20 September Current Affairs

2

Triple talaq Ordinance

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance making instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a punishable offence carrying a jail term of up to three years. The step was taken after the government failed to pass the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, in the Rajya Sabha during the recent monsoon session.

Background:

In August last year, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a law that allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering “talaq” three times in quick succession. In a landmark 3-2 verdict, the apex court found the practice un-Islamic and “arbitrary”, and disagreed that triple talaq was an integral part of religious practice.

What are the provisions?

  • Triple talaq remains cognizable with a maximum of three years imprisonment and a fine.
  • Triple talaq will be recognised as a crime only when a woman or her blood relative files a complaint with the police.
  • A compromise can be achieved only when the woman is willing and says so to a magistrate. A magistrate can grant bail only after the wife’s consent.
  • The custody of children from the marriage will go to the woman.
  • The mother is entitled to maintenance determined by a magistrate.
  • The law doesn’t affect Jammu and Kashmir.

 What is instant triple talaq?

Instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat is a practice that was challenged in the court. It is different from the practice of “talaq-ul-sunnat”, which is considered to be the ideal form of dissolution of marriage contract among Muslims.

Under the latter form, once the husband pronounces talaq, the wife has to observe a three-month iddat period covering three menstrual cycles during which the husband can arbitrate and re-conciliate with the wife. In case of cohabitation between the couple, during these three months, the talaq is revoked. However, when the period of iddat expires and the husband does not revoke the talaq either expressly or by consummation, the talaq is irrevocable and final.

In the practice of talaq-e-biddat, when a man pronounces talaq thrice in a sitting, or through phone, or writes in a talaqnama or a text message, the divorce is considered immediate and irrevocable, even if the man later wishes to re-conciliate.

Status in neighbouring countries:

India and 22 other countries have banned triple talaq. India’s neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are among the countries that have banned the practice of instant triple talaq prevalent among Muslims for divorce.

In Pakistan and Bangladesh, the law requires the man who wishes to divorce his wife to give the ‘arbitration council’ a written notice of his having done so, and supply a copy of the same to his wife.

In Pakistan, triple talaq was abolished when it issued its Muslim Family Law Ordinance in 1961, according to Geo News. In Afghanistan, divorce through three pronouncements made in only one sitting is considered to be invalid. Sri Lanka’s Marriage and Divorce (Muslim) Act, 1951, amended up to 2006, also prohibits triple talaq.

Way ahead:

India follows a secular approach with religious groups being allowed to manage their own affairs within the law, and most of these divorcees never see justice or even a chance at reconciliation with the husband. The move to criminalise instant divorce, therefore, is being touted as a step forward for the rights of Indian Muslim women.

Source: The Hindu

Atomic Energy Commission

In News:

The government has appointed renowned scientist Kamlesh Nilkanth Vyas as chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and secretary of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). He will succeed Shekhar Basu.

About AEC:

The Indian Atomic Energy Commission was first setup in August 1948 in the Department of Scientific Research.

Later on, in accordance with a Government Resolution, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was established in the Department of Atomic Energy. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was setup on August 3, 1954 under the direct charge of the Prime Minister through a Presidential Order.

According to the Resolution constituting the AEC, the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Atomic Energy is ex-officio Chairman of the Commission.

The other Members of the AEC are appointed on the recommendation of the Chairman, AEC and after approval by the Prime Minister.

Important functions of the Atomic Energy Commission are:

  • To organise research in atomic scientists in the country.
  • To train, atomic scientists in the country.
  • To promote nuclear research in commission’s own laboratories as well as in India.
  • To undertake prospecting of atomic minerals in India and to extract such minerals for use on industrial scale.

Source: PIB

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM)

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of timeline for implementation of the Special Package under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) for Jammu & Kashmir for another period of one year during 2018-19.

Details:

The Cabinet also approved allocation of funds to the State under DAY-NRLM on a need basis for implementation of the Special Package without linking it with poverty ratio.

Impact:

  • This will help in covering all the vulnerable rural households in the State (estimated at two thirds of the total number of households) within a definite time frame.
  • It will ensure mobilization of households under the auto inclusion category and households with at least one deprivation category listed in the Socio Economic Caste Census – 2011.
  • It will also ensure coverage of all the blocks in Jammu & Kashmir under DAY-NRLM and ensures social inclusion, social development, promotion of livelihoods leading to poverty alleviation in the State.

About Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM):

  • The Government is implementing DAY-NRLM across the country in all States and Union Territories (except Delhi and Chandigarh).
  • The financial support under the programme is mainly in the form of Revolving Fund and Community Investment Funds, given as grants to the Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their federations.
  • DAY-NRLM also focuses on bank linkage of the institutions.
  • The programme has a special focus on women empowerment including a dedicated component for promoting farm and non-farm based livelihoods for women farmers in rural areas.
  • In addition, start-up enterprises at village levels are also supported to promote entrepreneurial activities in those areas.

Source: PIB

Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP)

In News:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Revised Cost Estimate of Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) at the revised cost of Rs 3466 crore with the financial assistance of the World Bank to improve safety and operational performance of 198 Dams.

About DRIP:

The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Government of India, with assistance from the World Bank, is implementing the DAM REHABILITATION AND IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (DRIP), which would be a six-year project.

The Central Dam Safety Organisation of Central Water Commission, assisted by a Consulting firm, is coordinating and supervising the Project implementation.

Goals: The project originally envisaged the rehabilitation and improvement of about 223 dams within four states namely, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu and later Karnataka, Uttarakhand (UNVNL) and Jharkhand (DVC) joined DRIP and total number of dams covered under DRIP increased to 250. The project will also promote new technologies and improve Institutional capacities for dam safety evaluation and implementation at the Central and State levels and in some identified premier academic and research institutes of the country.

The project development objectives of DRIP are: (i) to improve the safety and performance of selected existing dams and associated appurtenances in a sustainable manner, and (ii) to strengthen the dam safety institutional setup in participating states as well as at central level.

Significance of the project:

The project will improve the safety and operational performance of selected existing dams and mitigate risks to ensure safety of downstream population and property.

The primary beneficiaries are both urban and rural communities dependent on reservoir and downstream communities, who are prone to risk associated with dam failure or operational failure.

Through institutional strengthening component, effectiveness of Dam Safety Organisations will be increased to take the lead to make dams safe from structural and operational point of view through capacity building of staff and officials.

Source: PIB

Global Environment Facility (GEF)

In News:

The government along with United Nations body FAO has launched an agriculture project with $33.5 million grant from Global Environment Facility (GEF) that seeks to bring transformative change in the farm sector through conservation of biodiversity and forest landscapes.

Key facts:

The project is being funded by the GEF and implemented by the government of India (agriculture and environment ministries) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Aim: The project aims to transform agricultural production to generate global environmental benefits by addressing biodiversity conservation, land degradation, climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management.

The project, to be implemented in five landscapes in Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, strives to bring harmony between conservation and development efforts of the country.

About GEF:

The Global Environment Facility was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems.

It is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues.

GEF funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements.

The World Bank serves as the GEF Trustee, administering the GEF Trust Fund.

It is a FINANCIAL MECHANISM for five major international environmental conventions: the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Source: PIB

Cyclone-30

In News:

The country’s biggest cyclotron facility that will produce radioisotopes vital for diagnosis and treatment of cancer has become operational.

Key facts:

The machine – Cyclone-30 — is housed at the Kolkata-based Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and will start regular production by mid-next year after supporting nuclear systems are commissioned and regulatory clearances are obtained.

This facility will provide for affordable radio isotopes and related radiopharmaceuticals for the entire country especially, for eastern India and also have export potential for Germanium-68 and Gallium-68 generator for in-situ production of Gallium-68 and Palladium-103 isotopes, used for breast cancer diagnosis and prostate cancer treatment, respectively.

Significance:

With increasing number of Indians diagnosed with cancer every year, the cyclotron machine will produce radioisotopes for nuclear imaging specifically for cancer detection.

At present, many radioisotopes are imported while some are produced in nuclear research reactors such as the Apsara at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), and remaining in cyclotrons facilities run by large private hospitals. The addition of Cyclone-30 will increase the availability of radioisotopes and bring down the cost of treatment.

What are Cyclotrons?

Cyclotrons are used to produce radioisotopes for diagnostic and therapeutic use for cancer care. Radiations from these isotopes are used to destroy cancer cells.

Source: The Hindu

Exercise Aviaindra-18

In News:

Exercise Aviaindra 18 is being conducted at Lipetsk, Russia.

Details:

Exercise Aviaindra is an Air Force level exercise between India and the Russian Federation. First Aviaindra was conducted in 2014 and has been planned as a bi-annual exercise.

Significance: The aim of the exercise is focused towards anti-terrorist operations in a bi-lateral scenario. The exercise would further enhance the co-operation and understanding each other’s Concept of Operations.

Source: PIB

India-Bangladesh Friendship Product Pipeline Project

In News:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina have jointly launched the construction of India-Bangladesh Friendship Product Pipeline Project through video conferencing.

Key facts:

  • It is first such pipeline through which refined diesel will be supplied to Bangladesh from India.
  • The project involves construction of 130-kilometre long pipeline that will connect Siliguri in West Bengal and Parbatipur in Dinajpur district of Bangladesh.
  • Of the total stretch, six-kilometre will be in Indian side and remaining 124 kilometres will in Bangladesh.

Source: PIB

Nuclear Plant in M.P

  • Activist and villagers in Madhya Pradesh raised their concerns over the proposed nuclear plant in Chutka.
  • In 2009, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) has decided to set up the atomic station in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh to generate 1,400 MW power.
  • At present, there are 9 nuclear power reactors at various stages of construction.
  • Kakrapar (2 reactors) in Gujarat, Rawatbhata (2 reactors) in Rajasthan, Kudankulam (2 reactors) and Kalpakkam (1 reactor) in Tamil Nadu and Gorakhpur ( 1 reactor) in Haryana.
  • There are few nuclear power reactors accorded administrative approval and financial sanction. Each site has 2 reactors.
  • Gorakhpur in Haryana, Mahi-Banswara in Rajasthan, Kaiga in Karnataka, Chutka in Madhya pradesh, Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu

International Criminal Court

  • ICC is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal headquartered in The Hague in the Netherlands.
  • ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, crime of aggression and war crimes.
  • ICC is the world‘s first permanent international criminal court.
  • States which become party to the Rome Statute becomes member of ICC, thus totalling 123 members.
  • The co-operation of the non-party states with the ICC is of voluntary nature.
  • But when a case is referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council all UN member states are obliged to cooperate, since its decisions are binding for all of them.
  • India is not a signatory to the Rome Statute.
  • Recent Developments – ICC has recently opened preliminary probe into Myanmar crimes against Rohingya muslims.
  • ICC judges has previously ruled that though Myanmar has not signed up to the Hague-based ICC, the court still has jurisdiction over crimes against the Rohingya because Bangladesh is a member.
  • A preliminary examination can lead to a formal investigation by the ICC.
  • The UN fact-finding mission also repeated suggestions that crimes against the Rohingya be referred to the ICC.

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By Naveen