TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related B. GS2 Related GOVERNANCE 1. Nod for three changes to triple talaq Bill 2. SC alters Lodha’s BCCI proposals 3. RS passes amendments to SC/ST Act C. GS3 Related ECOLOGY 1. 27 resorts in Nilgiris jumbo path to be shut SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 1. Indian telescope spots distant galaxy HEALTH 1. Silicosis victims in Rajasthan demand relief D. GS4 Related E. Editorials SOCIAL ISSUES 1. Anti-trafficking Bill and its relevance F. Tidbits 1. Ministry rejects low score on green health 2. Panel favours powers for SEBI to intercept phone calls 3. Criminals in politics leave SC anguished 4. ‘Will continue oil trade with India’ 5. Now, States can buy pulses at a discount G. Prelims Fact 1. World Biofuel Day Programme 2. UAE top source of inward remittances in 2016-17: RBI 3. RS passes National Sports University Bill H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS2 Related
- The Union Cabinet has approved three crucial amendments to the triple talaq Bill, including a provision for bail to an accused before the start of trial.
- These three provisions to the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill, which makes instant triple talaq illegal and imposes a jail term of up to three years, provide additional safeguards from the Act being misused.
- The triple talaq bill has been cleared by Lok Sabha and is pending Rajya Sabha for approval.
- While the proposed law will remain non-bailable — the police cannot grant bail at the police station — the accused can approach a magistrate for bail even before trial.
- A provision has been added to allow the magistrate to grant bail after hearing the wife. But the offence of instant triple talaq under the proposed law remains non-bailable.
- The magistrate would ensure bail only after the husband agrees to pay compensation to the wife as provided in the bill.
- Another provision is with regard to making the process of registering FIRs more stringent.
- Any husband giving triple talaq instantaneously and breaking the marriage, the FIR will become cognisable if and only if when FIR is filed by victim wife, or the blood relations or relations by marriage. Therefore, any outside agency or neighbour initiating this is ruled out.
- The third amendment makes the offence of instant triple talaq compoundable.
- Now, a magistrate can use his powers to settle the dispute between a husband and his wife.
- Under a compoundable offence, both parties have the liberty of withdrawing the case.
- The Supreme Court has finalised the new Constitution for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), rejecting the ‘one State-one vote’ recommendation of the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee and altering the cooling-off period for cricket bosses.
- Softening the rigour of the recommendations, a three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, disagreed with Justice Lodha that cricket could prosper only if the BCCI was represented by every State and Union Territory.
- The former CJI had relegated cricket associations to the status of associate members.
- Instead, the court restored full BCCI memberships to three associations in Gujarat and Maharashtra each.
- They are the Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha cricket associations in Maharashtra and the Baroda and Saurashtra cricket associations in Gujarat.
- To utilise territoriality as a basis of exclusion is problematic because it ignores history and the contributions made by such associations to the development of cricket and its popularity.
- But the Bench agreed that the National Cricket Club and the Cricket Club of India did not deserve to be full members in BCCI.
- The court gave Services Sports Control Board, the Railways and the Association of Universities full membership in the BCCI.
- In case of varsities, the court described them as a nucleus for encouraging the game of cricket among players of the college-going generation.
- The Bench saw eye-to-eye with Justice Lodha’s conclusion that the game will be better off without cricketing oligopolies.
- To this end, the court supported the recommendation of the Lodha panel that cricket administrators should undergo a cooling-off period before contesting elections to BCCI or State associations.
- Cooling-off must be accepted as a means to prevent a few individuals from regarding the administration of cricket as a personal turf.
- But the Bench struck a balance. Justice Lodha had suggested that the cooling-off period should kick in for a cricket administrator after his every tenure of three years in office.
- Instead, the court said an administrator needs to cool-off only after two consecutive terms of six years in office, whether in BCCI or a State association or a combination of both.
- Six years in continuation, is a sufficiently long period for experience and knowledge gained to be deployed in the interest of the game without at the same time resulting in a monopoly of power.
- The Rajya Sabha has unanimously cleared the amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, overturning a March 2018 Supreme Court judgment pertaining to safeguard against the arrests under the Act.
- The amendments provide that no preliminary enquiry will be required for registration of an FIR against any person under the Act; and the investigating officer will not require approval for arrests, if necessary.
- The provision of anticipatory bail as allowed by the Supreme Court has also been done away with.
- A timeline of two months for completing the investigations and filing a chargesheet after registering the FIR. The cases are to be disposed of within two months of filing the chargesheet.
- The law should have been brought under the 9th schedule of the Constitution (for protection against judicial review), or else the amendments would be challenged in the court again.
- A comprehensive anti-discrimination law is required as the conviction rate under the Act is very low.
- The law might be misused and innocents will be punished.
C. GS3 Related
- The Supreme Court has ordered the Tamil Nadu government to shut down illegal resorts operating in the elephant corridor in the Nilgris district to curb incidents of human-animal conflict and reduce animal fatalities.
- The Bench gave the State government a 48-hour deadline to seal or close 27 commercial establishments after perusing a report submitted by the Nilgris District Collector on a total 39 resorts.
- The Bench had earlier, while making it clear that the elephant corridor was off-limits for resorts or any construction activity, directed the Collector to file a report about the details of the existing resorts and how they came to be there.
- The owners of some of these hotels and resorts have also filed appeals in the apex court against a Madras High Court order against them in this regard.
- The Nilgiri Mountains form part of the Western Ghats in western Tamil Nadu of Southern India.
- At least 24 of the Nilgiri Mountains’ peaks are above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), the highest peak being Doddabetta, at 2,637 metres (8,652 ft).
- Kotas are an ethnic group who are indigenous to the Nilgiris mountain range in Tamil Nadu, India. They are one of the many tribal peoples indigenous to the region. Others are the Todas, Irulas and Kurumbas.
- The Nilgiri Hills are part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (itself part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves), and form a part of the protected bio reserves in India.
- Astronomers have used an Indian telescope to discover the most distant radio galaxy ever known, located at a distance of 12 billion light-years.
- The galaxy, from a time when the universe was only 7% of its current age was found using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune.
- GMRT is an array of thirty fully steerable parabolic radio telescopes of 45-metre diameter.
- GMRT is a very versatile instrument for investigating a variety of radio astrophysical problems ranging from nearby Solar system to the edge of observable Universe.
- It is operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics.
- The distance to this galaxy was determined using the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii and the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona.
- The galaxy is perceived as it looked when the universe was only a billion years old.
- This also means that the light from this galaxy is almost 12 billion years old.
- Radio galaxies are very rare objects in the universe.
- These are types of active galaxy that are very luminous at radio wavelengths.
- They are colossal galaxies with a supermassive black hole in their centre.
- Mine workers in Rajasthan suffering from silicosis as an occupational disease have demanded steps for relief, while pointing out that they were not getting silicosis confirmation certificates from the Pneumoconiosis Board mandatory for getting compensation from the State government.
- About 1,000 silicosis patients from the State’s nine districts gathered at a public hearing and narrated their experiences while trying to obtain certificates for the non-curable disease.
- The mine workers said they should be included in the national and State lists of disabilities and given disability pension, besides the health insurance benefits under the Bhamashah Scheme.
- More than 15,000 labourers working in various mines across 16 districts in State have been diagnosed with silicosis. Over 200 of them have lost their lives during the last three years.
- The infrastructure development in the State was being carried out at the cost of people’s lives.
- The silicosis patients, who were losing their lives in the work, were struggling to get their basic statutory rights.
- The State government at present offers the relief of Rs.1 lakh to the people diagnosed with silicosis and Rs.3 lakh to the next of kin of those who succumb to the disease.
- The Pneumoconiosis Board issues certificates to the patients, making them eligible for the government’s financial assistance.
- It is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust, and is marked by inflammation and scarring in the form of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs.
- It is a type of pneumoconiosis.
- It is also known as miner’s phthisis, grinder’s asthma, potter’s rot etc.
- Silicosis is characterized by shortness of breath, cough, fever, and cyanosis (bluish skin).
- Silicosis is a permanent disease with no cure.
- The best way to prevent silicosis is to identify work-place activities that produce respirable crystalline silica dust and then to eliminate or control the dust
- Water spray is often used where dust emanates. Dust can also be controlled through dry air filtering.
- Jaggery (a traditional sugar) has a preventive action against silicosis.
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
- In the case of trafficking, despite the 2013 law (Criminal Law (Amendment) Act. Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) with Sections 370 and 370A, which defined trafficking and laid out the punishment for it.
- There has been an increase in the number of victims of human trafficking.
- It is to tackle this menace that the comprehensive Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, was passed.
- Instead of mere criminalization, the Bill seeks to systematically combat the organized nature of trafficking.
- The Bill ties together the approaches of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation to create a robust policy framework against trafficking.
- The bill enforces for search and seizure; rescue and medical examination of persons; and safety, care and protection of persons rescued. Punishment for omission of duty is welcomed too, if it does not omit the government officials, including the police, from its ambit.
- It places at its core the rights and welfare of victims of human trafficking.
- There are aggravated forms of trafficking which have been introduced, such as trafficking for the purpose of begging, or bearing a child, or for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage by administering narcotic drugs, hormones, or chemical substances for the purposes of early sexual maturity, and so on.
- Under the Bill, prosecution under these offences will be made timely and efficient by special public prosecutors.
- The Bill provides protection to witnesses. It also seeks to maintain the confidentiality of victims by recording their statements through video conferencing and by in camera proceedings. It states that there will be time-bound trials and repatriation of victims.
- A rehabilitation fund has been introduced for the first time. This will be used for the physical, psychological and social well-being of victims. The Bill seeks to build the capacity of victims by providing capital, infrastructure, education and skill development to empower them to access justice and to prevent further trafficking.
- Trafficking is an organized crime. In order to break the organized nexus, at the national and international levels, the Bill proposes attachment and forfeiture of property and to remit the proceeds of crime in the rehabilitation fund. It will also freeze bank accounts of those whose funds have been utilized to facilitate trafficking. By doing this, the Bill handicaps the organized trafficking networks.
- A database of every crime under this Act is maintained in the database of the bureau.
- Such systematic surveillance of offenders will, not only help prevent trafficking but preempt it.
- Most clauses have little to do with trafficking and more do to with imposing surveillance as it’s vague and over-broad.
- The mere word “traffic” is not justified in true sense.-‘Traffic’ means to trade something. It’s a transaction, and refers to the act of buying and selling. It is pejorative when the transaction involves prohibited goods such as narcotics or firearms or if it involves people. Article 23 of the Constitution prohibits “traffic in human beings and forced labor”. This means that human beings cannot be bought and sold.
- Thus this provision of the anti-trafficking Bill which criminalizes the act of “buying or selling a person,” the rest of the clauses do not address this aspect at all
- They either criminalize acts that are already punishable under other laws or proscribe activities that are not only legitimate but also constitutionally protected
- For example – “trafficking for the purpose of begging”. It is already a criminal offence under anti-begging laws. Similarly, unauthorized immigration of citizens and foreigners is dealt with under the Passports Act, 1967, and the Foreigners Act, 1946, respectively. There is nothing novel in the proposed offence
- The Bill also states that “whoever solicits or publicizes electronically, taking or distributing obscene photographs, videos, providing materials, soliciting, guiding tourists, using agents or any other form which may lead to the trafficking of a person shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment.”-it’s a contradiction because this means that no trafficking needs to take place; a remote possibility is sufficient to prosecute persons and shut down websites. Similar provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000, were struck down by the Supreme Court for being vague and over-broad.
- The Bill is silent on many types of trafficking, such as trafficking for supply chains, commercial surrogacy, clinical trials, human organ trade, intergenerational trafficking, orphanage tourism and sex tourism. It also doesn’t incorporate the long-pending demands for ‘demand reduction’ and ‘non-institutionalized rehabilitation’.
- The Bill dissipate because of its interplay with existing laws, which have not been overruled or repealed. For example the anti-trafficking Bill relies on Section 370 of the IPC to define and establish that an offence of trafficking of persons has taken place. Section 370 was introduced in 2013 on the recommendation of the Justice Verma Committee. In order to try offences under the Bill, the prosecution will have to first prove the subsections of Section 370, which are that the victim was transported, recruited, harboured, received or transferred for the purposes of exploiting her/him by using force, abduction, deception, or by abuse of power. Only then will the provisions of the Bill take effect.
- In an age when an institutional approach for victim care is rapidly discredited and the demand for non-institutional approach is growing, the Bill adds two more unnecessary and vaguely defined institutions: protection homes and rehabilitation homes.
- Also the term ‘victim’ appears several times in the Bill but is shoddily defined. Through Section 59, the Bill overrides a better definition of ‘victim’ given in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Going by the established practice, a victim is one who is ‘rescued’ by the raiding police. So, those rescued by NGOs, parents, friends, and so on are not victims.
- Hence Instead of strengthening the existing anti-trafficking laws, the Bill calls for another law, one that is uncalled-for and sloppily drafted. The Bill clashes with existing laws, which will lead to confusion.
- The Bill don’t state the concept of ‘rehabilitation’. Section 30 (5) in a proper manner as it makes the rehabilitation fund available to the bureaucracy for prevention, protection and prosecution. The Bill is by a well-intentioned Ministry with wrong advisers and is a wasted opportunity
- No new courts or judges are exclusively dedicated to trafficking cases on priority. This move will only undo the gains of the past many decades of evolving more sensitive and specialised courts such as Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act courts, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences courts, and family courts.
- The Union Environment Ministry has dismissed as arbitrary and unscientific a 2017 World Economic Forum-ranking that placed India at the bottom in terms of environment performance.
- The report ranked India 177 out of 180 countries on the Environmental Performance Index 2018.
- India slipped 36 points from 141 in the 2016 report, prepared by Yale and Columbia Universities along with the WEF.
- India’s low ranking — 177 among 180 countries — was linked to poor performance in the environment health policy and deaths due to air pollution categories.
- However, in a reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Mahesh Sharma attributed India’s decline to a change in parameters between two editions of the report.
- A committee set up by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has recommended giving the capital market watchdog direct powers to intercept phone calls for better investigation while strengthening the regulations to act against perpetrators of financial statements fraud.
- The committee has recommended that SEBI may seek direct power to intercept calls to aid in investigation, akin to the power granted to the Central Board of Direct Taxes.
- However, proper checks and balances must be ensured for use of the power.
- Currently, the regulator has powers to seek call data records as part of its probes, but the committee is of the view that the regulator needs more powers to assist in its regulatory responsibilities.
- In what could mean giving SEBI more teeth to act against auditors and CAs, the panel has also recommended powers to take direct action against perpetrators of financial fraud.
- The panel is in favour of including a new sub-section within the SEBI Act to prohibit schemes or artifices to manipulate the books of accounts and financial statements or to hide diversion, misutilisation or siphoning of public issue proceeds.
- The panel has proposed broadening the ambit of manipulative and unfair trade practices, stating that listed firms should have policies to deal with leaks of unpublished price sensitive information.
- The Chief Justice is presiding over a five-judge Constitution Bench hearing petitions to bar politicians facing charges of heinous crimes, like murder, rape and kidnapping, from contesting elections and transforming themselves into parliamentarians and legislators.
- Under the Representation of the People Act, only convicted lawmakers are disqualified, not those accused.
- The Supreme Court said it could not legislate for Parliament. The court declares the law, the Parliament makes the law.
- Fast track courts to try accused politicians are the only solution.
- The charges in such cases are kept pending for long as witnesses don’t testify as the Whistleblowers Protection Act, which protects informers, is too weak to protect them or their families from repercussions.
- Venezuela’s crude shipments to India, its third largest export market after the U.S. and China, fell 21% in the first six months of the year, but the country’s Ambassador in Delhi has said plans are on to boost production at home and that oil trade with India will continue unabated despite U.S. sanctions.
- Venezuela has been affected by U.S. sanctions. As a result, production has come down.
- Oil is the world’s most wanted resource. And Venezuela has the world’s largest certified oil reserves.
- It also has huge coltan reserves (a dull black metallic ore, from which the elements niobium and tantalum are extracted, used to manufacture batteries for electric cars and primarily for the production of tantalum capacitors, used in many electronic devices).
- India had assured Venezuela that it would not support unilateral sanctions.
- Having procured an all-time high amount of pulses from farmers over the past two years, the Centre has now decided to offload stock from its overflowing warehouses by selling it to States for use in welfare schemes at a discount of Rs.15 per kg over the wholesale rate.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the plan to sell almost 35 lakh tonnes of tur, channa, masoor, moong and urad dal.
- In order to clear space for the procurement this season, the Centre has decided to offer 34.88 lakh tonnes of pulses to the States for use in ration shops under the public distribution system or in welfare schemes such as mid-day meals or the Integrated Child Development Programme.
- This will be a one-time dispensation for a period of 12 months or till the stock runs out.
- The scheme is likely to cost the exchequer Rs.5, 237 crore.
- Farmers have seen record harvests of pulses in the past two years, resulting in a sharp drop in prices.
- With the government making market interventions to protect farmers’ interests, price support schemes have been widespread in many States.
- This has led to a record procurement of 45.43 lakh tonnes of pulses.
G. Prelims Fact
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as the top source of inward remittances, while Kerala has received the maximum funds sent from abroad, according to the Reserve Bank of India’s survey of inward remittances for 2016-17.
- UAE’s share in total remittances was 26.9%, followed by the United States (22.9%), Saudi Arabia (11.6%), Qatar (6.5%) and Kuwait (5.5%).
- According to the survey, 82% of the total remittances received by India originated from eight countries — UAE, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the United Kingdom and Malaysia.
- Among destinations, Kerala has the highest share with 19%, followed by Maharashtra (16.7%), Karnataka (15%), Tamil Nadu (8%) and Delhi (5.9%).
- Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu together received 58.7% of total remittances.
- More than half of remittances received by Indian residents were used for family maintenance, i.e., consumption (59.2%), followed by deposits in banks (20%) and investments in landed property and shares (8.3%).
- The rupee drawing arrangement (RDA) is the most popular channel of remittances which accounts for 75.2% of remittances, followed by SWIFT (19.5%), direct transfers (3.4%) and cheques and drafts (1.9%).
- Private banks got the lions share in total remittances with 74.1%, while public sector banks share was 17.3% and the remaining with foreign banks.
- The National Sports University Bill and the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill were passed in the Rajya Sabha.
The National Sports University Bill
- The National Sports University Bill, for setting up of a National Sports University in Manipur to promote education in areas of sports sciences, technology, management and coaching, was discussed and passed.
- The university would also function as the national training centre for select sports disciplines by adopting best international practices.
- It will also impart training to elite athletes, sports officials, referees, and umpires and evolve as centres of excellence in the various disciplines of sports.
- The legislation empowers the university to set up outlying campuses throughout the country and also abroad.
- A sportsperson will be the vice-chancellor, and the university’s academic council will also consist of sportspersons.
- The central government has the full authority and control over the institution which, therefore, will not be autonomous.
The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill
- The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, as cleared by the Lok Sabha, was passed by voice vote.
- It provides for replacement of the Central Council of Homoeopathy with a board of governors, which will exercise the powers of the Central Council.
- The Central Council regulates homoeopathic education and practice.
- The Board of Governors will consist of up to seven members including: (i) persons of eminence in the field of homoeopathy education, and (ii) eminent administrators, appointed by the central government.
- The central government will select one of these members as the Chairperson of the Board.
- With regard to policy decisions, the directions of the central government will be final.
H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. Consider the following statements:
- The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha presides over the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha in the absence of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
- The Deputy Chairman is elected internally by the Rajya Sabha.
Choose the correct option:
- Only i is correct
- Only ii is correct
- Both i and ii are correct
- Both i and ii are incorrect
Question 2. Which of the following statements is incorrect with respect to the Inter-creditor agreement?
- It is aimed at preventing minority lenders from blocking a resolution plan of distressed loans and find a resolution outside the bankruptcy court.
- An inter-creditor agreement spells out the differences between different creditors and their rights in the event of a bankruptcy or default.
- Creditors can make these arrangements without the consent of the borrower.
- None of the above
Question 3. Consider the following statements in relation to The Information Technology Act, 2000:
- It deals with cybercrime and electronic commerce.
- Publishing child porn and acts of cyber-terrorism are covered under this Act.
- The Act prescribes penalties for the offences.
Which of the above statement/s is/are incorrect?
- i) only
- ii) and iii) only
- iii) only
- None of the above
Question 4. Which of the following statements is incorrect with respect to the great jagged narrow-toothed shark (Carcharocles angustidens)?
- The great jagged narrow-toothed shark is extinct.
- Its fossils can be found in Australia.
- It is almost twice the length of today’s great white shark.
- None of the above
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
The digital divide in India still remains a challenge to the developmental goals. It has not been able to prove itself as a revolutionary tool in bridging the divide in the society. Critically analyze.
Article 35A of the Indian Constitution, which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define permanent residents of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents, is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court. Discuss the circumstances in which it was brought about and the significant role that it plays in India’s reconciliation efforts vis-à-vis Kashmir.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis
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