Insights Daily Current Affairs, 06 May 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 06 May 2017


 

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

Kambala Bill to be sent again to President with minor modifications

 

The Union Home Ministry has asked Karnataka to modify the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017, and resend it for legalising kambala, the traditional buffalo slush race.

kambala

What’s suggested?

Union Home Ministry has suggested to the government to modify or omit the phrase “subject to such other conditions as may be prescribed” in sub-section 2 of section 3, in the Bill. The phrase opens the window for inclusion of more such sports involving animals through government notifications in the future, as the Centre was keen to prevent such powers to the State government.

As per the modification sought, State government’s powers to include more sports or races involving animals by notifications in future will be clipped.

 

Background:

The Karnataka Legislative Assembly had cleared the Bill in February 2017. Governor had referred the Bill to the President for his assent. The Bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.

 

About Kambala:

Kambla in its traditional form is non-competitive with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields, which is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.

Over the years, it has however become an organised sport with animal rights activists claiming that the buffaloes run in the race due to fear of being beaten, which the organisers dismiss, saying no violence is involved and that several modifications had been made to ensure that it is an animal friendly event.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

President’s nod for law on RBI taking action against loan defaulters

 

President Pranab Mukherjee has approved an ordinance with amendments to the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, allowing the Reserve Bank of India to take timely action against loan defaulters. This comes after the Union cabinet recently approved the proposal to amend Section 35 of the BR Act and sent the ordinance for the President’s approval.

 

Key measures proposed in the ordinance:

  • The government may authorise the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to issue directions to banks to initiate insolvency proceedings against defaulters under the bankruptcy code.
  • RBI on its own accord can issue directions to banks for resolution of stressed assets.
  • RBI may form committees with members it can choose to appoint to advise banks on resolution of stressed assets.

 

Significance of this move:

Earlier banks couldn’t invoke the insolvency and bankruptcy code due to fear of being questioned. Now with RBI directing banks to initiate insolvency this will be a transparent and market-determined approach.

Besides, banks that were part of a consortium found it difficult to trigger bankruptcy proceedings. This ordinance attempts to solve that problem.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

Researchers develop synthetic soft retina

 

Scientists from the University of Oxford have developed a synthetic, soft tissue retina that closely mimics the natural retinal process.

synthetic retina

What you need to know about the synthetic soft retina?

  • The synthetic, double-layered retina replica consists of soft water droplets (hydrogels) and biological cell membrane proteins.
  • Designed like a camera, the cells act as pixels, detecting and reacting to light to create a grey scale image.
  • The synthetic material can generate electrical signals, which stimulate the neurons at the back of our eye just like the original retina.

 

Significance of this discovery:

Until now, artificial retinal research has used mostly rigid, hard materials. The human eye is incredibly sensitive, which is why foreign bodies like metal retinal implants can be so damaging, leading to inflammation and/or scarring. But a biological synthetic implant is soft and water-based, so much more friendly to the eye environment.

The researchers believe this could lead to the development of less invasive products that closely resemble human body tissues, helping to treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa. The condition changes how the retina responds to light, causing people to slowly lose vision.

 

Background:

Just as photography depends on camera pixels reacting to light, vision relies on the retina performing the same function. The retina sits at the back of the human eye, and contains protein cells that convert light into electrical signals that travel through the nervous system, triggering a response from the brain, ultimately building a picture of the scene being viewed.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention. 

 

Entire Assam declared ‘disturbed’

 

Following the repeated violent incidents, the Centre has declared the entire State of Assam a “disturbed” area under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act for three more months, citing various violent activities by insurgent groups ULFA, NDFB and others. This will be in effect for three months. The AFSPA has been continuing in Assam since November 1990.

assam

What is AFSPA?

AFSPA, enacted in 1958, gives powers to the army and state and central police forces to shoot to kill, search houses and destroy any property that is “likely” to be used by insurgents in areas declared as “disturbed” by the home ministry.

  • The Act provides army personnel with safeguards against malicious, vindictive and frivolous prosecution.
  • Security forces can “arrest without warrant” a person, who has committed or even “about to commit a cognizable offence” even on “reasonable suspicion”.

 

What are ‘disturbed’ areas?

The state or central government considers those areas as ‘disturbed’ “by reason of differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.”

 

How is a region declared ‘disturbed’?

Section (3) of the Afspa empowers the governor of the state or Union territory to issue an official notification in The Gazette of India, following which the Centre has the authority to send in armed forces for civilian aid. Once declared ‘disturbed’, the region has to maintain status quo for a minimum of three months, according to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976.

 

What is state government’s role?

The state governments can suggest whether the act is required to be enforced or not. But under Section (3) of the act, their opinion can be overruled by the governor or the Centre. 

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

Set up database of children in orphanages, SC tells govt.

 

The Supreme Court has passed a slew of directions, including setting up of a database of children living in orphanages and child care institutions to ensure their safety and welfare.

 

Background:

The verdict came on a PIL petition filed on the basis of a 2007 newspaper report alleging that orphanages in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, run by NGOs as well as government institutions, were reportedly involved in systematic sexual abuse of children.

 

Directions include:

  • The Centre, States and union territories (UTs) should complete the registration of all child care institutions by year-end. The registration process should also include a database of all children in need of care and protection and update it every month.
  • Authorities concerned should ensure confidentiality and privacy in maintaining the database.
  • Every child in need of care and protection must not be necessarily placed either in a child care institution and alternative option like adoption and foster care could seriously be considered.
  • The Union government and the governments of States and UTs must concentrate on rehabilitation and social re-integration of children in need of care and protection.
  • Centre’s schemes such as skill development and vocational training must be taken advantage of keeping in mind the need to rehabilitate such children.
  • States and UTs should set up ‘Inspection Committees’ before July 31 to conduct regular inspections of child care institutions and prepare reports of such inspections so that the living conditions of kids there undergo positive changes. The first report after conducting the inspection should be filed before the government concerned by December 31.
  • The process for preparing individual child care plans must be initiated immediately and an individual plan must be prepared for each child in each such centre on or before December 31.
  • The process of conducting a social audit must be taken up in right earnest by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights as well as by each State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

No-fly list: Soon, unruly flyers could be grounded for up to 2 yrs

 

The government plans to empower domestic airlines to ban unruly passengers for up to two years. In this regard, the civil aviation ministry has released draft rules for a “national no-fly list” of rowdy passengers — the first of its kind in the world — which allow an airline to bar an individual from three months to a maximum of two years, depending on the nature of the offence.

no fly list

Business Standard

The ministry has categorised “disruptions” by flyers into three levels:

  • Level 1 is for disruptive behaviour like physical gestures.
  • Level 2 is for physically abusive behaviour like pushing, kicking, and sexual harassment.
  • Level 3 for life-threatening behaviour and damage to aircraft operating systems.

 

Key facts:

  • For offences under level 1, a passenger can be grounded for three months, while for level 2 and level 3 offences, he or she can be banned for six months and two years, respectively.
  • International airlines, too, could use these guidelines if they wanted to. Airlines can ban a passenger from flying immediately but that passenger won’t come on the national no-fly list immediately.

 

But, what happens when a passenger feels that he has been wrongly barred from flying?

To address this issue, the government has proposed to form two redress committees — at the airlines-level to be headed by a retired district judge, and at the national level with a retired high court judge as its head. All such grievances will be addressed within 10 days.

 

Montreal protocol 2014:

The global airline lobby group International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged India to ratify the Montreal Protocol 2014, which deals with the safety of flights and passengers.

To address the increase in unruly passenger issues, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) conducted a detailed analysis of such incidents and, in 2009, made a formal request to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to review and enhance the Tokyo Convention of 1963. The Tokyo Convention, which took effect in 1969, governs criminal offenses and other acts committed on board aircraft that jeopardize the safety of flights. A diplomatic conference with 100 governments participating resulted in ICAO’s adoption of the Protocol to Amend the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, done at Montreal on April 4, 2014 (Montreal Protocol 2014).

Montreal Protocol 2014 makes several key improvements to the Tokyo Convention that strengthen an airline’s position when addressing unruly passengers. These include:

  • The Protocol notably extends the jurisdiction to try the unruly passenger from the state of aircraft registration to also include the states in which the operator is located and that is the destination of the flight (including a state to which a flight may be diverted).
  • This will greatly facilitate the prosecution of unruly passengers upon disembarkation.
  • It also clarifies what constitutes unruly behavior by simply requiring reasonable grounds to believe that a serious offense has been committed. Such offenses include physical assault, or the threat thereof, and failure to follow crew instructions.
  • Importantly, Montreal Protocol 2014 expressly recognizes an airline’s right to seek compensation for expenses caused by unruly behavior.

 

When will the protocol come into force?

The Protocol requires the ratification, acceptance, approval or accession of 22 nations to take effect. At present, there are 30 signatories and eight ratifications and accessions.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

 

Molecule Disarib:

  • What is it? It is a novel small molecule, designed and synthesised by Indian researchers. It has shown promise in targeted killing of cancer cells.
  • It works by binding itself to a protein called BCL2, which suppresses the death of cancerous cells. While BCL2 protein is produced in excess in cancer cells, its expression is almost undetectable in normal cells. Hence, Disarib targets and kills only cancer cells while sparing normal cells.