This post covers relevant news from national dailies and government releases for aspirants of examinations like UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. It is highly useful for both, revision and awareness purposes.
National Important Current Affairs – 28 September 2018
■ A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, in four separate but concurring opinions has struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code that had criminalised adultery for 158 years.
The verdict held that adultery is not a crime and two individuals may part if one cheats, but to attach criminality to infidelity is going too far. Besides, there is no data to back claims that abolition of adultery as a crime would result in “chaos in sexual morality” or an increase of divorce. The Section 198(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure is also struck down.
This is based on the doctrine of Equality before the law, which does not only signify equal access to the law, but also equal exposure to the law. This is one of the principles followed by the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, which has struck down as unconstitutional. Justice Indu Malhotra, held that Section 497 is based on the Doctrine of Coverture.
Doctrine of Coverture: Coverture was a legal doctrine whereby, upon marriage, a woman’s legal rights and obligations were subsumed by those of her husband. Coverture arises from the legal fiction that a husband and wife are one person. This doctrine is not recognised by the Constitution, holds that a woman loses her identity and legal right with marriage, is violative of her fundamental rights.
How married couples deal with adultery is “absolutely a matter of privacy at its pinnacle” and a loss of moral commitment in a marriage creates a dent in the relationship, but it is left to each individual to deal with the problem — some may forgive while others may seek a divorce. Punishing each other or the wife’s lover is unlikely to re-kindle commitment, the judgment said.
Section 497 treats a married woman as the commodity of her husband, which is also a reflection of the social dominance of men prevalent 150 years ago.
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud held that a married woman can make her own sexual choices. By marrying, she has not consented to refrain from relations outside marriage without the permission of her husband. A husband is not the owner of his wife’s sexuality. To be human involves the ability to fulfil sexual desires in the pursuit of happiness.
What was Section 497 of IPC? Section 497 criminalised men who knowingly had relations with the wife of another man, “without the consent or connivance of that man”. The woman was not punishable as an abettor, while her husband was automatically the wronged party. Section 198(2) clarified that only the woman’s husband can be the aggrieved party or, in his absence, “someone who had care of the woman”.
Way Forward now: Following this SC intervention, adultery is now a civil matter between individuals. But a criminal residue remains — Section 306 of the IPC will be invoked if a suicide results from adultery, terming it abatement to suicide.
■ A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, in a majority opinion of 3:1 has declined to refer the question if a “mosque as a place of prayer is an essential part of Islam” in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid appeals to a seven-judge Bench. The bone of contention was an observation made by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the 1994 judgment in the Ismail Faruqui case, which stated that “a mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam and namaz (prayer) by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open”.
The majority view by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ashok Bhushan ordered that the hearing in the main Ayodhya title suit appeals should resume in the week commencing from October 29.
The court held that, what is essential or not in a religion can be decided only after studying tenets, beliefs, and doctrines. The comment has to be examined in the background of the fundamental right against discrimination under Article 15 and the protection guaranteed to practice, profess and propagate religion in Articles 25 and 26 under the Constitution.
■ The Cabinet has approved financial assistance worth Rs.825 Crore for relining of Sirhind Feeder Canal and relining of Rajasthan Feeder Canal. This project aims to mitigate water logging problem and enhance the flows/ water availability in the two canals.
- Sirhind and Rajasthan Feeders take off upstream of Harike Head works and flow through Punjab before crossing over to Rajasthan.
- The twin canals have a common bank and were constructed in the 1960s as lined (brick) channels to convey water to command areas in Punjab and Rajasthan.
■ The Ministry of Home Affairs has amalgamated the police forces in six Union Territories. It has notified the National Capital Territory of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Chandigarh (Police Service) Rules 2018 thereby amalgamating police forces in six Union Territories.
- The officers who are not direct IPS recruits could be posted in any of the six UTs and will be at the disposal of the Ministry.
- There are around 533 posts that will be covered under the new rules; they include assistant commissioners of police and deputy superintendent of police.
- These Rules will come into effect upon the promotion or direct recruitment of Inspectors to the post of ACP. Half of the posts at the ACP rank will be filled through direct recruitment and the other half through promotion. Earlier these postings were decided by the respective UT administrators.
- The post/grade/service eligible for induction into the Entry Grade for the new service, according to the notification, would include personnel currently employed as inspectors in the Delhi Police, A&N Islands Police, Lakshadweep Police, Daman & Diu Police, Dadra and Nagar Haveli Police and Chandigarh Police.
This is the first step towards the creation of a central police cadre allowing for the posting of police personnel across the country irrespective of the force they are initially inducted into.
■ NITI Aayog and United Nations will sign the Government of India-United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF) for 2018-2022. The Framework outlines the work of UN agencies in India, to support the achievement of key development outcomes that are aligned to the national priorities. Nineteen (19) UN agencies have already signed on the UNSDF 2018-2022.
About United Nations Sustainable Development Framework: The UNSDF 2018-22 comprises of seven priority areas that outline the work that UN agencies will undertake jointly or individually, fully aligned with the priorities of the GoI.
The seven priority areas outlined in the UNSDF are:
- Poverty and Urbanization;
- Health, Water, and Sanitation;
- Education and Employability;
- Nutrition and Food Security;
- Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Disaster Resilience;
- Skilling, Entrepreneurship, and Job Creation;
- Gender Equality and Youth Development.
■ The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP 2018). It seeks to replace the existing National Telecom Policy-2012 to cater to the modern needs of the digital communications sector of India. The Union Cabinet has also re-designation of the Telecom Commission as the “Digital Communications Commission”.
The NDCP-2018 envisions supporting India’s transition to a digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling the information and communications needs of citizens and enterprises by establishment of a ubiquitous, resilient and affordable digital communications infrastructure and services.
The new National Digital Communications Policy – 2018 has been formulated, in place of the existing National Telecom Policy-2012, to cater to the modern needs of the digital communications sector of India.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 28 September 2018
■ World Tourism Day was celebrated on September 27th to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide. The World Tourism Day celebration was started by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in the year 1980. The official celebrations this year’s World Tourism Day took place in Budapest, Hungary.
- This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted, which is milestone in global tourism.
- The theme of World Tourism Day 2018 : “Tourism and the Digital Transformation”
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among the six winners of the UN’s highest environmental honour, the ‘Champions of the Earth’ award. He has been recognised for his leadership of the International Solar Alliance and pledge to eliminate single-use plastic in India by 2022.
- Cochin International Airport was also awarded for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy.
■ Canada’s parliament has voted unanimously to effectively strip Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship over the Rohingya crisis. Canada had given the long-detained democracy advocate and Nobel laureate the rare honour in 2007.
Suu Kyi’s international reputation has become tarnished by her refusal to call out the atrocities by her nation’s military against the Rohingya minority, which Ottawa declared a genocide recently. The House of Commons of Canada unanimously passed a motion to remove this status.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 28 September 2018
■ Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance and National Informatics Centre (NIC) have jointly developed a mobile app called Jan Dhan Darshak as a part of financial inclusion (FI) initiative.
The Jan Dhan Darshak app will act as a guide for the common people in locating a financial service touch point at a given location in the country. The app will be in a unique position to provide a citizen centric platform for locating financial service touch points across all providers such as banks, post office, CSC, etc.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to convert Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) into a government-owned company. The government will now own 100% of the IT backbone to the new GST regime. With enhanced role of GSTN from just collecting taxes to data analytics, the government felt that it should now be the majority owner in the IT backbone provider. Over 1.1 crore businesses are registered on the GSTN portal.
- Currently, the Centre and states together hold 49% stake in GSTN. The remaining 51% is held by five private financial institutions – HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd.
What is GSTN? The GSTN was floated to aid the rollout of the new indirect tax regime. The company will provide information technology support to all stakeholders for smooth implementation of the new taxation regime across the country and will be the repository of all information related to taxation and entities registered under GST.
■ The Union Cabinet cleared a Rs 5,500-crore incentive package for the Sugar industry. Under the package, the government will give transport subsidies of Rs 1,000-3,000 per tonne to sugar mills, depending on their distance from ports.
The Cabinet also approved raising the price the government directly pays to cane growers to Rs 13.88 a quintal in the new season beginning October 2018.
■ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has eased mandatory cash requirement rules for banks to provide “durable liquidity” to the economy. Banks could now, ‘carve out’ up to 15 per cent of holdings under the statutory liquidity reserves to meet their liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) requirements as compared to 13 per cent presently.
RBI also announced the relaxation in statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) requirement with effect from October 1, 2018. This will supplement the ability of individual banks to avail of liquidity, from the repo markets.
RBI stands ready to meet the durable liquidity requirements of the system through various available instruments. Previous proactive steps taken by RBI such as the open market operation (OMO) conducted on September 19 to ensure adequate liquidity in the system.
Sports Current Affairs – 28 September 2018
■ The 8th Asian Yoga Sports Championship organised by Asian Yoga Federation begins in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Nearly 450 participants representing 12 Asian countries showcasing their yoga skills will take part in four-day event. The pan-Asian yoga event is being held in the country for the second time. Participants from various countries including China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Iran, Nepal, Vietnam, Afghanisthan and Bangladesh have already reached Thiruvananthapuram.
Yogaratna Awards will be given away to foreign delegates who were instrumental in popularising yoga in their respective countries. Noted Saudi yoga instructor Nouf Marwaai, who was recently awarded the Padma Shri, will also participate in the event.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 28 September 2018 “
Q1.Which of the following metros has become the 2nd largest Metro Rail (MR) network in India?
- A) Kolkata Metro
- B) Mumbai Metro
- C) Hyderabad Metro
- D) Delhi Metro
Q2.Who has won the 2018 Presidential Election of Maldives?
- A) Mohamed Waheed Hassan
- B) Abdulla Yameen
- C) Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
- D) Mohamed Nasheed
Q3.Who has won the women’s singles 2018 China Open badminton title?
- A) Akane Yamaguchi
- B) Carolina Marin
- C) P V Sindhu
- D) Nozomi Okuhara
Q4. West Bank, which is in news recently, is the disputed territory between which of the following countries?
- A) Palestine & Syria
- B) Jordan & Egypt
- C) Iraq & Iran
- D) Lebanon & Turkey
Q5. What is the purpose of Justice Amitava Roy committee constituted by Supreme Court recently?
- A) Reforms in Tax Laws of India
- B) Prison Reforms
- C) Police and Public Order Reforms
- D) Executive-Legislative Relations reforms
Answer these questions in the comments below. We encourage you to discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post. The idea is to promote healthy discussions on interesting issues to make preparation fun. Have a good day!