Insights Daily Current Events, 07 July 2016
Paper 1 Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
PM pays tributes to Babu Jagjivan Ram on his death anniversary
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, paid tributes to Babu Jagjivan Ram on his death anniversary on 6th July.
- Jagjivan Ram, popularly known as Babuji was a national leader, a freedom fighter, a crusader of social justice, a champion of depressed classes, an outstanding Parliamentarian, a true democrat, a distinguished Union Minister, an able administrator and an exceptionally gifted orator.
- Jagjivan Ram had organized a number of Ravidas Sammelans and had celebrated Guru Ravidas Jayanti in different areas of Calcutta (Kolkata).
- In 1934, he founded the Akhil Bhartiya Ravidas Mahasabha in Calcutta and the All India Depressed Classes League. Through these Organizations he involved the depressed classes in the freedom struggle.
- In October 1935, Babuji appeared before the Hammond Commission at Ranchi and demanded, for the first time, voting rights for the Dalits.
- Babu Jagjivan Ram played a very active and crucial role in the freedom struggle. Inspired by Gandhiji, Babuji courted arrest on 10 December 1940. After his release, he entrenched himself deeply into the Civil Disobedience Movement and Satyagraha.
- Babuji was arrested again on 19 August 1942 for his active participation in the Quit India Movement launched by the Indian National Congress.
- He has also served as the deputy prime minister of India.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Network Readiness Index
India has slipped two places to the 91st position on a global list of countries in terms of their readiness for transition to a digitised economy and society. The annual Networked Readiness Index was released by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF).
- The index, forming part of the WEF’s Global Information Technology Report, measures countries’ success in creating the conditions necessary for a transition to a digitised economy and society.
- Among the major emerging markets, India is ranked the lowest with Russia retaining the top place at 41st rank, followed by China at 59th (up three places), South Africa up 10 places at the 65th spot and Brazil moving up to the 72nd position.
- The list is once again topped by Singapore while Finland has also retained its second place.
- Others in the top-ten are Sweden, Norway, the US, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, Luxembourg and Japan.
- India’s position on the list has come down for the fourth year in a row, from 89th in 2015, 83rd in 2014 and 68th in 2013.
- While India has scored better in terms of political and regulatory environment (78th position), it fares worse in terms of business and innovation environment (110th).
- In terms of infrastructure it is even worse at 114th place, while it is ranked very high at 8th place in terms of affordability. India also fares poorly on sub-indices for skills and individual usage.
- According to the report, lack of infrastructure (114th) and low levels of skills among the population (101st) remain the key bottlenecks to widespread ICT adoption, especially in terms of individual usage (120th).
- The report further noted that a third of the Indian population is still illiterate and a similar share of youth is not enrolled in secondary education.
- India’s performance in terms of providing online services and allowing e-participation has so far been in line with that of peer countries, but far from the global best (57th and 40th, respectively).
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: conservation.
‘Almost 30 per cent of our land undergoing degradation’
According to a study, nearly 30% of the country’s total geographical area is undergoing degradation. The ongoing study, initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, was led by the Indian Space Research Organisation and involved 19 institutes. The study analysed satellite imageries of the country over an eight-year period.
- The report was recently released by ISRO’s Space Applications Centre in the form of a ‘Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas’, combining GIS and remote sensing data.
Highlights of the report:
- The degrading area has increased over 0.5% to 29.3 million hectares during the period 2003-05 and 2011-13. Desertification increased by 1.16 million hectares (m ha) and stood at 82.64 m ha during 2011-13.
- There was high desertification and degradation in Delhi, Tripura, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram, while Odisha, Telangana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh showed some improvement.
- Just nine States together account for nearly 24% of desertification; the other States have less than one per cent of this land. The culprit States in that order are Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.
- Southern State Kerala figures among northern and northeastern States where less than 10% land is degraded. With it are relatively greener States of Assam, Mizoram, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh.
- The main culprit for degradation is water erosion (26%) followed by degrading vegetation (rising slightly nearly 9%) and land or soil erosion due to wind.
India has committed itself to the U.N. Convention on Combating Desertification that it would fully stop land degradation by 2030. The atlas, adding 68 vulnerable districts, would form part of the country’s action plan to arrest the phenomenon and also be a status report to the U.N. body.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Collegium reiterates objections to draft memo
The Supreme Court collegium has reiterated its rejection of several crucial clauses in the government’s draft Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges. The collegium is standing firm by its objections despite government’s insistence to smoothen ruffled feathers over judicial appointments. The collegium has said both merit and seniority should be balanced.
Raising concerns over two issues in the draft Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment of judges including the one relating to government’s right to reject a recommendation on concerns of national interest, the Supreme Court had sent back the draft on judges’ appointment in May 2016.
Proposed contentious rules:
- Government’s right to reject a recommendation on concerns of national interest.
- Involvement of the AG in suggesting a list of suitable candidates.
- Names for judges’ appointments could be suggested by all judges of the bench as well as by the AG and the bar.
- The list of candidates brought before the collegium will first be vetted by a committee of two retired judges and an eminent person.
Presently, the government is bound to comply if the Supreme Court collegium chooses to override its disapproval of a person recommended for judicial appointment. If the government returns the candidate’s file to the collegium, and the latter reiterates its recommendation, the government has no choice but to comply.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Kutchi new year was celebrated on 6th July. The Kutchi people celebrate Kutchi New Year on Ashadi Beej, that is 2nd day of Shukla paksha of Aashaadha month of Hindu calendar. This Hindu New Year is observed in the Kutch region in Gujarat. As for people of Kutch, this day is associated with beginning of rains in Kutch, which is largely a desert area. Hindu calendar month of Aashaadh usually begins on 22 June and ending on 22 July.
- The findings of the 2.6 million-word Iraq Inquiry — seven years in the making — were recently released by probe chairman John Chilcot in London. The official inquiry delivered a devastating indictment of Britain’s decision to invade Iraq, finding that the war was based on flawed intelligence and had been launched before diplomatic options were exhausted. The probe chairman has said that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein posed “no imminent threat” when the U.S-led invasion was launched in March 2003, and that while military action against him “might have been necessary at some point,” the “strategy of containment” could have continued for some time. The report also notes that Blair’s decision to invade Iraq was influenced by his interest in protecting the UK’s relationship with the United States. The inquiry was commissioned in June 2009 by Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, following pressure from the public and Parliament.
- The finance ministry has set up a committee under former chief economic adviser Shankar Acharya to examine the desirability and feasibility of having a new fiscal year. Currently, India follows the April-March fiscal year and all macroeconomic and company data, including the government’s budget, are compiled and prepared for the same period. However, most countries follow a January-December fiscal year. A committee of secretaries headed by the cabinet secretary had earlier this year recommended changing the fiscal year to January-December. The committee will examine the merits and demerits of various dates for the start of the fiscal year, including the existing dates. The committee has been asked to submit its report by 31 December.