The Hindu Daily Review | 29th October 2018

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♦ Kolkata university offers law course based on Harry Potter

  • Potterheads take note! A law university in Kolkata is offering a new course on Harry Potter which will encourage students to explore legal aspects of J K Rowling’s fictional world and its many real life lessons.
  • The course titled “An interface between Fantasy Fiction Literature and Law: Special focus on Rowling’s Potterverse” will be offered as an elective to 4th and 5th year students of the B.A LL.B (Hons) programme at the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) in Kolkata.
  • The course, designed for the winter semester by Assistant Professor Shouvik Kumar Guha, attempts to serve as a breather from the orthodox law school curriculum.
  • “This course is meant to be more of an experiment. It will take both me and the students out of our comfort zones,” Mr. Guha told PTI in a phone interview.
  • In law schools, people get a very specific set of subjects. The curriculum revolves around the hard letter of the law, case laws etc. Given the fact that this course lasts about five years, students also get bored,” he said.
  • Students will learn to apply legal principles in a completely new scenario, and understand how things will work through insights into a wizarding world constantly under government surveillance.

News in numbers: Income tax payers up by 70% compared to last year

  • 5.4 crore
  • Number of individuals who paid income tax between April and August 2018. It’s a 70% increase compared to last year, in the same period.
  • ₹ 27,083
  • Average income tax paid per individual between April and August 2018. It’s a 32% decrease compared to last year, in the same period.
  • 1,40,139
  • Number of taxpayers earning above ₹ 1 crore per year in FY2018. It’s a 58% increase from FY2015.
  • ₹ 42,000 crore
  • Winning bid of world’s largest steel producer, ArcelorMittal, to acquire Essar Steel.
  • 400
  • Number of petrol pumps shut in Delhi on Monday following the AAP government’s refusal to lower VAT taxes on fuel.
  • 26 October
  • Likely onset of north-east monsoon this year.
  • 500 yen
  • The amount of electronic money that will be credited to Japanese citizens who will download the PayPay mobile application. PayPay is Paytm’s smartphone payment service launched in Japan along with SoftBank and Yahoo Japan.

HRD Ministry launches schemes to promote science, social science research

  • The Centre on Thursday announced the formal launch of two schemes to promote higher education research in India: IMPRESS, dealing with social science research projects and coordinated by the ICSSR, and SPARC, involving foreign collaboration mainly in science research, coordinated by IIT Kharagpur.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Union minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar said that IMPRESS — Impactful Policy Research in Social Sciences — would entail ₹414 crore funding of 1500 projects on policy themes in the social sciences at the cost of ₹20-25 lakh per project.
  • Asked whether proposals critical of government policies would also be accepted after perusal, the Minister answered in the affirmative.
  • Asserting that selection would be merit-based from present and retired faculty from quality public and private institutions, the Minister said the shortlisted areas for research include state and democracy, urban transformation, media, culture and society, employment, skills, rural transformation, governance, innovation and public policy, agriculture, science, social media, politics, law and government, etc.

IAI, BEL sign $777 mn deal on missiles

  • Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed a $777 mn deal with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to supply additional Barak-8 Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) systems for seven warships of the Indian Navy.
  • “IAI’s partnership with India dates many years back and has culminated in joint system development and production,” IAI Chief Executive Officer Nimrod Sheffer said in Israel on Wednesday. The total orders for LRSAM systems have crossed over $6 billion, he added.
  • The LRSAM can intercept aerial targets up to a range of 80 km. It is being co-developed by the DRDO in India and IAI, and will be manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited.
  • The missile was successfully test fired for the first time against a flying target from an Israeli warship in November 2014. However, the project was delayed due to technical difficulties.
  • The Navy had earlier placed a $630 million order to equip Barak 8 systems on four major warships and intends to have it as the standard fitment on all its future warships and also retrofit existing frontline ships in due course.
  • The Army and Air Force also inducting the land based variant of the LRSAM called the MRSAM (medium range SAM).

Sanjay Kumar Mishra may get full charge of Enforcement Directorate

  • Sanjay Kumar Mishra, the 1984-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer who was on Saturday given additional charge of the Enforcement Directorate for three months, was described by his junior colleagues as a meticulous investigator.
  • “Mr. Mishra has handled a wide range of investigations over the years, including foreign taxation. He and the outgoing ED Director Karnal Singh are from the same batch and therefore the transfer of responsibilities is going to be smooth in terms of supervision of ongoing investigations,” said an IRS official currently posted on deputation with the ED.

India’s stand on Sri Lanka turmoil: Weigh options and watch

  • Hours after the dramatic turn of events in Colombo, that saw Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena withdraw support from the government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and swear in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa instead, the Modi government appears to be weighing its options cautiously, for a number of reasons.
  • New Delhi and the Ministry of External Affairs chose not to jump the gun on developments in the Sri Lankan capital, allowing them to play out their hand, especially given the fact that two separate Prime Ministers now lay claim to the official residence at Temple Trees. A final result will only follow a show of strength in parliament.
  • The previous UPA government never lived down its decision in 2012 to call and congratulate Maldives’ Mohamed Waheed, hours after he deposed President Mohamed Nasheed in a coup. It didn’t matter that Mr. Nasheed later explained that he had personally requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to recognise the Waheed government, the fact that New Delhi moved so quickly on a still evolving situation was seen as a rash move that further veered the fledgling Maldivian democracy off course, and a repeat of that in Sri Lanka would have been inadvisable.

Veteran journalist Y.N. Joshi passes away 

  • Veteran journalist and recipient of the Karnataka Madhyama Academy award Y.N. Joshi, 86, passed away at a private hospital here on Saturday after a brief period of illness. He is survived by two sons and a daughter.
  • Office-bearers and members of the Dharwad District Union of Working Journalists (DDUWJ) and senior journalists have mourned his demise. The cremation was held at Keshwapur Muktidhama.

Centre to tighten visa norms to bar child sex offenders

  • The Centre is set to soon make it mandatory for foreigners planning a trip to the country to declare past criminal records, including any conviction or involvement in a case of child sexual abuse. The move follows many instances of offenders wanted in their homeland fleeing to India and exploiting children here.
  • Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi had written last year to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj seeking a revision in the visa format to ensure that foreign nationals with a prior record of child sexual abuse were barred from travel to India.
  • On Monday, Ms. Gandhi posted on Twitter that the Ministry of Home Affairs had accepted the suggestion. “It has now been decided that an appropriate questionnaire and a declaration will be incorporated in the visa application form which will have to be filled up by visa applicants/foreign nationals,” Ms. Gandhi said in the tweet.


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