Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 7, 2018

Supreme Court Verdicts

SC decriminalises homosexuality Bench says history owes the LGBTQ community an apology Choice of a partner is part of the fundamental right to privacy

What

  • In a landmark judgment on Thursday, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality, with a prayer to the LGBTQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) to forgive history for subjecting it to “brutal” suppression.

Enlighten about the bench

  • The Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, unanimously held that criminalisation of private consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was clearly unconstitutional.
  • The court, however, held that the Section would apply to “unnatural” sexual acts like bestiality.
  • Sexual act without consent continues to be a crime under Section 377.
  • The Constitution Bench declared the 156-year-old “tyranny” of Section 377 “irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.” Section 377 thus far punished homosexuality with 10 years of imprisonment.

Enlighten about Section 377

  • It discriminated against a minority based solely on their sexual orientation. It violated the right of the LGBTQ community to “equal citizenship and equal protection of laws.
  • The court held that bodily autonomy was individualistic. Choice of a partner was part of the fundamental right to privacy.
  • The court set aside its 2013 judgment in the Suresh Koushal case.
  • This was a much-needed self-correction of a past judicial wrong committed against the community.

Enlighten about the journey

Bilateral Relations

India signs landmark defence pact with U.S.

What

  • India and the United States sealed the landmark Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) that will lead to a new generation of bilateral military partnership.
  • Apart from the agreement that was signed at the end of the inaugural India-U.S. ‘2+2’ Ministerial Dialogue, both sides called on Pakistan to stop terrorist strikes on “other countries” and urged for maritime freedom in the Indo-Pacific region.

Enlighten about the agreement

  • Signing of a Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement that will facilitate access to advanced defence systems and enable India to optimally utilise its existing U.S.-origin platforms
  • With Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), India has concluded three of the four foundational agreements with the U.S. that had been planned for years.
  • India has already signed two of them — General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002 and the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016.
  • The COMCASA will allow the U.S. to transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for U.S.-origin platforms like C-17, C-130 and P-8I aircraft.
  • It comes into force immediately and is valid for 10 years.

Safeguard security

  • The government had negotiated an India-specific agreement and “specific additional provisions” had been incorporated in the text to safeguard security and national interests.
  • Data acquired through such systems cannot be disclosed or transferred to any person or entity without India’s consent.
  • Both countries will implement the agreement in a manner consistent with the national security interests of the other
  • India and the U.S. will also hold a first-ever tri-service joint exercise on the east coast of India in 2019

Role for private sector

  • Ms. Sitharaman and Secretary of Defence James N. Mattis also announced their readiness to begin negotiations on an Industrial Security Annex (ISA) that would allow Indian private sector to collaborate with the U.S. defence industry.
  • The GSOMIA allows sharing of classified information from the U.S. government and American companies with the Indian government and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) but not with Indian private companies.
  • To further defence innovation, a Memorandum of Intent was signed between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defence Innovation Organization – Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX), which will look into joint projects for co-production and co-development projects through the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Science and Technology

Biennial Space Expo, BSX-2018

What

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) wants industry to raise its engagement with the country’s space programme by helping drive production of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLVs) that ISRO needs to meet its fast expanding launch schedule in the coming years

ISRO Future Mission

  • ISRO’s missions are growing at a fast pace, to 59 satellites in three years.
  • It means that instead of doing six or seven launches a year ISRO must do almost two launches a month.”

Role of domestic companies

  • Department of Space, exhorted industry to take up bigger and independent roles in manufacturing satellites and launchers.
  • This would free ISRO up to focus on pursuing new technologies and the challenge of the manned space misson, which is about 40 months away.
  • With 85% of the launch vehicle cost and 50% of the spacecraft cost going to industries that supply components and systems to ISRO domestic companies stood to gain substantially.
  • Of the ₹10,400 crore worth of launch vehicles approved a few months back, ₹9,000 crore would go to supplier industries.

Defence

Centenary of the Battle of Haifa Celebrated

What

  • The Embassy of India held a ceremony in Haifa( now in present day Israel) to mark the Centenary of the Battle of Haifa when on 23 Sep 1918, Indian soldiers from the Jodhpur, Mysore and Hyderabad Lancers liberated the city of Haifa.
  • The ceremony was attended by a delegation from India led by Maj Gen VD Dogra and included personnel from the 61st Cavalry.
  • The honour guard was drawn from the Indian contingent deployed as part of UN mission.
  • The ceremony was also attended by the Mayor of Haifa, Ambassadors, Military Attaches, representatives from IDF and members of the Indian community.

Factoids

31st meeting of Central Hindi Committee concluded

Ministry concerned

  • The 31st meeting of the Central Hindi Committee was held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
  • The Chief Ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Gujarat, and other members of the committee participated in this meeting

Commerce & Industry

‘Source India’ at 87th Izmir International tradeshow in Turkey

Ministry concerned

  • India is the Partner Country in the 87th Izmir International tradeshow which begins in Turkey from Friday, September 7, 2018.
  • In this tradeshow India will also be launching a mega business pavilion ‘Source India’ hosting 75 Indian companies with the aim of tie-ups in order to increase India’s exports to Turkey and other neighbouring countries.
  • This is part of a series of Source India pavilions that the Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) is hosting in important tradeshows across the world for boosting India’s exports.

Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI)

  • TPCI is the trade and investment promotion organization of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce &Industry, Government of India, and works to open new areas for co-operation in trade and investment between India and rest of the world.

The 87th Izmir International tradeshow

  • The 87th Izmir International tradeshow will be held in Izmir – the third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara – from 7th to 11th September, 2018.
  • Source India, with 75 Indian participating companies, is a multi-product pavilion though some of the key potential areas for increasing trade with Turkey are ceramics, cereals and machinery or mechanical appliances.

Ceramic product

  • Turkey’s ceramic imports from the world is USD 339.8 million and only USD 16.6 million from India and India exports more than USD1.2 billion worth of ceramic products to the world.
  • India exports cereals worth USD 91.6 million to Turkey compared to Turkey’s import of USD 1.7 billion worth of cereals from the world.
  • India has the capacity to increase its export in this sector as it is currently exporting USD7.3 billion worth of cereals to the world.

Sources - PIB , The Hindu , Indian Express