Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 MARCH 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 MARCH 2019


::NATIONAL::

SC issues directive on child right protection in parental conflict cases

  •  A proactive step need to be taken to focus on child rights, specifically in cases of parental conflict, the Supreme Court has highlighted.
  •  The rights of children caught in the middle of an ugly divorce or a custody battle between parents need specific articulation.
  •  Divorce and custody battles are a quagmire and it is heart-wrenching to see an innocent child ultimately suffer for the legal and psychological war waged between the parents, the Supreme Court has observed.
  •  Justice Rastogi, who wrote the judgment, said the courts and judges could be able to resolve the legal problems of the parents, grant them divorce and send them on their separate ways. But what would become of the psychological harm caused to child who has witnessed the ugliness between the parents.
  •  Everybody is working for the “best interests” of the child, but they seldom understand what they are in fact. The judge paints the portrait of the child’s helplessness.
  •  “While the ‘best-interests’ principle requires that the primary focus be on the interests of the child, the child ordinarily does not define those interests himself or does he have representation in the ordinary sense,” Justice Rastogi wrote.
  •  Hence, for the sake of a child’s future relationship with each of his parents, a negotiated settlement is much better than an order imposed by a court after adversarial proceedings.

Social media giants submit voluntary code of ethics

  •  The Social Media Platforms and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), today presented a “Voluntary Code of Ethics for the General Election 2019” to Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora .
  •  The Code of Ethics has been developed as a follow up to the yesterday’s meeting with IAMAI and representatives of Social Media Platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat and TikTok etc.
  •  Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora while appreciating the steps taken, said that formulation of the Code augurs a good beginning but is essentially, a work in making. He said the Participants need to follow in letter and spirit the commitments made in the Code of Ethics.
  •  The Platforms have committed to process any violations reported under Section 126 of RP Act, 1951 within three hours as per Sinha Committee recommendations.
  •  The Platforms have also agreed to create a high priority dedicated reporting mechanism for the ECI and appoint dedicated teams during the period of General Elections for taking expeditious action on any reported violations. Participants have also agreed to provide a mechanism for political advertisers to submit pre-certified advertisements issued by Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.
  •  The Code of Ethics also promises to facilitate transparency in paid political advertisements. IAMAI has agreed to coordinate with participants various steps mentioned in this code. Participants have also committed to voluntarily undertake voter awareness campaigns.
  •  The ‘Code of Ethics” has been developed to ensure free, fair & ethical usage of Social Media Platforms to maintain the integrity of the electoral process for the General Elections 2019. The Code voluntarily agreed upon by the Participants comes into operation with immediate effect.

::ECONOMY::

NCLAT declares statutory liabilities as operational debt

  •  The NCLAT on Wednesday held that statutory liability, including income tax and value-added tax dues of debt-ridden companies are ‘operational debt’, which would now allow the departments concerned to be treated as operational creditors.
  •  A two-member NCLAT bench headed by Chairman Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya held that Central or State Tax Departments such as Income Tax Department, Sales Tax Departments and Local Authority, entitled for dues are ‘operational creditors’ under the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code.]
  •  “We hold that all statutory dues including income tax, Value Added Tax etc., come within the meaning of operational debt.
  •  For the said very reason, we also hold that income tax department of the central government and the sales tax departments of the state governments and local authority, which are entitled for dues arising out of the existing law are ‘operational creditors’ within the meaning of Section 5(20) of the IBC,” the NCLAT said.

Finance commission discusses issues of climate change ,environment'

  •  As per the terms of reference of the Fifteenth Finance Commission “The Commission may consider proposing measurable performance-based incentives for States, at the appropriate level of government, in following areas (i) Achievements in implementation of flagship schemes of Government of India, disaster resilient infrastructure, sustainable development goals, and quality of expenditure; (ii) Progress made in sanitation, solid waste managementand bringing in behavioural change to end open defecation.”
  •  In this regard, the Commission headed by its Chairman, Shri N. K. Singh and including its Members, held a detailed discussion with the senior officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  •  Discussions were held on the proposed formula for Forest Sector Based Tax Devolution along with a proposed catchment area treatment and forest restoration grant.
  •  The meeting also discussed in detail the proposed recommendations for environment (pollution sector) and the proposed pollution abatement performance grant along with proposed formula for the purpose.
  •  The recommendations for climate change under the NDC Goal 5 were also discussed in the meeting. The Commission considered the proposed formula for climate change ( NDC Goal 5 Grant) and the possibilities of climate change grant conditionality.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Now Germany moves to designate Azhar as global terrorist

  •  Germany has initiated a move at the European Union to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief MasoodAzhar as a global terrorist, days after China blocked a bid at the United Nations to ban him.
  •  According to diplomatic sources, Germany was in touch with several member-nations of the European Union to list Azhar as a terrorist which will result in his travel ban as well as the freezing of his assets in the 28-country bloc.
  •  They said on Wednesday that all 28 member-countries of the European Union will have to support the move to ban the Pakistan-based terrorist as the bloc decides on such issues under the principle of consensus.
  •  The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UNSC was moved by France, the UK and the US, in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. JeM had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack.

New President takes charge in Kazakhstan

  •  Kazakhstan’s new interim President was sworn in on Wednesday following the shock resignation of the country’s long-time ruler, and in his first official act renamed the capital after his predecessor.
  •  Kassym-JomartTokayev took office in less than 24 hours after NursultanNazarbayev, the only leader an independent Kazakhstan had ever known, suddenly announced resignation.
  •  Mr. Tokayev immediately proposed changing the name of the Central Asian nation’s capital from Astana to Nursultan, or ‘Sultan of Light’ in Kazakh, and Parliament approved the change within hours.
  •  The Senate also appointed Mr. Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter DarigaNazarbayeva as Speaker, setting her up as a potential contender to succeed her father.
  •  Mr. Tokayev, 65, will serve out the rest of Mr. Nazarbayev’s mandate until election due in April next year, though the former President retains significant powers in the country he ruled for nearly three decades.
  •  Mr. Tokayev told lawmakers that Mr. Nazarbayev had “shown wisdom” by deciding to step down, a rare move in ex-Soviet Central Asia where other leaders have stayed in power until death.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

TB elimination could be a distant dream for India says report

  •  Of the 10 million new tuberculosis (TB) cases reported globally in 2017 by the World Health Organisation, 2.74 million were from India, showing a marginal reduction from 2.79 million in 2016. Despite TB incidence in the country being 204 cases per 1,00,000 in 2017, the government has set a highly ambitious target of “eliminating TB by 2025”, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target.
  •  But according to The Lancet Global Health article based on modelling for three high-burden countries, including India, compared with 2015 data, 57% reduction in incidence and 72% reduction in mortality will been seen only by 2035.
  •  India has now undertaken case-finding campaigns to cut the transmission cycle. So far 144 million people at risk of the disease in 447 districts have been screened and more than 50,000 new cases have been detected, Mr. Nadda writes.
  •  According to the article, 10% of individuals with TB die or self-cure before presenting for care. According to the survey in Gujarat, 40% of those bacteriologically tested positive for TB had not sought care. Patient delay before first presentation for care is 4.1 months.
  •  Even initiation of treatment after diagnosis happens after 2.1 days. The proportion of people with TB completing treatment is 85%. But it says systematic efforts to screen high-risk populations have already begun in India.
  •  Funding for the national TB control programme is encouraging, there is political will and the programme mentions all the correct initiatives to bring the disease under control. “Only accountability will allow course correction if things are not going well,” Dr. Krishnan said.

::SPORTS::

Indian shuttlers get into BWF badminton rankings

  •  Young Indian shuttlersLakshyaSen and RiyaMookerjee today broke into the top-100 among Men’s and Women’s singles players in the latest World Badminton Rankings. Making a massive jump of 28 places, LakshyaSen is placed 76th.
  •  RiyaMookerjee climbed up 19 spots to be placed 94th. In the women's singles rankings, P V Sindhu and SainaNehwal are static with Sindhu at sixth and Saina at ninth position.

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