17th Nov, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Thomas Kurian’ (Facts that can be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Google Cloud Chief Executive Officer Diane Greene, who has pushed for three years to catch up with market leaders Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp., will step down from her post and be succeeded by former Oracle Corp. executive Thomas Kurian.
About Thomas Kurian
- Thomas Kurian hails from the Indian state of Kerala. He came from Pampady village of Kottayam district in Kerala.
- Kurian joined Oracle in 1996, initially holding various product management and development positions.
- Thomas Kurian was the 18th highest-paid man in the US in 2010, according to CNN. He was also the 5th highest-paid tech executive in 2010.
‘National Commission for Women (NCW)’ (GS2: Statutory bodies)
Issue: Ministry of Women and Child Development, In pursuance of Section 3 of the National Commission for Women Act, 1990, has nominated the following as Members of the National Commission for Women:
- Chandramukhi Devi.
- Soso Shaiza
- Kamlesh Gautam,
The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 (Act No. 20 of 1990 of Govt.of India ) to :
- review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women ;
- recommend remedial legislative measures ;
- facilitate redressal of grievances and
- Advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.
In keeping with its mandate, the Commission initiated various steps to improve the status of women and worked for their economic empowerment during the year under report. The Commission completed its visits to all the States / UTs except Lakshdweep and prepared Gender Profiles to assess the status of women and their empowerment. It received a large number of complaints and acted suo-moto in several cases to provide speedy justice. It took up the issue of child marriage, sponsored legal awareness programmes, Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats and reviewed laws such as Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, PNDT Act 1994, Indian Penal Code 1860 and the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 to make them more stringent and effective. It organized workshops / consultations, constituted expert committees on economic empowerment of women, conducted workshops / seminars for gender awareness and took up publicity campaign against female foeticide, violence against women etc. in order to generate awareness in the society against these social evils.
Constitution of the committee
The Commission shall consist of:-
(a) A Chairperson, committed to the cause of women, to be nominated by the Central Government.
(b) five Members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of ability, integrity and standing who have had experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry potential of women, women’s voluntary organisations ( including women activist ), administration, economic development, health, education or social welfare;
Provided that at least one Member each shall be from amongst persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively;
(c) a Member-Secretary to be nominated by the Central Government who shall be :-
- an expert in the field of management, organisational structure or sociological movement, or
- an officer who is a member of a civil service of the Union or of an all-India service or holds a civil post under the Union with appropriate experience
‘Nirbhaya fund’ (GS2: Issues related to Human resources)
Issue: The Empowered Committee of Officers under Nirbhaya Fund, under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Women and Child Development Ministry has today approved three major proposals
About Nirbhaya fund
Nirbhaya Fund is an Indian rupee 10 billion corpus announced by Government of India in its 2013 Union Budget. According to the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, this fund is expected to support initiatives by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India. The Ministry of Women and Child Development, along with several other concerned ministries, will work out details of the structure, scope and the application of this fund.
‘General consent’ (GS2: Federalism)
Issue: Andhra Pradesh on Friday withdrew the “general consent” granted to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), effectively curtailing the agency’s powers in the State without prior permission.
The CBI and all agencies under the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, will now have to approach the State government for permission for investigation on a case by case basis.
What is General consent?
General consent is the periodic approval by a State government to the CBI and other agencies covered by Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. The consent is necessary as the jurisdiction of these agencies is confined to Delhi and Union Territories under this Act.
The withdrawal of general consent means that the CBI officers lose police powers under the Criminal Procedure Code in the State concerned and for registering each case, the agency has to seek a specific consent from the State government. As a result, it stalls registration of new cases
‘ExSeedSAT 1’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: India’s first private satellite, built completely by individuals without support from agencies such as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will hurtle into space on November 19 bearing the stamp of Hyderabad on it.
As California-based SpaceX launches the largest single rideshare mission to date from a US-based launch vehicle, with the earlier one being India’s ISRO-driven PSLV-C37 with 104 spacecraft, it will mark a major step for space technology in India as well.
Among 70 spacecraft on that mission will be India’s first private satellite, completely built and sent into space by people and small firms from in and around Hyderabad under the aegis of startup Exseed Space.
‘Maternity leave’ (GS2: Issues related to Human resources)
Issue: In a bid to encourage employers, especially in the private sector, to implement the extended 26-week maternity leave law, the Labour Ministry plans to refund them for seven weeks’ worth of wages for women workers with a wage ceiling up to ₹ 15,000 per month
The reason for renewed focus on this policy?
In March 2017, the Centre amended the Maternity Benefit Act to increase paid maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks for all women employees in establishments employing ten or more people. However, the Ministry statement noted that while implementation of the provision was good in the public sector, it was poor for those with private sector or contract jobs.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment is therefore working on an incentive scheme whereby the government would bear the cost of maternity leave wages for seven weeks, subject to certain conditions. The financial implication to the Centre is estimated to be ₹ 400 crore, and the Ministry is in the process of obtaining budgetary approvals.
‘Electoral Bonds’ (GS2: Legislature)
Issue: More than ₹400 crore worth of electoral bonds were sold by the State Bank of India (SBI) in the 10-day window of October, a sharp rise from the ₹32 crore worth of bonds sold in the July tranche, according to data the bank released under the Right to Information.
What are Electoral Bonds?
Electoral Bond is a financial instrument (similar to a promissory note) for making donations to political parties. These are issued by Scheduled Commercial banks upon authorization from the Central Government to intending donors, but only against cheque and digital payments (it cannot be purchased by paying cash). These bonds shall be redeemable in the designated account of a registered political party within the prescribed time limit from issuance of bond.
Significance of electoral bonds
Electoral Bond is an effort made to cleanse the system of political funding in India. The scheme of electoral bonds addresses the concerns of donors to remain anonymous to the general public or to rival political parties. From the bonds, no details of the donor nor of the intended political beneficiary can be made out. So electoral bond cannot be identified or associated with any particular buyer or political party. However, some security features are encoded into the bonds to avoid issuance of fake /forged bonds. These include a random serial number invisible to the naked eye. However, the number is not noted by the SBI in any record associated with buyer or political party depositing a particular electoral bond. The number is not being used or can be used to track the donation or the buyer.
Electoral Bonds would have a life of only 15 days during which it can be used for making donation only to the political parties registered under section 29A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or a Legislative Assembly. Further, the Electoral Bonds under the Scheme shall be available for purchase for a period of 10 days each in the months of January, April, July and October, as may be specified by the Central Government. An additional period of 30 days shall be specified by the Central Government in the year of the General election to the House of People. The Electoral Bond(s) shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a designated bank account with the authorized bank.
‘Hominoid family’ (GS1: Pre-history)
Issue: Palaeontologists have unearthed a fossilised upper jaw (maxilla). Further studies showed that the fossil find was highly significant: it is the oldest and the only known ape fossil discovered in peninsular India (Kutch basin, Gujarat)
About the discovery
The researchers concluded that the upper jaw belonged to an adult ape (hominoid family), belonging to the genus Sivapithecus and lived about 11-10.8 million years ago (Miocene). The oldest found remains of these apes are dated at about 12.7 million years in Indo-Pakistan and the youngest at about 8.6 million years.
researchers now believe that Sivapithecus is either more close to the modern orangutan of Southeast Asia or an ape that is part of an early radiation of fossil hominoids — the great apes, the chimps, gorillas and orangutans and also humans.
Sivapithecus (Shiva’s Ape) (syn: Ramapithecus) is a genus of extinct apes. Fossil remains of animals now assigned to this genus, dated from 12.2 million years old in the Miocene, have been found since the 19th century in the Siwalik Hills of the Indian subcontinent. Any one of the species in this genus may have been the ancestor to the modern orangutans.
Some early discoveries were given the separate names Ramapithecus (Rama’s Ape) and Bramapithecus (Brahma’s Ape), and were thought to be possible ancestors of humans
The first incomplete specimens of Sivapithecus were found in northern India in the late 19th century.
Another find was made in Nepal on the bank of Tinau River, Butwal; a western part of the country in 1932. This find was named “Ramapithecus”.