General Studies-01

{Op-Ed}Law, faith, unreason: on eradicating superstition from society

Issue: Editorial deals with the need for broad minded social reform additional to laws to eradicate superstition from indian society.

  • The Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017 has been approved by the State Cabinet and is likely to be introduced soon in the Assembly.
  • It is not accurate to characterise this as just an ‘anti-superstition bill’, as what it seeks to prohibit are actions that offend human dignity, result in the exploitation of gullible and vulnerable people or cause harm to them.

Bill outlaws:

superstition-eradication-bill

  • the urulu seve, also known as made snana, in which devotees roll over food leftovers,
  • the practice of walking on fire,
  • branding children,
  • piercing one’s tongue or cheeks.

Bill exempts:

  • Established religious practices and the propagation of spiritual learning and arts, besides astrology and vaastu.
  • Organising macabre rituals, offering magical cures and threatening people, under peril of incurring divine or supernatural displeasure, are covered by this law, even though these can be treated as offences under the Indian Penal Code too.

The proposed law ought to be seen as a reasonable restriction on the right to practise and propagate one’s religion under Article 25 of the Constitution. As long as these restrictions are in the interest of public order, morality and health, the law may withstand the test of constitutionality.

  • Ultimately, it is education and awareness that can truly liberate a society from superstition, blind faith and abominable practices in the name of faith. Until then, the law will have to continue to identify and punish acts that violate the people’s right to life, health and dignity.

General Studies-02

Australia, India to enhance ties

News:

  • India and Australia discussed ways to enhance cooperation in tackling terrorism, radicalization and cyber-crimes, the Home Ministry said in a statement.

Beyond News:

  • During the meeting, the two sides discussed the scope for cooperation in counter-terrorism and checking extremism and radicalisation, besides steps to check illegal financial transactions, counterfeiting and cyber-crimes.
  • Issues related to human trafficking and people smuggling, combating illegal drug trafficking, and sharing information between law enforcement agencies, were also discussed.

Aadhaar now must for PPF, KVP

News:

  • The government has made linking Aadhaar mandatory for the Public Provident Fund, the National Savings Certificate and the Kisan Vikas Patra schemes.

Beyond News:

  • Subscribers have time till December 31 to link their Aadhaar to the schemes.
  • Every depositor who has not given his Aadhaar number at the time of application shall submit it to the Post Office Savings Bank or accounts office concerned on or before December 31.
  • The government has already made it mandatory to link Aadhaar to PAN by December 31 and to SIM connections by February 2018.
  • Some 135 schemes, including free cooking gas, kerosene and fertilizer subsidy, targeted public distribution system and MGNREGA, are reportedly to be linked to the biometric identification.

India’s greenhouse gas emissions up by 4.7% in 2016

According to the latest report by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency- Trends in global CO2 and total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions show that India’s emissions have gone up by 4.7% in 2016.

  • For most major GHG emitters in the world, the emission figures have gone down, barring India and Indonesia.

According to the Dutch strategic agency’s report- Emissions in following countries shows fall in emission:

  1. U.S. saw a fall of 2%,
  2. Russian Federation 2.1%,
  3. Brazil 6.1%,
  4. China 0.3%,
  5. within the European Union, the United Kingdom 6.4%.
  • The report’s data is based on the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) produced by the European Union.

Non-CO2 emissions

  • In 2016, the five largest emitting countries and the European Union accounted for 68% of total global CO2 emissions and about 63% of total global GHG emissions.
  • Most of the emissions consist of CO2, about 72%.
  • Over the past three years, non-CO2 GHG emissions have continued to grow somewhat faster than CO2 emissions: by 1.5% (2014), 1.2% (2015) and 1.0% (2016).
  • CO2 over the same period increased by a respective 0.8%, -0.2% and 0.3%.
  • Globally, the combined share of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions is about 28% in total GHG emissions, but it varies for the largest countries: 11% for Japan and 31% for India.

General Studies-03

GST Council gives relief to exporters, small businesses

News:

  • GST Council on Friday announced a slew of decisions to reduce their compliance burden.

Beyond News:

  • It includes the eventual setting up of an e-wallet for input tax credits for exporters, and the option for small businesses to file returns and pay taxes only once a quarter.
  • The decision regarding exporters taken by the Council is to impose a nominal 0.1% GST rate for them till March 31, 2018.
  • The e-wallet system is expected to rollout from April 1, 2018.
  • The GST Council also reduced the tax rates on 27 items.

Important items among those 27:

  • Sliced dried mangos,
  • khakhra and plain chappatis,
  • unbranded ayurvedic medicines,
  • plastic, rubber and paper waste,
  • yarn,
  • diesel engine parts, pump parts,
  • e-waste and several services.

‘Mission rice’ to conserve indigenous seeds

News:

  • After empowering rural women folk in the State, the Kudumbasree Mission is gearing up to script another success story by conserving traditional rice seeds of Wayanad.

Beyond News:

  • The project has been executed through joint liability groups (JLGs) of the mission.
  • The pilot project has been executed by the mission through the Kairaly JLG and five acres of fallow land at Kenichira under the Poothadi grama panchayat has been utilised for the purpose this season.
  • The mission is planning to expand the project on 300 acres next year.
  • The Kudumbasree State Mission has allotted Rs. 1 lakh for the project and the Agriculture Department would provide an incentive of Rs. 50,000 for the JLG under the Haritha Keralam Mission.

Aayog forms panel for ‘intelligent’ transport

News:

  • The NITI Aayog has set up a national-level committee constituting officials from various ministries and States to develop a roadmap for the implementation of the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) policy.

Key aspects:

  • The National ITS policy will aim to reduce urban traffic congestion, improve parking for vehicles in cities, road safety and the security of passenger and goods traffic.
  • The committee will work towards setting uniform standards to implement the ITS in various parts of the country, Anil Srivastava, IAS, Advisor, (Infrastructure) NITI Aayog, said during an event organised by the International Road Federation.
  • Subjects covered under the panel’s purview would include traffic management, parking management, electronic enforcement of traffic rules and fleet management.
  • The committee’s mandate would also include monitoring and encouraging pilot projects.

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