Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - December 30, 2017

Banking

Lok Sabha amends bankruptcy law
It plugs loopholes allowing defaulters from taking back their companies

  • The Lok Sabha amended the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code law to prevent wilful defaulters and existing promoters from taking part in insolvency proceedings of stressed assets of companies unless they make their bad loans operational by paying up interests.
  • The Bill will replace an ordinance that was brought in November to prevent unscrupulous promoters from misusing the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

Resolution plan

  • The government can’t allow loan defaulters to “merrily walk back” and take part in bidding proceedings.
  • A defaulter, however, can become “eligible to submit a resolution plan” if they clear all dues with interest and other charges relating to their NPA accounts.

Bills

Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017
Passed by Lok Sabha

  • The proposed law would be applicable to the entire country, except in Jammu and Kashmir, It would make instant talaq punishable and would be a cognisable, non- bailable offence
  • The Lok Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriages) Bill 2017
  • Declaring instant triple talaq illegal and criminalises it with up to three years in jail for the husband.
  • The bill will now will be sent to the Rajya Sabha for passage before it is forwarded to the President for assent to come into force as law

Enlighten about the Bill

  • The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form (text message, email etc) to be void and illegal i.e. not enforceable in law.
  • It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by Muslim husband resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce to his wife.
  • It refers Talaq-e-biddat to practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by Muslim husband to his wife results in instant and irrevocable divorce.

Offence and penalty

  • It makes declaration of talaq a cognizable and non-bailable offence i.e. offence for which police officer may arrest an accused person without warrant.
  • Moreover, if Muslim husband declaring triple talaq can be imprisoned for up to 3 years along with a fine.

Allowance:

  • It entitles Muslim woman against whom triple talaq has been declared to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children.
  • First Class Magistrate will decide this allowance amount.

Custody of minor children:

  • Muslim woman against whom triple talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children.
  • First Class Magistrate will make determination of custody of her minor children.

Enlighten about the background/ judgement

  • The Constitutional bench of Supreme Court in 3:2 majority judgment (verdict) given in August 2017 had declared Islamic practice of instant divorce through triple talaq as unconstitutional, illegal and void and not protected by Article 25 (freedom of religion) of the Constitution.
  • The three majority judges had held that triple talaq is manifestly arbitrary and violative of the constitution and fundamental right under Article 14 (equality before law) so it must be struck down.
  • It was alleged that practise of triple talaq adversely impact rights of women to a life of dignity and is against constitutional principles such as gender equality, secularism, international laws etc.
  • It also undermines gender equality is a sacred principle of our constitution and modern society.
  • Even 21 Islamic theocratic countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan have abolished it.

Defence

Advanced Air Defence – PRITHVI
Supersonic Interceptor missile

  • Indigenously developed Prithvi Advanced Air Defence (AAD) supersonic interceptor missile was successfully test-red from a test range in Odisha.
  • It is capable of destroying any incoming ballistic missile in low altitude.
  • The target missile Prithvi interceptor AAD missile was launched from launch complex 3 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha.
  • After getting signals by tracking radars the missile directed its trajectory to destroy hostile target missile in mid-air in an endo-atmospheric altitude.

Enlighten about Prithvi AAD

  • Prithvi AAD supersonic interceptor missile
  • The Prithvi interceptor is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile.
  • It is equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and electromechanical activator.
  • It can destroy the incoming hostile ballistic missile in endoatmospheric region (less than 30 km altitude) at a low altitude of less than 30 kms.
  • The state-of-the-art missile has its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.
  • This was the third supersonic interceptor test of missile carried out this year in which an incoming ballistic missile target was successfully intercepted, within 30 km altitude of the earth’s atmosphere.
  • The earlier two tests were conducted on February 11 and March 1 2017, as part of efforts to have full-edged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system

Environment

Reason for darkening Siang : Still not Specific

  • The Union government has conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities, on the unusual darkening of the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh
  • The change in colour came to light in November, and China holds an earthquake in Tibet responsible for it.
  • Official reports of the colour of water in the Siang changing emerged from the Arunachal Pradesh office of the Central Water Commission (CWC) on November 10, attributing it to excess silt.
  • What caused a deluge in silt however was not specified, but the water at Tuting was still potable, the CWC said.

Possible reasons

  • The reason for change in water of River Siang may possibly be because of any landslide/earthquake/any other activity in upstream region of Tuting site across the international border with China for which information is not available.

Siang River

  • The Siang enters India from Tibet, where it flows for about 1,500 km as the Tsangpo and becomes the Brahmaputra after it flows into Assam.
  • Reports from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam blamed tunnel construction by China in Tibet.

Bills

Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy Bill – 2017
Passed by Parliament
Establishment of IIPE at Vishakhapatnam

  • The Parliament has passed The Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) Bill, 2017 after it was adopted by Rajya Sabha.
  • Lok Sabha already had passed the bill in August 2017.
  • The Bill establishes the IIPE at Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh as an institution of national importance.

Enlighten about IIPE

  • The IIPE aims to provide high quality education and research focussing on all aspects and themes of petroleum, hydrocarbons and energy.
  • It will actively pursue research and development in the fields such as liquefied natural gas, biofuels and renewables.
  • The bill set ups key authorities for governance and management of IIPE.
  • They are General Council, Board of Governors, Senate; and any other authorities declared by statutes.
  • The Institute funding includes funds that it receives from central government, fees and money received from any other sources (grants and gifts).
  • Its accounts will be audited by Comptroller and Auditor- General (CAG) of India.
  • The IIPE is being set up at Visakhapatnam as part of a package promised by the Centre to Andhra Pradesh after Telangana was carved out of it.
  • The institute’s development was envisaged by The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 (Telangana), which had divided Andhra Pradesh into two states.
  • Andhra Pradesh Government has provided 200 acre land at Vishakhapatnam and Central government has made a provision of Rs 650 crore for the institute, which was being mentored by IIT, Kharagpur

Bilateral Relations

India – Afghanistan
Second air cargo route launched
Linking Kabul - Mumbai

  • The second India-Afghanistan air cargo route linking Kabul to Mumbai was officially inaugurated at Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul.
  • It is expected to boost export of fresh fruits and medicinal plants from Afghanistan.
  • The launch of second route follows the success of the first air corridor between both countries linking Kabul-New Delhi that was inaugurated by President Ashraf Ghani in June 2017.

Enlighten about the 2nd Cargo Route –

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had decided on opening direct air corridor in 2016.
  • The purpose of the air connectivity established through air freight corridor is to provide landlocked Afghanistan greater access to markets in India and also allow businessmen from Afghanistan to leverage India’s economic growth and trade networks for its benefit. Since June 2017, after the launch of first corridor, Afghanistan has exported various cargo including medical herbs fruits.
  • So far, it has exported 1,640 tons fresh and dried fruits, carpets and medical herbs worth more than $20 million in 56 flights to India.

Agriculture

LDF-Mobile App

  • Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has launched Livestock Disease Forewarning –Mobile Application (LDF-Mobile App).

Enlighten about the LDF-Mobile App

  • The app has been developed by ICAR-National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics (ICAR-NIVEDI), Bengaluru.
  • ICAR-NIVEDI uses Monthly Bulletin system to send out early warning.
  • Apart from early warning, the app will also provide information about clinical samples for the diagnosis in case of the epidemic so that immediate action in case of the epidemic.
  • This app will be beneficial for the consumers and stakeholders engaged in disease control programmes.