The HINDU Notes – 21st August 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)
Foreign court can’t rule on Indian couple’s divorce plea: HC
- A foreign court does not have the jurisdiction to decide matrimonial matters of a couple who have Indian domicile and are governed under the Hindu Marriage Act even if the parties were at the time residing in a foreign nation, the Bombay High Court has observed.
- The High Court was hearing an appeal filed by the man’s wife challenging an order passed by a family court here that dismissed her plea seeking maintenance for herself and her two children. The family court, while dismissing her plea, observed that the Dubai court had already adjudicated the matter. However, the High Court, after perusing the case, opined that both are Indian citizens and there was no material to endorse the husband’s claim that they have domiciles in Dubai.
Rulings of the court
- Under the circumstances, we are unable to hold that the Dubai court was a court of competent jurisdiction to decide the matrimonial dispute between the petitioner [wife] and the respondent [husband].
- The HC noted that the parties in the present case are Indian nationals, are Hindus by birth, were married as per Hindu Vedic Rights and were governed in the matter of marriage and divorce by the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.
Activists, Cong. oppose change in NGT jurisdiction
- The Goa Bachav Abhiyan (GBA), environmental activists and the Congress have criticised the Central government’s decision to change the jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Petitions from Goa will now have to be filed at the principal bench in Delhi instead of the western zone bench in Pune.
- The activists have called the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) notification to this effect, issued on August 10, “atrocious and arbitrary”.
- The ministry had demarcated the NGT’s jurisdiction into north, south, east and west zones, along with principal and regional benches on August 11, 2011.
- Goan activists, led by Siddarth Karapurkar, said the jurisdictional change was a “clear attempt to discourage us from taking up environmental matters”.
- Another activist, Mr. Rodrigues has appealed to the High Court Bar Association and other lawyers’ associations in the State to intervene against the government’s decision.
Railway Board member sent on leave
- The Railway Ministry sent three top officials on leave, suspended four local level officials and transferred another official after prima facie finding lapses in the maintenance work that led to the derailment of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express in Uttar Pradesh on 19 August 2017 and claimed at least 24 lives.
- The action comes after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said that he “will not allow laxity in operations by the Board” and ordered the Railway Board Chairman to fix responsibility within a day of the accident.
- Senior Railway Ministry officials saidthat welding work was under way near the Khatauli railway station in Uttar Pradesh, leaving a portion of the track without rails when the Utkal Express ran over it and derailed, as per the prima facie investigation.
- There were lapses at multiple levels in the track maintenance work, which was being carried out without taking due permission, before the accident.
SC bats for personal liberty
- The apex court was hearing the plea filed by Mr. Paul after his bail pleas were rejected by the Gauhati High Court twice.
- He was arrested in November last year after an FIR was lodged against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act and a charge sheet was filed this January.
- Apex court has granted bail to former Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul in a case of alleged corruption.
- Hon’ble supreme court’s stand on personal liberty v/s state’s perceived justice:
- Personal liberty cannot be compromised at the altar of what the state may perceive as justice, the Supreme Court has said while granting bail to former Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul in a case of alleged corruption.
- In matters of personal liberty, we cannot and should not be too technical and must lean in favour of personal liberty.
70-ft Budha statue to adorn tourist project in Ghantasala
- To develop Ghantasala village in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh as one of the prime Buddhist tourist spots in the State, decks have been cleared for construction of a Rs. 1.5-crore project here.
- The new facility will be themed onMahaparinirvanaof the Buddha. A two-storied structure in Buddhist architecture resembling a pedestal with a 100-ft wide and 70-ft high Budha inMahaparinirvanaposture will be a major highlight.
- It represents the historical Buddha during his last illness, about to enter themahaparinirvana.
- It shows Buddha lying on the right flank, his head resting on a cushion or on his right elbow, supporting his head with his hand.
- This pattern seems to have emerged at the same time as other representations of the Buddha in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara.
- The two floors will house a Buddhist library, a meditation centre, an auditorium for spiritual classes, an exhibition hall for digital replicas of the Buddhist antiques exhibited in the Paris museum and monasteries.
- In Buddhism, mahaparinirvanameans the ultimate state – everlasting, highest peace and happiness – entered by an Awakened Being (Buddha).
- Ghantasala, known as Katakasila in the ancient times, was a renowned Buddhist centre located near the coast.
- Ptolemy, the Greek geographer, had made a specific mention of an emporium of Kontakossyla in the region of Misolia (present Machilipatnam).
- The maha stupa was once encased with well decorated sculptured slabs like that of Amaravathi and had an ornate railing also.
- Initially, the archaeological significance of Ghantasala was reported by Boswel in 1870-71 and the site was subsequently subjected to excavations by Alexander Rea which brought out the stupa architecture in detail.
Corporate governance: Focus on SEBI
The exit of Vishal Sikka as the chief of Infosys brings forth the issue of corporate governance yet again. Market participants said the capital markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), needed to intervene in such matters to protect the interest of investors, especially the retail segment.
Market participants suggest:
A three-tier system for firms, with a supervisory board at the top to be constituted and it should lay down the framework for the functioning of the board of directors. The board of directors, in turn, oversees the functioning of the executive management.
SEBI had constituted a committee on corporate governance under the chairmanship of Uday Kotak in June this year. The committee is expected to submit its report within four months.
About Corporate governance:
- Corporate governance is the system of rules, practices and processes by which a company is directed and controlled
- Corporate governance essentially involves balancing the interests of a company’s many stakeholders, such as shareholders, management, customers, suppliers, financiers, government and the community
- Since corporate governance also provides the framework for attaining a company’s objectives, it encompasses practically every sphere of management, from action plans and internal controls to performance measurement and corporate disclosure.
Artificial intelligence imperils India Inc jobs
The IT services industry alone is set to lose 6.4 lakh low-skilled positions to automation by 2021.
Artificial intelligence or AI may become the new world order in the years to come. The software, ‘driving’ the cart, had been developed by Infosys together with IIT-Delhi. The vehicle can be used on a pre-determined route.
Impact on IT
- The emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are going to be the new drivers of employment, especially for India’s $150 billion information technology (IT) industry that now employs about four million people.
- Over the past two years, Bengaluru-based Infosys, which crossed a revenue of $10.2 billion in the 2016-17 fiscal, has revamped the way it trains staff
- With the advances in automation technology, there are jobs that are going to be replaced by automated processes that demand the young professionals to prepare for life-long learning and not be dependent on just getting a degree for the sake of employment
- Automation threatens 69% of the jobs in India, while its 77% in China, according to a World Bank research.
- If it (automation) is not planned well and addressed holistically, it is a disaster in the making and there is no doubt about that it is going to affect 60%-70% of the current jobs. They will either get marginalised or totally eliminated. The transition will happen in a decade and not in 50 or 100 years.
- The era of digitization and automation will create newer career choices for IT professionals. The new job roles that will dominate the IT workforce are within digital domains such as big data, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and cyber security
- While there is a risk to jobs due to these trends, the good news is that a huge number of new jobs are getting created as well in areas like cyber security, cloud, big data, machine learning and AI. It is clearly a time of career pivot for IT professionals to make sure they are where the growth is.
- The impact of automation is not just limited to the country’s information technology industry but other areas as well such as agriculture. Tata Group is working on a precision agriculture technology where an unmanned aerial vehicle or a drone can be used for aerial spraying on farms.
- Companies like Skylark Drones is providing its unmanned aerial vehicles to enterprises for services such as land surveying, power line inspection and monitoring of construction, pipelines and crop health.
‘New state of matter’ discovered
- Scientists have discovered a potential new state of matter that may help explain phenomena like superconductivity.
- Superconductivity is extensively used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), particle accelerators, magnetic fusion devices, and microwave filters.
- Researchers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the U.S. showed that among superconducting materials in high magnetic fields, the phenomenon of electronic symmetry breaking is common.
- The ability to find similarities and differences among classes of materials with phenomena such as this helps establish the essential ingredients that cause novel functionalities such as superconductivity.
- The high-magnetic-field state of the heavy fermion superconductor CeRhIn5 revealed a state in which the material’s electrons aligned in such a way to apparently reduce the symmetry of the original crystal, something that now appears to be universal among unconventional superconductors.
- Unconventional superconductivity develops near a phase boundary separating magnetically ordered and magnetically disordered phases of a material.
Data shows new tax regime widely adopted
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is one of the biggest tax reforms in India. The goal of GST, which is ‘one nation, one tax, one market,’ a shot-in-the-arm for the country’s ease-of-doing-business initiatives, is laudable.
- In the long term, GST is likely to achieve improvements in the system efficiency, simplification and rationalisation of taxes, and the shift of business activityfrom the unorganised to the organised segment.
- The resultant widening of tax base, along with traceability of transactions, is bound to add to the exchequer despite reduction in tax burden on the consumption of common goods.
- GST has impacted positively the transport and logistics sector: movement of trucks has increased; time required to cover distances has come down drastically, and pollution levels have come down with increased truck speeds.
Uniform interface, a first
GSTN or the GST Network, cutting through traditional silos, has established for the first time a uniform interface for the taxpayer and a common and shared IT (information technology) infrastructure between the Centre and the States.
A complex exercise involving the integration of the entire indirect tax ecosystem, the tax regime has brought all the tax administrations (Centre, State and Union Territories) to the same level of IT maturity with uniform formats and interfaces for taxpayers and external stakeholders.
The legacy image of the revenue officer or taxman is gradually shifting from being intimidatingly adversarial to being a persuasive guide and facilitator.
Some Problems flagged by different sectors
- The healthcare industry has sought that services be zero-rated rather than exempt so that providers can avail of input tax credit;
- hybrid vehicle manufacturers ask for 28% without cess;
- power distribution projects under various government programmes, and
- Urgent intervention of the GST Council is requested towards huge losses to be suffered by units located in the exemption areas on account of non-availability of credit of excise duty which is inbuilt in the manufacturing cost of the opening stock of goods in the GST regime.
Indian industry is hopeful that the Centre will look into the problems and work to quickly resolve the same, ironing out interpretational issues.