9 PM Current Affairs Brief – August 5, 2019

Govt imposes restrictions under section 144 in Srinagar and some other districts of J&K

  1. The Jammu and Kashmir government imposed restrictions in Srinagar and some other districts under Section 144 CrPC.
  2. Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is issued in urgent cases of security threat or riot. It bars the assembly of five or more people in an area where it has been imposed. The notification is issued by the District Magistrate of the area.
  3. Section 144 of CrPc is imposed when there are apprehensions of breach of public peace and order by some people.
  4. Under the section, all civilians are barred from carrying of weapons including lathis, in public places except for police or paramilitary or security forces. It also empowers the authorities to block internet access.
  5. No order under this section can remain in force for more than two months. However, if the state government considers it necessary for preventing danger to human life or for preventing a riot, it can extend the impositions under the sections for not more than six months from the date of issuance of the initial order.
  6. It must be noted that Section 144 CrPC is not equivalent to a curfew. Curfew orders are issued in more severe situations where people are instructed to stay indoors for a specific time or period.

Statue of Unity shortlisted for UK-based structural award

  1. The Statue of Unity has been shortlisted for ‘The Structural Awards 2019’. The award is presented by the UK-based Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE).
  2. The Statue of Unity is a memorial to Sardar Vallabhai Patel. It was inaugurated on 31st October 2018 in commemoration to Sardar Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary.
  3. It is situated in the Kevadia town, Narmada district Gujarat. It has been built on the Sadhu Bet Island, on the Narmada River.
  4. It is the tallest statue in the world with a height of 182 mts.
  5. Sardar Vallabhai Patel, popularly known as the Iron Man of India, served as the first home minister of independent India. He is credited with integrating the more than 500 disparate princely States into the Dominion of India

Biotechnology Department will scan 20,000 Indian genomes

  1. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has planned to scan nearly 20,000 Indian genomes to develop diagnostic tests that can be used to test for cancer.
  2. The scanning will take place over the next five years, in a two-phase exercise. The programme is expected to be launched in October 2019
  3. The first phase of exercise will involve sequencing the complete genomes of nearly 10,000 Indians from different parts of India and capture the biological diversity of India.
  4. In the second phase, genome sequencing will be done of about 10,000 diseased individuals. The data sets would be compared using machine learning techniques to identify genes that can predict cancer risk.
  5. The data generated would be made accessible to researchers anywhere for analysis. This would be through a proposed National Biological Data Centre envisaged in a policy called the ‘Biological Data Storage, Access and Sharing Policy’.
  6. Genome sequencing means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks – called “bases” – that make up the DNA molecule.
  7. Genome sequencing helps to understand how genes work together to direct the growth, development and maintenance of an organism. It helps to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility and resilience to diseases.

India test-fires Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile

  1. The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) on Sunday successfully test-fired the Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM).
  2. QRSAM has been indigenously developed by the DRDO for the Indian Army.
  3. QRSAM is an all-weather and all-terrain missile. It is equipped with indigenously developed phased array radar, inertial navigation system, data link and radio frequency seeker. It has electronic counter measures against jamming by aircraft radars.
  4. QRSAM uses solid-fuel propellant. It has a range of 25-30 km.
  5. The QRSAM project was sanctioned in 2014. The first trial of the QRSAM was conducted in June 2017.

The extent of groundwater over-exploitation, state by state

  1. According to Jal Shakti Ministry, groundwater resources are over-exploited in 1,186 out of 6,881 “assessment units” (blocks, talukas, watersheds etc) in India.
  2. Punjab has the highest extent of over-exploitation (79% of its blocks), followed Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh
  3. In the eight North-eastern states none of the assessment units (districts and blocks) is over-exploited.
  4. Overexploited means 100% of groundwater has been drawn, with little chance of recharge.

EAM S Jaishankar stresses on better connectivity between India, MGC countries to boost economic growth

  1. Recently,the 10th Mekong Ganga Cooperation(MGC) Ministerial Meeting was held in Bangkok,Thailand.
  2. During the meeting,India’s foreign  Minister has emphasised on better connectivity between India and other member countries of the MGC for developing a vibrant economic growth corridor.
  3. The minister has also emphasised on the need to quickly finalise the India-Myanmar-Thailand(IMT) Motor Vehicle Agreement to facilitate seamless movement of goods and passengers across borders.
  4. Further,the new MGC Plan of Action 2019-2022 was also adopted that envisages project-based cooperation in various areas including tourism ,culture, education, public health, agriculture, transport, MSMEs and water resources management.
  5. Mekong Ganga Cooperation(MGC) comprises six member countries namely India, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.MGC was launched in 2000 at Laos.
  6. The organization takes its name from the Ganga and Mekong which are the two large rivers in the region and thus aims to build relations in the countries through which both these rivers flow.

How a biometrics-based token system is reducing chaos on railway platforms

  1. The Western and Central Railways have introduced a biometrics based token system(BTS).The system seeks to streamline the process of boarding unreserved coaches.
  2. This system was introduced as passengers with general class ticket face difficulties in boarding coaches as everyone rushes to grab a seat.
  3. This system allows passengers travelling in the general coach where seats are not reserved to be given a token roughly three hours before the train’s departure.
  4. The tokens are issued on a first-come,first-served basis after accepting biometric information of individual passengers.
  5. Passengers with valid tickets are required to place their fingers on a scanner and are issued a token with a serial number against their biometric data.Passengers must queue up and enter the compartment  in the order of their serial numbers.
  6. The use of biometrics also rules out touts and ensures only bonafide travellers receive a token.

Lalit Kala Akademi celebrates 65th Foundation Day

  1. Ministry of Culture has organized an event to celebrate the 65th Foundation Day of Lalit Kala Akademi.
  2. Union Minister of Culture has said that ministry is starting the cultural mapping of the country which will be completed in a speedy manner.
  3. The Lalit Kala Akademi or National Academy of Art is India’s national academy of fine arts.
  4. It is an autonomous organisation established in New Delhi in 1954 by Government of India to promote and propagate understanding of Indian art,in and outside the country.
  5. The Akademi also provides scholarships and fellow program and sponsors and organises exhibitions in India and overseas.It also publishes a bilingual journal.

PMUY: States’ help sought for 8 cr LPG connections

  1. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has asked for State governments support to achieve the eight crore free cooking gas connection distribution target under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
  2. According to data,7.5 crore poor households have access to clean cooking fuel under PMUY.Further,LPG penetration across the country has also reached 95% as against 56% in May 2014.
  3. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.The scheme was launched in 2016.It aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel – LPG.
  4. The scheme provides free LPG connections to economically weaker families.The connections are issued in the name of women of the households.
  5. Under the scheme, cash assistance of Rs. 1600 is given to the beneficiaries to get a deposit-free new connection. Further, interest free loan is provided to purchase stove and refill by Oil Marketing Companies.

Rs 25,000 crore tenders cancelled or modified to promote Make in India products

  1. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade(DPIIT) has cancelled or modified government tenders worth over Rs 25,000 crore.
  2. This decision was taken to change the conditions of the tenders in order to promote ‘Make in India’ goods.
  3. Further,the tenders were cancelled as they had certain restrictive conditions which were discriminatory against domestic manufacturers and favoured foreign players.
  4. Under the Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order,it was envisaged that all central government departments controlled by the Government of India should ensure give preference to domestic suppliers in government procurement.
  5. Make in India initiative was launched in 2014.The primary goal of Make in India is to make India a global manufacturing hub by encouraging both multinational as well as domestic companies to manufacture their products within the country. 
  6. The initiative is led by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. It aims to raise the contribution of the manufacturing sector to 25% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the year 2025 and also aims to create 100 million additional jobs by 2022 in the manufacturing sector alone.

The Article of Contention: Why Article 35A has always been controversial

  1. Article 35A of the Indian Constitution empowers Jammu and Kashmir  legislature to define state’s permanent residents and their special rights and privileges.
  2. The law was inserted in the Constitution through a Presidential order of 1954 instead of a parliamentary amendment under Article 368.
  3. The law related to Permanent Residency was drawn from the state subject laws introduced by Maharaja Hari Singh in early 20th century during the Dogra rule.J&K was a princely state until 1947 when it acceded with India using Instrument of Accession(IOA).
  4. J&K defines its permanent residents as all persons born or settled within the state before 1911 or after having lawfully acquired immovable property and residence in the state for not less than 10 years or prior to that date.All emigrants from Jammu and Kashmir,including those who migrated to Pakistan are considered state subjects.The descendants of emigrants are considered state subjects for two generations.
  5. Further,the law prohibits non-permanent residents from settling permanently in the state, acquiring immovable property, government jobs, scholarships and aid.
  6. However,the law is discriminatory against the J&K women.It disqualified them from their state subject rights if they married non-permanent residents. 
  7. But in a landmark judgment in October 2002,the J&K high court held that women married to non-permanent residents will not lose their rights.But ,the children of such women don’t have succession rights as of now.
  8. Article 35A has been a subject of public debate and controversy ever since it was challenged in the Supreme Court in 2014 on the grounds that it was not added to the Constitution through amendment under Article 368 and never presented before Parliament.Although the case is sub-judice,the government can bring a bill in Parliament to scrap Article 35A.

Recycle, reuse to be mantra of resource efficiency policy

  1. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has proposed a draft National Resource Efficiency Policy 2019.The policy aims to streamline the efficient use of resources with minimum negative impact on environment.
  2. The draft policy suggests setting up a ‘National Resource Efficiency Authority’(NREA) to (a)develop an action plan with three years time-frame (b)create and maintain database (c)measure progress and (d)build capacities. 
  3. Under initial action plan(2019-22),the policy also seeks to constitute an inter-ministerial body named National Resource Efficiency Advisory Board(NREAB) for coordination among different agencies.
  4. The aim of the policy is also to drive the country towards circular economy through efficient use of available material resources based on principle of 6R and ‘green public procurement’.
  5. The 6R stands for reduce, reuse, recycle, redesign, re-manufacture and refurbish.On the other hand,‘green public procurement’ means to procure products with lower environmental footprints such as secondary raw materials and locally sourced materials.
  6. The draft policy also talks about regulations and taxes on virgin materials so that the manufacturers move to use of secondary raw materials by processing scrap.
  7. Further,the policy also pitches for moving towards ‘zero landfill’ approach in the country.This means imposing ‘landfill taxes’ and ‘high tipping fees’ on bulk generators of waste so that they can move towards optimal use of materials and better waste management.
  8. Referring to the automotive sector,the draft notes that more than 8.7 million vehicles had reached ‘end-of-life vehicle’ (ELV) status in 2015 and it is estimated to reach 21 million by 2025.Hence,it seeks to establish 20 vehicle dismantlers across major urban centres in the country by 2020.

Explained: Why Medical Commission Bill bothers doctors

  1. National Medical Commission(NMC) Bill,2019 is being criticised by medical fraternity even after getting passed in Parliament.
  2. The Indian Medical Association(IMA) has raised concerned over Section 32 of the NMC Bill that provides for licensing of non medical persons or Community Health Providers to practise modern medicine.
  3. According to the Bill,the Commission may grant limited licence to practice medicine at mid-level as Community Health Provider to such person connected with modern scientific medical profession who qualifies such criteria as may be specified by the regulations.
  4. However,IMA has said that the term Community Health Provider has been vaguely defined to allow anyone connected with modern medicine to get registered in NMC and be licensed to practise modern medicine.
  5. Further,the bill proposes a common final-year MBBS exam,the National Exit Test (NEXT) before an individual starts practising medicine and for seeking admission to postgraduate medical courses.It will also be a screening test for foreign medical graduates.
  6. However,IMA has said this will effectively removes the opportunity to reappear for PG selection.The current system allows medical graduates to practise irrespective of the status of his/her PG NEET.
  7. As per the Bill,of 25 members proposed for the NMC,only five would be elected which means the non-elected members would be either government officials or those nominated by the government.
  8. However,IMA has said that doctors representation should be more from democratically elected members than nominated.The NMC should retain its autonomy over its decisions and should be an independent body of regulators.
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