Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 December 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 December 2019


::NATIONAL::

NHRC sends notices to centre & states regarding sexual harassment cases

  • The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Centre, all States and Union Territories seeking reports on the Standard Operating Procedures, SOPs to deal with cases related to sexual violence against women and use of the Nirbhaya Fund.
  • Taking suomotu cognizance of media reports on cases of sexual assault, the rights panel issued notices to the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories seeking reports within six weeks about the status of Nirbhaya Fund.
  • It has also asked the details about the availability of the fund and the money spent during the last three years.
  • The commission has also issued notices to the Directors General of Police of all States and UTs calling for their response about the SOPs and the best practices adopted by them to deal with matters relating to sexual abuse and atrocities against women.
  • Meanwhile, both houses of Parliament expressed outrage over the gruesome gang rape and murder case of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad and called for stringent punishment to the perpetrators.

Centre asks Supreme court to review SC/ST creamy layer verdict of 2018

  • The central government on Monday sought a reconsideration of the 2018 Supreme Court judgment that sought to exclude “creamy layer” within the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) categories from reservation benefits.
  • The law officer said the five-judge bench seemed to have not taken into account that the SC/ST communities were kept outside the ambit of the creamy layer concept by another five-judge bench in the IndraSawhney (Mandal case) judgment in 2008.
  • AG's arguments were opposed by senior lawyer GopalSankaranarayan, who was appearing for SamtaAndolanSamiti, which represents the poor and downtrodden strata of SC/ST communities in Rajasthan.
  • Attorney General, on his part, said a seven-judge bench needs to be set up to reconsider the latest judgment. He also submitted to the bench the terms of reference and the issues that the larger bench should decide. The bench will now take up the matter after two weeks.
  • In the 2018 Jarnail Singh case, the five-judge bench had said: "Constitutional courts, when applying the principle of reservation will be well within their jurisdiction to exclude the creamy layer from such groups or sub-groups when applying the principles of equality."
  • The creamy layer principle, under which the “advanced” among the socially disadvantaged sections are excluded from the quotas for jobs and admissions, now applies only to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

::ECONOMY::

Govt. claims rural India achieved 100% ODF status

  • The sanitation coverage under Swachh Bharat Mission(Grameen) is 100 per cent and all the 5,99,963 villages have declared themselves Open-Defecation Free (ODF), the government said on Monday.
  • The Centre launched SBM(G) on October 2, 2014 with the aim to attain Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by October 2, 2019.
  • "As per the data reported by states/UTs on the online Integrated Management Information System of SBM(G), 10.14 crore individual household toilets have been constructed under the programme as on November 28.
  • "As a result, the sanitation coverage in the country, which was 38.7 per cent as on October 2, 2014 has increased to 100 per cent and all the 5,99,963 villages of the country have declared themselves ODF," Minister of State in the Jal Shakti Ministry Rattan LalKataria said in a written response to a question in the RajyaSabha.

Transport ministry claims 15 fold increase in NH related works

  • Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways NitinGadkari has said that there is a marked improvement in the pace of works relating to National Highways.
  • Replying to a query during Question Hour in the RajyaSabha, he said, the speed of works has increased from two kilometres a day earlier to 30 kilometres now, a 15-fold increase.
  • He listed out the problems for the delay as land acquisition, securing various clearances and financing by banks. He informed the house that there is a remarkable improvement in the financing side now.
  • To another question, he replied that air pollution in Delhi will significantly reduce as the new National Highways projects including those connecting the Airport will check fuel emissions.
  • To a question on the stringent laws on road safety, he said, the recent legislation on motor vehicles including the increased penalty for traffic violation is not to generate revenue but to reduce loss of lives. He also informed the house that one thousand driving schools across the country have been given approval.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India urges nations to fulfil pre-2020 emission pledges

  • India has called on the rich, industrialised countries to take the lead in combating climate change and curbing the rise in global temperature by fulfilling their pre-2020 commitments to reduce emissions and provide finance to developing countries.
  • “The pre-2020 implementation gaps should not present an additional burden to developing countries in the post-2020 period,” the Indian government said in an official statement released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP 25.
  • India said if the developed countries fail to meet their Cancun pledges to reduce emissions by 2020, it would put additional pressure on the developing countries.
  • The recent UN Emissions Gap report found that while the G20 countries will collectively exceed their 2020 Cancun pledges, countries including the US, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, the Republic of Korea and South Africa are projected to miss or not achieve them.
  • India also asked the rich countries to provide finance to developing countries as committed. Ensuring the adequate and predictable provision of finance and technology is critical for developing countries to ramp up their climate action, it said.

Japan offers help to address India’s RCEP concerns

  • Japan on Sunday gave clear indications that efforts were on to make India join the ambitious Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), saying all member countries of the grouping were committed to address New Delhi's concerns.
  • After years of negotiations, India last month pulled out of the proposed RCEP over unresolved "core concerns" at a summit meeting of the participating countries, saying the proposed pact in its current form would have adverse impact on lives and livelihoods of all Indians.
  • When asked whether efforts are on to address India's concerns and whether Japan was hopeful of New Delhi joining the grouping, Kaifu said the RCEP statement mentioned that all negotiating countries will work together to resolve outstanding issues.
  • The negotiations for the proposed free-trade agreement included 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and six of the bloc's dialogue partners -- China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
  • In the RCEP summit in Bangkok, Modi conveyed India's decision not to join the RCEP deal at a summit meeting of the 16-nation bloc, effectively wrecking its aim to create the world's largest free trade area having half of the world's population.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Study finds undersea telecom cables could be used to study earthquakes

  • Fibre-optic cables that make up the global undersea telecommunications network may help researchers assess offshore earthquakes, and hidden geologic structures in the depths of the ocean, according to a study.
  • The study, published in the journal Science, describes an experiment which turned a 20 kilometre section of undersea fibre-optic cable into the equivalent of 10,000 seismic stations monitoring quakes along the ocean floor.
  • The researchers, including those from the University of California (UC) Berkeley in the US, recorded a 3.5 magnitude earthquake, and seismic scattering from underwater fault zones during their four-day experiment.
  • They used a technique where a device with components for creating, manipulating and detecting light sent short pulses of laser down the cable, and detected how this was backscattered due to strain in the cable caused by stretching.
  • The researchers said the new system is sensitive to changes of nanometres to hundreds of picometres for every metre of cable length -- a change happening at the scale of one part in a billion.
  • The scientists hope to use the dense fibre-optic networks around the world, spanning more than 10 million kilometers, on both land and under the sea to measure the sensitive seismic movements on the Earth.

::SPORTS::

India’s U-19 world cup team to be led by PriyamGarg

  • Uttar Pradesh batsman PriyamGarg will lead defending champions India in next year's Under-19 ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in South Africa.
  • The All-India Junior Selection Committee, which met in Mumbai yesterday, picked the squad for the tournament to be held from 17th January to 9th February next year.
  • The 19-year-old Garg, a right handed top-order batsman, has a first-class double hundred and a List 'A' century to his name.
  • The 13th edition of the U-19 World Cup will be played among 16 teams, split into four groups. India are placed in Group 'A' with first-time qualifier Japan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super League stage.

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