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August 7, 2019
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06 August Current Affairs

J&K loses its special status, divided into two UTs

In News:

Ending Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in the Indian Union, the BJP government extended all provisions of the Constitution to the State in one go, downsized the State into two Union Territories and allowed all citizens to buy property and vote in the State.

Details:

Leading the charge, Home Minister Amit Shah piloted two special resolutions and a Bill creating the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh through the Rajya Sabha on Monday. While the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature, the one in Ladakh will not.

The first resolution informed the House that the President had used his powers under Article 370 to fundamentally alter the provision, extending all Central laws, instruments and treaties to Kashmir. However, the drastically altered Article 370 will remain on the statute book.

Mr. Shah said that if the Union Territory model worked well, the government would consider giving Jammu and Kashmir the status of a State again and “no constitutional amendment would be required”.

Mr. Shah said the Resolution for Repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution of India “would pass every legal scrutiny” and he was aware that an “NGO brigade”, supported by some parties, would challenge it.

Terrorism cannot end in the State till Article 370 or 35A continue. They are an obstacle to development. We want to embrace the Kashmiri youth. The move will bring development, tourism and industries to the State. These opportunities till now were controlled by only three families.

About Article 370:

The provisions of Article 370 will cease to exist from the date the President of India issues a notification after the Lok Sabha passes the resolution.

Mr. Shah termed Article 370 discriminatory on the basis of gender, class, caste and place of origin, adding it was “temporary in the first place and it has to go in the larger interest of the people of the State.”

A historical necessity, says Krishna

In News:

The measures initiated by the Union government to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution with respect to Jammu and Kashmir have evoked mixed reactions in Karnataka.

Details:

Former External Affairs Minister and BJP leader S.M. Krishna said it was a “historical necessity” to ensure total and complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir, and the present measure will ensure that India is “One country” with “One people” from Kashmir to Kanyakumari without any discrimination.

“These two provisions of the Constitution were temporary and transient as decided by the Constituent Assembly. But it was a travesty of historical truth that they had wrongly become a permanent phenomenon and also vested interests as well as instrument of vote-bank politics for a few political parties”.

The NDA government at the Centre had “effectively corrected a historical and grave blunder” which was committed by the first Prime Minister of free India, he maintained, while stating that the founding father of the Constitution Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had vehemently opposed the insertion that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Levels of haemoglobin associated with increased risk of dementia

Both high and low levels of haemoglobin may be associated with the development of dementia years later.

The prevalence of dementia is expected to increase threefold over the next decades, with the largest increases predicted in the countries where the anaemia rate is the highest.

The researchers found that people with anaemia were 41 per cent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and 34 per cent more likely to develop any type of dementia than those who did not have anaemia. Of the 745 people with anaemia, 128 people developed dementia, compared to 1392 of the 11,560 people who did not have anaemia.

People with high levels of haemoglobin were also more likely to develop dementia. High levels can also be a sign of a health problem.

Bills against honour killing and mob lynching introduced in Rajasthan assembly

In News:

Rajasthan Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal introduced two bills in the assembly to check incidents of honour killing and mob lynching in the state.

Details:

‘The Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour and Tradition bill-2019’ and ‘The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill-2019’ were introduced.

Honour killing:

According to the bill to curb honour killing, “There has been a spurt in illegal intimidation by self-appointed bodies for bringing pressure against ‘sagotra’ marriages and inter-caste, inter-community and inter-religious marriages between two consenting adults in the name of vindicating the honour of the family, caste or community.

“Although, such intimidation or acts of violence constitute offences under the Indian Penal Code, yet it is necessary to prevent assemblies which take place to condemn such alliances as also to punish such acts of violence and criminal intimidating severely.”

Lynching bill:

The statement of objects and reasons for the lynching bill mentioned the recommendation of the Supreme Court to enact legislation against the mob lynching.

“It is proposed to nip the evil in the bud and to prevent spreading of hatred or incitement to mob lynching by creating special offences against such mob lynching in addition to other offences under the Indian Penal Code”.

Surrogacy regulation Bill passed in Lok Sabha

In News:

The Lok Sabha passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 by a voice vote.

Details:

The Bill, introduced by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, seeks to ban commercial surrogacy and provides for constituting a National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards, and the appointment of appropriate authorities for the regulation of the practice and process of surrogacy.

Aim:

The Bill is aimed at ending the exploitation of women who are lending their womb for surrogacy, and protecting the rights of children born through this.

Other aspects:

The Bill will also look after the interests of the couple that opt for surrogacy, ensuring that there are laws protecting them against exploitation by clinics that are carrying this out as a business.

Regulations of the bill:

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill regulates altruistic surrogacy and prohibits commercial surrogacy.

Commercial surrogacy is prohibited under the Bill.

Definition:

It defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an eligible couple and agrees to hand over the child to them after the birth.

The Bill allows altruistic surrogacy, which involves a surrogacy arrangement where the monetary reward only involves medical expenses and insurance coverage for the surrogate mother.

Kashmiri Pandits hail decision

In News:

Kashmiri Pandits, displaced from the Valley in the 1990s, hailed the amendment to Article 370 of the Constitution as a “historic event”, and hoped it would pave the way for their return to the homeland with honour and dignity.

Details:

The Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD), a body representing the community across the world, said the decision cemented the territorial, political and cultural unity of the Indian Union.

“August 5, 2019 will go down in the history of the country as a day that has put the lasting seal on the sovereignty of Parliament over the entire Indian Union”.

Background of Kashmiri Pandits:

The exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmiri valley in the early 1990s and the question of their home coming ever since has been both a political and emotional issue. With the formation of PDP and BJP alliance government in J&K, the question of resettling 62000 Kashmiri Pandit families, who had been forced to migrate, has once again gained attraction. The BJP’s proposal to resettle the Pandits in exclusive enclaves has caused tensions in the Valley. Protests have started against any kind of segregated townships. However, the CM has clarified that there is no such plan and settlement will be done in an assimilated manner.

The involuntary exile of virtually the entire Pandit community from the Kashmir valley in the wake of the separatist insurgency that broke out in the state in 1988 is one of the great tragedies of independent India. It is also an integral part of the story of human suffering writ large across Jammu and Kashmir, a story of murder and displacement, terrorism, torture and custodial killings that had left virtually no family unaffected. About three lakh Pandits had left the Valley in the 1990s. Many of those who did return in 2007 under a government job scheme say they are not happy. They live in migrant colonies and do not have basic amenities like a ration card or even a voter ID card. The reasons for this are complex.

Some Pandit families in exile remain fearful about continuing threats, and wonder about the wisdom of relocating themselves for a second time when the outcome is uncertain, and their children have developed roots elsewhere in India. The indecisiveness of the Central and State governments in adopting a proper resettlement policy has added to the confusion, as have community organisations like Panun Kashmir which have built their career around the demand for the creation of a Pandit ‘homeland’ within the Valley.

There are many security reasons involved in this. It is possible that a Pandit township may seem like a more attractive, high-profile target for terrorist groups than dispersed dwellings, and this threat perception is likely to turn these settlements into not just ghettos but heavily militarized compounds, further compromising the prospect for normal life as far its resettled residents are concerned. There are also many hurdles including job creation for those who return.

Govt. unveils draft e-com norms

In News:

To protect the interest of online shoppers, the Department of Consumer Affairs has released draft guidelines on e-commerce that state that an e-commerce entity cannot directly or indirectly influence the price of the goods or services.

Details:

The draft ‘e-commerce guidelines for consumer protection 2019,’ which adds that e-commerce firms need to ensure that personally identifiable information of customers is protected, is open for stakeholder comments for 45 days or till September 16, 2019.

“These are issued as guiding principles for e-commerce business for preventing fraud, unfair trade practices and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. These guidelines apply to business-to-consumer e-commerce, including goods and services…”

Mandatory:

It added that every e-commerce entity needs to publish the name and contact details of the grievance officer on their website along with the mechanism by which users can lodge their complaints.

As per the draft, an e-commerce firm cannot falsely represent themselves as consumers or post reviews about goods and services in their name.

It proposed to make it mandatory for firms to display terms of contract with the seller relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty/guarantee, delivery/shipment, mode of payments and grievance redressal mechanism to enable consumers to make informed decisions.

The draft also proposes that once an e-commerce firm comes to know about any counterfeit product, and if the seller is unable to provide any evidence that the product is genuine, the firm needs to take down the listing and notify the consumers of the same.

Space Debris

In News:

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is setting up a network of telescopes and radar to develop its own system to monitor space debris to safeguard its space assets.

Background: NORAD

Currently, ISRO has 50 functional satellites, including communication, navigation and surveillance satellites, in space.

Till now, ISRO was dependent on NORAD (North America Aerospace Defense Command) data, which is available in public domain, for keeping track of space debris and monitoring our active and passive (dead) satellites.

However, this global data is not accurate. Norad also keeps accurate data, which is exclusively available to those that are members of its network. Therefore, ISRO can’t access this data.

Proposed network by ISRO:

Objective: To get accurate data about the movement of space debris to avoid collision with its satellites, ISRO has decided to set up telescopes and radars in four corners of the country.

Components: ISRO has decided to set up telescopes and radars in four corners of the country

The multi-object tracking radar installed in Nellore will be part of this project.

ISRO will also set up a telescope in Ponmudi (Thiruvananthapuram), Mount Abu (Rajasthan) and third one in deep north. ISRO will also install a radar in the northeast.

Agency to be responsible: The network will be set up under the Directorate of Space Situational Awareness and Management. The directorate would monitor inactive satellites, pieces of orbiting objects, near-earth asteroids and adverse space weather conditions.

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