GS: 1 Society related issues: ‘Skill India’ urgently needs reforms(The Hindu Opinion) Salvaging the Indian demographic dividend must be a key part of India’s growth story. In 2016, the Government of India formed the Sharada Prasad Committee to rationalise the Sector Skill Councils (SSCs), which are employer bodies mostly promoted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of Indian Industry and other industry associations, and improve ‘Skill India’. The committee submitted its report in 2016.
Indian Constitution and Polity: Expanding the SC/ST Act(The Hindu Opinion) The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, was highlighted in the Supreme Court by the government as a significant step taken to affirm the trust of the SC/STs in the law. The amendments, which came into effect in January 2016, expand the original Act of 1989. SC raps govt for passsing ordinance(The Hindu) The Supreme Court on Thursday rapped the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government for promulgating an ordinance to “blatantly nullify” last year’s apex court order freezing illegal medical admissions made in the State. Was the SC right on the anti-atrocities law?(The Hindu Opinion) The recent Supreme Court ruling on the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, is clear in intent and is nothing new. So, I am baffled by the reactions to the judgment. What it does is to direct the police to verify all the facts of a case before registering a complaint under the Act so as to ensure that justice is done to both the complainant and the accused.
Economy: Surprise softening(The Hindu Opinion) The Reserve Bank of India’s policymakers have acted predictably in opting to keep interest rates unchanged and in retaining the ‘neutral’ stance. Price stability, after all, remains the Monetary Policy Committee’s primary remit, and trend line retail inflation continues to run above its medium-term target of a durable headline inflation reading of 4%. But as with all central bank policy statements, it is not only the action but also what is said that is closely scrutinised for clues on what may lie ahead. Wilful default of loans hits honest taxpayers, says Kovind(The Hindu) President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said wilful and criminal default on bank loans had hurt innocent citizens and honest taxpayers had to bear the brunt of such frauds. ‘Tax on alcohol, tobacco to benefit poor’(The Hindu ) Levying taxes on unhealthy products can produce major health gains for the poorest in society, especially if tax revenues are used to fund pro-poor programmes, noted a study published in the Lancet on Thursday. These unhealthy products include soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco. RBI holds rates; cuts inflation forecast(The Hindu) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept interest rates unchanged in the first policy meeting of 2018-19, as expected, but surprised markets with a dovish tone that some interpreted as opening up the possibility of a rate cut, even as early as September. RBI bars banks from dealing with virtual currencies(The Hindu) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to stop providing service to any entity dealing with virtual currencies, with immediate effect. RBI fiat on payment system operators’ data(The Hindu) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said all payment system operators’ data must be stored only within the country. Can DNA be taken for Aadhaar, asks judge(The Hindu) Justice D.Y. Chandrachud pointed out how the Aadhaar Act could allow the State, in future, to seek DNA, hair and even semen samples from citizens as “biometric information.” Internal security: Consent is crucial(The Hindu Opinion) Data and data science have suddenly emerged into the spotlight. First, there was a data breach at Facebook, which saw allegations of the U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica (CA) illegally accessing over 87 million users’ information for personalisation of digital campaigns. ‘Data of over 5.6 lakh Indian users may have been tapped’(The Hindu) Responding to the notice from the Indian government, Facebook on Thursday admitted that data of over 5.6 lakh users of the social media platform in India may have been accessed without their consent in the ongoing controversy involving Cambridge Analytica. Govt. forms committee to regulate news portals(The Hindu) The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has instituted a committee to regulate online portals, including news websites, entertainment sites and media aggregators. Science and Technology: Milky Way core may have thousands of black holes(The Hindu) Astrophysicists have detected a dozen black holes at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. They say that there could be as many as 10,000 black holes there. Over 100 tiny plastic fibres present in every meal: study(The Hindu) People could be swallowing over 100 tiny plastic particles with every meal, according to a study which found that polymers from soft furnishings and synthetic fabrics get into household dust and settle on plates. Society must take a view on GM mustard: scientist(The Hindu) “The commercial release of genetically modified mustard wasn’t merely a scientific issue but a ‘socio-political one’ that required the understanding of a wide section of society,” K. VijayRaghavan, 64, Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) said in an interview.
Yesterday’s current affairs material by Forum IAS
7 PM Editorial: Compensatory Afforestation Fund: flawed and unjust 9 PM Current affairs brief: 10 PM Current affairs MCQs: