Insights Daily Current Events, 02 July 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Ministry seeks law panel’s opinion on uniform civil code
The Union Law Ministry has asked the Law Commission to examine in detail all issues pertaining to the Uniform Civil Code and submit a report to the government. The government has clarified that a decision on the future course of action would be taken on the basis of the Law Commission report. If it is required in the larger interest of the country, the government has clarified that it will hold consultations with various stakeholders on the issue.
Constitutional provision regarding UCC:
Article 44 of the Constitution says that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. According to this article, “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. Since, the Directive Principles are only guidelines, it is not mandatory to use them.
What is uniform civil code?
Uniform civil Code is a proposal to have a generic set of governing laws for every citizen without taking into consideration the religion.
Currently, there are personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community. They are separate from the public law and are applied on issues like-
- Adoption and maintenance.
Why it is difficult to have a UCC?
India being a secular country guarantees its minorities the right to follow their own religion, culture and customs under Article 29 and 30. But implementing a Uniform Code will hamper India’s secularism.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
India abstains on vote for LGBT rights at U.N.
India chose to abstain at the UN Human Rights Council vote recently to appoint an independent investigator to help protect homosexuals and transgender people worldwide from violence and discrimination.
- India abstained from the LGBT vote in the United Nations as the case is subjudice and the Supreme Court is yet to pronounce its verdict.
- However, overcoming strong objections by Saudi Arabia and Muslim countries, UNHRC adopted a Western-backed resolution by a vote of 23 states in favour and 18 against with six abstentions including that of India, South Africa and the Philippines.
In 2011, the UN rights body declared there should be no discrimination or violence against people based on their sexual orientation. At the time, Western countries called the vote historic but Islamic states firmly rejected it.
India’s response on the LGBT vote in the UN comes hours after LGBT community members expressed disappointment over its move to help protect the rights of homosexuals and transgenders worldwide.
It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
- It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
- The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
- The term of each seat is three years, and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
- The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and engages the United Nations’ special procedures.
- The General Assembly can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership. The suspension process requires a two-thirds majority vote by the General Assembly.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: biodiversity.
India’s thriving biodiversity: 445 new species added in 2015
In all, 445 new species have been added to India’s list in 2015, according to the report on animal and plant discoveries of 2015. The figure includes 262 animal species and 183 plant species. The country is home to 97,514 species of animals.
- The list includes four species of reptiles, six species of amphibians, 26 species of fishes, three species of wild ginger and three of figs among others.
- Some of the notable additions to the list of animals include a rock gecko (Hemidactylus yajurvedi) found in Kanker Chhattishgarh, a new frog species (Fejervarya gomantaki) from the Western Ghats, and a shiny new species of fish (Barilius ardens), also from the Western Ghats.
- Among the plants, a new species of ginger Zingiber bipinianum has been found in the South Garo hills of Meghalaya, and a species of mushroom (Bondarzewia zonata) has been collected from north Sikkim at an altitude of 2,829 m.
- The most discoveries were made in the Eastern Himalaya region, which accounts for 19% of the total discoveries followed by the Western Ghats (18%) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands at about 15%.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
FSSAI signs pact with ASCI to check misleading advertisements
Regulator FSSAI and Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) have signed an MoU to check misleading advertisements in the food and beverages sector.
- As per the MoU, advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) will comprehensively monitor these advertisements across various media.
- The council has been given a suo motu monitoring mandate by FSSAI to process complaints against misleading advertisements of food and beverages.
- The agreement also requires ASCI to report to FSSAI non- compliance of ASCI’s decisions for further action as required per provisions of the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Act.
- FSSAI will also redirect complaints against misleading food and beverages advertisements to ASCI, which will be reviewed using ASCI’s code and guidelines. The review will include violation of the FSS Act and regulations related to advertisements making misleading, unsubstantiated or false claims.
- This partnership will put in place a mechanism to monitor misleading advertisements and lead to streamlining advertisements effectively through structured guidelines and appropriate action.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
- It was created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
- Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministry for the implementation of FSSAI.
- The Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) are appointed by Government of India.
- The Chairperson is in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.
Important functions performed by the authority:
- Framing of Regulations to lay down the Standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food and specifying appropriate system of enforcing various standards thus notified.
- Laying down mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management system for food businesses.
- Laying down procedure and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories.
- To provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition .
- Collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various, contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
- Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats etc receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern.
- Provide training programmes for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food businesses.
Sources: the hindu.