Don’t distort secularism: Rajnath - (Indian Polity)
- The discussion in Parliament to commemorate the Constitution and its framer, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, took place on Thursday under the long shadow of the debate on intolerance raging outside of it, with the government and the Opposition not conceding even an inch on their entrenched positions on the term ‘secularism’ and its meaning.
- The importance of the discussion could be gauged from the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sat through the proceedings from the beginning till the day’s end at 7 p.m.
Kerala scientists develop saltwater-tolerant paddy - (Agriculture)
- Scientists at the Rice Research Station of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) at Vyttila have developed a new variety of paddy tolerant to saline intrusion, a major challenge faced by farmers in the lowlands.
- The landmark achievement in rice research was made possible by the introduction of genes tolerant to salinity and iron toxicity into Jyothi, Kerala’s most popular rice variety. The project which began in 2008 involved the incorporation of the SalTol gene present in Pokkali, the most saline tolerant rice variety in the world, into Jyothi.
‘Fuzzy logic’ to optimise water use - (Environment)
- Should water be saved for power generation or should it be released for agriculture?
- This is the dilemma the Karnataka government finds itself up against at the end of a season of failed monsoons. It’s much like the situation in the State a month ago, when crops had started to wither as reservoirs held back water.
Anti-submarine corvette handed over to the Navy - (Defence)
- Kadmatt , the second of the four indigenously built stealth Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) corvette, was formally handed over to the Navy here on Thursday by city based shipyards Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE)
- The Corvette which is named after an island in the Lakshwadeep archipelago, has advanced stealth features is likely to be commissioned with the Navy in January.
33% quota for women in forces - (Social Issues)
- Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament on Thursday that the government was considering 33 per cent reservation for women in the paramilitary forces.
- The announcement comes despite the forces struggling to fill even the five per cent quota decided during the UPA government’s tenure.
Eminent citizens oppose order on AFSPA - (Indian Polity)
- Around 60 distinguished individuals from various walks of life have issued a statement protesting against a recent order of the Meghalaya High Court, directing the Central government to “consider the use of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, in the Garo Hills area.”
- The statement signed by social activist Aruna Roy, Prashant Bhushan, Nikhil Dey, Teesta Setalvad among others said: “The said direction issued by the High Court of Meghalaya is in complete violation of the Constitutional arrangement of separation of powers.
Rohatgi warns against ‘stretching Constitution’ - (Indian Polity)
- Addressing the Law Day function at the Supreme Court in the presence of Union Law Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi on Thursday said the original path set out by the Constitution makers was that of a ‘socialist democratic republic’.
- The Constituent Assembly debates show that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar reasoned there was no need to expressly include the terms ‘secular’ as the entire Constitution embodied the concept of a secular State, which meant non-discrimination on the grounds of religion and equal rights and status to all citizens. The original Constitution does not include the words ‘socialist’ or ‘secular’ in the Preamble.
SC gives Centre four weeks to respond on Ram Sethu - (Indian Polity)
- The Supreme Court on Thursday gave the Centre four weeks’ time to respond to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s information that a Cabinet decision had been taken to “not touch” the ancient Ram Sethu or the Adam’s Bridge in the implementation of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project.
- A Bench led by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu was hearing a plea filed by Dr. Swamy urging the apex court to verify the Centre’s stand and wrap up the litigation pending with it.
Political shift in Argentina - (International Relation)
- The victory of Mauricio Macri, the Mayor of Buenos Aires, in Argentina’s presidential election over the ruling Peronist party’s Daniel Scioli, marks an end to the so-called Kirchner era, at least for now.
- Over the past 12 years, the outgoing President, Cristina Fernandez, and her late husband Nestor Kirchner dominated the country’s polity, reshaping the character of the Argentine state into a welfare institution from being a free-market facilitator.
Battle for recognition - (Governance)
- In June 2013, Uttarakhand experienced the worst floods in its history. More than 5,000 people were killed. Bodies of thousands are yet to be recovered. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the primary force deployed along the undefined and difficult China border, was the first to respond to the catastrophe.
- But most people, including the national media, were oblivious to their exemplary work. It was only when the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) were pressed into action that the disaster made it to the national headlines.
Industry body backs Jaitely on ‘undistorted’ goods and services tax - (Economics)
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitely got the backing of India Inc. for bringing in an ‘undistorted’ goods and services tax (GST) regime with corporations opting for a complete move to GST even if it involved making a compromise on its structure.
- “I have no doubt that we can attain 9 per cent growth in the economy by 2018-19, if political parties can rise above their differences and help ring in the new indirect tax regime that has been in the making for over a decade,” said Sunil Kanoria, vice chairman of Srei Infrastructure and current president of industry chamber, Assocham.