Polity & Governance
- Centre notifies Good Samaritan SOPs
- EC to now review national, state status of political parties every 10 years
Environment & Ecology
- Green panel directs MoEF to submit report on River Regulation Zone
Defence & Security Issues
- Maharashtra to have own law for internal security
Science & Technology
- In a first, scientists predict brain activity patterns
Key Facts for Prelims
- Olympic Order award
- Vyas Samman 2015
- Cochlear Implant
- National Sports Awards 2016
Polity & Governance
Centre notifies Good Samaritan SOPs
The Centre issued a notification ay ensuring that the affidavit of “Good Samaritan”, a person who voluntarily declares himself to be an eyewitness, shall be treated by the investigating officer as a final statement.
- The notification is in response to Supreme Court directions in an October 2014 case of SaveLIFE Foundation asking the Centre to issue directions to save Good Samaritans until Parliament frames a law.
- The court had directed the government to frame Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the examination of a Good Samaritan. In March, the court approved the guidelines and the SOPs issued by the government with certain modifications.
About Standard Operating Procedure (SOP):
- The SOP was framed by the government on the orders passed by the Supreme Court on a PIL plea filed by NGO SaveLIFE Foundation in 2012, highlighting the fact that more lives of accident victims can be saved if a law can be made to protect Good Samaritans from legal and procedural hassles at the hands of police and hospitals.
According to the notification,
- The affidavit of Good Samaritan, if filed, shall be treated as a complete statement by the police official while conducting the investigation. In case, the statement is to be recorded, the complete statement shall be recorded in a single examination.
- No bystander rushing to the rescue of an accident victim should be subject to civil or criminal liability and/or be forced to be a witness.
- Any disclosure of personal information or offer to be a witness, in the event of the Good Samaritan also being an eyewitness to an accident, ought to be voluntary. Further, the examination of such a volunteer as a witness shall be done only on a single occasion and without harassment or intimidation.
EC to now review national, state status of political parties every 10 years
The Election Commission amended rules whereby it will now review the national and state party status of political parties every 10 years instead of the present five.
- To enable putting in place the latest changes, the EC has amended Paragraph 6C of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
- This change in rules will ensure that ruling parties do not lose their status due to anti-incumbency factor after every election.
Criteria for being a national party
A political party becomes eligible to be recognised as a national party if it fulfils any of the three following conditions:
- The party has won 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha (11 seats) from at least three different states in the latest general election.
- In an election to the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly, the party has polled 6% of the total valid votes in at least four states, in addition to winning four Lok Sabha seats.
- A party has got recognition as a state party in at least four states.
Once a political party is recognised as a national party, the question of whether it continues to be recognised as such after subsequent Lok Sabha polls depends on whether it fulfils any of the three conditions.
What is the most important benefit of being recognised as a national party?
- Being recognised as a national party means a party is entitled to a reserved symbol for its candidates contesting from across the country.
This is critical for political parties since a large section of voters in the country are illiterate and depend on symbols to identify the party they want to vote for. Having a Pan-India symbol helps parties reach out to prospective voters.
Are there any other benefits of being recognised as a national party?
- Candidates from a national party require only one proposer to file their nominations and are entitled to two sets of electoral rolls free of cost.
- National parties get dedicated broadcast slots on public broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio during the general elections.
- Further, political parties are entitled to nominate ‘star campaigners’ during general elections. A national party can have a maximum of 40 ‘star campaigners’ while a registered unrecognised party can nominate a maximum of 20 ‘star campaigners’, whose travel expenses are not accounted for in the election expense accounts of candidates.
How many national parties contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections?
- Six political parties — BJP, Congress, CPM, BSP, CPI and NCP — contested as national parties.
Environment & Ecology
Green panel directs MoEF to submit report on River Regulation Zone
The National Green Tribunal recently expressed concerns to the undue delay in filing of a draft report on the River Regulation Zone and directed the Ministry of Environment to submit the report by October 3.
- NGT expressed displeasure that despite its 2013 direction the Environment Ministry was sitting on the report for the past three years.
- The Environment Ministry in February had come out with a blueprint for river regulation zones where it proposes to prohibit or regulate developmental activities on river fronts and floodplains.
What is RRZ?
The River Regulation Zone (RRZ) is a central policy for the protection of rivers and their floodplains on the lines of the Coastal Regulation Zone.
- The blueprint seeks to have a National River Conservation Authority headed by secretary of the ministry.
- The proposed river regulation zones will be under the ambit of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
Defence & Security Issues
Maharashtra to have own law for internal security
Maharashtra became the first state in the country to draft its own internal security legislation, The Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act (MPISA), 2016.
Key features of the bill:
- It gives special emphasis on maintaining law and order and combating terrorism, insurgency, caste-related violence and communalism in the state.
Critical Infrastructure Sectors (CIS):
- The act has clearly defined Critical Infrastructure Sectors (CIS), and bringing nuclear reactors, dams, major projects, coastal areas under its ambit.
Special Security Zones (SSZs):
- The act has also clearly defined the Special Security Zones (SSZs) as having a separate police infrastructure.
- The zones will also have a command and control system, and separate Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) to be followed by the SSZ police.
Definition of internal security:
- The act has defined internal security as a situation ‘posing threat to state within its borders, either caused or provoked, prompted, or proxied by a hostile foreign power, perpetrated even by such groups that use a failed, failing or weak hostile foreign power, causing insurgency, terrorism or any other subversive act targeting innocent citizens, causing animosity between groups, violence, destroy, or attempt to destroy public and private establishments.
Powers of police chief:
- The police chief will have powers to ban or regulate the production, sale, storage, possession, or entry of any devices or equipment or poisonous chemical, biological or radioactive article or substances, or electronic content of potentially explosive nature or any inflow of funds.
- The draft has a provision for a jail term of up to three years and fine for those threatening the State’s security.
Science & Technology
In a first, scientists predict brain activity patterns
Researchers have, for the first time, decoded and predicted the brain activity patterns of word meanings within sentences, an advancement that may help brain injury and stroke patients communicate better.
- The study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure human brain activation where researchers successfully predicted what the brain patterns would be for new sentences.
Significance of the research:
- With this, researcher can now predict 70% brain activity patterns.
- This study may help treat persons with brain injury and stroke patients to communicate better.
- It also makes key advances towards understanding how information is represented throughout the brain.
What is functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)?
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, is a technique for measuring brain activity.
- It works by detecting the changes in blood oxygenation and flow that occur in response to neural activity – when a brain area is more active it consumes more oxygen and to meet this increased demand blood flow increases to the active area.
- fMRI can be used to produce activation maps showing which parts of the brain are involved in a particular mental process.
FMRI has several significant advantages:
- It is non-invasive and doesn’t involve radiation, making it safe for the subject.
- It has excellent spatial and good temporal resolution.
- It is easy for the experimenter to use.
Key Facts for Prelims
Olympic Order award
The president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), N. Ramachandran, was awarded the Olympic Order for his outstanding service to the Olympic movement.
The Olympic Order is the highest award of the Olympic Movement and is awarded for particularly distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement, i.e. recognition of efforts worthy of merit in the cause of sport.
It was established in May 1975 by the International Olympic Committee as a successor to the Olympic Certificate. The Olympic Order originally had three grades (gold, silver and bronze), although the bronze grade fell dormant in 1984.
Vyas Samman 2015
Well-known Hindi scholar and writer Sunita Jain’s poetry collection “Kshama” has been selected for the prestigious Vyas Samman 2015. Instituted by the K K Birla Foundation, the award carries an amount of Rs 2.50 lakh and is given to outstanding literary work in Hindi authored by an Indian citizen.
The Foundation has also instituted other awards like the Saraswati Samman, given every year for an outstanding literary work written in any of the Indian languages.
[Ref: The Hindu, Government Advertisement]
National Sports Awards 2016
National Sports Awards are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports.
These awards include:
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award:
- It is India’s highest sporting award given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years.
- It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
- The scheme was launched in the year 1991-92.
- Under this scheme, an amount of Rs. 5 lakhs is given as award for the most spectacular and outstanding performance in the field of sports by an individual sportsperson or a team.
2016 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award recipients are:
- PV Sindhu (Badminton), Sakshi Malik (Wrestling), Dipa Karmakar (Gymnastics) and Jitu Rai (Shooting).
Name of the awardee
Ms. P.V. Sindhu
Ms. Dipa Karmakar
Shri Jitu Rai
Ms. Sakshi Malik
Dronacharya Award, instituted in 1985, is an award presented by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, government of India for excellence in sports coaching.
The award comprises a bronze statuette of Dronacharya, a scroll of honour and a cash component of Rs.7,00,000.
The award honours eminent Coaches who have successfully trained sportspersons or teams and enabled them to achieve outstanding results in international competitions.
2016 Dronacharya Award recipients are:
Name of the awardee
Shri Nagapuri Ramesh
Shri Sagar Mal Dhayal
Shri Raj Kumar Sharma
Shri Bishweshwar Nandi
Shri S. Pradeep Kumar
Shri Mahabir Singh
- The Arjuna Awards, instituted in 1961, are given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, government of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports.
- The award carries a cash prize of ₹ 500,000, a bronze statue of Arjuna and a scroll.
- As per the revised guidelines, to be eligible for the Award, a sportsperson should not only have had good performance consistently for the previous three years at the international level with excellence for the year for which the Award is recommended, but should also have shown qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.
2016 Arjuna Awards recipients are:
- Rajat Chauhan (archery), Lalita Babar (athletics), Sourav Kothari (billiards and snooker), Shiva Thapa (boxing), Ajinkya Rahane (cricket), Subrata Paul (football), Rani (hockey), VR Raghunath (hockey), Gurpreet Singh (shooting), Apurvi Chandela (shooting), Soumyajit Ghosh (table tennis), Vinesh (wrestling), Amit Kumar (wrestling), Sandeep Singh Mann (para-athletics), Virender Singh (wrestling, deaf).
Dhyan Chand Award:
- Dhyan Chand Award is the India’s highest award for lifetime achievement in sports and games, given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India.
- The award is named after the legendary Indian hockey player Dhyan Chand.
- The award was initiated in 2002.
- The award carries a cash prize of INR 500,000, a plaque and a scroll of honour.
2016 Dhyan Chand Award recipients are:
- Satti Geetha (athletics), Sylvanus Dung (hockey), Rajendra Pralhad Shelke (rowing).
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy:
- It is bestowed upon overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments.
2016 Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy recipient is:
- Punjabi University, Patiala.