Insights Daily Current Events, 01 July 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Clarification regarding transgender
Supreme Court has refused to modify its 2014 order on transgenders while clarifying that lesbians, gays and bisexuals are not third gender. Clarification in this regard was asked by additional solicitor general (ASG) Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre. The court has clarified that lesbians, gays and bisexuals are not transgenders.
In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court had on April 15, 2014 granted legal recognition to transgenders or eunuchs as third category of gender and had directed the Centre and all states to treat them as socially and educationally backward classes to extend reservation in admission in educational institutions and for public appointments.
- Paving way to bring transgenders in national mainstream, the apex court directed governments to take steps to remove problems faced by them such as fear, shame, social pressure, depression, and social stigma. It had also said that section 377 of IPC is being misused by police and other authorities against them and their social and economic condition is far from satisfactory.
- However, in September 2014, the Centre had filed an application in the apex court seeking clarification on the definition of transgender saying lesbian, gay and bisexual cannot be treated under the category of transgender.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
MHA opposes visa-free entry
The home ministry has shot down the commerce ministry’s ambitious proposal for `visa-free’ entry for business visitors and tourists from BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) countries, citing security concerns.
Why MHA is opposing?
There is negligible rate of visa rejections in the country now and visa processing has also become expeditious in recent times. It now takes 48 hours for 87% of e-visa applicants and three days for 80% of regular visa applicants.
- Between January 1, 2016 and June 2, 2016, as many as 1,53,4313 regular visas were issued by India, of which only 16,509 (barely 1%) were rejected. Besides, 9.5 lakh e-visas have been issued since launch of the facility in November 2014, with the rate picking up drastically over the past five months.
- Hence, given the low visa rejection rate, the extension of evisa facility that allows applicants to get electronic confirmation of their tourist visa within 48 hours and the compressed processing time for regular visa applications makes little sense. It also adds up to the security considerations.
eVisa facility is available for citizens of over 40 eligible countries. The application for e-Tourist Visa must be made minimum 4 days in advance of the date of arrival.
- Visa is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival and can be obtained twice in a calendar year.
- e-Tourist Visa allows arrival at only 9 airports in the country.
Who is not eligible?
- Not available to Diplomatic/Official Passport Holders.
- Not available to individuals endorsed on Parent’s/Spouse’s Passport i.e. each individual should have a separate passport.
- Not available to International Travel Document Holders.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
International Solar Alliance Cell and World Bank Signs Declaration for Promoting Solar Energy
In a significant push for solar power, the World Bank has signed an agreement with the International Solar Alliance (ISA)—launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Paris climate summit last year—to mobilize $1 trillion in investments by 2030. This agreement establishes the World Bank group as a financial partner for the alliance.
- As part of the agreement, the World Bank Group will develop a roadmap to mobilize financing for development and deployment of affordable solar energy, and work with other multilateral development banks and financial institutions to develop financing instruments to support solar energy development.
- ISA was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015 by Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
- The alliance, headquartered in India, aims to bring together countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn which receive abundant sunshine for around 300 days a year.
- This alliance brings together developing and developed countries to expand energy access, accelerate solar power deployment, and stimulate economic development.
- India will provide land and $30 million to form a secretariat for the Alliance, and also support it for five years.
- Among the tasks that the Alliance would pursue are, cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- The World Bank has announced $ 1 billion in support of India’s ambitious solar generation plans, its largest financing of solar projects for any country in the world. The projects now under preparation include solar rooftop technology, infrastructure for solar parks, bringing innovative solar and hybrid technologies to the market, and transmission lines for solar-rich States. The commitment includes an agreement for a $ 625 million grid-connected rooftop solar programme for financing the installation of at least 40 megawatts of solar photovoltaic installations.
- The United States-led biennial maritime warfare exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) recently began its five-week run off Hawaii, bringing together 27 countries around the Pacific Ocean to increase their interoperability at sea. This year’s RIMPAC, the 25th time it has been held, is the largest ever in scale since the regional exercise was first held in 1971. Participating countries include India, South Korea, China, Japan and Singapore as well as European nations like Denmark, France, Germany and Britain. Indian Navy’s association with Ex RIMPAC commenced with participation as an ‘Observer’ in 2006, 2010 and 2012. In 2014, Indian Naval participation was enhanced with deployment of Indian Naval ship Sahyadri in the 24th edition of the exercise.
- The Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar recently dedicated the Defence Communication Network (DCN) to the nation. The DCN is a strategic, exclusive, secure and state-of-the-art communication network. Implementation of DCN is a proof of strength of the Indian industry and has reaffirmed the emphasis of the Government on Make in India, program. The DCN is a major step towards ensuring Network Centricity across the three Services, Integrated Defence Staff and Strategic Forces Command. The network provides converged voice, data and video services to the three Services based on secured system with adequate redundancy.
- ‘Prashikshak’, the teacher education portal for District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) was recently launched by the government. It is a unique IT Initiative taken up under DIET. Prashikshak is a unique IT initiative, a first of its kind in the country, which will contain a comprehensive database of all DIETs in the country with all relevant performance indicators. It will help benchmark DIETs to enable aspiring teachers to make informed choices about their future. At the same time, it will give the opportunity to Central and State Governments to do real time monitoring of the institutions. Prashikshak was established through joint collaboration between Ministry of Human Resource Development and Central Square Foundation. The objective of Prashikshak is to define quality benchmarks and help DIETs to make informed decisions about their institutes, compare the performance of their institute against other DIETs in the state/country as well as helping aspiring teachers make informed decision making.
RCEP nations include Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.