IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 9th July, 2016
TOPIC: General studies 2:
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
- Human Rights Issue – LGBT community issue
- Government policies and interventions in regard to the above issue.
LGBT Issue: To be equal before the law
- On June 30 (in Geneva), following a seminal vote, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution to create a post of an independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity. (Remember it as SOGI expert)
- This SOGI expert, once officially appointed, will assess, study and report annually on the nature, the cause, and the extent of discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons around the world.
- However, India chose to abstain from voting altogether to appoint this SOGI expert and offered no official reasons for its abstention.
- We also know that, the issue of LGBT rights in India is a matter being considered by the Supreme Court under a batch of curative petitions filed by various institutions and organisations and the apex court is yet to pronounce on this issue.
Analysis: It should be viewed here that whether India’s recent decision to abstain from voting would in any way affect the upcoming Supreme Court’s judgment, which the apex court is right now considering the curative petitions filed by various institutions and organisations.
What critics argue about India’s present status on LGBT?
- Proponents of LGBT rights have argued that India’s decision to abstain was a matter of grave shame and as an act utterly unbecoming of a modern progressive state.
- In India the transgender persons are deprived of the fundamental rights available to the other two sexes, i.e. male and female.
- We also know that, the issue of LGBT rights in India is a matter being considered by the Supreme Court under a batch of curative petitions filed by various institutions and organisations… And the Apex Court is yet to pronounce on this issue.
- Critics argue that the Supreme Court’s judgment – upholding Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, according to which homosexuality or unnatural sex between two consenting adults is illegal and an offence – violates Fundamental Rights under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.
- “A majority of the countries have legalised homosexuality. Even in India, Section 377 IPC was introduced not as a reflection of existing Indian values and traditions, but rather, it was imposed upon Indian society due to the moral values of the colonisers. Indian society prior to enactment of the IPC had a much greater tolerance of homosexuality.”
- The apex court has failed to consider the dynamic nature of law, particularly with respect to homosexuality.
India also favoured rigid amendments
- India also voted in favour of amendments that were introduced by Pakistan which explicitly states that the SOGI expert’s mission would ensure, at all costs, respect for the sovereign right of every country to implement its own national laws.
- e. in India’s case, this is a direct reference to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which makes even consensual homosexual activity a crime.
- Therefore, any report of the newly appointed expert would have to give sufficient weight to the fact that India’s laws proscribe, and even criminalise, homosexuality.
- When viewed in this light, it’s clear that India’s above acts and laws directly or indirectly denies to several persons their basic human dignity, and that impinges on the rights of a sizeable slice of the populace from participating fully in the make-up of our country’s moral bedrock.
- Now, with the curative petitions still left undecided, India’s decision to abstain from voting sharpens the focus on the Supreme Court’s next steps on Section 377.
- It is imperative that a Bench of five judges or more is constituted as expeditiously as possible to rehear the challenge to Section 377, made by the clutch of petitioners both old and new.
- For, a failure to annul the Supreme Court’s verdict in Koushal would only perpetuate what is really a gross miscarriage of justice. Ultimately, the court’s legitimacy as a vital pillar of our democracy depends on its ability to nullify popular will when the decisions of the majority transgress the Constitution’s guarantees.
- By reversing Koushal, the court can help usher India into a more equal future, where the tyrannical belief of some does not deny to any person the right to be treated as an equal member of society, and the right to enjoy the Constitution’s foundational liberties.
Connecting the dots:
- Recent Supreme Court’s Judgement recognizing transgenders as third gender puts them in a strange paradox situation – On the one hand, they are now legally recognised and protected under the Constitution, but on the other hand they may be breaking the law if they have consensual gay sex. Critically analyze.
- Is India’s recent position on issues related to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) rights both at International and National level, progressive? Critically analyze.
Economy/Science and Technology
TOPIC: General studies 3:
- Science and Technology- Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
India’s Software-as-a-Service market
Software-as-a-Service—What is it?
A software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet
- Businesses looking to focus more on their core operations
- The rapid growth of data
- Increased focus on content solution being deployed over mobile devices
- Movement of customers to a cloud-first mentality
Benefits of Saas:
- Removes the need for organizations to install and run applications on their own computers or in their own data centres, eliminating the expense of hardware acquisition, provisioning and maintenance, as well as software licensing, installation and support.
- They pay for this service on a monthly basis using a pay-as-you-go model allowing businesses to exercise better and more predictable budgeting with the flexibility to terminate SaaS offerings at any time to stop those recurring costs.
- Offer high scalability, which gives customers the option to access more, or fewer, services or features on-demand
- Automatically perform updates and patch management
NASSCOM Report: The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market in India is expected to triple to about $1 billion by 2020
2014-15: Market pegged at $300 million
2015-16: Expected to be worth $407 million
- The U.S. and Europe account for more than 80 per cent of the demand for Indian SaaS solutions
- India SaaS based products have received close to $450 million in the first two quarters of 2015
The fallacies of the faithful
The writer’s second life
Why this fuss about NSG membership?