Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 06 August 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 06 August 2019


In a historical move,centre to scrap special status given to Jammu & Kashmir

  • Ending Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in the Indian Union, the BJP government extended all provisions of the Constitution to the State in one go, downsized the State into two Union Territories and allowed all citizens to buy property and vote in the State.

  • Leading the charge, Home Minister Amit Shah piloted two special resolutions and a Bill creating the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh through the RajyaSabha on Monday. While the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature, the one in Ladakh will not.

  • The government’s surgical strike on the State’s autonomy came as telephone and Internet services in the Valley were suspended, former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti remained under arrest and thousands of additional Central security personnel were deployed.

  • Mr. Shah said that if the Union Territory model worked well, the government would consider giving Jammu and Kashmir the status of a State again and “no constitutional amendment would be required”. Prime Minister NarendraModi was present during the proceedings.

  • Dismissing concerns that there would be “bloodshed” in the Valley, Mr. Shah said this was a “new experiment” and everyone should support it. “Terrorism cannot end in the State till Article 370 or 35A continue. They are an obstacle to development. We want to embrace the Kashmiri youth. The move will bring development, tourism and industries to the State. These opportunities till now were controlled by only three families,” he said.

Loksabha passes surrogacy regulation bill

  • The LokSabha on Monday passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 by a voice vote. The Bill, introduced by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, seeks to ban commercial surrogacy and provides for constituting a National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards, and the appointment of appropriate authorities for the regulation of the practice and process of surrogacy.

  • Speaking on the Bill Dr.Vardhan said: “The Bill is aimed at ending the exploitation of women who are lending their womb for surrogacy, and protecting the rights of children born through this. The Bill will also look after the interests of the couple that opt for surrogacy, ensuring that there are laws protecting them against exploitation by clinics that are carrying this out as a business.”

  • The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill regulates altruistic surrogacy and prohibits commercial surrogacy. It defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an eligible couple and agrees to hand over the child to them after the birth.

  • The Bill allows altruistic surrogacy, which involves a surrogacy arrangement where the monetary reward only involves medical expenses and insurance coverage for the surrogate mother. Commercial surrogacy is prohibited under the Bill.


Government releases draft e-commerce norms

  • To protect the interest of online shoppers, the Department of Consumer Affairs has released draft guidelines on e-commerce that state that an e-commerce entity cannot directly or indirectly influence the price of the goods or services.

  • The draft ‘e-commerce guidelines for consumer protection 2019,’ which adds that e-commerce firms need to ensure that personally identifiable information of customers is protected, is open for stakeholder comments for 45 days or till September 16, 2019.

  • It added that every e-commerce entity needs to publish the name and contact details of the grievance officer on their website along with the mechanism by which users can lodge their complaints.

  • As per the draft, an e-commerce firm cannot falsely represent themselves as consumers or post reviews about goods and services in their name.

  • The draft also proposes that once an e-commerce firm comes to know about any counterfeit product, and if the seller is unable to provide any evidence that the product is genuine, the firm needs to take down the listing and notify the consumers of the same.

Finance ministry to hold talks with various Industrial sectors

  • Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman will hold separate meetings with representatives of various sectors over the course of the week, following which the government will decide on the steps needed to bolster the economy, Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar said on Monday.

  • Speaking to reporters following a meeting with the heads of PSBs, Ms.Sitharaman said that the government would decide on the way forward on the service tax demand from the banks after they replied to the notices sent to them.

  • Meanwhile the income tax department had issued notices to the banks to pay service tax amounting to a total of Rs. 38,000 crore on the penalties they imposed on customers for low balances in their accounts.The banks had disputed this and approached the Delhi High Court for redressal.

  • Regarding the concerns of foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), she said Economic Affairs Secretary AtanuChakraborty would soon hold a meeting with the FPIs. Ms.Sitharaman also said that the government had not taken any further steps regarding the issuance of overseas sovereign bonds.

  • “There are some numbers floating around because the Secretary has said ‘this is the quantum,’ but not much more work has happened because we have been busy in the Ministry with the various Bills that have been passed,” the Finance Minister said.

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UN mission calls for boycott of Myanmar companies with military links

  • A UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission has urged foreign businesses and governments to sever ties with more than 140 companies owned or controlled by the Myanmar military Tatmadaw.

  • In the report released by UNHRC today, it said these companies help the Myanmar army to avoid public scrutiny and carry out human rights violations with impunity.

  • It also called for the immediate imposition of targeted sanctions against companies run by the military. The report accused the military of carrying out extensive human rights violations against civilians in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine provinces, including the forced deportation of more than 700,000 ethnic Rohingya to Bangladesh.

  • The report says that Tatmadaw owns and operates Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and the Myanmar Economic Corporation with interest in businesses like banking, insurance, tourism, jade and ruby mining among others.

  • Under the constitution of Myanmar, the Tatmadaw is not accountable to any civilian authority.Last month US had imposed sanctions on top generals of the Myanmar army for their role in the atrocities carried out against the Rohingyas.

Pressure on Japan to sign UN nuclear weapon ban treaty

  • The mayor of Hiroshima urged Japan to sign a landmark UN treaty banning nuclear weapons as the city today marked 74 years since being targeted in the world's first atomic attack.

  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led commemorations at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima as residents offered silent prayers, lit candles and placed wreathes to remember those killed in the August 6, 1945 bombing.

  • Mayor Kazumi Matsui used the occasion to push the Abe administration to sign the UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, approved by more than 120 nations, but rejected by the US and other nuclear armed countries.

  • Japan remains the only country to have experienced atomic attack -- against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, days ahead of the country's surrender on August 15, 1945 to end World War II.


Study reveals Indian tigers face threat from virus

  • The Prime Minister’s announcement that tiger numbers have increased in the country may be good news. But the loss of habitat, a decline of prey and poaching continues to be a threat to tigers’ survival.

  • Along with these, a potential virus — Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) — that can be transmitted from CDV-infected dogs living in and around wildlife sanctuaries has started to raise concern among wildlife biologists.

  • A recent study published in Threatened Taxa notes that 86% of the tested dogs around Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan carried CDV antibodies in their bloodstream.

  • This means that the dogs are either currently infected or have been infected sometime in their life and have overcome the disease. This finding points out that there is an increased risk of disease transfer from the dogs to tigers and leopards that live in the park.

  • Last year, over 20 lions from the Gir forest succumbed to the viral infection and now a guideline has been prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority to prevent the spillover of the disease to wild animals.

  • The easy way out is prevention. Managing any disease in a wildlife population is extremely difficult. Most dogs are free ranging and not owned by any particular person in the village. The government should take the initiative to vaccinate the dogs around wildlife sanctuaries in the country. This would be a good time to vaccinate against rabies as well.

  • Experts says there were only a few CDV suspected cases in India when she started her work in 2015, and so was considered not important. But with the CDV confirmed deaths of lions in Gir, more attention has been drawn to the disease. She hopes more studies are conducted to get countywide data on the disease prevalence so that necessary prevention guidelines can be laid out.


Australia beat England in first Ashes test

  • Australia beat England by 251 runs to win the first Ashes Cricket Test at Edgbaston today.

  • England, set a target of 398 to win, collapsed to 146 all out on the last day, with Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon taking six wickets giving 49 runs and fast bowler Pat Cummins four for 32.The Victory gave Australia a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

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