Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC -25th February 2024

1.After 11-year gap, Centre discloses key consumption expenditure survey data 

  • For the first time in about Il years, the government on Saturday released the broad findings of the All India Household Consumption Expenditure Survey carried out between August 2022 and July 2023. The data will play a key role in reviewing critical economic indicators, including the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), poverty levels, and the Consumer Price Inflation (CPI). 
  • The Household Consumption Expenditure LOICES LE Conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) every five years. However, findings of the last survey, conducted in 2017-18 soon after the demonetisation of high-value currency notes and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). were never released after the government cited "data quality" issues. 
  • As per the survey, the average monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE) in Indian households rose, by 33.5% since 2011-12 in urban households to 3,510, with rural India's MPCE seeing a 40.42% increase over the Food spending 
  • Share of cereals and food in average monthly per capita consumption expenditure decreased in both rural and urban areas in the same period to hit 2,008. Importantly, the numbers show that the proportion of spending on food has dropped to 46.4% for rural households from 52.9% in 2011-12, while their urban peers spent just 39.2% of their overall monthly out-goes on food compared with 42.6% incurred II years earlier. This reduction could translate into a lower weightage for food prices in the country's retail inflation calculations. 
  • The MPCE numbers do not take into account the imputed values of items received free of cost by individuals through various social welfare programmes such as the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) or State-run schemes, which were calculated separately, while including a few non-food items received through such schemes, including computers, mobile phones, bicycles, and dothes. The average MPCE, at 2011-12 prices, was a tad higher when these items were included while excluding free education and healthcare sops-ar 2,054 for rural households, and 3,544 for urban homes. The Statistics and Programme Implementation Ministry released a fact sheet on the summary of the Survey findings and said a detailed report on the survey will be brought out subsequently. 
  • The estimates of the MPCE are based on data collected from 2,61,746 households, of which 1,55,014 were in rural areas, spread over all States and Union Territories, the Ministry said. "The bottom 5% of In7dia's rural population, ranked by MPCE, has an average MPCE of 1,373 while it is 12,001 for the same category of population in the urban areas The top 5% of India's rural and urban population, ranked by MPCE, has an average MPCE of 10,501 and t20,824, respectively." according to the factsheet. Among the States, the MPCE is the highest in Sikkim for both rural (27,731) and urban areas (12,105). 

2. Assam to repeal Muslim Marriage Act, Opposition terms it 'unconstitutional’ 

  • Ahead of introducing a Bill on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) that is akin to the legislation in Uttarakhand, the Assam government has decided to repeal the Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act of 1935.
  • The State Cabinet, which met on Friday night, approved the Assam Repealing Ordinance, 2024, for repealing the British era marriage and divorce Act specific to Muslims. 
  • Tourism Minister and government spokesperson Jayanta Malla Baruah told press persons after the meeting that the decision to repeal the Act was made as the State is heading towards the UCC. 
  • "The Chief Minister [Himanta Biswa Sarma] has been clear about the UCC. So, we took the very important decision to repeal Muslim Marriage and Divorce.
  • According to the govt., all marriages will have to be registered under the Special Marriage Act Registration Act, 1935," Mr. Baruah said. 
  • "Muslim marriages and divorces will no longer be registered under this Act. We want all marriages to be registered under the Special Marriage Act," Mr. Baruah said, adding that the Act was being misused for marriages of minors. 
  • He said District Commissioners and District Registrars would be authorized to take custody of registration records currently in the custody of 94 Muslim marriage registrars on the repeal of the legislation, under the overall supervision, guidance, and control of the Inspector 
  • General of Registration. "A one-time compensation of ₹2 lakh will be provided to each Muslim mat riage registrar for their rehabilitation after the Act is repealed," he said. 
  • Posting the decisions on X, the Chief Minister said the provisions of the Act offer "scope for registering marriages of intended persons below 21 years (for males) and 18 years (for females) and there is hardly any monitoring for implementation of the Act ''. 
  • The Opposition Congress and the minority based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) have criticized the State's BJP-led government for targeting Muslims through the "unconstitutional step" of repealing the Act. 
  • "The Assam government could not bring in any Bill on polygamy or the UCC. So, they have targeted this Act although the Cabinet does not have the right to repeal or amend a constitutional right," AlUDF legislator Rafiqul Islam said. 

3. Kyiv hosts Western leaders on second war anniversary 

  • Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed Western leaders to Kyiv on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion, as Ukrainian forces run low on ammunition and weaponry and foreign aid hangs in the balance. 
  • Mr. Zelenskyy posted a video from the Hostomel airfield together with Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. 
  • "Two years ago, here, we met enemy landing forces with fire; two years later, we meet our friends and our partners here," 
  • The Western leaders arrived shortly after a Russian drone attack struck a residential building in the southern city of Odessa, killing at least one person. Three women also sus- tained severe burns in the attack on Friday evening. 
  • Italy, which holds the country, is finally free," Ms. von der Leyen said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. 
  • On the front line in the eastern Donetsk region, Ukrainian soldiers pleaded for ammunition.
  • In a message on the war's second anniversary, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces, thanked Ukrainian soldiers for their sacrifices and Western allies for their support. 
  • Satu N dim criti in or prices rate up rotating presidency of the Group of Seven leading economies, announced that the G-7 will meet virtually on Saturday with Mr. Zelenskiy and would adopt a joint statement on Ukraine. 
  • Earlier this month, Mr. Zelenskyy fired top military commander Valerii Zaluzhnyi and replaced him with Syrskyi, marking the most significant sha keup of top brass since the full-scale invasion. 
  • "More than ever we stand firmly by Ukraine. Financially, economically, militarily, morally. 
  • Meanwhile, Britain has pledged an additional £8.5 million ($10.8 million) of humanitarian Ukraine. 

4. Three new criminal laws to come into force on July 1 

  • The three new criminal laws that were passed by Parliament in 2023 will come into effect from July 1, according to a notification by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). 
  • Section 106(2) of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS), which provides for punishment of "0-10 years" in "hit-and-run" cases, has been put on hold. Earlier, transporters and drivers across the country struck work to protest the particular provision. 
  • The Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhini yam that will replace the Indian Penal Code, 1860; Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898; and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, respectively, received President Droupadi Murmu's assent on December 25, 2023. 
  • The legislation, to be effective from July 1, seeks to overhaul the criminal justice system. 
  • The three laws got the Parliament's approval on December 21 last year and President Droupadi Murmu gave her assent on December 25 
  • The Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita lists offenses such as acts of secession, armed rebellion, separatist activities or endangering the sovereignty or unity of the country in the new avatar of the sedition law 
  • Though the legislation was passed in 2023, the date of implementation was not notified. 
  • "In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of section 1 of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (46 of 2023), the Central government hereby appoints July 1, 2024 as the date on which the provisions of the said Sanhita, except the provisions of the entry relating to section 106(2) of the mintusber 
  • Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, in the First Schedule, shall come into force," the Ministry of Home Affairs notification said. 
  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 12, 2023 introduced three revised Bills in the Lok Sabha to replace the existing colonial-era criminal laws, after withdrawing the previous versions, introduced in August. 
  • Since the new laws will overhaul the criminal justice system, the government has sought time to train police officials and the judiciary. While the Union Territories under the Centre have trained police officials on priority, such enthusiasm was seen lacking in States. 
  • "Not many States have shown the urgency to train the police officials in the new laws. Now that the date to implement the laws have been notified, they do not have an option but to set things in action," an official said. 
  • Section 106(2) of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita has been kept in abeyance, honoring the assurance given by the Union government to the transporters' associations on January 2. 
  • Currently, under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which will be replaced by the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, the punishment for causing death by negligence is two years imprisonment and fine, or both.

5. Revised NCERT textbooks for Classes 3 and 6 likely to be introduced this year 

  • The new National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks for the school acĐ°demic year 2024-25 will most likely only be introduced for Classes 3 and 6, as per sources in the Ministry of Education (MoE). Textbooks for Class 1 and 2 based on the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and National Education Policy 2020 have already been released and are available in bookstores and on the NCERT website as PDFs for free. The MoE had, on November 10, 2023, said that textbooks for all grades, from Classes 1 to 12 would be introduced in the upcoming academic year, in line with the new NCF launched last year. 
  • While notifying curricular area groups responsible for drafting textbooks last year, the NCERT had indicated that the timeline for submitting the final draft of textbooks for all classes was February 10. 
  • The MoE had said textbooks for all grades would be introduced in the upcoming academic year. 
  • Sources say that textbook drafts for Class 3 have been received. These drafts, including those for English, Hindi, Urdu, Maths; and "The World Around Us', earlier known as Environ-mental Studies (EVS), are being proof-read, edited and vetted by the NCERT before they are published and circulated to schools across the country. 
  • For Class 6, textbook drafts for Maths, Science, and the languages (English, Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit) are also in the process of being finalized. It is also likely for History, Geography, and Political Science to be merged into one textbook of Social Science. Currently, Class 6 students study from three publications: Our Pasts; Our Earth: Our Habitat; Social and Political Life. "However there is no clarity on this yet as those drafts have not been received for vetting," the MoE source said. 
  • After the drafts are submitted to NCERT, editors are assigned to proofread textbooks subject-wise. "Each editor is being instructed to finish proofreading the entire book of 200 pages or more in two to three days, as textbooks need to be sent for publishing and distribution in March," the source added. 
  • "Only Class 3 and 6 will likely receive new textbooks in 2024-25. We have not yet received textbook drafts for Class 9 or II," the MoE source said. "Also it is important that new textbooks for senior classes are not released in haste, and that adequate time is taken to research and modify material.” 

6. U.P. cancels constable recruitment exam; re-examination in 6 months 

  • The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday cancelled the police constable recruitment examination in the State, which was conducted on February 17 and 18 and was followed by allegations of paper leaks. The re-examination will now be conducted within the next six months. 
  • "Orders have been given to cancel the examination conducted for selection to the positions of constable in the U.P. police, and to 6 conduct re-examination within the next six months. There can be no compromise in the sanctity of the examinations. Those who play with the hard work of youngsters will not be sispared under any circumstances. The strictest action will be taken against such anti-social elements," Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath wrote on X (formerly Twitter). 
  • Uttar Pradesh, in the last week of December last year, notified for 60,244 posts of police constable under the State police force. The registration process, which began on December 27, 2023, and ended on January 16, 2024, led to 48.17 lakh aspirants filling the form to appear in the written test, which took place at 2,385 centres across 75 districts of the State. 
  • The examination had made headlines due to the massive influx of candidates amid charges of paper leak and discrepancies. 
  • Opposition parties reacted sharply over the decision, saying that the U.P. government was "forced to bow down" before the youth. 
  • "The cancellation of the Uttar Pradesh Police exam is the victory of the youth and the defeat of the miscreants belonging to the BJP government," Samajwadi Party president, and Leader of Opposition in U.P. Assembly, Akhilesh Yadav said. 
  • Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is currently leading the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in the State, hailed the cancellation as a big student victory. 
  • "Big victory for student power and youth unity. Uttar Pradesh Police Exam finally cancelled. The message is clear that no matter how much the government tries to suppress the truth, our rights can be won only by fighting unitedly. Those who unite will win, those who remain divided will be crushed," Mr. Gandhi wrote on X.

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