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Day: January 6, 2018

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[6 Jan 2018 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority News Items of the Day:

Constitution Bench to look at adultery law

Terming the penal provision as archaic, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said it was time to reconsider its past decisions and consistent view from 1954 onwards that the penal provision was necessary to uphold family ties. Section 497 mandates that if a man has sexual intercourse with another’s wife without the husband’s “consent or connivance”, he is “guilty of the offence of adultery and shall be punished.”

We have recently written many newscards on the same issue. No need to go through every article related to it. We will definitely write newscards on it after the final judgement or any significant development.

 

Bengal’s burning shame

Dipak Rajak and Parul, parents of Deepawali, have nothing much to hold on to, except their daughter’s black diary in which she meticulously recorded details of her life right until that fateful day when acid was forced down her throat. Every moment of Deepawali’s life finds a mention in the diary. One of the last entries, months before the 24-year-old succumbed to her injuries, reads as follows (translated from Bangla).

The Op-Ed talks about an important issue of acid attacks. But no need to write down every detail discussed in the article. If you have time, then you can give it a read.


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Right To Privacy Constitution

[op-ed snap] This too is a right: the right to sexual privacy

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Joseph Shine v. The union of India, Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, Constitution Bench, K.S. Puttaswamy case (2017), Suresh Kumar Koushal case (2013), NALSA v. Union of India (2014)

Mains level: Adultery law and various issues related to it


Context

The law on adultery

  1. Joseph Shine v. The union of India, the petition challenging the constitutional validity of the criminal prohibition on adultery under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, has now been referred to the Constitution Bench by the Supreme Court
  2. The petition was admitted by the court with the preliminary observation that the provision attacks the independent identity of the woman and is archaic in its nature

The right to sexual privacy

  1. The right to privacy is valued and cherished for it involves the most intimate decisions and choices
  2. The right to engage in sexual intercourse is an intrinsic part of the right to privacy
  3. Privacy has to invariably contain the right to bodily integrity, self-determination and sexual autonomy

How is adultery law affecting the right to privacy?

  1. By criminalising adultery, the state is, in fact, showing a paternalistic attitude by telling individuals how to lead their lives and what behaviour to adopt
  2. It carries moralistic undertones of imposing what living an ideal life means for the state
  3. Such an approach seriously undermines the underlying values of personal liberty

Upholding right to privacy

  1. In the celebrated privacy judgment in K.S. Puttaswamy case (2017), exercising the police power of the state in matters of private choices was repelled by the apex court
  2. SC judge had said that anybody would not like to be told by the state as to what they should eat or how they should dress or whom they should be associated with either in their personal, social or political life
  3. It seems to follow that individuals must be free from the interference of the state in matters of their sexual choices, or even in choosing their sexual partner

Foreign jurisprudence

  1. None of the European countries has criminalised adultery
  2. In most of South America, adultery is no longer a crime
  3. Many States in the U.S. have either repealed adultery laws or put them to disuse
  4. Following this global trend, in 2012, a working group of the United Nations called upon countries to do away with laws penalising adultery

Approach of the Supreme Court of India

  1.  SC approach towards the right to sexual privacy has been ambivalent
  2. The judgment in Suresh Kumar Koushal case (2013) upholding the criminalisation of voluntary sexual intercourse between those of the same sex remains a serious blow to the right to sexual freedom
  3. Subsequently, in NALSA v. Union of India (2014), the Court said that the value of privacy is fundamental to those of the transgender community

Way forward

  1. Reviewing law on adultery is perhaps the first occasion where the privacy judgment in Puttaswamy case is going to be doctrinally and forensically tested
  2. It is equally crucial that the right to sexual privacy forms a distinct and independent ground
Women empowerment issues: Jobs,Reservation and education

Women to be inducted into Territorial Army

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Territorial Army, Indian Territorial Army Act, 1948

Mains level: Entry of women in combat roles across various security forces


News

HC orders TA to allow women 

  1. The Delhi High Court cleared the path for induction of women in the Territorial Army
  2. HC  observed that any provision that bars them from joining the Force was against the Fundamental Rights provided under the Constitution

HC decision

  1. Women are eligible for recruitment and appointment to the Territorial Army under Section 6 of the Indian Territorial Army Act, 1948
  2. It said the government has not given any rationale to justify its action of enforcing a bar against recruitment of women in the force
  3. The court noted that more and more countries have moved away from positions of total prohibition to permitting recruitment of women even in combat roles in the armed forces
  4. It listed around 22 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia, which permit recruitment of women even in combat roles

Back2Basics

Territorial Army

  1. Territorial Army is an organisation of volunteers who receive military training in order to be mobilised for the country’s defence in case of an emergency
  2. It is also known as the second line of defence after the regular Army
  3. The role of the Territorial Army is to relieve the regular Army from static duties and assist the civil administration in dealing with natural calamities
  4. It also helps in maintenance of essential services in situations where life is affected or the security of the country is threatened

 

Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments Agriculture

Come July, label mandatory for food certified as ‘organic’

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Food processing & related industries in India- scope & significance, location, upstream & downstream requirements, supply chain management.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FSSAI, NPOP, PGS-India, India Organic logo

Mains level: Different types of farming


News

Appropriate labelling of organic food mandatory

  1. From July 2018, it would be illegal to sell organic food that is not appropriately labelled
  2. The rules were finalised after almost a year of being sent out as a draft for public comments

Two authorities to provide certification

  1. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had issued regulations that required food companies selling organic produce to get certified with one of the two authorities — National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) or the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India)
  2. Companies could also get a voluntary logo from the FSSAI that marked its produce as ‘organic’

About NPOP and PGS-India

  1. For nearly two decades now, organic farming certification had been done through a process of third party certification under the NPOP
  2. It was run by the Ministry of Commerce and was used for certifying general exports
  3. Nearly 24 agencies were authorised by the NPOP to verify farms, storages and processing units and successful ones got a special ‘India Organic’ logo
  4. The PGS-India programme, in contrast, had been around for only two years
  5. It involves a peer-review approach
  6. Farmers played a role in certifying whether the farms in their vicinity adhered to organic-cultivation practices
  7. This programme was implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture through the National Centre of Organic Farming
Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc. Climate Change

Oceans losing oxygen, can damage marine life: study

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the study and importance of oxygen in the sea

Mains level: Ocean is an important part of earth’s ecosystems. Any damage to it will directly affect human beings.


News

A latest study published in journal ‘Science’

  1. The study said that in the past 50 years, the amount of water in the open ocean with zero oxygen has gone up more than fourfold and in coastal water bodies, including estuaries and seas
  2. And low-oxygen sites have increased more than 10-fold since 1950
  3. Scientists expect oxygen to continue dropping even outside these zones as Earth warms up

It can directly affect humans

  1. According to the study, the situation can cause serious damage to marine life, affect livelihoods of millions of people and trigger the release of dangerous greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide
  2. The danger due to low oxygen in oceans is manifold
  3. As per the study, even small oxygen declines can stunt growth in animals, hinder reproduction and lead to disease or even death

What should be done?

  1. To keep low oxygen in check, the scientists said the world needs to take on the issue from three angles—address the causes, nutrient pollution and climate change
Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports Security Issues

[op-ed snap] Enabling a law

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: SC’s direction to the governments. And some solutions discussed in the newscard.


News

SC’s direction on providing public facilities to the disables

  1. The Supreme Court has directed(for the rights of the disabled) to the Central and State governments to provide full access to public facilities, such as buildings and transport, within stipulated deadlines
  2. The court has issued a series of orders: that
    (1) all government buildings should be made accessible by June 2019
    (2) half of all government buildings in the capital cities should meet accessibility norms by December this year
    (3) the Railways should present a report in three months from December 15 on implementing station facilities
    (4)  10% of government public transport must be fully accessible by March 2018
    (5) advisory boards should be formed by the States and Union Territories in three months

Background of the issue

  1. People with a disability form 2.21% of India’s population according to the 2011 Census
  2. Disabled persons have had a law for two decades to enable their full participation in society, but successive governments have done little to realise those guarantees

What should be done?
On travel requirements of the disables

  1. It is eminently feasible, to aggregate the travel requirements of disabled people with the help of information technology and smartphones, and provide affordable shared transport using accessible vehicles
  2. Given the emphasis on smart cities and upgraded urban facilities, such schemes should be given the highest priority and start-up ideas roped in
    In Railways
  3. Railway stations and access to train carriages continue to pose hurdles for not just the disabled, but even elderly travellers
  4. The Railways should embark on an urgent programme to retrofit all stations
  5. And try simple solutions such as portable step ladders to help board and exit trains, since level boarding is not possible in most places

Is cost a hurdle?

  1. Cost(of providing facilities to the disables) is not the barrier to improving facilities; what is in short supply is the political will to change the design of public facilities and stick to professional codes
  2. Today India is relatively richer, and has passed a new law in 2016 to strengthen the rights of the disabled, should demonstrate the will to implement it
Banking Sector Reforms Finance and Banking

[op-ed snap] Three paradigms of banking regulation

Note4banks

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The newscard discusses evolution of banking regulations. And also talks about there importance from India’s point of view.


News

History of control over Banks

  1. Banks are among the most regulated businesses
  2. Ever since the inception of banking as a business in the medieval period, the state has exercised some form of control
  3. While banks have been regulated since their inception, the approach to regulation has followed an evolutionary path where we can discern different paradigms
  4. The Money paradigm, the Intermediation paradigm, and the emerging Marketplace paradigm(as described by the writer)

The Money paradigm

  1. It views banks essentially as monetary institutions whose primary role is to “create” money
  2. When banks are seen primarily as issuers of money, issuing loans is incidental
  3. The approach to bank regulation focuses on the role they play in the creation and use of money, and on controlling the price of money i.e interest rates
    Transformation from money paradigm to intermediation paradigm
  4. Central banks had became more powerful in the 20th century, with a monopoly in issuance of money which transformed note issuance of banks into deposits
  5. Post World War II, under the Bretton Woods system, the gold standard was abandoned and central banks started issuing “fiat” money, making the money role much less important
  6. The intermediation role became more prominent and progressively became the focus of regulation

The Intermediation paradigm

  1. I this, the role of banks is to use loans with deposits as “raw material”
  2. The Banking Regulation Act of 1949, defines banking as an activity of “accepting for the purpose of lending or investing, deposit of money from public”, thus indicating the primacy of the Intermediation paradigm
  3. The most prominent example of the Intermediation paradigm is the Basel regime that has at its core capital regulation based on risk-weighted assets

Issues with the above two paradigms

  1. These two traditional paradigms of bank regulation sit somewhat uncomfortably with each other
  2. The Money paradigm results in some form of administered interest rates, which will invariably result in mispricing of risk a
  3. And, hence, misallocation of capital by banks due to artificially and somewhat arbitrarily determined cost of funds
  4. The Intermediation paradigm, on the other hand, will mostly result in capital regulation with unregulated deposit pricing, which will invariably dampen monetary transmission
  5. As a result, the banking channel is quite poor in transmitting monetary policy, as we witness in India

The Marketplace paradigm

  1. The banking system can be viewed as a marketplace for funds where banks act as market makers
  2. Regulating market making is primarily about regulating the liquidity provided by the market maker
  3. In the more developed financial systems, there is a clear evolution of the regulatory approach from the Money to the Marketplace paradigm, reflecting the underlying evolution in the role and functioning of banks

The Marketplace paradigm in India

  1. As the financial markets develop in India and bank balance sheets have more tradable securities and loans, this paradigm will become more relevant

The way forward

  1. A comprehensive approach should carefully balance these three paradigms. Banks are a collection of several businesses and activities
  2. For specific businesses or activities, one of the three paradigms may be more relevant
  3. Especially for a developing country like India, the regulating banks(through the above discussed paradigms) is an important component of the management of the overall economy
Government Budgets Finance and Banking

Credit Enhancement Fund to be launched by March

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Credit Enhancement Fund, IIFCL

Mains level: Measures  being undertaken to ease flow of credit to infrastructure sector


News

Fund to raise credit rating

  1. The Credit Enhancement Fund, announced by the Finance Minister in the last Budget, is expected to be operational by the end of this fiscal
  2. The India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL) anchored fund will help raise credit rating of bonds floated by infrastructure companies and facilitate investments from long-term investors

Easy access to institutional financing

  1. The government has been thinking about credit enhancement to ease the flow of institutional credit to infrastructure projects
  2. Raising the credit rating of these companies would help easier access to institutional financing

LIC not anchoring the fund

  1. In the 2016-17 Budget speech, FM had proposed that the LIC will set up a dedicated fund to provide credit enhancement to infrastructure projects
  2. LIC could not anchor the proposed company because of regulatory issues
Economic Indicators-GDP, FD,etc Finance and Banking

GDP growth seen slowing to 4-year low of 6.5% in 2017-18

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Growth

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: GDP, Gross Value Added (GVA), Central Statistics Office (CSO), Purchasing Managers’ Index

Mains level: Factors affecting economic growth


News

GDP growth decelerating

  1. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) forecast that GDP growth in the current financial year ending March 31 will slow to a four-year low of 6.5%
  2. This will be down from the provisional 7.1% pace seen in 2016-17
  3. Growth will be dragged down by deceleration in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors

Advance estimates for National Income

  1. According to the first advance estimates of national income by CSO for 2017-18 Gross Value Added (GVA) was also projected to expand by 6.1% in 2017-18, slowing from 6.6% in the preceding fiscal year
  2. The CSO’s GVA full-year growth estimate of 6.1%, compares with a 6.7% pace that the Reserve Bank of India had forecast at its December policy meeting
  3. The central bank had at the time flagged rising oil prices and “shortfalls in kharif production and rabi sowing” as posing downside risks to the outlook for GVA growth
  4. The GVA growth rate for ‘agriculture, forestry, and fishing’ is expected to slow sharply to 2.1%, compared with the previous year’s 4.9% pace

Base effect in agriculture

  1. It is a base effect in agriculture because last year saw a very high growth rate as it followed two years of drought
  2. The Base effect relates to inflation in the corresponding period of the previous year
  3. If the inflation rate was too low in the corresponding period of the previous year, even a smaller rise in the Price Index will arithmetically give a high rate of inflation now

GDP growth will become more robust in 2018-19

  1. The optimism is due to  the momentum seen in the core sector growth, PMI indices and developed world economies
  2. The manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) has been showing an uptick in manufacturing and now has a reading at a five-year high of 54
  3. Further wearing off of the demonetization related residual effects as well as progressively stabilizing the transitionary effects of GST is likely to support the higher growth rate estimates
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