The HINDU Notes – 28th May 2019 - VISION

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 28th May 2019

πŸ“° BIMSTEC heads invited to PM’s swearing-in

Imran Khan not on list of invitees for May 30 event

•India has invited several heads of state, including those from the Bay of Bengal community (BIMSTEC) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony on May 30.

•“The Government of India has invited the leaders of the BIMSTEC Member States for the swearing-in ceremony. This is in line with the government’s focus on its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy,” the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday.

•The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation includes Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, India and Thailand and received sustained attention during Mr. Modi’s first term.

•President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov and Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth were among the invitees, the statement said. Kyrgyzstan is the current chair of the SCO, and will host the organisation’s summit in Bishkek next month.

•Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid is expected to attend the ceremony, diplomatic sources said on Monday. Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tsering are also expected to attend. Unlike 2014, leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Maldives are not among the invitees. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had called up Mr. Modi during the weekend, and congratulated him on being re-elected. Premier of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina had called Mr. Modi in the afternoon of May 23 as news came in of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s landslide victory. During the phone call, both leaders had decided to identify dates for a meeting at the earliest. However a 12-day foreign tour will keep Ms. Hasina from the swearing-in.

πŸ“° India among countries where women face most violence by partner

WHO findings suggest that it can negatively affect a woman’s physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health

•Global estimates published by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

•Worldwide as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner. What makes this worse for countries like India is the fact that intimate partner violence is the highest at 37.7% in the WHO South-East Asia region.

•As per figures released by WHO, the violence ranges from 23.2% in high-income countries and 24.6% in the WHO Western Pacific region to 37% in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region.

•“Violence against women — particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence — is a major public health problem and a violation of women’s human rights. WHO together with UN Women and other partners has developed a framework for prevention of violence against women called Respect which can be used by governments to counter this menace,” noted WHO.

Multiple ramifications

•Meanwhile, healthcare professionals cautioned that violence can negatively affect a woman’s physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health, and may increase the risk of acquiring HIV in some settings.

•Explaining how gender-based violence is perpetrated, the global health organisation said that men are more likely to perpetrate violence if they have low education, a history of child maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence against their mothers, harmful use of alcohol, unequal gender norms, including attitudes accepting of violence, and a sense of entitlement over women.

•Women are more likely to experience intimate partner violence if they have low education, exposure to mothers being abused by a partner, abuse during childhood, and attitudes accepting violence, male privilege and women’s subordinate status.

•Warning that intimate partner violence cause serious short-and long-term problems for women and adversely affect their children besides leading to high social and economic costs for women, their families and societies, WHO said: “There is now evidence that advocacy and empowerment counselling interventions, as well as home visitation are promising in preventing or reducing intimate partner violence against women.’’

πŸ“° In joint family, brother-in-law has liability to pay maintenance to domestic violence victim: SC

•Even the brother-in-law has a liability to pay maintenance to a victim under the Domestic Violence Act if they had lived together under the same roof in a shared household as part of a joint family at any point of time, the Supreme Court has held.

•A Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta interpreted the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 to confirm an order of a Panipat Sessions Judge that Ajay Kumar should pay maintenance to the widow and minor child of his dead brother.

•Both brothers lived in the ancestral family home on different floors with their respective families and together ran a shop. After the brother’s death, the widow was not permitted to live in the same house. In July 2015, the sessions court ordered him to pay Rs. 4,000 as monthly maintenance to his brother’s widow and Rs. 2,000 to the child.

•Kumar unsuccessfully appealed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which upheld the trial court decision. Subsequently, he moved the apex court.

Definition by SC

•In a nine-page order, the apex court Bench interpreted what the expression ‘domestic relationship’ means under the 2005 Act.

•They held that the term meant a “relationship where two persons live or have lived together at any point of time in a shared household when they are related by consanguinity, marriage or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are members living together as a joint family”.

•It read the term “shared household” to include “such a household which may belong to the joint family of which the respondent is a member, irrespective of whether the respondent or the aggrieved person has any right, title or interest in the shared household”.

πŸ“° U.S. is not seeking regime change in Iran, says Trump

President makes historic visit to meet Japan Emperor

•The U.S. does not seek “regime change” in Iran, President Donald Trump said on Monday, also praising North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in comments made during a historic visit to meet Japan’s new Emperor.

•Speaking at a joint press conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mr. Trump seemed at pains to dial down tensions in the world’s two most pressing flashpoints as the U.S. faces off against Tehran and Pyongyang.

•Iran “has a chance to be a great country, with the same leadership. We’re not looking for regime change, I want to make that clear. We’re looking for no nuclear weapons,” said the President, who became the first foreign leader invited to meet freshly crowned Emperor Naruhito, with a state visit and banquet.

•“I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal. I think that’s very smart of them and I think there’s a possibility for that to happen also.”

•Addressing another hot-button issue, Mr. Trump doubled down on his backing for Mr. Kim despite two short-range missile tests that sparked renewed concern in the region after a period of relative calm.

•Asked about the missile tests, Mr. Trump said: “My people think it could have been a violation... I view it as a man who perhaps wants to get attention.”

πŸ“° Burnout a medical condition, says WHO

Describes it as a ‘syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’

•The World Health Organization has for the first time recognised “burn-out” in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is widely used as a benchmark for diagnosis and health insurers.

•The decision, reached during the World Health Assembly in Geneva, which wraps up on Tuesday, could help put to rest decades of debate among experts over how to define burnout, and whether it should be considered a medical condition.

Three dimensions

•In the latest update of its catalogue of diseases and injuries around the world, WHO defines burn-out as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

•It said the syndrome was characterised by three dimensions: “1) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 2) increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and 3) reduced professional efficacy.”

•“Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life,” according to the classification.

Updated list

•The updated ICD list, dubbed ICD-11, was drafted last year following recommendations from health experts around the world, and was approved on Saturday.

•“This is the first time” burnout has been included in the classification, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.

•The ICD-11, which is to take effect in January 2022, contains several other additions, including classification of “compulsive sexual behaviour” as a mental disorder, although it stops short of lumping the condition together with addictive behaviours.

•It does however for the first time recognise video gaming as an addiction, listing it alongside gambling and drugs like cocaine.

•The updated list removes transgenderism from its list of mental disorders meanwhile, listing it instead under the chapter on “conditions related to sexual health”.

πŸ“° SEBI tightens disclosure norms for listed debt securities

Company websites must display details of payment, redemption schedules

•To further safeguard the interest of investors in listed debt securities, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has tightened the disclosure norms for entities that have issued such securities.

•In a circular issued on Monday, the capital market watchdog made it mandatory for such companies to disclose on their websites the schedule of interest and redemption obligations for the complete financial year.

Within a day of due date

•Further, the status of payments has to be updated within one day of the due date, which effectively means that any default or delay will be disclosed within a day of the due date.

•According to the SEBI, the enhanced disclosure norms have been issued to “further secure the interests of investors in listed debt securities, enhance transparency and to enable Debenture Trustees (DTs) to perform their duties effectively and promptly.”

•“DTs shall display on their website... details of interest/ redemption due to the debenture holders in respect of all issues during a financial year within 5 working days of start of financial year,” stated the SEBI circular, while adding that the debenture trustees will also have to update such details for any new issues handled during the financial year within five days of closure of the issue.

•“DTs shall also update the status of payment... against such issuers not later than 1 day from the due date. In case the payment is made with a delay by the issuer, DTs shall update the calendar specifying the date of such payment, with a remark ‘delayed payment’,” said the circular.

•For privately-placed debt securities, SEBI has made it mandatory for the inclusion of a clause stating that at least 2% per annum interest would be paid over the coupon rate in case of a default in meeting the payment obligations. The additional interest would be payable by the company for the tenure of the defaulting period.

πŸ“° Draft export policy unveiled

Product-specific rules to offer ready reckoner for exporters

•The Commerce Ministry has come out with a comprehensive draft of the export policy which includes product- specific rules with a view to provide a ready reckoner for exporters.

•“Based on inputs received from various partner government agencies, it is proposed to bring out a comprehensive exports policy for all ITC (HS) tariff codes (including items which are ‘free’ for export and do not currently exist in the policy), covering conditions/restrictions imposed by partner government agencies on exports,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said.

•The draft policy aims at consolidating the export norms for each product as applicable at different government agencies.

•ITC-HS Codes are Indian Trade Clarification based on Harmonised System of Coding. It was adopted by India for import-export operations.

•Every product has been accorded eight digit HS codes. The compendium will help an exporter know all the applicable norms pertaining to a particular product, helping him/her understand policy conditions for that item.

Consolidating norms

•This exercise is for consolidating the norms and not for making any changes in the existing export policy of the country. The DGFT said that the updated draft had been prepared by including all existing policy conditions, all notifications and public notices issued after January 2018. Besides, it also includes non-tariff regulations imposed by different government agencies.

•Commenting on the move, exporters body Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said that it would provide a “ready reckoner” for traders and help in digitisation.

•“It will help exporters in understanding export norms and conditions for items,” FIEO director general Ajay Sahai said.

•The directorate had sought the views of all stake holders on the draft.

•A similar policy exists for import purposes also. While Schedule 1 deals with imports, Schedule 2 deals with export related matters.

πŸ“° New code in offing for textile, clothing sector

May improve staff working conditions

•The ‘Social and Labor Convergence Programme (SLCP),’ an initiative to have a standard-neutral, converged assessment framework for the textile and clothing industry, will be launched in India shortly.

•According to K.V. Srinivasan, chairman of The Cotton Textiles and Export Promotion Council (Texprocil), the issues of social and labour compliance had become highly relevant in labour-intensive industries, including in the textile and clothing sector.

•The SLCP is not a code of conduct or compliance programme. The converged assessment framework is a tool developed by the SLCP, which provides a data set with no value judgment or scoring. It is, however, compatible with existing audit systems and codes of conduct. This means that the same data set can be used by a wide-range of stakeholders. It eliminates the need for repetitive audits to be carried out on the same facility.

•A statement said the initiative is led by world’s leading manufacturers, brands, retailers, industry groups, non-governmental organisations and service providers. The objective of the initiative Its aim is to improve the working conditions in textile units by allowing resources that were previously designated for compliance audits to be redirected towards the improvement of social and labour conditions.

•This is a voluntary adoption by the textile and clothing makers. For the exporting units, it will reduce the number of social audits and facilitate measuring of employment practices, thus improving working conditions and employee relations. It also redeploys resources towards improvement actions and fosters collaboration between supply chain partners. The SLCP would be holding free seminars at Mumbai, Bengaluru, Tiruppur, and New Delhi and will launch operations in India, China, Sri Lanka and Taiwan this month.

πŸ“° ‘World’s rivers loaded with antibiotics waste’

Some exceed safety limits by 300 times

•Rivers worldwide are polluted with antibiotics that exceed environmental safety thresholds by up to 300 times, according to research unveiled at a conference on Monday.

•Scientists found one or more common antibiotics in two-thirds of 711 samples taken from rivers in 72 countries, they told a meeting of environmental toxicologists in Helsinki.

•In dozens of locations, concentrations of the drugs — used to fight off bacterial infection in people and livestock — exceeded safety levels set by the AMR Industry Alliance, a grouping of more than 100 biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

•Ciprofloxacin, a frontline treatment for intestinal and urinary tract infections, surpassed the industry threshold at 51 of the sites tested.

•At one location in Bangladesh, concentrations of another widely used antibiotic, metronidazole, were 300 times above the limit, the researchers said.

•“The results are quite eye opening and worrying,” Alistair Boxall, a scientist at the York environmental Sustainability Institute, said in a statement.

•The widespread presence of antibiotics not only impacts wildlife, but likely contributes to the problem of antimicrobial resistance.

•The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the world is running out of antibiotics that still work, and has called on industry and governments to urgently develop a new generation of drugs.

•Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics have saved tens of millions of lives from pneumonia, tuberculosis, meningitis and a host of deadly bacteria.

•Overuse and misuse of the drugs are thought to be the main causes of antimicrobial resistance.

Thames to Tigris

•But the growing presence of antibiotics in the environment may be a key factor too, the new research suggests.

•Safety limits were most frequently exceeded in Asia and Africa, but samples from Europe and the Americas showed that the problem is global in scope.

•The countries with the highest levels of antibiotic river pollution were Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria.

•Within Europe, one site in Austria had the biggest concentrations anywhere on the continent.

•Water samples were collected from the Danube, Mekong, Seine, Thames, Tigris, Chao Phraya and dozens of other rivers.

πŸ“° Water troughs to be set up to prevent deer deaths

Five sambar deer died while crossing highway near Meghamalai sanctuary

•The onset of summer has claimed the lives of at least five Sambar deer since March 2019 while they were foraging across highways in Gandamanur range of Meghamalai Wildlife Sancturary in search of water. Most recently, on May 21, a two-year-old sambar deer died due to internal organ failure after being hit by an unidentified vehicle.

•In a bid to combat more such deaths, the Forest department had submitted a proposal to establish at least five new water troughs inside the range, said Wildlife Warden Sachin Bhosale. They had also identified seven vulnerable locations, where speed breakers would be constructed.

•Gandamanur range spreads across 19,000 hectares and has a variety of animals. There are spotted deer, sambar deer, barking deer, langurs, sloth bears, wild boars and leopards in this range.

•A highway leading from Theni’s Mayiladumparai to Kadamalaikundu separates the Gandamanur reserve forest from Vaigai river that runs parallel to the forest area.

•Honorary Wildlife Warden, Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, C. R. Rajkumar said that the landscape had many bends. “Animals cannot hear or see too many vehicles here. Establishing water troughs is important, but the presence of speed breakers is pertinent. They will prevent both animal and human mortality,” he said, and added that animals were genetically drawn towards water and grazing pastures and hence crossed the road to quench their thirst.

•Mr. Bhosale said that the area already had percolation ponds and check dams. However, they too were dependant on rainfall. “The five ponds will have solar-powered borewells which will provide proper water supply,” he said.

πŸ“° Akash missile test-fired successfully

DRDO launched the latest version of the surface-to-air missile system

•The DRDO on Monday successfully test-fired the new version of the Akash surface-to-air defence missile system with a new indigenously-developed seeker in Balasore off the Odisha coast.

•This is the second successful test of the missile following another on Saturday.

•The medium range multi-target engagement capable missile was developed as part of the Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) other than Nag, Agni, Trishul, and Prithvi missiles.

Highly mobile

•The supersonic missile has a range of around 25 km and up to the altitude of 18,000 metres.

•The missile uses high-energy solid propellant for the booster and ramjet-rocket propulsion for the sustainer phase. The missile system is said to be highly mobile.

•Several variants of the missile — Akash MK1, Akash-MK2 — with improved accuracy and higher ranges are under development by the DRDO.

History of the missile

•The missile system was formally inducted into the IAF on July 10, 2015, and in the Army on May 5, 2015. In September that year, the Defence Acquisition Council cleared seven additional squadrons of the missile for the IAF.

•However, it had been bogged in controversies with a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report in 2017 stating that 30% of the missiles failed when tested.

•The Army too had said in 2017 that the missile did not meet its operational requirements due to higher reaction time.

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