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THE HINDU CURRENT AFFAIRS 8TH DECEMBER 2019

Q.1 About 50% of the world population is concentrated between the
latitudes of
(a) 5°N and 20°N
(b) 20°N and 40°N
(c) 40°N and 60°N
(d) 20°S and 40°S

Q.2 After consolidating his power, Balban assumed the grand title of
(a) TuteiHind
(b) Kaisr-i-Hind
(c) Zil-i-Ilahi
(d) Din-i-Ilahi

Q.3The head of the military department under the reorganised
central machinery of administration during Akbar’s reign was
(a) Diwan
(b) Mir Bakshi
(c) Mir Saman
(d) Bakshi

 

POCSO ACT

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was formulated in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age, and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as matter of paramount importance at every stage, to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child. The act is gender neutral.

The Act is a comprehensive law to provide for the protection of children from the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process by incorporating child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences through appointment of Special Public Prosecutors and designated Special Courts.

In 2019 POCSO Amendment Bill increased the minimum punishment from seven years to ten years.  It further adds that if a person commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below the age of 16 years, he will be punishable with imprisonment between 20 years to life, with a fine.

 

MISSION BUNIYAD

An initiative by Delhi government to improve the reading and mathematical skills of Delhi students.

“Mission Buniyaad” was launched last year — at the beginning of the academic session 2018-19.

The idea behind the campaign was to make students of Classes III to IX learn to read, write and solve basic maths which they could not do earlier.

Under Buniyaad, students will be divided into three categories. Those who perform at par will be taken into the ‘Ujjawal’ group; those who score medium-level marks will be placed in ‘Utkarsh’ while those who are behind their peers will be placed in ‘Udyam’.

The move came after the National Achievement Survey (NAS) found that a majority of Class 3 to 5 students in government and aided schools performed abysmally in science, mathematics and languages.

 

SWACHH BHARAT MISSION

NEWS: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ has become a people’s movement in the country, which is a “big achievement” of the Modi government.

Addressing an event in Delhi Cantonment area, Mr. Rajnath said children have become the ambassadors of swachhta (cleanliness).

He also flagged off a special plogging awareness drive and said people have understood the downside of using plastic. 

PLOGGING

‘Plogging’ is a newly coined word to describe the act of runners or walkers picking up trash along the way, or after their run or walk, and disposing it of responsibly.

ABOUT SWACHH BHARAT MISSION

The Government of India has launched “Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban)” on 2nd October, 2014 with the following objectives:-

(i) Eliminate open defecation,

(ii) Conversion of insanitary toilets to pour flush toilets,

(iii) Eradication of manual scavenging,

(iv) 100% collection and scientific processing/disposal reuse/recycle of Municipal Solid Waste,

(v) To bring about a behavioral change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices,

(vi) Generate awareness among the citizens about sanitation and its linkages with public health.

(vii) Strengthening of urban local bodies to design, execute and operate systems,

(viii) To create enabling environment for private sector participation in Capital Expenditure and Operation & Maintenance (O&M) costs.

The Mission has following components:-

(i) Construction of Household Toilets,

(ii) Community and Public Toilets,

(iii) Solid Waste Management,

(iv) Information, Education & Communication (IEC) and Public Awareness,

(v) Capacity Building and Administrative & Office Expenses (A&OE).

 

COPD

NEWS: COPD treatment eluding power loom workers

Respiratory disease misdiagnosed as TB in the absence of detection facility, govt. scheme

WHAT IS COPD? 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an irreversible lung congestion caused by long-term exposure to organic dust. 

The disease is preventable, but not curable.

Causes

The main cause of COPD in developed countries is tobacco smoking. In the developing world, COPD often occurs in people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.

SPREAD OF THE DISEASE

As per the WHO Global Report on Tobacco Attributable Mortality, 2012, within non-communicable diseases group, 28% of deaths caused by COPD are attributable to tobacco. And exposure to indoor air pollution caused by cooking and heating could aggravate the incidence especially among women.

According to the University of Washington’s Global Burden of Disease study, 2018, COPD was the second highest cause of deaths in India after heart diseases in 2017.

 

PROTECTION OF MODERN INDIAN HERITAGE BY ASI AROUND KOLKATA

NEWS: In an attempt to shed more light on colonial settlements, the Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India focused on Danish and Dutch cemeteries among other monuments during its World Heritage Week celebrations last month.

The western banks of the Hooghly [Ganga] had anchored different colonial settlements, including the French, Portugese, Danish, Dutch and British. 

The Dutch settlement in the area started as early as 1656, a couple of years before the Mughal king Aurangzeb ascended the throne. They started the trade of cotton, indigo and spices. Not many of the Dutch monuments are found today as they were demolished after the British took control of the region.

ABOUT ASI

  • The ASI is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the country.
  • The prime objection of ASI is to maintain the archaeological sites, ancient monuments and remains of national importance.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • Established: 1861 by Alexander Cunningham.
  • It regulates all archaeological activities as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
  • It functions under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Culture.
  • It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.

 

PM KISAN AND KALIA SCHEME

NEWS:

The Odisha government has reduced the financial assistance given to farmers under the KALIA scheme to ₹4,000 per annum from ₹10,000, officials said on Saturday.

The decision to reduce the assistance was taken after the Odisha government merged the KALIA scheme with the Centre’s PM-KISAN, launched in February 2019

Keeping the parity of both the schemes, the small/marginal farmers may be given with ₹5,000 for 2019-20 and ₹4,000 per year from 2020-21, so that they will get ₹10,000 annually i.e ₹6,000 from PM-KISAN and ₹4,000 from KALIA. 

ABOUT KALIA SCHEME:-
KALIA: Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation Scheme

KALIA scheme of Odihsa government  offers a direct cash transfer of 5000 rupees for a farm family over five seasons along with other benefits. 

All small and marginal farmers along with landless agricultural households, vulnerable agricultural household, landless agricultural labourers and sharecroppers/actual cultivators are eligible under different components of KALIA. 

Who is a small and marginal farmer?
A small farmer is a cultivator who owns 2.5 acres to 5 acres of arable land. A marginal farmer is one who owns less than 2,5 acres of arable land.

What are the benefits available to cultivators for cultivation under KALIA scheme?
Financial aid of Rs.25,000 per farm family over five seasons will be provided to small and marginal farmers so that they can purchase seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and use assistance towards labour. This scheme has come into effect from the ongoing (2018-19) Rabi season.

Is there any benefit for the landless agricultural household?
Yes, Financial assistance of Rs 12500/ will be provided to each landless agricultural household for agricultural allied activities such as goat rearing, small layer poultry units, duckery units, fishery kits for fishermen, mushroom cultivation, bee-keeping and so on. 

ABOUT PM KISAN SCHEME

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme launched in the Interim Budget of 2019-20. 

Under this scheme rupees 6000 will be provided to farmers holding cultivable land. 

 

UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES PREVENTION ACT 

NEWS: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the two CPI(M) workers arrested by the police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) are Maoists. They were arrested while allegedly distributing Maoist pamphlets in Kozhikode.

About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA):

  • This law is aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
  • Its main objective is to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • The Act makes it a crime to support any secessionist movement or to support claims by a foreign power to what India claims as its territory.
  • Act allows the government to DESIGNATE INDIVIDUALS suspected to have terror links as “terrorists”.
  • Empowers the Director-General, National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of SEIZURE OR ATTACHMENT OF PROPERTY when the case is investigated by the agency.
  • The law allows the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to GO TO ANY STATE WITHOUT TAKING PERMISSION from state police concerned for checking anti-terror activities.

 

MEASLES

NEWS: Children under the age of five accounted for most of the 1,40,000 people who died from measles in 2018, according to new estimates released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) on behalf of the Measles and Rubella Initiative, early this week.

India initiated one of the world’s largest measles-rubella campaign to eliminate measles and control rubella in the country. By November 2019, more than 324 million children and adolescent between 9 months to 15 years of age have been vaccinated with one dose of MR vaccine.

ABOUT MEASLES

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.

Initial symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after infection. 

It remains an important cause of death among young children globally.

Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO regions by 2020.

In India Measles Immunization Day is celebrated on 16th March every year to make people aware about this deadly disease.

There is no specific treatment for the measles but there is a vaccine to protect from the disease.

Vaccination for measles is included in India’s Universal Immunization Programme.

ABOUT WHO

  • WHO is a specialised agency of UN
  • It is concerned with international public health
  • It acts as coordinating authority on international public health
  • Established in 1948
  • It succeeded the Health Organization, which was an agency of the League of Nations.
  • HQ : Geneva, Switzerland
  • India is a founder member of WHO.
  • It is a member of UN Development Group (UNDP).

 

TRADE MARGIN RATIONALIZATION

NEWS: Mukesh Aghi, President and CEO of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), has said India is open to the idea of moving the Trade Margin Rationalisation (TMR) regime for price control on imported medical devices, as being demanded by American manufacturers.

WHAT IT IS? 

The trade margin is the difference between the price at which the manufacturers/importers sell to stockists and the price charged to consumers.

 

ANALYSIS OF PERFORMANCE OF RBI GOVERNOR

Shaktikanta Das took charge as the 25th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on December 12, 2018 at a time when the relationship between the government and the central bank had touched a new low.

Mr. Das was able to deflect media focus away from the RBI-government tussle. While a committee was appointed to look into the issue of economic capital, the issue regarding RBI’s governance took a back seat at the board meetings.

Setting interest rates, which is the primary policy-making responsibility of the RBI, in the first year of Mr. Das’ tenure was not a complicated process. Inflation remained benign, while growth was coming down rapidly.

The first sign that policy-making will not be as straight forward was evident in the December 5 policy. As October’s retail inflation went beyond the central bank’s medium term target of 4%, the RBI decided to pause on rate cuts. 

The growth-inflation conundrum had kicked in for the RBI Governor.

Net foreign direct investment increased to $20.9 billion in the first half of 2019-20 from $17 billion a year ago, while net foreign portfolio investment was $8.8 billion in April-November 2019 as against a net outflow of $14.9 billion in the same period last year. This also helped the central bank to shore up the foreign exchange kitty that recently crossed the $450-billion mark for the first time.

India’s foreign exchange reserves stood at$ 451.7 billion on December 3, 2019 — an increase of $38.8 billion over end-March 2019.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Mr. Das in his second year would be to address the risk-averse nature of the banks. 

 

KARVY STOCK SCANDAL

WHY IN NEWS?

The broking firm has been in the news for the last few weeks as some of its clients complained of delayed payouts. Typically, a person should get the money in his account on the third day of the transaction but some clients alleged that they did not receive the money after more than a week of executing the trades.

On November 22, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) passed an ex parte ad interim order against Karvy Stock Broking, a Hyderabad-based firm, prohibiting it from taking new clients in respect of its stock broking activities.

Why was the payout delayed?

The broking firm had initially said the delay in payouts was on account of technical issues, but according to a preliminary probe by SEBI and the NSE, the late transfer was on account of alleged misuse of client securities

ABOUT SEBI

SEBI was constituted on 12th April 1988 as an interim administrative body under the Finance Ministry.

Four years later, on 4th April 1992 a notification awarding statutory powers to SEBI was issued (Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992).

All decisions taken by Securities and Exchange Board of India are collectively taken by its Board that consists of a Chairman and eight other members.

Securities and Exchange Board of India is a quasi-legislative, quasi-judicial and quasi-executive body. It can draft regulations, conduct inquiries, pass rulings and impose penalties.

SEBI is capital markets regulator. A capital market is a financial market in which long-term debt (over a year) or equity-backed securities are bought and sold. 

 

LAWS ON RAPE AND SEXUAL CRIMES

WHY IN NEWS?

After the rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad on November 28 and the burning of a rape survivor in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, on December 5, there has been an outcry for justice for the victims. Within and outside Parliament there has been a clamour to make the criminal justice system tougher on an offender committing sexual crimes against women and children.

HISTORY

‘Rape’ as a clearly defined offence was first introduced in the Indian Penal Code in 1860.

Section 375 of the IPC made punishable the act of sex by a man with a woman if it was done against her will or without her consent. The definition of rape also included sex when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.

Also, sex with or without her consent, when she is under 18 years is considered rape. However, under the exception, sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.

Section 376 provided for seven years of jail term to life imprisonment to whoever commits the offence of rape.

In the IPC, Section 228A was added which makes it punishable to disclose the identity of the victim of certain offences including rape.

Criminal Law (Amendment) Act  2013  widened the definition of rape and made punishment more stringent.

The 2013 Act, which came into effect on April 2, 2013, increased jail terms in most sexual assault cases and also provided for the death penalty in rape cases that cause death of the victim or leaves her in a vegetative state.

It also created new offences, such as use of criminal force on a woman with intent to disrobe, voyeurism and stalking.

The punishment for gang rape was increased to 20 years to life imprisonment from the earlier 10 years to life imprisonment.

Earlier, there was no specific provision in law for offences such as use of unwelcome physical contact, words or gestures, demand or request for sexual favours, showing pornography against the will of a woman or making sexual remarks.

But, the 2013 Act clearly defined these offences and allocated punishment. Similarly, stalking was made punishable with up to three years in jail. The offence of acid attack was increased to 10 years of imprisonment.

Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 provided for  death penalty as a possible punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years; the minimum punishment is 20 years in jail.

 

CREAMY LAYER RESERVATION FOR SC/ST

WHY IN NEWS?

On December 2, the Central government asked the Supreme Court of India to refer to a seven-judge Bench the question whether the creamy layer concept should apply (or not) to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes while giving them reservation in promotions. 

The Narendra Modi government wants the Supreme Court to re-consider its stand that socially, educationally and economically advanced “cream” of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) communities should be excluded from the benefits of reservation in government services.

The court in the Jarnail Singh case had upheld the applicability of creamy layer to affluent SCs and ST

In Jarnail Singh, the court had agreed with its 12-year-old verdict in the M. Nagaraj case that the creamy layer applied to SCs and STs in order to prevent the socially advanced in a backward community or class from eating the whole cake while leaving the weak among them impoverished.

What is the creamy layer concept?

The ‘means-test and creamy layer’ first finds expression in the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in Indra Sawhney versus Union of India, delivered by a nine-judge Bench on November 16, 1992. The judgment recorded lawyers describing the ‘creamy layer’ as “some members of a backward class who are highly advanced socially as well as economically and educationally… They constitute the forward section of that particular backward class — as forward as any other forward class member. They lap up all the benefits of reservations meant for that class, without allowing benefits to reach the truly backward members of that class”.

The Indra Sawhney judgment had upheld the government’s move, based on the Mandal Commission report, to give 27% reservation to Other Backward Classes. But it held that the creamy layer (socially advanced persons) “can be and must be excluded from backward classes”.

 In 1993, the creamy layer ceiling was fixed at ₹1 lakh. It was subsequently increased to ₹2.5 lakh in 2004, ₹4.5 lakh in 2008, ₹6 lakh in 2013, and at ₹8 lakh since 2017.

 

TYPBAR TCV

A typhoid vaccine (Typbar TCV) developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has shown 81.6% efficacy in preventing typhoid fever at 12 months in a phase-3 clinical trial. The trial was carried out in Nepal in over 10,000 children who received the vaccine.

Typhoid fever is caused by highly contagious Salmonella Typhi bacteria. Nearly 11 million fall sick due to typhoid and about 1,17,000 deaths are reported each year. The bacteria spread through contaminated food and water.

The Typbar TCV typhoid vaccine tested in Nepal is a conjugate vaccine. A conjugate vaccine is one in which the antigen (which is a polysaccharide in this case) is chemically linked to a carrier protein.

Two other typhoid vaccines — polysaccharide typhoid vaccine and live, weakened typhoid vaccine — are already used commercially. But the efficacy of these vaccines to protect against typhoid is lower than the conjugate vaccine that has now been tested in Nepal.

The vaccine has already been licensed in India and is available for clinical use. The company has been supplying the typhoid conjugate vaccine to Pakistan since 2017. 

Pakistan is the first country to introduce the typhoid conjugate vaccine as part of its national immunisation programme.

 

PERSON IN NEWS

AMNA NAWAZ: Amna Nawaz, a Pakistani-American journalist who works for PBS, has become the first South Asian-American scribe to be selected to moderate a U.S. presidential debate, media reports said on Saturday

FACTUAL

Chairman of the First Law Commission: Lord Macaulay

Question for Mains

Q.1 Crime against women seriously undermine the mobility of women and economic development of the nation. Elucidate.

Q.2 Justice delayed is justice denied and justice hurried is justice buried. Comment

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