Comprehensive News Analysis - 11 May 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

POLITY

1. Funds to parties: Govt. may amend FCRA again

2. Supreme Court plans to go paperless

3. EC to hold all-party meet on EVMs

4. Rajasthan to launch action plans for reducing infant mortality

5. After coronary stents, cap on prices of other devices likely

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Recourse to ICJ ‘carefully considered’

C. GS3 Related:

ECONOMY

1. Rail regulator to define performance standards 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Multidrug-resistant TB will rise in India, says new study 

D. GS4 Related:
E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
F. Bills/Acts/Schemes/Orgs in News
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
H. Archives

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Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. Funds to parties: Govt. may amend FCRA again

Context:

  • Delhi High Court issued notice to the government for not initiating any action against the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which received foreign funds from two subsidiaries of Vedanta, a U.K.-based company.
  • The Home Ministry will seek the Attorney-General’s opinion to amend the repealed Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 1976, which barred foreign donations to political parties.

FCRA amendment:

  • FCRA was amended last year through the Finance Bill route.
  • This amendment allowed foreign-origin companies to fund NGOs and also cleared the way for donations to political parties by changing the definition of “foreign companies.”
  • Even though the amendment was done retrospectively it only made valid the foreign donations received after 2010, the year when the 1976 Act was amended.

Contempt petition:

  • Association for Democratic Reforms, a political watchdog, moved a contempt petition against the Home Ministry in March pointing out that the directives of the High Court against the two political parties which received foreign funds were not followed.
  • The ADR filed a PIL plea against the two parties for violating the FCRA.
  • The Delhi High Court had held that the donations were illegal in 2014, but the two parties challenged the order in the Supreme Court but later withdrew the petition.

Foreign companies definition anomaly:

  • The original FCRA provision- declares that any company with over 50 per cent FDI was a foreign entity
  • Finance and Commerce ministries- treat companies based in India and having Indian directors and employees as Indian subsidiaries.

2. Supreme Court plans to go paperless

What’s in news?

  • The Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS): Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated ICMIS, a significant step being taken by the Supreme Court: one that will take it from a being a paper court to becoming a digital court.
  • The Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS) will allow a litigant to digitally file a case and watch its progress on a real-time basis.
  • The system will help litigants access data and retrieve information online.
  • There is a proposal to integrate the system with all the 24 High Courts and the subordinate courts.

Advantage: usher in transparency, reduce manipulation and help the litigant track the progress of a case on a real time basis.

Pendency of cases: Over 61,000 cases are pending in the apex court, while the 24 High Courts have 38.70 lakh pending cases. 

3. EC to hold all-party meet on EVMs 

What’s in news?

  • The Election Commission released the agenda for an all-party meeting on May 12.
  • The agenda includes –
  • Deliberations on the security of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
  • The electoral body will also invite suggestions from the parties on conducting a “machine tampering” challenge.
  • Suggestions on revisiting the rules on counting of paper slips from the VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) system will also be discussed.
  • Stringent provision- The proposal to make bribery and undue influence during elections a cognisable offence. The Commission is of the view that law has to be amended to make penal provisions more stringent.
  • To discuss proposals such as one on capping donations in cash at 20 crore or 20% of the donations in a year, whichever is less.

Election Commission proposals:

  • The EC has proposed that anyone charged with bribery be disqualified from contesting elections.
  • The EC has been calling for disqualification even prior to the conviction by court in the case of for serious offences.
  • The EC has suggested that for crimes punishable with imprisonment of five years or more for a case registered at least six months earlier, disqualification should commence from the stage the charges are framed by the court.

Representation of the people Act and EC:

  • In Representation of the People Act, there is a specific section (58A) that empowers the EC to order a re-poll or to countermand election in a constituency in the event of booth capturing.

4. Rajasthan to launch action plans for reducing infant mortality 

What’s in news?

  • The Rajasthan government has decided to launch district-level action plans for utilising locally available resources to reduce infant mortality rate (IMR).
  • The action plans will be based on the socio-economic conditions prevailing in each district.
  • Importance of district-level action plans – better coordination among the doctors working in the primary health centres for optimum utilisation of resources.
  • The IMR in Rajasthan was 32 for every 1,000 live births,according to Sample Registration System Baseline Survey-2014.
  • Action plans would aim at reducing IMR to 12 per 1,000 live births by 2030 by improving the intensive care units, referral services and availability of the medical staff and strengthening the infrastructure.

5. After coronary stents, cap on prices of other devices likely 

What’s in news?

  • Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said the government was considering capping prices of other medical devices.
  • In February, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had capped the price of bare-metal stents at 7,260 and drug-eluting stents at Rs. 29,600, after declaring coronary stents as essential medicines.

Why such a move?

  • To ensure medicines and medical devices remain affordable.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA):

  • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is a government regulatory agency {set up as per executive order and thus not a statutory body} that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India.
  • The NPPA was formed on 29 August 1997. It has been given powers to implement and enforce the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 1995/2013.
  • It can fund studies regarding pricing of drugs.
  • It also has the task to monitor drug shortages and take appropriate actions to rectify it.
  • It also has to collect and maintain data regarding the import and export of drugs, market shares of pharmaceutical companies and their profits.
  • It also handles legal disputes that arise out of policies created by it.
  • It advices the Government of India in matters of drug policies and pricing.
  • It renders advice to the Central Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy.
  • It can also cap the prices of a drug and recently it capped the prices of coronary stent.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Recourse to ICJ ‘carefully considered’

Context:

  • India got a stay on Pakistan’s death sentence to arrested former Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav at an international tribunal.
  • The government defended going to the tribunal, as a “carefully considered decision.”
  • The Ministry of External Affairs said the decision to resort to arbitration at the International Court of Justice, after a gap of 46 years, was appropriate as the ultimate aim is to save Mr. Jadhav’s life.

India and ICJ:

  • India has in the past refused to accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ on issues such as the Atlantique aircraft incident of 1999 and in the Saurav Kalia case.

Atlantique aircraft incident

  • The Atlantique Incident was an event in which a Breguet Atlantic patrol plane of the Pakistan Navy’s Naval Air Arm, with 16 people on board, was shot down by the Indian Air Force for violating Indian airspace. The episode took place in the Rann of Kutch on 10 August 1999, just a month after the Kargil War.
  • Pakistan later lodged a compensation claim at the International Court of Justice, blaming India for the incident, but the court dismissed the case, ruling that the Court had no jurisdiction in the matter

Saurav Kalia case: Captain Saurabh Kalia was an officer of the Indian Army who was killed during the Kargil War while being held as a prisoner of war by the Pakistani security forces. He along with five other soldiers of his patrolling team was captured alive and kept in captivity where they were tortured, then killed.

The International Court of Justice :

  • The International Court of Justice (French: Cour internationale de justice; commonly referred to as the World Court, ICJ or The Hague) is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations (UN).
  • Seated in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, the court settles legal disputes submitted to it by states and provides advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by duly authorized international branches, agencies, and the UN General Assembly.
  • Jurisdiction: As stated in Article 93 of the UN Charter, all 193 UN members are automatically parties to the Court’s statute. Non-UN members may also become parties to the Court’s statute under the Article 93(2) procedure. Once a state is a party to the Court’s statute, it is entitled to participate in cases before the Court. However, being a party to the statute does not automatically give the Court jurisdiction over disputes involving those parties.

 

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Rail regulator to define performance standards 

What’s in news?

  • India’s first rail regulator, Rail Development Authority (RDA) functional areas:
  • Look at tariff structures for passenger and freight operations
  • Set standards of performance and efficiency – enforceable under the Railways Act.
  • RDA defined standards of performance and efficiency ,would be notified as rules under the Railway Act to give a binding force upon acceptance
  • RDA would be authorised to check for deviations and suggest remedial measures
  • The regulator will provide guidance on quantity and quality of service provided to passengers. These may include setting standards including hours of service, frequency of trains, capacity per coach, cleanliness level, and quality of water, food, furnishing and linen.

RDA’s non-functional areas:

  • The regulator will, however, not involve itself in policy making of the Indian Railways, operations and maintenance of the rail system, financial management, setting technical standards and compliance of safety standards, the resolution said.
  • Regulator would only make recommendations on tariff and not impose a tariff on the Indian Railways.

Regulator’s structure:

  • The Railway Board also defined the structure of the RDA with a Chairman along with three members each for tariff, public private partnership and efficiency, standards and benchmarking.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Multidrug-resistant TB will rise in India, says new study 

Context:

  • Health Ministry set itself an ambitious target of eliminating tuberculosis (TB) by 2025
  • A new study in the medical journal Lancet says that India’s TB crisis is likely to get worse.

Report:

  • Multidrug Resistant-Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a version of the disease where patients do not respond to first-line drugs, will become more common than it is now.
  • The report projects that, by 2040, the percentage of MDR-TB will make up 32.5% of all TB cases in Russia, 12.4% of the TB cases in India, 8.9% of the TB cases in the Philippines, and 5.7% of all TB cases in South Africa.

Hotspot of MDR-TB

  • India is home to the most serious ‘hotspots’ of MDR-TB transmission, especially overcrowded cities such as Mumbai.
  • Not only does India shoulder the highest TB burden in the world, with over 2 million of the 10 million reported cases, it also accounts for the most drug-resistant patients — nearly 1.3 lakh people who do not respond to first-line drugs.
  • It is estimated that each year there are 10.4 million new cases of TB, leading to 1.8 million deaths globally.
  • Nearly 40% of all drug-resistant cases occur in Russia, India, the Philippines, and South Africa – accounting for more than 230,000 cases of drug-resistant disease in 2015.

Key Fact:

  • Two new TB drugs, Bedaquiline and Delamanid are to be made available in India’s national healthcare system.
  • The drug is available only in six sites across the country, and according to the Health Ministry’s TB report, only 207 of the 79,000 patients who need the drug have access to it.
 

 

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today

 

   PIB Articles                  Editorials Roundup

 

E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn

 

F. Bills/Acts/Schemes/Orgs in News

 

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1: Identify the correct Statement.
  1. The Representation of the People Act bar political parties from receiving foreign funds.
  2. The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act bar political parties from receiving foreign funds
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B
See
Answer
Question 2: Consider the following statement with reference to The National 
Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority:
  1. It is a statutory body
  2. It controls the prices of Pharmaceutical drugs in India.

Choose the correct answer

  1. 1only
  2. 2only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
See
Answer
Question 3: Consider the following statements:
  1. In Multidrug Resistan Tuberculosis, patients do not respond to second-line of drugs.
  2. Drugs like Bedaquiline and Delamanid are not adequately available in India’s national healthcare system.
  3. India shoulders the highest TB burden in the world

Choose the correct answer.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. All are correct
  4. 1 and 3 only
See
Answer
Question 4: Consider the following statements:
  1. Railway Development Authority would involve in policy making of Railways.
  2. Railway Development Authority would involve in setting safety standards for the railways.
  3. Railway Development Authority would impose tariff on Indian Railwyas.

Choose the correct answer

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. All are correct
  4. None of the above
See
Answer
Question 5: Who is the present Indian member of the International Court Of 
Justice?
  1. Dalveer Bhandari
  2. N.V Ramana
  3. Amitava Roy
  4. Arjan Kumar Sikri
See
Answer

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