9 PM Current Affairs Brief – October 1st, 2018


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


GS-2

In Parliament’s court

In Parliament’s court

Article:

  1. Author raising concern over rising criminalization of Politics in India and an inefficient mechanism to deal with it

Important Analysis:

2. Author has talked about the issue of candidates facing criminal charges getting elected in Parliament and State Legislature.

3. Data presented by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

  • There are more than 1,500 MPs and MLAs in Parliament and State Assemblies with criminal cases pending against them.
  • More than 100 MPs are charged with crimes against women and kidnapping
  • In Upper House; of 228 members of the Rajya Sabha for whom data could be analyzed, 20 have cases of serious crimes pending against them

4. The court mentioned that it was not within its powers to disqualify politicians facing criminal cases from contesting election, but recommended that Parliament enact a strong law.

5. However, the court made it mandatory for political parties and candidates themselves to make public disclosure through print and electronic media about their criminal records.

6. Some important changes in the electoral laws towards decriminalization of politics.

  • Making it mandatory for candidates to submit an affidavit with full disclosure of criminal cases.
  • Disclose details of their asset and income online — were made mandatory by the judiciary.
  • Providing an option to voters to exercise None of the Above (NOTA).

7. Why political parties have failed to bring an effective mechanism:

  • None of the political party is free of criminalization.
  • The use of muscle power along with money power is a weapon used by all political parties to maximize electoral gains.
  • Any move to ban candidates with a criminal record from contesting elections would mean political parties inflicting self-harm.
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S-400, Kamov on the agenda of Modi, Putin

S-400, Kamov on the agenda of Modi, Putin

News

1. President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit India on 4-5 October.

Important Facts

2. He will meet PM Modi and is expected to finalize important defense deals.

3. India and Russia are in final phase of discussion to buy 200 Kamov-226T utility helicopters.

  • The countries have already concluded an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for 200 helicopters estimated to cost over $1 billion.
  • Under the deal 60 helicopters will be imported from Russia and the rest will be built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with technology transfer.

4. The main focus of the visit will be on a deal for S-400 air defense system which India is planning to buy from Russia

  • IGA between the countries for five S-400 systems and four stealth frigates took place in 2016.
  • There is a fear that the deal might come under CAATSA sanctions of the U.S.
  • S. has imposed CAATSA sanctions on China which bought the S-400 air defense system from Russia.
  • Other countries which have bought or planning to buy the system includes Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

5. About S-400 air defense system

  • It is considered one of the most advanced long-range defense systems in the world.
  • It has a range of 400 km and can hit targets at a height of up to 30 km.
  • Its radars can track hundreds of targets simultaneously and destroy them.
  • Each system includes a command post, 3D phased array acquisition radar, optional tracking radar and firing units.
  • There are various kinds of missiles to choose from based on the mission requirements.
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Government to launch registry of sex offenders next month

Government to launch registry of sex offenders next month

News:

  1. India recently launched a National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO), and is ninth country to do so.

Important Facts:

2. The Criminal Law Act, 2018, provides for a National Registry of Sexual Offenders.

3. National Registry of Sexual Offender Database will have:

  • Names and aliases, identifiers including PAN and Aadhaar, information of date of birth, criminal history, fingerprints and palm prints, and various other details of criminals.
  • It will only have details of persons who are aged 18 or more.
  • The database will include offenders convicted of rape, gang-rape, under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, and of eve teasing.
  • Database will have records from 2005.
  • Database Will be maintained by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
  • Accessible only to law enforcement agencies.

4. How this centralized database will work?

  • Whenever the details of a convict are entered into a prison database anywhere in the country, the name will be uploaded to the registry.

5. How it is maintained in other Countries:

  • Megan’s Law in U.S – Allows access to database to the public and communities, except data on juveniles.
  • UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, limit data access only to law-enforcement agencies
  • Everywhere only convicted persons are entered.

6. Criticism over maintaining the registry database:

  • It does not have a deterrent impact on convicted person.
  • It does not help people who have survived sexual violence.
  • In India, it might not encourage people to report rapes or sexual offences because most of the convicted are known to victims as per the NCRB data.
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GS-3

Is newly traversed passage through the Arctic about to revolutionise shipping?

Is newly traversed passage through the Arctic about to revolutionise shipping?

Article:

  1. The article discusses about the melting of Arctic sea ice sooner due to climate change and the newly emerging sea routes due to this phenomenon.

Important Facts:

  1. The two main sailing routes through the Arctic:
  • Northwest Trail-  runs along the Canadian coast,
  • Northeast Passage- through Siberia. It is shortest route connecting the Far East to Western Europe.

3.Recently few cargo vessels  passed through the Russian Arctic on a trial journey as a result of melting sea ice.

  1. Due to climate change resulting in some parts of the Arctic warming upto 100% faster than elsewhere, ancient, thick ice is disappearing.

 

5. Extent of declining Arctic Sea Ice

  • The sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean has declined in every decade since the 1980s.
  • The average Arctic sea ice volume that was more than 13,750 cubic km  between 1985 to 2000 is expected to fall to just 3,000 cubic km on average between 2045 and 2060.
  1. The emerging sea routes via melting sea ice
  • Northern Sea Route could potentially cut the travel distance between East Asia and Western Europe (currently via the Malacca Strait, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Suez Canal) from 21,000 km to just 12,800 km, and the journey time by 10-15 days.
  • As the seas warm, the ships may be able to pass directly over the North Pole from the north of Russia to the north of Canada.
  • Due to “middle of the road” warming the shipping activity in the region will increase over the next decade. Russia is also likely to develop oil and gas fields in Siberia.
  1. Viability of development of new sea routes
  • Northern Sea Route is not yet a viable commercial alternative to existing east-west routes as the passage is only feasible for around three months a year.
  • Moreover  the ice-classed vessels will require an additional investment which may not be sustainable.
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Government looks to plug gaps in exits of auditors, directors

Government looks to plug gaps in exits of auditors, directors

News

  1. In the wake of many auditors (for example- close to 200 auditors this year) who quit the company when the company gets in trouble, the government is looking to tighten the rule these auditors and directors.

Important Facts:

2. National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) is asked to review the audit standards and suggest how to make auditors accountable.

3. Under the law, an audit firm, which is a custodian, cannot simply walk out of an assignment that has been given by the shareholders. If there are concerns, they need to be reported properly.

4. Ministry of corporate affairs had sought reasons for large scale auditor resignations in companies. For example- 200 auditors have resigned this year.

5. In case of directors, the government plans to tighten the reporting norms where more disclosures are planned.

6. The ministry of corporate affairs is seeking to strengthen governance standards as part of government’s clean up drive for India Inc.

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The road to e-vehicles

The road to e-vehicles

News:

  1. Jharkhand government is planning to introduce electric vehicles (e-vehicles) for official use.

Important Facts:

  1. The Jharkhand  government is acquiring electric vehicles in phases and setting up charging stations at several places for e-vehicles.
  2. Need for e-vehicles
  • The soaring fuel prices and spectre of climate change looming large over the planet the government is taking the lead in switching to e-vehicles.
  • It is also in sync with India’s strong pitch in favour of electric vehicles at the recently held Global Mobility Summit in New Delhi.

  • Electric vehicles are also an integral component of smart cities within the frameworks of smart transportation.
  1. Impact of promoting e-vehicles
  • If other States and the Centre were to follow the example set by Jharkhand, it would have two positive spin-offs:
  • First, it would encourage the spread of a transportation infrastructure specific to e-vehicles.
  • Second, it would spur the early adoption of e-vehicles by first-time buyers, generating consumer momentum for India’s stated goal of ensuring that by 2030, all public transport and 30% of private vehicles are electric.
  1. Way Forward
  • The government needs to speed up the formulation of rules for e-vehicles as a category
  • An India-specific road map needs to be bought to smoothly transit towards e-vehicles.
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South African lion cubs conceived artificially in world first

South African lion cubs conceived artificially in world first

News:

  1. Recently the first ever lion cubs have been  born by means of artificial insemination

Important Facts:

2. The research was carried out at the Ukutula Conservation Center  in South Africa.

3. These were the first lion cubs ever born from artificial insemination in their natural range country (South Africa), and not in a zoo overseas.

Benefits of the research

  • Lions are extinct in 26 African countries and numbers in the wild have plummeted 43 percent over the last two decades.
  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with roughly only 20,000 left,  the African lions are vulnerable.
  • The scientists are  hoping the artificial insemination  technique can be used to save other endangered big cats  like the cheetah. .

4. Criticism of the research

  • The  animal welfare organisations claim that  captive lion breeding industry in South Africa is exploitative and profit-driven.
  • It generates its income through interaction activities (lion cub petting and lion walks), canned trophy hunting of lions and the lion skeleton trade, while contributing nothing to lion conservation.

5. About Artificial Insemination (AI)

  • It is the process of collecting sperm cells from a male animal and manually depositing them into the reproductive tract of a female.
  • There are several advantages of this like no need of maintenance of breeding and prevents the spread of certain diseases and sterility due to genital diseases.
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