Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 14 April 2016

Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 14 April 2016

:: National ::

SC to decide whether physiological phenomenon can be guiding factors in temple entry

  • Questioning taboos entrenched in the Indian psyche from time immemorial, the SC decided to answer whether a physiological phenomenon like menstruation can be a guiding factor for denying women the right to enter and worship in a temple.

  • Senior advocate Indira Jaising said gender stereotyping in Indian temples violates the fundamental right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution.

  • She asked the court how the healthy biological process of menstruation is used in the name of religion to discriminate against women.

  • At one point, Justice Kurian asked whether the “individual morality” of the Sabarimala deity to remain a celibate should be subject to the parameters of constitutional morality.

  • Justice Kurian wondered aloud whether the concept of ‘Nityabrahmachari’ (of the Sabarimala deity) and the tradition of no entry to women aged between 10 and 55 have really anything to do with menstruation.

  • Ms. Jaising insisted that it had, saying the traditional argument is that women of that age will “disturb” the deity’s celibacy. “The onus of causing disturbance is on women. If you are true celibate, why blame women for disturbing you? This is a classical blaming-the-victim game,” she contended.

  • The students want the apex court to decide whether society should continue to bear with “menstrual discrimination.

Bombay HC directed BCCI to shift IPL matches after Apr 30

  • The Bombay High Court directed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to shift the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches scheduled to be played after April 30 outside the State of Maharashtra.

  • The court started hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) plea on April 7 and passed an order on April 13, directing 13 matches scheduled after April 30 to be moved out of the league.

  • Four of those were to be played at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, six in the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune and three in the Vidarbha Cricket Stadium.

  • The court said, “There is a drought situation in the State, there is not a drop of water available, all dams are drying” and asked “whether the State can turn a blind eye to the scarcity of water.”

  • The Bench observed, “Shifting of IPL matches alone won’t solve the problem, but it can be a beginning so that water used for pitches can be diverted to affected areas.”

  • In its order, the court criticised the Maharashtra government. “On the one hand the State has filed an affidavit that it has no objection if the matches are shifted outside, on the other hand it acts as a mute spectator and does not even question the cricket associations.”

Earthquake measuring 6.8 in Richter scale hits Myanmar (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: International ::

United States escalates its presence in South China Sea

  • The U.S. has launched joint South China Sea naval patrols with the Philippines, escalating its presence as it accused Beijing of “militarising” a region which is locked in territorial disputes.

  • In a show of strength, U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter also announced that 275 troops and five A-10 ground attack aircraft currently in the country for annual war games will remain there temporarily.

  • China warned deployments must not damage “regional stability”, but Mr. Carter said Washington’s efforts to strengthen its military role in the region were not done “in order to provoke”.

  • He said the U.S. was responding to regional anxiety over China’s muscular actions in the South China Sea, including building artificial islands over disputed reefs.

  • The joint naval patrols, which began last month, “contribute to the safety and security of the region’s waters,” he said after meeting with Philippines President Benigno Aquino.

  • Manila has been improving its defence ties with the United States to help boost its ability to defend its territory.

  • Mr. Carter announced that 275 American troops, among about 5,000 military personnel taking part in the annual Balikatan war games, are to stay behind after the exercises end on Friday.

  • Five A-10C Thunderbolt ground attack planes and four other aircraft will also remain until the end of the month.

  • Some 200 of the U.S. personnel are to train Filipino soldiers, as well as “conduct flight operations in the area, including in the South China Sea”, Mr. Carter said

Cambodia contemplating programme to restore tiger population

  • Cambodia is contemplating a $50 million (Rs. 32.5 crore) programme to improve enforcement and restore tiger populations after the big cat was declared ‘functionally extinct’ there by the WWF.

  • MD Madhusudan, a wildlife expert at the Nature Conservation Foundation said the idea of sending Indian tigers to the South-east Asian country wasn’t outrageous.

  • “We have made gains too, but we would be interested in technical cooperation and partnerships to better understand India’s success,” said LyonpoYesheyDorji, Minister for Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan.

  • India has improved its tiger count from an estimated 1706 in 2010 to 2226 in 2014.

  • Officials from 13 tiger-range countries converged here for discussions on tiger conservation.

  • Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said India was committed to the principles of ‘restoration, reintroduction and rehabilitation’ that formed part of a resolution by the assembled countries to double the world’s tiger numbers by 2020 from the current 3,890.

  • Translocation of tigers is a sensitive subject where even transfers among Indian States spark a controversy.

  • However, translocations have been used to repopulate reserves in Panna, Madhya Pradesh and Sariska, Rajasthan.

European Parliament approves that airlines need to share passenger information (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: Business and Economy ::

Govt thinking about the right approach for WTO

  • Inter-ministerial differences have cropped up on what should be India's strategy in dragging the U.S. to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) in a matter involving renewable energy policies of several State governments in the U.S. “violating” the global trade body’s norms.

  • The renewable energy (solar & hydro power) policies in question allegedly have local content requirements and / or greater incentives to domestic manufacturers in the U.S. thereby “restricting and distorting” trade, and in turn “violating” WTO rules.

  • The commerce ministry has opposed the power ministry’s proposal that India should file sixteen separate cases against the U.S. with the WTO on the measures of different State governments there “providing protection” to the local renewable sector including solar panel producers.

  • As per the commerce ministry, India will have better chances of winning the case if it, instead, files one comprehensive case incorporating the details of how all those states are "violating" the WTO norms using their “protectionist” policies, high-level government sources said, asking not to be identified.

  • India had several years ago raised the matter before the WTO committees on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) as well as on Subsidies & Countervailing Measures (SCM) by pointing out that the renewable energy schemes of many State governments in the U.S. had “very significant” domestic content requirements “violating” the US obligations under the WTO agreements on TRIMs and SCMs.

  • It is learnt that the policies that India is looking into include that of California, Washington, Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Oregon and West Virginia.

  • These policies apparently offer more incentives to domestically made items and components and/or to encourage local assembling of products used in the renewable sector.

  • The government is also studying a report in this regard prepared by the Centre For WTO Studies at IIFT.

  • The move comes close on the heels of India recently losing a case to the U.S. at the WTO pertaining to local content requirements in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission for solar cells/modules.

Moody’s investor services warn remittances decline could reduce economic growth

  • Moody’s Investor Services warned that a prolonged decline in inward remittances could dent India’s economic growth though low oil prices are offsetting the negative impact for now.

  • A report by Moody’s Investors Service titled ‘Falling remittances from the Gulf dampen benefits of lower oil prices’ said that there is a direct correlation between oil prices and inward remittances and that low oil prices have affected remittances being sent to various countries.

  • The report also finds that India—which saw its remittances grow at only 1-2 per cent per year since 2013, according to the World Bank—is relatively insulated to this slowdown due to the nature and sources of the remittances coming in.

  • “For India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, diversified locations and vocations of overseas migrants could help to reduce the fall in worker remittances,” the report said.

IMF says low oil prices helping countries with external sector (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: Sports ::

SC mooted proposal that Govt should take over public functions of BCCI

  • The Supreme Court mooted a proposal to have the government take over the “public functions” of the BCCI amid objections from the Board’s members that this will be a direct affront to the cricketing body’s identity as a private registered society.

  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla asked whether selection of players for the national team, tours and organising of matches should be taken up by a committee operating under the aegis of a law.

  • Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Baroda Cricket Association and a BCCI member protesting the implementation of the Justice Lodha panel recommendations to overhaul the Board, said such a move by the judiciary would be a violation of the BCCI’s fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution.

  • The Mumbai Cricket Association rejected Justice Lodha’s recommendation to bar Ministers and government servants from becoming cricket administrators.

  • The association said the “reality” is that their involvement aids the smooth functioning of sporting bodies as their influence is of help while organising big sporting events.

Click Here to Register for Full News

Click Here for Archive

Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

This is a Part of Online Coaching Programme for IAS Exam