The HINDU Notes – 04th June 2019 - VISION

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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 04th June 2019

📰 Mandatory Hindi goes out of draft education policy

New version removes clause stipulating the languages students must choose

•The clause recommending mandatory teaching of Hindi in all schools was dropped from the draft National Education Policy on Monday, after the Union government faced an intense backlash from Tamil Nadu and protests from some other States.

•However, the revised draft — uploaded by the Human Resource Development Ministry on Monday morning — retains the recommendation to introduce a three-language formula from Class 1 onwards, merely having removed the clause stipulating the specific languages that students must choose.

•The revision was not effected by the Central government but by the committee drafting the policy, headed by former ISRO chief K. Kasturirangan.

Alternative option

•Speaking to The Hindu , Dr. Kasturirangan said, “This was an alternative option already approved by us. We had kept options for many controversial cases. It is something I learnt from my ISRO days, to always have a backup ready. If you look at the overall policy, there is substantial space devoted to recognising the diversity and multilingual nature of the country, and giving autonomy to the States. This [clause] was slightly out of step with the spirit in which the policy was written. So we thought the other formulation removes any misunderstanding and assuages feelings in the affected States.”

•Since the original draft was released on Friday evening, all Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have severely criticised the recommendations.

•The ruling AIADMK, an ally of the NDA government in the Centre, also refused to dilute the State’s two-language formula.

•Protests were also reported over the weekend in West Bengal, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Rigid approach

•The controversial sentence appeared in Section 4.5.9, titled ‘Flexibility in the choice of languages’. It said: “...students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking States would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking States would include the regional language, Hindi and English.”

•It has now been replaced by the following: “students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations some time during secondary school.”

📰 Kejriwal offers free travel for women using public transport

Opposition decries the move as ‘misleading’, ‘poll plank’

•Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced that the Delhi government intended to subsidise travel in public transport for women commuters in the Capital.

•While the modalities of the scheme were still being worked out, the government intended to allow them free travel on metro trains and State-run buses “by August-September,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

•The CM claimed the scheme was in line with his government’s intent to encourage the use of public transport, make it “safer” and to promote the participation of more women in the city’s workforce.

•The Opposition decried the move as “misleading” and a “poll plank” inspired by Mr. Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party’s defeat in the recent Lok Sabha election.

•It also questioned why no such efforts had been made over the last four-and-a-half years that the AAP government had been in power.

•“It will be up to [women] commuters to purchase tickets or not; government departments have been asked to work on the proposal and present it for consideration within a week,” the Chief Minister said.

📰 Focus is on Ayushman Bharat: Health Minister

Harsh Vardhan cycles to work

•The Health Ministry will focus on strengthening preventive strategies so that people adopt a healthy lifestyle, said Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who took charge on Monday and cycled to his office.

•The Minister added that maintaining good health is as much the responsibility of an individual as it is the government’s duty.

•“Everyone has to ensure that they undertake some form of physical activity each day and follow a disciplined lifestyle, which is supplemented by the intake of balanced food,” he said.

•Speaking about the Central government’s flagship insurance policy Ayushman Bharat, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said: “We will consider more easy accessibility, and expanding eligibility criteria, to include those poor and vulnerable people who have been left out from the current PMJAY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana) list. Also, efforts are being made for empanelling more private hospitals.”

📰 SC says a single blow could amount to murder

Sets aside a MP High Court judgment

•It may amount to murder if the death of a person is caused by a single blow to a vital part of his body, the Supreme Court reiterated in a recent judgment.

•A Vacation Bench led by Justice M.R. Shah reiterated the principle while setting aside a Madhya Pradesh High Court judgment, which had altered the conviction of the accused from murder to culpable homicide.

•“Even in a case of a single blow, but on a vital part of the body, the case may fall under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC, and the accused can be held guilty for the offence under Section 302 of the IPC,” the apex court observed.

•However, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, the injury was caused by the accused in a free fight. The victim suffered a single blow to the head with the blunt side of a farsa . The injury had proved to be fatal.

•“In the facts and circumstances of the case, and considering the evidence on record, we are of the opinion that the accused should have been held guilty of the offence under Section 304 Part I of the IPC,” the court concluded.

•The court ordered the convict to surrender and serve out the remaining part of his sentence.

📰 ‘UdChalo’ to give a new lease of life to wounded soldiers

Initiative to be launched at Army rehabilitation centre today

•In a bid to make wounded soldiers, who are now confined to wheelchairs, self-reliant, an initiative ‘UdChalo’ is all set to take off at the Army’s Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) in Punjab’s Mohali.

•‘UdChalo’ is a travel portal, that caters for the personal travel of the military and paramilitary forces personnel by aggregating defence fares and getting exclusive discounts. The PRC has joined hands with UdChalo with an aim to empower the disabled military veterans.

•“Eight of our residents have started working with UdChalo after the requisite training. They will work in shifts for two hours a day and will be paid Rs. 5,000 a month. The initiative will be formally inaugurated by Lt. Gen. P.M. Bali AVSM VSM, the Chief of Staff of Western Command, on June 4,” said Col. (retd.) G.S. Chadda, director of the institute.

‘Purpose in life’

•Col. Chadda points out that paraplegic and quadraplegic veterans have found a purpose in life through ‘UdChalo’, when they interact with fellow soldiers and resolve their concerns.

•“It is a life re-lived. The initiative is unique and has given a new lease of life of these soldiers who are now confined to wheelchairs,” he said. PRC provides institutionalised care to soldiers, who are wounded in military or insurgency operations and can’t adequately provide for themselves the constant medical care associated with quadriplegia and paraplegia. Currently, PRC has 31 ex-servicemen from across the country.

•Col. (retd) Chadda, said: “We give them vocational training so that after leaving the institute they can earn their livelihood. We need to understand that they have to bear the expense of their wheelchairs, which have a life of around seven years. They need a customised ergonomically designed house where they can access their belongings, etc. For all this, one needs financial independence.”

📰 Rouhani rules out talks till U.S. acts ‘normal’

‘The enemy should realise its mistake’

•Iran’s President on Monday ruled out negotiations with Washington until it acts “normal”, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is ready to talk to Tehran without preconditions.

•“The party that has left the negotiating table, the party that has trampled the pact must return to a normal” behaviour, Hassan Rouhani said. “If the enemy truly realises that the path it took was wrong, that will be the day to sit at the negotiation table and fix any issue,” he added.

•On Saturday, Mr. Rouhani had insisted that Iran would not be “bullied” into talks with the United States, saying “total respect” was needed for negotiations to take place.

📰 RBI sets banks’ group exposure limit at 25% of capital base

Caps exposure to single party at 20%, in new guidelines

•The Reserve Bank of India has decided to reduce banks’ exposure to a group of connected parties to 25% of its capital base, while the exposure to a single party has been capped at 20%. However, bank boards can allow an additional 5% exposure in ‘exceptional cases.’

•Till now, a bank’s exposure to a single borrower and a borrower group was restricted to 15% and 40% of capital funds respectively.

•The central bank, which notified a new framework for large exposures of banks, on Monday decided to exclude entities connected with the sovereign from definition of group of connected counterparties.

•The RBI has introduced economic interdependence criteria in definition of connected counterparties in the new guidelines. “The sum of all the exposure values of a bank to a single counterparty must not be higher than 20% of the bank’s available eligible capital base at all times,” the RBI said. “The sum of all the exposure values of a bank to a group of connected counterparties must not be higher than 25% of the bank’s available eligible capital base at all times,” the new norms said. Banks have to report large exposures — defined as 10% of capital — to RBI.

•“In some cases, a bank may have exposures to a group of counterparties with specific relationships or dependencies such that, were one of the counterparties to fail, all of the counterparties would very likely fail. A group of this sort, referred to in this framework as a group of connected counterparties, must be treated as a single counterparty,” it said.

📰 HC stays Centre notification on commercial rights of ships

Petitioners had contended that the notification was irrational

•The Delhi High Court has stayed a Central government notification under the ‘Make in India’ programme, under which an Indian-built ship gets commercial rights higher than an Indian flag vessel’ in securing Indian business.

•By the February notification, it was decided that the chartering of ships/vessels through open/global tender process should give preference to bidders who offer Indian built ships.

•Justice Suresh Kumar Kait remarked that the February notification “may result in increase in shipping capacity as also chartering of ships by non-ship owners”.

•“The proposed new regime under the impugned notification, in fact, attempt to create a scenario wherein a foreign-built, foreign-owned, foreign flag vessel is treated on the same pedestal as a foreign-built, Indian-owned and Indian flag vessel,” the judge said.

•The High Court, which had in March this year stayed the notification, remarked that the notification and circular are against the Scheme of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

•The court order came on a bunch of petition challenging the notification on the ground that the new regime post the notification created a scenario when an Indian flag vessel owned and offered by an Indian citizen/Indian company/ Indian society is placed on the same pedestal as a foreign flag vessel offered by an Indian citizen/ Indian company/ Indian society.

📰 Govt. to hold spectrum auctions this year: Prasad

5G trials will begin in 100 days

•The government plans to hold auctions for spectrum, including for 5G services, in the current calendar year, Union Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday.

•Mr. Prasad, who took over from Manoj Sinha, added that the government intends to begin 5G trials in the next 100 days. The decision is significant as spectrum auctions are a major source of revenue — the 2016-17 auctions yielded Rs. 65,789 crore.

Industry cautious

•However, major telecom firms have opposed putting 5G spectrum on sale, arguing that the industry needs time to develop India-specific use cases for the next-generation technology. They also pointed out that prices recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) are too high for the financially stressed sector.

•Mr. Prasad said he would soon hold discussions with industry representatives on the challenges they face and work on addressing them.

•Asked about whether Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei will be allowed to participate in the upcoming 5G trials, the Minister said it was a “complex issue” and would be looked at seriously.

📰 Mutation that protects against HIV raises death rate

Study suggests that tinkering with gene may cause problems

•People with a DNA mutation that reduces their chance of HIV infection may die sooner, according to a study that suggests tinkering with a gene to try to fix one problem may cause others.

•The study authors cited the case of the Chinese researcher who tried to produce this mutation in twin girls before their birth, to reduce their risk for HIV.

•“You should consider all the effects of mutations you induce,” said Rasmus Nielsen, senior author of the paper, published on Monday in Nature Medicine .

•Mr. Nielsen acknowledged that his result cannot be applied directly to the two girls in China. For one thing, his study focussed on a sample of people in the U.K. who may have different genetic backgrounds than the Chinese girls.

•In addition, the people he studied had inherited a specific mutation. The Chinese scientist tried to create the same mutation, but failed. The girls now carry different alterations in the same gene.

Heightens risk

•The gene is called CCR5. When it is working normally, it lets certain cells of the immune system display a protein on their surfaces. HIV has co-opted that protein to use as a doorway to infect those cells. The mutation prevents that protein from appearing, and so reduces the risk of HIV infection.

•Mr. Nielsen and Xinzhu Wei, also at UC Berkeley, studied data on about 4,00,000 people.

•About 4,000 participants carried the mutation in both copies, of whom 151 were dead. Analysis focused on deaths between ages 41 and 76.

•The study found that participants with the mutation in both copies had a death rate about 20% higher than that of the others. A second analysis showed that at the time participants signed up for the databank, when their average age was about 57, there were fewer people with the mutation in both copies of the gene than one would expect. That’s another sign of a higher death rate.