30th April 2020 Current Affairs in English from The Hindu Newspaper
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Exams ( UPSC, TNPSC, SSC)
30th APRIL 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Coronavirus lockdown | Home Ministry clears inter-State movement of stranded people
- Intellectual Property rights | India remains on U.S. Priority Watch List
- NEET applies to minority-run medical colleges: Supreme Court
- Coronavirus | 1.6 billion at the risk of losing jobs, warns ILO
- A smart way to watch over COVID-19 patients
- Study on China dams brings the Brahmaputra into focus
1. Coronavirus lockdown | Home Ministry clears inter-State movement of stranded people
Information in News
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued guidelines to allow inter-State movement of stranded migrant workers, tourists, pilgrims, students and others.
- Public transport, including trains and buses, continue to remain suspended and the State governments have been asked to appoint nodal authorities to register such stranded persons and facilitate their movement.
- The MHA said such persons should be kept in home quarantine for 14 days unless an assessment by a medical team recommended institutional quarantine.
- For individuals who wanted to travel in their private cars, permission should be taken from the State authorities.
- If someone has to cross multiple States to reach their destination, then the State authority where the travel will originate, will coordinate with the respective State authorities and issue a pass accordingly.
- Uttar Pradesh was one of the first States to arrange for the return of stranded migrant workers to return to their homes.
- All States and Union Territories [UTs] have been asked to designate nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending the stranded persons.
- The authorities shall also register the stranded persons within their States and UTs.
- In case, a group of stranded persons wish to move between one State to another State, the sending and receiving authorities may consult each other and mutually agree to the movement by road, Buses shall be used for transport of groups of persons which will be sanitized and shall follow safe social distancing norms in seating.
- The moving person would be screened and those found asymptomatic would be allowed to proceed.
- For this purpose, such persons may be encouraged to use Aarogya Setu app through which their health status can be monitored and tracked.
- The first set of guidelines by the MHA were issued on March 24 under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, invoked for the first time in the country in the wake of the pandemic.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) discharges multifarious responsibilities, the important among them being – internal security, border management, Centre-State relations, administration of Union Territories, management of Central Armed Police Forces, disaster management, etc.
- Though in terms of Entries 1 and 2 of List II – ‘State List’ – in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, ‘public order’ and ‘police’ are the responsibilities of States,
- Article 355 of the Constitution enjoins the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the Government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
- In pursuance of these obligations, the Ministry of Home Affairs continuously monitors the internal security situation, issues appropriate advisories, shares intelligence inputs, extends manpower and financial support, guidance and expertise to the State Governments for maintenance of security, peace and harmony without encroaching upon the constitutional rights of the States.
2. Intellectual Property rights | India remains on U.S. Priority Watch List
Information in News
- India continues to be on the ‘Priority Watch List’ of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for lack of adequate intellectual property (IP) rights protection and enforcement, the USTR said in its Annual Special 301 Report, released on Wednesday.
- Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela are also on the Priority Watch List.
The Report Said,
- India remained one of the most challenging economies for IP enforcement and protection.
- While India made “meaningful progress” to enhance IP protection and enforcement in some areas over the past year, it did not resolve recent and long-standing challenges, and created new ones,
- These long-standing concerns were about
- Innovators being able to receive, maintain and enforce patents particularly in the pharmaceutical sector;
- concerns over copyright laws not incentivising the creation and commercialisation of content; and
- an outdated trade secrets framework.
- India also further restricted the transparency of information provided on state-issued pharmaceutical manufacturing licenses, continues to apply restrictive patentability criteria to reject pharmaceutical patents, and still has not established an effective system for protecting against the unfair commercial use, as well as the unauthorized disclosure, of undisclosed test or other data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceuticals and certain agricultural chemical products.
- The report also mentioned high customs duties on medical devices and Information and Communications Technology.
- Online IP enforcement in India has improved.
- The USTR also noted that India was ranked among the top five source economies for fake goods by the Organization of Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) in 2019.
- The government’s 2019 draft Copyright Amendment Rules, if implemented, would have “ severe” consequences for Internet-content rights holders.
- As the proposed rules broadened the scope of compulsory licensing from radio and television broadcasting to online broadcasting.
- Trademark counterfeiting levels were “problematic and there were “excessive delays” in obtaining trademarks due to a lack of examination quality.
- The U.S., the report noted, continues to urge India to join the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, a treaty that harmonises trademark registration.
Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks
- The objective of the Singapore Treaty is to create a modern and dynamic international framework for the harmonization of administrative trademark registration procedures.
- Building on the Trademark Law Treaty of 1994 (TLT), the Singapore Treaty has a wider scope of application and addresses more recent developments in the field of communication technologies.
- The Singapore Treaty is applicable to all types of marks registrable under the law of a given Contracting Party.
- Contracting Parties are free to choose the means of communication with their offices (including communications in electronic form or by electronic means of transmittal).
- Relief measures in respect of time limits as well as provisions on the recording of trademark licenses were introduced, and an Assembly of the Contracting Parties established.
- The Singapore Treaty was concluded in 2006 and entered into force in 2009.
- The Treaty is open to States members of WIPO and to certain intergovernmental organizations.
- Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.
- Treaty does not impose any obligations on Contracting Parties to
- register new types of marks, or
- Implement electronic filing systems or other automation systems.
United States Trade Representative
- The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is the United States government agency
- Responsible for developing and recommending United States trade policy to the president of the United States,
- Conducting trade negotiations at bilateral and multilateral levels, and
- Coordinating trade policy within the government through the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) and Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG).
- Established as the Office of the Special Trade Representative (STR) under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
- The USTR is part of the Executive Office of the President.
- With over 200 employees, the USTR has offices in Geneva, Switzerland, and Brussels, Belgium.
- The current U.S. trade representative is Robert E. Lighthizer, who was announced by then-President-elect Donald Trump on January 3, 2017.
- The United States Trade Representative serves as an ex officio member of
- The Boards of Directors of the Export-Import Bank and
- The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and
- Serves on the National Advisory Council for International Monetary and Financial Policy.
3. NEET applies to minority-run medical colleges: Supreme Court
Information in News
- The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is mandatory for admission to medical colleges run by religious and linguistic minority communities, the Supreme Court held on Wednesday.
- The court dismissed arguments made by the managements of several minority-run medical institutions, including the Christian Medical College Vellore Association that bringing them uniformly under the ambit of NEET would be a violation of their fundamental right to “occupation, trade and business”.
- The right to freedom of trade or business is not absolute. It is subject to “reasonable restriction in the interest of the students’ community to promote merit, recognition of excellence, and to curb the malpractices. A uniform entrance test qualifies the test of proportionality and is reasonable”.
- Regulating academics and imposing reasonable restrictions to ensure educational standards was in national and public interest.
- The judgment was based on a challenge by the colleges to several notifications issued by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Dental Council of India (DCI) under Sections 10D of the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956 and the Dentists Act of 1948 for uniform entrance examinations.
- The rights available under Article 30 [right of minorities to administer their institutions] are not violated by provisions carved out in Section 10D of the MCI Act and the Dentists Act and Regulations framed by MCI/DCI.
- Uniform entrance exams would ensure improvement in future public health by encouraging merit in furtherance of the Directive Principles enshrined in the Constitution.
4. Coronavirus | 1.6 billion at the risk of losing jobs, warns ILO
Information in News
- Nearly half of the entire global workforce is in immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned.
- The ILO said the global workforce was 3.3 billion people, of which more than two billion worked in the informal economy in jobs characterised by a lack of basic protections, no possibility to work from home and no income replacement during the lockdown. It said that almost 1.6 billion informal
economy workers, accounting for 76% of informal employment, were significantly impacted by lockdown measures.
- The ILO said the worst-affected sectors would be accommodation and food services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and real estate and business activities.
International Labour Organisation
- The only tripartite (employers , workers and member States) U.N. agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States , to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
- The ILO has 187 state members. 186 of the 193 member states of the United Nations plus the Cook Islands are members of the ILO.
- The UN member states which are not members of the ILO are Andorra, Bhutan, Liechtenstein, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, and North Korea.
- The ILO aims to ensure that it serves the needs of working women and men by bringing together governments, employers and workers to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes.
- By promoting a social dialogue between trade unions and employers in formulating, and where appropriate, implementing national policy on social, economic, and many other issues.
- It was created in 1919, as part of theTreaty of that ended World War I, to reflect the belief that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice.
- 2030 Agenda, – The importance of decent work in achieving sustainable development is highlighted by Goal 8 which aims to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.
- India is a founder member of the International Labour Organization, which came into existence in 1919.
- At present the ILO has 186 Members.
Organs of ILO
The three organs of the ILO are:
- International Labour Conferences: – General Assembly of the ILO – Meets every year in the month of June.
- Governing Body: – Executive Council of the ILO. Meets three times in a year in the months of March, June and November.
- International Labour Office: – A permanent secretariat.
- The work of the Conference and the Governing Body is supplemented by Regional Conferences, Regional Advisory
Committees, Industrial and Analogous Committees, Committee of Experts, Panels of Consultants, Special Conference and meetings, etc.
Core Conventions of the ILO
The eight Core Conventions of the ILO (also called fundamental/human rights conventions) are:
- Forced Labour Convention (No. 29)
- Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No.105)
- Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100)
- Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111)
- Minimum Age Convention (No.138)
- Worst forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182)
(The above Six have been ratified by India)
- Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organised Convention (No.87)
- Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98)
(These two have not been ratified by India)
5. A smart way to watch over COVID-19 patients
Information in News
- A wearable device developed by faculty from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) and city-based doctors, in collaboration with MIISKY Technovation Pvt. Ltd., could come in handy.
- It can measure various vital parameters of individuals under isolation on a real-time basis. Linked to a smartphone via Bluetooth, the smart watch will record the patient’s blood oxygen saturation and body temperature in real time, device is suitable for those under isolation and also for asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patients.
- If the temperature rises or the oxygen saturation level falls below 93%, the wearable device alerts the local tracking centre about the impending need for hospitalisation
- When there is an increase in the body temperature or a drop in the oxygen saturation level, beyond admissible limits, the health officials can be alerted through an SMS.
6. Study on China dams brings the Brahmaputra into focus
Information in News
- The impact of China’s dams on the Mekong river has raised fresh questions on whether dams being built on other rivers that originate in China, such as the Brahmaputra, may similarly impact countries downstream.
- While China’s southwestern Yunnan province had above-average rainfall from May to October 2019, there was “severe lack of water in the lower Mekong”, the study found based on satellite data from 1992 to 2019.
- The Mekong flows from China to Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
- The Mekong River Commission, which comprises Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, has said more scientific evidence was needed to establish whether dams caused a 2019 drought.
- Indian officials have said the dams are not likely to impact the quantity of the Brahmaputra’s flows because they are only storing water for power generation. Moreover, the Brahmaputra is not entirely dependent on upstream flows and an estimated 35% of its basin is in India.
- India does not have a water-sharing agreement with China, but both sides share hydrological data. And got China to cooperate with us for warnings on how floods are moving down the Yarlung Tsangpo and into the Brahmaputra, so that we can warn our population living in low-lying areas and move them safely to higher ground.
Brahmaputra river system
- The Brahmaputra called Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, Siang/Dihang River in Arunachal Pradesh and Luit or Dilao in Assam, is a trans-boundary river which flows through China, India and Bangladesh.
- It is the ninth largest river in the world by discharge, and the 15th longest.
- With its origin in the Manasarovar Lake region, near the Mount Kailash, located on the northern side of the Himalayas in Burang County of Tibet as the Yarlung Tsangpo River.
- It flows along southern Tibet to break through the Himalayas in great gorges (including the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon) and into Arunachal Pradesh (India).
- It flows southwest through the Assam Valley as Brahmaputra and south through Bangladesh as the Jamuna (not to be mistaken with Yamuna of India).
- In the vast Ganges Delta, it merges with the Padma, the popular name of the river Ganges in Bangladesh, and finally, after merging with Padma, it becomes the Meghna and from here, it flows as Meghna river before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
1. Covid Kawach’ in South East
Police launch ‘Covid Kawach’ in South East.
To keep a strict vigil in containment zones of South East district, Delhi Police on Wednesday launched ‘Covid Kawach’, a scheme to check “unwanted movement” of residents and spread awareness about the virus.
There are 17 containment zones in south-east Delhi. Under the new scheme, eight e-rickshaws have been hired to patrol the areas.
2. Una Mobile based app to streamline their entry.
- Una, the district in Punjab have taken the lead in using mobile based app to streamline their entry.
- By use of this technology, the police will be recording the details of people, vehicles etc in the mobile phone, which will be saved at the backend for easy access.