- Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018.
- The Lok Sabha has passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 which replaces the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21 this year.
- The bill stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 12 years and the death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years.
- In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
- The punishment for the gangrape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict. The measure also provides for speedy investigations and trial.
- The time limit for the investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatorily completed within two months.
- The deadline for the completion of the trial in all rape cases will be two months.
- A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed
- It has also been prescribed that a court has to give notice of 15 days to a public prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding on bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.
- The United States elevates India’s status to ease export controls for high-technology product sales.
- The US has eased export controls for high-technology product sales to India by designating it as a Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1)
- The granting of STA-1 status to India comes after the US recognised India as a Major Defence Partner in 2016, a designation that allows India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies from America at par with that of the US closest allies and partners, and ensures enduring cooperation into the future.
- The designation authorises the export, re-export and transfer of specified items on the Commerce Control List (CCL) to destinations posing a low risk of unauthorised or impermissible uses.
- Currently, there are 36 countries on the STA-1 list.
- India is the only South Asian country to be on the list.
- Other Asian countries designated as STA-1 are Japan and South Korea.
- Deep Ocean mission
- Centre has drawn up a five-year, ₹8,000 crore plan to explore the deep recesses of the ocean.
- The Union Earth Sciences Ministry unveiled a blueprint of the ‘Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)’.
- The focus will be on technologies for deep-sea mining, underwater vehicles, underwater robotics and ocean climate change advisory services, among other aspects.
- The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago.
- India has been allotted a site of 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN).
- These are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
International Seabed Authority (ISA)
- International Seabed Authority (ISA) is a UN body set up to regulate the exploration and exploitation of marine non-living resources of oceans in international waters.
- It was established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Its headquarters are in Kingston, Jamaica.
- India actively contributes to the work of the International Seabed Authority.
- India was re-elected as a member of Council of ISA in 2016.
- Polymetallic nodules, also called manganese nodules, are rock concretions on the sea bottom formed of concentric layers of iron and manganese hydroxides around a core.
- The core may be microscopically small and is sometimes completely transformed into manganese minerals by crystallization.
Source- The Hindu
- National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II).
- India is in talks with the U.S. to procure an advanced air defence system to defend the National Capital Region (NCR) from aerial attacks. The process for procuring the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II), estimated at $1 billion, has been initiated.
- This system will help in preventing 9/11-type attacks [when terrorists flew hijacked planes into New York’s World Trade Center] on Delhi. It is in the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) stage now.
- It is the state-of-the-art defence system that has the ability to quickly identify and destroy enemy aircraft, UAV or emerging cruise missile threats.
- The NASAMS was developed by Raytheon in partnership with KONGSBERG Defence and Aerospace of Norway.
- The NASAMS, armed with the three-dimensional Sentinel radars short and medium-range missiles, launchers, fire-distribution centres and command-and-control units to quickly detect, track and shoot down multiple airborne threats.
- Part of the air defence network guarding US capital city Washington DC and also deployed in several NATO countries.
NASAMS-II is an upgraded version of the NASAMS and features new 3D mobile surveillance radars and 12 missile launchers for quicker reaction. It has been operational since 2007.
Source- The Hindu
- Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018.
- The Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018 seeks to regulate the entry and exit of “outsiders” on the lines of the British-era inner-line permit system prevalent in three other north-eastern states: Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
- The bill sets 1951 as the base year to identify locals and prevent an influx of outsiders.
- According to the bill, Manipur people include Meitis, the Pangal Muslims, scheduled tribes as listed under the Constitution in terms of Manipur and all those citizens of India who have been living in Manipur before 1951.
- The rest have been put in the category of Non-Manipuris and will have to register themselves within one month of the notification of the law.
- Many people from the Kuki-Zomi groups are believed to have migrated from adjoining Myanmar before and after 1951.
- Trade licences can get a pass extendable up to five years, which will have to be renewed every year. Any outsider visiting Manipur would need a pass.
Inner Line Permit (ILP)
- Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period.
- It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain a permit for entering into the protected state.
- Currently, it is operational in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
- It can be issued for travel purposes solely. Visitors are not allowed to purchase property in these regions. However, there might be a different set of rules for long-term visitors, though they are not valid for central government employees and security forces.
Source- The Hindu
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of country’s first Mobile Open Exchange (MOX) zone in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier this year signed a MoU with World Trade Center, Noida, to develop a ‘tech zone’ as a nucleus of the Mobile Open Exchange Zone (MOX).
- MoX Techzone is a dedicated ecosystem for the mobile industry that will provide an integrated platform to manufacturers, research and other allied industries.
- It enables reduced operational costs and enhances profitability through an efficient supply chain system.
Source- The Hindu
- V-46-6 and V92S2: Made in India tank engines handed over to Indian Army.
- Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, handed over two fully indigenous battle tank engines, V-46-6 and V92S2, that power the T-72 Ajeya tank and the T-90 Bhishma tank, produced by the Engine Factory Avadi (EFA), a unit of Ordnance Factory Board, to the Vice Chief of Army Staff.
- The Engine Factory Avadi (EFA) has manufactured more than 12,000 engines since its inception in 1987 for the Indian Army.
V-46-6 and V92S2
- V-46-6 and V92S2 engines are based on the Russian design.
- V92S2 is high power diesel engine with 1000 HP capacity and it is fitted in T-90 Battle Tank (Bhisma Tank).
- V46-6 is also high power diesel engines with 780 HP and it is fitted in T-72 Main Battle Tank (Ajeya Tank).
- They are manufactured indigenously with 100% Made in India parts.
Source- The Hindu
- Government constitutes high level empowered committee to revive stressed thermal power plant.
- The Government has decided to set up a high level empowered committee headed by cabinet secretary P K Sinha and representation from the ministries of railways, finance, power, coal and banks having major exposure to the power sector to revive stressed thermal power projects.
- The Committee would look into various issues with a view to resolve them and maximise the efficiency of investment including changes required to be made in the fuel allocation policy and regulatory framework.
- It will also look into mechanisms to facilitate the sale of power, ensure timely payments, payment security mechanism, changes required in the provisioning norms/Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), Asset Restructuring Company regulations and other proposals for the revival of stressed assets so as to avoid such investments becoming NPA.
- Department of Financial Services under the Ministry of Finance in its report had suggested setting up the empowered panel, besides giving operating thermal power.
Source- Economic Times
- Arsenic contamination in paddy is rising in Bengal
- A recent publication by researchers at the School of Environmental Studies (SOES), Jadavpur University, reveals not only rise in arsenic contamination of paddy plants from groundwater in West Bengal but also that concentration of ‘arsenic accumulation’ depends on the variety of paddy and its stage in the crop cycle.
- Samples for the study were taken from the Deganga block in the State’s North 24 Parganas district, an area that’s worst affected by groundwater arsenic contamination.
- The study found that arsenic contamination in paddy was higher than in previous studies.
- The study shows that arsenic uptake in the paddy plant reduces from root to grain and that its concentration is related to the variety of the rice cultivated.
- The highest concentration was observed in the initial or vegetative state in the first 28 days. It reduced during the reproductive stage (29-56 days) and again increased in the ripening stage.
- The uptake of arsenic is faster in young roots in a vegetative state than in older tissues with a higher concentration of iron in root-soil in the reproductive phase.
- Arsenic poisoning is a medical condition that occurs due to elevated levels of arsenic in the body.
- If arsenic poisoning occurs over a brief period of time symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain, encephalopathy, and watery diarrhoea that contains blood.
Source- The Hindu