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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 15 September 2016

 

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 15 September 2016


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

India Declares itself Free from Avian Influenza (H5N1)

 

The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare has declared India free from Avian Influenza (H5N1).

  • India had notified outbreak of Avian Influenza (H5N1) in May 2016 in Karnataka. There has been no further outbreak reported in the country thereafter.
  • However, the Center has emphasized the need for continued surveillance especially in the vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds.

 

What is H5N1?

H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza (or “bird flu”). Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60%.

 

How does H5N1 influenza spread to people?

Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in people have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments. The virus does not infect humans easily, and spread from person to person appears to be unusual. There is no evidence that the disease can be spread to people through properly prepared and thoroughly cooked food.

 

Why is there so much concern about H5N1 influenza?

H5N1 infection in humans can cause severe disease and has a high mortality rate. If the H5N1 virus were to change and become easily transmissible from person to person while retaining its capacity to cause severe disease, the consequences for public health could be very serious.

Sources: pib.


 

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.

 

Centre blames High Courts for vacancies

 

The government has blamed the judiciary for delaying the process of judicial appointments. The government recently told the Supreme Court that the government alone can’t be blamed for judicial vacancies as many posts have been lying vacant for over five years.

 

Background:

The government and the judiciary have been at loggerheads with the CJI repeatedly pointing out that delay in judicial appointments was making it difficult for courts to function. CJI had recently asked the Centre to show urgency in this matter. There are more than 450 vacancies in 24 high courts which have over four million pending cases.

 

What else has the government said?

  • It has claimed that filling of judicial vacancies is its top most priority but it is the judiciary delaying the process.
  • The government has pointed to the case of the Allahabad High Court, which has the “oldest” judicial vacancies dating back to 2007. Despite this, the appointment process started only recently.
  • The government has clarified that there is no logjam from their side.

 

Appointment process:

The process of judicial appointments to the High Court is kick-started by High Court Collegiums, which shortlists the names for judgeship and forwards them to the Centre.

The latter refers the list to the Supreme Court Collegium, which makes the final selection and returns it to the government for the necessary background checks.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

 

Unaccounted flow of funds to NGOs a ‘major problem’: SC

 

Startled by the number of NGOs operating in India, Supreme Court has decided to lay down a legal framework to regulate their funding, spending and working. The court, in this regard, may also consider asking the Law Commission of India to bring an effective law to regulate the flow of money to NGOs.

 

Why?

According to the court, regulation of funds flowing to NGOs has become a major problem. NGOs in India are getting money from all over the world. Yet, there has not been any comprehensive law to deal with this.

 

Implications:

This could spell trouble for many NGOs as the Centre has initiated a process to examine which NGO received what amount from foreign sources and whether they had been permitted to receive monetary assistance from abroad under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

 

Why a law in this regard is necessary?

  • According to CBI reports, only 2,90,787 NGOs file annual financial statements of a total of 29,99,623 registered ones under the Societies Registration Act.
  • In some States, the laws do not even provide for the NGOs to be transparent about their financial dealings.
  • In the Union Territories, of a total of 82,250 NGOs registered and functioning, only 50 file their returns.
  • New Delhi has the highest number of registered NGOs among the Union Territories at 76,566. But none of these organisations submit returns.
  • In Kerala, which has 3,69,137 NGOs, there is no legal provision to submit returns. The same is the case for Punjab with 84,752 and Rajasthan with 1.3 lakh NGOs.
  • Uttar Pradesh, which has the highest number of NGOs at 5.48 lakh among 26 States, has only about 1.19 lakh filing returns.
  • Tamil Nadu has about 1.55 lakh NGOs registered, however, only 20,277 file returns.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

End sterilisation camps, says Supreme Court

 

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to finalise the National Health Policy by December 31, 2016, and end mass sterilisation camps, saying that the poor and tribal men and women cannot be reduced to mere statistics in the country’s population control campaigns.

  • The court also slammed the Centre’s attitude in treating sterilisation as a mere “public health” issue coming under the States’ watch.

 

Important observations made by the court:

Mass sterilisation camps are perverse products of the Centre’s population control campaigns driven by informal targets and incentives. They infringe on the “reproductive freedoms of the most vulnerable groups of society whose economic and social conditions make them easy targets to coercion”. The Centre has also failed in its duty to effectively monitor sterilisation.

 

Background:

Mismanagement of sterilisation camps have led to the death of several persons in recent years in many states.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Goyal calls for global implementation of ‘polluter pays’ principle

 

Power Minister Piyush Goyal has reiterated India’s stand for the implementation of ‘Polluter Pays’ principle on international carbon emissions.

 

Why this is necessary?

India is putting out about 4% of greenhouse gases supporting 17% of the world’s population. But, some of the largest polluters in the world are not taking any responsibility in this regard. Therefore, the world will have to recognise the polluter pays principle.

 

What is Polluters Pay Principle?

The ‘polluter pays’ principle basically works on the premise that those responsible for higher pollution—whether it is an individual factory or a country—should bear the costs of managing it to prevent damage to health or the environment.

For instance, a factory that produces a potentially poisonous substance as a byproduct of its activities is usually held responsible for its safe disposal.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

  • India-born innovator and scientist Ramesh Raskar has been awarded a $500,000 prize, one of the world’s largest single Ramesh Raskarcash awards that recognizes invention. Mr. Raskar is an associate professor at MIT’s Media Lab. He is known for his trailblazing work which includes the co-invention of an ultra-fast imaging camera that can see around corners, low-cost eye-care solutions and a camera that enables users to read the first few pages of a book without opening the cover. The annual Lemelson-MIT prize, administered by the School of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, honors U.S. inventors who are mid-career and trying to improve the world through science and technology.

  • The National Hindi Divas was observed on 14 September. Hindi Diwas commemorates the day when the Constituent Assembly of India accepted Hindi as the official language of the country along with English. The listing of Hindi as official language took place on September 14, 1949. Article 351 of the Constitution asks for the promotion and development of the Hindi language in a way that it could serve as a means of expression in all matters.