IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 31 May 2019

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WHO award for Rajasthan Health Dept.

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice/ Health

The World Health Organization has selected the Rajasthan government’s Medical & Health Department for its award this year in recognition of its achievements in the field of tobacco control.

More in news:

  • The Health Department of the State is the only government body in the country which will be awarded for its tobacco-free initiatives.
  • WHO has selected five organisations from the South-East Asian region for the prestigious award.
  • The individuals and institutions in each of the six WHO regions were recognised every year for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control.
  • Three other organisations in the South-East Asian region have been selected from Thailand and Indonesia, while the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, New Delhi, is also among the recipients of the award.

Many campaigns

  • The Medical & Health Department launched several campaigns against tobacco consumption at places such as schools, colleges, police stations and government offices during 2018-19.
  • As part of the tobacco-free initiatives, 1.13 crore people took a pledge against tobacco consumption at the events held in 1.56 lakh government institutions on January 30 this year, marking Martyrs’ Day.

Aadhaar linked to 90% beneficiaries in State: report

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice  

A recent Maharashtra government report has announced Aadhaar linkage with at least 90% of the State’s beneficiaries of various social schemes.

  • At least 87% of beneficiaries under the public distribution system (PDS) have been linked to Aadhaar while another 93% of the above poverty line farmers in 14 drought-prone districts have been linked to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), reducing chances of leakages in social schemes directed towards the underprivileged, senior officials said.
  • But there are still concerns around the presence of 10 lakh bogus and 29 lakh dormant cards reported last year in the distribution system. Unless 100% seeding is complete and Aadhaar has taken over the system completely, delivery will not become foolproof, officials in the State’s Food and Civil Supply Department said. Maharashtra’s reported leakages in the ration distribution are to the tune of 30%.
  • The report, presented to the State Level Bankers’ Committee meeting on Thursday, presented the data of seeding with (UIDAI) along with the pricing data in the State, including the Average Consumer Price Index (CPI), which was recorded at rural and urban areas at 271.3 and 260.3. The data was for April to December, 2017.
  • The Maharashtra government has been going all out to link ration cards and other schemes with the UIDAI, which had received a report reporting over 3 crore bogus ration cards from across the country last year.
  • The cards found to be bogus in Maharashtra have been flagged in the State’s e-system and frozen. In the ensuing period, Maharashtra has found transactions worth ₹6.7 crore were carried out using dormant cards in 2018.
  • With Aadhaar in mind, the State has already turned 51,259 fair price shops cashless to conduct transactions through point-of-sale terminals. It is also providing an e-wallet facility to card holders in rural areas to augment the use of Aadhaar, senior officials said.

37 EC recommendations pending since 2014

Topic: GS –II: Constitution and Polity

Among the 37 recommendations of the Election Commission’s working groups, pending since 2014, are the disqualification of candidates at the stage of framing of charges that attract a minimum of five years’ imprisonment; increased punishment for false affidavits; and permanent disqualification of those guilty of corruption and heinous crimes.

  • The nine working groups set up by the EC to suggest improvements in specific areas, based on their experience during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, had submitted a total of 337 recommendations, of which 300 have been disposed of so far.
  • Among the suggestions was drafting of legal provisions to disqualify candidates for offences with a minimum of five years’ punishment on framing of charges, rather than on conviction.

Few important recommendations:

  • A working group had also suggested that the punishment for filing false affidavits be increased from six months to more than two years and that candidates found guilty of corruption, disloyalty and heinous crimes be permanently disqualified.
  • Currently, under Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), any person convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for the listed offences is disqualified from the date of conviction and remains disqualified for a further period of six years after his release.
  • One of the pending recommendations is that a candidate contesting a different election should resign from the current seat.

Changes to model code

  • With respect to the model code of conduct (MCC), which has been evolved through consensus among political parties, a working group had suggested amendments empowering the Commission to issue notice to a party for necessary corrections in its manifesto.
  • It was also for the setting up of courts to adjudicate electoral offences and disallowing the use of government designations for the purposes of political publicity.
  • Another pending recommendation pertains to the introduction of indelible marker ink pens, instead of ink vials, as a pilot project. The quality check of the ink should be done by multiple independent laboratories, it was suggested.
  • In order to constrict the duration of the election process, a working group had said that under the community legal demographic profiling and election time zones system, factors such as weather, examination schedules and festivals should be mapped in each State for scheduling of polls.

Guidelines for parties

  • Another group had submitted that the number of members required for the registration of a party should be increased from 100 to 1,000.
  • Parties that do not field any candidate in elections should be de-registered. Also, legal provisions should be drawn to regulate funding.
  • A major recommendation is for drafting a comprehensive Bill that deals with registration, recognition and funding of political parties.
  • Standardisation of elector photo identity card numbers, as they are 10 digits in some States and 16 in others, is also one of the issues, apart from the setting up of fast-track courts for speedy resolution of expenditure-related matters.

‘Children of today better off than 20 years ago’

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice/ Health

Children born today have a better chance than at any time in history to grow up healthy, educated and protected, with the opportunity to reach their full potential, says the Global Childhood Report recently released by Save the Children, an NGO working for the education and protection of child rights.

  • “Even a generation ago, a child was twice as likely to die before reaching age 5, 70% more likely to be involved in child labour and 20% more likely to be murdered,’’ it says.
  • The document indicates that in 2000, an estimated 970 million children were robbed of their childhood due to ill-health, malnutrition, exclusion from education, child labour, child marriage, early pregnancy and violent death. That number has reduced to 690 million which effectively means that at least 280 million children are better off today than they would have been two decades ago.
  • A comparison of End of Childhood Index scores finds the overall situation for children has improved in 173 of 176 countries since 2000.
  • Good progress is taking place in some of the poorest countries, providing ever increasing evidence that development work is paying huge dividends in countries where needs are greatest.
  • However, it warns that the world has made less progress in reducing adolescent births and child homicide, and there has been no progress at all in reducing the number of children living in areas of violence and conflict.
  • In fact, the number of children living in war zones or forced to flee their homes due to conflict has skyrocketed since 2000.
  • Today, 1 child in 4 is being denied the right to a childhood, a time of life that should be safe for growing, learning and playing. These stolen childhoods are increasingly concentrated in the world’s conflict zones.

Highest displacement

  • There are 30.5 million more forcibly displaced people now than there were in 2000, an 80% increase.
  • The world is experiencing the highest levels of displacement on record. Children make up about 30% of the world’s population, but more than half the world’s refugees are children.

News in Brief:

Delivery apps to have hygiene rating in Punjab

The Punjab government has decided to make it mandatory for all online aggregators to ensure that food supplied by them have hygiene rating as per the guidelines of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

  • Punjab Health Minister Brahm Mohindra has issued a direction in this regard, saying that all the online order and supply companies should display the hygiene rating of all the food business operators registered or affiliated with them.

Hydrogen-powered flying machine readies for take off

A transportation company is betting its sleek new hydrogen-powered electric flying vehicles will someday serve as taxis, cargo carriers and ambulances of the sky.

  • With six rotors on the roof and seats inside for five people, a passenger model of the Skai (pronounced “sky”) unveiled in Los Angeles resembles an oversized drone crossed with a luxury SUV.

Vertical landing

  • Like a drone, the vehicle from Alaka’i Technologies takes off and lands vertically.
  • The Skai uses very light hydrogen fuel cells to run its rotors, giving it a range of 644 km and the capacity to carry 454 kilograms in people or freight.
  • It would be flown by an on-board pilot using a pair of joysticks, but the technology exists to eventually fly it remotely and even autonomously.

Editorial section:

Capital buffers – The Hindu

Bills of rights for the vulnerable – The Hindu

Changing the earth – The Hindu

Season of populist discontent – The Hindu




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