Polity & Governance
- Domestic Violence Act for divorced women too: Supreme Court
- Elephant tusks are government property: SC
Government Schemes & Policies
- The lowdown on the recent Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) round
- SC concerned about overcrowding in prisons, asks HCs to look into issue
Issues related to Health & Education
- 8th May: World Thalassemia Day
- ‘MEIS to continue beyond June 30’
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Fourth EC Meeting and Workshop of SAWEN concluded
Defence & Security Issues
- Army finalises Rs 15,000-crore ammunition production project
Science & Technology
- ISRO making green propellant
Key Facts for Prelims
- What is the ‘Castle doctrine’ in Law?
- India largest remittance-receiving country in the world: Report
- Type 001A aircraft carrier
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Polity & Governance
Domestic Violence Act for divorced women too: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that the Domestic Violence Act, intended to safeguard women against marital abuse, will apply even after divorce.
- The court observed that the act extends to all man-woman relationships, and also protects divorced women from their former husbands.
- The apex court has upheld Rajasthan High Court’s interpretation that ‘domestic relationship’ is not confined to the “relationship as husband and wife or a relationship in the nature of marriage, but it includes other relationship as well such as sisters, mother, etc.”.
About the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005:
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament enacted to protect women from physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse at home.
- The Act provides for the first time in Indian law a definition of “domestic violence”, with this definition being broad and including not only physical violence, but also other forms of violence such as emotional/verbal, sexual, and economic abuse.
- Under the act, an offender can be prevented from selling his house or businesses or both to ensure the victim is not left to fend for herself.
- It is a civil law meant primarily for protection orders and not meant to penalize criminally.
- The act does not extend to Jammu and Kashmir, which has its own laws, and which enacted in 2010 the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2010.
Elephant tusks are government property: SC
The Supreme Court, in Wild Life Warden v Komarrikkal Elias case, has held that elephant tusk is a property of the Government.
- The Supreme Court observed that there is a clear “declaration” in the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 on elephant tusks being government property.
What Section 39(1) (c) of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 says?
- Section 39(1) (c) of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 says that an ivory imported into India and an article made from such ivory in respect of which any offence against this Act or any rule or order made thereunder has been committed, shall be deemed to be the property of the state government, and where such animal is hunted in a sanctuary or national park declared by the Central Government, such animal or any animal article, trophy, uncured trophy or meat derived from such animal shall be the property of the Central Government.
Government Schemes & Policies
The lowdown on the recent Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) round
The Directorate General of Hyrdrocarbons (DGH) had recently announced the completion of the first round of bidding under its new Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), a part of its revamped Hyrdrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) unveiled in March 2016.
About Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP):
- Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), a part of the government’s Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), gives an option to a company looking for exploring hydrocarbons to select the exploration blocks on its own, without waiting for the formal bid round from the Government.
- The objective of OLAP is to increase India’s indigenous oil and gas production by maximising the potential of already discovered hydrocarbon resources in the country.
- OALP offers single license to explore conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources to propel investment in and provide operational flexibility to the investors.
- It is departure from the current licensing policy of government identifying the oil and gas blocks and then putting them on auction.
- Under it, Government will conduct auction of oil and gas blocks twice a year, with the first round being held in July 2017.
- The selection of oil blocks will be based on seismic and well data provided by Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons in National Data Repository which offers total of 160TB data of India’s 26 sedimentary basins.
- The OALP auction will be held under the overhauled exploration licensing policy, allowing pricing and marketing freedom to operators and shifts to a revenue sharing model.
About Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP):
The Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP) opens up India’ entire sedimentary basin for investment from domestic and foreign players under a simplified, transparent and investor -friendly fiscal and administrative regime.
Objectives of HELP:
- Enhance domestic oil and gas production
- Bring substantial investment
- Generate sizable employment
- Enhance transparency and
- Reduce administrative discretion
Four main elements of HELP:
- Uniform license for exploration and production of all forms of hydrocarbon.
- An open acreage policy.
- Easy to administer revenue sharing model.
- Marketing and pricing freedom for the crude oil and natural gas produced.
Key features of HELP:
- There will be a uniform licensing system which will cover all hydrocarbons, i.e. oil, gas, coal bed methane etc. under a single license and policy framework.
- Contracts will be based on “biddable revenue sharing”. Bidders will be required to quote revenue share in their bids and this will be a key parameter for selecting the winning bid. They will quote a different share at two levels of revenue called “lower revenue point” and “higher revenue point”. Revenue share for intermediate points will be calculated by linear interpolation. The bidder giving the highest net present value of revenue share to the Government, as per transparent methodology, will get the maximum marks under this parameter.
- An Open Acreage Licensing Policy will be implemented whereby a bidder may apply to the Government seeking exploration of any block not already covered by exploration. The Government will examine the Expression of Interest and justification. If it is suitable for award, Govt. will call for competitive bids after obtaining necessary environmental and other clearances. This will enable a faster coverage of the available geographical area.
- A concessional royalty regime will be implemented for deep water and ultra-deep water areas. These areas shall not have any royalty for the first seven years, and thereafter shall have a concessional royalty of 5% (in deep water areas) and 2% (in ultra-deep water areas). In shallow water areas, the royalty rates shall be reduced from 10% to 7.5%.
- The contractor will have freedom for pricing and marketing of gas produced in the domestic market on arms length basis. To safeguard the Government revenue, the Government’s share of profit will be calculated based on the higher of prevailing international crude price or actual price.
Significance of HELP:
- The new policy regime marks a generational shift and modernization of the oil and gas exploration policy.
- It is expected to stimulate new exploration activity for oil, gas and other hydrocarbons and eventually reduce import dependence.
- It is also expected to create substantial new job opportunities in the petroleum sector. The introduction of the concept of revenue sharing is a major step in the direction of “minimum government maximum governance”, as it will not be necessary for the Government to verify the costs incurred by the contractor.
- Marketing and pricing freedom will further simplify the process. These will remove the discretion in the hands of the Government, reduce disputes, avoid opportunities for corruption, reduce administrative delays and thus stimulate growth.
SC concerned about overcrowding in prisons, asks HCs to look into issue
The Supreme Court has expressed concern about overcrowding in prisons across the country, in some cases beyond 150 per cent of the capacity and asked all the high courts to consider the issue as it involves “violation of human rights”.
- The court has requested the chief justices of the high courts to take up the matter as a suo-motu writ petition.
- The Centre apprised the court that steps were being taken to encourage setting up of ‘open prisons’ and a model uniform rules for the administration of open correctional institutions have already been framed.
What are open prisons?
- Semi-open prisons or open prisons allow convicts to work outside the jail premises and earn a livelihood and return in the evening.
- The concept was brought in to assimilate the convicts with society and reduce the psychological pressure and lack of confidence they faced lack of confidence in returning to lives outside prison.
Problem of Overcrowding prisons:
- Overcrowding is one of the biggest problems faced by prison inmates.
- It results in poor hygiene and lack of sleep among other problems.
- More than 65% of the undertrials spend three months to five years in jail before getting bail.
- A fourth of all the under trials have been under detention for more than a year.
Who manages prisons in state?
- As per the seventh schedule of the constitution, the management of prisons falls exclusively under the domain of the state government.
- In every state, the prison administrative machinery works under the chief of prisons who is a senior ranking IPS officer.
Issues related to Health & Education
8th May: World Thalassemia Day
- May 8 is observed as World Thalassemia Day.
What is Thalassemia?
- Thalaseemia is a chronic blood disorder. It is a genetic disorder due to which a patient cannot make enough hemoglobin found in Red Blood Cells (RBC’s). This leads to anemia and patients also require blood transfusions every two to three weeks to survive.
- Thalassemias are inherited disorders passed from parents to children through genes. Each red blood cell can contain between 240 and 300 million molecules of haemoglobin. The severity of the disease depends on the mutations involved in the genes, and their interplay.
About the thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia:
- They are caused by errors in the genes responsible for the production of hemoglobin, a substance composed of a protein (globin) plus an iron molecule (heme) that is responsible for carrying oxygen within the red blood cell.
- These disorders can cause fatigue, jaundice, and episodes of pain ranging from mild to very severe.
- They are inherited, and usually both parents must pass on an abnormal gene in order for a child to have the disease. When this happens, the resulting diseases are serious and, at times, fatal.
Types of Thalassemia:
- In Thalassemia minor, the hemoglobin genes are inherited during conception, one from the mother and one from the father. People with a Thalassemia trait in one gene are known as carriers or are said to have thalassemia minor. Thalassemia minor is not a disease and they have only mild anemia.
- These are patients who have mild to severe symptoms.
- This is the most severe form of Thalassemia. This occurs when a child inherits two mutated genes, one from each parent. Patients Children with thalassemia major develop the symptoms of severe anemia within the first year of life. They require regular transfusions in order to survive or a bone marrow transplant and are at a grave risk of iron overload and other complications.
- Thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia are the most frequently encountered ‘rare blood disorders’ in the country and impose a significant economic burden on families.
- India is the thalassaemia capital of the world with 40 million carriers and over 1,00,000 thalassaemia majors under blood transfusion every month.
‘MEIS to continue beyond June 30’
The Director General of Foreign Trade has said that the rates enhanced under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), a scheme to promote exports, would continue beyond June 30.
What is Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)?
MEIS was launched under Foreign Trade Policy of India (FTP) 2015-20.
- It is one of the two schemes introduced in FP 2015-20, as a part of Exports from India Scheme. The other scheme is Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS).
- Objective of MEIS is to offset infrastructural inefficiencies and associated costs involved in export of goods and products, which are produced and manufactured in India.
- It seeks to enhance India’s export competitiveness of these goods and products having high export intensity, employment potential.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Fourth EC Meeting and Workshop of SAWEN concluded
The fourth meeting of South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN), an inter-governmental wildlife law enforcement agency was in Kolkata, West Bengal (India).
- It was first meeting of SAWEN to be held in India since its inception in 2011.
- The two-day conference was attended by representatives of seven (excluding Pakistan) out of eight member countries.
SAWEN is regional inter-governmental wildlife law enforcement support body launched in 2011 in Bhutan.
- It is a regional network comprises eight countries in South Asia –Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- It aims at working collectively as a strong regional inter-governmental body to combat wildlife crime by attainting common mutual goals and approaches for combating illegal trade in the region.
Significance of SAWEN:
- The South Asia region is very vulnerable to illegal traffic and wildlife crimes due to presence of precious biodiversity and large markets as well as traffic routes for wildlife products in the region.
- The collaboration in harmonising as well as enforcing the wildlife protection in the region is considered very important for effective conservation of biodiversity.
Benefits to India:
- The SAWEN will also strengthen institutional responses to combat wildlife crime by promoting research and information sharing, training and capacity building, technical support, sharing experiences and outreach and to encourage member countries to prepare and implement their national action plans in curbing wildlife crime.
Defence & Security Issues
Army finalises Rs 15,000-crore ammunition production project
Indian Army has finalised Rs. 15,000-crore indigenous ammunition project under which range of ammunition for its critical weapons and tanks will be produced indigenously.
- It is claimed to be biggest ever initiative for indigenisation of ammunition.
- It aims to overcome long delays in imports and address problem of dwindling stockpile.
- The immediate aim of this project is to create an inventory for all major weapons to enable forces to fight 30-day war while long-term objective is to cut dependence on imports. For this, 11 private firms will be involved, and its implementation will be monitored by the top brass of Indian Army and Defence Ministry.
- The overall cost of project has been pegged at Rs. 15,000 crore.
- Indian Army has set specific target for next 10 years in terms of volume of ammunition to be produced. Initially, ammunition for range of rockets, air defence system, artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles, grenade launchers and various other field weapons will be produced under strict timelines.
- The production targets will be revised based on result of first phase of implementation of project.
Science & Technology
ISRO making green propellant
Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have reported progress in the development of an environment-friendly propellant to power satellites and spacecraft.
- Scientists at ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) are developing environment-friendly propellant propellant blend based on hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN) to power satellites and spacecraft.
- It seeks to replace conventional hydrazine fuel for future missions.
- HAN-based monopropellant formulation consists of HAN, ammonium nitrate, methanol and water.
- The methanol was added to reduce combustion instability and HAN was used for its capacity to control burn rate and lower freezing point of propellant.
- Monopropellant is chemical propulsion fuel which does not require separate oxidizer. It is used extensively in satellite thrusters for orbital correction and orientation control.
- The propellant formulation was tested for compatibility with four metal samples over period of six months. Moreover, variety of tests to investigate its characteristics, like thermal and catalytic decomposition and compatibility was undertaken with different materials.
- HAN-based monopropellant will replace conventional hydrazine rocket fuel, a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical, with greener propellant for future missions. It will also ensure cost effective re-usable, recoverable, re-startable and reliable space launches of ISRO.
- Due to its high performance characteristics, hydrazine has dominated space industry as choice of propellant for over six decades despite hazards.
Key Facts for Prelims
What is the ‘Castle doctrine’ in Law?
- ‘Castle doctrine’ is also known as the castle law or the defense of habitation law.
- It refers to a doctrine in the common law tradition which states that a person who acts in self defence against an intruder into his personal property has the right to legal immunity for his actions.
- A person who is defending his home against an intruder can use deadly force to protect himself and still be exonerated for his actions under the law.
- The defendant employing the castle doctrine will have to justify his action with sufficient evidence and also explain the use of deadly force as an appropriate and reasonable response to the particular threat that was facing him.
India largest remittance-receiving country in the world: Report
- According to recently released report ‘RemitSCOPE – Remittance markets and opportunities – Asia and the Pacific’, India was largest remittance receiving country in the world with US $69 billion in 2017.
- Top five remittance receiving countries in 2017 in the world were India ($69 billion), China ($64 billion) and Philippines ($33 billion), Pakistan ($20 billion), and Vietnam ($14 billion).
- Worldwide, an estimated 40% of total value of remittances goes to rural areas.
- 70% of remittances in the Asia pacific region are used to meet basic needs, such as food, clothing, healthcare and education. The remaining 30% can be saved and invested in asset-building or income-generating activities, helping families to build livelihoods and their future.
Type 001A aircraft carrier
- It is China’s first domestically manufactured aircraft carrier.
- It recently started sea trials.
- The Type 001A was built as part of China’s ambitious plans to modernise its navy as it presses its claims in disputed regional waters.
- It will give China second aircraft carrier as it asserts its claims in South China Sea and seeks to deter any independence movements in Taiwan.
- The possession of home-grown aircraft carrier places China among few military powers with such vessels, including United States, Russia and Britain.
- China’s sole operational aircraft carrier, Liaoning is a repurposed USSR (Soviet) ship bought from Ukraine, which went into service in 2012.