Polity & Governance
- West Bengal passes Bill to rein in private hospitals
Environment & Ecology
- For Olive Ridleys, it’s paradise lost
- Centre dithers on Western Ghats issue
- Operation Thunderbird & Operation Save Kurma of WCCB
Bilateral & International Relations
- India to Host 10th ICEGOV 2017
- Australia wants India to be a ‘consistent buyer’ of its cotton
- S. nixed India’s plea on reforms in medicine
Art & Culture
- Lakkaram tank regains lost glory
Key Facts for Prelims
- India to train Myanmar Navy
Polity & Governance
West Bengal passes Bill to rein in private hospitals
The State Legislative Assembly has passed the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill, 2017, by a voice vote.
- It repeals the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010.
- It aims to overhaul private healthcare in state and take stringent measures against health institutions accused of medical negligence and corrupt practices.
Highlights of the Bill:
- The legislation seeks to bring transparency, end harassment of patients and check medical negligence in private hospitals and nursing homes.
- It brings clinics, dispensaries and polyclinics under its ambit.
- It makes mandatory for private hospitals to pay compensations in case of medical negligence.
- Hospitals violating this law will be liable to pay fine of Rs. 10 lakh or more. Compensation in case medical negligence: Rs 3 lakh for minor damages, Rs 5 lakh for big damages and minimum Rs. 10 lakh in case of death.
- This compensation will be given within six months. The compensation amount will not be more than Rs 50 lakh.
- It establishes 13 member West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission to monitor activities of private hospitals. The high-powered commission will be headed by sitting or former judge. It will have status of a civil court. It will be empowered to summon both parties in case of a dispute and examine case before passing an order.
- Penal measures range between compensation and scrapping the licence of the physician/hospital.
- The commission can put offender behind bars up to 3 years. It can also order trying the offender under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions if it deems fit.
- Hospitals with more than 100 beds must start fair price medicine shops. They are mandated to declare bed charges, ICU charges and package costs which can’t be altered.
Environment & Ecology
For Olive Ridleys, it’s paradise lost
Tens of thousands of eggs laid by Olive Ridley sea turtles this year in Gahirmatha Sanctuary in Odisha, one of the world’s largest nesting grounds, are getting destroyed due to shrinking coastal space.
- 6,04,046 turtles have come to lay eggs at Nasi II island of Gahirmatha from February 22.
- The turtles had largely given the island a miss in 2016, with only 50,000 coming to nest.
- Since the small island cannot host all those that turned up this year, only 50% of eggs may survive.
About Olive Ridley sea turtle:
- Olive Ridley sea turtle has found place in Schedule – I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (amended 1991).
- All the species of sea turtles in the coastal water of Odisha are listed as “endangered” as per IUCN Red Data Book.
- The sea turtles are protected under the ‘Migratory Species Convention’ and CITES (Convention of International Trade on Wildlife Flora and Fauna).
- India is a signatory nation to all these conventions. The ‘Homing’ characteristics of the Ridley sea turtles make them more prone to mass casualty.
About Gharimatha Marine Sanctuary:
- Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is a marine wildlife sanctuary located in Odisha.
- It extends from Dhamra River mouth in the north to Mahanadi river mouth in the south.
- It is very famous for its nesting beach for olive ridley sea turtles. It is the one of world’s most important nesting beach for turtles.
Centre dithers on Western Ghats issue
After several years of discussions, the government has finally notified nearly 57,000 square km area in the Western Ghats region as ecologically sensitive area (ESA) where all kinds of mining activities, large constructions, thermal power plants and highly polluting industries would no longer be allowed.
- The 56,825 square km of land is spread over six states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- The notification covers an area that is slightly less than the 59,940 square km of area identified by a committee headed by ex-ISRO chief K Kasturirangan in 2013.
- Western Ghats is a 1,500-km biodiversity-rich geological formation along the western Indian coast, which is also rich in minerals.
- Demarcation of an ESA is an effort to protect the fragile eco-system from indiscriminate industrialisation, mining and unregulated development.
- Two committees were appointed in the last eight years to identify the areas that needed to be kept out from such activities.
- The first of these, called the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, headed by noted environmentalist Madhav Gadgil had recommended that the entire region should be made out of bounds for new industrial activities.
- The other one, headed by Kasturirangan, had suggested that only about 37 per cent of the entire region needed be demarcated into an ESA.
- State governments and local populations at many of the identified places had resisted the formation of ESA fearing loss of livelihood and a ban on developmental activities.
- Concerned state governments and other stakeholders have 60 days’ time to raise objections or make suggestions on the decision to notify the area as ESA. If no changes have to be made, the notification will become final.
Operation Thunderbird & Operation Save Kurma of WCCB
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has successfully coordinated Operation Thunder Bird from January 30 to February 19, 2017 in its fight to end poaching of India’s wildlife animals.
- It also had convened Operation Save Kurma, a species specific operation on turtles between 15 December 2016 and 30 January 2017.
- Operation Thunderbird is the code-name for INTERPOL’s multi-national and multi-species enforcement operation.
- Wildlife Crime Control Bureau coordinated this operation between 30 January and 19 February 2017.
- During the operation, a total of 2, 524 live species of scheduled animals, 19.2 kilograms of elephant ivory, 1 tiger skin, 9 carcasses of wild animals, 1 organ pipe coral, 1 jar snake venom, 8 leopard skins and 1 Indian Mujtac skin were seized.
- The operation brought about a unanimous approach by the State enforcement agencies in the fight against wildlife crime in the country.
- 71 persons were arrested during the operation, which saw an overwhelming response from the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttrakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Operation Save Kurma:
- It was species specific operation on turtles. Under it total of 15,739 live turtles were recovered from 45 suspects, having inter-state linkages.
- It helped the enforcement agencies to focus on the existing trade routes and major trade hubs in the country, which will be continued in future.
About Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB):
- WCCB is statutory multi-disciplinary body under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
- It was established in June 2007 by amending the Wildlife (Protection) Act (WLPA), 1972, a special Act to protect the wildlife and fauna in the country.
- It is headquartered in New Delhi and has five regional offices at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Jabalpur; three sub-regional offices at Amritsar, Guwahati, and Cochin; and five border.
- Under Section 38 (Z) of WLPA, 1972, it is mandated to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime and disseminate it to state and other enforcement agencies for immediate action.
- It assists foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control.
- It is tasked with capacity building of the wildlife crime enforcement agencies for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes and assist states to ensure success in wildlife crimes prosecutions.
- It advises Union Government on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws.
- It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.
Bilateral & International Relations
India to Host 10th ICEGOV 2017
The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India, in collaboration with United Nations University and UNESCO, is organizing a three-day International Conference 10th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance: ICEGOV 2017 in Delhi in March.
- 2017 Theme: Building Knowledge Societies: From Digital Government to Digital Empowerment.
- The key objective of ICEGOV2017 is to explore how Digital Government can lead to Digital Empowerment by local knowledge.
- ICEGOV 2017 is the 10th edition of ICEGOV, which will focus on the use of technology to transform relationships between government and citizens, businesses, civil society.
- It will try to inculcate an outlook to create new forms, paradigms, foundations for technology-enabled governance, collaboration, development.
- The 10th ICEGOV will bring together academia, governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector to share the insights and experiences in theory and practice of Digital Government.
- 560 papers from around 60 countries will be presented, which is highest number of paper submission in the history of ICEGOV.
- ICEGOV is an international conference series, established by the United Nations University in 2007, with the aim of bringing together practitioners, developers and researchers from government, academia, industry, non-governmental organizations and UN organizations to share the latest in theory and practice of Electronic Governance.
- The ICEGOV series focuses on the use of technology to transform relationships between government and citizens, businesses, civil society and other arms of government (Electronic Governance).
- The Series looks beyond the traditional focus on technology-enabled transformation in government (Electronic Government), towards establishing foundations for good governance and for sustainable national development.
Australia wants India to be a ‘consistent buyer’ of its cotton
Australia, the fifth-largest exporter of cotton, is looking at India to emerge as a consistent and major buyer of the commodity.
- In this regard, an eight-member delegation representing the Australian Cotton Shippers’ Association recently held meetings in Ludhiana, Mumbai, and Coimbatore.
- Australia has close to 1,200 cotton growers and can supply even small quantities to India. China purchased more than 30% of Australia’s cotton production last year. However, this was lower than its usual purchase. India is a big market for cotton.
- India used to purchase 5-7% of cotton produced in Australia every year. In 2016, it shot up to close to 23 % due to a drop in production in India. Indian textile mills use Australian cotton as a blend to produce high-value garments.
- India is the largest producer and consumer of cotton globally.
U.S. nixed India’s plea on reforms in medicine
A month after the 140th World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Executive Board meeting, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) response has revealed that the United States government had opposed including agenda items proposed by India, which aimed at reforming medical innovation that currently pump up drug prices to unaffordable levels.
What’s the issue?
- The Indian government — along with 11 South East Asian countries — had proposed a discussion on an ‘Access to Medicines’ report by the United Nations High Level Panel that had recommended reforms in the funding of biomedical research and development.
- However, the set of documents released by Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a not for profit organisation that gives technical advice to governments, reveals that both the United States and the WHO opposed including the proposal by India.
- They observed that they were mainly concerned about the narrow mandate of the recommendations.
- The U.N. Access to Medicines report had recommended solutions for remedying the policy incoherence between justifiable rights of inventors, trade rules and global public health targets.
- The report recommended that “governments and the private sector must refrain from explicit or implicit threats, tactics or strategies that undermine the right of WTO Members to use TRIPS flexibilities.”
- The U.N. report says there is a need for an RD treaty and it recommended reforms in the area of biomedical R&D.
- The 11 member-states — Bangladesh, Bhutan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste — as well as Brazil, Iran, and South Africa supported the inclusion of the agenda item.
- The delays by WHO to place the UN HLP recommendations on the agenda of the WHO’s EB and subsequently at the World Health Assembly have drawn widespread criticism from Asian civil society organisations.
Art & Culture
Lakkaram tank regains lost glory
The Lakkaram tank of Kakatiya period here has received a new lease of life following near total restoration of the water body at an estimated cost of Rs 13.5 crore under the Mission Kakatiya scheme.
About Mission Kakatiya:
- Mission Kakatiya is the Telangana government’s flagship programme aimed at restoring minor irrigation sources like tanks and other water bodies to help small and marginal farmers.
- The name ‘Mission Kakatiya’ is given in the remembrance and tribute to the Kakatiya rulers who developed large number of the irrigation tanks.
About kakatiya dynasty:
- The 12th and the 13th centuries saw the emergence of the Kakatiyas.
- All information about this dynasty can be obtained from their inscriptions. In some of their inscriptions they are called ‘lords of Kakatipura’ and also as rulers of the Andhra or Telunga area.
- They were at first the feudatories of the Western Chalukyas of Kalyana, ruling over a small territory near Warangal. Prataparudra I established a sovereign dynasty in 1163 CE. The dynasty saw powerful leaders like Ganapathi Deva and Rudramadevi.
- Prataparudra I, also known as Kakatiya Rudradeva, was the son of the Kakatiya leader Prola II. It was under his rule that the Kakatiyas declared sovereignty. He ruled the kingdom till 1195 A.D.
- It was under the rule of Prataparudra I that usage of Telugu language in inscriptions began.
- Before the establishment of Orugallu/Warangal as the capital, Hanamakonda was the first capital of the Kakatiyas.
- The great Italian traveller Marco Polo visited the, the Venetian traveler who visited Motupalli in 1293 A.D. sometime during Rudramadevi’s tenure as the ruler of the Kakatiya Dynasty and made note of her administrative style; admiring her extensively.
- A very well-known sea-port of this kingdom was Motupalli (Krishna district) where trade flourished due to the farsightedness of this monarch who abolished repressive taxes which foreigners had earlier been made to pay.
- The iconic Kakatiya Thoranam was built by Rudramadevi’s father in the 12th Century. This ornate arch is said to have many similarities with the gateways at the Sanchi Stupa and is also the emblem of Telangana.
- The scenic Pakhal lake in Warangal was built by Ganapathi Deva.
- The 1000 pillar temple in Warangal was built during the Kakatiya Rule and is another example to the exquisite Kakatiya Architecture.
- Under the Kakatiya rule, the caste system was not rigid and in fact, it was not given much significance socially. Anyone could take up any profession and people were not bound to an occupation by birth.
- The Koh-i-Noor Diamond, which is now among the jewels set in the British Crown, was mined and first owned by the Kakatiya Dynasty.
- Since the end of 13th Century and the early of 14th Century, Kakatiya Kingdom faced several attacks by the Delhi Sultanate. The attacks started under Alauddin Khilji’s rule and it is said that it is during this time that the Koh-i-Noor went into the hands of the Delhi Sultanate.
- The Kakatiya rule finally came to an end in 1323 A.D. when Warangal was conquered by the Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, the then Sultan of Delhi.
Key Facts for Prelims
India to train Myanmar Navy
- Indian Navy will set up meteorological facilities and impart training for the Myanmar Navy.
- This was agreed upon during a recent visit of a Myanmar delegation to Kochi.
- Myanmar will soon send a proposal with its requirements.
- This fits into India’s overall effort to boost strategic cooperation under the ‘Act East’ policy and will help offset increasing Chinese presence in its neighbourhood.
- Leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8, 2017, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has initiated a social media campaign – #WeAreEqual – targeted at raising awareness about gender discrimination.
- The campaign will culminate into the celebration of International Women’s Day marked by the prestigious Nari Shakti Award ceremony, in which the Hon’ble President will honour individuals and institutions for their exemplary contribution to women’s empowerment.
- The campaign takes a positive approach, engaging both men and women across the cross-section of the society and reflects their personal effort at creating a more equal society.
- Many prominent personalities have also joined the campaign.