IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 31st July 2018
Private sector participation in defence equipment manufacturing
Part of: GS Prelims and mains III – Defence and Security
Major step towards boosting private sector participation in domestic defence manufacturing:
- Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the implementation of Strategic Partnership guidelines.
- Strategic Partnership model aims to revitalise defence industrial ecosystem and progressively build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon system for future needs of armed forces.
- The SP model has four segments — submarines, single engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks — which would be specifically opened up for the private sector.
- Under this policy one Indian private company would be selected in each segment which would tie-up with shortlisted global equipment manufacturers to manufacture the platforms in India under technology transfer.
Ban of Oxytocin
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains – Health issue
- Government had banned oxytocin. The move came into effect from July 1, 2018.
- It is intended to curb the hormone injection’s misuse in cattle but the impact is being felt by pregnant women, who require the medication the most.
- Often called the “love hormone”, oxytocin is released naturally in human bonding activities such as sex, childbirth and breastfeeding.
- However, oxytocin was misused in the livestock industry, where activists say it causes hormonal imbalances and shortens the lives of milch animals.
National Register of Citizens (NRC)
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Welfare and Social issue; Internal Security
- In previous article, we read about NRC, Why is the NRC is being updated in Assam? (30 July 2018 DNA)
- Over 40 lakh out of 3.29 crore applicants were left out of draft NRC in Assam
- The five year exercise was completed at a cost of ₹1,220 crore.
- The draft NRC was released in Guwahati by Registrar General of India and NRC State Coordinator.
- The remaining 40,007,707 applicants, whose names didn’t figure in the list will be given ample opportunity through a process of claims and objections till September 28, and their citizenship status will not be questioned till the final, error-free draft is prepared.
Miscellaneous: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is in the Philippines
The Economic Survey 2017-18 recommended a number of steps to acknowledge the “feminisation” of Indian agriculture.
Department of Biotechnology (DBT), a Science Ministry body plans to send women farmers to be trained in IRRI.
TOPIC:General Studies 2
- India and its international relations
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
10th BRICS Summit Johannesburg Declaration
- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) have existed as a coherent economic group since 2009.
- BRICS has grown in influence, expanded the arc of its interests, and established new institutions and partnerships in its first decade.
- More importantly, it has created for its members the habits of working together. Intra-BRICS cooperation is on a rising trajectory.
Yet, the fact remains that BRICS is still far from achieving its initial goals:
- reform of global financial governance,
- democratisation of the United Nations, and
- expansion of the Security Council
— partially because two of its members (China and Russia) do not want the other three members (India, South Africa and Brazil) to obtain parity in the global pecking order.
10th BRICS Summit Highlights:
The summit saw the BRICS leaders discuss various international and regional issues of common concern and adopted the ‘Johannesburg Declaration’ by consensus.
The declaration reaffirms principles of democracy, inclusiveness and agrees to fight unilateralism and protectionism.
- 10th summit framed its deliberations against U.S. President Donald Trump’s unconventional approach on world affairs, particularly the looming trade wars.
- Stressed for rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading based on the World Trade Organisation.
- Broader commitment to cooperate for strengthening multilateralism, the rule of law and an equitable international order.
- To help nations to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
- Articulated the need for a new strategy on employment, education and skill development as the digital revolution unfolds.
- BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) to engage with the private sector and young innovators working at the cutting edge of technology today.
- BRICS Business Council to enhance trade and economic cooperation in diverse sectors ranging from manufacturing and energy to financial services and regional aviation.
- Commitment towards an inclusive and “people-centred approach” on development.
- Steady progress in interactions through sports, films, education, culture and tourism.
Africa and BRICS Plus
- BRICS outreach to Africa began at the last summit hosted by South Africa, in 2013 and has picked up momentum now.
- African nations expect BRICS to play more crucial and broader role.
- African nations requested for big loans from the New Development Bank (NDB) for their infrastructure projects.
- So far, the NDB has dispersed loans totalling $5.1 billion — all to its members only.
China introduced “BRICS Plus” format last year by inviting a few countries from different regions – Argentina, Jamaica, Turkey, Indonesia and Egypt.
BRICS Plus has potential to evolve and an immediate benefit is the immense opportunities it provides for networking among leaders.
BRICS will continue to be an influential voice as long as its convergences prevail over its divergences.
- Changing power equations within BRICS
- By lowering China’s dominance (esp. China-Russia proximity)
- Brazil played a low-profile role
- Sovereign equality of all members
India is playing “a delicate geopolitical game with the U.S., China and Russia as their spheres of influence wax and wane” across regions.
No decision was taken to set up the BRICS credit rating agency that India favours.
The India-South Africa partnership helped to ensure that the Johannesburg Declaration was balanced and well-rounded in its orientation.
The critical question is whether BRICS’s exertions will have appreciable impact on G-7 (the grouping of the developed countries), which is in disarray and especially on the US Administration.
Connecting the dots:
- Why is BRICS and its Bank important for developing countries, especially India? Critically evaluate.
- The Johannesburg Declaration in the recently concluded BRICS summit is a diplomatic win for India and holds immense significance to obtain parity in the global pecking order. Do you agree? Comment.
TOPIC: General studies 2
- Social Justice; social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
- Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population and betterment of these vulnerable sections
SC walking on tight rope between the narrow and the transformative approach
Supreme Court is in the spotlight with cases dealing with –
- Aadhaar and relationship between the individual and the state
- challenge to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code
- Sabarimala case
- constitutional challenge to adultery
All the above cases have placed the court at the heart of the culture wars.
While the Aadhaar challenge was argued on the relatively straightforward basis of when and to what extent the state can exercise its coercive power over individuals, the other 2 cases (section 377 and Sabarimala) have seen clashes between the invocation of personal rights and the claims of cultural and religious groups.
This is set to continue with the forthcoming adultery hearings, where the state’s objection to the decriminalisation of adultery is premised on the argument that it would destroy the institution of marriage.
Supreme Court dealing with complex task
With cases dealing with constitutional rights of an individual against the state, the task of the court is clear: the Court can strike down laws or rules if it is breaching the constitutional rights.
However, when the Court is called upon to settle a battle in the culture wars, the task is filled with greater complexity.
- This is because these conflicts often represent deep, long-standing and irreconcilable divisions in society, touching issues of personal belief and conviction.
- Any indecisive or ill-suited resolution by the apex court in matters involving personal belief will create anger and frustration (especially in alienated communities) and risks an erosion of faith in the neutrality and impartiality of state institutions.
The framers of the Constitution consciously refrained from such complex situation by not addressing them directly.
For instance, the framers deliberately placed the provision for a uniform civil code in the unenforceable “Directive Principles” chapter, thinking that it was too divisive to be made a fundamental right.
Following a narrow approach
In order to avoid the complexity and risk, there is a popular school of thought that asks the court to tread with particular caution when questions of culture are at stake.
According to this school of thought, the court while dealing with such sensible matters should limit its reasoning to technical points of law, avoid constitutional questions, decide only the case before it consciously and refrain from expressing any opinion on the validity of any personal belief or conviction.
The role of the court, in short, is to do everything it can to lower the stakes, and take a pragmatic, problem-solving approach to the conflict rather than an ideal-oriented, expansive one.
Adopting the transformative approach
There is, however, a rival philosophy of constitutional adjudication.
This philosophy holds that the Constitution is a transformative document, whose goal is to erase and remedy long-standing legacies of injustice. A particular feature of these injustices is their deep-rooted, social and institutional character.
In the Indian context, the most obvious example is that of caste. The pervasive and corrosive influence of caste-discrimination in our society not only prompted the inclusion of a specific article in the Constitution abolishing untouchability (Article 17), but over and above that, gave rise to a constitutional vision of equality that specifically included affirmative action.
In both the 377 and Sabarimala hearings the transformative approach was articulated.
Arguments presented by mental health professionals (that decades of social exclusion and ostracism of the LGBT community could not be remedied simply by “decriminalisation”) were accepted.
The counsel declared that no institution — public or private — would henceforth be permitted to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation, or deny any person their civil rights.
By doing this, it would accomplish two crucial things:
- a small step towards removing the structural and institutional barriers that continued to stand between the LGBT community and equal moral membership in the community
- it would serve as a public acknowledgement of a wrong that society had been complicit in, and which society was not determined to remedy
Similarly, in the Sabarimala case, counsel have urged the court to hold that religion cannot be invoked to shield a discriminatory practice from constitutional scrutiny; and that, at the end of the day, constitutional morality must prevail over precepts that are rooted in any particular religion.
In these cases, therefore, the court is faced with a stark choice between the narrow and the transformative approaches to navigating the choppy waters of culture and the Constitution. Which direction it chooses to take depends upon what it believes the Constitution is for — and will have profound consequences in the years to come.
Connecting the dots
- Judiciary should consciously refrain itself from complex cases that can instigate clashes between the invocation of personal rights and the claims of cultural and religious groups. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favour of your answer with suitable examples.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) The hormone acts on the smooth muscles of our body and stimulates their contraction. In females, it stimulates a vigorous contraction of uterus at the time of child birth, and milk ejection from the mammary gland is
- Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone
Q.2) To increase yield, the cows are injected with Oxytocin, a hormone banned in India under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and section 12 of Food and Drug Adulteration Prevention Act, 1960. Oxytocin is banned because:
- Milk produced from such cows is unfit/harmful for human consumption.
- Cows injected with Oxytocin have a greater incidence of abortions, mastitis and lower conception rates.
- Cattle feel immense pain as the uterus contracts due to injection of Oxytocin.
Select the code from below:
- 1 only
- 2 and 3
- 1 and 3
- All of the above
Q.3) A regional centre for International Rice Research Institute is being established in India to improve rice yields and quality. In which of the following cities is it being established? [IRRI South Asia Regional Center (ISARC)]
Q.4) Given below are the statements regarding BRICS. Select the correct statements among them
- 10th BRICS summit 2018 was held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
- The theme of the summit was “Stronger partnership for a bright future”
- Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) is related to BRICS.
Select the code from following
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3
- 1 and 3
- All of the above
Q.5) IBSAMAR is a naval exercise between members of which of the following groupings?
- Andean Community (CAN)
Q.6) Which of the following is/are NOT members of New Development Bank (NDB)
- South Africa
Select the correct code:
- 3, 4 and 5
- 2, 3 and 4
- 1 and 3
- Only 5
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