- India to sign MoU on easing visa curbs with Bangladesh.
2. The Memorandum of understanding (MoU) on “revised travel arrangement” will be signed during home minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Dhaka.
3. Bangladesh’s demands:
- Travel restrictions for senior citizens be eased.
- Further concessions be given to Muktijoddhas-those who participated in the 1971 Liberation war.
- Earlier, India announced five-year multiple entry visa to the 1971 war veterans from Bangladesh.
4. There will be facilitation desks to help them in India.
5. In 2014, India decided to relax visa restrictions for Bangladeshis above the age of 65 and below the age of 13. They were allowed five-year multiple entry visas.
6. Citizens across 150 nations can travel to India on e-tourist visas procured online. This facility is not extended to Bangladesh.
- According to the Supreme Court, consensual gay sex may once again be decriminalized.
2. The Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court hearing the fight against section 377 of IPC, made a strong case against criminalization of homosexuality.
3. Justice Indu Malhota, lone woman judge on the Bench made following observations:
- Justice Malhotra, said homosexuality is only a variation and not an aberration.
- The prejudice and stigma piled on the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community don’t get proper medical aid because of the “prejudices” against them.
- Justice Malhotra spoke of the pressure on homosexual people from within the home. They succumb to marry the opposite sex, leading to life of mental trauma and bi-sexuality.
- The judge spoke of how homosexuality is not against the order of nature and nature itself.
- She also said ancient texts say “prakriti and vikriti go together”.
5.Chief Justice Misra said stigma is the root cause of suffering for the community.
6. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud expressed the hope that social stigma vanish if Section 377 is struck down by the court.
7. The Judge said Section 377 creates an environment which is conducive for discrimination of individuals on the ground of their sexuality.
8. Arguments in favour for decriminization of Section 377:
- Right to privacy and the protection of sexual orientation lie at the core of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.
- Article 14( Equality before law) The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birt
- Article 15- The Constitution of India deals with Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
- Article 21: (Protection of life and personal liberty): No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. The Article prohibits the deprivation of the above rights except according to a procedure established by law.
9. The court said that “By treating it as illegal, there are several ramifications for society”. Some of the ramifications are given below:
- It may lead to demands to legalise same sex marriages and inheritance by survivorship among gay partners.
- R.K Misra, director, centre for smart cities emphasized that essential urban infrastructure will lead to a deteorating quality of life.
2. In India, the world’s fastest growing economy, the urban population (nearly 32%) contributes over 60% of the GDP and is projected to 75% in next few years.
3. Globally, megacities have played a significant role in the economic growth of nations.
4. More than 12% of global city dwellers lived in the 28 megacities in 2014, of which Tokyo, Delhi and Shanghai were among the biggest.
5. Delhi is projected to become most populous city in the world by 2028, according to the United Nations.
6. The author highlighted the need to invest in urban infrastructure because :
- With the migration to urban areas, the share of agriculture and allied services in GDP has shrunk.
- This has lead to distress in rural India.
- On the contrary, the GDP contribution of megacities and metropolitan regions is disproportionately high.
- To make cities economically viable and environmentally sustainable, so that they remain economic growth engine.
- This will lead to more employment generation and improve quality of life.
- Investment in urban infrastructure is needed to support the burgeoning urban population.
7. The author highlighted the problems of Indian cities:
- There is lack of basic infrastructure
- Deteriorating quality of life
- 10 most polluted cities in the world are in India.
- Delhi is among them.
8. The author said that not creating essential urban infrastructure will lead to deteriorating quality of life.
9. The author also provides some suggestions :
- Least harm to the environment
- Net environment impact assessment must be conducted to justify the felling of trees and harm to water bodies.
- Need to inform the stakeholders about the long-term possible impact of these urban infrastructure projects to justify their necessity.
- Environmental pollution caused by traffic jams will do more harm to the environment and to people’s health than felling 1,000 trees to build a metro line or an elevated corridor. This data needs to be compiled and shared on public forums to educate people.
- Care must be taken to avoid any harm to environment by creating underground and elevated.
- Large scale compensatory afforestation should be provided
- The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, 2017
2. The key features of the Bill:
- The Bill proposes a comprehensive resolution framework for specified financial sector entities and service providers.
- It will deal with bankruptcy in banks, insurance companies and financial sector entities.
- The Bill seeks to give comfort to the consumers of financial service providers in financial distress.
- Its objectives include the maintenance of financial stability during a crisis.
- The Bill lists 11 categories of institutions which would come under the definition of specified service providers.
- The Bill proposes the setting up of a Resolution Corporation by the Central government.
- It would lead to repeal or amendment of resolution-related provisions in legislation, including the repeal of the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961.
- This would mean the transfer of deposit insurance powers and responsibilities to the Resolution Corporation to streamline the deposit insurance framework for the benefit of retail depositors.
- The government listed the functions of the Resolution Corporation which includes:
- Protecting the stability and resilience of the financial system, public funds, and consumers of covered obligations up to a “reasonable limit”.
- The Bill also details the powers and functions of the Corporation , which are listed below:
- To include providing deposit insurance to banking institutions,
- specifying the criteria for classification of a specified service provider into one of the categories of risk to viability,
- acting as an administrator for a specified service provider under critical risk,
- exercising powers in relation to certain termination rights in respect of specified service providers,
- resolving a specified service provider under critical risk,
- Acting as a liquidator for a specified service provider.
- The recently enacted Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 to deal with the insolvency resolution issues of non-financial entities will be complemented by the proposed Bill.
- Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel peace laureate, expressed his views on mob action as the most violent expression of fears about the safety of children.
2. Eight children go missing every hour in India to remain untraced and four are sexually abuse.
3. The trigger for the fears in these violent incidents was WhatsApp rumours.
4. The author raised doubt on the credibility of state institutions to bring the perpetrators to justice.
5. The author gave the followings suggestion :
a. Use of simple technological solutions like facial recognition software.
b. Passing more stringent laws against child trafficking and child pornography.
c. Culture of moral responsibility and accountability among our institutions.
d. Moral responsibility is an individual decision and moral accountability is culture
e. The author sighted the examples of three most important personalities –Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, in this regard:
- Mahatma Gandhi called off the Non-Cooperation Movement against the British because some of his supporters turned violent in Chauri Chaura.
- Martin Luther King called for compassion and hope despite facing vicious racist insults.
- Nelson Mandela adopted the approach of reconciliation to bring about justice.
- Pulapre Balakrishan, senior fellow of IIM, expressed his views on government’s list of Institutes of Eminence (IoEs).
2. The government has chosen a total of six institutions – three pubic and three private for the IOE status.
3. The public institutions are- the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) Delhi and Mumbai.
4. The private institutions are –the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, the Jio Institute; and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
5. The list was critised for excluding universities like JNU.
6. Finding a place in the list would have following advantages:
a. It would help an educational institution avoid clutches of dreaded regulators.
c. Enhanced financial support.
7. Regulators like UGC are meant to ensure socially desirable outcomes but opposite seem to have happened.
8. The UGC as a regulator failed and criticized on the following ground:
a. Producing low-level knowledge
b. Leading to a large number of publicity funded universities.
c.The UGC is preoccupied with disbursing funds.
d.Unable to concentrate on mentoring the institutes, focusing on research to be undertaken etc.
9. Due to failure of UGC, the government has decided to set up Higher Education Commission of India as a successor to UGC.
10. The Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grant Commission Act) Bill, 2018 (HECI) was drafted by the Centre to form HECI.
11. The HECI will perform the following functions:
a. Reform in education
b. Quality education
c. Reduce red tape and lethargy.
d. Providing autonomy
12. This has raised the following issues:
a. Possibility of biasness.
b. The government may use its discretion to reward institutions. This is a hazard to a democracy.