- Drift in India and U. S. relations in recent past.
2. Both India and U.S. now freely conceding that their interest are diverging.
3. There are enough instances of their diverging interest. Some of these are given below:
4. Policy decisions by President Donald Trump to walk out of the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran.
5. The U.S. Congress’s CAATSA law sanctioning Iran and Russia have set up inevitable conflict.
6. Trump’s administration sanctions against those continuing to engage with Iran and Russia limits India’s options on energy security and defence procurement.
7. The U.S. envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, recently told India to “revive” its relationship with Iran.
8. The U.S. tough policy on trade tariffs, applied to ally and adversary alike, including India.
9. Now the last week’s postponement of ‘2+2 dialogue’ by the U. S. had denied the governments a chance to gather together the fraying bilateral ties.
10. India’s reaction:
- The government has taken a policy turn away from the pro-U.S. tilt.
- During his recent speech at Shangri-La Dialogue, PM Modi invoked the long-lapsed phase “ strategic autonomy”, set at rest any doubt that there is a reset in his foreign policy.
- The government reached out to Chinese and Russian presidents in informal summits and invited the Irarian president to Delhi.
- India promised to raise oil imports from Iran this year.
- Commitment to greater engagement with Chahabar port projects and oilfields in Iran.
- Negotiating a $ 5.5 billion deal with Russia for S-400 Triumf missile systems.
- India’s engagement with these countries will trigger U.S. sanctions unless the two countries reach a compromise.
11. The more trouble area in their relationship is diminishing political will to address these issues.
12. Way ahead:
- It is imperative that the postponement 2+2 dialogue between the two nations be quickly rescheduled.
- India must now decide how best to deal with U.S. sanctions.
- Recently, the Supreme Court gave directions to the government for eradicating leprosy.
2. The apex court gave the following directions to the government :
- Chief Justice says it the duty of the state to erase the stigma against leprosy.
- The government need to constitute a separate wing to create public awareness that leprosy is curable and not contagious.
- The court said the “primary duty of the state to erase the stigma against those suffering from leprosy and nudge them back into the mainstream.”
- The court ordered All India Ratio and Doordarshan to air programmes nationally as well as regionally in States.
- Afflicted persons could not be exposed to stigma which denuded them of basic human dignity.
- Persons suffering from leprosy deserved the empathy from authorities as well as the society at large.
- The court said that deserved to be treated with equality.
- Previously, the court had asked the Centre and the States to remove references to leprosy as a disability from statute books because written laws amounted to “statutory stigma”.
3. The Centre is taking steps to eradicate leprosy. So far following steps has been taken :
- The court directed the government to spread the awareness campaign up to the ‘gram panchayat’ level. It would help in eradicating the disease and ending discrimination against sufferers.
- Steps were being taken to repeal legal provisions in laws which discriminated against leprosy patients.
- The government is taking steps to delete the provisions from number of enactments which cast stigma on the persons.
- The court referred to the 256th Law Commission’s report and said the recommendation on repealing discriminatory legal provisions had not been acted upon by the Centre and States.
- Recently, the Home Ministry has asked the States and UTs to check increasing incidents of mob lynching in the country.
2. Mob Lynching:
- Mob Lynching means killing of someone by a mob for an alleged offence without following any principles of jurisprudence or due process of law.
- A lynching is a majority way of telling a minority population that the law cannot protect it.
- Lynching served the broad social purpose of maintaining superiority in economic, social, cultural and political sphere.
3. The incidents were fuelled by rumours of child-lifting on social media.
4. More than 20 people have been lynched in the couple of months on suspicion of child-lifting.
5. The recent incidents of lynching includes:
- Two people were lynched in Tripura on June 28 and two in Assam last month on suspicion of child-lifting.
- In Chennai, two men employed with a construction company engaged in Metro Rail work were attacked last week
- The latest incidence is the killing of five men in Maharashtra’;s Dhule district.
6. The Ministry has suggested the following safety measures in order to curb these incidents:
- The ministry has urged the States to keep a watch for early detection of rumors of child-lifting and take appropriate measures to counters them.
- The States and UTs has been asked to direct district administrators to identify vulnerable areas and conduct community outreach programmes for creating awareness and building confidence.
- Properly investigate the complaints of child abduction or kidnapping to instill confidence among the affected people.
7. Recently, the government had directed WhatsApp to immediately take steps to prevent the spread of “irresponsible and explosive messages”.
8. Responding to the directions, the U.S.-based social media platform said, fake news can be checked by the government, society and technology companies working together.
- The Law Commission of India submitted a report to the government to “regulate” gambling in sports.
2. The Commission was headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.S. Chauhan.
3. The Commission said that it is impossible to stop illegal gambling, the only viable option is to regulate gambling in sports.
4. Key recommendations of the Commission:
Recommended “cashless” gambling in sports as means to increase revenue and deal a blow to unlawful gambling.
- The money generated can be used for public welfare activities.
- The revenue from the gambling should be taxable under laws like Income Tax Act, the Goods and Services Tax Act.
- The transactions between gamblers and operators should be linked to their Aadhaar and PAN cards
- Recommended a classification of ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling’.
- Proper gambling would be for the rich who play for high stakes, while small gambling would be for the low-income groups.
- Recommended to introduce a cap on the number of gambling transactions for each individual.
- Restrictions on amount should be prescribed while using electronic money facilities like credit cards, debit cards, and net banking.
- Gambling websites should also not solicit pornography.
- Regulations need to protect vulnerable groups, minors, poor, and those who depend on social welfare measures for their livelihoods, subsidies and Jan Dhan account holders from exploitation through gambling.
- The Commission recommended Foreign Exchange Management and Foreign Direct Investment Policies should be amended to encourage investment in the online gambling industry.
5. However, one of the members of the commission Sivakumar expressed strong opposition on the following grounds:
- The report was not comprehensive.
- A country as poor as India should not allow ‘ legalized gambling’.
- The commission exceeds its brief given to it by the SC in 2016.
- The court’s reference had come in its judgment in the BCCI case involving illegal betting in IPL cricket matches.
- He criticized the commission for ignoring socio-economic conditions of the country.
- The Commission was also criticized for avoiding Justice R. M Lodha Committee in its report, based on which the reference was made to the Law Commission by the court in 2016 in its BCCI judgment.
- He said allowing gambling in sports would favour the amassing of money by a handful of game operators.
- The member criticized the Commission for suo motu examining the issue of legalizing gambling.
- He argued that the SC had only asked the Commission to examine the limited question of legalizing betting in cricket and not “sport” as a whole.
- Recently, the Supreme Court has refused to stay the RBI’s directive to banks instructing them to stop all business with dealing in cryptocurrencies.
2. The RBI’s directive and SC’s verdict have mixed reactions from industry players and analysts.
3. The apex bank’s decision is a big blow to not only crptocurrency trading platform, but also individuals holding crptocurrency.
4. The regulatory framework is being built in relation to the crptocurrency market in India.
5. This framework would not have been in the process of development if the government had the intension to ban crytocurrencies entirely.
- Crptocurrency is digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions.
- Cryptocurrency is a kind of digital currency, virtual currency, or alternative currency.
- Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money and central banking system.
- Recently, the centre approved Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for kharif crops.
2. The government considers A2+FL’ as production cost.
3. A2+FL costs includes family labour, but not land costs.
4. However, some experts want comprehensive cost (C2) to be considered for MSP. C2 includes land costs. MSP based on C2 cost will be higher than the proposed figure.
5. The prices were recommended by the government panel.
6. The panel has also recommended that the Centre bring out a legislation which provides legal backup to farmers to sell their produce at those prices.
7. The Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices , statutory panel under Ministry of Agriculture makes the recommendations for MSP for 23 kharif and rabi crops.
8. However, its suggestions are not binding on the government.
9. In its report titled ‘Price Policy for Kharif Crops for the Marketing Season 2018-19,’ the CACP highlighted that the procurement mechanism is broken for most crops and for most farmers.
10. However, the farmers of remote areas do not have sufficient access to APMCs and they sold their product at local ‘haat’s where their produce is sold below MSP.
11. Strong procurement operations need to be expanded to neglected regions especially eastern and north eastern regions.
- Recently, ISRO has taken a step forward towards sending Indian’s to space by conducting the first ‘pad abort’ test.
2. The test was conducted at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
3. The test proves that the agency can bail out future astronauts with their capsule in case of an early danger to them at the launch pad.
4. A 1,260 kg crew module lifted off propelled by seven complex rockets built unconventionally around it.
5. It reached a height of 2.7 km and curved down into the Bay of Bengal.
6. It landed in the sea at a distance of 2.9 km from the launch centre.
7. The model was retrieved later by three boats.
8. The Pad Abort Test(PAT) demonstrated the safe recovery of the crew module in case of any exigency at the launch pad.
9. PAT is a major technology demonstrator and the first in a series of tests to qualify a larger Crew Escape System of the future.
10. During the test, the teams from various centres tried out five new technologies such as those related to wireless satellite communication, navigation, Ka-band altimeter and telemetry.
11. Nearly 300 sensors recorded various functional aspects. More technology trials related to astronaut safety would be taken up later.
12. The escape mechanism activated when it sensed something wrong in the health of the mission or module.
13. The rockets powered by fast-acting solid fuels quickly eject the crew and the module.
14. Each of the seven motors that powered the crew module had a different role and worked in sequence- at low altitude, high altitude, for pitching the module away.
15. The U.S., Russia and China have already sent human missions as part of its research and development activities.