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Current Events 22 March 2017

 

NEWS

22 March 2017


Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: POLITY JUDICIARY

SC calls for out-of-court settlement in Ayodhya case

2.

GS III: SECURITY

‘88 youth took to militancy in 2016'

3.

GS II: GOVERNANCE  AADHAAR

Aadhaar to be must for IT returns

4.

GS II: POLITY INTER-STATE WATERS

Final hearing on Cauvery issue on July 11

5.

GS II: POLITY JUDICIARY

Note ban: SC questions Centre

6.

GS II: POLITY BILL / ACT

 

The four words that activists want to be removed from HIV Bill

7.

GS III: DEFENCE

Govt. defends Army sahayak system

8.

GS III: DEFENCE

Centre rejects AP proposal for joint venture on Viraat

9.

GS II: BILATERAL INDIA-PAKISTAN

India, Pakistan to review Miyar project

 

10.

GS III: ECONOMY INDICATORS

India slips in human development index

 

 

GS II: POLITY JUDICIARY

SC calls for out-of-court settlement in Ayodhya case

  • Suggesting an out-of-court rapprochement among rival parties in the 68-year-old Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute, Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar advised peace negotiations instead of a pitched court battle, even offering help to settle the fight amicably.
  • The dispute, which has seen much tension and violence over the past decades, debuted in court in 1950 when Gopal Simla Visharad filed the first suit in Faizabad civil court for rights to perform pooja to Ram Lalla.
  • The same year saw Paramahansa Ramachandra Das also file a suit for continuation of pooja and keeping idols in the structure.
  • Nine years later, in 1959, Nirmohi Akhara followed with a third suit for directions to hand over the charge of the disputed site.
  • U.P. Sunni Central Wakf Board filed the fourth suit in 1961 for declaration and possession.
  • The fifth was in 1989 in the name of Ram Lalla Virajman for declaration and possession.
  • On September 2010, a three-judge Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court held that Hindus have the right to the makeshift temple under the central dome of the Babri Masjid. The High Court ruled in favour of athree-part divisionof the disputed 2.77-acre area among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the Ram Lalla at the disputed site. The Bench had relied on Hindu faith, belief and folklore.
  • The Sunni Waqf Board and other parties filed their appeals in the Supreme Court against the 2010 judgment. The appeals is pending in the Supreme Court for the past six years.
  • The pendency of the appeal was brought to the attention of the bench led by Justice Khehar by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy presently. Mr. Swamy, in an urgent mentioning, sought the court to post the appeals for early hearing.
  • Instead, the bench, also comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, reacted with a different point of view.
  • Justice Khehar said parties should understand that these are sensitive issues involving religious sentiments. They should adopt a give and take approach to arrive at a consensus.
  • "You (Mr. Swamy) must make fresh attempts to arrive at a consensual decision. If required, you must choose a mediator to end the dispute. If the parties want me (CJI) to sit with mediators chosen by both the sides for negotiations, I am ready," Justice Khehar said.
  • A large part of the delay in the Supreme Court owes to the fact that the litigation has records dating back to the 16th Century and written in several languages, including Arabic and Persian. They all have to be translated into English for the court.
  • Justices Sudhir Agarwal and Justice D.V. Sharma on the Allahabad High Court bench had concluded in their separate judgments that Lord Ram, son of King Dashrath, was born within the 1,482.5 square yards of the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid premises over 900,000 years ago during the Treta Yuga.
  • The third judge, Justice S.U. Khan, said his finding was an "informed guess".
  • In May 2011, during a preliminary hearing of the appeals, a Supreme Court bench of Justices (retired) Aftab Alam and R.M. Lodha had described the High Court judgment fixing Lord Ram's birthplace as a sheer "leap of faith" transgressing into the mythological realm.






GS III: SECURITY

‘88 youth took to militancy in 2016'

  • The government informed Parliament that 2016 saw the highest number of youth joining militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in the past six years.
  • The Home Ministry said it was estimated that 88 Kashmiri youth joined militancy in 2016, the year when Hizbul Mujahideen commanderBurhan Wani was killedin an encounter with the security forces leading to awave of unrest in the Valley.
  • It also said that last year as many as 119 infiltrations took place from across the border. This was a four-year high.
  • Earlier, the government had said that 87 security force personnel were killed in the State in 2016, the highest in eight years.


 

GS II: GOVERNANCE  AADHAAR

Aadhaar to be must for IT returns

  • The NDA government has proposed to make Aadhaar mandatory for individuals to apply for a PAN (Permanent Account Number) card and file income tax returns from July 1 this year.
  • Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley moved an amendment, to this effect, in the draft Finance Bill 2017 that was taken up by the Lok Sabha.
  • Earlier, the Centre made it mandatory for beneficiaries to quote their Aadhaar number to avail themselves of benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana for skill development, and the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers.
  • The Centre had identified 31 schemes in which the Aadhaar could be made mandatory.
  • Notifications have been issued in recent months by departments to make Aadhaar compulsory for getting subsidised foodgrains under the National Food Security Act, jobs under the MGNREGA and pension benefits under the Employees' Pension Scheme and also for scholarships and Mid-day Meal Scheme.


 

GS II: POLITY INTER-STATE WATERS

Final hearing on Cauvery issue on July 11

  • The Supreme Court asked Karnataka to continue releasing 2,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
  • It posted appeals filed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala against the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal's decision on water sharing for July 11 for final hearing.
  • A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar scheduled back-to-back hearings from July 11 for 15 working days.
  • On December 9, 2016, the Supreme Court, in a judgment, refused the Centre's stand that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the Cauvery river dispute.
  • It had upheld the constitutional power of the court to hear the appeals filed by the three States against the tribunal award.
  • The Centre had argued that the parliamentary law of Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956 coupled with Article 262 (2) excluded the Supreme Court from hearing or deciding on any appeals against the Cauvery Tribunal's decision. The Centre had claimed that the tribunal award was final.
  • The Bench, however, held that the remedy under Article 136 was a constitutional right and it cannot be taken away by a legislation much less by invoking the principle of election or estoppel.


 

GS II: POLITY JUDICIARY

Note ban: SC questions Centre

  • The Supreme Court said the Centre had left the "people in the lurch" by closing all options for them to deposit demonetised notes beyond the cut-off date of December 30, 2016.
  • The court indicated that Parliament had left it to the Centre's discretion to offer a grace period for those who were genuinely unable to deposit their old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes by December 30.
  • The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance of 2016 allows Indian citizens abroad and "any other class of persons specified by the Central government" to deposit their old notes beyond the cut-off date of December 31, 2016.
  • However, the Centre restricted the grace period till March 31, 2017 only to Indian citizens who were abroad during the period between November 9 and December 30, 2016.
  • "If you see the Prime Minister's speech on demonetisation on November 8, 2016, he talks clearly about extending the grace period till March 31, 2017. Then comes the RBI notification, which also talks clearly about extending the time. Both gave people hope that there shall be ... there would be an extension. The ordinance promulgated also gives you the discretion to widen the categories of people beyond those who were abroad... So why did you choose to close this window completely," Chief Justice Khehar said.
  • The court said the people believed in the PM's words that they would be offered a grace period to deposit the old notes till March 31. "With the PM saying so, they had good reason to believe... these may have been people who were hospitalised for the entire duration between November 9 and December 30," Chief Justice Khehar addressed Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi for the Centre.
  • "The government cannot arbitrarily close its window to people in genuine difficulty. That attitude will not work here," Chief Justice Khehar reacted.
  • The court directed the Centre to file an affidavit explaining why it chose not to extend the deadline post December 30 despite Parliament giving it the discretion to do so.

 


GS II: POLITY BILL / ACT

The four words that activists want to be removed from HIV Bill

  • The long-awaited HIV Bill, a crucial public health legislation guaranteeing equal rights to India's HIV community, was passed by the Rajya Sabha.
  • India's HIV community, however, confessed itself ‘disappointed' as the Bill places an obligation on State governments to provide treatment "as far as possible", making it weak and open to interpretation.
  • This HIV Bill, instead of protecting and safeguarding our welfare is now protecting the government.
  • The Health Minister's verbal assurance that no one will be denied treatment is welcoming but this has no constitutional or legal status.
  • There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India and the percentage of patients receiving anti-retroviral therapy (ART) treatment currently stands at a mere 25.82% as against the global percentage of 41%, according to the 2015 Global Burden of Diseases (GBD).
  • The Bill comes at a time when the national HIV programme has weakened due to budget cuts with India currently facing nationwide stock-outs of diagnostic kits and pediatric formulations of anti-retrovirals (ARTs).



GS III: DEFENCE

Govt. defends Army sahayak system

  • In the wake of recent allegations of discrimination against jawans under the sahayak system of the Army, the government strongly defended the system, stating that the rapport between officers and their subordinates results in the enhancement of "spirit-de-corps in a unit, which is vital during war and peace".
  • "As such, this is not expected to have any adverse impact on their morale. Notwithstanding this, exhaustive instructions have been issued from time to time stressing upon the need to ensure that under no circumstances sahayaks, being combatant soldiers, are employed on menial tasks, which are not in conformity with the dignity and self-respect of a soldier," MoS for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Several videos of jawans have surfaced on the social media in the recent past which brought the practice of orderlies in the Army into sharp focus. When a surreptitiously recorded video of a jawan complaining about menial jobs he was forced to do as a sahayak emerged in public, the soldier committed suicide.
  • Dr. Bhamre said a sahayak has clearly defined military duties and forms an integral part of the organisation structure of a unit and has specific functions during war and peace.
  • Dr. Bhamre said, "The buddy provides an alternate contact with the troops, whereby the officer is made aware of grass root issues, albeit via informal means."

 


GS III: DEFENCE

Centre rejects AP proposal for joint venture on Viraat

  • Defence ministry has turned down the proposal of the Andhra Pradesh Government to set up a joint venture to convert decommissioned aircraft carrier Viraat into an aircraft museum.
  • This has once again put the fate of the carrier in question as this was the only firm proposal sent forward to preserve the iconic carrier.
  • INS Viraat formerly HMS Hermes in the Royal Navy was decommissioned early March 2017 after three decades of service.
  • Efforts were on to preserve the iconic ship which had a rich history in both the Navies it had served.
  • The issue of preserving the ship now looks bleak as the Navy had already announced that it could not be maintaining the ship for too long post retirement which meant Viraat could head to the scrapyard if no alternative was found soon.



GS II: BILATERAL INDIA-PAKISTAN

India, Pakistan to review Miyar project

  • India and Pakistan agreed on redesigning the Miyar Hydroelectric project, at the end of two-day talks of Indus Water Commissioners in Islamabad, the state-run media reported here as the official announcement is awaited.
  • It was also agreed that the Lower Kalnai and the Pakal Dul projects would be inspected again.
  • The talks between the two countries began after 22 months when Pakistan in 2015 skipped consultations following objections on the Kishenganga and the Ratle hydroelectric projects by India.
  • Kishenganga is in arbitration while officials of the two countries are meeting in Washington next month on the Ratle project on the invitation of the World Bank.
  • Pakistan's request for arbitration on Ratle is still pending with the World Bank, which is the guarantor of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.


Miyar Hydroelectric Project

  • Miyar Hydroelectric Project is located in District Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh on the Miyar Nallah which is a major tributary of Chenab River.
  • The project envisages an installation of 120 MW capacity and has been awarded to Hindustan Power through the international competitive bidding process.





GS III: ECONOMY INDICATORS

India slips in human development index

  • India slipped down one place from 130 to 131 among the 188 countries ranked in terms of human development, says the 2016 Human Development Report (HDR) released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • India's human development index (HDI) value of 0.624 puts it in the "medium human development" category, alongside countries such as Congo, Namibia and Pakistan.
  • It is ranked third among the SAARC countries, behind Sri Lanka (73) and the Maldives (105), both of which figure in the "high human development" category.
  • While India's HDI value increased from 0.428 in 1990 to 0.624 in 2015, it still had the lowest rank among BRIC nations. However, its average annual growth in HDI (1990-2015) was higher than that of other medium HD countries.
  • The world's top three countries in HDI are Norway (0.949), Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939).
  • The HDI is a measure for assessing progress in three basic dimensions of human development:

                  i.          a long and healthy life,

                ii.          access to knowledge, and

              iii.          access to a decent standard of living.

 

Public health spending

  • The report says 1.5 million people worldwide still live in multidimensional poverty, 54% of them concentrated in South Asia.
  • While poverty fell significantly from 1990 to 2015, inequalities sharpened in the region.
  • South Asia also had the highest levels of malnutrition in the world, at 38%, and the lowest public health expenditure as a percentage of the GDP (1.6%, 2014).
  • India's public health expenditure was even lower, at 1.4% of the GDP.
  • However, it did make some gains between 1990 and 2015, improving life expectancy by 10.4 years in this period. Child malnutrition also declined by 10 percentage points from 2015, and there was a modest gain in infant and under-five mortality rates.


Indian initiatives commended

  • The report praised India's reservation policy, observing that even though it "has not remedied caste-based exclusions", it has "had substantial positive effects". It pointed out that "in 1965, for example, Dalits held fewer than 2% of senior civil service positions, but the share had grown to 11% by 2001".
  • The HDR also hailed the national rural employment guarantee programme as a "prime example" of "combining social protection with appropriate employment strategies".
  • The report noted with approval India's progressive laws, especially the Right to Information, National Food Security, and Right to Education Acts.
  • It commended the Indian grassroots group Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan for popularising social audits of government schemes.

 

Gender disparity

  • Noting that women, on an average, have lower HDI than men across the world, the report pointed out that the largest gender disparity in development was in South Asia, where the female HDI value is 20% lower than the male value.
  • In South Asia, gender gaps in entrepreneurship and labour force participation caused an estimated income loss of 19%.


 


 

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Current Affairs News Covered:

GS II: POLITY JUDICIARY - SC calls for out-of-court settlement in Ayodhya case.
GS III: SECURITY - ‘88 youth took to militancy in 2016'.
GS II: GOVERNANCE AADHAAR - Aadhaar to be must for IT returns.
GS II: POLITY INTER-STATE WATERS - Final hearing on Cauvery issue on July 11.
GS II: POLITY JUDICIARY - Note ban: SC questions Centre.
GS II: POLITY BILL / ACT - The four words that activists want to be removed from HIV Bill.
GS III: DEFENCE - Govt. defends Army sahayak system.
GS III: DEFENCE - Centre rejects AP proposal for joint venture on Viraat.
GS II: BILATERAL INDIA-PAKISTAN - India, Pakistan to review Miyar project.
GS III: ECONOMY INDICATORS - India slips in human development index.

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