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Insights Daily Current Events, 04 August 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 04 August 2015

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25 Congress MPs suspended for 5 sittings

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has suspended 25 Congress MPs for five consecutive sittings for “persistently and wilfully obstructing” the House.

  • The Speaker took the decision on suspension by invoking Rule 374(A), the first such instance in the 16th Lok Sabha.

Rule 374(A) states: “Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the rules of the House persistently and willfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less.”

This decision has triggered a larger Opposition unity with around nine Opposition parties announcing their decision to boycott the Lok Sabha proceedings for the next five days in protest against the suspension of Congress MPs.

Sources: The Hindu.

Centre inks peace accord with Naga insurgent outfit

The Union government has signed a peace accord with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), one of the largest insurgent outfits, which has been demanding a unified Naga identity and a separate ‘Nagalim’ State for over six decades.

  • However, the details of the accord are not released by the government, and there is no clarity on the “sovereignty clause,” being demanded by the insurgent group.
  • But under the broad framework of the peace settlement, the Naga leadership has given up its demand for integration of the Naga inhabited areas under one administration, and has accepted the primacy of the Indian Constitution. And the govenrment has said that it accepts the “uniqueness of the Naga history and culture” and indicated its willingness to give Nagas living outside Nagaland autonomy in governance.
  • The NSCN-K, the breakaway faction of the NSCN, however, was not part of the settlement. The faction, which broke away in 1998, is believed to have been behind the attack on an Army convoy in June, 2015.

Background:

  • The Naga insurgency is six decades old. The NSCN-IM, one of the several separatist groups in the north-east, has been fighting for an independent, ethnic Naga homeland uniting parts of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and areas of Myanmar, with which it shares a border.
  • The key demand for Greater Nagalim – as it was called — was a major stumbling block for any agreement.
  • The government has been in talks with NSCM-IM since 1997. Now, government has indicated that it is willing to consider that the Autonomous Hill Councils to give Nagas outside Nagaland a greater say in deciding their immediate governance.

Sources: The Hindu.

Only 8.15% of Indians are graduates, Census data show

A new Census data, released recently, shows that despite a big increase in college attendance, especially among women, fewer than one out of every 10 Indians is a graduate. This data was released by the office of the Census Commissioner and Registrar-General of India based on the level of education achieved by Indians as of 2011.

Details:

  • The data show that with 6.8 crore graduates and above, India still has more than six times as many illiterates.
  • While rural India accounts for only a third of all graduates, the rate of increase in graduates was faster in rural than in urban India over the last decade, and fastest of all among rural women.
  • From 26 lakh graduates 10 years ago, nearly 67 lakh rural women are now graduates.
  • Rural Indians are more likely to have non-technical graduate degrees than urban Indians, while urban India accounts for 80% of all Indian technology and medicine graduates.
  • Among those with a graduate degree or above, the majority (over 60%) are those who have a non-technical graduate degree.
  • Data also show that the biggest increase is in the number of people pursuing engineering and technology diplomas or technical degrees equivalent to a graduate or postgraduate degree.
  • The proportion of Indians with engineering and technology qualifications has nearly doubled over the last decade, while the proportion of women technology graduate equivalents has more than tripled.
  • The proportion of graduates among the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is far lower than the national average; just over four per cent of the SCs are graduates or above, while for the Scheduled Tribes, it is below three per cent, and lower still for women.
  • Chandigarh and Delhi have the highest proportion of graduates — over one in every five persons — followed by Maharashtra among the big States, while Bihar and Assam are worst off among the big States, with fewer than one in every 20 persons a graduate.
  • Across the country — with the notable exceptions of Chandigarh and Kerala — the proportion of male graduates is higher than that of women.

Sources: The Hindu.

Sunderbans vulnerable to floods and cyclones

A recent report, titled ‘District Disaster Management Plan, South 24 Parganas, 2015’, submitted by the South 24 Parganas district administration to the West Bengal State government has revealed that at least 8 lakh people in eight blocks in the Sunderbans area are vulnerable to cyclones and floods.

  • According to the report, of the 23 traditional flood shelters in the district, seven are in a dilapidated condition, two are damaged and two others are in need of repairs.

Sundarbans:

  • The Sundarbans is a natural region in West Bengal and Bangladesh. It is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.
  • The Sundarbans covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) of which 60% is in Bangladesh with the remainder in India.
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mangroves in India:

Mangroves in India account for about 3% of the world’s mangrove vegetation. Mangrove cover in India is 4,662 sq. km, which is 0.14% of the country’s total geographical area. Sundarbans in West Bengal accounts for almost half of the total area under mangroves in the country. Mangrove in India is famous for its rich variety of flora and fauna.

Composition of Mangroves in India: The very dense mangrove comprises 1,403 sq. km (30.10% of the total mangrove cover), moderately dense mangrove is 1,658.12 sq. km (35.57 %) while open mangroves cover an area of 1,600.44 sq. km (33%).

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, FSI.

Padma Shri award: SC verdict brings relief to Mohan Babu

The Supreme Court of India has ruled against depriving of Actor-producer Mohan Babu’s Padma Shri award.

  • The Supreme Court has overturned a High Court ruling directig that he be stripped of the Padma Shri.

Background:

  • A petition was filed in the High Court alleging that Manchu Mohan Babu is allegedly using the ‘Padma Sri’ award for films. Responding to this, the High Court had asked Mohan Babu to return back the Padma Award.
  • Mohan Babu moved the Supreme Court and filed an affidavit stating that he had not misused the title but that it was included in the titles of the film without his knowledge by the producers.

Balaji Raghavan versus Union of India case:

The Supreme Court in the above said case has clarified that the National Awards do not amount to ‘titles’ within the meaning of Article 18(1) and they should not be used as suffixes or prefixes. If this is done, the defaulter should forfeit the National Award conferred on him or her by following the procedure laid down in Regulation 10 of each of the four notifications creating these National Awards.

Article 18(1) of the Indian Constitution prohibits the conferment of `titles’ by the State with the exception of military and academic distinctions, but it does not define the words “titles” and “distinction”.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

Climate change: Obama unveils Clean Power Plan

US President Barack Obama has unveiled what he called “the biggest, most important step we have ever taken” in tackling climate change.

  • The aim of the revised Clean Power Plan is to cut greenhouse gas emissions from US power stations by nearly a third within 15 years.
  • The measures will place significant emphasis on wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources.
  • However, opponents in the energy industry in the U.S. have vowed to fight the plan.

Details:

  • The revised plan will aim to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 32% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.
  • Each US state will have an emission-cutting goal assigned to it and must submit a proposal to the Environmental Protection Agency on how it will meet the target.
  • The rules aim to cut emissions from power plants and have been strengthened in terms of the long-term ambition as originally proposed by the president last year, but slightly weakened in the short-term in a concession to states reliant on highly-polluting coal.

Sources: The Hindu.

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