The HINDU Notes – 13th May 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)
📰 THE HINDU – CURRENT NOTE 13 May
Context: constitutional validity of the system of instant divorce in Muslim community (Issue of triple talaq and polygamy).
- The Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Khehar – there is no mutual consent in the system of triple talaq.
- Ram Jethmalani abhorred the practice and said the system is in contravention of the Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to equality
- Forum for Awareness of National Security- the triple talaq is a method of terminating marriage contract which lies only with men but not with women
- Salman Khurshid – judicial review of the matter was not required.
- Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta put forward government’s stand on the issue – the Centre was against triple talaq.
- The apex court made a strong observation as to the practice of triple talaq as it called it the ‘worst and undesirable form’ of dissolution of marriage among the members of the Muslim community. The court, however, said that the system is considered legal in certain schools of Islam.
⏳ Delhi HC refuses to stay tax case against Young Indian
- The Delhi High Court on 12 May 2017 refused to stay the income tax proceedings against Young Indian Ltd. in the case of alleged misappropriation of assets of National Herald newspaper, involving Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
- The High Court asked the company to withdraw the petition and approach the income tax department.
- Young Indian had moved the HC seeking a direction to stay the I-T proceedings and quash the notices against it with regard to the National Herald case, in which it was issued notices for assessment year 2011-12.
- Bharatiya Janata Party MP Subramanian Swamy alleged that they had fraudulently acquired Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), which used to publish the now defunct National Herald newspaper, and transferred its assets worth crores of rupees to Young Indian.
- He alleged that the Gandhis had set up Young Indian as a special purpose vehicle for acquiring control of over Rs. 2,000 crore worth assets of the AJL.
- He said Young Indian used Congress funds to buy the debt of AJL, even when it had real estate assets worth at least Rs. 2,000 crore.
- A notice was issued to Young Indian in 2014, after the Modi government came to power, reopening assessment relating to six years before that, even though no income tax proceedings were pending.
|The National Herald |
⏳ Punjab, Haryana ready for talks on SYL canal dispute
- The governments of Punjab and Haryana on 12 May 2017 agreed to work towards an amicable settlement of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) dispute even as Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar made it clear that agreements arrived at in the past between the States must be “honoured”.
- Mr. Khattar said Punjab was not delivering Haryana’s full share of the Ravi-Beas waters.
- In February, the Supreme Court had made it clear that Punjab would have to comply with its order on the construction of canal.
- The apex court verdict had been delivered on November 10, 2016, on a presidential reference.
- In 2016, the apex court had also termed Punjab’s 2004 Act terminating the canal agreement as unconstitutional, following which Punjab Congress MLAs had resigned enmasse.
⏳ ‘Goa Civil Code integrates society’
- Goa Governor Mridula Sinha released a study conducted by her on ‘Practice and Effects of the Civil Code in Goa’, which has concluded that the Goa Civil Code integrates society and creates social solidarity.
- The Governor has recommended that the governments at the Centre and in all States should take steps to make pre-marital counselling a prerequisite for marriage registration in all communities.
- The Portuguese Civil Code is applicable to all communities in Goa which is an erstwhile Portuguese colony.
- The Governor noted that the Code prohibits polygamy, except in certain circumstances, where the first wife is not able to reproduce till the age prescribed therein.
- Under the code, Muslim men can neither practise polygamy nor is the verbal divorce recognised in the State.
- Secondly, the Muslim Personal Law Application Act, 1937, has not been extended to Goa.
- The report identifies collapse of family values, leading to alienation of youth, as the basic problem these days. In this context, features of the Goa Civil Code, be it the communion of properties, regime of succession or the compulsory registration of marriage, have brought tolerance in the family structure and strengthened family values.
- Two medical centres in Pune and Bengaluru are gearing up to perform the country’s first uterus transplants.
- Milann-The Fertility Centre, at Bengaluru has received permission to perform uterus transplants from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
- The medical breakthrough has triggered a strong debate over how far a woman should go to become a mother as 31 more women have lined up for the procedure.
- A uterus transplant is an extremely complex procedure that will enable women with absent or diseased uteruses to carry a pregnancy to term after a donor uterus is transplanted into them.
- While there is no debate that womb transplant will be a medical leap for Indian doctors, the question remains about the viability of the procedure.
- One in every 4,000 women in India is born without a uterus.
- There are about 4 lakh women with congenital absence of uterus all over the world.
- At first, a donor undergoes a surgery for the removal of her uterus. Unlike other hysterectomies, blood vessels and vascular pedicels around the uterus have to be carefully preserved and then re-attached to the recipient.
- After the transplant, the recipient is put on immunosuppressants so that her body does not reject the donor’s organ.
- She waits at least for a year before attempting a pregnancy as an In Vitro Fertility (IVF) procedure.
- The woman’s eggs are extracted much before the transplant and the embryos formed with her husband’s sperms are frozen.
- If the IVF cycles are successful, the woman conceives.
- However, the delivery is carried out through a C-section and the transplanted uterus is removed after the delivery so that she does not have be on immunosuppressants continuously.
- “The success rate of an IVF cycle is merely 40%. The woman also faces a high risk of miscarriage and the babies have to be delivered preterm. Now, does that look viable?” questions Dr. Malhotra.
- The very first uterine transplant in the world was carried out in 2002 in Saudi Arabia, and the second one in Turkey in 2011.
- Both were cadaveric transplants wherein the uterus was taken from a brain dead patient. However, both the transplants failed due to rejection of the organ.
- In 2014, Dr. Mats Brannstrom carried out the first successful live donor uterus transplant in Sweden and till date, he alone holds the record for carrying out successful uterus transplants.
- MoU between Transport for London (TfL) and India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways was signed.
- It involve sharing expertise on the mobility and efficiency of India’s transportation systems, as well as around logistical issues such as planning and delivery.
- India is set to learn on the lessons from the strong public transport system in place in London — where over 1.3 billion journeys take place every year
Areas of focus:
- Ticketing, providing information, financing and infrastructure maintenance work, as well as promotion of the use of public transport.
- Other areas of cooperation in the future were likely to include innovation around buses, including electric buses, and the use of water transport in urban centres.
- An extensive cyberattack struck computers across a wide swath of Europe and Asia and strained the public health system in Britain, where doctors were blocked from patient files and emergency rooms were forced to divert patients.
- The attack involved ransomware, a kind of malware that encrypts data and locks out the user.
- According to security experts, it exploited a vulnerability that was discovered and developed by the National Security Agency.
- Hackers involved: The hacking tool was leaked by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which has been dumping stolen NSA hacking tools online beginning last year.
- Among the many other institutions that were affected were hospitals and telecommunications companies across Europe, Russia, Asia and beyond.
Ransomware – simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, and display a message requesting payment to unlock it. More advanced malware encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.
⏳ U.S., Japan to attend China’s Silk Road summit
- China’s bid to internationalise its Belt and Road connectivity initiative received a shot in the arm with the U.S. deciding to send a high level delegation to an upcoming international forum in the Chinese capital.
- The decision coincided with the 100-day trade plan hammered out by China and the U.S. following talks last month between President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump.
- Reuters reported that by July 16, the 100th day after the leaders’ meeting, China will issue guidelines that would allow U.S.-owned card payment services “to begin the licensing process” in a sector where China’s UnionPay system has had a near monopoly.
- China will also allow U.S. imports of beef no later than July 16.
- Besides, foreign owned companies will be allowed to provide credit rating services in China.
- According to a U.S. announcement, the two sides had also agreed to discuss extending the initial 100-day period into a one-year plan.
- Also, France, South Korea and Japan have decided to send delegates to the Belt and Road Forum, which begins on 14 May 2017.
- Leaders from 29 countries and regions as well as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Kim Yong will also attend the event.
- India’s decision, so far, not to announce an official delegation for the occasion, has become conspicuous.
⏳ Revised data shows IIP growing faster, WPI easing
- Wholesale price inflation eased significantly to 3.85% in April from 5.3% in March 2017, according to a revised Wholesale Price Index released on 12 May 2017, even as industrial output growth as measured by the new Index of Industrial Production (IIP) series showed a marginally stronger performance in March at 2.7%, compared with the old data series.
- However, even that was slower than the 5.5% IIP growth seen in March 2016.
- The main change made to the WPI and IIP is that the base year has been shifted from 2004-05 to 2011-12 in order to make the data more contemporary and reflective of ground realities.
- “The other change is that the WPI will no longer incorporate indirect taxes, which means they will be insulated from policy changes.”
- Previously, the WPI was calculated on the basis of the base price plus excise duty minus any trade discount.
- The new formula, according to Mr. Abhishek, removes the excise duty aspect.
- The international recommendation is for a revision of these indices every five years, and so we are trying to stick to that,” Statistics and Programme Implementation Secretary TCA Anant said on 12 May 2017 while announcing the changes.
- Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report on State finances.
- GST is likely to set a new course for cooperative federalism in India by strengthening Centre-State partnership.
- The successful implementation of GST would help boost revenue through easier tax administration, supported by user-friendly IT systems.
- GST is expected to reduce administrative costs for collection of tax revenue and improve revenue efficiency. Moreover, uniformity in tax rates and procedures across the country will economise on compliance cost.
⏳ Senior citizens get relief as I-T filing norms eased
- The Centre on 12 May 2017 granted some relief from its diktat requiring tax payers to link their PAN cards to Aadhaar to file Income Tax (IT) returns and making Aadhaar mandatory for all new PAN card applicants from 1 July 2017.
- Senior citizens above the age of 80 as well as residents of Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and Meghalaya, have been exempted from the ambit of this new provision in the Income Tax Act introduced in the Finance Act of 2017.
- Non-resident Indians (NRIs) as well as residents who are not citizens have also been exempted as per a notification issued by the Income Tax Department.
- Taxpayers in these states may had been exempted from the Aadhaar requirement for PAN cards and filing returns due to the low enrolment into the Unique Identity or UID programme so far.
- Aadhaar enrolments have been slow in the North-East with Assam having only 7% of its estimated 3.3 crore population enrolled into the scheme, as per Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) data till April 30, 2017.
- Similarly, in Meghalaya, only 9% citizens have the enrolment.
- In J&K, an estimated 67% of the 1.33 crore population has Aadhaar numbers.
- The government’s directive to link Aadhaar numbers to PAN cards, under Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
- The new legal provision also has a clause that empowers the Central Government to notify the person(s) or State(s) to which the requirement of quoting of Aadhaar / Enrolment ID shall not apply.
⏳ China tests a ‘lunar palace’ on earth
- Four postgraduate Chinese students will live in a sealed laboratory simulating a lunar-like environment, for up to 200 days, as Beijing prepares for its long-term goal of putting humans on the moon.
- The 160-square-metre (1,720-square-foot) cabin is dubbed the “Yuegong-1”, or “Lunar Palace”.
- Human waste will be treated with a bio-fermentation process, and experimental crops and vegetables grown with the help of food and waste byproducts.
- Two men and two women entered the lab for an initial stay of 60 days. They will then be relieved by another group of four, who will stay 200 days, before returning for an additional 105.
- The “Lunar Palace” has two plant cultivation modules and a living cabin: 42 square metres containing four bed cubicles, a common room, a bathroom, a waste-treatment room and a room for raising animals.
- In April 2017, China’s first cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-1, successfully completed docking with orbiting space lab, Tiangong-2.