9 PM Current Affairs Brief – September 7th, 2018

Download the compilation of all summaries of all the news articles here


For a world free of chemical weapons

For a world free of chemical weapons


1.    Krishnadas Rajgopal, legal correspondant with The Hindu dicusses about the provisions of Chemical Weapons Convention Act,2000.

 Important facts:

2. About the Chemical Weapons Convention

  •  The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is a multilateral treaty that bans chemical weapons and requires their destruction within a specified period of time.
  • The treaty is of unlimited duration and is far more comprehensive than the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which outlaws the use but not the possession of chemical weapons.
  •  The CWC is implemented by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is headquartered in The Hague.

3.  About the Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000

  • The Chemical Weapons Convention Act (CWCA) was enacted in 2000 to give effect to the  the treaty provisions of Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.
  • The Act defines chemical weapons as toxic chemicals, including munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm and also includes in its ambit “any equipment” specifically designed for employing chemical weapons.
  • The Act empowers the Centre to set up a National Authority to act as the “national focal point” to effectively communicate with organisations and other state parties on matters relating to the Convention.

 4.   Powers of National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC)

  • NACWC regulates and monitors the development, production, processing, consumption, transfer or use of toxic chemicals or precursors as specified in the Convention.
  •  The Authority is also empowered to issue directions and even close down facilities which violate the Convention.
  • It can liaise with other countries to seek or give assistance and protection against the use of chemical weapons.
  • Inspections of NACWC extend to any place where any chemical weapon, old or abandoned is located, or where a chemical weapon production facility exists.
  • Section 19 of the Act gives full power of inspection of any person who is engaged in the production, processing, acquisition, consumption, transfer, import, export or use of any toxic chemical or discrete organic chemical.
  • The Act also allows inspections teams accomanied by Enforcement Officer to conduct “challenge inspections” of chemical facilities in the company of an Observer.


Section 9 of the Act was widened in 2009 to give the Centre power to appoint any of its own officers, other than those of the National Authority, as enforcement officers.

  • Section 16 of the original Act restricted the transfer of any toxic chemical or precursor by any person to someone who is not a party to the CWC . This has been amended to provide that no person shall transfer to, or receive from, a state which is not a party to the CWC. 
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Pieces of land

Pieces of land


1. South Africa puts the contentious legislative proposals on land redistribution for debate.

Important facts:

2. Background:

The natives of the country were dispossessed of their land holdings during colonial period.

  • Land ownership pattern in South Africa remains skewed against the black majority, even 24 years after the end of apartheid.
  • The present growth rate of the country is poor and the unemployment rate is as high as 25%.
  • On feb. 2018, National Assembly decided to cater to the constitutional principle of land expropriation without compensation.

3. Contentions associated with the amendment bill:

  • It aims to make land expropriation provisions more explicit.
  • The idea of expropriation without compensation is not welcomed by the land owners.
  • It may give negative signal to investment sector resulting into job losses, de-industrialisation.

4. Challenge before South Africa:

To abide by the constitutional principle of expropriation without compensation and not undermining right to private property.

To make the land reform that is sustainable and acceptable to all.

It must strike a balance that it neither harms the agriculture nor the economy.

5. Lesson for South Africa:

  • Zimbabwean experience tells that expropriation without compensation is a catastrophically bad idea.
  • There it led to the violent seizures of farmlands in 1990s.
  • In India, faulty land reform process gave birth to militant naxal groups which is still one of the biggest challenge to it’s internal security.

6. Way forward:

  • It can shred off the impatient approach for transformation, and avoid strict adherence to the constitutional ideals to accommodate practical reality.
  • South Africa can look setting a Compensation Committee under The Land Acquisition Act to define a reasonable criteria for compensations.
  • Thus, the compensation be given only to the eligible land holders.
  • This will not only rebalance the economic drift but also help in releasing social tension.
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Odisha House nod for Legislative Council

Odisha House nod for Legislative Council


1. A resolution seeking creation of a Legislative Council in Odisha was passed in the State Assembly on Thursday.

Important Facts:

2. The proposed Council will have 49 members, which is one-third of the total members of the State Assembly.

3. A committee under the chairmanship of Nrusingha Sahu, the State Transport Minister, was set up by the Odisha Government in 2015 to study the legislative councils in other states.

4. Visiting the four states- Bihar, Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka, committee had submitted a report to the Chief Minister on  August, 3.

5. The committee recommended for setting up of Legislative Council to accelerate the growth momentum picked up by the state.

6. Legislative Councils in India:

  • Presently, there are only seven states which have two-tier of legislature that is containing both Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.
  • The states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Tamil Nadu had passed a law to set up a Council but the subsequent AIADMK government withdrew it after coming to power in 2010 while Andhra Pradesh’s Legislative Council, set up in 1958, was abolished in 1985, then reconstituted in 2007.
  • Further, Parliament has also cleared formation of Legislative Council Rajasthan and Assam.
  • As in Rajya Sabha, members of a Legislative Council are not directly elected by voters.

7. Legislative Councils : Historical Background

Government of India Act 1919 introduced for the first time, bicameral system i.e. two Houses of Parliament in the country.

However, Government of India Act 1935 introduced bicameralism in six out of eleven provinces i.e. Bengal, Bombay, Madras, Bihar, Assam and the United Provinces.

The Constituent Assembly while framing the Constitution had an argument on the importance of the Legislative Council that, it will,

a)  act as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House and

b) ensure that individuals who might not be cut out for the rough-and-tumble of direct  elections too are able to contribute to the legislative process.

Constitutional Provisions for the Legislative councils in India:

  • The Constitution of India provides for setting up of a Legislative Council in addition to the Legislative Assembly under Article 171.
  • Under Article 169 of the Constitution of India, a Legislative Council can be formed “if the Legislative Assembly of the State passes a resolution to that effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the Assembly present and voting”. Parliament can then pass a law to this effect.
  • Composition of the Legislative Councils:

8. Strength: Under Article 171 of the Constitution, the Legislative Council of a state shall not have more than one-third of the total number of MLAs of the state, and not less than 40 members. Though the Constitution has fixed the maximum and the minimum limits, the actual strength of a Council is fixed by Parliament.

9. Manner of Election:

10. The members are elected in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

11. The bonafides or propriety of the governor’s nomination in any case cannot be challenged in the courts.

12. Of the total number of members of a legislative council:

  • 1/3 are elected by the members of local bodies in the state like municipalities, district boards, etc.,
  • 1/12 are elected by graduates of three years standing and residing within the state,
  • 1/12 are elected by teachers of three years standing in the state, not lower in standard    than secondary school,
  • 1/3 are elected by the members of the legislative assembly of the state from amongst persons who are not members of the assembly, and
  • The remainder are nominated by the governor from amongst persons who have a special knowledge or practical experience of literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.

Thus, 5/6 of the total number of members of a legislative council are indirectly elected and 1/6 are nominated by the governor.

c) Duration of Council:

  • Like the Rajya Sabha, the legislative council is a continuing chamber, that is, it is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution.
  • One-third of its members retire on the expiration of every second year. So, a member continues as such for six years.
  • The vacant seats are filled up by fresh elections and nominations (by governor) at the beginning of every third year.
  • The retiring members are also eligible for re-election and re-nomination any number of times.
  •  Legislative Councils differs with the Rajya Sabha:

13. The legislative power of the Councils are limited compared to Rajya Sabha.

14. Unlike Rajya Sabha which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lack a constitutional mandate to do so; Assemblies can override suggestions/amendments made to a legislation by the Council.

15. Unlike Rajya Sabha MPs, MLCs cannot vote in elections for the President and Vice President. The Vice President is the Rajya Sabha Chairperson; an MLC is the Council Chairperson.

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India signs landmark defence pact with U.S.

India signs landmark defence pact with U.S.


1. India and the United States signed the landmark Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) on tuesday.

Important Facts:

2. With COMCASA, till now, India has concluded three of the four foundational agreements with U.S.:

General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002

The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 and

The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018

3. The pact will lead to a new generation of bilateral military partnership and facilitate India to access advanced defence systems.

4. It will allow the U.S. to transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for U.S.-origin platforms like C-17, C-130 and P-8I aircraft.

5. It comes into force immediately and is valid for 10 years.

6. COMCASA will allow to specially designate a person-in-charge in U.S. Central Command for coordination between India and the United States.

7. COMCASA has been signed under the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue held between India and the U.S..

8. Outcomes of 2+2 Ministerial dialogue:

  • Both India and US called on Pakistan to stop terrorist strikes on ‘other countries’.
  • Maritime freedom in the Indo-Pacific region was also urged in the dialogue.
  • India and the U.S. will also hold a first-ever tri service joint exercise on the east coast of India in 2019.
  • Negotiations on an Industrial Security Annex (ISA) which would allow Indian private sector to collaborate with the U.S. defence industry will be carried out.
  • Under GSOMIA, sharing of classified information from the U.S. government and American companies with the Indian government and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) but not with Indian private companies, has been agreed.
  • A Memorandum of Intent was signed between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU).
  • The Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX), will be assigned to look into joint projects for co-production and co-development projects through the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

9. India’s side:

India will have a full access to the relevant equipment and there will be no disruptions.

Data acquired through such systems cannot be disclosed or transferred to any person or entity without India’s consent.

National security interests of each other, will be maintained, implementing the agreement.

10. U.S. side:

The U.S. wants ‘free, fair and reciprocal trade’ and asked India to rectify the American trade deficit.

U.S. asked India to reduce the trade barriers for American countries.

India and the U.S. have been in a deadlock over trade after the Trump administration wanted India to do additional purchases of $10 billion annually for the next three years.

  • Explaining the imposition of Section 231 of CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), US explained that the provisions will be appropriate and lawful, and the sanctions aren’t intended to adversely impact countries like India.
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Giving quality healthcare can help save 3 out of 5 lives per year: Study

Giving quality healthcare can help save 3 out of 5 lives per year: Study


1.  “The Lancet” Report  raised serious concerns over poor quality of public healthcare

Important Facts:

2.   According to the report, giving quality healthcare can help save 3 out of 5 lives per year.

3.     Issue

  • Providing health services without guaranteeing a minimum level of quality is ineffective, wasteful, and unethical.
  • The human right to health is meaningless without good quality care.

4.  The Lancet analysed data from more than 18 countries

5.    Important Findings of the Research

Poor quality healthcare is responsible for a greater number of deaths than insufficient access to care.

Poor quality care amounts to 60% of death in Public health system

It includes 84% of cardiovascular deaths, 81% of vaccine preventable diseases, 61% of neonatal conditions and half of maternal, road injury, tuberculosis, HIV and other infectious disease deaths.

6.   The Research also highlighted Poor quality of care in Indian Health care system

  • 16 Million deaths in 2016 were due to poor quality healthcare system, out which half mortality is due to non-utilisation of healthcare system
  • One-third of people reported poor experiences
  • over half of the households avoided their nearby public health facility due to quality concerns
  • mothers and children receive less than half of recommended clinical actions during a hospital visit,
  • less than half of suspected cases of tuberculosis are correctly managed,
  • Less than one in ten people diagnosed with major depressive disorder receive minimally adequate treatment.
  • Diagnoses are frequently incorrect for serious conditions such as pneumonia, myocardial infarction and newborn asphyxia
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GS 3

EVs, CNG vehicles don’t need permits

EVs, CNG vehicles don’t need permits


  1. Government has exempted the vehicle running on CNG, ethanol and EVs from road permit.

Important Facts:

2. Ministry of Road Transport and Highway said Vehicle running on CNG, ethanol and EVs, will not require road permit.

3. Government plan

Provide 100 % exemption on Electric vehicles, Auto-Rickshaws, Buses, Taxis, that run on alternative fuel like Ethanol, Bio-Diesel, CNG, Methanol and Biofuel are

  • Electric Vehicles attract 12 % GST, no further subsidy will be provided
  • Hybrid or Mild Hybrid vehicles are not exempted.
  • To ensure two-wheeler taxis in non-metro cities.
  • To abolish speed governors (To check speed) on commercial vehicle to provide fast mode of transport.
  • Establish Compressed Natural Gas station in 300 Districts to encourage manufacturer.

4. To fulfill the objectives Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers’ (SIAM) ask for

  • Speedy infrastructure development and better roads
  • Long term regulatory and policy roadmap for 10 years.

5. Impact

  • Will help in controlling pollution
  • Bio-Fuel is cost-effective
  • Will promote eco-friendly vehicles through Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME).
  • Will generate employment

6. Initially, limited number of Electric Vehicle allowed without local testing. However after positive customer response, companies can start manufacturing.

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Ending TB

Ending TB

  1. News:

U.N. will conduct the first-ever high-level meeting (HLM) on tuberculosis (TB) on 23rd september 2018, under the theme “United to end tuberculosis: An urgent global response to a global epidemic”.

2. Important facts:

  • World Health Organisation( WHO)’s adopted “End TB Strategy” in 2014 aims to eliminate TB worldwide by 2035.
  • Elimination of TB mean that there should be less than one case of TB for a population of 10 lakh by 2025 and 95% reduction by 2035 in the number of TB deaths  and to ensure that no family is burdened with catastrophic expenses due to TB according to the WHO.
  •  United Nation ‘Political Declaration’ would galvanise the investment and action to meet this global target to eliminating TB.
  • The UN declaration would also be focused sustaining and encouraging innovation against TB.

3.  About tuberculosis (TB)

  •  Tuberculosis is the leading global infectious disease killer, surpassing even HIV/AIDS.
  •          It is airborne and caused by bacterium named M. tuberculosis .
  •         WHO reports that TB kills 1.7 million people each year and disproportionally affects poverty-stricken people.

4. Reasons for the prevalence of TB epidemic

  •         Inequitable access to quality diagnosis and treatment.
  •          Lack of understanding of many basic issues including the pathogenesis and natural history of TB.
  •         Inadequate biomarkers and  other diagnostics that identify individuals at highest risk of progression to disease.
  •         Longer timelines for trials of TB vaccines and inadequate study of drug-drug interactions .
  •         The drugs used to treat TB, especially multidrug-resistant-TB, are decades old and can cause debilitating and potentially even fatal side effects ON PATIENTS.
  •         Access is suboptimal for new diagnostic technologies such as GeneXpert and new drugs such as bedaquiline.
  •         Incorrect drug usage and leaving TB treatment in between lead to its wide prevalence.
  •         The research in the social determinants of health indicates that factors such as undernutrition, smoking, and diabetes are major driving forces behind the TB epidemic.
  •         Lack of private sector participation and engagement where at least 50% cases are repo

5. Contentious issues in the  upcoming UN meeting on TB

  • Exerting full rights by nations under TRIPS agreement to have accessible and generic version of TB drugs would remain a major issue during the meeting.
  • The aggressive push by several countries backed by big pharma lobbies regarding cost of TB drugs (affordability)  may lead to re-negotiations by developing nations.
  •   The issue of ‘de-linkage’, to separate the R&D costs from financial gains may be debated.

6. India’s case with TB

  •      According to the Global TB Report 2017 released by WHO, India has the highest number of TB cases in the world and accounts for one fifth of the world’s TB burden.
  •       The Indian government recently announced National Strategic Plan (NSP) to eliminate TB by 2025, well ahead of global targets.
  •         It intends to increase access to improved diagnostics and treatment support, engage with the private sector and strengthen the healthcare system and TB surveillance .
  •         India has also fought to retain its status as a maker and distributor of generic medicines, thereby protecting the right to health of people in developing countries.
  •       Indian patent law contains important provisions that help protect and promote public health goals — for example, by overcoming bids by big pharma to evergreen patents of old drugs, through compulsorily licensing for certain drugs.
  •         By permitting pre- and post-grant opposition to patents to challenge unfair parenting practices by big pharma.

7. Measures to end TB epidemic worldwide

  •        Introduce new diagnostic technology and newer anti-TB drugs.
  •      Rapid and effective private sector participation.
  •   “The Break the Stigma campaign” and  “Zero TB Cities challenge” to raise awareness globally.·
  •   Encourage research to identify biomarkers to diagnose individuals with recent infection and at highest risk of progression to disease.
  • Vaccine trials need to be expedited and injectable antibiotics, needs to be replaced with oral medicines like bedaquiline and diagnostics like GeneXpert test·
  •  Encourage the pharmaceutical industry to develop new innovations for the disease.
  •  Generic versions of TB  vaccines need to be promoted in low-income countries.

8. This UN-HLM delivers Sustainable Development Goal 3, which seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.

9. However a balanced approach is  needed on patented drugs because if drug makers are unable to make returns on their investment, they may be deterred from developing the next generation of therapies that are urgently needed.

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‘Industry must lift PSLV output’

‘Industry must lift PSLV output’


  1. ISRO conducting biennial Space Expo BSX-2018, to engage Indian industry in space drive production and satellite production.

Important Facts:

2. ISRO Plans to launch 59 satellites over the next three years.

3. India has 45 satellites in space right now.

4. Currently ISRO is launching 6 or 7 satellites in a year, target to improve two per month.

5.India wants to play a huge role when the $330 B space market is looking at huge growth opportunities and newer technologies.

6.However, ISRO is not satisfied with the contribution provided by the Indian Industry.

7.ISRO wants the industry to take up bigger and independent roles in manufacturing satellites and launchers.

8.Why ISRO Need needs industry to engage in manufacture satellite and launch vehicle

  • These developments will help ISRO in perfecting the cryogenic technology for sending up heavier and heavier payloads.
  • It will reduce India’s dependency on other countries to launch heavier satellites.
  • ISRO wants to focus his new challenge of the manned space mission, which is expected to be launch before 2022.
  • According to ISRO Chairman, K Sivan, India would launch its first human space mission, Gaganyaan, in 40 months from now.

9. Nearly 80 percent of rocket and 50 percent of satellite components are made by industry.

10.In upcoming three years out of 10,400 crores for 40 launch vehicle (including 30 Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLVs) and 10 Geosynchronous satellite vehicle) the industry can tap business of about 9,000 crores.

11.ISRO is setting up six incubation centers across the country to promote start-ups and small to medium sized enterprises in the space business.

12. BSX 2018 will provide opportunities for industries in India and abroad.

13. BSX is being organized by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), in association with ISRO and Antrix – ISRO’s commercial arm.

14.BSX 2018 will be an ideal platform for organizations:

  •  Looking to venture in Space / Satellites sector in INDIA
  •  Being a partner with ISRO Centers for joint development of components and technologies.
  • Expanding business with ISRO and its centers.
  • Deliberate on issues faced in Space / Satellite segment in India
  • Connecting with Indian Space Industry
  • Exploring opportunities with the Global Space Industry

15. A special session for students is also being held on Gaganyaan during the Expo.

16. Apart from it the International Conference will see the participation of global space agencies and industries.

17. About Gaganyaan Mission

  • On August 15, 2018 by Prime Minister announced man mission in outer space by     2022.
  • So far, only three countries viz. United States, Russia and China have sent their manned missions to space.
  • A manned space mission is very different from all other missions that ISRO has so far completed.
  • In terms of complexity and ambition, even the missions to the Moon (Chandrayaan) and Mars (Mangalyaan) are nowhere in comparison.
  • Gaganyaan mission would create 15,000 new employments.
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