The HINDU Notes – 12th May 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)



⏳ SC not to examine validity of polygamy

  • The Supreme Court on 11 May 2017 asked where Muslim men will go for divorce if triple talaq is declared unconstitutional, even as the Centre submitted that it is against all forms of triple talaq.
  • “In case we hold in your [the government’s] favour that all forms of triple talaq are bad, what is the procedure for a husband to seek divorce,” the court asked Additional Solicitior- General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre.
  • The court was addressing the point that a vacuum may arise if triple talaq is declared invalid, leaving Muslim men no forum to go to for a divorce.
  • Presently, Muslim men do not have to move courts to get a divorce.
  • They can instantly get divorce unlike a Muslim woman, who has to approach a court under Section 2 of The Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act of 1939.
  • The 1939 statute gives specific grounds under which a woman can seek divorce.
  • The petitions by Muslim women and organisations challenging the constitutionality of triple talaq is accompanied by a suo motu PIL petition from the Supreme Court itself on the question whether personal law practices violate the dignity of Muslim women.
  • The court, at the outset of the day-long hearing, said it intended to restrict itself to considering the constitutionality of triple talaq and not extend to polygamy.
  • The Bench said it would examine whether triple talaq is a fundamental or essential part of the religion. And if so, it would not interfere any further.
  • He said “triple talaq is not a fundamental part of Islam and the evidence lies in the fact that various Islamic countries including Pakistan, Afghanisation and Bangladesh have done away with it”.
  • Ms. Jaising added that the process of divorce in these countries is always done under the judicial eye.
  • At this point, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, pointed out that these countries had done away with triple talaq through legislation and not through the courts.
  • Ms. Jaising questioned why “the Constitution stops where the personal law begins”.
  • “I am not here to argue that Muslim law is better than Christian law or Hindu law is better than Muslim law. I am asking should not these personal law practices, whether it be Muslim, Christian, Parsi, Sikh or Hindu, stand the scrutiny of the fundamental rights under the Constitution?”
  • She questioned why the courts were not giving a authoritative decision on whether personal laws fell under the ambit of Article 13 of the Constitution or not.
  • In case this Bench declares Muslim personal law to fall under Article 13, the Muslim personal law practices could be tested in courts on whether they violate women’s fundamental rights.

⏳ Govt. regulator gives nod for GM mustard

What’s in news?

  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), India’s apex regulator for genetically modified seeds.
  • GEAC cleared GM mustard for environmental release and use in farmer fields.
  • Approval is dependent on a final nod from Environment Ministry.

Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH -11):

  • The transgenic mustard
  • Developed by a team of scientists at Delhi University led by former vice chancellor Deepak Pental under a government-funded project.
  • It uses a system of genes from soil bacterium that makes mustard — generally a self pollinating plant — better suited to hybridisation than current methods. 

Key Fact:

  • GM mustard would be the first transgenic food crop to be allowed for commercial cultivation in Indian fields and would be a gateway for several genetically-modified food crops in India.
  • GM seeds are the need of the hour, since they are able to address threats from climate change.

Bt brinjal blocked:

  • Bt Brinjal was cleared by the Committee in 2010 but was blocked by then Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, who cited, among other things, a paucity of safety tests.

What is Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)?

  • It is established under Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
  • It is the apex body for approval of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recom­binants
  • It is also responsible for ap­proval of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered organisms and products including experimental field trials.

⏳ Monsoon may hit Andaman early

  • Monsoon rains may come two days earlier to the Andaman & Nicobar islands, but this will have no bearing on how soon it reaches Kerala, according to K.J. Ramesh, Director-General, Meteorology, India Meteorological Department.
  • “Typically, the monsoon system reaches south Andaman around the 17th. There’s a circulation [clouds and rain-bearing winds] developing in the Andaman. If it persists, then there’s a chance it will reach there early,” he told, “From there, it normally takes two weeks [to reach Kerala].”
  • Monsoon typically sets in over Kerala by June 1, but there have been instances of powerful winds gusting into the Andamans and then stalling.
  • Earlier this week, the agency had indicated that the threat to the Indian monsoon from an El Nino may have receded.
  • Another sea anomaly, the Indian Ocean Dipole (that refers to oscillating temperatures in that ocean), was likely to be positive.
  • A positive dipole buffered against an El Nino’s effects, but didn’t on its own improve chances of rains.

El Nino and La Nina

  • El Niño events are associated with a warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific, while La Niña events are the reverse, with a sustained cooling of these same areas.
  • These changes in the Pacific Ocean and its overlying atmosphere occur in a cycle known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation(ENSO).
  • The atmosphere and ocean interact, reinforcing each other and creating a ‘feedback loop’which amplifies small changes in the state of the ocean into an ENSO event.
  • Even in a neutral state, temperatures in the Pacific Ocean vary from east to west – for example, the western Pacific ‘warm pool’ in the tropical Pacific has some of the warmest large-scale ocean temperatures in the world.
  • During an ENSO event, ocean temperatures become warmer than usual or cooler than usual at different locations, which are reflected in ocean temperature gradients.
  • The most important driver of ENSO is these temperature gradients across the Pacific, both at the surface and below the surface, particularly at the thermocline.
  • The term El Niño translates from Spanish as ‘the boy-child’. Peruvian fishermen originally used the term to describe the appearance, around Christmas, of a warm ocean current off the South American coast.
  • La Niña translates as ‘girl-child’ and is the opposite ENSO phase to El Niño.
Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)

  • It is also known as the Indian Niño, is an irregular oscillation of sea-surface temperatures in which the western Indian Ocean becomes alternately warmer and then colder than the eastern part of the ocean.
  • The IOD involves an aperiodic oscillation of sea-surface temperatures, between “positive”, “neutral” and “negative” phases.
  • Apositive phase sees greater-than-average sea-surface temperatures and greater precipitation in the western Indian Ocean region, with a corresponding cooling of waters in the eastern Indian Ocean-which tends to cause droughts in adjacent land areas of Indonesia and Australia.
  • The negative phase of the IOD brings about the opposite conditions, with warmer water and greater precipitation in the eastern Indian Ocean, and cooler and drier conditions in the west.
  • The IOD also affects the strength of monsoons over the Indian subcontinent.
  • A significant positive IOD occurred in 1997-98, with another in 2006. The IOD is one aspect of the general cycle of global climate,interacting with similar phenomena like the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the Pacific Ocean.

⏳ ICJ writ may not be applicable to Pak.

  • Prominent commentators have expressed doubts over the ability of the International Court of Justice to enforce its order in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
  • The case, which will come up for hearing on May 15, is likely to face a difficult hurdle as Pakistan had on March 29 revised its commitment to the ICJ and has withdrawn all domestic and national security related issues from the jurisdiction of the court.
  • In a declaration to the ICJ, days before the announcement of death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pakistan had informed the court that issues related to its domestic sphere and national security issues would no longer be part of the ICJ jurisdiction.
  • The declaration from Pakistan was made even as a military court sentenced Mr Jadhav to death on charges of sabotage and violence against the state of Pakistan.
  • The MEA said on 10 May 2017 that India moved the ICJ to save the life of Mr Jadhav.
  • However, commentators said India might win the arguments and yet find it difficult to pin down Pakistan in this case.

⏳ Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims worst off, says Indian Exclusion Report

 In news:

  • 2016 Indian Exclusion Report (IXR)- released by Centre for Equity Studies (CES) in New Delhi
  • Crux: Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims continue to be the worst-hit communities in terms of exclusion from access to public goods
  • 2016 Report reviews exclusion with respect to four public goods: pensions for the elderly, digital access, agricultural land, and legal justice for under trials.
  • The groups most severely and consistently excluded from provisioning tend to the same historically disadvantaged groups: Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, and persons with disabilities and age-related vulnerabilities
  • India’s refusal to be a signatory to a non-binding UN Human Rights Council resolution to protect human rights on the Internet indicates reluctance to incorporate a rights-based approach to access.

Meagre land holdings:

  • The pattern of land distribution “broadly reflects the socio-economic hierarchy — large landowners invariably belong to the upper castes, cultivators to the middle castes, and agricultural workers are largely Dalits and Adivasis.
  • The rate of landlessness was highest among Dalits, at 57.3%. Among Muslims, it was 52.6%, and 56.8% of women-headed households were landless. Around 40% of all those displaced by “development activity” were Adivasis.
  • Where Dalits, Muslims and women owned land, the holdings were meagre in size, with only 2.08% of Dalit households owning more than two hectares of land. Also, the quality of land owned by Dalits was very poor, with 58% of it having no irrigation facility
  • Land reform efforts have not benefited Dalits, women or Muslims significantly
  • Land allotments to SC/ST households were often only on paper, as allottees were forcefully evicted or not allowed to take possession

Digital exclusion:

  • 1.063 billion Indians were offline even though India ranks among the top five nations in terms of the total number of Internet users.
  • Poverty and geographic location were the two major barriers to digital access, with urban locations enjoying better Internet penetration rates.

Internet reach:

  • IT access have been riddled with implementation problems like poor infrastructure, a lack of adequate institutional frameworks, low literacy in the targeted areas, and poor cooperation from government officials
  • In the new thrust towards a cashless economy, digital exclusion can often also result in financial exclusion

⏳ ‘Communal violence has dipped’

  • Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, announced the launch of a new scheme Tehreek-e-Taleem (campaign for education) in 100 districts of the country to take government’s educational programmes to the minority communities.
  • The programme is set to launched on October 15th, the birth anniversary of late president A P J Abdul Kalam.
  • He was speaking about the work of his Ministry in the run up to the third anniversary of the Modi government.
  • Without mentioning incidents of cow vigilantism in States like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Naqvi said the data with the National Commission for Minorities points to a noticeable dip in incidents of communal violence.


‘Spyder’ surface-to-air missile test-fired

  • India on 11 May 2017 test-fired ‘Spyder’ surface-to-air quick reaction missile from a test range in Odisha.
  • The trial of Spyder, an acquired missile system from Israel, was carried out for validating various parameters to further strengthen the country’s air defence system.

⏳ Boost for defence manufacturers

What’s in news?

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley held consultations with representatives of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CII) on the proposed Strategic Partnership (SP) model meant to promote the private sector in defence manufacturing.

Strategic Partnership (SP) model advantages:

  • Enhance competition
  • Increase efficiencies
  • Facilitate faster and more significant absorption of technology
  • Create a tiered industrial ecosystem
  • Ensure development of a wider skill base
  • Trigger innovation and enable participation in global value chains as well as promote exports.

Modalities of the model:

  • Government intends to boost private sector participation and create domestic expertise in four key areas, namely, fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines, and armoured vehicles and main battle tanks.
  • Technology transfer: One company would be selected for each area based on its competence, which would then tie up with the foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer selected through the procurement process, to build the platform in India with significant technology transfer.

Army apprehensive

  • SP model would block new technology and new players coming to the defence sector.
  • On the other hand, existing defence players argue for committed orders for the next 30 years to give them the economies of scale as defence involves large investments.

⏳ Yemen war threatens millennia-old mummies

  • Yemen’s war has claimed thousands of lives and pushed millions to the brink of famine. Now the conflict threatens to erase a unique part of the country’s ancient history.
  • A collection of millennia old mummies at Sana’a University Museum in the Yemeni capital could face destruction as a result of the fighting.
  • With electricity intermittent at best and the country’s ports under blockade, experts are fighting to save the 12 mummies in the face of heat, humidity and a lack of preservative chemicals.
  • Some of the remains, from pagan kingdoms that ruled the region around 400 BC, still have teeth and strands of hair.
  • Old Sana’a, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1986, faces other dangers.
  • Perched 7,500 feet up in Yemen’s western mountains, with more than 100 mosques and 6,000 houses built before the 11th century, the old city is famed for its multi-storeyed homes of red basalt rock, with arched windows decorated with white latticework.
  • But months after a Saudi led coalition intervened against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in March 2015, UNESCO added the ancient city to its List of World Heritage in Danger.
  • From Syria’s Palmyra to Libya’s Leptis Magna, millennia- old historical remains face looting and destruction in various parts of the Middle East.
  • The Islamic State systematically demolished pre- Islamic monuments in Syria and Iraq after seizing swathes of both countries in 2014, looting and selling smaller pieces on the black market to fund their rule.
  • Swiss authorities last year seized cultural relics looted from Yemen, Syria and Libya that had been stored in Geneva’s free ports — highly secured warehouses where valuables can be stashed tax free with few questions asked.

⏳ Voluntary unemployment rising: Debroy 

What’s in news?

  • Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy indicated a dramatic rise in voluntary unemployment across the country, where people choose not to work below a certain income level after ‘investing’ in education.
  • India is currently under the phase of ‘jobless growth’ as well as ‘growth-less jobs’ — and fail to capture the pre-dominantly informal and unorganised nature of the Indian economy.
  • The primary growth in jobs will come from the services sector

CMIE survey

  • Data compiled by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy based on a household survey with a ‘reasonably decent sample size,’ indicates a raise in voluntary unemployment.

⏳ Centre to release new series of IIP, WPI data

  • A new series of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI) will be released.
  • Main motive is to bring greater accuracy and improved synchronisation among data sets, in turn leading to better policies.
  • Base year revised: The base year for the IIP and the WPI will be 2011-12 and not the current 2004-05. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and gross value addition also have 2011-12 as the base year.
  • . The new series of IIP will include technology items such as smart phones, tablets, LED television and tablets.
  • The new WPI series will include toys and games as a separate group.


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