CURRENT AFFAIRS-SEPT 1 2017 [UPSC DAILY CAPSULE]

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Daily current affairs for IAS upsc

India thanks Switzerland for support in global fora{IR}

News:

  • India thanked Switzerland for its support in global multilateral organisations.
  • Sought greater cooperation to ensure bilateral financial transparency and thanked the Swiss government for its support to India’s membership bid for the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

India-Switzerland relation

Beyond these, Note down following:-

Important achievements

  1. Swift recognition of Indian independence,
  2. Treaty of friendshsip,
  3. Diplomatic supports,
  4. Trade & economic co-operation being 3rd largest from asia & largest trading partner,
  5. Switzerland’s investments like 11th largest investor & associated job creation..etc

Future scope

  1. tourism,
  2. Automatic exchange of financial accounts information,
  3. Co-operation in Climate change,
  4. Development in railway system..etc

GDP growth boards slow train at 5.7%{Indian Economy}

News:

  • India’s GDP grew at 5.7% between April to June this year — the slowest pace recorded in 13 quarters or since the NDA government assumed office in May 2014 — led by a sharp decline in industrial activity out of the rollout of GST from July 1.

Beyond News:

  • GDP growth in the last quarter of 2016-17 was 6.1%, marking a steady decline from the 7.9% clocked in the April to June quarter.
  • The gross value added (GVA) in the economy grew at 5.6%, same as the previous quarter but sharply lower than the 7.6% growth in the first quarter of the last year.
  • Economist Ajit Ranade pointed out that this is the sixth continuous quarter marking a decline in growth.

39 successes later, PSLV launch fails{Science and Technology}

  • In a double whammy to the Indian space programme, the PSLV-C39 mission carrying the replacement navigation satellite IRNSS-1H failed .
  • This was the PSLV’s first failure — in what was seen as a routine mission — after 39 continuously successful launches and only the second such instance since 1993.

‘Indian elephant getting bigger’{International Relations}

  • In 20 years, India will be one of the major geopolitical players in Asia, providing some balance to the existing power equations in the region, an Australian envoy has said.
  • Barry O’Farrell, the special envoy of New South Wales, the southeastern Australian state, to India, said that India’s rise is good news for Australia as well as the Indian Ocean region.
  • According to Mr. O’Farrell, both India and Australia are committed to tap this potential.
  • “Given India’s strengths, its population and trajectory, there’s enormous potential for India-Australia relationship.”

Is it time to review Section 377?{Rights Issues}

  • Section 377, titled “unnatural offences”, was enacted by the British after we lost our First War of Independence in 1857.
  • They imposed their religio-cultural values upon us. Prior to that, sexual activities, including amongst homosexuals, were not penalised in India.
  • Section 377 penalises non-procreative sexual acts and any act of sexual perversity, as has been interpreted by different courts.
  • Though it textually applies to all persons, homosexual and heterosexual, it has been targeted at gay men.

Important judgments regarding:

  • The Delhi High Court in Naz Foundation v. Government of Nct of Delhi(2009)rightly held that criminalising sexual activities with consent in private not only impairs the dignity of those persons targeted by the law, but it is also discriminatory and impacts the health of those people.
  • Gay men are seen as criminals by the law because of Section 377, and thus by other members of society.
  • This judgment lifted the criminal restrictions on gay men. However, it was short-lived as the Supreme Court in Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation(2013) set aside the Delhi High Court judgment.
  • The Koushal judgment did not notice that the rape law itself had changed whereby instead of mere restriction on penile-vaginal non-consensual sex, it now includes a range of sexual activities, including digital and object penetration.

Has demonetization achieved its original objectives?{Economic Policy}

  • On November 8, 2016, these were tackling corruption, counterfeit currency, and terror funding.
  • Thereafter the Prime Minister added reducing dependence on cash.
  • Now that we know that 99% of demonetised money has come back, the government’s estimates of how much black money would be extinguished have been proven horribly wrong.
  • The Attorney General told the Supreme Court that he expected Rs. 4-5 lakh crore to be “neutralised”.
  • In the end, just Rs. 16,000 crore didn’t come back.
  • This means previously unbanked money has now been credited to bank accounts.
  • As they yield returns, it will be taxed and that’s a clear gain.
  • If large proportions are proven to be black, revenues will increase substantially.

A water umpire{Inter-state relations}

  • The Cauvery water dispute is eluding closure, with Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala locked in battle in the Supreme Court over their share of water.
  • In its statement of objects and reasons for proposing a new inter-State river water disputes law, the Centre lists out the drawbacks in the prevalent Inter-State River Water Disputes Act of 1956.
  • The Act provides for tribunals to be constituted for every inter-State river water dispute. The statement, however, notes the reluctance shown by States to accept the decisions of these tribunals.
  • With water becoming scarce, the Centre has proposed the Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 for early and amicable resolution of disputes. The Bill proposes that the Centre notify an Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal with multiple benches.
  • All existing tribunals dealing with inter-State water disputes would stand dissolved on the date of establishment of this tribunal.
  • Chairmen and other members of the existing tribunals who are aged 70, on the date of commencement of the 2017 Amendment Act, shall cease to hold office on the expiry of three months from the date of the law coming into existence.
  • Disputes already settled by an existing tribunal, prior to the date of commencement of the 2017 Amendment Act, shall not be re-opened.

India, U.S. eye states to boost trade ties{International Relations}

  • India and the U.S. are working on establishing a state-level engagement mechanism to widen and deepen bilateral trade and investment ties.
  • Towards this objective, the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), will unveil within a fortnight a ‘State Engagement Task force’ (SET) to ensure American and Indian companies align their interests with the priorities of the State governments of both the countries.

Significance:

  • The move comes as India and the U.S. are set to carry out a comprehensive review of bilateral trade ties. In that exercise, priority sectors will be defence and energy.
  • While the focus in defence would include Lockheed Martin’s proposal to make F-16 fighter jets in India and the proposed sale of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. or GA-ASI’s ‘Guardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft’ to India, energy ties would cover exports of U.S. natural gas, transfer of U.S. technology on oil and gas refining, as well as the conclusion of pacts between Nuclear Power Corp. and Westinghouse Electric for six nuclear reactors in India and related project financing.
  • Other priority areas would be smart cities (including Ajmer, Allahabad and Visakhapatnam), regional airport development in India through public private partnership, e-commerce , digital payments and medical devices.
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