UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 4th March 2022
Topics for the day:
- SC enforces a landmark ruling on death penalty
- PM jan aushadi yojana
- Cluster bombs and Thermobaric weapons
- AP govt cant change capital
- India’s first Dugong reserve
- International court of justice
SC enforces a landmark ruling on death penalty
- More than four decades after a landmark ruling on death sentence cases, a bench in the Supreme Court has made psychological evaluation of the condemned prisoner mandatory.
- The SC has also sought a report on the inmate’s conduct at the time of examining whether the gallows remains the only fitting punishment
Supreme Court’s verdict in Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980):
- This verdict established the doctrine of “rarest of rare” crime in handing down capital punishment while mandating a comparative analysis of aggravating and mitigating circumstances in connection to the accused.
- The judgment laid down that a court must scrutinise both the crime as well as the criminal, and then decide whether death penalty is the only suitable punishment in the facts of the case.
- Emphasis is to be also laid on the aggravating and mitigating factors which are dependent upon the facts and circumstances of the case.
Machi Singh vs State of Punjab (1983):
- In this case, the Supreme Court elucidated the doctrine of “rarest of rare” and set down some guiding principles in the death sentences cases.
- The aggravating circumstances included the manner in which the crime was committed, motive for committing the crime, severity of the crime, and the victim of the crime.
- The mitigating circumstances consisted of the possibility of reformation and rehabilitation of an accused, his mental health and his antecedents.
What has the court said now ?
Taking a cue from the Bachan Singh verdict, SC in a series of death sentences cases, has recently held that “complete assistance” to the court in such matters would necessitate the production of not just the evidence in the case but also the latest state of the mental health of the prisoner.
PRADHAN MANTRI BHARTIYA JANAUSHADHI PARIYOJANA (PMBJP)
- On the 2nd Day of Jan Aushadhi Diwas celebrations, Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers flagged off Jan Aushadhi Rath, Jan Aushadhi Mobile Vans and Jan Aushadhi E-rickshaws from New Delhi as a part of the weeklong celebration across the country.
More about the news :
- The Jan Aushadhi Rath will travel 7 days covering 4-5 States and Vans and E-rickshaws will travel across Delhi up to 7th March to raise awareness at the grassroot level about the benefits of the Pariyojana and Jan Aushadhi generic medicines which are available at affordable prices for all.
- Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers is organizing the Janaushadhi Diwas from 1st March to 7th March 2022 to spread awareness about the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).
More about the scheme :
- It has an objective of making quality generic medicines available at affordable prices to all
- Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) was launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers in 2008 and later rechristened in 2015
- Under the scheme, dedicated outlets known as Janaushadhi Kendras are opened to provide generic medicines at affordable prices.
- The Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Bureau of India (PMBI) is implementing the scheme.
Other features of scheme :
- Create awareness about generic medicines through education and publicity so that quality is not synonymous with only high price.
- Create demand for generic medicines by improving access to better healthcare through low treatment cost and easy availability wherever needed in all therapeutic categories.
Cluster bombs and Thermobaric weapons
- Russia has resorted to the use of dangerous thermobaric bombs or vacuum bombs in Ukraine.
- Cluster weaponry has been banned by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions; however, neither Ukraine nor Russia were signatories at the convention.
What are thermobaric weapons?
- These are called vacuum bombs as they suck in oxygen from surrounding areas to generate high-voltage explosions.
- The blast wave is of a greater intensity and duration than conventional bombs and can vapourise humans.
- While they cannot be used in taking down tanks and other such military vehicles, they can dismantle civilian spaces, like residential or commercial complexes.
What are cluster bombs?
- Cluster munitions are non-precision weapons that are designed to injure or kill human beings indiscriminately over a large area, and to destroy vehicles and infrastructure such as runways, railway or power transmission lines.
- They can be dropped from an aircraft or launched in a projectile that spins in flight, scattering many bomblets as it travels.
- Many of these bomblets end up not exploding, but continue to lie on the ground, often partially or fully hidden and difficult to locate and remove, posing a threat to the civilian population for long after the fighting has ceased.
Convention on Cluster Munitions:
- It is an international treaty that prohibits all use, transfer, production, and stockpiling of cluster bombs, a type of explosive weapon which scatters submunitions (“bomblets”) over an area.
- Additionally, the Convention establishes a framework to support victim assistance, clearance of contaminated sites, risk reduction education, and stockpile destruction.
- The convention was adopted on 30 May 2008 in Dublin.
- Russia has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that its military forces have taken control of the territory around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).
- The IAEA continues to closely monitor developments in Ukraine, with a special focus on the safety and security of its nuclear power reactors.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marks the first time a military conflict has taken place amidst the facilities of a large and established nuclear power program.
More about the IAEA :
- Set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family.
- Reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
- Headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
- In 2005, it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work for a safe and peaceful world.
Functions of IAEA :
- Works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
- Seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons
Programs of the IAEA :
- Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT)
- Human Health Programme
- IAEA Water Availability Enhancement Project (IWAVE)
- International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO)
- NUclear TEChnology for Controlling Plastic Pollution – NUTEC Plastics
- Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI)
- Rays of Hope
- Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC)
AP govt cant change capital
- The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday directed the State government to construct and develop Amaravati, the capital city of the State, and the capital region within six months
- The court directed the government and the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) to discharge their duties enshrined under the P. CRDA Act and Land Pooling Rules.
- It directed the State to develop the reconstitutional plots belonging to landowners and hand them over to landowners within three months
- AP high court gave the final verdict after hearings in the case relating to writ petitions filed by landowners of Amaravati to declare that the State government had no legislative competence to change the capital or remove Amaravati from being the capital
- The previous government of Andhra pradesh, through a land-pooling scheme, had acquired 33,000 acres of agricultural land from 29 villages and promised to return developed plots in return, apart from monetary compensation.
- However, the next government dropped the project and decided to go ahead with decentralization.
- In 2020, it repealed the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2020, and passed the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020.
- This way, Amaravati was to be the Legislative capital, Visakhapatnam the Executive capital, and Kurnool the Judicial capital.
India’s first Dugong reserve
- India’s first Dugong conservation reserve will be built in Tamil Nadu’s Palk Bay for the conservation of Dugong.
More on the news
- It would be established in the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay between India and Sri Lanka, for the conservation of the animals.
- The reserve will spread over an area of 500 km in Palk Bay on the southeast coast of Tamil Nadu.
- Dugongs are on the verge of extinction, as in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands their population is less than 100.
- Both in the Gulf of Mannar and the Gulf of Kutch, there are very few sporadic records.
What are dugongs ?
- Dugong or the sea cow is the State animal of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
- This endangered marine species survive on seagrass and other aquatic vegetation found in the area.
- They are marine mammals and have to surface every four minutes to breathe.
- It is the only herbivorous mammal that is strictly marine and is the only extant species in the family Dugongidae.
- Status is vulnerable under IUCN red list.
INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE (ICJ)
- Ukraine has filed an application before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), instituting proceedings against the Russia concerning “a dispute relating to the interpretation of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (the “Genocide Convention”).
More about the news :
- Ukraine has accused Russia of falsely claiming that “acts of genocide have occurred in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine”, and of using that as a pretext to recognise the independence of these regions and of going to war against Ukraine.
What is the ICJ ?
- The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).
- The ICJ is based at the Peace Palace in The Hague.
- It is the only one of the six principal organs of the UN that is not located in New York City.
- Its official languages are English and French.
- The ICJ has 15 judges who are elected to nine-year terms by the UN General Assembly and Security Council, which vote simultaneously but separately.
- The judges are distributed as per the regions:
- 3 from Africa
- 2 from Latin America and the Caribbean
- 3 from Asia
- 5 from Western Europe and other states
- 2 from Eastern Europe
- The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
- It has no jurisdiction to try individuals accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity.
- As it is not a criminal court, it does not have a prosecutor able to initiate proceedings.
- The ICJ is not an apex court to which national courts can turn to.
- It also does not act like an appeal court for international tribunals, however, it can make a ruling on the validity of the arbitration awards.
- The ICJ cannot suo moto take up a case. It can only hear cases or disputes when requested to do so by States
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 4th March 2022
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