Current Affairs

Morning Brief: SC’s Verdict On Constitutional Validity Of Aadhaar Today; India Added 214 Billionaires In One Year; And Other News

A view of the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India. (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news brief for today.

Supreme Court’s Verdict On Constitutional Validity Of Aadhaar Today

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court will give its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar today. The constitution bench had reserved its verdict on 10 May. It heard the case for over 38 days starting 17 January. Over 30 petitioners challenged the Aadhaar act and the compulsory linking of bank accounts, mobile phone numbers and permanent account numbers (PAN). The issue became more complicated when a constitution bench of the top court headed by then Chief Justice of India J S Khehar declared the right to privacy as a fundamental right. However, it noted that the Centre may have justifiable reasons for collection and storage of data.

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Among other things, the court will also decide whether the government was right in passing the Aadhaar act as a money bill or not. Only Lok Sabha, where the National Democratic Alliance has a majority, has the right to vote on money bills. The Centre defended the Aadhaar push saying it had helped in plugging leakage. In 2017, the apex court had upheld the government’s decision to link Aadhaar with PAN cards but refused to make it compulsory.

India Added 214 Billionaires In One Year

According to the seventh edition of the Barclays Hurun Rich List, India has added 214 billionaires to its list of 617 individuals released in July 2017. This addition, a 35 per cent jump over last year, has taken the number of individuals with assets of Rs 1,000 crore to 831. The cumulative wealth of the 831 individuals, which is around $719 billion, is one-fourth of India’s gross domestic product of $2.848 trillion. India’s pharma industry accounted for 114 billionaires, followed by 66 from software and services and 53 from fast-moving consumer goods.

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Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries remained the richest person in India for the seventh year in a row with a wealth of Rs 3.71 lakh crore. A 47 per cent rise in Reliance Industry’s share price has fuelled his rise. S P Hinduja was ranked second with a wealth of Rs 1.59 lakh crore, followed by Lakshmi Mittal with Rs 1.14 lakh crore. Oyo Rooms founder Ritesh Agarwal topped the list of self-made entrepreneurs under 40 with assets worth Rs 2,600 crore.

Number Of Women Pilots Doubles To 1,000 In Last Four Years

The number of women pilots in the country has nearly doubled to over 1,000 in the last four years, the Times of India has reported. Over 12.4 per cent of the total 8,797 pilots in schedule domestic airlines in India, or 1,092, are women. In 2014, 586 of the 5,050 pilots in domestic schedule airline, or around 11.5 per cent, were women. According to the daily, there are 7,400 women pilots working across the world, accounting for 5.2 per cent of the total pilot workforce.

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India has the highest share of women pilots in the world. Over 12.5 per cent of pilots at Air India, 13 per cent at IndiGo and 12 per cent at SpiceJet are women. Initiatives such as union-mandated equal pay and day care services have helped the women choosing to work in this sector. India’s burgeoning aviation market, which is the world’s fastest-growing, has offered opportunities to women.

57 Per Cent Regular Indian Employees Earn Less Than Rs 10,000

A report titled ‘State of Working India', prepared by the Azim Premji University, has found that 57 per cent of regular employees in the country are earning Rs 10,000 or less a month, Mint has reported. This is below the Seventh Central Pay Commission minimum stipulated salary of Rs 18,000 per month. The report also notes that people earning Rs 50,000 or more form just 1.6 per cent of the workforce. Around 59 per cent of the workforce earns 5,000 or less a month.

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According to the report, the average monthly salary of regular workers is around Rs 13,500 and that of non-regular ones is around Rs 5,850 per month. It says that the gap in salaries between the organised and unorganised sectors has also narrowed due to the lower wage growth in the former. Between 2010 and 2015, wages grew 2 per cent on average for organised manufacturing, 4 per cent for unorganised manufacturing, and 5 per cent for unorganised services.

Also Read: No Jobless Growth; Issue Is About Quality Of Jobs Created

World’s Tallest Girder Railway Bridge Set To Bring Imphal On Rail Map

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The railways’ ambitious plans to link Manipur’s capital Imphal with a broad gauge railway link is all set for completion by 2020. The project, worth an estimated Rs 13,809 crores, enjoys the status of a ‘National Project’. The rail link, which is 111 km long, passes through the steep rolling hills of the Patkai ranges. One of the pillars constructed for the bridge rises to a height of 141 metre, giving it the distinction of being the world’s tallest girder railway bridge.

The bridge has been designed to carry up to 25-ton axle-load freight trains. Since the bridge is coming up in seismic zone five, special precautions are being taken to maintain the stability of the structure in the long-term. The line and the bridge are being treated as strategic projects by the government with a view to giving trade, tourism and military movement in the region an impetus. Elaborate security arrangements for the bridge are being considered, including the deployment of drones, sensors and CCTV cameras.

From Swarajya

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But For Modi, Sikkim’s New Airport Would Still Be Under Construction: The Sikkim airport remained a work in progress, with slow pace of construction, till 2015. The pace picked up only after that, and the airport is now ready for takeoff.

IL&FS-Triggered Meltdown Shows Some NBFCs May Have Been ‘Swimming Naked’: The regulator and rating agencies cannot avoid their share of the blame at IL&FS. The IL&FS default and the crisis of confidence in NBFCs could have been foretold. That is why we need a spring cleaning.

FGM Is About Child Rights, Not Religion; It Is Fine If Adult Women Decide To Do It: Female genital mutilation and circumcision are not about religious rights; they are about child rights. If child rights are respected, adult rights in the context of the religion they belong to can easily be enforced.

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Six Things You Wanted To Know About The Rafale Controversy But Did Not Know Who To Ask: Six clues that can throw light on the Rafale mystery.

Ground Reports On Aadhaar

Linking Aadhaar To Mid-Day Meals Helps Karnataka Save Over Rs 100 Crore Every Year: Data on the benefit that the Karnataka government has got on the linkage of Aadhaar to the mid-day meal scheme are revealing.

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How The Aadhaar-Enabled Public Distribution System Is Working On Ground: Mandatory linking of the Aadhaar card to the ration card hasn’t really been a pleasant or fruitful experience for rural India.

We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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