ForumIAS: Facts in News (November 1st – 7th)

Facts in news is published on a weekly basis that consists a gist of all crucial news articles from ‘The Hindu’ that may bear relevance to Civil Services Preparation.

Here is the Summary of all current happenings from around the world for the first week of November.

Download Facts in News PDF file here.

Bills, Programs, Policies, Schemes, Orders, Judgments
Seize the opportunity: exercising a firm gripContext:
• The Supreme Court has recently ordered the Centre to frame a scheme to establish special courtsexclusively to try cases against politicians.
• The court has handed down many rulings that make legislators and holders of public office accountable for corruption.
What are factors to be taken into concern before setting up the special courts?
Special attention needs to be paid to three factors:

• One factor is the necessity of having prosecutors who are not attached to any political party.
• The second factor is that the main trial will be obstructed by interim orders.
• Experience has shown that political leaders are adept at finding legal counsel who files multifarious interim applications which stymie the trial; High Courts and the Supreme Court have sometimes failed to address these expeditiously.
• Third concern expressed is to find funds to create the infrastructure and staffing for the special courts.
JNU tops NAAC rankingContext:
• Jawaharlal Nehru University has been ranked “A++” in the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
• India’s higher educational institutions have the capability to make the nation a place for all those who aspire to study in a competitive, conducive, productive academic milieu.
About Jawaharlal Nehru University:
• Jawaharlal Nehru University was established in 1969 by an act of parliament.
• The bill for the establishment of Jawaharlal Nehru University was placed in the Rajya Sabha on September 1, 1965.
Significance of the University:
• New faculties have been created, including scientific socialism.
• One thing that this university ensured was to keep noble ideas in mind and provide accessibility to students from weaker sections of society.
Speed up trial of politicians, says SCContext:
• A Supreme Court bench directed the Centre to frame a scheme for setting up special courts exclusively to deal with criminal cases involving political persons.
Why this scheme has been directed by SC?
• The effort has been initiated to cleanse politics of criminality and corruption.
• It takes years, probably decades, to complete the trial against a politician.
• There are still 1,581 criminal cases pending against Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies at the time of the 2014 elections.
What are special courts and tribunals?
• Several specialised Courts and Tribunals are established in India to reduce the burden of pending cases.
• These special Courts and Tribunals specialise in certain area/laws and ensure that the citizens are not overly inconvenienced in the resolution of minor disputes.
‘Conclude lie-detection test on Verma this month’Context:
• A Delhi court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Forensic Test Laboratory to conclude the polygraph test on an alleged arms dealer by the end of this month.
What is Polygraph?
• A polygraph, popularly referred to as a lie detector, measures and records several physiological indices such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductivity while the subject is asked and answers a series of questions.
• The belief underpinning the use of the polygraph is that deceptive answers will produce physiological responses that can be differentiated from those associated with non-deceptive answers.
• The polygraph was invented in 1921 by John Augustus Larson, a medical student at the University of California, Berkeley and a police officer of the Berkeley Police Department in Berkeley, California.
NHRC issues notice to Chhattisgarh govtContext:
• The National Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the Chhattisgarh government.
• The notice has been issued in the wake of reports that villagers in Dantewada district were forced to travel over 100 km to procure rations.
What is the report?
• According to the report, residents of Barekakled village in Dantewada district were forced to go to the block headquarters to buy provisions.
• Sandra village residents too had the same problem.
What are its consequences?
• It clearly amounts to violation of human rights of the villagers.
• The State is duty-bound to protect the right to life and food of its citizens.
• But the villagers end up spending the whole day travelling in order to buy rations, crossing mountains and drains on the way.
• Moreover, the villagers had to surmount various hurdles just so they can buy rations worth about 100 rupees.
The National Human Rights Commission:
• The Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993.
• It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA).
• The NHRC is the National Human Rights Commission of India, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as "rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants".
Centre for drug safety launchedContext:
• The National Coordination Centre for Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (NCC-PvPI), Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission, was recently launched as a World Health Organization collaborating centre.
Objective of National Coordination Centre for Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (NCC-PvPI), Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission:
• It has been launched for pharma covigilance in public health programmes and regulatory services at the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission.
• The commission functions as the NCC-PvPI under the guidance of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
• Other initiatives like “National Strategic Plan for Scale up of Pharmacovigilance in India” and “Pharmacovigilance Guidelines for Stakeholders” has also been launched.
‘Public places shouldn’t have illegal structures’Context:
• The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked the Haryana government to ensure that there are no illegal structures built in public places such as parks.
Why is it in news?
• Highlighting the adverse effects of the structure within the park, the petition read that parks are public amenities and provide green space in densely populated areas.
• Reduction in such space will rob residents of access to fresh air and recreation as guaranteed by the Constitution.
• The petition also cited a Supreme Court order, which stated that “no public land, park or street should be encroached for constructing any religious structures”.
Defence Issues
Nirmala flags Indian Ocean issuesContext:
• India has expressed concern at the increased militarisation in the Indian Ocean.
• Concerns have also been raised against the extra-regional nations setting up a frequent presence in the region.
International activities in the maritime domain:
• China has set up or acquired stakes in a series of infrastructure facilities in the region.
• The country has also recently opened its first overseas military base at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
• The Chinese Navy has also maintained a steady presence of warships and submarines in the Indian Ocean under the garb of anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Indian Navy’s mission based deployment:
• Indian Navy has approved new mission-based deployment plan for deploying mission-ready ships and aircraft along critical sea lanes of communications and choke points in Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Objective of the mission:
• Under this mission-based deployment plan, Indian Navy’s 14-15 ships will be deployed year-round in region.
• These deployments are expected to meet any eventuality across spectrum of operations ranging from acts of maritime terrorism and piracy to Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions.
• This also aims at maintaining 24/7 and round the year vigil with ships being sustained and turned around on station.
• The areas where these ships and corvettes and surveillance aircraft are being deployed include the Malacca Strait, North Andaman Sea, Andaman Sea, Andaman Sea including Bangladesh and Myanmar, Lakshadweep islands and Maldives, besides Madagascar and Persian Gulf.
• These vessels will monitor increased Chinese presence in these areas.
Economic Issues
India mulls national e-commerce policyContext:
• India is considering drafting a comprehensive national e-commerce policy to develop an ecosystem that would support exports and protect consumer interests.
Why is it in news?
• The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) was working on a paper on e-commerce.
• It will soon be put in public domain for debates and comments.
• Several countries were enthusiastic about negotiating multilateral rules to govern international trade through e-commerce.
• However, such rules could hurt the interest of most developing countries, including India.
International Issues
India, Bhutan security indivisible: PresidentContext:
• The President Ram Nath Kovind said that the security of India and Bhutan is “indivisible and mutual”, indicating a closer engagement between India and Bhutan.
Why is it in news?
• The President conveyed deep appreciation for the King of Bhutan’s personal involvement and guidance and the support provided by Bhutan in addressing the recent situation in the Doklam area.
• Mr Kovind added that the manner in which both India and Bhutan stood together to address the situation in the Doklam area is a clear testimony to India – Bhutan’s friendship.
• The Rashtrapati Bhavan statement is significant as it seeks to end speculation over India’s decision to send troops into land caught in a dispute between Bhutan and China.
• The visit by the Royal couple to Delhi is being seen as not just a personal one, but one that signals a tacit endorsement of India’s actions during the Doklam crisis, as well as is affirmation of ties.
Warring over disarmament in the UNContext:
• The United Nations diplomats from all member-states gather to deliberate on disarmament and international security, promote national interest.
Why is it in news?
• The deliberations of the First Committee have sought to bridge difference and seek common ground.
• These events include tensions over North Korea between the US and China, differences over the Iran nuclear deal, and the Russian veto in the UN Security Council blocking the extension of the Joint Investigative Mechanism mandated to probe alleged chemical weapons use in Syria.
• The biggest factor behind this year’s undiplomatic dust-up is the recently concluded Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW):
• The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons.
• For those nations that are party to it, the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities.
• It was signed and approved by 122 of the 123 participant nations, representing two-thirds of the nations in the UN.
• The NWPT is the most significant multilateral development on nuclear arms control since the adoption of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968. It has to be ratified by 50 countries to come into force.
• The treaty has exacerbated rifts not only between the nuclear-armed states and the non-nuclear armed states but also members of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and in some cases, between nuclear-armed states and their allies, which are protected by these weapons.
• The NWPT is the most significant multilateral development on nuclear arms control since the adoption of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968. It has to be ratified by 50 countries to come into force
National Issues
Delhi LG cannot simply sit on files and stultify governance: Justice ChandrachudContext:
• The five-judge Constitution Bench hearing a batch of nine appeals filed by the Aam Aadmi Party government for complete control of all the matters regarding National Capital Territory of Delhi belonging to Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi observed that the LG cannot block proposals or schemes forwarded by the Council of Ministers to him.
What were the arguments?
• As per the observation, LG is bound to pass the difference of opinions between the LG and the Delhi Council of Ministers to the President for early resolution.
• The Kejriwal government wants the Supreme Court to lay down the law on whether the LG can unilaterally administer the National Capital without being bound by the “aid and advice” of the elected government.
• The Delhi High Court had originally said that LG has special powers greater than the President, greater than other Governors of States.
What is the current controversy?
• The focus of the current controversy is a proviso to Article 239AA (4), which mandates that in case of a difference of opinion between the LG and the Council of Ministers, the former has to refer the issue to the President.
• As the decision is pending before the President, the LG, if the matter is urgent, can use his discretion to take immediate action.
• The Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, prima facie said that the Delhi government’s ability to “aid and advice” the LG is limited to subjects other than public order, police and land in the National Capital.
• It said that the proviso to Article 239AA (4), on plain reading, seems to give primacy to the LG.
• The LG is entitled to take a different view and is not bound by the aid and advice of the Delhi Cabinet.
• The allegation is that the LG has misused the discretion in this proviso to block governance.
Gathering the tribeContext:
• The Naga struggle for sovereignty which started a day before India’s Independence remains the most talked about issue yet.
• In the Naga mind, the promise of a better future without disturbing this irreplaceable past seems alarming.
What are the major concerns?
• The Naga national workers are no longer in the prime of their lives.
• The chairman of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (I-M), Isak Chisi Swu, has passed away and Thuingaleng Muivah too is getting on in years.
• In August 2015, when the Framework Agreement was signed between the Government of India and the NSCN (I-M), expectations were high that an “honourable settlement” was in the offing.
• What is honourable for the NSCN(I-M) may not seem honourable enough to Naga society as a whole, with disparate aspirations and interpretations.
Recent issues
• The political deadlock in India’s northeastern state of Nagaland is showing no signs of letting up, with neither of the warring factions in the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) appearing in the mood to relent.
• Governor PB Acharya had asked Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly.
• However, at the heart of the crisis is the power struggle between Liezietsu and the state’s former chief minister TR Zeliang.
• In January 2017 with civil unrest in the state over the NPF government’s — then headed by Zeliang — moves to hold civic polls with 33 percent reservation of people.
• The tribal bodies in the state almost unanimously opposed the reservation to women leaders, stating that the government order was in contrast to their traditions, which do not allow women to take up leadership roles.
• The state saw violent protests on its streets from tribal communities, from 31 January onwards, after the state government decided to hold urban local bodies’ (ULB) election with 33 percent reservation for women, which led to the death of three persons in police firing.
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