CFZ-along-Bangladesh-India-border-ias
Current Affairs Analysis

10th March 2018 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

First ever ‘crime-free zone’; State flag for Karnataka; Rajasthan Bill to give death penalty for child rape; Passive Euthanasia legalised; Active Euthanasia; Right to Die; WHO launches plan for cheaper TB drugs; Diu becomes the first and only Union Territory to be 100% solar energy efficient; International Solar Alliance; Vaterite, a rare mineral; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
May 05, 2018

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Karnataka govt. unveils State flag

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Rajasthan passes Bill to give death penalty for child rape

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Passive Euthanasia legalised by Supreme Court
  • WHO launches plan for cheaper TB drugs

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Diu becomes the first and only Union Territory to be 100% solar energy efficient

Bilateral & International Relations

  • International Solar Alliance may extend its membership

Defence & Security Issues

  • First ever ‘crime-free zone’ along international border launched

Science & Technology

  • Rare mineral found in plants for first time

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Polity & Governance

Karnataka govt. unveils State flag

Karnataka government has unveiled the State flag for Karnataka.

Karnataka-state-flag-CM

  • If approved by the Centre, Karnataka will be the second State to have a flag after Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The proposal will be now sent to the Union Home Ministry for approval since a State has no powers to announce its own flag.

Karnataka’s new flag:

  • The red-white-yellow flag has the State emblem at the centre. The State flag will fly below the national flag as prescribed.
  • In the tri-colour Stage flag, white symbolises peace with State emblem. While yellow symbolises the auspiciousness and well-being of Kannadigas, the red colour symbolises courage.

Are states permitted to have their own flags?

In S.R. Bommai v/s Union of India (Supreme Court 1994) case, the Supreme Court has declared that federalism is a basic feature of the Constitution and States are supreme in their sphere.

  • This being the Constitutional position, there is no prohibition in the Constitution for the State to have its own flag.
  • However, the manner in which the State flag is hoisted should not dishonour the national flag. It has to be always below the national flag.
  • The national flag code specifically authorises use of other flags subject to the regulation by the court. So, State flag is not unauthorised.

At present, there is no provision allowing or disallowing state to have separate flag, even there has been no precedent.

J&K state flag:

  • Jammu and Kashmir is the only state having its own flag as it enjoys special powers under Article 370 of Constitution. It had adopted its own flag in 2015.
  • Under Article 144 of J&K Constitution, the state flag is red in colour with three equidistant white vertical strips of equal width next to staff and white plough in middle with handle facing the strips.

State-Flags-557x435

[Ref: The Hindu, Indian Express]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Rajasthan passes Bill to give death penalty for child rape

Rajasthan has passed a Bill providing for death penalty to those convicted of raping girls of 12 years and below. The State Assembly passed the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018 seeking to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 with the insertion of new provision by voice vote.

Rajasthan-Bill-to-give-death-penalty-for-child-rape

  • The bill will become a law after it gets Presidential assent.
  • With this, Rajasthan became second state in the country after Madhya Pradesh approving death sentence for those convicted of such rapes.

Key facts:

  • The Bill aims at protecting girl child by laying down deterrent punishment, including death sentence, to offenders of child rape of girls below 12.
  • It inserts sections 376-AA and 376-DD in IPC, 1860. These sections provide, that whoever commits rape or gang-rape on a girl upto 12 years of age shall be punishable with death or rigorous imprisonment.
  • The Bill provides for capital punishment or rigorous imprisonment ranging between 14 years and lifelong incarceration.
  • It also makes a similar provision for gang-rape of a girl child, while laying down death penalty or imprisonment from 20 years to lifelong incarceration for those convicted of the offence. Each of the persons constituting the gang will be deemed to be guilty of the offence.

Background:

  • According to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, cases of crimes against children have shown a steady rise in Rajasthan.
  • The state has recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which is 3.8% of crimes against children (98,344) registered across country. It stands fourth in crime against women category.
  • In 2015, the state had registered 3,689 cases of crime against children, increased by 345 in year under review.
  • State police had registered 728 cases of child rape in 2015, which increased to 858 in 2016.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

Passive Euthanasia legalised by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has delivered a landmark judgment allowing “living will” where, an adult in his conscious mind, is permitted to refuse medical treatment or voluntarily decide not to take medical treatment to embrace death in a natural way.

Passive Euthanasia featured image23

  • In Its judgment, the court has laid down a set of guidelines for “living will” and defined passive euthanasia and euthanasia as well.

What is Passive Euthanasia?

  • The term “passive euthanasia” used by the Supreme Court in its verdict on Aruna Shanbaug’s case is defined as the withdrawal of medical treatment with the deliberate intention to hasten a terminally ill-patient’s death.
  • Various medical and legal dictionaries say passive euthanasia is the act of hastening the death of a terminally-ill patient by altering some form of support and letting nature take its course.
  • Passive euthanasia can involve turning off respirators, halting medications, discontinuing food and water so the patient dies because of dehydration or starvation.
  • Passive euthanasia can include giving the patient large doses of morphine to control pain in spite of the likelihood that the painkiller can cause fatal respiratory problems.

What is active euthanasia?

  • Active euthanasia involves helping the patient to die on the basis of a request by either the patient of those close to him or her, usually direct family members.

Guidelines laid down by the court:

Passive-Euthensia iastoppers

What is advance medical directive or living will?

  • It is a medical power of attorney that allows an individual to appoint a trusted person to take health care decisions when the patient is not able to take such decisions.
  • The trusted person is allowed to interpret the patient’s decisions based on their mutual knowledge and understanding.
  • The trusted person can decide on the patient’s behalf how long the medical treatment should continue when the patient in unconscious or in a coma state is not in a position to decide.

Passive-Euthensia iastoppers23

Who is allowed to execute or draw up the will?

  • According to the Supreme Court rules, it can be executed only by an adult who is of a sound and healthy state of mind and in a position to communicate, relate and comprehend the purpose and consequences of executing the document.
  • It must be voluntarily executed and should have characteristics of an informed consent given without any undue influence or constraint.
  • It shall be stated clearly as to when medical treatment may be withdrawn or no specific medical treatment shall be given which will only have the effect of delaying the process of death that may otherwise cause the patient pain, anguish and suffering and further put him or her in a state of indignity.
  • In order to overcome the difficulty faced in case of patients who are unable to express their wishes at the time of taking the decision, the concept of advance medical directives emerged in various countries.

Passive-Euthensia iastoppers24

What should the will speak about?

  • It should indicate the decision relating to the circumstances in which withholding or withdrawal of medical treatment can be resorted to.
  • Be in specific terms and the instructions must be absolutely clear and unambiguous.
  • Mention that the executor may revoke the instructions/authority at any time.
  • Disclose that the executor has understood the consequences of executing such a document.
  • Specify the name of a guardian or close relative who, in the event of the executor becoming incapable of taking decision at the relevant time, will be authorized to give consent to refuse or withdraw medical treatment in a manner consistent with the advance directive.
  • In the event that there is more than one valid living will, none of which have been revoked, the most recently signed advance directive will be considered as the last expression of the patient’s wishes and will be given effect to.

How should the will be recorded, preserved?

  • The document should be signed by the executor in the presence of two attesting witnesses, preferably independent, and counter-signed the jurisdictional Judicial Magistrate of First Class (JMFC) so designated by the concerned district judge.
  • The JMFC shall preserve one copy of the document in his office, keep another in digital format, forward one copy of the document to the registry of the jurisdictional district court, inform the immediate family members of the executor.
  • A copy be handed over to the competent officer of the local body. A copy of the directive be handed over to the family physician, if any.

Passive-Euthensia iastoppers25

When and by whom can it be given effect to?

  • In the event the executor becomes terminally ill and is undergoing prolonged medical treatment with no hope of recovery and cure of the ailment, the treating physician, when made aware about the advance directive, shall ascertain the genuineness and authenticity thereof from the jurisdictional JMFC before acting upon the same.
  • The document should be given effect to only after being fully satisfied that the executor is terminally ill and is undergoing prolonged treatment or is surviving on life support and that the illness of the executor is incurable or there is no hope of him/her being cured.
  • The physician or hospital where the executor has been admitted for medical treatment shall constitute a medical board that shall visit the patient and form an opinion whether to certify or not to certify carrying out the instructions of withdrawal or refusal of further medical treatment.
  • The Chairman of the board nominated by the collector, that is, the Chief District Medical Officer, shall convey the decision of the board to the jurisdictional JMFC before giving effect to the decision to withdraw the medical treatment administered to the patient.
  • The JMFC shall visit the patient at the earliest and, after examining all aspects, authorise the implementation of the decision of the board.
  • It will be open to the executor to revoke the document at any stage before it is acted upon and implemented.

What if the board refuses the permission?

  • If permission to withdraw medical treatment is refused by the Medical Board, it would be open to the patient or his family members or even the treating doctor or the hospital staff to approach the high court and its chief justice will have to constitute a division bench to decide upon case.

Passive-Euthensia iastoppers26

Right to Die:

  • Right to die peacefully is part of Fundamental Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Article 21 provides that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”.
[Ref: The Hindu, Indian Express, Economic Times, Business Standard]

 

WHO launches plan for cheaper TB drugs

World Health Organization (WHO) has invited pharmaceutical companies around the world to submit proposals to manufacture affordable versions of newer medicines for treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB).

WHO-cheaper-TB-drugs-ias

About the proposal:

  • It has now requested drug makers to submit Expression of Interest (EoI) for Bedaquiline and Delaminid, two new-generation drugs, recommended for DR-TB.
  • The aim of this proposal is to replicate success of addressing HIV epidemic.
  • Under WHO norms, drugs submitted upon such requests and complying with its standards will be included in list for procurement by UN and other organisations.

Background:

India has nearly 1.3 lakh DR-TB patients, the most in the world, but the Health Ministry gets only 10,000 doses of Bedaquiline and 400 doses of Delaminid. The medicines are obtained as donations from Janssen (US) and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals (Japan), the respective manufacturers.

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Diu becomes the first and only Union Territory to be 100% solar energy efficient

Diu has become the first and only Union Territory in the country to be fully run on solar energy.

Diu-solar-energy-efficient

  • The UT generates total of 13 megawatts (MW) of electricity from solar power generating facilities daily. Of this, 3 MW is generated by rooftop solar plants and 10 MW by its other solar power plants.

Background

  • Diu has an area of just 42 square kilometres and population of 56,000. For water and electricity, the Union territory was solely dependent on Gujarat government.
  • The electricity supplied from power grid owned by Gujarat government was causing huge line losses.

To overcome this limitation, UT’s administration has decided to set up solar power plants.

[Ref: Economic Times, Indian Express]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

International Solar Alliance may extend its membership

India, a founding member of the International Solar Alliance, has said that membership of the body will be thrown open to all countries that want to join the grouping, with no restrictions on duration of sunlight or geographical location.

International Solar Alliance may extend its membership ias

Eligibility so far:

  • When the International Solar Alliance was announced in 2015, 121 nations situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn and receiving 300 days of sunlight were deemed eligible for membership.

About International Solar Alliance:

ISA was launched, on the sidelines of COP-21, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November, 2015 by Modi and French President Francois Hollande.

ias toppers International Solar Alliance2

  • The alliance, headquartered in India, aims to bring together countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn which receive abundant sunshine for around 300 days a year.
  • ISA aims to invite solar rich 121 countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join the alliance.
  • International Steering Committee was establishment under the mandate of the Paris Declaration of ISA to provide the guidance and direction to establish the ISA.
  • It will function from the Gurgaon, Haryana based National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE).
  • India has offered a contribution of Rs 175 crore for creating ISA corpus fund and for meeting the cost of ISA secretariat for initial five years.
  • Alliance seeks to share common platform to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely.
  • Alliance would pursue cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.
[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times]

 

Defence & Security Issues

First ever ‘crime-free zone’ along international border launched

The director generals of Border Security Force (BSF), India and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have declared 8.3 km stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border as first ‘crime-free zone’.

CFZ-along-Bangladesh-India-border-ias

About the Crime-free zone:

  • The first ‘crime-free zone’ stretch is one of most vulnerable to crimes like cattle smuggling and others.
  • The stretch covers Gunarmath and Kalyani Border Out Posts (BOPs) in India and Puthkhali and Daulatpur BOPs in Bangladesh across border.

Significance of this Crime-free zone:

  • Both border guarding forces with help of civil administrations of two countries, NGOs and local populance will help in ensuring that no crime takes place along stretch.
  • Both forces will work together to ensure that no crime or anti-social activity occurs along this stretch.

Indo-Bangladesh Border:

  • Bangladesh and India share 4,156 km long international border.
  • It is longest international border shared by India with its neighbours.
  • It passes through five states viz. Assam (262 km), Tripura (856 km), Mizoram (180 km), Meghalaya (443 km) and West Bengal (2,217 km).

Way ahead:

  • This is pilot project that will be reviewed after 5-6 months. It will be extended to other trouble-prone areas to target more difficult areas along 913 km of Indo-Bangladesh border under BSF’s South Bengal Frontier.
[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times]

 

Science & Technology

Rare mineral found in plants for first time

Scientists have found that the mineral vaterite, a form (polymorph) of calcium carbonate, is a dominant component of the protective silvery-white crust that forms on the leaves of a number of alpine plants.

vaterite-image-ias

About Vaterite:

  • Vaterite is a mineral, a polymorph of calcium carbonate (CaCO3).
  • It was named after the German mineralogist Heinrich Vater. It is also known as mu-calcium carbonate.
  • Vaterite was often associated with outer space and had been detected in planetary objects in the Solar System and meteorites:
  • Vaterite is not very stable in the Earth’s humid atmosphere as it often reverts to more common forms of calcium carbonate, such as calcite.

Significance of this discovery:

  • Naturally occurring vaterite is rarely found on Earth. Small amounts of vaterite crystals have been found in some sea and freshwater crustaceans, bird eggs, the inner ears of salmon, meteorites and rocks.
  • This is the first time that the rare and unstable mineral has been found in such a large quantity and the first time it has been found to be associated with plants.

Potential uses of vaterite:

  • Vaterite has special properties that make it a potentially superior carrier for medications due to its high loading capacity, high uptake by cells and its solubility properties that enable it to deliver a sustained and targeted release of therapeutic medicines to patients.
  • Other potential uses of vaterite include improving the cements used in orthopaedic surgery and as an industrial application improving the quality of papers for inkjet printing by reducing the lateral spread of ink.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

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