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January 06

    INTERNATIONAL

    • Lawmakers Oppose H-1B Curb Plan

    The measure could result in at least half a million Indian Americans having to move out, they say.

    News:

    Some U.S. lawmakers and advocacy groups have criticised the Donald Trump administration’s reported plan to curb H-1B visa extensions that could result in self-deportation of an estimated 5,00,000-7,50,000 Indian Americans, saying the move would drain the U.S. of talent.

    Background:

    H-1B programme offers temporary U.S. visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.

    The proposal, which was part of President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative that he vowed to launch on the campaign trail, is being drafted by Department of Homeland Security leaders, according to reports.

    Implications:

    Around half a million Indian Americans/Indians will have to leave the United States.

    5,00,000 to 7,50,000 Indian H-1B visa holders, many of whom are small business owners and job creators who are helping to build and strengthen the U.S. economy. This brain drain will stifle innovation and affect the US economy as well.

    The move will have a negative effect on India-US ties.

    Uncertainty in the case of millions of Indians and their families working in the United States.

    • U.K. Could Alter Policy On Foreign Students

    Its move to count international students as ‘immigrants’ has faced stiff opposition.

    News:

    UK is planning to alter a controversial policy, which maintained international students in immigration figures and targets. The policy had met with strong opposition from within the government and from the opposition. The policy was understood to have affected the universities in UK negatively.

    Significance On India:

    An alteration of the policy would give a fillip to India-UK ties as this issue had been a bone of contention in the relation between the two countries.

    • Computer Chip Flaws: Meltdown & Spectre

    A group of security experts have revealed two security flaws that affect nearly all microprocessors, the digital brains of the world’s computers. These flaws, called Meltdown and Spectre, could allow hackers to access data from smartphones, PCs and cloud computing services.

    • Gaming Addiction Gets Mental Disorder Tag

    Who To Release Classification Soon

    “Gaming disorder” will be recognised as a mental health issue later this year following expert consensus over the addictive risks associated with playing electronic games, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

    The provisional guidelines say that an individual should demonstrate an abnormal fixation on gaming for at least a year before being diagnosed with the disorder, which will be classified as an “addictive behaviour”.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that the condition disproportionately effects younger people more connected to the ever-expanding online gaming world.

    EDITORIAL

    • Acid Attack

    The latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (2016) recorded 283 incidents and 307 victims under Section 326A (acid attack) and Section 326B (attempt to carry out an acid attack) of the IPC in India. Of these, 26% (76 incidents) and 27% of the victims were from West Bengal. In comparison, during the same period, Uttar Pradesh, the most populous State with over double the population of West Bengal, recorded 57 incidents and 61 victims.

    Sections 326A and 326B of the IPC were added after the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act in 2013. Before this, perpetrators were typically charged with causing hurt, which only invited a punishment of three years.

    West Bengal recorded 220 cases of acid attacks between 2010 and 2016, which is about 20% of all cases recorded in the country.The easy availability of acid is said to be a major reason for the wide prevalence of this ghastly crime.

    Easy availability of acid:While varieties of acid such as muriatic acid and hydrochloric acid are available in hardware shops, the chemical most commonly used in attacks is nitric acid, sourced from local goldsmith shops. In West Bengal, goldsmith shops are a dime a dozen. All shopkeepers use nitric acid for refining gold. The chemical gets rid of impurities and other minerals present in the yellow metal.

    Acid used in garment factories for textile processing is also corrosive, and certain districts that are garment hubs have also reported attacks involving acid sourced from these factories.

    Murshidabad in particular has seen a spike in acid attacks. Between 2010 and 2016, at least 20 cases of acid attacks were reported in this district alone.

    Rejection in love and of marriage proposals were the motivating factor in 36% of all these attacks. This is followed by marital discord (13%). About 84% of the victims were known to the perpetrators.A significant number of victims were male (35%).

    To make matters worse, the state is also seeking to dilute the provisions of the West Bengal Victim Compensation Scheme, 2017 by inserting eligibility clauses for compensation of victims. Two clauses in particular stand out. One stipulates that the injury should have caused substantial loss to the person’s family income. The second is that the victim should not have been compensated before for any loss or injury by the State or Central government, an insurance company, or any other institution.

    The all-India conviction rate in acid attack cases in the past few years was about 40%, but in West Bengal it was just 14%.

    Laxmi V. Union Of India And Others (2015)

    The Supreme Court had laid out clear guidelines on compensation to be paid to acid attack victims. But lawyers and activists across West Bengal say that the State government is not proactive in compensating victims.

    Bangladesh Model Of Tackling The Problem

    Until a few years ago, Bangladesh recorded the highest incidence of acid attacks in the world. It then passed two laws to curb such attacks: Acid Offence Control Act, 2002, and Suppression of Offense by Acid Attack, 2002. Before 2002, the country saw about 500 acid attacks a year. But with the legislation coming into force, along with other measures, the number of attacks came down to about 100 a year.

    These laws not only instituted a complete ban on over-the-counter sale of acid but also mandated the setting up of tribunals to deal with acid attacks, and the creation of a National Acid Control Council. Bangladesh has made it mandatory that investigation in these cases should be completed within 30 days.

    • Sec 497 Of IPC – Adultery- Right To Sexual Privacy

    The provision attacks the independent identity of the woman and is archaic in its nature.

    Significant aspect of adultery law: the right to sexual privacy.

    Right to privacy:The individual is absolutely autonomous in her territory. She is free to err, resolve and experiment. She is informed and independent to make her own decisions. The right to engage in sexual intercourse is an intrinsic part of the right to privacy. Privacy has to invariably contain the right to bodily integrity, self-determination and sexual autonomy

    • Supreme Court Judgements

    Joseph Shine V. Union Of India

    The petition challenging the constitutional validity of the criminal prohibition on adultery under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, has now been referred to the Constitution Bench by the Supreme Court.

    K.S. Puttaswamy Case(2017)

    In the celebrated privacy judgment in K.S. Puttaswamy (2017), exercising the police power of the state in matters of private choices was repelled by the apex court.

    Justice J. Chelameswar in clear terms held, “I do not think that anybody would like to be told by the state as to what they should eat or how they should dress or whom they should be associated with either in their personal, social or political life”.

    Griswold V. Connecticut (1965) – U.S

    In Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), the U.S. Supreme Court was cautious to highlight the importance of privacy in the peculiar sphere of marital bedrooms in the context of birth control.

    Lawrence V. Texas (2003) – U.S

    In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), when confronted with the question of the legality of certain sexual conduct between persons of the same sex, the court held that no “majoritarian sexual morality” could override legitimate privacy interests.

    Suresh Kumar Koushal (2013)

    The judgment in Suresh Kumar Koushal (2013) upholding the criminalisation of voluntary sexual intercourse between those of the same sex remains a serious blow to the right to sexual freedom.

    NALSA V. Union of India (2014)

    The Court said that the value of privacy is fundamental to those of the transgender community.

    • International Practice

    None of the European countries has criminalised adultery.

    In most of South America, adultery is no longer a crime.

    Many States in the U.S. have either repealed adultery laws or put them to disuse.

    Following this global trend, in 2012, a working group of the United Nations called upon countries to do away with laws penalising adultery.

    ECONOMY

    • The India BPO Promotion Scheme

    Why in News?

    India BPO Promotion scheme so far provided employment to almost 11.000 people of which 40% are women.

    About the Scheme

    The India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS) , introduced in 2016 under Digital India programme, seeks to incentivize establishment of 48,300 seats in respect of BPO/ITES operations across the country especially in tier -2 and tier 3 cities.

    It is distributed among each state in proportion of state's population with an outlay of ₹ 493 crore.

    Potential Impact

    The scheme would help in capacity building in smaller cities in terms of infra & manpower.

    It will lay a basis for next wave of IT/ITES led growth.

    The scheme has potential to create employment opportunities of around 1.5 lakh direct jobs considering three shift operations.

    It may also create good number of indirect jobs.

    A total of 61 cities in 21 states and Union Territories have been already covered by the scheme.

    • New ₹10 Note

    A new chocolate brown colouredRs 10 denomination currency will put into circulation as per RBI.

    The new note has the motif of Sun Temple, Konark, on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage.

    • Sun Temple - Konark

    Sun Temple of Konark, built in the middle of 13th century, is a massive conception of artistic magnificence and engineering dexterity. King Narasimhadeva I, the great ruler of the Ganga dynasty had built this temple, with the help of 1200 artisans within a period of 12 years (1243-1255 A.D).

    Konark houses a massive temple dedicated to the Sun God. The word 'Konark' is a combination of two words 'Kona' and 'Arka'. 'Kona' means 'Corner' and 'Arka' means 'Sun', so when combines it becomes 'Sun of the Corner'.

    Konark Temple was designed in the form of a gorgeously decorated chariot mounted on 24 wheels.each about 10 feet in diameter, and drawn by 7 mighty horses.

    This temple was also known as 'BLACK PAGODA' due to its dark color and used as a navigational landmark by ancient sailors to Odisha.

    The Sun Temple of Konark has been declared a world heritage site by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1984.