02 , August 2017

1.Nod for Jharkhand religious Bill
Source: The Hindu

The Jharkhand Cabinet gave its approval to the Jharkhand Religious Independence Bill, 2017.

Main focus:

  • discourages conversion to another religion through force or allurement
  • Section 3 of the Bill prohibits forceful conversion.
  • In the event of violation of the Section, there will be up to three years imprisonment or Rs. 50,000 penalty or both.
  • If the crime involved a minor, a woman or a person from the SC/ST community, the prison term would be up to four years and a penalty of Rs. 1 lakh.
  • Individuals voluntarily opting to switch to another religion would have to inform the local deputy commissioner/collector about the reasons and the place of conversion, failing which he will be liable for prosecution and punishment.

Key Statistics: As per the 2011 census, the Christian population in Jharkhand rose by a whopping 29.7% in the last 10 years followed by that of Muslims 28.4%, while Hindu population rose by 21%.

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2.Post GST Launch: Manufacturing PMI slumps to the lowest since 2009
Source: The Hindu

India’s manufacturing activity in July slumped to its lowest level since February 2009, dragged down by disruptions to business activity following the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 47.9 in July, down from 50.9 in June, and highlighted the first deterioration in business conditions in 2017 so far

July also marked the biggest month-on-month decline since November 2008, just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered the global financial crisis

This contraction is likely to put pressure on the Reserve Bank of India to lower interest rate at its policy meet.

GST Effect:

  • The GST launch, the survey said, affected demand.
  • The reductions in output, new orders and purchasing activity were all the steepest since early 2009.
  • However, foreign demand for India-manufactured goods improved in July as new export orders continued to rise.
  • While some business segments have protested against the GST, many are struggling with the new compliance requirements that require them to file at least three returns every month.

‘Purchasing Managers’ Index – PMI’:

  • The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector.
  • The PMI is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.
  • The purpose of the PMI is to provide information about current business conditions to company decision makers, analysts and purchasing managers.

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 3.Farmer suicides in India may be linked to climate change, says study
Source: The Hindu

The increase in temperature during the cropping season reduces crop yields, thus resulting in increased suicides, says a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Key Findings:

  • Climate change has led to over 59,000 farmer suicides over the last 30 years in India.
  • For every 1 degree C increase in temperature above 20 degrees C during the crop growing season in India, there are about 70 suicides on average.
  • The increase in temperature during the cropping season reduces crop yields, thus resulting in increased suicides.
  • Additional deaths reported when a single day’s temperature increased by 1 degree C above 20 degree C was seen only during the crop-growing season. Similar increase in temperature during seasons when crops were not grown did not result in increased suicides among farmers.
  • An increase in rainfall by 1 cm during the crop growing season leads to a decrease of about 0.8 deaths per 100,000, thus lowering the suicide rate by 7% on average, she writes.
  • The effect of climate variation reveals that past growing season temperature strongly influences suicide rates in the following years up to about five years.
  • For instance, when there is abundant rainfall during one growing season, the suicide rates dip for the next 2-3 years. Drought apparently does not seem to have any effect on suicide rates, she found.
  • South India which is generally hotter has higher farmer suicide rates.
  • States where the yields are more affected by high temperatures are also the States which report higher suicide rates. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh not only show severe suicide responses to temperature but also the crop yield is more negatively affected by higher temperature.
  • India’s average temperature is expected to increase by 3 degree C by 2050. Without investments in adaptations, India might face increased number of lives lost due to suicides.

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4.Govt moves to check benami, Aadhaar to be made must for property deals
Source: The Hindu

The government is planning to make Aadhaar-based authentication mandatory at the time of registration of documents such as agreement for sale, power of attorney,etc.The government has also firmed up plans to enable electronic registration of properties, for which Aadhaar-based authentication will be a prerequisite

For this, the government is planning to amend Sections 32 and 32A of the Registration Act, 1908.Also, the Aadhaar law allows the Central Identities Data Repository, under the UIDAI, to offer authentication services

Expected benefits:

  • This is expected to ensure foolproof property titles for the buyers
  • It will also minimise the scope of fraudulent and benami transactions

The government also enacted the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amended Act, 2016 last year. This law empowers authorities to provisionally attach and eventually confiscate benami properties

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5.Bill gives more time to teachers
Source: The Hindu

The Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which aims to provide a two-year window to around 11 lakh private and government teachers to get prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment.

Amendments:

  • The Bill gives them an opportunity to acquire professional qualification by enrolling themselves in the Swayam platform, which will be an online medium.
  • Those living in rural areas would be taught through Swayam Prabha television channels in 32 languages, and they would have to buy a set top box worth Rs 1300.

SWAYAM platform

  • It stands for Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds.
  • It is the Indian electronic e-education platform which proposes to offer courses from the high school stage to Post-Graduate stage in an interactive electronic platform

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6.Somalia signs pact on convicts
Source: The Hindu

India and Somalia signed an agreement for transfer of sentenced convicts. The new agreement bids to open a new front for collaboration in anti-piracy operation in Eastern Africa.

Significance:

  • The collaboration between two sides will be significant due to the incidents of piracy that have affected Indian interests in the Indian Ocean region near the Horn of Africa.
  • India has in recent years extended development assistance to Somalia which has included mini buses to the war-battered country.

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