TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related INDIAN SOCIETY 1. Notice to govt. on law for working women B. GS2 Related INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS 1. Pakistan releases Jadhav video, India terms it propaganda 2. Donald Trump administration suspends over $1.15 billion aid to Pakistan POLITY 1. Lok Sabha passes bill to hike salaries of judges 2. Lawyers and Parliamentarians C. GS3 Related ECONOMY 1. SEBI widens net in WhatsApp probe 2. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017 ENVIRONMENT 1. Fewer migratory birds sighted in Berhampur this year 2. Goa inches closer to plastic ban 3. NGT wants action plan for waste disposal in Bareilly SECURITY 1. Counter-terrorism high on Punjab Police agenda 2. Manipur takes steps to check influx from Assam D. GS4 Related E. Prelims Fact F. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
1. Notice to govt. on law for working women
- The Supreme Court on asked the government to respond on a petition questioning the lack of implementation of the various provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act of 2013.
- The 2013 statutory law had replaced the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the historic Vishaka case judgment, which stemmed from the brutal gang rape of a social worker in a village of Rajasthan.
- The Supreme Court verdict authored in 1997 by then Chief Justice J.S. Verma was inspired by international conventions and the spirit of gender equality enshrined in the Constitution to declare that “gender equality includes protection from sexual harassment and right to work with dignity, which is a universally recognised basic human right.”
Apathy of authorities
- Lack of initiative on the part of government authorities to monitor the implementation and enforce the law.
- The government at the State level has not even bothered to appoint district officers or local committees under the 2013 Act.
- There are no appointments of nodal officers or internal complaints committees in certain offices.
- There has been no move to ensure the reporting and collection of annual compliance reports from workplaces. Hence, the law meant to protect working women has hit a roadblock.
B. GS2 Related
1. Pakistan releases Jadhav video, India terms it propaganda
- Accusing Pakistan of violating the human rights of Kulbhushan Jadhav again, India dismissed as “propaganda” another video statement given by Mr. Jadhav that was released by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry.
- In the video, which was screened for journalists in Islamabad, Mr. Jadhav, who has been convicted of terror charges by a Pakistani military court and sentenced to death, said he had been “taken care of” by Pakistani authorities and that he remained a commissioned officer of the Indian Navy and had been working for the external intelligence agency R&AW.
- Jadhav’s statement ran counter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s account of the meeting, where she said that Mr. Jadhav’s mother and wife had been harassed by Pakistani officials, forced to remove jewellery and change clothes in order to meet him, and had been forcibly separated from the Indian diplomat accompanying them
- Since his arrest in March 2016, the government has consistently held that Mr. Jadhav was a former naval officer who had sought “premature retirement” and was conducting a business in Iran when he was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives.
- The government made more than a dozen requests for consular access to Pakistani authorities, failing which, it approached the International Court of Justice at the Hague
2. Donald Trump administration suspends over $1.15 billion aid to Pakistan
- After putting Pakistan on notice earlier, US President Donald Trump walked the talk as his administration suspended all security assistance to Pakistan, beginning from Friday, until Islamabad acts against terror groups.
- This comes days after Trump accused Pakistan of providing “safe haven” to terrorists and feeding the US nothing but “lies and deceit”. The suspension of aid money would mean Pakistan will lose out on more than $1.15 billion which it has been receiving over the years. The payment will remain frozen until at least the end of the year.
What funds are suspended?
- Prominent among the suspended amount includes USD 255 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for the fiscal year 2016 as mandated by the Congress.
- In addition, the Department of Defense has suspended the entire USD 900 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) money to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017.
What else did US say?
- This would also mean the US would stop delivery of military equipment, but Washington maintained they would make exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
- The US also hoped to renew its bilateral security relationship when Pakistan is willing to aggressively counter the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
1. Lok Sabha passes bill to hike salaries of judges
- The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2017 was passed by the Lok Sabha
- The Lok Sabha passed a bill to hike the salaries of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
- The salary hike, in line with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission for officers of all-India services
What the bill intends to do?
- The Bill proposes to hike the salary of the Chief Justice of India to Rs. 2.80 lakh a month,
- Judges of the Supreme Court and Chief Justices of High Courts to Rs. 2.5 lakh a month.
- Judges of High Courts will draw a salary of Rs. 2.25 lakh a month once this Bill becomes law.
- The Bill also seeks to revise the rates of house rent allowance with effect from July 1, 2017 and the rates of sumptuary allowance with effect from September 22, 2017
2. Lawyers and Parliamentarians
What is the issue?
- The issue is whether MPs and MLAs should practice law in courts. By doing so, does it affect the quality of work in the legislative work?
Rules under Bar Council of India
- Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India states that any full-time salaried employee, whether he or she belongs to a corporation, private firm, or the government, cannot practise as a lawyer before a court of law.
- No public servant can engage in the pursuit of any other vocation and certainly cannot offer his or her services as a lawyer while in service.
- A five-judge Bench in M. Karunanidhi v. Union of India (1979) categorically stated that MPs and MLAs are public servants, though the employer-employee relationship will not apply to them. Mr. Karunanidhi had argued that he was not a public servant in a corruption case.
- The work of a lawyer is a full-time activity. So is the work of MPs and MLAs; they are full-time members of Parliament and Assemblies.
- They have to take part in the proceedings of the House, meet people in their constituencies, and grapple with and address people’s issues. They have their work cut out.
- To facilitate their work, they are given a bungalow and a car, an office and a salary. They should go and serve the people.
- Also, no lawyer can benefit from the petitioner and the respondent. MPs and MLAs who are practicing lawyers take a fee from the petitioner and get their salary from the respondent, which is the Central or State government.
- This is professional misconduct, as they end up enjoying the benefits of both.
- There is also a conflict of interest. MPs and MLAs have the power to initiate impeachment proceedings against a judge, which means that they can pressurise the judge to give a favourable verdict when they plead before him or her in a case. When you take public money and argue against the government, it is professional misconduct.
- When MPs and MLAs find a draft Bill wanting, they should argue in Parliament, not challenge it in a court of law. Also, they take retainership from a company, which raises questions of professional misconduct as well as conflict of interest.
- Public servants are barred from engaging in other professional services, so on a similar note, we cannot allow legislators who are also public servants to argue cases in courts.
- This is a violation of Articles 14, 15, and 21, which deal with the right to equality, prohibition of discrimination, and protection of life and personal liberty, respectively.
C. GS3 Related
1. SEBI widens net in WhatsApp probe
- As many as 40 listed companies could come under the scanner of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), as it probes the alleged leak of price-sensitive information on WhatsApp groups by individuals and whether companies and their officials are also involved in the matter.
- As part of its investigations into various chat groups, the capital market regulator has found references to almost 40 companies, with discussions ranging from corporate results, potential deals, scheme of arrangements, regulatory approvals and other important announcements
- The probe relates to individuals — analysts, brokers, investment advisors and company officials — sharing key information – unpublished price sensitive information (UPSI), in technical parlance – on WhatsApp groups before such information is disclosed to the stock exchanges, as per the regulatory requirement.
- The evidence that SEBI has received till now shows that not only financial information has been shared, but also tip offs related to forthcoming preferential allotment, block deals, demerger, stock splits or bonus issues, court case updates and buybacks have been shared before the same has been announced to the stock exchanges
- Incidentally, SEBI conducted search and seizure operations on December 22 across 34 locations, seizing documents, computers and even mobile phones as evidence from individuals alleged to be part of these chat groups.
2. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017
- Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 was enacted to define and amend the law relating to promissory notes, bills of exchange, and cheques.
- The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017 introduces new clauses which allows the payment of interim compensation to the aggrieved party as an immediate relief when the case reaches the court.
Issues with 1881 Act
- In the statement of objects and reasons for the Bill, the government points out that though the 1881 Act was amended from time to time to provide for the speedy disposal of cases relating to the offence of dishonour of cheques, it has been receiving several representations from the public, including from the trading community, relating to pendency of cheque dishonour cases.
- This is because of delay tactics of unscrupulous drawers of dishonoured cheques due to easy filing of appeals and obtaining stay on proceedings.
- This delay has slowly eroded the faith of the traders in the use of cheques, it reasons.
- Injustice is caused to the payee of a dishonoured cheque who has to spend considerable time and resources in court proceedings to realise the value of the cheque. Such delays compromise the sanctity of cheque transactions.
What the New Bill aims to do?
- The purpose of the Bill is to provide interim relief to the aggrieved party till the final solution of the cheque dishonour case in court, and to discourage frivolous and unnecessary litigation which would save time and money.
- The new Section 143A provides for the court trying a cheque dishonour case under Section 138 may order the drawer of the cheque to pay interim compensation to the complainant at the time of framing of charges. The interim compensation shall not exceed 20% of the amount of the cheque.
- A second provision, Section 148, allows the Appellate Court to first order the party convicted in a cheque bounce case to deposit 20% of the of the fine or compensation awarded by the trial court.
- The proposed amendments will strengthen the credibility of cheques.
1. Fewer migratory birds sighted in Berhampur this year
- Migratory birds have started flocking to the waterbodies of the Berhampur forest division in Ganjam district that borders Chilika lake, a major destination for avian guests on the Odisha coast.
Why are they less in number?
- It is because of the high water level and abundant growth of vegetation, fewer birds were sighted during the recent bird census.
- Heavy rain has kept the water level in the waterbodies quite high this year increasing their surface area, because of which there has been abundant growth of high grass and other vegetation. This provides ample scope for the birds to hide away from the eyes of the enumerators
- In comparison to the bird census of January 3 last year, the birds counted in the forest division this year has gone down by around 4,000.
2. Goa inches closer to plastic ban
- Goa will ban PVC-based plastic from May 30, and no plastic packaging will be allowed in the State from December 19
3. NGT wants action plan for waste disposal in Bareilly
- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Bareilly Nagar Nigam to identify and acquire land for setting up municipal solid waste processing plants.
- Additionally, the tribunal has asked the corporation to inform the Bench of the process that it intends to adopt to dispose of the waste and the time required for the same.
1. Counter-terrorism high on Punjab Police agenda
- Punjab Police said the upgradation of its counter-terrorism capacity was high on its plans for 2018, as it was all set to press into operation a crack force, the Special Operation Group (SOG), which would be trained and equipped to be on par with the best special forces in the world.
Why was it initiated?
- Because of growing threat of radicalisation taking place on social media
What they intend to do?
- They intend to have Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts to interact directly with citizens, give timely responses to queries, provide a complaint-redressal mechanism, and showcase the good work done by the police.
2. Manipur takes steps to check influx from Assam
- The Manipur government is taking measures to prevent a possible spillover of illegal migrants into the State in view of the publication of the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
- Special teams, led by officers of the rank of Assistant Commandant or Additional Senior SPs, have been deployed at Jiribam Babupara Bazar and along the Barak river bordering Mizoram.
- The Barak originates in Manipur, flows through Mizoram and Assam and enters Bangladesh, where it forks into the Surma and Kushiyara rivers.
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for Today!!!
E. Prelims Fact
Nothing here for Today!!!
F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. Consider the following statements about the Middle East
- The Middle East is a transcontinental region centred on Western Asia and Egypt in North Africa
- Sudan is part of Middle East
- Iran is ruled by Arabs
Which of the statements given above are correct?
- Only 1 and 2
- Only 2 and 3
- Only 1 and 3
- All of the above
Question 2. Hurricane Maria recently in news caused damage to which of the following places?
- Puerto Rico
- British Virgin Islands
Question 3. Look at the following statements about ‘India State Level Disease Burden’ report
- It is an initiative of Ministry of AYUSH in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
- It will serve as a useful guide for fine-tuning data driven health planning specific for health situation
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- Only 1
- Only 2
- All of the above
- None of the above
Question 4. Consider the following statements about Tragedy of the Commons
- It is a utilitarian principle
- In this, the individual does not harm another being for his benefits
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
- Only 1
- Only 2
- All of the above
- None of the above
Question 5. India signed ‘123 agreement’ with which of the countries?
G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
GS Paper III
- What are the Challenges being faced by Electronics sector in India? What has the government done and what needs to be done to overcome this issue?
- Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) Might Boost Economic Ties with India. Comment.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis
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