UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS-DAILY CAPSULE-AUG 18 2017

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Daily current affairs for IAS upsc

Choice & conversion

News: SC verdict on Akhila/Haldiya case

Behind news:

  • Entrusted with adjudicating whether her conversion to Islam and marriage to a Muslim man were voluntary acts, the Supreme Court has embarked on a roving inquiry into whether Hindu women in parts of Kerala are being radicalised.
  • Inexplicably, the court has sought inputs from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), tasked with tackling terrorism, to probe the circumstances of the 24-year-old’s conversion and marriage even before it heard her out.

Kerala HC v/s SC

  • The question before the court was the correctness of the Kerala High Court’s decision to annul her marriage. The High Court did not question her conversion to Islam, only suspecting the veracity of her sudden claim that she was married to a Muslim.
  • This happened in the course of hearings on a plea by her father complaining that she was under the influence of radical groups. The High Court held that the purported marriage was only a ruse to scuttle the proceedings and annulled the marriage as a “sham”.
  • In the process, it made the odd observations that a woman’s marriage requires the involvement of her parents and that even if she had attained the age of majority, she was still at a “vulnerable age”.
  • The Supreme Court has nominated a retired judge to supervise the NIA probe, the object of which is presumably to safeguard its independence and credibility. It is possible to make out a case for a police investigation into the suspicious activities of radical groups in the State.
  • But the mere suspicion that they are working in an organised way to convert people is not sufficient to conclude that they are involved in recruiting them for overseas terror operations for groups such as the Islamic State. The woman’s father maintains that she is under the spell and influence of radical activists who, he says, would transport her abroad to destinations such as Syria.
  • It is unfortunate that the plea that she was living under custody in her parental home despite being a major failed to cut any ice before the two-judge bench. In refusing to entertain the plea, the Supreme Court has lent the unfortunate impression that it has placed a judicial curtailment on her volition.
  • Rather than do this, it should have striven to find a way to protect her freedom of religion and movement.

Redrawing the arc of influence

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s schedule of foreign visits has been extremely impressive, and he has managed to inject a degree of dynamism into a system accustomed to a more leisurely pace.

  • Taking the two most recent visits, one can easily see the contrast in outcomes.
  • The U.S. visit was a carefully calibrated one producing few surprises, despite the U.S. President having a reputation of being highly unpredictable.
  • For his part, the Prime Minister charted a time-tested course, concentrating mainly on counter-terrorism and the defence security partnership, avoiding contentious trade-related issues.
  • The naming of the Hizbul Mujahedeen chief as a “specially designated global terrorist” and a “new consultation mechanism on domestic and international terrorist designations listing proposals” were the high points of the counter-terrorism agenda.
  • Reiteration of India’s position as a major defence partner and confirmation of the sale of the Guardian Unmanned Aerial System to India, reflected the deepening security and defence cooperation.

Monumental legislation

  • Prohibited areas around monuments and archaeological sites may have to give space for more infrastructure. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which is pending in the Lok Sabha, attempts to address the issues confronting construction for public works due to proposed plans running through ‘prohibited’ area (100m around a protected monument or area).
  • The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958 bars any sort of construction within the prohibited area of these structures.
  • The 1958 Act defines ancient monuments to include a structure, erection, monument, any tumulus, place of interment, cave, rock sculpture, inscription or monolith which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been in existence for not less than 100 years. Delhi itself is home to several UNESCO world heritage sites.

Factories Act: Centre firm on amendment

  • The Centre will go ahead with its proposal to amend the Factories Act of 1948 by giving flexibility to State governments to enhance the threshold limit over which a unit will be considered a factory despite concerns flagged by a Parliamentary Standing Committee.
  • The proposal was discussed at a tripartite meeting chaired by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya with representatives of trade unions, industries and State governments.
  • The Standing Committee, examining the proposed changes, however, observed in 2014 that “if the amendment is carried out more than 70% of the factory establishments in the country will be out of the coverage of the Factories Act and workers will be at the mercy of employers.”

T.N. to probe Jayalalithaa’s death {Not much Important}

News:

  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday announced that an inquiry commission headed by a retired High Court judge would be constituted to probe the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in December last year.

beyond News:

  • ‘Veda Nilayam’, the erstwhile residence of Jayalalithaa in Poes Garden here, will be converted into a public memorial, an announcement that was slammed by Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar, who questioned the unilateral decision sans consultations with heirs.
  • Till date, it is not clear if Jayalalithaa had left behind a will bequeathing her vast estate to anyone.

Technology to the rescue of elephants

  • The Forest Department has started a pilot project of an early warning system to tackle the issue by using thermal sensor and surveillance camera.
Prelims 2018 at 70% discount

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