Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (September 27, 2018)
1. Aadhaar gets thumbs up from Supreme Court
Majority opinion upholds it as a reasonable restriction on privacy Says it fulfils government’s aim to provide dignity to marginalised It’s a unique ID that cannot be duplicated unlike PAN, ration card Upholds the passage of the Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill
The Supreme Court, in a majority opinion on Wednesday, upheld Aadhaar as a reasonable restriction on individual privacy that fulfils the government’s “legitimate aim” to provide dignity to a large, marginalised population living in abject poverty.
The majority view by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A.K. Sikri and A.M. Khanwilkar declared Aadhaar a “document of empowerment.” An “unparalleled” identity proof. A document that cannot be duplicated, unlike PAN, ration card, and passport.
Upholding the passage of the Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill, the Supreme Court said neither were individuals profiled nor their movements traced when Aadhaar was used to avail government benefits under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.
The statute only sought “minimal” biometric information, and this did not amount to invasion of privacy.
The majority opinion upheld the PAN-Aadhaar linkage, but declared linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile SIM cards unconstitutional.
The court insulated children from the Aadhaar regime. The card was not necessary for children aged between six and 14 under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan as right to education was a fundamental right. Statutory bodies such as the CBSE and the UGC cannot ask students to produce their Aadhaar cards for examinations like the NEET and the JEE. Permission of parents and guardians was a must before enrolling children into Aadhaar, the court said. Once they attained the age of majority, children could opt out of Aadhaar, the court said.
2. MHA merges police forces in six Union Territories
Non-IPS officers could be posted in any UT and will be at the direct disposal of Home Ministry
The Ministry of Home Affairs has notified new rules amalgamating police forces in six Union Territories. The rules effectively mean that officers, who are not direct IPS recruits, could be posted in any of the six UTs and will be at the disposal of the MHA. The National Capital Territory of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Chandigarh (Police Service) Rules, 2018, was notified on September 25.
The initiative which, according to the MHA, has been in the works for over a year and a half, is being viewed as the first step towards the creation of a central police cadre allowing for the posting of police personnel across the country irrespective of the force they are initially inducted into.
There are around 533 posts that will be covered under the new rules including Assistant Commissioners of Police and Deputy Superintendents of Police. The rules will come into play upon promotion or direct recruitment of inspectors to the post of ACPs. Half of the posts at ACP rank will be filled through direct recruitment and the other half through promotion. Earlier these postings were decided by the respective UT administrators.
“There shall be constituted a Service known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Chandigarh Police Service consisting of persons appointed to the Service under rules 6 and 7…” the notification stated.
The post/grade/service eligible for induction into the entry grade for the new service, according to the notification, would include personnel currently employed as inspectors.
3. The INS Chakra II, an Akula-class Russian nuclear-powered submarine, returned after a sortie on Wednesday to its base in the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam. It was leased from Russia to train Indian submariners to handle the indigenous nuclear-powered INS Arihant-class submarines.
4. SC proceedings can be live-streamed
The Supreme Court upheld the plea for live-streaming of its proceedings, observing that the use of technology is to “virtually” expand the court beyond the four walls of the courtroom.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said this would help those even in distant places to witness court proceedings.
5. Centre hikes import duty on select goods
The government on Wednesday released a list of 19 categories of items on which it would be hiking import duties, which include white goods such as air-conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines as well as non-essential items such as gems, travel bags and aviation turbine fuel.
The new rates will be applicable from September 27.
“These changes in rates of basic customs duty will be effective from September 27, 2018. The total value of imports of these items in the year 2017-18 was about ₹86,000 crore.”
6. Boost to SC/ST quota in promotions
A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday modified a 2006 judgment requiring the State to show quantifiable data to prove the “backwardness” of a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe community in order to provide quota in promotion in public employment. The judgment gives a huge fillip for the government’s efforts to provide “accelerated promotion with consequential seniority” for SC/ST members in government services.
7. 11 more Bru families return home
Efforts to repatriate displaced Brus from camps in Tripura received a boost on Wednesday with 11 families returning home in Mizoram after 21 years.
Officials in the two States said more families are expected to accept the rehabilitation package by September 30, the date fixed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Khakchangpara is one of three camps in Panisagar after ethnic violence forced more than 40,000 Brus – also called Reangs – out of Mizoram. Half the refugees were accommodated in three more camps in North Tripura’s Kanchanpur subdivision.
8. Haryana to regularise services of ad hoc staff
The Haryana government has approved a proposal on Wednesday to regularise the services of its employees who have been working on ad hoc, work-charged and part-time basis for the last 20 to 25 years.
9. Recyclers storing electronic waste hazardously: Environment Ministry
Many of India’s electronic-waste (e-waste) recyclers aren’t recycling waste at all. While some are storing it in hazardous conditions, others don’t even have the capacity to handle such waste, says a new report prepared by the Union Environment Ministry.
India now has 178 registered e-waste recyclers, accredited by the State governments to process e-waste. India generates more than two million tonnes of e-waste annually, and the bulk of it is processed in the informal sector.
In 2017, the Centre brought into effect the E-waste Rules, which require companies that make or sell electronic equipment to collect a certain percentage of e-waste generated from their goods once they have reached their “end-of-life.” In 2017-2018, the companies were supposed to have collected 10%. This would rise to 70% by 2023. But doing this would require these firms to work with licensed e-waste recyclers and ensure that all e-waste is properly disposed of.
10. Record kharif foodgrains production expected
India’s foodgrains production is estimated at a record 141.59 million tonnes (MT) in the kharif season of 2018-19 crop year, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Wednesday.
The country had produced 140.73 MT foodgrains in the kharif season of 2017-18 crop year (July-June).
The Minister released the first advance estimates of foodgrains production for kharif (summer-sown) season for 2018-19 crop year.
Accordong to the data shared by the Minister, rice output is estimated at a record 99.24 MT, oilseeds 22.19 MT, maize 21.47 MT and sugarcane 383.89 MT.
Rice production stood at 97.5 MT in last year’s kharif season, while oilseeds output was 20.99 MT. The sugarcane production stood at 376.9 MT.
The sowing operation of kharif crops begins with the onset of monsoon and harvesting starts from mid-September. Paddy, maize and soyabean are major kharif crops.
11. India is staring at a 9% deficit in seasonal rain
How has the monsoon fared this year?
This year, the floods in Kerala and the torrential rains in Himachal Pradesh may have given the impression of a good monsoon, but the numbers say that India is facing a 9% deficit. This means that the country has only received 81 cm of rainfall compared to the normal 89 cm. Also, 11 of India’s 36 meteorological subdivisions (comprising 30% of the country’s area) have seen a 20% shortfall.
Until mid-September, India faced a 10% deficit. If the current 9% deficit increases, 2018 could be termed as an “all India deficient year”. Since 2015, the India Meteorological Department (IMD)doesn’t use the term “drought”.
Which parts have seen a deficit?
The maximum shortfall (24%) has been in the eastern and Northeastern States, which account for 40% of the monsoon rains. Arunachal Pradesh has seen a 37% deficit, Assam and Meghalaya 27%, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura 22%, Jharkhand 26%, and Bihar 23%. All the other divisions — the Southern Peninsula, Northwest India, and Central India — have also registered less rainfall than their normal quotas.
12. Generality principle
This refers to the political belief that laws created by the state need to apply equally to all groups of people in order to avoid any form of discrimination. According to this principle, a law that applies to blacks, for example, must apply to whites as well. Proponents of the generality principle believe that this is essential to uphold fairness and justice in society. However, opponents of the principle believe that the principle would make sure that even bad laws apply to the entire population. This, they argue, would be far worse for the welfare of society as no group would then be able to escape from the destructive effects of poor laws.
13. Navy inks pact to build two DSVs
The Navy has signed a contract with the Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), Visakhapatnam, for building two diving support vessels (DSVs), which are required for submarine support operations at sea.
The first vessel will be built over 36 months and will be followed by the second, six months later. They will be based at Visakhapatnam and Mumbai. The vessels will be 118 metres in length, with a displacement of approximately 7,650 tonne, the Navy said on Wednesday.
The contract was signed on September 20. The Navy undertakes diving operations in the Indian Ocean Region for submarine rescue, under-water inspection, testing or salvage and recovery of ship and aircraft lost at sea. The DSV enables divers to remain underwater for long hours with their equipment.
14. VVPAT supply for 2019 LS polls on track: EC
The Election Commission on Wednesday said the supply of VVPATs for use in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 was on track and that it was committed to 100% deployment of machines at all polling stations in the future.
The Commission has placed an order of 17.45 lakh VVPATs to Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited for use in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
“Till date, 9.45 lakh units have been produced,” said the Commission.
15. SC ruling on adultery today
A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra will on Thursday decide whether the pre-Independence provision of adultery (Section 497) treats a married woman as a commodity owned by her husband and violates the constitutional concepts of gender equality and sensitivity.
The Chief Justice himself had orally observed that adultery did not even qualify as a criminal offence, and was at the most, a civil wrong. He said adultery had a civil remedy – divorce. Sending a person to prison for five years for adultery does not appeal to common sense, he said.
16. IAF successfully test fires air-to-air Astra missile
The Indian Air Force on Wednesday successfully test fired the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile Astra from a Su-30 aircraft, the Defence Ministry said. The missile, tested at the Kalaikunda Air Force Station, “successfully engaged a manoeuvring target with high precision.”
17. G-4 for UN Security Council reform, multilateralism
India and other Group-4 (G-4) countries reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism and called for the early reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday.
Hours after U.S. President Donald Trump pilloried multilateralism in this address to the UN General Assembly, Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Japan and Germany — Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, Taro Kono and Heiko Maas, respectively — were hosted by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for the G-4 meeting. “The G-4 Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism. G-4 Ministers stressed that adapting the UN to the contemporary needs of the 21st century necessarily required reforming the Security Council,” the group said in a statement.
G-4 group consists of – India, Germany, Japan and Brazil
18. ‘Biggest bird’ dispute put to rest
Scientists said on Wednesday that they have finally solved the riddle of the world’s largest bird.
A study released on Wednesday by British scientists suggested that one species of elephant bird was even larger than previously thought, with a specimen weighing an estimated 860 kg — about the same as a fully grown giraffe. “They would have towered over people,” said James Hansford, lead author at the Zoological Society of London. “They definitely couldn’t fly as they couldn’t have supported anywhere near their weight.”
19. Modi gets UN environmental honour
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been awarded with the UN’s highest environmental honour, also given to five other individuals and organisations, for his leadership of the International Solar Alliance and pledge to eliminate single use plastic by 2022. Cochin International Airport was honoured with the award for Entrepreneurial Vision, for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy.
20. BSE can now launch gold, silver futures
BSE has received regulatory approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to launch delivery-based futures contract in gold (1 kg) and silver (30 kg). The exchange will launch trading in these contracts on October 1.
Trading in these contracts will be launched on October 1. Delivery centre of gold and silver futures contract will be exchange designated vaults at Ahmedabad initially, and then expanded across India in the second phase, according to a BSE statement.
‘The commodity trading session will be from Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 11.30 p.m.
21. Cabinet approves 100% govt. stake in GSTN
The Union Cabinet approved increasing the government’s ownership in the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) to 100% from the existing 49% and also change the existing structure in line with a transition plan. “The Union Cabinet approved acquisition of the entire 51% equity held by the non-government institutions in GSTN equally by the Centre and the State governments,” said the government in a statement.
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
Diving Support Vessels (DSVs)
23. Things to Remember:
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh
Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat
24. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Give new energy or strength to.
example – ‘we are fully committed to reinvigorating the economy of the area’
Synonyms: re-energize, brace, fortify, strengthen, give new strength to, give a boost to, build up, bolster, prop up, help, renew, regenerate, restore, revive, revivify, rejuvenate, reanimate, resuscitate, refresh, reawaken, rekindle, put new life into, breathe new life into, enliven, stimulate, put some spark into, kick-start, uplift