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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – 20 March 2017


Front Page / NATIONAL [The Hindu]


[1]. Delhi traffic situation alarming: panel

[2]. Sparrows nearing extinction due to lack of emotional connect

[3]. Parents can evict abusive adult children from their house: HC

[4]. 123 LCA Tejas by 2024-25

[5]. New Wi-Fi system to offer super-fast connectivity


Editorial/OPINION [The Hindu]


[1]. Last gasp tasks

[2]. The Heckler’s Veto


Economy [The Hindu]


[1]. Doubts raised over second IFSC’s viability


Indian Express



Live Mint


[1]. Moving towards a larger formal economy

[2]. Low, stagnating female labour-force participation in India


Front Page / NATIONAL


 [1]. Delhi traffic situation alarming: panel

 

The Hindu

 

What has happened?

A Parliamentary panel has described the traffic situation in the national capital as “alarming” and said that the Delhi Police has “failed” to improve it

 

Observations of The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs

  • Large number of vehicles registered in Delhi
  • The roundabouts caused congestioninstead of traffic signals.
  • Evacuation of “protected persons” difficult during a traffic congestion

 

Recommendations

  • Delhi Police needs to prepare a meticulous traffic management plan and allocate adequate funds to address the issue
  • Construction of more arterial roads and parking bays
  • Declaring some roads as one-way
  • Effective emergency evacuation measures for protected persons
  • Stringent measures against traffic violators

 

[2]. Sparrows nearing extinction due to lack of emotional connect

 

The Hindu

 

Context

“Mindless urbanisation” leading to a loss of the birds’ natural habitats

 

BackDrop

The house sparrow that was declared the ‘State Bird of Delhi’ in 2012 is edging towards extinction due to the lack of an emotional connect

 

Reasons

  • Technology: The current generation is so much surrounded by technology that they have forgotten about nature
  • The indifference caused by a lack of emotional connect has pushed these birds to the edge of extinction

 

Food Source gone:

  • Earlier women used to clean grain outside their houses and sparrows would have plenty of food from there
  • Severe use of insecticides in farming is killing sparrows’ primary food source in insects and grains
  • Increased use of packed food, insecticides in farming, and changing lifestyles, resulting in an inadequate availability of food for the birds

 

Architecture:

  • Matchbox-styled” architecture that makes it difficult for the birds to locate pockets to build nest
  • Sparrows need cavities to build their nests. Since the new matchbox style buildings don’t have cavities, sparrows are now homeless

 

The Human Touch

People should hang wooden bird nests in balconies and put out a pot of water for the winged visitors

 

Fact Check

NFSI: Nature Forever Society for India

  1. To track the number of sparrows in the area, the institution also observed a three-day ‘Great Sparrow Count’ starting March 18, during which birdwatchers uploaded bird counts in their respective localities on to a common database
  2. Started World Sparrow Day, now celebrated annually across 50 countries

 

[3]. Parents can evict abusive adult children from their house: HC

 

The Hindu

 

Context

The right of senior citizens or parents to live peacefully and with dignity

 

What has happened?

According to Delhi High Court Ruling, Children who abuse their parents while staying with them in their house can be evicted from the property

 

Backdrop

An appeal filed by an alcoholic former policeman and his brother, challenging a Maintenance Tribunal’s October 2015 order to evict the two from the residence where their elderly and ailing parents lived


Main points

  • The house need not be self-acquired or owned by the parents.
  • As long as parents have legal possession of the property, they can evict their abusive adult children
  • Major improvisation in a 2007 law that had left it to State governments to frame rules to protect the life and property of senior citizens.

 

[4]. 123 LCA Tejas by 2024-25

 

The Hindu

 

Context

  • The IAF is in urgent need of new fighters and the LCAs will replace the Mig fighters that are currently being phased out
  • IAF is scheduled to phase out all 11 squadrons of Mig-21 and Mig-27 fighters by 2024

 

Backdrop

In November 2016, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had given initial clearance for 83 aircraft in the Mk-1A configuration with specific improvements

 

What has happened?

If the present development and capacity enhancement plans go as per schedule, the Indian Air Force will have 123 indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter jets in its fleet by 2024-25.

 

Measures

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is in the process of setting up a new assembly line and is also involving the private sector in a big way

 

Fact Check

InJuly ,2016 the IAF for operationalised the first Tejas squadron ‘45 flying daggers’ with three aircraft

 

[5]. New Wi-Fi system to offer super-fast connectivity

 

The Hindu

 

Context

The wireless network is based on harmless infrared rays

 

What has happened?

Scientists at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlandshave developed a new wireless Internet based on infrared rays that is reportedly 100 times faster than existing Wi-Fi networks

 

Features

  • Has a huge capacity — more than 40 Gigabits per second (Gbit/s)
  • No need to share Wi-Fi as every device gets its own ray of light
  • The wireless data comes from a few central ‘light antennas’, which can be mounted on the ceiling, that are able to precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fibre
  • The antennas contain a pair of gratings that radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles (‘passive diffraction gratings’)
  • Changing the light wavelengths also changes the direction of the ray of light
  • If a user is walking about and a smartphone or tablet moves out of the light antenna’s direction, then another light antenna takes over
  • Current Wi-Fi uses radio signals with a frequency of 2.5 or five gigahertz
  • The new system uses infrared light with wavelengths of 1,500 nanometres and higher

 

Tracks precise location

The network tracks the precise location of every wireless device using its radio signal transmitted in the return direction

Different devices are assigned different wavelengths by the same light antenna and so do not have to share capacity.

 

Fact Check:

Researchers managed to achieve a speed of 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 metres

It’s safe: A safe infrared wavelength is used that does not reach the retina in the eye


Editorial/OPINION


[1]. Last gasp tasks

 

The Hindu

 

Context

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council cleared all the requisite State and Central-level legislative measures to implement the indirect tax regime

 

What has happened?

After the agreement on all GST bills, therate fitment process needs to be addressed

 

Major Task

  • The fitment of thousands of commodities and services into the five GST rate slabs (zero, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%) — could prove to be among the trickiest for the Council
  • The rate fitment processmore susceptible to lobbying from different sections of industry and States

 

Other tasks

  • Union Cabinet will soon take up the four laws that the Centre has to steer through Parliament, while the respective State governments will take up the State GST law
  • Officers from the States and the Centre are expected to finalise the drafts for four pending regulations out of a total of nine, that lay down the administrative procedures and processes to be followed by taxpayers under the GST regime
  • The Council will meet again on March 31, 2017 to consider those drafts
  • This will give the Centre enough buffer to make the transition to the new system

 

Conclusion

In a best-case scenario the rate-setting process should take at least a fortnight and the Council could meet some time in April to approve the rates

 

 

[2]. The Heckler’s Veto

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Threat to freedom of expression from powerful sections who could use their proximity to administrative power and the lacunae in our judicial systems with a sense of entitlement and impunity

 

What has happened?

The apex court must issue guidelines to the lower courts to refrain them from being an echo chamber for the heckler’s veto

 

Upholding freedom of expression

  • India is a land of cultural contrarieties, coexistence of many religions and anti-religions, rationalism and bigotry, primitive cults and materialist doctrines
  • The relationship between a free press and a vibrant democracy has been studied in detail
  • When the enabling environment for free speech gets vitiated(destroyed), it undermines the redeeming features of democracy
  • The lower courts in India, barring some notable exceptions, in contravention to the legal position taken by the apex court have repeatedly endorsed the heckler’s veto

 

Heckler’s Veto

  • The term was coined by University of Chicago professor of law Harry Kalven
  • A heckler’s veto occurs when the speaker’s right is curtailed or restricted by the government in order to prevent a reacting party’s behavior
  • It is a process by which socially powerful groups can shut down critical or inconvenient speech by threatening public disorder or disturbance.
  • The common example is the termination of a speech or demonstration in the interest of maintaining the public peace based on the anticipated negative reaction of someone opposed to that speech or demonstration

 

 

Granting an ex parte injunction encourages this practice

  • One of the ways in which the lower courts encourage the heckler’s veto is by granting an ex parte injunction against publication or broadcast of news
  • Though these are called interim injunctions, in reality they do become a prior restraint, which is not permissible under the Supreme Court judgment in the Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu (1994) case

 

Recent Example shared by author

A recent injunction to bring out the sweeping nature of this exercise that denies people vital, credible information. One of the courts in Karnataka, in a hold-all judgment against 27 news media organisations, both print and television, said: “Hence defendants 2 to 28 are hereby restrained by order of temporary injunction from telecasting or publishing any defamatory and malicious visuals or report in their news channels/newspapers about any subsidiaries run by Plaintiff including Plaintiff pertaining to the project namely _____ in any manner till next date of hearing

 

Author Concludes

The time has come for the Supreme Court to issue some guidelines to the lower courts to refrain them from being an echo chamber for the heckler’s veto


Economy


[1]. Doubts raised over second IFSC’s viability

 

The Hindu

 

Context

  • Even advanced nations have been finding it difficult to develop more than one major international financial centre in their respective territory
  • Therefore, India, which is yet to have full capital account convertibility, may find it even tougher to make more than one IFSC viable

 

What has happened?

  • The Commerce Department has asked the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) to comment on the feasibility of having more than one International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in India
  • Aso sought comments from the DEA on the viability of the Maharashtra government’s proposal for an IFSC in Mumbai

 

Other IFSC Centre:Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar

 

Nodal agency

  • The DEA, in the Finance Ministry, is the nodal agency for formulation and monitoring of economic policies at the macro-level such as the ones relating to the functioning of the financial services sector in the country like banking, insurance and capital markets, including stock exchanges
  • IFSC-related matters fall within the jurisdiction of financial sector regulators such as the Reserve Bank of India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and Securities and Exchange Board of India as well as the Finance Ministry
  • The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act is pertinent in this case as IFSC is set up in a SEZ, and therefore, the Commerce Department has a crucial role here as it is the nodal body at the Centre for SEZ-related matters
  • The SEZ Act merely states that the Centre can approve only one IFSC in a SEZ, and does not bar more than one IFSC in the country

Indian Express



Live Mint


[1]. Moving towards a larger formal economy

 

Live Mint

 

Context

One-time initiatives like currency swap might signal intent, but increasing the size of India’s formal economy will require a sustained effort

 

Demonetisation Impact

A step to move towards formal economy with the need to bring workers and activity into the formal sector

Political space now to consider tough policy measures needed to increase formalization of the economy

 

Concerns

  • Providing employment for India’s youth
  • Unorganized sector jobs are a suboptimal solution, much less productive than formal jobs
  • Lack of security for the worker
  • Lopsided growth and inefficient capital allocation
  • Spatial mismatches between enterprises and workers are a major barrier to growth and formalization: the relatively high cost of urban living makes labour-intensive firms uncompetitive in cities while poor connectivity undercuts hub and spoke arrangements that could get around the problem

Measures

  • Labour, land and tax reforms
  • Improving transport infrastructure and connectivity
  • Setting up enterprises in smaller towns with lower costs is another option—but here again, improved infrastructure is a necessity
  • Improving access to formal credit is another front
  • Improving the quality of human capital by boosting education and skill levels

Author Concludes

  • One-time initiatives like currency swap might signal intent, but increasing the size of India’s formal economy will take a sustained effort that works on the systems that underlie the Indian economy and society
  • The interlinked nature of these systems where improvement on one front will necessitate working on another makes this that much more difficult
  • So does the fact that in multiple areas such as labour and land reforms, state governments will have as much of a role to play as the centre
  • Now that the BJP controls a large number of states, Modi must push their governments to take these reforms forward

 

[2]. Low, stagnating female labour-force participation in India

 

Live Mint

 

Context

India’s growth strategy has focused on domestic demand and high-value service exports, which generate too few employment opportunities for women

 

What has happened?

  • Labour force participation rates of women aged 25-54 (including primary and subsidiary status) from a National Sample Survey (NSS) data between 1987 and 2011 for India :-
    • For Urban Areas: 26-28% (stagnation)
    • For Rural Areas: 57% to 44% (substantial fall)
  • Different age groups or different surveys essentially tell the same story, even though the levels differ slightly

Important issue for India’s economic development

  • In India number of working-age people now is particularly high, which can propel per capita growth rates through labour force participation, savings, and investment effects
  • But if women largely stay out of the labour force, this effect will be much weaker and India could run up labour shortages in key sectors of the economy

A Feminization U hypothesis for female labour participation?:

Author’s view:India is behaving according to the feminization U hypothesis, where in the development process, female labour force participation first declines and then rises

Case for the Decline

  1. Rising incompatibility of work and family duties as the workplace moves away from home
  2. An income effect of the husband’s earnings
  3. A general stigma against females working outside the home

Case for the Rising portion

  1. Receding stigma
  2. High potential earnings of females as their education improves further, as well as fertility decline, and better options to combine work and family duties

Give the rest of the article a light read, the issue of declining women labor force participation  has already been covered in the previous brief dated March 8, 2017


 

 

 

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