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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: 12-02-2019

National News

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.


60% children adopted in India between 2015 and 2018 are girls

  • India may have a skewed gender ratio, but the female child happens to be the first choice when it comes to adoption. The number of female children placed for in-country adoptions and inter-country adoptions between 2015 and 2018 are relatively higher than male children.

  • During this period, about 11,649 children were put up for in-country adoptions; of them 6,962 were girls and 4,687 were boys.

  • Of the 3,011 children that were placed for in-country adoption in 2015-16, as many as 1,855 were female children. In the year 2016-17, as many as 3,210 children were placed under in-country adoptions and of them 1,915 were females. The figures for 2017-18 and 2018-19 (till December 2018) were 3,276 and 2,152, of which the numbers of girl children were 1943 and 1249 respectively.

  • All the figures put together, female children comprise almost 60% of all in-country adoptions.

  • When it came to inter-country adoptions, the number of female children was even higher: 69%. Of the 2,310 children placed under adoption between the same period, 1,594 were females.

  • The data was tabled by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in the Lok Sabha

  • There was little doubt that more girls were being adopted and it reflected that gender bias and the attitude of people against the girl child are changing across the country. Ms. Kulkarni, who represents the NGO-run Specialised Adoption Agency in the CARA steering committee, said the whole issue of more girls getting adopted needs to be looked into with research.

  • Urban middle class people were preferring female children because they are concerned and aware of the situation of the girl child. The situation may not be the same for villages and small towns, she said.

Source: The Hindu







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.


Welcome shift

  • The transfer of the Muzaffarpur shelter home trial to Delhi is a major step towards justice

  • The Supreme Court’s order transferring the trial in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case from Bihar to a court in Delhi is a welcome intervention to ensure justice for the children who were sexually exploited.

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation had argued that the trial would not be fair if it was held in Muzaffarpur. In shifting it to a court notified under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act at Saket in Delhi, the apex court has once again demonstrated its lack of confidence in the Bihar government.

  • It had transferred the investigation from the State police to the CBI. Later, it asked the agency to take over the probe in respect of 16 other shelter homes for children, destitute women and senior citizens.

  • These interventions had become necessary, given the apparent apathy of the authorities in Bihar even after horrific instances of physical and sexual exploitation came to light last year.

  • The Bihar government asked the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to audit the short-stay and shelter homes, run by non-governmental organisations but funded by the government.

  • Last year, TISS came up with a damning report on the unsafe conditions in which children were staying in many shelter homes.

  • The Muzaffarpur home was among the worst: many girls reported physical and sexual violence. More than 30 girls below 17 have been sexually assaulted.

  • However, the subsequent response of the State government has not inspired much confidence.

  • Apart from some officials being suspended, and some of those involved arrested, the State government did not have much to show as stringent action. Its response came under adverse scrutiny.

  • A Bench of the Supreme Court found that 11 FIRs mentioned only minor offences, that is, “the least serious” of the offences involved. In the Muzaffarpur case, the court took note of the clout of Brajesh Thakur, whose NGO ran the shelter home concerned.

  • The girls in the shelter identified Chandrasekhar Verma, the husband of former Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma, as a frequent visitor. The Verma couple later surrendered to the authorities.

  • It is disquieting and significant that the court had to order Thakur’s transfer to a prison in Patiala to prevent him from exerting his influence on the authorities in Bihar.

  • The court is also separately monitoring the functioning of child care homes in Bihar. Meanwhile, it is high time that States bestowed sufficient attention to such institutions.

  • A recent Central government committee report highlighted the shocking inadequacies in the facilities available at most child care institutions and homes.

  • There is a strong case for a systematic scrutiny to be taken up on an urgent basis to address the problem

Source: The Hindu








General Studies-II : Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.


CAG report on Rafale deal to be tabled in Lok Sabha today

  • Amid new revelations that anti-corruption clauses in the Rafale deal with France were waived by the government, official sources have said the audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) is likely to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

  • Tuesday will be the penultimate day of the current Budget session, which is the last before the Lok Sabha election due in April.

  • However, officials said the CAG which went into the €7.87-billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France would not get into the pricing details, which had been withheld by the government citing an information security agreement between the two countries.

  • Opposition parties have also questioned the impartiality of the current CAG, Rajiv Mehrishi, in the audit, as he was an official in the Finance Ministry during the Rafale negotiations.

  • The Finance Ministry on Monday issued a statement that such an accusation was “totally a figment of imagination and stretch of facts”.

Source: The Hindu












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.


Bill to counter exploitation by NRI spouses

  • In a bid to counter growing incidents of exploitation of Indian women by NRI (Non Resident Indian) spouses, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday introduced a Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

  • The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that the Bill will create accountability and protect those who are trapped in fraudulent marriages and are abandoned by their spouses.

  • According to the new Bill, a marriage between an NRI and an Indian citizen will have to be registered within 30 days from the date of marriage.

  • Necessary legal provisions have been created in the criminal code and the Passports Act, 1967, to initiate action against erring NRI spouses.

  • It is expected that the Bill will serve as a deterrent for NRI spouses, who use marriages as a tool of exploitation.

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.


H-1B holders from India rally for reform

  • A group of mostly Indians on H-1B visas held a rally outside the White House on Sunday afternoon, demanding immigration law reforms to benefit those in the country legally. The rally, organised by the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), involved some 200-300 people.

  • Among the demands of the group was that the green card backlog be cleared with a waiting period of 1-5 years. The wait time, at present, can run into decades for employment-based green cards for Indians.

  • The group is also pushing for legal childhood arrivals (’LCAs’) to receive any benefits that individuals brought illegally to the U.S. as minors ( a group often referred to as ‘Dreamers’) might receive.

  • Nearly 7,00,000 such individuals have been protected by a Barack Obama-era programme called for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

  • H-1B visa holders, whose children and spouses get H4-dependent visas, are asking that H4 children be given green cards straight away, so that they can remain in the U.S. after they turn 21 without having to switch to another visa category or having to self-deport.

  • The third demand of those rallying was to remove the country caps for green card allotments.

  • Currently, no country may be allocated more than 7% (around 9,800) of the total number of green cards granted each year.

  • India, which sends a relatively large number of skilled workers to the U.S. each year — over 70% of all H-1B visas in fiscal year 2018 went to Indians — inevitably uses up all the green cards allocated to it.

  • China, Vietnam and the Philippines are other examples, though the excess demand for immigrant visas is far less in these countries.

  • Just under 3,07,000 Indians were waiting for green cards in May 2018, according to U.S. Citizenship and Information Services (USCIS) data. These numbers do not include dependent spouses and children whose green cards, when granted, also count against the overall cap.

  • In 2017, H.R. 392, a Bill introduced in the 115th Congress sought to end the per-country cap. Several groups, including the American Hospital Association, National Iranian American Council and Canadian Bar Association, had raised objections to this, concerned that it would crowd out applications from other countries.

  • Nevertheless, similar Bills have been introduced in the 116th Congress this year.

  • Democratic Senator Kamala Harris and Republican Senator Mike Lee introduced the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 which will eliminate country caps for employment-based green cards and increase the caps from 7% to 15% for family- based green cards.

  • A similar Bill has been introduced by Zoe Lofgren, a Representative from California in the House of Representatives.

  • The struggle for H-1B workers and families may go on for a while yet. Hours before Sunday’s rally, news had broken that the discussions between lawmakers and the President to avert another shutdown had broken down over disagreements over border security funding.

Source: The Hindu


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