Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 06 May 2017

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 06 May 2017

:: National ::

Death sentence given to Nirbhaya convicts

  • “The accused found an object for enjoyment in her... for their gross, sadistic and beastly pleasures... for the devilish manner in which they played with her dignity and identity is humanly inconceivable.”

  • These were the final words with which Justice Dipak Misra concluded the pronouncement of the Supreme Court judgment confirming the death penalty to the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case of 2012.

  • Justice Banumathi, the woman judge on the Bench, said “There is not even a hint of hesitation in my mind” in sending the men to their deaths.

  • “If at all there is a case warranting award of death sentence, it is the present case,” Justice Banumathi wrote in her separate concurring judgment.

  • The pronouncement concluded the marathon hearings held in the Supreme Court for about a year after the four accused — Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Kumar Singh and Vinay Sharma — appealed against their death penalty.

  • The three-judge Bench had subjected the evidence of the case to the minutest scrutiny. At one point, its own amicus curiae and senior advocate Sanjay Hegde had suggested that death penalty would be “extremely harsh”.

  • The defence lawyers had pressed for life imprisonment. They said the accused were first-time offenders, young, had young children and aged parents whose lives would be rendered “calamitous” if they were put to death.

RBI given power against bad loans

  • The Centre authorised the Reserve Bank of India to take tough actions to crack down on the rising bad loans on the books of public sector banks, after President signed off on an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act of 1949.

  • The RBI is expected to issue issue norms within a week to banks on resolving their bad loan accounts in a specified time frame through various strategies including asset sales.

  • Where no breakthrough is imminent, invocation of insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings against the borrowers. The total stressed assets in the banking system are estimated to be Rs. 14 lakh crore.

  • Explaining the ordinance route to enhance the central bank’s powers, the Minister said the existing provisions were not clear enough for the RBI to act on specific stressed assets.

Justice R. Banumathisays women rights should not only remain in paper

  • The Supreme Court's sole woman judge and a member of the Bench which confirmed the death penalty in the Nirbhaya case, Justice R. Banumathi, asked whether the much-touted gender justice will continue to remain only on paper.

  • Justice Banumathi expressed dissatisfaction over how crimes against women continue to increase despite numerous laws to protect women.

  • The judgement asked if laws punishing crimes against women are paper tigers, unable to serve their purpose.

  • “Increased rate of crime against women is an area of concern for the lawmakers and it points out an emergent need to study in depth the root of the problem and remedy the same through a strict law and order regime,” Justice Banumathi wrote.

  • Referring to the Nirbhaya case, Justice Banumathi observed that “human lust was allowed to take such a demonic form”.

  • She said the case definitely belonged to the category of the rarest of rare and any punishment other than death penalty is “unquestionably foreclosed”.

  • Justice Banumathi delved on how the case shocked the collective conscience of the society, and it was necessary to send the message across that the courts stand by the rights of the victims and their families for justice.

  • The judge called the families of victims as “incidental victims” themselves.

Slew of directions passed by SC for child care (Register and Login to read Full News)

space diplomacy and India’s outreach to the neighbours into a “new orbit” (Register and Login to read Full News)

:: International ::

Obama’s flagship program ,Obamacare, could be dismantled

  • Protections available to older, poorer and sicker Americans under the country’s existing healthcare system could be curtailed if a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives is approved by the Senate.

  • The Republicans who control the White House and both chambers of legislature celebrated the passage of the bill as they moved a step closer to dismantling the existing Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

  • As the Republican leadership conceded more and more demands by extreme conservative lawmakers, the bill in its current version makes health insurance costlier for older and sicker people, while restricting the scope and reach of the state-run Medicaid programme for the poor.

  • Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Senate, and several Senators have said they would not support the bill in its current form. The bill had a narrow victory in the House, 217-213, even as 20 moderate Republicans voted against it.

  • The bill as passed by the House moves in the opposite direction, but Mr. Trump presented it differently. Flanked by Republican members of the House, the President said he was “confident” the Senate would also vote to repeal Obamacare.

  • Mr. Trump has earlier been a supporter of a universal health care system modelled after Australia and Canada, but has never put out any detailed plans.

  • As President, he has moved along with the Republican legislative leadership that is ideologically against subsidies.

  • If the new proposals become law, the younger and richer cohorts will gain as they would not be cross-subsidising others.

  • The proposals could, however, exclude 24 million people from insurance coverage over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated. Taxes on richer segments that supported part of the subsidies in Obamacare have been removed.

:: Business and Economy ::

Centre asks for reforms from PSBs before providing capital

  • Public sector banks (PSBs) seeking fresh capital from the Centre would have to commit to reform their own operations and take immediate steps to improve their balance sheet position.

  • The lenders will also have to close unprofitable branches and put in place stronger systems for credit appraisals and management of non-performing assets (NPAs).

  • “There are some other steps also being taken, which once decided… we will convey it to you. We are planning in the process of signing memorandums of understanding with public sector banks which seek capitalisation, specific provisions that will be incorporated,” FM said.

  • While the resolution of NPAs is an ongoing process, the government wants to speed it up and see resolutions of specific bad loans.

  • As per the new provisions incorporated in the banking regulation law allow the government to authorise the RBI to initiate insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings in relation to any stressed assets under Section 35 AA.

  • A separate clause 35B allows the RBI to issue specific directions, including the formation of oversight committees (OCs) to resolve bad loans.

  • Currently, the OC mechanism functions only in relation to the scheme for sustainable structuring of stressed assets (S4A) for banks.

  • A corollary benefit and objective of such oversight committees, Mr. Jaitley pointed out, is that bankers will have more comfort while taking tough decisions to write off or take haircuts on existing bad loans.

Debt to GDP ratio of 60% for the union and state can be achieved by 2023

  • The Centre is confident that the 2023 goal of a debt-to-GDP ratio of 60% for the Union and State governments combined can be achieved thus meeting a key recommendation of the N.K. Singh-headed fiscal discipline panel.

  • Even with the 3.2% [fiscal deficit target] spelt out in budget of current year and 3% in next two years, it should be possible for the government to achieve a debt-to-GDP of 60% for general government by 2023.

  • The principal anchor of the committee’s recommendations on fiscal roadmap is debt-to-GDP of 60%. So it should be possible to reach 60% in 2023.

  • The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Review Committee chaired by Mr. Singh has recommended that the Centre should target a fiscal deficit of 2.5% of GDP by 2023, with the Union government simultaneously narrowing its debt-to-GDP ratio to 40% from 49.4% in 2016-17.

  • The panel, which had allowed for a pause along the path of fiscal consolidation, recommended that the debt-to-GDP target for the government as a whole (Centre plus States) be pegged at 60% by fiscal 2023.

  • Govt has slammed global credit rating agencies for failing to acknowledge India’s sustained economic progress and reform trajectory in the past couple of years.

  • “With India remaining still a 7% plus GDP growth country, with the ease of doing business improving considerably, if the rating agencies do not give an upgrade to India, if they do not give any weightage to it, I think they are probably far detached from the ground realities. So, it is for them to really introspect.”

Banks to act within set time frame on NPAs (Register and Login to read Full News)

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