Current Affairs a for IAS Exams - 29 APRIL 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 29 APRIL 2019


Supreme court to consider protection of accused in sexual offences

  • A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court to frame guidelines to protect the reputation and dignity of persons accused of sexual offences.
  • The petition, filed by the Youth Bar Association of India, said a person was considered innocent unless proven guilty by a court of law. If a person was falsely accused, his reputation would be lost forever and exposed to public ridicule for no fault of his. This would be a violation of the fundamental right to life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • “It does not only destroy an individual’s life but also creates a social stigma for the family members too. Some preventive measures must be taken to avoid and deal with such situations in the interest of justice,” it said.
  • Disclosure of his identity, especially during trial, would lead to media trial. Besides, considering the wide reach of social media, the person’s name and even that of his family, which might include minors, would be exposed on the Internet. This would be a violation of their fundamental right to privacy. “In present times, where people are in a virtual world, the reputation and integrity of a person is always an easy target to destroy,” the petition said.
  • The petition said it would be tragic that the person, even after being found innocent, would continue to be known as a suspected sex offender on social media because once his identity entered the public domain it would become searchable and permanent. “The previous identification as a suspect will endure in the public sphere,” the petition said.

Heat wave sweeps several regions of the country

  • The severe heat wave has gripped several parts of the country. In Gujarat, heat wave conditions prevailed in many parts, especially in the southern and the Saurashtra-Kutch regions.
  • The Kandla airport remained the hottest place in the state with the maximum temperature at 46.8 degree Celsius yesterday. The maximum temperature at Surendranagar in Saurashtra touched 44.7 degrees, while it was recorded at 44.6 degree Celsius in Amreli.
  • In Maharashtra, Met Department has issued a heatwave warning for North Central and Marathwada regions for today. The warning comes as Akola,Parbhani and Chandrapur districts in Vidarbha region recorded the highest temperature in the country at 47.2 degree Celsius on Saturday.
  • As the mercury climbed up, Amravati and Wardha, also in Vidarbha region, sizzled at 46 degree Celsius each while Yavatmal, Parbhani, Nanded, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar districts each recorded 45 degree Celsius temperature.
  • Delhi also reeled under the scorching heat. Yesterday, the maximum temperature was recorded at 41.2 degrees Celsius, with the minimum settling at 25.4 degrees, a notch above normal. Met office said the maximum temperature will hover around 42 degrees and minimum 25 degrees today.
  • In Odisha, the mercury soared up to 46.3 degree Celsius in Talcher, making it the hottest place in the state. Met Office said, with the entire state sizzling under intense heat, the maximum temperature soared above 40 degree Celsius in at least 13 places. The department has already issued a heat wave warning for nine districts.


PSB’s witness increase in deposits under Jan Dhan scheme

  • Public sector banks stand to earn as much as Rs. 5,000 crore due to the increasing quantum of deposits placed in Jan Dhan accounts, and can vastly monetise this resource once they start implementing advanced analytics and begin lending to these customers, according to industry players and analysts.
  • Over the last three years, the number of Jan Dhan beneficiaries has risen from 22 crore to 35 crore, as of April 10, 2019. This represents a growth of nearly 60% over the three years.
  • The growth in the number of accounts has been pretty steady over the last three years, with the demonetisation year of 2016-17 seeing the fastest growth of about 27%, which then subsequently slowed to a nevertheless robust 10% in 2017-18 and 12% in 2018-19.
  • Deposits, however, have seen a much stronger growth rate over this period. The total quantum of deposits in Jan Dhan accounts has grown from a little more than Rs. 36,000 crore in April 2016 to Rs. 98,400 crore in April 2019, a growth of more than 2.5 times.
  • “For any bank account, the bank has to incur some expenses on opening and maintaining it regardless of whether there is any balance in the account or not,” VishwasUtagi, former Secretary in the All India Bank Employees Association said. “That’s why Jan Dhan accounts are compulsory for the government-owned banks, but they have not made it compulsory for the private sector banks.”

Delhi high court lifts restriction on basmati rice production

  • The Delhi High Court has struck down the decision of the Central government restricting basmati rice production to only seven States in the Indo-Gangetic plains.
  • The verdict came on Madhya Pradesh (MP) government’s plea seeking to make 13 districts in the State to be included in the Geographical Indications (GI) for basmati rice. GI certification gives recognition and several protections to a basmati rice producer and helps in maintaining the specific qualities of the rice grown in that particular region.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture had through two Office Memorandums (OM) on May 2008 and February 2014 confined the description of basmati rice grown in the Indo-Gangetic plains in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The MP government contended that the two OMs were outside the scope of the Seeds Act, 1966. It also stated that the OMs encroach upon its power to pass laws in relation to agriculture, which is a State subject.
  • The 2008 OM of the Ministry set forth the standards of the ‘basmati’ variety of rice. It specified that only basmati varieties with prescribed characteristics grown in the Indo-Gangetic region would qualify for such a description.
  • Later, though a 2014 OM, the Ministry banned registration of basmati variety for certification and foundation seed production outside the area earmarked under the GI for the same. Justice VibhuBakhru remarked that the clear object of the OMs is to ensure that the crop of basmati rice is only grown in specified areas.
  • In terms of the Seed Act, the production of foundation seeds has to be supervised and approved by the Seeds Certification Agency so as to maintain specific genetic purity and identity.

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Defence minister holds meeting with china on sidelines of SCO

  • Defence Minister NirmalaSitharaman held a bilateral meeting with her Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, SCO Defence Ministers' Meet at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan today. She reached Bishkek yesterday on a three-day visit.
  • The SCO Defence Ministers will explore ways to further boost defence and security cooperation among the member countries in the wake of evolving security challenges in the region.
  • India is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.

BCIM corridor excluded from BRI initiative : China

  • India’s decision to skip the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) may have led to the exclusion of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor from the list of projects covered by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) umbrella.
  • In an annex tagged with the Joint Communiqué of the Leaders’ Roundtable of the BRF, which concluded in Beijing on Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry website has not listed the BCIM as a project covered by the BRI the giant connectivity initiative speared by China to revive the ancient Silk Road across Eurasia and Africa.
  • Instead, South Asia is covered by three major undertakings — the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC); the Nepal-China Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network, including Nepal-China cross-border railway; and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
  • Citing “sovereignty” concerns, India, for the second time, did not participate in the BRF, as the CPEC passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • The 2,800-km BCIM corridor proposes to link Kunming in China’s Yunnan province with Kolkata, passing though nodes such as Mandalay in Myanmar and Dhaka in Bangladesh before heading to Kolkata.
  • The CMEC will run from Yunnan Province of China to Mandalay in Central Myanmar. From there it will head towards Yangon, before terminating at the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the Bay of Bengal.


Study finds food intake during stress period increases weight

  • Indulging in high-calorie ‘comfort’ foods when you are stressed can lead to more weight gain than usual, scientists say.
  • Researchers from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia discovered a molecular pathway in the brain, controlled by insulin, which drives the additional weight gain.
  • Using an animal model, the team showed that a high-calorie diet when combined with stress resulted in more weight gain than the same diet caused in a stress-free environment.
  • “This study indicates that we have to be much more conscious about what we’re eating when we’re stressed,” said Herbert Herzog, who led the study.
  • To understand what controls this ‘stress eating’, the team investigated different areas of the brain in mice. While food intake is mainly controlled by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, another part of the brain the amygdala processes emotional responses, including anxiety.
  • At the centre of this weight gain, the scientists discovered, was a molecule called NPY, which the brain produces naturally in response to stress to stimulate eating in humans as well as mice.
  • To understand what might control the NPY boost under stress, the scientists analysed the nerve cells that produced NPY in the amygdala and found they had receptors, or ‘docking stations’, for insulin — one of the hormones which control our food intake.
  • Under normal conditions, the body produces insulin just after a meal, which helps cells absorb glucose from the blood and sends a ‘stop eating’ signal to the hypothalamus feeding centre of the brain. The scientists discovered that chronic stress alone raised the blood insulin levels only slightly, but in combination with a high-calorie diet, the insulin levels were 10 times higher than mice that were stress-free and received a normal diet.


India winds up Asian wrestling championship with 16 medals

  • India wrapped up their campaign at the Asian Wrestling Championships at Xi'an, China, on a resounding note with 16 medals.
  • Men's freestyle wrestlers bagged eight medals comprising one gold, three silver and four bronze. Women wrestlers claimed four bronze.
  • SThe Greco-Roman wrestlers bagged four medals comprising three silver and one bronze.

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