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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 16 April 2020

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

2. Civil Defence volunteers.

3. Colour coding to help manage COVID-19 pandemic.

4. International Energy Agency (IEA).

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Google Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.

2. Thrissur Pooram festival.

3. P-8I aircraft and MK 54 lightweight torpedo.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)

What to study?

For Prelims: NALSA- composition, establishment, functions and reports.

For Mains: Need for and significance, challenges present and measures needed to make them more effective.

Context: The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has said that around 11,077 undertrials have been released from prisons nationwide as part of the mission to decongest jails following the COVID-19 pandemic.

NALSA has also been providing assistance to prisoners who were eligible to be released on parole or interim bail under the relaxed norms, through its panel lawyers.

About NALSA:

NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to provide free legal services to weaker sections of society.

The aim is to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reasons of economic or other disabilities.

‘Nyaya Deep’ is the official newsletter of NALSA.

 Composition:

As per section 3(2) of Legal Service Authorities Act, the Chief Justice of India shall be the Patron-in-Chief.

Second senior-most judge of Supreme Court of India is the Executive-Chairman.

Important functions performed by NALSA:

  • Organise Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
  • Identify specific categories of the marginalised and excluded groups and formulates various schemes for the implementation of preventive and strategic legal service programmes.
  • Provide free legal aid in civil and criminal matters for the poor and marginalised people who cannot afford the services of a lawyer in any court or tribunal.

State and district legal services authorities:

In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State.  The State Legal Services Authority is headed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the respective High Court who is the Patron-in-Chief of the State Legal Services Authority.

In every District, District Legal Services Authority has been constituted to implement Legal Services Programmes in the District. The District Legal Services Authority is situated in the District Courts Complex in every District and chaired by the District Judge of the respective district.

Need- Constitutional basis:

Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.

Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all. Legal aid strives to ensure that constitutional pledge is fulfilled in its letter and spirit and equal justice is made available to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who appoints Patron-in-Chief and executive chairman of NALSA?
  2. Eligibility criteria?
  3. Who heads state and district legal services authorities?
  4. Constitutional provisions in this regard?

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of NALSA in ensuring free legal aid to the poor and needy.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Civil Defence volunteers

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Their Selection, administration and significance.

 Context: More than 50,000 Civil Defence volunteers are working at the grassroots level in various roles and capacities to assist the local administration in implementing the measures to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

How they are helping?

  • The Civil Defence personnel are supplementing the local administration in conducting surveillance of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases. They have been working as rapid response teams.
  • They have been deployed in all the States and most Union Territories, barring Ladakh, Daman & Diu, and Puducherry.
  • Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Assam have taken the lead in using their services.
  • The volunteers have been deployed under the command of District Magistrates to assist the local administration in implementing the COVID-19 guidelines and policies effectively.

How civil defence personnel can be employed? Provisions in this regard?

Civil Defence operates under the Civil Defence Act and associated rules and regulations. The Act was amended in 2009 and a notification was issued in 2010 to include disaster management as an additional role. Civil Defence is primarily organised on voluntary basis except for a small nucleus of paid staff and establishment which is augmented during emergencies.

Administration:

Although it is a Central law, Section 4 of the Civil Defence Act empowers State governments to raise corps at the local administration level as per their requirement. The District Magistrate, District Collector or Deputy Commissioner is designated as Controller of the Civil Defence.

Eligibility for becoming a Civil Defence Volunteer:

A person who intends to apply for appointment to a Civil Defence Corps must fulfil the following conditions;

  1. s/he shall be a citizen of India, or a subject or Sikkim or of Bhutan or of Nepal.
  2. s/he shall have completed the age of 18 years provided that this age limit may be relaxed at the discretion of the competent authority up to a maximum of 3 years for any branch or category of the Corps.
  3. s/he shall have passed at least the primary standard, that is to say, the fourth class, and this condition may be relaxed by the Controller at this discretion.

Both men and women shall be eligible for appointment to the Corps.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who can be civil defence volunteers?
  2. How are they administered?
  3. What are the tasks that they can carry out?

Mains Link:

Discuss the role and significance of civil defence volunteers.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

Colour coding to help manage COVID-19 pandemic

What to study?

For Prelims: How are the districts divided? State with max hotspots? Implications?

For Mains: Need for these classifications, challenges ahead and measures needed.

Context: The government has decided to divide all districts across the country into hotspots, non-hotspots and green zones.

The health and family welfare ministry has identified 170 hotspot districts, 207 non-hotspot districts reporting cases and 359 green zone districts not reporting any cases across the country.

These numbers will increase or decrease based on fresh cases of novel coronavirus infection.

Why this classification was necessary? What are its implications?

This will help in managing the Covid-19 pandemic as well as partial opening up of economic activities during the extended period of the nationwide lockdown. This would help in management of hotspots and spread of pandemic.

How are the districts divided?

The health ministry used two criteria to classify the districts as hotspots — the absolute number of cases and the speed of growth in cases.

The technical definition followed to classify the districts is any district reporting more than six cases would be classified as hotspot district or red zone.

Any hotspot district with more than 15 cases would be treated as a district witnessing outbreak.

Which districts are under red zone?

Delhi and NCR, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Thane, Yavatmal, Sangli, Buldhana, Ahmednagar, and Latur in Maharashtra, and Chennai, Chengalpattu, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Erode, Dindigul, Karur, Madurai, Namakkal, Ranipet, Tiruchirapalli, Tiruppur and Theni in Tamil Nadu.

Demarcation of epicentre and containment zones:

A house with positive cases or a cluster with positive cases is marked as the epicentre of the containment zone. A radius of 0.5 km is taken and the area around it is cordoned off with only essential services available.

Also, a buffer zone is marked where people with severe and acute respiratory illnesses (SARI) are checked and monitored.

Containment zones are created to map the local transmission of the disease and prevent the contagion from spreading.

Containment_Zone

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important international institutions.

International Energy Agency (IEA)

What to study?

For Prelims: IEA- objectives, functions, reports and members.

For Mains: Significance and its role in ensuring energy security.

 Context: IEA has made some observations about the impact of global lockdown on oil demands across the world.

Key observations:

  • The price of crude has already fallen about 60% since the start of the year due to a pricing war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and then the economic devastation wrought by the virus outbreak.
  • Now, global demand for oil will fall this year by the most ever due to the economic lockdowns enforced around the world to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
  • An estimated drop in demand of 9.3 million barrels a day this year is equivalent to a decade’s worth of growth.

Impact and implications of these changes:

  • While the cheaper energy can be helpful for consumers and energy-hungry businesses, it is below the cost of production.
  • That is eating away at the state finances of oil-producing countries, many of whom are relatively poor economies, and pushing companies to bankruptcy.
  • With broad limits on travel and business, many consumers are unable to take advantage of the low prices anyway.
  • The recent deal by OPEC and other countries to reduce global output by some 9.7 million barrels a day will help stabilize the situation somewhat.
  • On top of those cuts, countries like China, India, South Korea and the United States will look to buy more oil to store away in strategic reserves.

About IEA:

Established in 1974 as per framework of the OECD, IEA is an autonomous intergovernmental organisation. MISSION – To ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its  member countries and beyond. Its mission is guided by four main areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France.

Roles and functions:

Established in the wake of the 1973-1974 oil crisis, to help its members respond to major oil supply disruptions, a role it continues to fulfil today. IEA’s mandate has expanded over time to include tracking and analyzing global key energy trends, promoting sound energy policy, and fostering multinational energy technology cooperation.

Composition and eligibility:

It has 30 members at present. IEA family also includes eight association countries. A candidate country must be a member country of the OECD. But all OECD members are not IEA members. To become member a candidate country must demonstrate that it has:

  1. Crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply.
  2. A demand restraint programme to reduce national oil consumption by up to 10%.
  3. Legislation and organisation to operate the Co-ordinated Emergency Response Measures (CERM) on a national basis.
  4. Legislation and measures to ensure that all oil companies under its jurisdiction report information upon request.
  5. Measures in place to ensure the capability of contributing its share of an IEA collective action.

Reports:

  1. Global Energy & CO2 Status Report.
  2. World Energy Outlook.
  3. World Energy Statistics.
  4. World Energy Balances.
  5. Energy Technology Perspectives.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Various reports released by IEA.
  2. Composition of OECD and OPEC? Who can become members?
  3. Top crude oil producers and importers globally?
  4. Who are associate members of IEA?
  5. What kind of IEA member is India?

Mains Link:

Write a note on objectives and functions of the International Energy Agency.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Google Journalism Emergency Relief Fund:

  • Google is planning to launch this emergency fund to help local news outlets struggling to maintain operations in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Under this, Google would offer grants ranging from the “low thousands of dollars” for the smallest operations to “low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms.”
  • This financial support is for local newsrooms hit by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of its Google News Initiative.

Need: The move comes with the media sector facing deep cutbacks resulting from the global consumer lockdown, an intense economic slump and a retrenchment in advertising revenues that many news outlets depend on.

Thrissur Pooram festival:

Context: Thrissur Pooram has been cancelled for the first time on account of the COVID-19 outbreak.

About the festival:

It is called the ‘mother of all festivals’ in Kerala.

The Pooram dates back to the late 18th century and was started by Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of the erstwhile Kochi state.

MK 54 lightweight torpedo:

Context: US Department of State has approved a Foreign Military Sale to India of 16 MK 54 all round up lightweight torpedoes.

MK 54 lightweight torpedo was known as the Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo (LHT). It weighs around 608 pounds, while its warhead weighs around 96.8 pounds and is highly explosive. These torpedoes are used by US surface ships, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters and are their primary anti-submarine warfare weapon.

 


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper