22nd & 23rd April 2020 Current Affairs in English
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Daily Current affairs for Competitive
Exams ( UPSC, TNPSC, SSC)
22nd & 23rd APRIL 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Corona related information and various measures taken by Govt. and States
- INS Angre
- Coronavirus | Drug for sepsis to be tested for COVID-19
- AIIMS deploys robots in COVID-19 ward
- Deceased COVID-19 ‘warriors’ to become ‘martyrs’ in Odisha
- @CovidIndiaSeva launched
- ICMR asks States to stop using rapid tests for the next 2 days
- Military satellite launched, claims Iran
- Chhattisgarh’s Bastar tribes keep COVID-19 at bay
- Why Kandhamal tribes never have a bad hair day
- Trump to suspend immigration to U.S
- Global hunger could double due to COVID-19 blow, says UN
- Coronavirus | Humans to blame for pandemic
- Steep hike in Assam fuel prices despite global dip
- Confirmed cases cross 20,000; nearly 4,000 people recover
- Attacks on health workers to attract up to 7 years in prison
- IMA withdraws protest plan
- Pakistan removes thousands of names from terrorist watch list: report
- Global remittances will see a sharp fall: WB
- No 100% quota for tribal teachers: Supreme Court
- NBFCs seek RBI clariﬁcation on what constitutes a ‘default’
- Extra Information
- Epidemic Disease Act 1897
- Reservation In constitution
1. Corona related information and various measures taken by Govt. and States
Information in News
1. INS Angre
- INS Angre is the shore-based logistics and administrative support establishment of the Western Naval Command.
- Located at Kala Ghoda in south Mumbai, it is the base depot ship for the Command.
- Rise in number of positive cases among INS Angre personnel expected.
2. Coronavirus | Drug for sepsis to be tested for COVID-19
- Sepsivac, a drug jointly developed by the Ahmedabad-based Cadilla Pharmaceuticals and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), will be tested in 50 COVID-19 patients at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi and Bhopal, and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.
- Sepsivac was originally developed for treating sepsis by a class of pathogens called gram negative bacteria,that are known to cause life-threatening infections.
- Given the similarities in the immune-system response in critically ill COVID-19 patients, it is theorised, the therapy could stimulate a benign response.
- A large quantity of cytokines, chemicals signalling the presence of an infection, are produced in the early stages of the body’s response against an infection to stimulate the production of antibodies.
- However, cytokines also cause inflammation of organs and can be counter-productive in protecting the body.
- Keeping them in check is the goal of so called immuno-modulators, or medicines like Sepsivac.
- The drug uses the Mycobacterium w (formally known as mycobacterium indicus pranii) as it produces a different immune-system response.
3. AIIMS deploys robots in COVID-19 ward
- The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi has deployed robots at its advanced COVID-19 ward to help promote physical distancing between health workers and infected patients.
- The institute is using two AI robots
- Milagrow Floor Robot iMap 9.0 and Milagrow Humanoid ELF in collaboration with consumer robotics brand Milagrow.
- Milagrow Humanoid ELF enables doctors to monitor and interact with COVID-19 patients remotely thereby significantly reducing transmission risk.
- Patients in isolation wards can also interact with their relatives from time-to-time through this robot.
- The Humanoid ELF can navigate around the ward independently and record activities in high definition video and audio.
- As the outbreak continues to rise, our robots will help check the virus spread and protect the doctors, nurses and other staff from getting infected.
4. Deceased COVID-19 ‘warriors’ to become ‘martyrs’ in Odisha
- Odisha will treat all healthcare workers and support service staff who die fighting the coronavirus pandemic as marytrs and give them state funerals, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Tuesday.
- Their relatives with receive Rs 50 lakh, awards instituted to recognise their sacrifice will be handed out on national days.
5. @CovidIndiaSeva launched
- Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday launched the ‘COVID India Seva’, an interactive platform to establish a direct channel of communication during the pandemic.
- The initiative is aimed at enabling transparent e-governance delivery in real-time and answering citizen queries swiftly, at scale, especially in crisis situations like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Through this, people can pose queries @CovidIndiaSeva and get answers in almost real time in Twitter.
- Twitter has proved to be an essential service for both the government and citizens to interact and exchange information, especially in times of need.
- The latest updates on measures taken by the government, learning about access to healthcare services or seeking guidance for someone who perhaps has symptoms but is unsure about where to turn to for help, the app will empower public to reach out to the authorities.
- The Ministry will respond to broader queries and public health information.
- This does not require the public to share personal contact details or health record details.
6. ICMR asks States to stop using rapid tests for the next 2 days
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has directed the States not to use the COVID-19 rapid testing kits currently being used to study community transmission for the next two days following reports of wide variations in results.
- If they were found to be not up to the mark, replacements would be sought from the manufacturers, ICMR spokesperson Dr. R.R. Gangakhedkar said on Tuesday.
- The Rajasthan government on Tuesday decided to halt rapid antibody tests after an experts’ team questioned the use of the newly distributed Chinese testing kits following inaccurate results.
- The ICMR has maintained that among the total COVID-19 tests conducted so far, 69% were asymptomatic cases and 31% symptomatic.
- Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has written to the health departments of all States/UTs to ensure adequate availability of blood in blood banks in particular, for people needing regular blood transfusion with blood disorders, he said.
- Portal ‘e-RaktKosh’ needs to be used for the real-time status monitoring of the current stock of each blood group.
- So far 80 % of cases came with no symptoms or very mild
- The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was launching a randomised, blinded, two arms, active comparator-controlled clinical trial to evaluate drug efficacy to reduce mortality in critically ill COVID-19 patients.
- The Empowered Committed-4, which is working for augmenting human resources and capacity building.
- They have developed a COVID warrior dashboard that contains data for 20 categories (with 49 sub categories) human resources.
- The Health Ministry has also launched a COVID India Seva, an interactive platform “aimed at enabling transparent e-governance delivery in real-time and answering citizen queries swiftly.
7. Military satellite launched, claims Iran
- Sepahnews, the Revolutionary Guards’ website, said the satellite dubbed the Nour meaning “light” in Persian had been launched from the Markazi desert, a vast expanse in Iran’s central plateau.
- The satellite “orbited the Earth at 425 kilometres” above sea level, said Sepahnews.
- Iranian state television aired footage of a rocket blasting off into sky. The rocket bore the name Qassed, meaning “messenger”, in what appears to be the first time Iran has used a launcher of this type.
- It said was its own satellite launch, hailing it as a milestone for the country’s space programme.
- It is the beginning of the formation of a world power.
2. Chhattisgarh’s Bastar tribes keep COVID-19 at bay
Information in News
- They have set up makeshift check posts and are not letting outsiders into the village. Instead, they are arranging to quarantine the “outsiders” local residents who went out to work in the periphery of the village.
- The umbrella organisation of the tribals, Sarva Adivasi Samaj (SAS), is in the forefront of the initiative and Maoists are cooperating actively.
- Not one case of Corona contraction has been reported from the Bastar division that has a population of about three million.
- Trainings are conducted so that health activists can run awareness campaigns in Gondi and Halbi, two key languages of Bastar.
- Tribals have a traditional practice of restricting unnecessary movement from one village to another during festivals, which has helped.
3. Why Kandhamal tribes never have a bad hair day
Information in News
- Almost every day, some members of Jagruti, a social organisation, practise a local tribal tradition of trimming each other’s hair at Daringbadi in Kandhamal district of Odisha.
- Through it, they avoid visits to salons that may lead to spread of COVID-19 infection.
- Hair grooming is a long tradition among Kandhamal tribals.
- Only 5% of tribals of Kandhamal district may be going to barber shops.
- So, except for urban pockets, the villages of Kandhamal do not have any barber shops.
- Interestingly, Kandhamal tribals do not tonsure their heads or have haircuts during funeral rituals. Women grow their hair long and trim it among themselves.
4. Trump to suspend immigration to U.S
Information in News
- U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will temporarily suspend immigration in order to protect Americans’ jobs.
- In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” Mr. Trump said on Monday evening, in an apparent reference to the novel coronavirus.
- The President said on Tuesday that he would stop the issuing of green cards permanent residency permits for 60 days, but would exempt temporary workers such as seasonal farm labourers
- It would be wrong and unjust for Americans to be replaced with immigrant labour flown in from abroad.”
- About 22 million Americans have lost their jobs since the outbreak forced a global shutdown.
- The US H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ graduate level workers in specialty occupations. Speciality occupations requires
- Theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc.
- Any professional level job that usually requires you to have a bachelor’s degree or higher can come under the H-1B visa for specialty occupations.
- If the H-1B holders starts working elsewhere and the transfer is denied, the person could be ‘out of status’ with a bar on entry into the US for three to ten years, unless the old employer is willing to take back the worker.
- Green Card: allows a non-US citizen to live and work permanently in USA.
5. Global hunger could double due to COVID-19 blow, says UN
Information in News
- The number of people facing acute food insecurity could nearly double this year to 265 million due to the economic fallout of COVID-19, the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.
- The impact of lost tourism revenues, falling remittances and travel and other restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic are expected to leave some 130 million people acutely hungry this year, adding to around 135 million already in that category.
- COVID-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread.
a. World Food Programme (WFP)
- The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
- The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
- WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.
- It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
- Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life.
- The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from member states.
- The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors.
The objectives of the World Food Programme are:
- Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies.
- Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies.
- Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs.
- Reduce under-nutrition and break the inter-generational cycle of hunger.
- Zero Hunger in 2030.
b. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
- Established in 1945, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has its headquarters in Rome, Italy.
- India is a member of FAO.
- Our goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.
- With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide. We believe that everyone can play a part in ending hunger.
- The UN system, also known unofficially as the ‘UN family’, is made up of the UN itself and a series of Programmes, Funds and Specialized Agencies, all with their own leadership and budget.
- The Specialized Agencies are independent international organizations funded by both voluntary and assessed contributions.
- It has 194 Member Nations, two associate members and one member organization, the European Union.
- Its employees come from various cultural backgrounds and are experts in the multiple fields of activity FAO engages in.
- FAO’s staff capacity allows it to support improved governance inter alia, generate, develop and adapt existing tools and guidelines and provide targeted governance support as a resource to country and regional level FAO offices.
Functions of FAO
The function of FAO is moving around the following five main areas
- Putting information within reach and supporting the transition to sustainable agriculture.
- Strengthening political will and sharing policy expertise
- Bolstering public-private collaboration to improve smallholder agriculture.
- Bringing knowledge to the field.
- Supporting countries prevent and mitigate risks.
6. Coronavirus | Humans to blame for pandemic
- The name given to diseases transmitted from animals to humans is “zoonoses”, based on the Greek words for “animal” and “sickness”.
- They are not new tuberculosis, rabies, toxoplasmosis, malaria, to name just a few, are all zoonoses.
- According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), 60% of human infectious diseases originate from animals.
- This figure climbs to 75% for “emerging” diseases such as Ebola, HIV, avian flu, Zika, or SARS, another type of coronavirus. The list goes on.
- The emergence of zoonotic diseases is often associated with
- Environmental changes or ecological disturbances, such as agricultural intensification and human settlement, or encroachments into forests and other habitats.
- Beyond the current outbreak of coronavirus, IPBES estimates that zoonoses kill some 700,000 people a year.
- But domestic animals also carry about 50% of the zoonoses identified.
- Pangolin, an endangered species whose meat and scales are highly prized in parts of Asia.
- Domesticated animals are often a “bridge” between pathogens from the wild and humans. The widespread use of antibiotics in the livestock industry has also led to bacterial pathogens building up immunity to front-line drugs.
Various reason for spread of Zoonoses
- Human activity for the crossover between species.
- Given the growth of the human population and its ever more intense use of planetary resources, the destruction of more and more ecosystems multiplies contacts .
- A key area of concern is deforestation to make way for agriculture and intensive livestock farming.
- The rate of global change in nature during the past 50 years is unprecedented in human history, and the most important direct driver of change in nature is land use change.
- Urbanisation and habitat fragmentation are also highly disruptive of the balance between species, while global warming can push disease-carrying animals into new territory
- It is our disregard for nature and our disrespect of the animals we should share the planet with that has caused this pandemic.
- Transformative change is needed in order to find a solution to this global tragedy.
7. Steep hike in Assam fuel prices despite global dip
Information in News
- A litre of fuel went up by almost Rs. 6 in Assam from Wednesday despite global crude oil prices hitting rock bottom.
- The State’s Finance (Taxation) Department issued a notification modifying the rates of tax on diesel and petrol.
- The notification by Principal Secretary Samir Kumar Sinha on Tuesday evening said the tax rates had been increased under a relevant Section of the Assam Value Added Tax Act, 2003. A State can impose tax only on fuel and liquor.
- Assam might not be able to meet its expenditure in June, including paying salaries to about 5 lakh government employees, if there is no infusion of funds, by Assam Finance minister.
Critics from Other side
- The State government’s decision “regressive, especially at a time when prices of essentials are already at increased levels”.
- The steep hike when global oil prices are at a record low is unacceptable.
8. Confirmed cases cross 20,000; nearly 4,000 people recover
Information in News
- India on Wednesday reported 50 new COVID-19 deaths and the recovery of 3,959 patients, taking the recovery rate to 19.36% from 17% previously.
- The Ministry said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had promised to collect data from the States to assess the scope and extent of the utility of the rapid antibody test in field conditions.
- The ICMR had reiterated that the rapid test was largely to be used as a tool for surveillance.
- Globally also, the utility of this rapid test is evolving and it is currently being used for detecting the formation of antibodies in individuals. The test results are also dependent on field conditions,” the release noted and asserted that the test cannot replace the RT-PCR test to diagnose COVID-19 cases.
- The Central government would conduct a telephonic survey, where citizens will be contacted on their mobile phone from the number 1921, through the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
- This is a genuine survey. All citizens are requested to participate to help get proper feedback on the prevalence and distribution of COVID-19 symptoms. Also, please be aware of any other calls by pranksters or calls from any other number in the guise of such a similar survey.
ICMR (The Indian Council of Medical Research)
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research through intramural as well as extramural research, is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world.
- IRFA (Indian Research Fund Association) established in 1911was redesignated as the Indian Council of Medical Research (with Dr. C.G. Pandit as its first Director).
- IRFA was registered as a local body not administered by the Government on March 22, 1938 under the Government of India Act No. XXI of 1860.
- The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
- The Governing Body of the Council is presided over by the Union Health Minister. It is assisted in scientific and technical matters by a Scientific Advisory Board comprising eminent experts in different biomedical disciplines.
- The Board, in its turn, is assisted by a series of Scientific Advisory Groups, Scientific Advisory Committees, Expert Groups, Task Forces, and Steering Committees etc. which evaluate and monitor different research activities of the Council.
- The Council’s research priorities coincide with the National health priorities such as control and management of communicable diseases, fertility control, maternal and child health, control of nutritional disorders, developing alternative strategies for health care delivery, containment within safety limits of environmental and occupational health problems; research on major non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, blindness, diabetes and other metabolic and hematological disorders; mental health research and drug research (including traditional remedies).
9. Attacks on health workers to attract up to 7 years in prison
Information in News
- The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, making acts of violence against medical staff a cognisable and non-bailable offence and to provide compensation for injury to healthcare personnel or for damage or loss to property.
- The ordinance proposes that in cases of attacks on healthcare workers, the investigation will be completed within 30 days and the final decision arrived at within one year.
- The punishment for such attacks will be three months to five years and the fine Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2 lakh.
- In severe cases, where there are grievous injuries, the punishment will be six months to seven years and the fine Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh.
- New ordinance, there shall be zero tolerance to any incidents of violence against healthcare service personnel and/or damage to property. All offences of violence will be cognisable and non-bailable, Health minister.
10. IMA withdraws protest plan
Information in News
- The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Wednesday withdrew a protest planned against the attacks on doctors and healthcare professionals after the Union government promised that all necessary steps, including relevant legislation, would be introduced for their safety and dignity.
- The Union Home Ministry asked the States to appoint nodal officers to redress any safety issue faced by medical professionals round the clock.
- The States were asked to invoke Section 51 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, which provides for strict penalties against such obstructions.
- In Tamil Nadu, the funeral party of a doctor who died of COVID-19 infection was attacked. His colleagues were also assaulted.
Indian Medical Association (IMA)
- IMA is the only representative, national voluntary organisation of Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine in India.
- It looks after the interest of doctors as well as the wellbeing of the community at large.
- It was established in 1928 as the All India Medical Association, and renamed as Indian Medical Association in 1930.
- IMA, in 1946, helped in organisation of the World body, namely, World Medical Association, and thus became its founder member.
- Today, I.M.A. is a well established organisation with its Headquarters at Delhi and State / Terr. Branches in 29 States and Union Territories.
11. Pakistan removes thousands of names from terrorist watch list: report
Information in News
- Pakistan has quietly removed around 1,800 terrorists from its watch list, including that of the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind and LeT operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, ahead of a new round of assessments by the global anti-money- laundering watchdog FATF, according to a US-based start-up that automates watchlist compliance.
- The so-called proscribed persons list, which is maintained by Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority or NACTA, is intended in part to help financial institutions avoid doing business with or processing transactions of suspected terrorists.
- The list in 2018 contained about 7,600 names. It has been reduced to under 3,800 in the past 18 months, according to Castellum.AI, a New York-based regulatory technology company.
- About 1,800 of the names have been removed since the beginning of March, according to data collected by Castellum.
- Pakistan is working to implement an action plan that has been mutually agreed to with the Paris-based The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), part of which involves demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions.
- It is possible that these removals are part of Pakistan’s action plan to implement the FATF recommendations, it said.
- While Pakistan received a rating of low effectiveness from the FATF regarding terrorist financing preventive measures and financial sanctions, the FATF did note in February that Pakistan has largely addressed 14 of 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on the rest of the action, it said.
- The FATF will again evaluate Pakistan’s progress in June 2020.
- Currently placed on the FATF’s ‘grey list’,
- Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations, a measure that officials here fear could hurt its economy, which is already under severe strain.
- Several of the names removed from Pakistan’s list appear to be aliases for designated terrorists listed on the US or United Nations sanctions lists, according to Castellum.AI.
- The lack of certain identifiers such as dates of birth or, in some cases, a national ID number on NACTA’s list makes it difficult to know for sure, the Wall Street Journal quoted sanctions experts as saying.
- In the case of Zaka Ur Rehman, the difference between Zaka and Zaki fits within the parameters of an accurate phonetic translation, the company said.
- AI said it also searched for the Lashkar-e-Taiba leader’s full name, Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi, on the Pakistan Proscribed Persons list, and he was not on the list.
- This means that if the removed name is a false positive, that Pakistan has not added the Lashkar E Taiba leader to its terrorism watchlist.
- According to the Wall Street Journal, no public explanation was given for the removals as they were made, but a Pakistani official said in an email interview that they are part of the country’s ongoing efforts to comply with a commitment to strengthen its counterterrorism safeguards.
- The size and speed of the removals is unusual, according to Peter Piatetsky, a former senior policy adviser for the US Treasury and co-founder of Castellum.AI.
- Removing close to 4,000 names without a public explanation is unheard of and it raises significant questions about the listing process, he said.
- Global standards call for countries to communicate de-listings to the financial sector immediately upon taking such action.
- Pakistan, which designates entities and persons with suspected links to terrorism under its Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, hasn’t historically done so, the newspaper said.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an independent inter-governmental body. Those countries which don’t support terror funding and money laundering are placed in the grey list by the FATF.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was established in July 1989 by a Group of Seven (G-7) countries in a Summit held in Paris. The initial motive of FATF was to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.
FATF has 2 types of lists;
- Black List
countries that are supporting terror funding and money laundering activities are placed in the Blacklist.
- Grey List
countries which are not considered as the safe heaven for supporting terror funding and money laundering; included in this list. The inclusion in this list is not as severe as blacklisted.
12. Global remittances will see a sharp fall: WB
Information in News
- Global remittances are projected to experience their sharpest decline in recent times -20% owing to migrants losing jobs and wages because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group said in a report released on Wednesday.
- The pandemic and declining oil prices are likely to reduce remittances from the S., the U.K., and EU countries to South Asia, resulting in a projected fall of 22% in remittances to $109 billion.
- This is in stark contrast to 2019 when they grew by 6.1%.
- Remittances are crucial in low and middle income countries, financing household and family expenses such as on higher education.
- As studies have shown that higher remittances improve nutritional outcomes by increasing investments in higher education, a fall in these remittances puts these outcomes at risk, warned the Bank.
- This is especially true at a time when households were tackling food shortages and financing livelihood needs. Remittances are a vital source of income for developing countries.
- The sharpest decline was for Europe and Central Asia where Russia is a strong source of income and the ruble had weakened against the U.S. dollar.
- Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia were next in terms of projected declines.
- While remittance costs for some channels in South Asia are below 3% the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal ) target and South Asia has the lowest remittance costs of any region in some corridors in South Asia, they were above 10% due to a lack of competition, regulatory concerns and low volumes.
- Quick actions that make it easier to send and receive remittances can provide much-needed support to the lives of migrants and their families.
- These include treating remittance services as essential and making them more accessible to migrants.
13. No 100% quota for tribal teachers: Supreme Court
Information in News
- A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held it unconstitutional to provide 100% reservation for tribal teachers in schools located in Scheduled Areas across the country.
- A 152-page judgment by a Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra said it was an “obnoxious idea” to have only tribals teach tribals.
Sawhney judgment and the Court Order:
- The court held that 100% reservation is discriminatory and impermissible.
- The opportunity of public employment is not the prerogative of few.
- A 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribes has deprived Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes also of their due representation.
- The court referred to the Indira Sawhney judgment, which caps reservation at 50%.
- Citizens have equal rights, and the total exclusion of others by creating an opportunity for one class is not contemplated by the founding fathers of the Constitution of India.
- The case stemmed from a legal challenge to January 10, 2000 order issued by the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh Bench providing 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribe candidates, out of whom 33.1/3% shall be women, for the post of teachers in schools located in the Scheduled Areas of the State. The court said the 2000 notification was “unreasonable and arbitrary”.
- The court noted the 2000 notification was a “misadventure” the erstwhile State had embarked on to save an identical one issued in 1986.
- The 2000 notification was given retrospective effect to bring to life to its predecessor of 1986.
- The court said it would not set aside the teachers’ appointments as long as Telangana and Andhra do not try, for a third time, to bring a similar notification in the future.
14. NBFCs seek RBI clariﬁcation on what constitutes a ‘default’
Information in News
- Non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) are planning to write to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seeking clarification on what constitutes a default, as the regulator has mandated additional provision for accounts that are in default.
- For such accounts, a 10% provision was mandated, equally spread over to two quarters — January-March and April-June.
- “The term default is not defined in the circular and is open to multiple interpretations,” said an official of a large NBFC.
- A loan can be termed ‘default’ if repayment is due for even one day. According to RBI norms, if repayment is overdue for 0 to 30 days, it is classified under SMA 0 (special mention account), if overdue by 31 to 60 days, it is SMA 1 and if overdue from 61 to 90 days, the account is classified as SMA 2.
- “The word ‘default’ can be construed to mean even a single-day default.
- If repayment overdue of one day is also seen as default, then the lenders have to make the additional provisioning, which could hurt the profitability of these entities.
- NBFCs are planning to request RBI to clarify that the term ‘default’ should read as loans which are more than 30 days overdue.
- The other issue on which NBFCs are looking for clarification is on the central bank advisory on adjusting such provisions.
- RBI had said the above provisions may be adjusted against the actual provisioning requirements for slippages from the accounts reckoned for such provisions.
- “The residual provisions at the end of the financial year can be written back or adjusted against the provisions required for all other accounts,” the norms said.
- NBFCs are required to carry impairment provision as per ‘Expected Credit Loss Model’ which are approved by their boards.
- However, if such value is less than the provisions required to be made under Income Recognition and Asset Classification [IRAC] norms of RBI, an impairment reserve is created for the residual provision amount and which can be utilised only with prior approval of RBI.
- NBFCs now want that they be allowed to adjust the excess provisioning kept in impairment reserve arising out of provision for moratorium accounts which are in default, but standard, without prior approval of the RBI.
The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897
- The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 is a law which was first enacted to tackle bubonic plague in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in former British India.
- The law is meant for containment of epidemics by providing special powers that are required for the implementation of containment measures to control the spread of the disease.
- The Act has been routinely used to contain various diseases in India such as swine flu, cholera, malaria and dengue.
- In 2018, the Act was enforced as cholera began to spread in a region of Gujarat.
- In 2015, it was used to deal with dengue and malaria in Chandigarh and
- In 2009 it was invoked in Pune to combat swine flu.
- Starting in March 2020, the act is being enforced across India in order to limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019.
- Any person disobeying any regulation or order made under this Act shall be deemed to have committed an offence punishable under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
- No suit or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything done or in good faith intended to be done under this Act.
What are the constitutional provisions related to the reservation?
- Part XVI of the Indian Constitution deals with
- Reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in federal and state legislatures.
- The constitutional authority of the President to set up commissions to assess and suggest remedies for the welfare of SC and ST sections.
- Article 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution extends benefits of reservation to socially and educationally backward classes.
- The objective of providing reservations to the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) in services is not only to give jobs to some persons belonging to these communities.
- It basically aims at empowering them and ensuring their participation in the decision-making process of the State.
- Scheduled Castes (SC) are given 15% quota in jobs/higher educational institutions while Schedule Tribes (ST) are given 7.5% quota in jobs/higher educational institutions.
- Reservation is provided not only with respect to direct recruitment but also with respect to promotions for SC/ST category (Article 16(4A)).
- There is no concept of ‘creamy layer’ with respect to SC/ST reservation. This means that irrespective of the income status or the government posts held by the parents, children of SC/ST parents will get SC/ST Reservation.