloop, metrino and pod taxis.

  • Following the go-ahead, the transport ministry has formed a six member committee, headed by a former top official of Railways, to study safety parameters associated with these technologies and global practices.

Significance of this move:

These new technologies are path breaking and can alter the way of intercity travel in the country. The new technologies are being explored as current public transportation is unable to resolve the increasing traffic crisis in the country. Besides, some of them are more cost effective than the existing ones.

 

What are Metrino, Podtaxi and Hyperloop?

Metrino: Fully automatic, driverless small pods travel independently suspended over an overhead network which is usually 5-10 meters above the ground.

Podtaxi: Small automated vehicles/podcars/cable cars which carry a small number of passengers. The ropeway-like system runs on electricity and driverless pods and comes down at designated stations, thus removing the traffic burden from crowded roads.

Hyperloop: A hyperloop comprises a sealed tube or series of tubes through which a pod may travel free of air resistance or friction conveying people or objects at speeds matching that of an aircraft.

Scientists to chase solar eclipse using NASA jets

solar-eclipse

Sources: et.

In a first, scientists are planning to chase the shadow of the Moon using NASA’s research jets during the upcoming total solar eclipse in the US, in order to capture the clearest ever images of the Sun’s outer atmosphere.

  • The jets will capture the clearest images of the Sun’s corona to date and the first-ever thermal images of Mercury, revealing how temperature varies across the planet’s surface.

Why solar eclipse?

The total solar eclipse provides a rare opportunity for scientists to study the Sun, particularly its atmosphere. As the Moon completely covers the Sun and perfectly blocks its light during an eclipse, the typically faint corona is easily seen against the dark sky.

 

Why scientists are interested in studying the Corona?

The corona is heated to millions of degrees, yet the lower atmospheric layers like the photosphere – the visible surface of the Sun – are only heated to a few thousand degrees. Scientists are not sure how this inversion happens.

  • One theory proposes micro explosions, termed nanoflares – too small and frequent to detect individually, but with a large collective effect – might release heat into the corona.
  • No one has yet directly seen nanoflares. It is hoped that the new experiment might reveal their effects on the corona.

 

Background:

The corona is the outermost layer of the Sun, starting at about 1300 miles (2100 km) above the solar surface (the photosphere). The temperature in the corona is 500,000 K (900,000 degrees F, 500,000 degrees C) or more, up to a few million K. The corona cannot be seen with the naked eye except during a total solar eclipse, or with the use of a coronagraph. The corona does not have an upper limit.

Question of the Day | Legal Terms List 27-July-2018

Question of the day

Question: If the tax rate increases with the higher level of income, it is called –

(a) Progressive Tax

(b) Proportional Tax

(c) Lump sum Tax

(d) Regressive Tax.

Legal terms of the day

1. Vicarious liability – a situation where someone becomes responsible under the law for wrongs done by someone else. This often happens when an employee does something wrong while at work which becomes the employer’s responsibility (such as an employee working negligently and causing someone else to be hurt because of the negligence).

2. Violent disorder – three or more people in a gathering using or threatening to use unlawful violence.

3. Void – unable to be enforced by the law.

4. Voidable –  –  able to be cancelled in certain circumstances.

5. Voluntary arrangement – an agreement between a debtor and the creditors.If a person or a company can not pay their debts when they are due they can come to a voluntary arrangement with the creditors to pay the debts over a period. If the creditors agree with the proposals it avoids bankruptcy of the individual or liquidation of the company.

 

Today’s answer of the question: A

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 26, 2018

Mekedatu: Karnataka replies to CWC

mekedatu

Sources: the hindu

The Karnataka State government has replied to clarifications sought by the Central Water Commission (CWC) on its proposal to build a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery at Mekedatu at a cost of Rs. 5,912 crore.

Background:

Karnataka had sought the CWC’s permission to start work on Mekedatu project, which has been opposed by Tamil Nadu alleging that it violates the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal order. The State had submitted the Detailed Project Report on Mekedatu to the chief engineer of CWC in June, 2017. After this, the CWC had sought a few clarifications on the DPR, including whether the project violates the final award of Tribunal and whether the construction of a balancing reservoir would affect flow of water to Tamil Nadu.

What is Mekedatu dispute all about?

Karnataka intends to build a reservoir across river Cauvery near Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk. It was first proposed along with Shivanasamudra hydro power project at Shimsa in 2003 with an intention to use the water for a hydro power station and supply drinking water to Bengaluru city.

However, Tamil Nadu objected saying Karnataka had not sought prior permission for the project. Its argument was that the project would affect the flow of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

Know about CWC:

It is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.

The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development.

Central Water Commission CWC is headed by a Chairman, with the status of Ex-Officio Secretary to the Government of India.

National Anti-profiteering Authority

anti profiteering

Sources: pib

The GST Council has formed a Selection Committee under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary to identify and recommend eligible persons for appointment as the Chairman and Members of the National Anti-profiteering Authority under GST.

What you need to know about the National Anti-profiteering Authority?

The National Anti-profiteering Authority is tasked with ensuring the full benefits of a reduction in tax on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers.

  • When constituted by the GST Council, the National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be responsible for applying anti-profiteering measures in the event of a reduction in rate of GST on supply of goods or services or, if the benefit of input tax credit is not passed on to the recipients by way of commensurate reduction in prices.
  • The National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be headed by a senior officer of the level of a Secretary to the Government of Indiaand shall have four technical members from the Centre and/or the States.
  • The constitution of the National Anti-profiteering Authority is expected to bolster consumer confidence and ensure all stakeholders reap the intended benefits of GST.

Powers and functions of the authority:

In the event the National Anti-profiteering Authority confirms the necessity of applying anti-profiteering measures, it has the power to order the business concerned to reduce its prices or return the undue benefit availed along with interest to the recipient of the goods or services. If the undue benefit cannot be passed on to the recipient, it can be ordered to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund. In extreme cases the National Anti-profiteering Authority can impose a penalty on the defaulting business entity and even order the cancellation of its registration under GST.

Nai Roshni Scheme

nai roshni scheme

Sources: pib

NITI Aayog had conducted an evaluation study on ‘Nai Roshni’- the scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women in 2015-16. The main objective of the study was to assess the impact of the scheme on minority women and to identify policy/ programme impediments in implementation of the scheme.

Performance of the scheme:

According to NITI Aayog, majority of the findings of the study indicate that the programme has been appreciated by most of the segments of the population of the society and it has assisted in creating confidence among minority women and developing leadership spirit in them. Moreover, the trained women are also utilizing their enriched knowledge within their surroundings and thereby helping their families as well as neighbours in raising their essential demands and claims from various Government authorities.

 

About Nai Roshni scheme:

The scheme aims to empower and instill confidence among minority women by providing knowledge, tools and techniquesfor interacting with Government systems, Banks and other institutions at all levels.

The scheme is implemented through Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The scheme is implemented with the involvement of the Gram Panchayat at village level and Local Urban bodies at the District level.

Amendment to NMC Bill

national medical bill

Sources: pib

A four member Committee headed by Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, which was constituted to examine all options for reforms in the Medical Council of India (MCI) and suggest a way forward, has framed a draft “National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill” which provides for constitution of NMC in place of MCI.

  • The draft Bill has been relooked by a Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted for the purpose. The GoM has approved the draft Bill with some modifications.

About the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill:

The National Medical Commission Bill, 2016 was introduced by the NITI Aayog. It extends to the whole country. It aims to create world class educational system.  The bill seeks to repeal Indian Medical Council Act 1956 and be replaced by a body called National Medical Commission.

The Bill aims to:

  • Ensure adequate supply of high quality medical professionals at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
  • Encourage medical professionals to incorporate the latest medical research in their work and to contribute to such research.
  • Provide for objective periodic assessments of medical institutions.
  • Facilitate the maintenance of a medical register for India and enforce high ethical standards in all aspects of medical services.
  • Ensure that the medical institutes are flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of a transforming nation.

As per the Bill, the Central Government shall constitute a Commission, to be called the National Medical Commission:

The Commission shall be a body corporate by the name aforesaid, having perpetual succession and a common seal, with power, subject to the provisions of this Act, to acquire, hold and dispose of property, both movable and immovable, and to contract, and shall, by the said name, sue or be sued.

The Central Government shall, by notification, establish autonomous Boards under the overall supervision of this Commission, to fulfil the functions related to the conduct of under-graduate and post-graduate education, assessment and rating of medical institutions and registration of medical practitioners and enforcement of medical ethics.

Transfer unclaimed accruals to fund: IRDA

irda

Sources: the hindu

As per the new direction from IRDA, insurance companies can no longer retain unclaimed amounts of policyholders if those accruals are more than 10 years old. Such sums need to be, instead, transferred to the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund (SCWF) of the Centre.

Background:

The direction from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has come in the backdrop of the amendment made in April to the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund Rules. The amendment expanded the purview beyond the unclaimed amounts in small savings and other saving schemes of the Centre, PPF and EPF.

It brought in unclaimed amount lying with banks, including cooperative banks and RRBs; dividend accounts, deposits and debentures of companies coming under the Companies Act; insurance companies and Coal Mines PF.

About the Senior Citizens Welfare Fund:

The Centre brought in Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund Act, 2015 (SCWF) as part of the Finance Act, 2015, which mandates transfer of unclaimed amounts of policyholders to the fund (SCWF) after a period of 10 years.

  • The fund will be administered by an Inter-Ministerial Committee, headed by a Chairperson. The Committee will be competent to spend money from the fund for satisfying various objectives.
  • The accounts of the fund will be open to audit by CAG, regularly. The Central Government will present the annual report and the one furnished by CAG to be laid before the Parliament.

Sri Lanka clears revised deal for Hambantota port

Hambantota

Sources: the hindu

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has cleared a revised deal for the Chinese-built port in Hambantota. The modified agreement is believed to be more profitable to Sri Lanka and also addresses security concerns raised by other countries.

  • As per the deal, while the Chinese would manage port operations, no naval ship, including Chinese ones, can call at Hambantota without Sri Lanka’s permission.

Why is India worried?

India’s apprehensions about the apparently growing Chinese presence in the island are well known, given the two countries’ competing strategic interests in the island. The Hambantota port is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Chinese control of Hambantota, which is part of its modern-day “Silk Route” across Asia and beyond, as well as a plan to acquire 15,000 acres (23 sq miles) to develop an industrial zone next door, had raised fears that it could also be used for Chinese naval vessels.

India rejects OIC move on vigilantism

India has strongly rejected the resolutions of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that had expressed concern about the recent attacks on people by cow-vigilante groups. India has termed the resolutions adopted at the OIC’s latest foreign ministers’ meeting as “factually incorrect”.

Background:

The OIC noted that incidents of violence against the Muslim community were being committed by extremist Hindu groups and said it viewed such incidents “with grave concern”.

About the OIC:

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states. The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony“. The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.

Human antibodies produced in lab for first time

In a first, scientists have produced human antibodies in the laboratory using a technique that could usher the rapid development of new vaccines to treat a wide range of infectious diseases.

What are antibodies and why are they produced?

Antibodies are produced by the body’s B cells to fight off infections by bacteria, viruses, and other invasive pathogens. When an individual B cell recognises a specific pathogen-derived “antigen” molecule, it can proliferate and develop into plasma cells that secrete large amounts of antibody capable of binding to the antigen and fending off the infection.

About the new technique:

In addition to encountering a specific antigen, B cells need a second signal to start proliferating and developing into plasma cells. Researchers provided this second signal by short DNA fragments called CpG oligonucleotides, which activate a protein inside B cells named TLR9.

  • However, treating patient-derived B cells with CpG oligonucleotides stimulates every B cell in the sample, not just the tiny fraction capable of producing a particular antibody. Researchers produced specific human antibodies in the laboratory by treating patient-derived B cells with tiny nanoparticles coated with both CpG oligonucleotides and an antigen.
  • With this technique, CpG oligonucleotides are only internalised into B cells that recognise the specific antigen, and these cells are therefore the only ones in which TLR9 is activated to induce their proliferation and development into antibody-secreting plasma cells.

Significance of this discovery:

This approach will help researchers rapidly generate therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of infectious diseases and other conditions such as cancer. Specifically, it should allow the production of these antibodies within a shorter time frame in vitro and without the need for vaccination or blood/serum donation from recently infected or vaccinated individuals.

This method also offers the potential to accelerate the development of new vaccines by allowing the efficient evaluation of candidate target antigens.

First Two NOPVs Shachi and Shruti Launched

indian navy sachi n shruti

Sources: pib

Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) has launched the first two Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) at their shipyard in Pipavav, Gujarat.

Key facts:

  • The ships are part of a five ship project being constructed for the Indian Navy.
  • The primary role of NOPVs is to undertake surveillance of the country’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) besides operational tasks such as anti-piracy patrols, fleet support operations, maritime security of offshore assets, coastal security operations, and protection of shipping lanes.
  • The NOPVs would increase the ocean surveillance and patrolling capabilities of the Indian Navy.
  • The NOPVs are patrol ships and are armed with 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) system along with two 30mm AK-630M guns which provide medium range and short range offensive and defensive capabilities.
  • The armament is remotely controlled through an electronic Fire Control System.
  • The ships are fitted with diesel engine driven propulsion systems and can deliver speeds upto 25 knots.
  • All ship operations are controlled by an intelligent Integrated Platform Management System which has interfaces for all operational activities onboard the ship.

Question of the Day | Legal Terms List 26-July-2018

Question of the day

Question: Agni enters into a contract with Tanuj whereby Tanuj will supply Agni with 10 grams of cocaine for a specified amount. Is the contract void?

Principle: If the consideration or object of an agreement is forbidden by law, or is of such a nature that would defeat the provisions of any law, or is fraudulent, or is injurious to the person or property of another or, the Court regards it as immoral, or opposed to public policy, then the object or consideration shall be deemed unlawful. Every agreement of which the object or consideration is unlawful is void.

(a) Yes, because the contract is for the sale of illegal drugs.

(b) No, because Agni and Tanuj have entered into the contract out of their own free will, and being the citizens of a free country, they have the right to do so.

(c) Yes, because drugs are harmful.

(d) None of these.

Legal terms of the day

1) Vendee – a person who buys something.

2) Vendor – a person who sells something.

3) Verdict – the jury’s decision at the end of a case.

4) Vesting order – away the High Court transfers land without the need for a conveyance.

5) Vexatious litigant – a person who regularly brings court cases which have little chance of succeeding.

 

Today’s answer of the question: A

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 25, 2018

India, Bangladesh Navies to join hands

Sources: the hindu

Context: India and Bangladesh have agreed to institute a Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) as an annual feature between the two Navies.

Significance of this move:

  • The commencement of CORPAT is a major step towards the enhanced operational interaction between both Navies.
  • It is aimed to consolidate bilateral defense relations between India and Bangladesh and to explore new avenues for naval cooperation.

 

Facts for Prelims:

The Navy regularly conducts CORPATs with Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. It also conducts EEZ surveillance of Maldives, Mauritius, and Seychelles on their request.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: CORPAT.
  • For Mains: India’s defense cooperation with Bangladesh, Indian Navy’s increasing engagement with its neighbours.

Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY) scheme

Sources: the hindu

Context: In an attempt to promote solar energy, the Gujarat government has announced Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY) scheme under which farmers would be encouraged to generate electricity and sell their surplus to power distribution companies.

 

Highlights of the project:

  • Under the first phase of project, the state government would provide financial assistance to 12,400 farmers out of the state’s total 15 lakh farmers to generate an estimated 175 MW of power.
  • The state government and the Centre would jointly share 60% of the cost of installing a solar generating unit in the fields, while the farmers would need to chip in only 5%. The remaining 35% would be in the form of a loan by the state government at the rate of four to 4.5%.
  • The government would also enter in a 25-year power purchase agreement with the farmers. Till the farmers repay their loan, the distribution companies would buy electricity from them at the rate of Rs 7 per unit and at Rs 3.5 per unit once the loans are settled. After that, the farmers would get ownership of the solar system.

 

Significance of the project:

At present, the farmers consume power purchased from power companies. The project will help them set up solar systems in their fields. After they consumer power according to their requirement, they can sell the surplus back to the distribution companies.

 

What’s important?

For Prelims and Mains: Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY) scheme – features and significance.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Context: The board of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved $100 million investment in the National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF).

 

What is AIIB?

  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia and beyond.
  • It is headquartered in Beijing.
  • It commenced operations in January 2016 and has now grown to 84 approved members from around the world.
  • By investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors today, it aims to connect people, services and markets that over time will impact the lives of billions and build a better future.

 

Various organs of AIIB:

Board of Governors: The Board of Governors consists of one Governor and one Alternate Governor appointed by each member country. Governors and Alternate Governors serve at the pleasure of the appointing member.

Board of Directors: Non-resident Board of Directors is responsible for the direction of the Bank’s general operations, exercising all powers delegated to it by the Board of Governors. This includes approving the Bank’s strategy, annual plan and budget; establishing policies; taking decisions concerning Bank operations; and supervising management and operation of the Bank and establishing an oversight mechanism.

International Advisory Panel: The Bank has established an International Advisory Panel (IAP) to support the President and Senior Management on the Bank’s strategies and policies as well as on general operational issues. The Panel meets in tandem with the Bank’s Annual Meeting, or as requested by the President. The President selects and appoints members of the IAP to two-year terms. Panelists receive a small honorarium and do not receive a salary. The Bank pays the costs associated with Panel meetings.

 

Significance of AIIB:

The United Nations has addressed the launch of AIIB as having potential for “scaling up financing for sustainable development” for the concern of global economic governance. The capital of the bank is $100 billion, equivalent to ​2⁄3 of the capital of the Asian Development Bank and about half that of the World Bank.

 

About NIIF:

  • NIIF was set up in 2015 as an investment vehicle for fundingcommercially viable greenfield, brownfield and stalled projects in the infrastructure sector. NIIF will invest in areas such as energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India.
  • The corpus of the fund is proposed to be around Rs40,000 crore, with the government investing 49% and the rest to be raised from third-party investors such as sovereign wealth funds, insurance and pension funds, endowments etc.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  • India is hosting the annual meeting of AIIB for the first time in June 2018.
  • India is the second largest shareholder in AIIB after China and is also the largest recipient of funds from the multilateral agency.
  • Nearly 25% of the total funds committed by AIIB have been committed for projects in India, both in the government sector and the private sector.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: AIIB- structure, voting and share of countries, NIIF.
  • For Mains: AIIB- significance, need for infrastructure funding.

OPEC agrees to increase oil production

Sources: the hindu

Context: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has agreed to increase its daily output to address the problem of rising crude oil prices. The cartel’s output would be increased by about a million barrels a day beginning in July.

 

What necessitated this move?

Countries across the world have been vocal in recent months about the need to bring down rising oil prices that threaten to put the global economy under stress. Emerging markets such as India that have been affected by the rising cost of oil imports, have also been exerting pressure.

 

Implications:

The present deal could help the Saudis appease major oil consumers to some extent. Meanwhile, Iran, which has been opposed to raising OPEC output as it would lower prices, is set to suffer a marginal loss as it lacks spare capacity to ramp up production. This works in favour of its rival, Saudi Arabia, which can recover from the impact of lower prices by capturing market share.

 

Concerns:

OPEC has failed to address two uncertainties that will shape the oil market over the coming months and years.

  • The first is the situation in Venezuela, which has gone from bad to worse over the past two months. In the short term, the situation remains the greatest uncertainty hanging over the oil market.
  • The second, and potentially more destabilising, issue in the longer term is the prospect of a sharp increase in the production of so-called “tight oil” from shale rocks in the US.

 

About OPEC:

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a group of oil-producing nations that was first established in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1961. OPEC is one of the most powerful international organizations in the world and was a major player in the shift towards state control over natural resources.

 

Membership:

The OPEC Statute distinguishes between the Founder Members and Full Members – those countries whose applications for membership have been accepted by the Conference.

  • The Statute stipulates that “any country with a substantial net export of crude petroleum, which has fundamentally similar interests to those of Member Countries, may become a Full Member of the Organization, if accepted by a majority of three-fourths of Full Members, including the concurring votes of all Founder Members.”
  • The Statute further provides for Associate Members which are those countries that do not qualify for full membership, but are nevertheless admitted under such special conditions as may be prescribed by the Conference.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  • Tight oil (also known as shale oil, shale-hosted oil or light tight oil, abbreviated LTO) is light crude oil contained in petroleum-bearing formations of low permeability, often shale or tight sandstone.
  • Relative to conventional sources, shale oil typically produces more pollution to extract, though the extent depends on whether or not the operators avoid wasteful and unnecessary emissions.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Tight oil, OPEC.
  • For Mains: Rising oil prices- concerns, challenges and the need for international cooperation.

REMOVEDEBRIS

Sources: the hindu

Context: The first spacecraft to demonstrate active space debris-removal technologies — such as a harpoon, a net and a drag sail — in orbit has been released from the International Space Station to commence its mission.

 

About the RemoveDebris mission:

  • RemoveDebris is an EU (European Union) research project to develop and fly a low cost in-orbit demonstrator mission that aims to de-risk and verify technologies needed for future ADR (Active Debris Removal) missions.
  • RemoveDebris is aimed at performing key ADR technology demonstrations (e.g., capture, deorbiting) representative of an operational scenario during a low-cost mission using novel key technologies for ADR. The project is based on and aimed at contributing to global/European ADR roadmaps.

 

How it works?

A microsatellite called here RemoveSAT, will release, capture and deorbit two space debris targets, called DebrisSats, in sequence using various rendezvous, capture and deorbiting technologies thus demonstrating in orbit, key ADR technologies for future missions in what promises to be the first ADR technology mission internationally.

 

Background:

Space junk is an ever-growing problem with more than 7,500 tonnes of redundant hardware now thought to be circling the Earth. Ranging from old rocket bodies and defunct spacecraft through to screws and even flecks of paint – this material poses a collision hazard to operational missions.

The rising population of space debris increases the potential danger to all space vehicles, but especially to the International Space Station (ISS), space shuttles, satellites and other spacecraft.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: RemoveDebris.
  • For Mains: Space junk menace- threats and missions in this regard.

Plastic ban in Maharashtra

Sources: the hindu

Context: Maharashtra government recently began enforcing a ban on plastic, a decision it announced in March. The government had given the manufacturers, distributors, and consumers a period of three months to dispose their existing stock and come up with alternatives to plastic usage.

 

What all plastic products are covered under the ban?

Under the notification products manufactured from plastic and thermocol have been covered under the ban. As a result usage of plastic bags with a handle and without handle, disposable cups, and plates, spoons, forks, glasses, and containers is prohibited in the state. Plastic packaging used to wrap and store the product is also included in the ban.

Apart from this plastic straw, non-woven polypropene bags, pouches and any other plastic used to store, package and transfer food items will no longer be permitted in the state. Besides, it has banned the use of plastic and thermocol for decoration purposes.

 

Plastic items excluded from the ban:

  • Plastic used for packaging medicines and drugs.
  • Food grade virgin plastic used for packaging milk.
  • Compostable packaging bags used for horticulture and agriculture purposes.
  • Plastic bags used for exporting goods.
  • Plastic used at the manufacturing stage.
  • Plastic used for handling of solid waste.

 

Who will implement and monitor the ban?

Officials from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and district and local administration have been authorised to implement it. For regulating this law at tourist locations, tourism police, or Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has been made responsible.

The government has also formed an association comprising of plastic manufacturers, ministry officials and environmental experts to oversee the implementation of the ban.

 

Way ahead:

While environmentalists welcomed the cabinet’s decision, the plastic industry has slammed the government calling it “retrograde step.” With its huge dependence on plastic and lack of alternatives to the banned products, many also wonder if the plan would be a success.

 

Facts for Prelims:

On World Environment Day, June 5, India was the host nation, with the theme for this year being ‘Beat plastic pollution.’

 

Question of the Day | Legal Terms List 25-July-2018

Question of the day

Question. Astha, who is a very good painter, is also a patient in a mental asylum, who, at intervals, is of sound mind. During one of these intervals, she entered into a relationship with Lopamudra to paint a picture of her for a specified amount. She, however, asked Lopamudra to pay her the entire amount in advance. One month later, on the day of delivery of the painting, Astha refused to perform the contract saying that she suffers from insanity. Can Lopamudra force performance?

Principle: A person is said to be of sound mind for the purpose of making a contract if, at the time when he makes it, he is capable of understanding it and of forming a rational judgment as to its effect upon his interests.

(a) Yes, because Astha was of sound mind when she entered into the contract.

(b) No, because Astha had been of unsound mind even while the contract was signed which is proved by the fact that she was admitted in an asylum.

(c) Yes, because a good painter can paint irrespective of his/her mental stability.

(d) No, because it was silly on Lopamudra’s part to enter into a contract with a mental patient admitted in an asylum.

Legal terms of the day

1. Vis major – Act of God.

2. Volenti non fit injuria – Damage suffered by consent gives no cause of action.

3. Veto – Ban or order not to allow something to become law,even if it has been passed by a parliament.

4. Vice versa – Reverse position.

5. Waiver – Voluntarily giving up or removing the conditions

 

Today’s answer of the question: A

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 24, 2018

Government plans ‘I stand by my country’ campaign

 

                         government-plans-i-stand-by-my-country-campaign

The government hopes to trigger a citizen movement around the theme ‘I stand by my country’ as part of a twin celebration to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement and the 70th Independence Day

What you need to know?

As part of the programme, the government plans a multimedia campaign that will focus on inspiring the young generation and instilling in them a sense of pride and responsibility.

  • The celebrations will stress that in the next five years — in an era of determination, will and struggle — a ‘New India’ will be built which is “rid of corruption and black money” and fulfils the aspirations of its teeming millions.
  • The campaign will also drive home the point that the country has already proved its worth in every field, be it science and technology, sports, spirituality, art, space exploration, economy and defence.
  • The aim of the campaign, hence is to portray an India which is “bold and decisive, can secure its future, is on the path of reforms, and that cares.

Background:

The Quit India Movement, also known as the August Movement was a Civil Disobedience Movement launched by Gandhi for independence. The movement was accompanied by a mass protest on non-violent lines, in which Gandhi called for “an orderly British withdrawal from India”.

MPC members to get Rs. 1.5 lakh per meet, must disclose assets

                        mpc

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently notified the Monetary Policy Committee and Monetary Policy Process Regulations, 2016.

Highlights of the regulations:

  • Remuneration: Members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will be paid Rs. 1.5 lakh per meeting along with air travel and other reimbursements.
  • Silent period: Members will have to observe a “silent period” of seven days before and after the rate decision for “utmost confidentiality”. Members are also required to be mindful of any conflict between their personal and public interest while interacting with profit making organisations and making personal financial transactions.
  • Voting pattern: Each member of the MPC has one vote and in case the numbers are equal, the governor has the casting vote.
  • Report: The MPC, which has the responsibility of achieving a set inflation target, should submit a report to the government in case of failure to achieve the required target. In such instances, the report shall be sent to the central government “within one month from the date on which the bank has failed to meet the inflation target“.
  • Meetings: MPC has to hold meetings at least four times in a year. The schedule of the MPC meetings for the entire fiscal year needs to be announced in advance. At least 15 days of notice is required for convening a meeting ordinarily, but an emergency meeting can be called with 24 hours notice for each member and technology-enabled arrangements need to be made for even shorter notice period meetings.
  • Assets declaration: All members need to disclose their assets and liabilities and update this information once every year.
  • After conclusion of MPC meeting, a resolution needs to be made public including on the policy repo rate and any other monetary policy measures at the discretion of the Chairperson while keeping in view the functioning and timing of financial markets.

 

About the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC):

The six-member MPC was constituted in September 2016. It has been deciding on policy rates since October last year.

Composition:

The committee will have six members. Of the six members, the government will nominate three. No government official will be nominated to the MPC.

The other three members would be from the RBI with the governor being the ex-officio chairperson. Deputy governor of RBI in charge of the monetary policy will be a member, as also an executive director of the central bank.

Decision: Decisions will be taken by majority vote with each member having a vote.

RBI governor’s role: The RBI Governor will chair the committee. The governor, however, will not enjoy a veto power to overrule the other panel members, but will have a casting vote in case of a tie.

Selection: The government nominees to the MPC will be selected by a Search-cum-Selection Committee under Cabinet Secretary with RBI Governor and Economic Affairs Secretary and three experts in the field of economics or banking or finance or monetary policy as its members.

Term: Members of the MPC will be appointed for a period of four years and shall not be eligible for reappointment.

Government plans new agency to keep check on Chartered Accountants

                          nfra

The government is reviewing plans to put in place the National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) as it seeks to rein in the Institute of Chartered Accounts for India (ICAI) for its perceived failure in enforcing discipline.

Background:

While Companies Act 2013 had provided for NFRA as a regulatory agency for audit, accounts and financial reporting, Section 132 of the law has remained on paper as the rules are yet to be notified. It is one of the few sections of the law that has not been notified yet.

What you need to know about the new agency?

The new agency -which can have up to 15 members, including the chairman – is mandated to advise on issues related to audit and accounting standards and be the regulator for the profession.

The law provides for NFRA to look into matters of professional or other misconduct and also suspend CAs and firms from practising for six months to 10 years.

 

Opposition to this move:

Several chartered accountants had lobbied with the government to block the notification as it would have taken away several powers that are currently vested with ICAI. Under the 1956 law, the Centre was to prescribe accounting standards prepared by ICAI in consultation with the National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards (NACAS) -powers that are to be transferred to NFRA now.

Need for the new agency:

ICAI’s disciplinary record is often criticised-a charge that the institute is now trying to cope with. Just around 25 auditors have faced action in over a decade and around 1,400 cases were pending.

Bengaluru Declaration calls for SC/ST quota in judiciary

                           ambedkar conference 2017

The Bengaluru Declaration was recently adopted by the Karnataka State government sponsored Dr. B.R. Ambedkar International Conference 2017. The theme of the conference: “Quest for Equity”.

  • The declaration recommends a slew of affirmative action measures in private sector, judiciary, educational institutions, government contracts and promotions for Dalits.
  • The declaration has 40 recommendations under six broad categories — safeguarding the people, strengthening democratic institutions, deepening social justice, enhancing human development, ensuring responsive governance, and promoting social security.

The Preamble of the declaration states, “This Peoples’ Declaration hopes to be a dynamic blueprint that addresses the needs and aspirations of all Indians, and a starting point for an ‘alliance of equity’ of all progressive forces committed to safeguarding the idea of India”.

Important recommendations made:

  • Reserve seats for SC/ST in appointment of judges, promotions, government contracts up to ₹1 crore, in private higher educational institutions and private sector.
  • Establish an Equal Opportunities Commission, to oversee affirmative action.
  • Reserve seats in legislature for other backward classes.
  • Set up of a farmers’ income commission.
  • Uphold Rule of Law through police reforms and state action to prevent lynchings.
  • Enact a law against gender and caste discrimination at education institutions.
  • Ensure land ownership for SC/STs and establish SC/ST land bank, where government buys these lands at market prices and re-allots to the same community, to ensure non-dilution of ownership.
  • Allocate 20% of the land in private housing layouts for urban poor.
  • Launch a “living wage” and comprehensive social security scheme for all labourers working in the unorganised sector apart from ensuring dignity in retirement through enhanced pensions of ₹1,500 per month.

Add-on for Prelims:

Similar Declaration was adopted by Madhya Pradesh in 2002. The Bhopal Declaration that called for “liberalisation of capital for Dalits” was adopted in 2002 during the tenure of Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in Madhya Pradesh.

Arab League chief says Israel ‘playing with fire’ over Jerusalem

                            palestinian

The Arab League has warned Israel is “playing with fire” over the “red line” of Jerusalem and and risking a major crisis with the Arab and Islamic world.

Immediate cause for the conflict:

Israel sent extra troops into the occupied West Bank after violence erupted over Israel’s installation of metal detectors at entry points to the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City.

Palestinians view the new security measures as an Israeli attempt to assert further control over the site, the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. Israel says the detectors are necessary to prevent another incident in which illegal weapons are taken into the compound and turned against Israeli forces.

 

What’s the conflict is all about?

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is over who gets what land and how it’s controlled. The 1967 war is particularly important for today’s conflict, as it left Israel in control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, two territories home to large Palestinian populations.

Today, the West Bank is nominally controlled by the Palestinian Authority and is under Israeli occupation. This comes in the form of Israeli troops, who enforce Israeli security restrictions on Palestinian movement and activities, and Israeli “settlers,” Jews who build ever-expanding communities in the West Bank that effectively deny the land to Palestinians. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an Islamist fundamentalist party, and is under Israeli blockade but not ground troop occupation.

Add- on for Prelims:

What is Arab League? The Arab League is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia. It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Currently, the League has 22 members, but Syria’s participation has been suspended since November 2011, as a consequence of government repression during the Syrian Civil War.

The League’s main goal is to “draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries“.

Cyber space global conference

                           cyber space global conference

 

India will be hosting the 5th Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS) in 2017, one of the world’s largest conference on Cyber Space and related issues.

Key facts:

  • The GCCS is taking place outside OECD nations for the first time.
  • It is being held in India for the first time.
  • The theme for the GCCS 2017 is ‘Cyber4All: An Inclusive, Sustainable, Developmental, Safe and Secure Cyberspace’.

Participants:

The conference will see participation of around 2000 delegates from senior Government officials, industry leaders, academia and civil society from over 100 countries.

Aim of the conference:

GCCS will congregate and deliberate on issues relating to promotion of cooperation in cyberspace, norms for responsible behaviour in cyberspace and to enhance cyber capacity building.

What you need to know about GCCS?

GCCS is a prestigious international conference that aims at encouraging dialogue among stakeholders of cyberspace, which has been taking place since 2011. Incepted in 2011 in London, GCCS witnessed a participation of 700 global delegates. Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) for capacity building in cyber space was launched in the fourth edition of the conference held in The Hague, Netherlands.

Google’s machine-raised mosquitoes to shrink vector’s numbers

                         mosquito

Google’s parent company Alphabet and scientists in the US have teamed up to release 20 million machine-raised mosquitoes to shrink the numbers of the disease-carrying ones.

What do you need to know about the project?

The project, called Debug Fresno, is being undertaken by Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s holding company.

  • The goal is to cut the numbers of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the species responsible for spreading zika, dengue and chikungunya.
  • For 20 weeks, the company plans to release a million of the sterile, non-biting male mosquitoes in two neighbourhoods in Fresno county.
  • The male mosquitoes are bred and infected with Wolbachiaa bacterium that is naturally found in at least 40% of all insect speciesThe bacterium used to sterilise mosquitoes “is not known” to infect humans.
  • In a phenomenon called cytoplasmic incompatibility, matings between Wolbachia-infected males and uninfected females result in embryo lethality or low hatch rates.

 

Sources: etc.

Question of the Day | Legal Terms List 24-July-2018

Question of the day

Principle: Mere silence as to the facts likely to affect the willingness of a person to enter into a contract is not a fraud, unless the circumstances of the case are such that, on close examination it is found to be the duty of the person keeping silent to speak, or unless his silence is, in itself, equivalent to speech.

Facts: X sells by auction to Y, a horse which X knows to be of unsound state of mind. X says nothing to Y about the horse’s unsound state of mind. Give the correct answer.

(a) X can be held liable for fraud.

(b) X can be held liable for misrepresentation.

(c) X cannot be held liable, because he did not say anything positive about the mental state of the horse.

(d) X cannot be held liable because it is the buyer who must be aware of the things.

Legal terms of the day

1. Respondent Superior: is a doctrine of law that states that a party is responsible for the vicarious acts of its agents. This common law doctrine was established in the seventeenth century.

2. Quo Warranto: a writ or a legal action requiring a person to show by what warrant an office or a franchise is held, claimed, or exercised.

3. Injuria Sine Damnum: the meaning of the above maxim is the infringement of an absolute private right without any actual loss or damage. This was first established in the Gloucester grammar school case.

4. Caveat emptor: it is the principle that states that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and the sustainability of the goods before a purchase is made.

5. Ignoria Juris non Excusat:  Is a legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape the liability for violating the law merely because one was unaware of its content

 

Today’s Answer of the question: C

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 23, 2018

India to expand polar research to the Arctic as well

Source- The Hindu

  • Three decades after its first mission to Antarctica, the government is refocusing priorities to the Arctic — because of opportunities and challenges posed by climate change.
  • Recently India has renamed the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) as the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research.

Note-
NCAOR- Since 1998, charged with conducting expeditions to India’s base stations to the continent.

  • It’s also in talks with Canada and Russia, key countries with the presence in the Arctic circle, to establish new observation systems, according to a source.
  • Now, India only has one Arctic observation station near Norway.
  • India is already an observer at the Arctic Council.

Note-
Arctic Council

  • It is a forum of countries that decide on managing the region’s resources and popular livelihood.
  • In 2015, India set up an underground observatory, called IndARC, at the Kongsfjorden fjord, halfway between Norway and the North Pole.

Why does India concern?

  • A big worry for India is the impact of melting sea ice on the monsoon.
  • Over the years scientists across the world are reporting that the rapid ice-melt in the Arctic is leading to large quantities of fresh water into the seas around the poles.
  • This impedes the release of heat from the water and directs warm water into the seas around India, the theory goes, and eventually weakens the movement of the monsoon breeze into India.

Research Stations in the Arctic

  • Himadri

Research Stations in Antarctica

  • Maitri
  • Bharati

Note- Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research base superseded by the Maitri base from 1990.

 

Myanmar joins International Solar Alliance

Source- Business Standard

  • Myanmar recently joined the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA), becoming the 68th member of the grouping that is aiming at optimum utilisation of solar energy.
  • India is a key development aid partner for Myanmar and is implementing a number of infrastructure projects in that country.
  • These include-
    (a) The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project connecting Mizoram with Sittwe port in Myanmar
    (b) The Trilateral Highway Project connecting India with Myanmar and Thailand and the Rhi-Tiddim road etc.

Related Information

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  • The ISA is an Indian initiative, jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and the President of France on 30th November 2015 in Paris, on the side-lines of COP-21, the UN Climate Conference.
  • The alliance’s primary objective is-
    (a) Work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
    (b) Mobilise $1 trillion in funds for the future solar generation, storage and technology across the world.
  • The ISA, headquartered in India, has its Secretariat located in the Gwalpahari, Gurgaon, Haryana.
  • India has offered to meet ISA Secretariat expenses for initial five years.
  • It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
  • ISA plans to approach multilateral development banks (MDBs) such as Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to specifically finance solar projects.
  • This SPV aimed at financing $150 billion would become a World Solar Bank.

 

Three in five HIV-carriers now have access to drugs: UN

Source- The Hindu

  • There were 36.9 million people living with the immune system-attacking virus in 2017, of whom 15.2 million were not getting the drugs they need — the lowest number since the epidemic exploded, the joint UN programme on HIV/AIDS reported.

Related Information

Mission 2020

The target of 90:90:90

  • The UN goal is for 90% of all HIV-positive people to know their status by 2020. Of these, at least 90% must receive ART, and the HIV virus be suppressed in 90% of those.
  • Assessing progress towards the target, UNAIDS said 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017.
  • This was down from about 1.9 million the year before, and 3.4 million at the peak of the epidemic in 1996.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART)

  • ART are medications that treat HIV.
  • The drugs do not kill or cure the virus.
  • However, when taken in combination they can prevent the growth of the virus.
  • Antiretroviral drugs are referred to as ARV.
  • Combination ARV therapy (cART) is referred to as highly active ART(HAART).

 

4th BIMSTEC Summit to be held in Kathmandu

Source- AIR

  • The fourth BIMSTEC Summit will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal (30 to 31 August 2018).
  • The main focus of the summit will be to increase connectivity between the BIMSTEC nations including roads, airways and transmission lines.

Related Information

BIMSTEC

  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South-East Asia.
  • These 7 countries are- Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
  • The BIMSTEC states are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
  • Its secretariat is located in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

 

NMCG Organised “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in Five Ganga Basin States

Source-PIB

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is running “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in five main stem Ganga basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • The campaign, which has been initiated as part of the Forest Interventions in Ganga (FIG) component of Namami Gange programme, is significant as it aims to bring greater awareness among people and other stakeholders regarding the importance of afforestation for the task of Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • A number of schools, colleges and departments have been requested to “Adopt a Plant” for turning this campaign into a people’s movement.

Related Information

Ganga Gram

  • Under the “Namami Gange” Programme, the government plans to develop the villages located along the main stem of river Ganga which have historic, cultural, and religious and/or tourist importance.
  • Works related to Ganga Grams will encompass comprehensive rural sanitation, development of water bodies and river ghats, construction/ modernization of crematoria etc.

Namami Gange Mission

  • ‘Namami Gange Programme’, is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014.
  • The mission was launched to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.

 

Question of the Day | Legal Terms List 23-July-2018

Question of the day

Question: The 61st amendment of Constitution in the year 1989 was related to

(a) Voting age reduced from 21 to 18

(b) Konkani, Nepali, and Manipuri were included as the language in Eight Schedule

(c) Introduction of Panchayati Raj, an addition of Part IX of Constitution

(d) Sindhi added as a language in Eight Schedule.

Legal terms of the day

1.  Res Judicata: a matter that has been adjudicated by a competent court and therefore may not pursued further by the same parties.

2. Quantum Merit: a reasonable sum of money to be paid for the services rendered or work done when the amount is due as not stipulated in a legally enforceable contract

3. Actori Incumbit Onus Probandi:  is a Latin phrase derived which means that the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff.

4. In Limine: A motion in limine is a motion that is tabled by one of the parties at the very beginning of the legal procedures and seeks to pull the rug out from under the feet of the other party. This motion is decided by the judge in both civil and criminal proceedings.

5. Inter Vivos: Is a legal term referring to a transfer or a gift made during one’s lifetime, under the subject of trust.

 

Today’s answer of the question: A