The HINDU Notes – 19th July 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)
Aadhaar: 9-judge Bench to consider whether privacy is a basic right
- A nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will hear the question whether privacy is a fundamental human right and is part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
- Petitioner’s contention:
- The Aadhaar scheme, is a violation of the citizens’ right to privacy.
- The petitioners have argued that right to privacy is part ofArticle 21, the right to life, and interspersed in Article 19, though not explicitly stated in the Constitution.
- Supreme Court verdicts on right to privacy:
- P. Sharma case-1954
- the Kharak Singh case verdict of 1962
Both judgments had concluded that privacy was not a fundamental or ‘guaranteed’ right.
- The nine-judge Bench to decide: once and for all whether privacy is negotiable or not.
Goa seeks extension of Mahadayi tribunal
- With just a month left for the term of the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT) involving Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra on the diversion of the river water, to expire, the Goa government has petitioned the Union Ministry of Water Resources to extend the term of the tribunal by a year.
- The tribunal’s term expires on August 21, but it was still in the process of cross-examining the witnesses of the Karnataka government.
- Asked about Mr. Palyekar’s recent statement indicating that he was in favour of Goa engaging in talks with Karnataka for an out-of-court settlement, a high level official of the Ministry said the Minister had since clarified that it was his personal view and that the Goa government is firm on its stand that it will only go by the verdict of the tribunal.
- In July, 2002, Goa, had requested the tribunal’s constitution to adjudicate and decide on the water dispute.
- Recently, Karnataka had requested a meeting between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra to resolve the issue amicably. Goa is yet to respond to the call.
- Mahadayi, known as Mandovi once it enters Goa, originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji.
South Asians prone to genetic diseases: CCMB study
- A new study led by co-senior authors Kumarasamy Thangaraj of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and David Reich of Broad Institute MIT & Harvard, Cambridge, USA, in collaboration with other institutes, has identified that about a third of South Asian populations have had such strong defective genes passed on through generations.
- Samples from more than 2,800 individuals from over 275 distinct South Asian populations belonging to various social and linguistic groups from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh were analyzed using about 600,000 genome-wide markers.
- It was found that 81 out of 263 unique South Asian groups, including 14 groups with estimated census sizes of over a million, have a genetic mutation base with recessive diseases.
- This source of risk for genetic recessive diseases was due to marriages among close relatives (consanguineous marriages).
DGCA braces for ICAO safety audit
- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is bracing for a safety oversight audit by the U.N. body, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), in November 2017.
- The aviation regulator is taking a series of steps to save it from the embarrassment of the 2012 audit in which the ICAO had raised safety concerns about India’s aviation system.
- The measures include hiring flight operation inspectors, aligning its rules with ICAO norms, certifying flight examiners, among others.
- To make the posts of flight operation inspectors attractive for experienced pilots, the DGCA offered them market-linked salary.
- The aviation regulator has been holding review meetings with airlines and airports every month for safety compliance.
- The ICAO conducts audit in areas related to legislation, organisation, licensing, operation, airworthiness, accident investigation, air navigation and aerodromes.
Reluctant Trump recertifies Iran deal
- U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to certify again (second time) that Iran is complying with an international nuclear agreement that he has strongly criticised, but only after hours of arguing with his top national security advisers, briefly upending a planned announcement as a legal deadline loomed.
- Mr. Trump has repeatedly condemned the deal brokered by President Barack Obama as a dangerous capitulation to Iran, but six months into his presidency, he has not abandoned it.
- Administration officials announced the certification while emphasising that they intended to toughen enforcement of the deal, apply new sanctions on Iran for its “support of terrorism” and other “destabilising activities”, and negotiate with European partners to craft a broader strategy to increase pressure on Tehran.
- By law, the administration is required to notify Congress every 90 days whether Iran is living up to the deal, which limited its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of many international sanctions.
India set to extradite Bangladeshi national to Britain
- India is all set to extradite a Bangladeshi national, Mohammad Abdul Shakur, to the U.K., where he is accused of murdering his wife and children ten years ago.
- Positive step: This is being seen as another signal of increasing cooperation between the two nations on sensitive, and potentially thorny issues in the home affairs arena.
RIL slumps 2% after $3 billion claim over Panna Mukta Tapti
- Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) investors saw more than Rs.10,000 crore in market value wiped out as the stock slumped 2% on reports the Centre had slapped a demand notice for about $3 billion on the company and its partners operating the Panna Mukti and Tapti oil and gas fields.
- “RIL as part of the contractor for Panna Mukta and Tapti production sharing contracts, has been notified by Government of its computation of the purported share of GOI’s profit on petroleum and royalty alleged to be payable by the contractor pursuant to the GOI’s interpretation of arbitration tribunal’s final partial award” of October 12, 2016, an RIL spokesperson said in a statement.
- RIL and Royal Dutch Shell each hold 30% stake in the fields while Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) holds the remaining 40% stake.
- The Centre had demanded that the operators pay about $3 billion after an international tribunal upheld the government’s view that profit from the fields be taxed at the current rate of 33% and not the earlier 50%.
E-com: RCEP nations start detailed talks
Sixteen Asia Pacific nations, including India, are learnt to be discussing norms on e-commerce in great detail as part of negotiations on the proposed mega Free Trade Agreement (FTA) known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) –aimed at liberalising trade and investment in the region.
The RCEP’s objective is to reduce/eliminate tariffs on most goods, liberalise investment norms and trade in services, boost economic and technical co-operation, strengthen intellectual property, besides including provisions on dispute settlement and competition and covering issues such as e-commerce.
- The 16 nations include 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)-member countries and six countries with which ASEAN has an FTA (Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand).
- India has been opposing binding norms on opening up the e-commerce sector at the level of RCEP as well as the global level (World Trade Organisation) talks on grounds including that it (India) is yet to have a comprehensive national policy on the topic.
- However, it is understood that many RCEP nations including Australia, Japan and China, are pushing for inclusion of a host of elements for ‘Terms Of Reference’ (TOR) for RCEP negotiations concerning e-commerce.
- This with a view to have some binding commitments from the RCEP members on liberalising e-commerce and ensure that the final pact will have a separate chapter on e-commerce.
Proposed Elements for TOR:
- The proposed elements for the TOR (for negotiations) are understood to include “paperless trading, electronic signatures and digital certification, online consumer protection, online personal data protection, unsolicited commercial email, domestic regulatory frameworks, customs duties (on electronic transmissions), non-discriminatory treatment of digital products, prohibition on requirements concerning the location of computing facilities, prohibition on requirements concerning the disclosure of source code as well as cross-border transfer of information by electronic means.”
US asks countries in East and South China Sea to exercise restraint
- The Pentagon has asked countries in East and South China Sea to exercise restraint and avoid indulging in provocative behaviour
- It asked not do things that are provocative and to respect each other’s sovereignty in their operations
- This was due to Chinese H-6 bombers flying over the Bashi Channel and the Miyako Straitseveral times over the past week
- Japan scrambled fighters in response
- Chinese Defense Ministry has told Japan that it should get used to it
Protest by China
- China had protested when a US Air Force Bomber flew over the South China Sea before G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany
Govt. panel to study cow derivatives
- The government has set up a 19-member panel to carry out scientifically validated research on cow derivatives including its urine, and their benefits
- The panel has been named as National Steering Committee
- The government has given the project the acronym SVAROP, which stands for Scientific Validation and Research on Panchagavya
- The committee will select projects that can help scientifically validate the benefits of panchgavya — the concoction of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee — in various spheres such as nutrition, health and agriculture
- It is being conducted by the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of the Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with IIT-Delhi
- It will cover five thematic areas including scientific validation of uniqueness of indigenous cows