22nd May, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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India successfully test-fires BrahMos missile along Odisha coast (GS-3 Security, prelims)
New Indigenous Technology in BrahMos
1.India successfully test-fired the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a test range along the Odisha coast to validate some new features
2.The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher stationed at Launchpad 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur
3.The trial was conducted to validate its “life extension” technologies developed for the first time in India by DRDO and team BrahMos
4.The world-class BrahMos is the first weapon system whose life has been extended from 10 years to 15 years
5.The successful test will result in huge savings of replacement cost of missiles held in the inventory of the Indian Armed Forces
1.Induction of the first version of BrahMos missile system in Indian Navy began with INS Rajput in 2005
2.The two-stage missile—first being solid and the second one, a ramjet liquid propellant—has already been introduced in the Army and Navy
Induction in IAF
1.India successfully launched the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi-30 MKI combat jet for the first time against a target in the Bay of Bengal in November 2017
2.At least two Su-30 squadrons with 20 planes each are planned to be equipped with the air-launch variant BrahMos missile, 500kg lighter than land/naval variants
Expanding range after MTCR
1.Increasing the missile’s range from 400km to further 800km is now possible after India’s induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016
2.Prior to that, India was bound by restrictions that limited the range of the missile, which is an Indo-Russian joint venture product, to less than 300km
Common Service Centres (GS-2 Governance)
1.The network of Common Service Centres (CSC) is set to be expanded to 2.50 lakh gram panchayats soon.
2.CSC acts as access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India.
3.Common Services Centers (CSC) scheme is one of the mission mode projects under the Digital India Program.
4.CSCs are the access points for delivery of essential public utility services, social welfare schemes, healthcare, financial, education and agriculture services, apart from host of B2C services to citizens in rural and remote areas of the country.
5.The regular CSC services are banking, health, education, financial services, and a host of other services.
6.In addition, the CSC model has adopted six villages in the country in the pilot phase and they are called as Digital villages.
7.DigiGaon or Digital Village is conceptualized as a connected village where citizens can avail various e-Services of the Central Government, state Governments and private players in rural and remote villages in the country.
8.DigiGaons are projected to be change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods through community participation and collective action.
9.The digital villages have been equipped with solar lighting facility in their community center, LED assembly unit, sanitary napkin unit (with active participation on Asha and Anganwadi workers) and Wi-Fi choupal (rural Wi-Fi infrastructure and a slew of suitable applications).
Role of the Governor after Polls (GS-2 polity, prelims)
Karnataka assembly elections have brought focus for a clearer definition on role of a governor after polls.
What happened in Karnataka?
1.The Karnataka assembly has 225 seats out of which 224 are elected members and one is the nominated member from Anglo-Indian community by the governor of the state.
2.In the recent assembly elections candidates from three major political party contested in the polls and BJP secured 104, Congress 78, JD(S) 37 and others 6 seats respectively.
3.After the polls BJP approached the governor of the state to call their party to form the government on the basis of single largest party in the state.
4.At the same time the opposition parties got majority of seats by forming collation government, hence approached the governor to give a call to form the government.
5.But the governor ordered the BJP candidate to form the government and provided him 15days of time to prove his majority.
6.Against this decision the opposition parties approached the SC, in this case SC ordered for a floor test which was to be telecasted live.
In the end, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) gambit to turn a hung assembly in Karnataka into victory failed.
What is the reason behind SC’s decision?
1.The Supreme Court did not allow enough time for the BJP party to peel away members of the other two legislative parties, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).
2.In any case morale in the newly created post-poll coalition seemed high.
3.Transcripts of phone calls released in the media exposed BJP’s move to bribe newly elected members of the Karnataka legislative assembly to stay away from their respective parties.
4.SC gave a strong blow to BJP’s effort to engage openly in underhand means, when the opposition appeared newly energetic.
How political parties misuse the powers of the governor?
1.The office of the governor has been made dull by some of its occupants as the ruling parties in the centre used to freely misuse the governor’s powers.
2.Depending on the outcome of state elections, various political parties have expected the governor to do different things, and call on different leaders to “prove” their mandate on the floor of the assembly.
3.Earlier Congress wanted the governor to call on it, as the largest-single party, in Goa and Manipur, for example.
4.This kind of inconsistency is not supportive of constitutional morality.
What measures need to be taken?
1.Pre-poll alliances take precedence over post-poll alliances, which, in turn, supersede individual parties in terms of numbers.
2.The role of the governor in appointing speakers and scheduling the vote of confidence also needs to be spelled out.
3.If politicians do not step in and define a clear set of guidelines for the governor on the occasion of a hung assembly, then the Supreme Court will have to do so.
4.Proper political consensus needs to be evolved on this matter and the Supreme Court has already addressed the subject on various occasions.
5.By this the faith of the electorate in the democratic process and in the power of votes would be restored.
A blow to patriarchy (GS-3 Society)
Madras high court has ruled an outstanding judgment on natural guardian.
What is Natural Guardian means according to judiciary?
1.In divorce situations, the parent with custody 0f the child is considered the natural guardian.
2.The opposite of a natural guardian is an appointed guardian or legal guardian, who will be authorized by a court or a will to care for and make decisions on behalf of a minor child.
3.The natural or legal guardian must authorise the financial and medical decisions of the minor children who do not have legal authority to make such decisions.
4.In India, on the grounds of Section 6 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, the “natural guardian” was the father.
What is the case ruled by Madras HC?
1.Madras high court ruled an unusual paternity case where the petitioner was legally separated from her husband, had subsequently conceived a child through artificial insemination.
2.The efforts of the petitioner to get authorities to leave the father’s name blank in the child’s birth certificate were repeatedly rejected.
3.This was because of the bureaucratic cussedness and notions of hard-wired patriarchy in the officialdom.
4.Given the complexities of the case, name of a male friend of the petitioner had been erroneously entered as the child’s father.
5.The officials’ unwillingness to accommodate the petitioner’s repeated requests for name deletion and leaving the ‘father’s name’ column blank betrayed an excessive preoccupation with rules and regulations, unmindful of the human dimension.
6.In this case Madras HC directed authorities to leave the father’s name blank by sending out signal against regressive notions centred on paternity.
What is the significance of Madras HC’s decision?
1.The directive of the Madras High Court in an unusual paternity case advances the progressive spirit of earlier rulings in related matters of gender justice.
2.The Madras High Court directive advances the spirit of other similar rulings including the famous 1999 case taken by the Supreme Court.
3.That case, in which author the petitioner challenged the RBI’s rejection of an application for investments in her son’s name (with her as the “natural guardian”).
4.In this case the petitioner argued that the provision discriminated against women in the matter of guardianship rights over their own children.
5.In its ruling, the Court asserted the pre-eminence of the child’s welfare in all considerations, and held that in this instance the mother was the “natural guardian”.
6.Thus Madras High court’s decision have steered bureaucratic rules away from the rigidities of a patriarchal system.
We must adapt to EU data privacy(GDPR) rules (GS-3 IR,Security)
The European Union has declared the deadline for the compliance of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
What is GDPR?
*The GDPR redefines the understanding of the individual’s relationship with their personal data.
*It relates to an identifiable living individual and includes names, email IDs, ID card numbers, physical and IP addresses.
*This law grants the citizen substantial rights in his/her interaction with
1.Data controllers – Those who determine why and how data is collected such as a government or private news website.
2.Data processors – Those who process the data on behalf of controllers, such as an Indian IT firm to which an E.U. firm has outsourced its data analytics.
How GDPR works?
1.Definition of Data and Entities – Any company offering back-end services to companies operating in the EU or elsewhere, if they are receiving EU resident data, may fall within the definition of a processor under the GDPR.
2.Under GDPR a data controller will have to provide consent terms that are clearly distinguishable.
3.The GDPR also requires data collectors to provide information on the ‘who’ and ‘how.’
4.Individuals will also have the right to have personal data deleted under certain conditions.
5.Stronger obligations – Under GDPR, data breaches have to be reported within 72 hours and failure to comply with the new laws could result in a fine up to 4% of global turnover or maximum amount of fine 20 million Euros.
6.It mandates the concept of ‘privacy by design and default’ and creates categories of data privacy compliance that never existed earlier.
7.Higher Autonomy – The GDPR has global implications as it applies to those outside the E.U. who either monitor the behaviour of EU residents or sell goods and services to them.
8.By which it empowers EU statutory authorities to impose heavy administrative fines and to impose bans on data processing, ordering rectification, restriction or erasure of data and suspending transfers to certain countries.
How GDPR differs from Indian IT laws?
1.Under India’s existing data protection regime, only one legislation, the Information Technology Act, 2000 (the IT Act) has attempted to deal with data protection in a comprehensive manner.
2.The IT (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules 2011 (The IT-RS Rules) under the IT Act seek to address data privacy issues.
3.However, the granularity of detail at which the GDPR addresses data protection compliance is hard to compare to the approach taken by the IT-RS Rules.
4.The GDPR commits five detailed provisions to the essentiality of lawful consent for processing data and factors to determine whether consent was lawfully obtained.
5.The language of the GDPR indicates that consent is interwoven through most of its important provisions, making it a key foundation of GDPR compliance.
6.Thus there are certain aspects of the GDPR which are not reflected anywhere in the IT-RS, such as the adoption of a rights-based approach to data privacy.
Why GDPR is relevant to India?
1.The GDPR is being adopted at a time where SC recognised the concept of informational privacy and noted that legislation should be enacted to ensure enforceability against non-State actors (private entities).
2.By this there are indications that future data protection legislation in India will share several commonalities with the GDPR.
3.From this perspective, GDPR compliance may be considered an opportunity for Indian companies to achieve early compliance with potential Indian data privacy legislation.
Talks will strengthen India-Russia partnership: Modi(GS-3 IR)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi voiced the hope his talks with President Vladimir Putin would further strengthen the “special and privileged” strategic partnership between India and Russia.
1.During their informal summit in the Russian city of Sochi, the two leaders will primarily focus on global and regional issues, including the impact of the U.S. decision to withdraw from a nuclear deal with Iran.
2.Official sources said the two leaders would meet for 4-6 hours for the “agendaless” talks where deliberations on bilateral issues were likely to be limited.
3.They said the issues on the table might include the economic impact on India and Russia in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the situation in Afghanistan and Syria, the threat of terrorism and matters relating to the upcoming SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) and BRICS summits.
4.The sources said the possible impact of the US sanctions against Russia under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Indo-Russia defiance cooperation may also figure during the talks between Modi and Putin.
5.India is not going to allow its defence engagement with Russia to be dictated by any other country, New Delhi has been lobbying with the Trump administration on the issue.
6.The aim of the informal summit is to use the friendship and trust between the two countries to create convergence on key global and regional issues, the sources said.
7.The two leaders may also deliberate on extending the Indo-Russia civil nuclear cooperation to third countries, possible areas for cooperation for the International North-South Transport Corridor project, India’s engagement with the five-nation Eurasian Economic Union and the situation in the Korean peninsula.
Foreign investors cold to Permanent Residency Status scheme (GS-2 Governance)
Two years after it was launched by the Union government, the Permanent Residency Status (PRS) scheme providing a host of facilities for foreigners who invest at least 10 crore under the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) route is yet to find a single applicant.
1.A senior Home Ministry official said no foreigner had applied, but cautioned that the lack of applicants should not be seen as “no foreign investment”.
2.Except Pakistani citizens or third-country nationals of Pakistani origin, the scheme is open for citizens of every country.
3.Most European Union countries, the U.S., Canada and others offer permanent residency to foreign investors.
4.The U.S. offers the EB-5 visa programme where foreigners could apply for permanent residency if they created employment opportunities for 10 people with a minimum investment of 6.5 crore.
5.An official said this was not a “citizenship” that was being offered to foreigners and was subject to review every 10 years.
6.The Union Cabinet had cleared the PRS in 2016 to boost its “Make in India” policy. The scheme is open for foreign investors who invest a minimum of ₹10 crore within 18 months or 25 crore in 36 months.
7.The PRS card holders are also eligible to buy residential property in India.
8.Among foreign countries, the maximum investment proposals in critical sectors such as telecom and defence that was cleared by Home Ministry in 2017 were from China, the U.K., the U.S. and Mauritius.
9.Last year, the Ministry gave security clearance to more than 1,071 proposals in 11 critical sectors like defence, telecommunications, information and broadcasting.
10.Over 90% of the FDI proposals have come through the automatic route.
11.Among the foreign countries, the U.S., China (including Hong Kong), Mauritius and the U.K. have received the green signal for the most number of projects at 10 each, followed by Germany at six, Bangladesh at three and Italy, Israel, Netherlands and Switzerland at two each.
A high-tech tiger census in Andhra Pradesh(GS-3 ECOLOGY)
Amid signs of the proliferation of the big cats in Andhra Pradesh, the third phase of the fourth All-India Tiger Estimation (AITE) is being taken up in full swing in the vast tiger landscape spread over 3,728 sq. km. in the mighty Nallamala hills.
1.Indications are there that the big cats have also spread to the region south of the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) in the forest up to the Penna river, says Chief Conservator of Forests and Project Tiger Field Director.
2.This is the maiden tiger estimation in the new State.
3.During the last estimation in the united State, the count was put at 68, four fewer than the figure arrived at during the second AITE in 2010 due to the biodiversity loss. It was 95 in the first AITE in 2006.
4.Sophisticated cameras with infrared sensors put in pairs at every two-sq. km. grid would help not only identify the individual big cats through stripe pattern and other physical features but also arrive at their count in a more accurate manner.
5.The authorities have for the first time used a new app Tigers Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-StrIPES) to avoid human error in the traditional recording of the pugmarks and other signs during the carnivore sign survey.
6.The department has engaged about 250 members of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) of Chenchus as trackers for protecting and monitoring the tigers.
7.They have been trained to handle the GPS-fitted equipment while moving in different directions from the base camp to capture evidence such as pug marks, droppings etc.