THE HINDU DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 27TH JANUARY 2020

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Q.1 India slipped to rank 68th in Global
competiveness index (GCI). GCI is published
annually by:
(a) World trade organization.
(b) International monetary fund.
(c) United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development.
(d) World economic forum.

Q.2The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2019 was
awarded for work on lithium-ion batteries.
Which of the following statements are correct
about lithium-ion batteries?
1. They are made from lead-acid and are
used to start gasoline and diesel-powered
vehicles.
2. Lithium extraction causes environmental
damage.
3. Lithium-ion batteries are lightweight
and require little maintenance.
4. Lithium-ion technology can help create a
fossil fuel-free society.
Select the correct answer using the code given
below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 2, 3 and 4 only

Q.3Consider the following statements regarding
Kanyashree Scheme:
1. It has received United Nations Public
Service award.
2. It is a Conditional Cash transfer scheme
which contributes towards empowerment
of girls in the state of West Bengal.
3. All girl children within the age of 6 to 20
in the state of West Bengal are targeted
beneficiaries.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 2 only
(d) 2 and 3 only

Answers: D,D,C

ASAT MISSILE

NEWS: 

India on Sunday showcased its anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile capability to the world as the weapon, Mission Shakti, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), rolled out on the Rajpath during the 71st Republic Day parade.

On March 27, 2019 the DRDO shot down a live satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) of 300 km using a modified interceptor of the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system in ‘hit to kill’ mode with 10-cm accuracy.

The Defence Ministry in a statement last week termed the test a major breakthrough in demonstrating the A-SAT technology and said that the A-SAT weapons “play a critical role in providing the necessary strategic deterrence”.

In a change of tradition, before commencement of the parade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to fallen soldiers by laying a wreath at the flame of the immortal warrior at the National War Memorial (NWM), instead of the Amar Jawan Jyoti (AJJ) at the India Gate.

The NWM, inaugurated in February last year, is located at the ‘C’ Hexagon near the India Gate and was built in memory of about 22,500 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in the post-independence period. The AJJ will now be used only for regimental events and visiting dignitaries.

FUND CRUNCH IN MGNREGA

NEWS: 

The Centre is on the verge of running out of funds for the crucial Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.

More than 96% of the allocated money has already been spent or is needed to pay pending dues, with less than ₹2,500 crore left to sustain the scheme for the next two months.

Fifteen States are already in the red. According to the scheme’s financial statement as on January 26, Rajasthan has the highest negative net balance of ₹620 crore, followed by ₹323 crore in Uttar Pradesh.

ABOUT MGNREGA:-

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), also known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) is Indian legislation enacted on August 25, 2005. The MGNREGA provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage. The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Govt of India is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments

This act was introduced with an aim of improving the purchasing power of the rural people, primarily semi or un-skilled work to people living below poverty line in rural India.

CENTRAL ADOPTION RESOURCE AUTHORITY

NEWS: 

The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has recorded 246 instances of disruption over a period of five years between 2014-15 and 2018-19, which translates into six in 100 children being returned at an advanced stage of adoption.

On an average there are 4,000 legal adoptions annually within and from India, as per official data. With the number of such cases showing a recent increase, CARA has begun a nationwide capacity building programme for social workers who help assess the suitability of the adoptive family and prepare a child for a new home.

ABOUT CARA

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is an autonomous and statutory body of Ministry of Women and Child Development in the Government of India.

It was set up in 1990.

It functions as the nodal body for the 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 1993 Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, ratified by Government of India in 2003.

INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL CENTER OF ARTS

NEWS: 

The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is not only set to be relocated from its current home on Man Singh Road as a part of the government’s redevelopment of Central Vista, but an expansion of its role as a cultural space was also being considered, according to Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel.

IGNCA’s existing role, that of a centre for research, publication, events and training, would remain, but additional facilities could be added.

ABOUT IGNCA

IGNCA, which was set up in 1985 under the Culture Ministry in honour of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi after her death in 1984, is meant to be a resource centre for the arts and to provide a forum for creative and critical dialogue, according to its stated aims and objectives.

PADMA SHRI FOR CONSERVATION

NEWS:

Radha Mohan, a retired economics professor, and his conservationist daughter, Sabarmatee, have been conferred with the Padma Shri — a recognition for their decades-long efforts to transform a barren land into a lush food forest in Odisha’s Nayagarh district.

Founded by the duo in 1990, Sambhav, the resource centre, has become a torch-bearer in the field of conservation, agriculture and organic farming.

While Prof. Radha Mohan, a former information commissioner of Odisha, often shuttles between Bhubaneswar and the farm in Nayagarh district, his daughter, Sabarmatee, has been dedicatedly experimenting with different conservation models to improve the lives of the local farmers.

MONGOLIAN GEESE

NEWS: 

While the Kundavada lake on the outskirts of Karnataka’s Davangere city, which was the winter abode for many bar-headed geese from Mongolia, has failed to attract these winged visitors this time, the Kondajji lake located nearby has emerged as their new home.

Following the loss of habitat in Kundavada, the bar-headed geese have made the Kondajji lake, located in a forest 14 km from Davangere, their new abode. The geese were sighted in Kondajji for the first time in January 2019, and in the second week of January this year,

As many as 430 geese have been counted here. The onus is on the Department of Forest and Wildlife to ensure minimum human interference near the Kondajji lake to ensure a comfortable stay for the birds, Mr. Shishupala added.

ANTHROPOLOGIST GANDHI

NEWS:

As part of the commemoration of Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) has dedicated an entire issue of its journal, published last month, on what it calls “Gandhian insights into applied anthropology”.

So far, Gandhi’s writings, teaching and life has been the subject of interest of historians and political scientists, but a closer look will point out that Gandhi and his life has been centred in anthropology,” said V.K. Srivastava, director of AnSI and the editor of the journal.

Similarly, cultural anthropologist Kakali Chakrabarty in her essay writes that Gandhi’s idea was that “the tribes should be approached on the basis of non-violence, accepting the principles of a democratic society and the fundamental equality and unity of man.”

ABOUT ANTHROPOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA

The Anthropological Survey of India was established in 1945. It conducts bio-cultural investigation/ research on Indian population, collects and preserves documents of scientific interest about the people of India. The Survey through its anthropological research contributes in respect of the biological, social and cultural heritage of the country.

Functions and Powers

The Anthropological Survey of India is a premier research organisation under the Ministry of Culture. It has headquarters at Kolkata and branches in Port Blair, Shillong, Dehra Dun, Udaipur, Nagpur, and Mysore in addition to two field stations at Jagdalpur and Ranchi.

FIRST EDITORIAL: LISTING OF PAKISTAN BY FATF

WHAT HAS HAPPENED?

Editorial highlights that Financial Action Task Force (FATF) global watchdog on terror financing and money laundering,gave Pakistan some encouraging news: that it had progressed in its efforts to avoid a blacklisting.

A final decision will be taken at a plenary meeting of the body, expected in Paris next month: in keeping Pakistan on the current “grey list”, downgrading it to a “black list”, or letting it off altogether for the moment.

The 39-member body had determined that Pakistan was to be placed on the grey list in 2018, and presented it a 27-point list of actions.

Unlike in October 2019, when Pakistan had completed five points, the Beijing meeting has cleared it on 14 points.

INDIA’S VIEW

India wants more scrutiny of Pakistan’s support to terror groups lest Islamabad feels it has been let off the hook.

India must study the politics behind Pakistan’s FATF “progress”.

Officials have suggested that Pakistan’s role in ensuring Taliban talks are brought to a successful conclusion soon may have weighed with the U.S. and its allies in the grouping.

Other countries may have determined that with China in the president’s chair, and the backing of Turkey and Malaysia, Pakistan could escape being blacklisted in any case, and dropped the effort.

India’s recent troubles on the international stage, including the UNSC where China has been allowed to raise the Kashmir issue twice in five months, after nearly five decades, may also be a reason its objections at the Beijing discussions were not considered as carefully as in the past.

LEAD ARTICLE: INDIAN REPUBLIC AT 70

On January 26, 1950 India became Republic when Constitution came into force and Dr. Rajendra Prasad became the first President of the Indian Republic.

WHAT WAS THE AIM OF OUR FOREFATHERS WHO DRAFTED THE CONSTITUTION?

Constitution is a democratic instrument seeking to ensure to individual citizens the freedoms which are so invaluable.

India has never prescribed or prosecuted opinion or faith and our philosophy has room as much for a devotee of a personal god as for an agnostic or atheist.

Under the new constitution they hoped to implement in practice ancient Indian traditions of freedom of opinion and expression.

AUTHOR’S VIEW

Author highlights that after 70 years of being a Republic today we do not have a single leader who inspires universal confidence and universal love.

Our Prime Minister is seen by the faithful as possessing an “immaculacy” and our Home Minister as endowed with an immediacy.

But immaculacy, in the essential sense of that term or concept is not the prerogative of human flesh, much less of political tissue. It may be claimed only by mythology and folklore, by super-naturals, not in real life.

CHALLENGES TO THE VALUES HIGHLIGHTED IN THE PREAMBLE

Author highlights that Preamble is the core of our constitution and  ‘Liberty — of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship’ is the core of preamble which is being challenged today.

REASONS FOR SAYING SO?

With three former Chief Ministers of Jammu & Kashmir imprisoned, the media wary, the bureaucracy timid, the judiciary cautious, how can you say liberty fares well in India.

CONCLUSION

The democratic spirit of the people of India is strong and if it stays non-violent and refuses to be co-opted by vested interests, it will make a difference that neither the protesting young and not-so-young nor the state can quite visualise.

Meanwhile we have Rajagopalachari’s and Rajendra Prasad’s sagacious words telling us that India is traditionally, instinctively and irreversibly about love, confidence and — liberty.

SECOND ARTICLE: FOUR PHASES OF CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION

The Constitution of India came into force 70 years ago, on January 26, 1950.

PHASE ONE: TEXTUAL

In its early years, the Supreme Court adopted a textualist approach, focusing on the plain meaning of the words used in the Constitution. A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras (1950) was one of the early decisions in which the Court was called upon to interpret the fundamental rights under Part III.

Amongst the most controversial questions in Indian constitutional law has been whether there are any limitations on Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution, especially fundamental rights. In its early years, the Court read the Constitution literally, concluding that there were no such limitations.

PHASE TWO: STRUCTURE

In the second phase, the Supreme Court began exploring other methods of interpretation. Appeals to the text of the Constitution were gradually overtaken by appeals to the Constitution’s overall structure and coherence. In the leading case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973), the Court concluded that Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution did not extend to altering its “basic structure” — an open-ended catalogue of features that lies within the exclusive control of the Court.

PHASE THREE: ECLECTICISM (the practice of deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources)

In the third phase, the Supreme Court’s interpretive philosophy turned far more result-oriented than it had ever been. The Court often surrendered its responsibility of engaging in a thorough rights reasoning of the issues before it.

The failure to give reasons contributed not only to methodological incoherence but also to serious doctrinal incoherence and inconsistency across the law. This can be best described as panchayati eclecticism, with different Benches adopting inconsistent interpretive approaches based on their conception of the Court’s role, and arriving at conclusions that were often in tension with one another.

FOURTH PHASE: PURPOSE

In the fourth phase, the Court has acknowledged as critical to its interpretive exercise the purpose for which the Constitution has been enacted.

The Court is now beginning to interpret the Constitution in accordance with its revolutionary and transformative potential.

With about a dozen significant Constitution Bench decisions from the Supreme Court since September 2018, there has been a renaissance in decision-making by Constitution Benches. This includes the Court’s decisions striking down Section 377 and the criminal offence of adultery, and including the office of the Chief Justice of India within the scope of the Right to Information Act.

SECOND EDITORIAL: DECISION OF MHA TO TRANSFER BHIMA KOREGAON CASE TO NIA

WHY IN NEWS?

The Home Ministry’s abrupt decision to transfer the investigation into the Bhima Koregaon cases in Maharashtra to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) .

EDITORIAL’S VIEW

This is an unwarranted interference in the police powers of the State.

It is clearly aimed at preventing the new regime in Maharashtra from reviewing the controversial probe done under the BJP-led government through a Special Investigation Team of its own.

What began as a case relating to alleged provocative speeches during the ‘Elgar Parishad’, an event held on December 31, 2017, to commemorate a military victory of Dalits against the Peshwa army 200 years earlier, followed by some incidents of violence, was then transformed into a sinister plot to overthrow the government, allegedly at the behest of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Despite its inter-State ramifications, the State government vehemently opposed a petition in the Supreme Court for a court-monitored independent probe. At that time, the Centre, also helmed by the BJP, expressed no inclination to hand over the probe to the NIA, even though sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) were invoked.

The Union government cannot now turn around and claim that it is a fit case for an NIA probe. A provision in the NIA Act does allow the Centre to give a suo motu direction to the NIA to take over any investigation, if offences listed in a schedule to the Act are committed.

The Centre’s suo motu power is likely to be tested for its constitutionality when Chhattisgarh’s suit against the NIA comes up.

The episode highlights fears expressed by some States that their police power would be compromised if the NIA was established.

CONCLUSION

The inevitable conclusion is that the Centre’s intervention is a ploy to continue the political narrative that the lawyers and activists sympathetic towards the cause of tribal people in conflict-hit areas are ‘urban Naxals’ or Maoists.

OP-ED PAGE

FIRST ARTICLE: PREAMBLE

WHY PREAMBLE IS IN NEWS?

Preamble is being read by  protest audiences across the country, and even beyond.

It has turned out to be more than merely a salutary invocation at the start of a protest — artists are busy weaving it in song and dance, and calligraphy and paintings are flourishing around the few mantras it is composed of. The emphasis is on the Preamble’s character as the Constitution’s very soul.

Author highlights that it is important to recall that Jawaharlal Nehru, while moving the ‘Aims and Objects’ resolution in the Constituent Assembly on December 13, 1946 (that formed the basis of Preamble), proposed that the task before the Assembly was to cast India as an “independent, sovereign, republic”, and spelt it out in a few memorable phrases, terming them as “the fundamentals” which were “commonly held” by Indians.

He also suggested that the resolution be regarded as “higher than the law” and nothing should be “added to or subtracted from” it.

Dr. Ambedkar has rightly highlighted that preamble embodies that this Constitution has its root, its authority, its sovereignty from the people.

He thought the masses could rediscover their initiative as citizens only through the overthrow of servility that the caste order, revamped by colonialism, subjected them to.

CONCLUSION

There was no doubt that by substituting the idea of ‘independent, sovereign, republic’, with ‘sovereign, democratic, republic’, Ambedkar was trying to redirect India into a very different trajectory. However, as the decades passed, the vision behind such an idea of India became ever more elusive. The invocation of the Preamble, in the citizen-activism of the present, is undoubtedly a call to action. But the onus it bears seems far heavier.

REPUBLIC DAY TABLEAUX

NEWS:

Religious themes were a common thread in the tableaux showcased by the States in the Republic Day parade on Sunday, with at least 10 of the 15 displays carrying such symbolism.

The tableau presented by Gujarat focussed on Rani ki Vav, a stepwell with a unique architectural style, that had images of Vishnu, Buddha, Kalki and Devi.

While Odisha’s tableau was themed on Lord Lingaraja’s Rukuna Ratha Yatara, Goa’s float carried a replica of the famous Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Panaji and a statue of a large frog holding a guitar, a symbol of its campaign to “save the frogs”.

Himachal Pradesh showcased its version of the Dasara, the Kullu Dasara;

Telangana showcased a flower festival celebrated in honour of a patron goddess of womanhood.

Tamil Nadu highlighted certain folk culture and presented the statue of Ayyanar, a guardian folk deity.

Chhattisgarh focussed on crafts and ornaments and carried a statue of Nandi, Lord Shiva’s vehicle.

Among the States that did not put up any religious symbolism included Rajasthan, which displayed its architecture and crafts; Assam that displayed bamboo and cane craftsmanship;

Madhya Pradesh that themed its tableau around the Tribal Museum in Bhopal;

Meghalaya that showcased its rich environment; and

Jammu and Kashmir that highlighted the Back to Village programme.

 

 

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