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Daily News Analysis 11-03-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India may allow Pak to examine 26/11 witnesses (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Continuing with its flexible policy on security cooperation with Pakistan, the government will consider it if Pakistan makes a request to cross-examine Indian witnesses in the 26/11 terror attacks case.

2.

We are short of aircraft to face wars: IAF (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     At a time when South Asia is seeing induction of advanced fighter aircraft in large numbers, a senior Air Force officer said that the current fighter strength of the country is inadequate to handle a two-front war.

3.

Suu Kyi ruled out as President, close aide nominated instead (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     On March 10, Aung San Suu Kyi was finally ruled out of the running to become Myanmars next President, as her party nominated one of her most loyal aides to rule the formerly junta-run nation as her proxy.

4.

New deal for Sri Lankas plantation community (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Acknowledging that social indicators of the one-million-strong plantation community in Sri Lanka are well below the national standards, the govt unveiled a five-year action plan, which seeks to improve the plight of the community in various sectors and envisages an investment of around $690 million.

5.

RS passes long-awaited Bill to protect homebuyers (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Rajya Sabha passed a landmark Real Estate Bill with a promise to secure the interests of homebuyers and developers in equal measure and remove corruption and inefficiency from the sector.

6.

Tussle continues over Aadhaar Bill (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The question of whether or not the Aadhaar Bill is a Money Bill continues to vex Parliament, with the Rajya Sabhas Business Advisory Committee meeting ending inconclusively after the Opposition demanded specific clauses of Article 110(1) of the Constitution that defines a Money Bill to be part of Speaker Sumitra Mahajans certification of it as such.

7.

Azaadi from a colonial rule book (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Sections 377 and 124A of the Indian Penal Code highlight how the British left their stamp upon Indias criminal law in a manner entirely inconsistent with a democratic, constitutional republic. Parliament must take stock of the IPC for the first time in its 156-year history.

8.

Finally, a bacterium that degrades polluting plastics identified (Page 13)

a)     S&T

b)     Environment

a)     A bacterium species capable of breaking down plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) has been identified by a team of Japanese researchers.

9.

Navigation satellite placed in orbit (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)    On March 10th, ISRO successfully put into orbit Indias sixth dedicated navigation satellite (the IRNSS-1F).

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India may allow Pak to examine 26/11 witnesses (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Mumbai terror attacks 2008

d)      LeT

e)     Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)

a)    Continuing with its flexible policy on security cooperation with Pakistan, the government will consider it if Pakistan makes a request to cross-examine Indian witnesses in the 26/11 terror attacks case.

b)     A Pakistani anti-terrorism court hearing the Mumbai attacks case asked the FIA on to produce all the 24 witnesses connected with the attack.

c)     The court in Islamabad is holding the trial of the seven accused, including Mumbai attack mastermind and LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

d)     The list of the witnesses to be examined by the Judicial Commission had been agreed upon by the two governments, as were the terms of reference of the Judicial Commission.

2.

We are short of aircraft to face wars: IAF (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Rafale deal

b)     Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)

c)     Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile

d)     Surface to Air Missile (SAM)

e)     MiG

f)     Su-30s

g)     F-16 fighters

 

a)     At a time when South Asia is seeing induction of advanced fighter aircraft in large numbers, a senior Air Force officer said that the current fighter strength of the country is inadequate to handle a two-front war.

b)     He said steps are being taken to address the issue and the government-to-government agreement for 36 Rafale aircraft was agreed to in this regard.

c)     The Air Force has a sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons but the numbers are steadily dropping with the MiG series being phased out and the squadron strength is at its lowest at 33.

d)     Another concern is the low serviceability of various aircraft, especially the Su-30s, 272 of which will eventually be fielded by the IAF.

e)     This, at a time when Pakistan is inducting JF-17 fighters in large numbers and set to receive eight more F-16 fighters from US. Meanwhile, China is likely to receive the first of the 24 Su-35 jets from Russia by year-end even as its fifth generation aircraft programmes make progress.

f)     However, the Air Force has something to cheer as the indigenously developed LCA is expected to get Final Operational Clearance in the next six months.

g)     The Advanced Light Helicopter will fire rockets and the LCA will demonstrate swing role capability by simultaneously firing a BVR missile and precision guided bombs. The indigenously developed BVR missile Astra will be fired from a Su-30 jet while Akash SAM will perform live firing for the first time.

3.

Suu Kyi ruled out as President, close aide nominated instead (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    Myanmar internal issues

b)     National League for Democracy (NLD)

 

a)  On March 10, Aung San Suu Kyi was finally ruled out of the running to become Myanmars next President, as her party nominated one of her most loyal aides to rule the formerly junta-run nation as her proxy.

b)     Despite being barred from the top office by an army-scripted Constitution, Suu Kyi has vowed to rule above the President, as she strives to fulfil the huge mandate delivered by millions of voters in her NLDs landslide election victory in November.

c)     At a parliamentary session, Htin Kyaw (a genial 69-year-old economics graduate who now helps run Suu Kyis charitable foundation) was named as one of the partys two presidential candidates.

d)     He is widely seen as the anointed person to rule in her place as President when incumbent Thein Sein ends his five-year term at the end of March.

e)     The NLD also nominated ethnic Chin MP Henry Van Theu (a law graduate) as a presidential candidate from the upper house. He is expected to become Vice-President.

f)     Myanmars next govt faces soaring expectations in the country of 51 million eager to see further changes as it shakes off the shackles of junta rule and international isolation.

4.

New deal for Sri Lankas plantation community (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas internal issues

b)     Tea plantation in Sri Lanka

a)     Acknowledging that social indicators of the one-million-strong plantation community in Sri Lanka are well below the national standards, the govt unveiled a five-year action plan, which seeks to improve the plight of the community in various sectors and envisages an investment of around $690 million.

b)     Constituting 5 percent of the countrys population, the plantation community (living in Central, Uva, Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces) is employed by 23 regional plantation companies and small holders in the segments of rubber and tea.

c)     It forms the backbone of the tea industry, which records export earnings of around $1.5 billion annually, about one-fourth of the countrys total export earnings.

5.

RS passes long-awaited Bill to protect homebuyers (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Real Estate Bill  

b)     Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2015

a)     The Rajya Sabha passed a landmark Real Estate Bill with a promise to secure the interests of homebuyers and developers in equal measure and remove corruption and inefficiency from the sector.

b)     Real estate contributes nine percent to the national GDP and the Bills passage was seen as crucial to ensuring better regulatory oversight and orderly growth in the industry.

c)     Compared to the previous version of the Bill (in which constructions below the size of 1000 square metres or 12 apartments were left out of the accountability ambit), the new Bill has reduced the size and exempts projects only below 500 square meters.

6.

Tussle continues over Aadhaar Bill (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Aadhaar Bill

b)     Money Bill

c)     Article 110(1) of the Constitution

d)     Lok Sabha

e)     Rajya Sabha

f)     Parliament

 

a)     The question of whether or not the Aadhaar Bill is a Money Bill continues to vex Parliament, with the Rajya Sabhas Business Advisory Committee meeting ending inconclusively after the Opposition demanded specific clauses of Article 110(1) of the Constitution that defines a Money Bill to be part of Speaker Sumitra Mahajans certification of it as such.

b)     However, government sources said they were determined to place the Bill as a Money Bill and that it could happen as early as on March 11.

c)     The Aadhaar Bill seeks to give legal backing to the unique identification number programme as the means to identify and disburse subsidies to eligible sections of the population.

d)     According to the Constitution, a Money Bill has to be returned to the Lok Sabha after clearing the Rajya Sabha within 14 days of it being introduced in the Upper House. If it is not, it will be deemed as passed.  

7.

Azaadi from a colonial rule book (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

b)     Section 124A of the IPC

c)     Section 508 of the IPC 1860

d)     Section 509 of the IPC

e)     Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860

f)     Indian Evidence Act 1872

g)     Indian Contract Act 1872

h)     Transfer of Property Act 1882

i)     General Clauses Act 1897

j)     Code of Civil Procedure (CPC)1908

k)     Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1898

 

a)     According to the author, most major Indian laws are legacies of the British, the results of a great codification movement that failed to make much headway in the colonial metropolis, and therefore chose India as its laboratory.

b)    Apart from the IPC (1860), there is the Indian Evidence Act (1872), the Indian Contract Act (1872), the Transfer of Property Act (1882), the General Clauses Act (1897), the CPC (1908), and (until its overhaul in 1973) CrPC (1898). Crime, contract, property, and legal procedure have come down to us (in 2016) largely preserved since the time of their inception.

c)     However, It is in the field of criminal law, unmistakably coloured by the brush of colonial morality and colonial governmentality, that the absence of change in all these years has been a matter of surprise.

d)     In recent times, two provisions of the IPC have been in the news. Section 377 was back in the headlines after two years, when the Supreme Court agreed to refer the curative petition against its earlier decision upholding its constitutional validity to a bench of five judges.

e)     Section 377 (which foisted the completely alien term carnal intercourse against the order of nature upon the Indian public) is one of the clearest examples of the Victorian morality that pervades the IPC. The other provision is Section 124A, the offence of sedition.

f)     Sections 377 and 124A reflect the two prominent ways in which the British left their stamp upon Indias criminal law, in a manner that is entirely inconsistent with a democratic, constitutional republic. Section 377 embodies a form of colonial morality (drawn from Victorian England) famously repressed and repressive when it came to sex.

g)     It is this morality that is also the basis of Section 497 of the IPC, which punishes a man for adultery, but exempts the woman (who can be punished only as an abettor, and not as the primary offender), and Section 498, which punishes enticing a married woman.

h)     Similarly, the exception to Section 375, which places forced sexual intercourse between a husband and a wife outside the definition of rape, is based upon a belief that marriage entails a one-time, permanent and irrevocable consent to sex. And it is this morality that criminalises the sale of obscene books (Section 292; the word obscene was not even defined until 1969) and the performance of obscene songs (Section 294).

i)     On the other hand, Section 124A reflects a colonial logic, predicated upon a subject-ruler relationship between Indians and the British. Its prohibition upon spreading disaffection against the govt, and the manner of its use, makes it clear that it was enacted to preserve the reputation of the colonial govt in the eyes of its subjects.

j)     Two other speech-based offences follow a similar logic. Section 295A (which was enacted in the aftermath of religious riots across north India in the 1920s) criminalises insulting the religious beliefs of any class of citizens.

k)     Section 153A criminalises promoting enmity between different groups. These provisions reflect the British strategy of dividing the subcontinent into clearly identifiable groups, and managing the relationships between them in a manner that it would become impossible for them to present a united front against colonial rule.

l)  The colonial context of these laws, and the earlier manner of their use, has often left the courts in a bind. Unwilling to go so far as to strike down parts of the IPC, they have been forced into a number of unconvincing contortions to try and reconcile the colonial law with the constitutional republic.

m)     While upholding the constitutionality of sedition, the Supreme Court restricted its operation to incidents inciting towards public disorder. This is directly at odds with the language of Section 124A, and has failed entirely to prevent abuse at the level of the police and lower judiciary.

n)     While upholding Section 295A (insult to religious feelings) the court limited itself to intentional insults, which, it held, could not but have a tendency to lead to public disorder.

o)     It is for the legislature to take a comprehensive relook at the IPC for the first time in its 156-year history and introduce reforms that do not merely tinker at the edges but transform the very philosophy of the penal law in a manner that is consistent with our constitutional principles.

p)     Any such reform would have to be carried out in conformity with the basic principles of the Constitution. Three of those principles are individual autonomy, the freedom of speech and conscience, and equality.

q)     In light of these principles, laws that claim to protect individuals from moral degradation and corruption (the package of obscenity laws), that privilege community sentiment over individual right of speech and conscience (the speech-restricting laws), and that are based upon stereotypical assumptions about men and women, must be reviewed and modernised in a manner that is consistent with Constitution.

8.

Finally, a bacterium that degrades polluting plastics identified (Page 13)

a)     S&T

b)     Environment

a)     Polyethylene terephthalate

b)     Biodegradation-resistant polymer PET

a)  A bacterium species capable of breaking down plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) has been identified by a team of Japanese researchers. The bacterium uses two enzymes in sequence to break down the highly biodegradation-resistant polymer PET.

b)     Except for rare instances of 2 fungi that have been found to grow on a mineral medium of PET yarns, there are no reports any bacteria biologically degrading PET or growing on the chemically inert substance.

c)     They looked for microorganisms that relied on PET film as a primary source of carbon for growth. At first they identified a distinct microbial consortium that contained a mixture of bacteria species that degraded the PET film surface at 30 degree C; 75 percent of the PET film surface was broken down into carbon dioxide at 28 degree C.

d)     The bacterium degrades PET using two enzymes that act on it in sequence. First, the bacterium adheres to PET and produces an intermediate substance through hydrolysis. The second enzyme then works with water and acts on this intermediate substance to produce 2 monomers (ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid) used for making PET through polymerisation.

e)     PET has been littering the environment for the last 70 years and, in 2013, 56 million tonnes of PET were produced worldwide. Since PET came into being only 70 years ago, a pertinent question is how this distinct bacterium evolved or naturally selected in the environment.

9.

Navigation satellite placed in orbit (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)

b)     Independent Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)

c)     ISRO

d)     Satish Dhawan Space Centre

a)     The ISRO successfully put into orbit Indias sixth dedicated navigation satellite (the IRNSS-1F). It was launched on-board Indias workhorse launch vehicle, the PSLV. The IRNSS is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India and the region extending up to 1500 km from the border.

b)     The IRNSS-1F carrying two payloads (the navigation payload and ranging payload) was put into orbit 20 minutes after take-off from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. With this launch, India inches closer to having its own navigation system (like a GPS).

c)     The navigation payload of IRNSS-1F will transmit navigation service signals and will operate in the L5 band and S band. The ranging payload consists of a C-band transponder that facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellites.

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