QBullet: Aadhaar Gets ‘Virtual ID’; SC Orders SIT in 1984 Riots
Here’s a roundup of the top headlines of the day.
1. Aadhaar Adds Fresh Security Layer with 16-Digit 'Virtual ID'
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Wednesday unveiled a fresh layer of security — a 'Virtual ID' to prevent your Aadhaar from being shared — as it sought to address privacy and security concerns.
It also added a safety feature to ensure only need-based sharing of information, by way of a limited KYC, even as it asserted that the system and data were safe.
UIDAI's Virtual ID, which will be issued from March, will allow over 119 crore Aadhaar holders to generate a 16-digit temporary number that can be shared with a bank, insurance company or telecom service provider instead of the 12-digit Aadhaar number. All service providers will have to upgrade their systems to mandatorily allow for the new tool from June. You can opt to use the Virtual ID as many times as you want, or keep generating a new one every time you have to share your unique ID.
2.1984 Anti-Sikh Riots: SC Orders Reinvestigation into 186 Cases, Will Set up SIT to Monitor Probe
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that 186 cases from the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi be reopened and probed by a three-member special investigation team (SIT) headed by a retired high court judge.
The court said it will nominate the members of the probe team on Thursday, after a consensus between the petitioners and the government on who should be a part of it.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra took the decision after going through a supervisory panel’s report that scrutinised 241 cases closed by a Central government-appointed SIT between February 2015 and August 2017. The supervisory panel of Justices JM Panchal and KSP Radhakrishnan submitted their report in a sealed cover on 6 December 2017.
3. Cabinet Eases Norms to Allow Foreign Investment up to 49% in Air India, 100% FDI in Single-Brand Retail
The government on Wednesday relaxed FDI norms in various sectors such as single brand retail and allowed foreign airlines to invest up to 49% in Air India through approval route ahead of its proposed privatisation.
In a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government, however, clarified that substantial ownership and effective control of Air India shall continue to be vested in Indian nationals.
“Foreign investments in Air India including that of foreign airlines shall not exceed 49% either directly or indirectly,” the government said in a statement.
4. CBSE Boards 2018: Class 10, 12 Exams from 5 March, Schedule Released
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), on Wednesday, announced that it will conduct its annual examinations of Classes 10 and 12 from 5 March. While the CBSE class 10 examinations would end on 4 April, the class 12 board examinations would go on until 12 April.
Students from both the class will have to score a minimum of 33 percent marks to pass the board examination. All the students will be assigned a grade in a rank order. Grades will be provided for internal as well as practical marks. The board exam will commence from 10.30 am. CBSE date sheet 2018 is available at the official websites cbse.nic.in and cbseacademic.in.
5. Should Legislators Practise Law, Asks Bar Council
The Bar Council of India may well have set the stage for a rare show of unity and bipartisan behaviour by political parties by deciding to send out notices to practicing advocates who happen to be members of Parliament (MPs) or members of legislative councils or assemblies (MLAs and MLCs) asking why they should not be barred from the profession. Rules require that advocates not be engaged in any other full-time trade, occupation or profession.
With several leading lights from across the political spectrum being advocates, it is likely the move will be unanimously opposed by political parties.
6. Government Re-Examining Demand for a Milder AFSPA in J&K and Northeast
The government is now re-examining the long-pending demand to make the iron-fisted Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which gives military personnel special rights and immunity in "disturbed areas" like Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast, "more humane" and less open to misuse.
Sources say several rounds of high-level discussions have already been held between the defence and home ministries on the "need to remove or dilute at least some provisions" of the AFSPA in line with Supreme Court judgments on "extra-judicial killings" and recommendations of expert committees over the years.
7. SC Questions Mandatory Prayer in Kendriya Vidyalayas
The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned a revised education code followed by the Central government-run and 1,125-strong Kendriya Vidyalayas, which makes students recite Sanskrit and Hindi verses with folded palms and closed eyes during morning assemblies or "face public humiliation in front of the entire school."
A Bench led by Rohinton Nariman found the petition raises an important issue where a secular State, which is supposed to have no religion, is compelling students drawn from diverse faiths, beliefs, minority communities and many who may be coming from agnostic, sceptisist and rationalist family backgrounds to recite a prayer which is “based on Hindu religion”, under threat of punishment.
(Source: The Hindu)
8. I-T Turns Gaze to Cryptocurrency, Finds 6 Lakh Active Traders, Most Under 35 Yrs
In its first survey into the trading of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the Income Tax (I-T) department has found that there are six lakh active cryptocurrency traders — out of the total 25 lakh registered to trade — in nine cryptocurrency exchanges across the country.
The survey found that cryptocurrency worth Rs 17,800 crore has been traded on the exchanges, with a 25-year-old who invested Rs 25 lakh holding Rs 360 crore in bitcoins after carrying out trade worth Rs 760 crore, since the initial investments in the decentralised currency.
9. Govt Mulls Ordinance on Triple Talaq
Having failed to muster enough support in the Rajya Sabha to pass legislation banning instant "talaq-e-biddat (triple talaq)", the government is likely to take the ordinance route to criminalise it.
According to sources, the government is looking at all options, including bringing an ordinance and convening a joint session of Parliament during the budget session to get the legislation passed without having to go through the Rajya Sabha, where the bill faces formidable opposition hurdles.
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