9 PM Current Affairs Brief – November 13th, 2019

Government unveils draft e-commerce rules

News:Government has released the draft Consumer Protection (e-Commerce) Rules,2019.

Facts:

About the E-commerce rules:

  • Unfair Trade Practices:Therules prohibit E-commerce firms from adopting unfair methods or deceptive practice that may influence transactional decisions of consumers to products and services.
  • False reviews:Italso bars such entities from falsely representing themselves as consumers or post reviews about good and services.
  • Transparency:The e-commerce firms have to display the details of the sellers including the identity of their business, legal name and contact details.
  • Grievance officer:They will also have to publish the name and contact details of the Grievance Officer(GO) on its website.In the case of accepted refund requests by consumers for payments,e-comm entity has to be dispensed within two weeks.
  • Fake Products:Ecommerce player will be held guilty and secondary liability if it has made an assurance vouching for the authenticity of a product but it turns out to be a fake.
  • Advertisements:Ecommerce player will have to ensure that ads for products are in line with the features they provide.

Additional information:

About E-Commerce sector:

  • The e-commerce sector in India has been witnessing an explosive growth fuelled by an increase in the number of online users,growing penetration of smartphones and the rising popularity of social media platforms.
  • According to a Morgan Stanley report,India is adding one internet user every three seconds and the e-commerce sector in India is estimated to

India’s cancer care facilities highly inadequate, says parliamentary panel

News:The parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, environment, forest and climate change has expressed serious concern over the rising number of cancer patients in the country.

Facts:

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Cancer is one of the leading threats to public health in India.An estimated 2.25 million people live with the disease in the country.The disease kills 8 lakh people annually.
  • Among women,the top three cancers are breast cancer, cervical cancer and oral cancer.
  • Among men,the top three cancers with the highest incidence are those in the oral cavity, cancer of the pharynx and those of the gastro-intestinal tract.
  • The inadequate Health infrastructure fails to address the needs of patients and contributes to a 20% higher mortality among Indian cancer patients than those in countries with a high Human Development Index (HDI).
  • In India, the Mortality to incidence ratio of 0.68 in India is higher than that in very high human development index (HDI) countries (0.38) and high HDI countries (0.57).
  • The incidence of cancer is very high in all North Eastern States as it is higher than the national average for several types of cancer.

Suggestions by the panel:

  • Cancer infrastructure needs to be upgraded especially in underserved parts of the country and in regions where cancer incidence is high such as in all north-eastern states.
  • The panel has also urged the government to expand and upgrade cancer treatment infrastructure for affordable and quality care by enlarging the network of the Mumbai-based Tata Memorial Centre (TMC).
  • The panel has recommended he government to set up a High-Level Steering Committee to work out modalities for rolling out of a Hub and Spoke Model in a time-bound manner. 
  • This Hub and Spoke Model which is already in practice in Punjab has a network of centres or hubs capable of treating complex forms of cancer.

BRICS Bond Fund likely on agenda

News:Indian Prime Minister will be attending the 11th BRICS summit to be held on November 13 and 14 in Brasilia,Brazil.

Facts:

About the summit:

  • The theme for upcoming 2019 BRICS Summit is ‘Economic Growth for an Innovative Future’.
  • During the summit,BRICS countries will discuss formation of BRICS Bond Fund which will help member countries conduct intra-BRICS trade in national currencies avoiding the U.S. dollar.
  • The summit will discuss the Afghanistan situation.Both China and Russia have maintained dialogue with the Taliban even after the U.S. ended peace talks with the outfit.
  • However,India has always maintained that peace process in Afghanistan should be Afghan led and Afghan owned and India will not engage with the Taliban directly and would rather pursue bilateral ties through investing in development projects.
  • Further,the summit will also launch the Innovation BRICS Network.It will include networking of research institutes like science parks, incubators and accelerators.

Additional information:

About BRICS:

  • BRICS is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies that have similar economic development. The five countries are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Brazil is the current chair of BRICS
  • Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC”. The acronym was first used in 2001 by economist Jim O’Neill.
  • In 2010, South Africa was officially admitted as a BRIC nation following an invitation from China and the other BRIC nations, making the current acronym BRICS.

Indian Prime minister proposes Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative

News:Indian Prime Minister has proposed an Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative during his address at the 14th East Asia Summit.

Facts:

About Indo Pacific initiative:

  • The Indo-Pacific is an integrated region that combines the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and the land masses that surround them.
  • The main objective of the Indo Pacific initiative will be to achieve safe, secure and a stable maritime domain.
  • The initiative aims to achieve this by creating partnerships among interested states by sustainably using marine resources.
  • The focus areas of the initiative will be to (a)Enhance maritime security (b)Sustainable use of marine resources (c)Disaster prevention & management (d)Capacity-building and (e)Cooperation in trade and maritime transport.
  • The initiative is considered by the experts as an incremental step to the Shangri La dialogue.

India’s Role in the Indo-Pacific region:

  • India has moved from being a reluctant maritime power to a conscious one.
  • India has also sought to align its Indo-Pacific strategy with national maritime interests and has developed partnerships accordingly.
  • India has been conducting many naval exercises with the United States, the countries of ASEAN, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
  • India has also set up an Indo-Pacific division in the foreign office.The new division is intended to give a coherent architecture to the Indo Pacific policy.

Additional information:

About East Asia Summit:

  • The East Asia Summit(EAS) was established in 2005.It is a forum of 18 countries.
  • The summit has evolved as a forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on political, security and economic issues of common regional concerns.
  • The EAS comprises the ten member states of the ASEAN countries along with 8 members Australia, China, Japan, India, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.
  • The concept of an East Asia Grouping was first promoted in 1991 by then Malaysian Prime Minister,Mahathir bin Mohamad. 
  • The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia in 2005.India is a founding member of the East Asia Summit.

About Shangri-La Dialogue(SLD):

  • The Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) is an intergovernmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank,the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore.
  • The Shangri-La Dialogue has evolved into a key strategic gathering of the Asia-Pacific region.It is attended by defense ministers,permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of Asia-Pacific states.

President’s rule should be based only on ‘objective material’, said Supreme Court in Bommai case

News:President’s rule has been imposed in Maharashtra after the Governor had sent a report to the Centre stating that the formation of a stable government is impossible in the current situation despite all his efforts.

Facts:

About President’s Rule:

  • President’s rule refers to the imposition of Article 356 of the Constitution of India on a State whose constitutional machinery has failed.
  • The proclamation by the President under Article 356 is on the advice of the Council of Ministers tendered under Article 74(1).
  • The proclamation imposing President’s Rule must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue.
  • The approval takes place through simple majority in either House that is, a majority of the members of the House present and voting.
  • The President’s Rule initially valid for six months can be extended for a maximum period of three years with the approval of the Parliament, every six months.
  • During President’s rule, the executive authority is exercised through the centrally appointed Governor who has the authority to appoint administrators to assist him.

Grounds of Imposition of President Rule:President’s rule has been imposed under any one of the following different circumstances:

  • When a state legislature is unable to elect a leader as Chief minister for a time prescribed by the Governor of that state.
  • Breakdown of a coalition leading to the Chief minister having minority support in the house and the Chief minister fails fail to prove majority, within a time prescribed by the Governor of that state.
  • Loss of majority in the assembly due to a vote of no-confidence in the house.
  • Elections postponed for unavoidable reasons like war, epidemic or natural disasters.
  • On the report of the governor if the state machinery/legislature fails to abide by constitutional norms.

S.R. Bommai judgement:

  • The court has held that political whim or fancy cannot form the basis for the President to proclaim central rule in a State.
  • The President has to be convinced that an objective material is available in the report sent by the Governor or otherwise which indicates that the situation of President’s rule has arisen.
  • However,the court had stated that although the sufficiency or otherwise of the material cannot be questioned but the legitimacy of inference drawn from such material is certainly open to judicial review.
  • President should also exercise the power only after his proclamation is approved by both Houses of Parliament.Till then the President can only suspend the Legislative Assembly by suspending the provisions of the Constitution relating to the Legislative Assembly.

Haryana brings more crops under ‘Bhavantar Bharpayee Yojna’

News:The Haryana government has decided to bring more crops under the ‘Bhavantar Bharpayee Yojna(BBY) scheme.

Facts:

About Bhavantan Bharpayee Yojna(BBY):

  • The Bhavantar Bharpayee Yojana was launched by the Haryana government in 2018.
  • The scheme has been designed and developed for safeguarding the investment of the farmers.
  • Under the scheme,the state agricultural department will fix the least selling price of certain crops. 
  • In case the farmer gets the price lower than the price fixed by the government, the difference will be paid as an incentive to the farmers directly into their bank accounts.
  • For getting the scheme benefits, the farmers have to register themselves on ‘Meri Fasal Mera Byora (MFMB)’ portal.
  • The crops included are potato, onion, tomato and cauliflower.This will now be extended to other crops such as Carrots, peas, kinnow, guava, capsicum and brinjal.

Additional information:

About ‘Meri Fasal Mera Byora (MFMB)’ portal:

  • Mera Fasal Mera Byora portal was launched by the Haryana Government.
  • The portal enables farmers to self-report their land and crop details and help them receive benefits of several government schemes directly.
  • Through the portal, the government will also get the accurate data of area and name of crop cultivated in various parts of the state.

27th Conference of Central and State Statistical Organizations(COCSSO)

News:The 27th Conference of Central and State Statistical Organizations (COCSSO) was inaugurated at Kolkata,West Bengal.

Facts:

About the Conference:

  • The Conference of Central and State Statistical Organisations (COCSSO) was organized for the first time in the year 1971.
  • It is organized by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), Government of India.
  • The theme for the 2019 conference is “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
  • The conference is a major national forum for coordination between the Central and State Statistical Agencies with the objectives of putting in coordinated efforts for making available reliable and timely statistics to planners and policy makers.

Objectives of the conference:

  • To provide a platform for discussion on the statistical issues of common interest to the Central and the State Statistical Organisations
  • To provide an overall perspective to the development of statistical system and to make recommendations/suggestions on issues having bearing on the development of the statistical system
  • To set up Working Groups on specific issues/tasks relating to official statistics
  • To provide guidelines in the collection of statistics and maintenance of statistical standards and quality, besides uniformity in statistical standards among others.

External Affairs Minister attends 2nd edition of Paris Peace Forum

News: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has attended the second annual Paris Peace Forum in held in Paris, France from 11 to 13 November 2019

Facts:

About Paris Peace Forum

  • The Paris Peace Forum is an international event on global governance issues and multilateralism, held annually in Paris, France.
  • The Forum convenes heads of states, national and local representatives, representatives from international organizations and actors of civil society for the purpose of discussing in depth major global challenges and finding practical solutions.
  • It puts specific focus on governance solutions in six major themes:
    • Peace & Security
    • Development
    • Environment
    • New technologies
    • Inclusive economy
    • Culture & Education
  • The creation of Paris Peace Forum was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2018. The first edition of the Paris Peace Forum was held in November 2018.

RAAH: A one-stop source of data on mental health centres, professionals

News:The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences(NIMHANS) has compiled a one-stop source online mental health care directory called RAAH app.

Facts:

About RAAH:

  • RAAH is a mobile application that can be downloaded on Android and iOS platforms.
  • It provides free information to the public on mental health care professionals and mental healthcare centres.
  • Mental health professionals and organisations can register and update their information in the directory live for no cost.
  • The online directory and mobile app allows people to search for information about professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers among others.

Additional information:

About Mental Healthcare Act,2017:

  • The Mental Health Care Act,2017 seeks to ensure the rights of the person with mental illness to receive care and to live a life with dignity.
  • The act says that every person shall have a right to access mental health care and treatment from mental health services run or funded by the appropriate government.It also assures free treatment to those who are homeless or below the poverty line
  • The Act empowers people with mental illness to make an advance directive that states how he/she wants to be treated for the illness and who his/her nominated representative shall be.
  • It envisages the establishment of Central Mental Health Authority and State Mental Health Authority.
  • Further,the Act says that mentally ill person shall not be subjected to electro-convulsive therapy without the use of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia.Further, electroconvulsive therapy cannot be used on minors.
  • The act also decriminalizes Section 309 for suicide.It states that whoever attempts suicide will be presumed to be under severe stress and shall not be punished for it.

About NIMHANS:

  • The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences is a premier medical institution located in Bangalore,India.
  • It is the apex centre for mental health and neuroscience education in the country.The institute operates autonomously under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Explained: Why SBI expects India’s Q2 GDP to grow by just 4.2%

News: According to State Bank of India Ecowrap report,India’s GDP growth will slow down further in the second quarter(July to August),2019 to 4.2%.

Facts:

Highlights of the report:

  • The report has forecasted GDP growth rate at 5 percent for FY 2019-20 from the earlier projection of 6.1 percent.
  • The slowdown in growth will be due to (a)low automobile sales, (b)deceleration in air traffic movements (b)flattening of core sector growth and (c)declining investment in construction and infrastructure.
  • It also underlines the adverse impact due to excessive rainfall related flooding and the ongoing global economic slowdown.
  • However,the report has said that the economic growth rate will pick up pace in 2020-21 to 6.2 percent.

Suggestions:

  • The report expects the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) to cut rates further when the Monetary Policy Committee meets in December, 2019.
  • However,the report has said the rate cut is unlikely to lead to any immediate impact.
  • The report has also suggested the government to bring lasting solution for the Non banking financial Companies(NBFC) to ensure the stability of the financial system.

C-295 transport plane clears cost negotiations

News:The Defence Ministry has concluded cost negotiations with Tata and Airbus for the purchase of Airbus C-295 transport aircraft as part of the Avro replacement programme of the Indian Air Force(IAF).

Facts:

About C-295:

  • The Airbus C295 is a new generation tactical airlifter in the light and medium segment.It is manufactured by the Airbus Defence and Space in Spain.
  • It is robust and reliable but also highly versatile in terms of the number of different missions it can perform.
  • The C295 conducts multi-role operations worldwide under all weather conditions.It is fully certified and routinely operates day and night in combat missions in all weather extremes.

About the Deal:

  • India has concluded a deal to acquire 62 Airbus C295 medium transport aircraft(MTA).
  • As part of the deal,16 aircraft will be built by Airbus at its manufacturing facility and the remaining will be built locally by the Tata-Airbus joint venture under transfer of technology.
  • The deal is now being processed to put it up for clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS).

Additional information:

About CCS:

  • The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is chaired by the Prime Minister.The committee comprises of Minister of External Affairs,the Home Minister,the Finance Minister and the Defence Minister.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) takes decision on (a)senior appointments in the national security apparatus (b)defence policy and expenditure and (c)generally all matters of India’s national security.

Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture(IC) meets the Kung Fu Nuns

News:Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture(IC) has congratulated Kung Fu Nuns of the Drukpa Order on receiving the Asia Society’s prestigious Game Changer Award.

Facts:

About Kung Fu Nuns:

  • Kung Fu Nuns are a community of nuns who belong to the Drukpa Lineage,a 1000-year-old Buddhist tradition that began in the Himalayas.
  • The nuns were encouraged by the spiritual leader and founder of the Drukpa order Gyalwang Drukpa to train in Kung Fu to build confidence as leaders.
  • They are the only Buddhist nuns in world to practice Kung Fu,a martial art form. 
  • The nuns use their martial arts expertise to challenge gender roles in India’s conservative culture and promote gender equality and environmentalism.

About Asia Society Game Changer award:

  • Asia Society was founded in 1956.It is a nonpartisan, non-profit educational institution.
  • It is dedicated to promote mutual understanding as well as strengthen partnerships in a global context among people, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States.
  • Each year, the Asia Society honor individuals, organizations, or even movements that have inspired, enlightened, and shown true leadership in areas that reflect core pillars of Asia Society’s arts and culture, policy and business, as well as education.

India to Host Shanghai Summit’s Heads of Government Council Meet In 2020

News: India will host the 19th council of heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

Facts:

About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation
  • It was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • The Secretariat of SCO is based in Beijing, China.

Members:

  • The members of the SCO are China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were admitted to the SCO as permanent members in 2017.
  • The SCO has four observer states, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.
  • It has six dialogue partners, namely Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

Goals:

  • strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states;
  • promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection,
  • making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region;
  • Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Organizational Structure:

  • The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation.
  • The SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) meets once a year to discuss the organisation’s multilateral cooperation strategy and priority areas, to resolve current important economic and other cooperation issues. It also approves the organisation’s annual budget.
  • SCO has two permanent bodies —
    • SCO Secretariat based in Beijing, China and
    • Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. RATS serves to promote cooperation of member states against the terrorism, separatism and extremism.

SCO Summits: The SCO holds two summits every year: Summit of Heads of States and Summits Heads of Governments. The summits are held in member states.

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