Insights Daily Current Evnets, 12 Janaury 2015
DRI notice to Vodafone
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has issued a show-cause cum demand notice to telecom major Vodafone and its two subsidiaries.
- For allegedly evading anti-dumping duty of Rs.330 crore.
The anti-dumping duty is levied on distrustfully low-priced imports, so as to protect the domestic manufacturers.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence was constituted on 4th December 1957, for dealing exclusively with the work relating to the collection and study of information on smuggling activities and the deployment of all anti-smuggling resources at the all India level, besides arranging training for the intelligence and Investigation officers of the Custom Houses and Central Excise Collectorates deployed on similar work.
- DRI is the major intelligence agency which eradicates smuggling of drugs, gold, diamonds, electronics, foreign currency, counterfeit Indian currency, etc.
- The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence functions under the Central Board of Excise and Customs in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue.
- The Directorate is run by officers from Central Excise and Customs. Though its early days were committed to combating smuggling in of gold, it has now tuned itself to the changing nature of crimes in the field of narcotics and economic crimes.
The essential features of the organization are: –
- It is designed to collect and collate information and to strike swiftly;
- It is officer-intensive and the ministerial staff has been kept at a minimum;
- Although small, it is a high-powered organization so that it can issue instructions to Collectors and can command the confidence and respect of the other State and Central organizations with which it has necessarily to deal in order to become effective;
- It consists of selected officers, that is, those who by temperament and experience, are equipped to do this specialized kind of work;
- It will have no routine job of its own in the sense that it is required to collect a certain amount of revenue. It will have complete liberty to act on ‘hunches’ and only the ends will justify the means it adopts.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, http://dri.nic.in/.
SC has no option but to set rapist free
The Supreme Court set free a man sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl after medical examination found he was a juvenile at the time of the crime.
- The accused in the case, who is deaf and dumb, was found guilty in the case. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court in January 2004.
- The Rajasthan High Court had confirmed the sentence.
- In his appeal before the Supreme Court, the accused, in a fresh plea, said he was a juvenile in 1998. Medical examination proved that the accused was just over 17 years of age when he allegedly committed the crime.
Section 7 A of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 provides that an accused can claim he was a juvenile at the time of the alleged crime during any stage of the case and before any court. If medical examination proved his claim right, the court had to treat him as a juvenile, no matter what his present age was.
- Being treated a juvenile would mean that punishment, even for heinous offences like rape and murder, would be reduced to a round of advice, community service or a period of two years in a special home.
- This is the second case in which the apex court has expressed its helplessness over the provisions of the juvenile law.
Sources: The Hindu.
Ancient murals ‘ravaged’ at Kuttralam temple
Several hundreds of ancient murals at Kuttralanatha Swamy temple, at Kuttralam, Tamil Nadu, have been ravaged using gaudy colours by local artists engaged by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), New Delhi, allege art historians.
Art historians allege that most of these murals have now been repainted between 2010 and 2013, using modern garish colours, violating conservation norms.
About the Murals:
- These are 400-year old murals, belonging to the Nayaka period.
- They were originally painted using plant pigments and natural dyes.
- The murals at Chithra Sabhai dealt with episodes from the lives of 63 Saivite saints, Nayanmars, based on the Tamil work called “Periya Puranam” sung by Sekkizhar. There were also big panels of Nataraja, Ganesha, Siva and Parvati seated on Rishabha, the wedding of Siva and Parvati, Ananthasayana Vishnu etc.
- The murals were repainted with enamel in the 1960s. The enamel was removed in 1978 and the original murals exposed. But the murals started deteriorating in the 1990s and 2000s.
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
Protest against ‘jallikattu’ ban
Hundreds of bull owners, ‘jallikattu’ organisers, bull tamers and supporters from 10 villages staged a demonstration in Dindigul, TN, demanding permission for conducting the bull taming sport at their villages as part Pongal celebrations.
- Jallikattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day.
- Jallikattu is a Tamil tradition called ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ in Sangam literature(meaning, to embrace bulls), popular amongst warriors during the Tamil classical period.
- According to legend, in olden days the game was used by women to choose their husbands. Successful “matadors” were chosen as grooms.
- Jallikattu is based on the concept of “flight or fight”. All castes participate in the event. The majority of jallikattu bulls belong to the pulikulam breed of cattle.
- In May of 2014, the Supreme Court banned jallikattu and bullock cart racing in Tamil Nadu, citing animal welfare issues.
- Injuries and even deaths occur in jallikattu.
- Two hundred have died over the past two decades. Unlike in Spanish bullfighting, the bull is not killed. There are rarely any casualties suffered by the bulls.
- Jallikattu is loaded against the matadors, unlike in Spain bullfighting. For instance, the bull’s horns are sharpened and the matador cannot use any weapons.
- The Animal Welfare Board of India took the case to the Supreme Court. The SC banned the game in May 2014 because of the cruelty to animals and the threat to public safety involved. Villagers throw themselves on top of the terrified animals in an effort to “tame” them and claim the prize. This is opposed by animal advocates.
- SC’s observation: Forcing a bull and keeping it in the waiting area for hours and subjecting it to the scorching sun is not for the animal’s well-being. Forcing and pulling the bull by a nose rope into the narrow, closed enclosure or ‘vadi vassal’ (entry point), subjecting it to all forms of torture, fear, pain and suffering by forcing it to go the arena and also over-powering it in the arena by bull tamers, are not for the well-being of the animal.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
Pact for mega solar project
SunEdison Inc, the U.S.-headquartered solar energy services firm, and India’s Adani Group have come together to invest $4 billion or Rs. 25,000 crore in setting up one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing facility in Gujarat.
- The project is expected to create not only thousands of jobs, but also provide a much-need impetus to the country’s electrification programmes through solar energy.
- Project will boost country’s electrification programmes through solar energy.
India has an ambitious vision of building 100 GW of solar power by 2020 and that vision is exactly the same China has for its solar industry by 2020. So, a strong local solar manufacturing base is of strategic importance to the growth of this sector.
- Indian domestic PV manufacturing industry essentially comprises of two segments of players — manufacturers of cells & complete modules and producers who import cells and only make modules. The total capacity of these two put together is less than 2,000 MW.
- Also, the domestic solar manufacturing industry does not have the scale nor have the access to a fully developed domestic supply chain.
- Domestic PV manufacturing industry was essentially set up to cater to highly subsidised solar tariff markets in the EU. In this context, establishment of an integrated manufacturing unit by a world’s leading firm like SunEdison will be a significant chapter in the Indian solar map.
Sources: The Hindu.
Eruthattam banned in Salem district
The district authorities of Salem have banned eruthattam (bull chase) for the second consecutive year.
The people were informed about the Supreme Court’s guidelines for holding such events involving animals.
- Eruthattam is a traditional festival of chasing the bulls. The villagers hold the rope tied to the nose of the bulls, on both sides. Later, they chase the bulls in the area surrounding the temple.
- The festival was organised as a thanksgiving to God and was practised for the past two centuries, according to the local people.
- Eruthattam is held in the temple as part of the Pongal celebrations.
Difference between Jallikattu and Eruthattam:
While jallikattu dealt with taming the animal, eruthattam is a game of chasing the bulls.
Sources: The Hindu.
Decoding the oil price fall
Cheaper oil is good for the global economy; for an energy-intensive economy such as India’s, which also depends on imported oil for meeting four-fifths of its needs, a fall in oil price is desired.
Yet, the biggest fall in the stock market in five-and-a-half years last week was triggered by crude oil piercing the $50 a barrel mark on its unrelenting downward journey. The fall was also due to fears such as Greece exiting the euro zone and slowdown in China.
A recent IMF study says that every $10 fall in oil price adds 0.2 percentage points to global GDP growth. And that should mean a boost of a over 1.2 percentage points to global GDP growth given that oil has dropped from around $115 a barrel six months ago to less than $50 a barrel now.
Reasons for fall in oil prices:
- Lower global demand is the main reason.
- The inability, or unwillingness rather, of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which accounts for about 40 per cent of global oil output, to cut production to match the demand is a major factor.
- Saudi Arabia, which dominates the cartel with the highest share, appears determined to stay in a race to the bottom along with U.S. shale oil producers.
- The oil market was funded in a major way in the last few years by cheap dollars flowing out of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing programme. With interest rates at near zero, surplus funds flowed into the commodity markets, notably crude oil, driving their prices upwards.
Cheaper fuel prices will put more money in the hands of consumers which will, in turn, be either invested or spent elsewhere. And this would drive economic growth.
Sources: The Hindu.