9 PM Current Affairs Brief – August 4th, 2018

Upcoming Current Affairs & Essay Test Series

Download the compilation of all summaries of all the news articles here

GS 2

Social media hub plan dropped

Social media hub plan dropped


  1. The government’s proposal for social media communication hub plan dropped.

Important facts:

2. The proposal was supposed to perform the following functions:

  • Monitor social media traffic.
  • Create a social media hub to create a technology architecture that merged mass surveillance with a capacity for disinformation.
  • The proposal was supposed to monitor social media traffic.
  • It supposed to create a platform to collect digital media chatter from all core social media platforms as well as digital platforms.

3. The withdrawal is the outcome of the apex court’s fear that it may create a surveillance state.

4. According to the Supreme Court, it may pose a danger in a country where privacy is a fundamental right.

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Checking the new abnormal

Checking the new abnormal


  1. Satvik Varma, litigation counsel, discussed the Supreme Court’s guidelines to address the lynching problem in India and also emphasized that anti-lynching laws are not sufficient to address cases of lynching.

Important facts:

2. Recently, the Supreme Court observed that “it is the responsibility of the States to prevent untoward incidents and to prevent crime.”

3. The apex court’s observation came as a result of increasing number of lynching cases across the country.

4. In Tehseen S. Poonawalla v. Union of India , the apex court held the following preventive guidelines:

  • Every state requires to designate a senior police officer, not below the rank of superintendent of police, as the Nodal officer in each district.
  • Such a nodal officer will perform the following functions:

a) He will constitute a special task force to collect intelligence on persons likely to commit such crimes.

b) He will take steps to prohibit instances of dissemination of offensive material through different social media platforms.

c) He is duty bound to ensure that prosecution of such cases is strictly carried out.

d) The charge sheet filed within the prescribed time period.

e) Trial concluded through fast-track courts within six months.

  • Both Centre and State governments have been directed to broadcast public notification on social media.

4. The apex court has taken the following remedial measures to address such cases:

  • In case of such violence, jurisdictional police station shall immediately lodge a FIR.
  • The SHO, in whose police station such an FIR’s is registered, shall intimate the nodal officer, whose duty will be to ensure safety of victims family.
  • Upon conviction, the maximum sentences provided for various offences be awarded.
  • The court made reference to the U.S. where between 1882 and 1968, nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were moved. However no bill was approved by the Senate.

5. The author  has  made the following suggestions:

  • The executive must immediately implement the directions of the apex court.
  • The U.S. experience shows that anti-lynching laws are not sufficient. There must be political will power to address such cases.
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Impasse ends

Impasse ends


  1. The Centre has cleared the elevation of Justice K.M Joseph (Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice) to the Supreme Court.

Important facts:

2. Justice Joseph’s name has been cleared along with the elevation of Chief Justices Indira Banerjee (Madras High Court) and Vineet Saran (Orissa High Court) to the Supreme Court.

3. Presidential warrants for the appointment will be taken out soon to complete the process.

4. The appointment of Justice was recommended by five-member collegiums few months ago.

5. His name was sent along with that of senior advocate Indu Malhotra to the Centre in January.

6. However, the centre opposed to his appointment because of his lack of seniority among the Chief Justices of the various high courts. It was also argued that his representation would give excessive representation to Kerala.

7. The government cleared only one of the two names, while seeking reconsideration of Justice Joseph’s candidature.

8. Such decisions tend to alter the inter se seniority among sitting judges, a factor that determines who becomes Chief Justice of India and who joins the collegiums.

9. Recently, it returned a recommendation concerning two appointments to the Allahabad High Court for the second time.

10. To resolve the conflict the judiciary and the government need to agreed upon a fresh memorandum of procedure for appointments.

11. Law Minster Ravi Shankar Prasad, said, “The proposed appointment of K.M. Joseph as a judge of the Supreme Court at this stage does not appear to be appropriate,”. It would not be justified to other more senior chief justices.

12. The collegiums, however, reiterated its stand and recommended Justice Joseph’s  for elevation.

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Centre pushes for quota in promotion for SCs/STs

Centre pushes for quota in promotion for SCs/STs


  1. Recently, the government began its push for providing “accelerated promotion with consequential seniority” for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) members in public employment.

Important facts:

2. Nagaraj  judgment 2006:

  • As per Nagaraj judgment 2006 , the government cannot introduce a quota in promotion for its SC/ST employees unless following conditions are fulfilled:

a) Unless they prove that the particular Dalit community is backward.

b) Unless that community is inadequately represented.

c) Such a reservation in promotion would not affect the efficiency of public administration.

  • The judgment was mean to find a “stable equilibrium between justice to the backwards, equity for the forwards and efficiency for the entire system”.
  • According to the judgment three qualifiers (Backwardness, inadequacy and administrative efficiency) were meant to prevent “reverse discrimination” by State.
  • It was also stated that the state will have to  see that its reservation provisions does not lead to excessiveness so as to breach the ceiling limit of 50% or obliterate the creamy layer or extend reservation indefinitely.

3. Now, the government wants refer the 2006 verdict to a larger bench for a re-examination because:

  • It had argued that the 2006 verdict had created an “impossible situation” for providing accelerated promotions with consequential seniority for SC/ST communities in government services.

4. The government’s stand on this:

  • The government objected to a creamy layer concept among the SC/ST.
  • Government wanted a total of 22.5% (15% for SC+7.5% for ST) posts reserved for promotion for SC/ST in public employment.
  • Most States did not prepare quantifiable data to show inadequacy/adequacy of representation.
  • On this, Attorney General K.K Venugopal said data keeps fluctuating and it is not static and filling up vacancies was a dynamic and continuous process.

5. Last year, a two-judge Supreme Court Bench, had re-opened the issue of creamy layer and quota in promotions for SC/ST by referring them to a Constitution Bench.

6. However, the two judge bench’s referral was based on a series of questions of law such as:

  • Article 16(4):- Which deals with the States power for providing for appointments or posts for “any backwards class of citizens”.
  • Article 16(4A):- Which arms the state with power to make provisions for quota in promotion with consequential seniority to SC/ST communities.
  • Article 16(4B):- which deals with unfilled vacancies of a year reserved for SC/ST kept from being filled up.
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GS 3

HRD Ministry approves norms against plagiarism

HRD Ministry approves norms against plagiarism


  1. The HRD Ministry approved  new  regulations  on plagiarism drafted by the UGC

Important facts:

2. The Ministry recently notified the UGC(Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Education Institutions) Regulation, 2018.

3. The UGC had approved the regulation prescribing graded punishment for plagiarism.

4. The UGC found three cases of plagiarism in writing PhD thesis

5. The new regulations provides the following punishment for students and teachers:

For Students:

  • Students found guilty of plagiarism may lose their registration and teachers could lose their jobs.
  • For students, plagiarism of up to 10% would not invite any penalty
  • Between 10 and 40% plagiarism will charge the students to submit a revised research paper within six months.
  • If the plagiarism is between 40 and 60%, students will be debarred from submitting a revised paper for one year.
  • A student’s registration for a programme will be cancelled if the similarities are above 60%.

For Teachers:

  • Teachers whose academic and research papers have similarities ranging from 10 to 40% will be asked to withdraw the manuscript.
  • Between 40 and 60% similarities, they will not be allowed to supervise new masters, M.Phil, PhD students for two years, and will be denied the right to one annual increment.
  • In case of repeat plagiarism of over 60%, the faculty member will be suspended, even dismissed.
  • If any member of the academic community suspects plagiarism, he or she shall report it to the Departmental Academic Integrity Panel.
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WHO thumbs up for Swachh Bharat’s rural component

WHO thumbs up for Swachh Bharat’s rural component


  1. The World Health Organisation(WHO) report released recently.

Important facts:

2. Major highlights of the report:

  • The Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin(SBM-G) will help in preventing more than three lakh deaths due to diarrhea and protein-energy malnutrition between 2014-October 2019.

3. India’s rural sanitation coverage escalated to 89.07% till Aug 2.

4. Under the SBM-G, 19 States and Union Territories were declared Open.

5. More than 4.9 lakh villages in the country were declared ODF.

6. Before, the initiation of SBM-G, unsafe sanitation caused 199 million cases of diarrhea annually and that by 2019, the initiative aims to achieve 100% sanitation coverage.

7. The report estimated that 14 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) can be avoided between 2014 and 2019.

8. The WHO estimation of health impacts is based on comparative risk assessment (CRA) methods.

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