Freedom Of Press


What is it? The failure rate of iris scan used to authenticate Aadhaar number, according to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Why is it important? The is higher than the failure rate of fingerprint scans (6%). Iris scan is considered as an additional option to fingerprint scan so as to ensure that people are not denied government benefits because of authentication failure. If both iris and fingerprint scans cannot be used, then Aadhaar number can be authenticated via the mobile phone, says UIDAI.

Tell me more: So far, UIDAI has handled 616 million and 10.8 million fingerprint scans, respectively.



What is it? The proposed minimum wages for nurses working in private hospital in Kerala.

Why is it important? The Kerala High Court on Tuesday lifted an earlier order that restrained the Kerala government from issuing a notification that mandates Rs20,000 as minimum wage for nurses. Private hospitals have opposed the move saying the increase of 150% over the existing wages was illegal.

Tell me more: The Supreme Court, in January 2016, asked the centre to form a committee to look into the working conditions of nurses in private hospitals as it felt they ‘are not being treated fairly’ in terms of pay and working conditions.


Rs4,442 crore

What is it? The highest bid received by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) on day 1 of e-auction to award the media rights for cricket matches played in India between 2018-23.

Why is it important? This is 15% higher than what BCCI received from Star TV (Rs3,851 crore) in 2012. A total of 102 matches will be played over the next five years, and per match bid works out to Rs43.5 crore as of now. The bidding will continue on Wednesday. Start India, Reliance Industries and Sony Pictures are the three bidders.

Tell me more: In comparison, Star India paid Rs 16,347 crore (or Rs54.5 crore per match) to bag media rights for the Indian Premier League.



What is it?  India’s rank in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, out of 180 countries.

Why is it important? On Tuesday, at the prime minister’s direction, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting withdrew the order of suspending the accreditation of journalists who were found to be producing or propagating fake news, which it issued the previous day. The order drew criticism from journalists as they said it was an attempt by the government to curb the freedom of press.

Tell me more: The order drew criticism mainly because any journalist accused of creating/spreading fake news would get their accreditation taken away. The government did not provide any definition for fake news.



What is it? The number of flights delayed due to a system failure at Eurocontrol, which manages air traffic in 41 European countries.

Why is it important? Half a million passengers will be affected because of this system failure that delayed 50% of all flights from the European region on Tuesday. It is not known how this impact flights from India to European destinations.

Tell me more: Eurocontrol says safety was not compromised during this failure, and air traffic management system is back to ‘normal flow management operations’.


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News in Numbers, Aug 31, 2016: Trade unions to go on strike, decline in crimes against women…

Rs 350

What is it? The minimum wage for semi-skilled non-agricultural workers, up from Rs 246 per government announcement on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This, along with the announcement that bonuses for 2014-15 and 2015-16 would be paid to central government employees, was an attempt by the government to prevent trade unions from going on a nationwide strike on September 2. The trade unions have rejected the new minimum wage hike proposal. This means that banks, government offices and factories would remain closed this Friday.

Tell me more: The demands of the unions include a minimum wage of Rs 18,000 per month (as against the government’s offer of Rs 9,100), social security for workers, increased pension of not less than Rs 3,000 per month for all sectors (for unorganised workers, too) and removal of foreign direct investment from railways, defence and other strategic sectors.


Rs 329.93 crore

What is it? The value of unaccounted cash, jewellery, movable and immovable assets reportedly seized by the Income Tax (IT) department in raids between January-July 2016.

Why is it important? This is over thrice the amount seized (Rs 102.5 crore) in such raids by the department in the corresponding period last year, indicating that the government is stepping up measures to crackdown on the black money problem in the country. The number of IT raids and searches, seizures made and the untaxed income surrendered to the government – are reportedly the highest in nearly five years. The amount surrendered in the first seven months of this year (Rs 3,360 crore) is 56.5% higher than that received in the same period a year ago.

Tell me more: The government has asked people to declare their undisclosed wealth under a one-time compliance window before September 30, after which they would face stringent action including imprisonment.



What is it? The multiple by which patients are more likely to die when operated on at night compared to those operated on during the day, according to a research. This is based on 30-day survival rates for patients at a Canadian hospital and the results are yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Why is it important? The reasons for this could possibly include staffing shortages during the night, fatigue among medical staff and delay in treatments, according to the researchers. This could prompt further research into understanding postoperative mortality and its link with the time of the day/night and find out ways to reduce it for surgeries done in the night or late in the day (when patients are 1.43 times more likely to die than those operated on during regular working hours).

Tell me more: The research included study of 41,176 emergency and routine operations done on 33,942 patients between April 2010 and March 2015. The operations were divided into three time blocks: between 7.30 am to 3.29 pm, 3.29 pm to 11.29 pm, and 11.30 pm to 7.29 am.



What is it? The number of crimes against women in 2015, a 3.1% decrease from that recorded in 2014 (337,922), according to the National Crime Records Bureau data released on Tuesday.

Why is it important? Despite the small dip in the number of cases, the instances of attempts to rape (4.8%), kidnappings (3.4%), sexual harassment (9.6%) and assaults (0.2%) have increased in 2015 over the previous year. The number of rapes (7.4%), gangrapes (9.9%) and dowry deaths (9.7%) have seen a decline in the same period.

Tell me more: Uttar Pradesh (10.9% of the total), West Bengal (10.1%) and Maharashtra (9.5%) top the list in terms of number of crimes against women. In terms of crime rate (incidence of sexual offences per 100,000 women), Delhi recorded the highest (43.6) followed by Odisha (22.2) and Assam (20.6).



What is it? The reservation proposed by Social Justice Minister Ramdas Athawale for the economically backward (whose annual income is less than Rs 6 lakh) among the upper castes.

Why is it important? This means the maximum reservation limit has to be increased from the current 49.5% to 75% to include the economically backward communities including Gujjars, Patels, Rajputs, Brahmins, Marathas and Jats. This could be a result of agitations for reservations in education and government jobs by some communities such as the Patidars (or Patel), Jats and Marathas. A constitutional amendment would be required to bring about this increase.

Tell me more: The scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward castes have 15%, 7.5% and 27% reservation respectively.

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