13-14th October 2018, Current Affairs and News Analysis for UPSC Civil Service Examination, SSC CGL and State Civil Service Examinations.

13-14th October 2018 - Current Affairs for UPSC IAS and State Civil Service Exam

National

Manipur’s women march, urge an end to ‘mob justice’

News

  • For many nights over the past month, Manipur has been witnessing torchlight processions in the valley districts, with the mostly women marchers demanding, among other things, an end to mob violence directed at those accused of crimes.
  • Over the last few years, at least three persons in Manipur, and two in neighbouring Nagaland, have been victims of mob lynchings.
  • Pishakmacha, a middle-aged woman activist said, “We demand an end to mob crime in this State.”
  • Renubala, a young housewife from Thoubal district who is also participating in the marches said, “A man is not guilty unless a court says so. The government should prevent such mob trials and the beating to death of people. The family members of the accused persons also end up being banished from the locality for ever.”
  • On September 19, Manipur’s cabinet decided to introduce ‘The Manipur Mob Violence Control and Prohibition Bill, 2018’ in the Assembly. Chief Minister N. Biren has said that mob violence will never be tolerated or condoned.

Mob Justice

  • Mob justice is the verdict of the crowd by subverting the legal procedures and institution in situation of great injustice and mass suffering.
  • This is totally against the law of the land, detrimental to society and catastrophic to personal and cultural liberty.

Role of an administrator in case of mob justice

If the mob is out for social justice we should help by arranging proper place to hold protests and engaging in dialogue with them and come to solution by consensus. Though particular action would depend on situation and context but few precaution which can be taken by administrator are:

  • Take away the accused from scene, preferably in police protection.
  • Talk with leaders of community or gathering, persuade them to not take law in their hand and warn them of possible legal consequences for same.
  • Assure the gathering of strict, severe and immediate action. The taking of accused in custody can be first step in such situation.
  • Overall administration should use his persuasive skills (using logic, reason and emotions) to convince crowd and disperse the gathering at earliest.

Conclusion

  • We may be tempted to come to sudden conclusions regarding such cases. Justice delayed is justice denied no doubt but swift justice may not always be accurate. Evidences may be planted and witnesses may be bribed framing an innocent person.
  • The Indian Judiciary emphasizes on “even if a hundred culprits go free, not a single innocent man should be punished“. Sentences for such crimes are often severe, and it is our moral obligation to ensure that these sentences are handed to only the deserving.

National/Governance

Silent and suffering

One manual scavenger dies every five days, according to official data. Recently, the Delhi High Court gave the authorities two months to identify manual scavengers in the national capital.

The order proved two things — one, manual scavenging is a social reality despite its abolition by Parliament through the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013; and two, the government itself, directly or indirectly, employs manual scavengers.

Some Provisional Act

  • The act had endeavoured to eliminate not only dry latrines but also “insanitary latrines”;
  • Prohibit the employment of manual scavengers for the hazardous manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks;
  • Conduct a time-bound survey;
  • Take measures for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers.
  • The definition of ‘manual scavengers’ was widened to cover those involved in cleaning not only dry latrines but other insanitary latrines.
  • The statute made offences under the act cognisable and non-bailable. They now attract stringent penalties.
  • The act called for the setting up of vigilance/monitoring committee at sub-division, district, State and Central levels.
  • The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis was given the responsibility of implementation.

Poor implementation

  • To eliminate open defecation, the act also called for the construction of an adequate number of sanitary community latrines in urban areas within three years from the date of commencement of the statute.
  • The poor implementation of the act may have been because States and Union Territories have been slow in identifying insanitary latrines and manual scavengers.
  • In 2014, many States denied even the existence of insanitary latrines in the Supreme Court.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said that rehabilitation of manual scavengers has been slow because they are mostly illiterate and have no exposure to any work other than sanitation-related activities.
  • Many of them are old. They also do not have opportunities to avail of any skill development training.
  • A lack of opportunities has also resulted in hesitation on the part of manual scavengers to come out into the open and demand jobs, making them a silent, suffering population in the country.

Conclusion

  • The Delhi HC order proved two things;
  • One, manual scavenging is a social reality despite its abolition by Parliament through the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013;
  • Two, the government itself, directly or indirectly, employs manual scavengers.
  • Therefore there is an urgent need to examine the ground realities, and provide alternatives to those who are involved in this occupation.
  • First step should come from government by mechanizing all such manual activities, and providing social security benefits to those who are not in condition to acquire new skills and jobs.

Panel to study issues raised by #MeTooIndia

The government will set up a committee of judges and lawyers to examine the existing legal and institutional framework to deal with complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace, Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi announced on Friday.

  • Ministry for Women and Child Development to constitute group of legal experts to examine the existing legal and institutional framework to deal with complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace
  • The expert committee is expected to advise the Ministry to strengthen the existing framework
  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work.
  • The Act came into force from 9 December 2013. This statute superseded the Vishakha Guidelines for prevention of sexual harassment introduced by the Supreme Court of India.
  • The Act will ensure that women are protected against sexual harassment at all the work places, be it in public or private. This will contribute to realisation of their right to gender equality, life and liberty and equality in working conditions everywhere.
  • The sense of security at the workplace will improve women’s participation in work, resulting in their economic empowerment and inclusive growth.

Economy

Overhaul GDP norms: MPs

The current manner in which the GDP is measured needs an overhaul as it provides an incomplete estimation of economic activity, a report by the Estimates Committee of Parliament.

Overhaul GDP norms: MPs
  • The current GDP and Gross Value Added measures have also been questioned by Opposition leaders and economists alike. The Opposition even accused the Narendra Modi government of fudging the figures.
  • The committee noted that the GDP calculation did not measure the depletion of natural resources, a point several economists, including former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, have pointed out.
  • The report said the current measure of GDP did not incorporate the economic contributions of women in running households and maintaining accounts; nor did it have any measure of whether an increase in GDP resulted in an increase in happiness.
  • Global Hunger Index 2018

    In a glaring example of anomaly that exists in world’s fastest-growing economy, it has emerged that about 20 per cent of Indian children under 5 suffer from acute under-nutrition.

    Global Hunger Index
    • According to Global Hunger Index 2018, at least one in five Indian children under the age of five have extremely low weight for their height that reflects acute under-nutrition.
    • The report was released on Thursday, in the same week the International Monetary Fund projected India to be the world’s fastest-growing economy, exposing stark contrasts in the South Asian country.
    • The 2018 Global Hunger Index ranks India at 103 out of 119 countries, with hunger levels in the country categorized as “serious.” India’s ranking has dropped three places from last year.

    Achievements of India

    • The percentage of undernourished people in the population has dropped from 18.2% in 2000 to 14.8% in 2018.
    • The child mortality rate has halved from 9.2% to 4.3%, while child stunting has dropped from 54.2% to 38.4% over the same period.
    • However, the prevalence of child wasting has actually worsened in comparison to previous reference years.
    • It stood at 17.1% in 2000, and increased to 20% in 2005. In 2018, it stands at 21%.

    You should Know

    • The only country with a higher prevalence of child wasting is the war-torn nation of South Sudan. (28%)
    • Child wasting is high across South Asia, constituting a “critical public health emergency”, according to UN organisations.
    • Reports highlights the importance of attention to birth outcomes and breastfeeding.

    Economy/Governance

    India Elected To UN Human Rights Council With Most Number Of Votes

    India was elected to the United Nations' top human rights body for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2019, getting 188 votes in the Asia-Pacific category, the highest number of votes among all candidates.

    The 193-member UN General Assembly held elections for new members to the UN Human Rights Council. The 18 new members were elected by absolute majority through a secret ballot. Countries needed a minimum of 97 votes to get elected to the Council

    You Should Know

    • India had previously been elected to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council for the 2011-2014 and 2014-2017 term.
    • Its last tenure had ended on December 31, 2017 and in accordance with the rules, it was not eligible for immediate re-election since it had already served two consecutive terms.

    C-section use doubled in India: Lancet report

    • The use of caesarean section increased from 9% of births in 2005-6 to 18.5% in 2015-16 in India.
    • While the surgery is still unavailable for many women and children in low-income countries and regions, the procedure is overused in many middle-and high-income settings
    • Globally, C-section use has increased by 3.7% each year between 2000-2015 — rising from 12% of live births (16 million of 131.9 million) in 2000, to 21% of live births (29.7 million of 140.6 million) in 2015, researchers said.

    You should Know

    • C-section is a life-saving intervention for women and newborns when complications occur, such as bleeding, foetal distress, hypertensive disease, and babies in abnormal position.
    • However, the surgery is not without risk for mother and child, and is associated with complications in future births.
    • It is estimated that only 10-15% of births medically require a C-section due to complications, suggesting that average C-section use should lie between these levels.
    • Concern: In at least 15 countries, C-section use exceeds 40%, researchers said.

    Health

    Zika virus cases in Rajasthan rise to 55

    News

    • More cases of Zika virus were detected in Jaipur on Saturday taking the total number of infected people to 55, a Rajasthan Health department official said.

    About Zika Virus

    • Zika virus is the virus that causes the infection known as zika fever or zika virus disease.
    • The virus is a member of the Flaviviridae virus family and the genus Flavivirus.
    • It was named ‘zika’ because the virus was isolated for the first time in the Zika Forest which is in Uganda.
    • The zika virus is related to the yellow fever, dengue, West Nile and the Japanese encephalitis viruses.
    • The zika virus, because it is a Flavivirus, is icosahedral and enveloped. It has a single-stranded and non-segmented, positive-sense RNA genome. It belongs to the Spondweni serogroup.

    Changes in the regimens to treat patients with MDR – TB

    • In a recent Rapid Communication, the World Health Organisation (WHO) made important changes in the regimens to treat patients with multidrug-resistant TB (resistant to isoniazid and rifampicin).
    • Two of the injectables (kanamycin and capreomycin) previously used for treating MDR-TB patients are to be replaced with a fully oral drug regimen. And bedaquiline drug, specifically developed for treating MDR-TB patients, has been included in the fully oral regimen. The injectables have been removed as they cause hearing loss (ototoxicity) and have increased risk of treatment failure and relapse.
    • The changes in the MDR-TB regimen apply to both adults and children, though limited data are available for children. The new WHO guidelines for MDR-TB treatment will be released later this year.

    What is AMR?

    • Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) become resistant to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics).
    • As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.
    • Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”.

    What causes Antimicrobial Resistance?

    • Misusing antibiotics breeds drug resistance among the bacteria that normally live in our bodies – even though these bacteria are harmless, they can pass resistance on to other, more dangerous species.
    • Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply causing more harm.

    Red Line Campaign on Antibiotics 2016

    The campaign was launched to:

    • Raising awareness about how to identify a drug that should be dispensed only with a prescription from a licensed doctor.
    • Limiting the practice of self-medication.
    • Making the public aware of the potential harms that may result from the misuse of antibiotics.

    Person In News

    Person in news: G.D. Agarwal

    GD Agarwal, a former professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur and a man who devoted his life to the cause of saving river Ganga, died. He was on a fast-unto-death. He died on the 111th day of fasting.

    • Agarwal’s key demands included a special law to deal with pollution and encroachment on the Ganga, and maintaining the environmental flow of the river to prevent pollution.