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Daily Current Affairs – 14th Jan. 2021

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 14th Jan 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

Adultery law must stay for military: govt.

Context: 

SC Bench has referred the petition filed by the Ministry of Defence to Chief Justice of India.

Details:

  • The Ministry of Defence petition seeks an exemption of armed forces personnel from the adultery judgement that was delivered by the Supreme Court.
  • Government has reasoned as to why there is a need to look into the earlier Supreme Court judgement and a need to look at the army personnel as a “distinct class”.

Supreme Court judgement

  • IPC Section 497 states, “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery.”
  • The Constitutional Bench deemed that Section 497 (adultery) of the Indian Penal Code cannot “command” married couples to remain loyal to each other for the fear of penal punishment.
  • The Supreme Court scrapped the pre-independence provision of adultery law under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), ruling the law arbitrary and against the constitutional ideals of liberty, equality and freedom.

Defence Ministry plea for exemption

  • The government has reasoned that there is a possibility of doubts arising in the minds of the army personnel who are serving far away from their families over any untoward activity.
  • The Centre said that decriminalizing adultery may cause ‘instability’ within the armed forces as Defence personnel are expected to stay separated from their families.
  • The government further added that personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force were a “distinct class”. They were governed by special legislation, the Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act.
  • The three Acts have termed that adultery amounted to unbecoming conduct and a violation of discipline.
  • The special laws imposed restrictions on the fundamental rights of the personnel, who function in a peculiar situation requiring utmost discipline. The three laws were protected by Article 33 of the Constitution, which allowed the government to modify the fundamental rights of the armed forces personnel.

ECONOMY

RBI forms working group on digital lending

Context:

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken up the initiative to set up a working group on digital lending, encompassing the online platforms and mobile apps.
  • The working group will look into the aspects of digital lending activities in the regulated financial sector and the unregulated players.
  • The working group’s observations and recommendations will be taken into consideration while putting in place a regulatory mechanism.

Details:

  • Digital lending has come under scrutiny after a spate of cases of suicides were witnessed due to harassment by unauthorised digital lending mobile apps.
  • The potential of digital lending is vast, it can help make access to financial products and services more fair, efficient and inclusive.
  • The financial products and services delivery is being aided tremendously through FinTech led innovations.
  • While penetration of digital methods in the financial sector is a welcome development, the benefits and certain downside risks are often interwoven in such endeavours.

Why regulation is necessary?

  • India, in recent years, has witnessed an embrace of online financial transactions by the people.
  • A shift in customer behaviour from offline to online financial transactions has coincided with the rise of fintech companies.
  • With the shift to online lending, there are certain prerequisites for the successful working of the digital mode.
  • There is a need for a regulatory mechanism, financial literacy on behalf of the customers, a code of conduct on the part of digital lending platforms.

What the working group is expected to do?

  • Caution has to be exercised to ensure that regulation does not stifle innovation. A balanced approach needs to be followed so that the regulatory framework and innovation go hand in hand while ensuring data security, privacy, confidentiality and consumer protection.
  • The working group is mandated to examine and evaluate digital lending activities and assess the penetration and standards of outsourced digital lending activities in RBI regulated entities.
  • The working group will also look to zero-in on the risks posed by unregulated digital lending to financial stability, regulated entities and consumers; and suggest regulatory changes to promote orderly growth of digital lending.

Conclusion

  • Digital lending is an evolving mode of operation still in its nascent stage, thus it will require a regulatory mechanism to provide for a structure and also ensure smooth functioning

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

A strong India would act as ‘counterbalance’ to China: U.S

Context:

  • The outgoing US President-led administration has chosen to declassify a sensitive document on the U.S. strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific from 2018.
  • The document has details regarding the objectives and strategies with regard to China, North Korea, India and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

Details:

  • The document gives a sneak-peak into the US foreign policy objectives and what the foreign policy intends to achieve.
  • The US foreign policy has in the recent past been excessively focused upon two theatres, i.e, West Asia and the Indo-Pacific.

Indo-Pacific region:

  • The document talks about the need to maintain “U.S. strategic primacy” in the region and promoting a “liberal economic order” while stopping China from establishing “illiberal spheres of influence” as the U.S.’s first national security challenge.
  • The US sees China as a strategic competitor bent on circumventing international rules and norms and a key security concern across the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The Indo-Pacific region has enjoyed growing popularity in the recent years as a geographical and strategic construct in the foreign and security policy discourse in Japan, the United States, Australia, India, France and some Southeast Asian states.
  • The US-China tussle encompasses several dimensions, beginning from military threat, conflicts in trade policy, political-ideological aspects and competing ideas on regional order.

Act-East policy:

  • As a matter of strategy, the US seeks to promote a peaceful resolution of disputes and transparent infrastructure-debt practices. The infrastructure-debt practices appear to be an indirect reference to China’s maligned ‘debt-trap’ infrastructure projects.
  • It is also a reference to alternatives to financing by China’s Belt Road Initiative, which has put the borrowing countries in precarious positions with regards to debt scenario.
  • India’s ‘Act East‘ policy is a diplomatic initiative to promote economic, strategic and cultural relations with the vast Asia-Pacific region at different levels.
  • The U.S. aims to support India’s “Act East” policy and its aspiration to be a leading global power, highlighting its compatibility with the U.S., Japanese and Australian vision of the Indo-Pacific.
  • A coalition of a strong India and other like-minded countries would act as a counterbalance to China’s aggressive manoeuvres.

Indian angle:

  • India has emerged as a vital plank in US.’s regional strategy, for the document talks about US.’s plans of partnering India on security issues and about the cooperation of the two countries in the maritime domain to offset any China-led preponderance of power.
  • The U.S. wants India to play a more proactive role in the region; it looks at India as a net security provider in the region. It also envisages greater leadership roles for India in forums like the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.
  • The document speaks about solidifying a lasting strategic partnership with India, it mentions that a strong Indian military will be helpful in effectively collaborating with the U.S and its regional partners.
  • The two powers will have to bring about a synergy through enhanced defence cooperation and interoperability.
  • The document throws light on how the US sees India-China dynamics over territorial claims at the border, in the maritime domain, trade, etc.
  • The document talks of offering support to India via military, diplomatic and intelligence channels in a bid to assist India in dealing with issues such as the border dispute with China and access to water, including the Brahmaputra and other rivers facing diversion by China.
  • This declassification has come at a very crucial point of time, with India and China involved in exchange along the Line of Actual Control in 2020.

Russia and North Korea:

  • The other two challenges are ensuring that North Korea does not threaten the U.S. and advancing U.S. economic leadership globally.
  • The document, while referring to Russia, says the country will “remain a marginal player” in the region relative to the U.S., China and India, however, this cannot be definitive.
  • Russia has taken decisive steps in the region with port calls by Russian warships in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and two new naval drills with China taking place off the Cape of Good Hope with South Africa and in the northern Indian Ocean with Iran.
  • Apparently, Russia’s increasing interest in the Indian Ocean region is driven by the two new frontiers of its foreign policy – the Middle East and Africa.
  • The document talks of a very highly unlikely option at the present moment, it talks about convincing Kim of North Korea that the lone way of survival is by relinquishing North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

Conclusion:

The document outlines what the US strategy appears to be like, however with the change in personnel, the US strategy in the future doesn’t have to be any similar or different to what the document reveals.

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MISCELLENOUS

LCA Tejas

Why in News:

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has recently cleared a deal worth Rs. 48,000 crore for the acquisition of 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

  • 83 Tejas includes 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 trainer aircraft. MK-1A variant is a improved version of MK-1 with an electronic warfare system, advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, beyond visual range (BVR) missiles and a network warfare system comprising software defined radio (SDR)

Cabinet Committee on Security

  • CCS is chaired by the Prime Minister of India.
  • Major decisions with respect to the significant appointments, issues of national security, defence expenditure of India are taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

Key Points:

  • About:
    • The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme was started by the Government of India in 1984 when they established the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to manage the LCA programme.
    • It replaced the ageing Mig 21 fighter planes.
    • Designed by:
      • Aeronautical Development Agency under the Department of Defence Research and Development.
    • Manufactured by:
      • State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
    • Features:
      • The lightest, smallest and tailless multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft in its class.
      • Designed to carry a range of air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision-guided, weapons.
      • Air to air refuelling capability.
      • Maximum payload capacity of 4000 kg.
      • It can attend the maximum speed of Mach 1.8.
      • The range of the aircraft is 3,000km
    • Variants of Tejas:
      • Tejas Trainer: 2-seater operational conversion trainer for training air force pilots.
      • LCA Navy: Twin- and single-seat carrier-capable for the Indian Navy.
      • LCA Tejas Navy MK2: This is phase 2 of the LCA Navy variant.
      • LCA Tejas Mk-1A: This is an improvement over the LCA Tejas Mk1 with a higher thrust engine.

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