Polity & Governance
- Star campaigner of Political parties
- Presidential address to the joint seating of Parliament
- Rules regarding “No Fly List”
- Time limit on advance bail violates personal liberty: Supreme Court
- NCRB Launches Missing Person Search, Generate Vehicle NOC services
Government Schemes & Policies
- Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (INCCU)
- Cabinet approves amendments of National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019
Issues related to Health & Education
- Coronavirus Outbreak declared a public health emergency
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- TERI’s Annual Flagship Event: World Sustainable Development Summit
Bilateral & International Relations
- UN’s new rules for ships in the Arctic region
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Polity & Governance
Star campaigner of Political parties
The Election Commission has recently ordered the removal of BJP leaders Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma from the party’s list of star campaigners for Delhi polls over their controversial remarks.
Who is a star campaigner?
- A recognised political party can have 40 star campaigners and an unrecognised (but registered) political party can have 20.
- The list of star campaigners has to be communicated to the Chief Electoral Officer and Election Commission within a week from the date of notification of an election.
- The expenditure incurred on campaigning by such notified star campaigners is exempt from being added to the election expenditure of a candidate.
- However, this only applies when a star campaigner limits himself to a general campaign for the political party he represents.
What if a star campaigner campaigns specifically for one candidate?
- If a candidate or her election agent shares the stage with a star campaigner at a rally, then the entire expenditure on that rally, other than the travel expenses of the star campaigner, is added to the candidate’s expenses.
- Even if the candidate is not present at the star campaigner’s rally, but there are posters with her photographs or her name on display, the entire expenditure will be added to the candidate’s account.
- This applies even if the star campaigner mentions the candidate’s name during the event. When more than one candidate shares the stage, or there are posters with their photographs, then the expenses of such rally/meeting are equally divided between all such candidates.
Does removal from the star campaigner’s list ban them from campaigning?
- No, the final decision will only be taken by the EC once the two leaders reply to the showcase notices served to them.
- However, the removal from the star campaigner’s list does make campaigning difficult for them.
- This is because whichever constituency they now hold their election meeting or rally at, irrespective of whether they limit themselves to general party propaganda or not, the entire expenditure of the event will be added to the account of the BJP candidate contesting from that seat.
Election Expenditure limit:
- The candidates have an expenditure limit of Rs 28 lakh in case of Delhi elections.
Presidential address to the joint seating of Parliament
On the opening day of Budget Session of Parliament recently, President Ram Nath Kovind had addressed the joint sitting of both the Houses of the Parliament.
When President addresses joint sitting of both the houses?
- Article 87 of the constitution has two instances when the President specially addresses both Houses of Parliament.
- In the case of the first session after each general election to Lok Sabha, the President addresses both Houses of Parliament assembled together after the members have made and subscribed the oath or affirmation and the Speaker has been elected.
- In the case of beginning of the first session of each year, the President addresses both Houses of Parliament at the time and date notified for the commencement of the session of both the Houses of Parliament.
- The President’s speech essentially highlights the government’s policy priorities and plans for the upcoming year.
- The address provides a broad framework of the government’s agenda and direction.
- The speech also recaps the government’s accomplishment in the previous years.
What procedures follow the address before Budget session?
- After the President or Governor delivers the address, the two Houses assemble separately in their respective Chambers for the transaction of formal business.
- A debate takes place not only on the contents of the address but also the broad issues of governance in the country.
- This then paves the way for discussion on the Budget.
- The President’s Address in India is mirrored on the British system.
- The President or a Governor cannot refuse to perform the constitutional duty of delivering an address to the legislature. But there can be situations when they deviate from the text of the speech prepared by the government. So far, there have been no instances of President doing so.
Rules regarding “No Fly List”
Four airlines in India — IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air India and GoAir — have banned stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from taking their flights after he allegedly heckled television news anchor Arnab Goswami on an IndiGo flight.
What is a ‘No Fly List’?
- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) maintains and compiles the no-fly list based on inputs given by airlines about the incidents.
- The DGCA’s No Fly List comprises the names of passengers identified as disruptive and are temporarily prohibited from boarding flights to ensure the safety and check unruly and disruptive behaviour on aircraft.
- A public no-fly list along with the rules has come out for the first time in India only.
- The names of the passengers of the ‘No-Fly list’ can be seen on the official website of DGCA.
When was the ‘No Fly List’ rule brought?
- The increasing incidents of violence with the crew members and airport staff-led DGCA to make a set of rules to put passengers on a No-Fly list.
- The rules were notified on September 8, 2017, under the Civil Aviation Requirements, Section 3, Air Transport Series M Part VI, which focused on the handling of unruly passengers.
What are the Offences under ‘No-Fly List’?
- The offences are categorised in three levels. If any passenger violates the rules on-board or at the airport, the board reviews the offence under these categories and defines the punishment for the passenger.
- Level 1: Inappropriate behaviour, physical gestures, verbal harassment, unruly inebriation etc. Under this, any passenger can be banned for till 3 months.
- Level 2: Physically abusive behaviour, inappropriate touching or sexual harassment, etc. The offence is punishable by ban of up to 6 months.
- Level 3: Any Life-threatening behaviour or action, damage to aircraft operating systems, physical violence such as choking, eye-gouging, murderous assault attempted or actual breach of the flight crew compartment, etc. A passenger will be banned with a mandatory minimum ban of at least 2 years.
- These rules are set up by DGCA and the ban will be imposed by the aviation board.
- While the offences will also be investigated by the police or any other investigation body separately and the case for the offence will also be filed with the police.
- According to the norms laid down by DGCA, the crewmember or staff must inform the pilot of the flight about the unruly behaviour of the passenger. Later, the pilot in command of the flight initiates the procedure and reports the airline about the incident. The airline then forms an internal committee to study the case.
- The committee comprises of Retired District and Session Judge as Chairman, a representative from a different scheduled Airline as Member, a representative from a passenger association or consumer association or retired officer of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum as Member.
- The committee must make a decision on the case within 30 days of the offense. During this period, the airline which filed the report can prohibit the passenger from boarding flights. If the committee fails to make its decision within 30 days, the case against the passengers gets dropped automatically.
Can other airlines ban the accused?
- It is not mandatory for other airlines to ban the passenger for flying with them. They may choose to deny service but are not compelled to do so.
Can the accused appeal against DGCA’s decision of ban?
- Yes. The passenger is free to appeal against the decision of DGCA of ban within 60 days of committee’s decision, which will be reviewed by the panel set up by the Civil Aviation Ministry.
- In case, the Ministry upholds the ban then the passenger can appeal to the High Court.
Time limit on advance bail violates personal liberty: Supreme Court
A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the protection of anticipatory or pre-arrest bail cannot be limited to any time frame or “fixed period” as denial of bail amounts to deprivation of the fundamental right to personal liberty in a free and democratic country.
What is anticipatory bail?
- It is the bail as procuring the release of a person from legal custody, by undertaking that he shall appear at the time and place designated and submit himself to the jurisdiction and judgement of the court.
Difference between ordinary bail & anticipatory bail:
- As opposed to ordinary bail, which is granted to a person who is under arrest, in anticipatory bail, a person is directed to be released on bail even before arrest made.
Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc):
- Section 438 (anticipatory bail) of the Code of Criminal Procedure protects people from the ignominy of detention in jail for days on end and disgrace to their reputation.
- When any person has reason to believe that he may be arrested on an accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence, he may apply to the High Court or the Court of Session for a direction. and if Court thinks fit, he shall be released on bail.
The Supreme Court stand:
- The SC said the life or duration of an anticipatory bail order does not normally end at the time and stage when the accused is summoned by the court OR when charges are framed, but can continue till the end of the trial.
- Whether the protection granted to a person under Section 438 should be limited to a fixed period till the accused surrenders in court.
- Whether the life of anticipatory bail should end when accused is summoned by the court.
- The court held that protection against arrest should inure in favour of the accused. Restricting the protection would prove unfavourable for the accused.
- The court held that a plea for anticipatory bail can be filed even before the registration of FIR as long as there is reasonable basis for apprehension of arrest and clarity of facts.
Conditions while granting anticipatory bail:
- While granting anticipatory bail, the Sessions Court or High Court can impose the conditions laid down in sub-section (2) of 438 (anticipatory bail):
- “When the High Court or the Court of Session makes a direction under sub-section (1), it may include such conditions in such directions in the light of the facts of the particular case, as it may think fit, including:
- A condition that the person shall make himself available for interrogation by a police officer as and when required;
- A condition that the person shall not, directly or indirectly, make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the court or to any police officer;
- A condition that the person shall not leave India without the previous permission of the court;
- Such other condition as may be imposed under sub-section (3) of section 437, as if the bail were granted under that section.
Basis for anticipatory bail:
- An application for anticipatory bail should be based on concrete facts and not vague or general allegations.
- The application should also contain bare essential facts relating to the offence and why the applicant reasonably apprehends arrest.
- Courts, depending on the seriousness of the threat of arrest, need not wait to hear the prosecution’s version before granting anticipatory bail.
- Issuance of notice to the prosecutor can be done simultaneously while granting protection from arrest to the accused.
- The grant of protection should not be “blanket” but confined to specific offence or incident for which relief from arrest is sought.
- It is open for the police to move court for arrest of the accused if there is any violation of bail conditions.
- Anticipatory bail became part of the new CrPC in 1973 (when the latter replaced the older Code of 1898), after the 41st Law Commission Report of 1969 recommended the inclusion of the provision.
- In the 1980 Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia vs State of Punjab case, Supreme Court ruled that S. 438 (1) is to be interpreted in the light of Article 21 of the Constitution (protection of life and personal liberty).
NCRB Launches Missing Person Search, Generate Vehicle NOC services
National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) launched Police related Citizen centric services on CCTNS platform and can be accessed in the existing ‘Digital Police Portal’. So far such services are being provided through the state citizen portals and it is the first time that these are being launched centrally.
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):
- National Crime Records Bureau is a part of central Home Ministry of India.
- NCRB was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.
- It was set up based on the recommendation of the Task force and National Police Commission by merging the Directorate of Coordination and Police Computer (DCPC), Statistical Branch of BPR&D, Inter State Criminals Data Branch of CBI and Central Finger Print Bureau of CBI.
Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS):
- Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Govt. of India.
- CCTNS is a project initiated in June 2009 which aims at creating an integrated system for enhancing the efficiency of policing at the Police Station level.
- Make the Police functioning citizen friendly by automating the functioning of Police Stations.
- Improve delivery of citizen-centric services through effective usage of ICT.
- Provide the Investigating Officers of the Civil Police with tools, technology and information to facilitate investigation of crime and detection of criminals.
- Improve Police functioning in various other areas such as Law and Order, Traffic Management etc.
- Facilitate interaction and sharing of information among Police Stations, Districts, State/UT headquarters and other Police Agencies.
- Keep track of the progress of Cases, including in Courts.
- Establishing a basic platform for an Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS).
- Centralized crime and criminal information repository along with the criminal images and fingerprints with advanced search capabilities.
- Enhanced ability to analyze crime patterns/ road incidents and/ or modus operandi.
- Faster turnaround time for the analysis results (criminal and traffic).
- Reduced workload for the police stations back-office activities.
- Standardized means of capturing the crime and criminal data in police stations.
- The ability to respond faster and with greater accuracy to inquiries from the parliament, citizens and citizen’s groups.
- Faster and assured response from police to any emergency calls for assistance.
NCRB 2017 Report:
- Recently, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released its latest data on crime incidents across the country.
- According to the latest NCRB report, there has been a 30 per cent rise in incidents of offences against the state as compared to 2016.
- This category includes offences such as sedition, waging war against the country and damage to public property among others.
- The maximum number of such offences were reported from Haryana (2,576) followed by UP (2,055).
- The maximum number of sedition cases were reported from Assam (19) followed by Haryana (13). Jammu and Kashmir recorded just one case of sedition while Chhattisgarh and all North East states, barring Assam, recorded zero incident.
- A new category of offences committed by various categories of “Anti-National Elements” showed that the maximum offences were committed by Left Wing Extremist (LWE) operatives followed by North East insurgents and Terrorists.
- The maximum number of killings were carried out by LWE insurgents followed by Chhattisgarh and killings by terrorists.
- According to the data, a total of 50,07,044 cognizable crimes — 30,62,579 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 19,44,465 Special & Local Laws (SLL) crimes — were registered in 2017, an increase of 3.6 per cent in registration of cases over 2016.
- Majority cases under crimes against women out of the total IPC crimes against women were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (33.2 per cent) followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (27.3 per cent), ‘Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ (21.0 per cent) and ‘Rape’ (10.3 per cent).
- In percentage terms, major crime heads under ‘Crime Against Children’ during 2017 were kidnapping and abduction (42.0 per cent) and cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (25.3 per cent) including child rape.
Government Schemes & Policies
Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (INCCU)
A meeting of the Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (INCCU) was held in New Delhi recently, chaired by the Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.
What is Article VII of UNESCO?
- India has been a founding member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a specialized agency of the United Nations since its inception in 1946.
- Article VII of the constitution of UNESCO requires that each Member State shall make such arrangements as suit its particular conditions for purposes of associating its principal bodies interested in educational, scientific and cultural matters with the work of the Organization, preferably by the formation of a National Commission broadly representative of the government of such bodies.
- The National Commission or National Co-operating delegations to the General Conference and to their Governments in matters relating to the Organization and shall function as agencies of liaison in all matters of interest to it.
- UNESCO is the only UN body, which has encouraged its Member States to establish National Commissions to have liaison with it.
- A permanent Indian National Commission for Co-operation with UNESCO (INCCU) was established in 1951 by the Ministry of Education, Government of India.
- Contribute towards fulfilment of the objectives of UNESCO while also strengthening India’s image globally.
- Consistent efforts towards fulfilment of 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Functions of the Commission shall be:
- To promote understanding of the objects and purposes of UNESCO among the people of India;
- To serve as a liaison agency between the Government of India and the institutions concerned with the working for the advancement of education, science and culture;
- To encourage participation of national, governmental and non-governmental institutions and various individuals in the formulations and execution of UNESCO’s programmes so as to secure for UNESCO all the intellectual, scientific artistic or administrative assistance that it may require;
- To collaborate with the National Commissions of Asia and the Pacific and with UNESCO’s Regional Offices and centres in fostering regional, sub-regional and bilateral co-operation in education, the sciences, culture and information, particularly through the joint formulation and execution of programmes;
- To disseminate information on the objectives, programme and activities of UNESCO and endeavour to arouse public interest in them; and
- To advise the Government of India on matters relating to UNESCO.
- The Minister of Human Resource Development shall be the President of the Commission and will presides over the meetings of the commission.
- In the absence of the President, the Commission may elect a Chairman from among the members present to preside over each meeting.
- The Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development is the Secretary General of the commission and remains in over-all charge of the work of the Commission;
- The membership of the commission consists of the members of five Sub-Commissions namely, Sub-Commission for (i) education; (ii) Natural Sciences; (iii) Social Sciences; (iv) Culture; and (v) Communication.
Cabinet approves amendments of National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the official amendments in the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 for amending the Homoeopathy Central Council (HCC) Act, 1973. Presently, the Bill is pending in Rajya Sabha.
The amendments will:
- Ensure necessary regulatory reforms in the field of Homoeopathy education.
- Enable transparency and accountability for protecting the interest of the general public. The Commission will promote availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country.
The Homoeopathy Central Council (HCC) Act, 1973:
- It was enacted for constitution of a Central Council of Homoeopathy for regulation of education and practice of Homoeopathy, for maintenance of Central Register of Homoeopathy and for matters connected therewith.
- This Act has been modelled on the pattern of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.
- The broad functions, constitution, regulation making powers are identical to those of the Medical Council of India.
- While the Act provides a solid foundation for the growth of medical education and practice in Homoeopathy, but various bottlenecks in the functioning of Council have been experienced.
- These bottlenecks have resulted in serious detrimental effects on medical education as well as delivery of quality Homoeopathy healthcare services.
Issues related to Health & Education
Coronavirus Outbreak declared a public health emergency
The Corona Virus outbreak has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), as it continues to spread to more than 18 countries outside China.
What is a public health emergency of international concern?
- Some serious public health events that endanger international public health may be determined under the International Health Regulations (IHR), 2005 to be Public health emergencies of international concern (PHEIC).
- The term PHEIC is defined as an extraordinary event which:
- to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease; and
- to potentially require a coordinated international response.
- This definition implies a situation that: is serious, unusual or unexpected; carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national border; and may require immediate international action.
Who determines the category?
- The responsibility of determining whether an event is within this category lies with the WHO Director-General and requires the convening of a committee of experts – the IHR Emergency Committee.
- This committee advises the Director General on the recommended measures to be promulgated on an emergency basis, known as temporary recommendations.
- Temporary recommendations include health measures to be implemented by the State Party experiencing the PHEIC, or by other States Parties, to prevent or reduce the international spread of disease and avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic.
- The Emergency Committee continues to provide advice to the Director-General throughout the duration of the PHEIC, including any necessary changes to the recommended measures and on the determination of PHEIC termination.
- Declaring the coronavirus, a public health emergency of international concern would allow WHO to better coordinate the international response and hold nations accountable if they overstep the organization’s standards- which may pertain to travel, trade, quarantine or screening.
- The word “emergency” refers to lots of factors: mortality rates, the size and global distribution of population affected, and the need to coordinate global resources.
- WHO is also fighting two existing PHEICs: Ebola and Polio.
For more information on Corona Virus, please visit the link attached below:
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
TERI’s Annual Flagship Event: World Sustainable Development Summit
The World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS), the annual flagship event of TERI started at the Habitat Centre at New Delhi from 29-31 January 2020, laying focus on the global efforts being made to meet our 2030 targets.
World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS):
- WSDS is the annual flagship event of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
- 2020 Theme: ‘Towards 2030 Goals: Making the Decade Count’
- Aim: to expand the scope of its reach and involve many more stakeholders involved in the climate change fight.
- The Summit addressed broad themes of- circular economy, water, energy, industry transitions & e-mobility.
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI):
- TERI is a non-profit research institution in New Delhi that conducts research work in the fields of energy, environment and sustainable development.
- Established as Tata Energy Research Institute in 1974.
- Aim: to focus on formulating local and national level strategies for shaping global solutions to critical issues.
- Key focused areas are: clean energy, water management, pollution management, sustainable agriculture and climate resilience.
Bilateral & International Relations
UN’s new rules for ships in the Arctic region
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the shipping agency of the United Nations, issued new rules aiming to reduce sulphur emissions, due to which ships are opting for newer blends of fuels.
IMO rules (IMO 2020):
- IMO rules have been regarded as the biggest shake up for the oil and shipping industries in decades. It affects more than 50,000 merchant ships worldwide.
- In new rules, the IMO has banned ships from using fuels with a sulphur content above 0.5 per cent, compared with 3.5 per cent previously.
- Only ships fitted with sulphur-cleaning devices (known as scrubbers) are allowed to continue burning high-sulphur fuel.
- Alternatively, ships can opt for cleaner fuels such as marine gasoil (MGO) and very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).
- The new rules are monitored and enforced by national authorities of countries that are members of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
Effects of the fuels:
- The sulphur oxides (SOx) are formed after combustion in engines and known to cause respiratory symptoms and lung disease and also leading to acid rain.
- Black carbon is produced due to the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels that contributes to climate change.
- An increase in black carbon emissions would accelerate the melting of Arctic sea ice and impact the earth’s climate.
- New research shows that blends of very low-sulphur fuel oil contribute to highly polluting black carbon emissions in the environment.
MGO & VLSFO:
- Marine gasoil (MGO) which has a low sulphur content is made exclusively from distillates and it describes marine fuels that consist exclusively of distillates.
- Distillates are all those components of crude oil that evaporate in fractional distillation and are then condensed from the gas phase into liquid fractions.
- Very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) is a relatively low viscosity, low density fuel oil with good ignition properties and which has better calorific properties and other technical advantages.
- The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships is better known as the MARPOL Convention or just MARPOL.
- It is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
- It is a combination of two treaties adopted in 1973 and 1978 respectively and also includes the Protocol of 1997 (Annex VI).
- It was adopted on in 1973 at IMO and covered pollution by oil, chemicals, harmful substances in packaged form, sewage and garbage.
- MARPOL includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships- both accidental pollution and that from routine operations.