Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 14 DECEMBER 2019

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 14 DECEMBER 2019

Table of contents:

GS Paper 2:

       1. Disha Bill.

       2. Accessible India Campaign.

      3. Drug Prices Control Order.

      4. UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

      5. INTERNATIONAL GEOLOGICAL CONGRESS

 

GS Paper 3:

      1. New definition of kilogram.

 

Facts for prelims:

      1. What is Trakea?

      2. Wi-Fi Calling.


GS Paper 2:


Topics Covered:Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Disha Bill

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the bill.

For Mains: Significance and the need for the law, issues surrounding death sentence.

Context: The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly has passed the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill, 2019 (Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2019).

Disha is the name given to a veterinarian who was raped and murdered in Hyderabad on November 27.

For Prelims:

Key features of the Bill:

  1. It envisages the completion of investigation in seven days and trial in 14 working days, where there is adequate conclusive evidence, and reducing the total judgment time to 21 days from the existing four months.
  2. It prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children and includes Section 354 F and 354 G in IPC.
  3. In cases of harassment of women through social or digital media, the Act states two years imprisonment for the first conviction and four years for second and subsequent convictions. For this, a new Section 354 E will be added in IPC, 1860.
  4. As per the Bill, the Andhra Pradesh government will establish, operate and maintain a register in electronic form, to be called the ‘Women & Children Offenders Registry’. This registry will be made public and will be available to law enforcement agencies.
  5. The government will establish exclusive special courts in each district to ensure speedy trial. These courts will exclusively deal with cases of offences against women and children including rape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, social media harassment of women, sexual harassment and all cases under the POCSO Act.
  6. The government will constitute special police teams at the district level to be called District Special Police Team to be headed by DSP for investigation of offences related to women and children.
  7. The government will also appoint a special public prosecutor for each exclusive special court.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Topics Covered: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.

Accessible India Campaign 

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Key features, need for and significance of the scheme.

Context: The deadline for the government’s Accessible India Campaign (AIC) has been extended to March 2020 due to slow progress.

About Accessible India Campaign:

What is it? Accessible India Campaign (AIC) is the nationwide flagship campaign of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Aim: The aim of the Campaign is to make a barrier free and conducive environment for Divyangjans all over the country. The campaign has the vision to build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives.

Implementation: For creating universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, the campaign has been divided into three verticals: Built Environment; Transport and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem.

Old Targets:

  1. Making 50% of all the government buildings of NCT and all the State capitals fully accessible by December 2018.
  2. Completing accessibility audit of 50% of government buildings and making them fully accessible in 10 most important cities/towns of States by December 2019.
  3. Ensuring that 50% of railway stations in the country are converted into fully accessible railway stations by March 2018.
  4. Ensuring that 25% of Government owned public transport carriers in the country are converted into fully accessible carriers by March 2018.
  5. Conducting accessibility audit of 50% of all government (both Central and State Governments) websites and converting them into fully accessible websites by March 2017.

Facts for Prelims:

Accessible India Campaign is in line with the Article 9 of UNCRPD(UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) to which India is a signatory since 2007.

Sources: pib.

 


Topics Covered:Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Drug prices control order

What to study?

For Prelims: About NPPA, DPCO and scheduled drugs.

For Mains: Issues involved and the need for drug price monitoring, relevance of DPCO.

 

Context: National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has allowed an increase in the maximum retail prices of 21 drugs currently under price control by as much as 50%.

Significance:

The decision has been taken to ensure that the life saving essential drugs must remain available to the general public at all times. This is to avoid a situation where these drugs become unavailable in the market and the public is forced to switch to costly alternatives. This is the first time the NPPA — which is known to slash prices of essential and life-saving medicines — is increasing prices in public interest.

What is the “Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO)” ? 

The Drugs Prices Control Order is an order issued by the Government of India under Sec. 3 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to regulate the prices of drugs.

The Order interalia provides the list of price controlled drugs, procedures for fixation of prices of drugs, method of implementation of prices fixed by Govt., penalties for contravention of provisions etc.

For the purpose of implementing provisions of DPCO, powers of Govt. have been vested in NPPA.

Are all the drugs marketed in the country under price control ? 

No. The National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2011 is adopted as the primary basis for determining essentiality, which constitutes the list of scheduled medicines for the purpose of price control. The DPCO 2013 contains more than 600 scheduled drug formulations spread across 27 therapeutic groups. However, the prices of other drugs can be regulated, if warranted in public interest.

What is NPPA and its role? 

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), was established on 29th August 1997 as an independent body of experts as per the decision taken by the Cabinet committee in September 1994 while reviewing Drug Policy.

Functions: The Authority, interalia, has been entrusted with the task of fixation/revision of prices of pharmaceutical products (bulk drugs and formulations), enforcement of provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order and monitoring of the prices of controlled and decontrolled drugs in the country.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Topics Covered:Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

What to study?

For Prelims: About UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Indian entries in the list, about Reggae.

For Mains: Significance of the list and the need for conservation.

 

Context: UNESCO has recognised the “Nuad” Thai massage as part of its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

  • The form of massage is one among over 20 elements that have been chosen for inclusion in the list this year. The other elements include Irish harping, Portugal’s Carnival of Podence, traditional Turkish archery and Slovakia’s wire craft and art.

 

For Prelims and Mains:

About UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage:

The list is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance.

The list was established in 2008 when Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage came into effect.

UNESCO maintains three lists under its “Intangible Cultural Heritage” banner: the list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding, the list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity and the register of good safeguarding practices.

Some of the criteria for inclusion in the representative list are if the inscription of the element will ensure visibility and awareness of it and if the element has been nominated after having “the widest possible participation” of the community, group or individuals concerned and with their free, prior and informed consent.

From India the Intangible Cultural Heritages added into this list include:

  1. Tradition of Vedic chanting.
  2. Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayana.
  3. Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre.
  4. Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas.
  5. Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala.
  6. Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan.
  7. Chhau dance.
  8. Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir.
  9. Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur.
  10. Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab.
  11. Kumbh Mela.

Need for and significance:

The intangible cultural heritage of humanity list is maintained in order to ensure better visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and awareness of its significance, and to encourage dialogue which respects cultural diversity.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Topics Covered:Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

International Geological Congress

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: About IGC- significance.

Context: India is gearing up to host the 36th International Geological Congress (IGC) in March, 2020.

Key facts:

  • India is the only Asian country to host the event twice. In 1964, India had hosted it for the first time, which was the 22nd IGC.
  • Geological Survey of India is the nodal agency for organizing the event.

About International Geological Congress:

Popularly described as the Olympics of Geosciences.

It is a global geoscientific events held once in four years and participated by around 5000-6000 geoscientists from all across the world.

Theme: ‘Geosciences: The Basic Science for a Sustainable Development’.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper 3:


 

Topics Covered:Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

New definition of kilogram

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Need for redefining, about the new system, significance and the process of redefining.

Context: The prototype of one kilogram (NPK-57) is now available in India and placed at the National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi.

Background:

Scientists, last year, have changed the way the kilogram is defined. The decision was made at the General Conference on Weights and Measures. The new definitions came into force on 20 May 2019.

How does the new system work?

Electromagnets generate a force. Scrap-yards use them on cranes to lift and move large metal objects, such as old cars. The pull of the electromagnet, the force it exerts, is directly related to the amount of electrical current going through its coils. There is, therefore, a direct relationship between electricity and weight.

So, in principle, scientists can define a kilogram, or any other weight, in terms of the amount of electricity needed to counteract the weight (gravitational force acting on a mass).

What is Planck’s constant?

There is a quantity that relates weight to electrical current, called Planck’s constant – named after the German physicist Max Planck and denoted by the symbol h.

But h is an incredibly small number and to measure it, the research scientist Dr Bryan Kibble built a super-accurate set of scales. The Kibble balance, as it has become known, has an electromagnet that pulls down on one side of the scales and a weight – say, a kilogram – on the other. The electrical current going through the electromagnet is increased until the two sides are perfectly balanced.

By measuring the current running through the electromagnet to incredible precision, the researchers are able to calculate h to an accuracy of 0.000001%. This breakthrough has paved the way for Le Grand K to be deposed by “die kleine h”.

Sources: pib.


Facts for prelims:


What is Trakea?

It is a unique barcoding software adopted by Haryana Police. Haryana Police claims it is the country’s first police force to have introduced this unique barcoding for forensic reports.

Objective: To ensure that thousands of forensic reports that form the backbone of the criminal investigation system and subsequent trials in the courts of law, are not tampered with.

Significance: Trakea ensures foolproof security of the samples collected from the scene of crime, and the forensic analysis reports.

 

Wi-Fi Calling:

Context: Bharti Airtel has introduced Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi), a first for India. 

Key facts:

  • Wi-Fi Calling is aimed especially for areas where cellular networks are not strong.
  • It uses high speed Internet connection, available via broadband, to make and receive high definition (HD) voice calls.
  • Users don’t have to pay extra for these calls as it is using a Wi-Fi network.
  • Wi-Fi Calling can be configured on compatible smartphones by upgrading operating systems to the version that supports Wi-Fi Calling, and enabling this in Settings.