Insights Daily Current Affairs, 27 November 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 27 November 2017


 

GS Paper 2:

Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

National Law Day

 

national law day

 

Context:

November 26 is regarded as the second Constitution Day in the modern history of India. It is also celebrated as the National Law Day. This year, the National Law Day was celebrated jointly by the Law Commission of India and NITI Aayog.

 

About National Law Day:

Why November 26th?

Sixty-eight years ago on November 26, the Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituency Assembly. However, the Constitution was only partially adopted that day. The full adoption came two months later on January 26, 1950 – the day is celebrated as the Republic Day to mark the anniversary of occasion.

Background:

It was in 1979, when the first proposal was mooted to celebrate November 26 as an anniversary of the adoption of Constitution and assess the state of law in the country as envisaged by the framers of the legal document. Noted jurist and former parliamentarian LM Singhvi proposed to in the Supreme Court Bar Association that National Law Day should be celebrated to mark the adoption of Constitution on November 26. A resolution was passed by the Supreme Court Bar Association in 1979. The National Law Day was celebrated thereafter till 2015.

 

Constitution Day or National Law Day?

The government in October 2015 decided that November 26 would be celebrated as the Constitution Day in the memory of Dr BR Ambedkar. On November 19 that year, the government issued a gazette notification declaring that November 26 as the Constitution Day.

 

SOME UNIQUE FACTS ABOUT CONSTITUTION:

  • The Constitution was prepared over 2 years, 11 months and 17 days. The session of the Constituent Assembly was held on December 9, 1946.
  • A total of 11 sessions of the Constituent Assembly was held including those by the drafting committee under the chairmanship of BR Ambedkar.
  • The drafting committee was one of the 17 such bodied set up under the Constituent Assembly.
  • Dr Rajendra Prasad, who went on to become the first President of India, was the chairman of the Constituent Assembly. The Constitution making committees held meetings on 165 days to hold deliberations and debate provisions to be incorporated.
  • There were 299 members, including 15 women, of the Constituent Assembly. Of them 284 members finally signed the Constitution, when it was adopted in 1949.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Inter-State Council

 

Context:

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh chaired the recently held 12th meeting of the Standing Committee of Inter-State Council (ISC). Recommendations of the Punchhi Commission on Centre-State Relations were discussed during the meeting.

 

inter-state council

 

Background:

The Punchhi Commission was set up by the Government under the chairmanship of Justice (Retd.) Madan Mohan Punchhi, former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India in 2005. The Punchhi Commission submitted its report in 2010. The Central government constituted the Punchhi Commission to look into the new issues of Centre-state relations keeping in view the changes that have taken place in the polity and economy.

 

About the inter-state council:

What is it?

The Council is a recommendatory body to investigate and discuss subjects, in which some or all of the states or the union government have a common interest.

 

Key facts:

  • Article 263 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of an Inter-State Council.
  • It considers recommendations for the better coordination of policy and action, and also matters of general interest to the states.
  • The inter-state council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the states and union government. It can be established ‘at any time’ if it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a council.

 

The Council shall consist of:

  • Prime minister who is the chairman.
  • Chief ministers of all states who are members.
  • Chief ministers of union territories and administrators of UTs as members.
  • Six union ministers of cabinet rank in the union council of ministers nominated by the prime minister are also members.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

 

WHO releases guidelines on responding to child sex abuse

 

children-adolescents-sexual-abuse

 

For the first time, WHO has published guidelines to help (primarily) front-line healthcare providers give high-quality, compassionate, and respectful care to children and adolescents (up to age 18) who have or may have experienced sexual abuse, including sexual assault or rape.

 

Need for comprehensive guidelines:

Girls and boys who experience abuse often face a number of short and long term negative consequences for their mental, physical, sexual, and reproductive health and well-being. Boys and girls who are sexually abused face higher risks of lifetime diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, externalizing symptoms, sleep disorders, and having thoughts of suicide and self-harm. They are more likely to engage in unsafe-sex, abuse of drugs and misuse of alcohol, placing them at higher risk for STIs and HIV and for other negative health outcomes that last into adulthood. For girls there is also increased risk of pregnancy and gynaecological disorders.

 

About the new guidelines:

The new guidelines address an important gap in providing quality and trauma-informed care to survivors by placing emphasis on the safety, wishes, autonomy of children and adolescents.

 

Health care providers are recommended to:

  • Provide first line support that is child or adolescent-centred and gender sensitive in response to disclosure of sexual abuse.
  • Minimize additional trauma and distress while taking medical history, conducting the examination and documenting the findings.
  • Offer HIV post-exposure prophylaxis and adherence support to those who have been raped and who present within 72 hours.
  • Offer emergency contraception to girls who have been raped and who present within 120 hours/ 5 days.
  • Consider STI presumptive treatment or prophylaxis in settings where laboratory testing is not feasible.
  • Offer Hepatitis B and HPV vaccination as per national guidance.
  • Consider cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a trauma focus for those have PTSD symptoms and diagnosis and where safe and appropriate to do so involve at least 1 non-offending caregiver.
  • Where required to report child sexual abuse to designated authorities, health care providers should inform the child or adolescent and their non-offending caregivers about the obligation to report the abuse and the limits of confidentiality before interviewing them.

 

Way ahead:

The presence of guidelines and following them is extremely essential. But, there is more than just guidelines required in the country. These should be followed with ground training of all first line respondents. However, guidelines and training is not the end of the issue. The victims and their families face the worse in terms of investigation and its outcome. It is not adequate to pass on the burden on the healthcare sector. The government needs to adopt a policy that will streamline all the other aspects as well.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

 

Atal scheme

atal-pension-yojna

 

Context:

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is stepping up its initiative to achieve the target of one crore accounts under the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) by the fiscal-end. Focused on the workers in the unorganised sector, PFRDA has already been able to open 73 lakh such accounts so far. The regulator is going all out to promote pension scheme in the rural areas with the help of regional rural banks.

 

About APY:

What is it?

The Atal Pension Yojana became operational from June 1, 2015 and is available to all the citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years.

 

Features:

  • Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, depending upon his contribution, from the age of 60 years.
  • The same pension would be paid to the spouse of the subscriber and on the demise of both the subscriber and the spouse, the accumulated pension wealth is returned to the nominee.
  • The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber account, for a period of 5 years, that is, from 2015-16 to 2019-20, to those who join the NPS before 31st December, 2015 and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme and who are not Income Tax payers.

 

PFRDA:

What is it? The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is a pension regulatory authority which was established in 2003. It is authorized by Ministry of Finance, Department of Financial Services.

What it does? It promotes old age income security by establishing, developing and regulating pension funds and protects the interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds and related matters. It is also responsible for appointment of various intermediate agencies such as Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA), Pension Fund Managers, Custodian, NPS Trustee Bank, etc.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

GS Paper 3:

Topic: economics of animal-rearing.

 

National Milk Day

 

varghese kurein

 

Context:

November 26 was observed as National Milk across the country Day to mark the birth anniversary of Father of the White Revolution Dr. Verghese Kurien.

 

Background:

The idea of observing National Milk Day was first mooted by Indian Dairy Association in 2014 on the lines of World Milk Day observed on June 1 under the aegis of UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The first NMD was observed on 26 November 2014 by all Indian diary sector majors including National Dairy Development Board, Indian Dairy Association along with state level milk federations.

 

About Verghese Kurien:

  • Verghese Kurien had dedicated his entire life for a cooperative movement which boosted the production of milk in India. Dr Kurien was an Indian social entrepreneur known as the ‘Father of the White Revolution’ for launching Operation flood — the world’s largest agricultural development programme.
  • Known as the ‘milkman of India’, Dr Kurien was the founder-Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) from 1965 to 1998, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) from 1973 to 2006 and the Institute of Rural Management (IRMA) from 1979 to 2006, which are owned and managed by farmers and run by professionals.

 

Milk production in India:

India ranks first in milk production, accounting for 18.5 % of world production, achieving an annual output of 146.3 million tonnes during 2014-15 as compared to 137.69 million tonnes during 2013-14 recording a growth of 6.26 %. Whereas, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported a 3.1 % increase in world milk production in 2014. The per capita availability of milk in India has increased from 176 grams per day in 1990-91 to 322 grams per day by 2014-15. It is more than the world average of 294 grams per day during 2013.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

Topic: nano-technology.

 

World’s smallest data recorder made of bacteria

 

tape recorder

 

Context: The researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) in the U.S. have modified an ordinary laboratory strain of the ubiquitous human gut microbe Escherichia coli into the world’s smallest data recorder. Researchers have converted this natural bacterial immune system enabling the bacteria to not only record their interactions with the environment but also time-stamp the events.

 

How was it created?

Researchers created the microscopic data recorder by taking advantage of CRISPR-Cas, an immune system in many species of bacteria. CRISPR-Cas copies snippets of DNA from invading viruses so that subsequent generations of bacteria can repel these pathogens more effectively.

As a result, the CRISPR locus of the bacterial genome accumulates a chronological record of the bacterial viruses that it and its ancestors have survived. When those same viruses try to infect again, the CRISPR-Cas system can recognise and eliminate them.

 

Potential applications:

This discovery has formed the groundwork for a new class of technologies that use bacterial cells for everything from disease diagnosis to environmental monitoring. Such bacteria, swallowed by a patient, might be able to record the changes they experience through the whole digestive tract, yielding an unprecedented view of previously inaccessible phenomena.

Other applications could include environmental sensing and basic studies in ecology and microbiology, where bacteria could monitor otherwise invisible changes without disrupting their surroundings.

 

What is CRISPR?

CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. Its many potential applications include correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops. However, its promise also raises ethical concerns.

CRISPR technology was adapted from the natural defense mechanisms of bacteria and archaea (the domain of single-celled microorganisms). These organisms use CRISPR-derived RNA and various Cas proteins, including Cas9, to foil attacks by viruses and other foreign bodies. They do so primarily by chopping up and destroying the DNA of a foreign invader. When these components are transferred into other, more complex, organisms, it allows for the manipulation of genes, or “editing.”

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: space.

 

Aditya-L1

 

 

aditya -L1

 

Context:

ISRO is planning to launch Aditya-L1, India’s maiden mission to the Sun, in 2019.

 

About Aditya- L1 mission:

What is it? It is India’s first solar mission. It will study the sun’s outer most layers, the corona and the chromospheres and collect data about coronal mass ejection, which will also yield information for space weather prediction.

Significance of the mission: The data from Aditya mission will be immensely helpful in discriminating between different models for the origin of solar storms and also for constraining how the storms evolve and what path they take through the interplanetary space from the Sun to the Earth.

Position of the satellite: In order to get the best science from the sun, continuous viewing of the sun is preferred without any occultation/ eclipses and hence, Aditya- L1 satellite will be placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the sun-earth system.

 

What are Lagrangian points and halo orbit?

Lagrangian points are the locations in space where the combined gravitational pull of two large masses roughly balance each other. Any small mass placed at that location will remains at constant distances relative to the large masses. There are five such points in Sun-Earth system and they are denoted as L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5. A halo orbit is a periodic three-dimensional orbit near the L1, L2 or L3.

 

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

  • World’s first Artificial Intelligence politician developed:

Scientists have developed the world’s first artificial intelligence politician, called SAM. The virtual politician, called SAM, was created by Nick Gerritsen, a 49-year-old entrepreneur in New Zealand.

Unique features: SAM can answer a person’s queries regarding local issues such as policies around housing, education and immigration. The AI politician is constantly learning to respond to people through Facebook Messenger as well as a survey on its homepage.