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Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 APRIL 2019
Supreme court to consider voting rights of undertrials and convicts
- The Supreme Court is hearing a plea filed by a law student questioning
an electoral law which denies undertrials and convicts their right to vote.
- A Bench led by Chief Justice RanjanGogoi, on April 16, scheduled the
case after a fortnight. The court is also interested to learn why
AdityaPrasanna Bhattacharya, the student at the National Law School India
University at Bengaluru, is interested in this particular subject and why he
has sought to move the petition under Article 32. It however added that its
queries had nothing to do with the merits of the petition.
- Section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act of 1951 mandates that
“no person shall vote at any election if he is confined in a prison, whether
under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is in
the lawful custody of the police”.
- The provisions however exempt a person held under preventive detention
from this rigour.
- The petition, represented by advocate ZohebHossain, highlights how the
Section sees both an undertrial and a convicted person equally. The former’s
guilt is yet to be proved in a court. A person is innocent until proven
guilty by law. Despite this, it denies an undertrial the right to vote but
allows a detainee the same. However, a person out on bail is allowed to cast
- The plea argued that the provision violates the rights to equality, vote
(Article 326) and is arbitrary. It is not a reasonable restriction.
Moderate to High polling in second phase of LS polls
- Moderate to heavy polling was recorded for the second phase of LokSabha
elections on Thursday.An average of 66 per cent polling has been recorded.
- Briefing media in New Delhi, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner
UmeshSinha said, polling in this phase in 95 constituencies spread over 11
states and one union territory, was peaceful. He said, people came out in
large numbers to exercise their franchise.
- Puducherry recorded highest 78 per cent voting followed by West Bengal
around 76.07 per cent. Manipur recorded 74.3 per cent, Assam 73.32 per cent,
Tamil Nadu 72 per cent, Chhattisgarh 71 per cent, Maharashtra 62 per cent,
Uttar Pradesh 62.3 per cent, Jammu and Kashmir 43.4 per cent, Karnataka
61.84 per cent and Bihar 62.52 per cent.
- Voting also took place for 35 Assembly seats in Odisha and 18 in Tamil
Nadu. 64 per cent polling was recorded for both LokSabha and Assembly
election in Odisha.
RBI stresses on addressing growth challenges
- Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das highlighted the
need to address growth challenges as the inflation outlook remained benign,
at the meeting of the monetary policy committee earlier this month.
- The minutes of the MPC meeting were released on Tuesday. Four out of six
MPC members had voted for a reduction in interest rate from 6.25% to 6%
during the first bimonthly policy review of 2019-20.
- “With the inflation outlook looking benign and headline inflation
expected to remain below target in the current year, it becomes necessary to
address the challenges to sustained growth of the Indian economy,” Mr. Das
said, explaining why he voted for a rate reduction.
- The RBI Governor also flagged the idea of departing from the
conventional rate revision in multiples of 25 bps, during the MPC meeting,
an issue on which he elaborated in a speech on the sidelines of the
Fund-Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC last week.
- Deputy Governor Viral Acharya, who is also a member of the MPC, voted
for status quo for the second consecutive occasion, and highlighted the
risks of stubborn core inflation.
- Observing that February had already shown some seasonal uptick in prices
of several food items, Dr.Acharya argued that soft food inflation may not
persist for long a scenario in which the elevated level of inflation,
excluding food and fuel, would steer the headline inflation away from the
target rate of 4%.
IT department proposes change in methodology for taxing MNC’s
- The income tax department on Thursday proposed a change in the
methodology for taxing multinational companies (MNCs), including digital
firms, having permanent establishment in India by giving weightage to
factors like domestic sales, employee strength, assets and user base.
- The CBDT Committee on ‘Profit attribution to permanent establishment
(PE) in India’ also said MNCs that are incurring global losses or a global
profit margin of less than 2% and have operations in India will be deemed to
have made a profit of 2% of Indian revenue or turnover and will be taxed
- “The committee noted the need to protect India’s revenue interests in
cases where an enterprise having global losses or a global profit margin of
less than 2%, continues with the Indian operations which could be more
profitable than its operations elsewhere.
- “The continuation of Indian operations justifies the presumption of
higher profitability of Indian operations, and in such cases, a deeming
provision that deems profits of Indian operations at 2% of revenue or
turnover derived from India should be introduced,” the report said. An MNC
with a fixed place of business in India is considered as having PE in India
and is taxed as per domestic laws.
Mali PM resigns along with entire government
- Mali's Prime Minister has resigned along with his entire government
yesterday after it came under mounting pressure over handling the violence
in the restive Mopti region.
- The rage was rising especially after a massacre on March 23 in which 160
people were killed in the village of Ogossagou near the border with Burkina
- A statement from President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's office said he had
accepted SoumeylouBoubeyeMaiga's resignation, along with those of his
- The statement said, a Prime Minister will be named very soon and a new
government will be put in place after consultations with all political
forces from both the ruling and opposition sides.
- Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Bamako on April 5 to
protest against the upsurge of violence, accusing the government of not
doing enough to stop it.
- Mali has been struggling to restore stability since Islamist extremists
linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the country's vast desert north in early
Kim Jong Un to meet Putin in Russia
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia later this month for
his first meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
- In a statement, the Kremlin said, Kim Jong Un will visit Russia
following an invitation from Mr Putin.
- The announcement comes after North Korea announced it had tested a new
tactical weapon with a powerful warhead, as denuclearisation talks with
Washington appear to stall.
- The Kremlin did not provide details on the exact date or location of the
meeting, but Russian, South Korean and Japanese media earlier reported it
would be in Russia's Far East.Russia has relatively warm ties with the
reclusive regime and provides some food aid.
- The last summit between a Russian and North Korean head of state came in
2011, when Kim's father Kim Jong Il travelled to Siberia to meet Dmitry
Medvedev, then Russia's President.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
CSIR to conduct genome sequencing to map population
- In an indigenous genetic mapping effort, nearly 1,000 rural youth from
the length and breadth of India will have their genomes sequenced by the
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The project aims at
educating a generation of students on the “usefulness” of genomics.
- Globally, many countries have undertaken genome sequencing of a sample
of their citizens to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility (and
resilience) to disease. This is the first time that such a large sample of
Indians will be recruited for a detailed study.
- The project is an adjunct to a much larger government-led programme,
still in the works, to sequence at least 10,000 Indian genomes.
- Typically, those recruited as part of genome-sample collections are
representative of the country’s population diversity. In this case, the bulk
of them will be college students, both men and women, and pursuing degrees
in the life sciences or biology.
- Genomes will be sequenced based on a blood sample and the scientists
plan to hold at least 30 camps covering most States.
- Every person whose genomes are sequenced will be given a report. The
participants would be told if they carry gene variants that make them less
responsive to certain classes of medicines. For instance, having a certain
gene makes some people less responsive to clopidogrel, a key drug that
prevents strokes and heart attack.
- The project would involve the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and
Molecular Biology (CCMB) and cost Rs. 18 crore, with the sequencing to be
done at the IGIB and the CCMB.
BajrangPunia maintains top spot in world rankings
- India's BajrangPunia has regained the world number one spot in the men's
65-kilogram freestyle category rankings.
- The rankings were released by United World Wrestling on Wednesday night.
- Punia, who won Gold in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games as well as
a silver in the World Championships last year, secured 58 points ahead of
AkhmedChakaev of Russia.
- Bajrang, who is currently preparing for the Asian Wrestling Championship
to be held in China from the 23rd of this month, had first reached the world
number one spot in November last year. He won gold at the Dan Kolov-Nikola
Petrov tournament in Bulgaria last month.