SC says Changes effected to criminal law after the Nirbhaya
case haven’t yielded results
Changes effected to criminal law after the Nirbhaya case
haven’t yielded results and more rapes were reported than before in 2017,
the Supreme Court said, even as it sought data from states and Union
territories to reassess the efficacy of the criminal justice system in
dealing with sexual offences against women.
As per the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau in
India, 32,559 cases of rape were registered in 2017, the court noted.
The bench said that towards this end, it was necessary to call
for information with regard to the state of affairs at the ground level from
various duty-holders, such as investigation agencies, prosecution,
medico-forensic agencies, rehabilitation and legal aid agencies and also high
A bench issued notices to all state police chiefs and high court
registrar generals. The bench will now take stock of the system on February 7,
It sought status reports on how police stations were functioning
and if any public servant had faced FIRs under the new Section 166A of the
Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, for failing to record any information about
such offences and also against hospitals for not treating the victims free.
The 2013 law had waived the victim’s sexual history as
irrelevant to the offence and also done away with the two-finger test used by
doctors on victims to confirm rape. The bench sought information on whether
advisories had been issued on this and expressed concern over the continued use
of such practices.
SC refuses to stay operation of Citizenship amendment act
The Supreme Court has decided to examine the constitutional
validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, CAA.However, the Court refused
to stay its operation as sought by some lawyers appearing for petitioners.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing the Centre, opposed
the petitioners' submission. He said there are as many as four judgements which
have held that a law cannot be stayed after being notified.
Hearing a batch of pleas challenging the CAA, the top court
yesterday issued a notice to the Centre and sought its response by the second
week of January next year.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India S ABobde and Justices
B R Gavai and Surya Kant fixed 59 petitions, including those filed by the Indian
Union Muslim League and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, for hearing on the 22nd
The bench also agreed to the submission of a lawyer that common
people should be made aware of the aim, objects and the contents of the CAA.
GST council meeting concludes fixes 28%tax rate for lottery
The Goods and Services Tax or GST Council has fixed a
uniform tax rate of 28 per cent on both state-run and private lottery.It
also decided to rationalise the GST rate on woven and non-woven bags to 18
The decisions were taken at the 38th meeting of the Council,
chaired by Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman in New Delhi yesterday.
Briefing reporters after the meeting Revenue Secretary Ajay
BhushanPandey said the rates on the lottery and woven and non-woven bags will be
effective from the 1st of March next year.
It was for the first time that the GST Council resorted to
voting to decide on an issue as it fixed a uniform tax rate on both state and
The GST Council also decided to exempt upfront amount payable
for long term lease of industrial and financial infrastructure plots by an
entity having 20 per cent or more ownership of Central or State Government.
The council also approved various amendments to laws which will
be introduced in Union Budget 2020.
Third phase of PM GramSadakYojana launched
Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today
launched Phase-III of PradhanMantri Gram SadakYojana in New Delhi to further
enhance connectivity of villages with hospitals, schools and agricultural
The Phase-III of PMGSY aims at consolidation of 1 lakh 25
thousand Kilometers through Routes and Major Rural Links that connect
habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets, Higher Secondary Schools and
Hospitals with an estimated cost of 80 thousand 250 crore rupees for the period
2019-20 to 2024-25.
The Central Share will be 53 thousand 800 crore rupees. The
funding pattern for the scheme will be 60:40 between Centre and the States. For
North-East and the Himalayan States the ratio will be 90:10.
Addressing a gathering, Mr Tomar said that PMGSY is an important
program for the nation. The Minister hailed the vision of former Prime Minister
AtalBihari Vajpayee and said that he was determined to complete this difficult
task and it was his vision and efforts that today more than 6 Lakh Kilometres of
Roads have been constructed across rural India.
The Minister highlighted the importance of roads in bringing
about all-round positive development and empowering the villages.
Mr Tomar emphasised that States must ensure that maintenance of
roads is done on a regular basis to ensure that the quality of roads remains
good. He further said that now with the launch of Phase III of PMGSY, States
must begin preparing and ensure effective implementation of the scheme.
India-U.S sign agreement on transfer of defence technology
The United States and India discussed a range of strategic
and security issues including counter-terrorism at the second 2 plus 2
dialogue in Washington yesterday.
The two sides signed an industrial security agreement that will
allow the transfer of defence technology.
The 2 plus 2 dialogue was held at the Foggy Bottom headquarters
of the State Department. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo along with Defense
Secretary Mark Esper hosted their Indian counterparts External Affairs Minister
S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for the highest-level dialogue
between the two countries.
During a press conference by the four leaders, Mr Esper said the
US is working with India on a fair and reciprocal trade deal. He said the
US-India defence relationship is strong and continues to improve.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said India and US have a common
vision of a free, seamless and peaceful Indo-Pacific region. He said they are
moving ahead to operationalise the Communications Compatibility and Security
Bangladesh becomes only country in South Asia to be in WEF
gender gap report
Bangladesh is the only country to feature in the top 50 of
the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 released by the World Economic Forum (WEF)
on Tuesday. It is the best performing country in South Asia in reducing the
gender gap for women.
Bangladesh retains its position at the 50th rank in the index
that measures gender gap in political, economic and social spheres in a
country.According to the Index, Bangladesh has marginally improved its score by
0.4 percentage points but falls two positions compared to its last status.
The report however points out that considerable room exists to
improve the basic rights and economic and political prospects of women. The
report says that the average estimated annual income of women is only 40 percent
of the men in Bangladesh.
In the economic sphere women participation in workforce in
Bangladesh went up from 34 percent in 2017 to 38 percent in 2018. The male
participation ratio in the workforce for the same period is 84 percent. The
report says that the largest gender disparity in the world remains in political
The WEF Gender gap report points out that going by the current
rate of improvement it will take 71 years to fully close the gender gap in the
South Asia region. Overall for the world, it will take 99.5 years to close the
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
WHO urges India to take action to tackle air pollution
India should take “urgent action” to tackle air pollution as
the levels of toxic air in many cities of the country are much higher than
the recommended guidelines, which could have a major impact on people's
health, WHO Director Maria Neira said.
Several studies conducted by the World Health Organization
(WHO), Centre for Science and Environment and others published in journals such
as The Lancet have linked pollution with premature deaths in India.
Union Environment Minister PrakashJavadekar recently told the
Parliament that there was no Indian study to show any correlation between
pollution and shortening of lifespan.
Around 12.4 lakh deaths in India in 2017 can be attributed to
air pollution, it said, terming toxic air a leading risk factor for deaths in
The study also noted that the average life expectancy would have
been 1.7 years higher if the pollution levels were less than the minimal level
responsible for causing health loss.
WHO air quality guidelines estimate that reducing annual average
fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations from levels of 35 microgrammes
per cubic metre (µg/m3) to 10 µg/m3, could reduce air pollution-related deaths
by around 15 per cent.
India beat West Indies in second ODI
India won the second ODI against the West Indies by 107 runs
at Visakhapatanam last night.Chasing a target of 388 runs, the West Indies
were all out for 280. With this win, India levelled the three-match series
Spinner KuldipYadav achieved a hat-trick during the second ODI.
He became the first India player to claim two hat-tricks in international
cricket, joining an elite band that includes pace legend WasimAkram.
For India, an opening partnership of 227 runs between Rohit
Sharma and KL Rahul laid the platform for the home side to post 387-5 in 50
overs. Rohit Sharma smashed 159 whereas KL Rahul scored 102.