Daily Current Affairs Date : 8thFebruary,2022
(30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)
Covers 4 Most relevant Sources
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Defence Exports from India (TH, pg 15)
- What’s crowding out effect in Economics (TH, pg 14)
- Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) (TH, pg 15)
- Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) (TH, pg 10)
- All About PM CARES Fund (TH, pg 8)
- Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for welfare of Minority Communities (PIB)
- Nai Roshni Scheme (PIB)
- Parvatmala: National Ropeways Development Programme (PIB)
- Kodiyal Theru (TH, pg 5)
- Marital Rape (TH, pg 4)
- Waqf Properties in India (PIB)
Defence Exports from India (TH, pg 15)
- Context: India and the Philippines signed the USD 375 million deal for the sale of BrahMos supersonic anti-ship cruise missile recently.
- The BrahMos export order would be the biggest for the country in this field and is likely to propel India amongst the arms exporter countries.
- Though the range of BrahMos is now being extended to over 400-km, with India and Russia even planning to test an 800-km variant this year, the export version will be the 290-km one.
- This is due to the Missile Technology Control Regime (prevents proliferation of missiles over 300-km range).
- BrahMos missiles, developed jointly with Russia, has emerged as the “precision-strike weapon of choice” for Indian armed forces.
- Beginning with an anti-ship missile, several variants have since been developed and it can now be launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against surface and sea-based targets.
Other possible Defence exports from India
- From 2016-17 to 2018-19, the country’s defence exports have registered a staggering 700% growth.
- Many countries have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km.
- Being over 96% indigenous, there is no need to seek any third country’s concurrence to export Akash.
- The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the armed forces.
- The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential.”
Steps taken by Indian Government
- India will have to export “bigger weapon systems” if it wants to come anywhere near the ambitious annual target of $5 billion (Rs 36,500 crore) by 2025.
- It also set up a committee of defence minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister S Jaishankar and national security advisor Ajit Doval to “authorize subsequent exports” to various countries in an expeditious manner.
What’s crowding out effect in Economics (TH, pg 14)
- Context:Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman urged industry to step up investments and expand capacities, asserting that worries about high public capital spending and borrowings crowding out private investments were misplaced.
- Crowding out effect in Economics happens when increased borrowing by the government to meet its spending needs causes a decrease in the quantity of funds that is available to meet the investment needs of the private sector.
- It is characterised by higher interest rates due to government borrowing and spending, which reduces business investment and household consumption.
- When government conducts an expansionary fiscal policy (increases in government spending or decreases in tax rate) it may lead to the crowding outeffect (crowding out of private investment due to government borrowing to finance expenditures).
- Expansionary fiscal policy means an increase in the budget deficit. The government is spending more money than it has in income. Where does government obtain the necessary funds to cover its increased deficit? The answer is borrowing.
- Because an expansionary fiscal policy either increases government spending or reduces revenues, it increases the government budget deficit or reduces the surplus.
- Higher interest ratestend to reduce private investment in physical capital.
- The new factory that made sense when a company could borrow the necessary funding at 5%, no longer makes sense at an interest rate of 6%.
- If the budget deficits are increasing aggregate demand when the economy is already producing near potential GDP, threatening an inflationary increase in price levels, the central bank may react with a contractionary monetary policy.
- In this situation, the higher interest rates from the government borrowing would be made even higher by contractionary monetary policy, and the government borrowing might crowd out a great deal of private investment.
- On the other hand, if the budget deficits are increasing aggregate demand when the economy is producing substantially less than potential GDP, an inflationary increase in the price level is not much of a danger and the central bank might react with expansionary monetary policy.
- In this situation, higher interest rates from government borrowing would be largely offset by lower interest rates from expansionary monetary policy, and there would be little crowding out of private investment.
How much crowding out occurs
- Crowding out seems to occur less during recession since banks have savings to lend, but limited borrowers.
- The degree of crowding out also depends on the amount of private saving and inflows of foreign financial investment.
Effects of Crowding Out
- Crowding out reduces the effects of a fiscal stimulus. If say a $100 billion increase in government spending results in a $50 billion decrease in private investment spending, then the net increase to total expenditure is $50 billion instead of $100 billion.
- If crowding out causes a reduction in private investment, it also leads to a reduction in economic growth over the long term.
- This is another reason why neoclassicals favor business tax cuts over government spending increases since business tax cuts tend to stimulate private investment.
- Government spending does not always lead to a crowding out of private investment in the economy.
- Government demand for funds can compensate for the lack of private demand for funds during economic depressions, thus helping to increase aggregate demand.
- On the one hand, higher public investment may “crowd out” private expenditure on capital goods, irrespective of the financing mechanism (including through levying taxes or issuing debt).
- On the other hand, higher government spending on infrastructure facilities (like roads, highways, and power) and/or health and education may have a complementary impact on private sector investment by raising the marginal productivity of private capital.
- New highways (or other transportation networks) can raise the rate of return on private investment by making it easier to transport products to market. As a result, infrastructure investments can result in increased private investment too.
- Crowding out in an economy can be avoided if government finances its expenditure by buying overseas bonds.
Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) (TH, pg 15)
- Context: In the 2022-23 Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the introduction of India’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
- The digital rupee would give a ‘big boost’ to digital economy.
- She had indicated that technologies such as blockchain would be used by the Reserve Bank of India to issue the currency, starting 2022-23 which will propel India towards a cashless economy.
What is a Central Bank Digital Currency?
- A CBDC is no different from the cash that we hold in our wallets, except that it exists in a digital form.
- A CBDC is a digital form of central bank money that is widely available to the general public.
- “Central bank money” refers to money that is a liability of the central bank.
- A CBDC would differ from existing digital money available to the general public because a CBDC would be a liability of the central bank, not of the scheduled commercial banks (like SBI, ICICI, PNB etc).
- CBDC would be a legal tender issued by the Reserve Bank of India.
- A CBDC is an electronic record or digital token of a country’s official currency, which fulfils the basic functions as a medium of exchange, unit of account, store of value
- It is sovereign currency in an electronic form and will appear as liability (currency in circulation) on a central bank’s balance sheet.
- CBDCs should be exchangeable at par with cash.
- The CBDC will be held in a digital wallet that is supervised by the Central bank.
- It should be noted that the RBI’s digital rupee will not directly replace demand deposits held in banks.
- Physical cash will continue to be used by banks, and people who wish to withdraw cash from banks can still do so.
- But they can also opt to convert their bank deposits into the new digital rupee.
- Central bank digital currencies are promised as reliable, sovereign-backed alternatives to private currencies which are volatile and unregulated.
- CBDC can offer benefits to users in terms of liquidity, scalability, acceptance, ease of transactions with anonymity and faster settlement.
- The development will make digital currencies more accessible to the people just as UPI made digital cash easier to use.
Why are central banks issuing digital currencies?
- Central banks claim that there is an increasing demand for digital currencies.
- They point to the rise of private digital currencies such as bitcoin and also to the increasing use of digital payments as examples of this secular trend.
- Central banks are facing the issue of dwindling usage of paper currency (due to rise in UPI payments) seek to popularize a more acceptable electronic form of currency, as cost of storing paper currency for a bank is very high due to fear of theft.
- Central banks also believe that the cost of issuing digital currencies is far lower than the cost of printing and distributing physical cash.
- Another likely reason for the introduction of digital cash will further bring down the use of physical cash.
- Payments using CBDCs are final and thus reduce settlement risk in the financial system. CBDC will eliminate the need for interbank settlement.
- CBDCs would also potentially enable a more real-time and cost-effective globalization of payment systems. It is conceivable for an Indian importer to pay its American exporter on a real time basis in digital Dollars, without the need of an intermediary. (Time zone difference would no longer matter in currency settlements)
What are the risks in adopting digital currencies issued by Central banks?
- Many central banks fear that people may begin withdrawing money from their bank accounts as digital currencies issued by Central banks become more popular.
- When the digital wallet offered by the RBI can serve the same purpose, people could very well begin converting their bank deposits into digital cash.
- One thing that could prevent any large flight of capital from bank accounts to digital currencies is the fact that bank accounts offer interest on deposits whereas digital currency held in RBI’s wallet will not offer any interest on it.
- As a result, money in savings bank account will reduce as many people currently use bank accounts to safely store their cash. (Capital available for the banks to offer as loan will also reduce.)
- Also, when bank customers convert their deposits into digital rupee, the RBI will have to take these liabilities from the books of banks and onto its own balance sheet.
What lies ahead?
- There is speculation already that Central banks will cap the amount of money that an individual can hold in the form of CBDCs.
- This is to prevent the mass withdrawal of deposits from banks. Some even believe that some Central banks, such as the European Central Bank, may impose a negative penalty on their digital currencies.
- Central banks may also have to inject fresh money into banks to ensure that the ability of banks to create loans is not affected by depositors’ rush to digital currencies.
Criticism ofCentral Bank Digital Currency
- The demand for private currencies comes primarily from people who have lost faith in fiat currencies issued by Central banks.
- They argue that governments across the world have been debasing (devaluing) their respective currencies by printing them in excessive amounts, thus forcing many to switch to private currencies whose supply is limited by design.
- Therefore, the mere digital version of a national currency like the rupee or the U.S. dollar is unlikely to affect the demand for private currencies.
- Unlike physical cash, which is hard to trace, a digital currency that is monitored by the RBI can be more easily tracked and controlled by the Central bank.
- This feature of digital currencies, however, has raised various concerns regarding their privacy and could slow down their adoption.
- The need for privacy has been one of the primary reasons behind the switch to private digital currencies.
Do you know?
- CBDC is becoming common across the world.
- It is worth noting that several countries, including the United States, those in the European Union and China, have been working seriously towards issuing their own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in recent years.
- In October 2020, the Bahamas launched the world’s first CBDC.
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) (TH, pg 10)
- Context:The government’s recent announcement that the maternity benefit programme, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, which provides ₹5,000 for first child will be extended to cover the second child only if it is a girl has met with sharp criticism from activists who have demanded that it be universalised.
- It has been launched by the Ministry of Woman and Child Development.
- Under the scheme, pregnant women and lactating mothers are offered a cash incentive of ₹5,000 for the birth of their first child as partial compensation for wage loss, to reduce maternal mortality and malnutrition levels among children.
- The eligible beneficiaries would receive the incentive given under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) for Institutional delivery and the incentive received under JSY would be accounted towards maternity benefits so that on an average a woman gets Rs 6000/-.
- Under the National Food Security Act, 2013, all pregnant women (except those already receiving similar benefits under other laws) are entitled to maternity benefits of ₹6,000 per child.
- In this context, the modalities of the scheme violate the NFSA: benefits are restricted to the first living child, and to ₹5,000 per woman.
- The Scheme covers all Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers, excluding those who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.
- In case of miscarriage/still birth, the beneficiary would be eligible to claim the remaining instalment(s) in event of any future pregnancy.
- In case of infant mortality, she will not be eligible for claiming benefits under the scheme, if she has already received all the instalments of the maternity benefit under PMMVY earlier.
- The scheme will provide Aadhaar linked, Direct Benefit Transfer in beneficiary’s bank/post office account in three instalments
- at the stage of early registration of pregnancy,
- after six months of pregnancy on at least one antenatal check-up and
- registration of child birth & first cycle of immunisation of the child.
- The PMMVY is Centrally Sponsored Scheme under which the cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60:40, for North-Eastern States & three Himalayan States, it is 90:10 and 100% Central assistance for Union Territories without Legislature.
- The States are bound to implement this Scheme because the scheme is a by-product of the National Food Security Act.
- Odisha, which decided to not implement PMMVY because it has its own State-sponsored scheme called ‘Mamata’ that includes two births, has a few lessons to offer through its near universal coverage.
- The infant mortality rate among tribals is the fourth highest in Odisha, after Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Causes for dissatisfactionamong beneficiaries of PMMVY
- Under the PMMVY, pregnant women and lactating mothers receive ₹5,000 for their first child in three instalments.
- Each tranche is released upon the beneficiaries meeting some conditions.
- The money is meant to compensate women for loss of wages, and is aimed at ensuring a healthy nutritional development of the newborn.
- The NITI Aayog has called for “simplification in documentation and operational rules” to avoid delays.
- It has proposed to “rationalise” the mandatory waiting period of 180 days before the second instalment is released as well as the compulsory birth certificate for the release of the third instalment.
Do you know?
- It envisages a unified citizen-centric lifecycle support for women.
- Mission Shakti has two sub-schemes ‘Sambal’ and ‘Samarthya’.
- The “Samarthya” sub scheme is for empowerment of women, consisting of existing schemes of Ujjwala, SwadharGreh and Working Women Hostel.
- In addition, the National Creche Scheme for children of working mothers and the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), which have been under the Umbrella ICDS Scheme till now, are also subsumed in ‘Samarthya’.
- For details on Mission Shakti refer the file ‘Budget 2022-23’.
All About PM CARES Fund (TH, pg 8)
- Context:The PM CARES Fund collected ₹10,990 crore since its inception in March 2020 until March 2021.
- Keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected, a public charitable trust under the name of ‘Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES Fund)’ has been set up.
Who may contribute to the fund?
- The fund receives voluntary contributions from individuals and organisations and does not get any budgetary support.
- This fund will enable micro-donations as a result of which a large number of people will be able to contribute with smallest of denominations.
- Donations have been made tax-exempt, and can be counted against a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations.
- It is also exempt from the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, and accepts foreign contributions.
- The Prime Minister chairs the fund in his official capacity, and can nominate three eminent persons in relevant fields to the Board of Trustees.
- The Ministers of Defence, Home Affairs and Finance are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.
Does not India already have a fund with similar objectives?
- The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was set up in January 1948, originally to accept public contributions for the assistance of Partition refugees.
- It is now used to provide immediate relief to the families of those killed in natural calamities and the victims of major accidents and riots and support medical expenses for acid attack victims and others.
- The entire management of the fund is entrusted to the Prime Minister, who currently has sole discretion for fund disbursal.
- A joint secretary in the PMO administers the fund on an honorary basis.
- Opposition leaders have questioned the need for a new PM CARES Fund, given that the PMNRF has similar objectives.
- States also have similar Chief Minister’s Relief Funds.
No need to audit PM CARES: SC
- The Supreme Court in the past has endorsed the PM CARES Fund as a “public charitable trust” to which donors contribute voluntarily.
- There is “no occasion” for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to audit a public charitable trust independent of budgetary support or government money.
- Earlier, the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office had clarified that it wouldn’t audit PM-CARES Fund as it is “a charitable organisation” and “based on donations from individuals and organisations”.
- The PMNRF too is not audited by CAG but by an independent auditor outside of the government.
- The Court dismissed the idea that the PM CARES was constituted to “circumvent” the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) — the statutory fund already in existence under the Disaster Management Act of 2005 to receive contributions to finance the fight against a calamity.
What are some of the other concerns around it?
- The decision to allow uncapped corporate donations to the fund to count as CSR expenditure — a facility not provided to PMNRF or the CM’s Relief Funds — goes against previous guidelines stating that CSR should not be used to fund government schemes.
PM-CARES Fund ‘Not a Public Authority’, Doesn’t Fall Under RTI Act: PMO
- In June 2020, the PMO rejected an RTI application seeking details of the PM CARES Fund, stating that the fund is not a public authority under section 2 (h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, and therefore it won’t be able to divulge information sought in the application.
- One RTI query to the PMO by activist Vikrant Tongad was refused citing a Supreme Court observation that “indiscriminate and impractical demands under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information would be counterproductive”(Mohan Lal Atwal vs Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, July, 2019).
- As per the RTI Act, a public authority means any authority, body or institution of self-government established or constituted:
- a)by or under the constitution;
- b) by any other law made by parliament;
- c) by any other law made by the state legislature and
- d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate government.
- It also includes “body owned, controlled or substantially financed; non-governmental organisation substantially financed directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate government”.
- Note:You have already prepared the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) in detail from the 2 Jan 2022 file.
Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for welfare of Minority Communities (PIB)
- Context: This information was given by the Union Minister for Minority Affairs in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
- The Ministry of Minority Affairsis implementing the Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for welfare of Minority Communities.
- It is an overarching programme which covers various schemes/initiatives of the participating Ministries/Departments with an aim to ensure that the underprivileged and weaker sections of six centrally notified minority communitieshave equal opportunities for availing the various Government welfare Schemes and contribute to the overall socio-economic development of the Country.
- The programme has the following broad objectives:
- (i) Enhancing opportunities for education;
- (ii) Ensuring an equitable share for minorities in economic activities and employment, through existing and new schemes, enhanced credit support for self-employment, and recruitment to State and Central Government jobs;
- (iii) Improving the conditions of living of minorities by ensuring an appropriate share for them in infrastructure development schemes; and
- (iv) Prevention and control of communal disharmony and violence.
- Under the said Programme, various schemes/initiatives are being implemented by various Ministries/Departments of the Central Government throughout the country (including Kerala and Rajasthan), for the welfare of notified minorities viz, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, Buddhists and Parsis, as per details given below:
- A) Educational Empowerment
- Scholarship Schemes- Pre-Matric Scholarship, Post-Matric Scholarship and Merit-cum-Means based Scholarship.
- Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme, provides financial assistance to students from notified minority communities, to pursue higher education such as M.Phil and Ph.D.
- In addition, the Maulana Azad Education Foundation implements the scheme viz. Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for meritorious girls belonging to minorities studying in Classes IX to XII.
- Naya Savera – Free Coaching and Allied Scheme which aims to enhance skills and knowledge of students and candidates from minority communities where total annual family income is less than Rs. 6 lakh to get employment in Government Sector/ Public Sector Undertaking, jobs in private sector, and admission in reputed institutions in technical and professional courses at under-graduate and post-graduate levels.
- B) Economic Empowerment
- Seekho aur Kamao (Learn & Earn): It is a skill development initiative for minorities and aims to upgrade the skills of minority youth in various modern/traditional skills.
- A mission has been launched by the Ministry of Minority Affairs under “Upgrading the Skill and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD)” scheme to give an effective platform to minority artisans and culinary experts from across the country to showcase and market their finest handicraft and exquisitely crafted products through “Hunar Haats” organized by the Ministry.
- Nai Manzil – A scheme to provide education and skill training to the youth from minority communities.
- Gharib Nawaz Employment Training Programme for providing short-term job-oriented skill development courses to youths belonging to minority communities.
- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): Under Skill India Mission, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is implementing a flagship scheme known as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 2016-20 with an objective to provide skilling to one crore people including persons from minority community under Short Term Training (STT) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) across the country for four years i.e. 2016-2020.
- National Minorities Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) Loan Schemes provide concessional loans for self-employment and income generating activities for the socio-economic development of the ‘backward sections’ amongst the notified minorities.
- Priority Sector Lending by Banks (Department of Financial Services)
- National Urban Livelihoods Mission (M/o Housing & Urban Affairs)
- National Rural Livelihoods Mission (M/o Rural Development)
- Deen Dayal Upadhyay – Gramin Kaushal Yojana (M/o Rural Development)
- Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) (M/o Rural Development)
- In addition, another scheme namely Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK) is implemented by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, which aims to improve the socio-economic conditions and basic amenities of minorities so as to improve their quality of life and reduce imbalances in the identified Minority Concentration Areas.
- The major projects approved under PMJVK are in sectors of education, health and skill, and include Residential Schools, School buildings, Hostels, Degree Colleges, ITIs, Polytechnics, Sadbhav Mandaps, Health Centres, Skill Centres, Sports facilities, Drinking Water facilities, sanitation facilities etc.
Nai Roshni Scheme (PIB)
- Context: During the last three year i.e. 2018-19 to 2020-21, around one Lakh women have been trained under the Nai Roshni scheme.
- Nai Roshni scheme is a Central Sector Scheme which aims to empower and enhance confidence in women by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for Leadership Development of Women.
- It is a six-day non-residential/five-day residential training programme conducted by selected Programme Implementing Agencies for the women belonging to minority community in the age group of 18 to 65 years.
- The training programme cover areas related to programmes for women, health and hygiene, legal rights of women, financial literacy, digital literacy, Swachch Bharat, Life Skills, and advocacy for social and1behavioural changes, etc.
Parvatmala: National Ropeways Development Programme (PIB)
- Context: Union Finance Minister while presenting Union Budget for 2022-23 announced National Ropeways Development Programme – “Parvatmala” — will be taken up on PPP mode, which will be a preferred ecologically sustainable alternative in place of conventional roads in difficult hilly areas.
- The idea is to improve connectivity and convenience for commuters, besides promoting tourism.
- This may also cover congested urban areas, where conventional mass transit system is not feasible.
- The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) has so far been responsible for development of Highways and regulating the road transport sector across the country.
- Since February 2021, the Ministry to also look after the development of Ropeways and Alternate Mobility Solutions.
Major Factors Driving Ropeway Infrastructure
- Economical mode of transportation:Given that ropeway projects are built in a straight line over a hilly terrain, it also results in lower land acquisition costs.
- Hence, despite having a higher cost of construction per km than roadways, ropeway projects’ construction cost may happen to be economical than roadways.
- Faster mode of transportation: Owing to the aerial mode of transportation, ropeways have an advantage over roadway projects where ropeways can be built in a straight line, over a hilly terrain.
- Environmentally friendly:Low dust emissions. Material containers can be designed so as to rule out any soiling of the environment.
- Last mile connectivity: Ropeway projects adopting 3S (a kind of cable car system) or equivalent technologies can transport 6000-8000 passengers per hour.
- Ability to handle large slopes:Ropeways and cableways (cable cranes) can handle large slopes and large differences in elevation.
- Low footprint:The fact that only narrow-based vertical supports are needed at intervals, leaving the rest of the ground free, makes it possible for ropeways tobe constructed in built-up areas and in places where there is intense competition for land use.
Kodiyal Theru (TH, pg 5)
- Trusting in God Hundreds of devotees pulling the chariot of Sri Venkataramana as part of the Kodiyal Theru, an annual car festival, ignoring COVID-19 physical distancing norms, in
- The “Kodial Theru” or The Car Festival called as Theru in Konkani and Rathothsava in Kannada revolves around the celebrations of placing the Deity in a gigantic Ratha (a wooden palanquin or palkhi) decorated in red and white which is then hauled across the city by devotees.
Marital Rape (TH, pg 4)
- Context:The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to clarify in two weeks its stand on the issue of criminalising rape within marriage.
- In India, marital rape is not defined in any statute or law.
- An exception granted to husbands under Indian rape lawsays sexual intercourse by a man with his wife aged 15 years or above is not rape even if it is without her consent. In October 2017, the Supreme Court increased the age of consent to 18 years.
Waqf Properties in India (PIB)
- Context: Union Ministry of Minority Affairs is implementing Shahari Waqf Sampatti Vikas Yojana (SWSVY) through Central Waqf Council (CWC).
- Shahari Waqf Sampatti Vikas Yojana (SWSVY)
- Under this scheme, the Central Waqf Council (CWC) provides interest free loan to Waqf Institutions/Waqf Boards throughout India for taking up economically viable projects on the urban Waqf land such as commercial complexes, marriage halls, hospitals, cold storages etc.
- Central Waqf Council is a statutory body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
- Union Minister of Minority Affairsis the ex-officio Chairperson of the Central Waqf Council.
- Waqf is the property given in the name of God for religious and charitable purposes.
- The proceeds from waqf properties are typically used to finance educational institutions, graveyards, mosques and shelter homes.