Polity & Governance
- Transgender rights: Govt. rejects recommendations of a parliamentary committee
Issues related to Health & Education
- Moscow declaration
- Health Ministry introduces Daily Drug Regimen for treatment of Tuberculosis
- 19th November: World Toilet Day 2017
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- First Namami Barak festival
Bilateral & International Relations
- 42nd World Congress of the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM)
Science & Technology
- Gleadovia konyakianorum: Scientists discover new parasitic plant in Nagaland
- NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1)
Key Facts for Prelims
- ‘Trump village’ gets the biggest toilet pot model
- Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development
- Qaumi Ekta Week
- National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH)
- Manushi Chhillar wins Miss World 2017 title
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Polity & Governance
Transgender rights: Govt. rejects recommendations of a parliamentary committee
The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has decided to discard the recommendations of a parliamentary committee’s 43rd report on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016.
- The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, comprising 18 Lok Sabha members, tabled its report on the floor of the House in July 2017.
- The report recommended specific provisions in the ministry’s version of the transgender Bill, to safeguard their rights, protect them against discrimination, and provide quotas in government colleges and jobs.
- The report was the first ever government document to recognise the rights of transgender persons to partnerships and marriage, so that they were no longer criminalised under IPC Section 377, apart from offering other rights.
Important recommendations made by the parliamentary committee:
- The parliamentary panel report had faulted the government’s Bill for its failure to address several crucial issues.
- The report noted that “Transgender persons remain at risk of criminalisation under Section 377”.
- It asked that the Bill must recognise their civil rights such as marriage, divorce, adoption, whether under personal or secular laws.
- It had also recommended to accord legal recognition and protection from Section 377 to, if not all sexual minorities, at least transgender persons whose welfare comes under the Social Justice Ministry.
- The panel had also asked for reservations, strong provisions against discrimination, penalties on government officials who subject transgender persons to any kind of violence, skill training to wean them off begging, and separate public toilets for them.
- Going beyond rights and welfare, the panel report also addressed the issue of sexual identity. It asked for provisions that provide “penal action against abortions of intersex foetuses and forced surgical assignment of sex of intersex infants.”
- Most importantly, it redefined several terms in the Bill. To recognise alternative family structures such as adoptions of transgender children by the the Hijra or Aravani communities, it defined family in the Bill as “a group of people related by blood, marriage or by adoption of a transgender person”.
Transgender community in India:
- Census 2011 records the population of ‘others (people who do not identify themselves either as male or female)’ at 4.87 lakh while a 2011 survey by NGO Salvation of Oppressed Eunuchs put their number at 19 lakh.
- Transgender community is among one of the most marginalized communities in the country because they don’t fit into the stereotypical categories of gender of ‘men’ or ‘women’.
- Consequently, they face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, lack of medical facilities and so on.
- The ministry is set to re-introduce its original version of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, in the next session of Parliament.
Issues related to Health & Education
On the sidelines of the first WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending Tuberculosis in the Sustainable Development Era, Health ministers, NGOs, and private sector representatives from 120 countries have adopted Moscow Declaration.
- India is among the signatories to the declaration.
About Moscow Declaration:
The Moscow Declaration to End TB is a promise to increase multi-sectoral action as well as track progress, and build accountability.
- It will also inform the first UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on TB in 2018, which will seek further commitments from heads of state.
- The Moscow declaration emphasised the need for fixing multisectoral responsibility towards ending TB by 2035, the global target.
- It also said that multi-drug resistant TB would be tackled as a national public health crisis.
The declaration ramps up action on four fronts:
- Move rapidly to achieve universal health coverage by strengthening health systems and improving access to people-centered TB prevention and care, ensuring no one is left behind.
- Mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing through increased domestic and international investments to close gaps in implementation and research.
- Advance research and development of new tools to diagnose, treat, and prevent TB.
- Build accountability through a framework to track and review progress on ending TB, including multisectoral approaches.
Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37%.
- However, progress in many countries has stalled, global targets are off-track, and persistent gaps remain in TB care and prevention.
- As a result, TB still kills more people than any other infectious disease.
- There are major problems associated with antimicrobial resistance, and it is the leading killer of people with HIV.
- One of the main problems has been a lack of political will and inadequate investment in fighting TB.
Health Ministry introduces Daily Drug Regimen for treatment of Tuberculosis
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched Daily Drug Regimen for treatment of Tuberculosis (TB) across the country under the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP).
- Earlier, the Health Ministry was providing the treatment of tuberculosis thrice weekly, however it has now decided to change the treatment strategy for TB patients from thrice weekly to daily drug regimen using fixed dose combinations (FDC) for treatment.
Aim of the move:
- The move is aimed at bringing the transformation in the approach and the intensity to deal with this disease which accounts for about 4.2 lakh deaths every year.
- The daily FDC anti-TB drugs will be made available to private pharmacy or at private practitioners to dispense to TB patients who seek care in private sector, depending upon the convenience of patient.
- The Health Ministry will also make anti-TB drugs available to all major hospitals, IMA, IAP and other professional medical associations to expand the access to daily FDC to all TB patients.
- Under this treatment strategy, Ethambutol will be given in continuation for all patients on daily basis along with fixed dose combination (FDC) tablets to reduce the pill burden (as against separate 7 tablets previously) for children.
- As per WHO Global TB Report 2017, the incidence of TB has reduced from 28.2 lakh to 27 lakh over the last one year, which is a testimony of anti TB drive by Union Government.
19th November: World Toilet Day 2017
The World Toilet Day (WTD) is observed every year across the world on 19 November to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.
- The theme for year 2017 is: Wastewater.
About World Toilet Day (WTD):
- WTD was instituted by World Toilet Organisation in 2001.
- In 2013, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had officially designated November 19 as WTD in its 67th session under global campaign of Sanitation for All resolution.
- It is coordinated by United Nations-Water in collaboration with Governments of member countries and relevant stakeholders.
- World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.
SDG goal related with sanitation:
- By 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG #6, aim to reach everyone with sanitation, and halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase recycling and safe reuse.
The global sanitation crisis is reflected in the following facts:
- Around 60% of the global population – 4.5 billion people – either have no toilet at home or one that doesn’t safely manage excreta.
- 862 million people worldwide still practise open defecation.
- 1.8 billion people use an unimproved source of drinking water with no protection against contamination from faeces.
- Globally, 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
- Only 39% of the global population (2.9 billion people) use a safely-managed sanitation service, that is, excreta safely disposed of in situ or treated off-site.
- Combined with safe water and good hygiene, improved sanitation could prevent around 842,000 deaths each year.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
First Namami Barak festival
The first ever Namami Barak festival was celebrated on November 18th at Barak Valley (also known as Southern Assam) in Assam.
About the festival:
- Namami Barak is an attempt to pay tribute to the River Barak and to showcase of Barak’s potential and possibilities to emerge as a hub of trade and commerce.
- The festival showcased cultural heritage of valley together with its cuisine, fauna and flora, socio-economic and civic splendor before global audience.
About Barak river:
- The Barak River is one of the major rivers of South Assam
- It is a part of the Surma-Meghna River System.
- It rises in Manipur State, where it is the biggest and the most important of the hill country rivers.
- After Manipur it flows through Mizoram and into Assam, ending after 564 kilometres just after it enters Bangladesh where it forks into the Surma and Kushiyara rivers.
- The sixth national waterway stretch is on this river.
Bilateral & International Relations
42nd World Congress of the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM)
The 42nd World Congress of the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM) was recently organised by the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
- The event is being organised for the first time in India.
- It is the largest medical conference ever organised by the AFMS.
- The theme of this 42nd World Congress is “Military Medicine in Transition: Looking Ahead.”
- Around 350-400 foreign delegates from 80 countries are attending the event.
About International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM):
ICMM is an international and intergovernmental organization created in 1921.
- Its secretariat is at Brussels in Belgium and currently has 112 nations as members.
- The ICMM was established after World War I had revealed the lack of care provided to victims and the need to strengthen cooperation between the health services of the armed forces worldwide.
Main objective of the ICMM:
- The main objective of the ICMM is to ensure that our medical services personnel have the means to work together, using similar practices, in operations involving international cooperation.
What ICMM does to achieve above main objective?
This is a long-term goal, and the ICMM can work towards achieving this in a number of ways:
- By encouraging activities at which scientific and technical experience is shared,
- By developing contacts with the scientific community,
- By promoting regional events.
Science & Technology
Gleadovia konyakianorum: Scientists discover new parasitic plant in Nagaland
Scientists from Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered a new species of parasitic flowering plant named Gleadovia konyakianorum, in honour of the Konyak tribe of Nagas.
- Parasitic plants are often referred to as curious plants, as they steal their nutritional needs from the host.
- A haustorium is specialised structure with which plant parasites attach themselves to host plants and derive nutrition.
About the new spieces:
- Gleadovia konyakianorum is a holoparasite (complete parasite) plant that derives its entire nutritional requirement from the host plant, which is a Strobilanthes species.
- Though it has no chlorophyll, the plant has a vascular system and extracts its nutrition from the host plant with the help of a haustorium.
- Gleadovia konyakianorum species is root parasite that grows up to 10 cm in height, and bears white, tubular flowers.
- It is only the fourth species from the genus Gleadovia to be found in the world. The other three are Gleadovia banerjiana (discovered in Manipur), Gleadovia mupinense (found in China) and Gleadovia ruborum (discovered in Uttarakhand and also reported from China).
- Its protection status has been described as ‘data deficient’ as per International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species criteria.
NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1)
NASA successfully launched a highly advanced polar-orbiting satellite called the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) to improve weather forecasts for the US’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- JPSS-1 is first multi-day weather forecasts satellite in NOAA’s series of four, next-generation operational environmental satellites.
What it will do?
- Circling the Earth from pole to pole 14 times a day, JPSS-1 carries a suite of five instruments intended to make global observations. The advanced technology will help improve weather forecasts up to seven days in advance.
- The satellite also will contribute to near-term weather forecasts, climate and ocean dynamics research, among many other uses.
- The satellite will be renamed NOAA-20 when it reaches its final orbit.
- It will become operation after a three-month checkout and validation of its five advanced instruments.
- JPSS-1 is expected to improve weather forecasting such as predicting a hurricane’s track and will help agencies involved with post-storm recovery by visualizing storm damage and the geographic extent of power outages.
- It will also improve recognition of climate patterns that influence the weather such as El Nino and La Nina.
Key Facts for Prelims
‘Trump village’ gets the biggest toilet pot model
- World’s biggest toilet pot model was unveiled at Marora, popularly known as the ‘Trump village’, in Haryana on the World Toilet Day in a bid to create awareness towards sanitation and use of toilets.
- The nondescript village, with a population of 1,800, in Mewat region was in recent past rechristened as ‘Trump village’ by NGO Sulabh International Social Service Organisation in a gesture to U.S. President Donald Trump.
Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development
- Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be the recipient of this year’s Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development.
- He will be awarded for his leadership of the country between 2004 and 2014 and for enhancing India’s stature globally.
About the award:
- The award accorded annually by Indira Gandhi Trust since 1986.
- It is awarded to individuals or organizations in recognition of their creative efforts towards promoting international peace, development.
- It is also bestowed upon them for creating new international economic order and ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity and enlarging the scope of freedom.
- The award consists of monetary award of 25 lakh and a citation.
Qaumi Ekta Week
The ‘Qaumi Ekta Week’ also known as National Integration Week will be observed all over the country from the 19 to 25 November 2017.
- The weeklong event will be observed with an aim to foster and reinforce the spirit of communal harmony, national integration in the nation.
- The observation of the ‘Quami Ekta Week’ will help to highlight the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand actual and potential threats to the eclectic and secular fabric of our country, and nurture a spirit of communal harmony in its widest sense.
- This occasion also provides an opportunity to reaffirm age old traditions and faith in the values of tolerance, co-existence and brotherhood in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society.
The whole week celebrations are titled as the:
- National Integration Day on 19th of November
- Welfare of Minorities Day on 20th of November
- Linguistic Harmony Day on 21st of November
- Weaker Sections Day on 22nd of November
- Cultural Unity Day on 23rd of November
- Women’s Day on 24th of November
- Conservation Day on 25th of November
National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH)
- The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) is an autonomous organisation with the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- It organises Communal Harmony Campaign coinciding with the Qaumi Ekta Week and observes the Communal Harmony Flag Day on 25th November.
- The Foundation promotes Communal Harmony and strengthens National Integration.
- It also provides financial assistance for relief and rehabilitation of children rendered orphan or destitute in communal, caste, ethnic or terrorist violence.
Manushi Chhillar wins Miss World 2017 title
- India’s Manushi Chhillar has won the Miss World beauty pageant for the year 2017.
- The win comes 17 years after Priyanka Chopra brought home the coveted title in the year 2000.
- Chhillar is the sixth Indian to become Miss World.
- Manushi Chhillar’s Miss World win brings India level with Venezuela as the countries with most victories in the history of the pageant.
- Chhillar was handed the crown by last year’s winner, Stephanie del Valle of Puerto Rico, at the ceremony in the Chinese coastal city of Sanya.