featuere image death penalty for rape 2018
Current Affairs Analysis

21st April 2018 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Ordinance for death penalty for rape of girls under 12 years; Civil Services Day; Impeachment notice against CJI; Procedure for removal of CJI; e-Vidhan project; Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan; Action Plan for Viral Hepatitis; Nokia tax dispute; Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) system; SCO counter-terror exercise; Peace Mission; Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO); lunar ‘Gateway’ space station; Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway; First International SME Convention 2018; Sutlej Jal Vidut Nigam (SJVN); Commonwealth Cyber Declaration, etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
April 21, 2018


Polity & Governance

  • April 21: Civil Services Day
  • Union Cabinet approves Ordinance for death penalty for rape of girls under 12 years
  • Impeachment notice against CJI
  • Central Project Monitoring Unit for e-Vidhan project at Parliament House Annexe

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan

Issues related to Health & Education

  • ₹500 Crore Action Plan for Viral Hepatitis


  • Nokia tax dispute settled under India-Finland mutual agreement

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India, Pakistan for first time to participate together in SCO counter-terror exercise

Science & Technology

  • NASA lunar ‘Gateway’ space station will soon begin construction

Key Facts for Prelims

  • First International SME Convention 2018
  • Sutlej Jal Vidut Nigam (SJVN)
  • Commonwealth Cyber Declaration

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Polity & Governance 

April 21: Civil Services Day

  • The National Civil Services Day is celebrated every year on April 21, when civil servants rededicate themselves to the cause of the citizens and renew their commitment to public service.

civil services day 2018 (2)

  • This day coincides with the date on which Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had addressed the first batch of probationers at the All India Administrative Service Training School at Metcalfe House, New Delhi in 1947.
  • On this day, the ‘Prime Minister Award for Excellence in Public Administration’ is presented in three categories. These awards were instituted in 2006. 

civil services day 2018

Union Cabinet approves Ordinance for death penalty for rape of girls under 12 years

The Union Cabinet has approved promulgation of Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance to provide death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years.

  • The ordinance amends Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Indian Evidence Act.

key Provision

Key provisions of Ordinance:

  • It provides for stringent punishment of jail term of minimum 20 years or life imprisonment or death for rape of girl less than 12 years. It provides punishment with imprisonment for rest of life or death sentence in case of gang rape of girl below 12 years.
  • It increases minimum punishment from 10 years to 20 years for crime of rape of girl under 16 years, which can be extended to imprisonment for rest of life. It increases minimum punishment for rape of women from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, which can be extended to life imprisonment.
  • It provides for speedy investigation and trial, which must be completed in two months. It proposes 6 months’ time limit for disposal of appeals in rape cases. It provides dedicated manpower for investigation of rape cases in time bound manner.
  • It provides no provision for anticipatory bail for person accused of rape or gang rape of girl under 16 years. It has also been provided that court has to give notice of 15 days to Public Prosecutor and representative of victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.
  • It has provision for maintaining national database and profile of sexual offenders by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This data will be regularly shared with States/UTs for monitoring, tracking and investigation including verification of antecedents by police.
[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times]


Impeachment notice against CJI

The Congress and six other opposition parties have moved a notice for the impeachment of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, accusing him of “misbehaviour” and “misusing” authority.

  • So far, no Chief Justice has ever been impeached in India.

Procedure for removal of CJI:

  • Article 124(4) of the Constitution lays down the procedure for removal of a judge of the Supreme Court, including the CJI, who can be impeached on grounds of “misbehaviour or incapacity”.

About the process:

  • Step 1: A removal motion signed by 100 members of Lok Sabha or 50 members of Rajya Sabha has to be submitted to the Speaker of the Lower House or Chairperson (ie Vice President) of the Upper House. This can be in either of the Houses of Parliament.
  • Step 2: The Speaker/Chairperson can either accept or reject the motion.
  • Step 3: If the motion is admitted, then the Speaker/ Chairperson forms a three-member committee comprising a senior judge of the Supreme Court, a judge of a high court and a distinguished jurist to investigate the charges leveled against the CJI.
  • Step 4: If the committee supports the motion, it can be taken up for discussion. It must be passed by a special two-third majority of MPs in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • Step 5: After it is passed in both Houses, it is presented to the President, who can pass a Presidential Order for removal of the CJI.

Can CJI continue to work during this period?

  • Both the Constitution and the Judges (Inquiry) Act of 1968 are silent on whether a judge facing impeachment motion should recuse from judicial and administrative work till he is cleared of the charges against him.
[Ref: The Hindu, Times of India]


Central Project Monitoring Unit for e-Vidhan project at Parliament House Annexe

The central government has launched Central Project Monitoring Unit for e-Vidhan project at Parliament House Annexe.

About e-Vidhan project:

  • e-Vidhan is a mission mode project to digitize and make the functioning of State Legislatures in India paperless.
  • It is a part of the broader Digital India Programme of the Government and is likely to contribute to the cleanliness & environment by reducing the use of papers to a great extent.
  • The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs is the Nodal Ministry for the project.
  • In 2014, Himachal Pradesh became the first state in the country to implement e-Vidhan as a pilot project.
[Ref: PIB]


Government Schemes & Policies 

Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan

As part of the “Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan”, the “Swachh Bharat Parva” was recently organized all over the country.

About Gram Swaraj Abhiyan:

  • “Gram Swaraj Abhiyan” is being organised between 14th April to 05th May, 2018.
  • The campaign, undertaken under the name of “Sabka Sath, Sabka Gaon, Sabka Vikas”, is to promote social harmony, spread awareness about pro-poor initiatives of government, reach out to poor households to enroll them as also to obtain their feedback on various welfare programmes.
  • As a special endeavour during the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, saturation of eligible households/persons would be made under seven flagship pro-poor programmes in 21,058 identified villages.
  • The programmes covered are Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya, Ujala scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Mission Indradhanush.


  • Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by PM Modi had approved restructured Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) to focus on training, building infrastructure, stepping up initiatives for e-governance under e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP) to deliver Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
[Ref: PIB] 



Issues related to Health & Education 

₹500 Crore Action Plan for Viral Hepatitis

With viral hepatisis becoming as serious health problem as the “big three” communicable diseases — HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis — in the country, the Union Health Ministry is ready to roll out a Rs 500 crore-three-year comprehensive integrated national action plan to check morbidity and mortality due to the disease that inflicts the liver.

  • The action plan has been developed with the key objective to provide an actionable framework of evidence based, priority interventions to support the national response for prevention, control and management of viral hepatitis in the country.

hepatitis 2018

What is viral hepatitis?

What is Viral Hepatitis

  • Inflammation of liver is usually referred as hepatitis.
  • Viral hepatitis is a widespread infectious disease normally caused by the hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E.
  • The condition can progress to liver fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.
  • It can be caused by any of the known five hepatotropic viruses, namely — hepatitis A, B, C, D and E which are highly divergent in their structure, epidemiology, mode of transmission, incubation period, signs/symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and treatment options.

Viral hepatitis cases in India:

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already recognised viral hepatitis as a serious public health problem in India which is home to over 52 million people infected with chronic hepatitis. This is placing a huge disease, social and economic burden on the affected families as well as the health system.
  • Latest assessment by WHO shows that in 2016, of the 400 million people infected by viral hepatitis globally, about 13% were Indians.
  • A bigger concern is that most people infected with the virus are unaware and experts points out that with challenges such as awareness, accessibility, compliance and affordability, India can only eradicate hepatitis by 2080 (as against global goal of 2030) if they start acting now.
[Ref: Economic Times]



Nokia tax dispute settled under India-Finland mutual agreement

Finland-headquartered Nokia has invoked the mutual agreement procedure (MAP) under the India-Finland Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, to resolve the Rs 2,000-crore tax dispute with the Indian tax department.

  • Now, the competent authorities of the two countries — India and Finland — will sit at the negotiating table and decide how the dispute should be resolved.

What’s the issue?

  • Indian income tax department had slapped a Rs 2,000-crore tax demand on Nokia India over alleged default on tax deduction at source (TDS) on software-related payments made to Nokia Finland for six years.
  • The IT department had concluded that payments made by Nokia India to Nokia Finland for software downloads — which got embedded in the Nokia handsets manufactured in India — were taxable in India as royalty.

What is Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) system?

MAP is alternative dispute settlement mechanism that allows multinational companies (MNCs) to settle transfer pricing disputes with tax authorities and eliminate double taxation.

  • The need for such arrangements was surfaced after many MNCs with operations in India had transfer pricing disputes with local tax authorities.
  • An agreement for avoidance of double taxation between countries would give authorisation for assistance of Competent Authorities (CAs) in the respective jurisdiction under MAP.
  • The main benefit of pursuing MAP is the elimination of double taxation (either juridical or economic). The MAP resolution, once accepted, eliminates protracted litigation.
  • MAP helps to increase comfort level of foreign investors over India’s tax laws.
  • Moreover, speedy resolution of tax cases help in providing conducive atmosphere for investments and business to foreign companies in India.
  • Under MAP, settling case with other government means closing all pending proceedings related to tax matter. It is increasingly seen as preferred mode for settling cross-border tax disputes.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Bilateral & International Relations 

India, Pakistan for first time to participate together in SCO counter-terror exercise

For first time, arch rivals India and Pakistan are taking part in Peace Mission, a multi-nation counter-terror exercise in Russia to be held in September 2018.  

shanghia sco excercise 2018

Peace Mission:

  • Peace Mission counter-terror military exercise will be held in the Ural mountains of Russia and almost all SCO member countries are taking part in it.
  • Its main aim is to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries.
  • It will be for first time since Independence that India and Pakistan will both be part of military exercise, though armies of two arch rival neighbouring countries have worked together in UN peacekeeping missions.

About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):

Seen as a counter to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.


  • These countries, except for Uzbekistan, had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organisation.
  • Its headquarters is located in Beijing, China.
  • India, which has had an observer status for the past 10 years, was accepted along with Pakistan as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in July 2015.
  • It has now eight members: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
  • SCO has Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia and Belarus as observers.
  • The SCO has established relations with the United Nations, where it is an observer in the General Assembly, the European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times]


Science & Technology 

NASA lunar ‘Gateway’ space station will soon begin construction

National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa) is planning to award its first contract for the lunar “Gateway” program in 2019.

lunar orbit platform 2018

About the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway:

  • The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway is Nasa’s planned “staging” area intended for studies of the moon and the deep-space environment. Eventually, it will function as a way station for astronauts travelling to and from Mars.
  • The Gateway would also further Nasa’s goal of another human landing on the moon and will help determine whether water near the surface could be used to manufacture propellant for deep-space missions.
  • The moon’s gravity could also help a spacecraft reduce the blistering speeds used for six-month voyages back-and-forth to Mars, thus facilitating re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.

nasa lunar gateway space station 2018

 [Ref: Times of India]


Key Facts for Prelims 

First International SME Convention 2018

  • The first International SME (Small, Medium Enterprises) convention will be held in New Delhi from 22ndto 24th April, 2018.
  • It has been organised by Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises.

First International SME

  • It aims to provide platform to allow Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur (E2E) exchange of ideas, free and fair business discussions, mutual sizing of opportunities and ways to address them.


Sutlej Jal Vidut Nigam (SJVN)

  • SJVN Limited is a Mini Ratna and Schedule ‘A’ Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) under Ministry of Power.
  • It is joint venture between Central Government (64.46% share) and Government of Himachal Pradesh (25.51% share).
  • It was incorporated in 1988. It is headquartered in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

satluj 2018

Commonwealth Cyber Declaration

  • The Commonwealth countries at the end of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London have adopted Commonwealth Cyber Declaration to take action on cybersecurity by 2020.
  • The declaration is considered as world’s largest and most geographically diverse inter-governmental commitment on cybersecurity cooperation.
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