Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 April 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 April 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies. 

 

The Paths We Walk

 

A Documentary Photo exhibition called “The Paths We Walk” was recently inaugurated in New Delhi.

pathswewalk

Key facts:

  • The exhibition has been organized by the National Trust under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with Society for Child Development.
  • The Documentary photo exhibition is intended to tackle negative myths of disability and employment of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disability and Multiple Disabilities.
  • The photo exhibition is just a glimpse of the vast capabilities of persons with Disabilities. It has been a joint collaborative effort of NGOs working for the welfare of persons with disabilities.
  • The month of April is celebrated across the World as the World Autism Awareness Month. The National Trust has been organizing conferences and events during the months to create awareness and celebrate diversity.

 

About National Trust:

The National Trust is a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India and set up under the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation & Multiple Disabilities Act.

 

Objectives:

  • To ensure people with disabilities lead independent life with dignity.
  • To support & strengthen NGOs & other service providers.
  • To appoint legal guardian to take care of the need of people with disabilities.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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.

 

Government e-Marketplace (GeM)

 

In the light of alleged irregularities, the government has reiterated that GeM is the most transparent, accountable and efficient public procurement portal and has already resulted in savings of crores of Rupees to the Government.

  • The government noted that the processes on GeM are completely transparent and GeM is the first Government portal that places all the procurements- big or small- by Government organizations in public domain, with details about the buyer, seller, item, quantity and price.
  • The government has also assured that there are adequate checks and balances in place on GeM which do not allow suppliers to get away with supplying at a higher price to the Government, than the prevailing market or Last Procurement Price (LPP).

Gem banner

About GeM:

Government e-Marketplace (GeM) aims to transform the way in which procurement of goods and services is done by the Government Ministries/Departments, PSUs, autonomous bodies etc.

  • DGS&D with technical support of NeGD (MeitY) has developed GeM portal for procurement of both Products & Services.
  • GeM is a completely paperless, cashless and system driven e-market place that enables procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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.

 

Panel moots UID numbers for cows

 

The Centre has proposed issuing “Unique Identification Number Sequences” for cows and their progeny to protect them from cattle smuggling. A government committee has also iterated the same.  

cattle

Background:

The plan is the brainchild of the Union Agriculture Ministry for “tamper-proof identification of cattle using polyurethene tags with a Unique Identification Number Sequence.”

 

Important recommendations made by the committee:

  • Each animal be tagged with proper records of identification details, including age, breed, sex, lactation, height, body, colour, horn type, tail switch and special marks.

 

Need for tagging:

Cattle smuggling has become a “by-product” of the dairy industry. Stray, “retired” and abandoned cattle face high risk of falling into smugglers’ hands.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

 

Solve a problem, win ₹1 crore

 

The Centre is set to launch a scheme for students from higher educational institutions to volunteer to offer innovative, original and practical solutions to problems facing the country and get rewarded for their efforts.

 

Key facts:

  • The scheme will be called IDEAS, or Innovations for Development of Efficient and Affordable Systems. It is an initiative to challenge young minds with problems of society in general, to come up with innovative, original, practical and economical solutions.
  • The Human Resource Development Ministry has identified a handful of areas pertaining to which the problem-solving skills of students will be tested. These are affordable healthcare, computer science and ICT, energy (making solar/renewable resources cheaper, energy efficiency, etc.), affordable housing, healthcare, agriculture, education, water resources and river systems, affordable infrastructure, defence, cybersecurity and information security, and environment and climate change.
  • The scheme will invite students to find solutions to problems in these fields — and offer a prize of ₹1 crore to the best solution in each field.
  • Under each of the above areas or themes, 10 problem statements will be prepared and widely publicised. All higher educational institutions will be eligible and encouraged to participate, but participation of IITs, NITs and CFTIs will be mandatory.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

 

SC for broad anti-torture legislation

 

Referring to the setback suffered by the CBI in its efforts to get Kim Davy — a Danish citizen and prime accused in the Purulia arms drop case of 1995 — extradited from Denmark, the Supreme Court has observed that India may be finding it tough to secure extraditions because there is a fear within the international community that the accused persons would be subject to torture here.

antitorture

Background:

A Danish court had rejected the plea on the ground that he would risk “torture or other inhuman treatment” in India.

 

What next?

Considering it a matter of both Article 21 (fundamental right to life and dignity) and of international reputation, the court has asked the government to consider promulgating a standalone, comprehensive law to define and punish torture as an instrument of “human degradation” by state authorities. Such a law is in the national interest.

 

1997 convention:

India has signed the UN Convention against torture way back in 1997. But, it has still not ratified it. The Convention defines torture as a criminal offence.

 

Efforts in this regard:

A bill was also proposed in this regard. But, no action has been taken on the Prevention of Torture Bill 2010 even six years after it was passed by the Lok Sabha on May 6, 2010 and recommended by a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha of which he had been Chairman.

The centre contends some States were not in favour of such a law and the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code were more than sufficient.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Hindi being ‘promoted’ as per Act: Rijiju

 

Faced with criticism that the Central government is unfairly imposing Hindi on non-Hindi-speaking States, the government has iterated that it was only promoting the language as per an Act of Parliament.

hindi

Background:

In May 2015, the government had issued an order that as per the Official Languages Act, 1963, all government files would have to be issued bilingually, in Hindi and English.

 

What’s the issue?

In March, the Department of Official Language of the Home Ministry pulled out a 2011 report of a Committee of Parliament on Official Language and sent it to the President for approval.

  • The “progressive” use of Hindi in the Central government offices is reviewed by this Committee every 10 years under the Official Languages Act, 1963 and the Rules framed under it.
  • As many as 110 out of the 117 recommendations in this report were accepted by the President. The Home Ministry has issued an advisory to all States and government departments to implement the recommendations.

 

Important recommendations made by the committee include:

  • Giving students the option of writing their exams in Hindi.
  • Making minimum knowledge of Hindi compulsory for government jobs.
  • Ensuring that the government spends more on Hindi advertisements than English ones.
  • The railway ministry should buy equipment with lettering in Devnagri script.
  • Railway tickets should be bilingual, with Hindi being one of the two languages.
  • Hindi should be an option for UPSC aspirants.
  • Cabinet ministers should deliver their speeches in Hindi as much as possible.
  • Making it mandatory at railway stations in ‘C’ category (non-Hindi speaking) states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Kerala to have announcements in Hindi.

 

What the constitution says?

Article 351 says it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

 

Niyamgiri’s hero gets Goldman Prize

 

Activist Prafulla Samantara is one of the six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize for 2017. He is being honoured for his historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondhs’ land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine.

Prafulla-Samantara-Goldman

About Goldman Prize:

The annual prize awarded by the Goldman Environmental Foundation honours grassroots environmentalists, who risk their lives to protect the environment and empower those who have the most to lose from industrial projects that threaten their traditional livelihoods.

  • Since 1990 when the awards were first instituted, six Indians — Medha Patkar, M.C. Mehta, Rasheeda Bi, Champaran Shukla, Ramesh Agrawal and Prafulla Samantara have won the prize.
  • Apart from a medal and citation, winners receive a substantial cash award though the exact amount is not revealed. Reuters reported in 2014 that individuals won $175,000 (₹1.13 crore approx) as prize money.
  • The Goldman Environmental Prize recipients are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide group of environmental organizations and individuals. The winners are announced every April to coincide with Earth Day.

 

About Dongria Kondhs:

  • The Dongria Kondh in southwestern Odisha is one of India’s so-called “particularly vulnerable tribal groups.”
  • The Kondhas are believed to be from the Proto-Australoid ethnic group. Their native language is Kui, a Dravidian language written with the Odia script.
  • They have a subsistence economy based on foraging, hunting & gathering but they now primarily depend on a subsistence agriculture i.e. shifting cultivation or slash and burn cultivation or Podu.
  • The Dongria Kondh call themselves Jharnia meaning those who live by the Jharana (streams). Hundreds of perennial streams flow from Niyamgiri hill, and there are hundreds of Dongria villages by the streams. The Dongria are considered the protectors of these streams, hills and jungles by the people of the nearby plains.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

‘Child artistes can work only for 5 hours a day’

 

The Labour Ministry has proposed the draft Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017 to fix the working conditions for child artistes and for employing children in family enterprises.

child artist

Key provisions:

  • While a child artiste will not be allowed to work for more than five hours a day, a child “assisting” in a family business can only work for three hours a day.
  • Children will be allowed to assist their family in running family enterprises “without affecting” their school education. The family would include parents, real siblings, and “real brother and sister of the parents”. Such children will not be allowed to engage in any production, supply or retail chain which is “remunerative for the family and hazardous activities.”
  • At least 20% of the income earned by the child artiste will be required to be deposited in a fixed deposit account “in a nationalised bank”. The money would be credited to the child after she turns 18.
  • The permission of the district magistrate would be mandatory for engaging a child artiste. The production unit must nominate a person, who would be held responsible for the safety and security of the child artiste. A child cannot take part in a “street performance for monetary gain”.

 

Background:

The government had brought a new law to govern child labour, known as the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, which put a blanket ban on employment of children below 14 years of age. However, it had made two exceptions in favour of child labour: children could work as child artistes (in the entertainment sector), and could “help” in their family enterprises.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

Appointments Committee of the Cabinet:

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved extension in service to Shri Pradeep Kumar Sinha, IAS as Cabinet Secretary for a further period of one year beyond his tenure.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) decides appointments to several top posts under the Government of India.
  • Composition: The committee is composed of the Prime Minister of India (who is the Chairman), the Minister of Home Affairs.
  • Originally the Minister in-charge of the concerned Ministry was also the part of the committee but as per the new notification the minister of concerned ministry has been excluded from the committee.

 

Veteran actor K. Viswanath wins Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2016:

  • Renowned filmmaker and actor Kasinadhuni Viswanath, best known for his award-winning movies in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi, has won the Dadasaheb Phalke award for the year 2016 for his outstanding contribution to the film industry.
  • He won the Padma Shri in 1992 and the Andhra Pradesh goverment has honoured him with 20 Nandi awards.
  • He will be the 48 recipient of the award, the highest recognition in Indian cinema, which consists of a golden lotus, a cash prize of ₹10 lakh and a shawl.

 

Astronaut Peggy Whitson Sets NASA Record For Most Days In Space:

  • NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has officially set the U.S. record for most cumulative days in space, surpassing astronaut Jeff Williams’ record of 534 days.
  • Whitson also is the first woman to command the space station; she has commanded it twice. Her first stint as commander was in April 2008 and she’s commanding the current crew.
  • She also holds the record for most spacewalks by a female astronaut. Whitson took her eighth spacewalk in March.

 

Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to pilot GSK malaria vaccine from 2018:

  • Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will pilot the world’s first malaria vaccine from 2018, offering it for babies and children in high-risk areas as part of real-life trials. Combined with existing malaria interventions, such a vaccine would have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in Africa.
  • The injectable vaccine, called RTS,S or Mosquirix, was developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline to protect children from the most deadly form of malaria in Africa.
  • This is WHO’s pilot programme to assess whether the Mosquirix’s protective effect in children aged 5 to 17 months can be replicated in real-life.
  • It will also assess the feasibility of delivering the four doses needed, and explore the vaccine’s potential role in reducing the number of children killed by the disease.

 

RDPR bags awards:

  • Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department has bagged e-Puraskar Award for the best performance in empowering panchayats by using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools, for 2016-17. The State bagged the award for its Ganshi Sakshi Kayak GPS-enabled ICT tool.
  • Kerala bagged the second prize, while West Bengal secured third prize in the category of ICT tools.
  • Ministry of Panchayat Raj has been conferring e-Puraskar for bringing in transparency, efficiency and accountability in the functioning of panchayats through ICT tools. The cash prize for the first position is Rs. 2 crore, Rs. 1 crore for second position and Rs. 50 lakh for third position.