Polity & Governance
- Delhi order on hospital admission challenged in High Court
- Gairsain: Uttarakhand’s summer capital
Government Schemes & Policies
- Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase II
- Opposition to the Electricity Bill 2020
Issues related to Health & Education
- MicroRNA and tongue cancer cells
- ED searches Cox & Kings promoter offices
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Assam gas leak
Key Facts for Prelims
- Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation
- Jaya Jaitly Task Force
- Internet controlled Robot
- Spandan Campaign
- Indo-Denmark Energy Cooperation
- IIIM-290 for pancreatic cancer
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Polity & Governance
Delhi order on hospital admission challenged in High Court
A bunch of petitions has been filed in the Delhi High Court challenging the Delhi government’s directive to all State-run and private hospitals to admit only bonafide residents of the Capital for treatment of COVID-19, as “unconstitutional and discriminatory”.
What are the petitions?
- The petitions have challenged the June 7 order of the Delhi government terming it as unconstitutional, arbitrary and discriminatory.
- As per the petitioners the decision was violative of Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution as it treats a person residing in the NCT of Delhi and not having the valid proof of residence “unequally with the other persons”.
- Right to Health is a Fundamental Right and can be abridged only in a manner known to law, or otherwise they are sacrosanct and sacred, and the Respondent cannot deprive the citizens their Fundamental Right.
- The order of the Delhi government was in complete disrespect to the national integrity which is based on equality before law to all the citizens.
Article 14- Equality before law:
- As per the Article the State shall not deny any person ‘equality before law’ and ‘equal protection of laws’ within the territory of India.
- It means that all people have to get equal treatment in similar circumstances.
- Apart from citizens of India, it is available even to foreigners and aliens alike.
Article 15- Prohibition of discrimination:
- Article 15 directs that the State shall not discriminate against a citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth or any of them.
- It prohibits discrimination but permits state to make special provisions.
- The Article enables the State to make any special provision for women, children andfor the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
Stand by Lieutenant Governor of Delhi:
- The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi overruled the order citing that Delhi should extend medical facilities to all patients coming from different parts of the country without discriminating them on the basis of whether they are resident or non-resident of Delhi.
- The Governor has ordered to include all the nine categories of people including asymptomatic patients of COVID-19 as mentioned by Indian Council of Medical Research.
Gairsain: Uttarakhand’s summer capital
The Governor of Uttarakhand has given her assent for declaration of Gairsain as the summer capital of the state.
- Gairsain, a tehsil in Chamoli district, is located nearly 270-km from existing temporary capital of Dehradun.
- When Uttarakhand was carved out as a separate state from Uttar Pradesh on November 9, 2000, statehood activists had contended that Gairsain was best suited to be the capital since it was between both Kumaon and Garhwal regions.
- However, Dehradun located in the Garhwal plains, has served as the temporary capital.
- Gairsain has been declared the new summer capital of the state partially fulfilling an over two-decade demand by statehood crusaders to make it the permanent capital.
- With the fresh announcement, there is no clarity on Dehradun’s current status or a new winter capital.
- The state Assembly is located in Dehradun, but sessions are held in Gairsain as well.
- Article 2 and Article 3 of the Constitution of India confer exclusive and plenary powers upon Parliament to form or establish or completely alter and destroy the identity of the existing states.
- A state legislature, as per Clause (e) of Article 3 of the Constitution, cannot even change the name of the state.
- It is within the exclusive domain of Parliament to form any state, set boundaries, and name a state in the Union as defined in Article 1 of the Constitution.
- The power to establish a state’s capital is inherent to the Parliament under Articles 2, Article 3 and Article 4 of the Constitution.
- The matter of establishing a capital of a new state formed by Parliament by law is not covered by any Entry in List-II of the Schedule-VII of the Constitution.
Government Schemes & Policies
Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase II
The Government of India approved the Phase II of the SBMG with a total outlay of Rs. 1,40,881 crores to focus on the sustainability of ODF status and Solid and Liquid Waste Management, in February 2020.
- To sustain the ODF status of villages and to improve the levels of cleanliness in rural areas through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities, making villages ODF Plus.
ODF Plus village:
- An ODF Plus village is defined as a village which sustains its Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, ensures solid and liquid waste management and is visually clean. This includes:
- That all households in a village, as well as the Primary Schools, Panchayat Ghar and Anganwadi Centre, have access to a toilet and that continued behaviour change communication is ensured in the village through Information, Education and Communication (IEC).
ii) Solid Waste Management Effective:
- Management of solid waste by at least 80% of households and all public places (including the Primary schools, Panchayat Ghar and Anganwadi centre).
- This includes the management of bio-degradable waste from cattle and agricultural activities by individual and community compost pits, and of plastic waste by ensuring an adequate segregation and collection system.
iii) Liquid Waste Management:
- Effective management of liquid waste by at least 80% of households and all public places (including the Primary schools, Panchayat Ghar and Anganwadi Centre).
iv) Visual cleanliness:
- A village will be classified as visually clean if 80% of households and all public places are observed to have minimal litter and minimal stagnant water, and that there is no accumulation of plastic waste in the form of a dump in the village.
Achievements of Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBMG):
- The Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on 2nd October 2014 with an aim to achieve a clean India by 2nd October 2019, a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.
- As a result of SBMG the rural sanitation coverage increased from 39 per cent in 2014 to 100 per cent in 2019 with over 10.28 crore toilets built across 36 States/UTs.
- As of 2nd October 2019, all districts across India had declared themselves ODF.
To read the details about Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase II, kindly refer the link given below:
Opposition to the Electricity Bill 2020
The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 by the Ministry of Power is facing strong opposition from around the country.
About the bill:
- The amendment bill was notified on April 17 to propose policy amendments and functional amendments to the electricity act of 2003.
- The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 has been notified at a time when all forms of meetings, interactions, discussions and protests are choked.
- The Chief Ministers of Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Bihar have opposed the bill and proposed to discuss the bill after the pandemic.
- Lakhs of electricity employees, including engineers and other workers, across the country joined hands to protest against the Bill and the move to privatize the power distribution in Union Territories.
- The bill is being termed as “anti-farmer” and “anti-domestic consumer”, as the Bill paves the way for privatization of the entire power sector in the country.
- After its passage, the farmers will have to pay a monthly power tariff of Rs five to six thousand, while subsidised domestic consumers will have to pay at least Rs eight to ten rupees per unit for the consumption of up to 300 units per month.
- Access to affordable electricity is right and not a luxury and burdening farmers and BPL consumers with high rates are retrograde steps.
- The Central Government has violated the concurrent status of electricity to States by dictating on cross-subsidy, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to farmers and BPL consumers, setting up of ECEE (electricity Tribunal) and dictating on Francizing of electricity distribution.
- Further government has moved one step ahead and issued orders to privatize the electricity systems of UTs.
- The move to abolish the cross-subsidy in a time-bound manner and proposing a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to poor citizens and farmers by the state governments will snatch away the rights of access to electricity for them.
To read the details about the Draft Electricity Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020, kindly visit the link given below:
Issues related to Health & Education
MicroRNA and tongue cancer cells
Researchers at IIT-M have identified a specific microRNA called ‘miR-155’ that is over-expressed in tongue cancer.
- The research team of Indian Institute of Technology Madras has shown that knocking out miR-155 causes death of cancer cells, arrests the cell cycle and regresses tumour size in animal models and reduces cell viability and colony formation.
- The miRNAs affect cancer growth through inhibiting or enhancing the functions of certain proteins.
- MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non‐coding RNAs containing 20–24 nucleotides that participate in virtually all biological pathways in animals.
- They have been found to play important roles in many cancers, in carcinogenesis (start of cancer), malignant transformation and metastasis — the development of secondary cancer.
- The miRNAs associated with cancer are called ‘Oncomirs’.
- Many of the Oncomirs support cancer by suppressing the performance of tumour-suppressing agents.
- The finding could help develop molecular strategies to manipulate miR-155 expression to develop therapeutics for tongue cancer.
- miRNA manipulation is being combined with conventional cancer treatment methods such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.
ED searches Cox & Kings promoter offices
The Enforcement Directorate has conducted searches at five locations, connected to Cox & Kings Group in the Yes Bank scam. According to ED, CKG has borrowed ₹3,642 crores from the private lender.
- The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
- It is a part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
- Directorate of Enforcement was set up at New Delhi in 1956 for enforcement of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), 1947.
- FERA, 1947 was later replaced by Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973.
- FERA was repealed in 2000 and replaced with Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
Functions of Enforcement Directorate:
- Investigate contraventions of the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA). Contraventions of FEMA are dealt with by way of adjudication by designated authorities of ED and penalties upto three times the sum involved can be imposed.
- Investigate offences of money laundering under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), take actions of attachment and confiscation of property and prosecute the persons involved in the offence of money laundering.
- Adjudicate Show Cause Notices issued under the repealed Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (FERA) for the alleged contraventions of the Act which may result in imposition of penalties.
- Processing cases of fugitive/s from India under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018. The objective of this Act is to provide for measures to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian Courts and to preserve the sanctity of the rule of law in India.
- Sponsor cases of preventive detention under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 (COFEPOSA) in regard to contraventions of FEMA.
- Render cooperation to foreign countries in matters relating to money laundering and restitution of assets under the provisions of PMLA and to seek cooperation in such matters.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Assam gas leak
Since the morning of May 27, natural gas has been continuously flowing out of a gas well in Assam following a blowout — or a sudden, uncontrolled release of gas/oil.
What is the issue?
- The Baghjan 5 well is a purely gas-producing well in Tinsukia district, and is at an aerial distance of 900 metres from the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
- It was drilled by Oil India Limited in 2006 and produces around 80,000 standard cubic metres per day (SCMD) of gas from a depth of 3,870 metres.
- As per officials, the current discharge is at 90,000 SCMD at a pressure of 4,200 PSI far higher than the normal producing pressure of around 2,700 PSI.
- The blowout happened on May 27, which the state authorities are unable to control.
- The experts from a Singapore firm have reached Assam to control the situation.
- Meanwhile, people from surrounding villages have been evacuated, while a variety of fish and endangered Gangetic dolphin have died.
Why do blowouts happen?
- Sometimes, the pressure balance in a well may be disturbed leading to ‘kicks’ or changes in pressure.
- If these are not controlled in time, the ‘kicks’ can turn into a sudden blowout.
- There are many possible reasons behind blowouts ranging from simple lack of attention, poor workmanship, bad maintenance, old age, sabotage to morpho-tectonic factors.
- The exact reason of blowout in the well is being inquired.
Why is it so difficult to control?
- The control of a blowout depends on two things: the size of the reservoir and the pressure at which the gas/oil is flowing out.
- This reservoir was particularly difficult to control since it was a gas well and ran the risk of catching fire at any point.
- While many blowouts automatically collapse on their own, it can take up to months.
- To control a blowout, the first step is to pump in water, so that the gas does not catch fire.
Impact to the neighbourhood:
- As many as 1,610 families with 2,500-3,000 people have been evacuated to relief camps.
- The locals have complained of symptoms such as burning of eyes, headache etc.
- The gas — which is a mix of propane, methane, propylene and other gases — is flowing with the wind, towards the northeast.
- The condensate is mostly falling on bamboo, tea gardens, banana trees and betel nut trees.
- While the well is outside the Eco Sensitive Zone of the park, the gas is moving through the air and condensate is falling into Dibru-Saikhowa National Park too.
- Maguri-Motapung wetland —an Important Bird Area notified by the Bombay Natural History Society, lies close to the site.
- The impact is visible in the sense that the traces of condensate on the water bodies can be seen and the numbers of birds have decreased.
[Ref: Indian Express]
Key Facts for Prelims
Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation (ARPIT)
- The Indian Air Force has designed, developed and inducted an Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation (ARPIT).
- This pod will be utilized for evacuation of critical patients with infectious diseases including COVID-19 from high altitude area, isolated and remote places.
- The first prototype was developed at 3 BRD AF and has undergone various modifications & only indigenous materials have been used to fabricate this pod.
- This indigenously designed system has been developed at a cost of Rs Sixty Thousand only, which is very less as compared to the imported systems costing up to Rs Sixty Lakh.
- The system has been developed as a lightweight isolation system made from aviation certified material.
- It has a transparent and durable cast Perspex for enhanced patient visibility which is larger, higher and wider than the existing models.
- The isolation system caters for suitable number of air exchanges, integration of medical monitoring instruments, and ventilation to an intubated patient.
- The ARPIT utilizes High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) H-13 class filters and supports invasive ventilation using Transport Ventilator.
- The design integrates life support and monitoring instruments (defibrillator with multipara monitor, pulse oximeter, Infusion pumps etc.), long arm gloves for use by health care professionals and power pack with high endurance.
Jaya Jaitly Task Force
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development has set up a taskforce, headed by Jaya Jaitly, to examine the matters related to age of motherhood and lowering maternal mortality rate (MMR).
- Jaitly will lead a 10-member task force and will submit the report on the ‘right age for women to become mothers’ by 31 July.
- The committee is expected to suggest suitable legislations or amendments in the existing laws to support its recommendations, along with a timeline of implementation of such plans.
- They will also suggest measures to promote higher education among women.
- India has been reducing its MMR in recent years, with a 77 percent dip between 1990 and 2016.
- The latest figures (2019) showed a further decline to 122 deaths per 1,00,000 live births.
- Maternal mortality in India is the death of a woman in India during pregnancy or after pregnancy, including post-abortion or post-birth periods.
Internet controlled Robot
- A Thane engineer has made a first-of-its kind ‘Internet-controlled’ robot specifically to address the needs of hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
- The gizmo called ‘Coro-bot’ independently dispenses food, water, beverages, medicines – and even some good advice – to Corona patients without the needs for nurses, ward staff or other care-givers.
- It eliminates the need of physical presence or contact of nurses or ward boys with the patient.
- A special App is created to operate Coro-bot from any location in the world using Internet of Things (IoT) technology – a first in the world that this technique is being deployed in the medical field.
- The Chhattisgarh government has launched the Spandan Campaign to contain incidents of suicide and fratricide involving police personnel, and instructions were issued to senior officers to strictly adhere to guidelines in this regard.
- All superintendents of police will start a parade at police lines in their districts every Friday, keeping in mind social distancing, and grievances of personnel will be redressed after the event.
- The order made it mandatory for superintendents of police to facilitate counselling and medical treatment for depressed officers and staff by psychiatrists or psychologists in their district headquarters.
- Arrangements should be made for yoga classes for police personnel in all district headquarters.
- Apart from this, arrangements for psychologists, music therapy, yoga education, sports, library etc. will be made in the camps adjacent to all the inaccessible areas with immediate effect.
- A total of 50 police personnel, including personnel of paramilitary forces, committed suicide in Chhattisgarh over the past two years.
- Fratricide here means killing members of one’s own forces.
Indo-Denmark Energy Cooperation
- The Memorandum of Understanding on Indo-Denmark Energy Cooperation was signed to develop long-term co-operation between two countries in the power sector.
- The MoU provides for collaboration in areas like offshore wind, long term energy planning, forecasting, flexibility in the grid, consolidation of grid codes to integrate and operate efficiently variable generation options, flexibility in the power purchase agreements, incentivize power plant flexibility, variability in renewable energy production etc.
Location of Denmark:
- Denmark is a Nordic country in Northern Europe.
- The southernmost of the Scandinavian nations, Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany.
IIIM-290 for pancreatic cancer
- CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) Jammu, has received Investigational New Drug approval for a potent anti-cancer, New Chemical Entity (NCE) effective against pancreatic cancer.
- This will pave way for CSIR- IIIM for conducting the clinical trial of this important drug candidate IIIM-290 in pancreatic cancer patients.
- The Pancreatic cancer currently ranks 12th among most common cancers in the world but has the notorious distinction of being the 4th leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
- The incidence of pancreatic cancer in India is 0.5–2.4 per 100,000 men and 0.2–1.8 per 100,000 women.
- Globally, it causes more than a quarter of a million deaths annually. This cancer is considered as one of the untreatable cancer type, because of its very late diagnosis and therefore there is a huge scarcity of drugs for the treatment of this cancer.