Daily Current Affairs (English) - 13.04.2018
Index of Economic Freedom: India Ranks 130 up by 13 spots
India has jumped 13 places in the last one year to earn the 130th spot in the latest annual Index of Economic Freedom released by a top American think-tank.
- In 2017, India with a score of 52.6 points was ranked at 143 among 180 countries, two spots below neighbor Pakistan, according to the Index of Economic Freedom.
- China with 57.4 points was ranked 111 in the 2017 index of The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative public policy think-tank based in Washington.
- As per the latest Index of Economic Freedom, China has jumped one spot and Pakistan is now at 131 position. India’s economic freedom score is 54.5, making its economy the 130th freest in the 2018 Index, the Heritage Foundation said.
Centre for relook at Haj bar on disabled
The Centre told the Delhi High Court that it has advised the Haj Committee of India to examine the “sensitive” provision that bars differently-abled persons from applying for the Haj pilgrimage.
- The Ministry of Minority Affairs’ submission before the High Court came in response to a petition filed in public interest challenging a provision in the new Haj policy, which debars persons with disabilities from applying for the pilgrimage to Mecca.
- “In the new Haj policy for 2018-22, there was no change with regard to the eligibility criteria for pilgrimage of Indian Muslims and the exact wordings about persons with disability used in the previous policy for Haj 2013-17 were retained,” the affidavit said.
- The Ministry added that the Haj Policy Review Committee has not dealt with this issue in particular.
- According to the petition, the new Haj policy, issued in November 2017, debars “persons suffering from polio, tuberculosis, congestive and respiratory ailment, acute coronary insufficiency, coronary thrombosis, mental disorder, infectious leprosy, AIDS or any other communicable disability or handicap” from applying for the pilgrimage.
- The petition said the new policy is against the various provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, the Mental Health Act, and the National Mental Health Policy, which has equality and non-discrimination as its guiding principles.
Bhanu Pratap Sharma: New Banks Board Bureau Chairman
The Union Finance Ministry has reconstituted the Banks Board Bureau (BBB) and appointed Bhanu Pratap Sharma as its chairman, replacing former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai.
- Mr. Sharma was former the chairman of recruitment and assessment center of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and former Principal Secretary (Finance) in the Bihar government.
- Other Members: Vedika Bhandarkar, former vice-chairman and managing director (investment banking and global markets) of Credit Suisse, India; P. Pradeep Kumar, former managing director of State Bank of India; and Pradeep Shah, former managing director, Crisil.
Consent of a bride to marriage is an inherent part of the Hindu marital law
A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said the Hindu Marriage Act inherently holds a forceful marriage or a fraudulent one conducted without the woman’s voluntary consent as invalid.
- The court said there was no need for a judicial declaration when the statute itself is amply clear.
- Justice Chandrachud pointed to Sections 5, 11 and 12(c) of the Hindu Marriage Act, which stipulates ‘consent’ from brides as a pre-condition for a valid marriage.
- Chief Justice Misra said any woman subjected to a forceful or fraudulent marriage is at liberty to initiate civil action in the appropriate court.
- Chief Justice Misra pointed out that it was only recently, in the Hadiya case judgment on April 9, that the Supreme Court castigated the Kerala High Court for nullifying a marriage in an Article 32 petition. Now, the Supreme Court cannot be expected to nullify a marriage in a writ petition.
- Chief Justice Misra said it was up to a civil court to look into the facts of the case and take a decision on whether to nullify the marital bond or not.
Due to security concerns IPL matches shifted out of Chennai
- Owing to security concerns, the remaining six matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Chennai have been moved out of the city. Pune will be CSK’s new home venue.
- There were protests and disruption of traffic by fringe political outfits, over the Cauvery issue, before and during CSK’s first home game in over two years.
- The decision was taken after a meeting between CSK CEO and City Commissioner of Police.
- The decision to shift the venue comes despite the Supreme Court’s repeated exhortation to the Tamil Nadu government to maintain calm and restore peace in the State while the court was examining the Cauvery dispute.
Mark Zuckerberg: People own & control their data
- Facebook is committed to ensuring the integrity of elections in countries like India, Pakistan and the U.S., Mr. Zuckerberg told the hearings, attended by at least 42 Senators.
- Personalised advertisement driven by data analytics will remain the mainstay of Facebook’s business model, though the company might offer a subscription model that will shield users from advertisements and offer more protection for their data, Mr. Zuckerberg said.
- “We think offering an ad-supported service is the most aligned with our mission of trying to help connect everyone in the world, because we want to offer a free service that everyone can afford.”
- They also pushed for privacy and data access controls on Facebook that are designed to be ‘opt-in’ rather than ‘opt-out.
99 percent of MGNREGA wages remain unpaid
- 99% of MGNREGA wages have remained unpaid in April 2018, as per the findings of the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha that tracks the implementation of the rural employment guarantee law.
- “Stagnant wage rates are not the only rude shock that workers of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act received this month. Most of them also remain unpaid for the work done by them in the past few months,” said a release of the organisation.
- “Ninety-nine per cent of the Fund Transfer Orders for MGNREGA wage payments sent to the Public Finance Management in April 2018 remain unprocessed.”
- It claimed that while the Centre introduced the National Electronic Fund Management System in January 2016 purportedly to streamline the process of MGNREGA payments, the system has only “tightened the (Rural Development) Ministry’s leash over funds”.
- “Now it routinely withholds the processing of FTOs. Also, in NEFMS, States are no longer able to make payments to workers from their revolving funds to tide over delays in release of funds by the Ministry,” the release added.
- The release contended that in 2017, the government froze the processing of FTOs worth over Rs. 3,000 crore due to lack of MGNREGA funds.
- The release added, “The situation of long and unpredictable delays in MGNREGA wage payments continues despite the ongoing public interest litigation filed by Swaraj Abhiyan in which the Supreme Court has instructed the government to ensure that workers are paid within 15 days of doing work.”