Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 7 September 2018
Supreme court gives landmark judgement on IPC 377
- In a landmark judgment on Thursday, a five-judge Constitution Bench of
the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality, with a prayer to the LGBTQ
community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) to forgive history
for subjecting them to “brutal” suppression.
- The Bench, led by Chief Justice of India DipakMisra, unanimously held
that criminalisation of private consensual sexual conduct between adults of
the same sex under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was clearly
unconstitutional. The court, however, held that the Section would apply to
“unnatural” sexual acts like bestiality. Sexual act without consent
continues to be a crime under Section 377.
- Section 377 discriminated against a minority based solely on their
sexual orientation. It violated the right of the LGBTQ community to “equal
citizenship and equal protection of laws.” The court held that bodily
autonomy was individualistic. Choice of a partner was part of the
fundamental right to privacy.
- The court set aside its 2013 judgment in the Suresh Koushal case. Legal
experts said this was a much-needed self-correction of a past judicial wrong
committed against the community. Experts said the Constitution Bench verdict
would become the foundation for members of the community to seek individual
- Instead of washing its hands of and leaving it to the “wisdom of the
court”, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said the government should have taken a
“categorical” stand one way or the other.
Global sanitation convention to mark the beginning of the 150th birth
anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi
- Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will organize a global
sanitation convention to mark the beginning of the 150th birth anniversary
celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, also coinciding with the fourth anniversary
of the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission.
- The Convention will culminate on 2nd October, Gandhi Jayanti, which is
also celebrated as the Swachh Bharat Diwas. Several mass mobilisation events
and campaigns are being planned across the States in the run up to this Day.
- India aims to eliminate open defecation by October 2nd, 2019, the 150th
birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who held sanitation very close to his
heart. Rural sanitation coverage has made ground-breaking progress, from 39%
in October 2014, at the start of SBM, to over 92% today, with behaviour
change being the key focus of implementation.
- The success of the Swachh Bharat Mission will undoubtedly have a
significant impact on the global achievement of Sustainable Development Goal
(SDG 6.2), i.e. to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and
hygiene for all.
- Simultaneously, coordinated efforts are in place to improve sanitation
levels in all sectors and all public places. The global Convention will be
aimed at sharing sanitation success stories and lessons across all
- Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) will be a
4-day international conference that will bring together Sanitation Minsters
and other leaders in WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) from around the
world. A host of national and international dignitaries are slated to attend
the event, for which preparations are under way.
Planters association claims loss of 5000cr due to floods in South India
- The plantation sector in the south, including tea, coffee, rubber,
cardamom and pepper, is estimated to have suffered a Rs. 5,000-crore crop
loss due to the recent floods in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- “These are the early estimates made by the United Planters Association
of South India (UPASI) and the extent of the damage is unprecedented,” T.
Jayaraman, president of the apex body.
- In respect of tea, a crop loss ranging between 41 and 64% is being
feared for August alone at a time when adverse weather conditions had
already battered production since June.
- The coffee-producing regions of Kodagu, Hassan and Chikmagalur in
Karnataka, accounting for 70 % of the country’s crop, were ravaged by rains
causing berry dropping, according to an UPASI report.
- The Coffee Board had estimated a crop loss of about 82,000 tonne (annual
output of 6.9 lakh tonne in 2017-18). The loss is the highest in Karnataka
followed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the board said.
- Mr.Jayaraman said that the crop loss in respect of rubber is estimated
at about 1.25 lakh tonne (out of an annual average output of 9 lakh tonne).
- In respect of spices, pepper vines and cardamom plants had been badly
affected. Almost 50% of the average annual pepper output of 55,000 tonne may
be lost, said UPASI.
Centre says no permits required for vehicles running on alternate fuels
- Road Transport and Highways Minister NitinGadkari said that no permits
would be required for vehicles running on alternative fuel, including CNG,
ethanol and EVs, a move that is expected to boost the demand for such
vehicles in the country.
- The Minister added that with the GST on EVs at 12%, there was’nt any
further need for subsidy. “In our country, we can’t subsidise individual
vehicles. We need to think innovatively to induct environment friendly
vehicles. The ministry has prepared a detailed report to promote EVs through
non-fiscal initiatives to have at least 15% EVs in the next five years.” He,
however, clarified that this was not mandatory.
- The government, he said, was also mulling converting two-wheelers into
taxis in non-metros, while encouraging the auto industry to use waterways
for logistics to trim costs and lower pollution.
- Meanwhile, in an earlier session, the industry put forth its demand for
speedy infrastructure development and better roads, while reiterating the
need for a long-term regulatory and policy roadmap for the sector to plan
- “This week, we will be having the first meeting to discuss the draft of
that roadmap.” Minister for Heavy Industries and Enterprises AnantGeete said
that the government was with the industry and “will do whatever we can do to
help the industry grow.” Assuring that government would address the auto
industry’s concerns, he said the industry must adapt to new technologies.
India signs defence pact with U.S but U.S concerned about trade deficits
- India and the United States on Thursday sealed the landmark
Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) that will lead
to a new generation of bilateral military partnership.
- Apart from the agreement that was signed at the end of the inaugural
India-U.S. ‘2+2’ Ministerial Dialogue, both sides also called on Pakistan to
stop terrorist strikes on ‘other countries’ and urged for maritime freedom
in the Indo-Pacific region.
- U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James
N. Mattis led the American delegation, and the Indian team was headed by
their counterparts SushmaSwaraj and NirmalaSitharaman.
- “They welcomed the signing of a Communications Compatibility and
Security Agreement that will facilitate access to advanced defence systems
and enable India to optimally utilise its existing U.S.-origin platforms,” a
Joint Statement issued at the end of the bilateral dialogue declared.
- India and the U.S. have been in a deadlock over trade after the Trump
administration wanted India to do additional purchases of $10 billion
annually for the next three years.
- On India’s purchase of S-400 air defence systems from Russia, Mr.Pompeo
said no decision had been made yet on granting a waiver and added that the
U.S. was working to impose Section 231 of CAATSA (Countering America’s
Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) in a way that is “appropriate and
- However, stating that the U.S. understood India’s relationship with
Russia, and would work on the issue, he added: “Our effort here, too, is not
to penalise great strategic partners like India, a major defence partner.
The sanctions aren’t intended to adversely impact countries like India.”
India France sign implementation agreement on MYC
- India and France have signed an implementation agreement on “MOBILISE
YOUR CITY” (MYC) here last evening,Mobilise Your City (MYC) is part of an
international initiative which is supported by the French and the German
Governments and was launched at 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) meeting
in December, 2015.
- Based on a proposal made by AFD in 2015, the European Union has agreed
to provide funds of Euro 3.5 million through the AFD to contribute to
specific investments and technical assistance components within the Mobilise
Your City (MYC) programme in India.
- The MYC aims at supporting three pilot cities viz. Nagpur, Kochi and
Ahmedabad in their efforts to reduce their Green House Gas (GHG) emissions
related to urban transport by implementing urban mobility plans at local
level and to help India at national level to improve their sustainable
- The details of the project activities will be worked out by AFD in
consultation with MoHUA and the three partner cities including institutions
such as the respective Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for Smart Cities, the
Municipal Corporations and any transport authority or transport related SPV.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Tsunami Mock exercise conducted
- India, along with 23 otherIndian Ocean Nations, participated in a major
Indian ocean-wide tsunami mock exercise (drill) on 4th& 5thSeptember, 2018.
The Exercise, known as IOWave18,was organized by the Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, which coordinated the setting up
of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in the
aftermath of the 26 December 2004 tsunami.
- In India, IOWave18 is being coordinated by the Indian National Centre
for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES)
with support from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Ministry of
Home Affairs (MHA), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Coastal
- Overall over the 2-day exercise, all coastal states tested communication
modes for receipt of bulletins from INCOIS. The end-to-end warning system
from tsunami detection and forecast, threat evaluation and alert
formulation, alert dissemination to public and their awareness and response
was put to test during this exercise.
- Major General (Retd) Dr. V.K. Naik, Senior Consultant, NDMA acted as the
observer for this exercise and contacted the participating states down to
community level to verify their receipt of bulletins and response.
Hexa Vortex spotted in Saturn
- Scientists have discovered a unique hexagonal vortex on Saturn’s north
pole — a towering atmospheric structure of whirling fluids that spans
hundreds of kilometres in height.
- The Cassini mission, which crashed into the Saturn last year to end its
journey of two decades, spotted the feature emerging at the ringed planet’s
northern pole as it neared summertime.
- This warm vortex sits high above the clouds, in a layer of atmosphere
known as the stratosphere, and appears to be hexagonal.
Saurabhchaudhary wins gold in world shooting championship
- SaurabhChaudhary shot a junior world record 245.5 to win the junior
men’s gold in air pistol in the 52nd World shooting championship here on
- The Asian Games gold medallist, the 16-year-old Saurabh, who had to be
fielded in the junior team as the national federation juggled with plenty of
talent on hand in the event, helped the team win the silver two points
- In men’s rifle 3-position event, SwapnilKusale (1172), AkhilSheoran
(1166) and Sanjeev Rajput (1165) made the cut for the competition from the
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