01st Sep, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘GDP growth’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Indian economy grew 8.2% — the highest in two years — in the April-June quarter, driven by robust growth in the manufacturing, construction and farm sectors. The figures raised hopes of a higher than estimated annual growth of 7.5%.
The pace of growth was the highest since the 9.3% rise reported for the January-March quarter of 2016.
What the data says?
The manufacturing sector grew 13.5% in the first quarter of 2018-19, as against a contraction of 1.8% a year earlier, while the construction sector grew 8.7% as compared to a growth of 1.8% in the first quarter of last year.
Despite an uncertain international environment and volatile crude oil prices, India’s sustained growth reflects its strong resilience to adverse global conditions, because of strong economic fundamentals
‘Uniform Civil Code’ (GS2: Directive principles of State policy)
Issue: The Law Commission of India on Friday said a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage.”
Reasons cited by Law commission of India for not preferring UCC at this stage
In a 185-page consultation paper, the commission said secularism cannot contradict the plurality prevalent in the country.
The commission, led by former Supreme Court judge Justice B.S. Chauhan, said “cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.”
It suggested certain measures in marriage and divorce which should be uniformly accepted in the personal laws of all religions.
What is Uniform Civil Code?
Article 44 of the Constitution of India declares that “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.”
A uniform civil code administers the same set of secular civil laws to govern all people irrespective of their religion, caste and tribe. This supersedes the right of citizens to be governed under different personal laws based on their religion or caste or tribe. Such codes are in place in most modern nations.
Though Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was an extensive supporter of the Uniform Civil Code, he couldn’t get it through more than a status of Directive Principle due to opposition from the members
Codification of laws dates back to the Colonial Period. The Colonial Masters played an instrumental role in shaping the legislative literature of our country. The Lex Loci Report of October, 1840 emphasized on the necessity for codification of Indian law relating to crimes, evidences, contract etc., but it recommended that personal law of Hindus and Muslims should be kept outside such codification. A formal declaration of the policy was made by Warren Hastings in the Administration of Justice Regulation, 1780, where it was pronounced that while dealing with disputes of marriage, divorce or inheritance, people would be governed by their personal laws.
The Supreme Court has directed the Parliament to frame a Uniform Civil Code in the year 1985 in the case of Md. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, popularly known as the Shah Bano case. In this case, a Muslim women claimed for maintenance form her husband under S.125 of Cr.P.C. after she was given triple talaq pronouncements by her husband. The Supreme Court held that Muslim Women have a right to get maintenance from her husband under s.125 and commented that Art.44(3) of the Constitution of India has remained in the dead light. However, the then Rajiv Gandhi led government has overturned the Shah Bano case decision by Muslim Women (Right to Protection on Divorce) Act, 1890 which curtailed the right to maintenance of a Muslim Woman.
Goa is the only state in India which has enforced Uniform Civil Code for all citizens. The Portuguese Civil Code that remains in force even today which was introduced in the 19th century in Goa and wasn’t replaced after liberation.
The Uniform civil code in Goa is a progressive law that allows equal division of income and property regardless of gender between husband and wife and also between children.
‘Census 2021’ (GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: Census 2021 will for the first time collect data on Other Backward Classes (OBC), the Centre. The decennial exercise will involve 25 lakh trained enumerators and the use of maps/geo-referencing at the time of house listing is also under consideration
About Census organization in India
The responsibility of conducting the decennial Census rests with the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India under Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. It may be of historical interest that though the population census of India is a major administrative function; the Census Organisation was set up on an ad-hoc basis for each Census till the 1951 Census. The Census Act was enacted in 1948 to provide for the scheme of conducting population census with duties and responsibilities of census officers. The Government of India decided in May 1949 to initiate steps for developing systematic collection of statistics on the size of population, its growth, etc., and established an organisation in the Ministry of Home Affairs under Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner, India. This organisation was made responsible for generating data on population statistics including Vital Statistics and Census. Later, this office was also entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 in the country.
‘AADHAR’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), slapped monetary penalty on 13 banks for violating norms pertaining to authentication of Aadhaar.
Reason behind the fine
According to UIDAI sources, the measures taken include disincentives against a few authentication user agencies and banks that did not comply with the directions of UIDAI issued under Aadhaar Act/Regulations from time to time.
‘Asia’s Nobel’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Two Indians, Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk, on Friday received the Ramon Magsaysay award, popularly known as Asia’s Nobel Prize.
Mr. Vatwani has dedicated his life to rescuing mentally ill people from the streets and providing them with shelter and treatment through his Shraddha Rehabilitaion Foundation.
Mr. Wangchuk has been recognised for “his uniquely systematic, collaborative and community-driven reform of learning systems in remote northern India, thus improving the life opportunities of Ladakhi youth, and his constructive engagement of all sectors in local society to harness science and culture creatively for economic progress
About the award
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award established to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay’s example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.
The prize was established in April 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with the concurrence of the Philippine government. The award is internationally-recognized as Asia’s Nobel Prize counterpart and is the highest award given to Asian individuals and organizations
The winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards come from different parts of Asia, although there are some instances where the winners came from countries outside Asia who had served, worked or accomplished something in different Asian countries. As of 2016, recipients have come from twenty-two Asian countries.
‘India Post payments bank’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Prime The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today launched the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi. The function was witnessed at over 3000 locations across the country, which were connected to the main event in Delhi.
India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) was setup under the Department of Posts, Ministry of Communication with 100% equity owned by Government of India. IPPB was launched as a pilot project on 30 January 2017 in Ranchi (Jharkhand) and Raipur (Chhattisgarh), with the objective of being present across India by the FY 2018-2019. IPPB will expand in phases across India covering all post offices, through a network of 650 IPPB branches/controlling offices, working on a hub and spoke model.
IPPB will be leveraging the vast postal network of nearly 1.55 lakh post offices and 3.0 lakh postal employees in every district, town and village of the country to serve
Features of IPPB
Last mile delivery of services through the postman – a son of the soil and a friend, philosopher and financial guide to the people.
Ease of banking:
IPPB integrates easily with the existing bouquet of post office services, extends the services though a frictionless shift.
The last mile delivery agent is empowered with financial knowledge and intuitively designed digital tools to offer financial services and guidance with relative ease.
- Macro Level
IPPB’s 360-degree payments suite creates transparency, removes corruption and leakages and contributes to a less-cash economy.
- Individual Level
Provides customers with the ability to transact without cash through digital channels and enable small businesses to accept digital payments, thus closing the loop.
‘World’s oldest zero’ (GS1: Indian History)
Issue: In India that concept of emptiness or void, shunya, had long been established in philosophy and discussed extensively in treatises written as early as the fifth century
The idea was translated into a symbol somewhere not too far away from Gwalior, within the Gupta Empire, which was known for its appreciation of knowledge and learning.
History of zero in India
Pingala (c. 3rd/2nd century BC), a Sanskrit prosody scholar, used binary numbers in the form of short and long syllables (the latter equal in length to two short syllables), a notation similar to Morse code. Pingala used the Sanskrit word śūnya explicitly to refer to zero.
It was considered that the earliest text to use a decimal place-value system, including a zero, is the Lokavibhāga, a Jain text on cosmology surviving in a medieval Sanskrit translation of the Prakrit original, which is internally dated to AD 458 (Saka era 380). In this text, śūnya (“void, empty”) is also used to refer to zero.
A symbol for zero, a large dot likely to be the precursor of the still-current hollow symbol, is used throughout the Bakhshali manuscript, a practical manual on arithmetic for merchants, the date of which was uncertain. In 2017 three samples from the manuscript were shown by radiocarbon dating to come from three different centuries: from 224-383 AD, 680-779 AD, and 885-993 AD, making it the world’s oldest recorded use of the zero symbol. It is not known how the birch bark fragments from different centuries that form the manuscript came to be packaged together.
The origin of the modern decimal-based place value notation can be traced to the Aryabhatiya (c. 500), which states sthānāt sthānaṁ daśaguṇaṁ syāt “from place to place each is ten times the preceding.” The concept of zero as a digit in the decimal place value notation was developed in India, presumably as early as during the Gupta period (c. 5th century), with the oldest unambiguous evidence dating to the 7th century.
The rules governing the use of zero appeared for the first time in Brahmagupta’s Brahmasputha Siddhanta (7th century). This work considers not only zero, but negative numbers, and the algebraic rules for the elementary operations of arithmetic with such numbers. In some instances, his rules differ from the modern standard, specifically the definition of the value of zero divided by zero as zero
‘E-commerce policy’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: India’s e-commerce market, dominated by Flipkart Pvt. Ltd and Amazon.com Inc., can potentially grow more than fourfold to $150 billion by 2022, fuelled by rising incomes and a surge in internet users
What the report says?
- During the period, the size of India’s middle-class is expected to swell to 540 million from 380 million in 2017
- A ‘Make-for-India’ solution approach along with conducive policy environment can potentially make e-commerce a $150 billion market by 2022 with a globally leading compounded annualized growth rate of 35%
- The next frontier for the battle in the Indian e-commerce industry is set to be fought around a seamless shopping experience, building digital trust, voice-based or conversational commerce and creating an inventory of localised content
- The report includes gross merchandise value in e-tail and e-travel; transaction margins in online financial services; commission and ad revenues for online consumer services; and subscription and ad revenue for the digital content category
‘La Liga’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Popular Spanish football league La Liga on Wednesday announced that it has partnered with India On Track (IOT) to launch La Liga Football Schools in India to grow and train the next generation of football players.
With this announcement, La Liga becomes first international football league to start a grassroots level programme in the country.
About the programme
The La Liga Football Schools will be set up and run independently across cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Kochi. It will focus on students from 6 to 18 years of age. The training programme will be delivered using La Liga’s technical curriculum and detailed methodology and will be overseen by the programme technical director appointed by La Liga for India. La Liga will be hiring coaches to execute the training programmes in India.
‘Solar installations’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: Solar installations in India plunged 52% to 1,599 MW during the second quarter of 2018, mainly due to uncertainties around trade cases and module price fluctuations, says a report.
Other observations made in the report
Cumulative solar installed capacity totaled 24.6 GW at the end of the second quarter of 2018 with large-scale solar projects accounting for 90% and rooftop solar making up the remaining 10%.