ias-toppers-G20-Dusseldorf,-Germany
Current Affairs Analysis

12th April 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Declaration on ‘Shaping Digitalisation for an Interconnected World’; G20; HIV/AIDS Bill; GST Network; Belle-II experiment; URJA MITRA app; UN Messenger of Peace; Haldia port cleanest in India; 2017 Pulitzer Prize; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
April 12, 2017

Contents

Issues related to Health & Education

  • HIV/AIDS Bill passed in Parliament

Bilateral & International Relations

  • G20 Ministers in-charge of digital economy issue declaration on ‘Shaping Digitalisation for an Interconnected World’

Defence & Security Issues

  • GST Network to encrypt companies’ data to check leaks

Science & Technology

  • Belle-II ‘rolls in’ to collision point

Key Facts for Prelims

  • URJA MITRA app
  • UN Messenger of Peace
  • Haldia port cleanest in India
  • 2017 Pulitzer Prize

 

Issues related to Health & Education

HIV/AIDS Bill passed in Parliament

Parliament has passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017.

ias toppers HIV and AIDS Bill

  • It is the first national HIV law in South Asia.
  • The Bill seeks to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV.
  • It aims to prevent social stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV (PLHIV).

Key Provisions of the bill:

Prevention and control the spread of HIV and AIDS. It prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS.

Privacy of PLHIV:

  • No person will be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order.
  • Establishments keeping records of information of PLHIV must adopt data protection measures.
  • Prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and PLHIV.

Safeguarding Rights:

  • Obligations on establishments to safeguard rights of persons living with HIV arid create mechanisms for redressing complaints.
  • Strengthen legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances to probe discrimination complaints against those who discriminate against PLHIV.
  • It ensures that no HIV test, medical treatment or research is conducted on a person without his informed consent.

Grounds of discrimination:

  • Lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV-positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.
  • These include the denial, discontinuation, termination or unfair treatment with regard to employment, educational establishments, health care services, renting property etc.
  • Bans unfair treatment of people living with and affected by HIV with regard to accessing public facilities, such as shops, hotels, restaurants, public entertainment venues, public facilities and burial grounds.

Pre-requisite HIV testing:

  • Prohibits, requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education.

Role of governments:

  • Under the Bill, central and state governments are obliged to provide for anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and management of opportunistic infections (infections that take advantage of weakness in the immune system and occur frequently).
  • The bill also prohibits specific acts of discrimination by the state, or any other person, against HIV-positive people, or those living with such people.

Ombudsman:

  • The bill also provides for an ombudsman. According to the provisions of the Bill, an ombudsman shall be appointed by each state government to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act and the provision of health care services.
  • The ombudsman shall submit a report to the state government every six months stating the number and nature of complaints received, the actions taken.

Guardianship:

  • Provisions related to guardianship are also specified.
  • A person between the age of 12 to 18 years who has sufficient maturity in understanding and managing the affairs of his HIV or AIDS affected family shall be competent to act as a guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age.
  • The guardianship will apply in matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, care and treatment, amongst others.

Role of courts:

  • Cases relating to HIV positive persons shall be disposed off by the court on a priority basis.
  • In any legal proceeding, if an HIV infected or affected person is a party, the court may pass orders that the proceedings be conducted (a) by suppressing the identity of the person, (b) in camera, and (c) to restrain any person from publishing information that discloses the identity of the applicant.
  • When passing any order with regard to a maintenance application filed by an HIV infected or affected person, the court shall take into account the medical expenses incurred by the applicant.

Background:

  • There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India.
  • The prevalence of HIV in India is decreasing since last decade but percentage of PLHIV receiving Anti-Retroviral therapy (ART) treatment is merely 28.82% against global percentage of 41%.
  • The Bill will provide essential support to National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) in arresting new spread of HIV infections and thereby achieving the target of “Ending the epidemic by 2030” to meet goal Sustainable Development Goals.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

G20 Ministers in-charge of digital economy issue declaration on ‘Shaping Digitalisation for an Interconnected World’

The G20 Digital Ministerial Meeting on Digital Economy was held in Dusseldorf, Germany.

ias-toppers-G20-Dusseldorf,-Germany

  • Ministers responsible for the digital economy from G20 countries had participated in it.
  • It concluded with adaptation of declaration on ‘Shaping Digitalisation for an Interconnected World’.

Key Features of the declaration:

  • It talks about the need for greater availability of affordable broadband connectivity, broader adoption of digital technologies and services improved digital skills and literacy, greater digital entrepreneurship for the digital economy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • It includes three annex papers on
  1. ‘Digital skills in vocational education and training’,
  2. ‘A Roadmap for Digitalisation: Policies for a Digital Future’ and
  3. ‘G20 Priorities on Digital Trade’.
  • It calls for collaboration between the countries and all stakeholders, including academia and private sector and sharing of best practices forms.
  • It calls for greater support for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which might be constrained by their scale in adoption of digital technologies. 

Background:

  • The ministerial conference was held according to the G20 Task Force on the digital economy established in G20 summit held in Hangzhou, China in 2016.
  • The G20 leaders summit held at Hangzhou had proposed to collectively leverage the opportunities and address challenges of an increasingly digital world, in order to enable a dynamic and thriving digital economy to drive inclusive global growth that benefits all.

About G20:

ias toppers G20

  • The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for its members’ international economic cooperation and decision-making.
  • Its members include Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, India, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, UK, US and EU.

iastoppers G20

  • It comprises total 19 countries plus the European Union (EU), representing 85% of global GDP, 80% of international trade, 65% of world’s population.
  • It is deliberating forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies on economic issues and other important development challenges.
  • It was started in 1999 as a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the Southeast Asian (Tiger economies) financial crisis.
  • It was established for studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.
  • In 2008, the first G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in Washington DC, US. The group had played a key role in responding to the global financial crisis.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Defence & Security Issues

GST Network to encrypt companies’ data to check leaks

Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) will encrypt the data submitted by businesses and have firewalls to prevent leaks.

  • Only two people will have access to data—the taxpayer himself and his assessing officer. The same data will be stored at four different locations to safeguard it.

What is GSTN?

ias toppers GST Network

  • The GSTN is a private limited company floated to aid the rollout of the new indirect tax regime.
  • The company will provide information technology support to all stakeholders for smooth implementation of the new taxation regime across the country and will be the repository of all information related to taxation and entities registered under GST.
  • The majority (51%) shareholding in the firm is with private entities including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and LIC among others. The central government, jointly with state governments and Union Territories, own 49% in the company.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

Belle-II ‘rolls in’ to collision point

The High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation (KEK) has completed the much-awaited ‘rolling-in’ of the Belle-II experiment in Tsukuba, Japan.

What is Belle-II experiment?

Belle II experiment consists of an upgraded detector to record the enormous numbers of particle processes that are produced by the SuperKEKB accelerator.

ias-toppers-Belle-II-experiment

  • The experiment is designed to study violations of the Standard Model of particle physics.
  • It is grand collaboration of 700 scientists from 23 countries including India.
  • The detector precisely measures elementary particle interactions artificially created with the upgraded SuperKEKB accelerator.
  • In the Belle II experiment, various elementary particles generated from high energy electron-positron collisions will be observed using the 8-meter tall Belle II detector consisting of seven types of subdetectors.
  • The detector will provide measurements of direction and momenta of newly produced particles.
  • Compared to previous Belle experiment, Belle Ⅱ will allow collection of much larger data samples with much improved measurement precision.

India’s contributions:

  • Belle-II has a significant Indian participation both on experimental and theoretical sides.
  • The fourth layer of the six-layer, highly sensitive particle detector, which is at the heart of Belle-II, has been built by Indian scientists.
  • Scientists from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Guwahati and Hyderabad; the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai; Punjab University; Punjab Agricultural University; MNIT (Malaviya National Institute of Technology), Jaipur; IISER (Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research) Mohali; and TIFR, Mumbai, are participating in this research.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

URJA MITRA app

ias-toppers-URJA-MITRA-app

  • The Union Ministry of Power has launched URJA MITRA app for empowering citizens by real time information sharing on power supply.
  • The app is a first of its kind which provides a central platform, web-portal as well as mobile app for state power Distribution utilities to disseminate power outage information to rural/ urban power consumers through SMS/ push/email notifications across the country.

 

UN Messenger of Peace

ias-toppers-UN-Messenger-of-Peace

  • United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai as a UN Messenger of Peace to promote girls education.
  • At 19, Yousafzai is the youngest Messenger of Peace, the highest honor given by the United Nations for an initial period of two years.
  • United Nations Messengers of Peace are distinguished individuals, carefully selected from the fields of art, literature, science, entertainment, sports or other fields of public life, who have agreed to help focus worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations.
  • These prominent personalities volunteer their time, talent and passion to raise awareness of United Nations efforts to improve the lives of billions of people everywhere.
  • The United Nations Secretary-General appoints Messengers of Peace.

 

Haldia port cleanest in India

ias-toppers-Haldia-port-cleanest

  • The Haldia port of West Bengal has emerged as the cleanest in a first-ever ranking of all major Indian ports on sanitation parameters. Vizag port came second.
  • The ranking of all 13 Indian ports was conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI) during the ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’.
  • The ranking was based on the efforts made by these ports to address waste generating sources with respect to port operation, office area, township area and the response to incoming ships.

 

2017 Pulitzer Prize

ias-toppers-2017-Pulitzer-Prize

  • Colson Whitehead’s celebrated novel The Underground Railroad has won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
  • Earlier in November 2016, the novel had received the National Book Award of US. This makes Colson Whitehead first person to win Pulitzer and National Book Award for fiction in last 20 years.
  • The Pulitzer Prize is an annual award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States.
  • It was established in 1917 by provisions in will of American-Hungarian newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer.
  • The award is administered by Columbia University in New York City.
  • Prizes are awarded yearly in 21 categories. In 20 of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a US$15,000 cash award. The winner in the public service category of the journalism is awarded a gold medal.

 

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