Comprehensive News Analysis – 20 April 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Indian society is now more intolerant, says Justice J. Chelameswar

B. GS2 Related:

POLITY

1. Modi shows red light to beacons of VIP privilege

2. PHFI loses FCRA licence for lobbying

3. ‘Govt. trying to finish off rural employment scheme’

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. China renames six areas in Arunachal

2. Trump administration orders review of Iran deal

3. CPEC unrelated to Kashmir issue: China

C. GS3 Related:

ECONOMICS

1. State entities can seek loans overseas

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. A frog’s mucus could treat flu

2. First detailed global Internet atlas developed

MISCELLANEOUS

1. 2022 Asian Games to open up arena for e-sports enthusiasts

D. GS4 Related:
E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
F. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
H. Archives

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Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs


A. GS1 Related

Category: SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Indian society is now more intolerant, says Justice J. Chelameswar

What’s in news?

Justice J. Chelameswar  chaired the M.N. Roy Memorial Lecture on “Free Speech, Nationalism and Sedition,” organised by the Indian Renaissance Institute, hinted at the growing level of intolerance in Indian Scoiety-highlights of his speech.

  • English- knowing gentlemen of the country had become progressively intolerant, if they were unable to convince a common man about what is wrong and what is right, the core issues of Indian society could not be resolved.
  • Indian society had become more intolerant and less rational, and there was a huge disconnect between urban and rural India with respect to the perception of rights and liberties.
  • Referring to the recent Jallikattu agitation in Tamil Nadu, Supreme Court judge Justice said the intention of the judgment to prevent cruelty against animals had not reached the masses. Instead of understanding the spirit of the verdict, people agitated and the issue snowballed into widespread protests in which voices were heard against the Supreme Court itself. 

 


B. GS2 Related
Category: POLITY

1. PHFI loses FCRA licence for lobbying

What’s in news?

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), the country’s largest public health advocacy group.

Why FCRA removed?

  • PHFI used foreign contributions to lobby parliamentarians, the media and the government on tobacco control issues, which “is prohibited under the FCRA.
  • other alleged violations such as remittances to foreign countries from its FCRA account
  • Failure to declare all its bank accounts to the government
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is a major donor of funds to the PHFI, having transferred ₹183 crore to it between 2010 and 2015.

Basic Information:

The Foreign Contribution (regulation) Act, 2010 :

Focus: It is a consolidating act whose scope is to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality (free airplane tickets and hotel lodging during videsh-yaatra) by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Who can accept Foreign Contribution?

  • Organizations working for definite cultural, social, economic, educational or religious programs.
  • But first, they’ve to get permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs and
  • Second, they have to maintain separate account book listing the donation received from foreigners and get it audited by a Chartered Accountant and submit it to Home Ministry every year.

Who cannot accept Foreign Contribution?

  • Election candidate.
  • MP and MLAs.
  • Newspaper: Correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publishers of a registered Newspaper.
  • Public Servants: Judge, government servant or employee of any Corporation or any other body controlled on owned by the Government.

2. ‘Govt. trying to finish off rural employment scheme’

Allegations against Government by civil society activists in Delhi:

  • Illegal deletion of 1 crore job cards.
  • Manipulations of the Management Information System- workers registered with MGNREGS are entitled to compensation for delay in payment of wages. But the government is tweaking the MIS so that the delays are either hidden or not captured
  • Willful delays in payment of wages, wage suppression, and under-funding of the programme- The Central government’s MGNREGA wage rates continue to be below the State’s minimum wage rate for several States.
  • Under allocation of funds- while the required budget for financial year 2017-18 was ₹79,898 crore, the government allocated only ₹48,000 crore, which is barely 53% of what is required to meet the States’ projection of demand for work under MGNREGA.

What does the Act say?

  • According to the MGNREGA, no job card can be cancelled for reasons such as ‘unwilling to work’.
  • Yet the records at gram panchayats show that the most frequently cited reason for deletion of job cards was ‘unwilling to work’.

3. China renames six areas in Arunachal

What’s in news?

  • Days after the visit to Arunachal Pradesh by Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, China has reinforced its claims on the State by naming six places in Arunachal Pradesh in standardised Chinese characters, Tibetan and Roman alphabets.
  • Naming the places is a step to reaffirm China’s territorial sovereignty over South Tibet
  • China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs announced on its website that the State Council, China’s Cabinet, had issued the new regulations.
  • The six places in South Tibet (the name ascribed by Beijing to Arunachal Pradesh ) were named Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidêngarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bümo La and Namkapub Ri.

China’s claim:

  • Standardisation of names is a legitimate action by the Chinese government.
  • China’s position on the eastern section of our boundary was consistent and clear.
  • China was firmly against the Indian government’s indulgence of Dalai Lama activities in the disputed eastern section of the India-China boundary and also about his anti-China activities.

 

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Trump administration orders review of Iran deal

What’s in news?

  • The Trump administration is launching an National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States
  • Iran remained compliant with the 2015 deal, but there were concerns about its role as a state sponsor of terrorism.
  • Under the deal, the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days on Iran’s compliance under the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

What is Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)?

  • The historic deal between Iran and six major powers – JCPOA restricts Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international oil and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
  • Iran denies ever having considered developing atomic weapons although nuclear experts have warned that any U.S. violation of the nuclear deal would allow Iran also to pull back from its commitments to curb nuclear development.
  • Commitments include reducing the number of its centrifuges by two-thirds, capping its level of uranium enrichment well below the level needed for bomb-grade material, reducing its enriched uranium stockpile from around 10,000 kg to 300 kg for 15 years, and submitting to international inspections to verify its compliance.

Apprehensions about Iran:

The United States has long accused Iran of being the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism, saying that Tehran supported conflicts in countries like Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and backed groups such as Hezbollah, its Lebanon-based ally.

 

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMICS

1. State entities can seek loans overseas

What’s in news?

  • New arrangements are made for the large infrastructure projects being executed by State government entities to tap international funds from bilateral ODA (Official Development Assistance) partners, on the basis of a central government guarantee while keeping such loans off States’ books.
  • Only sound (meeting certain requirements in terms of revenues and investment criteria) State entities can use this route.
  • All repayments of loans and interests to the funding agencies will be directly remitted by the concerned borrower. The concerned State Government will furnish guarantee for the Loan. The Government of India will provide counter guarantee for the loan.

Present Scenario: If any State entity needs funding for its projects, it has to approach the State government and any such funding would be included under the State’s borrowing limits set by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM law).

Advantages of New arrangement

  • State Budgets also have pressure to spend on welfare schemes. If international funding is coming in, if that gets included in the FRBM calculations, then infrastructure projects will suffer.

Examples:
Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link project
Investment required- Rs. 18,000 crore
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is expected to lend more than Rs. 15,100 crore
As per old arrangements, Maharashtra’s development expenditure would go down to that extent as its quota for borrowing under the FRBM targets would be used up.

Proper checks:

  • But it must be used prudently for select projects in a State as taking such financing out of the FRBM framework could tempt States to borrow too much for all sorts of projects.
    There need to be some checks in place to ensure that future governments aren’t saddled with too much long-term debt on terms that appear to be soft now, but could become costlier over the years if you factor in the forex risk on top of the inherent risks in long-gestation infrastructure projects.

 

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. A frog’s mucus could treat flu

What’s in news?

  • According to a new study, skin mucus secreted by a colourful, tennis ball-sized frog species (Hydrophylax bahuvistara) found in Kerala can be used to develop an anti-viral drug that can treat various strains of flu.
  • Frog mucus is loaded with molecules that kill bacteria and viruses – a potential source for new anti-microbial drugs.
  • The mucus secretion contained a peptide, or chain of amino acids, that appears to fight off the H1 strain of flu virus.
  • Out of the 32 frog defence peptides (mucus molecules) against an influenza strain and only four of them had flu-busting abilities.
    When the researchers exposed isolated human red blood cells in a dish to the flu-buster peptides, three out of the four proved toxic.
    However, the fourth seemed harmless to human cells but lethal to a wide range of flu viruses. The researchers named the newly identified peptide “urumin” after the urumi, a sword with a flexible blade that snaps and bends like a whip. Electron microscope images of the virus after exposure to urumin reveal a virus that has been completely dismantled.
    Urumin is not toxic to mammals, but “appears to only disrupt the integrity of flu virus”.

Task ahead:

More research is needed to determine if urumin could become a preventive treatment against the flu in humans, and to see if other frog-derived peptides could protect against viruses like dengue and Zika.

2. First detailed global Internet atlas developed

What’s in news?

  • Scientists have developed the first global Internet Atlas – including a detailed map of the internet’s physical structure in India – an advance that could help guard the infrastucture from terrorism or extreme weather events.
  • Developed by researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US and their collaborators.
  • There are over 1,200 maps worldwide including India. All the data are connected using web search.
  • The project has helped direct attention to the problem of shared risk.
    Physical infrastructure is commonly shared by multiple networking entities, so damage to any particular piece of infrastructure can impact more than one entity.
    Many service providers in order to save deployment costs signs leasing agreement with other service providers. This infrastructure sharing leads to a problem called ‘shared risk’: physical conduits shared by many service providers are at an inherently risky situation since damage to those conduits will affect many several providers.
  • Data centres in buildings all over the world are packed with servers storing many types of data. Traffic exchange occurs between different service providers at internet exchange points.

Category: MISCELLANEOUS

1. 2022 Asian Games to open up arena for e-sports enthusiasts

What’s in news?

  • The Olympic Council of Asia says it will introduce e-sports to the official programme of the Asian Games at Hangzhou, China.
  • It will also be a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia.
  • Video gaming will be featured as a full sport at the 2022 Asian Games, with competitors in electronic sports set to receive medals for their digital prowess.

Why such a move?

  • The OCA said the decision is a reflection of the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth.

Key Fact

  • The Asian Games are billed as the world’s second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics.

Background Information 

The Asian Games:

  • The Asian Games, also known as Asiad, is a Pancontinental multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia.
  • The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation (AGF) from the first Games in New Delhi, India, until the 1978 Games.
  • Since the 1982 Games they have been organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), after the breakup of the Asian Games Federation.
  • The Games are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and are described as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Game

 

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today

 

PIB Articles    Editorials Roundup

 

E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn

 
PRELIMS WORTHY FACTUAL INFORMATION
1. Sepak takraw or kick volleyball, is a sport native to Southeast Asia. Sepak takraw differs from the similar sport of Footvolley in its use of a rattan ball and only allowing players to use their feet, knee, chest and head to touch the ball. It is a popular sport in philippines.

2. “Vesak”
– the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, is the most sacred day to millions of Buddhists around the world. It was on the Day of Vesak two and a half millennia ago, in the year 623 B.C., that the Buddha was born. It was also on the Day of Vesak that the Buddha attained enlightenment, and it was on the Day of Vesak that the Buddha in his eightieth year passed away.

3. Curative petition

The concept of Curative petition was evolved by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra and Anr. (2002) where the question was whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against the final judgement/order of the Supreme Court, after dismissal of a review petition.
The Supreme Court in the said case held that in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice, it may reconsider its judgements in exercise of its inherent powers. For this purpose the Court has devised what has been termed as a “curative” petition.
In the Curative petition, the petitioner is required to aver specifically that the grounds mentioned therein had been taken in the review petition filed earlier and that it was dismissed by circulation. This has to be certified by a senior advocate. The Curative petition is then circulated to the three senior most judges and the judges who delivered the impugned judgement, if available. No time limit is given for filing Curative petition.

Specific Guidelines to Curative petition:

a) The petitioner will have to establish that there was a genuine violation of principles of natural justice and fear of the bias of the judge and judgement that adversely affected him. b) The petition shall state specifically that the grounds mentioned had been taken in the review petition and that it was dismissed by circulation.
c) The curative petition must accompany certification by a senior lawyer relating to the fulfillment of the above requirements.
d) The petition is to be sent to the three senior most judges and judges of the bench who passed the judgement affecting the petition, if available.
e) If the majority of the judges on the above bench agree that the matter needs hearing, then it would be sent to the same bench (as far as possible).
f) The court could impose “exemplary costs” to the petitioner if his plea lacks merit.

4. Review petition

In India, a binding decision of the Supreme Court/High Court can be reviewed in Review Petition.
The parties aggrieved on any order of the Supreme Court on any apparent error can file a review petition.
Article 137 of the Constitution provides that subject to provisions of any law and rule made under Article 145 the Supreme Court of India has the power to review any judgement pronounced (or order made) by it.
Under Supreme Court Rules, 1966 such a petition needs to be filed within 30 days from the date of judgement or order.
It is also recommended that the petition should be circulated without oral arguments to the same bench of judges that delivered the judgement (or order) sought to be reviewed
 
 
F. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGANISATIONS IN NEWS About the Article
Article 137 {Review of judgments or orders by the Supreme Court}

Subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament or any rules made under article 145, the Supreme Court shall have power to review any judgment pronounced or order made by it.

National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005

Later renamed as the “Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act” (or, MGNREGA).

It is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’. 

Main Provisions of the act:

  • The law also lists permissible works: water conservation and water harvesting; drought proofing including afforestation; irrigation works; restoration of traditional water bodies; land development; flood control; rural connectivity; and works notified by the government.
  • MGNREGA is to be implemented mainly by gram panchayats (GPs). The involvement of contractors is banned.
  • If work is not provided within 15 days of applying, applicants are entitled to an unemployment allowance.
  • Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant’s residence, and minimum wages are to be paid.
  • The Act sets a minimum limit to the wages, to be paid with gender equality, either on a time-rate basis or on a piece-rate basis. The states are required to evolve a set of norms for the measurement of works and schedule of rates. unemployment allowance must be paid if the work is not provided within the statutory limit of 15 days.
  • It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  • Apart from providing economic security and creating rural assets, NREGA can help in protecting the environment, empowering rural women, reducing rural-urban migration and fostering social equity, among others.
  • The registration process involves an application to the Gram Panchayat and issue of job cards. The wage employment must be provided within 15 days of the date of application. The work entitlement of ‘120 days per household per year’ may be shared between different adult members of the same household
  • The Act sets a minimum limit to the wage-material ratio as 60:40.

Transparency and accountability:

  • The law stipulates Gram Panchayats to have a single bank account for NREGA works which shall be subjected to public scrutiny. To promote transparency and accountability, the act mandates ‘monthly squaring of accounts’.
  • To ensure public accountability through public vigilance, the NREGA designates ‘social audits’ as key to its implementation.
  • For evaluation of outcomes, the law also requires management of data and maintenance of records, like registers related to employment, job cards, assets, muster rolls and complaints, by the implementing agencies at the village, block and state level.
  • The legislation specifies the role of the state in ensuring transparency and accountability through upholding the right to information and disclosing information proactively, preparation of annual reports , undertaking mandatory financial audit by each district along with physical audit, taking action on audit reports, developing a Citizen’s Charter, establishing vigilance and monitoring committees, and developing grievance redressal system.
  • The Act recommends establishment of ‘Technical Resource Support Groups’ at district, state and central level and active use of Information Technology, like creation of a ‘Monitoring and Information System (MIS)’ and a NREGA website, to assure quality in implementation of NREGA through technical support.

Key Fact:

  • The statute is hailed by the government as “the largest and most ambitious social security and public works programme in the world”.
  • In its World Development Report 2014, the World Bank termed it a “stellar example of rural development”.
Armed ForcesArmed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), are Acts of the Parliament of India that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces.

AFSPA is confined to be enacted only when a state, or part of it, is declared a ‘disturbed area’. Continued unrest, like in the cases of militancy and insurgency, and especially when borders are threatened, are situations where AFSPA is resorted to.

The power to declare areas as being disturbed was extended to the central government.

According to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in an area that is proclaimed as “disturbed”, an officer of the armed forces has powers to:

  1. After giving such due warning, Fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death, against the person who is acting against law or order in the disturbed area for the maintenance of public order,
  2. Destroy any arms dump, hide-outs, prepared or fortified position or shelter or training camp from which armed attacks are made by the armed volunteers or armed gangs or absconders wanted for any offence.
  3. To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest.
  4. To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests, or to recover any person wrongfully restrained or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it.
  5. Stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons.
  6. Any person arrested and taken into custody under this Act shall be made present over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with least possible delay, together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest.
  7. Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. Nor is the government’s judgment on why an area is found to be disturbed subject to judicial review.
  8. Protection of persons acting in good faith under this Act from prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings, except with the sanction of the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.

Land mark judgment, ending the immunity:

On July 8, 2016, in a landmark ruling, The Supreme Court of India ended the immunity of the armed forces from prosecution under AFSPA, saying, “It does not matter whether the victim was a common person or a militant or a terrorist, nor does it matter whether the aggressor was a common person or the state. The law is the same for both and is equally applicable to both… This is the requirement of a democracy and the requirement of preservation of the rule of law and the preservation of individual liberties.”

Supreme Court said that any encounter carried out by armed forces in the garb of AFSPA should be subjected to thorough inquiry.


G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1: Which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. Finance Ministry is responsible for implementing Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA)
  2. Kundankullam Power plant is located in Andhra Pradesh.
  3. A Lok Sabha election candidate can accept foreign donations for campaign after taking necessary approval from Chief Election Commissioner.

Choose the correct answer

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. 1 and 3
  4. None of the above
See
Answer
Question 2: Which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. The Olympic flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the centre: blue, yellow, orange, green and red.
  2. The color in Olympic flag appears on all the national flags of the world

Choose the correct answer

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above
See
Answer
Question 3: Which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. There is a time limit of 30 days to file a Curative petition.
  2. The Curative petition is circulated among three senior most judges.

 Choose the correct answer

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above
See
Answer
Question 4: Which of the following statements are correct?
  1. There is a time limit of 30 days to file a review petition.
  2. The review petition should be circulated with oral arguments to the same bench of judges that delivered the judgement.

 Choose the correct answer

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above
See
Answer

 

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