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Insights Daily Current Events, 07 April 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 07 April 2015

Need to relook law on juveniles, SC tells govt.

The Supreme Court recently asked the government to re-visit the Juveniles law so that a juvenile accused of rape and murder cannot get away by claiming he is too young to understand the consequences of his crime.

Observations made by the Supreme Court:

  • The Apex court has observed that it can no longer shut its eyes to the danger posed to society by juveniles accused of heinous crimes like rape, dacoity, murder and drug-peddling.
  • The court has also observed that there can be a situation where a commission of an offence may be totally innocuous or emerging from a circumstance where a young boy is not aware of the consequences. But in cases of rape, dacoity, murder, which are heinous crimes, it is extremely difficult to conceive that the juvenile was not aware of the consequences.

Background:

  • The court was hearing a plea by a murder accused, who claimed that he was less than 18 years old at the time of the alleged crime in May 2000.

Section 2 (k) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act,2000 defines “juvenile” or “Child” as a person who has not completed eighteenth year of age. According to International Law, a ‘Child’ means every human being below the age of 18 years. Today this is a universally accepted definition of a child which comes from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

Govt. moves to clear the air

The government recently launched the National Air Quality Index (AQI) that will put out real time data about the level of pollutants in the air and inform people about the possible impacts on health.

Details:

  • The new index will initially cover 10 cities — Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad — each of which would have monitoring stations with Air Quality Index display boards.

Background:

  • The government has been under immense pressure to take a strong stand on air pollution after a World Health Organization study of 1,600 cities released last year showed that Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital.
  • Another study, conducted by economists and public policy experts from the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago, Yale and Harvard University found that India’s poor air quality reduces the lifespan of the average citizen by 3.2 years.
  • Last year, the environmental preference index ranked India 174 out of 178 countries for air quality. WHO study also found that 13 of the most polluted 20 cities in the world were in India.

About the Index:

  • The AQI is a global standard used to understand air quality.
  • It takes multiple data on pollution already available with the country’s Central Pollution Control Board and presents it as a color coded scale with six levels. Dark green, the first level, indicates good quality air while maroon at the other end indicates severe pollution.
  • For each category, the index identifies associated health impacts. For example when the scale touches maroon, the advisory reads: “May cause respiratory impact even on healthy people, and serious health impacts on people with lung/heart disease. The health impacts may be experienced even during light physical activity.”
  • It gives current as well as 24-hour average data on particulate matter – PM2.5 or very fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, and PM 10 which are less than 10 micrometers in diameter – as well as other pollutants including nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide. PM 2.5 levels are commonly used as the best indicator of severe air pollution, while PM 10 particles are also a cause of public health concern, but less lethal.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

Dena Bank ties up with LIC

Dena Bank recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India under the Prime Minister’s Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJBY) scheme to provide insurance cover to all Aadhaar-linked savings account holders of the bank in the age group of 18 to 50 years.

  • The scheme will come in effect from June 1, 2015.

Prime Minister’s Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJBY) scheme:

The Scheme is to benefit people in case of death for any reason.

  • It is available to people in the age group of 18 to 50, having a bank account.
  • People who join the scheme before completing the age of 50, can continue to have the risk of life cover up to the age of 55 years, subject to the payment of premium.
  • The scheme has an annual premium of Rs 330, with a risk coverage of Rs 2 lakh. The premium will be directly auto- debited by the bank from the subscriber’s account.
  • A person can opt for the scheme for a year or prefer to continue it as a long term option. In case of long term option, his account will be auto- debited every year by the bank.
  • Under the scheme, a risk of Rs.2 lakh will be covered in case of death and a premium sum of Rs.330 per annum will be auto-debited to the account holder’s account. As per the terms of risk coverage, a person has to opt for the scheme every year.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB.

 

Bengaluru shutterbug captures rare Partridge

A photographer recently spotted the Chestnut-breasted Partridge (Arborophila mandellii), endemic to the Eastern Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh.

Chestnut-breasted Partridge:

There are nearly 45 different species of partridges, of which the Chestnut-breasted Partridge — which gets its scientific name from an Italian naturalist — is classified as a ‘hill partridge’. IUCN estimates that about 2,500 Chestnut-breasted Partridges live in Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan and Lower Tibet along the Himalayas.

  • The Wikipedia page shows only a sketch for an image. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which categorises the bird as vulnerable, has only a colourful painting — at least two decades old — as reference.
  • The IUCN has classified this bird as vulnerable.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

Ministry of Culture takes over the management of Lalit Kala Akademi

The government has taken over the management control of Lalit Kala Akademi, an autonomous organisation of the Culture Ministry, following several complaints regarding alleged administrative and financial irregularities in its functioning.

Why?

  • Over the past few years, Ministry of Culture had been receiving complaints regarding alleged administrative and financial irregularities in Lalit Kala Akademi. The Akademi’s General Council and Executive Board are also non-functional since 2013 due to certain court cases. Also, the Akademi’s principal executive officer i.e., the Secretary is currently under suspension with departmental inquiry proceeding having been ordered against him by the Akademi’s Chairman.
  • Due to above mentioned reasons and keeping in view the Akademi’s beleaguered administration and the substantial public interest involved in the Akademi’s vibrant and transparent functioning, the Central government has taken over the management control of Lalit Kala Akademi.

Lalit Kala Akademi:

The Lalit Kala Akademi or National Academy of Art is India’s National Academy of Fine Arts. It was an autonomous organization, established at New Delhi in 1954 by Government of India to promote and propagate understanding of Indian art, both within and outside the country. It does so through providing scholarships, a fellow program, and sponsoring and organizing numerous exhibitions in India and overseas.

  • It is funded by the Union Ministry of Culture.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

First of Scorpene Submarines-Kalvari ‘Undocked’

Kalvari, first of the Indian Navy’s Scorpene class stealth submarines being built under the Project 75, under collaboration with M/s DCNS, France, achieved a major milestone recently with her ‘undocking’ at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).

  • The six Scorpenes are being built by Mazagon Docks Ltd in collaboration with French firm DCNS.
  • The project 75 which has already seen a delay of almost 40 months has now been brought on track and the delivery schedule for the successive submarines have been reduced.
  • The Scorpene submarines are the precursor to the Navy of tomorrow and their induction into the Navy justifies the Indian Navy’s credo of “Glorious wake, Vibrant future.”

Scorpene-class submarine:

The Scorpene class submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarine jointly developed by the French DCN and the Spanish company Navantia and now by DCNS. It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP) system.

Air-independent propulsion:

Air-independent propulsion (AIP) is any technology which allows a non-nuclear submarine to operate without the need to access atmospheric oxygen (by surfacing or using a snorkel). AIP can augment or replace the diesel-electric propulsion system of non-nuclear vessels. The DCNS system, known as MESMA (Module d’Energie Sous-Marine Autonome), is based on the combustion of stored oxygen and ethanol to augment battery-powered propulsion.

Significance of AIP:

  • Notably, a submarine is about stealth. It is a weapons platform not visible to the naked eye. AIP significantly improves stealth because it enables a submarine to generate electricity for services and battery charging and propulsion while completely submerged.
  • AIP systems are auxiliary, like a smaller hull inserted in the main body. They generate electricity, powering a submarine’s to operate and also generate oxygen, lighting and amenities for crew. Accordingly, they enable conventional diesel-electric submarines to remain submerged for two to three weeks at a time. Without AIP, diesel-electric submarines have to come up to snorkeling depths just below the surface or surface at shorter intervals so that the diesel engines can recharge their batteries. This significantly increases the risk of detection.
  • A submarine’s diesel engines can only be started once the snorkel has cleared the surface to take in oxygen in the fresh air. Snorkeling depth is about the same as periscope depth. AIP significantly improves stealth because it enables a submarine to generate electricity for services and battery charging and propulsion while completely submerged.
  • A benefit of this approach is that it can be retrofitted into existing submarine hulls by inserting an additional hull section. AIP does not normally provide the endurance or power to replace the atmospheric dependent propulsion, but allows it to remain submerged longer than a more conventionally propelled submarine.
  • A typical conventional power plant will provide 3 megawatts maximum, and an AIP source around 10% of that. A nuclear submarine’s propulsion plant is usually much greater than 20 megawatts. Another advantage is that the Non-nuclear submarines running on battery power or AIP can be virtually silent.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

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