27th September 2018, Current Affairs and News Analysis for UPSC Civil Service Examination, SSC CGL and State Civil Service Examinations.

27th September 2018 - Current Affairs for UPSC IAS and State Civil Service Exam

National

India’s 100th airport opens in Sikkim

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the first airport in Sikkim.
  • With this, the number of functional airports in the country went up to 100.
  • The airport at Pakyong, about 30 km from Gangtok and surrounded by mountains, is a major boost to connectivity in the mountainous State.
  • The airport has been constructed at an estimated cost of ₹605 crore.
  • The airport would be linked to the Union government’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) regional connectivity scheme and the airfare for about an hour would come to ₹2,500.

Polity

Female circumcision issue goes to Constitution Bench

The Supreme Court on Monday referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench petitions seeking a declaration that the practice of female circumcision or ‘khafz,’ prevalent in the Dawoodi Bohra sect, amounts to “female genital mutilation (FGM)” and is a violation of women’s right to life and dignity.

Earlier Observations

  • Earlier, at hearings, Justice Chandrachud had observed that circumcision leaves permanent, emotional and mental scars in a young girl.
  • The Chief Justice had orally observed that the Constitution does not allow a person to cause injury to another.
  • The Bench had said the practice should be tested in the light of constitutional morality.

Arguments in favour

The Supreme Court has upheld the voice of a large section of Dawoodi Bohra women in India...we have maintained that female circumcision is not FGM and we will continue to clear the misconceptions that the two practices are the same.

International Relations

Maldives Presidential Election

The people of Maldives voted for change and brought to power the Opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. They came out in huge numbers with the turnout being 89.2% and dealt a decisive blow to Mr. Yameen. The interim results of Sunday’s presidential election in the Maldives have given the joint opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih a victory in the direct contest with the incumbent, Abdulla Yameen.

Maldivian voters have ushered in change, with 58% of the voters choosing Mr. Solih.

Background

  • The Maldives has been in turmoil since its first democratically-elected leader, Mr. Nasheed, was forced out of office following a police mutiny in 2012.
  • This was followed by the controversial election of Mr. Yameen came under assault.
  • This February, he imposed a 45-day state of emergency fearing an attempt by his political opponents to impeach him.
  • This led him to target his own half-brother and former President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and the judiciary.
  • Even on the eve of the polling, the police was used to target the opposition MDP, amid concerns that the campaign had been heavily tilted in favour of Mr. Yameen.
  • Former President Mohammed Nasheed, who was seen as the frontrunner, was disqualified from contesting because of a terrorism conviction.
  • Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was behind bars on the charge of attempting a coup in February this year.
  • Just ahead of the elections too, there had also been many misgivings over the conduct of the election commission, the courts and security forces, with these worries heightened when the headquarters of the main opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, to which Mr. Solih belongs, were raided.
  • Counting procedures were changed at the last minute, which led to some confusion during Sunday’s polling, and many foreign journalists, including from India, were denied visas. in 2013 when the Supreme Court annulled the result.
  • Mr. Yameen was trailing Mr. Nasheed, thereby providing him an opportunity to win in the second round of voting.
  • Mr. Yameen’s presidency saw the Maldives flirting with Islamist radicalism and the democratic underpinnings of the nation came under assault.
  • This February, he imposed a 45-day state of emergency fearing an attempt by his political opponents to impeach him.
  • This led him to target his own half brother and former President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and the judiciary.
  • Even on the eve of the polling, the police was used to target the opposition MDP, amid concerns that the campaign had been heavily tilted in favour of Mr. Yameen.
  • Former President Mohammed Nasheed, who was seen as the frontrunner, was disqualified from contesting because of a terrorism conviction.
  • Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was behind bars on the charge of attempting a coup in February this year.
  • Just ahead of the elections too, there had also been many misgivings over the conduct of the election commission, the courts and security forces, with these worries heightened when the headquarters of the main opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, to which Mr. Solih belongs, were raided.
  • Counting procedures were changed at the last minute, which led to some confusion during Sunday’s polling, and many foreign journalists, including from India, were denied visas.

Positive aspects of the Election with respect to India

  • There was a turnout of 89.2% . President Yameen conceded defeat and vowed to ensure a smooth transition.
  • New Delhi must stay clear of partisan positioning on the internal politics of the Maldives.
  • The larger agenda must be to partner the Maldives in its stability and development rather than engaging in a tug of war with China

Mr. Yameen also fostered closer ties with China and Saudi Arabia, ignoring India and even pulling the Maldives out of the Commonwealth in 2016.

Economy

Unemployment among educated youth at 16%: study

With higher growth rates not having translated into more jobs and increases in productivity failing to spur a commensurate rise in wages, the government ought to formulate a National Employment Policy that takes these trends into account, the State of Working India 2018, a new study released by Azim Premji University’s Centre for Sustainable Employment, recommends.

Unemployment

Confirming the spectre of jobless growth, the study contends that this divergence between growth and jobs had increased over time. “If you look back at the 1970s and 80s, when GDP growth was around 3-4%, employment growth was about 2%,” lead author Amit Basole wrote in the study, released on Tuesday. “Currently, the ratio of GDP growth to employment growth is less than 0.1.” That means that a 10% increase in GDP results in a less than 1% increase in employment.

Growth vs jobs

  • Confirming the spectre of jobless growth, the study contends that this divergence between growth and jobs had increased over time.
  • If we look back at the 1970s and 80s, when GDP growth was around 3-4%, employment growth was about 2%.
  • Currently, the ratio of GDP growth to employment growth is less than 0.1.
  • That means that a 10% increase in GDP results in a less than 1% increase in employment.

Productivity

  • Also, of concern is the divergence of productivity and wages in the organised manufacturing sector.
  • Labour productivity in the sector is six times higher than it was 30 years ago; however, managerial and supervisory salaries have only tripled in the same period, while production workers’ wages have grown a measly 1.5 times.

Gap on the basis of Gender

  • Women’s participation in the paid workforce is still low, but the situation is unequal across States.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, only 20 women are in paid employment for every 100 men, while that figure jumps to 50 in Tamil Nadu and 70 in Mizoram and Nagaland.

Gap on the basis of Caste

  • With regard to earnings, the caste gap is actually larger than the gender gap.
  • Dalits and Adivasis are over-represented in low-paying occupations, and severely under-represented in higher-paying ones, the study reveals.
  • They earn only 55-56% of upper caste workers’ earnings, the data shows.

India ranked 158 in human capital rankings

  • A study published in The Weekly Magazine The Lancet states that on the level of human capital, India was ranked 158th out of 195 countries in 2016, while its rank was 162 in 1990. This study determines the rank based on the expenditure incurred on education and health services by a country. According to the study, India's location is after Sudan (157th place) and ahead of Namibia (159th place). America is ranked 27th, while China is ranked 44th and Pakistan is 164th.
  • According to the study, India is behind the education and health of its workforce. Which could potentially have negative effects on the economy.
  • In this study, statistics obtained from government institutions, schools and health services were used.
  • This study organized by the University of Washington's Health Metrics and Assessment Institute (IHME), on the request of the World Bank, is the first such study to measure and compare the level of 'human capital' of countries.
  • This study also reveals the fact that in the growth of the human capital of a country, its economy also increases.

International Sign Language Day

Following the United Nations Declaration, International Sign Language Day is celebrated on September 23 every year worldwide as part of the International Week of the Deaf.

  • This year, the theme of the International Sign Language Language is "With Sign Language, All People are Included" (With Sign Language, Everyone is included).
  • International Sign Language Day in India is celebrated under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Center (ISLRTC) of the Division of Empowerment of the Division.
  • Sign languages are fully developed natural languages, which are structurally different from spoken languages.
  • There is also an international sign language, which is used by deaf people during international meetings and informally visits and dissolves with people.
  • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities works to identify and promote sign language. It also clarifies that sign language and spoken languages have the same status and compelled the states' parties to teach sign language and promote linguistic identity of the deaf community.
  • Sign languages are complex grammatical languages just like those spoken by people. They have their grammar and dictionaries. No sign of sign language is universal. Different sign languages are used in different countries or regions. For example, British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL), people who understand ASL can not understand BSL

World Federation of the Deaf (WFD)

  • The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international non-profit and non-government organization of deaf associations of 133 countries.
  • In addition, its membership includes associate members, international members and individual members and youth members. Its legal center is in Helsinki, Finland, where WFD Secretariat operates.
  • WFD status is the counselor in the United Nations and it is the founding member of the International Disability Alliance (IDA).
  • It promotes the human rights of the deaf people according to United Nations Conference on the principles and objectives of UN Charter, Human Rights Treaties, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and 2030 Continuous Development Goals.