18 September, 2019
0 Min Read
|GS-II||Uniform Civil code — the debate, the status|
|National Recruitment Agency|
|Fire to fuel|
|Government-funded NGOs come under RTI ambit: SC|
What is a Uniform Civil Code?
Greater role for State
What are more important fundamental rights or directive principles?
Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?
How does the idea of a Uniform Civil Code relate to the fundamental right to religion?
How did the debate on a common code for Hindus play out?
GS-II: National Recruitment Agency
National Recruitment Agency (NRA)
Why a new agency is proposed?
For clerical level
GS-III: Fire to fuel
Impact of the attack:
Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company, had to suspend the production of almost 6 million barrels per day (about 6 per cent of global oil supply).
It had to restrict the use of 2 mbd of spare capacity.
This is the largest-ever disruption in crude oil production in Saudi Arabia.
Potential impact on India:
Current account deficit:
Higher crude oil prices will widen the trade deficit and current account deficit, given that the value of imports goes up with crude oil, and that the quantity imported tends to be sticky in general.
The currency could be impacted if the trade and current account deficits were to widen. An increase in the import bill will tend to put pressure on the rupee.
There could be significant impact on inflation, given how crude oil prices move and the extent to which the government allows the pass-through to the consumer.
Concerns for India:
International energy markets are critically dependent on reliable transport.
Over 60% of the world’s petroleum and other liquids production moves on maritime routes.
Blocking the maritime choke points can lead to huge increases in energy costs and world energy prices.
Choke points are also the places where tankers are most vulnerable to pirates, terrorist attacks, political unrest, war, and shipping accidents.
For India, If India is to protect its interests in the ever-volatile global oil market, the government will need to take steps to diversify its supplier base and also work towards increasing domestic sources of energy supplies.
Opening up the renewable energy sector for more investments will also help avoid over-dependence on oil from the global market to meet the country’s ever-increasing energy needs.
GS-II: Deadly Spread
Overcoming vaccine hesitancy can reduce the global spread of measles infection.
With 30% increase in measles cases worldwide in 2018 the World Health Organization, in January 2019 included vaccine hesitancy as one of the 10 threats to global health this year.
In 2018, there have been around 3,65,000 measles cases reported from 182 countries in the first six months of 2019. The biggest increase, of 900% in the first six months this year compared with the same period last year, has been from the WHO African region, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Nigeria accounting for most cases. There has been a sharp increase in the WHO European region too with 90,000 cases recorded
in the first six months more than the numbers recorded for the whole of 2018. The infection spread in the European region has been unprecedented in recent years 1,74,000 cases from 49 of the 53 countries between January 2018 and June 2019. Last month the U.K., Greece, the Czech Republic and Albania lost their measles elimination status.
A 2018 report on vaccine confidence among the European Union member states shows why vaccine coverage has not been increasing in the European region to reach over 90% to offer protection even to those not vaccinated.
It found younger people (18-34 years) and those with less education are less likely to agree that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe. According to a March 2019 report, only 52% respondents from 28 EU member states agree that vaccines are definitely effective in preventing diseases, while 33% felt they were probably effective.
More alarming is that 48% of the respondents believed that vaccines cause serious side effects and 38% think vaccines actually cause the disease that they are supposed to protect against.
A striking similarity was seen in India too. A 2018 study found low awareness to be the main reason why 45% of children missed different vaccinations in 121 Indian districts that have higher rates of unimmunised children.
While 24% did not get vaccinated due to apprehension about adverse effects, 11% were reluctant to get immunised for reasons other than fear of adverse effects. Thus, much work remains to be done to address misinformation.
With social media playing a crucial role in spreading vaccine disinformation, the commitment by Facebook to “reduce distribution” of vaccine misinformation will be helpful in winning the war against vaccine deniers.
Measles vaccine not only provides lifelong protection against the virus but also reduces mortality from other childhood infections. This is because measles viruses kill immune cells, leaving the child vulnerable to infectious diseases for two to three years.
What is vaccine hesitancy?
The WHO expects 2019 to see transmission of wild polio virus being stopped in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well. Less than 30 cases were reported last year in both countries, the WHO says, casting its might behind their vaccination programme.
“Trust in the vaccine, trust in Government, trust in the system and trust in the manufacturer.”
Parents should raise questions on vaccines, its necessity and safety. But it is up to the Government and doctors to keep this communication with parents ongoing, transparent and scientific so that benefits to the child and larger community are not lost in misinformation.
Empower paediatricians to project the value of vaccines and equip them to respond to concerns effectively and accurately. Sensitise media to an evidence based rather than sensational approach.
GS-II: Government-funded NGOs come under RTI ambit: SC
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) “substantially” financed by the government fall within the ambit of the Right to Information Act, the Supreme Court held in a judgment.
About the judgment
NGOs which receive considerable finances from the government or are essentially dependent on the government fall under the category of “public authority” defined in Section 2(h) of the RTI Act of 2005.
This means that they have to disclose vital information, ranging from finances to hierarchy to decisions to functioning, to citizens who apply under RTI.
An NGO, the court said, may also include societies which are neither owned or controlled by the government, but if they are significantly funded by the government, directly or indirectly, they come under the RTI Act.
Why such move?
RTI Act was enacted with the purpose of bringing transparency in public dealings and probity in public life.
If NGOs or other bodies get substantial finance from the government we find no reason why any citizen cannot ask for information.
With the judgment citizens can find out whether his/her money which has been given to an NGO is being used for the requisite purpose.
‘Substantial’ means how much?
The court defined “substantial” as a “large portion.”
It does not necessarily have to mean a major portion or more than 50%.
No hard and fast rule can be laid down in this regard. Substantial financing can be both direct or indirect.
If government gives land in a city free of cost or on heavy discount to hospitals, educational institutions or any such body, this in itself could also be substantial financing, the judgment explained.
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