The Hindu Newspaper 04/07/2020

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Anubhav’ portal sometimes seen in the news recently was established under which of the following ministries?

a.  Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

b.  Ministry of Personnel, Public grievances and Pensions

c.  Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

d.  Ministry of Human Resources and Development

Answer : b

It is a platform for retirees to share experience of working with the Government.

This facility provides a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction to the retirees and also creates a data base of useful suggestion and information.

An annual award scheme has been instituted to encourage the retiree to submit his valuable experience/ suggestions through write-ups.

Union Minister for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has recently presented the ANUBHAV awards, 2019.

2)Mission Reach Out sometimes seen in the news recently is associated with which of the following regions?

a.  Kerala

b.  Odisha

c.  Maharashtra

d.  Jammu and Kashmir

Answer : d

The Indian Army has launched “Mission Reach Out” in Jammu to ensure basic necessities and essential services are available in the region post the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir.

3)Zayed Medal is the top civilian honour of?

a.  Qatar

b.  Pakistan

c.  Saudi Arabia

d.  United Arab Emirates

Answer : d

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was recently awarded the United Arab Emirate’s (UAE) highest civilian honour Zayed medal.

4)Which of the following reports/indices are prepared by the United Nation Organization?

Gender Inequality Index

World Happiness Report

Global Environment Outlook

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

a.  3 only

b.  1 and 2 only

c.  2 and 3 only

d.  1, 2 and 3

Answer : d

News:-

News: ICMR looks at COVID-19 vaccine launch by August 15

The vaccine candidate, called Covaxin, has been developed by Hyderabad-based, Bharat Biotech India Ltd (BBIL) who got approvals from the Drug Controller General of India on June 29 for phase-1 and phase-2 trials.

The trials are done on groups of people and meant to test if the vaccine is safe in humans and produces protective antibodies. The potential vaccine in question is a sars-cov-2 strain sourced from the ICMR-National Institute of Virology,Pune. The aim is to test if the weakened form of the virus can stimulate enough immunity to protect healthy people from Sars cov-2 infection.

News:- After Mizoram, Nagaland bans sale of  dog  meat

The announcement followed an appeal by the Federation of Indian  AnimalProtection Organisations (FIAPO), an apex body of animal rights groups, to the Nagaland government to ban the sale, smuggling and consumption of dog meat besides enforcing stringent animal welfare laws.

News:-Delhi Govt. launchese-portal for school children

Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday launched an e-learning portal — LEAD (Learning through E-Resources Made Accessible for Delhi) — developed by the Delhi government that contains 10,000 instructional materials and course content for Classes I to XII. The portals, the government said, will give students access to textbooks, study material and course contentas per the  syllabus of the CBSE, NCERT and Delhi government’s  curriculum online. It will include  digital QR coded  textbooks, explanatory videos, practice questions and evaluation.

News:- Uganda becomes first African country to submit REDD+ results:-

News: Uganda has become the first African country to submit results for REDD+ to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC).

Facts:

  • REDD+: It is a mechanism which was first negotiated by the Parties to the UNFCCC in 2005.Most of the key REDD+ decisions were completed by 2013 with the final pieces of the rulebook finished in 2015.
    • In this mechanism, REDD stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”; the “+” signifies the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.  
  • Objective: To achieve climate change mitigation in developing countries by incentivizing forest conservation.   
  • Countries interested in REDD+ are required to progress through three phases:
    • Readiness phase: It involves the development of national strategies or action plans, REDD+ mitigation actions and capacity building;
    • Implementation of national strategies that could involve further capacity building, technology development and transfer, and results-based demonstration activities;
    • Results-based payments comprise the final REDD+ phase.It provides financial incentives to developing countries that prove they stopped deforestation during a certain period of time.

News:- Not the time to profiteer: NPPA

To ensure sufficient availability of critical medical equipment for clinical  management of COVID-19 in the country, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday that it had identified a list  of critical medical equipment and had requested the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to ensure its availability at affordable prices.. 

NPPA, in exercise of powers conferred under DPCO, 2013, has called for price related data from manufacturers/importers of Pulse Oximeter and Oxygen Concentrator to ensure that prices existing as on 1st April, 2020 should not be increased more than 10% in a year,” noted a release issued by the Ministry.

All the medical devices have been notified as drugs and have come under the regulatory regime of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act,1940 and Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013, with effect from April 1. A stakeholders consultation with medical devices industry associations and civil society groups was held by the NPPA on July 1 wherein it was stressed that all the manufacturers and importers of critical medical equipment shall ensure sufficient availability of the same.

About NPPA:- National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) was constituted vide Government of India Resolution dated 29th August, 1997 as an attached office of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers as an independent Regulator for pricing of drugs and to ensure availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.

EDITORIALS :-

Police violence and how some lives do not matter

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2-  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Context: Analysing the abuse of power by Police in the backdrop of custodial killing of Jayaraj and his son in Tamil Nadu.

Background:

IncidentReaction
Disha case (2019)· The Hyderabad police were celebrated by the public for killing four men accused of raping, murdering and burning the body of the victim.
Custodial killing of father and son (2020)· All are horrified by the brutal violence inflicted upon these two men.· There is a collective call to keep our police in check and that we must not tolerate such abuse of police powers.

Reasons for different reaction:

  • For instant justice: Sometimes we are willing to accept an instant (but illegal) version of justice.
  • Moral evaluation: We embrace mob justice in some situations where we feel it is ‘deserved’. It conveniently blurs the lines between our moral judgment and the limits we must place on police power. For example-we are shocked that father and son were tortured for keeping their shop open for a few minutes after lockdown timings whereas when someone is present to us as sexual offenders, terrorists and anti-nationals, we accept such tortures.

The track record of our public and legal conversation on torture and fixing accountability present a sad picture.

Records for abuse of power:

  • On Custodial deaths (police and prison): In the last three years, the NHRC has received nearly 5,300 complaints which are only a fraction of the actual number of such deaths.
  • Fixing accountability: Government data recorded 1,727 deaths in police custody between 2000 and 2018 but only 26 police officials were convicted as the legal process to investigate, prosecute and fix accountability has many hurdles.

There is an institutional and public culture that breeds, protects and even celebrates this kind of violence.

Reasons for abuse of power:

  • Responsibility: The Law Commission of India has suggested that if a person dies in police custody, the burden should be on the police to show that they are not responsible but the law still requires the prosecution to prove that the police caused the death.
  • India’s political commitment to address torture: Itis symbolized by its failure to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture.
  • Not following judgments: The Supreme Court of India has laid down many measures to prevent torture and fix accountability but these judgments are rarely followed.
  • Institutional apathy: The law mandates an independent magisterial inquiry into a custodial death. Such inquiries have happened in only about 20% of custodial deaths and prosecution of police officials for custodial torture requires the sanction of the government.
  • System working: The system incentivizes torture by seeking convictions without modernizing the police force.
  • Instant justice: The use of torture is often justified by police personnel as being required to teach ‘hardened criminals’ on behalf of society.

Way Forward
There should be a domestic law that enables torture prosecution by accounting for the particularities of custodial torture.

EDITORIAL : 2:-

Accounting rural women’s work and health in Pandemic

Source – The Hindu

Syllabus – GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Context – As India emerges from the lockdown, labour market policy has to reverse the pandemic’s gender-differentiated impact.

Feature of rural women’s work

  1. Crisis of regular employment– When women are not reported as workers, it is because of the lack of employment opportunities rather than it being on account of any “withdrawal” from the labour force.
  2. Defining potential workforce– Women from all sections of the peasantry, with some regional exceptions, participate in paid work outside the home. In thinking of the potential workforce, thus, need is to include women from almost all sections of rural households and not just women from rural labour or manual worker households.
  3. 3. Young vs old women– Younger and more educated women are often not seeking work because they aspire to skilled non-agricultural work, whereas older women are more willing to engage in manual labour.
  4. Wage inequality– Women’s wages are rarely equal to men’s wages in rural areas, with a few exceptions. The gap between female and male wages is highest for non-agricultural tasks — the new and growing source of employment.
  5. Woman’s work day–  Counting all forms of work — economic activity and care work or work in cooking, cleaning, child care, elderly care — a woman’s work day is exceedingly long and full of drudgery.

Lockdown’s affect on employment for rural women

  1. Agriculture and allied sector – While agricultural activity continued for harvest operations; employment available to women during the lockdown was limited.
  • Dairy products– When households own animals, women are inevitably part of the labour process. During the lockdown, the demand for milk fell by at least 25% (as hotels and restaurants closed), and this was reflected in either lower quantities sold or in lower prices or both.
  • Mariculture– For women across the country, incomes from the sale of milk to dairy cooperatives shrank. Among fishers, men could not go to sea, and women could not process or sell fish and fish products.
  1. Non-agricultural jobs– Non-agricultural jobs came to a sudden halt as construction sites, brick kilns, petty stores and eateries, local factories and other enterprises shut down completely and thus women depended on these were forced out of work.
  2. Government schemes– During the pandemic, Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHAs, 90% of whom are women, have become frontline health workers, although they are not recognized as “workers” or paid a regular wage.

Lockdown’s affect on health and nutrition for rural women

Way Forward – In the short-run provision, employment of women can be increased through an imaginative expansion of the MGNREGA while a medium- and longer-term plan needs to generate women-specific employment in skilled occupations and in businesses and new enterprises.

News:- About ED :

About Enforcement Directorate:

It is a Multi Disciplinary Organization mandated with the task of enforcing the provisions of two special fiscal laws – Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). 

Historical background:

The origin of this Directorate goes back to 1st May, 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed, in Department of Economic Affairs, for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 (FERA ’47).

In the year 1957, this Unit was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’. The administrative control of the Directorate was transferred from Department of Economic Affairs to Department of Revenue in 1960.

For a short period of 04 years (1973 – 1977), the Directorate also remained under the administrative jurisdiction of Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms. 

Powers:

The Directorate enforces two laws;

FEMA, a Civil Law having quasi judicial powers, for investigating suspected contraventions of the Exchange Control Laws and Regulations with the powers to impose penalties on those adjudged guilty.

PMLA, a Criminal Law, whereby the Officers are empowered to conduct enquiries to locate, provisionally attach/confiscate assets derived from acts of Schedules Offences besides arresting and prosecuting the Money Launderers.

Composition:

Besides directly recruiting personnel, the Directorate also draws officers from different Investigating Agencies, viz., Customs & Central Excise, Income Tax, Police, etc. on deputation.

Other functions:

Processing cases of fugitive/s from India under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.

Sponsor cases of preventive detention under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974(COFEPOSA) in regard to contraventions of FEMA.

Special courts:

For the trial of an offence punishable under section 4 of PMLA, the Central Government (in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court), designates one or more Sessions Court as Special Court(s). The court is also called “PMLA Court”.

Any appeal against any order passed by PMLA court can directly be filed in the High Court for that jurisdiction.

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