Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 December 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 December 2017


 

GS Paper 1:

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Hornbill Festival

 

Context: Hornbill Festival was celebrated on the State Formation Day of Nagaland on December 1. The Hornbill Festival is the perfect showcase of rich Naga culture and traditions, preserved over the years in the form of music, dance and food.

 

Hornbill festival

 

About the Hornbill Festival:

  • Hornbill Festival is the most anticipated festivals of Nagaland held between December 1st to December 10th every year.
  • The aim of the festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its traditional extravaganza. All the tribes of Nagaland, around 16, take part in this week long festival, with utmost zeal.
  • The Hornbill festival is named after the hornbill bird. The bird is highly respected and its importance is reflected in tribal folklore, songs and dances.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

GS PAPER 2:

Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

 

Autonomy of Election Commission

 

Context: The Supreme Court has sought the Attorney-General’s assistance on a PIL petition pointing out the vagueness in the procedure for removal of Election Commissioners, saying it affects the Election Commission’s autonomy.

 

election commission of india

 

What’s the issue?

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court arguing that though the proviso to Article 324 (5) of the Constitution safeguards the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) from arbitrary removal, the same provision is silent about the procedure for removal of the two Election Commissioners.

It only provides that they cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC. The petition said the ambiguity about the removal procedure of the Election Commissioners may affect the functional independence of the Commission.

 

Constitutional provisions:

The CEC and the Election Commissioners have a tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65, whichever is earlier, and enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Supreme Court judges.

Removal of ECs: The CEC and the Election Commissioners enjoy the same decision-making powers which is suggestive of the fact that their powers are at par with each other. However, Article 324(5) does not provide similar protection to the Election Commissioners and it merely says that they cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC.

 

Way ahead:

The petition has asked the Supreme Court to provide Election Commissioners with the same protection against arbitrary removal as the Chief Election Commissioner. It is because the element of independence sought to be achieved under the Constitution is not exclusively for an individual alone but for the institution.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

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

 

World AIDS Day 2017

 

World AIDS Day takes place on the 1st December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

 

world aids day

 

WHY IS WORLD AIDS DAY IMPORTANT?

Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, many people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.

World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

 

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This virus leads to infection and it attacks the immune system. While HIV can be transmitted between people, AIDS is a condition that is acquired only after a person has contracted the HIV infection. AIDS is the final stage of the HIV infection.

 

How can HIV be diagnosed?

Serological tests, such as RDTs or enzyme immunoassays (EIAs), detect the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1/2 and/or HIV p24 antigen. No single HIV test can provide an HIV-positive diagnosis. It is important that these tests are used in combination and in a specific order.

 

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.

 

National Nutrition Mission

 

Context: The cabinet has approved the setting up of a National Nutrition Mission (NNM) with a three-year budget of Rs9,046.17 crore, to rein in malnourishment and stunted growth.

 

national nutrition mission

 

Key facts:

  • NNM will address three aspects—the food that should be given to rein in stunting, undernourishment, low birthweight and anaemia; the delivery system required for it; and monitoring of the entire process.
  • Under the mission, the government is targeting a reduction of 2% a year in stunting, undernutrition and low birthweight among 100 million people. Also, it aims to reduce anaemia among young children, women and adolescent girls by 3% a year.
  • The mission would include several components like an ICT (information and communications technology)-based real-time monitoring system, incentivizing of states and Union territories to meet their targets, social audits, and setting up of nutrition resource centres.

 

Implementation:

Under NNM, the ministries of women and child development, health and family welfare, and water and sanitation will work together. The mission will form an apex body that would fix targets and monitor, supervise and guide nutrition-related interventions across the ministries.

  • The implementation strategy for NNM would be based on intense monitoring and a convergence action plan up to the grass-roots level. The programme would be undertaken in a phased manner, covering 315 districts in 2017-18, 235 districts in 2018-19 and the remaining districts in 2019-20.
  • NNM would be implemented using information technology as the basic tool; workers at anganwadis (women and child development centres) would be given smartphones and their supervisors smart tablets to monitor daily activities and compile reports. The move will be a deviation from the old practice of maintaining registers and will also help to reduce pilferage.

 

Way ahead:

It is very important to invest in nutrition in India because balanced diet and healthy nutrition plays a pivotal role in overall development of women and children. Healthy women deliver healthy children and nurture a good society, and healthy and nourished children are the country’s future. Therefore, to tackle undernutrition problem in the country, various ministries need to work in convergence and not silos and NNM will be a platform to do so. NNM will ensure convergence, and lead to better results.

 

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.

 

Transgender Persons Bill, 2016

 

Context: The contentious Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 is set to be re-introduced in the winter session of Parliament without any change in the draft provisions. However, India’s transgender community — which numbers 4.8 million according to data from the latest round of the census — is opposing this move, since they believe the legislation meant to safeguard their interests only serves to undermine their right to life and livelihood.

 

transgender rights bill

 

Background:

In February 2014, the Supreme Court passed a landmark judgement, paving the way for enshrining the rights of transgenders in law. The apex court deemed that individuals had the right to the self-identification of their sexual orientation. It ruled that the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution are equally applicable to transgenders who constitute the ‘third gender’. The judgement also called for affirmative action in education, primary health care, and that transgenders be identified as beneficiaries of social welfare schemes.

 

Why is the transgender community upset?

  • The final version of the legislation identifies transgenders as being “partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male”. This definition which draws a clinical caricature is a departure from the intention of the original Bill to cleanse society of the stigma it placed on transgenders.
  • Moreover, to be recognised as transgenders, individuals have to submit themselves to a medical examination by a District Screening Committee comprising of a Chief Medical Officer, a psychiatrist, a social worker, and a member of the transgender community. This is in stark contrast to the 2014 Bill which gives individuals the right to self-identify their sex.
  • The anti-discriminatory clauses of the Bill are extended to education, health care and social security. The provision of earmarking jobs for transgenders, a central plank of the 2014 Bill, has been lost in translation, with the diluted new draft ditching reservations and espousing equal opportunity in all spheres of life, as a panacea to create equity among the sexes.
  • Grievance redressal has been internalised, with establishments consisting of hundred or more persons mandated to designate a complaint officer to deal with any violation of the Act. This is in lieu of the setting up of central and State transgender rights courts.

 

What did the standing committee recommend?

The bill was referred to a standing committee. In its report on the 2016 draft Bill, the committee draws attention to the inadequate definition of the third gender, which is founded on a heterosexual worldview. It also advocates extending civil rights enjoyed by the citizenry, such as marriage, divorce, and adoption, to encompass the third gender.

Other recommendations include the rescue, protection, and rehabilitation of transgenders. Educational institutions have been directed to adopt an inclusive approach that is gender-neutral.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement

 

Context: Member States of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) recently met in New Delhi to discuss modalities for promoting coastal shipping in the region. In this first meeting of the Working Group member countries discussed the draft text of BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement drafted by the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India.

The meeting of the Working Group is a follow up of the BIMSTEC leaders’ call at the Retreat hosted by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in Goa in October 2016, to enhance connectivity in the region.

 

bimstec achievements

 

About the Coastal Shipping Agreement:

The objective of the above agreement is to facilitate coastal shipping in the region, thereby giving a boost to trade between the member countries.

  • The agreement would apply to coastal shipping, that is shipping within 20 nautical miles of the coastline. The requirements for movement of vessels in this part of the sea are different from standard requirements of deep sea shipping.
  • Coastal ship movements require smaller vessels and lesser draft, and therefore, involve lower costs. Once the agreement is ratified by the member countries and becomes operational, a lot of cargo movement between the member countries can be done through the cost effective, environment friendly and faster coastal shipping route.

 

What you need to know about BIMSTEC?

BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a regional organisation which comprises of seven member states which lie near the Bay of Bengal.

  • This sub-regional organisation was started on June 6, in the year 1997 through a Bangkok Declaration.
  • BIMSTEC consists of seven countries: 5 come from South Asia, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka; and 2 come from Southeast Asia, which includes Myanmar and Thailand.
  • BIMSTEC headquarters are situated in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • The whole region which constitutes the BIMSTEC is home to over 1.5 billion people. The population counts for around 22 percent of the total world population. These countries have a combined GDP of $2.7 trillion.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

GS Paper 3:

Topic: conservation.

 

Certificate of Commendation to WCCB

wildlife-crime-control-bureau

 

India has been awarded with the Certificate of Commendation for its exemplary enforcement action in its regional and global effort to combat illegal wildlife trade. The award has been given to Wildlife Crime Control Bureau by the Secretary General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

India was the only recipient of the Certificate of Commendation at the recently held 69th Standing Committee meeting of CITES at Geneva.

 

Operation Save Kurma:

The award has been presented to WCCB for its efforts in conducting and coordinating a species specific wildlife enforcement Operation, codenamed “Operation Save Kurma”.  “Operation Save Kurma” was conducted in the country by the WCCB to combat the proliferating illegal trade in live turtles and its parts from the country to destinations abroad. The operation was also aimed to invite attention of the enforcement agencies towards such illegal trade. During the ‘Operation Save Kurma’ conducted from December 15, 2016 to January 30, 2017, approximately 16, 000 live turtles/tortoises were seized and released back into the wild.

 

About WCCB:

The Government of India constituted a statutory body, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) on 6 June 2007, by amending the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It was established to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.

 

Functions:

Under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, it is mandated to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and to disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend the criminals; to establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank; co-ordinate actions by various agencies in connection with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act.

It will also assist State Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to wildlife crimes and advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws. It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

Topic: awareness in space.

 

China’s DAMPE probe

 

Context: A Chinese satellite which was sent to the skies to look for evidence of the annihilation or decay of dark matter particles in space has detected unexpected and mysterious signals in its measurement of high-energy cosmic rays, bringing scientists closer to proving the existence of the invisible matter. The mysterious dark matter is believed to comprise a quarter of universe.

 

china's dampe probe

 

The satellite, Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE), also called Wukong or “Monkey King”, has measured more than 3.5 billion cosmic ray particles with the highest energy up to 100 tera-electron-volts (TeV), including 20 million electrons and positrons, with unprecedented high energy resolution, Xinhua reported.

 

Significance of these findings:

Precise measurement of cosmic rays, especially at the very high energy range, are important for scientists to look for traces of dark matter annihilation or decay, as well as to understand the universe’s most energetic astrophysical phenomena, such as pulsars, active galaxy nuclei and supernova explosions.

 

What is Dark Matter?

Dark matter is one of the great riddles of physics. While normal matter – making up the stars and planets and so on – is understood to account for just four percent of the mass-energy density of the universe, dark matter is believed to make up a quarter, yet its nature is unknown and yet to be detected. Its existence has been postulated through observations of the cosmos and, though elusive, it is key to the formation of the galaxies and structure of the universe.

 

About DAMPLE:

DAMPE, short for DArk Matter Particle Explorer, was designed to look for clues to support one hypothesis for dark matter, which claims it consists of weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs. The idea for DAMPE was to collect the high energy cosmic ray electrons and anti-matter counterpart positrons, which are emitted by phenomena such as supernovae and pulsars.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

Ajeya Warrior-2017:

What is it? It is a fourteen days training exercise between the Indian Army and the British Army. It is being held in Rajasthan. It is the third joint military exercise between the two countries. The first exercise was conducted in 2013 at Belgaum, Karnataka, whereas for the second exercise in 2015, an Indian Army contingent had visited the United Kingdom.

The aim of the exercise is to build and promote bilateral relations and enhance interoperability while sharing experiences between the Royal British Army and the Indian Army.