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The Bulletin - 26.09.2018

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1.  Aadhar Verdict
  • Private companies cannot demand Aadhaar data linked to an individual's face, fingerprints and iris scans for access to their services,
  • The 12-digit Aadhaar number has to be linked to citizens' PAN (Permanent Account Number) information for the filing of tax returns, the court ruled.
  • The court also said Aadhaar is not compulsory for school admissions, for the Central Board of Secondary Education, the University Grants Commission and medical entrance test NEET. "No child shall be denied benefits for the want of Aadhaar," the judges said.
  • The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra held that Aadhaar would be voluntary, with an option to exit.
  • No person will be denied benefits under the social welfare scheme because their Aadhaar card cannot be authenticated. But the court also directed the government not to give Aadhaar to illegal immigrants.
  • "Aadhaar means unique and it is better to be unique than being best. Uniqueness is the fundamental difference between Aadhaar and other identity proofs. Aadhaar cannot be duplicated and it is a unique identification," the judges said.
  • The scheme was rolled out under the previous Congress-led government in 2010. It began as a system to provide access to welfare schemes efficiently, but soon evolved into a mandatory ID for access to services like bank accounts, PAN cards, cellphone services, passport and even driving licenses.
  • Last year, in a case linked to the biometric database, the government went to the Supreme Court to argue that Indians did not have a fundamental right to privacy. It lost the case. The court ruled that the right to privacy was an "intrinsic part of life and personal liberty", which is guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • In what became the second longest case with hearings over 38 days, the Centre defended Aadhaar on several grounds - the biggest being that it ensured proper distribution of benefits to millions and prevented siphoning of funds.
2. Cabinet clears proposal to convert GSTN into govt. entity
  • 50 per cent stake will be owned by the Centre and the remaining by the States on pro-rata basis in the new structure.
  • Currently, the Centre and States together hold 49 per cent stake in the GST Network, the company that provides IT backbone to the new indirect tax regime.
  • The remaining 51 per cent is held by five private financial institutions -- HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd.
3. Cabinet approves new telecom policy
  • The cabinet approved the new telecom policy, now named National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018, which aims to attract USD 100 billion investment and create 4 million jobs in the sector by 2022.
  • NDCP is focused on increasing high-speed broadband penetration, with use of modern technologies like 5G and optical fibres across the country at affordable rates.
  • It included provisions to adopt “Optimal Pricing of Spectrum” to ensure sustainable and affordable access to digital communications.
4. Finance Ministry launches Mobile Application Jan Dhan Darshak as a Part of Financial Inclusion
  • This App will provide guidance to the common people in locating a financial service touch point at a given location in the country.
5. India's economy continues on robust growth path: ADB
  • Indian growth forecast remained unchanged at 7.3 per cent for 2018, and 7.6 per cent for 2019, as the temporary effects of demonetisation and introduction of Goods and Services Tax abate as expected.
6. Government begins consolidation of regional rural banks, to bring down tally to 36
  • RRBs banks were formed under the RRB Act, 1976, with an objective to provide credit and other facilities to small farmers, agricultural labourers and artisans in rural areas.
  • The Act was amended in 2015 whereby such banks were permitted to raise capital from sources other than the Centre, states and sponsor banks. Currently, the Centre holds 50 per cent in RRBs, while 35 per cent and 15 per cent are with the concerned sponsor banks and state governments, respectively.

7. Successful Flight Test of Astra BVR Air-to-Air Missile

Astra, the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), was successfully test fired by the Indian Air Force from Su-30 aircraft, from Air Force Station, Kalaikunda.

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