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Current Affairs Analysis

18th April 2018 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Law Commission favours simultaneous elections; Law Commission of India; Atal Tinkering Labs; Annual Community Day; Indian mosquitoes susceptible to Zika virus; World Heritage Day; Golconda’s Bagh-e-Naya Qila; Ground penetrating radar (GPR) technology, etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
April 18, 2018

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Law Commission favours simultaneous elections

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Atal Tinkering Labs Celebrate Annual Community Day

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Indian mosquitoes susceptible to Zika virus, finds new NIV study

Bilateral & International Relations

  • 18th April: World Heritage Day

Art & Culture

  • IIT-Madras to map Golconda’s Bagh-e-Naya Qila

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Polity & Governance

Law Commission favours simultaneous elections

A draft white paper released by the Law Commission of India has recommended holding of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies, possibly in 2019.

  • It suggests amending the Constitution to realise this objective.

Law Commission’s recommendations:

  • Law Commission noted that simultaneous elections were held in country during first two decades after Independence up to 1967. Dissolution of certain Assemblies in 1968 and 1969 followed by dissolution of Lok Sabha led to disruption of conduct of simultaneous elections.
  • Simultaneous elections can be held now in the nation by amending Constitution, Representation of the People (RPI) Act, 1951 and Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha/State Legislative Assemblies. Moreover, definition of simultaneous elections should be added to Section 2 of RPI Act, 1951.
  • The statutory limit of six months for issuance of notification of general elections be appropriately extended by way of amendments to section 14 and 15 of RPI Act, 1951.
  • The parties which introduce no-confidence motion should simultaneously give a suggestion for an alternative government as no-confidence motion and premature dissolution of House is major roadblocks to simultaneous elections.
  • The rigour of ‘Anti-defection Law’ laid down under paragraph 2(1) (b) of Tenth Schedule be removed as exception in order to prevent stalemate in the Lok Sabha/Assembly in case of Hung Parliament/Assembly.
  • In case of mid-term elections, new Lok Sabha or Assembly will only serve the remainder of term of previous Lok Sabha/Assembly and not a fresh term of five years. For this Article 83 and 172 of the Constitution along with sections 14 and 15 of the 1951 Act should be amended to incorporate provision regarding remainder of the term.
  • The prime minister/chief ministers should be elected to lead Lok Sabha/Assembly, by full house like electing speaker of Lok Sabha. This will potentially provide stability to government and in turn to Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly
  • Centre should get the Constitutional amendments, if agreed upon, to be ratified by all the States so as to avoid any challenge to them.

simulateous-election-2018

Background:

  • Simultaneous elections were held in the country during the first two decades after Independence up to 1967. Dissolution of certain Assemblies in 1968 and 1969 followed by the dissolution of the Lok Sabha led to the “disruption of the conduct of simultaneous elections.

Why we need simultaneous elections?

  • Elections are held all the time and continuous polls lead to a lot of expenditure. More than Rs1,100 crore was spent on the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and the expenditure had shot up to Rs4,000 crore in 2014.
  • Also, over a crore government employees, including a large number of teachers, are involved in the electoral process. Thus, the continuous exercise causes maximum harm to the education sector.
  • Security forces also have to be diverted for the electoral work even as the country’s enemy keeps plotting against the nation and terrorism remains a strong threat.

Is simultaneous elections a good idea?

  • This will help save public money.
  • It will be a big relief for political parties that are always in campaign mode.
  • It will allow political parties to focus more on policy and governance.

About Law Commission of India:

Law Commission of India is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. Its major function is to work for legal reform.

  • Its membership primarily comprises legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Government.
  • The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice
  • The first Law Commission was established during the British Raj era in 1834 by the Charter Act of 1833.
  • After that, three more Commissions were established in pre-independent India.
  • The first Law Commission of independent India was established in 1955 for a three-year term.
[Ref: The Hindu, Indian Express]

 

Government Schemes & Policies 

Atal Tinkering Labs Celebrate Annual Community Day

The ATL Community Day was held across India, over the course of April 13 – 16.

  • The initiative is an effort to spread awareness as well as engage the local communities in the neighbourhood of an Atal Tinkering Lab, to come and experience the exciting new world of science and future technologies.
  • AIM has selected more than 2400 schools in 2017 for establishing Atal Tinkering Labs.

atal-tinkering-lab-community-day-celebrations-2018

What are Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs)?

  • With a vision to ‘Cultivate one Million children in India as Neoteric Innovators’, Atal Innovation Mission is establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India.
  • The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.
  • AIM will provide grant-in-aid that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakh for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL.
  • Schools (minimum Grade VI – X) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society can set up ATL.

Significance of ATLs:

  • Atal Tinkering Labs have evolved as epicenters for imparting these ‘skills of the future’ through practical applications based onself-learning.
  • Bridging a crucial social divide, Atal Tinkering Labs provide equal opportunity to all children across the spectrum by working at the grassroot level, introducing children to the world of innovation and tinkering.

About Atal Innovation Mission:

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) endeavours to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • Its objective is to serve as a platform for promotion of world-class Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, Start-up businesses and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology driven areas.

Core functions:

The Atal Innovation Mission shall have two core functions:

  • Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
  • Innovation promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Issues related to Health & Education 

Indian mosquitoes susceptible to Zika virus, finds new NIV study

Recent National Institute of Virology (NIV) study has found that Indian Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue and chikungunya viruses is easily susceptible to zika virus.

  • During the study it was found that Indian Aedes aegypti mosquito infected with African strain MR-766 of zika virus (ZIKV) can easily transmit infection.

zika-virus-2018

Significance of this study:

  • Zika virus is emerging threat unless contained especially in areas where vector Aedes aegypti mosquito is in large numbers, including India. So, there is need to explore possibilities for containing virus.
  • This study will help to explore suitable model for understanding Zika virus’s natural transmission and disease progression.

the_zika_virus-2018

About Zika virus:

  • Zika virus had erupted on a large scale in mid-2015 in which more than 1.5 million people were infected, mostly in Brazil and other countries in South America.
  • The virus is transmitted mainly by mosquitos. It causes mild, flu-like symptoms in most people, pregnant women run the risk of giving birth to babies with severe brain damage.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared a global health emergency in February 2016, and declared it over in November 2016.

zika-virus

[Read IASToppers’ Mains Article on Zika Virus http://www.iastoppers.com/zika-virus/] [Ref: Indian Express] 

 

Bilateral & International Relations 

18th April: World Heritage Day

World Heritage Day is celebrated on 18th of April every year. It’s been chosen to tie in with the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

  • Theme of the World Heritage Day 2018 is ‘Heritage for Generations’.

world-heritage-day-two-2018

Origin of the day:

  • ICOMOS (International Council for Monuments and Sites) organised a symposium in Tunisia on 18 April 1982 and it was suggested that a special day is to be celebrated all through the world in the name of “International Day for Monuments and Sites” on the same day every year. The idea was also approved in UNESCO’s General Conference in November 1983.
  • “International Monuments and Sites Day” has been traditionally called the World Heritage Day.
  • It is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and preserving various World Heritage sites around the world that have achieved world heritage status.

What is a World Heritage site?

  • A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and a space which requires special protection.
  • These sites are officially recognised by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, also known as UNESCO.
  • UNESCO believes that the sites classified as World Heritage are important for humanity, and they hold cultural and physical significance.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Art & Culture 

IIT-Madras to map Golconda’s Bagh-e-Naya Qila

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will be using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to map the contours of the area around the Bagh-e-Naya Qila excavated garden inside the Golconda Fort.

  • It has roped in the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) to carry out the mapping.

What is Ground penetrating radar (GPR) technology?

  • Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface.
  • This non-destructive method uses electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band (UHF/VHF frequencies) of the radio spectrum, and detects the reflected signals from subsurface structures.

Golconda-Fort-Images-2018

Mechanism:

  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) uses a high frequency radio signal that is transmitted into the ground and reflected signals are returned to the receiver and stored on digital media. The computer measures the time taken for a pulse to travel to and from the target which indicates its depth and location.
  • The reflected signals are interpreted by the system and displayed on the unit’s LCD panel.

Potential Applications:

  • GPR can have applications in a variety of media, including rock, soil, ice, fresh water, pavements and structures.
  • In the right conditions, practitioners can use GPR to detect subsurface objects, changes in material properties, and voids and cracks.

Limitations:

  • The most significant performance limitation of GPR is in high-conductivity materials such as clay soils and soils that are salt contaminated.
  • Performance is also limited by signal scattering in heterogeneous conditions (e.g. rocky soils).

About Bagh-e-Naya Qila:

  • The Naya Qila garden inside Golconda Fort was built by successive rulers of the Deccan and is one of the few symmetrical gardens extant.
  • There are strange figures and animals worked out of stone and stucco on the walls of the outer fort facing the Naya Qila.
  • In 2014, when the ASI excavated the area after diverting the water flow, it discovered water channels, settlement tanks, walkways, fountains, gravity pumps, and a host of other garden relics.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

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