Current Affairs afor IAS Exams - 19 APRIL 2019

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 his vote.
  • 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 accordingly.
  • “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.

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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 Faso.
  • A statement from President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's office said he had accepted SoumeylouBoubeyeMaiga's resignation, along with those of his ministers.
  • 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 2012.

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.


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.

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