IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 13 June 2019

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Indian Medical Council Amendment Bill cleared

 Topic: GS –II: Governance

 The Cabinet has approved the Indian Medical Council (Amendment Bill), 2019 and the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment Bill), 2019 – both of which had lapsed in the 16th Lok Sabha session. The Bills will be re-introduced in the next Parliament session.

More in news:

  • The Medical Council Bill is aimed at bringing in transparency and quality in the governance of medical education.
  • Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment Bill), 2019, meanwhile, seeks to extend the period for reconstitution of the Central Council from existing period of one year to two years so that the tenure of the Board of Governors may be extended for a further period of one year with effect from May 17, 2019.

Eviction from govt. residences to be quicker

Topic: GS –II: Governance

Evicting those over-staying at government residences could become a quicker process, with the Union Cabinet clearing an amendment to the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.

More in news:

  • The proposed amendments would enable the estate officer to apply summary proceedings for evicting unauthorised occupants from residential accommodations and to levy damage charges for accommodation held during the period of litigation.
  • This will prevent delay in making allotments to others.
  • The new Bill will replace a 2017 Bill and will be introduced in the upcoming Parliament session.

China launches Internet ‘clean-up’ campaign

Topic: GS –II: International relations

China has launched a campaign to clean up its Internet, amid a fresh wave of apparent censorship.

More in news:

  • Authorities have, in recent days, blocked more foreign media websites and shut down domestic accounts on social media.
  • The campaign will punish and expose websites for “illegal and criminal actions”, failing to “fulfil their obligation” to take safety measures or the theft of personal information, it added. The campaign follows a series of shutdowns and blockages of certain websites and social media accounts.
  • Several foreign media beyond Beijing’s control, such as The Washington Post and The Guardian, have not been accessible online since last weekend, adding to a list of blocked sites.
  • Online Chinese financial news publication Wallstreetcn.com said on Monday it took its website and mobile app offline at the authorities’ request, but gave no details of the rules it may have broken.
  • Social media accounts ranging from those publishing politically sensitive material to financial news have also been shut.

Triple talaq Bill to be sent to Parliament again

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice  

The Union Cabinet approved the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, paving the way for the legislation to be introduced in the upcoming session of Parliament.

Key points:

  • The Bill, which would replace an ordinance, would, once approved, put a curb on the practice of talaq-e-biddat, or instant triple talaq.
  • The Bill would ensure gender equality and gender justice to Muslim women. The Bill would also help in protecting the rights of married Muslim women and prevent divorce by practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ by their husbands.

Background:

  • The Bill had been introduced in Parliament in 2018 but had lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. The Bill declares the practice of triple talaq void and illegal, making it punishable by three years in jail and a fine.

Faculty reservations

 Topic: GS–II: Social Justice  

Taking forward decisions made in the last months of the previous NDA government, the Centre has decided to introduce a Bill on faculty recruitment in central educational institutions in the coming session of Parliament.

Key points:

  • The legislation would provide for 10% reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) and restore an older system of reservation which would allow full representation of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.
  • The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019, was approved by the Cabinet, and will allow filling up of more than 7,000 existing vacancies by direct recruitment.
  • The Bill will replace an ordinance approved by Cabinet in March, just before the Lok Sabha elections, which restored the earlier “200-point roster system” considering the university or college as a single unit for the purpose of faculty reservations. This had been a long-standing demand of Dalit and Adivasi activists and political parties, with a threat of electoral consequences if denied.
  • They had complained that the “13-point roster system” considering each department as a separate unit, which was mandated by a controversial Allahabad High Court judgment in April 2018 and upheld by the Supreme Court in January 2019, effectively made reservations negligible.
  • The new Bill will also pave the way for implementation of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment passed by Parliament in January, mandating a 10% quota in jobs and educational institutions to economically backward sections in the general category.
  • The new Bill is expected to improve the teaching standards in the higher educational institutions by attracting all eligible talented candidates belonging to SCs/STs/SEBCs/EWS” categories.

OBC Categorisation

  • Cabinet also approved a two-month extension to the commission for examining sub-Categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) so that it could consult States and Union Territories on the issue.
  • The tenure of the commission, headed by retired Delhi High Court Chief Justice G. Rohini, has been extended till July 31.

Kerala to have its own open university

Topic: GS–II: Education, Human Resources

The Kerala Open University (KOU), which has been proposed along the lines of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), will come into being from the 2020-21 academic year.

  • Prabash, Special Officer, KOU, submitted his report of prospective guidelines to Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel on Wednesday.
  • The open university will enable the government to bring all distance education and private registration programmes under one roof.
  • While admissions to distance education courses will be conducted by the respective varsities this year, the process will be undertaken under the aegis of the KOU from the next academic year.
  • The existing distance education facilities of the universities will also become regional centres of the KOU.
  • Jaleel said the endeavour would not entail financial burden on the exchequer with the existing distance education centres to be utilised for conducting classes under the KOU.
  • Moreover, laboratories and other facilities of government and aided colleges would be utilised.

Yet to identifly location

  • The government was yet to identify a location for setting up the university headquarters. The proposed university, which will offer courses in science and humanities, will ensure priority to vocational and skill development courses.
  • Besides the conventional courses, the university will also offer massive open online courses.

Chandrayaan-2 to be launched on July 15 from Sriharikota: ISRO

Topic: GS -III: Science and Technology

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that Chandrayaan-2, India’s second Moon mission, will be launched on July 15. Chandrayaan-1 mission was launched about 10 years ago.

 Key points:

  • Chandrayaan-2, which will be launched from Sriharikota, includes a lander and a rover for the first time in an Indian space mission.
  • The moon landing is planned for September 6 or 7. The spacecraft, with a mass of 3.8 tonnes, has an orbiter, the lander (Vikram) and the rover (Pragyan).
  • The mission costs ₹603 crore for the spacecraft system and ₹375 crore for the launcher, a GSLV-MKIII. The lander and the rover will have the Tricolour painted on them. The Ashoka Chakra will be imprinted on the rover’s wheels.
  • The orbiter, with scientific payloads, would go around the Moon. The lander would soft-land on the Moon at a predetermined site and deploy the rover. Instruments on the lander and the rover would also carry out scientific experiments.
  • The scientific payloads are expected to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface.
  • The orbiter and the lander would be interfaced mechanically and stacked together as an integrated module and accommodated inside the GSLV MK-III. The rover is housed inside the lander.
  • After the launch into an earth-bound orbit by GSLV MK-III, the integrated module would reach the Moon orbit using the orbiter propulsion module, and subsequently, the lander would separate from the orbiter and soft-land at the predetermined site, close to the lunar South Pole. The rover would then roll out.

DRDO tests tech demonstrator 

Topic: GS -III: Science and Technology

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Wednesday conducted the test of an indigenously developed Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) along with several critical technologies.

Key points:

  • It is a technology demonstrator vehicle to prove a number of critical technologies for futuristic missions from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
  • The test was undertaken to validate several technologies including the HSTDV.

Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV)

  • A hypersonic vehicle that will be powered by a scram-jet engine. This is dual-use technology, which when developed, will have multiple civilian applications. It can be used for launching satellites at low cost. It will also be available for long-range cruise missiles of the future.
  • In scram-jet technology, fuel combustion takes place in a chamber in the missile at supersonic speeds.

Cabinet nod for Aadhaar as ID proof at banks, telcos

 Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

 The Union Cabinet approved a Bill to allow voluntary submission of Aadhaar as identity proof for use by private entities such as banks and telecom companies.

Key points:

  • ‘The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019’, which will replace an ordinance, also gives a child an option to exit from Aadhaar on attaining 18 years of age. “The amendments proposed are the same as those contained in the Ordinance promulgated by the President on 2nd March, 2019.
  • The Bill proposes deletion of section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that bars use of Aadhaar by private entities, while also providing for civil penalties for violation of rules.

Industrial growth recovers, CPI inflation up

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

Industrial activity rebounded in April 2019 to grow to a six-month high of 3.4%, driven by a turnaround across all the sectors measured.

More in news:

  • Separate data release showed retail inflation in May 2019 accelerated marginally to 3.05% driven by a slight rise in food price inflation.
  • Growth in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) returned to positive territory. Within the index, growth in the manufacturing sector stood at 2.8% in April compared with a contraction of 0.4% in the previous month. Mining sector saw growth accelerating to 5.1% from 0.8% over the same period.

Election spending

  • In April and May, the election spending would have also spurred demand. And in the first few months of the new financial year, there will likely be front-loading of government expenditure, and so, this growth could continue for about three months.
  • Retail inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) quickened to a seven-month high of 3.05% in May 2019, up marginally from the 2.99% registered in the previous month. Within the index, inflation in the ‘food and beverages’ segment accelerated to 2.03% from 1.38% over the same period. The fuel and light segment, however, saw inflation easing somewhat to 2.48% in May from 2.56% in the previous month. ‘Pan, tobacco, and other intoxicants’ and the ‘clothing and footwear’ segments, saw inflation easing marginally in May.

Survey reveals 86% of Internet users fall victim to fake news

Topic: GS -III: Security

Eighty-six percent of Internet users have been duped by fake news — most of it spread on Facebook — according to a global survey.

More in report:

  • The U.S. took the lion’s share of the blame for spreading fake news, followed by Russia and China, according to the annual Ipsos survey of more than 25,000 Internet users in 25 countries.
  • Fake news appeared to be most prevalent on Facebook, but also appears on YouTube, blogs and Twitter.
  • The results showed people in Egypt were the most gullible while respondents in Pakistan were the most sceptical. It also revealed widespread distrust of social media firms and growing concerns over privacy and biases baked into algorithms used by Internet companies.
  • The poll — which relied on both in-person and online interviews — was conducted between December 21, 2018 and February 10, 2019 on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

How much plastic is in your diet?

Topic: GS-III: Environment

People worldwide could be ingesting 5 g of microscopic plastic particles every week, equivalent in weight to a credit card, researchers said.

More in news:

  • Coming mostly from tap and especially bottled water, nearly invisible bits of polymer were also found in shellfish, beer and salt.
  • The findings, drawn from 52 peer-reviewed studies, are the first to estimate the sheer weight of plastics consumed by individual humans: about 250 g over the course of a year.
  • Another study calculated that the average American eats and drinks in about 45,000 plastics particles smaller than 130 microns annually, while breathing in roughly the same number.
  • In the last two decades, the world has produced as much plastic as during the rest of history, and the industry is set to grow by 4% a year until 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research.

75% plastic wasted

  • More than 75% of all plastics winds up as waste. A third of that — some 100 million tonnes — is dumped or leaches into Nature, polluting land, rivers and the sea. On current trends, the ocean will contain one metric tonne of plastic for every three metric tonnes of fish by 2025, according to The New Plastics Economy report.
  • Plastic particles have recently been found inside fish in the deepest recesses of the ocean, and blanketing the most pristine snows in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain.
  • The authors have invited other researchers to build on their conclusions.

Editorial section:

Values to live by – The Hindu

Starting at three– The Hindu

Back to Kashmir with an open heart– The Hindu

Navigations in Bishkek– The Hindu

A mix of all shades of red– The Hindu

 

 

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