India Current Affairs 2017

Latest India Current Affairs and Current Affairs related to Government policy, polity and administration in India. India’s National Current Affairs updates for 2017

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Indian Navy successfully test fires Barak missile from INS Vikramaditya

Indian Navy successfully conducted maiden test of short range surface-to-air Barak missile from country’s sole aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. 

The test was conducted in the Arabian Sea in which missile was fired against a live, low-flying, high-speed target. The missile successfully engaged and destroyed the target, validating operational readiness inspection of the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy.

About INS Vikramaditya

  • INS Vikramaditya is the country’s sole aircraft carrier (after retirement of INS Viraat in March 2017).
  • It was built in 1987 and had served the Soviet navy (named as Baku). It was later renamed Admiral Gorshkov under the Russian navy.
  • The Indian navy purchased the vessel in 2004 and commissioned it in November 2013 at Severodvinsk in Russia.
  • The Kiev-class vessel weighs 44,500 tonne. Its overall length is 284 meters and has maximum beam of about 60 meters
  • It can carry over 30 aircraft comprising MiG-29Ks, Kamov-28s, Kamov-31s, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. It was retrofitted with a Barak missile system under joint development with Israel.

INS Vikramaditya,

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Environment Ministry official to chair Animal Welfare Board of India

Government has notified that Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory advisory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF) will now be permanently chaired by a senior MoEF official.

Recently, new Board of 18 members, chaired by Sharad Singh Negi, Special Secretary and Director-General (Forests), MoEF came into effect for three years term.

Background

Previously in AWBI’s 55-year history, it was always chaired by somebody outside government, such as veterinarians, animal welfare activists or retired judges. But in recent times due to differences between AWBI and MoEFCC, especially on the conduct of the Jallikattu, Central Government exerted its primacy in the management of the organisation.

About Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)

  • The AWBI is a statutory advisory body established in 1962 under Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • It frames a range of rules on how animals ought to be humanely treated everywhere. It has also frequently litigated to have stricter laws to ensure animals were not unduly harassed or tortured.
  • Initially it was within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Later in 1990, the subject of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was transferred to the MoEFCC.
  • Well-known humanitarian and former parliamentarian (late) Rukmini Devi Arundale was instrumental in setting up the board and was its first chair.
  • The Board consists of 28 Members, who serve for a period of 3 years. Its headquaters is located at Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • Several government organisations, along with animal rights activists and parliamentarians, are represented on the Board.
  • Some Functions of AWBI: Recognition of Animal Welfare Organisations: It oversees Animal Welfare Organisations (AWOs) by granting them recognition if they meet its guidelines.
  • It also appoints key people to the positions of (Hon) Animal Welfare Officers, who serve as the key point of contact between the people, the government and law enforcement agencies.
  • Financial assistance: It provides financial assistance to recognised AWOs, who submit applications to the Board.
  • Categories of grants include Regular Grant, Cattle Rescue Grant, Provision of Shelter House for Animals, Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme, Ambulance for animals in distress and Natural Calamity grant.
  • Animal welfare Laws and Rules: It suggests changes to laws and rules about animal welfare issues. It also offers guidance to organisations and officials such as police to help them interpret and apply the laws.
  • Raising awareness: It issues publications to raise awareness of various animal welfare issues. Its education team gives talks on animal welfare subjects, and trains members of the community to be Certified Animal Welfare Educators

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Recommendations of Law Commission against Hate Speech

The Law Commission of India (LCI) in its 267th Report has laid out that bare the danger of hate speech to the Union Government and called for action from the government and Parliament.

It held that hate speech has the potential to provoke individuals and society to commit acts of genocides, terrorism and ethnic cleansing.

The Supreme Court of India in 2014 had referred to the Law Commission for means to arm the Election Commission to crack down on hate speech.

Key Facts
  • In its report, the commission has cautioned the government that hate speech is considered outside the realm of protective discourse and has urged for the expansion of the penal law against hate crimes.
  • It held that indisputably, offensive hate speech has real and devastating effects on people’s lives and risks their health and safety.
  • It is also harmful and divisive for communities and hampers social progress. If left unchecked, it can severely affect right to life of every individual.
Law against Hate Speech
  • The commission also has drafted a new law The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by inserting new Sections to fortify democracy against hate speeches.
  • The law defined hate speech as any word written or spoken, signs, visible representations within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention to cause fear or alarm, or incitement to violence.
  • Its Section 153C penalises incitement to hatred and Section 505A for the first time makes ‘causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases’ a specific criminal offence.
  • Section 153C calls for punishing guilty person with two years’ imprisonment or Rs. 5,000 in fine or both. Section 505A provides a punishment of one year imprisonment or Rs. 5,000 in fine or both.

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