UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 22nd February 2022
Topics for the day:
- Putin, Macron agree to work for ceasefire in east Ukraine
- Re-poll at seven booths in five wards of T.N. today
- fake encounters
- Anti-microbial resistance
- Foodgrain production likely to hit record high for 2021-22: govt
- Polio returns to Africa
- AFSPA(armed forces special powers act)
- Extended Producers Responsibility on plastic packaging
Putin, Macron agree to work for ceasefire in east Ukraine
- French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Sunday agreed to work for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine
More on the news :
- They also agreed on the need to favour a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
- The French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov would meet “in the coming days”.
- Putin and Mr. Macron said they would work “intensely” to allow the Trilateral Contact Group – Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE(Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) to meet “to get all interested parties to commit to a ceasefire at the contact line” where government troops and pro-Russian separatists are facing each other.
- They also agreed that talks among Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany should resume to implement the so-called Minsk protocol which in 2014 had already called for a ceasefire.
What is the OSCE ?
- Helsinki Final Act (1975) during the cold war led to the creation of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), that served as an important multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiations between East and West.
- In 1994, the CSCE was renamed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
- With 57 participating States(India is not among the 57 states) in North America, Europe and Asia, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe – is the world’s largest regional security organization.
- OSCE participating States enjoy equal status and take decisions by consensus.
Re-poll at seven booths in five wards of T.N. today
- The Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC) has ordered a repoll at seven booths in five wards
- The tamil nadu municipal elections are being held currently
- In case of elections to the lok sabha and assembly elections the election commission can order re-polling based on the report of the returning officer.
Acc to the Representation of peoples act,1951 :
- Section 58A of the act says ??if booth capturing has taken place at a polling station or at a place fixed for the poll or if booth capturing takes place in any place for counting of votes in such a manner that the result of the poll gets affected
- Then the returning officer shall forward a report on the matter to the Election Commission.
- Following this the Election Commission shall, on the receipt of a report from the returning officer either
- Declare that the poll at that polling station or place be void, appoint a day, and fix the hours, for taking fresh poll at that polling station as it may deem fit
- If satisfied that in view of the large number of polling stations or places involved in booth capturing the result of the election is likely to be affected, or that booth capturing had affected counting of votes in such a manner as to affect the result of the election, countermand the election(order repoll) in that constituency
Who is returning officer ?
- The Returning Officer of a Parliamentary or assembly constituency is responsible for the conduct of elections in the Parliamentary or assembly constituency concerned.
- The Election Commission of India nominates or designates an officer of the Government or a local authority as the Returning Officer for each of the assembly and parliamentary constituencies in consultation with the State Government / Union Territory Administration.
- In addition, the Election Commission of India also appoints one or more Assistant Returning Officers for each of the assembly and Parliamentary constituencies to assist the Returning Officer in the performance of his functions in connection with the conduct of elections.
- The Election Commission can designate or nominate the same person to be the returning officer for more than one constituency.
- A court in uttar pradesh has directed the police to register a case against 18 policemen, including the then Superintendent of Police, in an alleged fake encounter case
Laws dealing with encounters ?
- There is no provision in the Indian law which directly authorizes an official to encounter a criminal irrespective of the grievousness of the crime committed by him/her
- However, there are some provisions that may be construed so as to vest officials with the power to deal with criminals including the power to use force against a criminal
- Section 100 of the Indian Penal Code authorizes any person to exercise his right of private defense which may extend to causing death
- Section 46 of the Criminal Procedure Code permits a police officer to use all means necessary to effect the arrest of the person.
- Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code provides that culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, being a public servant acting for the advancement of public justice exceeds the power given to him by law and causes death
Views of Supreme court on encounters :
- In the PUCL vs State of Maharashtra case (2014),the supreme court gave 16 point guidelines as the standard procedure to be followed for thorough, effective, and independent investigation in the cases of death during police encounters
- Register FIR – if the police uses firearms and this results in the death of a person, then an FIR initiating proper criminal investigation must be registered and be forwarded to the Court without any delay
- Independent Probe: Investigation into such death must be done by an independent CID team or a police team of another police station under the supervision of a senior officer.
- The NHRC or State Human Rights Commission (as the case may be) must be immediately informed of the encounter death
- Medical Aid must be provided to the injured victim/criminal as soon as possible
- In the case of death of accused criminal, their next of kin must be informed at the earliest
- The concerned police officer must surrender their weapons for forensic and ballistic analysis
- No out-of-turn promotion or instant gallantry awards shall be bestowed on the officers involved in encounter killings soon after the encounter
Anti microbial resistance :
- The recent publication of The Lancet’s global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance estimated that95 million deaths were associated with bacterial AMR in 2019 alone
What is antimicrobial resistance ?
- Anti microbial resistance is the resistance acquired by any microorganism (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasite, etc.) against antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics) that are used to treat infections.
- Because of this resistance standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others
- Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”
Reasons for Spread of AMR :
- Antibiotic consumption – Unnecessary use of antibiotics and fixed dose combinations could lead to emergence of bacterial strains resistant to multiple antibiotics
- Self-medication by people and Lack of knowledge about when to use antibiotics.
- Access to antibiotics without prescription resulting in the over the counter usage of antibiotics.
- Mass bathing in rivers as part of religious mass gathering occasions
- Antibiotics which are critical to human health are commonly used for growth promotion in poultry. Ex.OXYTOCIN
- The wastewater effluents from the antibiotic manufacturing units contain a substantial amount of antibiotics, leading to contamination of rivers and lakes
- Untreated disposal of sewage water bodies leads to contamination of rivers with antibiotic residues and antibiotic-resistant organisms
- Lack of hygiene and Infection Control Practices in Healthcare Settings. A report on hand-washing practices of nurses and doctors found that only 8% of them washed hands after contact with patients.
Food grain production likely to hit record high for 2021-22: govt
- The total foodgrains production in the country is pegged to reach an all-time record high of 06 million tonnes as per the Second Advance Estimates of production of major crops for the agricultural year 2021-22, released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
More on the news :
- The estimated foodgrains production for agricultural year 2021-22 (July-June) is 1.71 per cent higher than 310.74 million tonnes recorded in 2020-21
- wheat production is also expected to reach at the highest ever level of 111.32 million tonnes
- The total production of rice (kharif and rabi both) is also expected to reach an all-time record high of 127.93 million tonnes
- The pulses production is estimated to increase by 5.87 percent to 26.96 million tonnes in 2021-22 from the last year. Among pulses, gram production is estimated to reach at 13.12 million tonnes during the current year.
- Foodgrains here includes rice, wheat, pulses and maize, jowar, ragi, bajra.
- In 2021-22, the production of 9 oilseeds – groundnut, castorseed, sesamum, nigerseed, soyabean, sunflower, rapeseed & mustard, linseed and safflower is estimated to at 47 million tonnes
- The increase in oilseed production is significant because the edible oil prices, particularly mustard oil prices, have soared to a record high in recent times.
- Total production of Sugarcane in the country during 2021-22 is estimated at 414.04 million tonnes
- Production of Cotton is estimated at 06 million bales (each of 170 kg) is higher by 1.12 million bales than the average cotton production
- Production of Jute & Mesta is estimated at 9.57 million bales (each of 180 kg)
Polio returns to Africa
- Malawi has declared a polio outbreak the first case of wild poliovirus in Africa in more than five years
More about polio :
- World Health Organization (WHO) defines polio or poliomyelitis as “a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.”
- The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
- There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains:
- Wild Poliovirus type 1 (WPV1)
- Wild Poliovirus type 2 (WPV2)
- Wild Poliovirus type 3 (WPV3)
- WPV2 and WPV3 have been eradicated globally but WPV1 remains in circulation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Vaccination for polio :
- Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV): It is given orally as a birth dose for institutional deliveries, then primary three doses at 6, 10 and 14 weeks and one booster dose at 16-24 months of age.
- Oral polio vaccine (OPV) contains an attenuated (weakened) vaccine-virus, activating an immune response in the body. When a child is immunized with OPV, the weakened vaccine-virus replicates in the intestine for a limited period, thereby developing immunity by building up antibodies.
What is Vaccine derived polio ?
- It is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus.
- This means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an infected person. These viruses may cause illness, including paralysis.
- Thus when the OPV is administered to children, during the time the virus replicates in the intestine, the vaccine-virus is also excreted. In areas of inadequate sanitation, this excreted vaccine-virus can spread in the immediate community.
- This causes Polio outbreaks
AFSPA (armed forces special powers act)
- There are demands to repeal the AFSPA in the north east especially after the killing of 14 civilians by security forces in Mon district in Nagaland recently.
What is AFSPA,1958?
- The ASFPA is a parliamentary act that gives unfettered powers to the armed forces and the Central armed police forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law and arrest and search any premises without a warrant and with protection from prosecution and legal suits.
- The law first came into effect in 1958 to deal with the uprising in the Naga Hills, followed by the insurgency in Assam.
- The Act was amended in 1972 and the powers to declare an area as “disturbed” were conferred concurrently upon the Central government along with the States
Current status of the act :
- Currently, the Union Home Ministry issues periodic “disturbed area” notification to extend AFSPA for Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh
- While the notification for Manipur and Assam is issued by the State governments.
- Tripura revoked the Act in 2015 and Meghalaya was under AFSPA for 27 years, until it was revoked by the MHA from 1st April 2018.
- Jammu and Kashmir has a separate J&K Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1990.
Problems surrounding the Act :
- The law empowers security personnel, down to non-commissioned officers, to use force and shoot “even to the causing of death” if they are convinced that it is necessary to do so for the “maintenance of public order”.
- It also grants soldiers executive powers to enter premises, search, and arrest without a warrant.
- The exercise of these extraordinary powers by armed forces has often led to allegations of fake encounters and other human rights violations by security forces in disturbed areas while questioning the indefinite imposition of AFSPA in certain states, such as Nagaland and J&K.
Recommendations of Jeevan Reddy commission :
- AFSPA should be repealed and appropriate provisions should be inserted in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
- The Unlawful Activities Act should be modified to clearly specify the powers of the armed forces and paramilitary forces
- Grievance cells should be set up in each district where the armed forces are deployed.
Extended Producers Responsibility on plastic packaging
- The government has notified the Guidelines on Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) on plastic packaging under Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. The guidelines will come into effect from 1st July 2022.
- Extended Producer Responsibility means the responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life.
- EPR covers Reuse; Recycling; Use of recycled plastic content; End of life disposal.
New guidelines :
- Four categories of plastic packaging specified:
- Category one will include rigid plastic packaging.
- Category two will include flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets and covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags, plastic sachet or pouches.
- Category three will include multi-layered plastic packaging (at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic).
- Category four includes plastic sheet or like used for packaging as well as carry bags made of compostable plastics.
Guidelines also include :
- Specifications for reuse, recycling, use of recycled plastic content, and end-of-life disposal of non-recyclable plastic packaging
- setting up a centralised online portal by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the registration as well as filing of annual returns by producers, importers and brand-owners, plastic waste processors of plastic packaging waste by March 31
- Producers of plastic packaging will have to manage 25% of the ‘Q1’ waste in metric tonnes in 2021-22. Q1 is calculated by adding the last two years’ average weights of plastic packaging material sold and pre-consumer plastic packaging waste, and subtracting the annual quantity of plastic packaging supplied to brand owners.
- The EPR target will be increased to 70% in 2022-23 and 100% from 2023-24 onwards
- The recycling obligation for producers will be 50% for rigid plastics in 2024-25, 60% in 2025-26, 70% in 2026-27, and 80% from 2027-28 onwards.
- Environmental compensation shall be levied based upon polluter pays principle, with respect to non-fulfilment of EPR targets by producers, importers and brand owners, for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment.
- The guidelines allow for the sale and purchase of surplus extended producer responsibility certificates. Thus setting up a market mechanism for plastic waste management
What are Plastic Waste Management Rules?
- MoEFCC notified the Plastic Waste Management Rules on March 18, 2016
- The Plastic Waste Management Rules mandate minimising the generation of plastic waste, avoiding littering, ensuring segregated storage of the waste at source, and handing it over.
- The rules also mandate the responsibilities of local bodies, gram panchayats, waste generators, retailers, and street vendors to manage plastic waste.
- The rules cast EPR on producers, importers, and brand-owners. Extended Producer Responsibility shall be applicable to both pre-consumer and post-consumer plastic packaging waste
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 22nd February 2022
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