Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam
VOL - 8 (20th January 2014 TO 26th January 2014)
Issue : VOL - 8 (20th January 2014 TO 26th January 2014)
File Type: PDF ONLY "NO HARD COPY"
NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA
Ministry of External affairs
Planning Commission of India
India And The World
In The News
Science and Technology
Burning Issues (Editorials From Different Newspapers)
NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA
A GLINT OF INDIA
Bharat Ratna Award
India has produced a legacy of brave hearts since times
immemorial. Probably there is not enough space to measure their sacrifices.
However, we cannot close our eyes to those people who have made our country
proud by excelling in their own fields and bringing us international
recognition. Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award, given for
exceptional service towards advancement of Art, Literature and Science, and
in recognition of Public Service of the highest order. It is also not
mandatory that Bharat Ratna be awarded every year.
The original specifications for the award called for a
circular gold medal, 35 mm in diameter, with the sun and the Hindi legend "Bharat
Ratna" above and a floral wreath below. The reverse was to carry the state
emblem and motto. It was to be worn around the neck from a white ribbon.
This design was altered after a year.
The provision of Bharat Ratna was introduced in 1954. The
first ever Indian to receive this award was the famous scientist,
Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. Since then, many dignitaries, each a whiz in
varied aspects of their career has received this coveted award.
In fact, our former President, Shri A. P. J Abdul Kalam
is also a recipient of this esteemed honour (1997). There is no written
provision that Bharat Ratna should be awarded to Indian citizens only. The
award has been awarded to a naturalized Indian citizen, Agnes Gonxha
Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa (1980) and to two non-Indians - Khan
Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela (1990).
In 2009, the award was conferred on famous Indian
vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi. Recently, the PMO has decided to
confer the award on eminent scientist Prof C.N.R. Rao and cricket legend
HERE IS THE ENTIRE LIST OF RECIPIENTS OF BHARAT RATNA AWARDEES TILL DATE :
1. Shri Chakravarti Rajagopalachari in 1954
2. Dr. Sarvapali Radhakrishnan in 1954
3. Dr. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman in 1954
4. Dr. Bhagwan Das in 1955
5. Dr. Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya in 1955
6. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in 1955
7. Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant in 1957
8. Dr. Dhondo Keshave Karve in 1958
9. Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy in 1961
10. Shri Purushottam Das Tandon in 1961
11. Dr. Rajendra Prasad in 1962
12. Dr. Zakir Hussain in 1963
13. Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane in 1963
14. Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri (Posthumous) in 1966
15. Smt. Indira Gandhi in 1971
(Courtesy: NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA)
Ministry of External affairs
Official Visit of the PM of Japan to India
The Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Shinzo Abe was on an
official visit to India on 25-27 January 2014 at the invitation of the Prime
Minister of India, H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh as chief guest at India’s
Republic Day celebrations. The two Prime Ministers held extensive talks
during their Annual Summit on bilateral, regional and global issues on 25
January 2014 in Delhi.
The two Prime Ministers welcomed that the State Visit of
Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan to India from 30 November
to 6 December 2013 further strengthened the long-lasting historically close
ties and friendship between the peoples of India and Japan.
The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their resolve to
further deepen the Strategic and Global Partnership between India and Japan
as two democracies in Asia sharing universal values such as freedom,
democracy and rule of law, and to contribute jointly to the peace, stability
and prosperity of the region and the world, taking into account changes in
the strategic environment.
Prime Minister Abe elaborated his policy of "Proactive
Contribution to Peace”. Prime Minister Singh appreciated Japan’s efforts to
contribute to peace and stability of the region and the world.
Welcoming the successful outcome of the visit by Defense
Minister Itsunori Onodera to India, the two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their
determination to further strengthen bilateral defense cooperation. In this
connection, they welcomed the decision of the two defense ministers to
realize the visit of Indian Defense Minister to Japan within 2014. They also
expressed satisfaction that the Trilateral Dialogue between India, Japan and
the US has been held on a regular basis and also that the 3rd two plus two
dialogue and the 4th Defense Policy Dialogue are to be held before the end
of the year. They confirmed to hold the 2nd meeting of India-Japan Bilateral
Talks on Cyber-affairs in spring 2014 with a view to further exploring
possible areas of cooperation.
The two Prime Ministers welcomed the successful conduct
of the second bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Japan
Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) in December 2013 off the coast of
Chennai and shared their intention to conduct the joint exercise in the
Pacific Ocean in 2014. They reaffirmed the importance of such exercises, and
renewed their resolution to continue to conduct them on a regular basis with
increased frequency. Prime Minister Abe appreciated India’s invitation to
JMSDF for the next "Malabar” maritime exercise.
The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction with the
holding of the 1st meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on the US-2
amphibian aircraft in December 2013 in Delhi and welcomed the 2nd meeting of
the JWG which is scheduled for March 2014 in Japan.
Welcoming the expansion of the bilateral currency swap
arrangement from 15 to 50 billion US dollars and signing of the contract for
its entry into force in January 2014, the two Prime Ministers expressed
their expectation that this expansion will further strengthen financial
cooperation and contribute to the stability of global financial markets
including emerging economies.
Prime Minister Singh appreciated the relaxation of
Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) of Ethoxyquin on the shrimps imported to Japan
to 0.2ppm by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan.
The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of
investment for driving economic growth and job creation in their economies
and ways to create enabling environments to mobilize investment and give a
fillip to economic relations. They agreed to continue working towards a
greater understanding of all financial and taxation related issues including
Indian rupee denominated finance by JBIC and establishing a consultative
mechanism between the two countries. They appreciated JETRO's business
matching activities to strengthen business partnership and consolidate
supply chains between the two countries. They expressed their expectation
for introducing Japanese technologies and expanding investment through the
implementation of "the Action Plan for India-Japan Investment Promotion”
agreed between the Minister of Commerce and Industry of India and the
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan in September 2013.
Welcoming that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership
Agreement (CEPA) has deepened the bilateral economic relations, the two
Prime Ministers expressed their expectation that both countries would
continue to work closely to further expand trade in goods and services as
well as investments.
The two Prime Ministers appreciated that both countries
have signed the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the Bureau of Indian
Standards (BIS) and Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC). They
expressed their hope to strengthen their cooperative relationship in this
field further in order to facilitate trade and to harmonize activities
within international standardization and conformity assessment.
The two sides welcomed the outcomes of the first
India-Japan Joint Working Group on IT and Electronics held in New Delhi by
the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of India and the
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan. The two Prime Ministers
expressed their hope for the cooperation being further developed between IT
and electronics industries of both countries through the framework. They
expressed their intention to explore the proposal for setting up of Japanese
Electronics Industrial Township in India. Both sides also expressed
satisfaction with the ongoing cyber security dialogue between the CERT-In
and JPCERT, Japan and emphasized further collaborative and proactive
response against cyber-attacks at international level.
The two Prime Ministers appreciated the progress of
zoning and planning of National Investment Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs)
stipulated in National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) of India. They expressed
their expectation for investment by Japanese companies in NIMZs in general
and in India-Japan joint projects such as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial
Corridor (DMIC) and the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) in
The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their shared
commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Abe
stressed the importance of bringing into force the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) at an early date. Prime Minister Singh
reiterated India’s commitment to its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on
nuclear explosive testing. They also reaffirmed their commitment to working
together for immediate commencement and an early conclusion of negotiations
on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively
verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). Both sides expressed
their commitment to work together for India to become a full member in the
international export control regimes: the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the
Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar
Arrangement, with the aim of strengthening the international
The two Prime Ministers acknowledged that there is a high
potential to be explored in the area of people-to-people exchanges between
India and Japan and expressed their intention to make utmost effort for the
expansion of exchange of peoples in various fields.
The two Prime Ministers welcomed Japan’s participation as
a partner country in the India International Trade Fair in Delhi and the
International Film Festival of India 2013 in Goa. They also expressed their
expectation to enhance cooperation between the two countries on development
of human resources, and matching activities in the area of content industry.
(Courtesy: Ministry of External affairs)
Planning Commission of India
NATIONAL GANGA RIVER BASIN AUTHORITY
- National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) is a financing, planning,
implementing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the River Ganga,
functioning under the Ministry of Environment of India. The mission of the
organization is to safeguard the drainage basin which feeds water into the
Ganges by protecting it from pollution or overuse.
Function and Power of NGRBA
The Government of India has given Ganga the status of a
National River and has constituted the National Ganga River Basin Authority
(NGRBA) on 20th February 2009 under Section 3(3) of the Environment
(Protection Act, 1986). The NGRBA is a planning, financing, monitoring and
coordinating body of the centre and the states. The objective of the NGRBA
is to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river
Ganga by adopting a river basin approach for comprehensive planning and
management The Authority has both regulatory and developmental functions.
The Authority will take measures for effective abatement of pollution and
conservation of the river Ganga in keeping with sustainable development
needs. These include;
Development of a river basin management plan
Regulation of activities aimed at prevention, control and
abatement of pollution in Ganga to maintain its water quality, and to take
measures relevant to river ecology and management in the Ganga basin states
Maintenance of minimum ecological flows in the river
(Courtesy: Planning Commission of India)
First ‘milk ATM’ in India
Automatic teller machines not only dispense money,
ATM-like machines also vend other products such as chocolates and soft
drinks. But Amul has gone a step further as it is going to sell milk through
“Any Time Milk” vending machines.
The pilot project of this 24x7 ATM began with the
installation of a vending machine at the gate of Amul Dairy in Anand town of
In Anand and Kheda towns, these ATMs will be installed at
different public places to enable the consumers to buy milk whenever needed.
For a Rs 10-currency note, which this machine will read
through a sensor, the ATM would dispense a 300 ml pouch of Amul Taaza milk.
The ATM, fitted with refrigeration facility, has a capacity to hold 150
pouches at a time.
While Kheda Union, which owns the Amul brand, markets
milk in Anand and Kheda district, it is marketed by the Gujarat Cooperative
Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) elsewhere. GCMMF is also likely to follow
suit after a review of the project.
India’s nuclear deterrence programme received a boost
when its Agni-IV, a surface-to-surface missile with a range of about 4,000
km, was successfully test-fired from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha
The Agni-IV is a strategic missile which can carry a
nuclear warhead weighing one tonne. The Defence Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO), which developed the missile, did the test-firing. This
was the third success in a row for Agni-IV. Its first success came in
November 2011 and the second in Sepetmber 2012.
Agni-IV is a two-stage missile. It weighs 17 tonnes and
is 20 metres long.
India’s first indigenously built nuclear-powered
ballistic missile submarine, INS Arihant would be going to sea trials within
“a few weeks or months” as its preliminary harbor acceptance trials are over
and various systems, including nuclear propulsion, have proceeded
satisfactorily and as per the time schedule.
The submarine would undergo sea trials, during which all
the systems, including its ballistic missiles, would be tested before it is
finally commissioned into the Indian Navy.
The sub-surface ballistic nuclear missile (SSBN)
submarine would be indigenously designed, built, operationalized and
Once the sea trials, which would test the capability of
various systems in real deep sea scenario, are over the Navy would announce
PIL against Kejriwal refused
The Delhi High Court refused to entertain an NGO’s plea
seeking quashing of the nomination of Arvind Kejriwal for alleged
illegalities in his affidavit filed before the Election Commission before
the 2013 Assembly polls.
A bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Rajiv
Sahai Endlaw directed the NGO, Maulik Bharat Trust, to approach the
magisterial court for appropriate action.
In its petition, the NGO had alleged that Mr. Kejriwal
has violated provisions of the Representation of People Act by submitting an
incorrect affidavit, regarding details of his assets and income, at the time
of filing his nomination.
Apart from cancellation of Mr. Kejriwal’s nomination, the
NGO had also sought a CBI inquiry of the allegations they had leveled
against him as well as directions to the government
Anomalies in Lokpal Bill
Pointing out some “anomalies and legal inconsistencies”
in the Lokpal Act, the CBI has raised a question as to whether the entire
probe agency will be divested of all powers if any of its officer was found
guilty of corruption or tampering with evidence.
The CBI Director Ranjit Sinha while highlighting the
“anomalies” in the Lokpal Act and amended Central Vigilance Commission Act
in connection with its working has sought clarifications from the Union
The much awaited Lokpal Bill, which was passed during the
Winter Session of Parliament last month, got the assent of President Pranab
Mukherjee on January 1.
The CBI Director referred to Section 25 whereby Lokpal
shall have powers of superintendence over CBI and give directions to it in
respect of Preliminary Enquiry and investigations provided by it.
The CBI Director also highlighted a situation wherein
same complaint is referred to Lokpal and CVC and both issue directions to
He said Section 15 of the Lokpal Act provides that in
case any matter under Prevention of Corruption Act has been pending before
any court or committee or authority prior to commencement of this Act such
matter of proceeding shall continue before the same bench.
Nuclear activities in Iran curbed
IAEA confirmed that Iran took the first steps to limit
its nuclear program under a deal with world powers, paving the way for the
European Union and the United States to suspend some sanctions.
This is the first time that Iran has scaled back its
nuclear program, 10 years after its secret activities came to light and
prompted Western fears that Tehran was working on a nuclear weapon.
Iran agreed to a deal with six western powers on November
24, under which several sanctions on Iran will in turn be lifted for six
During this period, the two sides hope to reach a
permanent solution to concerns that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon.
Iran is not building any new uranium enrichment plants
and is no longer working to complete its Arak reactor, which would produce
plutonium as a side-product once it operates.
The international community has been concerned that
uranium enriched to 20 per cent or plutonium from Arak could be turned into
material for nuclear warheads.
In return for Iran’s compliance, the EU and the U.S. have
agreed to lift all sanctions on trading with Iran in petrochemical products,
gold and precious metals. Companies will again be able to provide transport
and insurance for crude oil shipments.
Naval drills in South China Sea
- Chinese naval vessels including an island landing ship are staging
drills in the South China Sea, where China and several other nations are
locked in territorial disputes.
- Two destroyers and China’s largest amphibious landing craft departed the
naval base on the southern island province of Hainan. The ships also boast
three helicopters and a company of marines.
- The drills would focus on integrated combat missions involving ships,
submarines and aircraft, suggesting other units may also be involved.
- China has moved sharply to assert its claim to nearly the entire South
China Sea and its island groups. The Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia
and Brunei also claim the entire sea or parts of it.
INDIA AND THE WORLD
U.S., India to move on
The United States and India are eager to move forward
with high-level dialogues and exchanges soon to further their
“indispensable” partnership, according to Secretary of State John Kerry.
Greeting India on the Republic Day on behalf of President
Barack Obama, Kerry said the real magic of India lies as much in its
promising future as it does in its rich heritage.
Indian diplomat Ms. Khobragade was arrested on December
12 on visa fraud charges, strip-searched and held with criminals, triggering
a row between the two countries with India retaliating by downgrading
privileges of certain category of US diplomats among other steps.
The Energy Dialogue — initially scheduled earlier was
cancelled amidst tension between the two nations.
Panel to review governance of bank boards
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has constituted an
expert committee to review governance of boards of banks under the
chairmanship of P. J. Nayak, former Chairman and CEO of Axis Bank.
The committee would review the regulatory compliance
requirements of banks’ boards in India, and judge what could be rationalized
and where requirements needed to be enhanced.
The other terms of reference of the committee would be to
analyze the representation on banks’ boards to see whether the boards have
the appropriate mix of capabilities and the necessary independence to govern
the institution, and to investigate possible “conflicts of interest” in
board representation, including among owner representatives and regulators.
China’s slowest growth
China's economy grew 7.7 per cent in 2013, the lowest in
14 years, with tapering growth in the last quarter underlining the
challenges faced by the world's second-largest economy as it grapples with
rebalancing and reviving a slowing down economy.
This marks the slowest growth since 1999, when China grew
7.6 per cent. The previous decade saw record double-digit growth, with the
country defying the global slowdown to grow 10.4 per cent in 2010 as it
unveiled a massive $ 586 billion stimulus.
Growth slowed in the fourth quarter to 7.7 per cent, down
from 7.8 per cent in the previous quarter. This brought annual growth to 7.7
per cent, down from last year's 7.8 per cent.
The urban-rural income gap had narrowed to 3.03, from a
highest level of 3.33 in 2009. Energy consumption per unit of GDP was also
down from last year, by 3.7 per cent.
SCIENCE AND TECH
Targeted therapy, precision medicine and cancer genomics
— this is the new vocabulary of cancer research and treatment that Harold
Varmus, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize, advocated in his lecture ‘New
directions in cancer research’ at the Indian Institute of Science.
While conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy
targets cancer tissues, cancer genomics looks at the mutations the disease
triggers, the proteins associated with it, therefore helping with more
The Cancer Genome Atlas (an initiative of the NCI) was
now creating a ‘molecular atlas’ that maps genomic changes in 20 common
cancers, in the hope that this would help improve cancer treatment.
The United States had spent $40 billion on cancer
research in 10 years, but this had to be seen in the context of the money
saved in terms of healthcare and treatment. Research had revealed that the
density of mutations differs for each tumor: while childhood tumors, for
instance, have lower mutations, those associated with external triggers — UV
light or carcinogens — have greater mutations.
Genetic blueprint for limbs
In a study published this week in PLoS Biology, Woltering
and colleagues have found some definitive clues about this transition.
By studying a group of ‘architect’ genes present in both
fish and mammals – the Hox genes – the scientists were able to find out that
the DNA structure and regulatory mechanism for limb and digit formation was
present in fish even before the transition happened, but the enhancements
required to activate digit formation evolved only in tetrapods (ie.
four-legged land animals).
Limb formation in tetrapods is usually attributed to this
‘bimodal’ behaviour of Hox genes.
The team inserted fish Hox genes into mouse embryos and
found that in the resulting mice, Hox genes were active only in the proximal
part of the limbs, not in the digits.
Dolphin hunt in Japan
- A Japanese government spokesman defended an annual dolphin hunt, a day
after U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy tweeted that she was deeply concerned
by the inhumanity of the practice.
- Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that
dolphin fishing in Japan is carried out appropriately in accordance with the
- Drive hunt refers to the practice of herding the dolphins into a cove,
where they are trapped and later killed.
- The hunt in the fishing village of Taiji in western Japan has come under
international criticism and was the subject of the Academy Award-winning
2009 film “The Cove.”
Louis Philippe Cup
Jyoti Randhawa, one of India's top professional golfers,
will represent city-based Dec-Ellora Laqshya Mumbai team in the Rs 1.2 crore
prize money Louis Philippe Cup tournament to be held in Mumbai from February
Jeev Milkha Singh, Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar,
Siddikur Rehyman, SSP Chowrasia, Rashid Khan and Himmat Rai, among others,
are competing in the third edition of the event, featuring nine teams and
offering Rs 36 lakh to the winning outfit and Rs 24 lakh to the losing
Incidentally, this is the first time Jeev would be
playing in the metropolis as part of the Shubhkamna Delhi outfit.
The teams are Navratna Ahmedabad, Puravankara Bangalore,
TAKE Chennai, DLF Gurgaon, Jaypee Greens Greater Noida, AVT Kolkata, Dev-Ellora
Laqshya Mumbai, Krrish Colombo and Shubhkamna Delhi.
The tournament is sanctioned by the Professional Golf
Tour of India (PGTI) and conceived and promoted by RN Golf Management (RNGM).
Hockey India League
The second edition of the Hero Hockey India League will
get underway soon with Jaypee Punjab Warriors taking on Delhi Waveriders in
the opening match at the newly-built International Hockey Stadium here under
With the winner taking home a whooping Rs 2.5 crore, and
the runner up getting Rs 1.25 crore, there is a lot at stake for teams to
win the tournament and both Punjab and Delhi would aim to begin the
tournament on a winning note.
In the previous edition of the HIL, the two teams faced
each other in the semi-final, in which Delhi defeated Punjab 3-1.
Australian Open Winners 2014
For the men, Stanislas Wawrinka finished as the champion
after a final against Rafael Nadal .
On the women's side, as Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova
and Victoria Azarenka were sent home early, Li Na walked away with the
Daniel Nestor of Canada and Kristina Mladenovic of France
combined to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title with a 6-3, 6-2 win
over sixth-seeded Sania Mirza of India and Horia Tecau of Romania.
Poland's Lukasz Kubot and Sweden's Robert Lindstedt have
gone from never winning a top-level match together to winning the Australian
Open men's doubles title.
Top-ranked Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci rallied to win
the last five games and successfully defended their Australian Open women's
doubles title with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Russian pair Ekaterina
Makarova and Elena Vesnina on Friday.
IN THE NEWS (PERSONS)
Indian-American professor Rakesh Khurana has been
appointed Dean of the prestigious Harvard College, becoming the latest
addition to a long list of Indian-origin academicians assuming leadership
roles at renowned global universities.
Khurana, 46, is currently the ‘Marvin Bower’ Professor of
Leadership Development at Harvard Business School (HBS), professor of
sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), and co—master of Cabot
House at Harvard.
He succeeds Evelynn Hammonds, Professor of History of
Science and of African and African American Studies at Harvard and will
assume his new role on July 1.
Khurana earned his Ph.D. through a joint programme
between HBS and Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1998.
Harvard President Drew Faust described Khurana as a
"faculty leader who embodies the interconnectedness” of Harvard.
Union Minister for Corporate Affairs Sachin Pilot assumed
charge as the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president.
He took a pledge to work along side party workers and face
challenges as a team to win seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
The new PCC president said the Congress formed the “soul
of [the] nation” which could never be destroyed. He asked the members of the
party to shed their differences and put up a united fight against “divisive
and communal forces”.
World Cup Final gold medallist Heena Sidhu recaptured her
form to snatch victory by 0.1 point from another World Cup gold medallist
Rahi Sarnobat in women’s air pistol in the National shooting trials.
In rapid fire pistol, Olympic silver medallist Vijay
Kumar dominated yet again, even though he qualified in the fourth place with
576. National championship silver medallist Akshay Suhas Ashtaputre missed
the final by two points.
Selected Editorials of Importance
Stamp out kangaroo courts
The incident in Subalpur village in West Bengal’s Birbhum
district, in which a 20-year-old tribal woman was gang-raped by a dozen men as
punishment for alleged immoral conduct, is shocking in its unimaginable
brutality and points to a larger malaise. The order by a kangaroo court led by a
village headman is proof that a section of rural India is outside the pale of
the country’s constitutional values and judicial system. Ill-informed men with
medieval social attitudes and patriarchal prejudices are allowed to adjudicate
on the conduct and morality of women and pass unconscionable forms of
punishment, such as social ostracism, payment of arbitrary fines and, as in this
case, sexual violence in lieu of monetary penalty. The Supreme Court and the
National Commission for Women have taken suo motu cognisance of the incident,
which has caused widespread outrage and revulsion. The West Bengal government,
which has been sharply criticised in recent times for callousness and
insensitivity towards crimes against women, has seen to it that the village
headman and the 12 men who raped the hapless woman for a whole night have been
arrested. And Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, upset that the police did not seek
custody of the accused for questioning and allowed them to be sent to prison
directly, has ordered the suspension of the Superintendent of Police. It is
disturbing that the entire village, including women, backed the kangaroo court
by whose verdict the man could get away with a fine, but the woman was punished
for not having the means to do so.
Outposts of feudalism still thrive in vast swathes of rural
India, ranging from khap panchayats in the north to caste-based gatherings of
village elders in the south. In 2011, the Supreme Court wanted illegal khap
panchayats that encourage ‘honour killings’ or other institutionalised
atrocities to be stamped out ruthlessly. Over a year has elapsed since the
country voiced its anger against sexual violence targeted at women and seemed to
take a collective vow to ensure the protection of all women. The penal law on
sexual violence and harassment has been strengthened significantly since then.
Yet, India’s cities and villages continue to be unsafe for women. The locus of
sexual violence is everywhere: in public spaces and private homes, under the
cloak of darkness and in the open, and perpetrated by well-acquainted persons as
also as by strangers. The Birbhum incident is a chilling reminder that legal
processes, security measures and stringent laws are not enough. Social attitudes
need to change, reflecting liberal and humane values, if the country is to
ensure gender equality and protection for all its women.
(Courtesy: THE HINDU)
i) The aim of legal clinics or legal care centres, that has been launched
recently is to ensure that people get their legal rights enforced and “no
citizen starves of hunger of justice.”
ii) India 360 , a new program launched on AIR will profile a country each week
and its relations with India.
Which of the above statement/statements is/are true ?
a) only i
b) only ii
c) both i and ii
d) neither i nor ii
i) The Election Commission (EC) recognised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a
State party after the party fulfilled the eligibility conditions set by the EC
for granting the status.
ii) To get the EC’s recognition as a “State party,” all the candidates set up by
the party together should get a minimum of eight per cent of the valid votes
polled in the entire State or secure a minimum of six per cent of the total
votes polled and one Assembly seat for every 25 seats in that State.
Which of the above statement/statements is/are true ?
a) only i
b) only ii
c) both i and ii
d) neither i nor ii