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September 16, 2017

Aadhaar to be linked to driving licence

  • Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday announced that after linking Aadhaar to PAN cards, the Union government would now link it with driving licences as well.
  • He said the measure would help check the menace of multiple licences.

Secure tool

  • He added that Aadhaar was a safe and secure tool for good governance and empowerment.
  • Aadhaar represented digital identity, not physical identity, and that digital identity confirmed physical identity, Mr. Prasad said, adding that the government had linked Aadhaar to PAN card to stop money laundering.
  • Reiterating the commitment of the Union government towards providing affordable and inclusive technology to the masses, Mr. Prasad said digital India must help create an inclusive society.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ends 20-year journey

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s $3.9-billion Cassini spacecraft on Friday ended its 20-year-long ground-breaking journey with a fiery plunge into the Saturn’s crushing atmosphere, beaming back never-before-seen images of the ringed planet and its mysterious moons until the last moment.
  • Operators deliberately made Cassini dive into the gas giant to ensure that the planet’s moons remain pristine for future exploration. No spacecraft has ever ventured so close to the planet before, NASA said.

SC issues notice on student safety

  • A plea seeking framing of “non- negotiable” child safety conditions and implementation of guidelines to protect school children from sexual abuse and murder on Friday prompted the Supreme Court to seek responses from the Centre and all State governments.

Orientation programme

  • It has sought proper implementation of existing guidelines of authorities including the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) on prevention of child abuse in schools.
  • It said every school is required to have a “child protection policy which should be understood, explained and signed by all employees or recruits.” All new employees must go through a day-long orientation programme on issues relating to child protection within a month of their joining, the plea said.

Pay relief in cases of unnatural jail death: SC

  • The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Chief Justices of all High Courts to register petitions suo motu to identify the kin of prisoners who died unnatural deaths from 2012 and order the States to award them compensation.
  • “It is important for the Centre and the State governments to realise that persons who suffer an unnatural death in a prison are also victims — sometimes of a crime and sometimes of negligence and apathy or both. There is no reason at all to exclude their kin from receiving compensation only because the victim is a criminal,” a Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Dipak Gupta observed.
  • Normally, the National and State Human Rights Commissions award compensations in cases of custodial torture and deaths. However, compliance by State governments is low as these commissions do not exercise any power of contempt.
  • Besides, the States go for a long-drawn appeal in the High Courts and later on in the Supreme Court, if necessary.

HCs in charge

  • Friday’s judgment is significant as the High Court will now directly award compensation and ensure compliance by the States.The Supreme Court referred to its judgment as a voice of the victims and an end to the silence of the dead.
  • The court said though laws had been made for payment of compensation to victims of crime, those in power had turned their back on the families of prisoners who had died unnatural deaths in custody. Human rights in a welfare state is not dependent on the status of the person – whether he is a criminal or a victim.
  • “It will be appreciated that merely because a person is accused of a crime or is the perpetrator of a crime and in prison custody, that person could nevertheless be a victim of an unnatural death. Hence the need to compensate the next of kin,” Justice Lokur, who authored the 43-page verdict, wrote.
  • The payment from the year 2012 was chosen because National Crime Records Bureau has records of unnatural deaths only from that year. The judgment came on a letter addressed to the apex court in 2013 by its former Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti on the deplorable conditions of 1,382 prisons in the country.

‘Recurving’ cyclones reduced rain in August


  • A strange pattern of tropical cyclones (TC) in the Western Pacific appear to be the reason for the drying up of monsoon rains in August across India
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had predicted normal monsoon rains in August, typically the second most bountiful monsoon month after July.During the monsoon months, cyclones in the Western Pacific move westwards towards India and aid rain-bearing systems over the sub-continent. But during some years they ‘recurve’, or start to swing north-east, and do not give as much of a push to the rains as they do in the good monsoon years.
  • This re-curving frequently happens during the El Nino years but this time it inexplicably occurred when an El Nino hasn’t yet taken shape. El Nino years are those when sea surface temperatures in the east equatorial Pacific rise, and often dampen the monsoon. While several international meteorological agencies had raised concerns about a likely El Nino forming in August or September this year, it didn’t happen.
  • “We will need a more thorough analysis. But it looks like re-curving Western Pacific tropical cyclones may have played a role in reducing the August rainfall,” said Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences and a former chief forecaster with the IMD.
  • In April, the IMD had said that India would get 96% of the normal rainfall during July-September. In August, it updated its forecast to 98%. Since August, however, rainfall across central India and north India was much lower than expected, and as of today, monsoon rains are 6% short of what they should have been for this time of the year.


Rain likely after Sept. 20

  • Nearly 22% of the country faces drought-like conditions. IMD Director-General K.J. Ramesh said that phenomena such as unfavourable cyclone activity in the Pacific were “transient” and couldn’t be captured in early forecasts. “These are apparent, at the most, 10 days ahead, and can’t be known, say, like the El Nino, months in advance. However, the monsoon hasn’t withdrawn yet, and we expect heavy rains after September 20,” he added

Korea fires missile over Japan

  • North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific on Friday, responding to new UN sanctions with its furthest-ever missile flight in what analysts called a demonstration of its ability to target Guam.
  • The launch, from near Pyongyang, came after the United Nations Security Council imposed an eighth set of measures on the isolated country following its sixth nuclear test earlier this month. The blast was by far its largest to date and Pyongyang said it was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit onto a missile.
  • In New York, the Security Council called an emergency meeting for later Friday and UN chief Antonio Guterres said talks on the crisis would be held on the sidelines of the General Assembly next week.
  • The U.S. Pacific Command confirmed that Friday’s rocket was an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) and said it did not pose a threat to North America or to the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, which Pyongyang has threatened to bracket with “enveloping fire.”
  • Millions of Japanese were jolted awake by blaring sirens and emergency text message alerts.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo could “never tolerate” what he called a “dangerous provocative action that threatens world peace.”
  • In response to the launch, South Korea’s military immediately carried out a ballistic missile drill of its own, with the defence ministry saying it took place while the North’s rocket was still airborne.