UPSC Daily Current Affairs-12th July 2018

www.iasinsights.in; www.iasgyaan.com posts UPSC Daily current Affairs -12th July 2018. This info is taken from News papers, PIB, AIR News and Summarized for your easy understanding.

Daily Current Affairs -12th July 2018

GS-I (History)

Founder of the Lodi dynasty Bahlul Khan died

  • Bahlul Khan Lodi, the founder of the Lodi dynasty which ruled over Delhi for 75 years died on 12th July 1489.
  • He is a grandson of Malik Bahram, a Pashtun native to Multan working for the Governor of Multan.
  • He was the son of Bahram’s younger son Malik Kala. Bahlul was also the son-in-law of Bahram’s eldest son Malik Sultan Shah Lodi. Sultan Shah Lodi worked under the Sayyid dynasty of Delhi and was appointed the Governor of Sirhind in Punjab.
  • Bahlul had a horse trading enterprise and once sold finely bred horses to the Sayyid ruler Sultan Muhammad Shah. He received a pargana and the status of ‘amir’ as his payment. Bahlul also got an opportunity to help the Sultan when his territory was invaded by the Malwa Sultan. After this successful military engagement, the Sultan conferred on Bahlul the title Khan-i-Khanan. Bahlul also received a good part of Punjab for himself.
  • Bahlul attacked Delhi in 1443 but was not successful. Another attempt was made in 1447, but this was also met with failure.
  • Finally, the Sayyid ruler of Delhi Alam Shah retired in 1448 to Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. Alam Shah’s minister Hamid Khan invited Bahlul to occupy the throne, which he did.
  • On 19th April 1451, Bahlul Khan ascended to the throne of Delhi as the first Lodi ruler, ending the Sayyid dynasty’s reign.
  • On becoming the king of Delhi, he took on the title, Bahlul Shah Ghazi.
  • One of the first things he did after ascending the Delhi throne was to imprison Hamid Khan, as he might have proved dangerous for his position.
  • Bahlul was busy quelling rebellions and uprisings in his territories. He extended his territory to Jaunpur (1479), Gwalior and upper Uttar Pradesh. He retained Delhi as his capital.
  • He was known to treat his Afghan nobles and tribesmen with respect and thus won their approval and acceptance.
  • He appointed his son Babrak Shah as Jaunpur’s Viceroy in 1486. His second son Nizam Khan was named his heir apparent.
  • Bahlul’s death in 1489 was followed by a power struggle between his two sons. Nizam Khan succeeded him as the ruler of Delhi and assumed the name Sikandar Lodi.
  • Bahlul ruled over Delhi for 38 years. His tomb is located at Chirag Dilli in Delhi.

GS-II (Governance)

Govt. leaves decision on Section 377 to the court
  • The government chose not to take sides on the question of the legality of Section 377 IPC, a provision which criminalizes homosexuality, leaving the decision entirely to the Supreme Court.

Incest

  • The government’s decision to not contest writ petitions against Section 377, however, came with a rider that the court should specify that the freedom to choose a partner does not extend to perversions like incest.
  • For example, the choice of partner should not be own sister as it is prohibited under the Hindu marriage law.

Remarks 

Justice Chandrachud

  • Justice Chandrachud said that the prerogative of this hearing was to understand the nature of a relationship and bring it under the protection of Article 21 (fundamental right to life) of the Constitution.
  • We are on the nature of the relationship and not going to talk on marriage, etc.
  • It should not come to a situation where two homosexuals enjoying a walk on the Marine Drive are disturbed by the police.
  • We want to protect the relationship.

Justice Nariman

  • Justice Rohinton Nariman intervened to observe that the Bench was delving into the content of the fundamental right.

CJI

  • Chief Justice Misra said the court is considering the issue of protecting the relationship.
  • He said the court was not confining its ambit merely to LGBTQ or sexual orientation.
  • It is examining the aspect of two consenting adults who should not be liable for criminal action for their relationship.
  • Examining whether the relationship between two consenting adults is itself a manifestation of Article 21.

Panel for automatic suspension of RS

  • The rules review committee set up by Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu has, in its interim report, made two key recommendations: automatic suspension of wilful offenders and changing question-hour timing.
  • The report has to be approved by the Rules Committee of the Upper House, which is headed by Mr. Naidu and has members from across parties.
  • The automatic suspension of wilful offenders is a controversial clause that was debated by the Rajya Sabha secretariat when Hamid Ansari was the Chairman.
  • The Lok Sabha has a provision for automatic suspension, but in the Rajya Sabha, the House has to vote on the Chair’s suggestion to suspend a member; the chair can’t take the decision on its own.
  • The committee has recommended that a clause similar to one available in the Lok Sabha should be available to the Chair in the Rajya Sabha too.
  • The other recommendation is to restore the question hour to 11 a.m. from noon.
Govt. seek help to eliminate manual scavenging

In a bid to eliminate the need for manual scavenging, the Centre has launched a challenge asking innovators, NGOs, research institutions, companies and cities to propose technology and business solutions to clean urban sewers and septic tanks without human entry.International Sanitation Convention

  • The challenge will be part of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention to be held on October 18.
  • The objectives are to identify technological and business process innovations, endorse viable business models and pilot test shortlisted technologies and solutions in select project cities.

Concerns

  • Activists working with manual scavengers expressed scepticism about the proposal.
  • The machines to clean sewers and septic tanks are available globally, but they need to be adapted to Indian conditions, and the government needs to show the political will to actually use the technology on the ground.
  • By asking individuals, companies and NGOs to submit proposals for an award, the government is washing its hands of its responsibilities.

GS-II (Law)

Promotion Quota case for 7 judge bench

  • The Supreme Court has indicated that a seven-judge Bench may be constituted to examine whether a 2006 judgment by a five-judge Bench of the court interrupted the grant of quota in promotions.
  • Venugopal, while urging the court to set up the seven-judge Bench, however unsuccessfully pleaded for interim orders.
  • The Bench refused to pass interim directions contrary to the Nagaraj judgment.
  • As of now, the freeze in reservation for promotions would continue.

Background

  • A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra scheduled a batch of over 40 petitions on the question of referral to a seven-judge Bench.
  • The oral observation was in reaction to submissions made by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal that lakhs of promotions across government departments have been put on hold because of the Nagaraj judgment of 2006.

Nagaraj case

  • The five-judge Bench in the Nagaraj case had held that the creamy layer concept should be excluded from reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs.
  • It had directed the upper limit of quota at 50%.
  • The Bench had also held that the State would have to justify in each case the compelling reasons – namely backwardness and inadequacy of representation — for providing reservation keeping in mind the overall efficiency of State administration.
  • It is made clear that even if the State has compelling reasons, the State will have to see that its reservation provision does not lead to excessiveness so as to breach the ceiling limit of 50% or obliterate the creamy layer or extend reservation indefinitely.
Adultery must remain a punishable offence, Centre tells Supreme Court
  • The government submitted that dropping of adultery as an offence from the Indian Penal Code (IPC) will erode the sanctity of marriage and be detrimental to the intrinsic Indian ethos.

Government’s stand

  • In an 11-page affidavit which will be taken up before a Constitution Bench, the Centre said the provision punishing adultery — Section 497 of IPC — supports, safeguards and protects the institution of marriage considering the unique structure and culture of Indian society. 
  • The government agreed to the thought that stability of a marriage is not an ideal to be scorned and striking down Section 497 would destroy the fabric of society itself.

Background

  • The Constitution Bench is scheduled to decide on whether the pre-Independence provision of adultery in the IPC treats a married woman as her husband’s subordinate and violates the constitutional concepts of gender equality and sensitivity.
  • The petition filed by Joseph Shine seeks to drop Section 497 as a criminal offence from the statute book.

Bench’s observations

  • A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had observed that the provision raised a question mark on social progress, outlook, gender equality and gender sensitivity.
  • The provision really creates a dent in the individual independent identity of a woman when the emphasis is laid on the connivance or consent of the husband.
  • It was time to bring to the forefront a different view with focus on the rights of women, Chief Justice Misra observed.
  • The Constitution Bench to be headed by Chief Justice Misra is likely to consider whether Section 497 treats the man as the adulterer and the married woman as a victim.
  • The larger Bench may also examine why the offence of adultery ceases the moment it is established that the husband connived with or consented to the adulterous act.
  • So, is a married woman the property of her husband or a passive object without a mind of her own?
Centre upholds Net neutrality proposals
  • In a move that will ensure open and free Internet in India, the government has approved the principle of net neutrality.

Significance

  • This means that telecom and Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, site, platform, or application.
  • They cannot engage in practices such as blocking, slowing down or granting preferential speeds to any content.
  • India’s decision to uphold Net neutrality assumes greater significance given that in the U.S., the rules on Net neutrality were repealed.

Critical services

  • But certain emerging and critical services will be kept out of the purview of these norms.
  • A separate committee has been set up under the DoT to examine what these critical services will be.
  • These may include autonomous vehicles, digital healthcare services or disaster management.

Background 

  • The Telecom Commission (TC) — which is the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecom (DoT) — approved the recommendation made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) eight months ago.

Recommendations

  • Internet access services should be governed by a principle that restricts any form of discrimination or interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content.
  • This principle would apply to any discriminatory treatment based on the sender or receiver, the network protocols, or the user equipment, but not to specialised services or other exclusions.
  • These would not apply to reasonable traffic management practices by the service provider.
  • To implement Net neutrality, the regulator had recommended that the terms of licence agreements that govern the provision of Internet services in India be amended to incorporate the principles of non-discriminatory treatment of content along with the appropriate exclusions and exceptions.
  • The regulator has further recommended establishing a multi-stakeholder not-for-profit body for the monitoring and enforcement of these principles.
  • The Telecom Commission also gave its nod to install 12.5 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots in all gram panchayats.

GS-II (International Affairs)

India, UK to take forward the exchange of legal practitioners

  • MoU for enhancing bilateral cooperation in legal affairs which, inter alia, provides a framework for promoting greater co-operation between the judicial and legal professionals in both countries through exchange of expertise and training; exchanging information regarding current issues of international significance.
  • The MoU also provides for establishment of a Joint Consultative Committee to facilitate such exchange.
  • The progress made in India in the field of ensuring access to justice for all, particularly using the power of technology through initiatives like Tele-Law, e-Court services and digitization of Courts in India.
  • There is a commitment to deepening bilateral cooperation in legal matters, including Arbitration, Legal training and exchange of best practices, taking advantage of the shared common law heritage of the two countries.

Nepal, India to expedite Raxaul-Kathmandu rail project

  • Nepal and India have agreed to seal an agreement for preliminary engineering cum traffic survey for building a rail link that will connect Raxual in Bihar to the Nepalese capital
  • Nepal and China agreed on a feasibility study for a railway line connecting Tibet with the Himalayan nation.
  • India has already started building five cross-border railway lines between Nepal and India. One line from Jayanagar to Janakpur-Kurtha will be completed within a year
  • Discussions about other lines are going on.
Trump claims Germany ‘controlled’ by Russia
  • US President Donald Trump barreled into a NATO summit Wednesday with claims that a natural gas pipeline deal has left Germany “totally controlled” and “captive to Russia”.
  • He described Germany as “captive to Russia” because of the energy deal and urged NATO to look into the issue.
  • He also suggested that NATO allies commit to spending 4 percent of their gross domestic product on defense _ double the current goal of 2 percent by 2024.
  • However Angela Markel differed with Trump remarks.
India deeply worried on reports of Islamic State acquiring chemical weapons
  • India has asked the chemical weapons watchdog OPCW to closely monitor the threat of IS acquiring chemical weapons.
  • India raised the issue while attending 88th session of the Executive Council of the Organization for Prevention of Chemical Weapons
  • India urged that it is the responsibility of all states parties to preserve and protect the integrity and credibility of the convention.
  • Effective solutions to the challenges faced by the OPCW can be found through constructive engagement and dialogue.

What is OPCW?

  • The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997.
  • As of today OPCW has 193 Member States, who are working together to achieve a world free of chemical weapons.

The Convention contains four key provisions:

  • destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification by the OPCW;
  • monitoring chemical industry to prevent new weapons from re-emerging;
  • providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats; and
  • fostering international cooperation to strengthen implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry.

GS-III (Environment)

Climate change threatens the Nilgiri tahr Related image

  • Niligiri tahr, the endangered wild mountain goats – found only in high altitudes in India’s Western Ghats — could be losing their footing with increasing climate change.
  • Scientists tried to predict how climate change can affect tahr habitat in the Ghats by mapping tahr distribution (using existing information and field surveys) and then using climatic factors of these locations to see where tahrs would be able to survive, given current and future climate change scenarios.
  • They found in total, approx. 60% of tahr habitat could be lost across the Ghats from 2030’s onwards.
  • There are only around 2,500 tahrs left in the wild and their population — small and isolated, making them vulnerable to local extinction — shows a decreasing trend, as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Way forward

  • The study has to be seen in the context of this identified vulnerability; the impacts of climate change may further increase the chances of local extinction.
  • The study’s findings demand a comprehensive species management plan.
  • Scientists had drafted a tahr recovery plan in 2010.
  • According to the report, only the Eravikulam and Mukurthi National Parks stress on tahr-centered conservation activities in their management plans.
  • Though the recovery plan identified conservation units and made site-specific recommendations, how much of it has been implemented is unclear.
  • It is important that we focus our efforts on these conservation units and monitor isolated populations.

GS-III (Economy)

Registration process for drone operations to begin soon: DIPP
  • Civil Aviation Ministry is likely to begin soon the registration process for operations of drone in the country
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry is on the cusp now.
  • As per the estimates, by 2023, UAS industry has USD one billion opportunity in India.
  • India must have the capabilities of designing and manufacturing (UAS) in India so that the IP stays with us.
  • The regulatory framework for civil and commercial operations of UAS needs to be put in place early in line with global best practices.
  • The primary beneficiaries of UAS would be agriculture, fishery, forest and irrigation sectors.
  • UAS services by start-ups must be encouraged through incentives, benefits and tax break for increasing domestic production.

SEBI to float paper on fundraising via bonds: 

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will soon come out with a consultation paper on making it mandatory for large corporates to meet one-fourth of their financing needs through the bond market as envisioned by the FY19 Union Budget.
  • Given the relatively nascent stage of development of bond market, such framework has to have a soft touch approach.
  • It will be finalised in consultation with stakeholders.
  • A lot is needed to be done for increasing liquidity in the secondary market and the SEBI would move towards that direction in consultation with the RBI and the government.
  • While private placement of corporate bonds have shown significant uptake, especially since FY16-17 onwards, there are genuine concerns about liquidity in the secondary market.
  • Secondary market products such as interest rate futures, credit default, swaps, repo and others had to be made more attractive to the participants for development of secondary market in corporate bonds.
  • Efforts made in development of private placement of bonds have to be necessarily complemented with increase in liquidity in secondary market.

GS-III (Science and Technology)

Call to standardize Sabin IPV

  • A global workshop organized by the Seattle-based not-for-profit PATH is underway in Hyderabad city to chalk out a plan that would eventually lead to standardization of the Sabin inactivated vaccine.

What is Sabin vaccine?

  • The Sabin vaccine is one of the two types available against polio. The Sabin IPV, in contrast to the original IPV, comprises inactivated polio virus types which are made from weakened polio virus used in Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).
  • The original IPV developed comprises inactivated wild-type viruses, which pose a risk of handling and containment.

Technology Challenge Launched for Promoting Suitable Techniques for Cleaning of Sewers and Septic Tanks

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched a technology challenge for promoting suitable techniques for cleaning of sewers and septic tanks with the objective of eliminating the human entry into septic tanks/manholes etc.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, which was entrusted with the task, has now launched the “Technology Challenge: Identifying solutions for cleaning of Sewerage Systems and Septic Tanks.

Objectives

  1. Identify technological as well as business process innovations.
  2. Endorse viable business models that are suitable for a different size, geographies, and class of cities.
  3. Pilot test and handhold to scale the shortlisted technologies/solutions in select project cities.
  4. Bridge the gap between innovators/manufacturers and beneficiaries- i.e. ULBs, citizens

India’s genetically modified crop area fifth largest in world

  • India has the world’s fifth largest cultivated area under genetically modified (GM) crops, at 11.4 million hectares (mh) in 2017
  • Unlike other big growers, India’s entire GM crop area is under a single crop — cotton — incorporating genes from the Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt soil bacterium coding for resistance against heliothis bollworm insect pests.
  • The country with the highest area under transgenic crops, at 75 mh, is the United States.
  • Brazil’s total 50.2 mh GM crop area

GM crops in India:

  • In India, the GM crops that are under regulatory consideration — apart from the already commercialised Bt/insect-resistant cotton — include glyphosate-tolerant cotton and biotech hybrid mustard.
  • Both the Bollgard II-Roundup Ready Flex (BGII-RRF) cotton event of Monsanto (incorporating Bt as well as glyphosate-tolerant genes) and transgenic mustard developed by Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (harbouring three alien genes that enable higher yields through hybridisation) have undergone all the mandated bio-safety research and open field trials.
  • Their commercial release has, however, been stuck due to opposition from environmental activists.
  • In the case of BG II-RRF cotton, the developer (Monsanto) itself has withdrawn its regulatory applications, following disputes with the government over intellectual property protection on GM technologies.
  • But that has come even as a high-level expert panel constituted by the Prime Minister’s Office has found 15 per cent of cotton area planted across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Gujarat in the 2017 season — and about five per cent in Punjab — to be under hybrids containing the “unapproved” BG II-RRF event.
  • This is, of course, an indication of demand for GM technology among Indian farmers — whether or not the government and green NGOs like it.

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