Nagaland to initiate its own version of NRC from July 10
Topic: GS –II: Governance
Nagaland has decided to start a variant of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that neighboring Assam is updating.
- It is aimed at preparing a master list of all indigenous peoples and checking the issuance of fake indigenous inhabitant certificates.
- Designated teams will fan out to each village and urban ward from July 10, less than a month before Assam is to publish the final NRC.
- To be monitored by the Home Commissioner, Nagaland’s exercise for collecting information on locals and non-locals has a 60-day deadline. The RIIN, according to Mr. Ramakrishnan, will be prepared after an extensive survey with the help of a village-wise and ward-wise list of indigenous inhabitants based on official records.
- It will be prepared under the supervision of each district administration.
Most see free legal aid as last-ditch option: report
Topic: GS–II: Social Justice
A majority of the people who are entitled to the free legal aid system see the service as an option only when they cannot afford a private lawyer.
More in report:
- First-of-its-kind pan-India research by National Law University, Delhi (NLUD) has found that people don’t have faith over the services of legal aid counsel (LAC) under the free legal aid services due to a variety of factors.
- In 1987, the Legal Services Authorities (LSA) Act was enacted to give free and competent legal services to the poor. The Act paved the way for the constitution of National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) and other legal service institutions at the State, district and taluka level.
- Last year, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) had come out with a report stating that India’s per capita lawyer ratio is better than most countries in the world. There are about 1.8 million lawyers in India which mean there is one lawyer for every 736 people.
- The same report also stated there are 61,593 panel lawyers in the country, which translates to just one legal aid lawyer per 18,609 population or five legal aid lawyers per 1,00,000 population.
- Free legal services under LSA Act are available to a person belonging to Schedule Tribe and Schedule Caste, woman, child, victim of human trafficking, differently abled person, industrial workman, and person in custody in a protective home and the poor.
- According to the statistics provided by NALSA, about 8.22 lakh people across India benefited through legal aid services from April 2017 to June 2018.
Why private lawyers?
- The study demonstrated that beneficiaries opt for free legal aid service due to the dearth of resources to engage a private lawyer.
- About 75% of beneficiaries responded that they opted for free legal aid because they had no means and resources to hire a paid private practitioner.
- The study also found that 60% of women, who were aware of the free legal aid services, chose to opt for private legal practitioner because they could have better control over their lawyer.
- These women have no faith and confidence over the quality of services offered under the legal aid system, the study said.
- The survey found that 56% of LAC spends an average of 1 to 10 hours per week on legal aid cases. On the contrary, around 58% LAC spend on an average of 20 hours and above per week on private cases.
- Although the services offer by LAC are absolutely free, the ground reality is that around 16.30% of beneficiaries claimed their LAC often demand money before or after every court hearing.Also, around 33% of the judicial officers said complaints were received against LACs for demanding money from beneficiaries.
Private lawyers Vs LAC
- Majority of judicial officers (52% ) rated the overall skill set of a private legal practitioner as of fairly good quality and that of LAC as of moderately low quality, the report said.
- Currently, the engagement of LAC is usually on an ad-hoc basis. Around 45% of the regulators opined that making them full time will definitely improve the level of commitment among the LAC.
- LAC can withdraw from an aided case by submitting a reason to member-secretary. In this scenario, a beneficiary has to go through the painstaking task of retelling their case history to newly allotted LAC.
- This problem can be tackled by increasing the honorarium given to LAC. The study recommended that making honorarium for a legal aided case at par with private cases, will compel LAC to not withdraw or desert aided cases in middle.
|National Legal Services Authority (NALSA):
· It has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
· In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State.
· The State Legal Services Authority is headed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the respective High Court who is the Patron-in-Chief of the State Legal Services Authority.
· In every District, District Legal Services Authority has been constituted to implement Legal Services Programmes in the District. The District Legal Services Authority is situated in the District Courts Complex in every District and chaired by the District Judge of the respective district.
· Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.
· Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all. Legal aid strives to ensure that constitutional pledge is fulfilled in its letter and spirit and equal justice is made available to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society.
WHO brings in norms on self-care interventions
Topic: GS–II: Health
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched its first guidelines on self-care interventions for health in response to an estimate that by 2035 the world will face a shortage of nearly 13 million healthcare workers and the fact that currently at least 400 million people worldwide lack access to the most essential health services.
More in news:
- In its first volume, the guidelines focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- Some of the interventions include self-sampling for human papillomavirus (HPV) and sexually transmitted infections, self-injectable contraceptives, home-based ovulation predictor kits, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) self-testing and self-management of medical abortion.
- These guidelines look at the scientific evidence for health benefits of certain interventions that can be done outside the conventional sector, though sometimes with the support of a health-care provider. They do not replace high-quality health services nor are they a short cut to achieving universal health coverage.
- Explaining what self-care means, the organisation says it is the “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider”.
- In launching this guideline, WHO recognises how self-care interventions could expand access to health services, including for vulnerable populations. People are increasingly active participants in their own healthcare and have a right to a greater choice of interventions that meets their needs across their lifetime, but also should be able to access, control and have affordable options to manage their health and well-being.
- WHO noted that self-care is also a means for people who are negatively affected by gender, political, cultural and power dynamics, including those who are forcibly displaced, to have access to sexual and reproductive health services, as many people are unable to make decisions around sexuality and reproduction.
- The guidelines, meanwhile, will be expanded to include other self-care interventions, including for prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases.
- WHO is establishing a community of practice for self-care, and will be promoting research and dialogue in this area during the self-care month between June 24 and July 24.
Kuwait invalidates IIT degrees, following non-approval of NBA
Topic: GS –II: International relations
The HRD Ministry has sent a list of premiere engineering institutes in the country to authorities in Kuwait, where thousands of Indian engineers, including IITians, are staring at possible job losses after the Gulf country decided to recognise degrees only if India’s National Board of Accreditation (NBA) approved of the courses.
More in news:
- The Public Authority for Manpower, a government body in Kuwait, had last year issued a circular asking the labour department to not give work permits to expatriate engineers unless they got no-objection certificates from the Kuwait Engineers Society.
- The decision by Kuwait authorities has brought degrees by prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in the invalidation scanner. For India, engineers were to be issued no-objection certificates only if the course had been accredited by the NBA.
- A high-level Indian delegation had visited Kuwait to resolve the issue and it was decided to send lists of ‘Non-NBA premier institute’ and ‘Institutes of National Importance’ to Kuwait authorities.
Navy lines up mega deals for helicopters, submarines
Topic: GS -III: Security
The Navy has lined up several multi-billion dollar deals for helicopters, long-range maritime patrol aircraft (LRMPA) and submarines which are in important stages of the procurement.
More in news:
- The deals for 24 MH-60R multi-role helicopters (MRH) and 10 more P-8I LRMPA are at an advanced stage with the U.S. through their Foreign Military Sales route.
- The process for 111 Naval Utility Helicopters and six conventional submarines under Project-75I has kicked off through the much-delayed Strategic Partnership (SP) model.
- The Navy had initially procured eight P-8Is in a $2.1-billion deal in 2009. It exercised the optional clause for four more in a deal worth over $1billion signed in 2016. The aircraft are part of the 312A Naval Air Squadron based at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu.
- The P-75I for six submarines will be the second deal to be processed under this model. Early this month, the Navy issued the Expression of Interest for shortlisting potential Indian strategic partners for the project estimated over ₹45,000 crore.
Why nuclear when India has an ‘ocean’ of energy
Topic: GS -III: Energy Security
- India’s 6,780 MW of nuclear power plants contributed to less than 3% of the country’s electricity generation, which will come down as other sources will generate more.
- Perhaps India lost its nuclear game in 1970, when it refused to sign – even if with the best of reasons – the Non Proliferation Treaty, which left the country to bootstrap itself into nuclear energy. Only there never was enough strap in the boot to do so.
- In the 1950s, the physicist Dr. Homi Bhabha gave the country a roadmap for the development of nuclear energy.
- In the now-famous ‘three-stage nuclear programme’, the roadmap laid out what needs to be done to eventually use the country’s almost inexhaustible Thorium resources.
- The first stage would see the creation of a fleet of ‘pressurised heavy water reactors’, which use scarce Uranium to produce some Plutonium.
- The second stage would see the setting up of several ‘fast breeder reactors’ (FBRs). These FBRs would use a mixture of Plutonium and the reprocessed ‘spent Uranium from the first stage, to produce energy and more Plutonium (hence ‘breeder’), because the Uranium would transmute into Plutonium. Alongside, the reactors would convert some of the Thorium into Uranium-233, which can also be used to produce energy. After 3-4 decades of operation, the FBRs would have produced enough Plutonium for use in the ‘third stage’.
- In this stage, Uranium-233 would be used in specially-designed reactors to produce energy and convert more Thorium into Uranium-233—you can keep adding Thorium endlessly.
- Seventy years down the line, India is still stuck in the first stage. For the second stage, you need the fast breeder reactors. A Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) of 500 MW capacity, construction of which began way back in 2004, is yet to come on stream.
- The problem is apparently nervousness about handling liquid Sodium, used as a coolant. If Sodium comes in contact with water it will explode; and the PFBR is being built on the humid coast of Tamil Nadu. The PFBR has always been a project that would go on stream “next year”. The PFBR has to come online, then more FBRs would need to be built, they should then operate for 30-40 years, and only then would begin the coveted ‘Thorium cycle’! Nor is much capacity coming under the current, ‘first stage’. The 6,700 MW of plants under construction would, some day, add to the existing nuclear capacity of 6,780 MW. The government has sanctioned another 9,000 MW and there is no knowing when work on them will begin. These are the home-grown plants. Of course, thanks to the famous 2005 ‘Indo-U.S. nuclear deal’, there are plans for more projects with imported reactors, but a 2010 Indian ‘nuclear liability’ legislation has scared the foreigners away. With all this, it is difficult to see India’s nuclear capacity going beyond 20,000 MW over the next two decades.
Is nuclear energy worth it all?
- There have been three arguments in favour of nuclear energy: clean, cheap and can provide electricity 24×7 (base load). Clean it is, assuming that you could take care of the ticklish issue of putting away the highly harmful spent fuel.
- But cheap, it no longer is. The average cost of electricity produced by the existing 22 reactors in the country is around ₹2.80 a kWhr, but the new plants, which cost ₹15-20 crore per MW to set up, will produce energy that cannot be sold commercially below at least ₹7 a unit. Nuclear power is pricing itself out of the market.
- Nuclear plants can provide the ‘base load’ — they give a steady stream of electricity day and night, just like coal or gas plants. Wind and solar power plants produce energy much cheaper, but their power supply is irregular. With gas not available and coal on its way out due to reasons of cost and global warming concerns, nuclear is sometimes regarded as the saviour. But we don’t need that saviour any more; there is a now a better option.
- The seas are literally throbbing with energy. There are at least several sources of energy in the seas. One is the bobbing motion of the waters, or ocean swells — you can place a flat surface on the waters, with a mechanical arm attached to it, and it becomes a pump that can be used to drive water or compressed air through a turbine to produce electricity.
- Another is by tapping into tides, which flow during one part of the day and ebb in another. You can generate electricity by channelling the tide and place a series of turbines in its path. One more way is to keep turbines on the sea bed at places where there is a current — a river within the sea. Yet another way is to get the waves dash against pistons in, say, a pipe, so as to compress air at the other end. Sea water is dense and heavy, when it moves it can punch hard — and, it never stops moving.
- All these methods have been tried in pilot plants in several parts of the world—Brazil, Denmark, U.K., Korea. There are only two commercial plants in the world—in France and Korea—but then ocean energy has engaged the world’s attention.
- For sure, ocean energy is costly today.
- India’s Gujarat State Power Corporation had a tie-up with U.K.’s Atlantic Resources for a 50 MW tidal project in the Gulf of Kutch, but the project was given up after they discovered they could sell the electricity only at ₹13 a kWhr. But then, even solar cost ₹18 a unit in 2009! When technology improves and scale-effect kicks-in, ocean energy will look real friendly.
- Initially, ocean energy would need to be incentivised, as solar was. Where do you find the money for the incentives? By paring allocations to the Department of Atomic Energy, which got ₹13,971 crore for 2019-20.
- Also, wind and solar now stand on their own legs and those subsidies could now be given to ocean energy.
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