Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 11th August 2023



Today Topics List:

  1. The election Commission: Impact of New Bills

  2. Doctors can choose not to treat unruly patients

  3. Indian NavIC GPS to be linked to Aadhaar enrolment devices

  4. ISRO gears up for soft landing of Chandrayaan – 3

  5. AI to make UPI payments using Voice

  6. Tiger Conservation: Necessary Intervention




The election Commission: Impact of New Bills

    • A Bill was brought in Rajya Sabha which seeks to establish a committee of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and a cabinet minister appointed by PM to select members of the Election Commission of India (ECI).
      • This is to overturn the effect of a recent Supreme Court Verdict on appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

What was the SC ruling?

  • On March 2nd, the SC ruled that a high-powered committee consisting of PM, LOP in Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India will choose the CECs and ECs.
    • This verdict came in a 2015 PIL challenging the constitutional validity of the practice of the centre appointing the members of ECI.
    • In 2018, it was referred to a larger bench since it required close examination of Article 324 of the Constitution.
  • Article 324 (2) says, The election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix and the appointment of the Chief election Commissioner and other Elections Commissioners shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf by Parliament, be made by the president.
    • Since there was no law made by the Parliament, SC stepped in to fill the vaccum.
    • Court contended that makers of the constitution did not intend the executive exclusively calling the shots in the matter of appointments.

Under the New bill:

  • Earlier, the Law Minister suggests a pool of candidates to the PM, and the President makes the appointment on the advice of the PM.
    • There is a database of serving/ retired officers of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India/ Chief Secretaries. Law minister choose from this database.
  • Now, The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Terms of Office) Bill, 2023 says,
    • A Search committee headed by the cabinet Secretary and comprising two other members (Not below the rank of Secretary to GOI), having knowledge and experience in matters relating to elections shall prepare a panel of five persons for consideration of the Selection Committee.
    • The Selection Committee will consist of,
      • Prime Minister
      • Leader of Opposition in the House of the people
      • A Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the PM.
    • The CEC and ECs will be individuals who hold or have held a post equivalent to Secretary to the GOI, shall be persons of integrity, who have knowledge of and experience in management and conduct of elections.
    • The term of CEC and ECs remain unchanged – Six years or till they reach the age of 65 years whichever is earlier.
      • Six years is an ideal tenure, strict adherence would bring up considerable problems. Hence a concept of Composite tenure is arrived at – The total tenure of an EC, including if a candidate later became CEC, would be six years.
    • The Parliament is within its power to overturn the ruling of the Supreme Court to fill its legislative vacuum.


Doctors can choose not to treat unruly patients

    • Doctors can now refuse treatment to unruly and violent patients by following a new protocol.
      • In such cases, the doctors have been told to properly document and report the said violence, their refusal and referral of the patient to other health facilities.
      • It was notified in the National Medical Commission Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations 2023.
      • These regulations prescribe a code of ethics to be adopted by every practitioner of modern medicine who is registered under NMC Act.
      • The National Medical Commission Registered Medical Practitioner RMP ( Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023 will replace the Medical Council of India’s MCI code of Medical Ethics 2002.




Indian NavIC GPS to be linked to Aadhaar enrolment devices

  • The Navigation with Indian Constellation or NavIC, the seven- satellite system that makes up India’s
    • Version of the American GPS, will soon be integrated into Aadhaar enrolment devices across the country
    • Currently, the Aadhaar enrolment kits that are used to collect and verify personal details are linked to GPS.

ISRO gears up for soft landing of Chandrayaan – 3

  • ISRO released two images taken by Chandrayaan – 3, the first is of the earth viewed by the Lander imager (LI) Camera and another image by the Lander Horizontal Velocity Camera (LHVC).
    • LI Camera was developed by Space Applications centre, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
    • LHV Camera by the Laboratory for Electro – Optics systems, which is based in Bengaluru

Space Situation:

  • ISRO has carried an assessment of the current situation in space around the moon. It says, Moon and Mars are the most explored and also comparatively more crowded planetary bodies.
    • India’s Chandrayaan – 3 is the latest entrant in the Lunar Orbit.
    • Due to renewed interest in Lunar exploration and Mars colonisation, several missions are planned to space.
  • Two of the five probes of NASA’s THEMIS mission have been re purposed under Artemis P1 and ARTEMIS P2 and both operate in eccentric orbits of low inclination.
  • The assessment stated that NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter orbits the moon in a nearly polar, slightly elliptical orbit.
  • The Chandrayaan – 2 and Korea Pathfinder Lunar orbit (KPLO) also operates in Polar orbits of 100 km altitude.
  • The Japanese spacecraft Ounawhich was placed in lunar orbit as a part of Kaguya/SELENE mission in 2009 and Chandrayaan I of 2008 are two defunct spacecrafts around Lunar orbit.



AI to make UPI payments using Voice

    • In a move to make United Payments Interface(UPI) more user-friendly and to increase its popularity, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed incorporating Artificial Intelligence-powered conversational features on UPI, to enable digital payments through voice commands.
    • The RBI has also announced plans to enhance the transaction limit for small-value digital payments in offline mode from Rs. 200 to Rs. 500 with the overall limit being retained at Rs. 2,000 per payment instrument to contain the risks associated with relaxation of two-factor authentication.

Impact of such measure

  • UPI has significantly contributed to positioning India as the leader of digital payments. The enhancements proposed by the central bank will further accelerate the adoption of UPI
  • This feature will enable users to engage in a conversation with an AI-powered system to “initiate and complete transactions in a safe and secure environment”. 
  • While payments through QR code are easy for everyone, the introduction of ‘Conversational Payments’ on UPI has the potential to take ease of payments to the next level. Those who find it difficult to navigate through a mobile application for making digital payments or want to save time, will now be able to execute UPI transactions with ease.
  • This AI-driven model ensures swift and secure transactions, safeguarding users within a consolidated environment. This will further enhance the user experience, offering a seamless, transparent, and highly convenient payment solution

Where and How  will it be available?

  • This channel will be made available in both smartphone- and feature phone-based UPI channels, thereby helping in the deepening of digital payments’ penetration in the country. 
  • The facility will initially be available in Hindi and English and will subsequently be made available in more Indian languages. 
    • The RBI will soon issue instructions to its subsidiary, the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), which had developed the UPI system and now operates it.




Tiger Conservation: Necessary Intervention

  • The Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority, who are responsible for the quadrennial ‘tiger census’ reports, recently updated their estimates for the animal’s numbers.
  • While many factors contribute to the dynamics of the tigers present in a region, M.P. over the years has perfected the approach of actively moving both tigers, as well as their prey, within the State to balance predator and prey population.

What did MP do?

  • In the last two decades, M.P. has reintroduced species such as barasingha (swamp deer) to new habitats such as Satpura and Bandhavgarh, and the gaur to the Bandhavgarh and Sanjay-Dubri tiger reserves. 
  • Prey species such as chital (spotted deer) have been successfully supplemented in the Satpura and Sanjay tiger reserves, Nauradehi, Kuno, and Gandhisagar wildlife sanctuaries through translocation from high-density Pench and Bandhavgarh.
  • These often involve tracking, darting and capturing animals, keeping them in temporary enclosures until they reach sufficient numbers and then releasing them into their new habitat.

Issues with Approach:

  • Principles of ecology however insist that such relocation only be done within landscapes that are not too alien to the species, lest it be counterproductive. 
  • However, recent amendments to the Forest Conservation Act give more leeway for large parcels of forest land to be diverted for industrial concerns.
    • These would mean greater fragmentation within reserves and more dependence on the practice of moving prey around to maintain carnivore numbers.
  • This approach, however, increasingly poses a conundrum to India’s philosophy of conservation, which is to avoid creating fenced, segregated spaces and confine species to admittedly large but bounded tracts.

India’s Conservation efforts:

  • India’s conservation ethos, right from the conception of Project Tiger, was to restore the beast’s numbers in a way that it could co-exist with humans. 
  • With the government finding it harder to maintain connected forest landscapes and ensure man and beast stay within their confines, expecting nature alone to restore the predator-prey balance is a fantasy. 
    • It is time that more States implemented active prey management policies. 
    • This will require drawing on scientific expertise and also support from people living in the vicinity of reserves.

More importantly, this should prompt a move away from the approach of focusing on carnivore numbers to evaluating whether the habitat necessary to sustain these animals is being consistently improved.

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