Polity & Governance
- Right of an accused to be defended
- Arunachal govt. seeks to stop border migration
Government Schemes & Policies
- Nationwide AYUSH Grid
- Ayurvedic Classification of Diseases
- Kishori Health Cards
Issues related to Health & Education
- Cataloguing the Genetic Variation in Indians’ project
- India Smart Utility Week 2020
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- ARCI develops Fuel Cell Technology for Disaster Management
Bilateral & International Relations
- India joins Indian Ocean Commission as observer
Science & Technology
- Test devised for fairness of ‘qubit’ using entanglement theory
- ICONSAT 2020
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Polity & Governance
Right of an accused to be defended
The Karnataka High Court observed that it is unethical and illegal for lawyers to pass resolutions against representing accused in court.
What is the issue?
- The Hubli Bar Association associations had objected to four students arrested for sedition being defended in court.
- This is not the first time that bar associations have passed such resolutions, despite a Supreme Court ruling that these are against all norms of the Constitution, the statute and professional ethics.
Right of an accused to be defended:
- Article 22(1) gives the fundamental right to every person not to be denied the right to be defended by a legal practitioner of his or her choice.
- Article 14 provides for equality before the law and equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
- Article 39A, part of the Directive Principles of state policy, states that equal opportunity to secure justice must not be denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities, and provides for free legal aid.
Supreme Court’s Ruling:
- The 2010 case in SC arose from a confrontation between a lawyer and policemen in Coimbatore in 2006, after which lawyers passed a resolution to not allow any lawyer to represent the police personnel. The Madras High Court ruled this “unprofessional”, after which lawyers appealed in the Supreme Court.
- The Supreme Court ruled: “In our opinion, such resolutions are wholly illegal, against all traditions of the bar and against professional ethics. Every person, however wicked, depraved, vile, degenerate, perverted, loathsome, execrable, vicious or repulsive he may be regarded by society has a right to be defended in a court of law and correspondingly, it is the duty of the lawyer to defend him.”
- It said such resolutions were “against all norms of the Constitution, the statute and professional ethics”, called these “a disgrace to the legal community”, and declared them null and void.
How are professional ethics of lawyers defined?
- The Bar Council of India has Rules on Professional Standards, part of the Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette to be followed by lawyers under the Advocates Act.
- An advocate is bound to accept any brief in the courts or tribunals, at a fee consistent with his standing at the Bar and the nature of the case.
- The Rules provide for a lawyer refusing to accept a particular brief in “special circumstances”. Last year, The Uttarakhand High Court clarified that these special circumstances refer to an individual advocate who may choose not to appear in a particular case, but who cannot be prohibited from defending an accused by any threat of removal of his membership of the bar association.
Have lawyers faced action for such resolutions?
- A writ petition was filed in the Uttarakhand High Court after the Kotdwar Bar Association passed a resolution stating that anyone who represented the accused in the murder case of an advocate would have their membership of the Bar terminated.
- The court held the resolution null and void.
- It directed the State Bar Council to initiate action against office-bearers of the Bar Association if such resolutions were passed in the future.
- It also said that action under Section 15(2) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, can be considered against advocates who interrupt court proceedings.
Arunachal govt. seeks to stop border migration
The Arunachal Pradesh government has sought pilot development projects to stop people living along its international borders, specifically with China, from migrating to faraway urban centres in the State.
Depopulation in border villages:
- Some MLAs representing the border constituencies said depopulation in border villages was posing a security threat.
- The foreign armies (China) would find it easy to occupy vacant villages.
- Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,080 km border with China, 440 km with Myanmar and 160 km with Bhutan.
- Twenty of the State’s 60 Assembly constituencies touch the international borders, 13 of them with China.
- Discussing the issue in the Assembly on Thursday, Chief Minister Pema Khandu agreed that people were migrating from the border villages but said depopulation in such areas was an exception and not the norm.
Border Area Development Programme:
- Possible facilities are being provided to border villagers under the Border Area Development Programme being equally distributed to the border districts and it is for the elected representatives to ensure that the funds are utilized properly.
- The selection of 10 census towns along the India-China border is proposed as pilot projects for infrastructure development so that people can be dissuaded from migrating for livelihood.
- The State government has proposed a special package of ₹4.60 crore to the Union Home Ministry for development of infrastructure in the border areas.
- Arunachal Pradesh is the north-easternmost state of India.
- It borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south.
- It shares international borders with Bhutan in the west, Myanmar in the east, and China in the north, with which the border is the McMahon Line.
- Capital: Itanagar
- A major part of the state is claimed by both China and Taiwan, both referring to it as “South Tibet”.
- It means land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains in Sanskrit, and is also known as the Orchid State of India or the Paradise of the Botanists.
- Geographically, it is the largest of the Seven Sister States of Northeast India.
Government Schemes & Policies
Nationwide AYUSH Grid
The Ministry of AYUSH has initiated steps to set up a nationwide digital platform called “AYUSH GRID” which aims to bring onboard all AYUSH facilities including hospitals and laboratories and to promote traditional systems of healthcare.
Nationwide AYUSH Grid:
- Ministry of AYUSH has conceptualized AYUSH GRID Project for digitalization of the entire AYUSH Sector.
- After completion of due procedures, Ministry has on boarded a Project Management Consultancy and this agency is in the process of preparation of Gap Analysis, To-Be report, which shall be part of Detailed Project Report (DPR).
- After completion of DPR, with the help of the consulting agency, Ministry will go ahead with on boarding of System Integrator/s for actual development of AYUSH GRID Project.
- Currently, Ministry has launched Pilot Projects like AYUSH Hospital Information Management System (A-HMIS), Tele-Medicine, Yoga locator Application, Bhuvan Application, Yoga Portal, Case Registry Portal, etc. and these projects will be co-opted in AYUSH GRID Project in future.
- Ministry of AYUSH has also proposed to establish 12,500 AYUSH centres across the country for traditional system of healthcare and medicines.
- 12,500 AYUSH Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) are proposed to be established by up gradation of existing State Government AYUSH dispensaries and Sub Health Centres by the year 2023-24.
- Total financial allocation proposed for the scheme is Rs. 3399.35 crores over the time period of five years.
- An array of Ayurvedic drugs are available in the market, with some of them developed by country’s prestigious research institutions like the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Ministry of AYUSH:
- The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy (abbreviated as AYUSH) is purposed with developing education, research and propagation of indigenous alternative medicine systems in India.
- The ministry was established in 2014 to ensure the development and propagation of AYUSH systems of medicine and health care.
Ayurvedic Classification of Diseases
The Ministry of AYUSH has developed National Ayurveda Morbidity Codes (NAMC), a comprehensive classification of diseases described in Ayurveda as well as Standardized Ayurveda Terminologies.
- These have been made available on National AYUSH Morbidity and Standardized Terminologies Electronic Portal (NAMASTE Portal) developed by the Ministry which is available to the public.
- The portal was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of 2nd Ayurveda Day (17th October 2017).
- The portal was developed and is being maintained by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), the apex body for research in Ayurvedic Sciences, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India.
- This portal has the potential to revolutionize morbidity statistics data collection and may have a huge impact on the future policy-making decision by bringing to light the contributions of various AYUSH systems in the health care delivery system of the country.
- The key features of the portal include the Morbidity Codes and Standardized Terminologies of all the AYUSH systems for unambiguous reporting, electronic data submission through individual institution login ids, and also an integrated electronic health records (EHR) system for detailed data collection for individual institutions.
Standardization and quality assurance:
- For standardization of Ayurvedic diagnostic and treatment protocol, the Central Council of Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) under Ministry of AYUSH has undertaken a project on Reliability testing and Validation of Ayurveda diagnostic methods in June 2018.
- Under this project, some common disease conditions have been identified and accordingly the pro forma and manual of selected disease conditions is being drafted and validated through scientific methods in a phased manner.
- In the first phase, the disease conditions which have been identified are Kushtha (skin diseases), Kasa, Shwasa and Jwara.
- The first draft of Kushtha (skin diseases) manual as clinical Series-I has been published and for other three disease conditions inter-rator reliability has already been completed and second phase validity is under consideration in collaboration with the academic institutes of national repute.
- Further, the development of pro forma of various other disease conditions has been initiated.
- Various clinical studies are also being conducted following the integrated protocol in a scientific manner.
Kishori Health Cards
The Government of India is maintaining the health records of adolescent girls through Kishori Health Cards.
- The scheme is an initiative of Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- To improve the nutritional, health and development status of adolescent girls.
- To promote awareness of health, hygiene, nutrition and family care, link them to opportunities for learning life skills, going back to school.
- To help them gain a better understanding of their social environment and take initiatives to become productive members of the society.
Kishori Health cards:
- As per the information available, most of the States are maintaining Kishori Health Cards for Adolescent Girls (11-18 years) in Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) to record the information about the weight, height, Body Mass Index (BMI) along with other services provided under the scheme.
- These health cards for all Adolescent Girls (AGs) are maintained at the AWCs.
- Government is implementing Scheme for Adolescent Girls across the country.
- The details of achievements/outcomes made under the scheme are marked on Kishori Card and the card also carries important milestones of Adolescent Girls’ life including mainstreaming them into the schools.
- As per the information received from State Government of Uttar Pradesh, at present 20 projects operating and per project 100 Kishori Health Cards were distributed in the Anganwadi Centres.
- This scheme is a redesign of the already existing Adolescent Girls (AG) Scheme being implemented as a component under the centrally sponsored Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.
Issues related to Health & Education
Cataloguing the Genetic Variation in Indians’ project
Genome India: ‘Cataloguing the Genetic Variation in Indians’ project has been sanctioned by Department of Biotechnology (DBT) on January 16, 2020 for a period of 3 years to 20 institutions from varied disciplines across the country.
- The whole genome sequencing under Genome India has just started.
- The proposed target of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) is to do it for total 10,000 individuals representing the country’s diverse population in 3 years.
- The information generated from whole genome sequencing can facilitate future human genetics research in the country with greater precision, and to design a genome wide association array for the Indian population to develop precision healthcare and diagnostics for major diseases at affordable costs.
- The data security and sharing measures for this project will be governed by the rules and regulations formulated by Government of India.
- The personal information of all individuals consenting to participate in the study is stripped off from any further records in this project.
- This process of de-identification ensures that the personal information of the participants is not compromised.
- Additionally, ethical measures are strictly adhered to in order to maintain data security and protection.
For detailed information on Genome India project, please refer to the link given below:[Ref: PIB]
India Smart Utility Week 2020
India-European Union Flagship Call announced on Integrated Local Energy Systems at India Smart Utility Week 2020.
What is the move?
- Sweden and India announce co-funding for a multi-million dollar programme on Smart Grids.
- India-European Union Flagship Call on Integrated Local Energy Systems was announced at India Smart Utility Week 2020 in the presence of Secretary, Department of Science & Technology (DST) and European Union Ambassador to India.
- This partnership between Indian and European Union will help in Clean Energy and Climate and this partnership will foresee strengthened cooperation in energy research and innovation, mainly in renewable energy and its integration in the energy system.
- The collaboration can make energy supply cleaner, more efficient and affordable to all.
- This Indo-EU flagship call is fully in line with both the European Union’s and India’s involvement in Mission Innovation (MI).
- It is a global initiative of 24 countries and the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union), committed to reinvigorate and accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable.
- This Indo-EU Flagship call will give novel solutions encompassing local integration across various energy vectors and increase the share of renewables in the energy mix and high energy efficiency.
India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research & Development Programme:
- Meanwhile, Sweden and India have announced the India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research & Development Programme at India Smart Utilities Week.
- The joint Programme, co-funded by Indian Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Swedish Energy Agency, will bring together world class expertise of Sweden and India to address challenges in the area of Smart Grids.
- A Protocol of Cooperation was signed between Swedish Energy Agency and DST discussed how this will benefit both countries.
- With India raising its ambition for renewable energy manifold, research, development and innovation the area of Smart Grids assumes high priority as essential enabler.
- High research development and innovation investments, especially, in partnership and collaborations, can accelerate Smart Grid technologies development in the near future.
- Sharing the common vision on sustainability, Sweden and India are adding one more collaborative programme to their already vibrant partnership portfolio.
- During the last five years DST has set up 3 major international smart grids networked virtual centers and partnered with 24 countries for smart grids research, development and innovation.
- As co-lead of Mission Innovation (MI) Smart Grids innovation challenge, DST has supported 9 MI projects envisaging partnership of 17 Indian and 20 Foreign Institutions across 9 countries. DST has already made an investment of 60 million US $ in Smart Grids.
- India-Sweden Industrial led Research & Development collaborative programme on Smart Grids at a collective investment of US $5 Million will help to transform the clean energy sector into a secure, adaptive, sustainable and digitally enabled ecosystem and provide reliable and quality energy for all.
Sweden-India Science and Innovation Partnership:
- The Sweden-India Science and Innovation Partnership has grown in strength during the last couple of years.
- High-level visits from both sides have further boosted interest in bilateral collaboration between the two countries.
- The first ever India-Sweden High Level Dialogue on Innovation Policy was held in New Delhi during the state visit of their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden to India in December 2019.
India Smart Utility Week 2020:
- India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF) has been organising its flagship annual event, India Smart Grid Week (ISGW) since 2015.
- It is considered as one of the top five international events on Smart Grids and Smart Cities.
- ISUW 2020 is being conducted from 03 – 07 March 2020 in New Delhi, India.
- It is observed to address all the challenges regarding operational efficiencies, policy and regulations, business models, safety guidelines, standards and to discuss future technologies for successful integration into the smart city systems.
- ISUW 2020 will be organised as an International Conference and Exhibition on Smart Energy and Water for Smarter Cities.
- It will bring together India’s leading Electricity, Gas and Water Utilities, Policy Makers, Regulators, Investors and world’s top-notch Smart Energy Experts and Researchers to discuss trends, share best practices and showcase next generation technologies and products in smart energy and smart cities domains.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
ARCI develops Fuel Cell Technology for Disaster Management
Scientists at International Advanced Research for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), Hyderabad, an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST) have developed Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells (PEMFC).
Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells:
- PEMFC have an advantage of operational capability at low-temperatures with applications in decentralized power generation systems.
- Through intense R&D efforts in the area of fuel cell technologies, ARCI at its Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, Chennai has developed in-house PEMFC systems in the power range of 1 to 20 kilowatt (kW) and demonstrated the same in stationary (1-20 kW) and transport applications (1,3,5 kW).
- Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) backed with 10 kW system along with fuel cell stack (providing sustainable electricity using hydrogen gas without the need of grid power), air moving sub systems, power control devices and control and monitoring system is being planned as a natural disaster management measure.
- Natural disasters are consequences of calamities like earthquake, landslide, cyclone, flood, tsunami, and so on that affects human activities.
- Tamil Nadu is generally affected by five to six cyclones every year, of which two to three are severe.
- There has been a paradigm shift in the focus of Disaster Management, from response-centric (rescue, relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction) to laying greater emphasis on the other elements of disaster management cycle (prevention, mitigation, and preparedness) as a means to avert the impact of future emergencies.
- The Government of Tamil Nadu places equal importance on both the approaches and is keen to develop a robust disaster management system.
- The latest concept in disaster management all over the World is about conversion of Control Rooms to Emergency Operation Centres (EOC). EOCs respond immediately during an emergency situation with State-of-the-Art communication systems.
- This helps in providing immediate support during the Golden Hour of the disaster.
- Hence, the State Government has decided to look at the prospect of converting the existing Control Room to EOC backed with 10 kW system along with fuel cell stack, air moving sub systems, power control devices and control and monitoring system.
- Fuel cell systems offer a potential benefit in terms of providing sustainable electricity using hydrogen gas without the need of grid power as required by conventional battery backup systems.
- Recently, ARCI demonstrated feasibility of providing power to EOCs.
- ARCI is now planning to set up a PEMFC system up to 10 kW capacity at Tamil Nadu State Emergency Operation Centre (TN SEOC) to operate the systems like early warning systems, VHF set, IP phone, BSNL Ethernet and office equipment like scanner, computers, printers, phone, FAX and normal requirements like lighting and fan.
Bilateral & International Relations
India joins Indian Ocean Commission as observer
India has joined as an observer of the Indian Ocean Commission — the inter-governmental organisation that coordinates maritime governance in the south-western Indian Ocean.
What is the move?
- The decision was taken at the meeting of the IOC Conference of ministers in Seychelles recently making India the fifth observer.
- The other four observers are China, Malta, European Union and International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF).
- The move is expected to bolster Delhi’s Indo-Pacific vision.
- This move has strategic importance as the Commission is an important regional institution in the Western Indian Ocean.
- It facilitates collective engagement with the islands in Western Indian Ocean that are becoming strategically significant.
- It boosts cooperation with France that has strong presence in the Western Indian Ocean.
- It gives boost to India’s SAGAR policy of PM Narendra Modi 2015.
- The move also strengthens western flank of the Indo-Pacific and is a stepping stone to security cooperation with East Africa.
Western Indian Ocean:
- The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) is a strategic sub-theatre of the Indian Ocean linking the Southeastern coast of Africa to the wider Indian Ocean and beyond.
- It is home to one of the key chokepoints in the Indian Ocean- the Mozambique Channel.
- While Comoros sits at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel, Madagascar borders the channel to its west.
Importance of the channel:
- While the channel lost its significance post the opening of the Suez Canal, the recent hostilities near the Strait of Hormuz brought the channel back into focus as the original route for bigger commercial vessels (especially for oil tankers).
- Additionally, the growing importance of Africa in Indo-Pacific engagements combined with potential natural gas reserves in the Mozambique Channel will only continue to raise the significance of this region in wider maritime security.
- Keeping in mind the importance of geography for maritime power projection and naval dominance, there is little doubt about the rising significance of the islands in a new geo-political environment in the Indian Ocean.
Significance for India:
- For India, engagements with this region will become critical as the Navy begins to strengthen its presence under its mission based deployments.
- Engagements with the region, especially with the islands- given their geo-strategic location- could become key in supporting Indian naval presence as well as furthering Delhi’s Indian Ocean engagement.
Indian Ocean Commission:
- The IOC was created in 1982 at Port Louis, Mauritius, and later institutionalised in 1984.
- It has five member nations– Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion (an overseas region of France) and Seychelles.
- Its principal mission is to strengthen the ties of friendship between the countries and to be a platform of solidarity for the entire population of the African-Indian Ocean region.
- The mission also includes development through projects related to sustainability for the region, aimed at protecting the region, improving the living conditions of the populations and preserving the various natural resources that the countries depend on.
Science & Technology
Test devised for fairness of ‘qubit’ using entanglement theory
Researchers from Raman Research Institute (RRI), an autonomous institution under the Department of Science & Technology, have devised a new test for fairness of quantum coin or ‘qubit’ (the basic unit of information in a quantum computer) using entanglement theory.
- This is a significant contribution to quantum state discrimination, an essential aspect of quantum information science which is expected to influence quantum sensing.
- The new test uses entanglement to test the fairness of the quantum coin.
What is Quantum entanglement?
- Entanglement is a special type of correlation that exists in the quantum world with no classical counterpart.
- Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles become inseparably linked and whatever happens to one immediately affects the other, regardless of how far apart they are.
- The researchers from RRI made use of this quantum resource to arrive at a test for fairness of a quantum coin (a qubit).
- Their strategy, which makes use of entanglement, enables better discrimination between quantum states.
- Such advantage is valuable in quantum sensors.
- The work is appearing in the Journal of Physics and a related paper has appeared in the International Journal of Quantum Information.
- This work is a significant contribution to the domain of quantum state discrimination, which is an essential aspect of quantum information science.
- It brings out the crucial role of entanglement in improving our ability to discriminate quantum states.
- In this work the researchers concretely implemented the theoretical idea on the simulation facility of the IBM quantum computer.
- They also carried out experiments on the IBM quantum computer which have brought out the shortcomings of the experimental hardware and their work is expected to pave the way towards improving the experimental devices (by reducing gate errors and noise due to decoherence) used in the IBM quantum computer facility.
- By repeated trials, one can determine the fairness of a classical coin with a confidence which grows with the number of trials.
- A quantum coin can be in a superposition of heads and tails.
- Given a string of qubits representing a series of trials, one can measure them individually and determine the state with a certain confidence.
- The team has shown that there is an improved strategy which measures the qubits after entangling them, which leads to a greater confidence.
Quantum Computing Technology:
- The domain of Quantum Information and Quantum Computing Technology is a growing area of research which is expected to influence Data Processing, which in turn, plays a central role in our lives in this Information Age.
- For instance, bank transactions, online shopping and so on crucially depend on the efficiency of information transfer.
- Thus the recent work on quantum state discrimination is expected to be valuable in people’s lives in the current era.
- A qubit or a quantum bit is the basic unit of quantum information.
- Just as a bit is the basic unit of information in a classical computer, a qubit is the basic unit of information in a quantum computer.
For detailed information on Quantum Computing, please refer to the link given below:[Ref: AIR]
The International Conference on Nano Science and Nano Technology (ICONSAT) under the aegis of Nano Mission, Department of Science and Technology (DST) was recently conducted at Kolkata.
About INCOSAT 2020:
- The three-day event deliberates on several thematic topics in the field, bringing out cutting-edge developments in the domain of physical, chemical, materials as well as biological sciences.
Highlights of the event:
- The event focused on the recent advances in the frontier research field of Nano science and Technology.
- The genesis of Nano India was outlined and informed that in the last 20 years’ infrastructure and human resources have been built in the field of Nano science and technology.
- The need to create a network of experts in Nano-science was emphasized to integrate the knowledge across sectors like energy, agriculture, transport, health etc.
- The 5Ms – Mechanical, material, machines, manufacturing and manpower, are the need of the hour and the focus should be on how Nano-science and technology can contribute to the challenges like sustainable development and new technology (machine learning, artificial intelligence and so on).
- Science should be related to the larger section of our society and hence, the young scientists were invited to participate with AWSAR, a DST new initiative through which young scholars can submit popular science stories related to their work while connecting them with societal benefits.
DST Nano mission:
- In addition to existing research on Nano-materials, several emerging areas such as quantum materials, energy materials and nanotechnology for agriculture have been included in cognizance of the identified thrust areas of DST Nano mission.
- The Government of India launched a Mission on Nano Science and Technology (Nano Mission) in May 2007.
- Recognizing the success of Nano Mission, the Union Cabinet accorded approval for continuation of the Nano Mission in its Phase-II during the 12th Plan period with an allocation of Rs. 650 crores.
- The Department of Science and Technology is the nodal agency for implementing the Nano Mission.
- Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers.
- Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.
- Nano science is an extraordinary sector to work in and have lot of opportunities for translation of benefits for the society.
- Nano science has a tremendous application in various areas and in fields like Nano-medicine, agriculture, environment and energy.