iastoppers-indus-water-treaty
Current Affairs Analysis

21st October 2016 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Triple Talaq; National Commission for Women; Masala Bond; Indus Water Treaty; Cysvax Vaccine; Cysticercosis; ‘Happiness Junction’; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
October 21, 2016

Contents

Social Issues

  • Triple talaq a highly misused custom: NCW

Economy

  • HDFC raises Rs 500 crore via masala bonds

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Pakistan warns India against breaching Indus Water Treaty

Science & Technology

  • IIL launches first vaccine CYSVAX against tapeworms in pigs
  • Protein-rich rice variety developed

Key Facts for Prelims

  • ‘Happiness Junction’
  • World’s largest outdoor air purifier

 

Social Issues

Triple talaq a highly misused custom: NCW

The National Commission of Women (NCW) has held that triple talaq was a “highly misused” custom and Government should scrap it to protect the rights of Muslim women.

iastoppers-tripple-talaq

What NCW says?

  • The traditional custom of triple talaq should be banned in an effort to protect the rights of Muslim women and it cannot be linked to the Uniform Civil Code.
  • Muslim women feel disempowered because of the practice of triple talaq.

What is triple talaq?

  • ‘Triple Talaq’ or ‘Oral talaq’ is a procedure of divorce mentioned under the Sharia Law which is a body of the Islamic law.
  • Under this, a husband can divorce his wife by pronouncing ‘Talaq’ thrice.

Why triple talaq should be abolished?

  • The practice of ‘triple talaq’ has enabled husbands to divorce their wives arbitrarily, devoid of any substantiation.
  • It impacts adversely on the right of women to a life of dignity.
  • The ‘triple talaq’ has been abolished in 21 Islamic theocratic countries including Pakistan.
  • It is also against constitutional principles such as gender equality, secularism, international laws etc.

Government’s stand:

  • The government argues that when these practices are banned in Islamic theocratic countries, the practices could have absolutely no base in religion and are only prevalent to permit the dominance of men over women.

About NCW:

The National Commission for Women (NCW) is a statutory body of the Government of India, generally concerned with advising the government on all policy matters affecting women.

  • It was established in January 1992 under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, as defined in the 1990 National Commission for Women Act.
  • The objective of the NCW is to represent the rights of women in India and to provide a voice for their issues and concerns.
  • The commission regularly publishes a monthly newsletter, Rashtra Mahila in both Hindi and English.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Economy

HDFC raises Rs 500 crore via masala bonds

Mortgage lender HDFC has raised Rs 500 crore through the sale of Masala Bonds.

iastoppers-hdfc

  • HDFC has raised a total of Rs 5,000 crore through issuance of rupee-denominated bonds in four tranches.

What are Masala Bonds?

  • Masala bond is a term used to refer to a financial instrument through which Indian entities can raise money from overseas markets in the rupee, not foreign currency.

Background:

  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank, in November 2014, issued a Rs. 1,000 crore bond to fund infrastructure projects in India.
  • These bonds were listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). IFC then named them Masala bonds to give a local flavour by calling to mind Indian culture and cuisine.

Features of the Masala Bond:

  • Analysts say that if the masala bonds take off it could lower India Inc’s the cost of capital over a period of time, which remains one of the highest in Asia. Also, inflows from these financial instruments could also support the rupee.
  • They are issued to foreign investors and settled in US dollars. Hence the currency risk lies with the investor and not the issuer, unlike external commercial borrowings (ECBs), where Indian companies raise money in foreign currency loans.
  • While ECBs help companies take advantage of the lower interest rates in international markets, the cost of hedging the currency risk can be significant.
  • If unhedged, adverse exchange rate movements can come back to bite the borrower. But in the case of Masala bonds, the cost of borrowing can work out much lower.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

Pakistan warns India against breaching Indus Water Treaty

Pakistan has warned India that it will take appropriate action if India violates the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) unilaterally.          

  • Pakistan was closely monitoring the situation after India decided to suspend all talks with Pakistan on IWT in the wake of the Uri attack.

What is Indus Water treaty?

The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank.

indus-basin

  • The treaty was signed in Karachi in 1960 by Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.
  • According to this agreement, control over the three “eastern” rivers — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej — was given to India, while control over the three “western” rivers — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum — to Pakistan.
  • As per the provisions in the treaty, India can use only 20% of the total water carried by the Indus river.
  • A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing.

It is important to note that China has been kept out of the Treaty although Indus originates from Tibet. If China decides to stop or change the flow of the river, it will affect both India and Pakistan.

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

IIL launches first vaccine CYSVAX against tapeworms in pigs

Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) has launched CYSVAX vaccine to fight against tapeworms in pigs.

cysvax-vaccine

  • The vaccine may also help to reduce incidence of epilepsy in human beings.

Key facts:

  • IIL has developed a recombinant porcine (pigs) cysticercosis vaccine – Cysvax for use in pigs
  • IIL claimed that Cysvax is the world’s first vaccine to fight against Tapeworms in pigs.
  • Vaccination of pigs can break the tapeworm parasite’s life-cycle and enable in removing the source of infection for humans.

What is Cysticercosis?

  • Cysticercosis is a parasitic disease caused by ingesting the eggs of the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. It is a zoonotic parasite, involving pigs as intermediate hosts.
  • Humans are usually infected by the ingestion of eggs present in the undercooked pork, vegetables and greens that have been improperly washed.
  • Cysts that develop in the central nervous system cause Neuro-Cysticercosis (NCC), one of the predominant reasons for epilepsy in humans.
  • WHO has designated Cysticercosis as one of the 17 neglected tropical diseases worldwide.

In India:

  • Cases of Cysticercosis have been found to occur across India, particularly in the North UP and Northeast states.

What are the reasons for its spread?

  • Open defecation and unhygienic pig rearing are the primary breeding grounds for Tapeworms (T. Solium).

About IIL:

iastoppers-iil-logo

  • Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
  • It was set up by the NDDB in 1982, as its unit, with the objective of making Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine available to farmers at an affordable price.
  • IIL is a market leader in veterinary biologicals and a big player in the animal and human healthcare sector in the country.
[Ref: Business Line, Business Standard]

 

Protein-rich rice variety developed

A protein-enriched rice variety has been developed by the Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalay (IGKV).

protein-rich-rice-variety

Key facts:

  • The newly developed rice variety has over 10% protein content, which is three per cent more than what is found in any popular variety and has 30 PPM zinc content.
  • This new variety is expected to serve as a boon for malnourished population, especially children, in the tribal-dominated Chhattisgarh.
  • The rice variety will play a crucial role in fighting protein deficiencies

Background:

  • As per a survey conducted in 2015 very high rate of malnutrition was found among preschool children in tribal areas across Chhattisgarh which is considered rice bowl of the country.
  • The survey had showed that over five lakh children in the state are underweight and stunted growth especially in the tribal districts.
[Ref: Business Standard]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

‘Happiness Junction’

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  • A first-of-its-kind “Happiness Junction” was inaugurated at Sonepur railway station of the East Central Railway (ECR) in Bihar.
  • At this junction, books and several entertainment tools will be available for waiting passengers.
  • This junction provides passengers with plenty of facilities for all age groups and it draws its inspiration from the Gross National Happiness (GNH) idea of Bhutan.
  • Sonpur Junction in Saran district, which hosts Asia’s biggest cattle fair, aims to make the passengers happy during their brief halt by providing them with a variety of facilities and a chance to perform charity.

 

World’s largest outdoor air purifier

iastoppers-worlds-largest-outdoor-air-purifier

  • China will deploy world’s largest outdoor air purifier in its smog- hit capital Beijing.
  • The 7 metre tall tower can capture about 75% of PM 2.5 and PM 10 tiny particles in its vicinity and then release purified air to create a “bubble” of fresh air around it.
  • The tower can clean 30,000 cubic metres of air per hour through its patented ozone-free ion technology.
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