TABLE OF CONTENT
A. GS1 Related Geography 1. Govt launches two apps to send alerts on earthquake parameters and oceanic disturbances B. GS2 Related Polity 1. No arrest in dowry cases till charges are verified, says Supreme Court 2. Privacy is a fundamental right with qualifications, Centre tells apex court 3. Don’t slap unreasonable maintenance burden on husbands, Madras HC tells family courts International Relations 1. Donald Trump administration urges NSG members to support India's application Health Issues 1. Address this blockage C. GS3 Related Economics 1. Union Cabinet clears minimum wage code bill 2. RCEP: Boost for India on easier visa norms 2. India pressed to open up procurement D. GS4 Related E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn F. Bills/Acts/Schemes/Orgs in News G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- The government launched two Mobile apps –
- ‘India Quake’ for dissemination of earthquake parameters.
- ‘Sagar Vani’ to disseminate ocean related information and alerts (like high waves and Tsunami early warnings) to the user community in timely manner for their safety.
- Developed by the National Centre for Seismology (NCS), the ‘India Quake’ will automatically disseminate relevant parameter (location, time and magnitude) after the occurrence of earthquakes.
- Other than scientific and administrative benefits of the App, it will help in reducing panic amongst people during an earthquake.
Context: Concern over disgruntled wives misusing the anti-dowry law against their husbands and in-laws
- The Supreme Court directed that no arrest or coercive action should be taken on such complaints without ascertaining the veracity of allegations.
- Supreme Court acknowledged a growing trend among women involved in marital discord to abuse Section 498A of IPC to rope in their husbands’ relatives — including parents, minor children, siblings and grandparents — in criminal cases and said it was high time such frivolous cases which violated the human rights of innocent was checked.
- The above observation is a shift from the dominant judicial conception of women as victims who would silently suffer injustice rather than bring disrepute to their family by taking domestic conflict outside the four walls of the home.
Family welfare committee (FWC) and other mechanism recommended
- The Supreme Court directed all states to set up family welfare committee (FWC) in each district and tasked them with testing the veracity of every complaint.
- The bench ruled that all such complaints received by the police or the magistrate must be referred to the family welfare committee and no action should be taken against the husband and the in-laws till the committee gave its report after interacting with the parties.
- Report of such committee be given to the authority by whom the complaint is referred to, latest within one month from the date of receipt of complaint
- The court also said bail applications of husband and in-laws should be decided expeditiously by trial courts, preferably the same day it is filed.
- The court further said impounding of passports or issuance of Red Corner Notice against person living abroad should be avoided and personal appearance of husband’s family members should not be insisted upon by trial courts in dowry harassment cases.
- It also directed that a designated police officer should be appointed to deal with complaints under Section 498A.
Union Government’s stand on the issue
- Government told the SC that right to privacy is a fundamental right but it is a “wholly qualified right”
- Government stand means ‘right to privacy’ could be subject to reasonable restrictions
Change in stance
- This is contrary to the government’s earlier stand that citizens cannot invoke privacy as a fundamental right as the Constitution does not provide for it
Does this covers the issue related to Aadhar?
- Government also made it clear that the submission was not intended to cover the challenge to Aadhaar
- It means that those challenging it cannot claim that it violates right to privacy
- The Madras high court has advised family courts not to treat husbands like “armless soldiers” and not to order them to pay maintenance to wives in a “mechanical manner.”
- A man is a son to his parents and is liable to maintain his aged parents as well, the high court said, adding that family courts should not brush this aspect aside lightly and go to the extent of paying even two-thirds of his income to his estranged wife.
Section 125 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973
125. Order for maintenance of wives, children and parents.
(1) If any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain-
(a) his wife, unable to maintain herself, or
(b) his legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, unable to maintain itself, or
1. Subs. by Act 45 of 1978, s. 12, for” Chief Judicial Magistrate” (w. e. f, 18- 12- 1978 ).
(c) his legitimate or illegitimate child (not being a married daughter) who has attained majority, where such child is, by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury unable to maintain itself, or
(d) his father or mother, unable to maintain himself or herself, a Magistrate of the first class may, upon proof of such neglect or refusal, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, at such monthly rate not exceeding five hundred rupees in the whole, as such Magistrate thinks fit, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct: Provided that the Magistrate may order the father of a minor female child referred to in clause (b) to make such allowance, until she attains her majority, if the Magistrate is satisfied that the husband of such minor female child, if married, is not possessed of sufficient means. Explanation.- For the purposes of this Chapter,-
(a) ” minor” means a person who, under the provisions of the Indian Majority Act, 1875 (9 of 1875 ); is deemed not to have attained his majority;
(b) ” wife” includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried.
(2) Such allowance shall be payable from the date of the order, or, if so ordered, from the date of the application for maintenance.
(3) If any person so ordered fails without sufficient cause to comply with the order, any such Magistrate may, for every breach of the order, issue a warrant for levying the amount due in the manner provided for levying fines, and may sentence such person, for the whole or any part of each month’ s allowances remaining unpaid after the execution of the warrant, to imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or until payment if sooner made: Provided that no warrant shall be issued for the recovery of any amount due under this section unless application be made to the Court to levy such amount within a period of one year from the date on which it became due: Provided further that if such person offers to maintain his wife on condition of her living with him, and she refuses to live with him, such
Magistrate may consider any grounds of refusal stated by her, and may make an order under this section notwithstanding such offer, if he is satisfied that there is just ground for so doing. Explanation.- If a husband has contracted marriage with another woman or keeps a mistress, it shall be considered to be just ground for his wife’ s refusal to live with him.
(4) No Wife shall be entitled to receive an allowance from her husband under this section if she is living in adultery, or if, without any sufficient reason, she refuses to live with her husband, or if they are living separately by mutual consent.
(5) On proof that any wife in whose favour an order has been made under this section is living in adultery, or that without sufficient reason she refuses to live with her husband, or that they are living separately by mutual consent, the Magistrate shall cancel the order.
- The US has reaffirmed its support to India’s membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and said it has called on other members of the elite grouping to back New Delhi’s application.
- India has applied for the membership of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which controls international nuclear trade.
- The Department of Defence and Department of State in its report submitted to Congress as required under National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 also re-affirmed its support for India’s membership in the Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement as soon as India meets each group’s membership criteria.
Highlights of the report
- The US and India share a commitment to preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
- Since 2010, the US has supported India’s membership in the four multilateral export control regimes — Wassenaar Arrangement, NSG, Australia Group, and the Missile Technology Control Regime — as India prepared to take the steps required for membership in each one
- The US, the report said, welcomed India as a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime and its subscription to the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation in June 2016.
- The report notes that the future leadership of Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) will consist of an individual with experience in defence acquisition and technology to reinforce and ensure the success of the US-India Defence Relationship.
- Since 2008, the US and India have concluded more than USD 15 billion in defence trade, including the transfer from the US to India of C-130J and C-17 transport aircraft, P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, Harpoon missiles, Apache and Chinook helicopters, and M777 light-weight Howitzers.
- India operates the second largest C-17 and P-8 fleets in the world, recently using its C-17s to deliver humanitarian assistance to Nepal and evacuate civilians from Yemen.
- The US had designated India a “Major Defence Partner” in June 2016 intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.
- In 2012, the US Department of Defence and India’s Ministry of Defence established the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) as a means of strengthening industrial cooperation and moving away from the traditional “buyer- seller” approach.
- In February, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority slashed prices of stents by up to 85 per cent
- Thousands of patients who couldn’t afford stents can now afford the devices at a fraction of the cost
What are Stents?
- Stents are tiny metal tubes coated with medication, which are inserted into clogged arteries to keep them flowing well.
When it is used?
- Emergency angioplasty is the treatment of choice during an acute heart attack, wherein the clot is crushed with a balloon and a stent is placed.
- It improves the chance of the patient surviving by almost 30 per cent when compared to clot dissolving medication (thrombolysis).
- However, in India, emergency angioplasty was carried out in less than 10 per cent of patients because of the cost involved in the procedure and the lack of access to stents.
Capping the prices- unintended ramifications on different sectors
- Preference for stenting even in cases when it is not the best treatment and disturbing increase in multi-vessel stenting.
- With cheaper stents and a fall in procedure costs, many more patients are opting for angioplasty.
- Patients with multiple blocks in all three vessels, open heart surgery is a better than the use of multiple stents. However, with lower stent prices, patients often choose multi-vessel angioplasty as it is cheaper than open heart surgery
- Even the latest drug-eluting stents get clogged in about 5 per cent of cases.
- With the increasing use of the tiny metal tubes, the chances of a stent blocking with consequent damage to the heart muscle will only increase.
Indigenous development of stents
- Stent manufacturers typically spend millions of dollars on research before they can make the device and commercialise it.
- Abruptly reducing stent prices will have adverse effects on the development of improved stents.
- International companies may be able to offset their losses with profits in other markets, and from profits from other products
- Even before the price control move was instituted, only 40 per cent of the stents used in the country were indigenously manufactured; the rest were imported.
- With prices of imported stents and Indian stents now being the same, doctors and patients could prefer the imported devices
- All these will have a bearing on their capacity to do quality research.
- Lack of government funding for clinical research in India only aggravates the issue.
- Lack of indigenous research and development will make the country dependent on imported stents
- Multinational companies may choose not to release their latest products in India because of the country’s price control regime
- Such an alarming scenario might pertain not only to stent technology but also to research and marketing of other implantable devices.
- It end up with a situation where hospitals in the country would have older generation stents.
- Patients hoping to have advanced stents may have to travel abroad
Medical tourism sector
- It will become apparent that Indian hospitals do not have the latest generation stents.
- With time, paradoxically, patients who were the intended benefactors of this price control measure may actually turn out to be losers.
- Encourage and support Indian stent manufacturers and medical device research so that we do no need to depend on imported stents.
- All aspects involving medical device development (clinical research, animal testing, and human trials) must be fast-tracked and should be as transparent as possible.
- There must be a system to make sure that the latest medical devices, including stents, are priced differently.
- Once such a level of competency is achieved, India could actually export stents, making “Make in India” viable for medical devices.
- The Union Cabinet approved the new wage code bill which will ensure a minimum wage across all sectors by integrating four labour related laws.
The new wage code
- The Labour Code on Wages Bill will consolidate the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Payment of Wages Act, 1936; the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965; and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
- The bill seeks to empower the Centre to set a minimum wage across all sectors in the country and states will have to maintain that.
- However, states will be able to provide for higher minimum wage in their jurisdiction than fixed by the central government
- The new minimum wage norms would be applicable for all workers irrespective of their pay.
- At present, the minimum wages fixed by the Centre and states are applicable to workers getting up to Rs 18,000 pay monthly.
- This would ensure a universal minimum wage for all industries and workers, including those getting monthly pay higher than Rs 18,000
Second National Commission on Labour
- It has recommended that the existing labour laws should be broadly grouped into four or five labour codes on functional basis.
- Accordingly, ministry has taken steps for drafting four Labour Codes on — Wages; Industrial Relations; Social Security & Welfare and Safety and Working Conditions, respectively.
- It will be done by simplifying, amalgamating and rationalising the relevant provisions of the existing central labour laws.
Easier Visa Norms
- India is pushing for easier norms on movement of professionals for short-term work in 16 Asia-Pacific nations, under the RCEP
- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed FTA
- The RCEP technical level talks are currently going on in Hyderabad
Possible support from ASEAN countries
- A few ASEAN countries are also supporting India’s proposal for an RCEP Travel Card
- The Travel Card will facilitate visa-free multiple short-term entry across the RCEP region for business and tourism purposes
Concerns of RCEP Members
- According to some members, Travel card would lead to migration of professionals from India and loss of jobs for locals
- But India has been saying that its demands on temporary movement of professionals and skilled workers should not be confused with permanent movement (or immigration)
More RCEP nations seek commitments on market access
- Members of the RCEP wants India to open up its more than $300 billion-worth public procurement market
- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed mega Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
- Many countries pushing for binding commitments to mutually liberalise government procurement markets, including themselves and India involved in the mega-FTA talks
What is Public/government procurement?
- It refers to the process by which government (at the Central, State and local levels), its agencies/departments and State-owned enterprises procure goods and/or services
- Only for their own use, and not for sale/resale commercially
- India is not a signatory to the Government Procurement Agreement within the WTO framework
- Why: because it wants to retain its policy space to meet its development needs through public procurement process
Other developments on the issue
- Currently, 19th round of the RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee meeting at the technical level is going on at the Hyderabad
- Here, the 16 countries agreed to constitute a Working Group on government procurement to take forward negotiations on the topic and include it as a separate chapter in the final agreement
Nothing here for Today!!!
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. The Kachin Hills make a boundary between India and which of the following neighbors?
Question 2. Consider the following statements about the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP):
- It is mandated to recommend minimum support prices (MSPs)
- Union Agriculture Minister is the ex-officio chairperson of the commission
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 Only
- 2 Only
- Both 1& 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Question 3. Umiam Lake, also known as Barapani Lake, is located in which state?
Question 4. Tat Tvam Asi, a sanskrit phrase, originally occurs in which of the following Upanishads?
- Mundaka Upanishad
- Chandogya Upanishad
- Brhadaranyaka Upanishad
- Mandukya Upanishad
Question 5. Constitution of India guarantees which of the following to the states of India?
- Territorial Integrity
- Right to secede from Union
- None of them
GS Paper I
- “Any young man, who makes dowry a condition to marriage, discredits his education and his country and dishonors womanhood” Comment?
GS Paper IV
- Do you consider the practice of dowry as unethical and immoral? Justify your answer.
- You are a no-nonsense, honest officer. You have been transferred to a remote district to head a department that is notorious for its inefficiency and callousness. You find that the main cause of the poor state of affairs is the indiscipline of a section of employees. They do not work themselves and also disrupt the working of others. You first warned the troublemakers to mend their ways or else face disciplinary action. When the warning had little effect, you issued a show cause notice to the ringleaders. As a retaliatory measure, these troublemakers instigated a woman employee amongst them to file a complaint of sexual harassment against you with the Women’s Commission. The Commission promptly seeks your explanation. The matter is also publicized in the media to embarrass you further. Some of the options to handle this situation could be as follows:
- Give your explanation to the Commission and go soft on the disciplinary action.
- Ignore the Commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action.
- Brief your higher-ups, seek directions from them and act accordingly.
Suggest any other possible option(s). Evaluate all of them and suggest the best course of action, giving your reasons for it.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis.
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