9 PM Current Affairs Brief – July 20th, 2018

Upcoming Current Affairs & Essay Test Series

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

GS 2

Lynching & the law

Lynching & the law


  1. The Supreme Court order calls for a special law to deal with lynching

Important facts:

2. The violence started with vigilante violence targeting cattle traders in the names of cow protection.

3. But, now it has taken a new turn with recent spate of killings comprises impulsive and unplanned acts of violence, fuelled by rumour and panic inducing social media messaging.

4. Last year, the Supreme Court asked all States to appoint nodal officers in each district to curb mobs.

5. As a consequence, the incidence of lynching and violence committed by gau rakshaks appear to have reduced but killings on those mistaken to be child-kidnapers have had a disquieting rise.

6. The circulation of videos and other messages about child-lifters through social media is the main reason behind these incidents.

7. The apex court has located lynching and vigilante violence in a socio-political framework linked to disrespect for an inclusive social order.

8. Impact of such violence –

  • Freedom of speech, expression and personal choices are endangered.
  • Human beings are dehumanised

9. Remedial measures:

  • The apex court has mooted the idea of making lynching a separate offence.
  • The law should be comprehensive, covering not only incidents of lynching, but also the extent to which criminality can be apportioned among rumour-mongers, instigators, principal offenders and those who are involved in such crimes.
  • Penalty should be imposed on those who do nothing to stop such crimes.
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Dangerous law

Dangerous law


  1. The ‘nation state’ law passed by the Israel’s Parliament has raised concerns about its commitment to peace in the region.

Important facts:

2. The law lays down :

  • The law undermines its Arab minority and obstructs the peace process.
  • Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it.
  • The law strips Arabic, as national language status.
  • State Jerusalem, “whole and united” as its capital.
  • Promotes and encourage the establishment and consolidation of Jewish settlements.

3. Arguments in favour of the law:

  • It aimed to boost Israel’s Jewish identity.
  • It will not discriminate against minorities.

4. Arguments against the law:

  • Providing exclusive right to national self-determination only to Jewish and downgrading Arabic status.
  • Arab MPs have called the legislation racist and form of apartheid aimed at creating two systems with one country.
  • The new law challenges the basic concept of equality.
  • The law allows the Israeli state to institutionalize discrimination against the minorities at home.
  • The law further erodes the credibility of Israel’s professed support of an independent Palestinian state.

5. Controversial issues related to the law:

  • The emphasis on Jerusalem and the promise to promote settlements pose a direct threat to peace process with the Palestinians.
  • Jerusalem remains a disputed territory , with Palestinians seeing its eastern part as the capital of their future state

6. History of Jerusalem:

  • In 1947, the United Nations devised a plan to divide British manmade Palestine into three entities:

a) a Jewish state

b) Arab state

c) Jerusalem

  • Jewish leaders accepted the plan, but the Arab world rejected it.
  • Following the British withdrawal, a war broke out in which Israel seized the west of the city, while Jordanians and Palestinians took the east.
  • In the next conflict in 1967 Israel seized control of east Jerusalem and later annexed it, in moves never recognised by the international community.
  • The predominantly Palestinian population in the east lives under full Israeli control, but cannot vote in parliamentary elections.
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Details of 2015 Naga agreement emerge

Details of 2015 Naga agreement emerge


  1. The government has signed a framework agreement with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah(NSCN-IM) after it agreed on a settlement within the Indian federation with a “special status”.

Important facts:

  • Attempts were made from time to time to resolve the issue through discussion with representatives of the Naga people.
  •  A fresh attempt for a comprehensive resolution was initiated with the NSCN in 1997.
  • Even PM Modi on several occasions, articulated his vision for transforming the Northeast and has attached the highest priority to peace, security, connectivity and economic development in the region. This has also been at the heart of the Government’s foreign policy, especially ‘Act East’ Policy.
  • Recently, the 213th report on the security situation in the northeast states tabled in the Rajya Sabha by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

2. The framework agreement contains the following aspects:

  • The framework agreement recognizes the uniqueness of Naga history.
  • Some special arrangement will be made for Nagas.
  • For example with respect to Nagaland, Article 371 A of the Constitution make it clear that they are special and a special status has been accorded to them.
  • A similar kind of status, with some local variation, and some change to the Nagas in the neighbouring States can be explored.
  • The Nagas had now reached a common understanding with the government that “boundaries” of the States will not be touched” and some special arrangements will have to be made for the Nagas, wherever they are”.
  • The Interlocutor apprised the committee about the broad status of the negotiations that boundaries of any State will neither be changed nor altered.
  • Initially, the Nagas had struck to the idea of unification of Naga inhabited areas.
  • The NSCN-IM,has been fighting for ‘Greater Nagaland’ – it wants to extend Nagaland’s borders by including Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring States.
  • The NSCN was represented by its entire collective leadership and senior leaders of various Naga tribes.

3. The agreement will have the following benefits:

  • This agreement will end the oldest insurgency in the country.
  • It will restore peace and pave the way for prosperity in the North East.
  • It will advance a life of dignity, opportunity and equity for the Naga people, based on their genius and consistent with the uniqueness of the Naga people and their culture and traditions.
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GS 3

India to expand polar research to Arctic as well

India to expand polar research to Arctic as well


  1. The government is focusing priorities to the Arctic pole because of opportunities and challenges posed by climate change.

Important facts:

2. Despite having new priorities, the annual missions to maintain India’s three bases in Antarctica will continue.

3. The new priorities mean that there will be more expeditions and research focus on the other poles.

4. Climate change was a decisive factor in India re-thinking priorities

5. Recently, the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research(NCAOR) has been renamed as the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research.

6.The NCAOR was charged with conducting expeditions to India’s base stations to the continent.

7. The government is also in talks with Canada and Russia, key countries with presence in the Arctic cycle, to establish new observation systems.

8. Presently, India only has one Arctic observation station near Norway.

9. India’s earth science community also views the Himalayas as a “third pole” because of the large quantities of snow and ice presence and proposes to increase research spends towards understanding the impact of climate change in the region.

10. It has already established a high-altitude research station in the Himalayas, called HIMANSH, at Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

11. India is an observer at the Arctic Council – a forum of countries that decides on managing the region’s resources and popular livelihood and in, 2015, set up an underground observatory, called IndARC, at the Kongsfjorden fjord, half way between Norway and the North Pole.

12. Impact of climate change on India:

  • A big worry for India is the impact of melting sea ice on the monsoon.
  • Scientists across the world are reporting that the rapid ice-melt in the Arctic is leading to large quantities of fresh water into the seas around the poles.
  • This impedes the release of heat from the water and directs warm water into the seas around India.
  • This weakens the movement of the monsoon breeze into India.
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Wildlife scientists satellite-collar a dhole

Wildlife scientists satellite-collar a dhole


  1. The wildlife scientists have collared a dhole, the Indian wild dog, with a satellite transmitter.

Important facts:

2.The team of scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) tracks down a pack of 14 dholes in Bishanpura meadow in the Mukki range of the Kanha National Park.

3.It was done to study the habits of the endangered species.

4.With less than 2,500 individuals surviving in the wild globally, the dhole is already extinct in about 10 Asian countries.

5.Conservation ecologists believe the renewed efforts can help protect dholes.

6.About Dholes:

  • The Dholes is a canid native to Central, South and Southeast Asia.
  • Other names for the species include Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog, whistling dog, red dog, and mountain wolf.
  • The dole is a highly social animal, living in large clans without rigid dominance hierarchies and containing multiple breeding females.
  • In tropical forests, the dhole competes with tiger and leopards, targeting somewhat different prey species, but still with substantial dietary overlap.
  • It is listed as Endangered by the IUCN as populations are decreasing.
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Canada’s biggest public pension fund CPPIB to step up investment in India

Canada’s biggest public pension fund CPPIB to step up investment in India


  1. India’s $87 billion spending on infrastructure in financial year 2019

Important facts:

2. Canada’s biggest public pension scheme sees India as its main focus for investment in Asia.

3. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), which manages Canada’s national pension fund, has invested nearly C$7 billion ($5.30 billion) in India.

4. CPPIB is looking for  opportunities to invest in Indian infrastructure, power and real estate projects.

5. PM Modi plans to boost the economy and create more jobs by tripling public spending on infrastructure to ₹97 trillion ($87 billion) in the financial year .

6. CPPIB’s recent deals have been with private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank and real estate developer Phoenix Mills Ltd.

7. CPPIB currently owns shares in some leading fast moving consumer goods companies like ITC Ltd., Hindustan Unilever Ltd. and Britannia Industries Ltd.

8. The fund also expects more deals with logistics platform IndoSpace Core, its joint venture with Indian property developer IndoSpace.

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A vote of no confidence from the farmers

A vote of no confidence from the farmers


  1. Yogendra Yadav, national president , Swaraj India and Avik Saha, national convenor of Jaikisan Andolan, analyse how the reasons behind the sluggish agricultural growth and failure of government on this count.

Important Analysis:

2. Farmers of India expressed vote of no confidence against the government.

3. Representatives of farmers from across the country will be marching under the banner of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee(AIKSCC), umbrella body of 201 farmer organizations.

4. The author gave the following arguments on why the farmers express their vote of no-confidence against the government.

5. Stagnant agricultural growth:

  • The government has failed to fulfill its manifesto promises of highest priority to agricultural growth, increase in farmer’s income and rural development.
  • The government’s economic survey 2018 has conceded that farmers real income has “remained stagnant”.
  • No higher public investment in agriculture.
  • Public investment in agriculture declined in terms of its share of GDP.
  • The new farm insurance scheme, the Praadhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, has consumed much money as compared to earlier schemes without increasing the proportion of farmers.
  • The promise of “welfare measures”for farmers above 60, small farmers and farm laboueres not achieved.
  • The National Land Use Policy was never enacted.
  • The Agricultural produce market committee(APMC) act was not reformed.

6. MSP promise:

  • The government did not fulfill its promise of “cost+50%” as MSP.
  • Stopping the bonus over the MSP announced by the state government.
  • The percentage increase in MSP has been lower.

7. Drought:

  • The government not responded positively to nationwide droughts in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
  • Cut in contribution to States from the national disaster relief fund.

8. MGNREGS poor implementation:

  • Lack of political will in implementing the MGNREGS, which has hit the rural poor and farm labourers.
  • From imposing minimum export price on potatoes in 2014 to imposing sugar from Pakistan, the government has followed anti farmer trade policies.
  • Exports discouraged especially.
  • Imports of lentil, channna, wheat, sugar and milk powder was allowed that led to a crash in prices.

9. Demonetization:

  • Shoddily implemented policy of demonetization dealt a severe blow to agricultural markets.
  • This led to demand contraction and fall in prices.

10. Livestock sector:

  • The government’s halfhearted attempt to regulate livestock market by imposing ban on livestock movement has disrupted the livestock economic cycle.
  • This led to loss of income and problem of animals destroying crops.

11. Adivasi farmers:

  • The government has diluted the forest rights act and various other environmental laws.

12. Land acquisition act:

  • Attempt to nullify the historic land acquisition act of 2013 by the government.


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