IASToppers 18th July 2016
Current Affairs Analysis

18th July 2016 Current Affairs Analysis

E-court; Article 179; Kerala Bird Atlas; Ulaanbaatar Declaration; Aanayoottu; TRI-NETRA; Lifeline Express; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
July 18, 2016

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Country’s first e-court opened at Hyderabad High Court
  • WHO report sounds alarm on ‘doctors’ in India
  • Speaker facing the axe can’t disqualify MLAs, says SC

Environment & Ecology

  • Bird atlas project launched in Wayanad
  • Govt notifies norms for retrofitting electric kit in vehicles

International Relations

  • 11th ASEM Summit adopted Ulaanbaatar Declaration
  • India basks in glow of UNESCO honours

Art & Culture

  • Aanayoottu festival
  • ‘Chhari Mubarak’ to be taken to Pahalgam for special prayers

Science & Technology

  • TRI-NETRA – Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers Infra-red, Enhanced Optical & Radar Assisted system
  • Army yet to hack new terror tech
  • Lighting up lives with wave currents

Also in News

  • Lifeline Express

 

Polity & Governance

Country’s first e-court opened at Hyderabad High Court

Under Integrated Criminal Justice System, India’s first e-court was opened at High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, which is the common high court for the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

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Key facts:

  • Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were first two states in the country to be chosen for Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS) project.
  • It is not only the e-court in the sense it is fully computerised but it also a paperless court.
  • The purpose of e-courts was to ensure speedy justice for the litigants. He stressed the need to appoint staff for paperless courts and advised judges to focus on online data entry.

Why these two states were chosen for ICJS?

  • Telangana and Andhra Pradesh made lot of progress in technology and it was one of the reasons for the decision to launch the ICJS, a “system which is going to integrate police stations with the courts, with jails, with the prosecution and with the forensic science laboratories”.
[Ref: ToI]

 

WHO report sounds alarm on ‘doctors’ in India

A WHO study titled ‘The Health Workforce in India’, published in June 2016, rang the alarm bells on India’s healthcare workforce.

  • The data for each district in the country from the 2001 census were specially extracted for this study, which provided a comprehensive picture of health workers in each district.

Highlights of the report:

Medical qualification:

  • Almost one-third (31 per cent) of those who claimed to be allopathic doctors in 2001 were educated only up to the secondary school level and 57 per cent did not have any medical qualification.
  • The situation was far worse in rural India, where just 18.8 per cent of allopathic doctors had a medical qualification.
  • Interestingly, female healthcare workers – 38 per cent of the total – were found to be more educated and medically qualified than their male counterparts.

Density of doctors:

  • The study revealed that the density of all doctors — allopathic, ayurvedic, homoeopathic and unani — at the national level was 80 doctors per lakh population compared to 130 in China.
  • Ignoring those who don’t have a medical qualification, the number for India fell to 36 doctors per lakh population. As for nurses and midwives, India had 61 workers per lakh population compared to 96 in China. The number reduced tenfold to 6 per lakh population, if only those with a medical qualification were considered.
  • The study found substantial variation in the density of health workers across States and districts. For instance, Kerala had 38.4 per cent of the country’s medically qualified nurses but constituted only 3.1 per cent of the total population. Similarly, West Bengal had 30.6 per cent of all homoeopathic doctors in the country but only 7.8% of the population. Better-off States seemed to afford more doctors plus nurses per capita.
  • District-wise, the inequalities were massive. The density of allopathic doctors with any level of education in the lowest 30 districts — half of which were in north-eastern States and the other in central States — was a little over 9.4 per lakh of the population whereas, in the highest 30 districts, it was 159 per lakh of population, it said.
  • In the case of dentists, the situation was even worse. The national density of dentists was extremely low at 2.4 per lakh population, with 58 (of the total 593) districts having no dentists at all in 2001. In fact, 175 districts (30 per cent) had no dentists with a medical qualification.
[Ref: Hindu]

 

Speaker facing the axe can’t disqualify MLAs, says SC

The Supreme Court while interpreting Article 179 of the Constitution in a judgment on the Arunachal Pradesh crisis recently ruled that a Speaker should refrain from deciding the disqualification of MLAs for defection under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution if he himself is facing the prospect of removal.

  • The ruling was a safeguard against a Speaker using the disqualification proceedings of legislators for his own political ends.

SC’s key observations:

  • A Speaker, under the threat of losing his position, may choose to disqualify the MLAs to alter the composition of the House in his favour. But, it would be constitutionally impermissible for a Speaker to adjudicate upon disqualification petitions under the Tenth Schedule, while a notice of resolution for his own removal from the office of Speaker is pending.
  • If a Speaker truly enjoys the support of the House’s majority, there would be no difficulty whatsoever to demonstrate the confidence which the members of the State Legislature repose in him.
  • The office of Speaker, with which the Constitution vests the authority to deal with disqualification petitions against MLAs, must surely be a Speaker who enjoys the confidence of the Assembly.

What does the Article 179 say?

Article 179(c) provides that a Speaker (or Deputy Speaker) “may be removed from his office by a resolution of the Assembly passed by a majority of all the then members of the Assembly”.

  • The judgment points to the phrase “all the then members of the Assembly” to conclude that the composition of legislators should remain the very same while deciding whether a majority in the House wants the Speaker to continue or not.
  • The words ‘all the then members’ demonstrate an expression of definiteness. Any change in the strength and composition of the Assembly, by disqualifying sitting MLAs, for the period during which the notice of resolution for the removal of the Speaker (or the Deputy Speaker) is pending, would conflict with the express mandate of Article 179(c), requiring all ‘the then members’ to determine the right of the Speaker to continue.
  • Further, MLAs so disqualified by the Speaker would be subsequently deprived of the opportunity to participate in the motion against the Speaker himself under Article 179(c).
[Ref: Hindu]

 

Environment & Ecology

Bird atlas project launched in Wayanad

Kerala Bird Atlas, a citizen science project to map the distribution and abundance of birds in Kerala, began in Wayanad district of Kerala.

Kerala Bird Atlas

Key facts:

  • The one-year programme is being coordinated by the Hume Centre for Ecology and Wildlife Biology, a conservation organisation in the district, in association with the Bird Count India and e-bird.
  • The programme has been organized with logistical support of the Forest Department.
  • The surveys are being conducted in 207 sub-cells of 1.21 sq km randomly selected by dividing the district into 6.6-sq-km-size grids. In Wayanad, nearly 207 sub-cells need to be surveyed.
  • The Bird Atlas is expected to give more insight into the abundance of common birds, which is largely lacking now.
[Ref: Hindu]

 

Govt notifies norms for retrofitting electric kit in vehicles

To curb vehicular pollution, the government has notified rules for retrofitment of hybrid electric system, or electric kit, for vehicles.

  • This applies to the vehicles that meet emission norms and are run on either diesel or gasoline only.
  • The rules – Central Motor Vehicles (Seventh Amendment) Rules, 2016 — were notified following amendment in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.

Key points of the notification:

  • As per the notification, the Retrofitment of hybrid electric system kit to vehicles having Gross Vehicle Weight not exceeding 3,500 kg shall be permitted if it conforms to Bharat Stage-II or subsequent emission norms, if it was not retrofitted earlier.
  • It mentions that the installation of type approved hybrid electric system kit shall be done only by an installer authorised by the manufacturer or supplier of such kits.
  • The notification also mentions that the conversion of vehicles for pure electric operation with fitment of electric kit shall be permitted if the vehicle was manufactured on or after January 1, 1990 and “it is not provided with permits for carrying dangerous or hazardous goods, as defined in CMV Rules, 1989.”
  • It also stipulated that the kit manufacturer or supplier shall obtain the type approval certificate from a specified test agency and such certificate will be valid for three years from the date of issue.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

International Relations

11th ASEM Summit adopted Ulaanbaatar Declaration

The two-day 11th Asia Europe meeting (ASEM) Summit ended in the Mongolian capital with the adoption of Ulaanbaatar declaration in which leaders renewed resolve to work together on areas of common interest, including countering terrorism and violent extremism.

  • Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari is also attending the summit.
  • The summit also focused on greater connectivity between Europe and Asia as the theme of the summit is “20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity”.

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Key Features of Ulaanbaatar Declaration:

Under Ulaanbaatar Declaration,

  • ASEM will enhance its partnership in order to meet the aspirations of the people for peace and stability, sustainable development, economic prosperity and a better quality of life.
  • It will also focus on countering terrorism, maritime security and safety, fighting piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as drug and human trafficking.
  • ASEM will reaffirm its commitment for cyber security, cyber-crime, security of in the use of information and communication technologies.
  • It will also reaffirm upholding the purpose and principles of the UN Charter, rule of law and enforcement of international law, human rights, anti-corruption, migration, Sustainable Development and climate change.

About ASEM:

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation bringing together the 28 European Union member states, 2 other European countries, and the European Union with 21 Asian countries and the ASEAN Secretariat.

  • The ASEM dialogue addresses political, economic and cultural issues, with the objective of strengthening the relationship between the two regions, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.
  • The ASEM Summit is a biennial meeting between the Heads of State and Government, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
[Ref: Hindu]

 

India basks in glow of UNESCO honours

Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) in Sikkim has been named a world heritage site by the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO.

  • The listing was announced at the 40th session of the WHC, currently under way at Istanbul in Turkey.

Key facts:

  • The KNP is the first ‘mixed’ heritage site from India to make it to the list. A ‘mixed site’ exhibits qualities of both natural and cultural significance.
  • The Capitol Complex in Chandigarh also made it to the list, thus bringing all three nominations this session into the heritage roll of honour.
  • This is the first time that any country got three sites inscribed in the Word Heritage List at a single session of the committee meeting.
  • India now has 35 sites, including 27 cultural properties, seven natural sites and one mixed site, notified as World Heritage Sites.

About KNP:

The Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) exhibits one of the widest altitudinal ranges of any protected area worldwide.

  • It boasts of a unique diversity of lowlands, steep valleys and snow-clad mountains, including the world’s third highest peak, Mt. Khangchendzonga, besides numerous lakes and glaciers.
  • The KNP, which covers 25 per cent of Sikkim, is home to a significant number of endemic, rare and threatened plant and animal species.
  • A large number of bird and mammal species has also been recorded from here.
  • The park combines the religious and cultural practices of Buddhism as well as the ecological significance of the region, and stands out as an outstanding example of traditional knowledge and environmental preservation.
  • It is also a unique example of coexistence and exchange between different religious traditions and people.

About Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex:

Chandigarh’s Capitol-Complex
Chandigarh’s Capitol-Complex

Chandigarh’s famed Capitol Complex, which includes the Legislative Assembly, Secretariat and High Court, was designed by French architect Le Corbusier.

[Ref: Hindu]

 

Art & Culture

Aanayoottu festival

Recently, annual Aanayoottu festival has been celebrated in Kerala.

About Aanayoottu festival:

The Aanayoottu (feeding of elephants) is a festival held in the precincts of the Vadakkunnathan temple in City of Thrissur, in Kerala.

Aanayoottu

  • The festival falls on the first day of the month of Karkkidakam (timed against the Malayalam calendar), which coincides with the month of July.
  • Every year of Aanayoottu, gaja pooja, is conducted. It is believed that offering poojas and delicious feed to the elephants is a way to satisfy Lord Ganesha—the god of wealth and of the fulfillment of wishes.
  • It involves a number of unadorned elephants being positioned amid a multitude of people for being worshipped and fed. A large number of people throng the temple to feed the elephants.
[Ref: Hindu]

 

‘Chhari Mubarak’ to be taken to Pahalgam for special prayers

The holy mace of Lord Shiva, popularly known as ‘Chhari Mubarak’, will be taken from its abode to Pahalgam, Jammu & Kashmir for special prayers.

‘Chhari Mubarak’

  • ‘Chhari Mubarak’ is a tradition marking the formal start of the Amarnath Yatra.
  • As per age-old tradition, rituals namely Bhoomi Pujan, Navgrah Pujan and Dhawajarohan are connected with the commencement of the annual Chhari Mubarak Swami Amarnathji Yatra.
[Ref: Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

TRI-NETRA – Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers Infra-red, Enhanced Optical & Radar Assisted system

Ministry of Railways, Railway Board has initiated a proposal to install TRI-NETRA systems on locomotives for enhancing the vision of Locomotive Pilots in inclement weather.

About TRI-NETRA:

  • TRI-NETRA stands for – Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers INfra-red, Enhanced opTical &Radar Assisted system.
  • TRI-NETRA system shall be made up of
  1. High-resolution optical video camera,
  2. High sensitivity infra-red video camera and
  3. A radar-based terrain mapping system.
  • These three components of the system shall act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the Locomotive Pilot.
  • The concept of TRI-NETRA was developed by Development Cell under the guidance of Member Mechanical, Railway Board.
  • The idea is based on how to use the technology employed by fighter aircrafts to see through clouds and operate in pitch darkness and the technology used by naval ships in mapping the ocean floor and navigating in the night.
  • Such an “assisted vision” system is not available readily in any of the advanced railway systems but the manufacturers and technology partners who develop components of such systems for defence are very excited with the concept.

How it works?

  • TRI-NETRA is designed to “see” the terrain ahead of the running locomotive during inclement weather by combining the images captured by the three sub-systems and to create a composite video image which shall be displayed in front of the Loco Pilot on a computer monitor.

Significance of TRI-NETRA:

  • TRI-NETRA will give the locomotive pilot a clear view of the track ahead in bad visibility conditions so that he can apply brakes well in time.
  • Conversely, locomotive pilot can speed up the train even in poor visibility if the TRI-NETRA system shows that the track ahead is clear of obstruction.
  • The system shall also map the terrain ahead so that the driver knows when he is approaching a station or a signal.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Army yet to hack new terror tech

More than a year after a new technological solution used by terrorists began causing headache to the Army in Kashmir, no breakthrough has been made to crack it.

What’s the issue?

  • Terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan have been using smartphones paired with very high frequency (VHF) radio sets to communicate with one another, resulting in a drop in communication intercepts and adversely affecting military efforts to deal with them.
  • An indigenous contraption was believed to have been developed and tested in various spots DRDO. However, it failed to locate any communication on the YSMS [pairing of smartphones with radio sets to send out short SMSs].

hfradio

About the technology:

  • The concept of pairing mobile phones with radio handsets originated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in New York in 2012.
  • This mode of sending mobile communications without using mobile towers is of great help for rescue operations during calamities, but is now among the key technology deployed by terrorists to avoid the security forces while crossing the Line of Control.
  • This technology is secure and active even in high peaks and forests especially near the Line of Control where conventional mobile and satellite phones can give away their location.
  • Terrorists also use other technologies such as self-destroying chats and end-to-end encryption to overcome interception.

It is important to note that VHF (Very high frequency) is the radio frequency range from 30 MHz to 300 MHz.

[Ref: Hindu]

 

Lighting up lives with wave currents

A team of scientists from the Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) is attempting to light up the lives of people living in remote islands of India by tapping marine current energy.

  • After successfully generating of electricity from its wave turbine deployed at near Rutland Island in Andaman, the scientists will soon start the fabrication of a 1 kW hydrokinetic turbine.
  • The turbine at near Rutland Island yielded 300W power and lit up an array of bulbs, marking the beginning of a successful era in power generation.

Key facts:

  • Solar photovoltaic panels were used to charge the battery for powering the instruments used in the system.
  • Barring the alternator, all other components were indigenously designed and fabricated.
  • The turbine has been successfully producing 100 W since the day it was deployed and the power thus generated is enough to light a small household.
  • India in general has lower wave, current and wind climate compared to the northern latitudes and it is a challenge to design turbines suited for these conditions.
  • The speed of the ocean current varied between 0.3 metre per second and 3 metre per second at the site. The speed varies with seasons, climate and ocean depth.

Significance of the efforts:

  • Islands like Andaman and Lakshadweep depend on diesel generators for electricity. Inside the mainland, remote areas such as Sundarbans are also looking for power sources. Marine energy can be a viable answer for the clean and green energy needs of these places.
  • Power from the renewable energy source like waves is clean and environment-friendly one.
[Ref: Hindu]

 

Also in News

Lifeline Express

Lifeline Express (LLE), the world’s first hospital on a train, inaugurated on July 16, 1991, completed 25 years.

Lifeline Express (LLE)

Key facts:

  • Having treated persons with disability in rural areas, the Impact India Foundation (IIF), Mumbai-based NGO which operates the train, is now looking to extend its medical service to major surgeries.
  • The Foundation proposed the idea to the Ministry of Railways after which the Railways and the NGOs signed an MoU in 1991.
  • The idea of LLE started with a simple wish of “taking the hospital to the people” in rural India, where healthcare facilities are poor.
  • LLE conducts medical projects by camping in different parts of the country. Each camp of 21-35 days involves treatment of patients, training and awareness programmes among the rural population and local doctors.
  • While the Foundation operates the train, the Railways look after the maintenance of the coaches and provision of water and electricity.
[Ref: Hindu]

 

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