News (Text)


When:
July 24, 2018 @ 1:00 am
2018-07-24T01:00:00+05:30
2018-07-24T01:15:00+05:30

NEWS

24 JULY 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: SOCIAL – MOB LYNCHING

Alwar fallout: govt. panel to check cases of mob lynching

2.

GS II: SOCIAL – MOB LYNCHING

Embattled Rajasthan police try to save face

3.

GS II: SOCIAL – WOMEN

‘At least 16 inmates were raped in Bihar shelter’

4.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Ban on protests at city’s iconic Jantar Mantar, Boat Club lifted

5.

GS II : SOCIAL – HEALTH

Medical tourists flocking to India

6.

GS II : POLITY – STATES

Bihar govt. relaxes stringent provisions of prohibition law

7.

GS II: SOCIAL- RIGHTS

Let’s not rake it up again, says muzzled author of ‘Meesha’

8.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Karnataka sees 300% jump in FDI inflows, T.N. rebounds

9.

GS II: SOCIAL- EDUCATION

Centre clears air on grant-giving powers

10.

GS II: SOCIAL- HEALTH

‘Formaldehyde is naturally found in fish’

11.

GS II: POLITY – JUDICIARY

‘CJI’s courtroom can go live first’

12.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-AFRICA

PM in Africa amid a fall in trade

13.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – EUROPE

U.K. backs off anti-caste discrimination legislation

14.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Banks agree to resolve stressed assets quickly

15.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

‘FRDI Bill not officially dropped, intent there’

16.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

India slips 3 ranks in AT Kearney’s FDI Confidence Index, out of top 10

17.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-ASIA

Iran becomes India’s No. 2 oil supplier

18

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

‘Scrapping GST on sanitary pads may not aid local makers’

19

GS III: S&T – BIOTECHNOLOGY

Scientists now a step closer to creating artificial embryos


GS II: SOCIAL – MOB LYNCHING

Alwar fallout: govt. panel to check cases of mob lynching

  • A dairy farmer, Rakbar Khan from Haryana’s Mewat district, was lynched by a group of seven persons in Alwar when he was transporting two cows and their calves.
  • Post this lynching incident at Alwar in Rajasthan, the government said a high-level committee, headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, had been constituted to check cases of “mob lynching”.
  • The committee will submit its recommendations within four weeks, the government said.
  • The government said a Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will consider the report of the committee and submit its recommendations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The Home Ministry stated that, as per the Constitution, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects and State governments are responsible for controlling crime, maintaining law and order and protecting the life and property of the citizens.
  • It informed the Rajya Sabha last week that the National Crime Records Bureau does not maintain specific data related with respect to lynching incidents in the country.
  • The Ministry said it has issued advisories from time to time to States and Union Territories for maintenance of public order and prevention of crime in their areas of jurisdiction.
  • “An advisory on addressing the issue of mob lynching on suspicion of child-lifting was issued on July 4. Earlier, an advisory was issued on August 9, 2016 on disturbances by miscreants in the name of protection of cow,” the statement said.

GS II: SOCIAL – MOB LYNCHING

Embattled Rajasthan police try to save face

  • Rattled by reports of delayed response in dealing with the lynching of a Haryana resident Rakbar Khan in Alwar district by alleged cow vigilantes, the Rajasthan police suspended an assistant sub-inspector, Mohan Singh, and sent three policemen of the Ramgarh station to the Police Lines as punishment.
  • They were prima facie found guilty of “error of judgment“.
  • A video purportedly showing Mr. Singh admitting to his “mistake”, went viral. “I made a mistake … punish me or pardon me … it is simple and straight,” he can be heard saying in the video.
  • A high-level team of four senior officers, appointed by Director-General of Police O.P. Galhotra, arrived at Ramgarh to investigate allegations of “deliberate delay” in taking the victim for medical treatment. Special DGP (Law & Order) N.R.K. Reddy, heading the team, admitted that there was a “time lapse of two hours”.
  • The records at the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Ramgarh have revealed that Rakbar, 31, was brought there almost four hours after he was waylaid and thrashed barely six kilometres away.
  • The policemen allegedly first made arrangements to take the two cows to a gaushala before bringing Rakbar to the hospital.
  • While the cows reached their destination at 3 a.m. on Saturday, Rakbar was brought in to CHC at 4 a.m., after three hours in police custody. He was declared dead on arrival.
  • The members of the vigilante groups who informed the police about the suspected case of cow smuggling near Lalawandi village, have stated that the policemen took Rakbar in their vehicle to the Ramgarh police station, stopped to have tea and changed his clothes before taking him to the CHC. It is alleged that the policemen had thrashed Rakbar at the police station.

GS II: SOCIAL – WOMEN

‘At least 16 inmates were raped in Bihar shelter’

  • At least 16 girls at a shelter in Muzaffarpur in Bihar were raped, Senior Superintendent of Police Harpreet Kaur told the media.
  • There were 44 girls living in the home run by an NGO under the supervision of the Social Welfare Department.
  • In a social audit report prepared by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in May 2018, the inmates had narrated their ordeals of sexual exploitation.
  • Later, based on the 100-page TISS report, the Social Welfare Department filed a police complaint which exposed the plight of the girls.
  • The NGO managing the shelter was owned by a local politician, Brajesh Thakur.
  • The medical report on 21 of the girls have been submitted to the Muzaffarpur police. It confirms 16 cases of rape.
  • During our investigation, one inmate told us that a girl who was killed after resisting sexual harassment by the staff was buried on the premises… the spot was identified by her and it was dug up but nothing was found there,” said the SSP.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Ban on protests at city’s iconic Jantar Mantar, Boat Club lifted

  • In a victory for free speech, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on organising protests at the iconic Jantar Mantar Road and the Boat Club at India Gate in the national capital.
  • Every individual or group, whether they are a minority or poor or marginalised, have the right to express their dissent to government policies and fight their social circumstances.
  • It is their right to fight at a location within hearing distance of the power centres. All that is required of them is to protest in an orderly and peaceful manner, the SC held.
  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned protests on the Jantar Mantar Road in October 2017.
  • The Delhi police were repeatedly promulgating prohibitory orders, thus effectively sealing Central Delhi against dissenters.
  • Protesters were given the option of to voice their grievances in distant Ramlila Maidan at Old Delhi – “too far away” from the Parliament House, North and South Block, Central Vista Lawns.
  • Organisations like the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement and other groups – all veterans of many protests on Jantar Mantar Road – appealed to the Supreme Court for help.
  • They said the ban virtually silenced their fundamental right to participate in governance as an informed citizenry.
  • The right to protest is recognised as a fundamental right under the Constitution… this right is crucial in a democracy,” Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan agreed with the groups.
  • Protests strengthen representative democracy by enabling direct participation in public affairs where individuals and groups are able to express dissent and grievances, expose the flaws in governance and demand accountability from state authorities as well as powerful entities, Justice Sikri wrote in his 72-page judgment.
  • It directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to prepare “proper and requisite” guidelines for use of the Jantar Mantar area and the Boat Club for peaceful protests in the next two months.

GS II : SOCIAL – HEALTH

Medical tourists flocking to India 

  • A rare combination of advanced facilities, skilled doctors, and low cost of treatment has made India a popular hub of medical tourism, attracting a large number of foreign patients every year.
  • The total number of such visitors in 2017 was 4.95 lakh, Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) K.J. Alphons, said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
  • This number had stood at around 2.34 lakh in 2015, and 4.27 lakh in 2016.
  • Bangladesh and Afghanistan continued to be the top countries from where the maximum number foreign tourist arrivals (for medical purpose) was seen.
  • In 2017, about 2.21 lakh tourists from Bangladesh are estimated to have come to India for medical reasons, compared to 1.20 lakh in 2015 and 2.10 lakh in 2016.
  • Other countries from where large numbers of medical tourists came to India include Iraq, Oman, Maldives, Yemen, Uzbekistan and Sudan.

GS II : POLITY – STATES

Bihar govt. relaxes stringent provisions of prohibition law

  • The State government passed the Bihar Prohibition and Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in the Assembly and relaxed some of the stringent provisions of the liquor law enforced in Bihar since April 2016.
  • Under the amended law, first-time offenders will either have to pay a fine of Rs. 50,000 or serve jail term for three months.
  • However, if caught consuming liquor again, the fine will go up to Rs. 1 lakh or jail term up to five years.
  • Earlier, the same offence was non-bailable.
  • The provisions of community fine and deportation of habitual drinkers have been struck off in the amended law.
  • It has also relaxed the provision under which the house or hotel where liquor was found was sealed. Now, only the room would be sealed.
  • Similarly, all adult persons of the house where a member is found consuming alcohol will not be arrested, as was the provision earlier.

GS II: SOCIAL- RIGHTS

Let’s not rake it up again, says muzzled author of ‘Meesha’

  • “Let’s not rake it up again,” the shudder in the voice on the other end of the line is palpable as award-winning writer S. Hareesh politely declines to talk about his decision to withdraw his debut novel Meesha (‘Moustache’), barely into its third instalment, from the Mathrubhumi Weekly in Malayalam.
  • Mr. Hareesh has been facing relentless heckling and violent threats against his family and children on social media and over the phone by groups and individuals owing allegiance to the Sangh Parivar.
  • He is in no hurry to bring out the novel, set in a milieu of the feudal Kerala of some 50 years ago, as a volume either.
  • Mr. Hareesh is a noted short-story writer, who works as a government clerk.
  • His mobile phone remained switched off for most part of the last few days, as the ultra-right wing demanded an apology from the editor and the writer for “insulting temple priests and Hindu worship.”
  • Mr. Hareesh said he had worked on the novel for five years, but a portion of it was being de-contextualised for a vilification campaign against him and his family.
  • The ultra right-wing is infuriated with a conversation in the third chapter between two characters belonging to the subaltern community on the libidinous motives of upper caste women going to a temple.
 

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Karnataka sees 300% jump in FDI inflows, T.N. rebounds

  • Karnataka registered the biggest increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2017, as inflows from overseas jumped 300% in the 12 months ended March 2018.
  • Tamil Nadu too saw a rebound reversing a slowdown in the preceding period, while Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh all saw a drop in FDI inflows, data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) presented in Parliament show.
  • Karnataka received $8.58 billion in 2017/18, a sharp increase from the $2.13 billion in the previous fiscal.
  • Interestingly, the services sector, which comprises finance, banking, insurance and outsourcing among others, remained the top recipient of FDI despite seeing a 23% decline in inflows at $6.71 billion.

GS II: SOCIAL- EDUCATION

Centre clears air on grant-giving powers

  • A new and independent body comprising academics and using an ICT-enabled platform will give grants to universities after the University Grants Commission (UGC) is repealed, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar told the Lok Sabha.
  • He said the Ministry would not shift to itself the power of disbursing grants, seeking to silence criticism in recent days from stakeholders, who fear that the government plans to keep the grant-giving powers hitherto vested in the UGC to itself.
  • The criticism from teachers had followed the recent announcement by the Ministry that the UGC would be replaced by the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), which would have the mandate of ensuring quality of higher education without powers to give grants to universities, something the UGC possesses.
  • Mr. Javadekar said the draft Higher Education Commission of India Bill, 2018, had been put in the public domain on June 27, 2018, for seeking comments and suggestions from educationists, stakeholders and the general public before July 20.
  • The Ministry had received 9,926 suggestions/comments so far and appropriate changes are being made in the draft Bill based on the feedback.

GS II: SOCIAL- HEALTH

‘Formaldehyde is naturally found in fish’

  • Claiming that formaldehyde was inherently present in fish, fruits, vegetables and even mushrooms, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Assembly that the government was willing to consider extending the 15-day ban on “import” of fish from other States “to remove fear and confusion” among people.
  • He was replying to a calling attention motion on the issue of “formalin in fish”, agitating the on-going monsoon session for three consecutive days with the Opposition forcing adjournments.
  • “Formaldehyde is documented to be naturally present in many common food items, including fruits and vegetables (approximately 20 to 60 mg per kg in fruits and vegetables), meats (approximately 5-20 mg per kg), fish (approximately 5 to 140 mg per kg), crustacean (approximately 10 to 100 mg per kg) and mushrooms (approximately 60 mg in fresh ones and as high as 400 mg per kg in dried shitake mushrooms),” Mr. Parrikar said in a written statement.
  • Citing laboratory tests, he said traders were not using formalin to preserve fish in the coastal State.

GS II: POLITY – JUDICIARY

‘CJI’s courtroom can go live first’

  • The government told the Supreme Court that live-streaming of court proceedings should start with the Chief Justice of India’s courtroom.
  • It said live-streaming should be initially restricted to constitutional issues decided by the top judge.
  • In an earlier hearing, the Supreme Court had said it was ready to go live on camera, while the government had mooted a separate TV channel for live-streaming court proceedings.
  • The court had referred to live-streaming as an extension of the “open court” system allowing the public to walk in and watch the court proceedings.
  • Chief Justice Misra had said live-streaming would help litigants conveniently follow the court proceedings and assess their lawyers’ performance.
  • People from far-flung States did not have to travel all the way to the national capital for a day’s hearing.
  • Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal agreed that live-streaming would keep a check on the lawyers’ conduct.
  • Indira Jaising, senior advocate who filed the petition in the Supreme Court in person, said agreements with broadcasters should be on a non-commercial basis.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-AFRICA

PM in Africa amid a fall in trade

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will encounter challenges of Chinese competition as well as declining Indian trade and investment figures on his three nation, five-day tour to Africa, part of what officials called an “unprecedented engagement” with the continent by his government.
  • According to the “World Investment Report for 2018”, issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Indian FDI in Africa in 2016-17 at $14 billion was even lower than it was in 2011-12 at $16 billion.
  • In fact, with the exception of the 2015 figures, which jumped due to a single investment of $2.6 billion by ONGC Videsh Ltd. for a stake in the Rovuma gas field of Mozambique in 2014, Indian investment in Africa has steadily decreased year-on-year since 2014.
  • China increased from 2011-12, when its investment levels were identical to India’s at $16 billion, to a massive $40 billion in 2016-17.
  • similar slump both in actual and comparative terms has been seen in India-Africa trade figures from 2013 to 2017,when export and import figures fell from $67.84 billion to $51.96 billion.
  • The China-Africa bilateral trade, in comparison, has hovered around the $170 billion mark.
  • One of India’s biggest problems has been its concentration on East African trade and investment opportunities, as well as a dependence on petroleum and LNG, say experts.
  • India’s exports to African countries have also been dominated by petroleum products, and a diversification is needed to broaden economic engagement.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – EUROPE

U.K. backs off anti-caste discrimination legislation

  • The British government has decided that it will not recognise caste as an aspect of race in anti-discrimination legislation, in a move that was condemned by Dalit organisations and other campaign groups.
  • Following a consultation in 2017, the government pointed to “the extremely low number” of cases involved and the “clearly controversial nature” of introducing caste.
  • The Anti-Caste Discrimination Alliance said it was “outraged” by the decision to repeal a law that had been agreed upon by Parliament and endorsed by the UN, and supported by the government’s own Equalities and Human Rights Commission. “This decision goes in favour of those who continue to practice caste prejudice in the U.K.,” it said.
  • In 2010, the House of Lords voted to outlaw caste discrimination through the Equality Act by calling it an aspect of “race”, just like colour, nationality, and ethnic origin.
  • The issue of incorporating caste discrimination into British legislation has been a matter of public debate for a number of years.
  • Section 9 of the Equality Act 2010, amended by Parliament in 2013, required the government to introduce secondary legislation to make caste an aspect of race, and caste discrimination a form of race discrimination, but allowed for further consultations.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Banks agree to resolve stressed assets quickly

  • Leading lenders of the country signed an agreement among themselves to grant power to the lead lender of the consortium to draw up a resolution plan for stressed assets.
  • The plan would be implemented in a time-bound manner before bankruptcy proceedings kick in, as was the mandate of the Reserve Bank.
  • The move comes after the banking regulator, in its February 12 circular, dismantled all the existing resolution mechanisms, such as the joint lenders’ forum, and asked lenders to start resolution for the asset even if the default was by one day.
  • It had also mandated that if the resolution plan was not finalised within 180 days, the account had to be referred for bankruptcy proceedings.
  • The agreement, known as Inter-Creditor Agreement (ICA) was framed under the aegis of the Indian Banks’ Association and follows the recommendations of the Sunil Mehta Committee on stressed asset resolution.
  • Lenders including State Bank of India, Bank of India, and Corporation Bank have already signed the pact.
  • The ICA has been signed by 24 public, private and foreign banks. Non-banking financial companies are also expected to sign the agreement.
  • The ICA is applicable to all corporate borrowers who have availed loans for an amount of Rs. 50 crore or more under consortium lending / multiple banking arrangements.
  • The lender with the highest exposure to a stressed borrower will be authorised to formulate the resolution plan which will be presented to all lenders for their approval.
  • The decision making shall be by way of approval of ‘majority lenders’ (i.e. the lenders with 66% share in the aggregate exposure).
  • Once a resolution plan is approved by the majority, it shall be binding on all the lenders that are a party to the ICA.
  • Dissenting lenders can either sell their exposure to another lender at a 15% discount or buy the entire exposure of all the banks involved, at a 25% premium.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

‘FRDI Bill not officially dropped, intent there’

  • While the government has decided to withdraw the controversial Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, no official action has been taken so far on this, with the Cabinet yet to approve the move, according to the Finance Ministry.
  • The FRDI Bill includes a provision of a ‘bail in’ for banks, which would allow the use of depositors’ money to refinance ailing lenders.
  • The government, however, has repeatedly asserted that depositors in public sector banks need not worry as it would not allow such banks to fail under any circumstances.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

India slips 3 ranks in AT Kearney’s FDI Confidence Index, out of top 10

  • India in 2018 has fallen out of the top 10 destinations for FDI in terms of its attractiveness, according to an AT Kearney report, which says this could be due to teething troubles in the implementation of the goods and services tax and the government’s demonetisation decision in 2016.
  • India ranks 11 in the 2018 AT Kearney FDI Confidence Index, down from 8 in 2017 and 9 in 2016.
  • That said, the report highlighted several of the reforms – such as removing the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and liberalising FDI limits in key sectors – that have maintained India’s high rankings in terms of FDI attractiveness.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-ASIA

Iran becomes India’s No. 2 oil supplier

  • Iran was the second-biggest oil supplier to Indian state refiners between April and June 2018, India’s Oil Minister said, replacing Saudi Arabia as companies took advantage of steeper discounts offered by Tehran.
  • Refiners had decided to almost double imports from Iran, which offered almost free shipping and extended credit period on oil sales.
  • Iraq continued to be the top oil supplier to India in the April-June period.
  • India, Iran’s top oil client after China, shipped in 5.67 million tonnes or about 4,57,000 barrels per day (bpd), of oil, from the country in the first three months of this fiscal year, Dharmendra Pradhan told lawmakers.
  • State refiners, accounting for about 60% of India’s 5 million bpd refining capacityhad curbed imports from Iran in 2017 in protest against Tehran’s move to grant development rights for the giant Farzad B gas field to other parties.
  • India and other major buyers of Iranian oil are under pressure to cut imports from the country after Washington in May 2018 withdrew from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and decided to reimpose sanctions on the OPEC member.
  • The first set of sanctions will take effect on August 6 and the rest, notably in the petroleum sector, following a 180-day “wind-down period” ending November 4.

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

‘Scrapping GST on sanitary pads may not aid local makers’

  • The Union government’s decision to scrap the goods and services tax (GST) on sanitary napkins is unlikely to result in a proportionate reduction in costs, according to an expert.
  • While imports would benefit from zero GST on the product, domestic manufacturers would suffer a huge disadvantage vis-à-vis imports as it would result in the complete denial of input tax credit, leading to an increase in the procurement cost.
  • Mr. R. Muralidharan, senior director, Deloitte India, said he believed the reduction of GST from 12% to 5% would have actually helped the industry.
  • “Ideally, reduction of GST to 5% tax could have helped the companies to recover the part of the input tax credit.
  • A nominal tax is always better when the input tax credit is higher,” said.

GS III: S&T – BIOTECHNOLOGY

Scientists now a step closer to creating artificial embryos

  • An international team of scientists, led by Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, a professor at Cambridge University, has moved closer to creating artificial embryos after using mouse stem cells to make structures capable of taking a crucial step in the development of life.
  • Experts said the results suggested human embryos could be created in a similar way in future – a step that would allow scientists to use artificial embryos rather than real ones to research the very earliest stages of human development.
  • The team had previously created a simpler structure resembling a mouse embryo in a lab dish. That work involved two types of stem cells.
  • Now, the scientists developed the structures further – using three types of stem cells – enabling a process calledgastrulation, an essential step in which embryonic cells begin self-organising into a correct structure for an embryo to form.
  • “The early stages of embryo development are when a large proportion of pregnancies are lost and yet it is a stage that we know very little about,” said Zernicka-Goetz.
  • “Now we have a way of simulating embryonic development in the culture dish, so it should be possible to understand exactly what is going on during this remarkable period in an embryo’s life, and why sometimes this process fails.”
  • In humans, a pregnancy is generally considered to be in the embryonic stage of development between the fifth and the eleventh weeks after fertilization, and is expressed as a fetus from the twelfth week

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