Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (September 28, 2018)
1. Adultery is not a crime, rules SC; strikes it off IPC
How couples deal with it is a private matter, says CJI Section 497 treats a woman as her husband’s commodity
A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in four separate but concurring opinions on Thursday held that adultery is not a crime and struck it off the Indian Penal Code.
Section 497 treats a married woman as the commodity of her husband, the Bench held. Adultery is not a crime if the cuckolded husband connives or consents to his wife’s extra-marital affair. Section 497 treats a married woman as her husband’s “chattel”. The provision is a reflection of the social dominance of men prevalent 150 years ago, the judgment said.
2. Telangana comes under poll code after EC order
The model code of conduct came into force on Thursday in poll-bound Telangana following an Election Commission directive that henceforth the guidelines would be implemented immediately after early dissolution of a Legislative Assembly.
Earlier, the restrictions came into force only after the announcement of the election schedule by the Commission. The code will continue in effect till the completion of election for a new Assembly. The TRS government in Telangana had prematurely dissolved the Assembly earlier this month.
Following the Commission’s order, as communicated to the Cabinet Secretariat and all Chief Secretaries, apart from the caretaker government, the government at the Centre and other States are also bound by the code.
3. Enhanced pay for J&K SPOs based on threat perception
The Union Home Ministry’s decision to increase the salaries of Special Police Officers in Jammu and Kashmir came after the State Chief Secretary wrote to the Centre highlighting the threat to their lives.
On Wednesday the Ministry enhanced the honorarium for SPOs who have more than 15 years of experience, from ₹6,000 to ₹12,000 per month.
4. Rajasthan CM Raje inaugurates tourist spots
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Thursday inaugurated 16 tourist spots with statues of saints and eminent personalities across the State on the World Tourism Day. Addressing a gathering at her residence, she said the State government was constructing 48 such spots at the cost of ₹150 crore and work of 44 was already completed.
5. Railways to roll out smart coaches
The Indian Railways are set to launch their ‘Make in India’ smart coaches with new features like black box and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered CCTVs, matching international standards.
Named ‘Smart Trains’, the coaches have been equipped with sensors that can detect defects on bearings, wheels, and the railway track, giving constant inputs to those in the control room to avoid accidents, carry out maintenance, and to improve efficiency of operations.
The maiden smart coach was unveiled at the Modern Coach Factory in Rae Bareli on Tuesday as part of launching 100 such trains in a pilot project to improve the safety and security of commuters, and to boost efficiency.
The black box, being introduced for the first time by Indian Railways, has a powerful multi-dimensional communication interface to provide information on passengers and coach condition on real-time basis.
The black box will act as a coach control unit with communication interfaces for passenger announcements, GPS-based announcement triggers, emergency intercom for commuters, digital destination boards, train reservation display modules, and CCTVs with remote monitoring.
The modern infotainment system has been installed to locate the train in real time. AI-powered CCTVs will help those in the control room to keep a tab on untoward incidents and on the behaviour of on-board staff. Commuters will also be able to communicate with Railways officials.
For wheel, coach and track monitoring, Railways have come up with Internet of things-based system. The vibrating-energy-based sensors will monitor the wheels, bearing and hard spots on the track, and will provide data through GPS/GPRS to the remote server for diagnosis and remedial measures.
The Passenger Information and Coach Computing Unit (PICCU), an industrial grade computer, will monitor the coach maintenance and passenger interface.
Six cameras installed in the coach will provide live recording. The footage can be accessed from the control room, which will be advantageous for law enforcers.
An emergency talk-back system will enable communication between passengers and the guard during a crisis. A Wi-Fi hotspot information system is another innovative feature.
Smart coaches are also laden with water-level indicator technology to know whether the water in the coach is sufficient and when it needs to be filled. An SMS will be sent to the next watering station when the water level falls below half the coach capacity.
6. Kolkata launches first flood forecast system
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation, with the support of the Asian Development Bank, on Thursday launched the country’s first flood forecasting and early-warning system, which will provide real-time data on inundation, rainfall intensity, temperature, air quality and other climate-related data. This is expected to help policy-makers make informed decisions during disasters.
7. Rajni Kant Mishra is new chief of BSF
The government on Thursday appointed Rajni Kant Mishra as the Director-General of the Border Security Force (BSF) in place of K.K. Sharma, who is superannuating on September 30. Mr. Mishra has been shifted from the Sashastra Seema Bal.
8. Brownian motion
This refers to the random and erratic movement of microscopic particles that are suspended in any fluid, like water or oil. Brownian motion is the result of the impact of the random bombardment of microscopic particles by the variety of fast-moving molecules that constitute the fluid. Larger objects do not witness as much random movement as microscopic particles when suspended in various fluids. The phenomenon is named after the English botanist Robert Brown, who in 1827 discovered the molecular composition of matter through the observation of the random movement of pollen grains in a liquid.
9. Pak. move at OIC meeting ‘unwarranted’
India has objected to Pakistan bringing up the Kashmir issue at an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting, saying it is completely “unwarranted” for the grouping as well as its member countries to discuss matters related to India’s internal affairs.
10. Uzbek President to invite India to join Afghan rail project
India will be invited to help with a key rail link in Afghanistan, during the visit of Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev early next week, a presidential aide told The Hindu.
The rail link of approximately 650 km, connecting the Afghan cities of Mazaar-e-Sharif and Herat, which may later be extended to Kabul, is a major project agreed to by President Ashraf Ghani and President Mirziyoyev last year, and many of the preliminary surveys for the project have already been completed.
The project, for which Uzbekistan has already committed $500 million, could become another major regional connectivity project for India, after its construction of the Zaranj-Delaram Highway in Afghanistan and the Shahid Beheshti port in Chabahar, Iran.
India is also committed to building another rail route, from Chabahar to Zahedan on the Iran-Afghan border, and President Mirziyoyev is keen to join the transit trade agreement signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran.
The rail route to Herat, if extended to Kabul, would also link India’s “air corridor”, allowing trade, especially dry fruits and agricultural produce to travel along the routes from India to Central Asia and back in much shorter time.
Uzbekistan has held talks with Iran, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and China, which is already running a rail route into Uzbekistan under the Belt and Road Initiative, for the same project in the past few months.
11. Centre appoints search committee for Lokpal
After a long delay, the Centre on Thursday constituted an eight-member search committee, to be headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, to recommend the chairperson and members of the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, which envisages establishment of anti-graft body Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in States to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants, was passed in 2013.
Former State Bank of India chief Arundhati Bhattacharya, Prasar Bharati chairperson A. Surya Prakash and former Indian Space Research Organisation head A.S. Kiran Kumar are the members of the search committee, according to an order by the Personnel Ministry.
Former judge of the Allahabad High Court, Justice Sakha Ram Singh Yadav; former Gujarat Police head, Shabbirhusein S Khandwawala; retired IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre, Lalit K Panwar; and Ranjit Kumar are the other members of the panel.
The step comes after the Supreme Court’s order to appoint Lokpal at the earliest. The search committee was appointed by the selection committee, which comprises Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, leader of the largest Opposition party, which in this case was Congress’s Mallikarjun Kharge, and eminent jurist Mukul Rohatgi.
12. Justice Chandrachud overrules father again
This is the second time Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has contradicted the verdict of his father, former Chief Justice of India Y.V. Chandrachud.
Thirty-three years after his father upheld the validity of adultery law, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud ruled on Thursday that the earlier view cannot be regarded as “correct exposition” of the constitutional position.
In his historic judgment of August last year declaring privacy as a fundamental right, he had termed the 1976 verdict in the famous ADM Jabalpur case in which his father was part of the majority judgment by a five-judge constitution Bench “seriously flawed.”
In the ADM Jabalpur case, the five-judge Bench by a majority verdict of 4:1, had said Article 21 is the sole repository of all rights to life and personal liberty and when suspended takes away those rights altogether.
13. Centre steps up grant for disaster fund
The Centre has enhanced its contribution in the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) from 75% to 90% with effect from April 1, the Union Home Ministry announced on Thursday. Kerala, which has recently faced the worst floods, will be a major beneficiary of the Centre’s decision. Henceforth all States will be required to contribute 10% to the SDRF.
The additional contribution by the Central government in SDRF on this account will be ₹1,690.35 crore for 2018-19 and ₹1,774.67 crore for the financial year 2019-20, a Home Ministry statement said.
14. Walmart Foundation to invest ₹180 crore
Walmart Foundation announced on Thursday that it would invest ₹180 crore in India over the next five years to improve farmers’ livelihood.
The funds would be used to support farmer organisations to develop knowledge of sustainable farming practices, share business best practices and add value to primary agricultural commodities. The money will also be used to improve access to finance and markets, the Foundation said in a statement.
Walmart India would grow its direct sourcing from farmers to 25% of the products sold in its Cash & Carry stores over the same period, according to the statement.
15. Tata arm may set up cybersecurity centres
Tata Communications is planning to set up Cyber Security Response Centres (CSRC) in Europe and the U.S. With the addition of the new centres, the total headcount would rise to 500 from the 300 now, said a senior company official. “We had said in 2016 an investment of $50 million would be made in CSRCs. We are building CSRCs in Europe and the U.S.,” said Srinivasan C.R., chief digital officer of Tata Communications.
16. India in last eight after 16 years
India entered the quarterfinals of the AFC U-16 football championship for the first time in 16 years after playing out a goalless draw with Indonesia here (Kuala lumpur, Malaysia) on Thursday.
India ended its group engagements with five points from three matches. Its previous best performance came way back in 2002, when it finished the group stage with four points.
With the draw, India finished runners-up in the group, and is likely to face Korea Republic in the next stage.
17. India to host Italy in Qualifiers
India will host Italy in the 2019 Davis Cup Qualifiers to be played on February 1 and 2, 2019. The draw was held in London on Wednesday.
India had lost 4-0 to Serbia in its World Group play-off tie but made the qualifiers owing to its superior ranking in the Asia-Oceania zone.
Hosting Italy will end India’s streak of three away ties, played over the last two years.
The Indians had travelled to Canada in September 2017, China in April and more recently, went to Serbia this month.
Meanwhile, Madrid has been chosen to host the first two new-format finals in 2019 and 2020, organisers said on Thursday.
Under a format proposed by the Kosmos group, headed by Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, and adopted by the ITF in August, the competition will bring together 18 nations in one place for a week at the end of the tennis season.
The revamped finals are scheduled to take place at La Caja Magica, the current venue for the Madrid Open, in 2019.
For 2020, organisers still must decide between the same location or at the WiZink Center.
18. Mary Kom named Tribes India brand ambassador
Boxer M.C. Mary Kom was on Thursday named as the brand ambassador of Tribes India, an initiative of Ministry of Tribal Affairs. “I am so happy to be a brand ambassador for Ministry of Tribal affairs for a good initiative,” Mary said.
Passenger Information and Coach Computing Unit (PICCU)
State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)
Department of Telecom (DoT)
Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA)
20. Things to Remember:
Rajni Kant Mishra is new chief of BSF
Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev
21. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Causing anger or another strong reaction, especially deliberately.
Example – ‘a provocative article’
Synonyms – annoying, irritating, exasperating, infuriating, provoking, maddening, goading, vexing, galling