1. All India Judicial Service
Recently it is noted that, in the Government’s view, a properly framed All India Judicial Service is important to strengthen the overall justice delivery system, especially at the district and subordinate court level.
- The AIJS is a reform push to centralize the recruitment of judges.
- It would work at the level of additional district judges and district judges for all states.
- In the same way that the UPSC conducts a central recruitment process and assigns successful candidates to cadres, judges of the lower judiciary are proposed to be recruited centrally and assigned to states.
- This idea has been debated in legal circles for decades and remains contentious.
- The AIJS was first proposed by the 14th report of the Law Commission in 1958.
- A statutory or constitutional body such as the UPSC to conduct a standard, centralized exam to recruit and train judges was discussed.
- The idea was proposed again in the Law Commission Report of 1978, which discussed delays and arrears of cases in the lower courts.
- In 2006, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 15th Report backed the idea of a pan-Indian judicial service, and also prepared a draft Bill.
Supreme Court’s Stand:
- In 1992, the Supreme Court (SC) in All India Judges’ Association v. The Union of India directed the Centre to set up an AIJS.
- In a 1993 review of the judgment, however, the court left the Centre at liberty to take the initiative on the issue.
- In 2017, the SC took suo motu cognizance of the issue of appointment of district judges and mooted a Central Selection Mechanism.
Current Appointment Method
- Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution of India deal with the appointment of district judges and place it in the domain of the states.
- The selection process is conducted by the State Public Service Commissions and the concerned High Court since High Courts exercise jurisdiction over the subordinate judiciary in the state.
- Panels of High Court judges interview candidates after the exam and select them for an appointment.
- All judges of the lower judiciary up to the level of district judge are selected through the Provincial Civil Services (Judicial) exam.
- PCS(J) is commonly referred to as the judicial services exam.
- The Appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court and the transfer of judges from one High Court to another had to be made in accordance with Articles 124, 217, and 222 of the Constitution of India.
- The appointment of judges is made by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice and other judges.
- The 42nd Constitutional amendment in 1976 amended Article 312 (1) empowering Parliament to make laws for the creation of one or more All-India Services, including an AIJS, common to the Union and the States.
- Under Article 312, Rajya Sabha is required to pass a resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting. Thereafter, Parliament has to enact a law creating the AIJS.
- This means no constitutional amendment will be required for the establishment of AIJS.
2. National Mission on Clean Ganga: Guinness Record
- The National Mission for Clean Ganga set a Guinness World Record on the first day of the Ganga Utsav for the highest number of photos of handwritten notes uploaded on Facebook in an hour.
- The Jal Shakti Ministry has released a guide for the safe rescue and release of stranded Ganges River Dolphins.
- The Gangetic river system is home to a vast variety of aquatic life, including the Gangetic dolphin.
- The species, whose global population is estimated at 4,000, are (nearly 80%) found in the Indian subcontinent.
- It is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent, particularly in Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems.
- It is one of five species of river dolphin found around the world.
- Only three species of freshwater dolphins are remaining on the earth after the functional extinction of the Chinese River Dolphin (Baiji) in 2006.
- Endangered under IUCN Red List
- Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act (1972)
- Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
National Mission for Clean Ganga
- Namami Gange Programme is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as a ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014
- It aims to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution and conservation and rejuvenation of the National River Ganga.
- It is being operated under the Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti.
- The program is being implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program ManagementGroups (SPMGs).
- NMCG is the implementation wing of the National Ganga Council (set in 2016; which replaced the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NRGBA).
- It has Rs. 20,000-crore, centrally-funded, non-lapsable corpus and consists of nearly 288 projects.
- The main pillars of the program are:
- Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure & Industrial Effluent Monitoring,
- River-Front Development & River-Surface Cleaning,
- Bio-Diversity & Afforestation,
- Public Awareness
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3. Indias new army aviation brigade
- India raised a new army aviation brigade in the eastern sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Arunachal Pradesh sector.
- The LAC is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
- The new army aviation brigade was raised in March 2021 at Missamari airbase, close to Tezpur, Assam
- It has capabilities such as Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), US Cheetah helicopters, and Israel’s Heron drones.
- While the function of the new brigade is largely for the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) activities of the Army, it has the capability to support the Army for other objectives as well on the LAC.
Line of Actual Control
- Demarcation Line: Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Ladakh share a border with China.
- The LAC is generally divided into three sectors namely: Western sector, Middle sector, and Eastern sector.
- In this sector, India shares a 1346 km-long boundary with China.
- It spans Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
- The alignment of the LAC in the eastern sector is along the 1914 McMahon Line.
- China considers the McMahon Line illegal and unacceptable claiming that Tibetan representatives who had signed the 1914 Convention held in Shimla which delineated the McMahon line on the map did not have the right to do so.
- China claims the entire Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet.
- In this sector, India shares about a 545 km long boundary with China which runs along the watershed from Ladakh to Nepal.
- Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand touch this border with Tibet (China) in this sector.
- Both sides do not have much disagreement over the border in this area.
- India shares about 1597 km of border with China.
- It is between the Union Territory of Ladakh (erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir) and Xinjiang Province of China.
- In this sector, there is a territorial dispute over Aksai Chin. India claims it as part of erstwhile Kashmir, while China claims it is part of Xinjiang.
- The boundary dispute in the Western Sector pertains to the Johnson Line proposed by the British in the 1860s that extended up to the Kunlun Mountains and put Aksai Chin in the then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Independent India used the Johnson Line and claimed Aksai Chin as its own.
- Eleven of the 23 contested areas on the LAC are identified in Ladakh under the western sector, four in the middle sector, and eight in the eastern sector.
4. Marusudar River
- India has successfully diverted the water of the Marusudar River into the concrete face of Rockfill Pakal Dul dam in Kashmir, which otherwise could have flown into Pakistan.
- Marusudar River is a tributary of the Chenab river, which was diverted to Pakal Dul dam to produce hydroelectricity in the Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir.
- The crucial 1000 Mwatt Pakal Dul Hydro-Electric project was started by the Union Government to harness water and electricity from the Marusudar river.
- As per Indus Water Treaty, India can use excess water of the Chenab river for its own use, and India has used this clause to harness electricity and irrigate fields using excess water of the Pakal Dul Dam water.
- The Pakal Dul HE Project (1000 MW) is being constructed by CVVPPPL(Chenab Valley Power Projects PVT Ltd)—a joint venture of NHPC and JKSPDC.
- The Project is considered very essential for grid balancing and generating peak power to meet the electricity demand of the valley.
- The CVPPPL has also been asked to construct 3094 MW Hydro Power Projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
- The river diversion is a crucial milestone for the project and would help in expeditiously completing the construction works of Coffer Dam and Concrete Face Rockfill Dam
5. Declaration on Forests and Land Use
- An ambitious declaration was initiated by the United Kingdom to “halt deforestation” and land degradation by 2030.
- It is being referred to as the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use.
- India did not sign this, as it objected to “trade” being interlinked to climate change and forest issues in the agreement.
About the Declaration
- It was adopted to help achieve a balance between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removal by sinks; to adapt to climate change, and to maintain other ecosystem services.
- The declaration has over 105 signatories including the UK, US, Russia, and China.
- These countries represent 75% of global trade and 85% of global forests in key commodities that can threaten forests – such as palm oil, cocoa, and soya.
- They have also committed USD 12 billion in public funds from 2021-25.
- The declaration recognizes that to meet our land use, climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development goals, both globally and nationally will require transformative further action in the interconnected areas:
- Sustainable production and consumption.
- Infrastructure development; trade; finance and investment.
- Support for smallholders, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and have a key role in their stewardship.
- India, Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa are the only G20 countries that did not sign the declaration.
- The declaration interlinks trade to climate change and forest issues.
- Trade falls under the World Trade Organization and should not be brought under climate change declarations.
- India and others had asked the word “trade” to be removed, but the demand was not accepted. Therefore they didn’t sign the declaration.
- The issue of deforestation in India is a hotly contested one.
- The government has repeatedly said that the tree cover and forest cover in India have increased over the past few years.
6. HPV Vaccine Reducing Cervical Cancer
New research has found that the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Cervarix) reduces the risk of Cervical Cancer significantly in women.
About the Research
- The Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine reduced cervical cancer cases by 87% among women in the U.K. who received the vaccine when they were 12 or 13 years old.
- It reduced the risk by 34% in women who were aged 16-18 years when they were offered the jab.
- Over a period of 11 years (since 2006), the vaccine prevented around 450 cervical cancers and around 17,200 cases of precancerous conditions.
- It is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
- Various strains of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) play a role in causing most cervical cancer.
- When exposed to HPV, the body’s immune system typically prevents the virus from doing harm. In a small percentage of people, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cervical cells to become cancer cells.
- The HPV vaccine (Cervarix) protects against two of the cancer-causing strains, which are HPV 16 and 18.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract.
- There are more than 100 types of HPV.
- Most HPV is spread through direct sexual contact.
- About a dozen of HPV cause different types of cancer including cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, penile, vulvar, and vaginal.
- It is claimed that Molnupiravir, an oral drug, can cut the risk of hospitalization in Covid-19 patients by half, in phase 3 trials.
- In India, the Optimus Group recently announced the results of phase 3 clinical trials, which found 91.5% of patients given the drug tested RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) negative.
- It belongs to a class of broad-spectrum antiviral drugs called nucleoside analogs.
- They act by interfering with the function of viral RNA (Ribonucleic Acids) polymerases – which are enzymes that make new viral RNA in infected cells.
- RNA is a polymer of ribonucleotides and an important biological macromolecule that is present in all biological cells.
- It is principally involved in the synthesis of proteins, carrying the messenger instructions from Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which itself contains the genetic instructions required for the development and maintenance of life.
- It works by causing viruses to make errors when copying their own RNA, introducing mutations that inhibit replication.
- It was initially invented as a drug for the influenza virus.
- These drugs work by preventing the process of replication of the virus inside human cells.
- A virus is a biological agent that can self-replicate inside a host cell. The infected cells by viruses may produce thousands of new copies of the original virus at an extraordinary rate.
- It alters critical enzymes that were necessary to the virus for replicating in the human body cells.
- As of now, the Emergency Use Authorization is awaited for the drug but currently, it can be administered as a pill in a 5-day regimen.
8. PCA Framework Revised
- Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced a revised Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework.
- The PCA framework enables supervisory intervention of RBI over Banks at an appropriate time and ensures effective market discipline.
- The framework applies to all banks operating in India, including foreign banks operating through branches or subsidiaries based on breach of risk thresholds of identified indicators.
- However, payments banks and small finance banks (SFBs) have been removed from the list of lenders where prompt corrective action can be initiated.
- Capital, Asset Quality, and Capital-To-Risk Weighted Assets Ratio(CRAR), NPA ratio, Tier I Leverage Ratio, will be the key areas for monitoring in the revised framework.
- However, the revised framework excludes return on assets as a parameter that may trigger action under the framework.
- The new provisions will be effective from January 2022.
RBI power and Invocation of PCA:
- The breach of any risk threshold may result in the invocation of the PCA. Stressed banks may not be allowed to expand credit/investment portfolios.
- However, they are allowed to invest in government securities/other high-quality liquid investments.
- In the case of a default on the part of a bank in meeting the obligations to its depositors, possible resolution processes may be resorted to without reference to the PCA matrix.
- In governance-related actions, the RBI can supersede the board under Section 36ACA of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
- Amendment to Section 45 of the BR Act enables the Reserve Bank to reconstruct or amalgamate a bank, with or without implementing a moratorium, with the approval of the Central government.
Withdrawal of PCA Restrictions:
- Withdrawal of restrictions imposed will be considered if no breaches in risk thresholds in any of the parameters are observed as per four continuous quarterly financial statements.
- Prompt Corrective Action:
- Background: PCA is a framework under which banks with weak financial metrics are put under watch by the RBI.
- The RBI introduced the PCA framework in 2002 as a structured early-intervention mechanism for banks that become undercapitalized due to poor asset quality, or vulnerable due to loss of profitability.
- The framework was reviewed in 2017 based on the recommendations of the working group of the Financial Stability and Development Council on Resolution Regimes for Financial Institutions in India and the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission.
- The objective of the PCA framework is to enable supervisory intervention at an appropriate time and require the supervised entity to initiate and implement remedial measures in a timely manner, so as to restore its financial health.
- It aims to check the problem of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in the Indian banking sector.
- It is intended to help alert the regulator as well as investors and depositors if a bank is heading for trouble.
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9. Impact Bond
The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) launched the first-of-its-kind and the largest ‘Impact Bond’ for skilling in India in collaboration with global partners, involving a USD 14.4 million fund which will benefit 50,000 youth by making them employment ready.
Along with the NSDC, the global coalition comprises HRH Prince Charles’s British Asian Trust, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF), The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), HSBC India, JSW Foundation, and Dubai Cares, with FCDO (UK Government) & USAID as technical partners.
- The Skill Impact Bond (SIB) is also the first impact bond involving the public, private partners, and a public-private partnership organization, NSDC.
- CIFF, HSBC India, JSW Foundation, and Dubai Cares support the outcome fund.
- The training will be imparted through NSDC’s affiliated training partners, including Apollo Medskills Ltd, Gram Tarang Employability Training Services Pvt Ltd, Learnet Skills Ltd, Magic Bus India Foundation, and PanIIT Alumni Foundation.
- NSDC and MSDF are the risk investors that have committed USD 4 million to provide upfront working capital to the service providers to implement the program for the lifetime of the impact bond, for four years.
- If outcome delivery is achieved, risk investor funding is then reinvested each year.
- The target group includes 60 percent of women and girls and the objective is to equip them with skills and vocational training and provide access to wage employment in Covid-19 recovery sectors including retail, apparel, healthcare, and logistics.
- The stakeholders will work towards promoting effective interventions, supporting research, and enhancing the impact of the skill development program.
- The attention of the impact bond is to address the youth employment crisis and specifically that for young women.
10. International Seed Conference
Telangana has been invited to participate in a conference which will be held virtually by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
About the International Seed Conference
- International Seed Conference is a two-day conference.
- It will be held on November 4 & November 5, 2021, in Rome by FAO.
- Representatives, Ministers, scientists, and seed experts from 195 countries would participate in the conference.
Food and Agriculture Organization
- It is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.
- It was founded in October 1945 and is composed of 197 member states.
- It is headquartered in Rome, Italy,
- It helps governments and development agencies coordinate their activities to improve and develop agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and land and water resources.
- It also conducts research, provides technical assistance to projects, operates educational and training programs, and collects data on agricultural output, production, and development.
11. World Bank signs MoU with Meghalaya
- The Indian government and the World Bank have signed MoU for a $40 million project for improving the quality of health services in Meghalaya.
- This MoU will strengthen the capacity of the state to handle future health emergencies like the covid-19 pandemic.
- The project is dubbed as “Meghalaya Health Systems Strengthening Project”.
- The project will enhance the management & governance capabilities of the state as well as its health facilities.
- It will expand the design and coverage of health insurance programs in the state.
- It will improve the quality of health services by means of certification and better human resource systems.
- It will finally enable efficient access to medicines and diagnostics.
- The Project will further benefit the health sector staff at primary and secondary levels by building their clinical skills and strengthening planning & management capabilities.
- At the community level, it will enable women to better utilize healthcare services.
- Through this project, coverage of health services will be made accessible and affordable to the poor and vulnerable.
Megha Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS)
- This project will help in strengthening the effectiveness of Meghalaya’s health insurance program dubbed the Megha Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS).
- MHIS currently covers 56% of the households.
- Now, with integration with the national Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), the scheme plans to cover 100% of the households.
- It will reduce barriers to accessing hospital services as well as prevent catastrophic out-of-pocket costs for poor & vulnerable families.
12. IMEO at G 20 Summit
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched the “International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO)” at the G20 Summit.
International Methane Emissions Observatory
- Methane observatory was launched to drive action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- It was launched with support from the European Union.
- It was launched because Methane is one of the most dangerous gases for the climate.
- IMEO will monitor the methane emission through satellite.
- The observatory will produce a global public dataset of empirically verified methane emissions.
- It will initially focus on the fossil fuel sector, as it is responsible for one-third of anthropogenic emissions. This sector has the highest potential for reductions.
- It will monitor the commitments of around 30 countries that have joined the Global Methane Pledge initiative by the United States and the European Union.
- This initiative was launched with the aim of cutting methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
- It will also help in improving the accuracy and public transparency of human-caused methane emissions.
- The IMEO will integrate data from four streams namely,
- Direct measurement data from scientific studies
- Remote sensing data
- National inventories and
- Reporting from the Oil & Gas