25-26 August 2017 Current Affairs

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26 Aug, 2017

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1) In a landmark and unanimous decision, the 9-member constitutional bench of the Supreme Court on 24 August 2017 declared that privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution of India. With this judgment the Supreme Court overruled which of its two earlier judgments? – M.P Sharma vs. Satish Chandra (1954) and Kharak Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (1961)

Explanation: In its two earlier rulings M.P Sharma vs. Satish Chandra (1954) and Kharak Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (1961), the Supreme Court had ruled that right to privacy cannot be defined as a fundamental right.

But in its landmark judgment of 24 August 2017, the 9-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court (led by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar) overruled these earlier judgments and said – “Privacy is intrinsic to the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution and will be included under schedule III of the Constitution.”

This Constitutional Bench was set up on 18 July 2017 and heard arguments over three days each week by lawyers for the central government, states and petitioners who contended that the collection of personal details under the Aadhaar infringed on the right to privacy.

The right to privacy will now find place under Schedule III of the Constitution along with other fundamental rights: right to equality before law, right to various freedoms such as speech and expression/to move freely, right against exploitation, right to freedom of religion, cultural and educational rights and right to constitutional remedies.

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2) What is the name of the ambitious strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders to guide and mentor students that was launched by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on 23 August 2017? – “Mentor India”

Explanation: “Mentor India” is the name given to the strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders who can guide and mentor students at more than 900 Atal Tinkering Labs. This initiative a part of the Atal Innovation Mission and was launched by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant in New Delhi on 23 August 2017.

This initiative is aimed at maximising the impact of Atal Tinkering Labs. Mentors are expected to be enablers rather than instructors, wherein the idea is to engage leaders who will nurture and guide students in the Atal Tinkering Labs.

Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated works spaces where students from Class VI to Class 12 learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics and electronics development tools, Internet of things and sensors.

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3) Who was appointed the new Chairman of the Infosys board on 24 August 2017?- Nandan Nilekani

Explanation: Nandan Nilekani, one of the co-founders of software major Infosys, was on 24 August 2017 appointed the new Chairman of the company board even as 5 members resigned from the Board.

Nilekani had served as Infosys’ CEO from 2002 to 2007. His appointment is being seen as significant victory for co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy in his fight against the board of Infosys after the dramatic resignation of CEO Vishal Sikka.

As he was appointed the company Chairman, non-executive chairman R. Seshasaye, co-chairman Ravi Venkatesan, executive vice-chairman Vishal Sikka and directors Jeffrey Lehman and John Etchemendy resigned from the board.

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4) Facing diplomatic boycott from 4 Arab countries, Qatar on 24 August 2017 announced restoration of full diplomatic relations with which country? – Iran

Explanation: Amidst Arab diplomatic crisis, Qatar restored full diplomatic relations with Iran on 24 August 2017. It thus disregarded the demands of Arab nations now locked in a regional dispute with it that it lower its ties with Iran.

Qatar had pulled its ambassador in Iran in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran. But despite this, Iran and Qatar maintained their valuable commercial ties. Qatar and Iran share a massive offshore natural gas field, called the South Pars Field by Tehran and the North Field by Doha.

The Arab diplomatic crisis began 5 June 2017, when Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties to Qatar over allegations including it funding extremists and being too close to Iran. Qatar long has denied funding extremists.

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5) Union Commerce and Industry Ministry on 25 August 2017 constituted a task-force to explore possibilities to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) for development across various fields. Who is heading this task-force? – V. Kamakoti

Explanation: V. Kamakoti of IIT Madras is heading the task-force on Artificial Intelligence (AI) constituted by Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, on 25 August 2017. This task force is titled ‘Task Force on AI for India’s Economic Transformation’.

It will submit concrete and implementable recommendations for government, industry and research institutions. The primary task of the task force will be to explore possibilities to leverage AI for development across various fields. It comprises of experts, academics, researchers and industry leaders.

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