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: 12-01-2019
General Studies-II : 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.
#MeToo: time limit on filing complaints likely to be relaxed
A government sub-committee formed in the wake of the #MeToo movement to recommend ways to prevent sexual harassment at workplace is likely to propose waiving the three-month time limit for victims to file complaints as laid down under the law.
The sub-panel headed by a Special Secretary-level officer from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has met thrice so far and is in the process of drafting its recommendations. These will be presented before a four-member Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
According to a government official in the know of the Committee’s deliberations, relaxing the three-month window provided to victims for filing complaints will require an amendment to the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace (PoSH) Act, 2013.
Section 9 of the law lays down that a complaint will have to be filed within three months of an incident taking place.
However, until the law is amended, the sub-panel may recommend that an Internal Committee can relax the three-month window after a “speaking order” or after noting down proper reasoning for waiving the time limit.
Late last year, many from the Indian media and entertainment industry took to Twitter to share personal accounts of being sexually assaulted and harassed by colleagues and seniors at workplaces.
Many of these allegations, such as those against former Union Minister M. J. Akbar, were about incidents that were several years, and sometimes many decades, old.
It is reliably learnt that some members wanted no time restriction at all on the filing of complaints.
The Committee is also likely to propose that members of Internal Committees be treated on a par with “public servants” as defined under Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code so that they have immunity from prosecution.
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.
ISRO cranks up Gaganyaan project
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday said work on ‘Gaganyaan’, the project to send a manned mission to space by 2022, would start soon at the newly created Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).
The Human Space Flight Centre [based in Bengaluru] will carry out all activities related to the human programme. Under it will function the Gaganyaan Project
The heavy lift launch vehicle GSLV Mark III, which got operational in November after its second successive flight in a row, must be suitably certified or human-rated. It will have two non-crew flights in December 2020 and July 2021.
The actual flight with crew is targeted to happen by December 2021 — to meet the Prime Minister’s goal of August 2022, India’s 75th Independence anniversary.
Trusted workhorse set to get new features
Upcoming mission to use PSLV-DL, which will sport two strap-on boosters to give added thrust
With the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) planning to keep the fourth and final stage of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) ‘alive’ in space as a useful ‘orbital platform’, the rocket — popularly dubbed ISRO’s trusted workhorse — is getting added features.
Set for lift-off this month with the Microsat-R payload, the upcoming PSLV-C44 mission will see a new variant of the PSLV in use. This variant, tagged PSLV-DL, will be the first to sport two strap-on boosters for providing added thrust.
Its final and fourth stage — PS4 — will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries, but no solar panels.
An in-house technology, the lithium-ion cells are critical to keep the spent stage in orbit. Solar panels will be added, in all likelihood, in the next mission, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director S. Somanath says.
ISRO had hit upon the idea of transforming the expendable fourth stage into a makeshift satellite to reduce space debris. In a normal scenario, the initial stages of the rocket, once they detach, drop back into the sea. However, stage four, after releasing the payload, wanders around in space as junk.
If the plan is successful, the spent stage will be automatically ‘recycled’ into a valuable platform for space-based experiments
Source: The Hindu
General Studies-III : Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
8 people from India have joined Al Qaeda wing: NIA
Around eight men from Kerala and Karnataka are said to have joined Jabat Al-Nusra, a former Al Qaeda outfit, in Syria, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) official said.
The NIA has registered a case against the suspects and begun investigations. This is the first time that the agency has filed a case against Indians for joining a terrorist outfit other than the Islamic State in Syria.
A senior NIA official said none of the accused left from India; they travelled to Syria from Qatar, where they were working.
Source: The Hindu
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.
Wall of shame
The shutdown over the Mexico wall demand will long define Donald Trump’s presidency
It began as a populist campaign promise that brought President Donald Trump’s supporters cheering to their feet and paved the way for his election.
Now, the border wall with Mexico has become a morass of partisan bickering that has stalemated the U.S. federal government into a three-week-long shutdown, leaving nearly 800,000 public sector workers furloughed without pay.
At the heart of this political crisis is the increasingly bitter polarisation of public opinion over immigration.
On the one hand, Mr. Trump has steadily contributed to the strident and crude anti-migrant rhetoric, characterising prospective migrants from Latin America as drug-dealers, rapists and violent criminals and shutting down the U.S. border to travellers from certain Muslim-majority countries.
On the other, his insistence that he will not sign any appropriations bill to break the funding logjam in Congress and end what could soon become the longest shutdown in U.S. history, unless that bill includes $5.7 billion in financing for a border wall, has gone down badly with Democrats, who control the House.
Matters took a darker turn as Mr. Trump doubled down on his refusal to negotiate over funding for the wall and said he may declare a state of national emergency over this uncomfortable status quo.
There are disquieting questions about the veracity of some of Mr. Trump’s claims: migrant border crossings have been in decline for the best part of two decades; it is through legal ports of entry and not unauthorised crossing points that hard drugs such as heroin enter the U.S.; and even the State Department has admitted that no terror operatives have entered the U.S. through Mexico.
Then there is the more blatantly flawed reasoning touted by the President that “Mexico will pay” for the wall. Now it appears that even Mr. Trump is backing down on his claim, arguing that Mexico would only “indirectly” fund it through trade deals.
It is well-known that only corporations pay tariffs under these deals, not governments, and hence no such payment will come from Mexico.
Even as the acerbic back-and-forth between Mr. Trump and Congressional Democrats continues, the deeper malaise is a profound disagreement among Americans on what their nation’s very soul stands for.
Is the U.S. truly a melting pot, a country built on the prowess of entrepreneurship and technology, in large part driven by immigrants seeking the “American dream”?
Or is it a declining world power that has squandered too much to other nations and peoples and is readying itself for an uncompromising battle to claw back what it reckons it has lost? If it is the latter, then we could expect Mr. Trump’s vision to succeed, but if not, a course correction is in order.
Source: The Hindu
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