Polity & Governance
- SC agrees to examine plea to bar politicians from contesting from two seats
Issues related to Health & Education
- Government launches door-to-door campaign against TB
- Laqshya- A Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative
Bilateral & International Relations
- December 10: World Human Rights Day
- ASEAN-India Connectivity Summit (AICS)
Defence & Security Issues
- sets up NIC-CERT centre to detect, prevent cyberattacks
Science & Technology
- Lalji Singh, ‘father of DNA fingerprinting in India,’ passes away
Key Facts for Prelims
- 12th December: Universal Health Coverage Day
- Safe Delivery Application
- Bihar govt approves “Safe City Surveillance” scheme
- Germany to provide urban transport solutions for Bhubaneswar
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Polity & Governance
SC agrees to examine plea to bar politicians from contesting from two seats
The Supreme Court agreed to adjudicate on whether politicians could be barred from contesting from more than one seat in an election and sought assistance from the Attorney General (AG) to decide the issue.
What’s the issue?
- One person, one vote & one candidate, one constituency is the dictum of democracy. However, as per the law – Section 33 (7) of the Representation of the People Act of 1951, as it stands today, a person can contest the election for the same office from two constituencies simultaneously.
- A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging Section 33 (7) of RPA 1951 that allows a person to contest elections to Parliament and state assemblies from two constituencies and sought an end to the practice.
What the Section 33(7) of RPA says?
- Section 33(7) of the Representation of People’s Act permits a candidate to contest any election (Parliamentary, State Assembly, Biennial Council, or bye-elections) from up to two constituencies. The provision was introduced in 1996 prior to which there was no bar on the number of constituencies from which a candidate could contest.
Arguments in favour of barring candidates contesting from more than one seat:
- When a candidate contests from two seats, it is imperative that he has to vacate one of the two seats if he wins both. This, apart from the consequent unavoidable financial burden on the public exchequer, government manpower and other resources for holding bye-election is also an injustice to the voters of the constituency which the candidate is quitting from.
Election Commission’s views on the issue:
- EC was in favour of not allowing politicians from contesting from multiple seats saying it resulted in wastage of public money as when fresh election was conducted, the candidate had to vacate one seat after winning in both the constituencies.
- Commission had already requested the Centre to amend the law for barring people from fighting election from multiple constituencies in an election.
Law Commission had also recommended Centre to amend the law but the Centre had not taken any step to implement the suggestion.
Alternative suggested by EC:
- The ECI alternatively suggested that if existing provisions are retained then the candidate contesting from two seats should bear the cost of the bye-election to the seat that the contestant decides to vacate in the event of his/her winning both seats. The amount in such an event could be Rs 5 lakh for assembly election and Rs 10 lakh for parliament election.
Issues related to Health & Education
Government launches door-to-door campaign against TB
On the lines of its anti-polio drive, the health ministry has launched a 15-day door-to-door campaign across the country for early detection, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis to eliminate the disease.
What’s the campaign?
- Under the campaign, health department workers, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and TB supervisors will make door-to-door visits to find TB patients and give them free medical treatment till they are cured.
Objectives of this campaign
- As per the WHO (World Health Organisation), approximately 2.8 million cases of tuberculosis (TB) occur in India every year, out of which only 1.7 million cases are reported. Therefore, around one million cases of TB get missed every year. The aim is to detect these missed out cases by going to every household.
- The government aims to decrease incidences of tuberculosis by 90% by 2025 and reduce mortality due to the disease by 95% by 2030 under the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP).
TB cases in India:
- According to the Government’s data, the TB incidence was estimated to be 217 per lakh population in 2015 which reduced to 211 per lakh population in 2016.
- According to a new global report, despite all the reduction, India topped the list of seven countries, accounting for 64% of the 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide in 2016.
- Also, India along with Russia and China accounted for almost about half of the 490,000, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR- TB) cases registered in 2016.
- According to the report, under diagnosis and under-reporting of the tuberculosis cases continue to be a challenge, especially in countries with large unregulated private sectors and weak health systems.
About Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP):
The large scale implementation of the Indian government’s Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) (sometimes known as RNTCP 1) was started in 1997.
- The RNTCP was then expanded across India until the entire nation was covered by the RNTCP in March 2006. At this time the RNTCP also became known as RNTCP II.
- RNTCP II was designed to consolidate the gains achieved in RNTCP I, and to initiate services to address TB/HIV, MDR-TB and to extend RNTCP to the private sector.
- RNTCP uses the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) strategy and reaches over a billion people in 632 districts/reporting units.
- The RNTCP is responsible for carrying out the Government of India five year TB National Strategic Plans.
- With the RNTCP both diagnosis and treatment of TB are free. There is also, at least in theory, no waiting period for patients seeking treatment and TB drugs.
The initial objectives of the RNTCP in India were:
- to achieve and maintain a TB treatment success rate of at least 85% among new sputum positive (NSP) patients.
- to achieve and maintain detection of at least 70% of the estimated new sputum positive people in the community.
Who are new sputum positive (NSP) patients?
- New sputum positive patients are those people who have never received TB treatment before, or who have taken TB drugs for less than a month. They have also had a positive result to a sputum test, which diagnoses them as having TB.
Active Case Finding (ACF):
- Under the 3rd phase of RNTCP called Active Case Finding (ACF), government has identified 186 high-risk districts with the help of states. Besides, government rolled out the daily drug course of therapy recently to combat the disease across the country.
Laqshya- A Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative
Government launched a country-wide initiative, Laqshya- A Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative, to ensure proper implementation of the existing labour room protocols in order to reduce maternal and newborn mortality.
Under the ‘Lakshya’, labour room teams will be financially rewarded if they meet the strict benchmarks and achieve targets in a time-bound manner as defined in the labour room guidelines.
Aim & Objective:
- It objective is to improve quality of care provided to pregnant mother in Labour Room and Maternity Operation Theatres (OTs), thereby preventing undesirable adverse outcomes associated with childbirth.
- It aims to reduce preventable maternal and new-born mortality, morbidity and stillbirths associated with care around delivery in Labour room and Maternity OTs.
How will it be implemented?
- It will be implemented in government Medical Colleges (MCs), District Hospitals (DHs), high delivery load Sub- District Hospitals (SDHs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs).
Guidelines under Laqshya:
- Ensuring privacy to the mother-to-be, stressing a comfortable position during delivery, no-tolerance policy for any verbal or physical abuse of the woman and no demand for gratuitous payment by staff are some of the guidelines under the programme ‘Lakshya’.
[Ref: PIB, Money Control]
Bilateral & International Relations
December 10: World Human Rights Day
The World Human Rights Day (WHRD) is observed every year on December 10.
- The 2017 theme: ‘Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity’.
- This year, Human Rights Day kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- On this day (10th Dec) in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
About Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a historic document that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its third session on 10 December 1948 as Resolution 217 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France.
- The Declaration consists of 30 articles affirming an individual’s rights. These rights not legally binding in themselves.
- The rights have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, economic transfers, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and other laws.
- The Declaration was the first step in the process of formulating the International Bill of Human Rights, which was completed in 1966, and came into force in 1976, after a sufficient number of countries had ratified them.
- UDHR is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.
Preamble and Articles:
The Declaration consists of a preamble and thirty articles:
- The preamble sets out the historical and social causes that led to the necessity of drafting the Declaration.
- Articles 1—2 established the basic concepts of dignity, liberty, equality, and brotherhood.
- Articles 3—11 established other individual rights, such as the right to life and the prohibition of slavery.
- Articles 6—11 refer to the fundamental legality of human rights with specific remedies cited for their defence when violated.
- Articles 12–17 established the rights of the individual towards the community (including such things as freedom of movement).
- Articles 18–21 sanctioned the so-called “constitutional liberties”, and with spiritual, public, and political freedoms, such as freedom of thought, opinion, religion and conscience, word, and peaceful association of the individual.
- Articles 22–27 sanctioned an individual’s economic, social and cultural rights, including healthcare. Article 25 states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.” It also makes additional accommodations for security in case of physical debilitation or disability, and makes special mention of care given to those in motherhood or childhood.
- Articles 28—30 established the general ways of using these rights, the areas in which these rights of the individual cannot be applied, and that they cannot be overcome against the individual.
Some of the rights enshrined in the Declaration are:
- Right to Equality,
- Freedom from Discrimination,
- Right to Life, Liberty,
- Personal Security,
- Freedom from Slavery,
- Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment,
- Right to Recognition as a Person before the Law,
- Right to Equality before the Law,
- Right to Remedy by Competent Tribunal,
- Right to Fair Public Hearing,
- Right to be Considered Innocent until Proven Guilty,
- Freedom from Interference with Privacy, Family, Home and Correspondence,
- Right to Free Movement in and out of the Country,
- Right to Asylum in other Countries from Persecution,
- Right to Own Property,
- Freedom of Belief and Religion,
- Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association,
- Right to Education etc.
ASEAN-India Connectivity Summit (AICS)
The ASEAN–India (Association of Southeast Asian Nations-India) Connectivity Summit (AICS) was held in New Delhi.
- The theme of summit was ‘Powering Digital and Physical Linkages for Asia in the 21st Century’.
- It was organized by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in collaboration with AIC (ASEAN-India Centre) and CII (Confederation of Indian Industry).
- The AICS aims to accelerate existing connectivity prospects, identify issues of concern, evolve suitable policy recommendations and develop strategies to enhance economic, industrial and trade relations between ASEAN and India.
- Its focus areas are infrastructure, roadways, shipping, digital, finance, energy and aviation.
- The AICS would be bringing together policymakers, senior officials from the government, investors, industry leaders, representatives of trade associations and entrepreneurs on the same platform.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional organisation comprising ten Southeast Asian states which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic integration amongst its members.
- It came into existence on August 8, 1967 after ASEAN declaration (also known as Bangkok declaration).
- Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand were founder countries.
- Later 5 more countries Brunei Darussalam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam were added.
- Its headquarters is in Jakarta, Indonesia.
- Its principal aims are:
- To accelerate economic growth, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members.
- To protect of regional stability and the provision of a mechanism for member countries to resolve differences peacefully.
Defence & Security Issues
Govt. sets up NIC-CERT centre to detect, prevent cyberattacks
The Centre has unveiled the NIC-CERT centre that would monitor and help in early detection and mitigation of cyberattacks on government networks.
- NIC-CERT is a dedicated body to detect, prevent and mitigate the impact of cyber attacks on the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
What will NIC-CERT do?
- NIC-CERT will work to ensure early detection and immediate mitigation of cyber attacks by monitoring data across the NIC platform, including communication between all the levels of government and between governments to citizens.
- NIC-CERT will operate in close coordination and collaboration with sectoral CERTs and more so with CERT-IN.
- Using advance tools, NIC-CERT team will correlate events that would help in generating canvas of attack surface and identify vulnerabilities and possible exploits.
National Informatics Centre (NIC):
- Established in 1976, the NIC is premier science & technology organisation of Government in informatics services and information and communication technology (ICT) applications.
- It is a part of MeitY’s Department of Electronics & Information Technology.
- It plays a pivotal role in steering e-governance applications in governmental departments at national, state and district levels, thus enabling improvement and wider transparency in government services.
- Almost all Indian-government websites are developed and managed by NIC.
About the CERT-In:
CERT-In is nodal government agency that deals with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing in India.
- It is nodal department under the aegis of Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
- According to the provisions of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, CERT-In is responsible for overseeing administration of the Act.
Objectives of the CERT-In:
Its objectives are to:
- Protect Indian cyberspace and software infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities.
- Strengthen security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain. Issue guidelines, vulnerability notes, advisories, and whitepapers regarding to information security practices, prevention, procedures, response and reporting of cyber security incidents.
Science & Technology
Lalji Singh, ‘father of DNA fingerprinting in India,’ passes away
Eminent scientist and ‘father of DNA fingerprinting in India’ Lalji Singh died at an age of 70.
Contributions of Lalji Singh:
- Singh was one of the leaders instrumental in making DNA fingerprinting mainstream in India, both at the level of research as well as for forensic applications.
- This was after techniques advanced by him led to DNA profiling being used to establish parentage as well as solve some high-profile crime cases in India.
- Based on his work he was tasked by the government — in the late 1990s — to establish the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) with a mandate of making it a nodal centre for DNA fingerprinting and diagnostics for all species and several diseases.
- He also set up a slew of dedicated labs that worked on several aspects of genetics such as population biology, structural biology and transgenic research.
- Singh was also the recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri award.
What is DNA profiling?
- DNA fingerprinting or DNA profiling is method of isolating and identifying variable elements within the base-pair sequence of DNA.
- DNA fingerprinting technology is utilised by police all over the world for fool-proof identification of criminals who leave their traces at crime scene while committing crime.
- The technology plays a crucial role in solving crimes as it has potential to link a series of crimes by placing the suspects by linking them with the crime scene.
Significance of DNA profiling:
- DNA profiling plays a crucial role not only in solving crimes but also has a potential to link a series of crimes by placing the suspects at the scene of crime by linking the suspects with the crime scene while also helping to prove their innocence.
- It can also be used to resolve disputes of paternity and maternity.
- It can establish the identity of missing children and baby-swapping cases in hospitals.
Key Facts for Prelims
12th December: Universal Health Coverage Day
- UHC Day is observed every year on 12 December.
- To commemorate first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere.
- UHC aims at ensuring equitable access for all to affordable, accountable, appropriate health services of assured quality.
- Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means everyone can access the quality health services they need without financial hardship.
- Universal health coverage has been included in the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.
Safe Delivery Application
- Recently launched the Safe Delivery Application is a mHealth tool that can be used for health workers who manage normal and complicated deliveries in the peripheral areas.
- The app has Clinical Instruction films on key obstetric procedures to help health workers translate their learnt skills into actual practice.
- It has been field tested in few districts and found to be useful for health workers providing maternity care.
Bihar govt approves “Safe City Surveillance” scheme
Bihar state government has approved a “Safe City Surveillance” scheme aimed at putting a check on eve-teasing and other crimes against women at public places across the state.
About “Safe City Surveillance” scheme:
- The scheme will bring all major public places under the watch of close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and improve the overall crime control in the state.
- This scheme is especially being launched for checking crime against women, such as eve-teasing and molestation, harassment, snatching incidents and roadside scuffles etc. It will also help in keeping a track of miscreants.
- The scheme, which will be launched in a phase-wise manner, will commence from capital Patna.
- The Bihar home department will be the nodal agency for implementation of the safe-city surveillance scheme.
Germany to provide urban transport solutions for Bhubaneswar
- The Union Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Ministry inked an agreement with German firm GIZ GmbH for technical cooperation in the implementation of transport projects in Coimbatore, Bhubaneshwar and Kochi.
- The main objective of the agreement is to improve planning and implementation of sustainable urban transport.
- An amount of euro 4 million (around Rs 29 crore) through GIZ is envisaged for this purpose over a period of three years.
- The project will give desired impetus in three major interventions proposed under Smart City Mission of MoHUA viz. ITS-based transport solutions, non-motorised vehicles and last mile connectivity.