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Daily Current affairs 29 April 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

Paper 1:

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to women.

 

Plea to protect accused in sexual abuse cases

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: sexual abuse cases- need for protection for both victims and accused, concerns over false cases and how to handle them?

 

Context: A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court to frame guidelines to protect the reputation and dignity of persons accused of sexual offences.

 

Concerns:

A person was considered innocent unless proven guilty by a court of law. If a person was falsely accused, his reputation would be lost forever and exposed to public ridicule for no fault of his. This would be a violation of the fundamental right to life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution. It does not only destroy an individual’s life but also creates a social stigma for the family members too.

Disclosure of his identity, especially during trial, would lead to media trial. Besides, considering the wide reach of social media, the person’s name and even that of his family, which might include minors, would be exposed on the Internet. This would be a violation of their fundamental right to privacy.

 

Increased vulnerability:

In present times, where people are in a virtual world, the reputation and integrity of a person is always an easy target to destroy. It would be tragic that the person, even after being found innocent, would continue to be known as a suspected sex offender on social media because once his identity entered the public domain it would become searchable and permanent. The previous identification as a suspect will endure in the public sphere.

 

Need of the hour:

some preventive measures must be taken so as to avoid and to deal with such situations in the interest of justice.

Amend Section 228-A of the Indian penal Code that provides punishment for disclosing the identity of the victims but does not provide any safeguard for protection of the identity and integrity of the accused in case of false accusation.

Court should frame the guidelines like it had earlier framed in Vishaka & Ors. v. State of Rajasthan to protect the integrity of victim and to safeguard the victim from facing the social stigma.

 

Conclusion:

Supreme Court had on many occasions reinforced that the “right to reputation” is an integral part of Articles 21 and 19(2) of the Constitution of India. Therefore, some preventive measures must be taken to avoid and deal with such situations in the interest of justice.

 

Few incidents:

S.Nambi Narayanan (who is an Indian scientist and aerospace engineer and also awarded India’s third highest civilian award the Padma Bhushan) was falsely charged with espionage and was later on cleared of all charges and had to put up a long fight to save his reputation. However, no amount of compensation could restore what he had lost in the process.

 

Sources: The Hindu.


Paper 2:

Topics covered:

          Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Bangladesh- China- India- Myanmar (BCIM) Economic corridor

 

What to study?

For prelims: About BCIM corridor and BRI, their geographical stretch.

For mains: significance of these initiatives and concerns associated.

 

Why in News? India’s decision to skip the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) may have led to the exclusion of the Bangladesh- China- India- Myanmar (BCIM) Economic corridor from the list of projects covered by the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) umbrella.

 

Details of the issue?

Citing “sovereignty” concerns, India, for the second time, has not officially participated in the BRF, as CPEC—a flagship of the BRI—passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

In an annex tagged with the Joint Communiqué of the Leaders’ Roundtable of the BRF, which concluded in Beijing recently, the Chinese foreign ministry website has not listed the BCIM as a project covered by the BRI—the giant connectivity initiative speared by China to revive the ancient Silk Road across Eurasia and Africa.

Instead, South Asia is covered by three major undertakings—the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), the Nepal-China Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network, including Nepal-China cross-border railway, as well as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

 

About BCIM Economic Corridor:

The BCIM economic corridor aims to connect Kolkata with Kunming, capital of the Yunnan province.

It envisages formation of a thriving economic belt, focusing on cross-border transport, energy and telecommunication networks.

Starting from Kunming, the route passes through nodal points, such as Spread: Mandalay and Lashio in Myanmar. It heads towards Kolkata after passing through Manipur and Silchar, before crossing Bangladesh via Sylhet and Dhaka, with branches extending to the ports of Cox Bazar and Chittagong.

 

Importance of BCIM:

  • India will benefit in terms of the development of the Kolkata port and the opening up of the economic potential of the northeast states.
  • BCIM offers India an opportunity to create its own win-win relationship with China.
  • India’s gain from the BCIM includes the ability to connect to the One Belt, One Road project thus opening up markets to the east.
  • It can also use the economic corridor for negotiating downstream industries to be located within India.
  • With natural gas reserves of about 200 trillion cubic feet, the largest in the Asia-Pacific, Bangladesh could become one of the major energy exporting countries.
  • Tourism too will get a boost.
  • BCIM can not only be a game-changer for this region in Asia, but is also pivotal for India’s ‘Act East’ Policy.
  • Economic Benefits include access to several booming markets in Southeast Asia, improvement of transport infrastructure and setting up of industrial zones.
  • The regional connectivity would facilitate cross-border movement of people and goods, reduce overland trade bottlenecks, ensure access and increase volume of trade.
  • Substantially reduce transaction costs, enhance trade and investment and poverty alleviation in the region.

 

Concerns:

Indian critics of BCIM state that China cannot be trusted, and cite the divergent positions of the two countries on Arunachal Pradesh and PoK.

Security is a very important aspect of BCIM that ethnic insurgencies, terrorism, drug trafficking and the accompanying spread of HIV infections, smuggling, as well as cross-border human trafficking, threatened to derail the project.

 

Need of hour:

The immediate priority for India is to build and upgrade infrastructure, including roads, railway network, waterways and air connectivity within north-eastern states.

Work on the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway joining India’s Northeast with Thailand and other ASEAN members through Myanmar needs to be expedited. This network will provide connectivity between the isolated Northeast and the expanding economies of South East Asia.

Similarly, the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project will help connect the Northeast with Myanmar as well as with West Bengal.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) needs to be accorded the highest priority as it has great potential to deliver rich dividends quickly.

Emphasis on the implementation of Act East Policy.

 

Way ahead:

In BCIM, a step-by-step approach is desirable in the form of people-centric projects in education, healthcare, skill development, tourism and cottage industries should be undertaken. Local talent, material and products should be utilised in this endeavour. China and India need to work together to bring about a fundamental change in their bilateral relations.

 

Sources: The Hindu.

Mains Question: How does the development Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) project offer India an opportunity to create its own win-win relationship with China? Examine


Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

 

Jan Dhan

 

What to study?

For prelims: key features and benefits of the scheme.

For mains: significance and benefits of the scheme.

 

Why in News? Five years after its launch, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme has almost achieved a total balance of ₹1-lakh crore.

 

Key facts:

  • According to the latest data, the total balance in these basic bank accounts stood at ₹99,752 crore with 35.50 crore beneficiaries.
  • Public sector banks have the lion’s share in total balance at ₹79,177 crore, followed by regional rural banks and private sector banks maintaining ₹17,648 crore and ₹2,926 crore, respectively.
  • The scheme focusses on rural areas with primacy given to women. Of the 35.50-crore account holders, those from rural and semi-urban regions were 21 crore. Female beneficiaries were 18.88 crore.
  • Total balance under the scheme, launched on August 15, 2014, grew faster in the last there years, which was boosted by demonetisation in November 2016. It gathered momentum last year and gained rapid pace in the last six months, leading to scepticism on the possible link between elections and spurt in balances.
  • The average balance in PMJDY accounts has also been going up.

 

About PMJDY:

  • The primary aim of this scheme is to provide poor people access to bank accounts.
  • The scheme covers both urban and rural areas of India.
  • All bank accounts will be linked to a debit card which would be issued under the Ru-Pay schemeRupay is India’s own unique domestic card network owned by National Payments Corporation of India and has been created as an alternative to Visa and Mastercard.
  • Under the first phase of this scheme, every individual who opens a bank account becomes eligible to receive an accident insurance cover of up-to Rs 1 Lakh for his entire family.
  • Life Insurance coverageis also available under PMJDY. Only one person in the family will be covered and in case of the person having multiple cards/accounts, the benefit will be allowed only under one card e. one person per family will get a single cover of Rs 30,000.
  • The scheme also provides incentives to business and banking correspondentswho serve as link for the last mile between savings account holders and the bank by fixing a minimum monthly remuneration of Rs 5000.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Paper 2:

Topic covered:

Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU)

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: ABU- objectives, composition and significance, about the summit and its theme.

 

Why in News? 5th Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Media Summit on Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness was held recently in Kathmandu, Nepal. Kathmandu Media Action Plan for Media Integration in Climate Action and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was adopted at summit.

Theme: “Media Solutions for Sustainable Future: Saving Lives, Building Resilient Communities”.

 

About Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU):

It is a non-profit, non-governmental, non- political, professional association of broadcasting organisations, which assist development of broadcasting in region.

It was established in 1964, and has Secretariat in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With over 272 member in 76 countries on four continents, ABU is biggest broadcasting union in the world.

ABU is also member of the World Broadcasters’ Union.

Sources: The Hindu.


 

Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Food security related issues.

 

Global Food Policy Report-2019 

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: key findings, concerns and measures proposed by the report.

 

ContextInternational Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has recently released Global Food Policy Report-2019.

The report reviews the major food policy issues, developments, and decisions of 2018, and considers challenges and opportunities for 2019.

This year’s Report highlights the urgency of rural revitalization to address a growing crisis in rural areas.

 

Key observations:

  • Rural population account for 45.3% of the world’s total population and at least 70% of the world’s population remains extremely poor.
  • The rural population suffers from rapid population growth rates, inadequate job and enterprise creation, poor infrastructure, scarce financial services.
  • They also bear the brunt of climate change impacts.
  • Nearly 50% of rural youth all over the world do not have any formal job they are either unemployed or under-employed.
  • The world is not yet on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Poverty and malnutrition rates are falling in many places, but not fast enough.
  • An estimated three quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas, and most are among the 2.5 billion people who work in small-scale agriculture in developing countries.
  • Almost one billion people, most living in rural areas of Africa and South Asia, still lack access to electricity.
  • South Asia remained the fastest growing region in the world in 2018, as economic growth continued to strengthen. However, growth rates varied greatly across the region.
  • Rice and wheat are the region’s major staple crops, accounting for about two-thirds of total dietary energy. But food consumption patterns have changed in the region over the past few decades.

 

Need of the hour:

Rural revitalization is important to end hunger and malnutrition.

The Changing consumption patterns driven largely by urbanization, demographic transitions, increasing income, and growing integration of food supply chains and food systems in India offer new opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment in rural areas.

Energy is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring durable rural growth and development.

 

Way ahead:

Policies, institutions, and investments that take advantage of new opportunities and technologies, increase access to basic services, create more and better rural jobs, foster gender equality, and restore the environment can make rural areas vibrant and healthy places to live and work.

Implementing a “decent employment agenda” will require improving rural livelihoods.

 

Sources: toi.

 


 

Facts for prelims:

 

Cyclone Fani:

Why in News? Cyclone Fani is likely to turn into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’.

It was formed at low pressure region in south east of Sumatra (Indonesian island), which further intensified into a depression.

 

Classification of Tropical Cyclones: The criteria followed by Meteorological Department of India (IMD) to classify the low pressure systems in the Bay of Bengal and in the Arabian Sea as adopted by World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) are as under:

Type of Disturbances Associated Wind Speed in the Circulation
Low pressure Area Less than17 knots (<31 kmph)
Depression 17 to 27 knots (31 to 49 kmph)
Deep Depression 28 to 33 knots (50 to 61 kmph)
Cyclonic Storm 34 to 47 knots (62 to 88 kmph)
Severe Cyclonic Storm 48 to 63 knots (89 to 118 kmph)
Very Severe Cyclonic Storm 64 to 119 knots (119 to 221 kmph)
Super Cyclonic Storm 119 knots and above (221 kmph and above)

 

Terminology:

Cyclones are given many names in different regions of the world – They are known as typhoons in the China Sea and Pacific Ocean; hurricanes in the West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean; tornados in the Guinea lands of West Africa and southern USA.; willy-willies in north-western Australia and tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean.

 

What are Mango showers?

Mango showers is a colloquial term to describe the occurrence of pre-monsoon rainfall. They are notable across much of South and Southeast Asia, including India, and Cambodia.

These rains normally occur from March to April, although their arrival is often difficult to predict. Their intensity can range from light showers to heavy and persistent thunderstorms.

In India, the mango showers occurs as the result of thunderstorm development over the Bay of Bengal. They are also known as ‘Kaal Baishali’ in Bengal, as Bordoisila in Assam and as Cherry Blossom shower or Coffee Shower in Kerala.

Benefits: Towards the close of the summer season, pre-monsoon showers are common, especially in Kerala, Karnataka and parts of Tamil Nadu in India. They help in the early ripening of mangoes, hence the name.


 

Summaries of important editorials:

 

How is a Supreme Court judge to be probed?

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/how-is-a-supreme-court-judge-to-be-probed/article26967323.ece.

 

Context: The allegations made by a former Supreme Court employee against the Chief Justice of India have brought the focus on the mechanism that exists to examine charges of misconduct against members of the higher judiciary.

 

How are allegations of misconduct against judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court dealt with?

Allegations of misconduct against serving judges of the superior judiciary, that is, the various high courts and the Supreme Court, are dealt with through an ‘in-house procedure’.

Most complaints may pertain to judicial conduct, and may be at the behest of parties aggrieved by the outcome of their cases. However, some may concern the personal conduct of judges.

Two purposes are served by the adoption of an internal procedure to deal with such complaints:

  • when the allegations are examined by the judge’s peers, outside agencies are kept out, and the independence of the judiciary is maintained.
  • awareness about the existence of a mechanism to examine such complaints will preserve the faith of the people in the impartiality and independence of the judicial process.

The in-house procedure envisages that false and frivolous allegations can be rejected at an early stage and only those that are not baseless, and may require a deeper probe, are taken up for inquiry.

 

When was the in-house procedure adopted?

A five-judge committee was formed to devise the procedure. The report of the committee was adopted by a resolution of the Full Court on December 15, 1999. This procedure has been adhered to since then. However, the in-house procedure was not in the public domain for many years.

In 2014, a Supreme Court Bench directed the court’s registry to make the in-house procedure public for the sake of transparency.

 

How does the in-house procedure work? What are the various steps?

  • When a complaint is received against a High Court judge, the Chief Justice concerned has to examine it. If it is frivolous or concerns a judicial matter, she may just file the complaint and inform the Chief Justice of India.
  • If she considers it serious, she should get a response from the judge concerned. If she is satisfied with the response and feels no further action is required, she may close the matter and keep the CJI informed. However, if the CJI feels a deeper probe is needed, she should send the complaint as well as the judge’s response to the CJI, with her own comments, for further action.
  • The procedure is the same if the CJI receives the complaint directly. The comments of the high court Chief Justice, the judge concerned and the complaint would be considered by the CJI. If a deeper probe is required, a three-member committee, comprising two Chief Justices from other High Courts and one High Court judge, has to be formed. The committee will hold a fact-finding inquiry at which the judge concerned would be entitled to appear. It is not a formal judicial proceeding and does not involve lawyers or examination or cross-examination of witnesses.
  • If the charge is against a high court Chief Justice, the same procedure of getting the person’s response is followed by the CJI. If a deeper probe is deemed necessary, a three-member committee comprising a Supreme Court judge and two Chief Justices of other High Courts will be formed.
  • If the charge is against a Supreme Court judge, the committee would comprise three Supreme Court judges. There is no separate provision in the in-house procedure to deal with complaints against the CJI.

 

What are the possible outcomes from the inquiry committee?

  • If it finds that there is substance in the allegations, the committee can either hold that the misconduct is serious enough to warrant removal from office, or that it is not so serious as to warrant removal. In the former case, it will call for initiation of proceedings to remove the judge.
  • The judge concerned would be advised to resign or take voluntary retirement. If the judge is unwilling to quit, the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned would be advised to withdraw judicial work from him, and the President of India and the Prime Minister would be informed of the situation.
  • Such an action may clear the way for Parliament to begin the political process for impeachment. In case, the committee finds substance in the allegation, but it is not grave enough to warrant removal from office, the judge concerned would be advised accordingly, and the committee’s report will be placed on record.

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