News (Text)


When:
July 31, 2018 @ 1:00 am
2018-07-31T01:00:00+05:30
2018-07-31T01:15:00+05:30

NEWS

31 JULY 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: POLITY – STATES – NRC

Over 40 lakh left out of draft NRC in Assam

2.

GS III: CORRUPTION

Stop Choksi’s travels, India tells Antigua

3.

GS III: SECURITY

Why no arrests in Manipur killings, SC asks CBI chief

4.

GS II: SOCIAL – RESERVATION

Expedite Kapu quota Bill: TDP

5.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Kerala gears up for water release from Idukki dam

6.

GS III: DEFENCE

Leg-up for private sector participation in defence equipment manufacturing

7.

GS II: SOCIAL – HEALTH

Ban on oxytocin: doctors feel pinch

8.

GS II: SOCIAL – WOMEN

SC slams custom of genital mutilation

9.

GS III: AGRICULTURE

Women rice farmers to be trained in the Philippines

10.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

‘Sex workers won’t be criminalised’

11.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

LS passes Bill on rape punishment

12.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

Centre for removal of ‘NOTA’ from RS poll

13.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-USA

U.S. eases export controls on India

14.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-U.K.

Parliamentary panel to probe U.K.-India relations

15.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

‘Draft e-commerce policy will be in line with Srikrishna panel proposals’

16.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

‘Bubble risk’ brews as unsecured loans rise

17.

GS III: S&T – ENVIRONMENT

Swelect uses sun, air to make drinking water

18.

GS III: S&T – BIOTECHNOLOGY

Scientists discover new cell shape

19.

GS III: S&T – BIOTECHNOLOGY

Stem cells will now fight Parkinson’s

GS II: POLITY – STATES – NRC

Over 40 lakh left out of draft NRC in Assam

  • More than 40 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were left out of the complete draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was published on 30 July 2018.
  • The five year exercise was completed at a cost of Rs. 1,220 crore.
  • While the publication of the list triggered a political row in Parliament, the situation in Assam remained largely peaceful, with thousands lining up at NRC Nagarik Seva Kendras (NSKs) to check their status.
  • The remaining 40,007,707 applicants, whose names didn’t figure in the list will be given ample opportunity through a process of claims and objections till September 28, and their citizenship status will not be questioned till the final, error-free draft is prepared, it has been assured.
  • Those not on the list include 2.48 lakh Doubtful-voters (D-voters) and their siblings and descendants.

GS III: CORRUPTION

Stop Choksi’s travels, India tells Antigua

  • India has asked Antigua & Barbuda to stop billionaire diamond trader Mehul Choksi from travelling around the world, sources said.
  • Indian authorities have also noted that Mr. Choksi committed an “additional” illegal act by maintaining his Indian passport after acquiring one of the Caribbean island nation.
  • Mr. Choksi received his Antiguan passport in the winter of 2017 but he did not disclose it to the Indian authorities as usually done by those who acquire citizenship of other countries.
  • An official source said he is likely to be charged for violating the Passport Act.
  • The official response came two days after the leaders of Antigua & Barbuda informed Indian TV channels and local media that they would “honour” any Indian request to send back Mr. Choksi even though they do not have an extradition treaty.
  • Mr. Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted in the billion dollar fraud involving several public sector banks.

GS III: SECURITY

Why no arrests in Manipur killings, SC asks CBI chief

  • The Supreme Court questioned the Central Bureau of Investigation for filing two chargesheets against 14 persons, charging them with murder of innocent civilians, criminal conspiracy and tampering with evidence in theManipur ‘fake’ encounter deaths, without bothering to arrest them.
  • CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma, said the cases were old, and there was nothing to recover from the accused.
  • “If somebody commits rape, what is there to recover? So you will allow him to roam free?” Justice Lokur asked, urging the CBI chief to understand the impact it would have on society.
  • In its order, the apex court said the accused should “normally” be arrested and in cases where investigation is pending, the suspects are subject to custodial interrogation.
  • Having said this, the Bench left it to the CBI Director to take a “rational” decision whether the accused in the cases should be arrested or not.
  • “We do not want to force it on them [the CBI],” Justice U.U. Lalit, the second judge on the Bench, observed.
  • The National Human Rights Commission had conducted its investigation into them and former Supreme Court judge, Justice Santosh Hegde, had also concluded that deaths occurred in an extra-judicial manner… basic material is there… you can do this quickly,” Justice Lokur observed.
  • The court is hearing a PIL petition seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur allegedly by the Army, Assam Rifles and the police.
  • Meanwhile the CBI pinned the blame for the delay in the probe on ‘difficulties’ in procuring documents from security forces.

GS II: SOCIAL – RESERVATION

Expedite Kapu quota Bill: TDP

  • The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) raised the issue of reservation for the Kapu community in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Raising the issue during zero hour, TDP MP M. Srinivasa Rao said that while the TDP-led State government had passed a Bill providing 5% reservation for the Kapus in education and employment, it has been pending with the Centre for long.
  • Apart from the demand for Special Category Status and financial devolution attendant to the carving out of the State, the vote of the Kapu community is emerging as an important pivot of State politics.
  • The community comprises 27% of the voters in the State, and is concentrated in East and West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Kerala gears up for water release from Idukki dam

  • The Kerala government has been put on high alert with continuing rain in the catchment areas of Idukki and increasing inflow into the reservoir.
  • Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced various disaster mitigation steps that the government has lined up if the dam shutters were to be opened.
  • The district administration is considering the possibility of controlled release of water from the Idukki dam, with the water level touching 2,394.2 ft as against the total capacity of 2,400 ft.
  • The possibility of release of water from the Mullaperiyar dam, which peaked at 135.95 ft, was also factored in by the authorities while planning the controlled release from Idukki.

GS III: DEFENCE

Leg-up for private sector participation in defence equipment manufacturing

  • In a major step towards boosting private sector participation in domestic defence manufacturing, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the implementation of Strategic Partnership guidelines.
  • “SP model aims to revitalise defence industrial ecosystem and progressively build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon system for future needs of armed forces. The amplifying guidelines lay emphasis on incentivisation of transfer of niche technology and higher indigenous content,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
  • The SP model has four segments – submarines, single engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks – which would be specifically opened up for the private sector.
  • Under this policy one Indian private company would be selected in each segment which would tie-up with shortlisted global equipment manufacturers to manufacture the platforms in India under technology transfer.
  • The ambitious policy came into effect in May 2017 but progress was delayed due to the lack of specific guidelines.
  • The DAC also approved platform specific guidelines for procurement of Naval Utility helicopters. Similar guidelines for the other categories will be issued soon.
  • The Ministry stated that all procurements under the SP model would be executed by specially constituted Empowered Project Committees to “provide focussed attention and ensure timely execution.”
  • In another decision, the DAC gave approval for the acquisition of eight Fast Patrol Vessels (FPV) for the Coast Guard at an approximate cost of Rs. 800 crore. These would be indigenously designed and manufactured.

GS II: SOCIAL – HEALTH

Ban on oxytocin: doctors feel pinch

  • Doctors are already feeling the pinch with the government’s decision to ban oxytocin and its formulations for the domestic market.
  • The move, which came into effect from July 1, was intended to curb the hormone injection’s misuse in cattle but the impact is being felt by pregnant women, who require the medication the most.
  • Known as a natural hormone, oxytocin helps in effective uterine contractions during labour and preventing post partum haemorrhage.
  • While there are alternatives that one can use to stop bleeding post delivery, if any, for effective contractions, doctors say, oxytocin is the only option.
  • The government’s ban involves removing chemists from the chain of supply of oxytocin and a complete ban on import of the medication as well.
  • A Karnataka-based public sector company has been appointed and authorised to make and supply the drug in the country.

GS II: SOCIAL – WOMEN

SC slams custom of genital mutilation

  • Female genital mutilation has numerous health hazards associated with it and amounts to violation of right to life and dignity of a woman, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra observed.
  • The Chief Justice made the oral observation while hearing a PIL petition filed by advocate Sunita Tiwari to ban female genital mutilation performed by some communities on children as a religious practice.
  • Senior advocate Indira Jaising submitted that the practice of female genital mutilation cannot be considered as an “essential practice” in religion as it can be brought under the ambit of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
  • No one can violate the integrity and the bodily privacy of a woman in the name of religion, the Bench observed.
  • Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal has submitted that female genital mutilation is punished with seven years’ imprisonment. The international community has condemned this practice.
  • However, the Dawoodi Bohra Women’s Association for Religious Freedom, represented by senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, has contended that “khafz/female circumcision as practised by the Dawoodi Bohra community is not female genital mutilation.” It is an essential part of their religion and protected under the Constitution.

GS III: AGRICULTURE

Women rice farmers to be trained in the Philippines

  • Eight women farmers have been selected to visit the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines to learn about new rice farming techniques, as part of an initiative by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), a Science Ministry body, to raise the profile of women farmers.
  • The women who will make it to the Philippines span five States: Uttarakhand, Assam, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
  • During the workshop in India, the women were taught about crop planning, stages of rice cultivation, pest and weed management, use of crop calendar, land selection, crop monitoring, post-harvest management and seed management.
  • According to the Census 2011, 55% of women workers were agricultural labourers and 24% were cultivators.
  • However, only 12.8% of the operational holdings were owned by women, and 25% this land belonged to the “marginal and small holdings categories.”
  • The Economic Survey 2017-18 recommended a number of steps to acknowledge the “feminisation” of Indian agriculture.
  • These include: earmarking at least 30% of the budget allocation for women beneficiaries in all ongoing schemes/programmes and development activities, initiating women-centric activities and focussing on women self-help groups to connect them to micro-credit through capacity-building activities.

 

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

‘Sex workers won’t be criminalised’

  • The Women and Child Development Ministry sought to defend its Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, and asserted that the proposed law did not criminalise consenting adult sex workers and migrants.
  • The bill is expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha after it was passed in the Lok Sabha.
  • The proposed legislation has faced criticism from several quarters, including UN experts, for conflating trafficking with sex work and migration.
  • It is criticised that tthe Bill addresses trafficking through a criminal law perspective instead of complementing it with a human-rights based and victim-centred approach.
  • They said that it promoted “rescue raids” by the police as well as institutionalisation of victims in the name of rehabilitation, and that certain vague provisions would lead to “blanket criminalisation of activities that do not necessarily relate to trafficking.”

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

LS passes Bill on rape punishment

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to provide the death sentence for rape of girls aged under 12 and enhance the minimum punishment for rape of a woman from seven years to 10.
  • The Bill amends the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
  • The Bill, once passed by the Rajya Sabha, will replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated in April 2018, following an outcry over the Kathua rape case.
  • The minimum punishment for the rape of a girl under 12 will be 20 years of rigorous imprisonment, the maximum being the death sentence or life imprisonment.
  • The minimum punishment for rape of a girl under 16 will be 20 years of rigorous imprisonment, extendable to life imprisonment.
  • For gang rape of a girl below 12, the punishment will be life imprisonment or death.
  • In the case of gang rape of a girl below 16, the punishment will be life imprisonment.
  • The minimum punishment under the Bill for the rape of a girl over 16 is 10 years, extendable to life (under Section 376, IPC).
  • The Bill also provides for investigation of rape cases within two months from the registration of an FIR.
  • While there was no timeline earlier for disposal of an appeal after conviction in a lower court, this would now have to be done within six months.
  • There was no longer any provision for anticipatory bail in the case of rape of a girl below 16.
  • The government would set up fast track, special courts for rape cases.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

Centre for removal of ‘NOTA’ from RS poll

  • The Supreme Court reserved for judgment a PIL petition, which won the full support of the Centre, seeking to scrap the ‘NOTA’ option in Rajya Sabha election.
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra indicated that the court may indeed rule against the two circulars issued by the Election Commission of India on January 24, 2014 and November 12, the subsequent year, giving Rajya Sabha members the option to press the NOTA (‘none of the above’) button in the Upper House polls.
  • Chief Justice Misra orally observed that NOTA is meant only for universal adult suffrage and direct elections and not polls held by the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote as done in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Govt.’s support
  • Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal, for the Centre, argued that NOTA in indirect elections, such as in the Rajya Sabha, would lead to horse-trading, corruption and using of extra constitutional methods to defeat a party candidate.
  • He argued that the Election Commission cannot sanction the use of NOTA by way of mere circulars, which have the effect of overriding the provisions of Article 80(4) – proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, the provisions of Representation of the People Act 1951 and the Conduct of Election Rules 1961.
  • Mr. Singhvi said the circulars had negated the entire purpose of open voting brought about in 2003 to further party discipline and adherence to party’s choice of candidate in the election to the Rajya Sabha.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-USA

U.S. eases export controls on India

  • In a major boost to India, the U.S. eased export controls on high-technology product sales to it by designating it as a Strategic Trade Authorisation STA-1 country.
  • This comes after the U.S. recognised India as a “Major Defence Partner” in 2016, a designation that allows India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies from the U.S..

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-U.K.

Parliamentary panel to probe U.K.-India relations

  • A British parliamentary committee is looking into relations between Britain and India – including the impact of Britain’s visa regime – as part of a wider examination of the future of “Global Britain”.
  • The inquiry comes at a time when tensions between the two countries have heightened amid Indian concerns about the U.K.’s reluctance to ease visa norms for students and professionals.
  • The committee will look at the issue of bilateral trade as well as the impact of Britain’s visa policy, and cooperation on regional security, counterterrorism, technology, innovation and multilateral institutions.
  • While India acknowledged that there are overstayers, it contested the scale of the problem. “I am sure there are many [overstayers] but where did this figure of 1,00,000 come from?” asked High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha in June 2018.

 

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

‘Draft e-commerce policy will be in line with Srikrishna panel proposals’

  • The draft e-commerce policy being formulated by the government will be in keeping with the recommendations of the Justice Srikrishna Committee report on data privacy.
  • The draft personal data protection Bill 2018submitted by Justice B.N. Srikrishna-headed expert panel, proposed that critical personal data of Indian citizens be processed in centres located within the country.
  • The e-commerce policy shall be drafted by the government that will promote the free flow of business as well as address security and privacy concerns.
  • The policy will be in line with the Srikrishna Committee recommendations.
  • The draft law recommended by the Srikrishna Committee has left it to the Central government to notify categories of personal data that will be considered as critical, and hence necessarily be located in India.
  • Other personal data can be transferred out of the country, but a copy must be retained in India.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

‘Bubble risk’ brews as unsecured loans rise

  • With corporate credit growth sluggish, lenders have been on a retail lending spree.
  • Banks’ unsecured loans are at a record high, contributing 32% to the retail loan basket, which at 25% of the total loan book, is almost at its peak.
  • RBI data shows that while overall credit growth as on May 25 was 10.9% year-on-year, retail loans grew 18.6% andoutstanding dues on credit cards grew 33.1%.
  • The RBI has flagged the issue, with Deputy Governor N.S. Vishwanathan observing that retail loans come with their own caveats.
  • Unsecured loans are riskier as they lack collateral that accompany home, auto loans.

GS III: S&T – ENVIRONMENT

Swelect uses sun, air to make drinking water

  • Swelect Energy Systems Ltd. has unveiled ‘Source,’ a hydro (solar) panel to provide pure drinking water using sunlight and air, said a top official.
  • Water vapour from air is drawn into Source through fans, following which special materials absorb the water.
  • The vapour is collected as the air flow passes through a condenser, then flows into a reservoir where it is mineralised with calcium and magnesium.
  • Water is pumped through a polishing cartridge before being delivered to a dispenser.
  • The price per panel will be Rs. 2 lakh and it will generate up to five litres of water per day depending on humidity and sunlight.

 

GS III: S&T – BIOTECHNOLOGY

Scientists discover new cell shape

  • Epithelial cells, which cover the surfaces of many organs, adopt a previously undescribed geometric shape – thescutoid – so that the tissue can curve, scientists have found.
  • The epithelial cells adopt this form which looks like ‘twisted prisms’, according to the researchers.
  • Nature has found a solution to fold and curve the epithelia, which lines the outer surfaces of organs, researchers said.

GS III: S&T – BIOTECHNOLOGY

Stem cells will now fight Parkinson’s

  • Japanese scientists announced the first human trial to treat Parkinson’s disease by injecting stem cells into brain, building on an earlier trial on primates.
  • The research team at Kyoto University plans to inject five million induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells, which have the potential to develop into any cell in the body, into a patient’s brain.
  • The iPS cells from healthy donors will be developed into dopamine-producing brain cells, which are no longer present in people with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects the body’s motor system, often causing shaking and other difficulties in movement.
  • The clinical trials come after the researchers successfully used iPS cells to restore functioning brain cells in monkeys in 2017. They announced that primates with Parkinson’s symptoms regained significant mobility after iPS cells were inserted into their brains.
  • iPS cells are created by stimulating mature, already specialised, cells back into a juvenile state – basically cloning without the need for an embryo.
  • These can be derived from the patient, making them less likely to be rejected, while also sidestepping ethical qualms about taking cells from embryos.
  • The cells can be transformed into a range of different types of cells, and their use is a key sector of medical research.
  • In 2014, Riken, a Japanese government-backed research institution, carried out the world’s first surgery to implant iPS cells to treat a patient with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common medical condition that can lead to blindness in older people.

Leave a comment