15th October 2018, Current Affairs and News Analysis for UPSC Civil Service Examination, SSC CGL and State Civil Service Examinations.

15th October 2018 - Current Affairs for UPSC IAS and State Civil Service Exam

Governance

Sanitation workers go hi-tech as govt. goes slow

When Maya’s husband died in a sewer in the north-western Delhi suburb of Rohini in 2002, she was left with four small children and no means of livelihood.

After years of scrounging, odd jobs, and dependence on relatives, she is now prepared to become an independent businesswoman — in the same line of business that cost her husband’s lif

She now started Safai Karamchari Enterprises, aiming that no one else will die in the sewers.

Initiative of Safai Karamchari as municipalities goes slow.

  • Governments and municipalities slow to move toward mechanised cleaning of the sewage system even in the face of rising death rates — an average of one person has died cleaning sewers or septic tanks every five days since January 2017 —the safai karamchari community is taking the initiative to provide alternatives
  • Sanitation workers have joined hands with family members of those killed while manually cleaning sewers and septic tanks to set up limited liability partnership companies in Delhi and Hyderabad, backed by the Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA) movement. Other groups are in the process of registering companies in Haryana, Uttarakhand and Punjab.
  • “In many cases, municipalities do not take initiative, so we are now working on giving loans to self-help groups and SKA-backed enterprises to buy equipment and machines”.
  • Environment

    Plant to convert e-waste into bio fuel to be made operational soon: Harsh Vardhan

    Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan a plant to covert plastic waste into bio-diesel will soon be made operational at the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) in Dehradun.

    “The plant has been set up at Dehradun and it will be operational. The facility, which will be run on pilot basis, is capable of converting plastic waste into bio-diesel. The model will then be replicated across the country”.

    The plant has the capacity to convert one tonne of plastic waste into 800 litres biofuel which will be of highest quality and it can be used in any diesel automotive vehicle.

    What is e-waste

    Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a term for electronic products that have become unwanted, obsolete, and have reached the end of their useful life. It refers to all items of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by its owner as waste without the intent of re-use.

  • Whole country was concerned about the problem of e-waste and the government had amended the existing rules to ensure better management of e-waste and bio-medical waste through revised targets.
  • Global E-Waste Monitor 2017 Report

    • As per the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017 Report of United National University the world world generation of e-waste in 2016 was 44.7 million metric tonnes and the annual generation of e-waste in India was 2 million metric tonnes.
    • The contribution of India to worldwide generation of e-waste is 4.47 per cent.

    Swachh Digital Bharat:

    • The programme seeks to create awareness among the public about the hazards of e-waste recycling by the unorganised sector, and to educate them about alternate methods of disposing of their e-waste.
    • The general public is encouraged to participate in the programme, by giving their e-waste to authorised recyclers only.

    E-Waste Disposal and Recycling Practices in India:

    • Around 90% of the recycling of E-Waste in India is done by the non-formal/unorganized sector. Non-formal units of e-waste recyclers are distributed all over India.
    • Informal units generally follow the steps such as collection of the e-waste from the rag pickers, disassembly of the products for their usable parts, components, modules, which are having resell value. The rest of the material is chemically treated to recover precious metals and non-recoverable materials are disposed in landfills.
    • Organized recycling units are very few in India. Unlike the informal sector, the organized sector uses environmentally sound methods to recycle e-waste.

    Way Forward

    • There is a need to strengthen the domestic legal framework to address the issue of unregulated imports of e-waste
    • Steps should be taken to formalize the informal sector by integrating it with the formal sector.  Government should introduce vocational training programs to rightly skill the current unorganized sector employees to ensure their smoother transition to working with organized sector
    • Governments must encourage research into the development of better environmentally-sustainable e-waste recycling techniques
    • There is urgent need for a detailed assessment of the E-waste including quantification, characteristics, existing disposal practices, environmental impacts.
    • There is need of more recycling facilities and development of infrastructure to handle e-waste effectively. The government should encourage Public-Private Partnership for establishment of e-waste collection, exchange and recycling centres.
    • There is need of an effective take-back program providing incentives to producers.
    • Mass awareness programmes should be initiated to encourage consumers to reuse/ recycle electronic products and also educate them about the environmental and health hazards of e-waste.

    Technology

    Major mission to index gene

    • A group of Indian scientists and companies are involved in the 100k Genome Asia project, which is being run by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to index the entire genomes of 100k Asian people, including 50,000 Indians .
    • Like the projects of the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Australia, India is planning to index genomes to equip the global trend of improving health as well as to create individual-specific medicines. 
    • It was one of the important decisions taken at the first meeting of the Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (STIAC).
    • This council functions as a coordinator between several ministries to work on projects and missions and once a month the meeting has been scheduled.
    • Department of Health and Family Welfare and Department of Biotechnology will be closely linked to this project.
    • This plan aims to index genome and human health and to add as a research initiative illness involves ensuring and large this process, in order to have a direct impact on public health. 

    Judiciary

    Supreme Court must set example on backlog, says R.M. Lodha

    • Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s advice that the Chief Justices of the High Courts should ensure that fellow judges do not take leave on working days and remain in court during working hours to clear the backlog of cases, drew a counter-suggestion from one of his predecessors. Former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha said the Supreme Court ought to be the first to “set an example” in the matter.
    • “The Supreme Court should first set the example, not just the CJI but the entire court of 24 judges,” said Justice Lodha, who had during his term as CJI mooted a 365-day work calendar for the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
    • “Charity begins at home. Such initiatives should be objectively implemented by the Supreme Court, then it will percolate to the High Courts,” Justice Lodha told.
    • “Firstly, the CJI, or for that matter, the Supreme Court has no administrative control over the High Courts in a federal structure. That is our constitutional scheme. CJI cannot give orders, he can only advice” Justice Lodha said.
    • “It has to be left to the High Courts concerned to ensure that the advice is properly implemented.”
    • The former CJI said the effort to trim the backlog should be “collective, collaborative and consensual” among the CJI, Supreme Court judges and the Chief Justices of the various High Courts.
    • Justice Lodha said the successive short tenures of CJIs also impeded implementation of their plans. Changes for the better should be institutionalised.

    Reason

    • Large number of unfilled judicial vacancies
    • A long drawn judicial process: This is compounded by the fact that often witnesses are not willing to come forward. The process concerning criminal cases also takes time; this is exacerbated by the fact that it takes time for reports such as medical reports, forensic reports, etc. to be given. There are at times even strikes in Courts that delay the process.
    • Fast growing population
    • Lack of Infrastructure: Chief Justice, Dipak Misra has described that the lack of infrastructure, as one of the causes.
    • Lack of good quality judges
    • Salaries and Perks of judges: If better salaries and better perks are provided, then better lawyers would be interested in becoming judges. Today, the quality of lawyers interested in becoming judges is poor, because of which the quality of judges is down and because of which the justice delivery system is also suffering.
    • An increasing number of states and central laws
    • Mounting number of appeals
    • Shortage of judges in courts
    • Delay in hearing of cases of common civil rights in High Courts
    • Increase in Appeals in High Courts against the orders of the quasi-judicial bodies
    • The Petition for revision and appeal in a case
    • Continuous adjournment
    • Indiscriminate utilisation of writ rights
    • Inadequate system of monitoring cases
    • Difficulties in tracking trials
    • Efforts to prevent a case during hearing
    • Lack of will and capability to decide cases
    • Apart from these, there are delays during pre-trial and trial of cases