GS 2 ‘25 States, UTs did not respond to SC orders’ A total of 25 States and Union Territories did not bother to respond even once, between November last year and August 2018, to repeated Supreme Court orders for information about the number of criminal cases pending against their MPs/MLAs and the setting up of special courts to exclusively try them. Drawing a curtain on the past In striking down Section 377, the Supreme Court has recognised the Constitution’s extraordinary transformative power The seven convicts have suffered enough Following the order of the Supreme Court in the mercy petition by A.G. Perarivalan, one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Tamil Nadu government has recommended to the Governor to pardon and release all the seven. GS 3 Cabinet clears new procurement policy The umbrella policy — Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) — was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday. According to an official statement, it clubs together an existing procurement scheme with newly introduced options — meant for oilseeds only — of additional procurement by private traders or a cash payment scheme. India’s health report reads worse Indians have registered a 50% increase in the prevalence of ischemic heart disease and stroke over the period from 1990 to 2016, with the number of diabetes cases climbing from 26 million to 65 million. 37% of women dying of suicide are Indians Suicide is the leading cause of death in the 15-39 years age group in India. Thirty-seven per cent of such deaths among women globally occur in India, and the suicide rate among the elderly has increased over the past quarter century. An education that is in sync The concept of general education and specialised education proceeding together needs to be widely adopted in India Sage advice Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s note of caution on the next financial crisis that could be building up needs to be taken in all seriousness. Dam disclosures The deluge in Kerala was made worse by inefficient management of 34 dams Prison of patriarchy Marriage is a career stopper for the majority of Indian women and this cultural abhorrence towards women working is a not-so-subtle way of ensuring that the escape routes out of a marriage are minimised, if not entirely closed. Paying at the pump Besides the cost of crude oil and the exchange rate, the incidence of Excise Duty (levied by the Centre) and VAT (charged by the respective States), along with a nominal dealer commission that the oil companies pay to fuel pump owners, ends up approximately doubling the final price consumers pay. The high cost of man-animal conflict Scientists at Bengaluru’s Centre for Wildlife Studies, who analysed cases of compensation for crop raiding, livestock loss and human injury and death reported to the government between 2010 to 2015, find that wildlife that caused losses in 29 States included elephants that raid crop fields, tigers and leopards that preyed on cows and goats, and other species ranging from crocodiles to monkeys that cause injury and property damage. Twenty-two States compensated people for crop loss.