Supreme Court upholds Haryana panchayat law – (Indian Polity)
- In what may be a precedent preventing illiterate persons from participating in grass roots democracy, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a Haryana State law mandating that only those having “minimum” educational qualifications will be eligible to contest panchayat elections in the State.
- The other grounds for disqualification from contesting polls under the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015 are failure to pay arrears to any primary agriculture co-operative society or agriculture co-operative banks, failure to pay electricity bill arrears and not having a functional toilet at home.
Advisory to channels on superstitious content – (Social Issues)
- Women as witches, practitioners of black magic and exorcism on television programmes, have to be banished from prime time following a strong advisory that went out on Thursday from the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), a self-regulatory body established by broadcasters.
- The advisory is likely to set off a debate on freedom of expression and portrayal of women on television on the one hand, while raising concerns about content control by an independent regulator.
Chennai paid the price for loss of wetlands and open spaces: study – (Governance)
- Chennai’s resilience to the recent deluge has taken a severe beating as nearly a quarter of its wetlands, open space and flood plains have given way to concrete structures.
- Months before the series of depressions and “freak” weather developments hit the city, researchers at the Centre for Ecological Sciences in the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, tabulated the “worrisome” growth patterns of the coastal city.
Abe likely to unveil bullet train project – (International Relations)
- Bullet trains will be a reality soon in India. The contract to build the bullet train link between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is expected to be declared in favour of Japanese bullet train major Shinkansen at the weekend summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources have toldThe Hindu .
- But the project, which is expected to be the high point of Mr. Abe’s December 11-13 visit, will have a new set of guidelines that Japan has reportedly extended a Rs. 98,000-crore loan for the ultra modern high-speed train project.
CJI says give rights to people in accordance with their choice – (Indian Polity)
- In an indirect reference to the ongoing debate on intolerance in the country, Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur on Thursday said every person should be entitled to the right to have food, get education and profess religion in accordance with his choice. “Anything that makes a person happy is the companion of his human rights,” he said.
- Addressing the Human Rights Day function of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) here, Justice Thakur said the happiness should not be sadistic and should not incite violence.
Why EU will continue to press India, China for 5-year review – (International Relations)
- The European Union has come in for criticism from emerging economies for forming a new, parallel alliance with the African, Caribbean and Pacific nations at the Paris climate summit to influence key aspects of the agreement.
- Some of those whom the EU is including as allies in this formation are part of another big developing group, G77+China.
Worried Supreme Court open to proposals to ban diesel cars in Delhi – (Environment)
- Noting that uncontrolled air pollution in Delhi is earning a bad name for the country, the Supreme Court said on Thursday that it was even willing to examine suggestions such as banning diesel cars in the national capital.
- In a free-wheeling hearing, a Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justice R. Banumathi tried to gauge the essence of the problem, at one point even asking the municipal corporations, the Delhi government and the Centre why trucks not meant for Delhi should even enter the city.
India struggling to cut malnutrition rates: reports – (Social Issues)
- Two reports released on Thursday, one at the global level and the other India-specific, say the country is on track to meet only two (under-five overweight and exclusive breastfeeding rates) of the eight global targets for reducing malnutrition by 2030.
- The latest data show that 39 per cent of children under five in India are short for their age (stunted). The two States that had the worst stunting rates in 2005-06 — Uttar Pradesh and Bihar — have made the least progress over the 2005-2014 period, noted the Global Nutrition Report, the first of its kind to be released. The global rate is 24 per cent.
Delivering on the digital promise – (Governance)
- While parliamentary logjams stymie his legislative agenda, the Prime Minister can focus on policy reforms to roll out his flagship programme, Digital India.
- The crown jewel in the Digital India programme lies in the private sector’s ability to innovate new technologies.
Pvt. banks better placed to gain from upturn: Fitch – (Economics)
- Credit growth of banking sector may moderate further in the current financial year as worsening asset quality coupled with capital constraints were acting as impediments, according to ratings agency, Fitch.
- Bank credit grew 9.7 per cent on a year-on-year basis till middle of November as compared be 10.5 per cent during the same period of the previous year, Reserve Bank of India showed,
Facebook says Free Basics initiative ‘non-discriminatory’ – (Economics)
- A day after telecom regulator sought views on differential pricing for data services with an emphasis on ensuring non-discrimination, transparency, affordable Internet access, Facebook said that its ‘Free Basics’ initiative, originally known as Internet.Org, is “non- discriminatory.”
- For Free Basics, Facebook has partnered with Reliance Communications in India to offer access to certain applications and websites to users without any data charges.
Cairn Energy to claim about $700 million from Centre – (Economics)
- Cairn Energy Plc has said it will seek a huge claim — about $700 million — from the Indian government for ‘losses’ caused to it by the latter’s actions as part of a $1.6 billion tax dispute.
- The government could face “substantial damages” against it for the fall in value of the Edinburgh head-quartered company’s residual holding in Cairn India Ltd. as a result of several factors that include the government’s decision to disallow the stake sale pending resolution of the dispute.