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January 11

    NATIONAL

    • Foreign Airlines Can Buy Upto 49% In Air India

    Government eases norms for FDI in single brand retail, construction, civil aviation.

    The Union government liberalised and simplified the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regime in a host of sectors, including Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT), civil aviation (aimed at facilitating Air India’s divestment), construction development, power exchanges, pharmaceuticals and audit firms.

    The government said the goal was to help the country attract larger FDI inflows that is expected to contribute to growth of investment, income and employment in the country.

    The country received a record total FDI of $60.08 billion in 2016-17. However, the government said, “It has been felt that the country has the potential to attract far more foreign investment, which can be achieved by further liberalizing and simplifying the FDI regime.” It added that FDI is a major driver of economic growth and a source of non-debt finance for the economic development of the country.

    • UIDAI Introduces 2-Tier Security To Shield Aadhaar Data

    UIDAI also introduces ‘limited KYC’, under which it will only provide need-based or limited details of a user to an authorised agency that is providing a particular service.

    In the wake of reports of an alleged breach of the Aadhaar database published in a newspaper last week, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has rolled out a new two-tier security process that will come into effect from June 1.

    Aimed at eliminating the need to share and store Aadhaar numbers, the UIDAI has introduced the concept of a virtual ID which an Aadhaar holder can use in lieu of his/her Aadhaar number at the time of authentication, besides sharing of ‘limited KYC’ with certain agencies.

    While it is important to ensure that Aadhaar number holders can use their identity information to avail many products and services, the collection and storage of Aadhaar numbers by various agencies has heightened privacy concerns.

    • PSLV All Set To Ferry 31 Satellites

    Cartosat-2F aimed at surveillance will be main payload.

    A successful flight of PSLV-C40 is expected to put behind the Indian light lift rocket’s freak failure on August 31. During the forced hiatus, the Indian Space Research Organisation diagnosed why the nose cone of the previous C-39 rocket did not release the satellite; it took necessary corrective steps.

    Now among the world’s favourite and reliable commercial launchers for small satellites, the upcoming 42nd PSLV will carry a total of 31 satellites including 28 paid riders.

    The main payload, the 710-kg Cartosat-2F, is the seventh in the Cartosat-2 series and is built to work for five years. Said to have a high, sub-metre resolution, it is unofficially said to serve military surveillance purposes.

    ISRO is putting up two of its own small satellites — a 100 kg micro satellite and the 11-kg nano satellite INS-1C. There are also 28 smaller customers.

    The commercial satellites include three 100-kg class micro satellites and 25 nanosats (1-10 kg) from Canada, Finland, France, Korea the U.K. and the U.S.

    The PSLV has so far launched 209 small and medium satellites for foreign countries and earned revenue for the commercial arm, Antrix Corporation Ltd. ISRO will be trying a two-orbit feat with the PSLV for the second time. On Friday, just after 17 minutes from take-off, the main satellite will be released first into a 505-km orbit, followed by 29 others.

    EDITORIAL

    • Agricultural Distress Statistics

    Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) :”landlessness and dependence on manual casual labour for a livelihood are key deprivations facing rural families”.

    The rural census, or SECC, mapped deprivation using seven indicators: ‘households with a kuchha house; without an adult member in working age; headed by a woman and without an adult male in working age; with a disabled member and without able-bodied adult; of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST); without literate adults over 25 years; and the landless engaged in manual labour. The more the number of parameters on which a household is deprived, the worse its extent of poverty. Nearly 30% have two deprivations, 13% have three. Only 0.01% suffer from all seven handicaps’.

    While 48.5% of all rural households suffer from at least one deprivation indicator, “landless households engaged in manual labour” are more vulnerable.

    Nearly 54 million households are in the landless-labourer category; assuming that each such household has five members, that makes 250 million of the nearly 850-900 million rural population. This number is almost certainly an underestimate, since 84% of all those who even hold agricultural land are small and marginal farmers.

    59% of households with kuchha houses are landless labourers; similarly, 55% of those with no literate adult above 25 years and 54% each of SC/ST households and female-headed households without adult male members are also landless households. At the same time, 47% households without an adult member of working age are landless labourers as are 45% of those with disabled members and no able-bodied adult members.

    Between 2004-5 and 2011-12, the number of cultivators in rural areas fell from 160 million to 141 million and the number of landless labour from 85 million to 69 million, both because they found non-agricultural work.

    • Construction Employment

    Employment in the construction sector increased 13 times during the past four decades, which led to its share in rural employment rising from 1.4% in 1972-73 to 10.7% in 2011-12. There are fewer skill and educational requirements in construction.

    This is hurting landless labour and small and marginal farmers the most, since their households had benefited the most from the tightening of the labour market that had ensued in rural and urban areas because of rising construction jobs.

    • Sec 497 Of IPC

    Under Section 497, a wife cannot prosecute her husband or his lover for violating the so-called sanctity of a matrimonial home as the husband is not her exclusive property but a husband and only a husband can prosecute his wife’s paramour under Section 198(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Moreover, if the husband has an affair with an unmarried woman, divorcee or widow, an offence of adultery is not made out against anybody.

    In effect, Section 497 of the IPC punishes only the man for stealing another man’s property, i.e. his wife. The court treated Section 497 as a special provision made by the state in favour of women in exercise of its powers under Article 15(3) of the Constitution (Yusuf Aziz v. State of Bombay). The court also upheld the validity of the adultery provision by saying only an ‘outsider’ is liable and this exemption is basically a “reverse discrimination in favour of women” (Revathi v. Union of India). Since both husband and wife cannot prosecute each other, an archaic adultery law was held as constitutionally valid.

    Today, adultery is no more a criminal offence in most European countries. In the U.S., adultery is generally punished in some states only if committed habitually or with public notoriety. But in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan, adultery continues to be a capital offence.

    The Justice Malimath Committee (2003) too strongly favoured preservation of matrimonial sanctity and thus justified retention of a gender neutral adultery law. In 2006, the National Commission for Women recommended that adultery be decriminalised.

    With individual autonomy and choices being recognised as an integral part of the right to privacy, there is no justification in retaining a dated adultery law.

    ECONOMY

    • Liberalization In FDI Policy

    100% FDI under automatic route for Single Brand Retail Trading.

    100% FDI under automatic route in Construction Development.

    Foreign airlines allowed to invest up to 49% under approval route in Air India.

    FIIs/FPIs allowed to invest in Power Exchanges through primary market.

    Definition of ‘medical devices’ amended in the FDI Policy.

    Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

    Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a major driver of economic growth and a source of non-debt finance for the economic development of the country. Government has put in place an investor friendly policy on FDI, under which FDI up to 100%, is permitted on the automatic route in most sectors/ activities. In the recent past, the Government has brought FDI policy reforms in a number of sectors.

    Why In News?

    The Union Cabinet has given its approval to a number of amendments in the FDI Policy.