28 Nov 2022: Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Exam

Egyptian President Sisi to be chief guest at Republic Day celebrations

Source – The Hindu

In News – 

Egyptian President Abdel Fateh el­Sisi will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in January 2023, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced.

Sisi will be the first such guest since 2020, as plans for guests in 2021 and 2022 were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Republic Day Guests
Republic Day Guests

India – Egypt Bilateral Relation – 

  • India and Egypt, two of the oldest civilizations in the world, have a long history of close engagement.
  • The edicts of Ashoka speak about his interactions with Egypt under Ptolemy II.
  • Under the leadership of Prime Minister Nehru and President Nasser, who were close friends, relations between the nations grew in modern times.
  • A Friendship Treaty had been ratified by both nations in 1955.

Political & Economic Relations – 

  • Both nations were founders of the Non-Aligned Movement and have worked closely together in multilateral fora.
  • The 75th anniversary of India and Egypt’s diplomatic relations will occur in 2022.
  • Egypt has been asked to participate in the G20 in 2022–2023 as a “Guest Country” under India’s presidency.

Bilateral trade – 

  • One of India’s most significant trading partners on the continent of Africa historically has been Egypt.
  • The Most Favoured Nation provision is the foundation of the bilateral trade agreement between Egypt and India, which has been in effect since March 1978.
  • In 2021–22, bilateral trade increased significantly, reaching $7.26 billion, a 75% increase over FY 2020–21.
  • India exported $3.74 billion worth of goods to Egypt at this time, a 65% increase over the same period in FY 2020–21.
  • At the same time, Egypt’s exports to India increased by 86% to $3.52 billion USD.
  • India was Egypt’s third-largest export market during this time, as well as its sixth- and seventh-largest trading partner and 

Investment – 

  • Over 50 Indian firms have made investments totaling more than $3.15 billion in Egypt’s diverse industries.
  • Egypt and India’s ReNew Power inked a memorandum of understanding in July 2022 for $8 billion to construct a clean hydrogen project in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.
  • At the Egyptian facility, the Indian company, funded by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Goldman Sachs, is anticipated to produce 2,20,000 tonnes of clean fuel yearly.
  • Egypt has made 37 million dollars worth of investments in India.

Wheat export from India – 

  • Due to the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, Egypt faces a shortage of wheat, which is imported from these two countries for 80% of its needs.
  • India was added to the list of recognised nations that can supply Egypt with wheat in April 2022, ending a long-standing Non-Tariff Barrier.
  • Despite the difficulty in finishing the shipment due to India’s ban on wheat exports, India was able to clear a first shipment of 61,500 metric tonnes of wheat for Egypt in May 2022.

Defence Relations – 

  • Both parties regularly arrange courses in which Indian defence officers are taught in Egypt and Egyptian officers are trained in India.
  • In March 2019, Egypt took part in the multinational training exercise for friendly African nations that was held in Pune.
  • Dessert Warrior, the first IAF-EAF Joint Tactical Air Exercise, took place in October 2021.
  • The historic “Cyclone 1” Special Forces exercise between Egypt and India that was scheduled to take place in Jodhpur in January 2022 has been postponed.
  • Egypt has expressed interest in purchasing Indian-made weapons, such as the Akash missile systems, which can intercept enemy helicopters, drones, subsonic cruise missiles, and planes at a range of 25 km.

Shifts unexplained – System of shuffling High Court judges without consent needs reconsideration 

Syllabus –

Structure, Organization, and Functioning of the Judiciary

Source – The Hindu

In News – 

The common criticism that the functioning of the Collegium system of judicial appointments is opaque, and sometimes arbitrary, seems to hold greater validity in the matter of transfers of judges from one High Court to another. 

A recent round of transfers — among the dozens that have been effected in the last few years — has brought the controversial issue to the fore again.

Background – 

  • Transfer of judges may be needed for exchange of talent across the country and to prevent the emergence of local cliques in the judiciary. 
  • However, the power of transfer has always been seen as a possible threat to judicial independence.
  • Even under the Collegium system, it seems it is difficult to dispel the impression that the threat of transfer hangs over every judge’s head.
  • The Memorandum of Procedure is clear that a judge’s consent is not necessary to effect a transfer. 
  • The current norm is that all transfers ought to be in public interest, that is, for better administration of justice throughout the country. 
  • It also says the personal factors of the judge, including his preference of places, should invariably be taken into account. 

Process of selection and transfer – 

  • The President chooses and replaces Supreme Court and High Court judges after consulting with the collegium system.
  • The CJI, two of the SC’s most senior judges, and the Chief Justices of the relevant High Courts make up the collegiums responsible for the appointment and transfer of HC judges.
  • The Chief Justice of India should begin the process of proposing a judge’s transfer (CJI).
  • The CJI’s judgement “is determinative,”
  • The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is required to consider the opinions of the Chief Justices of the High Courts from where the judge is to be transferred and the High Courts to which the transfer will have an impact.
  • The opinions of one or more Supreme Court judges who are qualified to do so are also taken into consideration.
  • Only the opinions of one or more knowledgeable Supreme Court judges need to be considered in the transfer of a Chief Justice.

Constitutional Provisions – 

Article 222 of the Constitution makes provision for the transfer of a Judge (including Chief Justice) from one High Court to any other High Court.

  • The CJI and the four senior most Supreme Court judges should take into consideration the written opinions given on the proposed transfer of a Judge or Chief Justice of the High Court.
  • The Union Minister of Law, Justice, and Corporate Affairs would make a recommendation to the Prime Minister, who would then advise the President regarding the transfer of the Judge in question, once the issue had been brought to the attention of the Government.
  • The notification will be gazetted after the President confirms the transfer, and the judge will stay in that position.

Conclusion – 

Usually, it sets off speculation that the reasons are either allegations against the judge or the discomfiture that his judicial orders are causing to the government. Disclosure of the actual reason may not always be possible. However, it hardly needs to be stressed that transfer cannot be used as a punitive step. The time may have come for a complete review of the provisions for transfer of High Court judges.

Toward legalising same-sex marriage

Syllabus – 

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Source – The Hindu

In News –

Supreme Court notice to Centre on plea to recognise same-sex marriage.

Background –

  • A Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud issued notices to the Centre and the Attorney General of India, seeking their response to two petitions filed by gay couples to allow solemnisation of same-sex marriage under the Special Marriage Act, (SMA) 1954.
  • Same-sex marriage is not recognised, which amounts to discrimination that undermines the dignity and self-actualization of LGBTQ+ couples.
  • The Supreme Court ruled in NALSA v. Union of India (2014) that non-binary people were protected by the Constitution and that basic rights including equality, non-discrimination, life, freedom, and others could not be limited to people who were born male or female.

What do the petitions say?

  • For couples who are unable to get married under their personal law, the SMA offers a civil form of marriage. Insofar as it discriminates against same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, depriving same-sex couples of both legal rights and the social respect and status that come with marriage, the Act is in violation of the Constitution.
  • The SMA “ought to apply to a marriage between any two persons, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation,” the petitioners emphasised. They want to recognise same-sex unions in accordance with this Act, not with private laws.
  • The Act ought to provide same-sex couples with the same level of protection as it does for inter-caste and inter-religious unions.
  • The High Courts of Delhi and Kerala are currently hearing a total of nine petitions asking them to recognise same-sex unions under statutes like the SMA, the Foreign Marriage Act, and codified personal laws.
  • The Supreme Court recently moved to itself the many cases that were pending before the High Courts.

Government’s stand – 

  • According to the law, a marriage between a “biological man” and “biological woman” is permitted, the Centre’s Solicitor General stated in response to the Delhi High Court’s requests for recognition of same-sex unions in 2021.
  • The Center had stated that “neither any uncodified personal laws nor any codified statutory laws recognise nor acknowledge the institution of marriage between two individuals of the same gender.”

Supreme Court’s views – 

  • In the 2018 case of Shafin Jahan v. Asokan K.M. and others, the Supreme Court ruled that Article 21 of the Constitution explicitly guarantees the freedom to marry whoever one chooses.
  • Members of the LGBTQ community “are entitled, as all other citizens, to the full range of constitutional rights including the liberties protected by the Constitution,” as well as to equal citizenship and “equal protection of the law,” according to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the 2018 case of Navjet Singh Johar and others v. Union of India.
  • The LGBTQ+ community was urged by the Supreme Court to forgive history for their “brutal” persecution of homosexuality after it was decriminalised in 2018.
    • A five-judge Constitution Bench had ruled unanimously that it was unconstitutional for Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to make private, consenting sex between adults of the same sex illegal.
    • According to Section 377, homosexuality carries a 10-year prison sentence.

What about other countries?

  • A total of 32 countries around the world have legalised same-sex marriages, some through legislation while others through judicial pronouncements. 
  • The Netherlands was the first country in 2001 to legalise same-sex marriage by amending one line in its civil marriage law.
  • Many countries first recognised same-sex civil unions as the escalatory step to recognise homosexual marriage. 
    • Civil unions or partnerships are similar arrangements as marriages which provide legal recognition of unmarried couples of the same or opposite sex in order to grant them some of the rights that come with marriage — such as inheritance, medical benefits, employee benefits to spouses, managing joint taxes and finances, and in some cases even adoption. 
  • In some countries, the decriminalisation of homosexuality was not followed for years by the recognition of same-sex marriage, for instance, in the U.S. the former happened in 2003 while the latter in 2015.
  • More than 70 countries view homosexuality as a serious crime, and it is punishable by death in a number of them, including Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, as well as by life in prison in others.


Syllabus – 

Science and Technology

Source – The Hindu

What is bluebugging?

  • It is a form of hacking that lets attackers access a device through its discoverable Bluetooth connection. 
  • Once a device or phone is bluebugged, a hacker can listen to the calls, read and send messages and steal and modify contacts. 
  • It started out as a threat for laptops with Bluetooth capability. Later hackers used the technique to target mobile phones and other devices.

How does bluebugging hack devices?

  • Attacks known as “bluebugging” take advantage of Bluetooth-enabled equipment. 
  • The Bluetooth on the device must be in discoverable mode, which is usually the default configuration. 
  • The hacker then makes an attempt to Bluetooth pair with the device. 
  • Hackers can employ brute force attacks to get around authentication once a connection is made. 
  • To acquire unauthorised access to the hacked device, they can put malware on it. 
  • Anytime a Bluetooth-enabled gadget is within a 10-meter range of the hacker, bluebugging can occur. 
  • However, a blog by VPN service provider NordVPN claims that attackers might extend their attack radius by using booster antennas.

How can one prevent bluebugging?

  • Turning off Bluetooth and disconnecting paired Bluetooth devices when not in use,
  • Updating the device’s system software to the latest version, 
  • Limited use of public Wi-Fi and 
  • Using VPN as an additional security measure.
  • Monitor data usage for sudden spikes.

Question for Practice – 

Q. In India, it is legally mandatory for which of the following to report on cyber security incidents? (2017)

  1. Service providers
  2. Data centres
  3. Body corporate

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

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