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THE HINDU CURRENT AFFAIRS 31ST JANUARY 2020

Q.1 Consider the following statements
1. All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was established in late 1930’s.
2. Lala Lajpat Rai was elected as the first president of AITUC
3. Lajpat Rai was the first to link capitalism with imperialism
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 2 only
B. 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 2 and 3 only

Q.2 Which of the following factors was/were responsible for impoverishment of Indian agriculture in
British times?
1. Land revenue system
2. Economic policies of British

3. Ruin of handicrafts industries
Select the correct answer using the code given below
A. 1 and 2 only
B. 3 only
C. 2 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Q.3 Arrange the following peasant movements in chronological order
1. Tebhaga Movement
2. Deccan Riots
3. Indigo Revolts
4. Eka Movement
Select the correct answer using the code given below
A. 2 – 3 – 1- 4
B. 4 – 2 – 3 – 1
C. 3 – 2 – 4 – 1
D. 2 – 3 -1- 4

ANSWERS: D, D,C

CORONA VIRUS

NEWS: 

India, on Thursday, reported its first positive case of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) from Kerala with a girl student, who was studying in Wuhan University and had travelled to India, testing positive for the virus.

A Union Health Ministry statement said the “student is in isolation at the hospital. The student is stable and is being closely monitored.”

Following the first case, the government has announced that all persons who have come from China after January 15, will be tested for the virus as it has an incubation period of 14 days. It has also prescribed a 14-day home isolation regimen and advised that trips to China should be avoided.

In the national capital, the three persons under observation at an isolation ward of the RML Hospital for possible exposure to nCoV have tested negative, a Health Ministry official said.

The World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday to decide whether the current coronavirus outbreak constitutes a ‘public health emergency of international concern’.

ABOUT CORONA VIRUS

  • Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
  • Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.

Symptoms:

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Transmission:

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  1. the air by coughing and sneezing.
  2. close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  3. touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
  4. rarely, fecal contamination

CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT

NEWS:

Key National Democratic Alliance member Shiromani Akali Dal on Thursday slammed the Modi government at an all-party meeting called ahead of the budget session, saying the law drafted on religious lines was not acceptable and reasserted its line that the CAA should not exclude Muslims. Akali Dal Rajya Sabha member Balwinder Singh Bhunder raised the issue during the meeting.

WHAT DOES THE ACT CONTAINS?

The ACT seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 by seeking to grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

The ACT says the six non-Muslim communities “shall not be treated as illegal migrant” for violating provisions under Passport Act, 1920 or the Foreigners Act, 1946 that pertains to foreigners entering and staying in India illegally.

The ACT shall not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the sixth schedule of the Constitution and States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram , Manipur and Nagaland protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

ACT has reduce the time period required for naturalization from 11 years to 5 years for members of these communities.

NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL

NEWS:

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed pollution control boards of all States to obtain information from all local bodies pertaining to pollution caused by dairy farms and submit relevant data to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

A Bench headed by NGT chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “The State PCBs/PCCs [pollution control committees] may publish an appropriate notice on the subject within two weeks requiring furnishing of information and also adopting all necessary safeguards in the matter.”

ABOUT NGT:

National Green Tribunal was formed under the National Green Tribunal Act of 2010. Act was enacted under the India’s constitutional provision of Article 21 which assures the citizens of India the right to healthy environment.

Tribunal has been created for effective and expeditious disposal of the cases relating to environmental protection and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.

Tribunal is mandated to make endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals filing within 6 months of the filing of the same.

Chairman of the tribunal must be a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court or judge of the Supreme Court of India. 

The tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice. 

New Delhi is the principle place of sitting of the tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkatta and Chennai are other four places of sitting of the tribunal.

Present NGT Chairperson is Justice (Retired) Adarsh Kumar Goel.

NATIONAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY

NEWS:

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed an application before a special court in Pune seeking transfer of the Elgaar Parishad case records to the special NIA court in Mumbai.

According to sources, the agency filed the criminal miscellaneous application before Additional Sessions Judge (special) S.R. Navandar late on Wednesday.

The Centre had announced the transfer of the probe into the Elgaar Parishad case, in which nine activists and intellectuals have been arrested so far for alleged Maoist links, from the Pune Police to the NIA prompting a tussle over control of the case with the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the State.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Thursday that his department was in the process of receiving the Centre’s communication regarding transfer of the case and the government would take a call on the matter in the next couple of days.

ABOUT NIA 

It is the central agency established by the Government of India to combat terror in India.

Agency came into existence with the enactment of the NIA Act 2008.

NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.Y C Modi is chairman of NIA.

NIA works under Ministry of Home Affairs.

SURAJKUND FESTIVAL: The World’s Largest International Crafts Fair

NEWS: 

Location: Surajkund, Faridabad

Organised By: Surajkund Mela Authority in collaboration with the Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture, External Affairs, Department of Tourism, Government of Haryana and Haryana Tourism Corporation
First Hosted In: 1987

 

HINDUSTAN AERONAUTICAL LIMITED

NEWS:

Homegrown military aircraft, helicopters and a host of products will be the highlight of displays at DefExpo-2020 starting next week at Lucknow, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd said here on Thursday.

HAL, the lead organiser and national exhibitor at the event, said it would showcase models of its products — the Light Combat Aircraft or LCA ‘Tejas’, the Light Combat Helicopter LCH, the multi-purpose Advanced Light Helicopter, the Dornier-228 civil plane and the advanced jet trainer Hawk — at its indoor stall.

A Sukhoi-30 MKI cockpit simulator upgraded by HAL will be unveiled.

ABOUT HAL:
1. HAL is an Indian state owned aerospace and defense company headquartered in Bengaluru.
2. It is under the administrative control of Ministry of Defense.
3. The government owned company is primarily involved in the operations of aerospace and is currently involved in the design, fabrication and assembling of aircraft, jet engines, helicopoters and their spare parts.
4. It was founded on 23rd December 1940 by Walchand Hirachand as Hindustan Aircraft and renamed as Hindustan Aeronautical Limited in 1964.
5. Present Chairman: R Madhavan.

HAL HF-24 Marut fighter bomber was the first first fighter aircraft made in India.

FRUIT TRAIN

NEWS:

A ‘fruit train’, said to be the first of its kind in the country, was flagged off from Tadipatri Railway Station in Anantapur district on Thursday afternoon, carrying a load of 980 metric tonnes of locally grown bananas to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai, from where the consignment will be exported to Iran.

This is the first time in India that an entire train is being sent to the gateway port (JNPT) for export. This helps save both time and fuel as 150 trucks would have been required to send a consignment of this size by road to JNPT, which is over 900 km away, before the temperature-controlled containers are loaded on ships.

The bananas are being exported under the brand name ‘Happy Bananas’. Farmers from Putlur region in Anantapur and Pulivendula in Kadapa district are exporting ‘Green Cavendish’ bananas to many international markets.

GANGA FLOW

NEWS:

Over a year after the government made it mandatory for hydropower projects on the upper reaches of the river Ganga’s tributaries to release minimum quantities of water through the year, 4 of the 11 projects are flouting norms, says a report by the Central Water Commission (CWC).

The ecological flow, or e-flow notification as it is called, specifies that the upper stretches of the Ganga — from its origins in the glaciers and until Haridwar — would have to maintain: 20% of the monthly average flow of the preceding 10-days between November and March, which is the dry season; 25% of the average during the ‘lean season’ of October, April and May; and 30% of monthly average during the monsoon months of June-September.

The CWC is tasked with measuring the flow and ensuring that plants comply with the law.

About CWC:

Central Water Commission is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.

Functions: The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development. It also undertakes the investigations, construction and execution of any such schemes as required.

FIRST EDITORIAL: DELHI CAMPAIGN

Editorial highlights that in Delhi elections BJP is fighting the election on the basis of POLARISATION and Aam Aadmi Party is fighting on the basis of the GOVERNANCE ISSUES.

OTHER AGENDA OF AAP

Improvement in the delivery of basic public services such as health and education.

AAP has also shown a remarkable ability to skip the polarising traps that the BJP lay for its opponents.

BJP’S AGENDA

BJP’s attempt yet again is to raise a façade of emotive, discordant slogans to camouflage an economy that is flaking out.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur has led party workers in calling for the shooting of “traitors”, while a BJP Member of Parliament has equated the protesters with rapists and looters. Such statements are not merely condoned, but appear to enjoy positive encouragement from the top brass, as Home Minister Amit Shah himself has made protesters the target of his ire.

CONCLUSION

There is a trend of voters making a distinction between parliamentary and State elections. If Delhi makes that distinction yet again, political parties will also have to write that into their respective electoral strategies.

 

LEAD ARTICLE: SYMBOLS AND SLOGANS OF RESISTANCE

Author has analyzed various symbol of protests in Anti CAA protests. Author highlights that these symbols are providing new spirit to the protesters.

The  symbols and slogans being used talks of India’s secularism.

WHAT ARE THE SYMBOLS BEING USED?

The national anthem, the national flag, the book of the Constitution (but especially its Preamble), photographs of Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar, songs like “Saare jahaan se accha” by Mohammad Iqbal; “Hum dekhenge” by Faiz Ahmed Faiz; a longer, unedited version of the lyrics by Rabindranath Tagore that became the national anthem “Jana Gana Mana”; nationalist-era chants of “Azadi” (Freedom), “Swaraj” (Self-Rule) and “Inquilaab” (Revolution) — this dormant repertoire has suddenly made a comeback, capturing the imagination of a new generation as it finds its political feet under the shadow of Hindutva.

In posters and murals on walls and online, on the streets and on screens, India’s youth, women and minorities are embracing the very repertoire of poetry, music, art and theatre that they were told had died along with the Congress Party, the Nehruvian state and the secular-liberal elite that dominated postcolonial politics until recently. New songs are being sung, new poetry written, new slogans coined and new art is emerging every day in defiance of the Home Minister who is adamant about enforcing the new citizenship laws and the Prime Minister who feigns ignorance of this seething public unrest.

IMPORTANCE OF THESE SYMBOLS

Tagore’s poems, Nehru’s speeches, Gandhi’s khadi and charkha, the Sarnath Lion Capital adopted as the national emblem, and the Ashokan dhamma chakra placed at the centre of the national flag — these were not random choices nor empty gestures, but rather symbols of substance that held millions of newly-minted Indian citizens together in a shared dream of freedom, equality and justice.

The secular and inclusive character of these symbols, and their reference to a long history of coexistence between the myriad communities that constitute India, made them immediately recognisable to the world’s most diverse population merging and melding within one nation.

CONCLUSION

In their darkest hour, Indians are standing up to own what truly belongs to them. They are absolutely certain that the tricoloured flag cannot be replaced by the monochrome saffron pennant of the Hindu supremacists. They are holding on, harder than ever, to the simple yet powerful words of the Preamble, where the people of India resolved to constitute to the country into a “sovereign, secular, socialist, democratic republic”, to secure to its citizens “justice, liberty and equality” and promote among them a spirit of fraternity.

SECOND ARTICLE: CONDITION OF RURAL POOR

Author has used the leaked data of Consumer Expenditure Survey to highlight the distress of rural poor.

WHAT IS CONSUMER EXPENDITURE SURVEY?

The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) is meant to be conducted once every five years by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

The CES contains details about the spending patterns of households.

Data collected from this becomes a vital source of information to improve economic planning and budgetary allocation.

However, the Central government suppressed the release of the most recent survey data from 2017-2018.

WHAT DOES THE LEAKED DATA SHOW?

According to the report, leaked to and published by Business Standard, consumer spending fell for the first time in 40 years.

A remarkable analysis of the report by Professor S. Subramanian in ‘The India Forum’ compares the Monthly Per Capita Consumption Expenditure (MPCE) from the CES 2011-2012 and 2017-2018. It presents a grim picture of rural India.

According to his article, if we rank the rural population from the poorest to the richest, and divide them into 10 groups (or deciles), we find that the MPCE fell for every group.

This means that consumption — and so income — in the entire cross-section of the rural society decreased. For example, the average monthly consumption levels of the poorest 50% of the rural population was ₹1,138 in 2011-2012. This came down to ₹1,082 in 2017-2018.

Overall, the average monthly household consumption reduced from ₹1,430 in 2011-12 to ₹1,304 in 2017-18, a sharp decline of around 9%. In other words, more people have become poorer and hence have less money to spend.

CONTINUING THE TRADITION OF SUPPRESSING DATA

The government had kept delaying the release of the 2017-2018 Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data. In January 2019, the PLFS data was leaked, revealing that unemployment under the BJP-led government had reached a 45-year high.

PROBLEMS OF THE RURAL AREAS

HIGH INFLATION: Recent NSO reports suggest that Consumer Food Price Index inflation increased from 2.99% in August 2019 to more than 14% in December 2019. The sharpest rise was noted in vegetable prices (more than 60%) while the price of pulses spiked by more than 15%.

DELAY IN MGNREGA WAGE PAYMENT: Continued delays in wage payments, in violation of Supreme Court orders, and low wage rates discourage workers from taking up MGNREGA work.

CONCLUSION

It is distressing that instead of focusing on increasing rural wages and improving the functioning and payments of MGNREGA, the BJP-led government is wasting resources on divisive policies such as the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Population Register (NPR). The estimated cost of the NPR is ₹4,000 crore, an amount that can support 2.2 crore landless labourers through MGNREGA for 100 days at current wage rates.

When the Central government can’t get cash transfers correct for rural women under the PM Matru Vandana Yojana programme, owing to variation in documents, implementing NPR-NRC would be a monumental catastrophe.

SECOND EDITORIAL: EXTENDING THE PERIOD OF TERMINATION OF MEDICAL PREGNANCY

WHY IN NEWS?

Through Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020  Central government has decided to extend the limit of medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks from earlier 21 weeks.

The extension is significant, the government reasoned, because in the first five months of pregnancy, some women realise the need for an abortion very late. Usually, the foetal anomaly scan is done during the 20th-21st week of pregnancy.

If there is a delay in doing this scan, and it reveals a lethal anomaly in the foetus, 20 weeks is limiting.

Obstetricians argue that this has also spurred a cottage industry of places providing unsafe abortion services, even leading, in the worst of cases, to the death of the mother.

When women take the legal route to get formal permission for termination after 20 weeks, the tedium is often frustrating and stressful for a mother already distressed by the bad news regarding her baby.

The extension of limit would ease the process for these women, allowing the mainstream system itself to take care of them, delivering quality medical attention.

CONCLUSION

Even as the government has struck a winner with its decision, it needs to ensure that all norms and standardised protocols in clinical practice to facilitate abortions are followed in health care institutions across the country. Since everything rests on the delivery, stopping short would undoubtedly make this progressive order a mere half measure.

OP-ED PAGE

FRIDAY DISCUSSION: SHOULD RESTRICTIONS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION BE REVIEWED

First Amendment to the Indian Constitution introduced various additional restrictions to the right to free speech, while also making those restrictions subject to the test of reasonableness.

WHY SUCH A DEMAND?

Recently, there have been many instances that have stretched the envelope of what we define as freedom of expression. On the one hand, we have FIRs being filed against students for chanting ‘azadi’. On the other, we have political leaders giving hate speeches.

Freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution is not an absolute right; it comes with safeguards outlined under Article 19 (2).

TEST THAT SHOULD BE USED FOR RESTRICTING FREE SPEECH

Great test that was used by a judge called Oliver Wendell Holmes of the U.S. Supreme Court. It was that the greatest protection of free speech will not protect a man who falsely shouts fire in a crowded theatre.

So long as you’re able to debate and discuss with each other, then, really, there’s no reason to prevent a person from saying what he wants, even though you might not find that speech to be palatable.

We have to ask ourselves as a society, as a community, as a country, as a nation whether we really want to allow hate speech. The U.S. model, for instance, allows everything. So even Nazi protests are permitted in the U.S., or you are allowed to use words that are highly loaded like the ‘N’ word, whereas in India, we’ve got the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which prevents hurtful speech.

ISSUE: TROUBLING PRESCRIPTION OF AYUSH MINISTRY

WHY IN NEWS?

At a time when the novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, has spread to 20 countries/ regions, when the number of 2019-nCoV cases has risen to 7,711, and the number of deaths to 170 in mainland China alone, the Ministry of AYUSH has published a misleading advisory.

In a press release circulated on Wednesday, the Ministry recommended certain Unani medicines for “symptomatic management of Corona Virus infection” and certain Ayurvedic practices and homeopathy medicines to help “prevent the infection”.

In such a scenario, not only is the Ministry’s recommendation highly irresponsible and dangerous, but also runs counter to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s current practice of quickly isolating patients suspected of carrying the virus to prevent its spread, and providing them with symptomatic treatment if they are found infected.

No clinical validation

None of the medicines mentioned in the advisory has undergone any form of clinical validation. These medicines have not been tested on people infected with 2019-nCoV to study their ability to provide any kind of relief or prevent any infection. Yet, the Ministry has recommended untested medicines to treat a virus about which little is known.

Self-medication is dangerous

By recommending Unani medicines and asking people to use them for symptomatic management of the infection, the AYUSH Ministry is encouraging people to self-medicate, which is alarming. With no evidence that the medicines will provide even symptomatic relief, self-medication outside the healthcare system would put those in close contact with each other at grave risk of getting infected.

The AYUSH Ministry neither seems aware of the kind of precautions that need to be taken while attending to people with the infection, nor of the fact that 16 healthcare workers who had been wearing protective gear while treating infected persons in China fell ill themselves.

Stocks lost ground on Thursday as concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak affected investor sentiment across the globe. In Indian markets, expiry of derivative contracts and the upcoming Union Budget also acted as catalysts in increasing uncertainty for investors.

The benchmark Sensex lost 284.84 points, or 0.69%, to close below the psychological 41,000-mark at 40,913.82. Index heavyweight Reliance Industries was the worst performer of the day, shedding 2.51%.

CURATIVE PETITION

NEWS:

A curative petition filed by Akshay Kumar Singh, sentenced to death in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case, was on Thursday rejected by a five-judge Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana.

The Bench dismissed the plea after circulating it in their chambers, observing that they found no merit in his plea to be spared the gallows.

What is curative petition?

It is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court which is normally decided by judges in-chamber. It is only in rare cases that such petitions are given an open-court hearing.

The concept of curative petition was first evolved by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra and Anr. (2002) where the question was whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against the final judgement/order of the Supreme Court, after dismissal of a review petition.

The Supreme Court in the said case held that in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice, it may reconsider its judgements in exercise of its inherent powers. For this purpose, the Court has devised what has been termed as a “curative” petition.

To entertain the curative petitions, the Supreme Court has laid down certain specific conditions:

  1. The petitioner will have to establish that there was a genuine violation of principles of natural justice and fear of the bias of the judge and judgement that adversely affected him.
  2. The petition shall state specifically that the grounds mentioned had been taken in the review petition and that it was dismissed by circulation.
  3. The petition is to be sent to the three senior most judges and judges of the bench who passed the judgement affecting the petition, if available.
  4. If the majority of the judges on the above bench agree that the matter needs hearing, then it would be sent to the same bench (as far as possible) and the court could impose “exemplary costs” to the petitioner if his plea lacks merit.

Article- 137 of the Constitution subjects to the provisions of the guidelines made under Article 145, by which it is clear that the Supreme Court has the ability to review any judgment declared by it.

MORPHINE

NEWS:

A nurse in Germany has been arrested on suspicion of poisoning five newborn babies with morphine, officials said on Thursday, adding that the infants had survived.

The woman was taken into custody on Wednesday after investigators found an oral syringe containing breast milk mixed with morphine in her locker at Ulm University Hospital in southern Germany.

ABOUT MORPHINE

Morphine is a pain medication of the opiate family which is found naturally in a number of plants and animals. It acts directly on the central nervous system to decrease the feeling of pain.
Opiate is a term classically used in pharmacology to mean a drug derived from opium.

 

 

 

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