INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 10 February 2020
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
GS Paper : 1
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: About Guru ravidas, teachings, important literary works and relevance today.
Context: Sant Ravidas Jayanti was celebrated on February 9th.
About Guru Ravidas:
- Guru Ravidas was a North Indian mystic poet of the bhakti movement.
- While the exact year of his birth is not known, it is believed that the saint was born in 1377 C.E.
- Guru Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated on Magh Purnima, which is the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Magha.
- The Adi Granth of Sikhs, in addition to the Panchvani are the two of the oldest documented sources of the literary works of Guru Ravidas.
- Notably, he belonged to an untouchable caste and suffered a lot of atrocities as a result. However, the saint chose to focus on spiritual pursuits and also penned several devotional songs which made a huge impact in the Bhakti movement during the 14th to 16th century CE.
- He is believed to be a disciple of the bhakti saint-poet Ramananda and a contemporary of the bhakti saint-poet Kabir.
- One of his famous disciples was the saint, Mirabai.
- Among Ravidas’s moral and intellectual achievements were the conception of “Begampura”, a city that knows no sorrow; and a society where caste and class have ceased to matter.
Guru Ravidas Teachings:
Guru Ravidas spoke against the caste divisions and spoke of removing them to promote unity. His teachings resonated with the people, leading to a religion being born called the Ravidassia religion, or Ravidassia Dharam based on his teachings.
He taught about the omnipresence of God and said that a human soul is a particle of God and hence Ravidas rejected the idea that people considered lower caste cannot meet God. He said in his teachings that the only way to meet God was to free the mind from the duality.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Indian constitution and historical underpinnings.
What to study?
For prelims: Names of relevant SC cases and constitutional provisions wrt to SC/ST welfare.
For mains: Significance of Supreme Court verdict and its implications.
Context: The Supreme Court has recently ruled that the states are not bound to provide reservation in appointments and promotions and that there is no fundamental right to reservation in promotions.
What has the court said?
- Reservation in promotion in public posts cannot be claimed as a fundamental right.
- Articles 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) of the Constitution does not confer individuals with a fundamental right to claim reservation in promotion. It only empowers the State to make a reservation in matters of appointment and promotion in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, only if in the opinion of the State they are not adequately represented in the services of the State.
- State governments are not bound to make a reservation and have discretion in providing reservations.
- The judgment also noted that even the courts could not issue a mandamus directing the States to provide reservation.
Constitutional basis for reservations- Article 335:
Article 335 recognises that special measures need to be adopted for considering the claims of SCs and STs in order to bring them to a level-playing field.
Need: Centuries of discrimination and prejudice suffered by the SCs and STs in a feudal, caste-oriented societal structure poses real barriers of access to opportunity. The proviso contains a realistic recognition that unless special measures are adopted for the SCs and STs, the mandate of the Constitution for the consideration of their claim to appointment will remain illusory.
The proviso is an aid of fostering the real and substantive right to equality to the SCs and STs. It protects the authority of the Union and the States to adopt any of these special measures, to effectuate a realistic (as opposed to a formal) consideration of their claims to appointment in services and posts under the Union and the states. It also emphasises that the need to maintain the efficiency of administration cannot be construed as a fetter on adopting these special measures designed to uplift and protect the welfare of the SCs and STs.
Indra Sawhney vs Union of India and M Nagraj case:
In its landmark 1992 decision in Indra Sawhney vs Union of India, the Supreme Court had held that reservations under Article 16(4) could only be provided at the time of entry into government service but not in matters of promotion.
It added that the principle would operate only prospectively and not affect promotions already made and that reservation already provided in promotions shall continue in operation for a period of five years from the date of the judgment. It also ruled that the creamy layer can be and must be excluded.
- On June 17, 1995, Parliament, acting in its constituent capacity, adopted the seventy-seventh amendment by which clause (4A) was inserted into Article 16 to enable reservation to be made in promotion for SCs and STs. The validity of the seventy-seventh and eighty-fifth amendments to the Constitution and of the legislation enacted in pursuance of those amendments was challenged before the Supreme Court in the Nagaraj case.
- Upholding the validity of Article 16 (4A), the court then said that it is an enabling provision. “The State is not bound to make reservation for the SCs and STs in promotions. But, if it seeks to do so, it must collect quantifiable data on three facets — the backwardness of the class; the inadequacy of the representation of that class in public employment; and the general efficiency of service as mandated by Article 335 would not be affected”.
- The court ruled that the constitutional amendments do not abrogate the fundamentals of equality.
Sources: The Hindu.
Topics Covered: Government policies and their working.
What to study?
For Prelims: what are they?
For Mains: Significance and the need for the law, issues surrounding death sentence.
Context: The Andhra Pradesh state government is preparing to implement the Disha Bill once it gets the nod of the President. As per the law, the state has to equip itself with facilities like forensic laboratories, special courts, and public prosecutors.
Last year, the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly had passed the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill, 2019 (Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2019).
Key features of the Bill:
- 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.
- It prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children and includes Section 354 F and 354 G in IPC.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The government will also appoint a special public prosecutor for each exclusive special court.
Need for special law:
Crimes against women constitute murder, rape, dowry death, suicide abetment, acid attack, cruelty against women and kidnapping.
‘Cruelty by husband or his relatives’ accounts for 27.9 per cent of the crimes against women.
A total of 3,59,849 cases were reported against women in 2017. (2016, 3.38 lakh, 3.2 lakh cases 2015) The number of cases reported has increased.
- Uttar Pradesh has again topped the list with 56,011 cases of crime against women, followed by Maharashtra with 31,979 cases and West Bengal at 30,002.
‘Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty’ comprise 21.7 per cent, followed by ‘kidnapping and abduction of women’ with 20.5 per cent and ‘rape’ with 7.0 per cent of reported cases.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
What to study?
For Prelims: Functions of the wing.
For Mains: Need for and significance.
Context: Kerala government has proposed to set up a Vigilance Wing in the Health Department to monitor private practice by doctors and crackdown on quackery.
Composition and functions:
A police officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police is likely to head the Vigilance Wing.
- The Vigilance Wing will detect private practice by medical education service doctors, the crackdown on quackery and unearth ethically dubious financial relationships between State doctors and diagnostic clinics, pharmacies and health care firms in the private sector.
- It will also monitor healthcare advertising and flag false claims aired by healthcare companies to mass-market pharmaceutical and Ayurveda drugs without doctor’s prescription as off-the-shelf cures for a wide range of ailments.
- The wing will also prosecute self-styled healers who exploit their influence in the social media to fuel unhealthy scepticism about government’s vaccination programmes and offer resistance against the State’s efforts to prevent the spread of global viral outbreaks such as the Corona pandemic.
There were complaints against doctors regarding the violation of private practice ban and matters involving medico-legal issues.
Concerns: Many in the medical community have objected to intrusive vigilance inspections.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology.
What to study?
For Prelims: What is Muktoshri? Arsenic contamination- effects.
For Mains: Increasing arsenic contamination- issues, concerns, WHO guidelines.
Context: West Bengal government’s rice research centre has come up with a new variety of rice called Muktoshri that can be grown in arsenic prone areas. It was developed jointly by the Rice Research Station at Chinsurah, coming under West Bengal’s Agriculture Department and the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow.
West Bengal has a high concentration of arsenic in groundwater, with 83 blocks across seven districts having higher arsenic levels than permissible limits.
Arsenic- Key facts:
Arsenic is naturally present at high levels in the groundwater of a number of countries. It is also present in rocks and soils.
Arsenic is highly toxic in its inorganic form.
World Health Organization’s provisional guideline value for arsenic in drinking water is 0.01 mg/l (10 μg/l). The permissible limit of arsenic in India in the absence of an alternative source is 0.05 mg/l (50 μg/l).
- Contaminated water used for drinking, food preparation and irrigation of food crops poses the greatest threat to public health from arsenic.
- Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking-water and food can cause cancer and skin lesions.
- It has also been associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- In utero and early childhood exposure has been linked to negative impacts on cognitive development and increased deaths in young adults.
What’s the difference between organic arsenic and inorganic arsenic?
Atoms of arsenic bond with other elements to form molecules — if carbon is one of these elements, then the arsenic compound is an organic compound. If there is no carbon present, then the arsenic compound is in an inorganic compound.
Inorganic arsenic is a known human carcinogen — it is this form of arsenic that is linked with increased risks of cancer and other health effects.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims
Why in News?
A 12-year old Mumbai student, Kaamya Karthikeyan has set a record of becoming the youngest in the world to summit Mt. Aconcagua.
About Mt. Aconcagua:
It is the highest peak of the Andes Mountains in Argentina, South America.
It is the highest mountain outside of Asia, with a summit elevation of 6,960.8 metres.
The mountain is one of the so-called Seven Summits of the seven continents.
Why in News?
Pangolins could be responsible for the spread of the deadly coronavirus in China, scientists have said after they found the genome sequence separated from the endangered mammals 99 per cent identical to that from infected people.
Birds and animals are in the centre of the debate about how the virus originated. In the beginning, snakes were blamed for the virus.
Chinese health experts later contended that the virus originated from bats, but whether there are more intermediate carriers between bats and humans requires further investigation. The virus was believed to have been spread from Wuhan’s Hunan seafood wholesale market.
- It is the only scaly mammal on the planet.
- According to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), it is also the most illegally traded vertebrate within its class (Mammalia).
- Protection Status: Chinese pangolin has been listed as “critically endangered” by UN affiliated International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) has been listed as “endangered” in IUCN Red List. It is also a Schedule I category protected animal, under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).