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GS 2

Children living in jails worries SC

News:

  1. A committee headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court will be formed to tackle the issue of children living with mother in prisons

Important facts:

2. The order came after Supreme Court’s advocate submitted a report showing that there is lack of space of women inmates.

3. He also pointed out that these jails were not modeled to house women inmates, especially those with minor children staying with them.

4. The panel will focus on the following aspects:

  • The panel will study the problems of mothers and children living inside prisons.
  • The committee would also look into what reforms could be introduced within the prison walls.

5.  The court said that following measures should be taken for prison reforms:

  • The Centre should issue a notification on the setting up of the committee, highlighting the importance of prison reforms and the fundamental right to life with dignity of the prisoners.
  • Training manuals to be circulated to the Director-General of Prisons and Secretaries of Prison Department in each State government /UT.
  • Criminals sentenced to imprisonment for six months or a year should be allocated social service duties rather than be sent to further choke the already overflowing prisons.

 

GS 3

Govt. extends loan waiver scheme to individual farmers

News:

  1. The Maharashtra government has decided to waive outstanding loans of individual eligible farmers.

Important facts:

2. Recently, the State government issued a Government Resolution (GR) on loan waivers to eligible farmers.

3. Prior to changing its definition of an eligible farmer, the government had considered a farmer family as a single unit and up to ₹1.50 lakh of agricultural debt was waived.

4. Now, each individual with an outstanding agricultural loan will be covered in the scheme, and up to ₹1.5 lakh will be waived by the government.

5. Each individual’s loan amount up to ₹1.50 lakh will be waived.

6. The necessary instructions have been given to banks to prepare the list of potential beneficiaries.

7. Earlier, under the scheme, if a farmer had an outstanding loan amount of more than ₹1.5 lakh, the difference will have to be paid to the bank before he or she can avail of the State government waiver.

8. The revised rule also states that farmers who have paid some money to the bank as per the earlier version of the scheme will be reimbursed if the cumulative outstanding loan amount is less than ₹1.5 lakh

9. In March this year, the government said it has paid for bad farm loans worth ₹13,500 crore to banks, which benefited 35.32 lakh farmers.

10. The government plans to cover at least 77 lakh farmers under the scheme.

 

ISRO set to launch its TV channel

News:

  1. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will have an year-long Vikram Sarabhai centenary celebration to honour the visionary scientist and its legendary founding father. 

Important facts:

  • Sarabhai, the architect of the Indian space programme the first ISRO chief and renowned cosmic rays scientist, was born Aug 12, 1919.
  • As a part of celebration, series of activities will be organized nationally and internationally to commemorate the great international scientist.
  • Awards, scholarships and fellowships will also be given in the country and abroad.
  • It plans to roll out a dedicated ISRO TV channel showcasing space applications, developments and science issues, targeting young viewers and people in remote areas in their language.
  • ISRO’s tributes to Sarabhai start with naming the first Indian moon landing spacecraft of the Chandrayaan-2 mission ‘Vikram’.
  • The mission is planned for early 2019.
  • A chair each at Sarabhai’s two alma maters, Cambridge University and Gujarat University, as also at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), would be set up.
  • 100 lectures by science luminaries would be held across the country in association with the International Astronautical Federation, the global space networking body.
  • ISRO will very soon start allowing the public to watch satellite launches from its Sriharikota launch centre.

 

BCCI revamp

News:

  1. After accepting the Justice Lodha committee’s recommendations, the Supreme Court has now extended some concessions to those aggrieved by the rigorous rules, which aimed to revamp cricket administration in the country.

Important facts:

2. The court said that it is a pragmatic modification rather than a significant climbdown.

3. The most significant change concerns the cooling-off period prescribed for office bearers before they are allowed to contest for a subsequent term.

4. The logic behind the cooling-off period is that office bearers should not be given lengthy tenures that enable them to establish personal fiefdoms.

5. The panel viewed that every office-bearers of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, in the national board or in a state association, should have three-year terms.

6. Contrary to this, the court has now allowed two three-year terms that is,tenure of six years-before the mandatory break kicks in.

7. The argument against this is that the experience and knowledge that an office-bearer gains over three years should not be frittered away and a second term could help consolidate such learning’s.

8. The Bench has accepted the logic behind this and chosen to defer the cooling-off period until she completes two terms.

9. The panel had also favoured the ‘one State, one vote’ norm.

10. This means that an association representing a State alone should be recognized as a voting member of the BCCI, while associations representing a region within a State or entities that do not represent a territory should not have the same vote or status.

11. The court has accepted the reasoning that associations that had contributed significantly to Indian cricket need not be stripped of their full membership.

12. Judicial intervention has been immensely helpful in making cricket administration more efficient and professional, and addressing the credibility deficit of recent times.

 

Studies point to rising drug abuse among women in Punjab

News:

  1. The problem of drug abuse among women is increasing in Punjab, according to the studies in Punjab.

Important facts:

2. The recent study titled ‘Epidemiology of Substance Use and Dependence in the State of Punjab’, by the faculty of PGIMER, pointed out the following  facts:

  • Number of women addicted to drugs is rising “alarmingly” in the State.
  • According to experts, social stigma, state of denial and lack of exclusive facilities are the key reasons why women are not coming forward for treatment.
  • The state government has been providing various treatment options for the youth, especially to males.
  • Punjab has 31 government de-addiction centres but there’s only onecentre exclusively for women- in Kapurthala, set up in 2017.
  • In Punjab almost 4.1 million people have been found to be using one substance or the other (licit or illicit) at least once in their lifetime.
  • Among the lifetime users, 4 million were men and around 0.1 million were women.
  • Number of people dependent on any substance in their lifetime was 3.2 million, with 3.1 million men and 0.1 million women.
  • Licit substances consist of alcohol and tobacco, and illicit substances are opioids, cannabinoids, inhalants, stimulants, and sedatives.
  • There were about 4.1 million lifetime users of licit substances and for illicit substances, the corresponding figure was 0.5 million.
  • Opioids (heroin, smack, crude opium, poppy husk etc) were by far the most commonly used illicit drugs in the State.
  • Around 2, 02,817 males and 10,658 females were found to be ‘lifetime dependent’ on opioids as per ICD-10 criteria.
  • While, 1, 56,942 males were found to be ‘currently dependent’ on opioids (as per ICD-10 criteria) the figure of females was 10,658.

3. Punjab Opioid Dependence Survey (PODS), 2014-15, which exclusively focussed on opioid dependence pointed out that:

  • Found 1% of females to be opioid dependants.
  • The data was collected from a total of 3,620 opioid-dependent individuals across 10 districts
  • The two main reasons for this seem to be social stigma and lack of exclusive facilities for females.
  • The Navjivan rehabilitation centre at Daulatpur in Patiala, has been witnessing an increase in queries on treatment of female drug addicts.

4. Another study on Punjab, conducted by The Institute for Development and Communication (2001), which covered eight districts of Punjab had revealed that consumption of poppy husk (bhukki), tablets and capsules were most popular amongst women.

 

Wars of the currency kind

News:

  1. Recently, RBI Governor Urjit Patel warned that the global trade war could escalate into a currency war.

Important facts:

2. Trade wars erupt when countries impose tit-for-tat tariffs on imported goods, to protect domestic manufacturers.

3. Currency wars:

  • Currency wars are triggered when nations either allow their currencies to weaken appreciably or devalue them to gain a competitive advantage over trade rivals.
  • If other countries react by devaluing their respective currencies to retain competitiveness, this could lead to instability in markets.

4. Devaluation:

  • Devaluation is a policy tool to reduce the value of a currency, relative to other currencies, in a fixed exchange rate.
  •  It is used to set the relative prices of domestic and international goods and services at a new footing.
  •  Devaluation is different from depreciation, which is a decrease in the currency’s value due to market forces of demand and supply when the exchange rate of the currency is floating.
  • Governments may resort to devaluation for any one of three major reasons:

5. To boost exports:

  • The lowered value of the domestic currency will make it less expensive for foreign buyers to obtain the local currency to buy locally produced goods or services.
  • More goods and services would be sold abroad, helping domestic businesses reliant on export markets such as software services companies, pharma firms and seafood exporters.

6. To shrink a trade deficit:

  • Devaluation while making exports more competitive also makes imports more expensive and hence less affordable.
  • This helps reduce the volume of non-essential imports thus helping to narrow the trade gap.

7. To reduce the debt servicing burden: nations with significant sovereign debt sold domestically may find it advantageous to let the currency weaken as it helps lower the notional cost of debt servicing.

8. Rupee devaluation:

  • In 1966, hit by drought after two major wars (with China and Pakistan), India devalued the rupee by 36.5%.
  • Again, in 1991, a Balance of Payments crisis exacerbated by the sharp spike in oil prices in the wake of the Gulf War spurred India to devalue the rupee in “a two-step downward adjustment of 18-19%.”

Exclusionary state

Article:

  1. Akriti Bhatia, PhD Scholar, University of Delhi, emphasized that rural-to-urban migrant workers are facing dislocation and crisis of identity.

Important facts:

  1. In India inter-state migrants are facing constant threat.
  2. Large chunk of migrant labourers shelter and work are deemed “illegal” within

Indian cities.

  1. The 2011 Census pegs the total number of internal migrants in the country including those who have moved within and across States, at a staggering 139 million.
  1. The author said , it is the responsibility of state to provide migrant workers with proper documents, secure jobs, housing and provisioning of other public utilities.
  1. However, the state often derecognises them and conveniently brackets them as “illegal”.
  1. The Smart Cities Mission of 2015 proposed investment allocations to convert 99 Indian cities into smart cities.
  1. A mere 8% of the intended projects have been completed so far in the past three years, according to the recent report released by Housing and Land Rights Network.
  1. Many smart city proposals identify slums as a “threat” to the city in their “SWOT” (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis while totally failing to account for migrant labour in the schemes.
  1. The report documents forced evictions and shelter demolitions in 32 out of the 99 proposed smart cities so far.
  1. The national obsession with bringing order to international boundaries could also be applied within nation states, cities and neighbourhoods
  1. The author suggests that the state’s role in ensuring equality, basic dignity, livelihood and providing minimum social security to its people must be upheld before all other priorities.
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