28, November 2017

1.Health Ministry wins Bronze Medal at the India International Trade Fair 2017 for its creative and informative display

Source: PIB

37th India International Trade Fair 2017

Highlights:

  • The Health Ministry pavilion highlighted programmes and initiatives of the Health Ministry such as Mission Indradhnaush for expanding full immunization coverage, introduction of new vaccines, Pradhan Mantri Matritva Suraksha Yojana (PMSMA), Mother’s Absolute Affection (MAA) for encouraging breastfeeding, Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) for strengthening the tertiary health sector.
  • Jansankhya Sthirta Kosh (JSK) also participated in the exhibition through a unique selfie corner which encouraged couples to adopt small family norms.
  • It created awareness about various schemes for population stabilization through nukkad natak and street plays at Pragati Maidan.
  • The Ministry of AYUSH also participated to inform and educate people about the traditional systems of medicine.

Pradhan Mantri Matritva Suraksha Yojana:-  Part of Reproductive Maternal Neonatal Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) Strategy.

  • The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan has been launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India.
  • The program aims to provide assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care, free of cost, universally to all pregnant women on the 9th of every month.
  • The programme follows a systematic approach for engagement with private sector which includes motivating private practitioners to volunteer for the campaign developing strategies for generating awareness and appealing to the private sector to participate in the Abhiyan at government health facilities.

The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.

2.Program to train Elected Women Representatives of PRIs

Source: PIB

The government has launched an intensive training program for Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Master Trainers, in New Delhi.

The first time ever an initiative of this scale has been taken up to train EWRs who will go out and administer the villages professionally.

Key facts:

  • This capacity building program is being organized by National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) of the WCD Ministry which will ultimately train approximately twenty thousand EWRs covering nearly 50 EWRs from each district by March, 2018.
  • Not many women sarpanches and EWRs in the country come forward to take up their responsibilities and mostly allow their husbands to take the lead. So, they remain ‘sarpanchanis’ in name only. Therefore, the Capacity building of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) is critical to empower women to participate effectively in the governance processes. This will help them assume the leadership roles expected of them and guide their villages towards a more prosperous future.

Significance:

  • This is an historic step since for the first time ever an initiative of this scale has been taken up to train EWRs who will go out and administer the villages professionally.

 Training two lakh women sarpanches across the country will help bring following important changes:

  • It will help to create model villages.
  • It will help prepare women as political leaders of the future.

Background:

A million women have been elected at the village, block and district levels, following the landmark 73rd Amendment to the Constitution of India (1992), reserving 33 percent of the seats in Panchayati Raj Institutions for women.

  • The process of decentralization has provided representation but representation does not necessarily lead to participation.
  • Women still face a number of challenges for their engagement in political spaces such as inadequate education, lack of financial independence, burden of productive and reproductive roles and opposition stemming from entrenched patriarchal views. Training, therefore, has emerged as a critical concern for facilitating their effective participation.
  • The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution of India provide the legal basis for direct democracy at the local-level, both in rural and urban areas.
  • The amendments stress the need to bring people belonging to marginalized groups into the political process by reserving seats for women and for people belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC)1 and Scheduled Tribes (ST)2 .
  • It is envisaged that by mandating not less than one-third of the seats for women in local government bodies, the governance process at the local government level will reflect the voices of women and the concerns and issues that confront them.

The Capacity building of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs):

  • EWrs is critical to empower women to participate effectively in the governance processes.
  • This will help them assume the leadership roles expected of them and guide their villages towards a more prosperous future.

Other Projects:

Factors such as these, that deter the effective participation of women, led to the initiation of the project Capacity Building of Elected Women Representatives and Functionaries of Panchayati Raj Institutions by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR), Government of India and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India, from 2003 -2008.

Specifically, the project aimed to:

  • Build capacities of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) for effective functioning and setting of women’s agenda.
  • Institutionalize mechanisms to strengthen capacity building of EWRs to better understand and perform their functions.
  • Mobilize community and strengthen processes of constituency building to enable women to articulate their voices and participate in the electoral process.
  • The project activities were implemented through Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to harness their expertise in mobilizing women and creating awareness of issues at the grassroots level. For each of the 10 states, one CSO was identified based on the demonstrated work experience on local governance issues in that area. The capacity-building project focused on EWRs and panchayat functionaries.

3.INSPIRE 2017

Source: PIB

The first edition of the International Symposium to Promote Innovation & Research in Energy Efficiency (INSPIRE 2017) was kicked off in Jaipur recently.

The five-day symposium is being organized by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) in partnership with The World Bank, and Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE).

INSPIRE 2017:

  • INSPIRE 2017 is an International Conference that brings together various stakeholders such as policy makers, innovators, financiers, influencers to showcase best practices in the sector.
  • It provides a platform for energy efficiency community to discuss energy efficiency policies, market transformation strategies, emerging technologies, delivery and business-model driven transformations. The event is further designed to provide global and national thought-leaders and implementers to expand perspectives on energy efficiency and spur ideas and solutions that will help leverage the full potential of energy efficiency and bring its multiple co-benefits to the fore.
  • Policy makers and experts from Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), The World Bank Group, The Energy Institute (TERI), International Energy Agency (IEA), Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), USA and representatives of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) will take part in the event. Several global organizations like the Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, International Finance Corporation, International Energy Agency will also share their perspectives at INSPIRE.

Way ahead: Energy efficiency is the winning strategy to simultaneously address a variety of policy objectives, including security of supply, climate change, competitiveness, balance of trade, reduced investment need and environmental protection.

4.UN Convention against Torture

Source: The Hindu

The Supreme Court recently disposed of a PIL seeking to put in place a statutory framework to curb torture and custodial violence as it said that it can’t direct the government to make an anti-torture law or ratify the UN convention against Torture.

Anti- Torture Law:

  • The government is considering an anti-torture law.
  • The Law Commission has recommended that the Centre ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and frame a standalone anti-torture law, making the state responsible for any injury inflicted by its agents on citizens.
  • Though India signed the convention in 1997, it is yet to ratify it. Efforts to bring in a standalone law have failed. The National Human Rights Commission has been urging the government to recognise torture as a separate crime and codify the punishment in a separate penal law.

UN convention against torture:

  • India has signed the UN Convention against torture way back in 1997. But, it has still not ratified it. The Convention defines torture as a criminal offence. The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction, and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured.

Bill Proposal:

  • A bill was also proposed in this regard. But, no action has been taken on the Prevention of Torture Bill 2010 even six years after it was passed by the Lok Sabha on May 6, 2010 and recommended by a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha of which he had been Chairman. The centre contends some States were not in favour of such a law and the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code were more than sufficient.
  • Considering it a matter of both Article 21 (fundamental right to life and dignity) and of international reputation, the government should consider promulgating a standalone, comprehensive law to define and punish torture as an instrument of “human degradation” by state authorities. Such a law is in the national interest.

5.International Multilateral Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX)

Source: PIB

  • Indian Navy is visiting Bangladesh on an invitation of Bangladesh for participation in International Multilateral Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX) being held at Bangladesh from 26 to 28 November 2017 under the aegis of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).
  • This is the first ever operational exercise held under the aegis of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in Bangladesh.
  • The Exercise comprised drills related to fire-fighting, sea accidents and rescue, as well as deep sea searches for missing ships, searches for missing aircraft, and other emergency rescue operations.
  • IONS: Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) is a multilateral maritime security initiative undertaken in 2008. In the broader perspective it was initiated taking all the littoral countries of the Indian Ocean (IO) onboard to promote friendly relationship and build professional cooperation among the IOR littorals.
  • It is aimed to promote measures and mechanisms of constructive engagement that bear upon issues of regional maritime security and cooperation in the maritime domain. Over a very short span of time IONS has emerged as one of the largest alliance of navies and maritime security agencies of the world.
  • In-addition to the conduct of the exercise, an ‘Extraordinary Conclave of Chiefs (ECoC)’ meeting of IONS is also scheduled on 28 November 2017, at Cox Bazar, which would also be attended by the Chiefs of the Navy.
  • The ECoC would deliberate upon activities being undertaken by IONS in-addition to reviewing the progress made by three IONS Working Group (IWG) namely ‘HADR’, ‘Maritime Security’ & ‘Information Exchange and Interoperability’.

6.India and Russia sign an agreement Joint Action Plan signed for countering threat posed by narcotics

Source: PIB

India and Russia:

  • The Ministers underlined that cooperation in the field of security is an important aspect of this bilateral relationship further strengthen cooperation to combat terrorism, extremism and radicalism.
  • They agreed that terrorism must be fought unitedly and there were no good or bad terrorists.
  • They also agreed to cooperate in combating new challenges, enhance exchange of information, cooperate in building a data base, and in training of police and investigative agencies. Both sides agreed to hold the next Joint Working Group to counter terrorism between India and Russia in 2018.

Joint Action Plan:

A Joint Action Plan between the Narcotics Control Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs of India and the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation for the period 2018-20 was also signed.

Narcotics Control BureauMinistry of Home Affairs:

  • The National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is based on the Directive Principles, contained in Article 47 of the Indian Constitution, which direct the State to endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption, except for medicinal purposes, of intoxicating drugs injurious to health.
  • The government’s policy on the subject which flows from this constitutional provision is also guided by the international conventions on the subject.
  • India is a signatory to the single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol,the Conventions on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.

The broad legislative policy is contained in the three Central Acts, viz.

  • Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940,
  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and
  • The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.
  • The responsibility of drug abuse control, which is a central function, is carried out through a number of Ministries, Departments and Organisations. These include the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue which has the nodal co-ordination role as administrator of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.



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