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Insights Daily Current Events, 16 April 2015

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Insights Daily Current Events, 16 April 2015

China issues white paper on Tibet

The Chinese government has issued a white paper on southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, applauding its development path and denouncing the “middle way” advocated by the Dalai Lama.

Details of the White Paper:

  • The white paper, under the title “Tibet’s Path of Development Is Driven by an Irresistible Historical Tide”, holds that Tibet’s current development path is correct.
  • It says that Tibet’s continual progress on its present path of development is an objective requirement of modern civilization. It accords with the progressive trend of human society, the prevailing conditions and the current reality in China, and the fundamental interests of all ethnic groups in Tibet.
  • The report accuses the Dalai group of being opportunistic in the talks with the central government.
  • The report presents a rich collection of evidence to prove that the Dalai Lama and his supporters have never abandoned the use of violence to promote their ultimate goal of “Tibetan independence”.
  • China has also said that greater autonomy for Tibet was not up for discussion and has accused the spiritual leader of backing “ethnic cleansing”.

Beijing uses this progress as evidence that its rule over Tibet is the only possible path for development. Any person or force that attempts to resist the tide will simply be cast aside by history and by the people.

Sources: The Hindu, BS.

 

Govt. forms panel to review Official Secrets Act

A high-level committee formed by the Union government to look into the provisions of the Official Secrets Act in the light of the Right to Information (RTI) Act is all set to meet for the first time under the chairmanship of the Home Secretary.

Purpose of this meet:

  • The meeting will start a long-awaited process to do away with excessive secrecy through amendments in the Official Secrets Act, a law enacted by the British in 1923.

The committee was formed with aim to make changes to the Official Secrets Act to complete the transition from the secrecy regime of the past century to a more modern and democratic transparency regime.

Official Secrets Act:

It is India’s anti espionage (Spy” and “Secret agent”) act enacted in 1923 during the British Rule.

  • It states clearly that any action which involves helping an enemy state against India is illegal.
  • It also states that one cannot approach, inspect, or even pass over a prohibited government site or area.
  • According to this Act, helping the enemy state can be in the form of communicating a sketch, plan, model of an official secret, or of official codes or passwords, to the enemy.
  • The disclosure of any information that is likely to affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, or friendly relations with foreign States, is punishable by this act.

Punishments under the Act range from three to fourteen years imprisonment. A person prosecuted under this Act can be charged with the crime even if the action was unintentional and not intended to endanger the security of the state. The Act only empowers persons in positions of authority to handle official secrets, and others who handle it in prohibited areas or outside them are liable for punishment.

Conflict with the RTI Act:

In Clause 6 of the Official Secrets Act, information from any governmental office is considered official information, hence it can be used to override Right to Information Act 2005 requests. This has drawn harsh criticism.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

Bike ambulance to serve accident victims in Bengaluru

Bengaluru has become the first city in the country to get an ambulance service on two-wheelers.

  • The Karnataka government has taken the novel initiative to launch the Bike Ambulance service to reach out to patients and accident victims stuck in congested city areas.
  • To begin with, the health department of Karnatak has launched 30 motorcycle ambulances.

Details:

  • The two-wheeled ambulances are equipped with first-aid kits and oxygen cylinders, and the rider will be a trained paramedic with a driving licence.
  • The 30 First Responder Bikes, launched alongside the already existing 711 ‘Arogya Kavacha’ 108 Ambulances, are stationed at hotspots in Bangalore so that they reach accident spots within “Platinum 10” minutes to provide care to the affected.

Sources: The Hindu.

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