Current Affairs Analysis

15th August 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Project Lion; Contempt of Court; National Digital Health Mission; National Health ID; Providing Urban amenities in Rural Areas (PURA); Swasthya Portal; Fit India Youth Clubs; Price Monitoring and Resource Unit; Project Dolphin; Mauritius oil spill; International Labour Organization Convention 182; Minimum Age Convention 1973; UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989; Gallantry Awards; SRIJAN Portal; AYUSH for Immunity Campaign; Operation Hidden Idol; European Pine Marten; etc.
By IASToppers
August 17, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • SC holds Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt

Government Schemes & Policies

  • National Digital Health Mission
  • Pune continues implementing PURA
  • Swasthya Portal
  • Fit India Youth Clubs

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Price Monitoring and Resource Unit

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Projects for Lion and Dolphin conservation
  • Mauritius oil spill

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Universal ratification of a Labour Standard

Defence & Security Issues

  • Gallantry awards for Defence personnel

Key Facts for Prelims

  • SRIJAN Portal
  • AYUSH for Immunity Campaign
  • Operation Hidden Idol
  • European Pine Marten

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Polity & Governance

SC holds Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt

A three-judge Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra found two tweets by lawyer Prashant Bhushan amounting to serious contempt of court.

  • His tweets condemned the current Chief Justice of India and the role of some Chief Justices of India in the last six years.

Court’s key arguments:

1. Actual Interference:

  • SC relied on Brahma Prakash Sharma ruling (1953) that it is not necessary to prove affirmatively that there has been actual interference with the administration of justice. It is enough if a defamatory statement is likely, or tends in any way, to interfere with the proper administration of justice.
  • The Bench also relied on C K Daphtary (1971) ruling that a scurrilous attack on a judge in respect of a judgment or past conduct has adverse effect on the due administration of justice. This sort of attack has the inevitable effect of undermining the confidence of the public in the judiciary.

2. Scandalising of Court:

  • The Bench cited Baradakanta Mishra (1974) that scandalising of the court is a species of contempt, and a common form is vilification (defamation) of the judge.
  • The Bench held that fair criticism of judges, if made in good faith in public interest, is not contempt.
  • But personal criticism of a judge does not amount to fair criticism.
  • For ascertaining good faith and the public interest, the courts have to see all the surrounding circumstances including the person responsible for comments, his knowledge in the field, and the intended purpose.

Concerns:

  • To ascribe motives (attribute evil motives) to a judge is to sow the seeds of distrust in the minds of the public about the administration of justice as a whole.
  • It can prejudice the mind of public against judges of the court who are responsible for implementing the law.

Note: To know more about Contempt of court, refer IASTopper’s previous Current Affair’s Analysis:https://www.iastoppers.com/28th-july-2020-current-affairs-analysis-iastoppers/

[Ref: Indian Express]

Government Schemes & Policies

National Digital Health Mission

The National Digital Health Mission was launched by PM Modi on August 15, 2020.

Aim:

  • To make India a Digital Health Nation through a National digital health ecosystem.

Key Features:

  • The NDHM is a complete digital health ecosystem with personal health IDs for every Indian and digitisation of health records.
  • It consists of a registry of doctors and health facilities across the country.
  • The digital platform will be launched with four key features – Health ID, Personal health records, Digi Doctor and Health facility registry.
  • This ID will be applicable across states, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories and pharmacies.
  • The patient will grant permission to access confidential medical data at every visit to doctor, enabling privacy of the patient.
  • At a later stage, it will also include e-pharmacy and telemedicine services, regulatory guidelines for which are being framed.
  • The National Health Agency (implementing agency for Ayushman Bharat) has created the platform, which will be available in the form of an app and website.

Respecting privacy:

  • The platform is voluntary as it will be up to an individual to get enrolled on the app.
  • Health records will be shared only after authorisation by the individual.
  • Similarly, it will be up to hospitals and doctors to provide details for the app.

National Health ID:

  • The national health ID will be a repository of all health-related information of a person.
  • The Health ID is created by using a person’s basic details and mobile number or Aadhaar number.
  • This will make it unique to the person, who will have the option to link all of their health records to this ID.
  • NITI Aayog proposed a Digital Health ID to greatly reduce the risk of preventable medical errors and significantly increase quality of care.
  • This enables users to obtain a longitudinal view of their healthcare records.

Significance:

  • The implementation of NDHM is expected to significantly improve efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of health service delivery.
  • It would accelerate India’s progress towards achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goal 3.8 of universal health coverage, including financial risk protection.

Note: To know more about National Digital Health Mission refer IASToppers’ Editorial:

[Ref: ToI, Indian Express]

Pune continues implementing PURA

Pune Rural Administration implemented the Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) initiative amid COVID-19 pandemic.

PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas):

  • Providing Urban amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) is the concept of former President APJ Abdul Kalam in the VISION 2020 project initiated by him.
  • This concept was presented by Dr. Kalam in Indian National Science Congress’s 90th conference in Chandigarh in January 2004.
  • Amenities and economic activities under PURA included: Water and Sewerage, Construction and maintenance of Village streets, Drainage, Solid Waste Management, Skill Development, village street lighting, telecom, electricity generation, village linked tourism, etc.

Rationale:

  • Prioritising rural development, because ¾ of our population lived in rural areas (2004) and by neglecting them India cannot be a developed nation by 2020.

Aim:

  • To make rural areas as attractive as cities and to bridge the rural-urban divide.
  • To provide India new heights and achievements, developed status and economy.

Major objectives:

  • To provide high cost advanced technology to village.
  • Linking a loop of villages by a ring road about 30 km in circumference with frequent bus services to integrate the population of all connected village into one market.
  • To treat rural development as corporate social responsibility (CSR).
  • Toreplace agriculture by connectivity as the Driving Force of rural development.
  • To tackle problem of migration of people from rural to urban areas for employment.
  • Priority to Industry and services in job creation and employment in farm sector should decrease.
  • Compensation to farmers for the land acquired by an annual fee equal to twice the price of the produce they grow, not by a lump sum amount.
  • Toprovide same per capita investment to rural areas as cities.

Status of the scheme:

  • PURA scheme was implemented on a pilot basis in seven clusters for a period of three years (2004- 05 to 2006-07) by the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • PURA 2.0 was a central sector scheme, launched in 2012 which focused on development of potential growth centres such as census towns.
  • In 2014-15, government made no allocation to the PURA scheme.
  • It was replaced by Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) in 2016 with an initial allocation of Rs. 100 crores (aimed to create 300 rural growth clusters across the country).
[Ref: The Hindu; ISC]

Swasthya Portal

Union Tribal Affairs Minister e-launched Swasthya Portal on 17th August, 2020.

Key Features:

  • It is a first of its kind Tribal Health & Nutrition Portal: One-stop solution for health & nutrition status of the tribal population of India.
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with Piramal Swasthya, the Centre of Excellence has developed this Tribal Health and Nutrition Portal.
  • Swasthya is a one-stop solution presenting all information pertaining to tribal health and nutrition related to Scheduled Tribe people.
  • It has a dashboard, knowledge repository, partner segment, Sickle Cell Diseases (SCD) support corner.

Significance:

  • The dashboard presents data curated from multiple sources for 177 identified high priority tribal districts.
  • The Portal has research studies, innovations and best practices on tribal community curated from multiple sources related to tribal health and nutrition.
  • The Portal will bridge the existing knowledge, drive evidence-based policy making and catalyze a series of actions to overall improvements in the health and nutrition status of Tribals.

 [Ref: PIB]

Fit India Youth Clubs

Union Ministry of Youth launched nation-wide initiative – Fit India Youth Club on 15 August 2020.

Aim:

  • To harness the power of youth to create mass awareness about the importance of fitness across the country.

Major Highlights:

  • The Fit India Youth Club is a part of the Fit India Movement launched on August 29, 2019.
  • The Fit India Youth Clubs bring together fitness and voluntarism in a unique way.
  • The 75 lakh volunteers of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan and National Service Scheme, along with Scouts and Guides, NCC and other youth organisations will come together to register as Fit India Youth Clubs in every block in the country.
  • It would be under the aegis of a district unit and each member will motivate people from the community to take up fitness activities of 30 to 60 minutes in his or her daily routine.
  • The clubs will organise and encourage schools and local bodies to organise one community fitness programme every quarter.

 [Ref: PIB]

Issues related to Health & Education

Price Monitoring and Resource Unit

A Price Monitoring and Resource Unit has been set up in Karnataka under the aegis of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

Key Features:

  • PMRU will function at the State level under the direct supervision of the State Drug Controller for increasing outreach of NPPA.
  • PMRUs are societies registered under the Societies Registration Act having its own Memorandum of Association/ Bye laws.
  • The Board of Governors of PMRU includes the representatives from Central Government and State Government concerned and other stakeholders.
  • The PMRUs are expected to strengthen drug security and affordability at regional levels.

Functions:

  • To assist NPPA in monitoring of prices of drugs, ensuring availability of drugs and raising consumer awareness.
  • They act as collaborating partners of NPPA with information gathering mechanism at the grass-roots level.
  • They will render necessary technical assistance to both the NPPA and the respective State Drug Controllers of States/ Union Territories.

Consumer Awareness, Publicity and Price Monitoring (CAPPM):

  • NPPA, under its Central Sector Scheme named Consumer Awareness, Publicity and Price Monitoring (CAPPM), has set up of PMRUs in 12 States/ UTs.
  • They include Kerala, Odisha, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Nagaland, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram and Jammu & Kashmir.
  • NPPA has plans to set up PMRUs in all the 36 States/ UTs.
  • The expenses of PMRUs, both recurring and non-recurring are borne by NPPA under the Scheme.

 [Ref: PIB]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Projects for Lion and Dolphin conservation

PM Modi recently announced to launch Project Lion and Project Dolphin for the biodiversity conservation of these species on the lines of Project Tiger launched in 1973.

Project Lion:

  • Under Project Lion, work on required infrastructure for protection and security of Indian lions especially health infrastructure will be undertaken.
  • There will be a focus on conflict mitigation and technology for management.

Asiatic Lions:

  • Asiatic lions are confined to Gir National Park and its surrounding environs in Gujarat’s Saurashtra.
  • The Gujarat forest department in June suggested their population has increased by 29%— from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020
  • The distribution area of lions in Saurashtra has increased by 36% from 22,000 sq. km in 2015 to 30,000 sq. km.
  • Experts have called for reintroduction of Asiatic lions outside Gujarat for their long term conversation.
  • For example: Kuno Palpur Sanctuary in MP is being considered for reintroduction of lions.
  • IUCN status: Endangered
  • Listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and Appendix I of CITES.

Project Dolphin:

  • Project Dolphin will focus on both river and sea dolphins.
  • The Gangetic dolphin is an indicator species, whose status provides information on the overall condition of the ecosystem and of other species in that ecosystem.
  • It is extremely vulnerable to changes in water quality and flow.
  • A WWF-India and the Uttar Pradesh forest department assessment in 2012 and 2015 recorded 1,272 dolphins in the Ganga, Yamuna, Chambal, Ken, Betwa, Son, Sharda, Geruwa, Gahagra, Gandak and Rapti.
  • Threats: Habitat degradation due to water development projects [dams, barrages and dredging operations], sand mining, overfishing, and pollution.
  • IUCN status: Endangered.

Significance:

  • Along with a boost to biodiversity, this will also create employment opportunities.
  • This is also a centre of attraction for tourism.

 [Ref: Hindustan Times]

Mauritius oil spill

Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth announced that an oil spill near its coast had been cleaned up.

Mauritius oil spill:

  • A Japanese ship named M V Wakashio struck a coral reef resulting in an oil spill of over 1,000 tonnes into the Indian Ocean.
  • Rather than the size of the oil spill, the area where it happened was a cause for concern.
  • The accident had taken place near two environmentally protected marine ecosystems and Blue Bay Marine Park Reserve – a wetland of international importance.

How dangerous are oil spills?

  • Oil spills affect marine life by exposing them to harsh elements and destroying their sources of food and habitat.
  • Both birds and mammals can die from hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature)as a result oil spills.
  • Oil destroys insulating ability of fur-bearing mammals, such as sea otters.
  • It also decreases water repellency of birds’ feathers; without which they lose their ability to repel cold water.

How are oil spills cleaned?

  • The ways to clean up oil spills include skimming, in situ burning and by releasing chemical dispersants.
  • Skimming involves removing oil from the sea surface before it is able to reach the sensitive areas along the coastline.
  • In situ burning means burning a particular patch of oil after it has concentrated in one area.
  • Releasing chemical dispersants helps break down oil into smaller droplets, making it easier for microbes to consume, and further break it down into less harmful compounds.
  • Natural actions in aquatic environments such as weathering, evaporation, emulsification, biodegradation and oxidation can also help reduce the severity of an oil spill and accelerate the recovery of an affected area.

Key Facts:

  • The world’s largest oil spills include:
  • Persian Gulf War oil spill of 1991: More than 380 million gallons of oil was poured into the Northern Persian Gulf by Iraq’s forces.
  • Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010: Over 4 million barrels of oil flowed over a period of 87 days into the Gulf of Mexico. It led to widespread shoreline loss along the heavily oiled areas along Louisiana’s coast.

Location of Mauritius:

  • Mauritius is an island nation in Indian Ocean.
  • It is located about 2,000 kilometres off the south-east coast of the African continent.
  • Mauritius is considered to be part of the African Continent.
  • Capital and largest city: Port Louis.
  • Mauritius is known for its varied flora and fauna, with many species endemic to the island.
  • Mahatma Gandhi en route to India from South Africa made a brief stopover (October 29 to November 15, 1901) in Mauritius.
  • As a tribute to Gandhiji and Indian freedom struggle, National Day of Mauritius is celebrated on March 12 (date of launch of Dandi Salt March).
[Ref: Indian Express]

Bilateral & International Relations

Universal ratification of a Labour Standard

International Labour Organization convention no. 182 has been recently ratified by the Kingdom of Tonga.

  • With the ratification, it becomes the first labour standard in ILO’s 101-year history to be universally ratified i.e. ratified by all the 187 members of ILO.

ILO Convention No. 182:

  • The convention is related to Worst Forms of Child Labour and was adopted in 1999.
  • It prohibits sexual exploitation of children, trafficking, deployment in armed conflict and other conditions that compromise their overall well-being.
  • The Convention complements ILO’s efforts under 1973 Minimum Age Convention to prevent the employment of children below a lower age threshold.

Minimum Age Convention 1973:

  • C138 is a convention adopted in 1973 by ILO that concerns Minimum Age for Admission to Employment.
  • It requires ratifying states to pursue a national policy designed to ensure the effective abolition of child labour.
  • It requires the states to raise progressively the minimum age for admission to employment or work.
  • Countries are free to specify a minimum age for labour, with a minimum of 15 years.

Achievements:

  • Under the influence of both these ILO standards, millions of young boys and girls have been rescued from hazardous conditions of work.
  • These have resulted in significant increases in enrolments in primary education.
  • The current efforts are stepping stones to achieve the ambitious goal of total abolition of the scourge of child labour by 2025.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989:

  • UNCRC is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.
  • The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under national legislation.
  • Nations that ratify this convention are bound to it by international law.
  • Compliance is monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is composed of 18 Independent experts.
  • The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention and opened it for signature on 20 November 1989.
  • It came into force on 2 September 1990, after it was ratified by the required number of nations.
  • Currently, 196 countries are party to it, including every member of the United Nations except the United States.

Key Facts:

  • An estimated 152 million are trapped in child labour and 72 million of them are engaged in hazardous work.
  • India is legally committed to the elimination of child labour with its 2017 ratification of Convention 182 and the instrument prescribing the minimum age of work for children.
  • 2021 would be observed as the year to abolish child labour.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Defence & Security Issues

Gallantry awards for Defence personnel

President Ram Nath Kovind approved 84 gallantry awards for defence personnel, including nine Shaurya Chakra.

Recipients:

  • Kirti Chakra: Abdul Rashid Kalas, Head Constable, J&K Police. (posthumously)
  • Shaurya Chakra for counter-terrorist operations in J&K: Lt. Col. Krishan Singh Rawat, Major Anil Urs and Havildar Alok Kumar Dubey, Wing Commander Vishak Nair.
  • Sena Medal (gallantry) to 60 Army personnel, Nao Sena Medal (gallantry) to four from the Navy and five Vayu Sena Medal (gallantry) for the Air Force.

What are Gallantry Awards?

  • The gallantry awards are announced twice in a year – on Republic Day and Independence Day.
  • Order of precedence: Param Vir Chakra, Ashoka Chakra, Mahavir Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Vir Chakra and Shaurya Chakra.

1. Wartime gallantry awards:

Established on 26th January,1950 with effect from 15th August, 1947.

  1. Param Vir Chakra: Highest-military award in India. Awarded for National bravery in the presence of enemy.
  2. Maha Vir Chakra: Second-highest military decoration in India. Awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in presence of enemy, whether on land, at sea or in air.
  3. Vir Chakra: Third in precedence in the awards for wartime gallantry.

2. Peacetime gallantry awards:

Established on 4th January,1952 with effect from 15th August, 1947.

  1. Ashoka Chakra: An Indian military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra.
  2. Kirti Chakra: Second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.
  3. Shaurya Chakra: Third in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.

Key Facts:

  • Operation Meghdoot was launched in 1984 to secure control of the heights predominating the Siachen Glacier.
  • Operation Rakshak is an ongoing counter-insurgency operation started during the height of insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir in June 1990.
  • 753 Indian army personnel have martyred during Operation Rakshak between 2007 and 2015.
[Ref: AIR]

Key Facts for Prelims

SRIJAN Portal

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched SRIJAN portal for Indigenization in Defence Sector recently.
  • It is a one stop shop online portal that provides access to the vendors to take up items for indigenization.
  • This will help industry partners to play an active role in the goal of self-reliance in defence sector.
  • Department of Defence Production has developed an indigenization portal, srijandefence.gov.in, as opportunities for Make in India in Defence.
  • Self-reliance in Defence manufacturing can be achieved not only in domestic requirement but also with export perspective.
[Ref: PIB]

AYUSH for Immunity Campaign

  • The Ministry of AYUSH launched a three-month campaign on Ayush for Immunity recently.
  • Theme: Accessible and affordable health for all through Ayush solutions. 
  • Key objective: To acquaint people with valuable information about strengths of various Ayush-based solutions for enhancing immunity and preventing diseases.
  • The immunity message revealed how simple measures adopted in daily lives can go a long way in preventing diseases.
  • It emphasized need for behavioural change in people towards immunity enhancing steps, and the positive role of traditional medicines and practices in enhancing immunity.
[Ref: PIB]

Operation Hidden Idol

  • The authorities of the United States handed over 10 heritage artefacts to India in a small ceremony on 15 August 2020.
  • The Operation Hidden Idol was initiated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security for seizure of several hundred historically significant artefacts.

European Pine Marten

  • The European Pine Marten is a small carnivore from the Mustelid family.
  • It preys more on grey squirrel (not native to Britain and Ireland) than the native red squirrel.
  • Pine martens raid the nests of grey squirrels called dreys.
  • The marten prefers grey squirrels as they are larger and thus a richer food source.
  • Red squirrels have evolved to live alongside martens.
  • IUCN status: Least Concern
[Ref: DownToEarth]
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