Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 04 MAY 2019
SC upholds provision of maintaining medical recordsin PCPNDT act
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Cyclone Fani hits odisha coast causing large scale destruction
- The extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani barrelled into the Odisha coast
on Friday morning, unleashing torrential rain and winds gusting up to 175
kmph, killing at least eight people, bringing rail and air transport to a
halt, and swamping towns and villages, officials said.
- The cyclonic system made landfall at 8 a.m. near the coastal pilgrim
town of Puri and brought heavy winds and rainfall to the State capital
Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
- While the system weakened to a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’, it is
expected to cause significant damage as it moves north-northeast through
coastal Odisha and West Bengal towards Bangladesh. The system lay centred
about 20 km west of Balasore and 200 km west-south west of Kolkata around
8.30 p.m. on Friday, with wind speeds of 110-120 km per hour, gusting at 135
km per hour.
- Cyclone Fani was a ‘re-curving cyclone’ and therefore a harder to
precisely predict than most cyclones. Recurving cyclones' are those that
sharply turn north-eastwards instead of a more typical parth of
north-westwards. In the Indian context, they are relatively rare and harder
- It also had an unusually long gestation period of at least 10 days.With
aviation equipment at Bhubaneswar’s BijuPatnaik International Airport
significantly damaged, flight operations remained suspended on Friday, while
Paradip and Gopalpur ports were also closed as a precautionary measure.
RBI penalises prepaid instrument for violating norms
- 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 Rs. 3.05 crore has been imposed on Vodafone m-pesa and Rs.
1 crore each on Mobile Payments, PhonePe and G.I. Technology Private
Ltd.Also, a penalty of Rs. 5 lakh has been imposed on Y-Cash Software
- In a separate statement, the central bank said it had imposed a penalty
of Rs. 29.67 lakh on Western Union Financial Services Inc., USA., and Rs.
10.12 lakh on MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc, USA, for non-compliance of
- 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.
- RBI also imposed a penalty of Rs. 11.25 lakh on private sector lender
Yes Bank for violation of norms pertaining to issuance and operations of
- 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
ADB projects growth of 5.7 % in Asia- Pacific
- 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
TakehikoNakao, 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.
- 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
- Addressing the session, Fiji’s Prime Minister JosaiaVoreque 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.
U.S lawmakers does not want to terminate GSP given to India
- 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
- 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 ended on May 3.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.
- Expressing concern over such a move, the lawmakers said that no party in
the United States or India would benefit from terminating GSP benefits.
UN working groups condemn Assange’s detention
- The 50-week jail sentence given to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for
breaching a British court’s bail conditions seven years ago is
“disproportionate,” the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said on
- Mr.Assange will serve the nearly one-year jail sentence while fighting a
separate attempt to extradite him to the United States.
- The UN working group noted that the Swedish allegations the initial
offence that triggered his British arrest had been withdrawn and that the
original bail terms should therefore have been nullified.
- It noted too that he had been given near the maximum 12-month sentence
available in the U.K. for breaching bail conditions.
- The group is “deeply concerned about the disproportionate sentence
imposed on Mr.Assange”, it said in a statement. It accused Britain of
extending “the arbitrary deprivation of (his) liberty”.
- The experts took further issue with Mr.Assange’s detention at the
Belmarsh high-security prison. “This treatment appears to contravene the
principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights
standards,” the panel said.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
AIDS drug successful in preventing transmission in Gays
- 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
- 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.
- Doctors 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.
- 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.
- 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.
India maintains top spot in ICC test rankings
- India retained its top position in the ICC Test rankings, while England
remained the number one ODI side in the latest annual d rankings released in
Dubai today. India also moved two points in second position in the ODI
rankings behind England.
- The results from 2015-16 season were purged and outcomes from the
2016-17 and 2017-18 were weighted at 50 per cent. This resulted in New
Zealand gain three points in the Test rankings to move two points behind
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