Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Aug 03, 2020

Current Affair 1:
What are the laws in India for which a person be arrested for social media posts?

So many arrests in recent days due to unusual social media postings as per the law. We will important laws which facilitates such arrests.

Whenever, we read about any arrest due to post on social media, first thing which comes to our mind is section 66A id the IT Act, 2000. IT HAS BEEN REVOKED BY SC IN 2015.

The provisions of the Section 66A (which was inserted through IT (Amendment) Act, 2008) can be read in the picture below (snapshot of IT Act, 2000). In the IT Act, it is now mentioned that Section 66A has been struck down by the Supreme Court’s Order on 24 March 2015 in the Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India case. See below:

But it was found that there are various other provisions in the Indian Penal Code and other laws under which a person can be arrested for posting specific content on social media. Some of those provisions can be read below:

Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005:

Various news reports regarding people getting arrested under this act for posting fake news on social media can be found on the internet. The tweets from the Rachakonda Police regarding the arrests of various people under this section can be found here.

Also, one can be arrested for spreading false information on social media regarding diseases like COVID-19 under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

Various IPC Sections:

A news article regarding the arrest of a person in Assam for a Facebook post critical of PM Modi and Delhi riots can be found on the ‘India Today’ website. In the article, it can be read that he was booked under sections 295(A), 153(A), 507 of the Indian Penal Code and section 66 of the IT Act (not Section 66A). Also, in another incident, a person was booked under sedition (IPC 124(A)) and other provisions of IPC for his comment (‘disrespecting’ UP CM Yogi Adityanath) on a Facebook post.

There are many other incidents where people have been arrested under various other sections of IPC for their posts on social media. Whether some of those sections should be used or not for such incidents is debatable and it is for the courts to decide but the details regarding some of those IPC sections can be read below:

Other sections of IT Act, 2000:

While Section 66A of IT Act has been revoked, there are other sections in the IT Act, 2000 under which a person can be arrested for spreading specific type of content like obscene pictures on social media. A news article regarding the rising cases under Section 67 of IT Act, 2000 can be read here.

So, you keep in mind such laws, no need to go in much detail about IPC sections. 66A has been stuck down by the Supreme Court in 2015, still there are various provisions in other laws under which a person can be arrested for posting specific content on social media violative of these other laws.

Current Affair 2:
India’s Falling Female Labor Participation

Source Link

Various reports have been aggregated at one place. Important for Prelims and Mains both. Read full points.

  1. Four out of five women are not working in India. Only Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Algeria, Iran, and the West Bank and Gaza have a lower female labor force participation (FLFP) rate than India. In 1990, India’s FLFP was 30.3 percent. By 2019, it had declined to 20.5 percent, according to the World Bank. While the men’s labor force participation rate slightly decreased over time, too, it is four times that of women at 76.08 percent in 2019.
  2. Despite a rising GDP and increasing gender parity in terms of falling fertility rates and higher educational attainment among Indian women, India’s FLFP continues to fall. India’s job stagnation and increasing unemployment in the past few years — a problem that is aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic — could further worsen this situation.
  3. According to a 2019 report by Google and Bain & Company, women were already the worst hit by India’s unemployment crisis. While the overall Indian unemployment rate was at 7 percent before India’s March lockdown, it was already as high as 18 percent for women. A preliminary study found that Indian women have already lost more jobs than men during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. While labor force participation is declining globally on average, women’s participation has increased in high-income countries that have instituted gender-focused policies like parental leave, subsidized childcare, and increased job flexibility.
  5. On the Global Gender Gap Index by the World Economic Forum (WEF), India has fallen four places from 2018, now ranking 112 of 153 countries, largely due to its economic gender gap.
  6. In less than 15 years, India has fallen 39 places on the WEF’s economic gender gap, from 110th in 2006 to 149th in 2020.
  7. Among its South Asian neighbors, India now has the lowest female labor force participation, falling behind Pakistan and Afghanistan, which had half of India’s FLFP in 1990.

Possible Explanations for India’s Declining FLFP

  1. While greater education leads to greater economic participation for men, it is not the same for women. Researchers have observed a U-shaped relationship between education and labor force participation in India. According to which women’s labor force activity is very high in the early stages of economic development as they tend to participate in subsistence agriculture, declines as the economy becomes more manufacturing-based, and then increases again as women gain education and move into white-collar jobs.

  1. Women with no education and women with tertiary education display the highest rates of labor force participation among Indian women. The lack of demand for moderately educated women and occupational segregation could explain the Indian paradox of increasing female education and decreasing women’s employment despite India’s economic growth.
  2. Indian women are often required to prioritize domestic work, particularly if they are married due to the cultural and societal expectations of women as caregivers.
  3. In the Indian National Sample Survey (NSS) for 2011-2012, over 90 percent of women who did not work were primarily engaged in domestic duties.
  4. Social stigma against women working outside the house, especially for the those who can afford not to work, continues to influence women’s presence in the labor market.
  5. Indian women also struggle with well-meaning but discriminatory government policies like the amended India’s Maternity Benefit Act 2017, which increased women paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. This act reinforces women’s role as primary caregivers and increases employer bias, especially in the absence of similar benefits for fathers.
  6. Women in India are also not allowed to work in any factory overnight, with Section 66(1)(b) of the Factories Act 1948 specifically stating that women can only work in a factory between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. There are no such restrictions on men.
  7. To combat the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19, some states have proposed changes in labor laws like the Minimum Wages Act, Maternity Benefit Act, Equal Remuneration Act (ERA), and more. Suspension of many of these labor laws could push even more women out of the workforce as employers extend work hours, widen the gender pay gap without the safety of the ERA, and reduce women’s mobility by taking away health and safety mechanisms.
  8. Recent studies have shown that violence against women in public places, particularly the risk of sexual assault and unsafe work environment, discourages Indian women from entering the labor market.
  9. Another big impediment to women’s labor force participation is the gender wage gap. The report finds that women are paid 34 percent less than men for the same job with the same qualifications, despite India’s Equal Remuneration Act of 1976 that mandates equal pay for same work and prohibits hiring discrimination.

Current Affair 3:
GST Compensation released by the Central Government

Source Link

Central Government has recently released GST Compensation of Rs. 13,806 crores to States for March’2020. Taking this amount into account, entire compensation up to 2019-20 has been released to States.

Why does the Centre pay GST Compensation to States? In this document we take a look at Centre’s GST Compensation to the States and look at trends over the last three years since GST came into effect.

Compensation is paid to States for any loss of revenue due to implementation of GST

The provisions of Goods & Services Tax Act (GST) came into force from 01 July 2017, with an intention to implement a simplified, self-regulating and non-intrusive indirect tax compliance regime.  At the Central level, Service Tax, Custom Duties, Central Excise (except for products of Petroleum & Tobacco) etc. were subsumed by GST. Since GST is a consumption-based tax, it was believed that manufacturing states might tax revenue. Therefore, to compensate for the loss of revenue, The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 was passed.

For the purpose of calculation of GST Compensation to be paid to the states:

  1. The Financial Year (FY) ending 31 March 2016, is taken as the base year.
  2. The base year revenue for a State is the Sum of Revenue collected by the State and local bodies on account of the taxes levied. These taxes include among others – VAT, Sales Tax, purchase tax, Central Sales Tax, entry tax, octroi, taxes on luxuries, entertainment etc., excise duties etc.
  3. The exclusions from the tax revenue include tax on sale and purchase of petroleum products & alcohol.
  4. For any state, the projected nominal growth rate of the revenue that is subsumed by GST during this transition period is taken as 14% per annum. Projected revenue is calculated by applying this growth rate over the base year revenue. A bit technical here. Just see. If you don’t understand, leave.

Provision for levy and collection of Cess for GST compensation

  1. Section 8 of GST (Compensation to States) Act -2017, provides for levying of Cess on Intra-state and Inter-state supply of Goods & Services, for the purpose of providing compensation to the States, for any loss of revenue due to the implementation of GST. The time provision for collection of this levy is initially proposed to be for 5 years, which can be reviewed by the GST council.

  1. Section -10 of GST (Compensation to States) Act- 2017, states that the proceeds of the cess levied would be credited to Goods & Services Tax Compensation Fund, which is a non-lapsable fund.

The compensation amount that is paid to the states is paid out of this fund. The act further states that if there is any amount remaining unutilized at the end of the GST transition period, 50 % of the same shall be transferred to the Consolidated Fund of India and the balance to be distributed among States & UTs as per the ratio of their GST revenues.

Marginal Increase in the GST Compensation Cess collected in FY 2019-20

In the Financial Year (2017-18), which is the first full financial year in GST regime, the GST compensation cess collection increased by 54% to reach ? 87.2 thousand crores. There was only a marginal increase in the collection of cess in 2019-20 with a collection of ? 95.3 thousand crores.

Over this 3-year period, the highest GST Compensation Cess was collected from Uttar Pradesh, totalling to ? 32.6 thousand crores followed by Maharashtra with ? 30.5 thousand crores.

Maharashtra received the highest GST Compensation for 2019-20 followed by Karnataka

Among the states, Maharashtra has received the highest amount of GST compensation for 2019-20 with ? 19.23 thousand crores. Another traditional high revenue state, Karnataka received ? 18.62 thousand crores as GST Compensation. These two states are also among the states which have collected the highest GST Cess.

Karnataka has received the highest GST Compensation till date

GST Compensation released to States for 2019-20 was more than double the amount released for 2018-19. For 2019-20 a total of ? 1.65 lakh crores was transferred, while it was only ? 81.8 thousand crores in 2018-19.


Meanwhile, Maharashtra received the second highest GST compensation with ? 31.67 thousand crores.

Economic Slowdown could have a serious impact on Centre’s commitment towards GST compensation

Although there is a near double increase in the GST compensation payment for 2019-20, there has been extreme delay in the payment of this compensation. The payment due for 2019-20, was paid 4 months into the next financial year. Meanwhile there are allegations from opposition ruled states that the Centre is delaying the GST dues, thereby impacting State-level Schemes.

Current Affair 4:
What Does NASA’s New ‘Perseverance’ Rover Plan to Do on Mars?

Source Link

On July 30, NASA launched its most sophisticated and ambitious spacecraft to Mars: the aptly named Perseverance rover. This will be the third launch to Mars this month, following the UAE’s Hope and China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft. Perseverance will look for signatures of ancient life preserved in Mars rocks. And, for the first time, this rover will collect rock samples that will be brought back to Earth, where they can be scrutinized in laboratories for decades to come.

How it is different from previous mission to Mars?

The Perseverance mission differs from previous ones in the fact that earlier, rovers were sent to determine if Mars has habitable conditions more broadly whereas this one aims to look for signs of historical microbial life. As such, it marks the first time NASA has designed a rover to conduct experiments related to astrobiology on Mars.

A new technology:


Current Affair 5:
China’s Presence Near Ecuador Waters

Source Link

Ecuador was on alert earlier this week as a flotilla of 260 mostly Chinese fishing vessels– what some called a “floating city”– was sighted near the Galapagos archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, whose acquatic species such as manta rays and sharks have been endangered by commercial fishing.

Two important things we found in this topic:

  1. Map of Galapagos Island
  2. Why are cold and warm current mixing zones the good fishing grounds?

Reasons sited was Chinese ships are frequent in Ecuador's waters during august month of the year as the cold Humboldt Current brings in nutrients that lead to a high congregation of marine species.

Why are cold and warm current mixing zones the good fishing grounds?

  1. Algae and other plants are able to photosynthesize to produce organic material from inorganic nutrients.
  2. And the organic material forms the building block for all animals higher up in the food chain.
  3. Almost all biomass in the ocean is derived from the phytoplankton and to a lesser extent the benthic algae (found on the bottom of a sea or lake).
  4. However, there is a fundamental problem phytoplankton in the open ocean have to face. They need both sunlight and nutrients (such as nitrate and phosphate) to be able to photosynthesize.
  5. Sunlight is only available in the uppermost layers.
  6. During photosynthesis, the nutrients are quickly used up by phytoplankton, so they are not available for long periods in the upper layers under normal circumstances.
  7. This is indeed the case in tropical waters, and as a result they are very unproductive.
  8. To escape this problem the seawater needs to be mixed regularly to bring the nutrient rich deep waters up to the sunlight zone where the phytoplankton can grow.
  9. This is one of the reasons why cold and warm currents convergence zones [mixing happens – the collision of currents causes mixing] and upwelling zones are very productive.

Current Affair 6:
Scientists find evidence of cancer in dinosaur that lived 76 million years ago

Source Link


This deformed bone is the first clear example of a malignant tumor diagnosed in a dinosaur. The partial fibula—a bone from the lower leg—belonged to a horned, plant-eating Centrosaurus that lived roughly 76 million years ago in what is now Dinosaur Park in southern Alberta in Canada.

Paleontologists initially thought the bone’s strange shape was due to a fracture that hadn’t healed cleanly. But a new study, published today in The Lancet Oncology, compares the internal structure of the fossil (above) with a bone tumor from a human patient to seek a diagnosis. The conclusion: The dinosaur suffered from osteosarcoma, a cancer that, in humans, primarily attacks teens and young adults. The disease causes tumors of immature bone tissue, frequently in the long bones of the leg.

This isn’t the first-time cancer has been found in fossil remains. Scientists have identified benign tumors in Tyrannosaurus rex fossils and arthritis in duck-billed hadrosaurs, as well as an osteosarcoma in a 240-million-year-old turtle. But the researchers say their study is the first to confirm a dinosaur cancer diagnosis at the cellular level.

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