Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 04 October 2019
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
- What legal rights do deities enjoy?
- National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC).
- District mineral foundations.
GS Paper 3:
- Deep Carbon Observatory.
GS Paper 4:
- Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019.
Facts for prelims:
- Vayoshreshtha Samman.
- International Day of Older Persons.
- Ex Ekuverin – 19.
- Vande Bharat Express train.
- PRAKASH portal.
- Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
- Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV).
GS Paper 2:
- Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
What to study?
For Prelims: Meaning of legal entities, recognition and rights.
For Mains: Significance and challenges associated.
Context: Among the parties in the Ayodhya title suit appeals, Lord Ram is considered a litigant in court since he is considered as a juristic person.
Who is recognised as a juristic person?
In Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee vs Som Nath Dass and Others (2000), the Supreme Court said: “The very words Juristic Person connote recognition of an entity to be in law a person which otherwise it is not. In other words, it is not an individual natural person but an artificially created person which is to be recognised to be in law as such.”
Gods, corporations, rivers, and animals, have all been treated as juristic persons by courts.
The Practice of treating deities as juristic persons:
- Started under the British: Temples owned huge land and resources, and British administrators held that the legal owner of the wealth was the deity, with a shebait or manager acting as trustee.
- In 1887, the Bombay High Court held in the Dakor Temple case: “Hindu idol is a juridical subject and the pious idea that it embodies is given the status of a legal person.”
- This was reinforced in the 1921 order in Vidya Varuthi Thirtha vs Balusami Ayyar, where the court said, “under the Hindu law, the image of a deity is a ‘juristic entity’, vested with the capacity of receiving gifts and holding property”.
Is every deity a legal person?
However, not every deity is a legal person. This status is given to an idol only after its public consecration, or pran pratishtha. In Yogendra Nath Naskar vs Commissioner Of Income-Tax (1969), the Supreme Court ruled: “It is not all idols that will qualify for being ‘juristic person’ but only when it is consecrated and installed at a public place for the public at large.”
Rights deities have:
- Own property.
- Pay taxes
- Sue and being sued.
- Do not have fundamental rights or other constitutional rights (Sabarimala case).
Other legal entities:
In May, the Punjab and Haryana High Court held that the “entire animal kingdom” has a “distinct legal persona with corresponding rights, duties, and liabilities of a living person”.
On March 20, 2017, the Uttarakhand High Court declared that the Ganga and Yamuna would be legally treated as “living people,” and enjoy “all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person”.
Sources: the Hindu.
Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
What to study?
For Prelims: About NHSRC.
For Mains: Priority Medical Devices and Health technology- need, significance.
Context: Designation of National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy.
Why do we need such collaborations?
Such global collaborations in the area of health technology will ensure that scientific and technological advances, research and development as well as innovative technologies play a substantial supportive role in healthcare and enable us to reach the public health goals and achieve universal health coverage.
Set up under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to serve as an apex body for technical assistance.
Established in 2006.
Mandate is to assist in policy and strategy development in the provision and mobilization of technical assistance to the states and in capacity building for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) at the centre and in the states.
- It has a 23 member Governing Body, chaired by the Secretary, MoHFW, Government of India with the Mission Director, NRHM as the Vice Chairperson of the GB and the Chairperson of its Executive Committee.
- Of the 23 members, 14 are ex-officio senior health administrators, including four from the states. Nine are public health experts, from academics and Management Experts.
- The Executive Director, NHSRC is the Member Secretary of both the Governing body and the Executive Committee.
The NHSRC currently consists of seven divisions – Community Processes, Healthcare Financing, Healthcare Technology, Human Resources for Health, Public Health Administration, Public Health Planning, Quality Improvement in Healthcare.
Priority medical devices project:
Launched by WHO in 2007 in collaboration with the Government of the Netherlands.
- To determine whether medical devices currently on the market were meeting the needs of health care providers and end-users throughout the world and if not, to propose research to identify—and action to remedy—inadequacies or shortcomings.
- To bring medical devices to the attention of policy makers and to help guide both industry and government on public health spending.
What is a health technology?
It is the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives.
- Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
What to Study?
For Prelims: About DMFs, composition, funds and jurisdiction, about PMKKKY, pneumoconiosis.
For Mains: reforms needed.
Context: Rajasthan to create pneumoconiosis fund with DMF money.
The fund will be used to execute a comprehensive policy on the disease, which is widely prevalent in the mining state.
Pneumoconiosis, a lung disease, mostly affects workers who work in the mining and construction sectors and deal with soil, silica, coal dust and asbestos. The disease includes asbestosis, silicosis and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.
DMFs were instituted under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Act 2015.
They are non-profit trusts to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining-related operations.
Objective: to work for the interest of the benefit of the persons and areas affected mining related operations in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government.
Jurisdiction: Its manner of operation comes under the jurisdiction of the relevant State Government.
The various state DMF rules and the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Khestra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) guidelines stipulate some “high priority” issues for DMFs, including:
- Drinking water.
- Women and child welfare.
- Livelihood and skill development.
- Welfare of aged and disabled.
Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY):
The programme is meant to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations, using the funds generated by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs).
Objectives of the scheme:
- To implement various developmental and welfare projects/programs in mining affected areas that complement the existing ongoing schemes/projects of State and Central Government.
- To minimize/mitigate the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socio-economics of people in mining districts.
- To ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.
GS Paper 3:
- Awareness in space.
What to study?
For Prelims: Why study carbon in earth? About CDO.
For Mains: Significance of the project and challenges involved.
The study’s results are concerning due to past extinction events linked to the mass release of atmospheric CO2.
- Less than one percent of the planet’s carbon is found above surface.
- The rest of the carbon – about 1.85 billion gigatonnes – is trapped in the planet’s crust and mantle.
- The carbon that is found in the oceans, the land and the atmosphere, for the most part, appears to be disturbed by human activity.
- Human emissions of the greenhouse gas are 100 times greater than all of Earth’s volcanoes.
- Human activity contributes about 10 gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. Natural geological process underground, for comparison, release about 10 times less of the global warming gas.
- Carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and oceans from volcanoes account for about 280 to 360 million tonnes.
- The burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other human actives contribute between 40 and 100 times the amount of CO2 into the atmosphere.
About Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO):
It is a global community of more than 1000 scientists on a ten-year quest to understand the quantities, movements, forms, and origins of carbon in Earth.
Why study carbon in Earth?
Carbon plays a fundamental role on Earth. It forms the chemical backbone for all essential organic molecules produced by living organisms. Carbon-based fuels supply most of society’s energy. Atmospheric carbon dioxide affects Earth’s climate. Yet despite its importance, remarkably little is known about the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of carbon in the vast majority of Earth’s interior.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 4:
Context: Singapore recently notified the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019.
Key highlights of the law:
- It will enable the government to order social media websites to take down posts deemed to be false.
- The Act’s definition of a falsehood is limited to a statement of fact and does not cover opinions, criticisms, satire or parody.
- Any minister from the government has the authority to instruct the “Competent Authority” if he believes a false statement of fact has been communicated in Singapore or if he believes it is in the public interest to issue a direction against the statement.
- The minister will need to explain why the statement is false.
- A set of binding “Codes of Practice” for technology companies covering three areas — inauthentic online accounts and bots, digital advertising transparency and de-prioritising falsehoods — will be applied to “digital advertising intermediaries” or Internet intermediaries”.
- Once a minister identifies a falsehood, the individual is issued a “Stop Communication Direction” to be complied with within a specified time period. Only when the falsehood is spread with malicious intent do criminal sanctions apply.
- If found guilty of communicating statements believed to be false to the extent that such a statement is likely to jeopardise the security of the country, influence election outcomes, incite feelings of enmity or hatred etc, he/she will be liable to pay a fine of $50,000 or be imprisoned for not more than five years or both.
Concern over the law:
Technology companies and rights groups have expressed concerns and worried because this law will hurt innovation and the growth of the digital information ecosystem. They argue that the law imposes limitations on free speech.
What led to the government taking this step?
False statements made online have the potential to divide society, spread hate and weaken democratic institutions.
The law aims to prevent the “communication of false statements of fact in Singapore and to enable measures to be taken to counteract the effects of such communication”; to suppress the “financing and promotion of false statements of fact”, and to enable measures such that politically motivated paid content is disclosed.
Sources: Indian Express.
Facts for prelims:
It is a Scheme of National Awards instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (D/o Social Justice & Empowerment).
- It was upgraded to the status of National Awards in 2013.
- The award is for institutions involved in rendering distinguished service for the cause of elderly persons especially indigent senior citizens and to eminent citizens in recognition of their service/achievements.
- These awards are presented as part of the celebration of the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) on 1st October.
International Day of Older Persons:
On 14 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated 1 October the International Day of Older Persons.
The theme of the 2019 commemoration is “The Journey to Age Equality”.
Other initiatives in this regard:
- The Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing – which was adopted by the 1982 World Assembly on Ageing – and endorsed later that year by the UN General Assembly.
- In 1991, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons.
- In 2002, the Second World Assembly on Ageing adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages.
Ex Ekuverin – 19:
Tenth edition of the Joint Military Exercise Ekuverin between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force will be held in Pune, Maharashtra.
- The two Forces have been conducting Exercise Ekuverin meaning ‘Friends’ in the Dhivehi language since 2009.
- The 14 days Joint Exercise held alternatively in India and Maldives focuses on enhancing interoperability between the two forces for carrying out counter insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in a semi-urban environment under the United Nations mandate.
Nomadic Elephant 2019:
It is Indo – Mongolian joint military training.
Nomadic Elephant-XIV is aimed at training troops in counter insurgency &counter terrorism operations under United Nations mandate.
Vande Bharat Express train:
Vande Bharat Express on Delhi-Katra route was flagged off recently.
- The semi-high speed Train 18, was rechristened as Vande Bharat Express, is country’s second such train.
- The first Vande Bharat Express on Delhi- Varanasi route began operations in February this year.
- The indigenously developed Vande Bharat train can run up to a maximum speed of 160 kmph, making it India’s fastest train.
PRAKASH (Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony) portal has been launched for transparency and better coordination in coal supplies to power plants.
- Aims at bringing better coordination for coal supplies among all stakeholders viz – Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal, Coal India, Railways and power utilities.
- Portal is developed by NTPC and sources data from different stakeholders such as Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and coal companies. All reports are available in PDF/Excel format.
Bandipur Tiger Reserve:
Context: Kerala’s Wayanad district has witnessed a series of protests against a ban on night traffic on the forest stretch of NH 766, a key highway between Karnataka and Kerala that passes through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka.
What’s the issue?
Although the night ban was first enforced a decade ago, the immediate trigger for the current agitation was a recent Supreme Court direction to the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to suggest alternative routes so that NH 766 could be shut down permanently. Since then, Wayanad has witnessed an ongoing indefinite hunger strike and several protest marches.
(Note: for prelims, have a look at the location of Bandipur Tiger reserve and adjoining areas).
Context: It is a rare disease that has killed five elephants in Odisha.
- EEHV is as a type of herpes virus that can cause a highly fatal hemorrhagic disease in young Asian elephants between the ages of 1 and 12.
- If a young elephant dies before reproducing, it affects the population of the species as a whole in the concerned geography.
- When EEHV is triggered, the elephant dies of massive internal bleeding and symptoms which are hardly visible, like reduced appetite, nasal discharge, and swollen glands.
- The disease is usually fatal, with a short course of 28-35 hours.
- Though adult elephants have been found carrying the virus, they do not show any sign of it.
- The virus spreads from one elephant to another but not to other animals or human beings.
- There is no true cure for herpes-viruses in animals or in humans because herpes viruses go latent.