Polity & Governance
- Centre forms panel to resolve telco penalty row
- Workplace gender gaps persist: WEF
- India ranks 130th in ease of doing business index
Science & Technology
- Uranus may have two undiscovered moons: study
Key Facts for Prelims
- Uttarakhand High court bans sale of whitener
- Mitra Shakti 2016
- 2016 Man Booker Prize
- Club des Chefs des Chefs (CCC)
Polity & Governance
Centre forms panel to resolve telco penalty row
The Union Telecom Ministry has formed a committee to look into the regulator TRAI’s recommendation of a Rs. 3,050 crore penalty on top three telcos — Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.
- The committee has been asked to give a report on the recommendations soon likely to be before 15 November 2016.
What is the case?
- Earlier TRAI had recommended Department of Telecom to impose penalty on these three incumbents telecom companies for denying interconnection points to Reliance Jio.
- According to TRAI, these three companies have violated licence norms by denying adequate interconnection points to Reliance Jio Infocomm.
- Their actions also have stifled the competition and are seen as anti-consumer and against public interest.
- The Reliance Jio had alleged that due to inadequate interconnection points its subscribers were unable to make calls to other networks.
While the recommended fine for Airtel and Vodafone amounts to Rs.1,050 crore for 21 service areas (all, expect Jammu and Kashmir), for Idea the penalty suggested for 19 service areas (all, except for Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern States) pegged at Rs 950 crore.[Ref: The Hindu]
Workplace gender gaps persist: WEF
India has been ranked 87th out of 144 countries on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2016.
About the report:
The report measures gender gap as progress towards parity between men and women in four areas
- Educational attainment,
- Health and survival,
- Economic opportunity and
- Political empowerment.
Highlights of the report:
- The list is topped by Iceland (1st), Finland (2nd), Norway (3rd), Sweden (4th) and Rwanda (5th).
- The poorest were Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
- The United States stood at 73rd while the United Kingdom was ranked 20th.
- The global march towards parity in key economic pillar has slowed down dramatically. This gap stands at 59% which is now larger than at any point since 2008. As a consequence, global economic gender gap will now not close until year 2186.
- WEF has called for urgent action, saying that progress on the gender equality front was actually slowing down and even reversing in some countries – last year it had predicted these changes would take 118 years.
- According to the report, the average pay gap for women around the world is nearly half of what men earn, and most of them work longer hours when unpaid labour is factored in. Moreover, women are less likely to be given senior roles in organisations or be retained in the workforce after having children.
- India has climbed 21 spots from 108th position in 2015.
- In this edition India has overtaken China which is ranked 99th.
- India is ranked 142 on the “health and survival” parameter in the survey of the differences between the genders in 144 countries.
- India is ranked a dismal 136th on economic participation and opportunity, and 113th on educational attainment.
- The only index on which India fared well was political participation – it came in at 9th in the world.
- The improvement in India’s ranking is driven largely by major improvements in education, where it has managed to close its gap entirely in primary and secondary education.
- The gender gap in India has narrowed down. But India still remains one of the worst countries in the world for women in terms of labour force participation, income levels as well as health and survival.
- India has closed its gender gap by 2% in a year (2016), but much work remains to be done to empower women in the economic sphere.
- India continues to rank third-lowest in the world on Health and Survival, remaining the world’s least-improved country over the past decade.
India ranks 130th in ease of doing business index
India has been placed at 130th position among the 190 countries in the recently released World Bank’s ease of doing business index for the year 2017.
- The index was released as part of the World Bank’s annual report Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All.
Highlights of the report:
- Economies in all regions are implementing reforms easing the process of doing business.
- However, Europe and Central Asia continues to be the region with the highest share of economies (96% of economies) implementing at least one reform.
- A record 137 economies around the world have adopted key reforms that make it easier to start and operate small and medium-sized businesses.
- Developing countries carried out more than 75% of the 283 reforms in the past year, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for over one-quarter of all reforms.
- According to the report, India has moved one rank up to the 130th position.
- Thus, India has improved its place by one spot in the 2017 index and its place remained unchanged from the previous original ranking of 130 in the year 2016.
- India has made a substantial improvement in some areas such as electricity connection. But it has sliped in other areas, including payment of taxes and enforcing contracts.
- India has embarked on a fast-paced reform path and has acknowledged a number of substantial improvements.
- Some the improvement mentioned are electricity connections to businesses, paying taxes, electronic system for paying employee state insurance contributions, the Companies (Amendment) Act, electronic filing of integrated customs declarations, passage of the commercial courts and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
Science & Technology
Uranus may have two undiscovered moons: study
After using data from NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, researchers have found that Uranus may have two tiny, previously undiscovered moons orbiting near two of the planet’s rings.
What researchers have found?
- Scientists have found that the pattern in Uranus’ rings was similar to moon-related structures in Saturn’s rings called moonlet wakes.
- They have estimate the hypothesised moonlets in Uranus’ rings may be four to 14 kilometres in diameter. It means they are as small as some identified moons of Saturn.
How researchers discovered these moons?
- They had analysed decades-old images of Uranus’ icy rings taken by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft which had flown by the planet 30 years ago.
- During their analysis, they had noticed the amount of ring material on the edge of the alpha ring – one of the brightest of Uranus’ multiple rings – varied periodically.
What is significance of this research?
- Uranian moons are especially hard to spot because their surfaces are covered in dark material. These findings could help explain some characteristics of Uranus’ rings, which are strangely narrow compared to Saturn’s moons.
- It will also help to explain that if moonlets exist, they may be acting as “shepherd” moons, helping to keep the rings from spreading out. [Two of Uranus’ 27 known moons, Cordelia and Ophelia act as shepherds to Uranus’ epsilon ring].
Key Facts for Prelims
Uttarakhand High court bans sale of whitener
The Uttarakhand High Court has ordered a complete ban on the sale of whitener in the state. The decision came following the death of a teenager after he sniffed an excess of whitener for a kick.
The court also ordered that items such as Iodex and Feviquick should not be sold to children below 18 years of age in view of prevalent abuse of these among teenagers.
The court said, it must also be ensured that no minor gets entry into hookah clubs.
Mitra Shakti 2016
- Mitra Shakti 2016 is the fourth edition of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise began in Sri Lanka.
- The main focus of this edition of the joint exercise is to enhance inter-operability while carrying out Counter Insurgency (CI)/Counter Terrorism (CT) operations under the United Nations Mandate.
- The previous exercise with the Sri Lankan Army was successfully conducted in September 2015 at Pune in India.
2016 Man Booker Prize
- Paul Beatty has won the 2016 Man Booker Prize for his racial satirical novel ‘The Sellout’.
- With this he becomes the first US author to win this prestigious literary award.
- His novel tells the story of a young black man who tries to reinstate slavery and racial segregation in a suburb of Los Angeles.
- Launched in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is the world’s most prestigious English-language literary award. It was presented by the Man Group.
- The award aims at promoting the finest literary work in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom.
- It carries cash prize of 50,000 pounds.
- The 2015 Man Booker Prize was conferred on Jamaican author Marlon James for his book A Brief History of Seven Killings.
Club des Chefs des Chefs (CCC)
- Recently, members of the Club des Chefs des Chefs (Club of Presidential Chefs from across the Globe) paid a visit to PM Modi.
- The Club comprises personal chefs of the heads of state of two dozen countries.
- It has been informally described as the world’s most exclusive gastronomic society.
- It’s an exclusive club because one can be part of it only if one is a chef to a head of state.
- This Paris based Association is currently holding its general assembly in India, for the first time. Besides Delhi, the chefs will be visiting Agra and Jaipur as well.