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Daily Current Affairs -31st July 2018
Udham Singh hanged by the British on 31st July
Udham Singh, revolutionary and Ghadarite freedom fighter was hanged by the British on 31st July for his assassination of Michael O’ Dwyer who was the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab when the Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place in Amritsar.
- Udham Singh was born on 26th December 1899 as Sher Singh to Tehal Singh Kamboj and his wife at Sunam in District Sangrur, Punjab. His father was a railway crossing watchman in Upalli village.
- Udham Singh was sent to an orphanage after his father died. It was at the orphanage that he was administered the Sikh initiation rites and acquired the name Udham Singh.
- After acquiring his matriculation degree, he left the orphanage in 1919.
- On 13th April 1919, the brutal Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place where more than 20,000 unarmed people were fired at by the British authorities.
- Martial law had been declared in Punjab at that time in the form of the Rowlatt Acts. There was widespread protest in many parts of the country and Punjab especially, was volatile.
- It is said that Udham Singh was a witness to the events that unfolded during the massacre in Amritsar on that fateful day. He was deeply affected by the violence and became engaged in revolutionary politics.
- The Lieutenant Governor of Punjab at that time was Michael O’Dwyer.
- Udham Singh blamed O’Dwyer for the massacre.
- In 1924, he joined the Ghadar Party that was involved in organising Indians abroad in overthrowing British colonial rule.
- In 1927, he returned to India bringing with him associates and ammunition for revolutionary activities. He was, however, arrested and sentenced to five years in prison.
- He was released in 1931 and was under constant surveillance by the police. He was able to escape to Germany from where he reached London.
- He became employed as an engineer in London.
- On 13th March 1940, O’Dwyer was scheduled to give a speech at a meeting in Caxton Hall, London.
- Udham Singh entered the hall with a revolver concealed inside his coat. As O’Dwyer was moving towards the podium to speak, Udham Singh shot him twice resulting in O’Dwyer’s death immediately.
- Some others gathered there was also injured in the shooting. Udham Singh was arrested and tried for the assassination.
- His motive was to avenge Jallianwala Bagh massacre and to draw attention of the people towards the plight of Indians under colonial rule.
- Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville Prison on 31st July 1940. His mortal remains have been preserved at the Jallianwala Bagh.
- Today, the states of Punjab and Haryana observe 31st July as the Martyrdom Day of Shahid Udham Singh.
- Leaders in India were divided between condemning Singh’s actions and praising his courage. Many in the INC such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru condemned it. Some members of the party refused to condemn it and applauded his actions.
- Years later in 1962, as Prime Minister, Nehru did publish a statement saluting Udham Singh as a martyr.
LS passes Bill on rape of girls
- The Lok Sabha passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, that provides for the death sentence for raping a girl under 12 years and enhances the minimum punishment for rape of a woman from seven to 10 years.
- It amends the IPC, CrPC, Indian Evidence Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
- The Bill, once passed by the Rajya Sabha, will replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated in April, 2018, after outcry over the Kathua rape case.
- The minimum punishment for the rape of a girl under 12 will be 20 years of rigorous imprisonment, the maximum being death sentence or life imprisonment. Earlier, the punishment was rigorous imprisonment ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment
Final draft of NRC with 2.9 crore names released in Assam
- The much-anticipated second and final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on Monday with 2.9 crore names out of the total 3.29 crore applicants in Assam.
- The names of 40.07 lakh applicants did not find a place in the historic document, touted to be a proof of Assamese identity.
- The first draft of the NRC was published during the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 this year, containing 1.9 crore names.
- The process for making claims and objections will begin on August 30 and continue till September 28. Adequate and ample scope will be given to people for making objections.
- The application process for the NRC started in May 2015 and a total of 6.5 crore documents were received from 68.27 lakh families across Assam.
What is NRC?
- The NRC (National Register of Citizens) is a list that contains the names of Indian citizens of Assam.
- This list aims at including the names of all Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971.
- The NRC was prepared in 1951 after the Census of 1951. Assam is the only State with an NRC.
- Those who wanted their names in the final list of the NRC had to furnish proof of existence of their name in the legacy data.
- The descendants and applicants born after 1971 were asked to submit documents pertaining to an ancestor.
- The NRC updating process began in 2015, following a Supreme Court directive to the government to keep up with the Assam Accord of 1985.
- One of the key clauses of the accord stated that all immigrants who had entered Assam on or after March 25, 1971 were to be identified and deported.
- This is seen as an attempt to eliminate illegal immigration from our neighbouring regions.
- However, it has also resulted in fear and anxiety among people, as those excluded from the list will be considered foreigners or immigrants.
- More than 40 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were left out of the complete draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was published on Monday. The five year exercise was completed at a cost of Rs. 1,220 crore.
- The remaining 40,007,707 applicants, whose names didn’t figure in the list will be given ample opportunity through a process of claims and objections till September 28, and their citizenship status will not be questioned till the final, error-free draft is prepared.
- Those not on the list include 2.48 lakh Doubtful-voters (D-voters) and their siblings and descendants.
E-commerce policy will be in line with Srikrishna Committee recommendations
- The draft e-commerce policy being formulated by the government will be in keeping with the recommendations of the Justice Srikrishna Committee report on data privacy.
- The draft personal data protection Bill 2018, submitted by the Justice B.N. Srikrishna-headed expert panel on Friday proposed that critical personal data of Indian citizens be processed in centres located within the country.
- The draft law recommended by the Srikrishna committee has left it to the Central government to notify categories of personal data that will be considered as critical, and hence necessarily be located in India.
- The working groups and think tanks made comprehensive recommendations on the draft e-commerce policy on issues ranging from data flow, to protection, grievance redressal, and data localization.
Nagaland may follow Assam in NRC update
- Nagaland may be the next State in the Northeast to update the 1951 National Register of Citizens after studying how the first-of-its-kind exercise in Assam pans out.
- Assam undertook the exercise in September 2015 and published the first draft with names of 19 million people, on December 31 last year. The second draft for the remaining 13.9 million people is published on July 30.
- As per the 2011 Census, Nagaland has a population of 1.98 million. The State has 1.18 million voters, according to the Election Commission.
- Nagaland has occasionally driven out suspected ‘Bangladeshis’ out to Assam, which other Northeastern states blame for spill-over of illegal migrants.
- The NRC in Assam will pose the biggest demographic threat to neighbouring states, Nagaland in particular.
- Assam after 1971 witnessed an increase in the number of illegal immigrants leading to indigenous communities such as Assamese, Bodo and Rabha becoming outnumbers in their own land.
- Manipur has deployed special teams of security forces at Jiribam adjoining southern Assam’s Barak Valley and Mao on the border with Nagaland.
Centre for removal of ‘NOTA’ from RS poll
- The Supreme Court on Monday reserved for judgment a PIL petition, which won the full support of the Centre, seeking to scrap the ‘NOTA’ option in Rajya Sabha election.
- A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra indicated that the court may indeed rule against the two circulars issued by the Election Commission of India on January 24, 2014 and November 12, the subsequent year, giving Rajya Sabha members the option to press the NOTA (‘none of the above’) button in the Upper House polls.
- Chief Justice Misra orally observed that NOTA is meant only for universal adult suffrage and direct elections and not polls held by the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote as done in the Rajya Sabha.
PM KP Sharma Oli pledges early implementation of transport, transit agreement with China
- Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has pledged to implement at the earliest the landmark transport and transit agreement signed with China, a move aimed at reducing landlocked country’s total dependence on India.
- The agreement on transport and transit signed between Nepal and China in during his first stint as the premier in 2016 would be taken to a conclusion soon.
- The transit and transportation treaty with China is likely to end New Delhi’s monopoly over the landlocked nation’s trade through Haldia port in Kolkata. It gives Nepal an option to use the next nearest Tianjin port in China that is 3,000 km from the Nepal border. Haldia port is 1,000 km away.
Hun Sen returns to power in Cambodia
- Cambodia went to the polls on Sunday, with Prime Minister Hun Sen ensuring his return by keeping key Opposition leaders out of the fray and muzzling the media.
- Hun Sen of Cambodian People’s Party was smugly claiming it had won all 125 parliamentary seats, renewing its mandate for another five years.
- Hun Sen, who has been in power since 1985
- Voters were threatened with punishment if they responded to calls for an election boycott. A number of dummy parties joined what international observers called a sham election. Cambodia’s first free elections happened in 1993.
Parliamentary panel to probe U.K.-India relations
- A British parliamentary committee is looking into relations between Britain and India — including the impact of Britain’s visa regime — as part of a wider examination of the future of “Global Britain”.Trade, visa policy, security to be among the areas of focus.
- The inquiry comes at a time when tensions between the two countries have heightened amid Indian concerns about the U.K.’s reluctance to ease visa norms for students and professionals.
- It will look at the issue of bilateral trade as well as the impact of Britain’s visa policy, and cooperation on regional security, counter terrorism, technology, innovation and multilateral institutions.
The committee said the relationship is as an important “test case” for the government’s “Global Britain” strategy, and pointed to a number of questions.These include:
- How strong is the bilateral relationship?
- how should Britain balance political, strategic and trade issues in determining its relationship?
- Does the U.K.’s visa regime facilitate the type of relationship the government seeks with India?
U.S. eases export controls on India
- In a major boost to India, the U.S. on Monday eased export controls on high-technology product sales to it by designating it as a Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 country.
- This comes after the U.S. recognised India as a “Major Defence Partner” in 2016, a designation that allows India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies from the U.S.
Benefits of STA
- STA-1 provides India greater supply chain efficiency, both for defence and for other high-tech products, that will increase activity with US systems, the interoperability of the systems, and it will reduce time and resources needed to get licensing approved.
- That’s a very important change in their status under our export control regime. It acknowledges the US-India security and economic relationship.
- It comes under the Export Administration Rules, and it authorises the export, re-export and in-country transfer of specific items to destinations that the US regards as low risk.
Penal Provision of FEMA Covers Violation of FDI Policy Regulations
- FDI in retail has been allowed in a calibrated manner after intensive consultations with stakeholders including concerned Ministries and departments, State Governments, apex industry chambers, associations and other organizations.
- There is no proposal to set up a special group to keep tabs on any violation of its foreign investment policy by online retail platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra.
- However, any violation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy regulations is covered by the penal provision of the FEMA, 1999.
- Reserve bank of India administers the FEMA and Enforcement Directorate under the Ministry of Finance is the authority for the enforcement of FEMA.
Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) in Fin Min domain: Govt
- The Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) has been taken away from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and brought under the domain of the Finance Ministry.
- It will now be under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA)
- Budget 2018 amended the Central Road Fund Act, 2000, and renamed the Central Road Fund the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund.
- The objective of the amendment was to use proceeds of the road cess under CRIF to finance other infrastructure projects such as waterways, some portion of the railway infrastructure and even social infrastructure, including education institutions and medical colleges.
- The government recently constituted a ministerial panel headed by the Finance Minister to decide on fund allocation for infrastructure projects from the CRIF.
- The four-member committee would approve recommendations made by the sub-committee headed by the Economic Affairs Secretary on the list of infrastructure projects to be financed from the CIRF
GS-III(Science & Technology)
Strategic Partnership Model approved by DAC
- The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman met to discuss about boosting defense industry.
- To boost indigenous defense industry and to reduce timelines so as to ensure timely delivery of equipment to the Armed Forces, the DAC discussed and approved Implementation guidelines for the Strategic Partnership Model. S
- It aims to revitalize defense industrial ecosystem and progressively build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon systems for the future needs of the Armed Forces.
- The guidelines lay emphasis on incentivisation of transfer of niche technology and higher indigenous content Global Majors, who in collaboration with Indian Partners are ready to make India a Regional / Global manufacturing hub for the platform will also be incentivized.
- This will give a major fillip towards encouraging self-reliance and aligning the defense sector with the ‘Make in India ‘ initiative of the Government.