24 , March 2018

First Indian Sign Language Dictionary of 3000 Words

  • “First Indian Sign Language Dictionary of 3000 words” was launched by Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot.
  • Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre (ISLR&TC) under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), M/o Social Justice & Empowerment has developed this dictionary.
  • The ISL dictionary has focused on providing more information in Indian Sign Language.
  • As per the census 2011, there are 50, 71,007 Deaf people and 19, 98,535 with speech disability in India.

Swajal

  • The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has organized a National Consultation on Swajal Community Approach to Rural Water.
  • Swajal is a model for self-ownership and self-management of water resources in a community by members of the community itself.
  • The Swajal model was first tried in the Uttarakhand area of undivided-UP around 20 years back, and is now being scaled up at national level with special focus on water-scarce areas.
  • The main objective of the re-launch of the initiative, is to make an effort to deliver tapped water to every household in the country through decisions made by the community, for the community, of the resources of the community.

NAIPUNYA RATHAM: Andhra Pradesh Government launches World on Wheels

Andhra Pradesh Government launched multi-utility vehicle NAIPUNYA RATHAM or World on Wheels to bring technology to remote corners. The Naipunya Rathaams as part of Smart village Smart Ward Programme will facilitate and look to improve digital literacy, digital skills and create awareness on various government schemes that are underway in Andhra Pradesh. It is aimed at taking technology and innovation to the remote corners of Andhra Pradesh.

World Tuberculosis Day 2018

Observed on March 24 every year, World Tuberculosis Day is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of TB and efforts to eliminate the disease. World TB Day commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB.

The theme of World TB Day 2018 – “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”.

This is critical theme, given political importance of upcoming United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on TB this year, which will bring together Heads of State in New York. It follows on from a very successful Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Moscow on 16-17 November, 2017 which resulted in high-level commitments from Ministers and other leaders from 120 countries to accelerate progress to end TB.

At the recent End TB India Summit in New Delhi, India’s prime minister declared its intention of eliminating the disease by 2025 —five years ahead of the global target. While the world applauded, those on the frontlines of India’s tuberculosis (TB) epidemic wondered if this indeed was possible anytime soon.

Indian Navy’s warship INS Ganga decommissioned.

Indian Navy’s indigenously built warship INS Ganga (F22) was decommissioned in Mumbai, Maharashtra after over three decades of service. The warship was commissioned in December 1985 and had represented big step forward in India’s indigenous warship building capability. The decommissioning ceremony was attended by several officers and men, many now retired, who had served on board ship.

INS Ganga (F22) was a Godavari-class guided-missile frigate of the Indian Navy. It was built by Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai and was commissioned into Indian Navy on 30 December 1985. The Godavari class was first indigenous warship design and development initiative of Indian Navy. The warship along with Shakti and INS Godavari were deployed to Somalian capital Mogadishu in December 1994 to support withdrawal of Indian Army’s 66 Brigade, including the 2nd Battalion, Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry.

1.Office-of-profit case: Delhi HC restores membership of 20 disqualified AAP MLAs, refers case back to EC
Source: The Hindu

The Delhi High Court on Friday quashed a notification issued by President Ram Nath Kovind disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries.

The opinion of the Election Commission of India to the President to disqualify the legislators was “vitiated and bad in law for failure to comply with the principles of natural justice”

The High Court noted that the poll panel failed to give oral hearing and opportunity to address arguments on merits to the AAP MLAs before arriving at its opinion that they held ‘office of profit’.

Re-examine the factual matrix: The court told the poll panel to then “re-examine the factual matrix to decide whether the petitioners (MLAs) had incurred disqualification on appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries, without being influenced by the earlier order or observations on the said aspect in this order”.

Background of Delhi’s Case:

  • The Delhi government, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, appointed the parliamentary secretaries attached to government ministries after coming to power in March 2015.
  • However, a constitutional clause prohibits legislators or parliamentarians from holding any position with monetary or other benefits. Known as ‘office of profit’, the clause is aimed at reducing conflict of interest situations for public representatives.
  • The government had claimed that the appointments would facilitate a smooth functioning.
  • Also the number of Cabinet Ministers in Delhi cannot exceed 10 per cent of the total 70 seats — that is seven — as per Article 239AA of Constitution.
  • As of now, only one Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister is authorised.

Reference article for office of profit :

http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/office-of-profit-what-the-why-5032038/

http://www.prsindia.org/theprsblog/?p=3964

2.BJP bags 12 seats, Congress 5 in Rajya Sabha elections
Source: The Hindu

The Rajya Sabha elections for 16 states covering 58 seats of the 245-member House were recently held

  • The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged 12 of the 25 Rajya Sabha seats across six States for which biennial elections were held, along with a bypoll in one State.
  • In all, the Congress won five seats, while the Trinamool Congress got four, the TRS three and the LDF and the Samajwadi Party (Jaya Bachchan) one each.
  • The BJP had enough MLAs to send eight candidates to the Upper House from Uttar Pradesh, but has now been able to send its ninth candidate as well, allegedly through cross-voting in its favour.

Election process for Rajya Sabha:

  • Unlike the Lok Sabha, members of the Upper House are not directly elected by the public but by elected representatives of states and Union Territories
  • The allocation of seats for Rajya Sabha is made on the basis of the population of each state
  • Allowing for rank-based voting, the election follows the “system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote
  • It means that the single vote cast by an MLA is transferable from one candidate to another — in two scenarios.
  • When a candidate obtains more than what is required for their win and therefore has an unnecessary surplus
  • When a candidate polls so few votes that they have absolutely no chance

Vote calculation formula:

To win a Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate should get a required number of votes which is known as a quota or preference vote = [Total number of votes/(Number of Rajya Sabha seats + 1)] + 1

FAQ on Rajya Sabha: http://164.100.47.7/faq/output/qlist.aspx

3.Muslim parties want review of 1994 ruling
Source: The Hindu

  • Almost 24 years after the Supreme Court said a mosque has no “unique or special status” and is not an essential part of the practice of Islam and namaz , Muslim parties involved in the Ramjanmabhoomi title dispute want the court to first reconsider its stand before going ahead with the hearing in the Babri Masjid case.
  • In 1994, the Supreme Court observed that “Muslims can offer prayer anywhere, even in the open”. The 24-year-old Ismail Faruqui vs Union of India case dealt with the acquisition of 67.703 acres of land in Ayodhya after the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
  • The constitutionality of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993 was under scanner.
  • It was in this background that the Supreme Court observed in 1994 that a mosque cannot restrict the state’s sovereign power to acquire land for an “undoubted national purpose.”
  • Moreover, the Supreme Court went on to distinguish between places of worship with “particular significance”, which have to be treated reverentially, and “ordinary places of worship”.
  • Now, muslim parties have challenged the right of the government to have acquired the disputed site under the 1993 law.

4.China plans $3 bn tariffs on U.S. goods
Source: The Hindu

  • China has responded guardedly to the decision by the U.S. to raise tariffs on a raft of Chinese exports, signalling Beijing’s intent to play the “long game” and avoid a trade war.
  • The Chinese Commerce Ministry issued a statement stating its plan to impose fresh duties on U.S. products, which would amount to $3 billion.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump earlier announced a 25% levy on Chinese goods worth around $60 billion.
  • The Commerce Ministry said it planned to impose a 25% levy on 8 U.S. products, including pork and recycled aluminium, worth $2 billion. Besides a 15% tariff was in the pipeline on 120 items, such as fruit, nuts and wine as well as steel pipes — altogether worth $1billion.
  • Beijing’s proposed measures will be implemented in two stages. In the first stage, the 15% tariff will be levied if the two countries cannot reach an agreement on trade issues within a scheduled time. In the second stage, the 25% import tax will be imposed after evaluating the impact caused by the U.S. policies.

5.Myanmar, India mull building cross-border oil pipeline
Source: Economic Times

  • India has proposed to build a pipeline from the country’s east coast to deliver oil products, mainly diesel, to Myanmar, a Myanmar government official said on Friday.
  • A working group has been formed by Myanmar and India to look at issues such as security, land and oil storage, and how to price the fuel and the oil’s specification.
  • Myanmar currently imports about 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of diesel and gasoline mainly from Singapore, and produces only 12,000 bpd of oil locally.
  • The country has invited investors to build refineries but high land cost is one of the main issues to overcome

6.Task force seeks import curbs on rubber
Source: The Hindu

The first meeting of the joint task force set up to study the problems faced by rubber farmers in Kerala has decided to work on increasing the production incentive for farmers and curbing the import of rubber

The meeting also called for support from the Central government to prevent farmers from giving up rubber cultivation against the backdrop of high input costs and slump in prices of rubber

Rubber as an agricultural crop:

One of the major items that was taken up for discussion at the meeting was to consider rubber as an agricultural crop rather than a commercial produce, paving the way for the declaration of minimum support price and financial support under the income doubling scheme for farmers.

State’s demand:

  • State representatives on the task force highlighted the need to include rubber in the livelihood security box under trade treaties to protect the interests of the large number of small and marginal farmers in the sector.
  • They also called for a total ban on import of cup lump rubber, stringent standards for imported rubber and steps to prevent dumping of cheap rubber products.

Plantation subsidy:

The meeting discussed in detail the need to revise plantation subsidy, extend the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to the plantation sector and promote the use of rubber as an additive for bitumen.

7.ISRO postpones launch of Chandrayaan-2 mission
Source: The Hindu

The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) has postponed launch of India’s second lunar mission ‘Chandrayaan-2’ from April 2018 to October-November 2018 as experts have suggested more tests. It will be launched on board of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV-F10).

Chandrayaan-2:

  • India’s second mission to the Moon is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover
  • After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter
  • After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover
  • The mission will carry a six-wheeled Rover which will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands
  • The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil
  • The Chandrayaan-2 weighing around 3290 kg and would orbit around the moon and perform the objectives of remote sensing the moon.
  • The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.

8.ISRO–BHEL tie up for Production of Space Grade Lithium-Ion Cells
Source: The Hindu

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has entered into Technology Transfer Agreement (TTA) with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) to transfer technology for manufacturing space grade Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) cells. The technology transfer will enable BHEL to produce space grade Li-Ion cells which can meet country’s space programme requirements. It can also be adopted to cater Li-Ion cell requirement for other national needs….

The ISRO uses Li-Ion batteries as power sources for satellite and launch vehicle applications due to their high energy density, reliability and long cycle life. ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thiruvananthapuram has successfully developed technology to produce space grade Li-ion. It also has demonstrated performance of cell under various testing conditions and established its cycle life characteristics in accelerated mode. These Li-Ion cells are currently being used for various satellite and launch vehicle applications.

Li-Ion battery:
Lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery is type of rechargeable battery that contains several cells. Each cell consists of cathode, anode and electrolyte, a separator between electrodes and current collectors. In it, lithium ions move from negative electrode to positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. Li-ion battery use intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material.

Benefits:

The lithium-ion battery is light weighted and is one-third the weight of lead acid batteries. It is nearly 100% efficient in both charging and discharging as compared to lead battery which has 70% efficiency. It completely discharges i.e. 100% as compared to 80% for lead acid. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery has life cycle of 5000 times or more compared to just 400-500 cycles in lead acid. It also maintains constant voltage throughout the entire discharge cycle whereas voltage in lead acid battery drops consistently throughout its discharge cycle. It is much cleaner technology and is safer for environment as it does not have environmental impact as lead acid battery.

9.SC Seeks Explanation From States & UTs For Non-Appointment Of Lokayukta
Source: Live Mint

The day Rajasthan government extended term of its existing Lokayukta S S Kothari by 3 more years, the Supreme Court went on to ask chief secretaries of 12 states to give reasons for not appointing a Lokayukta. These states are Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi and West Bengal.

What is Lokayukta?

Lokayukta is an anti-corruption authority or ombudsman – an official appointed by the government or by parliament to represent the interests of the public. Most importantly, it investigates allegations of corruption and mal-administration against public servants and is tasked with speedy redressal of public grievances.

Genesis:

  • The Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Late Morarji Desai in 1966 recommended the setting up of the institution of Lokayukta for the purpose of appointment of Lokayukta at the state’s level, “to improve the standards of public administration, by looking into complaints against the administrative actions, including cases of corruption, favouritism and official indiscipline in administrative machinery.”
  • The Bill provides for the appointment of a Lokayukta “to investigate and report on allegations or grievances relating to the conduct of public servants.”It also called for establishment of Lokpal at the Centre.
  • While many states, thereafter, set-up Lokayukta institution, a comprehensive bill was passed in 2013 after a long debate on the issue.The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, commonly known The Lokpal Act was passed by the Parliament of India in December 2013.

How does Lokayukta work?

The Lokayukta works along with the Income Tax Department and the Anti Corruption Bureau. The Lokayukta (sometimes referred to the institution itself) investigates allegations of corruption and mal-administration against public servants and is tasked with speedy redressal of public grievances. However, public can’t lodge complain for any issue which is more than 5 years old.

Who is appointed as the Lokayukta?

The Lokayukta is usually a former High Court Chief Justice or former Supreme Court judge and has a fixed tenure.

Selection of Lokayukta:

  • The Chief Minister selects a person as the Lokayukta after consultation with the High Court Chief Justice, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Chairman of the Legislative Council, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council. The appointment is then made by the Governor.
  • Once appointed, Lokayukta cannot be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly.

Tenure of a Lokayukat:

The tenure of Lokayukta is generally 5 years. However, in Uttar Pradesh it is 8 years and now in Rajasthan also it will become 8 years.

Jurisdiction:

The public servants who are covered by the Act include:

  • all Ministers and Members of the State Legislature;
  • all officers of the State Government;
  • Chairman, Vice Chairman of local authorities, Statutory bodies or Corporations established by or under any law of the State Legislature, including Co-operative Societies;
  • Persons in the service of Local Authorities, Corporations owned or controlled by the State Government, a company in which not less than 50% of the shares are held by the State Government, Societies registered under the State Registration Act, Co-operative Societies

Process:

If after investigation, the Lokayukta is satisfied that the public servant has committed any criminal offence, he may initiate prosecution without reference to any other authority. Any prior sanction required under any law for such prosecution shall be deemed to have been granted.

Limitations:

Lack of prosecution powers, adequate staff, funds and lack of independence are some of the limitation of the Lokayukta.  In many States, the office of the Lokayukta is vacant. For instance, Gujarat did not have a lokayukta for eight years until Governor Kamla Beniwal appointed Justice R.A. Mehta to the post. But the Narendra Modi government challenged it at the Supreme Court and the court upheld the appointment on January 2. Besides these, many cases are pending before the Lokayukta.

States that have Lokayukta:

  • Maharashtra was the first State to introduce the institution of Lokayukta in 1971 and so far 21 states have established the same.
  • Karnataka’s Lokayukta is considered one of the strongest.
  • Santosh Hegde, former Lokayukta of Karnataka, uncovered one of the biggest mining scams (quantified at Rs.12, 228 crore) of the country in 2011. His activism and strong evidences resulted in the then Chief Minister Yeddyurappa being jailed for 21 days in October 2011.

Reference: https://www.sansarlochan.in/en/details-lokayukta-powers-functions/



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