INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 07 February 2020
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Bhutan’s new tourism fee.
2. Longest Spaceflight by a Woman: Christina Koch.
3. Lucknow Declaration.
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Women related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Meaning and where is it practiced?
For Mains: Prevention, challenges, need for and ways.
Context: Every year, February 6 is observed as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
What is Female Genital Mutilation?
It is the name given to procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical or cultural reasons, and is recognised internationally as a violation of human rights and the health and integrity of girls and women.
WHO classifies four types of FGM:
- type 1 (partial or total removal of the clitoral glans).
- type 2 (partial or total removal of the external and visible parts of the clitoris and the inner folds of the vulva).
- type 3 (infibulation, or narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal).
- type 4 (picking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterising the genital area).
Where is it practiced?
Most girls and women who have undergone FGM live in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab States, but it is also practiced in some countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Countries where FGM is performed include Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Egypt, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Iran, Georgia, Russian Federation, Columbia and Peru, among others.
Why prevent FGM?
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, over 200 million girls alive today have suffered FGM in over 30 countries. The economic costs of treating health complications arising out of FGM amount to roughly $1.4 billion for 2018 for 27 countries where FGM is performed. If the prevalence remains the same, the amount is expected to rise up to $2.3 billion by 2047.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: the ritual and it’s significance, the temple.
Context: The ‘kumbhabhishekam’ (consecration) of the 1,010-year-old Brihadeeswarar Temple or the Big Temple is being held at Thanjavur. This enormously significant event was held after 23 years — and after the Madras High Court had settled an old argument over the ritual purification process only five days previously.
The judgment delivered on January 31 by the Madurai Bench of the court addressed the struggle for supremacy between the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions that lies at the heart of several cultural battles in the state — and which also played out in the kumbhabishegam ceremony.
What was the issue?
There was a dispute over which language should be used in the slokas at the kumbhabishegam. The Thanjai Periya Koil Urimai Meetpu Kuzhu (Thanjavur Big Temple Rights Retrieval Committee), an organisation that aims to restore Tamil traditions in the Sri Brihadishvara Temple, had demanded that the kumbhabishegam should be held only in Tamil. However, the government had told that the consecration will be performed in both Tamil and Sanskrit.
About Brihadishvara Temple:
- Built by emperor Rajaraja Chola I (985 CE -1015 CE).
- It has seen only five kumbhabhishekam ceremonies so far.
- As per the customs of Hinduism, ‘kumbhabhishekam’ is done once in 12 years. According to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department, the temple had ‘kumbhabhishekam’ in 1010, 1729, 1843, 1980 and 1997.
- Located on the banks of Kaveri river, it is an exemplary example of a fully realised Dravidian architecture.
- It is called as Dhakshina Meru (Meru of south).
- The temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”, along with the Chola dynasty era Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and Airavatesvara temple.
- There are several shrines added to the temple by most of the following rulers such as the Pandyas, the Vijayanagara rulers and the Marathas, too.
- Brihadeshwara Temple is also the first all-granite temple in the world.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: What is Motion of thanks, what it contains? Its significance and what happens if it is not passed.
What is “Motion of Thanks” and what it contains?
The President makes an address to a joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget session, which is prepared by the government and lists its achievements. It is essentially a statement of the legislative and policy achievements of the government during the preceding year and gives a broad indication of the agenda for the year ahead.
The address is followed by a motion of thanks moved in each House by ruling party MPs. During the session, political parties discuss the motion of thanks also suggesting amendments.
Amendments to the “Motion of Thanks”:
Notices of amendments to Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address can be tabled after the President has delivered his Address. Amendments may refer to matters contained in the Address as well as to matters, in the opinion of the member, the Address has failed to mention.
Amendments can be moved to the Motion of Thanks in such form as may be considered appropriate by the Speaker.
The only limitations are that members cannot refer to matters which are not the direct responsibility of the Central Government and that the name of the President cannot be brought in during the debate since the Government and not the President is responsible for the contents of the Address.
Provisions governing them:
President’s Address and Motion of Thanks are governed by Articles 86 (1) and 87 (1) of the Constitution and Rules 16 to 24 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
Members of Parliament vote on this motion of thanks. This motion must be passed in both of the houses.
A failure to get motion of thanks passed amounts to defeat of government and leads to collapse of government. This is why, the Motion of Thanks is deemed to be a no-confidence motion.
Constitutional provisions on this:
Article 86(1) of the Constitution provides that the President may address either House of Parliament or both Houses assembled together, and for that purpose require the attendance of members.
Article 87 provides for the special address by the President. Clause (1) of that article provides that at the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons. No other business is transacted till the President has addressed both Houses of Parliament assembled together.
Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
What to study?
For Prelims: About the Ayodhya verdict and the trust- functions.
For Mains: Issues, concerns and ways to address them.
Context: A 15-member trust to oversee the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya has been constituted.
The announcement of a “broad scheme” for developing a Ram Temple and formation of a Trust named ‘Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teertha Kshetra’ was made by the prime minister.
Composition: There will be a total of 15 members in the trust — 9 permanent and 6 nominated members.
The government has made nine rules which will be the basis of how the trust will work:
- The permanent office of the Trust will be discussed in the first meeting of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra.
- Trust will be completely free to take every decision related to the construction of Ram temple. It will also have to arrange all facilities for devotees such as kitchen, gaushala, museum and sarai.
- Trustees can legally accept donations, grants, immovable property and assistance from any person, an institution for facilities and temple construction. Apart from this, the trust can also take a loan.
- The board of trustees will appoint one trustee as president-managing trustee, who will preside over meetings. At the same time, the general secretary and treasurer will also be appointed.
- The trust will decide on investment for existing funds for the construction of Ram temple. Investment for the temple will be in the name of the trust.
- The donations received for the Ram temple will be used only for the work of the trust. This money will not be used for any other work.
- Trustees will not have the right to sell immovable property associated with Ram Mandir trust.
- Trust will have to keep account of donations and expenses received for Ram Temple. Balance sheets will be created and trust’s accounts will be audited.
- There is no provision of salary for the members of the Ram Mandir trust, but the expenses incurred during the journey will be paid by the trust.
This comes in the wake of the Supreme Court, in its judgement on the dispute, asking the Union government to form a trust that can look at the construction and management of the temple.
Why a trust?
One of the five suits before the court in the Babri Masjid case was in the name of the deity itself, Sri Ram Lalla Virajman, and of the birthplace, Asthan Shri Ram Janmabhoomi. This suit was founded on the claim that the law recognises both the idol and the birthplace as juridical entities. The court did not accept the Janmasthan as a juridical entity.
It awarded the title of the land to Ram Lalla, to be held by the Trust that the Court said should be set up within three months. This Trust is the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra.
What did the Supreme Court say about the Trust?
When the Supreme Court delivered its judgment on November 9, 2019, it directed the Centre to formulate within three months a scheme to set up a “Trust with a Board of Trustees or any other appropriate body” under The Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993, with powers “including the construction of a temple”.
The court used its powers under Article 142 to direct that “appropriate representation may be given in the Trust to the Nirmohi Akhara”.
The Court also said that the scheme to be framed by the Centre should make “necessary provisions” about the functioning of the Trust or the body, including on matters relating to its management, the powers of the trustees “including the construction of a temple and all necessary, incidental and supplemental matters”.
Furthermore, this Trust will get the possession of the inner and outer courtyards along with the rest of the acquired land, which will be managed and developed by the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra.
Under the Ayodhya law, the government would transfer the authorized land, which is nearly 67.703 acres and of which the inner and outer courtyard is a part, to the newly constituted Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview of UCPMP.
For Mains: Features, need for and significance.
Context: Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has yet again “requested companies to abide by Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP)”.
There have been several instances of breach of the voluntary Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) by pharma companies. There has also been the demand from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and doctors to make it mandatory.
What is UCPMP Code?
It is a voluntary code issued by the Department Of Pharmaceuticals relating to marketing practices for Indian Pharmaceutical Companies and as well medical devices industry. Applicability: At present, the UCPMP Code is applicable on Pharmaceutical Companies, Medical Representatives, Agents of Pharmaceutical Companies such as Distributors, Wholesalers, Retailers, and Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Associations.
Key features and provisions:
- No gifts, pecuniary advantages or benefits in kind may be supplied, offered or promised, to persons qualified to prescribe or supply drugs, by a pharmaceutical company or any of its agents.
- As regards travel facilities, the UCPMP Code prohibits extending travel facility inside the country or outside, including rail, air, ship, cruise tickets, paid vacations, etc., to HealthCare Professionals and their family members for vacation or for attending conference, seminars, workshops, CME programme etc. as a delegate. The Code also provides that free samples of drugs shall not be supplied to any person who is not qualified to prescribe such product. Meaning thereby that free samples can only be supplied to persons qualified to prescribe such product.
- It also prescribes additional conditions that are to be observed while providing samples.
- Further, as per the UCPMP Code, in order to appoint Medical Practitioners/HCPs as Affiliates there should be written contract, legitimate need for the services must be documented, and criteria for selecting affiliates must be directly related to the identified need.
- The UCPMP Code also provides that the number of affiliates retained must not be greater than the number reasonably necessary to achieve the identified need and that the compensation must be reasonable and reflect the fair market value of the services provided.
Need of hour:
Experts working in the area have long demanded that in the context of unethical marketing and promotion, the DoP should immediately implement a mandatory mechanism for company disclosures of payments towards doctors and professional bodies, including via third parties. The disclosures, which should be made at intervals and put in the public domain, should include the amount spent, individual or entity to which payment was made, and the reason for payment, including any services rendered.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
What to study?
For prelims: Key features of the act.
For mains: Issues related, why it is called a draconian law, need for reforms.
Context: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has slapped the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) against former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah besides two political stalwarts from the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party.
What happens after PSA is used?
Within four weeks of passing the detention order, the government has to refer the case to an Advisory Board. This Advisory Board will have to give its recommendations within eight weeks of the order. If the Board thinks that there is cause for preventive detention, the government can hold the person up to two years.
The person detained has limited rights. Usually when a person is arrested, they have the right to legal representation and can challenge the arrest. But, when a person is arrested under the PSA, they do not have these rights before the Advisory Board unless sufficient grounds can be established that the detention is illegal. There have been cases where the High Court has interfered and quashed the detention.
According to Section 13(2), the detaining authority need not even inform the detained individual as to the reason for the action, if it decides that it goes against public interest.
What is the J&K PSA?
The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) received the assent of the J&K Governor on April 8, 1978.
The Act was introduced as a tough law to prevent the smuggling of timber and keep the smugglers “out of circulation”.
The law allows the government to detain any person above the age of 16 without trial for a period of two years.
The PSA allows for administrative detention for up to two years “in the case of persons acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State”, and for administrative detention up to one year where “any person is acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
Detention orders under PSA can be issued by Divisional Commissioners or District Magistrates.
Section 22 of the Act provides protection for any action taken “in good faith” under the Act: “No suit, prosecution or any other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of the provisions of this Act.”
Under Section 23 of the Act, the government is empowered to “make such Rules consistent with the provisions of this Act, as may be necessary for carrying out the objects of this Act”.
Why is it often referred to as a “draconian” law?
- Right from the beginning, the law was misused widely, and was repeatedly employed against political opponents by consecutive governments until 1990. After the emergence of militancy, the J&K government frequently invoked the PSA to crack down on separatists.
- In August 2018, the Act was amended to allow individuals to be detained under the PSA outside the state as well.
- The detaining authority need not disclose any facts about the detention “which it considers to be against the public interest to disclose”.
- The terms under which a person is detained under PSA are vague and include a broad range of activities like “acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State” or for “acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
- The vagueness provided in the act gives unbridled powers to the authorities. The detainees, therefore, are effectively debarred from contesting the legality of their detention.
- PSA does not provide for a judicial review of detention. To checkmate the J&K High Court orders for release of persons detained under the act the state authorities issue successive detention orders. This ensures prolonged detention of people.
- PSC has been used against human rights activists, journalists, separatists and others who are considered as a threat to the law & order. Right to dissent is stifled by these Acts.
Sources: The Hindu.
Facts for Prelims
Bhutan’s new tourism fee:
- Bhutan will now impose a “sustainable development fee” (SDF) on Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian tourists.
- The new levy, however, will not be applicable across Bhutan. To promote tourism in the less popular Eastern Bhutan, the SDF will not be levied on tourists travelling to 11 districts in the region.
- The decision has been taken to protect the ecology of the country, amid a spike in visitors from India.
So far, tourists from the three countries had been exempt from a levy that other nationals had to pay — $250 per person per day during the peak season, and $200 per person per day during the low season. The low season is in the winter from December to February, and during the rains from June to August.
Longest Spaceflight by a Woman: Christina Koch:
Context: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Christina Koch landed on the Earth on 6th february, 2020 after a record stay of 328 days on the International Space Station.
- The previous longest single spaceflight by any womanwas 289 days by Peggy Whitson, also an American, who set that record in 2017.
- Valery Polyakov of Russia holds the combine (i.e. for both men and women) record for the longest single spaceflight in history (438 days).
- It is a joint declaration adopted as an outcome of the first India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave which was held along the side-lines of the DefExpo 2020.
- Aim: The Conclave was conducted with the aim of exporting India-made equipment to the African continent in keeping with long-standing defence partnerships since the 1950s.
The Declaration calls for deeper cooperation in the domain of defence industry including through investment, joint ventures in defence equipment software, digital defence, research & development, provisioning of defence equipment, spares and their maintenance on sustainable and mutually beneficial terms.