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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

27 Oct, 2020

52 Min Read

Israel Sudan Issue

GS-II : International Relations African Countries

Israel – Sudan Issue

Historical Background

  • Sudan, which was technically at war with Israel since its foundation in 1948, has now become the third country to forge diplomatic relations with it, in recent times.
  • Recently, in a deal brokered by the USA, Sudan and Israel have agreed to normalise relations to end decades of hostility.
  • Earlier, the USA brokered diplomatic pacts between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain as well, to normalise their relations.

Implications:

USA

  • Sudan was added to the USA Black list in 1993 after it was accused of harbouring groups such as Hezbollah and Palestinian militant outfits which the USA deems as terrorists.
  • As a result, Sudan was cut off from the global economy and was starved of foreign investment which faced another blow in 2011 when South Sudan was formed taking away its major oil resources.
  • The deal follows USA’s conditional agreement to remove Sudan from its blacklist of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism.
  • This deal would deepen Sudan’s engagement with the West.
  • With its name removed from the list, Sudan will no longer stay deprived of foreign investments.
  • Under the deal, Sudan has agreed to pay USD 335 million in compensation to victims of the Al-Qaeda bombings of USA embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Israel

  • After the six-day war of 1967 war, Arab powers met in Khartoum (Sudan’s capital) to pledge three “noes” viz. no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel. Therefore, the deal holds a symbolic significance for Israel.
  • It boosts Israel’s motive which has made it a priority to forge ties with formerly hostile countries in Africa and the Arab world in the absence of any progress with the Palestinians.
  • Unlike the UAE and Bahrain, which have never fought with Israel, Sudan sent forces to fight in the war around Israel’s creation in 1948 and during the war of 1967. In the 1970s, Israel backed Sudanese insurgents fighting the Khartoum government.
  • With this agreement, Israel will complete the creation of a safety cordon in the Red Sea, which currently includes Egypt, Jordan, South Sudan and Saudi Arabia.
  • The deal is also aimed at unifying Arab countries against their common adversary, Iran.
  • Though Sudan has been largely marginal to Middle Eastern politics in recent decades, the normalisation has significant symbolic value.

Source: TH

Model Code of Conduct: MP CM remark on a woman Case Study

GS-II : Indian Polity Election commission

Model Code of Conduct: MP CM remark on a woman Case Study

Recently, the Election Commission (EC) has found former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister’s remark on a woman politician violative of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

What is a Model Code of Conduct?

  • The MCC is a set of guidelines issued by the EC to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections.
  • It helps EC in keeping with the mandate it has been given under Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives it the power to supervise and conduct free and fair elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • The MCC is operational from the date on which the election schedule is announced until the date of result announcement.
  • The MCC does not have any statutory backing but is strictly enforced by the Election Commission.
  • Certain provisions of the MCC are enforced through invoking provisions in other statutes like Indian Penal Code, 1860; Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 and RPA, 1951.

Historical Background

  • The origins of the MCC lie in the Assembly elections of Kerala in 1960, when the State administration prepared a ‘Code of Conduct’ for political actors.
  • Subsequently, in the Lok Sabha elections in 1962, the ECI circulated the code to all recognised political parties and State governments and it was wholeheartedly followed.
  • It was in 1991 after repeated flouting of the election norms and continued corruption, the EC decided to enforce the MCC more strictly.

Components of Model Code of Conduct

  • General Conduct: Criticism of political parties must be limited to their policies and programmes, past record and work. Activities such as using caste and communal feelings to secure votes, criticising candidates on the basis of unverified reports, bribing or intimidation of voters, etc. are prohibited.
  • Processions: If two or more candidates plan processions along the same route, organisers must establish a contact in advance to ensure that the processions do not clash. Carrying and burning effigies representing members of other political parties is not allowed.
  • Polling Day: All authorised party workers at polling booths should be given suitable badges or identity cards. Identity slips supplied by them to voters shall be on plain (white) paper and shall not contain any symbol, name of the candidate or the name of the party.
  • Polling Booths: Only voters, and those with a valid pass from the EC are allowed to enter polling booths.
  • Meetings: Parties must inform the local police authorities of the venue and time of any meeting in time to enable the police to make adequate security arrangements.
  • Observers: The EC will appoint observers to whom any candidates may report problems regarding the conduct of the election.
  • Party in power: The MCC incorporated certain restrictions in 1979, regulating the conduct of the party in power.
  1. Ministers must not combine official visits with election work or use official machinery for the same.
  2. The party must avoid advertising at the cost of the public exchequer or using official mass media for publicity on achievements to improve chances of victory in the elections.
  3. Ministers and other authorities must not announce any financial grants, or promise any construction of roads, provision of drinking water, etc.
  4. Other parties must be allowed to use public spaces and rest houses and these must not be monopolised by the party in power.
  • Election manifestos: Added in 2013, these guidelines prohibit parties from making promises that exert an undue influence on voters, and suggest that manifestos also indicate the means to achieve promises.

Should MCC be legally binding?

  • In 2013, the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, recommended making the MCC legally binding and recommended that the MCC be made a part of the RPA 1951.
  • However, the EC argues against making it legally binding.
  • According to it, elections must be completed within a relatively short time or close to 45 days and judicial proceedings typically take longer, therefore it is not feasible to make it enforceable by law.

Source: IE

Gujarat High Court 1st to Live Stream Court Proceedings on Youtube

GS-II : Governance Judicial reforms

Gujarat High Court 1st to Live Stream Court Proceedings on Youtube

  • The High Court allowed the open court proceedings through the video conferencing, except the proceedings to be conducted in camera.
  • In camera means in private chambers of a judge, with the press and public excluded.
  • It observed that the initiative of live telecast is on an experimental basis and the aspect of continuing with or adapting the modality of live court proceedings will be decided based on the outcome of this trial.
  • The Supreme Court in Swapnil Tripathi v Supreme Court of India (2018) has ruled in favour of opening up the apex court through live-streaming.
  • It held that the live streaming proceedings is part of the right to access justice under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • However, the judgment has remained unimplemented.
  • The e-Court Mission Mode Project was conceptualized with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.
  • The move has been welcomed by lawyers, law students and the public at large besides litigants, being seen as a major measure towards transparency in judicial proceedings.
  • Also, in the model video conferencing rules as prescribed by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court, it has been provided that the public will be allowed to view the hearing conducted through video conferencing.

Benefits of Live Streaming

  • A live stream would help litigants follow the proceedings in their case and also assess their lawyers’ performance. People from far-flung States such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala do not have to travel all the way to the national capital for a day’s hearing.
  • It would keep a check on lawyers’ conduct inside the courtrooms. With the entire country watching them, there would be fewer interruptions, raised voices and adjournments from the lawyers.
  • Live-streaming will bring transparency and access to justice.

Issues Involved

  • The live streaming of the Courts are susceptible to abuses.
  • It can involve national security concerns and can amount to a violation of the fundamental right to privacy in matrimonial disputes and rape cases.
  • The unauthorised reproduction of the live streaming videos is another cause for concern as its regulation will be very difficult at the government’s end.
  • Concerns have also been raised about the commercial aspect of the whole issue. The agreements with broadcasters should be on a non-commercial basis. No one should profit from the arrangement.
  • Infrastructure, specially internet connectivity is also the biggest challenge in implementing the live proceedings of Courts.

Source: TH

In- House Procedure Against Judges of Higher Judiciary

GS-II : Governance Judiciary

In- House Procedure Against Judges of Higher Judiciary

What is in the News?

  • Recently, in a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister has accused the Supreme Court judge, Justice N.V. Ramana and some judges of Andhra Pradesh (AP) High Court of misconduct, corruption and political bias.
  • The allegation against the judges is unprecedented since it has been made publicly.

What are the Issues Involved?

  • The Constitution of India protects the independence of judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court by making them removable only through a process of impeachment. Article 121 and 211 expressly bars the Parliament and State Legislatures from discussing the misconduct of judges.
  • Article 121 states that no discussions shall take place in Parliament with respect to the conduct of any judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties except upon a motion for the removal of the judge.
  • Article 211 says that no discussion shall take place in the legislature of a state with respect to the conduct of any judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties.
  • However, the AP CM has not made the allegations against the judges in the legislative assembly, and therefore, the bar under Article 211 is not attracted.
  • The chief minister of a state can make such allegations by circumventing the bar under Article 211, as the constitution does not envisage such a possibility.
  • However, generally such allegations against judges are not made publicly, since it may cast aspersion on the credibility of the judiciary.
  • Since, AP CM has made the allegations publicly, such an act may invite action for contempt of court.

Action in Cases of Misconduct of Judges:

  • A judge can be removed from office on grounds of ‘proved misbehaviour or incapacity’.
  • However, not all forms of misbehaviour will warrant removal. There could be other kinds of impropriety too.
  • There are times when serious complaints of misconduct are made and CJI is called upon to examine them. Since 1997, judges have adopted an ‘in-house procedure’ for inquiring into such charges.

What is the In-House Procedure:

  • Under the in-house procedure, when a complaint is received against a High Court judge, the CJI should decide if the issue is frivolous or serious.
  • If a deeper probe is considered necessary, both the complaint and the judge’s response, along with the High Court’s Chief Justice’s comments, are recorded for further action.
  • If deemed necessary, CJI can also form a three-member committee to hold an inquiry into the matter.
  • The committee should have two Chief Justices from other High Courts and one High Court judge.
  • The inquiry it holds is of the nature of a fact-finding mission and is not a formal judicial inquiry involving examination of witnesses. The judge concerned is entitled to appear before it.
  • If the committee finds substance in the charges, it can give two kinds of recommendations. One, that the misconduct is serious enough to require removal from office, or that it is not serious enough to warrant removal.
  • If the misconduct involves removal of a judge, the judge concerned will be urged to resign or seek voluntary retirement.
  • If the judge is unwilling to quit, the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned would be asked to withdraw judicial work from him.
  • The President and the Prime Minister will be informed of the situation, clearing the way for Parliament to begin the process of removal.
  • If the misconduct does not warrant removal, the judge would be advised accordingly.
  • Procedure in Case of Chief Justice of High Court/ Judge of Supreme Court:
  • If the case is against a High Court’s Chief Justice, the same procedure is followed as that of a judge of the High Court, but the probe committee comprises a Supreme Court judge and two Chief Justices.
  • If a Supreme Court judge faces such a charge, the in-house panel will comprise three Supreme Court judges.
  • Also, the in-house procedure does not give any separate provision to deal with complaints against the Chief Justice of India.

Way Forward

  • Separation of powers between legislative, executive and judiciary has been regarded as a basic feature of our constitution in Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala, 1973.
  • The constitution does not envisage supremacy of any of the three organs of the state. But the functioning of all the three organs is controlled by the constitution.
  • Wherever interaction and deliberations among the three organs have been envisaged, a delicate balance and mutual respect are contemplated.

Source: TH

ESI Scheme extended to Arunachal Pradesh

GS-III : Economic Issues Labour

ESI Scheme extended to Arunachal Pradesh

  • The ESI Scheme stands implemented in 568 districts in all the States and Union Territories, except Lakshadweep.
  • Recently, the central government has extended the Employees' State Insurance (ESI) Scheme to Arunachal Pradesh, with effect from 1st November, 2020.
  • Employees' State Insurance (ESI) Scheme provides social protection to workers and their dependants, in the organised sector, in contingencies, such as, sickness, maternity and death or disablement due to an employment injury or occupational hazard.

Provisions:

  • The ESI Act, 1948 is applicable to factories and notified establishments in an implemented area employing 10 or more employees for wages.
  • The "appropriate Government" State or Central is empowered to extend the provisions of the ESI Act to various classes of establishments, industrial, commercial or agricultural or otherwise.
  • Most of the State Governments have extended the ESI Act to certain specific class of establishments, such as, shops, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, preview theatres, motors transport undertakings and newspaper establishments etc., employing 10 or more persons.
  • However, the threshold for Coverage of establishments is still 20 Employees in Maharashtra.
  • Eligibility for Employees: The existing wage limit for coverage under the Act is Rs. 21,000 per month (Rs. 25,000 per month in the case of persons with disability).
  • Self-Financing Scheme: The ESI Scheme is financed by contributions from employers and employees.
  • In June 2020, the government had reduced the rate of contribution under the ESI Act from 6.5% to 4% (employers’ contribution reduced from 4.75% to 3.25% and employees’ contribution reduced from 1.75% to 0.75%).
  • Employees, earning less than Rs. 137 a day as daily wages, are exempted from payment of their share of contribution.
  • Benefits: The covered employees and their dependants are eligible for a host of benefits including Cashless Medical Care Services, Sickness Benefit, Maternity Benefit, Employment Injury Benefit and Dependant Benefit in case of death due to employment injury, Unemployment Benefit etc.
  • The employees covered under ESI Scheme are also entitled to unemployment allowance. There are two unemployment allowance schemes namely Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna (ABVKY) and Rajiv Gandhi Shramik Kalyan Yojna (RGSKY).
  • Administration: It is administered by an apex corporate body called the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). The Corporation is headed by the Union Minister of Labour, as its Chairman.

Source: PIB

Source: PIB

PLACID Trials

GS-III : S&T S&T

PLACID Trials

  • Recently, the PLACID Trial, a multicentre randomized controlled trial, has shown that the use of convalescent plasma (CP) as a therapeutic for Covid-19 patients showed no positive effects and did not improve the outcome of the patients.
  • The randomised controlled trial (RCT) is a trial in which subjects are randomly assigned to one of two groups: one (the experimental group) receiving the intervention that is being tested, and the other (the comparison group or control) receiving an alternative (conventional) treatment.

Convalescent Plasma Therapy:

  • Convalescent Plasma, extracted from the blood of patients recovering from an infection, is a source of antibodies against the infection.
  • The therapy uses blood from people who have recovered from an illness to help others recover.
  • Blood donated by people who have recovered from Covid-19 has antibodies to the virus that causes it. The donated blood is processed to remove blood cells, leaving behind liquid (plasma) and antibodies. These can be given to people with Covid-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus.
  • The plasma donor would have to be a documented case of Covid-19 and healthy for 28 days since the last symptoms.

PLACID Trial:

  • It was conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and its aim was to investigate CPT’s effectiveness for the treatment of Covid-19.
  • It is the first and largest randomised control trial to be completed in the world.
  • The trial results indicate that there was no difference in the 28-day mortality (estimates of deaths in the 28 days after entering the hospital for a specific condition) or progression of Covid-19 from moderate to severe in patients treated with CP along with basic standard care compared to basic standard care alone.
  • While the use of CP seemed to improve the resolution of shortness of breath and fatigue in patients with moderate Covid-19, this did not translate into a reduction in 28-day mortality or progression to severe disease.

Impact of the Findings:

  • The ICMR is now considering removing the option of CPT from the national guidelines.
  • CPT as a treatment for Covid-19 in India has led to questionable practices such as calls for donors on social media, and the sale of convalescent plasma on the black market.
  • Although CP is a safe form of treatment when transfused in accordance with the regulations, it involves resource-intensive processes such as plasmapheresis (separating plasma from the blood cells), plasma storage, and measurement of neutralising antibodies and a limited number of institutes have the capacity to undertake these procedures in a quality-assured manner.
  • However, experts have held that guidelines are not necessarily binding and it is too early to dismiss convalescent plasma therapy.

Source: IE

Source: IE

India much safer against Tsunami threat: INCOIS

GS-III : Disaster and Disaster management Natural disaster

India much safer against Tsunami threat: INCOIS

Tsunamis

  • Definition: Tsunamis are a series of waves usually generated by movement of the sea floor. These movements are caused by different types of geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, landslides and volcanic eruptions.
  • The word tsunami is a Japanese word, represented by two characters: tsu, meaning, "harbor", and nami meaning, "wave".
  • They frequently occur in the Pacific, where dense oceanic plates slide under the lighter continental plates. When these plates fracture they provide a vertical movement of the seafloor that allows a quick and efficient transfer of energy from the solid earth to the ocean.

What is the news?

According to experts from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System (INCOIS), India is much safer against tsunami threats than it was in 2004, due to the establishment of a state-of-the-art tsunami early warning system at INCOIS.

INCOIS

  • INCOIS was established in 1999 as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • INCOIS through Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) is the nodal agency to provide tsunami advisories to India.
  • It is coordinating with the Disaster Management Officials (DMOs) for implementation of Tsunami Ready programme in India.
  • It conducts IOWave Tsunami mock exercises biannually to strengthen the readiness to handle the emergency situations with stakeholders.
  • INCOIS also identifies the Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) for the fishermen community.
  • It has also made improvement in overcoming the cloud cover through usage of geostationary satellites and numerical modelling.
  • INCOIS has also partnered with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to develop a satellite based message broadcasting services through the indigenous navigational satellite communication system 'NAVIC'.

Indian Tsunami Early Warning System

  • The Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS) was established in 2007 and is based at & operated by INCOIS, Hyderabad.
  • It is an integrated effort of different organizations including the Department of Space (DOS), Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Survey of India (SOI) and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).
  • ITEWS comprises a real-time network of seismic stations, tide gauges and a 24X7 operational tsunami warning centre to detect tsunamigenic earthquakes, to monitor tsunamis and to provide timely advisories to vulnerable communities.
  • Indian scientists can detect large undersea earthquakes in Indian Ocean in real-time and provide a tsunami warning in 10-20 minutes after the earthquake occurs.
  • In 2004, India didn’t have any tsunami warning capability nor any public knowledge of tsunamis in the Indian Ocean.
  • India is among the first few centres to introduce quantitative tsunami forecasts.
  • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO (also known as UNESCO-IOC) accredited Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) as Tsunami Service Provider (TSP) for 28 Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries, along with Indonesia and Australia in 2011, for issuing regional warnings.

Recent Focus in Tsunami Warning Capability:

  • The focus in recent times has been on enhancing community awareness and response through several capacity building activities, biennial Indian Ocean wide tsunami drills and piloting of the UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready initiative.
  • Tsunami Ready is a community performance-based programme to promote tsunami preparedness through active collaboration of public, community leaders, and national and local emergency management agencies.
  • The main objective of this programme is to improve coastal community's preparedness for tsunami emergencies, to minimize the loss of life and property and to ensure a structural and systematic approach in building community preparedness through fulfilling the best-practice indicators.
  • Two villages of Odisha- Venkatraipur in Ganjam district and Noliasahi in Jagatsinghpur district are now ‘Tsunami Ready’.
  • INCOIS is establishing a network of 35 stations to estimate the tectonic plate’s movements in real-time and measure the vertical displacements under the sea directly.

Source: TH

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