Insights Daily Current Affairs, 28 September 2017
Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
Karnataka anti-superstition Bill
The Karnataka Cabinet has cleared the much-delayed and debated Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017, popularly known as the anti-superstition Bill.
- The Bill, if cleared by the State legislature, is expected to put an end to various inhuman practices such as black magic, witchcraft, or any act in the name of religion that causes harm to humans and animals. However, acts such as Kesh Lochan (plucking of hair), vaastu and astrology have not been barred.
The bill bans the following:
- Performing any inhumane act, evil practices and black magic in search of treasure, bounty.
- Tantric acts including physical and sexual assault.
- Parading anyone naked.
- Ostracising anyone in the name of ritual and encouraging inhumane acts.
- Creating impression of ‘possession’ and exorcism.
- Assaulting people under the garb of exorcism.
- Spreading misinformation and creating panic in the garb of ghosts, black magic.
- Making claims of healing power.
- Propagating practices that involve self-mutilation.
- Coercing people to perform fire-walking.
What is not banned:
- The form of the worship such as Pradakshina, Yatra, Parikrama performed at religious places.
- Harikata, Keerthana, Pravachana, Bhajana, teaching of ancient and traditional learning and arts, practice, propagation and circulation.
- Miracles of the deceased saints propagation, publicity and circulation of the same and the propagation, publicity and distribution of literature about miracles of the religious preachers which do not cause physical injury.
- Performance of prayers, upasana and religious rituals at home, temple, darghas, gurdwara, pagoda, church, and other religious places which do not cause physical injury.
- All religious celebrations, festivals, prayers, procession and other act relating other rituals.
- Piercing of ears and nose of children in accordance with rituals and performance of religious ritual such as Kesh Lochan by the Jains.
- Advice in regard to vaastu shasthra, and advice by jyothishya and other astrologers.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
Women rejoice as Saudi ban ends
In a historic decision, Saudi Arabia has decided to women to drive. Campaigners in Saudi Arabia have hailed King Salman’s decree allowing women to drive for the first time.
The Gulf kingdom is the only country in the world that bans women from driving – and women are still subject to strict dress codes and gender segregation. Until now, only men were allowed licences and women who drove in public risked being arrested and fined.
What happens now?
- A ministerial body will be set up to give advice within 30 days.
- The royal order will be implemented by 24 June 2018.
What has the road to reform been like?
Rights groups in the kingdom have campaigned for years to allow women to drive, and some women have been imprisoned for defying the rule. Female activists organised collective protests in 1990, 2011 and 2013, and posted online videos of themselves driving.
In recent years, some members of the Saudi royal family have expressed support for ending the ban. Last year, the government launched the Vision 2030 plan to modernise the economy – which was seen as a sign the country was moving towards reform.
Other limits on Saudi women:
Saudi law enforces a strict form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism and is known for its gender segregation rules.
Women have to adhere to strict dress codes, must not associate with unrelated men, and if they want to travel, work or access healthcare they must be accompanied by – or receive written permission from – a male guardian.
Significance of this decision:
With more than half the country aged under 25, the latest move is seen as catering to the aspirations of younger people. The country further aims to loosen social restrictions, which has so far not translated into more political or civil rights and also seeks to ease criticism over recent arrests.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
CARA launches monthly “Jan Sampark” Program to facilitate adoption
The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) of the Ministry of Women & Child Development has started a monthly “Jan Sampark” program to enable the public to have interaction with its officials and staff for seeking information related to Adoption as well as flagging their concerns.
- The first of its kind programme was held recently in New Delhi.
- Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs), Adoptive Parents and representatives of agencies will participate in the event.
- Details pertaining to Immediate Placement and Special Needs Adoption Module of Child Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System (CARINGS) as well as the newly launched Grievance/Query portal will be shared with all the stakeholders in the event.
- The event also serves as a platform for counselling and motivating PAPs to go for adopting older children.
- The event will now be a regular feature every month apart from the quarterly Facebook live chat by CEO CARA.
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
- It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
- CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Inter-bank Local Currency Credit Line Agreement and Cooperation Memorandum relating to Credit Ratings
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the signing of the (i) Interbank Local Currency Credit Line Agreement and (ii) Cooperation Memorandum Relating to Credit Ratings by Exim Bank with participating member banks under BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism.
- As both the Agreement and the MoU are umbrella pacts, and are non-binding in nature, the Board of Directors of Exim Bank has been authorized to negotiate and conclude any individual contracts and commitments within their framework.
- The Agreements will promote multilateral interaction within the area of mutual interest which will deepen political and economic relations with BRICS nations.
- Signing of the Agreement will position Exim Bank in the international platform along with large development finance institutions, like CDS, VEB and BNDES.
- At an appropriate time, Exim Bank, leveraging this umbrella agreement, could enter into bilateral agreement with any of these member institutions to raise resources for its business.
- As and when an opportunity arises for co-financing in commercial terms, by any two member institutions (say India and South Africa), lending in single currency by both the institutions would also be possible.
Exim Bank finances, facilitates and promotes India’s international trade. It provides competitive finance at various stages of the business cycle covering import of technology, export product development, export production and export credit at pre-shipment and post-shipment stages and investments overseas.
Interbank Local Currency Credit Line Agreement:
The initial Master Agreement on Extending Credit Facility in Local Currency under the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism had a validity of five years, which has expired in March 2017. It is understood that some of the member banks (like CDB and VEB; CDB and BNDES) have entered into bilateral agreements for local currency financing under the Master Agreement signed in 2012. Although the current conditions are not conducive to usage, it was useful to keep the same alive as an enabling feature in case a suitable opportunity materializes in future. Exim Bank raises resources in the off-shore market in diverse currencies and swaps to mitigate the risk. The umbrella Agreement would serve as an enabler to enter into bilateral agreements with member banks subject to national laws, regulations and internal policies of the signatories.
Cooperation Memorandum Relating to Credit Ratings:
It would enable sharing of credit ratings amongst the BRICS member banks, based on the request received from another bank. This would be an ideal mechanism to mitigate the credit risks associated with cross-border financing. In future, such a mechanism could also serve as pre-cursor to the proposal of having an alternate rating agency by BRICS nations.
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.
Modernisation of Police Forces
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for implementation of umbrella scheme of “Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF)” for years 2017-18 to 2019-20. The financial outlay for the scheme over the three year’s period is Rs.25,060 crore, out of which the Central Government share will be Rs.18,636 crore and the States’ share will be Rs.6,424 crore.
Focus areas: Special provision has been made under the Scheme for internal security, law and order, women security, availability of modern weapons, mobility of police forces, logistics support, hiring of helicopters, upgradation of police wireless, National Satellite Network, CCTNS project, E-prison project etc.
Budgetary support: Under the umbrella scheme, central budget outlay of Rs.10,132 crore has been earmarked for internal security related expenditure for Jammu & Kashmir, North Eastern States and left wing extremism affected States.
Special focus: Scheme of Special Central Assistance (SCA) for 35 worst LWE affected districts has been introduced with an outlay of Rs.3,000 crore to tackle the issue of underdevelopment in these district. An outlay of Rs.100 crore has been earmarked in the North Eastern States for police infrastructure upgradation, training institutes, investigation facilities etc.
Upgradation: Under the scheme, new initiatives will be introduced to provide assistance to States for upgradation of police infrastructure, forensic science laboratories, institutions and the equipment available with them to plug critical gaps in the criminal justice system.
National database: Police Stations will be integrated to set up a national data base of crime and criminals’ records. It will be linked with other pillars of criminal justice system such as ‘prisons, forensic science laboratories and prosecution offices.
Forensic labs: The umbrella scheme also provides for setting up of a State-of Art forensic science laboratory in Amravati, Andhra Pradesh and upgradation of Sardar Patel Global Centre for Security, Counter Terrorism and Anti Insurgency in Jaipur and Gujarat Forensic Science University in Gandhi Nagar.
Significance of this scheme:
Implementation of this scheme would bolster the Government’s ability to address challenges faced in different theatres such as areas affected by LWE, Jammu and Kashmir and North East effectively and undertake development interventions which will catalyze in improving the quality of life in these areas and help combat these challenges effectively at the same time.
It is expected that the umbrella scheme, “Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF)” will go a long way to boost the capability and efficiency of Central and State Police Forces by modernizing them.
Western Ghats throw up a new snake
Scientists have described a new species of non-venomous endemic snake, Aquatic Rhabdops, from the northern Western Ghats.
About Aquatic Rhabdops:
- Rhabdops aquaticus, was till now considered a variant of the Olive Forest Snake, first described in 1863. However, the new study confirms that the Aquatic Rhabdops is a different one: they sport not only different colours and patterns, but also vary in other features of size, shape and structure, and also genetic make-up.
- The adults are mostly associated with freshwater forest streams and juveniles are seen in water-logged areas, mostly on rocky plateaus. The nocturnal snake hunts for prey underwater.
- While adults of the Aquatic Rhabdops have off-white bellies and black spots on their olive brown skin, juveniles are olive green, with yellow undersides. This colour difference in life stages could possibly be due to the different local habitats.
- The Aquatic Rhabdops is found only in the laterite plateaus of the northern Western Ghats in Goa, southern Maharashtra and northern Karnataka, in areas facing severe human pressures.
Sources: the hindu.