Insights Daily Current Affairs, 17 November 2016
Insights Daily Current Affairs, 17 November 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
Setting up of Industry Driven SRTMI
Ministry of Steel is planning to set up an Industry driven institutional mechanism namely Steel Research & Technology Mission of India (SRTMI), to facilitate joint collaborative research projects in the iron & steel sector in India.
- The conceptualization of SRTMI was done by a high level task force set up by the Ministry of Steel.
The salient features of SRTMI are as under:
- SRTMI is an industry driven initiative which will be setup as a Registered Society wherein Ministry of Steel is a facilitator.
- SRTMI will be governed and administered by a Governing Body comprising the steel CEOs, Domain Experts and a representative of Ministry of Steel.
- The executive functioning of SRTMI will be carried out by the Director, SRTMI, who will be assisted by a suitable/appropriate supporting structure.
- Initial corpus for setting up of SRTMI is Rs. 200 crore of which 50% is to be provided by Ministry of Steel and the balance by the participating steel companies.
- Thereafter, the centre will run on yearly contributions from the steel companies based on their turnover of the previous year.
Indian Steel Sector’s contribution to overall Gross Domestic Product of the country is nearly 2% during 2015-16.
The total exposure of steel industry is about Rs. 3.13 lakh crore out of which Gross Non Performing Assets is about Rs. 1.15 lakh crore. This works out to 36.94% of total loan outstanding as on March, 2016.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Successful Maiden Flight of Rustom – II
Heralding a new era in the indigenous development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), DRDO has successfully carried out the maiden flight of TAPAS 201 (RUSTOM – II), a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV.
- The flight accomplished the main objectives of proving the flying platform, such as take-off, bank, level flight and landing etc.
About TAPAS 201:
TAPAS 201, the MALE UAV has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the Bangalore-based premier lab of DRDO with HAL-BEL as the production partners.
- It is also the first R&D prototype UAV which has undergone certification and qualification for the first flight from the Center for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).
- TAPAS 201 is being developed to carry out the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) roles for the three Armed Forces with an endurance of 24 hours.
- It is capable to carry different combinations of payloads like Medium Range Electro Optic (MREO), Long Range Electro Optic (LREO), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Communication Intelligence (COMINT) and Situational Awareness Payloads (SAP) to perform missions during day and night.
- Defence Electronics Application Laboratory (DEAL) of DRDO has developed the data link for the UAV.
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
NHRC writes to Centre over foreign funding for NGOs
Concerned about the rights of human rights defenders, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Union Home Ministry on the government’s alleged “draconian approach” in renewing the foreign funding approval for NGOs.
The Home Ministry had recently cancelled the FCRA licences of thousands of NGOs over not applying for renewal in time.
What has the NHRC said?
The NHRC said that the government’s approach towards renewing Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences for the NGOs that defend human rights had been brought to its notice.
NHRC also observed that prima facie, it appears that the FCRA licence non-renewal is neither legal nor objective, and thereby impinging on the rights of the human rights defenders, both in access to funding, including foreign funding.
Taking suo-motu cognisance, the NHRC has directed the Home Secretary to provide details of the NGOs of human rights defenders whose licences had been cancelled, the number of such NGOs, the reason for nonrenewal and the amount of foreign funds received in the past three years.
The Commission directed the government to provide the information in six weeks so that it can start hearing the matter and look at “whether the review of the law [FCRA] can be recommended”.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993. It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA).
- The NHRC is the national human rights institution, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as “rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants”.
- It consists of a Chairman and 4 members. Chairman should be a retired Chief Justice of India. Members should be either sitting or retired judges of the Supreme Court or a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court and 2 persons having practical knowledge in this field.
- Ex officio members are the chairmen of National Commission for Scheduled Caste, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Minorities and National Commission for Women.
Appointment: The chairman and members are appointed on the recommendation of a 6 member committee consisting of Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, leaders of opposition in both the houses of parliament and Union Home Minister.
Term: Term of the chairman and members is 5 years or 70 years whichever is earlier. After retirement they are not eligible for further reappointment.
Removal: President has to refer the matter to Supreme Court and if after enquiry Supreme Court holds it right then they can be removed by the President.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
Plea against use of word ‘Dalit’ by media, HC seeks Centre’s reply
The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the Centre on a plea seeking a direction to restrain media houses from using the word ‘Dalit’ in news articles, alleging it creates “inequality” in society.
- The court has issued a notice to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and asked it to take instruction on whether there is any law to prohibit the use of the word by media houses.
A plea has been filed in the High Court seeking a direction to restrain media houses from using the word ‘Dalit’ in news articles, alleging it creates “inequality” in society. The petitioner has also sought a direction to the Press Council of India to restrain all print and electronic media from using the word ‘Dalit’.
The petitioner says: “The legislature has made provisions to ensure no one may create any kind of hatred or animosity between the different communities or religions in India”. Aggrieved by the excessive use of the words ‘Dalit’ and ’upper caste’, the plea alleged that despite a law and guidelines in place, the media houses keep on raising the issue of ‘Dalit’ atrocities unnecessarily.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Apex court refuses to lift ban on jallikattu
Questioning the need to tame a domestic animal like the bull, the Supreme Court has dismissed a plea by Tamil Nadu to review a 2014 apex court judgment banning jallikattu.
Important observations made by the court:
The event had nothing to do with the exercise of the fundamental right of religious freedom and runs counter to the concept of welfare of the animal, which is the basic foundation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.
Tamil Nadu’s argument:
The State has countered that the event was defined as an act of “taming” of bulls under the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act of 2009 and did not amount to cruelty.
Tamil Nadu has been arguing that Jallikattu – the mostly southern bull-racing sport – should be permitted as it showcases a cultural tradition that has been part of the custom and culture of people of the state for 5,000 years.
- The Supreme Court already banned Jallikattu once, in May 2014. At the time it said bulls could not be used as performing animals, either for Jallikattu or for bullock-cart races. However, in January, the Centre allowed the ‘sport’ in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
- Days after the Centre allowed it, in January, the Supreme Court put Jallikattu on hold. It issued notices to the Centre and other states asking them to file their responses in four weeks, to petitions challenging the central government’s notification allowing Jallikattu and bullock-cart races.
Jallikattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day. It is a Tamil tradition called ‘Yeru thazhuvatha’ in Sangam literature(meaning, to embrace bulls), popular amongst warriors during the Tamil classical period.
- Jallikattu is based on the concept of “flight or fight”. All castes participate in the event. The majority of jallikattu bulls belong to the pulikulam breed of cattle.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Soon, search engines to blank sex selection ads
The Supreme Court has directed the Central government to constitute a nodal agency to monitor and trigger search engines to crack down on online pre-natal sex determination advertisements.
- The court has ordered that the nodal agency should receive complaints about illegal online advertisements under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act of 1994.
- It should communicate the tip-offs to online search engines like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, which would delete these advertisements within 36 hours of getting the information.
- This interim arrangement would continue till it took a final decision on the continued existence of online sex selection ads.
The court was hearing a petition filed in 2008 in the background of increasing instances of female foeticide. The petition contended that pre-natal sex determination tests continue with impunity despite being made illegal in 1994.
PCPNDT law prohibits pre-natal sex determination. The PCPNDT Act was brought in to stop female foeticide and arrest the declining sex ratio in India. Under this Act, gender selection is prohibited.
About PCPNDT Act:
The Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act, 1994 was enacted in response to the decline in Sex ratio in India, which deteriorated from 972 in 1901 to 927 in 1991.
- The main purpose of enacting the act is to ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception and prevent the misuse of prenatal diagnostic technique for sex selective abortion.
- Offences under this act include conducting or helping in the conduct of prenatal diagnostic technique in the unregistered units, sex selection on a man or woman, conducting PND test for any purpose other than the one mentioned in the act, sale, distribution, supply, renting etc. of any ultra sound machine or any other equipment capable of detecting sex of the foetus.
Key features of the act:
- The Act provides for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception.
- It regulates the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques, like ultrasound and amniocentesis by allowing them their use only to detect few cases.
- No laboratory or centre or clinic will conduct any test including ultrasonography for the purpose of determining the sex of the foetus.
- No person, including the one who is conducting the procedure as per the law, will communicate the sex of the foetus to the pregnant woman or her relatives by words, signs or any other method.
- Any person who puts an advertisement for pre-natal and pre-conception sex determination facilities in the form of a notice, circular, label, wrapper or any document, or advertises through interior or other media in electronic or print form or engages in any visible representation made by means of hoarding, wall painting, signal, light, sound, smoke or gas, can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined Rs. 10,000.
- The Act mandates compulsory registration of all diagnostic laboratories, all genetic counselling centres, genetic laboratories, genetic clinics and ultrasound clinics.
Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 (PNDT), was amended in 2003 to The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition Of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT Act) to improve the regulation of the technology used in sex selection. The Act was amended to bring the technique of pre conception sex selection and ultrasound technique within the ambit of the act. The amendment also empowered the central supervisory board and state level supervisory board was constituted. In 1988, the State of Maharashtra became the first in the country to ban pre-natal sex determination through enacting the Maharashtra Regulation of Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act.
Sources: the hindu.