Insights Daily Current Events, 25 April 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Legal system too expensive for most: Study
According to the nationwide “Access to Justice” survey, legal system in India is too expensive to access for most citizens in the country.
- The survey was conducted across 305 locations in 24 States between November 2015 and February 2016 to hear the voice and explore the profile of people making use of judicial system in India.
Important observations made:
- 90% of the litigants earn less than Rs. 3 lakh per annum and the median expected cost of litigation for this group is around Rs. 16,000.
- For most, the judicial system of our country is shut because they cannot access lawyers in the first place and the quality of legal aid is poor.
- Though legal aid aims to provide free legal services to the weaker sections who otherwise can’t afford it, the survey found that that just 1% of the respondents make use of this service.
- Accountability of legal aid lawyers towards their clients and lack of communication between the two are serious concerns plaguing the system.
- The financial barrier is not just limited to accessing courts. The main reason individuals could not meet the conditions of bail was found to be lack of funds. Also, around half the litigants cited expense as a major deterrent for filing appeals in the High Court if their cases were not resolved in their favour.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
Panama disease stalks banana cultivation in Kerala
The Panama disease caused by a soil-borne fungus is threatening banana crops across Kerala, posing a potential crisis for farmers.
Scientists are concerned that the sporadic cases of infestation could turn into an epidemic. Most of the popular cultivars have shown signs of infestation.
How to prevent it?
Scientists have recommend soil treatment with fungicides for control of the disease.
About the disease:
Also called Fusarium Wilt of banana, Panama is caused by the soil-borne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cubense (Foc). The fungus enters the plant through the roots and goes on to colonise the plant through the vascular system.
- It causes discoloration and wilting of leaves, and eventually kills the plant.
- The fungus spreads through infected planting material, soil and water.
In the 1950s, Panama wiped out the Gros Michel banana, the dominant cultivar. Over the years, it spread from Panama to neighbouring countries. A new virulent strain of the disease known as Tropical Race 4 (TR4) is now threatening banana crops in Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Ministry asks RBI to examine Workers’ Bank proposal
The Labour Ministry has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to form a panel headed by a former Deputy Governor of the central bank to look into a proposal of creating a Workers’ Bank using Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF).
What the Workers’ Bank does?
It aims to improve the earnings of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) by investing its corpus in various instruments. As on 31 March 2015, EPFO’s total corpus stood at Rs.6.34 lakh crore.
The proposal was mooted by the trade unions about a decade ago and has been discussed by Labour Ministry and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for several years now.
- A theme paper to the government was submitted in 2004 on setting up ‘Workers’ Capital Trust’.
- The idea was modelled on similar experiences in countries like Canada, Netherland, Switzerland and South Africa where a collective pension fund system invests worker’s savings in equities of domestic and global markets.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: infrastructure-Roads.
National corridor body plan shelved
The Centre has decided to shelve its plan to set up a National Industrial Corridor Authority (NICA).
The Authority has been put on the back burner due to the delay foreseen by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Secretariat in getting Parliamentary approval for it to be conferred ‘statutory’ status on the lines of the National Highways Authority of India.
It was the proposed nodal body to oversee work relating to all national ‘industrial corridors’, in the face of hurdles in implementation.
- The plan to set up NICA was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his maiden Budget speech in July 2014.
- The centre had planned to go in for a Constitutional amendment and ensure passage of ‘NICA Act’ in Parliament. The Constitutional amendment was to remove doubts on whether the topic ‘industrial corridor’ falls under the ‘State List’ or ‘Union List’ of Constitution.
- The aim was to grant NICA overarching powers including primacy over State bodies on all aspects of ‘industrial corridors’ thus allowing it comprehensive operational freedom.
To fill the gap, the government has decided to make the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) the coordinating body for corridors, to move ahead with proposals relating to corridors in the works.
- As per the new plan, DMICDC head will have the powers to approve proposals relating to corridors. These will then be forwarded to the DMIC Trust for final clearance.
- The Trust — currently managed by the Secretaries of Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and that of NITI Aayog — could be expanded to include the Secretaries of Shipping, Road Transport and Urban Development (for including ‘smart cities’ in these corridors).
Why make DMICDC the coordinating agency?
Making DMICDC the coordinating agency only needs a Cabinet nod and is easier than obtaining Parliamentary approval for NICA.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
CGMP compliant facility
Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare recently inaugurated the first of its kind Current Good Manufacturing Practise (CGMP) compliant facility within the Central Government for manufacture of DPT and TT vaccine at the Central Research Institute (CRI), Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh. This makes CRI the first Central Government Institute to have cGMP compliant infrastructure for vaccine production.
- Recent advancements in regulatory requirements and introduction of cGMP concept in vaccine manufacturing had led to the need for creation of cGMP compliant infrastructure and processes.
What are CGMPs?
CGMP refers to the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). CGMPs provide for systems that assure proper design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes and facilities.
- Adherence to the CGMP regulations assures the identity, strength, quality, and purity of drug products by requiring that manufacturers of medications adequately control manufacturing operations. This includes establishing strong quality management systems, obtaining appropriate quality raw materials, establishing robust operating procedures, detecting and investigating product quality deviations, and maintaining reliable testing laboratories.
- This formal system of controls at a pharmaceutical company, if adequately put into practice, helps to prevent instances of contamination, mix-ups, deviations, failures, and errors. This also assures that drug products meet their quality standards.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
‘Pulakeshin’s victory over Harsha was in 618 AD’’
Researchers from the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) claim to have fixed the date of Emperor Harshavardhan’s defeat to the Chalukya King Pulakeshin II by decoding a copper plate. Accordingly, they have fixed the date at 618 AD.
- The copper plate also records the grant of 50 ‘nivarthanas’ (a unit of land) by Pulakeshin from the village Brahmana-Vataviya to a Vedic scholar, Nagasharma.
Pulakeshin, who ruled from the Chalukyan capital of Badami, challenged Harsha’s conquests. The former had established himself as ‘lord paramount’ of the south, as Harsha had of the north.
- Unwilling to tolerate the existence of a powerful rival in the south, Harsha had marched from Kanauj with a huge force. The battle was fought primarily with elephants, on the banks of the Narmada.
- After the defeat, Harshavardha was compelled to accept the river as the demarcation and retire from the battlefield after losing most of his elephant force.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
President Pranab Mukherjee recently inaugurated the war monument at Khongjom in Manipur on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the last battle of independence of the Manipuris against the British army.
A huge 9,300 sq km coral reef system has been found below the muddy waters off the mouth of the river Amazon. The 600-mile-long (nearly 966 kilometer) reef ranges from about 30-120 m deep and stretches from French Guiana to Brazil’s Maranhao state.
National Panchayati Raj Day (National Local Self-Government day) was celebrated across the country on 24 April annually. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been celebrating the National Panchayati Raj Day (NPRD) on 24 April since 2010, as on this day, the 73rd Constitutional Amendment came into force in 1993.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has declared Salman Khan as the first Bollywood celebrity to be the goodwill ambassador for the Indian contingent at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics scheduled to start on August 5, 2016.