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Current Affairs Analysis

20th & 21st October 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Tasmanian tiger; Azad Hind Government; Indian Penal Code (IPC); Central Information Commission; Chief Information Commissioner; Anthrax; What are Spores? Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary; Asiatic water buffalo; What is Interpol? General assembly of Interpol; IMF Quota reforms; DNA Technology Regulation Bill; Definition of land as forest; Orionids meteor showers; Who are Rohingyas? Bhashan Char; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
October 21, 2019

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Centre all set to revamp British era Indian Penal Code
  • Nine information commissioners ask Governor to suspend their chief

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Anthrax scare in reserve after death of buffaloes

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Tasmanian tiger declared extinct 80 years ago ‘spotted’ eight times
  • Centre clarifies on definition of land as forest

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Rohingya refugees agree to move to island
  • IMF members delay quota changes, agree to maintain funding

Defence & Security Issues

  • Interpol to hold general assembly in India in 2022

Indian History

  • Minister of state for IC attended the Commemoration of ’76th Year of Azad Hind Government’

Science & Technology

  • Explained: What is Orionids meteor shower and when will it appear
  • DNA Technology Regulation Bill referred to parliamentary standing committee

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Polity & Governance

Centre all set to revamp British era Indian Penal Code

The Home Ministry is all set to overhaul the Indian Penal Code (IPC) designed by the British. Recently the Ministry wrote to all States and Union Territories seeking suggestions to amend various sections of the IPC.

AMITSHAH1

Reason for amending IPC

  • The idea behind the amending IPC is that the master-servant concept envisaged in IPC should change.
  • There is uneven punishment for crimes of grievous nature. For instance, snatching of chains or bags on road could be life-threatening in some cases but the punishment in IPC is not commensurate with the gravity of the crime.
  • Some of the concepts underlying the 1860 IPC code have become obsolete.
  • There are crimes that are not recognised under the IPC, such as economic crimes, hate crimes like mob lynching and societal crimes committed in the name of caste and religion.
  • A re-examination of the sedition law, inserted in 1898, is necessary.
  • The offence of blasphemy should have no place in a liberal democracy and, therefore, there is a need to repeal Section 295A, which was inserted in 1927.
  • Criminal conspiracy was made a substantive offence in 1913. The offence is objectionable because it was added to the code by the colonial masters to deal with political conspiracies.
  • The distinction between “culpable homicide” and “murder” was criticised even by Stephen as the “weakest part of the code”, as the definitions are obscure.
  • Sexual offences under the code reveal patriarchal values and Victorian morality. Though the outmoded crime of adultery gives the husband sole proprietary rights over his wife’s sexuality, it gives no legal protection to secure similar monopoly over the husband’s sexuality.
  • Section 377 also needs a review.

Criticism 

  • Assuming that a change in the IPC will lead to a change in police officers’ attitude towards people, is false. For that, a change in the attitude of the police towards complainants, quick registration of FIRs, no outside pressure on the police and swift response against crimes are required.
  • Instead of amending IPC, India should focus on changing or tackling problems instead of changing laws. For example, for the police to be more efficient, the quality of training, human resource management, quality of investigations needs to be improve.
  • Moreover, there are many recommendations by police commissions and other bodies that are gathering dust in government files. For instance, making the police force more officer-oriented could be considered to make it more responsive. To increase the efficiency of the police, officers must be paid more, and their living conditions and the services provided to them should also improve.
  • Under IPC, Criminal conspiracy was made a substantive offence in 1913. However, there are doubts about the need of this law on conspiracy that can be invoked merely when two people agree to commit an offence without any overt act following the agreement.
  • Under Section 149 on unlawful assembly says that every member who is part of an unlawful assembly is guilty. As mere membership of the assembly without any participation in the actual crime is sufficient for punishment, several persons have been sentenced to death though they were not even present near the scene of the actual crime.

About Indian Penal Code (IPC):

  • The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.
  • The code was drafted in 1860 on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay.
  • The IPC replaced Mohammedan Criminal Law, which had a very close relationship with Islam. Thus, the IPC laid the foundation of secularism. It was the first codification of criminal law in the British Empire. IPC is also the longest serving criminal code in the world.
  • Even though the IPC has been amended more than 75 times, Parliament did not undertake any comprehensive revision based on the recommendations made in the 42nd Law Commission Report in 1971. As a result, largely the courts have had to undertake this task. Most amendments have been ad hoc, in response to immediate circumstances like the 2013 amendment after the Delhi gangrape case.
  • In 2016, the Home Ministry had proposed insertion of two stricter anti-racial discrimination provisions in the IPC. The two amendments were: Section 153A and Section 509A that deal with racially motivated crimes.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Nine information commissioners ask Governor to suspend their chief

Differences in the Karnataka Information Commission have come to the fore with nine commissioners petitioning Governor to take action against Chief Information Commissioner N.C. Srinivasa.

Nine information commissioners ask Governor

What is the issue?

  • Recently, nine commissioners submitted a representation to the Governor seeking suspension of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) for misconduct and abuse of power. They also wanted the Governor to refer the case to the Supreme Court for an inquiry.
  • Information Commissioners accused CIC of not taking them into confidence on important decisions, interfering in their official work and preventing them from attending the event.

Central Information Commission

Central Information Commission

  • Central Information Commission has 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who are appointed by the President of India.
  • Under the provision of Section-12 of RTI Act 2005, the Central Government constituted a body to be known as the Central Information Commission in 2005.

Power of CIC as per RTI Act, 2005:

  • Adjudication in second appeal for giving information
  • Direction for record keeping
  • Suo motu disclosures receiving and enquiring into a complaint on inability to file RTI
  • Imposition of penalties and Monitoring and Reporting including preparation of an Annual Report.

Removal of CIC/IC

The Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President after the Supreme Court has reported that the CIC/IC have to be removed.

The president can remove CIC/IC on the basis that CIC/IC

  • is adjudged an insolvent
  • has been convicted of an offence which involves moral turpitude
  • engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office
  • is unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body
  • Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions.

If the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner in any way, concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by or on behalf of the Government of the State or participates in any way in the profit thereof or in any benefit or emoluments arising therefrom otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company, he shall, for the purposes of sub-section (1), be deemed to be guilty of misbehaviour.

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

Anthrax scare in reserve after death of buffaloes

Veterinarians have confirmed anthrax as the cause of death of two Asiatic water buffaloes in central Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, which has the highest concentration of one-horned rhinos in the world and is often called ‘Mini Kaziranga’ due to similar landscape and vegetation.

buffalo

About Anthrax:

Anthrax

  • Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis.
  • It can be found naturally in soiland commonly affects domestic and wild animals around the world.
  • Anthrax does not spread from person to person and is not considered contagious. Though, it can be transmitted to humans by contact with infected animals or their products.

Types of Anthrax:

Though there are 3 types of official anthrax, the 4th one, ‘Injection anthrax’, is newly identified in northern Europe.

  • Cutaneous (skin) anthrax: It is the most common form. It is usually contracted when a person with a break in their skin comes into direct contact with anthrax spores.
  • Gastrointestinal anthrax: It is caught from eating meat from an infected animal.
  • Inhalation or pulmonary anthrax: It is the most severe form of human anthrax. It is rarest and is caused when a person is directly breaths to a large number of anthrax spores suspended in the air. This anthrax cannot be transmitted from person to person.
  • Injection anthrax: This new form of anthrax has been identified in heroin-injecting drug users in northern Europe.

How does one get infected with anthrax?

  • Anthrax can happen when people breathe inspores, eat food or drink water that is contaminated with spores, or get spores in a cut or scrape in the skin.
  • Similarly, Domestic and wild animals can also become infected when they breathe in or ingest spores in contaminated soil, plants, or water.

What are Spores?

Spores

  • Spores are the single-celled reproductive unit of nonflowering plants, bacteria, fungi, and algae. In other words, it is a reproductive cell capable of developing into a new individual without fusion (mating) with another reproductive cell.
  • While complex plants produce flowers and seeds for reproduction, lower plants (plants that don’t flower) create a single-celled spore for its re-production.

Where is anthrax found?

  • Though rare in humans, it is most common in agricultural regions of Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, central and south-western Asia, southern and eastern Europe, and the Caribbean.
  • It is more common in developing countriesand countries that do not have veterinary public health programs that routinely vaccinate animals against anthrax.

Prevention:

  • There is a vaccine against anthrax, but it is not approved for widespread use because it has never been comprehensively tested in human trials.

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the flood plains of River Brahmaputra in the district of Morigaon, Assam. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1987.
  • It has the highest number of one-horned rhinoceros (more than 90) in the world. It is also called ‘Mini Kaziranga’.
  • Besides rhinoceros, the other mammals found are Leopard, Leopard cat, Fishing cat, Jungle cat, Feral Buffalo, Wild pigs, Chinese pangolins etc.
  • It is also an important Bird area as it is home to more than 2000 migratory birds.
  • Pobitora can be divided into three distinct categories: forest, grassland and water bodies or beels. Only about 13% of the total area is under tree cover. About 72%of Pobitora consists of wet savannah.

Asiatic water buffalo

  • The wild water buffalo, also called Asian buffalo, is a large bovine native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
  • It has been listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List since 1986.
  • It is the state animal of Chhattisgarh.
  • It is the largest member of the Bovini tribe, which includes yak, bison, African buffalo and various species of wild cattle.
  • They spend much of their day submerged in the muddy waters of Asia’s tropical and subtropical forests.
  • The domesticated water buffalo is often referred to as the ‘living tractor of the east’.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Tasmanian tiger declared extinct 80 years ago ‘spotted’ eight times

Eight reported sightings of a Tasmanian tiger believed to be extinct are forcing experts to wonder whether it could still be alive. Newly released Australian government documents show sightings have been reported as recently as two months ago.

Tasmanian-tiger-IASToppers.jpg-1

About Tasmanian tiger

Tasmanian-tiger

  • Tasmanian tiger, also called thylacine, is a large striped carnivore marsupial.
  • It resembled a mix between a large cat, a fox and a wolf. It had yellowish brown fur, powerful jaws and a pouch.
  • It is native to both Tasmania and the Australian
  • It is the only member of the Thylacinidae family to survive into modern times.
  • The last known live Tasmanian tiger was captured in 1933 in Tasmania. It was thought to have died out in 1936, when it died in captivity.
[Ref: Independent]

 

Centre clarifies on definition of land as forest

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the environment ministry has clarified that the States need not take the Centre’s approval to define what constitutes unclassified land as forest.

Centre-clarifies-on-definition-of-land-as-forest

Background

  • Since 2014, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has been considering evolving a legal definition of forest and prepared drafts in 2016. These, however, have never been made public. An all-encompassing definition of ‘forest’ wasn’t possible for India as India had 16 different kinds of forest.
  • The conundrum of defining forests has been around since the 1980s. In the Godavarman judgement (1996), the Supreme Court expanded the definition of forest to include lands that were already notified by the Centre as forests as well as those that fell in the dictionary definition of forest. This allowed the States to evolve their own criteria and define tracts of land as forest.
  • However, not all States have submitted such criteria. Forests defined under this criterion constituted about 1% of the country’s forests and once so defined are known as ‘deemed forests.’
  • The onus on the States to define forests is also significant because the States often claim that they are helpless in preventing encroachment because a patch of land in question hadn’t been notified as forest. A recent instance was the felling of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, which officially isn’t classified as forest.

Need for a definition:

  • India’s definition of forests has been criticised by scientists in the past on the grounds that it doesn’t provide an accurate picture of the extent of biodiversity in rich natural forests.
  • A technical assessment by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of India’s submission on forest cover has raised concerns about the country’s definition of forests, which experts say exaggerates forest cover and inadvertently masks deforestation.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

Rohingya refugees agree to move to island

Thousands of Rohingya living in Bangladesh refugee camps have agreed to move to an island in the Bay of Bengal despite fears the site is prone to flooding.

Rohingya-refugees-agree-to-move-to-island

Who are Rohingyas?

  • The Rohingya are a Bengali-speaking Muslim minority in Myanmar, whose government considers them illegal migrants from Bangladesh, and does not recognise them as citizens under the Burmese Citizenship Law of 1972.
  • The Rohingya live mainly in the northern region of Myanmar’s Rakhine state, which was once part of the Kingdom of Arakan (1429-1785) that also included modern-day Chottogram (Chittagong) in Bangladesh.

What is the issue?

  • In 2016, Myanmar’s armed forces started a major crackdown on Rohingya people in Rakhine State. As a result, 1 million Rohingya fled Myanmar (majority in Bangladesh) since August 2017.
  • In November 2017, Bangladesh announced that a joint working group of UNHCR, Bangladesh, and Myanmar would be set up to work out the terms of repatriation. The Bangladesh started ‘Asrayan-3’ project to accommodate 1,00,000 Rohingyas on its border. The Ashrayan Project is tasked with building homes for homeless and displaced people.
  • In March 2018, Bangladesh submitted a list of 8,000 refugees for repatriation. However, Myanmar only accepted a little more than 1000 refuges.
  • Myanmar and the UN signed a confidential memorandum of understanding in June 2018. When details were leaked, refugees rejected it.
  • In March 2019, Bangladesh decided to relocate refuges to the island of Bhasan Char (previously known as Thengar Char) in the Bay of Bengal due to high influx of refugees. However, Refugees began protesting and refused to relocate. Bhashan Char is located in the estuary of the Meghna river.

Background

Rohingya refugees agree to move to island 1

  • During the British rule, there was a significant amount of migration of labourers to Myanmar from today’s India and Bangladesh. The migration of labourers was viewed negatively by the majority of the Myanmar native population.
  • After independence, the government viewed the migration that took place during British rule as illegal, and it is on this basis that they refuse citizenship to the majority of Rohingya.
  • Shortly after Myanmar’s independence from the British in 1948, the Union Citizenship Act was passed, which defined which ethnicities could gain citizenship. The Rohingya were not included in that.
  • After the 1962 military coup in Myanmar, all citizens were required to obtain national registration cards. The Rohingya, however, were only given foreign identity cards, which limited the jobs and educational opportunities they could pursue.
  • In 1982, a new citizenship law was passed, effectively rendering the Rohingya stateless. Under the law, Rohingya were again not recognised as one of the country’s 135 ethnic groups.
  • The law established three levels of citizenship. In order to obtain the most basic level (naturalised citizenship), proof that the person’s family lived in Myanmar before 1948 was needed, as well as fluency in one of the national languages. Many Rohingya lack such paperwork because it was either unavailable or denied to them.
  • As a result of the law, their rights to study, work, travel, marry, practice their religion and access health services have been and continue to be restricted.
  • Since the 1970s, a number of crackdowns on the Rohingya in Rakhine State have forced hundreds of thousands to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh, as well as Malaysia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.

Location of Bhashan Char:

Bhashan-Char

  • Bhashan Char is located in the estuary of the Meghna river.
  • It falls in an ecologically fragile area prone to floods, erosion and cyclone.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

IMF members delay quota changes, agree to maintain funding

At a time when multilateral institutions stand on increasingly shaky ground, members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to maintain its funding at $ 1 trillion but postponed changes to its voting structure. The deal is a compromise with the U.S., the Fund’s largest shareholder, which has resisted changes to the organisation’s voting structure as well as increases in its permanent resource base.

IMF-members-delay-quota-change Current Affairs Analysis

Significance of this deal

  • This deal will allow an extension of non-permanent, supplementary sources of funds such as the New Arrangement to Borrow (NAB) and bilateral borrowings from countries. The New Arrangement to Borrow is a renewable funding mechanism that was started by IMF in 1998. IMF had entered into NAB and bilateral borrowings after the 2008 financial crisis to increase its lending ability.
  • The agreement extended the bilateral borrowing facility till 2020 and a potential doubling of the NAB.

IMF Quota

IMF Quota

  • The IMF is a quota-based institution. Quotas are denominated in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), the IMF’s unit of account.
  • A member country’s quota determines its maximum financial commitment to the IMF, its voting power, and has a bearing on its access to IMF financing.
  • The current quota formula is a weighted average of:
  1. GDP (weight of 50 percent)
  2. openness (30 percent)
  3. economic variability (15 percent)
  4. international reserves (5 percent)
  • India’s quota is 2.76% and China’s is 6.41%, while the U.S.’s quota is 17.46 %.
  • Any changes in quotas must be approved by an 85 % majority of the total voting power, and a member’s own quota cannot be changed without its consent.
  • Quotas are supposed to be reviewed every five years although these reviews can be delayed.
  • The 15th quota review is currently underway.

Multiple roles of quotas:

  • Resource Contributions: Quotas determine the maximum amount of financial resources a member is obliged to provide to the IMF.
  • Voting Power: Quotas are a key determinant of the voting power in IMF decisions. Votes comprise one vote per SDR100,000 of quota plus basic votes (same for all members).
  • Access to Financing: The maximum amount of financing a member can obtain from the IMF under normal access is based on its quota.
  • SDR Allocations: Quotas determine a member’s share in a general allocation of SDRs.

Quota reviews:

  • The IMF’s Board of Governors conducts general quota reviews at regular intervals.
  • Any changes in quotas must be approved by an 85% majority of the total voting power, and a member’s own quota cannot be changed without its consent.

Need for reforms:

  • Some IMF members have become frustrated with the pace of governance reforms, as the balance of economic and geopolitical power has shifted, becoming more dispersed across the world, particularly with the emergence of China and India – among the world’s largest and fastest growing economies.
  • India’s quota is 2.76% and China’s is 6.41%, while the U.S.’s quota is 17.46 % (translates to a vote share of 16.52%) giving it a unique veto power over crucial decisions at the IMF, many of which require a supermajority of 85%.
  • The U.S. has resisted diluting its share, wary that it will benefit countries such as China.

Need for reforms

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Defence & Security Issues

Interpol to hold general assembly in India in 2022

India will host the 91st Interpol General Assembly in 2022 after a proposal received the overwhelming support of member countries at 2019’s congregation at Santinago in Chile.

Interpol

What is Interpol?

Interpol

Interpol 1

  • INTERPOL is the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO)which is an inter-governmental organization.
  • It was founded in 1923as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) and was renamed in 1956 as INTERPOL.
  • It is headquartered at Lyon,France.
  • It has 194 member countries including India.
  • The General Assemblyis governing body and it brings all countries together once a year to take decisions.
  • Each country hosts an INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB),which links national police with INTERPOL’s global network.

General assembly of Interpol

General assembly of Interpol

  • The General Assembly is Interpol’s supreme governing body and comprises representatives from all its member countries.
  • It is the largest global gathering of senior law enforcement officials.
  • The General Assembly meets annually to vote on activities and policy.
  • Each country is represented by one or more delegates at the Assembly.
  • It also elects the members of the Interpol Executive Committee, the governing body which provides guidance in between sessions of the Assembly.

Assembly Resolutions

  • The General Assembly’s decisions take the form of Resolutions which are public documents.
  • Decisions are made either by a simple or a two-thirds majority, depending on the subject matter.

Key Facts

  • The Interpol’s 88th General Assembly will assemble in Santiago, Chile in 2019.
  • South Korea was elected president of Interpol for a two-year term until 2020 by the General Assembly in Dubai.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Indian History

Minister of state for IC attended the Commemoration of ’76th Year of Azad Hind Government’

Union Minister of state for Culture & Tourism (IC) attended the 76th anniversary of the formation of Azad Hind Government on 21st October, 2019, at the Red Fort, Delhi.

'76th Year of Azad Hind Government'

About Azad Hind Government

  • In October 1943, Subhas Chandra Bose announced the formation of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India).

Azad-Hind-government

  • Known as Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind, it was a part of a political movement with the purpose of allying with the Axis powers to free India from British rule. This movement was supported by the Japan, Nazi Germany, Italy and their allies.
  • Azad Hind was first established by Indian nationalists in exile, headed by Captain General Mohan Singh, during the latter part of the Second World War in Singapore with assistance from Japan. In 1942, it was disbanded. However, Subhas Chandra Bose renewed it and assumed its charge.
  • On October 21, 1943, the setting up of the provisional government was announced on the battlefield of Singapore which was once the bulwark of the British Empire.
  • The government of Azad Hind had its own currency, court and civil code as well.
  • The government in exile (Azad Hind) proclaimed authority over Indian personnel in Southeast Asian British colonial territory and asked for authority over Indian territory.
  • With the help of Japan, it gained nominal authority of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1943 and the occupation of parts of Manipur and Nagaland. Azad Hind also declared war against British on India-Burma border. However, the Azad Hind and Japanese Army were forced to retreat.
  • While the government itself continued until the civil administration of the Andaman Islands was returned to the jurisdiction of the British towards the end of the war, the limited power of Azad Hind was effectively ended with the surrender of the last major contingent of INA troops in Rangoon. The death of Bose is seen as the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement.

Composition under the provisional government:

  • Subhas Chandra Bose: Head of the state, the prime minister and the minister for war and foreign affairs.
  • Rash Behari Bose: designated as the supreme advisor.
  • S A Ayer: headed the publicity and propaganda wing.
  • Captain Lakshmi: headed the women’s organisation
[Ref: PIB]

 

Science & Technology

Explained: What is Orionids meteor shower and when will it appear

The Orionids meteor showers will make their yearly appearance soon, reaching their peak on October 22.

Orionids meteor shower and when will it appear

About Orionids meteor showers

Orionids meteor showers 1

  • The Orionid meteor shower appears every October when the Earth travels through an area of space littered with debris from Halley’s Comet. In other words, the Orionids meteors emerge from the comet 1P/Halley.
  • Orionids meteor shower is believed to originate from the constellation Orion (The Hunter). This point of origination is referred to as the radiant.
  • These meteor showers are known for their brightness and speed, travelling at about 66 km/s into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Other meteor showers

  • Perseid meteor shower – occur in August
  • Quadrantis metor shower – between December-January
  • Lyrids metor shower – April
  • Leonids metor shower – November
  • Geminids metor shower – December

What are meteor showers?

  • Meteors are parts of rock and ice that are ejected from comets as they manoeuvre around their orbits around the sun.
  • Meteor showers, on the other hand, are witnessed when Earth passes through the trail of debris left by a comet or an asteroid. When a meteor reaches the Earth, it is called a meteorite and a series of meteorites when encountered at once, is termed as a meteor shower.
  • As it falls towards the Earth, the resistance makes the space rock extremely hot and as the meteorite passes through the atmosphere, it leaves behind a streak of hot glowing gas that is visible to the observers and not the rock itself.

Why do meteor showers happen on an annual basis?

  • Like the Earth orbits around the Sun, comets orbit around it as well. When comets come closer to the Sun, their icy parts melt and break off, forming the debris that the Earth may encounter around the same time every year as it makes way around its own orbit.
  • In the case of the Orionids, each time the Halley comet, that takes 76 years to orbit around the Sun, reaches the inner solar system (comprising the terrestrial planets and asteroids), the icy and rocky dust is released into space.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

DNA Technology Regulation Bill referred to parliamentary standing committee

The DNA Technology Regulation Bill that seeks to control the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of a person, has been referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for examination.

DNA Technology Regulation Bill referred to parliamentary standing committee

Features of DNA Technology Regulation Bill

DNA Technology Regulation Bill

Use of DNA Data

  • Under the Bill, DNA testing is allowed only in respect of matters listed in the Schedule to the Bill. These include offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and for civil matters such as paternity suits.
  • Further, the Schedule includes DNA testing for matters related to establishment of individual identity.

Collection of DNA

  • While preparing a DNA profile, bodily substances of persons may be collected by the investigating authorities. Authorities are required to obtain consent for collection in certain situations. 
  • For arrested persons, authorities are required to obtain written consent if the offence carries a punishment of up to seven years.

DNA Data Bank

  • The Bill provides for the establishment of a National DNA Data Bank and Regional DNA Data Banks.
  • Every Data Bank will be required to maintain indices for the following categories of data:
  1. A crime scene index
  2. A suspects’ or undertrials’ index
  3. An offenders’ index
  4. A missing persons’ index
  5. An unknown deceased persons’ index

Removal of DNA profiles

  • The Bill states that the criteria for entry, retention, or removal of the DNA profile will be specified by regulations.
  • However, the Bill provides for removal of the DNA profiles of the following persons: (i) of a suspect if a police report is filed or court order given, (ii) of an undertrial if a court order is given, and (iii) on written request, for persons who are not a suspect, offender or undertrial, from the crime scene or missing persons’ index.

DNA Regulatory Board

  • The Bill provides for the establishment of a DNA Regulatory Board, which will supervise the DNA Data Banks and DNA laboratories. The Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, will be the ex officio Chairperson of the Board. 
  • The functions of the Board include: (i) advising governments on all issues related to establishing DNA laboratories or Data Banks, and (ii) granting accreditation to DNA laboratories. Further, the Board is required to ensure that all information relating to DNA profiles with the Data Banks, laboratories, and other persons are kept confidential.

DNA laboratories

  • Any laboratory undertaking DNA testing is required to obtain accreditation from the Board.
  • The Board may revoke the accreditation for reasons including, failure to: (i) undertake DNA testing, or (ii) comply with the conditions attached to the accreditation.

Offences

  • The Bill specifies penalties for various offences, including: (i) for disclosure of DNA information, or (ii) using DNA sample without authorization.
[Ref: PIB, Indian Express]

 

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