Daily Current Affairs for 18th Oct 2023

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Supreme Court On Same-Sex Marriage

Why in the news?

Recently, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud refused to grant legal status to same-sex marriages.

The judges made statements on four key questions related to same-sex marriage.

  • On the fundamental right to marry, the petitioners argued that there exists a fundamental right to marry a person of one’s own choice under the Constitution. Judges differentiated between what is fundamentally important to an individual from an enforceable fundamental right. They emphasized that the fundamental importance of marriage is based on personal preference and confers social status, but personal importance does not automatically make it a fundamental right.
  • On Civil Union: While two judges recognised that queer couples can form “civil unions”, they were in the minority. The majority of three judges said that the issue lay exclusively in the domain of the legislature.
  • On Special Marriage Act: Judges refused to tweak the norms of Special Marriage Act as it was enacted to provide for civil marriage between heterosexual couples belonging to different faiths, and it was not meant to include same-sex couples.
  • Right to Adopt for Queer Couples: The majority of judges largely agreed with the discriminatory aspects of preventing queer couples from adopting, but they stated that the legislative choice to include only “married” couples for joint adoption should be remedied by the legislature and executive rather than through judicial action.



Rafah Crossing: Between Gaza and Egypt

Why in the news?

The Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt has become a focal point in the intensifying conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

About the Rafah Crossing:

  • The crossing is the only route for aid to enter Gaza directly from outside Israel and the only exit that does not lead to Israeli territory.
  • It is located at the south of the Gaza Strip, a narrow slither of land that is home to 2.3 million people.
  • Access across Rafah is heavily restricted due to Egypt’s concerns about insecurity near the border with Gaza in northeastern Sinai, where it faced an Islamist insurgency that peaked after 2013 and has now largely been suppressed.
  • Since Hamas took control in Gaza in 2007, Egypt has helped enforce a blockade of the enclave and heavily restricted the flow of people and goods.

The situation at the Rafah crossing is critical, and the world is watching closely for any developments that could alleviate the suffering of the people in Gaza.



RITES and IRCON Awarded Navratna Status

Why in the news?

Recently, RITES Ltd and IRCON International Limited, two central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) under the Ministry of Railways, have been awarded the prestigious ‘Navratna’ status by the Ministry of Finance.

What is Navratna Status?

  • Navratna status is a prestigious designation awarded to central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) in India.
  • It was introduced in 1997 to grant enhanced financial autonomy and flexibility to these companies, enabling them to compete more effectively in the global market.

Navratna Companies are granted certain privileges, such as:

  • Investing up to Rs 1,000 crore without explicit government approval
  • Raising funds from domestic and international capital markets
  • Entering into joint ventures and collaborations with foreign companies
  • Appointing their own boards of directors.
  • To attain Navratna status, a company must initially hold the Miniratna designation and it needs to achieve a score of 60 or more (out of 100) according to six performance criteria, which include metrics like Net Profit to Net Worth, Earnings per Share, and Inter-Sectoral Performance.

The awarding of Navratna status to RITES and IRCON is a welcome step. It is expected that this designation will further enhance their capabilities and enable them to better compete in the global market.

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