Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 February 2018

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 February 2018


 

Paper 1:

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

More than 40 Indian languages will soon be extinct

Context: As per the Census Directorate, 42 Indian languages are said to be endangered. Due to the small number who speak the languages are expected to soon be extinct. The languages include dialects as well. The 42 languages are considered endangered because they are spoken by less than 10,000 people.

 

Endangered languages:

The endangered languages include, 11 from Andaman and Nicobar Islands- Andamanese, Jarawa, Lamongse, Luro, Muot, Onge, Pu, Sanenyo, Sentilese, Shompen and Takahanyilang, 7 from Manipur- Aimol, Aka, Koiren, Lamgang, Langrong, Purum, and Tarao, and 4 from Himachal Pradesh- Baghati, Handuri, Pangvali, Sirmaudi. Mandi, Parji and Pengo from Orissa, Koraga and Kuruba from Karnataka, Gadaba and Naiki from Andhra Pradesh, Mra and Na from Arunachal Pradesh, Tai Nora and Tai Rong from Assam, Bangani from Uttarakhand, Kota and Toda from Tamil Nadu, Birhor from Jharkhand, Nihali from Maharashtra, Ruga from Meghalaya and Toto from West Bengal.

 

Efforts to protect these languages:

A central scheme is in place to protect these languages. The Central Institute of Indian Languages has been working on the conservation of these languages. Under the programme, grammatical descriptions, monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, language primers, anthologies of folklore, encyclopedias of all languages or dialects that are endangered are being prepared. There are currently 31 languages in India that have been given the status of official languages by state governments and union territories.

 

Difference between a Dialect and a Language?

Distinction between the two based can be made based on the concept of Mutual intelligibility. Two languages where speakers can understand each other are considered dialects of the same language, whereas two languages where the speakers cannot understand each other are separate languages.

Historically two dialects with close enough continuous contact will remain mutually intelligible. With enough separation in time and space dialects will eventually turn into separate languages.

 

Way ahead:

India is one of the few countries with such a huge diversity of languages. If the languages become extinct it will not just mean the loss of the said languages but also a loss of culture. The country wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for its diversity, languages are a crucial part of that diversity.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: not much.
  • For Mains: Need for protection of endangered languages.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

President approves Bill allowing Kambala in Karnataka

Context: President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill making Kambala a legal rural sport in Karnataka. With this, all apprehensions and obstacles that were preventing kambala have been cleared.

 

Background:

Karnataka government had promulgated Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 on July 20 last year. The Bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.

 

About Kambala:

What is it?

Kambla in its traditional form is non-competitive with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields, which is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.

 

Why it has become controversial?

Over the years, it has however become an organised sport with animal rights activists claiming that the buffaloes run in the race due to fear of being beaten, which the organizers dismiss, saying no violence is involved and that several modifications had been made to ensure that it is an animal friendly event.

 

Way ahead:

Kambala patrons are celebrating as they have almost won the battle. It is indeed a huge victory for the traditional slush track buffalo race, but a temporary one. Unless a scientific study is undertaken to prove that buffaloes used for ploughing in coastal Karnataka are also fit for racing, there is always the threat of the court staying the sport. Those against the sport have been claiming that the anatomy of buffalo is not fit for racing. Hence a scientific study is essential to prove the same. The government must constitute a scientific committee comprising of physiology and anatomy experts, doctorate holders and invite scientific reports stating that the buffaloes used for plouging purpose are fit to run in slush tracks.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Kambala.
  • For Mains: Kambala- For and Against issues.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2:

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Privatising public sector banks

 

Context: Industry body FICCI has called for privatisation of public sector banks (PSBs), saying that the recapitalisation efforts by the government have had little effect on improving their health.

 

Need for Privatisation:

There is a continuous pressure on the government finances on account of the weak performance of the banks. Privatisation would reduce the drain on the exchequer and the money saved could be used for developmental schemes and programmes of the government.

 

Benefits of private banks:

Private banks will bring innovations in products, technology and customer servicing and a market-based discipline to lending. Private banks, knowing that they cannot count on government’s protection, are unlikely to engage in the sort of risky lending that characterised public bank lending. Also, they will not be subject to the same pressure from politicians and others in government that has destroyed the public sector banks.

 

Way ahead:

The public-sector banks, which constitute almost 70% of the Indian banking system, are saddled with burgeoning stressed assets. The government has already injected over ₹2.6 lakh crore in the public-sector banks through recapitalisation in the last eleven years, which has had limited impact in improving the health of public sector banks thus far.

Therefore, recapitalisation of PSBs alone is not a permanent solution and will not be effective unless the inherent issues related to governance, productivity, risk management, talent, customer service, etc. are resolved. The government should shrink unproductive public sector banks and move forward with increasing private sector participation in the banking sector.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Nothing much.
  • For Mains: Privatisation- issues, benefits and challenges.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.

 

Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill

 

Context: The Rajasthan government has withdrawn the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill 2017.

 

About the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill:

The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the State from being investigated for on-duty action, without government sanction. It also bars the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is given by the government.

 

Intention behind this move:

The government said, with this bill, it aimed to protect honest officials from frivolous allegations levelled by vested interests, and thus prevent a situation of policy paralysis. It was felt that bar on reporting will deter false cases brought with the intention of maligning public officials.

 

What is the concept of prior sanction?

The basic idea is that public officials need to be protected from legal harassment for their official actions. But at what stage is prior sanction required — before beginning investigation, or before prosecution in court? At present, prior sanction is required before public officials can be prosecuted in courts. The CrPC provides that no court can take cognizance of an offence by a public official unless sanction has been given by the central or state government. The Prevention of Corruption Act also requires prior sanction for prosecution of public servants for offences such as taking a bribe or criminal misconduct. The Rajasthan Bill introduced the requirement of prior sanction at the stage of investigation in addition to the stage of prosecution.

 

Questions raised on the provision of prior sanction in the Bill:

First, whether this protection is necessary at both the investigation and prosecution stages. Second, since evidence of an alleged offence is collected through an investigation, how will an authority sanction investigation in the absence of evidence? And finally, the requirement of prior sanction at both the investigation and prosecution stages could result in delays.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

World Congress on IT 2018

Context: The World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) 2018 is being held in Hyderabad, India. The event is organised by the World Information Technology and Services Alliance.

The theme: ‘Future Enterprises.’

 

WCIT:

The World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) is the largest and the most reputable international event among worldwide IT leaders. It brings together high-level officials from different countries, heads of multinational organizations, universities and scientific research centers, non-governmental organizations’ representatives and many more.

The event includes discussions of legal, political and economic trends affecting IT business processes, presentations of innovative solutions, B2B meetings and so on.

The WCIT has been held since 1978. Previous hosting countries were Canada, the Netherlands, Malaysia, USA, Greece, Australia, China, Spain, Japan, England, France, Denmark, Mexico, Brazil.

 

About WITSA:

What? The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) is a consortium of associations from the information and communications technology (ICT) industry around the world.

Background: WITSA was founded in 1978 as the World Computing Services Industry Association, and participates in advocacy in international public policy that affects the “global information infrastructure”.

Functions: WITSA’s motto is “Fulfilling the Promise of the Digital Age”. It voices the concerns of the international IT industry in organisations such as the World Trade Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the G8.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: WITC- Host nation, WITSA.
  • For Mains: WICT and its significance.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3:

Topic: Infrastructure.

 

Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC)

Context: The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), a mega infrastructure project with an estimated investment of $100 billion, has attracted interest from companies based out of Canada, the U.S., Singapore and Taiwan.

 

About DMIC:

What is it? Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor is a mega infra-structure project of USD 90 billion with the financial & technical aids from Japan, covering an overall length of 1483 KMs between the political capital and the business capital of India, i.e. Delhi and Mumbai. A MoU in this regard was signed in 2006.

Components: The project would include six mega investment regions of 200 square kilometres each and will run through six states Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh, Southern Haryana, Eastern Rajasthan, Eastern Gujarat, and Western Maharashtra.

Aim: The project aims to develop an environmentally sustainable, long lasting and technological advanced infrastructure utilizing cutting age Japanese technologies and to create world class manufacturing and investment destinations in this region.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: DMIC.
  • For Mains: Need for infrastructure development.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

Saudi Arabia allows women to open their business ventures without male consent:

Context: Women in Saudi Arabia have been given the go-ahead to start businesses without the permission of a male guardian. In the past women needed a guardian’s approval and had to visit a notary to document the founding of a company.