Read about the new case against Kejriwal, the new Aadhaar bill, the latest development about Chinese army and more …
1) Bhindranwale poster: Case against Kejriwal, AAP leaders for stoking ‘communal tension’:
- A complaint has been filed against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and four Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders in the Court of Judicial Magistrate, Ludhiana, Harpreet Singh for stoking “communal tension and encouraging return of terrorism in Punjab”.
- The complainant, who has also named Sadhu Singh, Mann, Chhotepur and Sanjay Singh in his complaint, has alleged that AAP, in view of the coming Assembly polls next year, is trying to woo the hardliners and Khalistanis in the state and create communal tension in the state. This, he alleged, might lead to clashes between Hindus and Sikhs.
- The complainant has also alleged that with these politically motivated actions of AAP, terrorism can make a comeback in Punjab. The case will come up for next hearing on March 19 in the Ludhiana court.
- The Punjab unit of AAP had denied having any links with the poster, alleging it to be a political vendetta by the Opposition.
- Punjab’s politics has largely remained bipolar till now. In the 2011 assembly elections, the People’s Party of Punjab, a new outfit formed by Manpreet Singh Badal, estranged nephew of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, did not win a single seat.
- The Lok Sabha election in 2014 was a cakewalk for the AAP in the state and four of its candidates won without extensive mass contact programmes. Punjab is the only state where the AAP won all the seats it contested in 2014.
2) Aadhaar Bill introduced in Lok Sabha:
- The government introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, in the Lok Sabha, which seeks to make the use of Aadhaar mandatory for availing of government subsidies but at the same time tries to address concerns regarding privacy and protection of personal information.
- The bill also provides provisions wherein institutions, after paying a fee, can authenticate the identity of a person. But for this, the institution should have the consent of the Aadhaar number holder.
- It directs UIDAI to have sufficient security of identity information and authentication record of individuals. It also directs UIDAI to ensure that agencies, consultants and its employees are bound by confidentiality and do not leak any information.
- The bill, which has been tabled as a money bill in the Lok Sabha, will provide statutory backing to Aadhaar.
- The proposed legislation will also address the uncertainty surrounding the project after the Supreme Court restricted the use of the Aadhaar number until a constitution bench delivers its verdict on a number of cases challenging the mandatory use of Aadhaar in government schemes and rules on the issue of privacy violation.
- The bill has sought to address many provisions related to privacy and security of the biometric information provided by citizens.
3) South Korea, US open missile shield talks:
- South Korea and the US were set to open talks today on the possible deployment – vehemently opposed by China – of an advanced US missile defence system to counter the growing threat from North Korea.
- South Korea’s defence ministry said initial discussions would focus on potential locations, as well as cost-sharing and a timeline for installation of the THAAD system.
- The system fires anti-ballistic missiles into the sky to smash into enemy missiles either inside or outside the Earth’s atmosphere during their final flight phase.
- The interceptor missiles carry no warheads, instead relying on kinetic energy to destroy their targets.
- China is South Korea’s most important trade partner and – in deference to Beijing’s sensitivities on the issue – South Korea had previously declined to formally discuss bringing in THAAD.
- But North Korea’s continued testing – and Beijing’s previous resistance to imposing harsh sanctions on Pyongyang – triggered a change in Seoul’s stance.
- There is already a THAAD battery stationed in Guam, and Japan, the US’s other key ally in the region, is also considering taking on the system.
4) Manoj Kumar to get Dada Saheb Phalke Award:
- Veteran film actor and director Manoj Kumar is to be conferred the 47th Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2015
- MIB India tweeted on Friday: “Veteran film actor Shri Manoj Kumar to be conferred Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2015”. A link carrying the details of the award was also shared on the micro-blogging site.
- The award is conferred by the Government of India for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema.
- Manoj Kumar was born in Abbottabad, a town in the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Pakistan, then part of British India. His original name was Harikishan Giri Goswami.
- Manoj Kumar is remembered for his films ‘Hariyali Aur Raasta,’ ‘Woh Kaun Thi,’ ‘Himalaya Ki God Mein,’ ‘Roti Kapda Aur Makaan,’ and ‘Kranti.’ He is known for acting in and directing films with patriotic themes.
- He is a recipient of the National Film Award for the film ‘Upkaar.’ In 1992, he was honoured with the Padma Shri by the government of India.
5) China’s military spending increase to be smallest in 6 years –
- China said Friday it will boost defense spending by about 7 to 8 percent in 2016, the smallest increase in six years, reflecting slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy and a drawdown of 300,000 troops as Beijing seeks to build a more streamlined, modern military.
- The People’s Liberation Army, being trimmed to 2 million troops from 2.3 million, will still be the world’s largest standing military. A robust armed force remains a major priority for China’s leaders who have pushed an increasingly aggressive campaign to assert territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea, raising tensions with its neighbors.
- Spending at all levels of China’s government is being curbed because of a drop in the economic growth rate, which fell to a 25-year low of 6.9 percent in 2015 and is expected to decline further this year.
- China says its military is strictly for defensive purposes, but takes a broad view of what constitutes threats to its core interests – including protecting maritime territory that is in dispute with neighboring countries.
- The modest size of the increase appeared to surprise many observers who had been expecting another double-digit increase in line with the military’s higher profile –