The HINDU Notes – 04th May 2019 - VISION

Material For Exam

Recent Update

Saturday, May 04, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 04th May 2019

📰 Commercial flights yet to take off at Hindon

•Two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a civil terminal at Indian Air Force’s Hindon airbase in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad for the government’s low-cost flying scheme, flights are yet to take off.

•The ‘civil enclave’ at the airbase was envisaged as an alternative to the congested Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, which was able to provide very few slots for flights under the regional connectivity scheme, also known as UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik). The building used to facilitate air travellers was inaugurated by the PM on March 8.

•Officials of the Airport Authority of India said that the delay in operations is because they are still in discussions with IAF regarding allocation of slots for RCS flights.

AAI writes to airlines

•On Friday, the AAI wrote to airlines to apply once again for slots for flights. An earlier attempt to secure arrival and departure slots didn't yield any result, officials said.

📰 Court to hear VVPAT review plea next week

It had rejected 50% verification of EVMs

•The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear next week a petition filed by 21 Opposition parties, led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party leader N. Chandrababu Naidu, to review its judgment rejecting 50% random physical verification of electronic voting machines using the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT).

•The review petition was filed three weeks ago after the Supreme Court, on April 8, directed the Election Commission of India to increase physical counting of VVPAT slips to five random electronic voting machines (EVMs) in each Assembly segment/constituency.

•Earlier, under the ECI guideline 16.6, only the VVPAT slips from one EVM in every Assembly segment/constituency was subjected to physical verification. Scrutiny of votes polled through five EVMs was quite enough to ensure that an election was “foolproof”, the court had said in its April verdict.

📰 Not keeping record of pre-natal tests is criminal: SC

Court dismisses plea by doctors affected by law

•In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld provisions in the anti-pre-natal sex determination law which ‘criminalises’ non-maintenance of medical records by obstetricians and gynaecologists and suspend their medical licence indefinitely.

•A Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran held that the particular provisions in the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act of 1994 were necessary to prevent female foeticide in the country.

Social legislation

•There are only 586 convictions out of 4202 cases registered even after 24 years of existence. It reflects the challenges being faced in implementing this social legislation, the court observed. The main purpose of the Act is to ban the use of sex selection and misuse of pre-natal diagnostic technique for sex selective abortions and to regulate such techniques.

•The court dismissed averments made by doctors that the provisions in the law criminalise even the smallest anomaly in paperwork which is in fact an inadvertent and unintentional error. The sections have made obstetricians and gynaecologists vulnerable to prosecution all over the country.

•“It is a responsible job of the person who is undertaking such a test i.e., the gynaecologist/medical geneticist/radiologist/ paediatrician/director of the clinic/centre/laboratory to fill the requisite information. In case he keeps it vague, he knows fully well that he is violating the provisions of the Act,” the court observed.

📰 SC remark on ‘foreigners’ detention in Assam defies constitutional obligations: rights body

“Lakhs are in limbo and now fear that they may become “stateless” because of a process that is mired in a mix of complexity, confusion, lack of precision and prejudice,” says CHRI

•A rights body, comprising a retired Supreme Court judge and a former Assam police chief, has said the apex court’s remark on the detention of ‘foreigners’ in Assam was unfortunate and “flies in the face of India’s constitutional and international obligations”.

•One of the reasons, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has pointed out, is that accounts from Assam indicate “arbitrariness and not rule of law” is often used to define those who came post 1971 from Bangladesh — of whatever religious denomination — and those who are Indian nationals.

•“Lakhs are in limbo and now fear that they may become “stateless” because of a process that is mired in a mix of complexity, confusion, lack of precision and prejudice,” a statement issued by the CHRI on Thursday night said.

•The chairperson of CHRI is Wajahat Habibullah, India’s first Chief Information Commissioner. The members include Madan B. Lokur, former Supreme Court judge; A.P. Shah, former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Nitin Desai, former Under Secretary in the United Nations, and Jayanto N. Choudhury, former Assam Director General of Police.

•“The Supreme Court needs to reaffirm India’s constitutional and international obligations to rights on complex issues of nationality, detention and deportation and not be unmindful of its own commitment to these duties,” the CHRI said.

•“As concerned citizens, we look to the Supreme Court to reaffirm India’s constitutional and international obligations to rights on sensitive issues. That is why we are disappointed by recent statements by the Chief Justice of India on a complex matter relating to illegal detention and deportation, without heeding India’s own constitutional and international obligations,” it said.

CJI’s admonition of Chief Secretary

•The statement was in reference to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s admonition of Assam Chief Secretary Alok Kumar for proposing a methodology for the release of a handful of foreign prisoners who had been in detention beyond their term of sentence for illegal entry. The rebuke was while advocating greater detention of suspected ‘foreigners’.

•“We regard these remarks as unfortunate as the case concerned the wilful violation of the human rights of hundreds of detainees who were languishing in what the court itself accepts are “inhuman conditions”, the CHRI said, referring to Article 21 that says no person in India can be deprived of her/his right to life and liberty without due process.

•“There is no deportation agreement with Bangladesh. International law lays down that such deportations can take place only with the consent of the country of origin. Bangladesh has consistently refused to accept that its citizens migrate in large numbers to India. Indeed, Bangladesh regards such unilateral efforts as harmful to a bilateral relationship that is critical for the security and stability of both countries and especially of our eastern region. We cannot place ourselves in a situation where we are seen as forcing people out at gunpoint; it would be ethically unjust, wrong in law and draw international condemnation,” it said.

•The rights body said its members were sensitive to the concerns in Assam and other parts of the country about the problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh, a long-standing issue that has defied official proclamations and pledges of “push back”, “deportation” and “detection”.

•“Any method used must be undertaken within the rule of law frame, be just and fair and designed to minimise individual hardship and tragedy. We believe there is a need that this is a tragedy of growing intensity which is gathering momentum as a result of the current National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam,” the CHRI said.

•Many of those at risk of being marked foreigners were from the bottom of the economic pyramid, unable to sustain the complex adjudication process needed to establish their citizenship. Large numbers were already in detention camps, the CHRI pointed out.

Plea to not hurry the process

•It also urged the Supreme Court to not hurry through the process of verifying the applications of 38 lakh people out the 40.07 lakh left out of the complete draft of the NRC. The court has set July 2019 as the deadline for the final list.

•“The efforts need to be steady and methodical so that the charges of arbitrariness, prejudice and poor record keeping, which have plagued the NRC process, do not stick,” the CHRI said.

📰 RBI imposes fines on PPIs for violating norms

‘They had flouted regulatory rules’

•The Reserve Bank of India has slapped monetary penalty on five pre-paid payment instrument issuers including Vodafone m-pesa and Phonepe, for violating regulatory guidelines.

•A penalty of ₹3.05 crore has been imposed on Vodafone m-pesa and ₹1 crore each on Mobile Payments, PhonePe and G.I. Technology Private Ltd.

•Also, a penalty of ₹5 lakh has been imposed on Y-Cash Software Solutions.

•In a separate statement, the central bank said it had imposed a penalty of ₹29.67 lakh on Western Union Financial Services Inc., USA., and ₹10.12 lakh on MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc, USA, for non-compliance of regulatory guidelines.

•The penalties on Western Union and MoneyGram had been imposed by the central bank under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for compounding of the contravention.

Yes Bank penalised

•RBI also imposed a penalty of ₹11.25 lakh on private sector lender Yes Bank for violation of norms pertaining to issuance and operations of PPIs.

•In a statement to the exchanges, the private sector lender said: “RBI has identified certain violations of RBI circular … on Issuance and Operation of Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) in connection with certain product features of an open loop prepaid card (co-branded) previously issued by the bank.”

•“The bank had launched this product as a pilot program from September 13, 2017, and had later discontinued this product with effect from March 14, 2018,” it added.

📰 Asia-Pacific to grow 5.7% this year: ADB

Consumer, investor behaviour may be undermined by trade tensions, says Nakao

•The Asia-Pacific region is expected to power ahead growing at 5.7% this year but escalating trade tensions are a source of worry, according to Takehiko Nakao, President and Chairperson, Asian Development Bank.

•Addressing the opening session of the Board of Governors at ADB’s 52nd Annual Meeting here, Mr. Nakao said that consumer and investor behaviour could be undermined by trade tensions between countries.

Reform, re-orient

•“There has been much debate about it but I’m a firm believer in the multilateral system,” he said, adding, “but we have to reform and reorient ourselves to earn the support of members and their taxpayers.”

•The bank’s lending grew to a record $21.6 billion in 2018, 10% higher compared to 2017. Mr. Nakao elaborated on the Strategy 2030 plan of ADB which will focus on six key areas — operational and action plans for the private sector, addressing remaining poverty and inequality, accelerating progress in gender equality, continuing to foster regional cooperation and integration, expanding private sector operations and using concessional resources effectively.

‘World comes to Fiji’

•Addressing the session, Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreque Bainimarama said: “The world has come to us. This conference marks the end of an era of missed opportunities for the Pacific region.”

•This is the single largest gathering in Fiji with over 2,000 delegates and was the first time that the ADB held its annual meeting in the Pacific region, he pointed out.

📰 ‘Don’t terminate GSP benefits to India’

25 U.S. lawmakers warn Trump administration that firms seeking to widen exports to India may be hit

•The U.S. should not terminate the GSP programme with India after the expiry of the 60-day notice period on Friday, a group of 25 influential American lawmakers urged the U.S. Trade Representative, warning that companies seeking to expand their exports to India could be hit.

•The Generalized System of Preference (GSP) is the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference programme designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.

•On March 4, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. intended to terminate India’s designations as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP programme. The 60-day notice period ends on May 3.

•On the eve of the end of the notice period, the 25 U.S. lawmakers made a last-ditch effort to convince the Trump administration from going ahead with its decision.

•The 25 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, in a passionate letter, urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to continue negotiating a deal that protects and promotes jobs that rely on trade — both imports and exports — with India.

•They argued that terminating GSP for India would hurt American companies seeking to expand their exports to India.

•“India’s termination from GSP follows its failure to provide the United States with assurances that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors,” Mr. Trump had said in a letter to Congress, providing a notice of his intent to terminate the designation of India as a beneficiary developing country under GSP programme.

•In his letter, Trump said that he was determined that New Delhi had “not assured” the U.S. that it would “provide equitable and reasonable access” to the markets of India.

•“I will continue to assess whether the Government of India is providing equitable and reasonable access to its markets, in accordance with the GSP eligibility criteria,” he wrote.

‘None will benefit’

•Expressing concern over such a move, the lawmakers said that no party — in the United States or India — would benefit from terminating GSP benefits.

•“American companies that rely on duty-free treatment for India under the GSP will pay hundreds of millions of dollars annually in new taxes. In the past, even temporary lapses in such benefits have caused companies to lay off workers, cut salaries and benefits, and delay or cancel job-creating investments in the United States,” the lawmakers said.

📰 Don’t ask us to put down arms, Taliban tells U.S.

Group responds to Khalilzad’s tweet

•The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan should stop calling on Taliban militants to lay down their arms and tell the U.S. to end the use of force instead, the Taliban said on Friday.

•Zalmay Khalilzad entered a sixth round of talks with the group in Qatar this week. “In our opening session, I underscored to the Talibs that the Afghan people... want this war to end,” he tweeted. “It is time to put down arms, stop the violence, & embrace peace.”

•Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a series of sharp tweets in response. Mr. Khalilzad “should forget about the idea of us putting down our arms”, he said. “Instead of such fantasies, he should drive the idea home (to the U.S.) about ending the use of force and incurring further human and financial losses for the decaying Kabul administration.” He said the U.S. must stop repeating failed strategies. “It would be better if [Khalilzad] musters the courage to call a spade a spade, not a gardening tool & accept the current realities.”

•In Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani renewed his appeal to hold direct talks with the Taliban and called for an agreement on a ceasefire.

•“The Afghan government is ready to announce a ceasefire if the Taliban show readiness in this regard,” he said at the closing ceremony of a ‘loya jirga’ (grand assembly).

📰 AIDS drugs prevent sexual transmission of HIV in gay men

‘The risk of transmission with suppressive ART is zero for them’

•A European study of nearly 1,000 gay male couples — who had sex without condoms where one partner had HIV and was taking anti-retroviral drugs to suppress it — has found the treatment can prevent sexual transmission of the virus.

•After eight years of follow-up of the so-called serodifferent couples, the study found no cases at all of HIV transmission within couples.

•The study proves, the researchers said, that using anti-retroviral therapy to suppress the AIDS virus to undetectable levels also means it cannot be passed on via sex, the researchers said.

•“Our findings provide conclusive evidence for gay men that the risk of HIV transmission with suppressive ART is zero,” said Alison Rodger, a professor at University College London, who co-led the research.

•She said this “powerful message” could help end the HIV pandemic by preventing the virus’ transmission in high-risk populations. In this study alone, the researchers estimate that the treatment prevented around 472 HIV transmissions during the eight years.

•The study, published in the Lancet medical journal on Thursday, assessed the risk of HIV transmission between serodifferent gay male couples — where one partner is HIV-positive and one is HIV-negative — who do not use condoms.

•Its findings add to an earlier phase of the study which looked at HIV transmission risk for serodifferent heterosexual couples in the same circumstances. It also found zero risk.

•While 15 of the men among the 972 gay couples in this phase did become infected with HIV during the eight years of follow-up, genetic testing showed their infections were with strains of HIV acquired from another sexual partner.

•Since the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, more than 77 million people have become infected with HIV. Almost half of them – 35.4 million – have died of AIDS.

•Global health experts say the fight against HIV is at a precarious point, with the annual number of AIDS deaths falling and the number of people getting anti-retroviral treatment rising, but the number of new infections stubbornly high at around 1.8 million new cases a year worldwide.

No comments:

Post a Comment