UPSC, 15 Feb 2017 (Part 2), News Analysis, by Dr Ashok Dhamija

UPSC, 15 Feb 2017 (Part 2), News Analysis, by Dr Ashok Dhamija


News analysis and explanation (Part 2) of the main news reports appearing in newspapers of 15 February 2017 (also freely subscribe to our YouTube Education channel with about 100 free videos on UPSC IAS and other competitive examinations):

Supreme Court clarifies on National Anthem

  • SC has clarified that there is no need to be on your feet inside a cinema hall when the National Anthem is featured as a part of a film, documentary or a newsreel (i.e., as a part in the storyline of the film, etc.).
  • On November 30, 2016, the court had ordered cinema halls to mandatorily play the national anthem and had directed all those present there to stand up to show respect. The court said the practice would instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism.
  • On December 9 last year, the Supreme Court first modified its November 30 order by exempting physically challenged or handicapped persons from standing up when the National Anthem is played before film screenings.
  • Now, the Supreme Court has issued this second clarification on its November 30 order.

CBI gets nod to prosecute former Principle Secretary to Delhi CM

  • Central Govt has granted sanction to CBI to prosecute Rajendra Kumar, former Principal Secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in an alleged corruption case.
  • The Centre has also declined the request of Mr. Kumar, an IAS officer, for voluntary retirement from service, since it cannot be allowed while a corruption case is pending against him.
  • Rajendra Kumar is facing corruption charges related to his earlier stint with the Delhi government (during Congress rule) when he held multiple posts, including that of Secretary, Information Technology Department.
  • Sanction for prosecution is required under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • In certain cases, sanction for prosecution may also be required under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Dainik Jagran online editor arrested

  • Ghaziabad police arrested Dainik Jagran online editor Shekhar Tripathi and took him to court on 14 Feb over publishing exit polls after the first phase of UP elections.
  • He was later granted bail.
  • Election Commission had ordered the District Election Officers of 15 districts in Uttar Pradesh to lodge separate criminal cases against the editors of Dainik Jagran newspaper for running an exit poll on the first phase held in the State on February 11, in violation of ban orders against publishing exit polls during the election period.
  • Section 126A(1) of RP Act prohibits the conduct and publicising of an exit poll by the media for a period specified by the EC.
  • For the ongoing assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur, the EC had banned exit polls from February 4 to March 8.
  • Dainik Jagran, however, released exit poll results on its website after completion of polling in 73 seats.

S. 126-A of Representation of the People Act, 1951

126-A. Restriction on publication and dissemination of result of exit polls, etc..— (1) No person shall conduct any exit poll and publish or publicise by means of the print or electronic media or disseminate in any other manner, whatsoever, the result of any exit poll during such period, as may be notified by the Election Commission in this regard.


Exit Poll:

Explanation: (a) “exit poll” means an opinion survey respecting how electors have voted at an election or respecting how all the electors have performed with regard to the identification of a political party or candidates in an election;

HC stays neighbourhood norm for nursery admission

  • The Delhi High Court on 14 Feb stayed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s nursery admission norm in Delhi based on the neighbourhood criteria, saying it was “arbitrary and discriminatory” and that “a student’s educational fate cannot be relegated to only his/her position on a map”.
  • The AAP government’s January 7, 2017, notification had directed 298 private unaided schools, built on DDA land, to admit 75% students in nursery from the neighbourhood.
  • This decision has been welcomed by parents and schools.

Weather officials to study possible emergence of El Nino

  • Meteorologists are likely to review the threat to the Indian monsoon from a possible El Nino.
  • Scientists from the India Meteorological Department, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and the Ministry of Earth Sciences are expected to meet in Pune this week to analyse a range of forecasts from international climate models – and their own –that suggest waters are likely to warm and change wind patterns enough to El Nino-like conditions.

What are El Nino and La Nino ?

  • El Niño and La Niña events are a natural part of the global climate system.
  • They occur when the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere above it change from their neutral (‘normal’) state for several seasons.
  • El Niño events are associated with a warming of the tropical Pacific, while La Niña events are the reverse, with a sustained cooling of these same areas.
  • El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (commonly called ENSO).
  • In American Spanish, the capitalized term “El Niño” refers to “the little boy”, so named because the pool of warm water in the Pacific near South America is often at its warmest around Christmas. “La Niña”, chosen as the ‘opposite’ of El Niño, literally translates to “the little girl”.
  • El Nino may imply an average rise in temperature of 0.5 degree Celsius above normal.
  • Historically that translates to the monsoon drying up over India six out of 10 years.
  • In the normal course of events, the Pacific waters ought to have been in the converse cool, i.e., La Nina mode and only begin a warming trend late after India’s summer monsoon period of June September.
  • However these trends are expected to begin around March and – the part that’s still contentious – have an El Nino during the latter half of the monsoon. Meteorologists however say it’s too early to be sure of an El Nino and its impact on the monsoon.

IAF inducts indigenous early warning system

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted the first indigenously built Airborne Early Warning and Control System Netra, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at the Aero India exhibition at Bengaluru on 14 Feb.
  • These airborne warning systems, capable of long range surveillance, are huge force multipliers.
  • Netra is based on Embraer aircraft and three systems are to be developed.
  • First of these, handed over by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, is in the Initial Operational Configuration (IOC). It is expected to achieve Final Operational Configuration (FOC) by June.
  • By that time, the second system would also be ready, said Dr. J Manjula Director General, Electronics & Communication Systems, DRDO.

SC is looking at triple talaq, not Uniform Civil Code

  • The Supreme Court on 14 February clarified that it will decide on whether triple talaq and polygamy are violations of Muslim women’s rights and will have nothing to do with the requirement of a Uniform Civil Code.
  • SC said the issue of Uniform Civil Code was “completely different” and had nothing to do with the issue at hand.
  • The court said it would hear debates on the “legal” aspects of the practices of triple talaq, “nikah halala” and polygamy among Muslims and would not deal with the question whether divorce under Muslim law needed to be supervised by courts as it fell under the legislative domain.
  • The Central Govt had earlier opposed the practice of triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims and favoured a relook on grounds of gender equality and secularism.
  • Responding to a batch of petitions, including the one filed by Shayara Bano, challenging the validity of such practices among Muslims, the Centre first dealt with the right of gender equality under the Constitution.

Common Civil Code under Constitution

Article 44 of the Constitution:

  1. Uniform civil code for the citizens.- The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

US National Security Adviser resigns

  • Michael Flynn, resigned as the National Security Adviser on 14 Feb.
  • He is a former military general who had helped to shape President Donald Trump’s foreign policy views.
  • His resignation came within a short period of one month of Trump presidency.
  • Flynn, in his resignation letter, admitted to giving incomplete information to the US Vice-President Mike Pence on his phone calls with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. while he was the NSA-designate.
  • S. intelligence agencies wiretapped the incoming NSA’s conversations with the Ambassador, and the media leaks of its content and follow-up actions led to his resignation.
  • Hours before Mr. Flynn resigned, media reports emerged that the Justice Department had warned the White House that the NSA could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
  • This is likely to hit Donald Trump’s attempts to reset US ties with Russia.
  • At the core of the controversy is whether or not Mr. Flynn told the Russian Ambassador in Washington that Mr. Trump would reverse the new sanctions that Mr. Obama was imposing on Russia for allegedly interfering in the U.S. elections.
  • On December 29, 2016 — the day Mr. Obama announced new sanctions on Russia and ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country — Mr. Flynn apparently told the Russian Ambassador that the incoming Trump administration would review the sanctions, according to media reports.

Trade unions oppose changes to Factories Act

  • The present Factories Act 1948 applies to establishments with 10 or more workers if the premise is using power, and to establishments with 20 or more workers without electricity connection.
  • The Centre wanted that the Factories Law be applicable to all factories that employ at least 40 workers.
  • This move was strongly opposed by the central trade unions.
  • Then the Labour Ministry modified the proposed amendment as per which the definition of factory is proposed to be amended by giving powers to the State governments to increase the threshold limit of workers up to 20 and 40 for factories working with and without the aid of power respectively.
  • The central trade unions, in a meeting with Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, have opposed the Centre’s proposed change to empower states to increase threshold limit for coverage of factories under the Factories Act, 1948.
  • The unions demanded covering all manufacturing firms under the Factories Act.
  • The unions also opposed another proposal allowing entrepreneurs to set up a factory without getting a licence. The Centre had said that registration on a web portal would be enough.
  • “In the name of online registration, the process of self-certification coupled with deemed approval and the removal of licensing will result in freeing the employer of any regulatory control. This will endanger the health and safety of workers and society at large,” the unions said in the statement.

Watch the YouTube video with full explanation:

This video discusses and explains the current affairs topics appearing the newspapers and media (such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Economic Times, Press Information Bureau, etc.) of 15 February 2017. This is Part 2 video for that day’s news.

This video is useful for the aspirants of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (for IAS, IPS, IFS, and Group-A Central Services). This lecture is also useful for aspirants of other competitive examinations, such as SSC, Bank PO, LIC, RBI Assistant, RBI Grade B, State Public Service Commission examinations like RPSC, UPPSC, MPSC, MPPSC, HCS, RAS, CLAT, Hotel Management entrance, BBA and several other examinations.

This video has been prepared by Dr. Ashok Dhamija, a former IPS.


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