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Insights Daily Current Events, 05 March 2015 + QUIZ

Insights Daily Current Events, 05 March 2015

SC verdicts differ on beef being a poor man’s food

The Bill banning cow slaughter in Maharashtra, pending for the past several years, has received the President’s assent. The sale of Beef and slaughter of cow in Maharashtra is now banned.

The Supreme Court, in the past while examining this case, had given two varying verdicts.
While in 1958, the apex court said keeping useless cattle alive would be a wasteful drain on the nation’s cattle feed, in 2005 it upheld Gujarat’s total ban on cattle slaughter, regardless of whether the bovine is useful or useless

1958 verdict:

In 1958, the Supreme Court, while deciding the constitutionality of cattle slaughter ban laws in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, had held that “there is no getting away from the fact that beef or buffalo meat is an item of food for a large section of the people in India.”

SC’s observations in 1958:

  • It held that cattle, except cows of all ages and calves of both cows and buffaloes, not capable of milch or draught can be slaughtered. The court classified such cattle as “useless.”
  • The apex court found that keeping “useless cattle” alive would be a “wasteful drain” on the nation’s cattle feed. If slaughtered, they would feed the poor.
  • The SC termed Beef as the poor man’s diet and held that poorer people who can hardly afford fruit or milk or ghee are likely to suffer from malnutrition if they are deprived of even one slice of beef or buffalo flesh which may sometimes be within their reach.

2005 Verdict:

The apex court reversed its earlier stand in 2005. This time, it upheld Gujarat’s total ban on cattle slaughter, regardless of whether the bovine is useless or useful.

SC’s observations in 2005:

  • The court held that beef contributes only 1.3 per cent of the total meat consumption pattern of the Indian society and also said that Nutrition is not necessarily associated with non-vegetarian diet and that too originating from slaughtering cow and its progeny.
  • The court also held that the concept of food security has undergone considerable change and it is futile to think that meat originating from cow progeny can be the only staple food or protein diet for the poor population of the country.

Now, Maharashtra’s beef traders have decided on seeking legal recourse following the ban by Maharashtra Government.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

 

Lok Sabha clears Insurance Bill

The Lok Sabha recently cleared the long-pending Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill. Now, it will be sent to the Rajya Sabha.

The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill:

It was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2008. It seeks to amend the Insurance Act 1938, the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972 and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999.

Aim: the amendments are aimed at removing archaic and redundant provisions in the legislations and incorporating certain provisions to provide Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) with flexibility to discharge its functions effectively and efficiently. The overall objective is to further deepen the reform process which is already underway in the insurance sector.

Details of the Bill:

  • In India, insurance companies are not permitted to have foreign holding of more than 26%. This Bill raises the limit to 49% and allows entry of foreign re-insurers (companies that insure insurance companies).
  • It also provides for permanent registration of insurance companies.
  • It permits the holder of a life insurance policy to name the beneficiary.
  • The Bill seeks to amend clause 45 to the effect that no claim can be repudiated (rejected) after three years of the policy issuance under any circumstances.
  • With the aim to reduce the dependence on agents the Bill seeks to have more channels for distribution, in addition to the existing ones such as agents and bancassurance.
  • The Bill proposes to give insurance companies the freedom to collect premiums in instalments for more products.
  • To strengthen redressal of policyholders’ complaints, the Bill proposes an independent grievance redressal authority, with powers similar to a civil court. The authority will be composed of judicial and technical members.
  • The Bill also stresses on technology to increase electronic issuance of policies. This will help improve claims payout.

Advantages:

  • With foreign participants playing a bigger role, there will be more variety in products and more professionalism in selling these. With more competition, mis-selling will reduce.
  • Simplifying the norms for expansion of re-insurance companies will also help penetration.
  • Since electronic issuance and dematerialising of policies can facilitate data sharing between companies, any cases of fraud can be detected faster.
  • The Bill provides for appeals against decisions by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority to lie with the Securities Appellate Tribunal set up under the SEBI Act, 1992.

Many opposition parties are against the idea of raising the cap on FDI in insurance sector.

Sources: The Hindu, prsinida.org.

 

 

ISRO defers satellite launch

The Indian Space Research Organisation has postponed the launch of IRNSS-1D, its fourth navigational satellite, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, scheduled for March 9.

About Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System:

IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system being developed by India. It is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area.

  • IRNSS will provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users and Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users.
  • The IRNSS System is expected to provide a position accuracy of better than 20 m in the primary service area.
  • IRNSS comprises of a space segment and a ground segment. The IRNSS space segment consists of seven satellites, with three satellites in geostationary orbit and four satellites in inclined geosynchronous orbit.
  • IRNSS ground segment is responsible for navigation parameter generation and transmission, satellite control, ranging and integrity monitoring and time keeping.
  • IRNSS-1A, the first satellite of the IRNSS constellation, has already started functioning from its designated orbital slot after extensive on orbit test and evaluation to confirm its satisfactory performance.

Applications of IRNSS:

  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation
  • Disaster Management
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management
  • Integration with mobile phones
  • Precise Timing
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers

Positioning of the seven satellites:


 

 

 

Global Navigational Systems:

As of April 2013, only the United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS are global operational GNSSs. China is in the process of expanding its regional Beidou navigation system into the global Compass navigation system by 2020. The European Union’s Galileo positioning system is a GNSS in initial deployment phase, scheduled to be fully operational by 2020 at the earliest. France (DORIS), India, and Japan are in the process of developing regional navigation systems.

Sources: The Hindu, isro.org, Wiki.

 

Fewer children born each year; child sex ratio worsens

The New data from 2011 census says that the number of children born every year is declining rapidly in India, but the slowdown is faster for baby girls as against baby boys. The data was released by the office of the Registrar-General of India.

Details:

  • Around 2.1 crore children were born in 2010, the year before the latest Census was conducted. In the year 2000 in comparison, 1.98 crore children were born. However, the growth in the number of male children born was higher at 5.44 per cent, while the growth in the number of girls born was far lower at 4.69 per cent. The sex ratio at birth as a result was slightly worse in 2011 than it was in 2001.
  • The numbers also clearly indicate that couples are choosing to restrict the size of their families; nearly half of the children born in 2000 were the third, fourth, fifth and so on in the family. In 2011, just a third of children born in the preceding year were the family’s third, fourth, fifth or so on children. In fact, the absolute number of first and second-borns only increased between 2000 and 2010, while the number of later-born children declined.
  • Fertility is declining faster than expected in India. In a given year, a child born to a woman under the age of 24 is most likely to be her first child, and one born to a woman aged 25-40 her second child. In 2001 in contrast, a child born to a woman in the age group 30-34 was most likely to be her third child, and one born to a woman aged 35 to 39 was most likely to be her fourth child, the Census numbers show.
  • The data also shows that just 2% of women under the age of 18 are now married in India. Statistics on marriage released showed that 72 lakh people under the age of 18 were married as of 2011, 70% of them girls.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

RBI to put Re. 1 note into circulation

One rupee notes are all set to come back into circulation as the government has decided to restart printing the currency after more than two decades.

  • The RBI said the notes to be issued would be legal tender as provided in The Coinage Act 2011.
  • The RBI said the note will bear Ashoka Pillar symbol in the window without words ‘Satyamev Jayate,’ and carry a hidden numeral in the centre.

Some facts:

  • The Government of India also has the sole right to mint coins of all denominations.
  • One rupee currency notes will be printed by the Government of India.
  • The note will carry bilingual signature of Finance Secretary.
  • The surrounding design of the new note will consist of the picture of Sagar Samart – the oil exploration platform and with the authentic rendering of value in fifteen Indian language in language panel and the year figure shown in the centre bottom in international number.

 

Sources: The Hindu, RBI, ET.

 

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