Insights Daily Current Events, 19 September 2015
Paper 2 Topic: Responsibilities of various constitutional bodies.
EC clears PM’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ tomorrow
The Election Commission has given the go-ahead to the airing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme, provided nothing is said that may be construed as inducement to voters or having an impact on poll-bound Bihar where model code of conduct is in force.
- The EC has issued this order in response to a clarification sought by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the issue recently.
- The Commission has said that it also has no objection to pre-broadcast publicity through different channels of AIR and Doordarshan.
- A demand was also made by anti-BJP grand alliance demanding that the PM’s programme be suspended till the elections in Bihar are over. However, EC has turned down the demand.
Model Code of Conduct(MCC):
What is MCC?
These are the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, election manifestos, processions and general conduct.
Aim: To ensure free and fair elections.
When it comes into force?
- The Model Code of Conduct comes into force immediately on announcement of the election schedule by the commission.
- The Code remains in force till the end of the electoral process.
- The need for such code is in the interest of free and fair elections. However, the code does not have any specific statutory basis. It has only a persuasive effect.
- It contains what is known as “rules of electoral morality”. But this lack of statutory backing does not prevent the Commission from enforcing it.
- The Commission issued the code for the first time in 1971 (5th Election) and revised it from time to time.
- This set of norms has been evolved with the consensus of political parties who have consented to abide by the principles embodied in the said code and also binds them to respect and observe it in its letter and spirit.
The salient features of the Model Code of Conduct lay down how political parties, contesting candidates and party(s) in power should conduct themselves during the process of elections i.e. on their general conduct during electioneering, holding meetings and processions, poll day activities and functioning of the party in power etc.
Sources: The Hindu, MCC.
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.
Evidence Act likely to be amended
The union government is considering changes to the Evidence Act.
- To make it easier to deal with cases of cyber crime.
Problem with the present act:
- Presently, there is provision for online submission of evidence under the Act.
- Since law enforcement agencies have started accepting online complaints, experts say that there should be a provision for online submission of evidence also.
Section 65 B:
According to Section 65 B (2) of the Evidence Act, any electronic evidence to be permissible in court has to be certified by the signature of the person concerned, to whom the computer belonged. Essentially, a certified document has to be attached to any kind of evidence generated from a computer, without application of logic that the contents in the computer could itself have been tampered with.
- Experts feel that this is an impediment on many occasions since it cannot be applied to mobile-based web applications like WhatsApp and other messenger services.
The Indian Evidence Act framed in 1872 has been amended only once in 2000.
An expert group was also constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to look into the matter. The committee has made number of recommendations including:
- An overhaul of the Evidence Act to make it dynamic.
- Develop a mechanism to monitor online activity.
- Separate agency for online reporting of cases pertaining to cyber crime
- Data show that there has been a 50% rise in cases of cyber crime in 2014 compared to 2013, and the conviction rate has been quite low for want of evidence.
- According to data available with the National Crime Records Bureau, 4,356 cases of cyber crime were reported in 2013 compared with 2,876 in 2012.
Sources: The Hindu.
Topic: Art and culture.
The entire western region of Odisha recently celebrated the agrarian festival of Nuakhai in gaiety and religious fervour.
- During the festival, the head of the family worships the household deity, offering rice and other food items. He then distributes the prashad among the family members. All family members take their food together on this occasion.
- Apart from the rituals of offering the new crop to the deity, the ‘Nuakhai Juhar’ is a major ritual of the festival, which is an exchange of greetings with friends, relatives and well-wishers.
- The festival is a symbol of friendship, love and affection.
- The people express their gratitude to the Almighty for the foodgrain on the occasion of Nuakhai.
- Nuakhai is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Western Odisha in India. The word nua means new and khai means food, so the name means the farmers are in possession of the newly harvested rice.
- It is observed to welcome the new rice of the season.
- According to the Hindu calendar it is observed on panchami tithi (the fifth day) of the lunar fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada or Bhaadra (August–September), the day after the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
- This is the most important social festival of Western Odisha.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
Indian Railways Develops Hybrid Vacuum Toilets
Development Cell of the Railway Board has come up with a design that combines the advantages of Vacuum toilets and those of Biotoilets to create a new design of “Hybrid Vacuum Toilet”.
- A prototype has been made by modifying the standard flushing protocol of a vacuum toilet so as to create water seal and additional post flush cycles.
- This concept has been converted into a working prototype by Indian Railways as a first ever system of its kind to have been developed and built by any railway system in the world.
- The prototype consists of a custom designed Vacuum toilet adapted from a commercially available vacuum toilet that is used in aircrafts which evacuates its discharge into a biodigester tank which is now successfully proven in the biotoilets of Indian Railways.
- The biodigester tank is fitted underneath the coach and contains anaerobic bacteria that converts human fecal matter into water and small amount of gases before discharging the same on the ground/track.
- By transferring the discharge of the vacuum toilets into biodigester, the need to create separate ground handling installation and creating additional sewer load on the Municipal Corporation will be done away with.
Typically, a conventional toilet or Biotoilet uses 10 – 15 liters of water per flush whereas the vacuum toilet consumes only appx. 500 ml of water for flushing. This innovation would save water to the tune of at least 1/20th of the quantity that is used in the current design of biotoilets/conventional toilets.