News (Text)


When:
July 25, 2018 @ 1:00 am
2018-07-25T01:00:00+05:30
2018-07-25T01:15:00+05:30

NEWS

25 JULY 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

Tripartite fight in Pakistan general elections

2.

GS II: GOVERNANCE – LOKPAL

SC pulls up Centre for its delay in appointing a Lokpal

3.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Maratha bandh puts Maharashtra on edge

4.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

Lok Sabha passes anti-graft amendment Bill

5.

GS II: POLITY – STATES

Punjab seeks special category status

6.

GS I: CULTURE

Ban on entry of women in Sabarimala is patriarchal: SC

7.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-AFRICA

Modi gifts 200 cows to Rwanda

8.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

China, Bhutan discuss boundary dispute

9.

GS III: ECONOMY – POLICY

‘U.S. reacting to BEPS with barriers to free, fair trade’

10.

GS III: S&T – HEALTH

Setbacks in quest for a cure to AIDS


GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

Tripartite fight in Pakistan general elections

GS II: GOVERNANCE – LOKPAL

SC pulls up Centre for its delay in appointing a Lokpal

  • The Supreme Court said the government’s stand on completing the appointment of the Lokpal, an ombudsman to protect the common man from corruption in public service and power centres, is “wholly unsatisfactory.”
  • The court was reacting to an affidavit filed by the government, aiming to specify the exact time frame by which it would appoint a Lokpal.
  • Instead, the government, represented by Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal, said it is a “complicated” process.
  • The eight-page affidavit said the Selection Committee, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, met on July 19 on the choice of a Search Committee for the Lokpal.
  • This Search Committee would prepare a panel of names.
  • On July 19, the Selection Committee discussed that the Search Committee would comprise seven persons, including the Chairperson. These persons have to be from expertise as diverse as anti-corruption policy, public administration, insurance, banking, law and management. Besides, 50% of them should be drawn from the SC/ST category, the OBCs, the minorities and women.
  • The selection panel decided to discuss this further the next time it meets at a convenient time.
  • During the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan, who filed a contempt petition against the government for not appointing a Lokpal despite an April 2017 judgment by the Supreme Court, said the court should now take over and appoint the Lokpal.
  • Though passed in 2014, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013 was not implemented all these years because there was no Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the 16th Lok Sabha.
  • The 2013 statute includes the LoP as a member of the selection committee.
  • The Act intends the LoP to be the part of the selection committee of the PM, the CJI and the Speaker, which has to first appoint an eminent jurist among their ranks.
  • However, on April 27, 2017, the Supreme Court, in a judgment, clarified that the Lokpal appointment process need not be stalled merely due to the absence of the LoP.
  • The judgment had dismissed the government’s reasoning that the Lokpal appointment process should wait till the 2013 Act was amended to replace the LoP with the single largest opposition party leader.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Maratha bandh puts Maharashtra on edge

  • The Statewide shutdown called by the Maratha Kranti Morcha, following the suicide of a young activist demanding reservation for the Maratha community, kept Maharashtra on edge.
  • The 28-year-old Kakasaheb Dattatrey Shinde, a driver associated with the Shiv Sena, plunged into the Godavari in the Gangapur tehsil.
  • Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has urged the State Backward Class Commission to submit its report on reservation to the Maratha community as early as possible.
  • The commission has informed Mr. Fadnavis it would take four months to complete the study of data sets and demographic numbers before it could submit a report, government officials said.
  • The Chief Minister took stock of the pending schemes meant to benefit the community. Sources said most of the schemes are stuck in implementation stages.
  • Under the Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Pratipurti Yojana (for student scholarships) a total of 1.58 lakh applications have been received so far. The government has disbursed Rs. 284 crore to about 84,014 applicants while Rs. 222 crore is yet to be disbursed to 73,986 applicants.
  • Another scheme to give hostel allowance too has been delayed. Under the Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Hostel Scheme Rs. 32 crore has been disbursed to 10,526 applicants, while 14,772 applications are pending approval, officials said.
  • The Chief Minister ordered better publicity, especially to the interest refund schemes for personal and group project loans and the Shetkari Kushal Yojana, to provide financial assistance to economically backward entrepreneurs.
  • Of the total 11,555 Letters of Interest (LoI) issued under the interest subvention scheme, only 13 have been given loans of Rs. 13.3 crore.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

Lok Sabha passes anti-graft amendment Bill

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018 that seeks to punish bribe-givers and bribe-takers.
  • The Bill provides for jail terms of three to seven years, besides fine, to those convicted of taking bribes and those offering illegal gratification.
  • The Bill also extends the ambit of public servants who will be protected by the provision of a prior government sanction for prosecution.
  • There is also a provision now to get prior permission for starting an investigation and that has prompted many to say that the law has been “diluted” from its original draft.
  • The Bill, cleared by the Rajya Sabha a week ago, was passed unanimously by the Lower House after debating for nearly four hours.
  • In a departure from the earlier anti-corruption law, the current law makes a distinction between “collusive bribe givers” and those who are “coerced.” In such cases, the Bill seeks to protect those who report the matter within seven days.

GS II: POLITY – STATES

Punjab seeks special category status

  • As Punjab struggles to check the menace of drugs, the State government has asked the Centre to grant it special category status under the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission.
  • State Health Minister Brahm Mohindra in a letter to Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda has pointed out that the State, which shares international border with Pakistan, has become a victim of a proxy war waged by the neighbouring country using drugs as its silent weapon.
  • Higher grant
  • “The drug menace has gripped different sections of Punjab’s society, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and economic status. It prevails more in border districts such as Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Amritsar. The youth, who are the future of the State, are becoming victims of narco-terrorism, which is impacting the economic growth,” said Mr. Mohindra.
  • He urged the Central government to consider putting Punjab under the special category States as that would make it eligible for higher grant from the Centre.
  • Mr. Mohindra drew a parallel with other special category States such as Jammu and Kashmir, hilly and Northeastern States and said these States get a higher share of central grants due to their disturbed status, difficult terrain or due to sharing border with Pakistan.

GS I: CULTURE

Ban on entry of women in Sabarimala is patriarchal: SC

  • Ban on entry of women of a certain age group at the Sabarimala temple is based on the “patriarchal” belief that the dominant status of a man in society makes him capable of austerity, while a woman, who is only a “chattel of a man,” is incapable of remaining pure for the 41 days of penance before the pilgrimage, the Supreme Court observed.
  • The Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the court could not accept a practice mired in patriarchy and chauvinism.
  • The Travancore Devaswom Board, which is against the opening up of the Sabarimala temple to women aged between 10 and 51, responded that every religion then was based on male chauvinism.
 

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-AFRICA

Modi gifts 200 cows to Rwanda

  • In an unusual gift, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented 200 cows to poor villagers in Rwanda to support President Paul Kagame’s ambitious initiative for poverty reduction and tackling childhood malnutrition.
  • The Girinka (meaning ‘May you have a cow’) programme started in 2006 to provide one cow to every poor family for their nutritional and financial security.
  • India and Rwanda signed eight agreements in an effort to bolster bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
  • Mr. Modi left for Uganda as part of his three-nation African tour.

 

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

China, Bhutan discuss boundary dispute

  • China and Bhutan have discussed their boundary dispute and reached many agreements during a two-day visit of Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou.
  • Mr. Kong also invited Bhutan to take part in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) during the visit.
  • The two countries do not have diplomatic relations but maintain contacts through periodic visits by officials.
  • This is the first time a senior Chinese official has visited Thimphu since 2017 Doklam military stand-off with India.
  • A press release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the visit said that he stated during his talks that the two sides should continue to push forward the border negotiations; abide by the principled consensus reached; jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas; and create positive conditions for the final settlement of the border issue between the two.

GS III: ECONOMY – POLICY

‘U.S. reacting to BEPS with barriers to free, fair trade’

  • Azim Premji, chairman of India’s third-largest software services exporter Wipro, said developed nations, including the U.S., were responding to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project with barriers to free trade triggering a trade war that is detrimental to India.
  • The contribution of India to the G20-OECD BEPS project is well known, he said.
  • Developed countries including the U.S. were responding to these changes with a view to regaining the tax base and looking for tax measures like tariffs and outsourcing tax, which serve as a barrier to free and fair trade.
  • The BEPS refers to corporate tax planning strategies used by multinational companies that artificially shift profits from higher tax locations to lower ones, eroding the tax base of the higher tax locations.

GS III: S&T – HEALTH

Setbacks in quest for a cure to AIDS

  • Scientists reported several setbacks in the quest for a cure to AIDS, highlighting concerns about inconclusive evidence that links a promising new drug to birth defects.
  • According to research presented at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, four cases of “neural tube” defects were recorded among the pregnancies of 426 HIV-positive women in Botswana who took the drugdolutegravir before conception.
  • Neural tube defects cause severe brain and spinal deformities in the first weeks after conception, and often lead to stillbirth.
  • Four birth defects in 596 pregnancies was “still seven times higher than other groups, and statistically significant”, she added.
  • Dolutegravir is a relatively new HIV-suppressor with fewer side-effects and believed to be less likely to spark drug resistance in patients.
  • Botswana was the first country to introduce dolutegravir as a first-line antiretroviral drug for all who need it, including women of child-bearing age.
  • Pending clarification, global health agencies have advised that HIV-positive women planning a family should use other antiretrovirals instead.
  • For scientists, “cure” means weakening HIV to a point where it poses no harm to the infected person and cannot be transmitted to others – allowing people to stop lifelong treatment.
  • “A cure remains a top scientific priority,” said a researcher.

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