» IMPORTANT NEWS ANALYSIS FOR UPSC 3 & 4 DEC 2017
IMPORTANT NEWS ANALYSIS FOR UPSC 3 & 4 DEC 2017
Note: The following Current affairs has been selected from AIR, PIB, PRS, BBC, The Hindu, IDSA (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses), Live mint, Indian Express, Quora.com, Hindustan Times, Telegraph, The Times , WTO, New Indian express , The Guardian and is highly recommended for UPSC Prelims and Mains Examination
General Studies-I :Social Empowerment
General Studies-II : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Disability rights over time
December 3 is observed every year as International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
According to the 2011 Census, 2.21% of the population has one or multiple types of disabilities, making the country home to one of the largest disabled populations in the world
History of disability rights movement:
- The disability rights movement gained momentum in the 1970s when disability was started to be seen as a human rights issue.
- The UN General Assembly proclaimed in 1976 that 1981 would be the International Year of Disabled Persons. Later, 1983-1992 was marked as the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons.
- The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), 2006 was a big step towards viewing persons as “subjects with rights” and not “objects of charity”.
- The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to “leave no one behind”. It states that persons with disabilities must be both “beneficiaries and agents of change”.
Government Initiatives to address concerns of the disabled:
- Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 Act recognises 21 kinds of disabilities compared to the previous seven, including dwarfism, speech and language disability, and three blood disorders.
- The new Act also increased the quota for disability reservation in higher educational institutions from 3% to 5% and in government jobs from 3% to 4%, for a more inclusive society.
- Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan- to enable better access of infrastructure to the disabled.
General Studies-II : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population
App to help counter sexual abuse in schools
The West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) is all set to launch a mobile app to teach schoolchildren how to counter the threat of sexual abuse.
The app will also create awareness among schoolchildren about the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO).
Salient Features of the Act
- This act is applicable to the whole of India and provides protection to children under the age of 18 years against sexual offences.
- Definition of sexual abuse – penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography, and deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority vis-a-vis the child, like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.
- It has raised the age of consensual sex from 16 years as per Indian Penal Code, 1860 to 18 years.
- Any person (including a child) can be prosecuted for engaging in a sexual act with a child irrespective of whether the latter consented.
- A husband or wife can be prosecuted for engaging in a sexual act with his or her spouse under the age of eighteen years.
- The burden of proof lies on the accussed – punishment has been provided for false complaints or false information with malicious intent.
- People who traffic children for sexual purposes are also punishable under the provisions relating to abetment in the Act.
- A person who has knowledge that a child has been sexually abused to report the offence; if he fails to do so, he may be punished with six months’ imprisonment and/ or a fine.
- The Act also casts the police in the role of child protectors and are given the responsibility of making urgent arrangements for the care and protection of the child, such as obtaining emergency medical treatment for the child and placing the child in a shelter home, should the need arise.
- The police are also required to bring the matter to the attention of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) within 24 hours of receiving the report, so the CWC may then proceed where required to make further arrangements for the safety and security of the child.
- The Act also makes provisions for the medical examination of the child designed to cause as little distress as possible. The examination is to be carried out in the presence of the parent or other person whom the child trusts, and in the case of a female child, by a female doctor.
- The Act further makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system. It provides for special courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child, in a manner that is as child-friendly as possible.
- The Special Court can determine the amount of compensation to be paid to a child who has been sexually abused for the child’s medical treatment and rehabilitation.
- The Act stipulates that a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported.
Positives of the Act
- The Act is a welcome piece of legislation, in that it recognises almost every known form of sexual abuse against children as punishable offences, leaving little room for ambiguity in its interpretation.
- Further, by providing for a child-friendly judicial process, the Act encourages children who have been victims of sexual abuse to bring their offender to book and seek redress for their suffering, as well as to obtain assistance in overcoming their trauma.
- It makes the different agencies of the State, such as the police, judiciary and child protection machinery, collaborators in securing justice for a sexually abused child.
The POCSO Act, 2012 does not recognize consensual sexual acts among children or between a child and an adult. And this is where the problem lies – especially in societies where legal literacy is poor.
Source: The Hindu,PRS
General Studies-III : Government Budgeting.
GST effect: shaky Budget in offing?
Revenue uncertainty due to the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax could pose very real problems for the government when the time comes for it to prepare the Budget for financial year 2018-19
- The GST Council, in its latest meeting on November 10, announced several moves to ease the compliance burden on businesses, including deferring return filing deadlines for both small and large businesses
- The Council also drastically reduced the tax rate on more than 200 goods, including most of the items in the highest 28% tax bracket.
- The Budget-making process will not be able to incorporate the recent and drastic rate reductions, since they came into effect on November 15. So, a full month’s data with the new rates will be available too late to incorporate in the Budget.
- In the absence of a clear revenue number in the Budget for targeted GST collections, it is unclear whether the recent monthly collections in the range of ₹90,000 crore-plus will be adequate from a revenue neutrality perspective
- In a normal year, businesses are conversant with the tax processes, and so know their tax liability, so the collections are usually in line with what is anticipated.
- However, this year, the uncertainty surrounding GST procedures and the leeway the government has given in terms of extended deadlines has meant that the indirect tax collections for the particular period are still being updated
- A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows revenue foregone by major taxes subsumed by GST (excise duty, service tax, countervailing duty, special additional duty, VAT, entertainment tax and luxury tax) amounts to about ₹12 lakh crore a year.
- Compensation payable to the States for any losses they incur due to GST. So far, the government has not estimated how much this would be.
- Advancement to February 1 is when they will present the Budget.
Source: The Hindu
General Studies-III : Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
What’s behind the bitcoin boom?
As the price of the bitcoin leapt past $10,000 this week, marking a tenfold gain in 2017, many investors seemed to nurse a ‘missed-out’ feeling.
Bitcoin mining and the rising demand:
- Algorithm to ‘mine’ blocks of bitcoins (new bitcoins are created when you use computers to solve complex mathematical problems set by the system), a finite limit on the bitcoins that could be mined for all time to come.
- The algorithm got more complex over time and that the bitcoin yield shrank in geometric proportion with each new block.
- This has effectively set a hard limit of 21 million on total bitcoin supply, of which an estimated 16.7 million (80 per cent) has already been mined.
- Mining new blocks now entails gigawatts of electricity and computing power.
- when unlimited demand chases finite supply, the result is sky-rocketing prices.
Bitcoin vis-a-vis stock market:
- Scarcity factor and the lack of a fair value measure makes the bitcoin a great playground for speculators, but a very uncomfortable one for long-term investors.
- Over the last five years, the maximum loss made by the BSE Sensex on any given day was 5.93%. Its biggest single-day gain was 3.8%. But the bitcoin, on its bad days, has proved five times as volatile as the Sensex.
- In 2014, thousands of bitcoins were stolen from the leading exchange Mt Gox which had to be shuttered.
Bitcoin as an alternative currency:
- Fiat currencies, which were being systematically debased by governments in the developed world.
- There was clamour for a globally-accepted medium of exchange that was free of political hegemony.
- But the volatility, hindered the adoption of bitcoin as a global alternative to conventional money.
- In India, the RBI is still undecided on the issue of how and if at all it will regulate virtual currencies. It has issued disclaimers that it hasn’t authorised bitcoins as a medium of exchange, warning investors of potential ‘financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security-related risks’ if they dabble in them.
General Studies-II : India and its neighborhood- relations.
First phase of Chabahar port opened
The port is expected to make Chabahar, Iran’s closest sea link to the Indian Ocean, a rival to the Gwadar Port, some 80 km away across the border in Pakistan
- India said the construction of the Chabahar port in Iran will contribute to regional trade and provide Afghanistan with “alternate access” to global markets
- feeder port to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) to Russia as well as land route to Central Asia
- It is also seen as a rival to the Chinese-built Gwadar port off Pakistan, about 80 km away, which is a critical link in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
- Regional rivalries should give way for “more engagement and unity” in the region.
- Iran has also invited other countries to develop the chabahar port .
General Studies-II : India and its neighborhood- relations.
BSF doubles down on Rohingya
Pushes back refugees using more men after identifying 167 points along Bangladesh border
Rawat leaves Centre red-faced
Confirms that Army entered Myanmar, even as India is working to improve ties
While India is working to improve ties with Myanmar, comments by the Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, confirming for the first time that Indian troops crossed into Myanmar in 2015 for operations, are being seen as a cause for concern.
Source: The Hindu
Other issues in news:
Dust-bowled In an unprecedented turn of events, the Sri Lankan cricket team held up play for 26 minutes during the third Test against India at the Ferozeshah Kotla Ground in New Delhi on Sunday, complaining of poor air quality that forced the hosts to declare their innings. The Sri Lankan players sported anti-pollution masks.
Watch out for ransomware in 2018: report
Cybersecurity giant says high net worth individuals and inter-connected home devices are at risk, McAfee Inc. warned in its latest prediction report
It is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
33 years later, Bhopal gas victims still fighting for justice
On the 33rd anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy on Sunday, more than 500 victims and their supporters marched to the abandoned Union Carbide India Limited plant in protest against the negligence on the part of the government.