Insights Daily Current Affairs, 21 October 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Pakistan warns India against breaching Indus Water Treaty
Amid reports that India might revisit the key Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan has warned “appropriate action” if India violated the Treaty and said it was closely monitoring the situation.
About the treaty:
The Indus river basin spans parts of 4 countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China) in an area that is more than 30% arid.
- Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum from the Indus water system that flows from India to Pakistan.
- Signed in 1960 by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then Pakistan President Ayub Khan, the treaty allocates 80% of water from the six-river Indus water system to Pakistan.
- Under the treaty, control over six north Indian rivers were divided between the two countries. India got control over the rivers Beas, Ravi and Sutlej whereas Pakistan got control over Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
- It was brokered by the World Bank. The Treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably.
- A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
Triple talaq a highly misused custom: NCW
Asking the government to scrap the triple talaq system to protect the rights of Muslim women, the National Commission of Women (NCW) has observed that the system was a “highly misused” custom.
- The commission also observed that this issue cannot be linked to the Uniform Civil Code.
- The commission has received several representations from Muslim women who said they felt “disempowered” because of the practice of triple talaq.
What is triple talaq?
‘Triple Talaq’ is a procedure of divorce under the Sharia Law which is a body of the Islamic law. Under this, a husband can divorce his wife by pronouncing ‘Talaq’ thrice.
Why triple talaq should be abolished?
- According to a study, 92% of Muslim women in India want oral triple talaq to go. Because there are several instances where ‘triple talaq’ has enabled husbands to divorce their wives arbitrarily, devoid of any substantiation.
- Oral talaq or ‘triple talaq’ delivered through new media platforms like Skype, text messages, email and WhatsApp have become an increasing cause of worry for the community.
- The ‘triple talaq’ has been abolished in 21 countries including Pakistan, but is still prevalent in India.
- These practices are also against constitutional principles such as gender equality, secularism, international laws etc.
- The government also argues that when these practices are banned in Islamic theocratic countries, the practices could have absolutely no base in religion and are only prevalent to permit the dominance of men over women.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) is a statutory body of the Government of India, generally concerned with advising the government on all policy matters affecting women.
- It was established in January 1992 under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, as defined in the 1990 National Commission for Women Act.
- The objective of the NCW is to represent the rights of women in India and to provide a voice for their issues and concerns.
- The commission regularly publishes a monthly newsletter, Rashtra Mahila in both Hindi and English.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
HDFC raises Rs 500 crore via masala bonds
Mortgage lender HDFC has raised Rs 500 crore through the sale of Masala Bonds. HDFC has raised a total of Rs 5,000 crore through issuance of rupee-denominated bonds in four tranches.
What are Masala Bonds?
The rupee-denominated bonds or masala bonds are instruments through which Indian entities can raise funds by accessing overseas capital markets, while the bond investors hold the currency risk.
Why is it important?
Masala bonds, if they take off, can be quite a significant plus for the Indian economy. They are issued to foreign investors and settled in US dollars. Hence the currency risk lies with the investor and not the issuer, unlike external commercial borrowings (ECBs), where Indian companies raise money in foreign currency loans.
While ECBs help companies take advantage of the lower interest rates in international markets, the cost of hedging the currency risk can be significant. If unhedged, adverse exchange rate movements can come back to bite the borrower. But in the case of Masala bonds, the cost of borrowing can work out much lower.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims
World’s largest outdoor air purifier:
- China is all set to deploy the world’s largest outdoor air purifier.
- It is designed by a Dutch engineer.
- It will be deployed in its smog-hit capital Beijing.
- The 7 metre tall tower can capture about 75% of PM 2.5 and PM 10 tiny particles in its vicinity and then release purified air to create a “bubble” of fresh air around it.
- The tower can clean 30,000 cubic metres of air per hour through its patented ozone-free ion technology.
Kashmir’s Red Stag critically endangered:
- In order to get more attention and protection to Kashmir’s Red stag, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has decided to put Red Stag on the critically endangered species list.
- The organisation is also aiming to enhance the conservation efforts to increase its declining population.
- It is listed under Schedule-I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and J&K Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1978 and has also been listed among the top 15 species of high conservation priority by the Government of India.
- The cited reasons for the decline in its population are said to be habitat destruction, over-grazing by domestic livestock, and poaching.