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Current Events 20 January 2017

 

NEWS

20 JANUARY 2017

 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III : SECURITY

80% IS suspects educated in schools, not madrasas

2.

GS III : S&T -SPACE

Milestone in cryogenic engine test paves way for GSLV-MkIII

3.

GS II: POLITY

Don’t add Hindi dialects in Eighth Schedule, say academics

4.

GS II : POLITY

Church courts’ cannot veto divorce law, says Supreme Court

5.

GS II : POLITY

EC seeks more details on budget presentation

6.

GS I : ART AND CULTURE

‘TN can enact law to treat jallikattu as traditional sport’

7.

GS II : BILATERAL -  INDIA-UK

U.K. seeks Indian help in resolving Chagos Archipelago dispute

8.

GS III :   ECONOMY

Airlines yet to collect  regional connectivity scheme cess

9.

GS III :   ECONOMY

Centre awards Rs.60.9 crore as prize money for digital payments

10.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Government to infuse Rs.1,894 cr. capital into SBI

11.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Banks to report cash deposits above Rs.10 lakh to I-T department

12.

GS II : POLITY - REGULATORY BODIES

CCI fines firms for bid rigging of rail tenders


GS III : SECURITY

80% IS suspects educated in schools, not madrasas

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said that 80% of the persons arrested for alleged links to the Islamic State (IS) went to formal schools and only 20% had studied at madrasas (Islamic seminaries).
  • In one of the biggest crackdowns in 2016, the NIA arrested 52 persons for allegedly plotting terror attacks and being part of the banned outfit.
  • The NIA said nearly half of the suspects were followers of Ahle Hadith (or Salafis/Wahabis who follow the puritanical form of Islam promoted by Saudi Arabia) and 30% followed Tablighi Jamaat (Sunni Islamic movement). Only 20% were Deobandis (Islamic school based in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh) and none of them was from the Barelvi sect.
  • The NIA also said that 47 of the accused were from the Sunni sect of Islam and five had converted from Hinduism and Christianity.
  • Elaborating, an NIA official said four persons converted from Christianity to Islam and one converted from Hinduism to join the Islamic State. All these five accused belong to Kochi in Kerala.
  • Twenty-eight of the 52 arrested persons were aged between 18 and 25, twenty were in the 25-40 age bracket and four were aged 40 and above.
  • An analysis of their educational qualifications indicated that 20 were graduates and had professional degrees, 12 were diploma holders, 13 had done their matriculation, four studied till the senior secondary level and three were post-graduates.
  • Thirty were from the middle-income group, nine from the upper-middle-income group and 13 from the lower-income group.
  • The highest number — 12 each — belonged to Maharashtra and Telangana. Eleven were from Kerala, five from Karnataka, four from Uttar Pradesh, two from Rajasthan, three from TN and one each from J&K, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

 

GS III : S&T - SPACE

Milestone in cryogenic engine test paves way for GSLV-MkIII

  • A milestone crossed in the making of a new cryogenic rocket engine, technically called CE20, set the stage for the first flight of the country’s most powerful satellite launcher to date, the GSLV-Mark III.
  • CE20 passed the ‘high altitude flight acceptance test’ lasting about 25 seconds at Mahendragiri in mid- December 2016.
  • ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Thiruvananthapuram, has designed and developed the CE20 engine.
  • The cryogenic third stage is vital for a GSLV rocket as it gets its final and biggest push in space from this stage; it can take a big communications satellite to higher reaches of 36,000 km above ground.
  • MkIII, when it completes trials and commences functioning in the coming years, will double ISRO’s lifting power for communications satellites to 4,000 kilos.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to fly its new launch vehicle powered by this new engine around March 2017, and send the 3,200 kg GSAT-19 communication satellite to space on it.
  • The C25 cryogenic stage was approved at an estimated Rs. 600 crore as part of the overall Rs. 2,500-crore MkIII launcher project.

 

GS II: POLITY

Don’t add Hindi dialects in Eighth Schedule, say academics

  • In the wake of demands to add dialects of Hindi, like Bhojpuri and Rajasthani, in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution as full-fledged Indian languages, a group of Hindi professors have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that status quo be maintained.
  • Teaching at various universities across India, these academics argue that Hindi’s prime strength is the large number of its speakers.
  • Recognition of its dialects as separate languages would deprive Hindi of millions of its speakers. There would eventually be no Hindi left, they fear.
  • This development comes months after Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said in Bikaner that Rajasthani would be added to the Eighth Schedule.
  • In December 2016, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had raised a similar demanded for Bhojpuri. “Eighth schedule means independent identity of a language.

Eighth Schedule

  • The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India contains a list of 22 scheduled languages.
  • At the time when the Constitution was enacted, inclusion in this list meant that the language was entitled to representation on the Official Languages Commission, and that the language would be one of the bases that would be drawn upon to enrich Hindi, the official language of the Union
  • The list has since, however, acquired further significance. The Government of India is now under an obligation to take measures for the development of these languages, such that "they grow rapidly in richness and become effective means of communicating modern knowledge.
  • In addition, a candidate appearing in an examination conducted for public service is entitled to use any of these languages as the medium in which he or she answers the paper.


 

GS II: POLITY

Church courts’ cannot veto divorce law, says Supreme Court

  • Canon law and decrees of divorce given by ecclesiastical tribunals or ‘Church Courts’ cannot veto the statutory law of divorce, the Supreme Court said.
  • Thus saying, a Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud disposed of a writ petition filed in 2013 seeking a judicial declaration that divorce decrees passed by ecclesiastical tribunals are valid and binding.
  • The Supreme Court referred to its 1996 judgment in the case of Molly Joseph versus George Sebastian upholding the binding nature of the Indian Divorce Act of 1869, which governs divorce among Christians.
  • In Molly’s case, the court said the implication of the Canon law is confined to either theological or ecclesiastical, but has no legal impact on the divorce or annulment of marriage between two persons professing the Christian religion.
  • “After the Divorce Act came into force, a dissolution or annulment under such personal law cannot have any legal impact as statute has provided a different procedure and a different code for divorce or annulment,” the Supreme Court had held.
  • The petitioner, represented by senior advocate Soli Sorabjee, had contended that the case touched the lives of over one crore citizens “who are Indian Christians/ Catholics governed by the Code of Canon Law both regarding marriage and its dissolution.”
  • The Canon law enjoins that Catholics are required to marry in a Catholic church and equally enjoins that they seek nullity in the canonical court (ecclesiastical court/ tribunal) also under the Code of Canon Law. Otherwise, the marriage and the dissolution will not be recognized by the Catholic Church,” the petition had said.
  • In his petition, Pais, a former president of the Catholic Association of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka, had argued that when courts can recognise dissolution by triple talaq under the Mohammedan personal law, they should also recognize the Canon law as the personal law of Indian Catholics.
  • The court is presently hearing a row of petitions, including a suo motu one, on whether practices of Islamic personal law like triple talaq and polygamy discriminate against Muslim women.
  • The petition had asked why courts prosecute Roman Catholics under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code for the alleged offence of bigamy without considering the Canon law.

                                Canon law

  • Canon law is the body of laws and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members.
  • It is the internal ecclesiastical law, or operational policy, governing the Catholic Church (both the Latin Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches), the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the individual national churches within the Anglican Communion.
  • The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches.
  • In all three traditions, a canon was originally a rule adopted by a church council; these canons formed the foundation of canon law.

 

GS II: POLITY

EC seeks more details on budget presentation

  • The Election Commission has asked the Cabinet Secretariat to furnish details on the procedure followed by the then UPA-II government for postponing the Union Budget presentation in 2012, following the Centre’s response defending its decision to make the Budget announcements on February 1.
  • The Commission had earlier referred to the government representations of the Opposition parties demanding that the Budget presentation be postponed in view of the Assembly elections in five States. They alleged that Budget announcements might help the ruling party influence voters.
  • In its response, the Central government is learnt to have defended its decision stating that the Union Budget is an annual constitutional exercise and it covers the entire country.
  • It also stuck to its decision to advance the Budget presentation arguing that it was done to ensure that the budgetary allocations were made well in time, allowing various sectors to expedite implementation of government projects.
  • This year, the Budget session is to start from January 31 and the next day, the Union Budget and the Economic Survey are scheduled to be presented.

GS I : ART AND CULTURE

‘TN can enact law to treat jallikattu as traditional sport’

  • Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi said that the State government has the power to enact a law to treat jallikattu as a traditional sport.
  • Mr. Rohatgi defended in the Supreme Court the Centre’s stand allowing the use of bulls in events like jallikattu.
  • “The Constitution demarcates the role of the Centre and the States... As far as sports are concerned, they are in the exclusive jurisdiction of the State,” he said.
  • “Now, the State could consider making a law to treat it as a traditional sport, but the State must ensure ... that there is no cruelty attached to the sport. It should not just be for the sport without bothering about the plight of the animals. I mean, you have bull fights in Spain. Those are cases where bulls are killed,” he said.
  • Regarding the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Attorney-General said it is a central law which can be amended by Parliament but if it is a sport in a local area, “let the State make the law relating to the sport minus any cruelty, with stringent punishment” for those who commit cruelty.
  • He said there is no legal or constitutional bar for the State to act as soon as it wants to and it can call a special session or issue an ordinance.

 

 

GS II :BILATERAL - INDIA-UK

U.K. seeks Indian help in resolving Chagos Archipelago dispute

  • The British Foreign Secretary has sought Indian assistance in resolving current tensions between the U.K., the U.S. and Mauritius over the future of the U.S. military base Diego Garcia, and the Indian Ocean Chagos Archipelago, amid a warning from Mauritius in 2016 that it would push to take the matter to the International Court of Justice.
  • The British — acting on the request of the U.S. — are hopeful that India may be able to exercise its influence with the Mauritian government to help the three sides come to some agreement, to prevent the situation from escalating.
  • The British believe that ensuring the future of Diego Garcia would be in India’s security interest in the region too.
  • The Chagos Islands — referred to by the British as the British Indian Ocean Territory, but which is not recognized as such by Mauritiusis home to the U.S. military base Diego Garcia.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, inhabitants were removed from the islands. Tensions remain, with Mauritius maintaining that the archipelago remains its integral part.
  • In March 2015, a tribunal brought against the U.K. under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea found that the Marine Protected Area brought in by the U.K. around the Archipelago in 2010 (but not including Diego Garcia) was not compatible with Britain’s obligations under the convention.
  • “Mauritius holds legally binding rights to fish in the waters surrounding the Chagos Archipelago, to the eventual return of the Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius when no longer needed for defence purposes, and to the preservation of the benefit of any minerals or oil discovered in or near the Chagos Archipelago pending its eventual return,” the ruling on March 19, 2015 in The Hague stated.
  • However, in November 016, the U.K. government announced in Parliament that it had ruled out the resettlement of the islanders on the grounds of “feasibility, defence and security interests… and the cost to the British taxpayer”. It also renewed the lease for Diego Garcia, up until 2036.
  • Mauritius said it had “full justification” to seek UN General Assembly approval to take the matter to the International Court of Justice — a move that the U.K. government is keen to avoid.

 

 

 

                                                       

 

GS III :   ECONOMY

Airlines yet to collect regional connectivity scheme cess

  •  Most of the domestic airlines have refused to charge a levy on air tickets that will finance the regional connectivity fund even as the Centre wants to start services under the regional connectivity scheme by March 2017.
  • Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said that the Centre will explore other means to fund the scheme if domestic airlines do not come on board.
  • The Centre has received 45 proposals from 11 bidders covering more than 200 routes under its regional connectivity scheme.
  • It has now invited counter bids against these initial proposals that cover 65 under served or unserved airports.
  • Under the scheme, the Centre will subsidise the losses incurred by the airlines flying out of dormant airports. The airlines will be allowed to charge passengers Rs.2,500 for an hour’s flight. About 80% of the subsidy will be collected from the airlines that will charge a levy of up to Rs.8,500 on each departing flight. The balance 20% will come from the respective state governments.
  • The Federation of Indian Airlines, which represents IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir, has dragged the Centre to the courts challenging the levy of up to Rs.8,500 on domestic flights from December 1.
  • The Delhi High Court will now hear the airlines’ plea on February 1.
  • Apart from the four airlines, new entrant Vistara has also not started charging the levy on its ticket fares.
  • Only AirAsia and Air India levy a regional connectivity scheme surcharge now.
  • As far as states are concerned, 15 of them have agreed to provide all the required infrastructure concessions along with the balance 20% subsidy for flight operations under the scheme.

 

GS III :   ECONOMY

Centre awards Rs.60.9 crore as prize money for digital payments

  • The Centre has so far awarded Rs.60.9 crore as prize money to over 3.81 lakh consumers and 21,000 merchants under its two lucky draw schemes – Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana – announced to boost digital payments post demonetisation.
  • The winners, an official release said, includes small farmers, anganwadi workers, housewives and labourers.Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka have emerged as the top five states with the maximum number of winners,” Niti Aayog said adding that most of the winners were in the age group of 21-30 years.
  • The two schemes, aimed at “incentivising the consumers and the merchants to promote digital payments,” were unveiled on December 25, 2016 and will remain open till April 14.
  • The Niti Aayog statement said over 100 Digi-Dhan Melas, where lucky draws are organised, will be held across the country “to inculcate digital payment among the people”.
  • About 24 Digi-Dhan Melas have been held across the country so far since December 25.
  • Additionally, the Common Service Centres (CSCs) have so far trained about 1.94 crore citizens and 5.93 lakh merchants on transacting using digital payment systems, Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
  • In a separate release, pointing out to NIC’s efforts in creating the digital infrastructure in the country, the Minister said the infrastructure at district offices of NIC will be upgraded “to international standards.”
  • National Informatics Centre or NIC is the technology infrastructure arm of the government and plays a key role in Digital India.
  • As a pilot project, 150 District NIC offices would be upgraded during 2017-18.

 

GS III :   ECONOMY

Government to infuse Rs.1,894 cr. capital into SBI

  • The government, which is infusing Rs.1,894 crore capital into State Bank of India, has asked the country’s largest lender to take necessary regulatory approvals for the fund infusion. This is the part of Rs.7,575 crore capital infusion announced by the government in July 2016.
  • As per the announcement, the government released 75% of the amount while the rest was withheld. The rest was linked to performance. “In continuation of decision of July 19, 2016, the government has approved to increase the paid up capital by way of preferential allotment of equity shares,” according to a government notification.

 

GS III :   ECONOMY

Banks to report cash deposits above Rs.10 lakh to I-T department

  • The tax department has asked banks to report deposits in any account aggregating ?10 lakh in a year, as well as cash payments of Rs.1 lakh or more on credit card bills.
  • In a January 17 notification, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) listed cash transactions which need to be reported to tax authorities and set up an e-platform for doing so.
  • It reiterated its November 2016 instruction, “Cash deposits during the period November 9, 2016 to December 30, 2016 aggregating to Rs.12.50 lakh or more in one or more current account of a person (and) Rs.2.5 lakh or more in one or more account (other than a current account) of a person” will have to be reported to tax authorities, it said.
  • Also, cash deposits during April 1, 2016 to November 9, 2016 in any account that are reportable should also be intimated to the the tax authorities by January 31, 2017, the notification said.

 

GS II : POLITY - REGULATORY BODIES

CCI fines firms for bid rigging of rail tenders

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed penalties totalling about ?.2.92 crore on three firms for bid rigging of tenders floated by Indian Railways for procuring brushless DC fans in 2013.
  • “CCI has held that the firms had shared the market by way of allocation of tenders of Indian Railways for Brushless DC fans amongst themselves under an agreement/ arrangement and indulged in bid rigging or collusive bidding,” an official statement said.

Competition Commission of India 

  • Competition Commission of India was established in 2003 responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India.
  • It became fully functional in May 2009 with Dhanendra Kumar as its first Chairman.
  • It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues. 
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