Polity & Governance
- BJP MP Dr Virendra Kumar to be pro tem speaker of 17th Lok Sabha
Government Schemes & Policies
- Chhattisgarh govt begins process to grant FRA to Abujmarh tribals
Issues related to Health & Education
- Minister of Health and Family Welfare chairs high level review meeting on Non-Communicable Disease
- 50 children die in AES outbreak in north Bihar
Bilateral & International Relations
- Pakistan likely to stay in FATF grey list
Science & Technology
- NASAMS 2: India to buy US missile system to shield Delhi
- Centre approves new space research agency
Key Facts for Prelims
- Equator Prize 2019
- Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC)
- ‘Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen’
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Polity & Governance
BJP MP Dr Virendra Kumar to be pro tem speaker of 17th Lok Sabha
Seven-time MP from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh, BJP MP Virendra Kumar is set to be the pro tem speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha.
- A pro-tem Speaker is the one who administers the oath to all the newly elected MPs and enable the House to elect the new Speaker. The office of pro-tem Speaker is ceased immediately after the House elects a permanent Speaker.
- After a general election and the formation of a new government, a list of senior Lok Sabha members prepared by the Legislative Section is submitted to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, who selects a pro tem speaker.
- The appointment of Pro tem speaker is a convention and there is no provision mentioned in the Constitution for this position.
- President appoints and administers the oath of a member of Lok Sabha as Pro-tem Speaker. By convention a senior most Lok Sabha member is usually is selected.
- A Pro-tem Speaker enjoys the same powers as enjoyed by the Lok Sabha Speaker.
- When the house elects the new speaker the office of the pro-tem speaker ceases to exist. Hence the office of the pro-tem speaker is a temporary one which will be in existence for few days.
- The Bombay High Court in its 1994 judgement in the Surendra Vassant Sirsat case holds that a pro-tem is Speaker of the House “for all purposes with all powers, privileges and immunities” until the Speaker is elected.
- The Odisha High Court also agreed in the Godavaris Misra versus Nandakisore Das, Speaker, Orissa Legislative Assembly case when it said the “powers of the Speaker pro-tem are co-extensive with the powers of elected Speaker”.
- The pro-tem speaker also has same powers, privileges as that of the Speaker.
Articles related to appointment of Pro-term speaker:
- The Article 94 of constitution mandates that before 1st sitting of the new Lok Sabha, immediately previous Speaker must resign
- A Speaker as well as Deputy Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament must be elected in first sitting of Lok Sabha as per the Article 93 of constitution.
- Article 180 (1) of the Constitution gives the Governor the power to appoint a pro-tem Speaker. The Article says that if the chair of the Speaker falls vacant and there is no Deputy Speaker to fill the position, the duties of the office shall be performed “by such member of the Assembly as the Governor may appoint for the purpose”.
- Presiding over the 1st sitting of newly constituted Lok Sabha after general elections,
- Administer the oath of office to newly elected MPs
- Supervise the election of Lok Sabha Speaker
Government Schemes & Policies
Chhattisgarh govt begins process to grant FRA to Abujmarh tribals
Granting of habitat rights to Abujh Marias:
- Apart from the tribals getting their dues as laid down by the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 or FRA Act, this move is a significant otherwise.
- Abujhmarh, where this tribe lives, is considered by the government to be one of the last remaining strongholds of Left-wing extremism.
- The Abujhmarh forest is spread in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.
FRA provision for PVTGs:
- The FRA Act recognise the forest and habitat rights of the PVTGs.
Definition of Habitat under the FRA:
- ‘Habitat’, as defined under the FRA, includes the area comprising the customary habitat and such other habitats in reserved forests and protected forests of primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities and other forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes.
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs):
- Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) are more vulnerable among the tribal groups.
- In 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 18 states and one Union Territory (A&N Islands) in the country (2011 census).
- Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12).
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)” exclusively for them .
- Under the scheme, Conservation-cum-Development (CCD)/Annual Plans are to be prepared by each State/UT for their PVTGs based on their need assessment, which are then appraised and approved by the Project Appraisal Committee of the Ministry.
- Priority is also assigned to PVTGs under the schemes of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme(TSS), Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organisations working for the welfare of Schedule Tribes and Strengthening of Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts.
How PVTGs are identified?
- PVTGs are identified by Union Government according to procedure in which state governments or UT governments submit proposals to Union Ministry of Tribal Welfare for identification of PVTGs.
- After ensuring the criteria is fulfilled, the Tribal Ministry Ministry selects those groups as PVTGs.
Issues related to Health & Education
Minister of Health and Family Welfare chairs high level review meeting on Non Communicable Disease
A meeting to review the status of National Programme for prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and strokes (NPCDCS) was held recently.
- The National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) aims at integration of NCD (non-communicable diseases) interventions in the National Health Mission (NRHM) framework for optimization of scarce resources and provision of seamless services to patients.
- NPCDCS is operating through NCD cells under the programme constituted at State and District levels.
- It links the ongoing interventions of National Health Mission including National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), National Mental health Programme and National Programme for Health Care of Elderly (NPHCE) for NCDs and convergence with other programmes dealing with communicable diseases like TB, RCH, and Adolescent /School Health etc.
- During the period 2010 – 2012, the programme was implemented in 100 districts across 21 States. The programme at present covers the entire country.
- Health promotion through behaviour change with involvement of community, civil society, community based organizations, media etc.
- Population based screening and Opportunistic screening at all levels in the health care delivery system from sub-centre and above for early detection of diabetes, hypertension and common cancers.
- To prevent and control chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, especially common Cancer, Diabetes and Hypertension.
- To build capacity at various levels of health care for prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, IEC/BCC and operational research.
- To support for diagnosis and cost effective treatment at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare.
- To support for development of database of NCDs through Surveillance System and to monitor NCD morbidity and mortality and risk factors.
- Health promotion, awareness generation and promotion of healthy lifestyle
- Screening and early detection
- Timely, affordable and accurate diagnosis
- Access to affordable treatment
Health facility under NPCDCS:
- Sub centre
- Primary healthcare (PHC)
- Community Health Centres / First Referral Units (CHC/FRU)
- District Hospital
- Medical College
- Tertiary Cancer Centre
Institutional framework for the implementation of NPCDCS activities:
- The Sixteenth meeting of the Empowered Programme Committee (EPC) of National Health Mission (NHM), held in 2013, decided that NCDs which were operating as separate vertical programmes are to be funded under a common “NCD flexi-pool” for interventions up to the district level (and below).
- The States/UTs while formulating their interventions for NCDs upto the District level, would specifically incorporate the same in the State NHM. The flexi-pool allows state with sufficient flexibility in providing funds to various components within overall NCD allocation.
- Tertiary health care activities would, however, is taken up separately outside the purview of NHM.
What are non-communicable diseases (NCDs)?
- Noncommunicable – or chronic – diseases are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression.
- The four main types of noncommunicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancer, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths.
- Others include diseases such as autoimmune diseases, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, and others.
- NCDs share several common, modifiable risk factors – tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet.
- Some 80% of all NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- The rapid rise in NCDs is predicted to impede poverty reduction initiatives in low-income countries, particularly by increasing household costs associated with health care.
- NCD management interventions are essential for achieving the global target of a 25% relative reduction in the risk of premature mortality from NCDs by 2025, and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of a one-third reduction in premature deaths from NCDs by 2030.
- World Health Organization has developed a Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013-2020, which includes nine global targets that have the greatest impact on global NCD mortality.
- Tobacco accounts for over 7.2 million deaths every year.
- 1 million annual deaths have been attributed to excess salt/sodium intake.
- More than half of the 3.3 million annual deaths attributable to alcohol use are from NCDs, including cancer.
- 6 million deaths annually can be attributed to insufficient physical activity.
50 children die in AES outbreak in north Bihar
An epidemic of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has broken out in five north Bihar districts, of which worst hit is Muzaffarpur.
Outbreak of AES in north Bihar:
- Locally known as Chamki Bukhar, at least 400 children have died in the last one decade due to AES, mainly in Muzaffarpur and its neighbouring districts of Vaishali, Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Sheohar, East and West Champaran.
Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES):
- It is a neurological disorder which affects the brain and the limbic system when a specific strain of virus or a bacteria attacks the body.
- It starts with high fever, then hampers neurological functions causing mental disorientation, seizure, confusion, delirium, coma.
- The disease outbreak is usually reported during monsoons (June-October). But the incidence is also reported during April-June in Bihar.
- With the only reported symptom being low blood sugar so far, the disease is something that manifests into more severe conditions, including very high fever, coma, delirium, seizure and disorientation upon deterioration.
- Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins and non-infectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades.
- Apart from viral encephalitis, severe form of leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis can cause AES.
- It is also caused by scrub typhus, dengue, mumps, measles, even Nipah or Zika virus.
- Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus is the most common cause of AES in India, attributing 5-35 per cent cases due to JE.
- Nipah virus, Zika virus are also found as causative agents for AES.
- The main reservoirs of the JE virus are pigs and water birds (Ardeidae) and, in its natural cycle, virus is maintained through certain mosquito species in these animals.
- Man is an accidental host and does not play a role in JE transmission.
Types of AES:
Different types of encephalitis have different causes.
- Japanese encephalitis is spread by mosquitoes
- Tick-borne encephalitis is spread by ticks
- Rabies can be spread through a bite from a mammal
- There is also primary or secondary encephalitis.
- Primary or infectious encephalitis can result if a fungus, virus, or bacterium infects the brain.
- Secondary, or post-infectious, encephalitis is when the immune system responds to a previous infection and mistakenly attacks the brain.
Status of AES in India
- In India, AES outbreaks in north and eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe litchi fruit on empty stomachs. Unripe fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG), which cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities. Hypoglycin A is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the unripened litchi that causes severe vomiting (Jamaican vomiting sickness), while MCPG is a poisonous compound found in litchi seeds.
- AES due to JE was clinically diagnosed in India for the first time in 1955 in Tamil Nadu.
- According to National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP), 10,485 AES cases were diagnosed in 2018 with 632 deaths across 17 states.
- India records fatality rate at 6 per cent in AES, but the fatality rises to 25 per cent amongst children.
- Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Tripura are worst affected.
- However, there are some assumptions of causes of AES in India. In India, AES outbreaks in north eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe litchi fruit on empty stomachs.
- Unripe fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and methylene cyclopropyl glycine (MCPG), which cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities.
- These toxins cause sudden high fever and seizures serious enough to require hospitalisation in young, severely malnourished children.
- However, litchi and deaths due to AES cannot be associated presently due to lack of confirmation by scientists.
- Some believe that malnutrition, heat, humidity and poor hygiene are the reasons of AES.
- Hydration and increasing the glucose levels in the body is the first treatment for the patient having AES.
- However, there are only a limited number of reliably tested specific antiviral agents that can help such as acyclovir, Corticosteroids (to reduce the brain’s inflammation) and Anticonvulsants (given to patients who have seizures.)
- Vero cell-derived purified inactivated JE vaccine-JENVAC, was the first vaccine in India that received manufacturing and marketing approvals from the Drug Controller General of India. The vaccine was an outcome of public-private partnership mode between the Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech.
Bilateral & International Relations
Pakistan likely to stay in FATF grey list
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has given an all clear to Pakistan on only two of 27 action plans it was supposed to complete to get out of the grey list.
Pakistan’s FATF status:
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has placed Pakistan on the grey list, because of strategic deficiencies in the country’s anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) regime.
- A country is put on the grey list when it fails to curb terrorism financing and money laundering.
- Coming FATF Plenary and Working Group meetings in Orlando, Florida in June 2019, would be crucial for Pakistan to get out of the grey list or falling into the black list.
- A third review of Pakistan’s compliance will be done in September. Pakistan was given 15 months to get its act together on a host of issues after it was put in Grey list in June 2018.
FATF allegations on Pakistan:
- Seizures of terrorist properties do not show compliance as there is no evidence of the source of funds for these bodies.
- Pakistan has not shown any action against terrorist assets – armouries, weapons, explosives and camps. FATF has asked for more detailed action and reporting on this.
- Pakistan’s anti-terror laws are not yet in conformity with FATF guidelines.
- FATF had objected to an asset declaration amnesty programme of Pakistan government which h was contrary to FATF anti-money laundering rules.
- The FATF currently comprises 36 members with voting powers and two regional organisations, representing most of the major financial centres in all parts of the globe.
- The FATF plenary placed Pakistan in the grey list in June 2018 after it could not secure a minimum of three votes.
- Pakistan was also grey-listed from 2008 to 2010 and then from 2012 to 2015.
About Financial Action Task Force (FATF):
- FATF is an inter‐governmental policy making body with ministerial mandate to establish international standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
- The FATF was created in 1989 at the behest of the G7, and is headquartered In Paris.
- Its objectives are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to integrity of international financial system.
- The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.
- In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.
- A large number of international organizations participate in the FATF as observers, each of which has some involvement in anti-money laundering activities.
- Organizations such as Interpol, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and World Bank are observers.
Grey list and Black list of FATF:
- FATF maintains two different lists of countries: those that have deficiencies in their AML/CTF regimes but they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes, and those that do not end up doing enough. The former is commonly known as grey list and latter as blacklist.
- Once a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced due diligence and counter measures, increasing the cost of doing business with the country and in some cases severing it altogether.
- As of now there are only two countries in the blacklist — Iran and North Korea — and seven on the grey list – Ethiopia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.
- Initially it was only dealing with developing policies to combat money laundering. But in 2001 its purpose was expanded to act against terrorism financing.
- Currently, it comprises two regional organisations (the EU and the Gulf Co-operation Council) and 35 member jurisdictions, including India, UK, US, China and the European Commission.
- Pakistan is not a member state of FATF: instead, it is a FATF Associate Member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG).
[Ref: Business-standard, Times of India, Tribune]
Science & Technology
NASAMS 2: India to buy US missile system to shield Delhi
India has accepted an offer from the United States to buy the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) that will help in securing the national capital with cutting edge technology.
- It is an advanced air defence system.
- It is highly adaptable mid-range solution for any operational air defence requirement.
- is an upgraded version of the NASAMS developed by Raytheon in partnership with KONGSBERG Defence and Aerospace of Norway.
- NASAMS-II is armed with 3D Sentinel radars, short and medium-range missiles, launchers, fire-distribution centres and command and control units to quickly detect, track and shoot down multiple airborne threats.
- It features new 3D mobile surveillance radars and 12 missile launchers for quicker reaction.
- It provides tailor-able, state-of-the-art defence system that can maximise the ability to quickly identify, engage and destroy current and evolving enemy aircraft, UAV or emerging cruise missile threats.
- It provides tailorable, state-of-the-art defence system that can maximise the ability to quickly identify, engage and destroy current and evolving enemy aircraft, UAV or emerging cruise missile threats.
- It is part of the air defence network guarding US capital city Washington DC. It is also deployed in several NATO countries.
Significance for India:
- India’s purchase of NASAMS-II will help in preventing 9/11-type on NCT Delhi.
- It will also complement India’s other systems such as the medium and long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems under procurement.
- With this, India will join league of nations including US, Russia and Israel etc. who have their own missile defence systems to protect their national capital regions.
Centre approves new space research agency
The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the setting up of the Defence Space Research Agency (DSRA).
- DSRA has been entrusted with the task of creating space warfare weapon systems and technologies.
- The agency would be provided with a team of scientists which would be working in close coordination with the tri-services integrated Defence staff officers.
- It would be providing the research and development support to the Defence Space Agency (DSA) which comprises members of the three services.
- The DSA has been created “to help the country fight wars in the space”.
- The Defence Space Agency is being set up in Bengaluru under an Air Vice Marshal-rank officer and will gradually take over the space-related capabilities of the three forces.
Key Facts for Prelims
Equator Prize 2019
- The women sangams (groups) of the Deccan Development Society have bagged the United Nation’s Equator Prize for 2019.
- They have been selected for standing as ‘an outstanding example of a local, nature-based solution to climate change and sustainable development.’
About Equator Prize:
- It is awarded biennially by Equator Initiative of UNDP in recognition of community efforts to reduce poverty via conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
- The award was established in 2002. Since its inception, out of a total 223 awards, only 9 awards have been bagged by India so far.
- The winners are selected by independent Technical Advisory Committee of UN and are awarded US$10,000.
Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC)
- Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) enters into Tripartite Agreement with French National Railways (SNCF) & AFD, a French Agency.
- AFD a French agency, has agreed to provide in-kind grant financing up to 7,00,000 EURO, through French National Railways (SNCF)-Hubs and Connexions as a Technical Partner to IRSDC to support the Railway Station Development Program in India.
- This will impose no financial liability on IRSDC or Indian Railways.
‘Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen’
Prime Minister Modi was conferred with Maldives’ highest honour- ‘Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen’ in Male, Maldives.
- The award is Maldives’ highest honour accorded to foreign dignitaries.