Facts in news is published on a weekly basis that consists a gist of all crucial news articles from ‘The Hindu’ that may bear relevance to Civil Services Preparation.

Here is the Summary of all current happenings from around the world for the second week of December.

Download Facts in News PDF file here.

Bills, Programs, Policies, Schemes, Orders, Judgments
Ministers not under RTI: Delhi High CourtContext:
• The Delhi High Court has set aside the Central Information Commission order declaring Ministers as “public authorities” and answerable under the Right to Information law.
About Central Information Commission:
• The Central Information Commission (CIC) set up under the Right to Information Act 2005.
• The 8th Annual Convention of Central Information Commission (CIC) was inaugurated on 2 September 2013.
• It includes one Chief Information Commissioner (CIC).
• It also includes not more than 10 Information Commissioner (IC) who are appointed by the appointed by the President of India.
• The first Chief Information Commissioner of India was Mr Wajahat Habibullah.
Abolish begging, Uttarakhand govt. toldContext:
• The Uttarakhand High Court recently directed the State government to abolish begging and legislate laws to fight the evil and also human trafficking.
What are the constitutional & legislative provisions related to Trafficking in India?
• Trafficking in Human Beings or Persons is prohibited under the Constitution of India under Article 23 (1).
• The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) is the premier legislation for prevention of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
Criminal Law (amendment) Act 2013:
• It has come into force wherein Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code has been substituted with Section 370 and 370A IPC.
Protection of Children from Sexual offences (POCSO) Act, 2012:
• It has come into effect from 14th November, 2012.
• It is a special law to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
• It provides precise definitions for different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assault, sexual harassment.
• Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006,
• Bonded Labour System(Abolition) Act, 1976,
• Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994,
Article 23 of the Constitution:
Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour
1- Traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar forms of forced labor are prohibited.
2- Any any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
Supreme Court verdict on inter-religion marriagesContext:
• The Supreme Court disagreed with a ruling by the Bombay High Court which said that a woman’s religion merges with her husband’s after an inter-religion marriage.
Courts’ verdict:
• A woman does not mortgage herself to a man by marrying him, and she retains her identity, including her religious identity, even after she exercises her right to marry outside her community under the Special Marriage Act.
• The Special Marriage Act confers on her the right of choice.
About Special Marriage Act:
• The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an Act of the Parliament of India.
• It was enacted to provide a special form of marriage for the people of India and all India nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of religion of faith followed by either party.
• The act originates from a piece of legislation proposed during the late 19th century.
• The law sought to legitimize marriages for those willing to renounce their profession of faith altogether.
• It can apply in inter-caste and inter-caste and inter-religion marriages.
• The Special Marriage Act, 1954 replaced the old Act III, 1872. The new enactment has 3 major objectives:
1. To provide a special form of marriage in certain cases,
2. to provide for registration of certain marriages and,
3. to provide for divorce
Tenth Schedule of the Constitution:Context:
• Janta Dal (United) leaders Sharad Yadav, Ali Anwar disqualified as Rajya Sabha members.
• The disqualification raises question whether it violets the anti-defection laws nor not.
Anti-Defection law:
• The 10th Schedule to the Constitution, popularly referred to as the ‘Anti-Defection Law.
• It was inserted by the 52nd Amendment in 1985.
• It deals with grounds of disqualification of Member of Parliament.
Grounds for disqualification:
• A member would incur a disqualification :
a) When he “voluntarily gives up “voluntarily gives up his membership of a party”
b) When he/she votes (as abstains from voting) contrary to the directive issued by the party.
Adultery law weighted in favour of men: SCContext:
• The Supreme Court recently said the dusty Victorian provision of adultery in the Indian Penal Code treats a married woman as her husband’s “subordinate”.
• The court admitted a petition to drop adultery as a criminal offence from the statute book.
Meaning of Adultery as per Section 497 of the IPC:
• “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery and shall be punished.”
Sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes(OBC)sContext:
• President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed a five-member commission to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes(OBC)s.
Purpose of appointing commission:
• To achieve greater social justice in the workforce in Central government offices fall short of achieving the 27% quota recommended by the Mandal Commission.
• The commission will examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes.
About Mandal Commission:
• The Mandal Commission, or the Second Backward Classes Commission , was established in India on 1 January 1979 .
• It was established to "identify the socially or educationally backward classes" of India.
• It was headed by B. P Mandal an Indian parliamentarian from Bihar.
• The Commission’s recommended that members of OBC be granted reservation to 27 % of jobs under the Central government and public sector undertakings.
Minister bought Bangalore Palace property in benami deal’Context:
• Energy Minister D. K Shivakumar has allegedly been found to have indulged in ‘benami transaction’ of a portion of the Bangalore Palace property through his conduits in June this year,.
About Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988:
• Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 has been amended by the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 (BTP Amendment Act).
• An Act to prohibit benami transactions and the right to recover property held benami and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Tripal talaq issueContext:
• The government gave proposal to introduce a Muslim Woman Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill in the winter session of Parliament.
• Under this, a husband who resorts to instant triple talaq can be jailed for up to three years.
About Triple Talaq:
• It is known as talaq-e-biddat, instant divorce.
• It is a form of Islamic divorce which has been used by Muslims in India.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage)Bill, 2017:
• The bill make instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddah) in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp illegal and void, with up to three years in jail for the husband.
Jallikattu issue for statute Bench Context:
• The Supreme Court recently said it will have a Constitution Bench examine whether the people of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra can conserve Jallikattu and bullock-cart races as their cultural right and demand their protection under Article 29(1) of the Constitution.
Why in the news?
• A two- judge Special Bench was hearing a batch of petitions , led by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), to quash the new Jallikattu law passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly which brought bulls back into the fold of “performing animals”.
About Article 29 of the Constitution:
• Article 29(1) is a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution.
• It protects the educational and cultural rights of citizens.
Art and Culture
UNESCO names Kumbh Mela Intangible Cultural HeritageContext:
• Kumbh Mela/Kumbh Mela, the largest congregation of pilgrims on the planet, has been listed an Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural:
• The UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris.
• It objective is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration.
• It is the successor of the League of Nations ‘International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.
• UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members.
• UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs:
1- Education,
2- Natural science
3- Social/human science
4- Communication/information.
• It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
Objective of UNESCO:
• UNESCO’s aim is to contribute to the building of peace.
• The eradication of poverty
• Sustainable development
• Intellectual dialogue through education, science, culture, communication and information.
Other priorities of the organization include :
• Attaining quality Education For All and lifelong learning.
• Addressing emerging social and ethical challenges.
• Fostering cultural diversity, a culture of peace and building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication.
Extension of deadline for mandatory Aadhaar linking Context:
• The government intends to issue a notification extending the deadline for mandatory Aadhaar linking from December 31, 2017, to March 31, 2018.
Why in news?
• This extension would include 139 government subsidies, which are funded out of the Consolidated Fund of India.
• The extension is also likely to cover Aadhaar linking for bank accounts.
About Consolidated Fund of India:
• Consolidated Fund of India is the most important of all government accounts.
• Revenues received by the government and expenses made by it, excluding the exceptional items, are part of the Consolidated Fund.
• This fund was constituted under Article 266 (1) of the Constitution of India.
• No money can be withdrawn from this fund without the Parliament's approval.
Composition of Consolidated Fund of India:
• All revenues received by the government by way of direct taxes and indirect taxes.
• Money borrowed and receipts from loans given by the government flow into the Consolidated Fund of India.
• All government expenditure is made from this fund, except exceptional items which are met from the Contingency Fund or the Public Account.
How Consolidated Fund of India is different from Contingency Fund of India?
• The Consolidated Fund represents the main account of the country where all revenues are collected and all expenditure is spent from.
• Approval for spending is from Parliament.
• The Contingency Fund is a fund maintained for unexpected and unforeseen expenditure, not budgeted for, and subject to Parliament approval later.
Science and Technology
Underwater reinforcementsContext:
• Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba provided the appropriate context for the 50th anniversary of the Indian Navy’s submarine arm.
• He indicated that the steadily shrinking force levels of the ‘boats’ would be augmented in a significant manner over the next two decades.
Acquisition plan:
The plan for the Indian Navy include:
• Six diesel electric Scorpene-class submarines;
• Three SSBNs (nuclear-propelled submarines equipped with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile) to follow INS Arihant;
• Six SSNs (nuclear-propelled submarines) used in an attack role.
• India acquired its first submarine, the INS Kalvari, on December 8, 1967.
• India is the first country in the world to move straight to designing and building an SSBN, without moving up the scale from conventional boats and India.
About INS Kalvari:
• INS Kalvari is the first of the six Kalvari-class submarines currently in service with the Indian Navy.
• It is a diesel-electric attack submarine which is designed by DCNNS (French naval defence and energy company) and being manufactured at Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai.
Social issues
Inter State-Level Disease Burden Report:Context:
• The India State-Level Disease Burden report, assessment of causes for disease in each State from 1990 to 2016, was released recently.
What is worrying?
• The report indicated many health inequalities among States.
• There was a fall in the under-five mortality in every State.
• There was also a four-fold difference in the rate of improvement among them.
• The per person burden from many of the leading infectious and non-communicable disease varied 5-10 times between States.
Who suffers most?
• The report explained that infectious and childhood disease continue to be significant problems in the Poor Empowered Action Group States of north India which still contributes 37-43% of the total disease burden.
• These diseases are responsible for the inordinately high burden of premature deaths.
• Morbidity suffered by children under five years of age in these States.
• Non-communicable disease and injuries have together overtaken infectious and childhood diseases in terms of disease burden in every State.
The National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB)dataContext:
• The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data on crimes against women, including trafficking in West Bengal, have shown alarming highs.
Highlights of the report:
• The NCRB report for 2016, which was released on November 30, 2017.
• The report recorded 283 incidents and 307 victims under Section 326A (acid attack) and Section 326B (attempt to carry out an acid attack) in the country.
• West Bengal recorded 76 incidents of such attacks and about 83 victims, accounting for 26% of all incidents and 27% of victims.
Highest crime recorded in West Bengal:
• West Bengal is the highest contributor to crime related to human trafficking.
• It alone accounts for 44% of all cases nationally.
• West Bengal government launched Kanyashree Prakalpa.
About Kanyashree Prakalpa:
• Launched by the West Bengal government.
• The purpose was to curb trafficking by providing conditional cash transfer to school-going girls but the numbers clarify that a lot more needs to be done.
World’s smallest Mona Lisa ‘painted’ with DNAContext:
• Scientists have created the world’s smallest copy of Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting Mona Lisa using DNA.
Why in news?
• Researchers from California Institute of Technology in the U.S. developed an inexpensive method by which DNA origami self-assembles into large arrays with entirely customisable patterns, creating a sort of canvas that can display any image.
• Researchers developed software that can take an image such as the Mona Lisa.
• They then got those sections to self-assemble into a superstructure that recreates the Mona Lisa.
About DNA:
• DNA is a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses.
• A single-stranded DNA molecule is composed of smaller molecules called nucleotides - abbreviated A, T, C and G - arranged in a string, or sequence.
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