Current Affairs 24th December 2017
Vijay Rupani, Nitin Patel get second term as CM
and Deputy CM of Gujarat on - 22nd December 2017
Sasikala summoned in Jayalalithaa death probe
by - Tamil Nadu government
Union Government to launch Ganga Gram project on - 23rd December 2017
Indian Coast Guard Commissions Sixth 105m
Offshore Patrol Vessel ‘Sujay’ on - 21st December
Vijay Rupani, Nitin Patel get second
term as CM and Deputy CM of Gujarat on - 22nd December 2017
The present Chief
Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani was guaranteed to remain at the post for a
2nd term in a row on 22nd December 2017. Rupani was also choose as the leader
of the BJP legislature party in the state.
was made by Union Finance Minister and Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley,
the central observer appointed by the BJP leadership for the
election. Along with Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was also
guaranteed to continue as the 2nd in command, after he was announced the
deputy leader of the legislature party.
Bharatiya Janta Party posted a 6th straight assembly elections victory in the
key western state of Gujarat on 18th December 2017. However, the
party that had set a goal of winning minimum 150 seats in the 182-member
Assembly, finally won just 99 seats, not even reaching the three-figure
mark that it had managed easily in the 2012 elections.
On the contrary, its main competitive, the Congress received itself with more
seats than their expectations, winning 77 seats, more than its 57 seats in
By continuing with the present leadership and not
making any big changes, the BJP is preparing itself for the forthcoming
2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In 2014, the party had secured all the 26 Lok Sabha
seats in the state and any decrease in this number could directly noticed
in the central leadership.
The main issues the party would need to attention on
including moneymaking prices to farmers, the jobs creation and increasing the
speed of industrial growth.
Sasikala summoned in Jayalalithaa death
probe by - Tamil Nadu government
Commission, established by the Tamil Nadu government to investigate the
demise of previous Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, on Friday
released summoned her former assistant VK Sasikala.
presently serving a 4-year jail in Bengaluru's Parapana Agrahara jail after
being guilty in the disproportionate assets case by the Supreme
Court. The panel, which is led by retired judge A Arumughaswamy, has
provided Sasikala with 15 days to reply to the issued summons.
It is yet to be
finalized if Sasikala will appear in person or via a video conference.
Sasikala had been
Amma's best friend for more than thirty years. In year 2011, Sasikala and
her Mannargudi family had been stroked out by Jayalalithaa.
few years, Sasikala arranged a return with her sister Jayalalithaa. At a
time when there is intense guesswork even after 1 year of the former Tamil Nadu
Chief Minister's death on various issues relating to her illness and her
treatment, Sasikala was the one who passed much of the time with her.
Union Government to launch Ganga Gram
project on - 23rd December 2017
Government is going to formally launch the Ganga Gram plan at the Ganga Gram
Swachata Sammelan in New Delhi on 23rd December 2017. The plan, which
is a part of the government’s clean Ganga objective- Namami Gange, is a united
approach towards the village's holistic development situated on the banks
of Ganga with the active participation of villagers.
The event will be organized by Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation
Uma Bharti. It will be addressed by Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation
Minister Nitin Gadkari and Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh
Did you know?
In August 2017, the Union government had announced
all 4,470 villages on the banks of the Ganges, situated in Uttarakhand,
Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, as open defecation-free.
Of these villages, the Centre and the state
governments have recognized 24 villages to be taken up under a pilot project to
convert them into 'Ganga Grams.
The project forecasts solid and liquid waste
management, restoration of ponds and water resources, organic farming,
horticulture, water conservation projects and promotion of medicinal plants.
The recognized villages will set the benchmark for
cleanliness and joint efforts of development and will be changed into
Ganga Grams by 31st December 2017.
Indian Coast Guard Commissions Sixth
105m Offshore Patrol Vessel ‘Sujay’ on - 21st December 2017
The Indian Coast
Guard Ship ‘Sujay’, the 6th in the series of six 105m Offshore Patrol Vessel
was appointed into service in Goa on 21st December 2017.
was done by the Director General of Indian Coast Guard, Rajendra Singh in the
presence of senior officials from Coast Guard, CMD Goa Shipyard Limited
and other senior officials of the Central and State Government. The
ship is located at Paradip, Odisha under the operational and administrative
control of Commander Coast Guard Region (North-East).
The 105 meters OPV has been fabricated and
constructed indigenously by Goa Shipyard Ltd and is equipped with
state-of- the-art navigation and communication apparatus, sensors and
Its special features include 30mm CRN 91 Naval Gun,
Integrated Bridge System, Power Management System, Integrated Machinery
Control System and High Power External Fire Fighting System.
The ship is planned to carry 1 twin engine Light
Helicopter and 5 high speed boats including 2 Quick Reaction Inflatable
Boats for swift boarding performances, law enforcement, search and rescue and
The ship is also efficient of carrying pollution
response apparatus to handle oil spill at sea.
The ship’s name ‘Sujay’ means ‘Great Victory’, which
is a prediction of the Indian Coast Guard’s will and promise “to serve and
protect” the maritime interest of the country.
The appointment of the ship will strengthen the
Indian Coast Guard’s operational capability to destroy the diverse
It will also help strengthen up the maritime
protection of our huge coastline of Eastern Seaboard in general and the
maritime state of Odisha and West Bengal.
Editorial: Should adultery be a
Court said the dusty Victorian
provision of adultery in the Indian Penal Code treats a married woman as her
The court admitted a petition to drop adultery as a criminal offence from
the statute book. SC mentioned in its order ‘the Time has come when the society
must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every respect’
does adultery means?
Adultery means voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person other
than with spouse. The legal definition of adultery however varies from country
to country and statute to statute. While at many places adultery is when a
woman has voluntary sexual intercourse with a person other than her husband, at
other places adultery is when a woman has voluntary sexual intercourse with a
third person without her husband’s consent.
Though the modern trend is to decriminalize adultery, historically, many
cultures have regarded adultery as a crime. Jewish, Islamic, Christian and
Hindu traditions are all unequivocal in their condemnation of adultery.
Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
In India the offence of adultery is punishable under Section 497 of the
Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860. As it stands, this Section makes only men having
sexual intercourse with the wives of other men without the consent of their
husbands punishable and women cannot be punished even as abettors.
The Report of the Malimath Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms and the
42nd Report of the Law Commission of India recommended redefining Section 497
to make women also punishable for adultery.
Analysis of Section 497
Critics of Section 497 allege that the law is sexist in nature, for it
only criminalises the conduct of the man while excusing the woman. They say
that in making the husband the only person who can prosecute for adultery, the
law is founded upon the idea that the status of the wife in a marriage is akin
to that of the property of the husband.
Section 497 penalizes sexual intercourse of a man with a married woman
without the consent of her husband when such sexual intercourse does not amount
to rape. He is punishable with imprisonment of up to five years.
That is, it draws a distinction
between consent given by a married woman without her husband’s consent and a
consent given by an unmarried woman.
It does not penalize the sexual
intercourse of a married man with an unmarried woman or a widow or even a
married woman when her husband consents to it.
In case the offence of adultery
is committed, the husband cannot prosecute his unfaithful wife but can only
prosecute her adulterer.
What is interesting here is
that the section itself expressly states the unfaithful wife cannot be punished
even as an abettor to the crime.
The offence of adultery therefore is an offence committed against the
husband of the wife and not against the wife.
The Constitutionality of Section 497 was challenged before the Supreme
Court under Article 14 on the grounds that it makes an arbitrary discrimination
based on sex.
Why Women are not punished for Adultery
The offence of Adultery did not punish women but still existed in the
code because at the time the enforced law was enacted polygamy was deep rooted
in the society. Women were treated as victims of the offence of adultery.
The legislative intent behind the enactment of Section 497 is quite
different from what is perceived. In 1847, the Law Commission of India was
given the responsibility of drafting a new penal code. The Commission rendered
liable only the male offender, keeping in mind “the condition of the women in
this country” and the law’s duty to protect it.
The provision was therefore made to restrict men from having sexual
relations with the wives of other men and at the same time to restrict their
extra marital relations to unmarried women alone.
Apex court’s observation
Court said the dusty Victorian
provision of adultery in the Indian Penal Code treats a married woman as her
The apex court in its recent observation opined that this provision
treats women as personal property. It observed that the fulcrum of offence
within the Section is destroyed if the husband were to consent to the wife
having a relationship with another man.
Marriage remains a strong bastion of patriarchy. At its core, marriage
builds a power hierarchy that is unequal for women. It isn’t surprising that
apologists often quote the argument of the sanctity of marriage to support the
criminalisation of adultery. The laws lend themselves well to bring about the
submission of women, with the patriarchal structures prevalent in marriage as
No marriage or alliance can take away one’s right over one’s own body.
Therefore, while the law on adultery as it is today in the IPC is
discriminatory on the ground of sex; the very existence of adultery in the
criminal statute is violative of the fundamental right to life and to live with
dignity. No doubt that the law, as it stands, is inadequate.
Role of women and women’s organization.
digital gender gap could further marginalise women: Unicef
Context: UNICEF has
released the 2017 edition of its annual flagship publication “The State of
the World’s Children Report”. Themed “Children in a digital world”, the
latest report provides country-level examples to give a sense of the kinds of
barriers girls and women confront.
of the report:
§ With less than one-third
of India’s internet users being females, the country’s girls and women risk
becoming further marginalised in society and at home if they remain digitally
illiterate in the backdrop of the country making a public push towards a more
§ Globally, 12% more
men than women used the internet in 2017. In India, where only 29% of all
internet users are female, girls in rural areas often face restrictions on
their use of ICTs solely because of their gender.
§ Digital divides
can mirror broader societal divides — between rich and poor, cities and rural
areas, between those with or without an education — and between women and men.
India is one place in which the digital divide highlights society’s deep
digital gender divide:
divide is caused by a number of factors — social norms, education levels, lack
of technical literacy and lack of confidence among them — but is often rooted
in parents’ concern for the safety of their daughters. Many fear that allowing
girls to use the internet will lead to liaisons with men, bringing shame on the
family. For most girls, if they are allowed to use the internet, their every
move is monitored by their parents or brothers.
In a society that
is still largely patriarchal, for girls, traits like deference and obedience
are often valued over intelligence and curiosity. In some households,
technology is not seen as necessary or beneficial for girls and women.
of digital gender gap is necessary?
If girls and women
remain digitally illiterate, they risk becoming further marginalised in society
and at home. Therefore, bridging gender gap is necessary. Besides, digital
connection and literacy offer advantages in a knowledge-based society,
improving children’s lives and their future earning potential.
Population and associated issues, poverty and
developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
Context: The Ministry of
Drinking Water and Sanitation has launched the Ganga Gram Project under the
Namami Gange Programme, for holistic sanitation development in villages on the
banks of River Ganga. These villages will set the bench mark of cleanliness and
integrated effort of development. These will be converted into Ganga Grams by
31st December 2018.
Ganga Gram vision
is an integrated approach for holistic development of villages situated on the
banks of River Ganga with active participation of the villagers. The objectives
of Ganga Gram Project include solid and liquid waste management, renovation of
ponds and water resources, water conservation projects, organic farming,
horticulture, and promotion of medicinal plants.
programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river
Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all
stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar
Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. The programme envisages: River
Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development,
Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.
The program would
be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state
counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs). In
order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for
project monitoring comprising of
a) High level task
force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level,
b) State level
committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and
c) District level
committee chaired by the District Magistrate.
emphasizes on improved coordination mechanisms between various
Ministries/Agencies of Central and State governments.
What is it?
‘Vahan’ is the
name of the national vehicle registry, which intends to collate all the
information available with road transport authorities for easy access by both
citizens and regulators. Data available with over 90% of all road transport
authorities including RTOs and district transport offices have been
computerised so far. As a result, Vahan now contains about 21.68 crore vehicle
records in its repository.
What is it for?
access to all details related to vehicles such as registration number,
chassis/engine number, body/fuel type, colour, manufacturer and model and
provides various online services to citizens. Driving Licence and related data
are automated through a separate application called ‘Sarathi’.
Why is it
Vahan has been
designed to capture all the information mandated by the Central Motor Vehicle
Act 1988 as well as State Motor Vehicle Rules. It has been customised to suit
the varied requirements of all States and Union Territories. This way, the
system ensures access to such information from anywhere. Besides,
centralisation of data through the creation of the State and National
Registries under Vahan also helps address the needs of RTOs, police and motor
Department will also have access to the registry. The information available
online can help in resolving crimes such as theft of vehicles and usage of fake
registration numbers. Traffic-check points can cross-check the validity of the
documents such as licences presented by motorists through hand-held devices.
Enforcement activities such as issue of challan and settlement of penalty
amount can also be carried out through Vahan. Banks, which may have given out
loans for vehicle purchases, will also have access to the National/State
Registry to track the status of vehicles under lien.
insurance companies have also been encouraged to upload data of insured
vehicles on Vahan. When the process is completed, it will help in tracking
vehicles that have not obtained an insurance cover or vehicles that have not
renewed their covers.
multiple visits to the RTO, extensive paperwork, queues, middlemen and bribes,
all of which are today a part of package if you own a vehicle, will be a thing
of the past. Vahan helps carry out most of the RTO related transactions
including payments, online. Other services such as transfer of ownership,
change of address, issue and renewal of permits and fitness certificates are
also available at the click of the mouse. The need for ‘No objection
certificate’ for transfers will be eliminated since all RTOs will have access
to the centralised data.
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning,
mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
correction action (PCA)
Context: The Reserve Bank
of India (RBI) has once again clarified that prompt correction action (PCA) is
imposed to encourage banks to improve their financial health. The reiteration
comes in the wake of rumours on social media that some of the banks that are under
PCA could be closed down.
What is PCA?
PCA norms allow
the regulator to place certain restrictions such as halting branch expansion
and stopping dividend payment. It can even cap a bank’s lending limit to one
entity or sector. Other corrective action that can be imposed on banks include
special audit, restructuring operations and activation of recovery plan. Banks’
promoters can be asked to bring in new management, too. The RBI can also
supersede the bank’s board, under PCA.
When is PCA
The PCA is invoked
when certain risk thresholds are breached. There are three risk thresholds
which are based on certain levels of asset quality, profitability, capital and
the like. The third such threshold, which is maximum tolerance limit, sets net
NPA at over 12% and negative return on assets for four consecutive years.
What are the types
There are two type
of restrictions, mandatory and discretionary. Restrictions on dividend, branch
expansion, directors compensation, are mandatory while discretionary
restrictions could include curbs on lending and deposit. In the cases of two
banks where PCA was invoked after the revised guidelines were issued — IDBI
Bank and UCO Bank — only mandatory restrictions were imposed. Both the banks
breached risk threshold 2.
What will a bank
do if PCA is triggered?
Banks are not
allowed to re new or access costly deposits or take steps to increase their
fee-based income. Banks will also have to launch a special drive to reduce the
stock of NPAs and contain generation of fresh NPAs. They will also not be
allowed to enter into new lines of business. RBI will also impose restrictions
on the bank on borrowings from interbank market.
Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in
industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
Context: In a sign that
India’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations could slow further, the
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has taken a strong stand that the country
should restrain itself from concluding any such pact from which it would not
gain in the medium term. The Ministry has called for observance of due
restraint and not conclude trade arrangements which are not to India’s medium
term advantage. A lot of India’s free trade agreements have not served as well
as they could have.
The statement is
significant coming ahead of the ASEAN-India commemorative summit to be held on
January 25, where the issue of the long-delayed Regional Comprehensive Economic
Partnership (RCEP) will likely take centre stage.
Though larger FTAs
are important for getting preferential access to the markets, it is important
to be cautious about the manner in which such arrangements work out in respect
of India’s imports as well as on the country’s efforts to increase the share of
manufacturing sector in the economy.
What you need to
know about RCEP?
RCEP is proposed
between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN
has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New
were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. RCEP
is viewed as an alternative to the TPP trade agreement, which includes the
United States but excludes China.
associated with RCEP:
Emphasis of RCEP
is on trade in goods and the same enthusiasm is not shared for trade in
services. The reluctance in giving market access for trade in services is a big
challenge for India. While there is immense pressure on India in the RCEP
negotiations to commit to opening up (90%) of its traded goods, what is
troubling the government is the fact that other RCEP countries have so far been
lukewarm to India’s demands for greater market access in services, particularly
on easing norms on the movement of professionals and skilled workers across
borders for short-term work.
India, which is
defensive regarding opening up its goods sector, is currently virtually
isolated in the RCEP talks. Also, existing huge goods trade deficit has led to
questions on whether the pact is only helping ASEAN nations and not benefiting
What needs to be
strategy has to be guided by the ‘Make In India’ initiative that aims to boost
domestic manufacturing and job creation within India. In return for greater
market access in goods, India, with its large pool of skilled workers and
professionals, should try to use the RCEP to gain on the services side, by
securing commitments from the other nations to mutually ease norms on movement
of such people across borders for short-term work.
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation,
environmental impact assessment.
unveils anti-smog cannon in fight against Delhi pollution
Context: With pollution
levels in Delhi showing no signs of improvement and the city having smog as one
of the main issues faced, the state government has introduced its latest weapon
to combat the deadly smog. The Delhi government has tested ‘anti-smog guns in the
capital to deal with the winter smog.
What is Anti-smog
Anti-smog gun is a
device that sprays atomised water into the atmosphere to reduce air pollution.
Connected to a water tank and mounted on a vehicle, the device could be taken
across the city to spray water to settle dust and other suspended particles.
How it operates?
The fog cannon,
also dubbed as the ‘anti-smog cannon’, comprises a cylindrical drum with a tank
to store water and a high-velocity exhaust fan. The water is pumped from the tank
to the exhaust fan which blows out water in the form of micro droplets. The
theory is that the sprayed water will cling on to the pollutants — particularly
particulate matter PM2.5 and PM10 — and wash it down creating the effect of
rain. The current trials will be used to find if the theory holds true.
This move is
inspired by the Chinese water cannons that were used by the authorities there
with some success. The idea is that it reduces air pollution by binding dust
and other particulate matter, and bring them down to the ground level. This
could be of use in an arid place like Delhi. The plan has been made by looking
at the three major sources of pollution–transport, industry, and road dust and
Facts for Prelims:
What is it? It is a recently
discovered frog species from Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Subansiri district, one
of the five discovered in India in the recent times and the 59th in the world.
species is sighted during the wet season, from April to September. They are not
seen in the dry seasons. It is a genus of true frogs (Ranidae) from East Asia
and surrounding regions including India. This new species inhabits moss and
fern covered rocky stratum along hill streams in mixed wet tropical forest
Location: The new species
was discovered from Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS). Talley is a plateau
with dense forest of silver fir trees, pine clad plateau of beautiful grandeur,
and a vast wasteland. The area has some of the most important endangered
species including the clouded leopard.
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