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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


News Analysis: 12-07-2018

National News


General Studies-II : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Govt. leaves decision on Section 377 to the court

  • The government chose not to take sides on the question of the legality of Section 377 IPC, a provision which criminalises homosexuality, leaving the decision entirely to the Supreme Court.

  • The government’s decision to not contest writ petitions against Section 377 however came with a rider that the court should specify that the freedom to choose a partner does not extend to perversions like incest.

  • The prerogative of this hearing was to understand the nature of a relationship and bring it under the protection of Article 21 (fundamental right to life) of the Constitution.

  • The court was not confining its ambit merely to LGBTQ or sexual orientation. It is examining the aspect of two consenting adults who should not be liable for criminal action for their relationship.

  • The collapse of the citadel of Section 377 IPC will open the gates for people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community to come to court to overcome discrimination and claim their individual rights.

Source: The Hindu


General Studies-II : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Adultery must remain a punishable offence: Centre

  • The government on Wednesday submitted that dropping of adultery as an offence from the Indian Penal Code (IPC) will erode the sanctity of marriage and be detrimental to the “intrinsic Indian ethos.”

  • The Constitution Bench is scheduled to decide on whether the pre-Independence provision of adultery in the IPC treats a married woman as her husband’s “subordinate” and violates the constitutional concepts of gender equality and sensitivity. The petition filed by Joseph Shine seeks to drop Section 497 as a criminal offence from the statute book.

  • A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had observed that the provision raised a question mark on social progress, outlook, gender equality and gender sensitivity. It was time to bring to the forefront a different view with focus on the rights of women, Chief Justice Misra observed.

  • The Constitution Bench to be headed by Chief Justice Misra is likely to consider whether Section 497 treats the man as the adulterer and the married woman as a victim.

  • The larger Bench may also examine why the offence of adultery ceases the moment it is established that the husband connived with or consented to the adulterous act

Source: The Hindu


General Studies-II : Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.


Panel for automatic suspension in RS

  • The rules review committee set up by Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu has, in its interim report, made two key recommendations: automatic suspension of wilful offenders and changing question-hour timing

  • The report has to be approved by the Rules Committee of the Upper House, which is headed by Mr. Naidu and has members from across parties.

  • The automatic suspension of wilful offenders is a controversial clause that was debated by the Rajya Sabha secretariat when Hamid Ansari was the Chairman.

  • The Lok Sabha has a provision for automatic suspension, but in the Rajya Sabha, the House has to vote on the Chair’s suggestion to suspend a member; the chair can’t take the decision on its own.

  • Sources said the committee has recommended that a clause similar to one available in the Lok Sabha should be available to the Chair in the Rajya Sabha too. The other recommendation is to restore the question hour to 11 a.m. from noon.

Source: The Hindu


General Studies-III : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Centre upholds Net neutrality proposals

  • In a move that will ensure open and free Internet in India, the government has approved the principle of net neutrality.

  • This means that telecom and Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, site, platform, or application.

  • They cannot engage in practices such as blocking, slowing down or granting preferential speeds to any content.

  • The Telecom Commission (TC) — which is the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecom (DoT) — approved the recommendation made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) eight months ago.

  • Certain emerging and critical services will be kept out of the purview of these norms.

  • A separate committee has been set up under the DoT to examine what these critical services will be.

  • These may include autonomous vehicles, digital healthcare services or disaster management.

  • The regulator, in November 2017, batted in favour of Net neutrality.

  • The regulator had said, “Internet access services should be governed by a principle that restricts any form of discrimination or interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content.”

  • The regulator has further recommended establishing a multi-stakeholder not-for-profit body for the monitoring and enforcement of these principles.

Source: The Hindu



General Studies-III : Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


High on rhetoric

  • Punjab’s drug menace demands an all-out war that goes beyond empty gestures

  • It has taken Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh over a year and a half to launch his much-anticipated war on drugs.

  • This he did on July 4 by ordering mandatory drug tests for all government employees, including the police.

  • While this is welcome, even if belated, it is a very small and insubstantial measure towards curbing the pervasive drug menace.

  • For someone who promised to wipe out drugs from the State within a month of being elected, the conduct of annual drug tests on some 3.25 lakh employees is a piece of tokenism. More steps are needed; less missteps, too.

  • The decision of the Punjab Cabinet to recommend the death penalty to drug-peddlers is an example of the latter. Capital punishment is abhorrent.

  • Given that there is evidence that suggests it is also no guarantee of deterring crime, this is more of an empty signal.

  • What is required is a comprehensive war on drugs fought on several fronts, including interventions in the community to spread awareness and foster a culture against the use of drugs.

  • The challenges faced by the State are huge. Estimates vary but by some accounts as many as two-thirds of all households in Punjab have a drug addict in their midst.

  • Punjab’s prisons are overcrowded with drug-users and peddlers, and its streets and farms witness the easy availability of narcotics and opiates.

  • Last year the government arrested 18,977 peddlers and treated some two lakh addicts.

  • The sheer extent of the problem suggests it is more than just a few profiteers that have been responsible for causing this menace or helping to sustain it.

  • Something of this scale required a wide network, a well-oiled and smoothly run machinery that has the secret support and collaboration of at least a few of those who work in government.

  • Given the geography, the drugs, whether it is opium or heroin, make an easy and assisted entrance into Punjab from the Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan), and synthetic drugs are thought to come in via Himachal Pradesh.

  • That means those guarding Punjab’s 553-km border with Pakistan must take serious steps to plug the inflow.

  • The Central security forces are obviously beyond the control of Amarinder Singh. Therefore, security-planners in New Delhi have to make sure that the border is properly barred to the flow of narcotic substances.

  • This is a national problem as a substantial portion of the drugs that land in Punjab make their way to the rest of the country.

  • Given the links between drugs and terror, this poses a national security threat. Then there are the politicians.

  • The previous Akali Dal-BJP alliance had also promised to drain Punjab’s vast drug swamp.

  • The political class has a critical role to play in winning the war on drugs. It is not enough that politicians merely line up to have themselves tested for drugs to win political brownie points.

  • They need to put the State and the nation above self-serving political ends and agree that this battle must be fought in concrete ways, going beyond photo-ops and sound-bites.

Source: The Hindu

International News:

General Studies-II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


Iran softens stand, says it knows India’s concerns

  • A day after threatening to cut special privileges for India, Iran on Wednesday toned down its rhetoric and said that it “understands” the challenges Delhi is facing on the energy front.

  • An official statement from the Embassy of Iran conveyed that Tehran has always welcomed Indian initiatives in the port of Chabahar and urged Delhi to fast-track investments in the connectivity project.

  • India is a sovereign nation and taking into account many criteria including its friendly relations with supplier countries, market factors, geopolitical and geo-economical considerationsmarket factors, geopolitical and geo-economical consideration and potentials and reliability of the oil suppliers, chooses its energy partners

  • It is learnt that Indian diplomats reached out to their Iranian counterparts following the public statement which was made at an event which was also attended by the Ambassador of Venezuela, another major energy supplier to India.


India cuts Iranian oil imports in June ahead of U.S. sanctions

  • Indian refiners cut imports of Iranian oil last month as they started weaning their plants off crude from the country to avoid sanctions by the United States that are set to take effect in November.

  • India’s monthly oil imports from Iran declined to 5,92,800 barrels per day (bpd) in June, down 16% from May, according to data from industry and shipping sources.

  • The United States in May said it would reimpose the sanctions after withdrawing from a 2015 agreement with Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain, where Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of earlier sanctions.

  • The Indian refiners will want to comply with the limits to maintain their access to the U.S. financial system.


Source: The Hindu


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