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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Brief – 8 March 2016

Brief of newspaper articles for the day bearing
relevance to Civil Services preparation

What is 9 PM brief?

Note: There are few article on women and their status in society which are being left out of 9 PM Brief . These articles will be covered in standalone issue by the end of the week. 


GS PAPER 1


[1]. Fresh evidence of Stone Age cultures in Kerala

The Hindu

Archaeological-anthropologist, N.K. Ramesh,

His Finding includes

(Palaeolithic implements), the typical Palaeolithic hand-axe from Vanimel river basin (Kozhikode) pointed choppers and side scrapers from Anakkayam and Cheer Kaayam river basin of Chandragiri (Kasaragod)

Support

Hand-axe fabrication technique in quartz was also familiar among the prehistoric settlements in the area.

Disapproves

Foote argument that Kerala was unsuitable for prehistoric habitation

Earlier evidence

Mr. Ramesh, discovered Mesolithic tools from the Panom forest region. It is a Mesolithic factory site as waste material and hammer stones were discovered near a stream inside the forestMegalithic sites at Valayam, Varikkoli, Chekkad, Kuitheri, Ummathur, Perumundacheri, Mullankunnu, Pannimukku, and Muippra, includes black and red ware pottery, eagle head-like figures made of clay, iron chopper and dagger, black ware, smoke pipe, iron knife, iron sickle and several iron ingots.The well-polished symmetrical shaped Stone Adzes made of quartz showed the high expertise in quartz fabrication of Neolithic people in Kozhikode


GS PAPER 2


[1]. Buying influence in Washington

The Hindu

What

USA has decided to supply Pakistan with 8 F-16 fighter aircraft, despite a year of unrelenting protest from India.

USA policy towards Pakistan

USA considers Pakistan as its “ally” in the global fight against terror.

Conundrum for India

USA is unable to to scale back military transfers to Islamabad, despite Indian has given ample evidence of complicity between ISI and various extremist groups.

Kerry-Lugar Bill
USA financing to Pakistan is enabled by the Kerry-Luger Bill

[2]. India Penal Change

The Indian Express

A thorough revision
Indian Penal Code requires a thorough revision to meet the need of the 21st century, as it was made in 1860 and it is the longest serving criminal code in the common-law world.

Previous attempts

IPC has been amended more than 75 times but no comprehensive revision has been undertaken in spite of the 42nd report of the Law Commission in 1971.

So, because of lack of legislative response, judiciary had to undertake this task, with unsatisfactory outcomes at times.

Most of the amendments have been ad-hoc and reactive and done in a haphazardly manner. For instance, Amendment done in response immediate circumstances like the 2013 Delhi Gangrape case.

Key areas which needs revision

  • Sedition– During our Independence struggle, we condemned it outrightly, so how can now we can support its presence in the statute.
  • Blasphemy–The offence of blasphemy should have no place in liberal democracy.
  • Criminal Conspiracy—It can be invoked when 2 people agree to commit an offence without any overt act following the agreement.
  • Unlawful Assembly—-Under this section, the principle of constructive liability is pushed to unduly harsh lengths.

The distinction between “culpable homicide” and “murder” is considered the weakest part of the code.

Sexual offences under the code reveal patriarchal values and Victorian morality.Specially, Section 377 which should be repealed.

[3]. The stiff backbone of Aadhar Bill

The Livemint

Fact

One billion Aadhar card issued till now

Why we need Aadhar legislation?

For secure Aadhar card information.

Aadhar bill if passed will impose some restrictions on government overreach.

Some of the restrictions are:

Under Section 29, core biometric information cannot be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever.

( it means no exception)

Section 8, states that the response to an authentication query must exclude core biometric information.

Section 28 (5), which prevents the Aadhaar number holder from accessing his own core biometric information in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR).

Requesting entities must take consent before collecting information and provide details of the information that will be shared and the alternatives available if the individual doesn’t want to share information.

Section 28 prohibiting the authority from revealing any information stored in the CIDR.

Exceptions to it

Section 33

It states that the protections of Sections 28 and 29 will not apply against the order of a district judge (or higher). Similarly, the protections under Sections 28 and 29 can be overridden by directions issued by an officer above the rank of joint secretary, in the interests of national security. Any such direction must be reviewed by an oversight committee before it takes effect.

Section 29(4), which allow core biometric information to be made public for purposes specified in the regulations.

Summing up

Some loops holes are there still it is a good legislation.


GS PAPER 3


[1]. Beneath the fiscal facelift

The Livemint

Insight into the Budget

It is instructive to reflect upon some details that have been ignored,

As per these details there will be only marginal room for the Reserve Bank of India to ease monetary policy. This is despite the government sticking to its fiscal deficit forecast of 3.5% of (GDP) for FY17 and its market borrowing being slightly better than expectations.

The government has opted for a “populist budget’

Investor expectations are low from the budget.

Welcome by some quarters

The government undoubtedly deserves immense credit for sticking to the already announced fiscal trajectory. There is a lot in the budget that is welcome. Some steps, if implemented properly, could even be transformational.

The monsoon this year, more likely than not, could be a blessing after two consecutive years of disappointment.

Fiscal math

The reliance on cesses perhaps highlights the government’s struggle to improve tax collection without the heartburn of raising the posted tax rates.

Cesses also allow the government to avoid sharing this revenue with the states.

Relief on revenue side

Admittedly, there is some buffer on the revenue side because of one-off items such as the Income Disclosure Scheme and resolution of tax disputes. The government should be applauded for not including these in its revenue estimate.

Back-door easing of the fiscal deficit

The government also appears to be hinting at back-door easing of the fiscal deficit constraint by revising the fiscal responsibility legislation, which could reportedly have a narrow band for the fiscal deficit target. Add to this the implications of the political bugle call for doubling farmers’ income in five years.

Position of RBI

Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan shouldn’t be swayed by the fiscal cosmetics. He has plenty to worry about for achieving the ambitious 4% inflation target and the already poor monetary transmission. He should also spare a thought for finding the incremental buyer—other than the central bank and some take-up by foreign investors—of the huge supply of all kinds of on and off-budget consolidated government and quasi-government bonds.

[2]. Ahead of Aadhar Bill’s passage, Govt. okays housing subsidy for workers

The Hindu

Aadhar bill in the pipeline

Scheme already approved that will use Aadhaar card

To offer higher housing subsidies to about 75 lakh beedi workers and miners working in non-coal mines using Aadhaar (so that subsidy reaches the targeted beneficiary)

Loophole

UIDAI’s suggest that construction and mining workers be put in the list of exceptions to which the Aadhaar system may not apply.

Because all of their fingers in extremely poor condition with respect to fingerprint quality.”

These people which are outside aadhaar system are called outliers.

Housing scheme

Assistance to workers having their own land with a carpet area of at least 30 square metres.  

Subsidy amount will be in three installments

First amount of Rs. 37,500 will be given as advance   

second Rs.90,000 after the construction of house reaches the lintel level

third instalment of Rs.22,500 after completion of the construction work so that the worker can make an additional contribution at his or her own will.

The government may give Rs.1.5 lakh as an upfront amount to those workers who want to secure a bank loan to build houses.

The new housing scheme will become a part of the Prime Minister’s ‘Housing for All’ project

Aim

To build 2 crore houses in five phases till 2021-22

[3]. Six or more anchor banks likely to lead consolidation

The Hindu

What

The government will identify six to ten public sector banks (which will be called anchor banks)which will drive the consolidation process among the state-owned banks.

Where 

The idea of bank consolidation was discussed at length during the ‘ Gyan Sangam’ bankers’ retreat at Gurgaon.

On what basis

Geographical and technological synergies.

Human resources and business profile, etc.

Why consolidation

If banks do not merge with other bank, then they will not be given support  of capital infusion from the government.

It will be difficult for public banks to survive without government capital.

Last Resort

If a bank remains weak, then it will lose business. In such a situation, merging with a relatively stronger bank seems the last resort.

Eligible candidates

Large lenders like State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda (BoB), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Canara Bank could become the anchor banks.

[4]. Full marks on Fiscal Deficit

The Hindu

Welcome step of the Government
By fixing the fiscal deficit at 3.5 % of the GDP, the intent of the government is to accelerate growth under conditions of macroeconomic stability.

Need to contain Fiscal Deficit
If fiscal deficit is not contained, it will lead to rise in the debt-GDP ratio.

It will also lead to an increase in interest payments as a proportion of revenues, leaving less for productive expenditure.

Household sector savings

Household sector savings in financial assets are called transferable savings.Issues of Public Spending
The first is related to the design of schemes.

The second is related to the ability of the government to ensure that the schemes are actually implemented on the ground.

Reforms

Legislative reforms are stuck due to political logjams so we need administrative reforms which can be be done with ease.

We need administrative reforms so that cumbersome procedures are eliminated and the administrative machinery, including the delivery systems functions more efficiently.

 


BY: ForumIAS Editorial Team 


 

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